Haiti is an important topic in Election 2016 because it highlights a complex and disturbing situation that Hillary Clinton is at the epicenter of. There are serious allegations surrounding the whereabouts of 30 million dollars in earthquake relief via The Clinton Foundation/Clinton Global Initiative, Clinton’s involvement with her husband’s management of billions of dollars in relief aid pledged from the international community, and her role in the manipulation of the 2010-2011 elections in Haiti. Leaders on the international stage, activist groups, and the citizens of Haiti themselves claim that the billions of dollars collected from around the world to rebuild the damaged people and infrastructure of Haiti never happened. The promises and hopes of thousands of new homes, jobs, and agricultural opportunities were never disseminated to the people in need. The Committee Against Dictatorship in Haiti has been extremely vocal since the first round of relief was pledged in 2010 and continues to demand that Hillary Clinton be accountable and answer the question, “where is the money?”
During the final presidential debate when Trump grilled Clinton about her involvement in Haiti she responded by completely ignoring the question and instead chose to praise her foundation and its accomplishments. She said, “Bill and I have been involved with trying to help Haiti for many years. The Clinton Foundation raised 30 million dollars to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems that people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture, and so much else. We are going to keep working to help Haiti because it’s an important part of the American experience.”
Donald Trump responded, “They don’t want you to help them anymore.” He couldn’t have been more correct.
Why would the people of Haiti welcome “assistance” with open arms when the intention is for them to be willing participants in their cycle of poverty by creating a system where dependency on the international community is inevitable? Professor Ricardo Seitenfus is a former Organization of American States' (OAS) Special Representative in Haiti and author of HAITI: Dilemas e Fracassos Internacionais (“International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti.) Seitenfus has said that the Haiti disaster relief debacle is an “international embezzlement” of the country that was allowed to take place on the world stage because of Haiti’s historical relevance as the 1st and only country to gain independence from their colonizers by slave rebellion. Seitenfus describes this as Haiti’s “original sin” in the imperial world and the country has paid for it ever since. “The Haitian revolutionary model scared the colonialist and racist Great Powers” Seitenfus writes.
The earthquake relief was not the first time that Haiti has been the subject of grave manipulation by the post-colonial modern-day community. In 2009 noted British economist Paul Collier wrote an article published in the The Guardian titled “The Begging Bowl.” Collier asserts that the best way to “save” Haiti is to make it a slave wage haven and completely remove the Haitian people’s capacity to feed themselves by controlling the agriculture and forcing them into a cycle of poverty and indebtedness to international governments and NGOs.
Activist and Committee to End Dictatorship in Haiti leader Dahoud Andre believes, “there is a notion among global leaders and officials that governments run by black people are corrupt and that we cannot handle our own affairs. The facts always show in terms of corruption we are like little altar boys when compared the amount of corruption that the powers that be are perpetrating.
When major flooding happened in the city of Gonaives in 2008, the U.N made an appeal for people to give money and Bill Clinton as the statesman was in charge of the funds. Massive amounts of cash came in for rebuilding but nothing substantial went to the people. There were boxes of bottled water and a few bags of rice, but no infrastructure or jobs were put in place. There was nothing in terms of getting the people out of the situation they were in.”
Andre has been extremely vocal about the ramifications of the exploitation of his country. He is confident that the Haitian people both inside of Haiti and the diaspora understand clearly the role that Hillary Clinton has played. The Committee Against Dictatorship in Haiti for the past several years has demonstrated outside of the Clinton Foundation Office, Bill Clinton’s former office in Harlem, Clinton’s Midtown office while Secretary of State, and her election headquarters in Brooklyn. They have been protesting there for years to let the world know that both Hillary and Bill Clinton are responsible for the billions of missing relief aid. Andre and his group believe Hillary Clinton is not fit to be the Commander-in-Chief. Andre said, “although we acknowledge that Trump is a racist, we are telling our people to vote for the loud-mouth racist who (as bad as he) has not caused the death and destruction to our people or to black people in the United States, or around the world but Hillary Clinton has. If you are a voter who wants to pick the lesser of the evils; Donald Trump is the lesser of these two evils. That is our message.”
The emails released by the State Department via the Freedom of Information Act highlight that Hillary Clinton’s State Department made threats to cut aid to Haiti in addition to severing the visas of top officials in order to manipulate the 2010-2011 elections in favor of the Haitian Kompas singer and comprador [aka “Sweet Mickey” ] Michel Martelly to replace President Rene Preval. Prior to this Hillary Clinton also used her power as Secretary of State to institute her husband as the UN Special Envoy to Haiti in 2008 to oversee the relief funds for the devastating floods in the city of Gonaives. Fast forward to 2010, in addition to his U.N appointment Bill Clinton was also President of the W.J Clinton Foundation, Founder of The Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, President of the Clinton Global Initiative, and Co-chair of IHRC [ Interim Haiti Recovery Commission] All of these groups were responsible for the management of the money pledged to Haiti. According to the documentary Fatal Assistance” by former Haitian Minister of Culture and acclaimed film director Raoul Peck, 5 billion was pledged to Haiti within the first 5 months of the earthquake. Within 5 years a total of 11 billion was given from international governments.
The Haitian community has demanded to know the whereabouts of the billions that were donated because it’s physical manifestations cannot be found among the people it was collected for. Billions of dollars that were supposedly given to assist a country that had suffered insurmountably with 230,000 killed, 300,000 wounded, and left 1,500,000,000 people homeless.
Dahoud Andre shared an analogy that he and the Committee to End Dictatorship in Haiti share with their supporters. “There are two devils. One of them has already eaten our child. The other devil is a loud dog with no teeth. He is barking loud, but he has never bitten anyone in the neighborhood. We tell people, don’t fall for the hype. If you want somebody to stop Hillary Clinton right now the only game in town is the racist, the fascist, Trump. We didn’t pick the candidates so we tell our people to hold their noses and swallow the dirty water.”