[News] Wealthy Nations Give Haiti Under Dictatorship Aid Denied Democracy
News at freedomarchives.org
News at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 11 11:50:34 EST 2005
Wealthy Nations Give Haiti Under Dictatorship Aid Denied Democracy
Posted on Sun Jan 9th, 2005 at 03:42:37 PM EST
Three days ago the most powerful governments in the world confirmed their
support of dictatorship over democracy in Haiti. On January 6 the World
Bank Group approved $73 million in loans and grants for the illegitimate
and discredited government of the suffering nation, with the bulk of it to
be distributed immediately.
The money given previously has not consolidated the violent rule of this
This is the first money the World Bank released since promising $150
million at a July pledging conference. At this two-day conference at World
Bank headquarters in Washington, D.C., wealthy nations
<http://www.globalexchange.org/tours/haiti/2284.html>pledged $1.1 billion
to Haiti less than five months after an armed invasion and insurgency, and
U.S. intervention, forced the elected government out and replaced it with
the regime of Gerard Latortue, recruited from Florida to be interim prime
minister. The European Union, France and the Inter-American Development
Bank disbursed $200 million so far, and Canada donated $12.7 million to
help Haiti pay its overdue payments to the World Bank, the
Press reported. (The AP incorrectly called this paying off Haiti's debt to
the World Bank, which the
put at $501 million in 2002.) In addition, donors already gave the coup
government $440 million before the July 20 pledging session, the
Bank reported at the time.
The same countries that pledged so generously at this conference withheld
aid and loans during Jean Bertrand Aristide's entire time in office, from
his undisputed election until the 2004 February 29 coup,
<http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0301-10.htm>wrote Jeffrey Sachs.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Inter-American
Development Bank, and Organization of American States (OAS) suspended aid
under instructions from the United States, Sachs reported at the time of
the coup. The U.S. government explained the cut-off of aid to Haiti as
because of irregularities in the 2000 legislative elections, and was
insisting that Aristide make peace with the political opposition before
releasing any aid, pointedly making Haiti hostage to the intractable
opposition group, even though Aristide offered and did address the 10
legislative races the OAS said should have gone to run-off elections. (The
sheet on Haiti states only "January-March 2001: All IDA [International
Development Association] disbursements and most grants to Haiti are
office 2001 February 7 after being elected November 26.)
After even during the coup d'etat U.S. and French soldiers flowed in to
protect the U.S.-appointed successor regime, and the loans and aid followed
to help that government protection and assistance for the dictatorship the
U.S., France, and Canada chose; nothing for the democracy Haiti's people
Likewise, the United Nations helps prop up the present dictatorship, but
did nothing to come to the aid of the former democracy. "A UN armored
personnel vehicle rolls through Delmas 2 in Bel Air,"
<http://haitiaction.com/News/HIP/1_7_5.html>Haiti Information Project (HIP)
wrote beneath a photograph of a huge white tank-like truck. "Five people
were killed on January 5 when the UN entered the pro-Lavalas neighborhood
under the pretext of cleaning the streets of garbage." In addition to
conducting or backing up the Haition National Police in murderous raids on
poor, anti-coup populations, UN troops have participated in unlawful
arrests, <http://haitiaction.com/News/HIP/1_7_5a.html>HIP reported.
Democracy & Debt
The World Bank and IMF never demand democracy as a structural adjustment
condition to receive a loan, even though both hold entire nations and all
the people in them responsible for repayment, and not just the leaders of
the government that accepted the deal. Of the $73 million the World Bank
is now giving to the U.S.-installed Latortue government, more than half$37
millionis a no-interest loan that later governments, and ultimately the
now-oppressed people of Haiti, who will have to pay it back.
Oxfam complained that the pledges for loans rather than grants "will do
nothing to ensure faster, deeper debt relief for Haiti, but, in fact push
it into further, unsustainable debt," reported Jim Lobe of the
<http://www.ips.com/>International Press Service
July 21, 2004 in an article
<http://www.globalexchange.org/tours/haiti/2284.html>reprinted by Global
Most of <http://www.haitiforever.com/windowsonhaiti/w030901.shtml>Haiti's
current debt was run up by the Duvalier dictatorships. So although wealthy
nations and their international institutions could widely promote democracy
and economic development simply by making nations' debts enforceable only
when democratically elected representatives contract the debt, institutions
such as the World Bank lend freely to unelected governments and choose to
use other jargon in rationalizing the purpose of their loans.
"The chief goal of the Bank is to help the Government deliver urgently
needed basic services to the Haitian people and strengthen the transparency
and credibility of public institutions, said World Bank President James
Wolfensohn, quoted in the
6 press release announcing the $73 million worth of programs.
Wolfensohn did not say if the World Bank considered the national
penitentiary in Port-au-Prince a priority public institution to bring
transparency and credibility to. Closed to visitors since December 1, with
the exception of an aborted visit by independent journalist Reed Lindsay
evidence of a massacre of prisoners by guards and a special police unit,
the vast majority of people in the prison have not been publicly accused of
any crime or even seen by a judge, let alone
Given the urgent need to support recovery efforts in the country, we plan
to disburse $46 million of this assistance in the next couple of days, the
January 6 press release quoted Wolfensohn. The huge symbolism of the
pledging events and the huge amounts of money show exactly what the
governments of the richest countries prefer to support in Haiti, democracy
or dictatorship, for the United States and a handful of other developed
countries control all decision-making at the World Bank Group, to the total
exclusion of third world countries.
For instance, just nine nations, by appointing executive directors
possessing more than half the
power, can control all decisions made by the International Bank for
Reconstruction and Development, the largest part and namesake of the World
Bank Group. The United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and
France together control 37% of the vote with directors they appoint
directly (the U.S.-appointed director alone has more than 16 percent of the
voting shares). Remaining directors are elected by various regions. A
region dominated by Belgium and Austria control 4.8 percent of the
votes. Canada in its region can by itself nominate a director for its
region and so control for 3.85 percent of the vote. Italy, also, alone
controls the choice of director for its area, for another 3.5% of the
vote. This brings the total over 52 percent. Developing countries have
virtually no role. The Netherlands nearly control half the votes in their
region, with Israel or the Ukraine or any of a number of countries with
fewer votes the Netherlands can appoint its own director with 4.46%. The
Scandinavian countries have 3.34 percent; Switzerland and Poland together
control their region's 3.04 percent. All this before a single developing
country has an opportunity to even influence a vote for one director.
Practically, the governments of the richest nations exercise complete
control over the five agencies of the World Bank Group, with the U.S.
Power versus Reality
Power can't always bend reality to its will. The Latortue government that
the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Italy
choose to support with direct financial support, financial support through
the World Bank, and direct or by-proxy military support, nonetheless fails
to consolidate its control and achieve stability.
Lobe reported the stated goals of the aid pledged 2004 July 21:
Over the next two months, the ICF [Interim Cooperation Framework, the
two-year donor-supported project of Haiti's government] calls for the
creation of 44,000 new jobs; the collection and disposal of 50 percent of
the garbage that piled up in urban areas; the upgrading of 500 slum
dwellings in the capital Port-au-Prince; and the doubling of the number of
hours per day in which electricity is operating, to 12.
The silence of the World Bank on the subject suggests how far short the
Latortue government and its wealthy patrons fell from these goals. A
January 8 article by Michael Kamber of the New York Times News Service
the Philadelphia Inquirer) adds more detail:
"They say the former government was no good," [Jacques Rafael, employee of
a slain storeowner] said, referring to the administration of Jean-Bertrand
Aristide, who was overthrown last February. "But when Aristide was here,
we could stay open until 10 p.m. Now, we can't even stay open until 4 in
Around the corner, at a school, Lycee Petion, the students were headed home
at 9 a.m. Police recently wounded three students there during a shoot-out
with gang members, and the fearful teachers had stayed home, as they do
many days now.
"We're the ones paying for what is going on," said Franzo Caryce, 19. "We
expected more from Latortue."
Nine months after taking office, the interim government of Prime Minister
Gerard Latortue is besieged by mounting criticism from every sector of society.
Oxfam and other development groups noted the ICF process did not
effectively engage local grassroots organizations, Lobe reported in
July. As a result, according to Oxfam, many local groups boycotted the
Other NGO critics here were harsher in their assessments of the conference,
accusing the ICF as having been designed primarily by the World Bank and
the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) with almost no input
from Haitians themselves.
"International donors are risking complete failure by putting money into
the hands of an undemocratic, unconstitutional regime that has no
legitimacy, and in a climate of impunity and rampant human rights abuses,"
said Melinda Miles of the Quixote Centre.
"The chief goal of the Bank is to help the Government" said World Bank
President James Wolfensohn truthfully, but then he kept talking.
The question remains how to help the
<http://www.socialistvoice.com/sv27.html>courageously struggling Haitian
poor majority gain control of their government and their lives.
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