Originally posted at The New York Times
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A few days after the Jan. 10, 2010, earthquake, Reginald Boulos opened the gates of his destroyed car dealership to some 14,000 displaced people who settled on the expansive property. Seven months later, eager to rebuild his business, he paid the families $400 each to leave Camp Boulos and return to their devastated neighborhoods.
At the time, Dr. Boulos, a physician and business magnate, was much maligned for what was portrayed as bribing the homeless to participate in their own eviction. But eventually, desperate to rid public plazas of squalid camps, the Haitian government and the international authorities adopted his approach themselves: “return cash grants” have become the primary resettlement tool.
This represents a marked deflation of the lofty ambitions that followed the disaster, when the world aspired not only to repair Haiti but to remake it completely. The new pragmatism signals an acknowledgment that despite billions of dollars spent — and billions more allocated for Haiti but unspent — rebuilding has barely begun and 357,785 Haitians still languish in 496 tent camps.
“When you look at things, you say, ‘Hell, almost three years later, where is the reconstruction?’ ” said Michèle Pierre-Louis, a former prime minister of Haiti. “If you ask what went right and what went wrong, the answer is, most everything went wrong. There needs to be some accountability for all that money.”
Continue reading In the News: Rebuilding in Haiti Lags After Billions in Post-Quake Aid
by Valery Daudier and Cadet Carl Henry, Le Nouvelliste, published September 7, 2012
The fiscal situation of the industrialist Michel André Apaid has been regularized without the latter paying a dime in taxes, contrary to what had been said by members of the government after the lifting of the travel against him. According to the head of the section for large taxpayers of the Directorate General of Taxes (DGI), Joseph Salime Montinor, Mr. Apaid has a deductible benefit of 15 years for his business. DGI was not aware!
Michel André Apaid whose passport was confiscated Monday (Sept 3) at the Toussaint Louverture airport as he was preparing to fly out of the country was presented to the press on Friday with his council composed of attorneys Gervais Charles, Carlos Hercules and Stanley Gaston. The ban has been lifted, but this was not a favor by authorities to the businessman. He does not owe taxes on the company in question.
“The tax slips were simply canceled by DGI. It was a private company since 2005. So there was never any payment due, contrary to what former Senator Joseph Lambert and spokesman of the Presidency, Lucien Jura, said,” reported Attorney Gervais.
Continue reading In the News: The Directorate General of Taxation (DGI) is “wrong” in the case of André Apaid
by Jaja Atenra. Originally posted at Examiner.com
There is a famous Haitian proverb that says, Dye mon, gen mon, “beyond the mountains, more mountains.” This proverb sums up Haiti’s 200 year struggle for independence. The latest mountain facing Haitian people’ struggle for independence is there effort to implement democracy in Haiti which has been undermined by the players (U.S. foreign policymakers), pimps (Haitian government officials), and hustlers (Haitian elite families).
A “player” is defined as someone who is skilled at manipulating (“playing”) others by pretending to care about them, when in reality they are only interested in physical gratification or monetary gain. U.S. foreign policymakers have acted as “players” when devising U.S. foreign policy in Haiti. U.S. foreign policy has for decades been influential in defining the economic and political system in Haiti.
Continue reading In the News: Players, Pimpls, and Hustlers: Democracy at Work in Haiti
by Beverly Bell. Originally posted at The Huffington Post
Patrick Elie has long been a democracy activist. Moreover, during President Aristide’s administration-in-exile during the 91-94 coup d’etat, Patrick was coordinator of the anti-drug unit of the National Intelligence Service, where he was key to exposing the collusion between the U.S. government and the military coup leaders. He subsequently served as Aristide’s secretary of defense. Here Patrick discusses how the ‘shock doctrine’ is working in Haiti, why equality is essential to rebuilding the nation, and why Haitians need to break from the vision that the international community has for its reconstruction.
The Shock Doctrine, the book by Naomi Klein, shows that often imperialist countries shock another country, and then while it’s on its knees, they impose their own political will on that country while making economic profits from it. We’re facing an instance of the shock doctrine at work, even though Haiti’s earthquake wasn’t caused by men. There are governments and sectors who want to exploit this shock to impose their own political and economic order, which obviously will be to their advantage.
One thing to watch is a humanitarian coup d’état. We have to be careful. Especially in the early days, the actions weren’t coordinated at all and they overtook the goalie, which is the Haitian government. The little bit of state that’s left is almost irrelevant in the humanitarian aid and reconstruction. What is going to happen is that it’s not Haitians who will decide what Haiti we want, it’s people in other countries.
Continue reading In the News: The Shock Doctrine in Haiti: An Interview with Patrick Elie