- In December 1984, Canada's conservative prime minister,
Brian Mulroney, told the New York Economic Club that "Canada is open
for business," meaning US companies were welcome, the two countries
would work for greater economic integration, America's sovereignty took
precedence of his own, and corporate interests from both countries could
operate freely at the expense of most Canadians.
- That's always been Haiti's curse, now more than ever.
Under American militarized control, Haiti is occupied for profit, its pseudo
government largely invisible, and predators aim to cash in to the fullest.
On January 21, in his article titled, "Securing disaster in Haiti,"
Peter Hallward explained, saying:
- "....the US-led relief operation has conformed to
the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course
of the island's recent history. It has adopted military priorities and
strategies. It has sidelined Haiti's own leaders and government, and ignored
the needs of the majority of its people. And it has proceeded in ways that
reinforce the already harrowing gap between rich and poor. All three tendencies
aren't just connected, they are mutually reinforcing. (They'll also) govern
the imminent reconstruction effort as well, unless determined political
action is taken to counteract them."
- Post-quake, conditions on the ground are horrific. Three
million or more Haitians are affected. Most are displaced and struggling.
Essential aid is obstructed and limited. Hundreds of thousands are being
removed from the capital, not to help them, to "cleanse" the
area for development. The official estimated death toll tops 230,000, over
300,000 are injured, and AP reported (on February 9) that the "Health
crisis in Haiti enter(ed) a deadly new phase," the result of "a
half-million (or more) people jammed into germ-breeding makeshift camps"
where a health emergency is already apparent in the form of malnutrition,
diarrheal illnesses, acute respiratory (and other) infections, at least
one reported typhoid case, and fears of possible outbreaks of tetanus,
measles, TB, malaria, dengue fever, diphtheria, acute flaccid paralysis,
meningococcal meningitis, rabies, and other infectious diseases, including
water-borne ones, particularly threatening children.
- Independent reports cite outbreaks of tetanus, TB, diarrhea,
scabies, ringworm and growing depravation, misery and anger, mostly unreported
in the mainstream that instead focuses on disease containment and improving
conditions. Daily, conditions are worse, not better, threatening a far
greater disaster ahead.
- Given the widespread depravation, the obstruction of
food, clean water, and temporary shelter, and lack of proper sanitation,
infectious disease outbreaks may cause biblical levels of more deaths ahead,
perhaps raising the toll to from 500,000 - one million Haitians, a scale
definable as genocide.
- The Genocide Convention defines it as "any of the
following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a
national, ethnical, racial or religious group (including) causing serious
bodily or mental harm (and) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions
of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or
- US forces control everything - Haiti's airport, port
facilities, the Presidential Palace, and other strategic locations. They
patrol Port-au-Prince streets menacingly with heavy weapons. In late January,
police beat people, and UN Blue Helmets fired rubber bullets, tear gas
and pepper spray at hungry Haitians wanting food, a likely precursor to
graver confrontations ahead as desperate people seek it to survive. One
Haitian told a reporter: "They treat us like animals, they beat us,
but we are hungry people."
- On February 7, the 19th anniversary of Jean-Bertrand
Aristide first inauguration, his supporters commemorated the event as they
do every year, calling for his return, denouncing the occupation, condemning
the lack of food and other aid, and the corruption exacerbating the problem
along with America's obstruction to let desperate people suffer and expire.
- A month after the quake, inadequate amounts of everything
are being distributed. Residents in poor areas like Cite Soleil have gotten
virtually nothing and were in desperate straits pre-disaster. On February
8, thousands marched through Petionville, a Port-au-Prince suburb, denouncing
what's occurring throughout stricken areas - mayors and other officials
hoarding food and selling it at inflated black market prices, not distributing
it to starving Haitians.
- One protestor said: "I am hungry, I am dying of
hunger. (Mayor) Lydie Parent keeps the rice and doesn't give us anything."
- Haitian-truth.org said Haitian customs agents are charging
people arriving with aid fees to deliver it. Otherwise, their supplies
will be held indefinitely.
- AlJazeera and other sources reported fake coupons being
used for free food, to be sold on the black market at inflated prices.
- On February 10, AP reported that public and private hospitals
are charging patients, UN officials warning free medications won't be sent
to ones that do. Christophe Rerat of the UN's Pan American Health Organization
said they got about $1 million worth of free drugs, supplied by donations,
and all medical care is to be provided without charge. Donated funds are
also paying staff.
- On February 11, rain and growing frustration sparked
spontaneous street protests denouncing President Rene Preval's inaction,
calling for Aristide's return, and demanding food, clean water and tents
for shelter. Club wielding police met marchers. Scuffles followed. Minor
injuries were reported. A sign read: "The rain has soaked us. The
MINUSTAH must go. We need help. We need aid."
- Shelter from the elements is needed as the rainy season
approaches, and with it the greater threat of disease. Reportedly 10,000
tents have arrived, not the 200,000 the government requested and hundreds
of thousands more needed.
- OCHA reports that 90% of affected Haitians need emergency
shelter, over 1.2 million are in "spontaneous settlements," and
nearly half a million "have left Port-au-Prince for outlying"
areas. Most of them, in fact, have been forced into permanent displacement,
the same fate planned for hundreds of thousands more.
- Sanitation is a major concern. At most, 5% of needed
latrines are available, and the lack of dumping sites for waste is also
a huge problem. With the arrival of thousands of people along the Dominican
Republic border, "the food security situation, which was already precarious
prior to the earthquake, is getting worse...."
- The Nutrition Cluster expects the Global Acute Malnutrition
(GAM) rate to soar given conditions on the ground throughout the country.
In addition, months of rain "will increase morbidity rates for childhood
diseases while hunger is expected to be especially severe....Delays in
incoming stock pipelines must be addressed to ensure a steady influx of
- The problem is relief supplies are warehoused at Haiti's
airport, ports and other facilities, not adequately distributed, so willful
obstruction is exacerbating the crisis. People are starving. Diseases are
becoming epidemics. Everything is in short supply, and OCHA reports only
10% of trauma injuries have been treated.
- Yet the web site reliefweb.int shows $569.8 million in
relief already donated (as of February 14), or 99% of the appeal's goal
and certain to way exceed it. Where has the money gone? Who's getting it,
and why hasn't an amount this great delivered significant aid? Disturbing
questions demand answers. Why aren't they forthcoming? It's because Haiti
is being prepared for plunder, and NGOs, including charities, will get
their fair share.
- NGOs Defined
- The web site ngo.org defines them as follows:
- "A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit,
voluntary citizens' group which is organized on a local, national or international
level. Task-oriented and driven by people with a common interest, NGOs
perform a variety of service and humanitarian policies and encourage political
participation through provision of information. Some are organized around
specific issues, such as human rights, environment or health. They provide
analysis and expertise, serve as early warning mechanisms and help monitor
and implement international agreements. Their relationship with offices
and agencies of the United Nations system differs depending on their goals,
their venue and the mandate of a particular institution."
- A paper prepared by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government's
L. David Brown and Mark H. Moore titled, "Accountability, Strategy,
and International Non-Governmental Organizations" quotes Anna Vakil's
five NGO "functional categories: welfare, develop (in the sense of
capacity-building), advocacy, development education, and networking or
- Various other definitions include the following characteristics:
- -- local, national or international in scope;
- -- non-governmental;
- -- non-profit;
- -- staffed by unpaid volunteers;
- -- non-political; and
- -- advancing social, humanitarian objectives.
- Some NGOs do. Most don't as James Petras explained on
The Lendman News Hour saying most skim 90% of donations for themselves.
Some genuinely enhance welfare, support human and civil rights, and mitigate
the ravages of disease and repression. The large majority, however, are
ideologically biased think tanks or lobby groups, serving a political agenda
for profit. They're predators, not humanitarians.
- In his December 1997 Monthly Review article titled, "Imperialism
and NGOs in Latin America," Petras discussed their early 1970s history
under military dictatorships when they actively supported their victims
and denounced human rights abuses. Even then, however, their limitations
were evident as "they rarely denounced the US and European patrons
who financed" them. Nor did they "link the neoliberal economic
policies and human rights violations to the new turn in the imperialist
system. Obviously" their funding limits their ability to criticize.
- Yet as neoliberal regimes "devastat(ed) communities
(through) cheap imports, extracting external debt payments, abolishing
labor legislation, and creating a" reserve army of cheap labor, NGOs
were well funded "to be their 'community face'....intimately related
to those at the top and complementing their destructive work with local
projects." In other words, NGOs are profiteers with a friendly face
acting as predatory capitalism's agents. When they take over, social movements
decline, and that's the whole idea for their presence.
- Nearly all have entrenched bureaucracies, highly paid
officials, secret operational rules, and undisclosed financing sources
and amounts, mostly from domestic or foreign nations whose interests they
serve, including for PR, intelligence, or population control, not providing
- They all claim non-profit status, yet operate unethically,
collude with governments or business interests, profit handsomely, own
unrelated businesses, and exploit people they claim to serve. In many
countries, they're the preferred choice for Western aid and emergency relief,
providing cover for an imperial agenda and cashing in handsomely, especially
after disasters like wars and their aftermath, floods, famines and earthquakes.
- Haiti is called "the Republic of NGOs," with
over 10,000 operating (according to World Bank estimates) for its nine
million people, the highest per capita presence worldwide in all sectors
of activity and society, many with sizable budgets. Yet their numbers beg
the question. With that abundant firepower, why is Haiti the poorest country
in the hemisphere, one of the poorest in the world, and one of the most
oppressed? Why were so many Haitians starving pre-quake? Why now are conditions
catastrophic and worsening?
- NGO proliferation mirrored the atrophy of Haiti's government,
providing cover for imperial interests with UN paramilitary and now US
combat troop occupiers for enforcement, Haitians, of course, suffering
as they have for over 500 years.
- Profiteering from Misery
- In his book titled, "Travesty in Haiti: A true account
of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking,"
Timothy Schwartz recounts an "anthropologist's personal story of working
with foreign aid agencies (the NGO network) and discovering that fraud,
greed, corruption, apathy, and political agendas permeate the industry,"
part of the reason behind Haiti's institutionalized oppression, poverty
- According to Haitian lawyer/activist Marguerite Laurent:
- "It's laughably idealistic to wish for accountability,
honesty, grace and dignity from the folks at USAID, World Bank, the Christian
missions and those 'doing good' in Haiti for more than a-half century now,"
when, in fact, most come to exploit, seeking profits, not a desire to provide
- "Schwartz's book unveils paradoxes and lots of critical
data on foreign aid, mission schools, orphanages, and the world's major
multinational charities working in Haiti." He reveals a nation "you'll
not read about in current mainstream books and papers on Haiti." Nor
through the major media that ignore over 500 years of enslavement, colonization,
serfdom, severe exploitation and oppression, and brutalizing misery, the
last two centuries under US domination.
- The book is an "inside story," said Schwartz,
about "fraud, greed, corruption, and apathy, and political agendas
(as well as a) story of failed agriculture, health and credit projects;
violent struggles for control over aid money; corrupt orphanage owners,
pastors, and missionaries; the nepotistic manipulation of research funds;
economically counterproductive food relief programs that undermine the
Haitian agricultural economy; and the disastrous effects of economic engineering
by foreign governments and international aid organizations (like USAID,
World Bank and others), and the multinational corporate charities....in
their service (like CARE International, Catholic Relief Services, World
Vision, and many others) that have programs spread across the globe, moving
in response not only to disasters and need, but political agendas and economic
- He saw it for over 10 years, researching and living in
Haiti. He stresses not wanting to damage charity providers, just those
in it for personal gain, not people they profess to help.
- "At the level of individuals and NGOS, the lack
of fiscal accountability is manifest in the enrichment of the custodians
of the money - pastors and directors of NGOs, schools and orphanages -
and the redirection of charity toward middle and upper class Haitians,"
the very ones who don't need it. At governmental levels, "Charity
is manipulated to serve political ends."
- Without accountability, corruption gets embedded, aid
is distorted, and ends up doing more harm than good, precisely according
to plan. For example, Haiti's School for Jesus Christ of America "was
a nest of elites (disdaining) and spurn(ing) the impoverished peasants,
fishermen, and slum dwellers, (calling) them ignorant and uncivilized,
as subhuman, who called them dan wouj (red teeth) and pye pete (cracked
- "The impoverished children in the Hamlet could not
get medical care," and what they got was poor quality for exorbitant
fees. At the same time, elite children were treated free and their education
paid for, using funds meant for the poor. Visiting missionaries called
the school administrators "dedicated spreaders of biblical truth,
somehow holier than ordinary Christians, closer to God, better than the
rest of us." In fact, they're predators, profiteering from Haiti's
poor and living lavishly at their expense. Their mission, in fact, is bogus.
"Helping the poor? The hell they were!"
- CARE is no different, "a perversion of American
charitable ideals with its false claims to be aiding the 'poorest of the
poor' when what it was really doing was throwing exquisite banquets at
plush hotels while carrying out US political policy in the interest of
international venture capitalists and industrialists."
- Child Trafficking in Haiti
- This section deals with abducted children for profit,
not Haiti's century-long Restavek system covered in an earlier article
titled, "Child Slavery in Haiti." Under it, impoverished families
send one or more of their children to live with wealthier or less poor
ones in return for food, shelter, education, and a better life in return
for performing tasks as servants. They, in fact, become de facto slaves
subjected to verbal and physical abuse.
- Trafficking children for profit is another matter, another
scam. Operatives representing orphanages or adoption agencies approach
poor families, offer money, promise their children will be well cared for
and educated, then disappear them. None are ever heard from again.
- According to Schwartz:
- "Not one of the families ever received a single
letter from the agency or from any of the adoptive parents. An SOS (Enfants
Without Frontiers) employee obtained the address of (one) parent organization
in Paris but, when they called, the person who answered the phone said
that the agency had moved and left no forwarding address."
- Schwartz visited "every single orphanage in the
Province as well as Gonaives. They all look like scams to (him. He didn't
want to) write a report saying the orphanages are all scams," but,
in fact, they are, preying on impoverished families.
- The problem, however, is far greater. World Vision and
Compassion International sponsor 58,500 Haitian children. Christian Aid
Missions (CAM) 10,000, the Haiti Baptist Mission 57,800, and many other
NGOs run similar operations, trafficking children for profit or diverting
funds for the poor to elite ones or their pockets. "....think about
all the money that must be collected and never even gets there....So many
people at these orphanages are outright lying. Most of the children are
- Schwartz's "dismay with charity and development
was growing. (His) job wasn't over." He investigated further and found
other alarming surprises, "shatter(ing) any remaining faith (he) had
in foreign aid to Haiti." Under militarized control, perhaps much
worse is underway, with hundreds of millions of donor aid likely stolen
and thousands of predatory NGOs and other profiteers grabbing it.
- The recent report about 10 Americans detained (likely
to be released pending further investigation and perhaps absolved altogether)
for illegally trying to spirit 33 children from Haiti is just the tip of
a global problem, one very much affecting Haiti. This longstanding practice
is now way accelerated with thousands of children separated from parents,
enabling abductors to pass them off as orphans and sell them for profit.
- Overall, UNICEF calls human trafficking "one of
the most lucrative and fastest growing transnational crimes, generat(ing)
approximately up to $10 billion per year," affecting many millions
of victims, mostly women and children. In 2005, the International Labour
Organization estimated from 980,000 - 1.25 million children trafficked
annually, mostly for:
- "domestic labour, commercial sexual exploitation,
agricultural work, drug couriering, organized begging, child soldiering
and exploitative or slavery-like practices in the informal economy."
- The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking
in Persons, Especially Women and Children (called the Palermo Protocol
or Trafficking Protocol) defines the practice as follows in Article 3:
- "Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment,
transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of
the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of
fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability,
or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent
of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution
of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services,
slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs...."
- Under this definition, abductions for sale or transfer
to prospective parents are criminal acts - "illicit adoptions"
according to UNICEF stating:
- "An increase in demand for adoption has helped to
propel the unlawful trafficking of babies and young children. Sometimes
(parents) from developing countries sell their baby or young child, at
other times" infants are stolen.
- UNICEF conservatively estimates at least 2,000 Haitian
children are trafficked annually to the Dominican Republic alone, and,
post-quake, confirmed that 15 or more disappeared from area hospitals,
likely victims of abductors. In addition, adoption applications soared,
from 10 a month earlier to dozens daily, one agency saying it's gotten
over 1,000 requests to adopt Haitian children.
- With many thousands alone and vulnerable, they're easy
pickings for traffickers - for non-Haitian prospective parents, forced
labor, commercial sex, or other illicit purposes.
- On January 27, Time.com writers Tim Padgett and Bobby
Ghosh highlighted the problem in their article titled, "Human Predators
Stalk Haiit's Vulnerable Kids."
- They cited one instance of a "Toyota pickup truck
cruising the debris-cluttered streets of Leogane," offering children
food, getting them in the pickup and disappearing, all of them abduction
victims. According to UNICEF, "Traffickers fish in pools of vulnerability,
and we've rarely if ever seen one like this."
- Haiti is now occupied. Under Fourth Geneva, its children,
including orphans, are protected persons and can't be moved for any reason.
According to international law expert Francis Boyle, doing so "is
a serious war crime," yet America may be aiding and abetting the guilty,
even though it's (nominally) committed to combatting the practice, and
the US 2000 Trafficking Victims Protection Act calls "trafficking
in persons....a transnational crime with national implications."
- The law enhanced earlier penalties, added new protections,
and provided victims various benefits and services. It also established
a cabinet-level federal interagency task force and federal program to provide
them. Under US and international law, Washington recognizes the grievousness
of this crime. In practice perhaps it's another matter given America's
global lawlessness, including illegally occupying Haiti and stealing its
- Private Military Contractors (PMCs) See a Bonanza in
- They're mercenaries, paramilitaries, hired guns, unprincipled,
in it for the money, and go anywhere to find it. They're unregulated, unchecked,
free from criminal or civil accountability, and are licensed to kill and
get away with it. Wherever they're deployed, they're feared for good reason,
and they're heading to Haiti. Xe Services (formerly Blackwater USA) is
already there. Jeremy Scahil, author of "Blackwater: The Rise of the
World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army calls them a:
- "shadowy mercenary company (employing) some of the
most feared professional killers in the world (accustomed) to operating
with worry or legal consequences (with) remarkable power and protection
within the US war apparatus...."
- Many PMCs belong to the International Peace Operations
Association (IPOA). Immediately after the quake, its web site (ipoaworld.org)
- "In the wake of the tragic events in Haiti, a number
of IPOA's member companies are available and prepared to provide a wide
variety of critical relief services to the earthquake's victims. If you
would like more information about IPOA and its member companies, you can
read more here."
- A list of services and member companies followed. Unexplained
was their dark side.
- In his January 19 Nation magazine article titled, "US
Mercenaries Set Sights on Haiti," Scahill said to expect "a lot
of (disaster profiteering) in Haiti over the coming days, weeks and months.
(It's) kicking into full gear in Haiti," and arrivals signal the kinds
of terrorizing common wherever these professional killers are deployed.
- Exploiting Haiti's Resources
- In October 2009, Marguerite Laurent, exposed the key
reason for exploiting Haiti, easier under occupation and hundreds of thousands
of Haitians removed from where huge oil deposits likely exist and other
development is planned. In 2008, an estimated 20 billion barrels were found
in deep water off Cuba. Haitian resources are believed to be far greater,
and they've been known about for decades.
- In a 2004 article titled, "Oil in Haiti," George
Michel explained that:
- "Since time immemorial, it has been no secret that
deep in the earthy bowels of the two states that share the island of (Hispaniola
- Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and the surrounding waters that there
are significant, still untapped deposits of oil. No one knows why they
are still untapped." Why is with abundant Middle East and other resources,
they weren't needed. Ahead they will be, so maybe now's the time to exploit
- "Since the early twentieth century, the physical
and political map of the island of Haiti, erected in 1908 by Messrs. Alexander
Poujol and Henry Thomasset, reported a major oil reservoir....near the
source of the Rio Todo El Mondo, Tributary Right Artibonite River, better
known today as the River Thomonde."
- Oil also exists "in the Dominican plain of Azua,
a short distance north of the Dominican Republic in the town of Azua."
The field was operating earlier in the last century, producing up to 60,000
barrels daily. In 1982, more significantly, "a huge oil field offshore
at the coast of (the Dominican Republic's) Barahona" province was
discovered, but left untapped.
- In Haiti and offshore, geological evidence shows oil
reserves at "the Bay of Cayes, Les Cayes and between Ile a Vache."
The Dunn Plantation papers as well as George Michel confirm that Haiti
is oil rich.
- Laurent says:
- "big US oil companies and their inter-related monopolies
of engineering and defense contractors made plans, decades ago, to (exploit
Haiti's resources and use its) deep water ports either for oil refineries
or to develop oil tank farm sites or depots where crude oil could be stored
and later transferred to small tankers to serve US and Caribbean ports."
- No wonder Washington has its fifth largest embassy in
Port-au-Prince after Iraq (the largest anywhere on 104 acres, costing at
least $592 million to build), China, Afghanistan and Germany.
- Haiti is a strategic resource for its cheap labor, but
mostly its exploitable resources, including, oil and gas, gold, copper,
diamonds, iridium, and zirconium as well as deep water ports at Fort Liberte
- In February 2004, removing Jean-Bertrand Aristide and
exiling him was step one, followed by a coup d'etat government, UN paramilitary
"peacekeepers," and an elected one, subservient to Washington,
opening Haiti to greater plunder, including privatizing state-owned companies,
exploiting its cheap labor even more, letting unwanted portions perish,
and developing its resources.
- Now the occupation and, according to Laurent, US-France-Canada
balkanization for resource exploitation, Washington wanting the South,
including Port-au-Prince, La Gonaive island, offshore to the West, Les
Cayes, the southern peninsula and offshore waters. Around 20,000 US Marines
and paratroupers arrived for the duration, to ensure Haiti is open for
business for the usual corporate interests, and to ensure none of its wealth
is shared with the poor - how Haitians have always been treated for over
500 years, except for the brief interregnum under Artistide and short period
after becoming the first free and independent Black republic.
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to the Lendman News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Monday - Friday
at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished
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