by Ezili Danto
Bill Clinton may be useful to Haiti’s people, not only the ruling/tyrannical Haiti Oligarchs and US elites in Haiti if he uses his spotlight to:
1. Support granting TPS to Haitians; stopping indefinite detentions and/or automatic repatriation of Haitian refugees and support justice and equal application of US laws towards Haitian immigrants and refugees.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and work permits to Haitian nationals ought to be granted with a specification to stop all deportations until Haiti has recovered from the ravages of hurricanes, floods and the bicentennial coup d’etat instability.
2. End the UN military occupation
Expose the UN killings, rapes, arbitrary arrests and political persecutions in Haiti – Support justice for the Coup D’etat and UN victims, not impunity for the UN and the economic elites in Haiti; support the release of all political prisoners in Haiti.
The 9,000 U.N. troops in Haiti are paid over $601.58 million per year and have been in Haiti for four years. That is $50.13 million per month, $1.64 million per day. Yet, during the recent floods and hurricane season in Haiti, the Haitian President had to call for international help from the international community. Wasn’t that help already in Haiti, to the tune of 9,000 U.N. – MINUSTAH- troops already cashing in $1.64 million per day? Why are they there, if incapable of providing emergency help? If they had not one amphibious unit, temporary bridge, caravan of trucks or equipment to reach Haitians in distress, what use are they to the people of Haiti? Are their war tanks, heavy artillery, guns and military presence in Haiti making Haitians more secure, more safe, more free, more prosperous, better nourished, educated and healthier than before they landed four years ago? No.
Special envoy Bill Clinton ought to support ending the UN military occupation. Haiti needs development/infrastructure assistance, poverty reduction assistance through investment in Haitian agriculture and self-sufficiency, tractors not tanks and guns. Community policing, not war soldiers.
Clinton could help if he uses his spotlight to demand the demilitarization of the Haitian police and UN peacekeepers, promoting not any army on Haitian soil, foreign or domestic, but community-based policing; community-focused UN and Haitian police work and training and the banning of UN tanks, heavy weapons, equipments and all small arms exports to Haiti.
3. Support canceling immediately and WITHOUT CONDITIONS all Haiti debt to international financial institutions.
4. Support fair trade in Haiti, not sweatshops, or “Free Trade” and began reciprocal trade.Stop grossly unfair free trade deals and ineffective initiatives such as – the Caribbean Basin Initiate Investment Support (“OPIC”), or the Special Export Zones (“SEZ”) under the Hope Act which bans trade unions to protect workers’ rights, or other such sorts of agreements – pummeling, bullying and beating Haiti into the dust of misery, debt and poverty. And, instead, support Haitian food production and domestic manufacturing, job creation, public works projects, sustainable development and a good working culture that values human rights.
5. Special Envoy Clinton ought to help Haiti by stopping failed US/USAID policies of fleecing US taxpayers and handing the money to USAID – or effectively trading through USAID, churches and predator NGOs. A great portion of food aid from such entities do not reach the intended beneficiaries in Haiti and, end up for sale in the marketplace. Start fair trading with Haiti and supporting grassroots, indigenous Haiti capacity building organizations. USAID denies Haitian sovereignty and progress by blocking, declining, subverting any
direct assistance to empower the Haitian government while engineering so that the majority of Haiti’s national budget (provided by the international community as a consequence the 2004 Bush/USAID regime change) is currently managed by its approved non-governmental organizations. For instance, some 800 NGOs control part of the budget, thoroughly undermining the state’s ability to deal with the famine and food crisis.
Direct that the U.S. re-orientate its resource allocation to Haiti to trade with the Haitian government, not, in effect, with the U.S. Agency of International Development (“USAID”), foreign NGO’s, churches and charities in the name of Haitians. For this US foreign policy effectively forms a shadow government enchaining Haiti that undermines Haiti’s sovereignty, emboldens and empowers NGOs with no public responsibility or accountability to Haitians or Haiti’s long term well-being.
It is in the best interest of the United States to directly support Haitian democracy, good governance, development, self-reliance and self-sufficiency. This cannot be done if the Haitian government has to compete with foreign funded NGOs and charities who are not elected or accountable to the people of Haiti, but are predatory and promoting dependency and their own organizations’ interests for self-perpetuation in Haiti.
To effectively support grassroots, indigenous Haiti capacity building organizations, the US Congress must demand greater fiscal accountability, transparency and quantifiable evidence of sustainable development achievements from reform projects designed, supervised and financed through USAID and their subcontractors, corporate consultants and charity workers using federal funds in Haiti. And, in particular these new Haiti foreign assistance guidelines should ensure, that food and other aid actually reach their intended
beneficiaries and not end up for sale in the open market or stay in Washington or used in Haiti mostly on administrative salary, fees and expenses for USAID’s political benefactors, shipping companies and nonprofits.
6. Support the institutionalization of the rule of law
Special UN Envoy Bill CLinton should support the institutionalization of Haitian laws, not USAID/IRI/NED “democracy enhancement” projects that promote coup d’etat, instability and financial colonialism and containment-in-poverty in Haiti through neo-liberalism – “free trade,” “globalization” and other such “privatization” – schemes.
Every time the United States supports the destabilization of a duly elected government it visits enormous economic pressures and political turmoil upon Haiti. The turmoil and pressures benefit Haiti’s bloody military and Economic Elites and undermines Haitian justice, participatory democracy, self sufficiency, sovereignty, self-determination and promotes insecurity, debt, dependency, foreign domination, injustice, a rise in fleeing refugees and a structural containment in poverty. This instability has widespread and deep and disturbing repercussions. It keeps Haiti underdeveloped, dependent and contained-in-poverty.
Clinton, may begin to support the Haitian Constitution by assisting with the return of President Aristide to Haiti and thereby reinforce the rule of law and interests of the majority of Haitians, not just that of the undemocratic and morally repugnant Haitian elites.
7. Encourage Maximum leveraging of Diaspora remittances The Haitian Diaspora invests over $2 billion dollars per year in Haiti. That investment is destroyed, diluted and undermined when it must be used to bury family members killed in political turmoil, kidnapped in the chaos of anarchy, instability that follows coup d’etats, or to move and help rebuilt the family of a relative or friend traumatized by the UN soldiers’ rapes, molestation, arbitrary detention and indefinite incarcerations of their children relatives and friends in Haiti, instead of being used to buy books for their children and relatives to go to school, to buy supplies to carry out a viable family business, seeds to plant next year’s harvest, or invest remittances in Haiti’s tourism, schools, reforestation, agriculture, road construction, flood barriers, communication, energy, sanitation or health needs. Moreover, when the
US deports an income earner to storm-ravaged and famine Haiti, this decreases remittances and further impoverish family members who depended on the remittances from family members abroad. Diaspora remittances are the most effective and direct aid to the Haitian poor in Haiti.
Special UN Envoy Bill Clinton may assist Haitian development, democracy, self – reliance and sovereignty if he supports granting equal treatment and Haitians TPS, ending the UN military occupation, demand justice for the coup d’etat victims, calls for the release of thousands upon thousands of political prisoners in Haiti, assist Haiti with poverty reduction with domestic agricultural investments not sweatshops, support Haiti-led-capacity building grassroots organizations not foreigners and NGOS, supports community policing,supports canceling, without conditions, the unfair debts to international financial institutions and promotes the return to Haiti of President Jean Bertrand Aristide. All this would support stability, participatory democracy, stop the flow of refugees and illegal immigration and meet the policy interests of the United States.
For further information, see Ezili HLLN’s
– Haiti Policy Statement for the Obama Team
– What Haitians and Haitian-Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President
– The Free Haiti Movement Demands