People’s attention span tends to be defined by mass media’s need to find and focus on the next crisis for ratings, so Haiti and its countless earthquake victims leaped from top story to backwater then no mention at all. (Such is especially the case, in addition to Haiti, wherever black people generally are concerned, as in Rwanda, the New Orleans of Katrina and Darfur in Sudan, for example.)
According to United Nations estimates, the international community donated some $1.6 billion in relief aid to Haiti and more than $2 billion in recovery aid since the earthquake. Surely that is ample money to remove earthquake debris, assist most, if not all, of half a million homeless people and stem the outbreak of cholera, a preventable disease that is now an epidemic across the island of eight million inhabitants.
But earthquake aid money went south, meaning funds rarely touched Haitian hands. One report says that a mere one percent of the money went to the Haitian government and only “four tenths of one percent of the funds went to Haitian NGOs or Non-Governmental Organizations. An Associated Press report says that for each dollar of United States aid, less than one penny went to the government of Haiti. All other international donors followed suit.
Haiti resulted from the 12-year revolt beginning in 1791 on the slave island of San Domingo. Haiti became an independent nation on Jan. 1, 1804. During the revolt, African slaves organized armies and defeated white plantation owners and routed the French, Spanish and English military forces and survived suffocating U.S. economic blockades and munitions aid to the Europeans. Haiti’s is yet the only successful slave revolt in history.
But even during slavery, the island’s people of color were divided as a result of French-imposed miscegenation which established a mulatto class and a black caste — house Negroes and field blacks. After independence, mulattos quickly became dominant with U.S. and European assistance. Coups, some violent and others peaceful, have since been the mainstay of Haitian economic and political life with mulatto and international white manipulation.
No real middle class has ever been established in Haiti and unemployment and poverty have been a fixture, while a small nobility that consistently robs the national treasury and maintains a system of graft, nepotism, fear-mongering, political assassinations — in effect, various forms of dictatorship — continues to reign. Whenever serious signs of a massive poor people’s revolt or destabilization occurs, U.S. Marines are sent in to re-establish order, per the Monroe Doctrine.
So where did more than $3.6 billion in international aid money go? Bill Quigley, a law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans, who maintains in an OpEdNews on-line article that he has followed the money, writes, “The largest single recipient of U.S. earthquake money was the U.S. government. The same holds true for donations by other countries.”
In other words, the giving was a shell game. For example, according to Quigley’s article, the Associated Press found that the U.S. promised Haiti an initial $379 million in aid. What our government actually did was send in 5,000 troops. “They (AP) documented in January 2010 that thirty three cents of each of these U.S. dollars for Haiti was actually given directly back to the U.S. to reimburse ourselves for sending in our military,” Quigley writes.
The remainder of U.S. aid dollars from the $379 million “went to private and public non-governmental organizations, like Save the Children, the UN World Food Program and the Pan American Health Organization,” Quigley tells us. “Hardly any went directly to Haitians or their government.” Meanwhile, the 2010 earthquake aftermath, with debris everywhere and homeless camps dotting the landscape, looks as if the earthquake recently happened.
“The overall $1.6 billion allocated for relief by the U.S. was spent much the same way, according to an August 2010 report by the U.S. Congressional Research Office,” writes Quigley.
The full article by Quigley is: “Haiti: Seven Places Where the Earthquake Money Did and Did Not Go.”
Al Calloway is a long-time journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle.
He may be reached at Al_Calloway@verizon.net