Eight months have passed since the Haiti earthquake.
You can see that a lot of money was raised by charities to help Haiti, but much of this money has yet to be spent. Here are a few examples from an extensive list compiled by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. This data is about two months old.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency International, Silver Spring
Amount raised: $7,161,357
Amount spent: $1,873,990 - 26%
American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, New York
Amount raised: $7,300,000
Amount spent: $3,502,685 - 48%
American Jewish World Service, New York
Amount raised: $6,000,000
Amount spent: $1,200,000 - 20%
American Red Cross, Washington
Amount raised: $464,000,000
Amount spent: $117,000,000 - 25%
Catholic Medical Mission Board, New York
Amount raised: $2,466,498
Catholic Relief Services, Baltimore
Amount raised: $140,820,000
Amount spent: $30,572,448 - 22%
Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Little Rock
Amount raised: $50,000,000
Amount spent: $4,000,000 - 8%
Doctors Without Borders USA (Médecins Sans Frontières USA), New York
Amount raised: $66,483,138; $112,000,000 worldwide
Amount spent: $65,190,000 worldwide - 58%
The Entertainment Industry Foundation/Hope for Haiti Now telethon, Los Angeles
Amount raised: $66,000,000
Amount spent: $66,000,000 -- 100% given to other agencies
Islamic Relief USA, Alexandria
Amount raised: $2,100,000
Lions Clubs International Foundation, Oak Brook
Amount raised: $5,000,000
Amount spent: $236,200 - 5%
Yéle Haiti Foundation, New York (Wyclef Jean)
Amount raised: $16,000,000
The RAND Corporation recently released a report on the dire situation in Haiti. The trouble, apparently, is "ineffectual local leadership...unqualified government workers, general lawlessness, horrific prisons, incapable police, an onerous business climate." That's why nothing much has been accomplished. Because of the Haitians.
But WHICH Haitians?
Leaders of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee have portrayed Haitian President Rene Preval as an ineffectual leader who has hindered recovery from the quake and urged their colleagues to reconsider sending money to Haiti if reforms are not made.
...That Haiti is in disarray comes as no surprise to Jill Marie Michel, a 33-year-old mother of two living in a tent in one of the dozens of sprawling camps for Haitians left homeless by the quake. She joined about 100 people in a public protest Thursday in front of the collapsed presidential palace in Port-au-Prince. She and others said the government is failing on its promises to provide housing as private landowners pressure the camp residents to leave. At a large tent camp across the street, naked children bathed in buckets wedged between the gutters and tents.
Six months on, the government has yet to secure adequate shelter for many of the 2.1 million people made homeless by the Haiti earthquake. Some landowners are now trying to evict the refugee camps. After picking through a few news items which hint at the trouble, we find one that spells it out.
Tens of thousands of Haitians risk becoming homeless for a second time, as weary landowners clear their properties of makeshift refugee camps in order to build new homes or sell their land on Haiti's booming real-estate market. Of 1,241 refugee camps here, only 206 are officially recognized, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Only the official camps are monitored by NGOs, meaning that the majority lack protection.
The weary, exasperated landowners would like to vacate the annoying homeless Haitians so that they can develop their valuable property. Unfortunately, there's no place for the weary, exasperated homeless Haitians to go since the rubble has not been cleared and so much of the aid has yet to be released. But who cares?! The weary landowners grow impatient and so they send in the private security to harass the homeless squatters, even disparaging them as malingerers as though they've never had it so good squatting without toilets for months on end. Surely they are just waiting for government handouts.
Ralph Stevens Stephen, godson of the landowner of a property in the Delmas 60 neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, which has been used as an unofficial refugee camp since January, recently visited the camp with 10 armed men in police uniforms to coerce the 178 homeless people here to leave. “This is private land, these people have to take off,” Mr. Stephen says. He says he has been telling residents to leave since April, and he is convinced that most squatters would go home if they weren't trying to get compensation from the government. “The government doesn’t owe anything to these people,” he says. Resident Oxeana Ismael remembers the day that the armed men showed up – with no official identification and driving unmarked cars – and threatened to return with tear gas if the homeless did not leave within 15 days. That was in early June.
...At the refugee camp in the Delmas 60 neighborhood, 10 families have already left due to intimidation, but most residents don’t know where to go. “They told us to go back to our homes, but we have no homes,” says Jireau Museau, a member of the camp committee, who lost his house and grocery store in the earthquake. He and other residents must use toilets in a nearby settlement because nearby homeowners prevented NGOs from building latrines on the property. “If we had another place to go, we would have left already,” he says.
Let the reader understand. Which Haitians are the trouble? The wealthy landowners.
August 9, 2010: Six months later: Land ownership at the crux of Haiti's stalled reconstruction:
A small handful of rich families own large tracts of land in suburban Port-au-Prince which would be ideal for resettling the displaced thousands. The lands are located near the city, often with water and some trees, and are largely undeveloped.
However, these same families control the Haitian government and, more importantly, have great influence in the newly formed 26-member Interim Commission to Reconstruct Haiti (CIRH), co-chaired by former President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. Thirteen of the CIRH directors represent multilateral banks like the IMF, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank and donor nations like the U.S., France and Canada. The other thirteen members represent Haiti’s elite.
The most prominent elite representative on the CIRH is Reginald Boulos, who heads one of the Haitian bourgeoisie’s most powerful families and backed both the 1991-94 and 2004-06 coups d’état against former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Who is Dr. Reginald Boulos?
Boulos is an Arab Haitian, the son of Carlo Boulos, who was named health minister by Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier, himself a voodoo expert who employed a ruthless security force (Tontons Macoutes) to execute opponents.
Most of Haiti's Arab community can trace their roots to Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, with a few families from Jordan and Algeria. Key dates:
• 1890: A group of 30 Arab Christians arrive from greater Syria (which then included Lebanon) in Port-au-Prince's harbor, where Italians and Germans ran many of the businesses.
• 1890-1903: The migration continues. Shunned by the elite, Arabs head to the countryside, where they peddle textiles on the streets and open businesses. They are said to have introduced the concept of ''credit'' in Haiti.
• 1912: Haitian President Michel Cincinnatus Leconte orders them to leave Haiti. He later dies in an unexplained explosion in the national palace. Arabs, fearing for their lives after some attempted to blame them, flee to Cuba and South America. Many later return; some change their last names.
• 1914-1918: Turkey aligns itself with Germany during World War I and abolishes Lebanon's autonomy, causing another migration toward Haiti and elsewhere.
• 1930s: Arabs are protected during the U.S. occupation of Haiti, but more anti-Arab laws are enacted following the U.S. forces' departure.
• 1940s: A wave of Palestinians arrive during the Arab-Israeli war.
• 1950s to present: Smaller groups of Arabs continue to migrate to Haiti. Many speak a hybrid language of Creole and Arabic. Some are owners of the country's larger supermarkets.
I am thinking there might possibly be some Sabbateans in there somewhere. But who knows.
Meanwhile, Boulos has a long history of bad medicine coupled with a love for paramilitaries. January 1996:
On October 15, [1995 - ed.] Tipper Gore, wife of Vice President Al Gore, set out on what should have been an ordinary visit to a U.S. funded health clinic serving the poorest section of the capital of the poorest country in the hemisphere. But the day quickly degenerated from feel-good photo-op to fiasco. Residents of Cite Soleil, a sprawling slum on the edge of Port au-Prince, Haiti, broke up the event with a barrage of stones.(See: paramilitaries, a scourge on humanity.)
Although the U.S. press initially reported the incident as an anti-American protest, the rocks were aimed not at Mrs. Gore's entourage, but at Dr. Reginald Boulos, the Haitian director of the clinic and an influential power broker long associated with the country's right-wing paramilitaries.
Boulos' group of clinics, the Centers for Development and Health (CDS, by its French initials), is AlD's [USAID - ed.] richest beneficiary in Haiti, and Boulos the most visible symbol of its influence. In their demonstration last October, Cite Soleil residents were attempting to highlight the way Boulos has used CDS as a tool of political influence. Not only does CDS generate more than $5 million a year in international revenue- it also, not coincidentally, provides a large market for Phar-Val, a pharmaceutical distributor and one of several businesses Boulos controls with his brother.
More nefarious still are Boulos' political ties. He has been linked, notably in articles by Village Voice columnist James Ridgeway and The Nation's Allan Nairn, to FRAPH, the paramilitary death squad ushered into power by U.S. intelligence during the coup led by Lleut. Gen. Raoul Cedras. ...You can click through to read the horror stories of forcing Haitian women to have the implant contraceptive Norplant, which caused many of them to bleed for long periods unabated and have many other complications.
AID boasts that it delivers primary medical care to 3 million Haitians through contractors like Boulos' clinic. In fact, it has served to advance a central U.S. foreign policy priority in the Third World-population control. Nearly half of the agency's health care spending in Haiti is taken up by the Private Sector Family Planning Program, under which so-called NGOs dispense birth control methods, and each of the other programs-including the "Expanded Urban Health Services" program, which funds Boulos' CDS-has a substantial family planning component.
Here you can read about his media ownership, along with Andy Apaid, Jr., and his role in selling poisonous cough syrup that killed 88 children in 1996, and using an experimental measles vaccine up to “500 times” stronger than normal on another 2,000 infants.
Amid tremendous controversy over Haiti's security situation and the on-again, off-again elections, the military commander of UN forces in this beleaguered nation apparently took his own life early Saturday morning. After having assumed command of the UN military mission less then four months ago, the body of Brazilian officer Lt. Gen. Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar was found sprawled out on the balcony of the Hotel Montana, the apparent victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. According to several sources in the Haitian press, Bacellar had participated in a tense meeting with the president of Haiti's Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Reginald Boulos, and Group 184 leader Andy Apaid the night before.
Bacellar's death comes on the heels of Boulos's announcement of a nationwide general strike on Monday aimed at forcing the UN mission to get tough with bandits in Cite Soleil. The term "Bandits" is often seen as a code word for Lavalas [Aristide - ed.] supporters, and Cite Soleil has served as a launching site for massive demonstrations demanding the return of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Mario Andresol, the current Chief of Police, representing the US-installed government of Gerard Latortue, recently alleged that the community was also being used by Columbian drug traffickers and "certain political forces" to hide victims of a recent spate of kidnappings in the capital.
This is not the first time Dr. Boulos and Haiti's business elite had pressured the UN to act against supposed bandits in the capital. Last May, Boulos and the ultra-right Haitian Chamber of Commerce had sought to cover-up accusations of human rights violations committed by the Haitian police using similar tactics. An HIP article dated June 12, 2005 entitled, "There is no political persecution in Haiti" reported:He's a big fan of paramilitary force against "bandits," aka poor Haitians.
In the absence of holding the police accountable, the only thing lacking was an official justification for the U.N.'s continuing collaboration with the police and turning a blind-eye to their human rights record. On May 27, this justification was provided by the Haitian elite and delivered by the President of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Reginald Boulos. During this meeting between the business community and Haiti's Chief of Police Leon Charles, Boulos demanded the U.S.-installed government of Gerard Latortue allow the business community to form their own private security firms and arm them with automatic weapons. This was clearly a demand to legalize the business community's own private militias to kill what Boulos, and others in his circle, have referred to as "Lavalas bandits." Boulos also suggested the Latortue regime allow businesses to withhold taxes for one month and use the money to buy more powerful weapons for the police on the international market. These statements served the dual purpose of pressuring the U.N. with the image of government sanctioned private militias killing off Lavalas supporters while providing another pretext for the Bush administration to lift the 14 year-old arms embargo against Haiti. "If they don't allow us to do this then we'll take on own initiative and do it anyway" Boulos threatened.
The situation is very similar to what happened in the Congo. See: more indigenous people in the crosshairs.
This man, Reginald Boulos, is on the Interim Commission to Reconstruct Haiti.
Returning to this excellent expose by Kim Ives. Read this article. This is the story of what is happening in Haiti. This is how the money donated by you and your children will be used to enrich the elite and destroy ordinary Haitians.
The CIRH can seize land for rebuilding, but since the people on the CIRH own the land, there's nothing to seize. We can't get a volunteer. The one camp built is between two mass grave sites, and a three hour trip to the city.
The CIRH is empowered for the next 18 months under a “State of Emergency Law” to seize land for rebuilding as it sees fit. (It is no coincidence that the time period for the “state of emergency” and the $5 billion injection coincide). But the elite families on this body in charge of expropriations are not volunteering their own well-situated land to benefit Haiti’s homeless. As a result, only one major displaced person camp, Corail-Cesselesse, has been built about 10 miles north of the capital, on a forbidding strip of sun-baked desert situated between Titayen and Morne Cabrit, two desolate zones where death-squads dumped their victims during the anti-Aristide coups. The 6,000 person camp is several kilometers from Route National One, where transport toward the capital runs. One resident said he had to leave the camp at 4 a.m. for a three hour commute to his job in the city. Another resident said bus fares cost $1, a lot of money in Haiti.
Haitian elites have appropriated valuable land over the centuries. If any land will be purchased from the elites, they will be paid top dollar from the government for it. Buy low sell high.
This appropriation process – some call it theft – is not ancient history. Some of Haiti’s best suited land for post-quake resettlements is located just north of the capital between the Frères Road and Tabarre. Over the past 25 years, Haiti’s bourgeoisie bought up large swaths of this fertile valley, where the Haitian American Sugar Company used to grow sugarcane. Now it is home to a Miami-style luxury home development known as Belle-Ville, an amusement park for rich kids , the Vorbe family car dealership, Brazil’s military base (Brabatt), and a giant new U.S. Embassy, among other things. “The elite paid the peasants pennies for the land not long ago, pushing them off,” Elie told Haïti Liberté. “Now they will look to sell it for a huge profit.” ...
So the bourgeoisie keeps its best land and sells its worst for a huge, guaranteed profit. This is the Haitian equivalent of the U.S. bank bailout. In this way, the Préval government and CIRH appear ready to squander the millions contributed to Haiti by buying land at inflated prices from the bourgeoisie, land which was often stolen or obtained by ruse in the first place.
And they will build factories to take advantage of all that cheap labor.
Land is also needed to grow food for Haiti’s increasingly hungry masses, especially as post-quake humanitarian aid begins to drop off. Haiti’s bourgeoisie and big landowners are more interested in building assembly industries, office buildings and luxury homes, not on developing fields of rice, millet or corn. In the past six months, four new industrial parks, according to one report, have been built to take advantage of Haiti’s $3 a day minimum wage.
People who get in the way will probably come to a bad end.
To build Haiti back better, Haitian authorities will need to expropriate at least some of the land the elite has stolen and accumulated over the past 200 years. Instead, landowners’ thugs, often in concert with police and UN troops, are brutally uprooting people, often at gunpoint and at night, from spontaneous settlements without giving them any alternative homes....“The landowners say if they're not compensated, the ‘new Haiti’ in Corail-Cesselesse will end up making the violent slums of pre-quake Port-au-Prince look tame.”
Indeed. Violence has come to the nicer neighborhoods. Election season approaches. Time to thin out the competition? September 1, 2010: Haiti's earthquake recovery marred by rise in kidnappings:
A trio of gunmen stormed a gated home in the well-to-do Pelerin neighborhood, shot dead a Sunrise man and kidnapped a 16-year-old relative. Gregoire-Ronald Chery, 56, died of a single shot to the head. Nadege Charlot, his cousin, continued to be held Tuesday as kidnappers demanded a $100,000 ransom. Nadege's abduction on Friday was the latest in a string of kidnappings in the hillside neighborhoods above Port-au-Prince, and it is raising fears that more could follow this election season.
...The winner of the Nov. 28 presidential election will be faced with the task of sheltering 1.5 million people made homeless by the January earthquake and removing 20 million cubic meters of rubble -- and reducing the growing numbers of kidnappings.
The winner will decide who has to give up some valuable land, and what they will be paid for the valuable land. And that will free up the bottleneck. This is serious business.
So who is causing the violence and the kidnappings in the wealthy neighborhoods? The paramilitaries?!? No no no, silly. It's the "BANDITS."
A recent U.S. travel advisory noted that bandits have attacked travelers leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport, and that at least two U.S. citizens were killed in recent months. Five have been kidnapped. Even relief workers have been targeted. In March, bandits abducted -- and released -- two staff members of Doctors Without Borders in Port-au-Prince.Sure thing. Watch out for poor people. Got it.