Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Haiti: The Donation Dismay


"All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope."
-Alexandre Dumas
This follows the first blog post on the site called "Haiti: 209 years later". It was more or less looking at some of the issues that have plagued the country of my parents and ancestors since its conception in 1804. The earlier piece touched upon the cholera epidemic caused by a certain UN official and the UN’s refusal of compensation. Earlier there was historical context referred to in regards to the  beginnings where France and the US played major roles in the demise of the country's progression. At this point in time there  are still many problems hurting the people of Haiti. Furthermore, the goal of this is to shed light on things the media is less inclined to cover. Americans and much of the world doesn't necessarily turn a blind eye to Haiti but the news coverage and media does little to shed light on the dark things going on. This piece will be focusing on the paper trail of the billions of dollars supposedly donated to the Haitian people.


The UK’s Daily Mail does quite an astonishing job covering the wrongs committed to the Haitian people even after billions was reportedly donated after the earthquake in 2010. Below are couple facts on what has happened to all that donation money people generously gave, with good intentions in mind:
  • An estimated $13.5 Billion USD was donated world wide to Haiti with 1.5 billion coming from the US alone.
  • For every dollar donated, 40 cents was used just to run the charities and other organizations that relocated to Haiti after the earthquake.
  • As of January 2012 about 4,800 homes were built and 13,000 repaired.
  • About 300,000 are still living in tent communities.
  • Of the millions of dollars donated by the US only 1% made it directly to Haitian contractors, companies, or organizations.
What makes me really sick are all the people that work for these charitable organizations. They are benefiting from the despair of the Haitian people, whom are literally dying in the conditions the earthquake has left them in. Not to mention every hurricane season one or two large hurricanes sweep through the island of Hispaniola. One cannot forget the close to 8000 that have already died of cholera which has run rampant through these tent communities. An excerpt from the Miami Herald can illustrate the spending by non-profit organizations:
Oxfam is among the few groups that spell out how much it spent just on management: $14.4 million. It also spent $150,000 a month trucking water and $30,000 per month on warehouse fees.
“You have to have security, you have to have cars, you have to have a driver — one in the morning and one in the afternoon,” lamented Oxfam acting country director Cecilia Millan. “Many people got rich selling supplies. Well, actually, not a lot of people got rich — a few people who could do business got very rich.”
The average citizen naturally would want to donate to help out people in need. Looking at the pictures of Haitians in despair and anyone would have been quick to donate. However, just as the Stop Kony campaign turned out to be a scam, the American people and the world were bamboozled by these charities. Additionally, leadership in Haiti has shown to be less than capable of going after the money owed or distributing the money appropriately.

The government rule in Haiti is not one that was voted by the people but more so put in place by former colonial powers. This ties into the funneling of money that has disappeared from donations. Current president Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly is a questionable leader at best so it would make sense the money used by the government may not be going in the right places. Haïti Liberté covered an article a couple years back pointing out my sentiments of a puppet governor in one Sweet Micky. Not only was he a supporter of US backed dictator Baby Doc Duvalier but also had ties to the 2004 uprising that unseated former president Aristide.

In short, the government is not even a democratically elected government so not coming to the aide of its citizens isn't far fetched. To come full circle with the the donation issues; Haitians are dying of disease, starvation, malnutrition, and left to live in tent or mountain communities. It's reported that about 60,000 people living in tents on private land are now being evicted as if not having a home to go to is not enough to catch a break.

If you are to get one thing from this article it is that the people of Haiti are still in need. Simply texting a donation to the Red Cross or some big fancy organization is not helping, but hurting the people in dire straits. If you are in a community with a large Haitian population then go to a church. See if you can help through some church officials that way you know. This way you have a direct path to the people you want to help. Alert your friends to the problems that are still faced 3 years after the earthquake.

These are simply glimpses of the problems faced by the people of Haiti. Many face an everyday battle just to live and that is something that hurts for any human being to hear. As mentioned earlier, the plan is to continue coverage of Haiti in a series of posts considering the country is being attacked from every angle possible. The hope is, after reading this, you don't stop here and go on to look into the matter yourself.

6 comments:

  1. What is interesting about this post is you shed light on the contributions that have been made in order to preserve the power of non profit organizations and their conspicuous presence in distracting people from what is an actual illegal and down low proposition into turning Haiti into a "tourist country", or another brand of Seychelles. Meanwhile the country's native peasants continue to experience extreme poverty due to racial divisions and other isms within the huge inequality gap in class, comparable with what is going on here in the US. Where do you see these imperfections co-existed in Haiti's economics deriving from?

    kindly,
    SVH

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  2. Ms. Hutton,

    Let me first start by saying thank you for taking the time to read this post and a great thanks for commenting on this. Your insight on the issues are spot on and it is always refreshing to see more people aware of the happenings. To answer your question if I have read it correctly, the colonial powers that be have always had a hand in Haiti's economical demise.
    In my previous post on Haiti I mentioned the trade embargo the US placed on Haiti when it first claimed it's independence. This caused the battle stricken country to spiral from the get go.
    Also to this day Haiti apparently owes France 21 billion for loss of life and land when they revolted and took the country.
    Then the US came back again from 1915-1934 occupying the country and fueling the light skin vs dark skin discrimination/class system.
    There was another embargo in 1993 and a military US coup in 2004.
    between the embargoes, occupations, and military/political coups it allowed people like the Duvaliers to put their Perle and fangled ones in economical political power. Even the current president had his hand in the sabotage of real advancement of the people.
    I hope I was able to answer your question let me know if I have not.

    -Elijah R.

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  3. Thank you so much for posting this, unfortunately not many mainstream media talk about the situation in Haiti so it's not that easy to get information. I will be following this blog very closely from now on. Keep up the good work!

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  4. Julia,

    Thanks for reading and commenting! What is going on in Haiti is pretty saddening and more people need to know what is going on. Thanks again for taking the time to read its much appreciated.

    -Elijah R.

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