The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is Lying to You

Within hours of my op-ed being published in the New York Daily News today, the $50 million Clinton Bush Haiti Fund posted an update on its Facebook page called “Cholera Concern,” which includes this sentence: “While other organizations in Haiti are using their resources to deliver immediate humanitarian aid, we are using our resources to focus on long-term development so that these crises are prevented.”

Look at the screen shot of an Oct. 25 article about Haiti on Fox News. The advertisement for the fund is doubly deceitful: “100% of donations go directly to relief efforts,” it says. That is a lie, period. Relief is what earthquake victims desperately need right now to protect them from an oncoming hurricane. It’s what they’ve needed for the past ten months to make tent camps more livable.

Relief is not the same as long-term development, especially the fund’s chosen brand focusing on Haiti’s business class. I thought planning and executing long-term development was the Haitian government’s job. There are no Haitians on the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund’s board of directors.

“The best way concerned citizens can help is to donate funds…” This is BS, too. Not only because the fund in question is lying and not spending its money on relief efforts. “Concerned citizens” can be informed by serious journalism, the kind major media refuse to practice when it comes to Haiti. “Concerned citizens” can do more than toss spare change at Haiti’s morass of NGOs. “Concerned citizens” can make sure their government’s policies – from financing a dubious election, to supporting a militarized peacekeeping force, to dumping American rice – don’t reinforce poverty on a structural level.

I happen to think that’s “the best way concerned citizens can help”. It’s why I’m here doing this work.

Read the op-ed below. Thanks to the Daily News for publishing it and for historian Peter Hudson of The Public Archive for the opening quote.

Breaking: North American news outlets “excited” by Haiti cholera outbreak. They say for them, “without a crisis, Haiti doesn’t exist.”

It’s a bitterly sarcastic but, unfortunately, entirely true statement, made via Twitter this week by Vanderbilt University historian Peter James Hudson. CNN doubled its prime-time viewership in January when a 7.0 earthquake devastated much of the nation’s capital, Port-au-Prince. With CNN lagging behind its more partisan competitors, disaster porn is now the news channel’s bread and butter.

But it has managed to entirely miss the big-picture story: The cholera outbreak itself is a symptom of failed foreign policies and organizations that have left the Haitian people as poor as ever and disconnected from the mechanisms of their own development.

Anderson Cooper pledged to stay on the story of Haiti’s reconstruction. But he’s only been seen in Haiti once since the quake, on its six-month anniversary. Cooper stopped by the collapsed National Palace to accept a medallion for his reporting from the Haitian government in a surreal ceremony celebrating the country’s progress.

At that time, more than 1.3 million people made homeless by the earthquake were living in crowded, makeshift camps. Today, they still live that way amid the rubble of Port-au-Prince, extremely vulnerable to waterborne diseases like cholera. Refugees International recently called UN-led humanitarian efforts “paralyzed” and found “appalling” conditions in the camps, despite the billions of dollars pledged for earthquake relief.

Now, CNN crews are back in Haiti, covering a deadly cholera epidemic that has killed at least 330 people and infected nearly 5,000, according to officials. The bacteria incubate in bodies before causing symptoms or passing into the environment. What most media reports ignore is that the epidemic has been years in the making.

The George W. Bush administration blocked millions of dollars in loans from the Inter-American Development Bank for public water infrastructure in Haiti’s central region. In the previous decade, President Bill Clinton pressured the Haitian government into slashing tariffs on imported American rice, devastating the rice farming economy of the area.

Families are so poor they have no choice but to drink, bathe and cook with water from the muddy Artibonite River, where the cholera outbreak began. Yet UN officials said this epidemic was unexpected, attempting to excuse their slow response and failure to quarantine the zone where cholera broke out – even as they took credit in preceding months for preventing a postearthquake outbreak of infectious disease.

“What has been the impact of what you’re doing on the ground?” At a news conference following the October meeting of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission in Port-au-Prince, it was the second time that Haitian journalists had asked the question. But who can blame them?

There has been no meaningful recovery or reconstruction since the quake. Clinton, co-chairman of the commission, looked exasperated. “I think what they’re getting at is this: there are still 1.3 million people living in camps who -,” I offered, but Clinton stepped to the podium and cut me off. The prime minister moved aside.

Clinton said building housing is always the biggest challenge in postdisaster situations. He concluded with a plea: “It’s very difficult but we are on the move now, so just give us a little more time to show some progress.”

It’s too bad CNN’s Cooper wasn’t standing next to me, fixing his laserlike blue eyes on Clinton and lobbing righteously indignant questions. Because a little more time has passed since then; now, it’s nearly 10 months since the earthquake. Haiti has a virulent epidemic on its hands, and Hurricane Tomas is poised to lash the country this week. How many more crises must Haiti suffer through before we conclude that Clinton, the United Nations, charity groups and the current Haitian government simply cannot deliver on their promises?

For example, the Clinton-Bush Haiti fund, inaugurated by President Obama with both former Presidents at his side, is still running Web advertisements that say “100% of donations go directly to relief efforts.” That’s a cruel lie, considering the quake victims living in flood zones under withered plastic tarps. Only 8% of its $50 million had been spent by this summer, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

The fund’s website now talks about supporting long-term programs to develop Haiti’s business class. The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission has approved only one water project: $200 million to expand the public water supply in Port-au-Prince. But it remains only 57% funded, according to the group’s website.

Clinton’s much-lauded connections with international donors appear to have come to naught. Busy campaigning for Democrats ahead of Tuesday’s election, he has not spoken out about Haiti during the cholera outbreak.

The international community is financing Haiti’s own election on Nov. 28, but it will likely be a sham affair with little turnout. Fanmi Lavalas, widely seen as the country’s most popular party, is being officially excluded from the ballot by the ruling government as part of a continuing campaign to suppress a mass movement of Haiti’s poor majority.

Over half of American households donated their hard-earned money to Haitian earthquake victims. It’s high time we take stock of where that money went and demand some accountability, which our high-profile journalists have failed to do. Haitians must be allowed to freely choose their own leaders and chart their country’s development. CNN may bring you heartrending images of this place from time to time, but it doesn’t give the people a voice – the one we need to hear the loudest.

12 thoughts on “The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is Lying to You

  1. [...] It’s what they’ve needed for the past ten months to make tent camps more livable”: Mediahacker points out a few critical ways in which “The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is lying to [...]

  2. By the time they get finish putting money in the hands of the people who do nothing for the Haitian people, what little is left over can’t accomplish anything. Habitat can build houses in a month and with all the Haitian people willing to put in a hard days work for little or nothing why cant they bring the materials in and get architects and project managers to volunteer some time overseeing this process. If they did that more than half the people would in houses by now.

  3. it’s not about the peoples; it has never been about the people. Clinton has done some real awful things to Haiti. Bill for some reason belly is not full with Haitian blood. The Bush family belly can’t seem to get full of Haitian blood too. what a web of lies; those people manage to paint.

  4. With the storm hours away,you know that there is going to be a lot of danger to the poor people of this country.I can`t understand why helping the living conditions of the people of Haiti was not taken care of first. In Purvis,MS. their are thousands of camper trailers left over from Katrina, rotting in a field when they could have gone to Haiti instead of selling them on EBAY for nothing.They could use some of those billions of dollars to ship them over their and give them housing beyond any thing they ever had.They could have built storm shelters knowing that they are in a hurricane area. No, the money goes to the wrong places, the wrong people and never really helps the poor people of Haiti. Sounds about Right and that is sad. I live on a fixed income and donated twice to the fund to help these people and know what it is like to face a Hurricane. Typical government stuff!?!

  5. Another great post, Ansel.

    Your work and research is hard, but it is worth it for the 9 million Haitians that have no voice.

  6. Universal Divine Being Isis

    These are Common Sense comments.

    SENEGAL AFRIKA President offered all the people in Haiti a whole region in Senegal Afrika depending on how many is willing to go to Senegal Afrika. Only (5) people in Haiti completed the process to go to Senegal Afrika where the grounds are more stable. Had the People in Haiti accepted the Senegal Afrika President offer would they be still suffering now? When people are offered Help and they refuse it, what is to be said about a people?

    If all the people in Afrika Chant 24/7, REPARATIONS NOW, their voices will be heard Globally. REPARATIONS NOW is the Ark of all Black Afrikan people salvation, liberation, and freedom.When people suffer and they do not know the “root” cause of their suffering, they will continue to perish. REPARATIONS NOW is the CURE for the genocide committed against Black Afrikans. If they know about REPARATIONS and do nothing, they will perish and end up being subservient willing slaves.

    PEOPLE IN HAITI, TAKE THE PRESIDENT IN SENEGAL AFRIKA OFFER.

    PEOPLE IN TAKE THE PRESIDENT IN SENEGAL AFRIKA OFFER.

    PEOPLE IN HAITI TAKE THE PRESIDENT IN SENEGAL AFRIKA OFFER, AND ALL THOSE WHO OPPRESSED THE PEOPLE IN HAITI PICK UP THE TAB TO SEND THE PEOPLE IN HAITI TO SENEGAL AFRIKA, TO INCLUDE MAKING SURE WHEN THEY GET TO SENEGAL AFRIKA, THEY HAVE PROPER HOUSING, FOOD, CLOTHING AND SHELTER.

    OR THE PEOPLE IN HAITI

    Chant 24/7, advocating, demand, and commanding our enslaved ancestors REPARATIONS NOW. REPARATIONS IS LIKEN UNTO AN ARK. Those who do not get on board REPARATIONS NOW, will drown/suffer.

    Chanting 24/7 REPARATIONS NOW will get all those who oppressed them, get their attention. The world would be watching the oppressors come through when REPARATIONS NOW is chanted, and embarrassment the oppressors do not like.

    How do we know Chanting REPARATIONS NOW will correct the problem? Has it been tried.

    Condemnation without investigation is the ultimate ignorance. (Einstein).
    Truth is treason to lies (Ron Paul)
    Believing without thinking is criminal (Osiris)

    When we are serious about seriousness and getting the Help we need, no stone should go unturn, and REPARATIONS NOW is the stone that needs to turn in the people in Haiti minds, and be thrown out to the world.

    When we do not recognize from where our Help come from, REPARATIONS NOW is, and we when drowning throw back the Life Saving Raft REPARATIONS NOW is, what is wrong with us that do?

    Michael Jackson song: THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT US.

    We do not care about (us) when we rebuke/rebel against the One thing that will save us all, and again, the Ark of REPARATIONS NOW.

    REPARATIONS NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

  7. There always have been some sort of a collusion between the business class in Haiti and the international ruling elite to which Bush and Clinton belongs to.

    The role of the Haitian business class is not about developing Haiti’s economy by making Haitian products. It is about making money by keeping Haiti as a client state of the US and other imperialists powers. American foreign policy and that of imperialists powers are about making money by opening markets for transnational corporations.

    So it is no surprise that the money from the Bush and Clinton foundation is going to the Haitian business class who make its fortune by working as contractors for transnational corporations in Haiti and/or selling imported goods without any concerns of their impact on the Haitian economy and on ordinary Haitians.

  8. [...] are using our resources to focus on long-term development so that these crises are prevented.” – http://www.mediahacker.org/2010/11/the-clinton-bush-haiti-fund-is-lying-to-you/#more-2287, Is Three a Crowd? The Venezuela Factor in Cuba’s Policy toward the United [...]

  9. wow,@Universal Divine Being Isis , you are asking the Haitian, who are on lands their foreparents die for, to leave to go to SENEGAL AFRIKA , I see your Knowledge on Haiti is very superfical. REPARATIONS NOW , yes Haiti need to ask France, America, Canda and etc., in Europe to pay what they have stolen from Haiti. Why are the Haitian being asked to go back to a country , they have been gone from almost 5 century. Unbelieve. It’s just so unbelieveable, that the peoples who so much has been taking from are abuse via word magic. smh… Maybe Clinton paid your sorry ass to come on here in speak out your ass. cause you know nothing about Haiti. Inclosing, How dare you flip this on the victims, that’s not going to justify the stealing of donated money, and the sinister child of Globalization call Sustainable which they want to jam down the mouths. 11 months nothing, but it seem like goons with no moral are trying to flip this on the beautiful peoples of Haiti. Remember, it was the cowboy, that brought in all those cameras in put on a hell of a show call Help Haiti. Yes, I see it should have been call help Elite pockets.

  10. THE UN AND ALL THE POWERS THAT BE ARE CORRUPT GREEDY MONSTERS.

  11. [...] A refreshing view from the ground. The mediahacker article that really caught my eye first was The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund is lying to you. This article was featured in the New York Daily News and alerted me to something I had read in a [...]

  12. They say Clinton and Bush is helping Haiti, yeah right. They are not helping they pretend.That is bullshit, like they said no one is really putting out except the little churches in parts of the United states, and the other parts of the world. We are the only ones that are going out of our way to make sure the communities that they are working in to help the people, like for example my church which is called Church of Brethren, we are mostly all over Haiti little parts of the community. And others churches, but the big organization claimed their are helping Haiti but their is no reports where the money going and what is for and who is it helping. Its helping their pocket!.

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