There are tens of millions of people in the developing world whose lives have been directly touched and supported by public and private aid from America. No matter how long the dark shadow of this year's presidential election is cast, it is important the good work done by successful and highly accountable groups such as the Clinton Foundation does not meet a sad demise. Too much has been accomplished to stop now.
Which is why I think it's important to stand up to the underhanded attacks on the Foundation's legacy that have perpetuated in these last several weeks. I recently sat down with ABC News to speak about my work with the Clinton Foundation as part of the Haiti Action Network. Unfortunately, very little of our conversation was included in their report. I am a "Friend of Bill", a donor to the Clinton Foundation, an Irish Citizen, and the largest foreign investor in Haiti. I do not have any financial gain from this relationship and I have no business dealings at all with the U.S. government, formally or informally. I have only very minor investments in the United States.
It seems that many of the stones cast upon the Foundation's emergency aid and long-term recovery efforts in Haiti after the earthquake in January 2010 have been made without ever having been there to see and understand the devastation in person, particularly in this campaign. There are also insinuations that The Foundation's efforts there had more to do with financial interests than philanthropy and humanitarian effort. I don't think these critics witnessed the utter destruction that I did, so therefore would not understand the measures to be taken under such dire and urgent circumstances. Eighty percent of buildings in Port-au-Prince got destroyed or were badly damaged. Thousands of peoples' bodies were stacked on street corners only to be scooped up by bulldozers and brought out to the countryside and eventually buried. Nobody took a photograph of them, so their loved ones could never identify them afterward, unlike after the tsunami in 2004.
Those fortunate enough to be cared for in temporary hospitals were being operated on or getting amputated without anesthetic. It was human horror. To say that these people needed humanitarian efforts on the ground and immediate medical aid is an understatement. But getting aid to the Haitian people through the traditional channels was impossible because the infrastructure was obviously broken.
At the time, President Clinton was the UN Special Envoy to Haiti so I called one of his team to help me gain access to the airport to land vital and much-needed food, medical supplies and telecoms equipment. This was a not for profit exercise. It was aid. And this is why vicious attacks on the Clinton Foundation and donors are all lies.
In a state of emergency, the priority is to help people in need by making the greatest impact that you can, and as quickly as possible. Two million people in Haiti were just made homeless. In such a situation, I don't see the problem in contacting someone in the United States who also happens to be a friend. Particularly if I am bringing emergency aid to people dying on the street because they lack medical attention.
The mission of the Clinton Foundation is clear. It is to "strengthen the capacity of people in the United States and throughout the world to meet the challenges of global interdependence." Yet, the average global citizen, particularly in the United States over the past few days, wouldn't know it. Every penny of the money that has been put in the Clinton Foundation is very well accounted for and has been successfully deployed across thousands of projects worldwide.
From its start in 2008, the Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network alone has handled US$450 million of commitments to Haiti. Everybody has worked tirelessly to make sure these promises made to Haiti are kept and the projects funded are delivered.
And the sad irony is that, just as these unfounded attacks have been made, Haiti is once again amidst national tragedy following Hurricane Matthews' devastating passage through the South and Grand' Anse regions. Three weeks since the storm struck, emergency teams are still unable to reach many of the worst damaged areas and there is urgent need for food and humanitarian aid.
In the midst of these baseless and visceral attacks against the Clinton Foundation, it continues to work tirelessly to improve lives in Haiti and around the world each and every day. Regardless of the outcome of this election, and the lies that are being told by political critics, the Clinton Foundation's work is the purest form of social capitalism and a model for others to follow. We must do everything we can to ensure that this life-changing work continues.
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