[News] Plan Lanmó – the Death Plan: The Clintons, foreign aid and NGOs in Haiti
news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 27 11:26:15 EDT 2015
Plan Lanmó – the Death Plan: The Clintons, foreign aid and NGOs in Haiti
*/by Charlie Hinton /*
August 26, 2015
When Bill and Hillary Clinton married in 1975, a friend gave them a trip
to Haiti for their honeymoon. The Washington Post reported
“Since that honeymoon vacation, the Caribbean island nation has held a
life-long allure for the couple, a place they found at once desperate
and enchanting, pulling at their emotions throughout his presidency and
in her maiden year as secretary of state.” Haiti’s president at the time
was Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier, and Hillary and Bill fell in love
with a country living under a dictator and his tonton macoute death squad.
Bill Clinton helped found the Democratic Leadership Council in 1985,
formed as a conservative counter to Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition
campaign of 1984, which more pro-business Democrats saw as a threat.
Running as a “New Democrat,” Clinton became president in 1992 after 12
years of “Reaganomics,” philosophically part of the global economic
movement called “neo-liberalism,” a policy of privatization and free
trade that was transforming the global economy.
Instead of trying to brake or reverse Reaganomics, Clinton vigorously
pursued Reagan-Bush policies, aligning with Republicans to push U.S.
participation in both NAFTA and the World Trade Organization (WTO)
through a resistant Democrat-controlled Congress. He also signed the
Republican-sponsored bill to overturn the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933,
which had separated commercial banking from investment banking. The
destruction of that firewall fueled the Wall Street gambling-created
economic bubble that burst in the housing mortgage crisis of 2008-2009.
Clinton finally had to confront some of the consequences of his actions.
“We made a devil’s bargain,” Clinton apologized
<http://www.democracynow.org/2010/4/1/clinton_rice> at a hearing before
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 2010. He apologized for
forcing Haiti to drop tariffs on imported U.S. rice, subsidized by our
government, during his time in office. Neo-liberal policy prevented
Haiti’s government from subsidizing its own rice farmers, and they could
not compete, wiping out Haitian rice farming and seriously damaging
Haiti’s ability to be self-sufficient.
Clinton testified: “Since 1981, the United States has followed a policy,
until the last year or so when we started rethinking it, that we rich
countries that produce a lot of food should sell it to poor countries
and relieve them of the burden of producing their own food, so, thank
goodness, they can leap directly into the industrial era.
“It has not worked. It may have been good for some of my farmers in
Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake … I have to live every
day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in
Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else.”
What he did not explain is that after Haitians stop producing rice to
feed themselves, under neo-liberal gospel, they’re supposed to instead
produce mangos and other tropical foods to export to Northern countries.
Thus they become dependent on cutthroat global markets to earn the hard
currency foreign exchange necessary to buy imported food, which can now
be sold at monopoly prices because there is no domestic competition.
By the time Jean-Bertrand Aristide returned to office in 1994 after the
first coup against him in 1990, “Miami rice” had already flooded Haiti’s
markets. However, the Aristide government resisted enormous pressure to
privatize other Haitian government-owned businesses, and Clinton made
sure Aristide would not serve the full five-year term to which he was
elected, despite demands from the majority of Haitians who wanted
Aristide to complete five full years in office, making up for the almost
four years spent in exile after the coup.
As a result of the destruction of the rice crop, Haitian farmers and
their families who could no longer afford to farm flooded into
Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, to look for work. Many of them were
among the hundreds of thousands of dead and injured in the catastrophic
earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010.
Eight days after the quake, Bill Clinton told the Washington Post
“This is a personal thing for us.” Hillary and I have “always felt a
special responsibility” for Haiti and its 9 million people. “She has the
same memories I do. She has the same concerns I do. We love the place.”
The earthquake destruction “personally emotionally affected” him. His
wife, he said, became “physically sick.”
The global community responded with incredible generosity
after the quake, donating or pledging almost $10 billion
<http://newint.org/features/2012/01/01/haiti-money-ngo-un/>. The Red
raised $488 million, World Vision
$265.3 million (by 2015), Catholic Relief
$159 million, Partners in Health
more than $81 million, the Clinton Bush fund
$52.6 million, the Clinton Foundation $36 million, and on and on. One
hundred eighty charities raised money in the name of Haiti earthquake
relief, yet Haiti remains as poor as ever, with the poverty rate in 2012
at 58.5 percent and in rural areas at 74.9 percent.
As a result of the destruction of the rice crop, Haitian farmers
and their families who could no longer afford to farm flooded into
Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, to look for work. Many of them
were among the hundreds of thousands of dead and injured in the
catastrophic earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010.
In “Haiti: Seven places where the earthquake money did and did not go
Bill Quigley and Amber Ramanauskas note: “The largest single recipient
of U.S. earthquake money was the U.S. government. The same holds true
for donations by other countries.
“Right after the earthquake, the U.S. allocated $379 million in aid and
sent in 5,000 troops. The Associated Press discovered that of the $379
million in initial U.S. money promised for Haiti, most was not really
money going directly, or in some cases even indirectly, to Haiti. They
documented in January 2010 that 33 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. Forty-two cents of each dollar
went to private and public non-governmental organizations like Save the
Children, the U.N. World Food Program and the Pan American Health
Organization. Hardly any went directly to Haitians or their government.
“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” – reimbursed to the Department of
Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, to USAID disaster
assistance, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Department of
Homeland Security and so on.
International assistance followed the same pattern. After the
earthquake, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti wrote an email
saying, “The gold rush is on,” and indeed it was. For everyone but Haitians.
Instead of building infrastructure and providing aid to those most in
need, Haiti’s international rulers continue their same old neo-liberal
formula of promoting tourism, sweatshops
natural resource extraction, and cash crop exports. As secretary of
state, Hillary Clinton promoted this very policy, demonstrated
particularly in the imposition of Michel Martelly as president.
In January, 2011, at the height of the Egyptian Arab Spring revolution,
Clinton flew to Port-au-Prince
to demand that Martelly be named one of the two runoff candidates,
although he was not announced originally by the Electoral Council as one
of the two top vote getters.
After the earthquake, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti wrote an email
saying, “The gold rush is on,” and indeed it was. For everyone but
Despite a voter boycott, with fewer than 20 percent of the electorate
voting, Martelly was announced the winner of the “runoff,” and the
results were accepted by the international community. The results have
been catastrophic for the Haitian majority, as Martelly appointed
Duvalierists throughout his administration and has sanctioned
privatization, repression, death squads, corruption, illegally appointed
judges and illegal changes to the Constitution, while bringing a
particularly greedy and arrogant entourage into his government.
His administration has granted mineral concessions with no
accountability and cut down the only forest on the island of Ile a
Vache, displacing hundreds of peasant families, to build a tourist resort.
“At least seven hotels are under construction or are in the planning
stage in Port-au-Prince and its surrounding areas, raising hopes that
thousands of investors will soon fill their air-conditioned rooms
looking to build factories and tourist infrastructure that will help
Haiti bounce back from a 2010 earthquake,” according to USA Today
The Clinton Bush fund invested $2 million of earthquake money in the new
luxury Royal Oasis Hotel.
The Clinton Foundation invested earthquake money in the Caracol Northern
with Korean apparel manufacturer Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd., known for its
sweatshops, as the anchor tenant. Sae-A makes clothes for Walmart, Gap
and other retailers.
The earthquake did not touch this part of Haiti. Projected to provide
65,000 jobs, as of September 2014, only 4,156 people worked there
At the opening ceremony, Secretary of State Clinton said
“I want to begin by thanking President Martelly for his leadership and
his vision and his passion about the people of his country and for your
administration’s commitment to show the world Haiti is open for business.”
In June, 2015 Pro Publica and NPR published an analysis of the Red Cross
called “How the Red Cross raised half a billion dollars for Haiti and
built 6 homes.” “The Red Cross says it has provided homes to more than
130,000 people. But the actual number of permanent homes the group has
built in all of Haiti: six. …
“After the earthquake, Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern unveiled ambitious
plans to ‘develop brand-new
communities.’ None has ever been built.” The donations, however, “helped
the group erase its more than $100 million deficit.”
Haitians call neo-liberalism Plan Lanmó, the “Death Plan,” because of
the social and economic devastation caused by neo-liberal policies – the
forced opening of markets to U.S. goods, sweatshop wages, the plundering
of natural resources, austerity budget programs and the privatization of
state owned enterprises.
This pattern is not new so much as a continuation of the same policies
used to rule over Haiti since the people’s successful 1804 revolution to
overthrow slavery and drive out the French. The former slave owning
countries, in particular France and the United States, have operated
ever since to prevent any true democratic form of government that would
benefit the majority of Haitians and limit in any way U.S. and French
The most recent development is rule through non-governmental
organizations, or NGOs. In “Is Haiti Doomed to Be the Republic of NGOs?
Vijaya Ramachandran <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vijaya-ramachandran/>
writes, “One study
found that even before the January 2010 earthquake, NGOs provided 70
percent of health care, and private schools (mostly NGO-run) accounted
for 85 percent of national education.”
“Humanitarian agencies, NGOs, private contractors and other non-state
service providers have received 99 percent of [earthquake] relief aid
– /less than 1 percent of aid in the immediate aftermath of the quake
went to public institutions or to the government/,” the article reports,
Haitians call neo-liberalism Plan Lanmó, the “Death Plan,” because
of the social and economic devastation caused by neo-liberal
policies – the forced opening of markets to U.S. goods, sweatshop
wages, the plundering of natural resources, austerity budget
programs and the privatization of state owned enterprises.
NGOs first entered Haiti shortly after World War II but became a flood
in the 1980s, propelled by global neo-liberal economic ideology, changes
in tax laws that allowed the mushrooming of foundations as tax dodge
havens, and the desire to avert aid money away from the famously
kleptocratic regime of Baby Doc Duvalier.
One goal of neo-liberalism is to starve governments of the money
necessary to provide social services, so those services, like education,
healthcare, water and even prisons, become privatized. Public assets,
theoretically available to all who need them, get sold to corporations,
and then only those with money get served. Once governments can no
longer fund services, NGOs leap in to try to do the job, but with a hitch.
A democratically elected government will work to serve the needs of the
people that elected it, whereas NGOs fulfill the agendas of those who
fund them and are not necessarily accountable to the people they serve.
While NGOs may seem benign, they actually help to destabilize social
services, undermine governments and ultimately increase poverty.
One goal of neo-liberalism is to starve governments of the money
necessary to provide social services, so those services, like
education, healthcare, water and even prisons, become privatized.
Since foundations and governments in the Global North are primary
funders of the NGOs that operate in the Global South, the goals of NGOs
may not be the same as the goals of governments – particularly in Haiti,
where 67 percent of Haitian voters elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide
president in 1990 with a mandate to develop institutions to support the
majority of Haitians, instead of international investors.
Big NGOs operate as big businesses, with the same goals, methods and
views, but their “profits” come from the “alleviation” of people’s
suffering. In other words, NGOs exist as a result of suffering and they
need that suffering to thrive and persist.
Each NGO has its own staff, its own office, own agenda, and own Haitian
“partners.” They raise money in the name of Haiti, but they control that
money, and they decide how to spend it, not Haitians. After the
earthquake, not only did little money go to the Haitian government or
institutions, many meetings about aid distribution excluded Haitians or
were conducted in languages other than Haitian kreyol.
According to an internal Red Cross budgeting document
for a housing project, “the project manager – a position reserved for an
expatriate – was entitled to allowances for housing, food and other
expenses, home leave trips, R&R four times a year, and relocation
expenses. In all, it added up to $140,000. Compensation for a senior
Haitian engineer — the top local position — was less than one-third of
that, $42,000 a year.”
*Plan Lanmó and cholera*
The cholera epidemic provides possibly the most explicit example of how
Plan Lanmó is the “death plan.” Cholera was introduced
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiti_cholera_outbreak> into Haiti by the
waste dumped into the Artibonite River by Nepalese soldiers serving in
the U.N. MINUSTAH army, which has occupied Haiti since the U.S., Canada,
and French-sponsored coup against democratically elected President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 29, 2004.
Conservative estimates show that as of Aug. 30, 2014
8,592 people had died from the disease and 706,089, 6 percent of the
population, had been made sick because of water contaminated by sewage.
At first the U.N. denied its role in introducing cholera; then, when a
French scientist proved it, the U.N. refused to spend the necessary
money to create or coordinate the creation of a sanitation system that
would eliminate it.
The Pro Publica report says, “When a cholera epidemic raged through
Haiti nine months after the quake, the biggest part of the Red Cross’
response — a plan
to distribute soap and oral rehydration salts — was crippled by
“internal issues that go unaddressed
wrote the director of the Haiti program in her May 2011 memorandum.
“Throughout that year, cholera was a steady killer. By September 2011,
when the death toll had surpassed 6,000, the project was still listed as
‘very behind schedule’ according to another internal document.”
The Guardian reported
on a 10-year plan to eradicate cholera, “According to Nigel Fisher, head
of the U.N. mission in Haiti, funding is tight – the U.N. has committed
only $23.5 million on top of money it has already spent on cholera. This
compares with the $650 million the U.N. spends annually on the troops
that brought the epidemic to Haiti.”
It took four years after the introduction of cholera for the
international community to hold a donor conference to raise funds for
the cholera response. Of the $2.2 billion needed
<http://tinyurl.com/p27cqst> for an eradication program, only $50
million has been pledged.
So there you have it. When Haiti needs coordinated planning to create a
massive infrastructure project, there is no entity capable of leading
it. A competent government is the most obvious answer, but the Haitian
government has been so neo-liberalized, privatized, defunded, imposed
and corrupted that it has neither the will nor the capacity to carry out
such a task.
The U.N. occupation army created the catastrophe, but a U.S. judge has
ruled that the U.N. has legal immunity from any lawsuits by Haitians.
There’s been no hearing of the case in Haitian courts.
The Red Cross distributes soap. Many governments, NGOs and church
organizations initiate programs, most well intentioned and staffed by
well-intentioned people, but their efforts are not coordinated, and none
of them yet get to the root need – a modern sanitation system.
Almost all aid decisions are made – and the aid administered – by
non-Haitians. When Haitians twice elected a government that actually
worked to benefit the majority of its people, the U.S. government and
Haitian elites twice orchestrated coups to overthrow it, and the U.S. is
the primary funder of a U.N. occupation army which suppresses those
calling for its restoration.
This system of outside control of Haiti – replacing government with
foreign aid, NGOs and consultants – has totally failed most Haitians.
Finally, Martelly and the Electoral Council called a parliamentary
election for Aug. 9 and a presidential election for Oct. 25.
Former President Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas, will be running
candidates for the first time since 2000. Repression and exclusion
chicanery by forces allied with Martelly have already begun.
The Aug. 9 parliamentary elections have been widely denounced. Election
day was marred by acts of voter suppression by Martelly’s PHTK party and
two others affiliated with the Martelly-Paul government. Live radio
interviews from many areas of Haiti reported violent acts by heavily
armed individuals identified with PHTK against poll watchers and voters.
These included the takeover and closure of polling stations, ballot
stuffing and destruction of ballots already cast.
There were widespread reports of authorized poll watchers and voters
denied access to polling stations while poll watchers from PHTK and
allied parties were given free access. These are but the most recent of
the repressive actions of the continuing 2004 coup d’état and occupation.
It’s time for Haitians to be able to choose their own government and for
the international community to respect and support their choice.
/Charlie Hinton is a member of the Haiti Action Committee,
//www.haitisolidarity.net/ <http://www.haitisolidarity.net/>/. He may be
reached at //lifewish at lmi.net/ <mailto:lifewish at lmi.net>/. /
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