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Unmasking the “Good Intentions” of Canadian NGOs

Tlaxcala

May 30, 2014

by Fernanda Sánchez Jaramillo

Interview with Nik Barry-Shaw, coauthor, with Dru Oja Jay, of Paved with Good Intentions, Canada´s Development NGOs from Idealism to Imperialism

Fernanda Sánchez Jaramillo: What is the contribution of your book to the understanding of Canadian Foreign Policy?

Nik Barry-Shaw: Canada’s participation in the 29 February 2004 coup d’état against Haiti’s democratically-elected government was what really woke up many people on the left (including Dru and I) to the reality of Canadian imperialism. Several of us involved in Haiti solidarity work began studying the history of Canadian foreign policy, and concluded that Canada was not simply being pushed around by the U.S.; it was an advanced capitalist power that had its own economic interests in the Global South that it sought to advance, through violence if necessary. Left nationalist analyses of Canada as a “rich dependency” under the thumb of the U.S. simply did not do justice to the high levels of initiative and involvement demonstrated by the Canadian state in orchestrating the Haitian coup, and many other instances. So one thing our book is trying to do is to debunk widely-held perceptions of Canada’s foreign policy as that of a uniquely benevolent “peacekeeper” nation.
The principle aim of our book is to dispel the notion that development non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are independent organizations driven solely by altruism. Instead, we demonstrate the heavy (and increasing) financial dependence of these organizations on funding from the Canadian government and the political effects this relationship has on NGOs. We then trace out historically how development NGOs, these nominally independent and nominally non-governmental agencies, have become ever more closely intertwined with the Canadian government’s foreign policy, and thus adjuncts to a policy that has nothing to do with fighting poverty or promoting social justice and everything to do with advancing corporate interests.
Again, Haiti was crucial in the formation of our ideas. Canadian NGOs – even self-styled progressive organizations close to the anti-globalization movement like Alternatives and Développement et Paix – were integrally involved in the coup, by training and financing anti-government groups and demonizing the elected government before the coup, and then working with the unelected, Canada-backed regime of Gerard Latortue (2004-2006) that took power afterward.
These Canadian NGOs and their Haitian partner organizations provided cover for the coup government’s violent repression of Haiti’s popular movement, lobbied the Brazilian government on its behalf and even blocked Montreal’s anti-war coalition from taking a stand against the coup. There were so many leaders of Haitian NGOs (nearly all of which received funding from Canadian NGOs) who took positions as ministers in the Latortue government that the regime was dubbed a “non-governmental government.” Analyzing how the NGO system functioned became a pressing task for those of us involved in Haiti solidarity activism. Haiti, known as “The Republic of NGOs”, was an extreme but far from exceptional case, as we found in the course of researching the book.

London, 1st of May 2012: Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike campaigners gather outside the British Red Cross offices, to protest alleged theft of money donated for humanitarian relief and of failing to alleviate the suffering of Haitians. Photo P Nutt

Aren´t Canadian NGOs hypocritical in claiming to help rebuild democracy and bring health care in Africa while oppressing First Nations and cutting health care services for Canadian citizens and refugees, including those from Africa?

NGOization: Depoliticizing Activism in Canada

New Socialist

May 25, 2014

By Dru Oja Jay

psf2

Across Canada, movement organizations are preparing for the People’s Social Forum, coming up in August. There’s a buzz of excitement and anticipation in the air as committees elect delegates, and strategies are debated. When hundreds of activists gather in Ottawa in a few months, we will be drawing from a rich, long-simmering cauldron of theoretical discussion and insight issuing from astute on-the-ground observations.

Members of a variety of organizations will gather to debate proposals and hear reports from paid organizers. Thousands will gather in major cities, and crowds ranging from dozens to hundreds are expected in smaller centres. In Kenora, a delegation of Indigenous activists are expected to present a proposal for a major change in the role of First Nations in Greenpeace campaigns. In Montreal, a left tendency within the membership is said to be preparing a resolution that would shift the Council of Canadians’ considerable campaigning clout to align more closely with the explicitly anti-capitalist student movement.

In BC, the Sierra Club will hold a series of general assemblies, bringing together its thousands of members for similar discussions. Canada World Youth, Engineers Without Borders, KAIROS and Amnesty International are holding local meetings to select delegates and discuss priorities. Southern Ontario is aflutter with activity as cross-sectoral workers’ committees meet independently of their unions to discuss strategies to proactively prevent the next plant closure and fight it with broad public support if it goes forward.

The question of which alliances to prioritize building when Canada’s still-nascent social movements gather in August is at the forefront of all these conversations. Which strategies will prevail? Which ideas will move to the fore? The anticipation is building.

Pure fiction?

With the exception of the People’s Social Forum, which is indeed planned for August 21 to 24 in Ottawa, the above scenario is pure fiction. The organizations listed above do have the membership and financial resources to open such spaces and expect people to take an interest, but few of them use that capacity. This is not an arbitrary fact of life; there are material and historical reasons why it is the case.

Decades of professionalization mean that if any of those organizations tried to hold assemblies like this, they would, at least initially, have trouble convincing people to come. Things would likely get off to an awkward start and require skilled and hands-on facilitation. A political culture of participation, collective decision-making and debate is all but missing. Decisions are made in offices and boardrooms, where professionalized staff preside over donors, petition signers and the occasional volunteer rather than a mobilized or empowered membership.

It wasn’t always like this. We don’t need to idealize the past to realize that there has been a concerted push to make what under other circumstance would be movement organizations into centrally-controlled bodies run by trained professionals. Exceptions to this trend are forever popping up: the environmental movement in the 1970s, the antiglobalization movement of the late 1990s, and most recently Occupy Wall Street are a few of the more prominent examples. But none of these exceptions has put an end to the process of bureaucratization and centralization. In fact, the process seems to accelerate when powerful grassroots movements enter onto the scene.

This process has been dubbed NGOization (after the increasingly-ubiquitous form, the Non-Governmental Organization, or NGO). While NGOization has been going on for decades, the concept is just starting to gain in currency beyond a few academics and grassroots organizers.

NGOization, write Dip Kapoor and Aziz Choudry in their edited collection by the same name, is a process of “professionalization and depolitization” which fragments and compartmentalizes the world into “issues and projects.” It works well, they add, “for neoliberal regimes.”

What NGOization precludes and inhibits is movement-building. Centralized control allows for an efficient mobilization of existing capacity, but it doesn’t provide the opportunities for masses of people to have new experiences, build their own ideas, do their own research, or start their own initiatives. It doesn’t provide the possibility of large numbers of people to decide, together, where to focus their energies or when to divide them.

The driving force behind the process of NGOization is not mysterious. Billions of dollars have been provided to Canadian NGOs to provide social services, dig wells in villages in African villages, support marginalized populations, campaign for environmental protection, and alleviate the effects of poverty. The money comes from government (the federal government spends close to a billion dollars per year on development NGOs alone) and private foundations (millions of tax-deductible dollars are spent annually to support environmental campaigns, for example).

But what do foundations and governments get for their money?

WATCH: Canadian Aid to Haiti Tied to Mining Interests

 

January 13, 2013

Real News

 

Yves Engler: Strategic objectives of Canadian aid are to strengthen a pro-elite police and advance Canadian commercial interests.

Watch full multipart The Ugly Canadian

NGOs and Empire | Canadian Aid Agencies Take Empire Building Seriously

 

by Nikolas Barry-Shaw, Dru Oja Jay

Jul 1, 2012

briarpatch

 

Photo Credit: Creative Commons: googmami

 

 

On November 30, 2009, the Conservatives fired the opening salvo of a far-reaching assault against Canadian development non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The concerted campaign to shift the political centre of the NGO world began when the head office of KAIROS Canada received a phone call from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) notifying the church-based development NGO that its request for funding had been rejected. CIDA officials cryptically informed the organization that its $7.1 million in federal funding had been cut because its activities did not fit the agency’s development priorities. It rapidly became clear, however, that KAIROS had run afoul of Stephen Harper’s foreign policy priorities, most notably his Conservative government’s staunchly pro-Israel stance.

NGOs guilty of similar transgressions soon faced cuts as well. In December 2009, Alternatives – another NGO critical of Israel’s occupation of Palestine – learned that its $2.1 million in CIDA funding would be cut. In April 2010, over a dozen groups concerned with women’s rights, including development NGOs such as MATCH International and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), also suffered funding cuts. MATCH International ($400,000 in CIDA funding in 2009) and the IPPF ($6 million in 2009) had been critical of the Harper government’s anti-abortion stance internationally. For the targeted organizations, the loss of government funding meant between 40 per cent and 75 per cent of their annual budgets disappeared overnight. The cuts exacted a heavy toll: overseas programs were shut down, offices were closed, staff positions were eliminated, and properties were liquidated.

NGOs Receive Funds from Canadian Government & Mining Companies

 

“In the first phase of this new program, the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) has partnered Rio Tinto Alcan; Plan Canada is paired up with IAMGOLD; and World Vision Canada has joined forces with Barrick Gold. This new funding approach raises some serious ethical and political questions about the role of NGOs, and constitutes a veritable PR coup for a mining industry that has racked up quite the rap sheet of environmental and human rights abuses. “

Rights Action – January 5, 2012

NGOs receive funds from Canadian government and mining companies to legitimize and promote mining as a good form of “development”

  • World University Service of Canada (WUSC) is partnered with Rio Tinto Alcan
  • Plan Canada = IAMGOLD
  • World Vision Canada = Barrick Gold

BELOW: “FOREIGN AID TO MINING FIRMS: CIDA teams up with NGOs to do development work at mine sites”, by Gwendolyn Schulman, Roberto Nieto

RIGHTS ACTION COMMENTARY: In this way, these NGOs (non-government organizations) legitimize and promote large-scale mining as a fair and equitable “development” model – both for the multi-millionaire company directors, shareholders and other investors, and for the impoverished villagers where Canadian mining companies often operate. Moreover, the Canadian government channels public funds indirectly to Canadian mining companies, all the while legitimizing and promoting large-scale mining as a fair and equitable “development” model.

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DECEMBER 19, 2011

FOREIGN AID TO MINING FIRMS

CIDA teams up with NGOs to do development work at mine sites

by Gwendolyn Schulman, Roberto Nieto

http://www.dominionpaper.ca/articles/4300

In the swirl of controversy around a recent corporate shift in government aid policy, one thing is clear: the Canadian mining sector has emerged the big winner.

MONTREAL – As excavators, heavy haulers and chemical treatment plants dig made-in-Canada mines around the world, Ottawa has taken new steps to ease growing criticism of Canada’s extractive sector.

The Harper government recently announced a publicly funded agreement between three of Canada’s mining giants and three of Canada’s leading non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The agreement, which marks a significant shift in how mining and politics mix, elicited little more than a yawn from the media. But a closer look reveals this partnership is transforming Canada’s aid landscape – with disturbing implications.

“The Canadian government is using aid to support the expansion of Canadian mining…[and] to determine development paths inside countries according to the logic of mining companies,” Yao Graham of Third World Network Africa, a research and advocacy organization based in Ghana, told The Dominion. Graham has seen many communities in Africa ravaged by the exploitative labour practices and lax environmental practices that often accompany mining megaprojects.

In the first phase of this new program, the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) has partnered Rio Tinto Alcan; Plan Canada is paired up with IAMGOLD; and World Vision Canada has joined forces with Barrick Gold.

This new funding approach raises some serious ethical and political questions about the role of NGOs, and constitutes a veritable PR coup for a mining industry that has racked up quite the rap sheet of environmental and human rights abuses.

In the swirl of controversy around a recent corporate shift in government aid policy, one thing is clear: the Canadian mining sector has emerged the big winner. illustration by Ben Clarkson

Critics argue that under this new dispensation, industry can counter resistance to its activities by claiming that its presence has brought development to impoverished communities. Cash-strapped NGOs, in an era of shrinking government funding for international development, have found a funding niche. Last but not least, the Canadian government is able to deflect demands for more stringent – and potentially profit-damaging – controls over one of its most lucrative industries.

In the past, while NGOs were bound by financial ties to the state, they still had some nominal autonomy to bear witness to that abuse. Now, they are increasingly tied to government funds earmarked to further Canada’s mining interests, topped up by money from the mining industry itself.

“When a mine goes in, there is a development deficit created immediately because there are impacts that can last literally thousands of years on water, on land, on the air,” said Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada. “And these impacts can be devastating. It can mean that people literally have to leave that area and live somewhere else because they can’t live there anymore.”

Coumans, who has kept a watchful eye on this evolving relationship, argues that whatever project an NGO gets up and running in one of these mining communities cannot even begin to redress the damage caused by the mining company’s presence there. She calls the NGO presence at mining sites “a Band-Aid on a gaping wound.”

Chris Eaton, the Executive Director of WUSC, sees things differently. He argues that this closer working relationship between NGOs and the mining sector will be an opportunity for organizations like WUSC to “nudge along good practice.” He is confident that WUSC’s role in building the capacity of local government to engage with mining companies will reap greater benefits for local people.

Plan Canada, another beneficiary under the new government initiative, did not return our calls. Plan Canada will receive $5.7 million from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to fund activities relating to IAMGOLD’s mining activities in 13 communities in Burkina Faso.

Plan Canada could be in for a rough ride. Last May, IAMGOLD had to close down operations at its Essakane mine in Burkina Faso due to labour unrest. The company’s CEO, Steve Letwin, warned that he would not tolerate an “illegal” strike “and as they will find out, will not tolerate anything that has a negative impact on our stakeholders.”

Given Plan Canada’s stated commitment to “work in the best interests of children and the communities in which we work” will they be prepared to risk their multi-million dollar funding to speak out in protection of their “stakeholders” – namely the communities in which they work – should labour unrest become an issue there?

For the Canadian government, this new troika is simply the latest step in a long process of prying open the door on the planet’s mineral wealth to the benefit of the extractive industry. The last decade saw the Canadian government provide technical and financial support to create industry-friendly mining codes around the world. The Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability documented how government initiatives in Colombia and Tanzania have translated into weaker environmental and social safeguards, reduced royalties for the host countries and new tax holidays.

Canadian cash, technocrats and know-how have also been involved in rewriting mining codes in Malawi, Ghana, Mali and the Democratic Republic of Congo (with, in this last case, civil war as a backdrop). All this has led to rising profits for Canadian companies and dwindling revenues for host countries.

Now that many official hurdles to access to overseas mineral wealth have come down, the government has turned its attention to partnering NGOs with mining firms. At the local level, this kind of agreement is cause for suspicion.

The Canadian government is turning its back on a deeper examination of the structural problems in the relationship between First World mining firms and Third World resources, says Third World Network’s Graham, instead opting for what he calls a “palliative” approach. “It’s a way of sidestepping the need for companies to pay more revenue because they can say, ‘We are doing so much for the community. Why do we have to put more into the central treasury?'”

The mining industry’s dismal reputation is its Achilles heel. Concern about its poor track record overseas is growing – even the mainstream is starting to take note.

Despite the clarion call from Canadians to put guidelines and mechanisms in place to keep the industry in check, the government has opted for optics instead. “The Canadian government is very anxious about the reputation of mining companies and instead of accountability, it is putting money into projects that show that mining leads to development,” said Coumans. In her view, it is now taxpayers that are footing the bill to polish a tarnished corporate image.

“CIDA has always worked government-to-government,” said Coumans. “Now what CIDA is doing is channelling Canadian taxpayer money directly to the mine site and basically paying for corporate social responsibility projects, and that is very bizarre.”

MONEY IN MINING

WUSC = Rio Tinto Alcan project

  • Total budget: $928,000 over 3 years
  • CIDA: $500,000
  • WUSC/Rio Tinto Alcan: $428,000
  • Rio Tinto net profit in 2010: $726,000,000

Plan Canada = IAMGOLD project

  • Total budget: $7.6 million over 5.5 years
  • CIDA: $5.7 million
  • Plan Canada: $0.9 million
  • IAMGOLD: $1 million
  • IAMGOLD gross profit in 2010: $597,000,000

World Vision = Barrick Gold project

  • Total budget: $1 million over 3.5 years
  • CIDA: $500,000
  • World Vision/Barrick Gold: $500,000
  • Barrick Gold net profit in 2010: $3,279,000,000

Source: Canadian International Development Agency, Sedar.com

***

Eaton insists that WUSC’s work is about community empowerment, not corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects. “I don’t think the government should be funding NGOs to do the CSR of mining firms, and I don’t see ourselves doing that in the context of this initiative,” he said.

In the swirl of controversy around this corporate shift in government aid policy, one thing is clear: the Canadian mining sector has emerged the big winner.

Last year the Canadian mining sector led a successful lobby effort to defeat Bill C-300, the Bill that would have seen the introduction of minor controls on the unregulated overseas activities of Canada’s mining industry.

Now, this same powerful sector has access to even more government funds as well as NGO know-how to help revamp its public image. Little wonder the Mining Association of Canada recently issued a press release encouraging the federal government to continue its support for Canada’s CSR Strategy. It knows a good thing when it sees it.

Roberto Nieto is a Montreal-based independent journalist and activist who has worked for unions, and as an organizer in support of migrant workers. He is a regular contributor to Amandla!, Canada’s longest running African current affairs radio show. Gwendolyn Schulman is co-founder and co-host of Amandla!

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How USAID Undermines Democracy in Haiti

The image above is from the article “Putting the Aid in Aiding and Abetting: CIDA’s Agents of Regime Change in Haiti’s 2004 Coup”. CIDA is the Canadian version of USAID. #62 (May 2008)

November 18, 2011

by Leslie Mullin, Pambazuka

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is an arm of the US State Department. Founded in 1961, USAID serves as a ‘velvet glove’ for US foreign policy. The political bias of its operations in Haiti goes back decades. Here are ten things to know about USAID in Haiti:

1. USAID paid millions to Haiti’s ruthless dictator, Francois ‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier, aimed at shoring up US influence in the region after the Cuban revolution. Thirty to fifty thousand people were killed under Duvalier’s regime while aid funds were siphoned into the private coffers of the Duvalier family. Under Duvalier, assembly production for American corporations became the blueprint for Haiti’s economic dependence on the US. The formula, essentially unchanged to this day, backs Haiti’s ruling elite while turning Haiti into a low-wage export-focused economy that creates profitable business opportunities for foreign investors. Haitians call it ‘the death plan’.

2. USAID backed Duvalier’s son, Jean-Claude ‘baby doc’, when he took over in 1971, with plans to promote Haiti as the ‘Taiwan of the Caribbean’. American taxpayers provided millions to build an infrastructure to lure US manufacturers to open assembly plants, taking advantage of Haiti’s high unemployment, political repression, and wages of 14 cents an hour. The consequences were profits for US business and the Haitian super rich. By the time of Duvalier’s fall, Haiti was the world’s ninth largest assembler of goods for US consumption, and the largest producer of baseballs.

3. USAID sabotaged Haiti’s domestic food production. USAID has a major impact on Haiti’s economy, both directly and as an agent for big financial institutions like the IMF. Nowhere is this more clearly demonstrated than Haiti’s food system. As recently as 30 years ago, Haiti produced most of its own food. Then, in the early 1980s, USAID undertook a plan to redirect Haiti’s domestic food production towards export crops. The idea, tied to Ronald Reagan’s Caribbean Basin Initiative, was to integrate Haiti into the world market via agro-industry and export manufacturing.

With full awareness of its dire impact on Haitian peasants, USAID experts set about to shift 30 per cent of Haiti’s cultivated land from food produced for local consumption to export crops. As Haiti’s rural economy unravelled, impoverished peasants fled to the capital city.

Competition from cheap imports and the absence of policies to promote production led to a rapid decline in Haiti’s food production. By 2008, local food production amounted to 42 per cent of Haiti’s food consumption, compared to 80 per cent in 1986. At the same time the value of US agricultural exports to Haiti began to increase – from $44 million (1986) to $95 million (1989). Recently, USAID was helping agriculture officials boost Haiti’s production of mangoes – for export to the United States.

4. USAID enforced trade liberalization policies that undercut Haiti’s rice industry while promoting American rice. In 1986, USAID conditioned aid to the ruling military junta on lowering rice tariffs, while advising the government to remove the little assistance it gave to Haitian farmers. Haiti slashed its rice tariff from 35 per cent to 3.5 per cent (1986) and to 1.5 per cent (1995). Not only were Haitian farmers hurt, but American producers and grain sellers profited. Cheap, heavily subsidised ‘Miami’ US rice flooded Haitian markets, and Haitian rice production began to drop. Until the early 1980s, Haiti produced the majority of its own rice, but Haiti is now the fourth largest importer of American rice.

One beneficiary was the Rice Corporation of Haiti (RCH), owned by Erly Industries – a massive US agribusiness and the largest marketer of American rice. In 1992, RCH secured a nine-year contract to import rice from Haiti’s illegal coup government – a military junta responsible for the deaths of thousands of Haitians. RCH was managed at the time by the former director of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (1982-1988), with powerful friends in Washington like Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC).

Erly Industries gained another foothold in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake when USAID awarded an Erly subsidiary, Chemonics, the contract to implement the 2009 USAID ‘winner’ program. Chemonics is an international consulting firm that relies on USAID for 90 per cent of its business. Winner is another example of USAID’s reckless assault on Haitian agriculture. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Winner championed the introduction of Monsanto hybrid seeds at cheap prices to Haitian farmers, despite the recommendation of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture to halt all seed donations as both unnecessary and harmful. Winner undermines Haitian seed distribution networks, and will leave Haitian farmers dependent on Monsanto seeds when the program expires in 2015.

5. USAID ‘food aid’ is good for us agribusiness, not for Haitian farmers. Haiti’s domestic rice production was undermined even more by the vast amounts of ‘free’ American rice that USAID dumps on Haiti every year in the form of ‘food aid’. A recent report, ‘Sak Vid Pa Kanpe: The Impact of US Food Aid on Human Rights in Haiti’, explains how food aid is given to the poor as direct food assistance or sold by NGOs to support their overhead and operating costs, (a process known as ‘monetisation’). The report examines how US food aid benefits the American companies who provide and transport it, but has a negative impact on local Haitian economies which would benefit instead from agricultural assistance or cash to boost local production. In its most recent budget request, USAID proposed spending $1.2 billion globally on helping poor farmers grow more food, while asking Congress for $4.2 billion for food aid, almost all of which will be spent on purchases from American farmers.

6. USAID destroyed the Haitian creole pig. The 1982 swine flu outbreak in the Dominican Republic provided the justification for USAID to condemn Haiti’s 1.3 million pig population, promising to replace them with ‘better’ pigs. Over a period of 13 months, enforced by Duvalier militia, the Creole pig was wiped out. A Haitian woman recalls the era: ‘When the armed forces of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s regime set about exterminating Haiti’s Creole pigs, they would come to Haiti’s rural villages, seize all of the pigs, pile them up, one on top of the other, in large pits and set fire to them, burning them alive.’ In monetary terms Haitian peasants lost $600 million dollars. Haiti’s former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide analyzed the outcome in his book, ‘Eyes of the Heart’, explaining the small, black, Creole pig was at the heart of the peasant economy and constituted the primary savings bank of the peasant population. Pigs were sold to pay for emergencies, special occasions and to pay school fees and buy books for the children. What followed was a 30 per cent drop in enrollment in rural schools, a dramatic decline in protein consumption in rural Haiti, and a negative impact on the soil and agricultural productivity. When ‘better pigs’ arrived from Iowa two years later, they could not survive Haiti’s rural life, requiring clean drinking water (unavailable to 80 per cent of the Haitian people), imported feed (costing $90 a year when the per capita income was about $130), and special roofed pigpens.

7. USAID has consistently opposed minimum wage increases in Haiti. In 1991, USAID used US tax dollars to oppose a minimum wage increase from $.33 to $.50 per hour proposed by the Aristide government, claiming it was bad for business. The agency also countered a plan for temporary price controls on basic food so people could afford to eat. According to secret State Department cables, after the 2010 earthquake, the US Embassy in Haiti worked closely with factory owners contracted by Levi’s, Hanes, and Fruit of the Loom to block a small minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest paid in the hemisphere. The factory owners, with backing of USAID and the US Embassy, refused to pay 62 cents an hour, or $5 per eight-hour day, a measure unanimously passed by the Haitian parliament in June 2009.

8. USAID promoted and funded the 2004 overthrow of the democratically-elected Aristide. While millions of American dollars have propped up Haiti’s dictators, aid shifted abruptly away from the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Under the guise of ‘democracy promotion,’ USAID and USAID-funded organisations like the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute, funnelled millions to organise political opposition to Aristide and build conservative alternatives aligned with US interests. After the 2004 coup, USAID funded the integration of former death squad forces into the Haitian National Police to quell resistance among Haitians to the illegitimate coup government. USAID paid millions to fund the fraudulent November 2010 and March 2011 elections that excluded Haiti’s largest political party, Fanmi Lavalas, the party of President Aristide.

9. USAID extends its far-reaching influence in Haiti by funding NGOs (non-governmental organisations) which receive 70 per cent of their budgets from the agency. Over 10,000 NGOs operate in Haiti with authorisation to bypass the elected government and serve as a permanent form of ‘soft’ invasion. As far back as 1995, Clinton’s Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott reassured members of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee that, ‘even after our (military) exit in February 1996 we will remain in charge by means of the USAID and the private sector.’

10. USAID boasts that 84 cents of every dollar of its funding in Haiti returns to the US in the form of salaries, supplies, consulting fees, and services. As the lead US agency for Haiti reconstruction, just 2.5 per cent of USAID’s $200 million in post-earthquake relief and reconstruction contracts had gone to Haitian firms by April 2010. USAID paid at least $160 million of its total Haiti-related expenditures to the Defense Department, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, two US search and rescue teams and, in at least two instances, itself. US Ambassador Merten reported to Washington that the post-quake ‘gold rush’ was on, according to a secret cable that described disaster capitalists flocking to Haiti for contracts to rebuild the country.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* This article was first published by the Haiti Action Committee.
* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.

SOURCES:

– Aristide, Jean-Bertrand (2000). Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization. Common Courage Press, pp 13-14.

– Center for Economic and Policy Research (2010). Haitian companies bypassed in favor of DC area contractors with poor track records. Available at: http://bit.ly/sSyWoh (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Center for Public Integrity, Windfalls of War: Chemonics, International. Available at: http://projects.publicintegrity.org/wow/bio.aspx?act=pro&ddlC=8 (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Partners in Health, RFK Center for Justice & Human Rights (December 2010). Sak Vid Pa Kanpe: The Impact of US Food Aid on Human Rights in Haiti. Available at http://www.chrgj.org/projects/docs/sakvidpakanpe.pdf (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Coughlin, Dan and Ives, Kim (2011). ‘Wikileaks Haiti: Let them live on $3 day.’ The Nation, June 1, 2011. Available at: http://projects.publicintegrity.org/wow/bio.aspx?act=pro&ddlC=8 (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– DeWind Josh and Kinley David H (1994). U.S. Aid Programs and the Haitian Political Economy: Export-Led Development. IN The Haiti Files, Ridgeway J (ed). Essential Books/Azul Editions. Washington, DC. P125

– Diederich, Bernard and Burt, Al (2009). Papa Doc and the Tonton Macoutes, 3rd edition. Markus Wiener Publishers, Princeton, NJ.

– Doyle, Mark (Oct 2010) US urged to stop Rice Subsidies. BBC news, Latin America & the Caribbean. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11472874 (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Farmer, Paul (2006). The Uses of Haiti, 3rd edition. Common Courage Press.
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– Gros, Jean-Germaine. Indigestible Recipe: Rice, Chicken Wings, and International Financial Institutions: or Hunger Politics in Haiti. Journal of Black Studies 2010 40: 974 originally published online 29 September 2008. Available at: http://jbs.sagepub.com/content/40/5/974.full.pdf (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Haiti Info (Sept 1995) Vol 3, #24. Neoliberalism in Haiti: The case of rice. Available at: http://www.afaceaface.org/blog/2010/09/neoliberalism-in-haiti-the-case-of-rice/ (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Hallward, Peter (2007). Damming the Flood. New York: Verso.
– Herz, Ansel and Ives, Kim (June 16, 2011). Wikileaks Haiti: The Post Quake Gold Rush for Reconstruction Contracts. The Nation. Available at: http://www.thenation.com/article/161469/wikileaks-haiti-post-quake-gold-rush-reconstruction-contracts (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Katz, Jonathan (March 2010). Haiti Relief Money: Criticism of Nonprofits Abounds. Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/05/haiti-relief-money-critic_n_487976.html (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Kurklantzick, Joshua. (Dec/Nov 2004). The Coup Connection. Mother Jones. Available at: http://motherjones.com/politics/2004/11/coup-connection (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– McGowan, Lisa (January 1997). Democracy Undermined , Economic Justice Denied: Structural Adjustment and the Aid Juggernaut in Haiti. The Development Group for Alternative Policies, Inc. Available at: http://bit.ly/tgmhpL (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– NACLA (1995). Haiti: Dangerous Crossroads. South End Press, Boston, MA. Chapter 19, p. 190

– Quigley, Bill (April 2008). Thirty years ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened? Counterpunch. Available at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/04/21/the-u-s-role-in-haiti-s-food-riots/ (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Smith, Ashley (24 Feb 2010). Haiti and the AID Racket. Counterpunch. Available at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2010/02/24/haiti-and-the-aid-racket/ (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Weisbrot, Mark (14 Oct 2010). CEPR Co-Director Criticizes US Funding of Flawed ‘Elections’ in Haiti. Press Release. Available at: http://bit.ly/uz3c3T (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Weisbrot, Mark (10 Jan 2011). Haiti’s Election: A Travesty of Democracy. The Guardian. Available at: http://bit.ly/tyqog0 (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

– Yaffe, Nathan. (June 2011) USAID’s Assault on Haitian Agriculture. Haiti Justice Alliance. Available at: http://haitijustice.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/winner-bad-for-haiti/ (Accessed Nov 10, 2011)

http://bolekaja.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/how-usaid-undermines-democracy-in-haiti/

http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/77988

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