March 31, 2010:
UN Conference to Consummate
US Take-Over of Haiti

By Kim Ives

Therefore the “new” Haiti being drawn up at the conference will look very much like the old. “Expect more of the same when the Haitian elites and their lobbyists get their reconstruction plans approved,” wrote Olofson hotelier and musician Richard Morse in the Huffi ngton Post. “Bill Clinton isn’t bringing hope to Haiti. Bill Clinton isn’t bringing change to Haiti. Bill Clinton, along with USAID, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations are bringing more of the same to Haiti: more for the few and less for the many.”

There are more than strings attached to Clinton’s plan for Haiti. There are chains. Haiti would be yoked to an already sinking U.S. economy by dependency on assembling imported U.S. clothing and electronics for pennies an hour, or scrambling against neighbors to attract U.S. tourists. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Two South American alliances have offered Haiti substantial aid based on solidarity and common interests, not chains of debt and dependency.

ALBA, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, is an alliance of eight Latin American and Caribbean nations comprising Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Dominica, St. Vincent and Grenadines, and Antigua and Barbuda. On Jan. 25, when the U.S.-led coalition held the Montreal meeting to just plan another meeting, ALBA held an extraordinary session which came with concrete, immediate aid of food, fuel, electricity, medicine and a $120 million Humanitarian Fund. ALBA expressed “concern over the excessive presence of foreign military forces in Haiti, with no justifying reasons and without precision about their authority, purposes, responsibilities, and length of stay, which threatens to further complicate the conditions on the ground and the realization of the international cooperation.” The ALBA nations also recognized that “efforts to rebuild Haiti must have the people and government of that country as the principal protagonists.”

There is also the Union of South American Nations or UNASUR, which includes all the nations of the South American continent except French Guiana. In February, it offered Haiti $300 million in cash and money it would borrow on Haiti’s behalf. One might respond that no South-South cooperation can come up with the $34.4 billion Haiti needs to rebuild over the next 10 years. But how are such staggering fi gures arrived at? These estimates assume the costs to be charged by Halliburton, Dyncorp, or one of the Haitian elite’s construction companies. But we have seen tens of thousands of ordinary Haitians digging themselves out and rebuilding their homes, motivated not by profi t but by compassion, solidarity and common interest. This giant army could be harnessed and supported with solidarity from Cuba, Venezuela and ALBA, which are already helping with giant contributions of doctors and fuel.

Progressive Haitian and Dominican groups meeting in Santo Domingo on Mar. 17 concluded that a defi nitive “break” with the current international system is necessary for Haiti to recover. “We must break with economic dependency,” they wrote in a declaration. “We need to build an economic model that encourages national production by focusing on agriculture, livestock, and agro-industry aimed at meeting our own food needs (cereals, tubers, milk, fruit, fi sh, meats, etc. ).” An anecdote captures the fl avor and the essence of the UN Donors Conference. On Mar. 30, the night before the big day, there was an invitation- only special event for about 200 US and UN offi cials, bankers, CEOs and NGO bigwigs at the United Nations Library. The sponsors of the event: the UN, the Haitian Government, the Inter-American Development Bank, and.... Coca-Cola. The name of the event was “Haiti Hope Project.” If you like the ring of that name, don’t get any thoughts about borrowing it. Coca-Cola is seeking trademark protection for the slogan, which it plans to put on “ready to eat food bars made primarily of oats.”

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Haïti Liberté  Vol. 3 No. 37 • Du 31 mars au 6 avril 2010