WikiLeaks: Embassy’s “Privatization Update” Shows Shock Doctrine in Action in Haiti

Klein spells out the definition of shock doctrine: using shocking situations to push through legislation that would not be passed under normal circumstances. The shock doctrine is, as she states, a “democracy-avoidance strategy.”

– Naomi Klein lecture at Berkeley, 2009

E.O. 12958: N/A

Despite assurances that privatization is a still a priority for the government, as elections draw nearer we are increasingly skeptical that privatization, in whatever form, will happen under the watch of the IGOH. Time is running out and we are not convinced that the IGOH has the technical capacity nor political will to carry out even one privatization prior to turning over power to an elected government. We will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of privatization and/or private management. Post repeats its recommendation in reftels that privatization be a requirement under future agreements with the IFIs, including an IMF Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) to be negotiated with the new government. Indeed we believe that the only reason that the audits will eventually be completed is because it is a requirement of the World Bank program.

– US Ambassador to Haiti James Foley, Aug. 25, 2005

IGOH refers to Interim Government of Haiti, the unelected government installed after a US-backed coup ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.

Update: Thanks to WikiLeaks for tweeting this! I should add that this “shock doctrine in action” cable pairs nicely with this “disaster capitalism in full effect” one that we flagged earlier this summer, in which the US Ambassador described a post-earthquake “gold rush” for reconstruction contracts.

If you’re a new visitor, check out more WikiLeaks Haiti content here and here, and consider donating to the venerable shoe-string budget Haitian newspaper Haiti Liberte, without which the effort to comb through and analyze these cables would have not been possible.

8 thoughts on “WikiLeaks: Embassy’s “Privatization Update” Shows Shock Doctrine in Action in Haiti”

    1. John: I’m convinced! Thank you so much for providing the extra information I needed to make a sound decision on a complicated subject.

  1. Suggest privatizing businesses in Haiti? Oh, the horror! Never mind than the freer the markets, the greater the prosperity… Haiti’s economic model is a shining beacon of light and capitalism is bad, m’kay?

  2. Privatization is ALWAYS a bad idea. It ALWAYS costs more for less service. It must be so. Govt services merely need to break even but private companies ONLY care about profit, not service. They MUST charge more for the same service, pay fewer workers less, but OVER-pay their CEOs and other leeches and do-nothings. Privatizing always costs more money and hurts people. NEVER privatize unless a particular service is only needed short-term. ALL long-term services need to be nationalized/socialized to minimize cost and maximize benefit for the People.

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