View Full Version : Wiikileaks: Disaster capitalism and the Haiti earthquake

17-06-2011, 02:14 AM
Haitian French language newspaper Haïti Liberté has obtained a number of US Embassy cables related to the island and is collaborating with The Nation in a series of articles on US policy towards the country.
Recent articles examine the free-for-all described by the US ambassador as American companies joined the reconstruction gold rush after the January 2010 earthquake.

"THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!" Merten headlined a section of his 6 PM situation report—or SitRep—to Washington. "As Haiti digs out from the earthquake, different [US] companies are moving in to sell their concepts, products and services," he wrote. "President Preval met with Gen Wesley Clark Saturday [January 29] and received a sales presentation on a hurricane/earthquake resistant foam core house designed for low income residents."
Another cable from 2009 shows how the US tried to prevent a rise in the minimum wage because of opposition to the measure from US multinational clothing manufacturers:

Contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi’s worked in close concert with the US Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere, according to secret State Department cables.
The factory owners told the Haitian Parliament that they were willing to give workers a 9-cents-per-hour pay increase to 31 cents per hour to make T-shirts, bras and underwear for US clothing giants like Dockers and Nautica.

But the factory owners refused to pay 62 cents per hour, or $5 per day, as a measure unanimously passed by the Haitian Parliament in June 2009 would have mandated. And they had the vigorous backing of the US Agency for International Development and the US Embassy when they took that stand.

C. Flower
17-06-2011, 10:31 AM
31 cents an hour !!!

Good old USAID.

And still nothing much rebuilt after a year.

17-06-2011, 10:57 AM
Lack of support for laborers is a hallmark of American society and American workers will still buy Dockers and Nautica and guess what - so will the Irish.

C. Flower
17-06-2011, 11:30 AM
Lack of support for laborers is a hallmark of American society and American workers will still buy Dockers and Nautica and guess what - so will the Irish.

Perhaps an organised boycott would help.

The situation in Haiti is deteriorating, according to this blog written 16 June.
Typhoid is continuing to spread and to kill.

Typhoid was brought in by the UN troops, who have a sorry history in Haiti.

Even before the earthquake there were reports of bad conduct and there was fighting between them and the local people.


C. Flower
15-07-2011, 12:06 AM
Clinton's man in Haiti, Dr. Paul Farmer, apologises for the US having wiped out Haitian rice production.


09-09-2011, 01:26 AM
I see there's another recently released cable from February 2009 which claims that Digicel kicked up blue murder about paying higher taxes in Haiti:

Industry and Manufacturing

5. (U) DIGICEL Lay Offs.
Caribbean-based mobile phone company DIGICEL announced plans to
reduce its Haiti workforce by 10 percent. (Note: During the month
of January, the GoH announced and then rescinded, following howls of
protest, the idea of imposing higher taxes on the lucrative telecoms
sector. DIGICEL accounts for nearly 10 percent of total ''large
taxpayer'' annual revenues of approximately USD 250M. End note.) http://www.cablesearch.org/cable/view.php?id=09PORTAUPRINCE134&hl=Digicel

Digicel obviously carries a lot of weight in Haiti:


18. (SBU) At%zKo-DOatives of the Haitian public sector not
directly involved in the OTA projects, the international community,
and the Haitian private sector. Participants included a Central
Bank representative; a Haitian legal consultant; a representative of
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA); the President of
the Haitian Bankers Association; the CEO of DIGICEL, the Caribbean's
leading cellular provider and Haiti's largest taxpayer; the Chief
Economist of Sogebank, Haiti's largest bank; and the Haitian country
manager for American Airlines.
Haitian business leaders told DAS McDonald (in addition
to voicing their complaints about DGI inefficiency (see paras 20-23
below)) that they are frustrated by GOH inertia. DIGICEL's CEO said
she tried to negotiate a contract to provide internet service
covering 95 percent of the country, but could not obtain a GOH
license, with the result that Haitian internet access remains
spotty, particularly in rural areas.
20. (SBU) 70 percent of the GOH's tax revenue is attributed to UGCF
(i.e., from large taxpayers), and UGCF collects 96 percent of what
it assesses. As a result, DGI understandably continues to focus on
large taxpayers in its effort to expand the taxable base. However,
members of the Haitian private business community expressed to DAS
McDonald their vehement dissatisfaction that DGI continues to pursue
them (who in most cases are already compliant), rather than focusing
on other, mostly smaller, taxpayers, who in many cases are
completely noncompliant. In 2007, the six biggest taxpayers in
Haiti contributed 60 percent of Haiti's overall tax revenue; DIGICEL
alone paid USD24 million.http://www.cablesearch.org/cable/view.php?id=09PORTAUPRINCE330&hl=Digicel

C. Flower
03-10-2011, 12:37 AM
The situation in Haiti seems to get worse and worse.


C. Flower
04-01-2012, 09:56 PM
Found this interesting Aristide website on Haiti - unfortunately it says it's lost its hosting.


Articles on where aid has and hasn't been spent, the history of protests against MINUSTAH violence etc.


18-07-2012, 02:15 AM
More US investment in Haiti:

The agreement came after President Michel Martelly and Cheryl Mills of the U.S. State Department took a tour of a 10-megawatt electrical plant that will power the Caracol Haiti Industrial Park and houses for up to 1,500 workers by year's end.

The newest tenant, Peintures Caraibes SA, will join South Korean garment manufacturer Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd. and will export paint made by Sherwin Williams along with its own locally made paint

Financed by $224 million in subsidies, the Caracol Park is the U.S.'s biggest investment in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake clobbered the capital of Port-au-Prince and threw up to 1.5 million people into grim settlements in southern Haiti.

Sae-A, the main tenant, is scheduled to begin shipping T-shirts in September. Among the company's 20 existing factories are plants in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Sae-A has contracts with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to make products in Haiti, and Target Corp. executives recently toured the project.

Workers will be paid Haiti's minimum wage, which is $5 a day, and will be eligible for bonuses based on performance.

Critics of Haiti's garment sector say the wage isn't enough to provide a living.

Caracol's proponents argue they have spread investments in multiple communities in the north in an effort to prevent such an outcome. The projects range from not only housing and infrastructure but also agriculture.

"The idea was really to do development differently and to break with the development that Haiti has seen in the past," said Jean-Louis Warnholz, senior adviser to Mills, who is counselor and chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
It seems that everywhere the Clintons go you will find the companies that exploit third world labour tagging along just behind.

18-10-2012, 11:14 PM
Clinton giving a speech at something thing singling out Dennis for praise

80% of Haitians have cellphones only 10% use banks, so the solution was cellphone banking


22-10-2012, 09:52 PM
Bill, Hill and buddies flew to Haiti today to inaugurate the Caracol industrial park:

Actors Sean Penn and Bill Stiller, fashion designer Donna Karan and British business magnate Richard Branson were among the luminaries at the opening of the new Caracol Industrial Park, which is projected to create thousands of jobs more than 100 miles from the quake-ravaged capital of Port-au-Prince.
Hillary Rodham Clinton told a roomful of investors gathered for a luncheon that she had made Haiti a priority when she became Secretary of State.

Despite the promises of up to 65,000 jobs at the site, and projections of possibly 133,000 more jobs through related cottage industries, the Caracol project has drawn much skepticism.

Critics say it's not much different from the factories to make baseballs for the U.S. sport that were built in the 1970s and 1980s under the regime of playboy dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
Those jobs prompted thousands of farmers to leave their fields for the capital, and agricultural areas suffered from neglect. Shantytowns like Cite Soleil emerged to house the new workers. The factories got tax breaks but there was no income to offset Duvalier's alleged plundering of state coffers.
Haiti was supposed to become the "Taiwan of the Caribbean" but instead suffered through economic collapse brought on by political instability

12-07-2013, 11:09 PM
An up to date look at what globalisation is doing to Haiti.

PORT-AU-PRINCE—In Haiti, people wear T-shirts bearing unlikely English messages: “We’re the 2% who don’t care,” says one; a respectable-looking grandmother dons a T-shirt emblazoned with “Crack is Whack!”; a little boy without shoes or pants wears a “Save Darfur” T-shirt; while training an illegal militia, a tough former army lieutenant sports a “Varsity Cheerleader” T-shirt.
The absurd messages on these garments—by-products of globalization—are often lost in translation for Haitians, but the crueler irony is that decades of neo-liberal measures have pushed Haiti to expand its apparel industry to export T-shirts to US markets. Garments are then branded with various designs, sold, consumed, discarded, and shipped back to Haiti, along with other used clothes, for resale in local markets, undercutting and decimating Haitian tailors and their trade in traditional-style clothing.

Decades of tariff-free food imports and flooding of food aid sourced from heavily subsidized US farmers has similarly sabotaged the Haitian agriculture sector, forcing people into urban slums, where they compete for jobs in the garment assembly sector. In the 1950s, agriculture made up 90 per cent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agriculture_in_Haiti) of Haiti’s exports; today, 90 per cent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_Haiti)of exports are from the apparel sector, while more than half (http://www.wfp.org/countries/haiti/overview) the country’s food is imported.

25-02-2015, 11:16 PM
Cos the guys need somewhere decent to hole up when they drop into town..


A new Marriott hotel opened in Port-au-Prince in Haiti today as the country slowly recovers from the devastating 2010 earthquake.

Haiti President Michel Martelly, former US President Bill Clinton and Digicel chairman Denis O’Brien were among those at the opening ahead of an official opening this weekend. The decision to build the Marriott Port-au-Prince began four years ago when Marriott International reached out to the Clinton Foundation to propose a new hotel to help Haiti rebuild its tourism industry after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
The company found a partner in Digicel Group, which has invested US$45m to build the 175-room hotel.
“I am grateful to Marriott and Digicel for their commitment to this project, and hope that its success will inspire further investment and opportunity in Haiti,” Mr Clinton said yesterday


25-04-2015, 07:35 PM
Fox News are gunning for Hilary via the Clinton's enormous money pile. Digicel success in Haiti comes under scrutiny

"Mr O'Brien declined to speak with us" :)



C. Flower
25-04-2015, 08:13 PM
I've just opened a new Carribean Islands forum with a Haiti subforum. It is an information gold mine :) - please share it and invite your Haitian friends.


A few #Haiti #Clintonfoundation tweets might do it.

C. Flower
30-05-2015, 09:08 AM
More on the climate for the telecoms business in Haiti - ended badly for some. It must take some doing to make it in business out there.



28-07-2015, 03:31 PM
Today marks 100 years of ongoing US occupation of Haiti.

- http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/28/humanitarian-occupation-of-haiti-100-years-and-counting/
- http://shannontylercunningham.tumblr.com/post/125257649742/economic-prospects-of-haitis-gold-rush

C. Flower
28-07-2015, 04:50 PM
Today marks 100 years of ongoing US occupation of Haiti.

- http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/28/humanitarian-occupation-of-haiti-100-years-and-counting/
- http://shannontylercunningham.tumblr.com/post/125257649742/economic-prospects-of-haitis-gold-rush

The invasions and occupations have been almost nose-to-tail. It is a more intense version of what has happened to Greece since WW2. People that will not lie down.

In plain sight, days after the earthquake, the US excluded humanitarian flights from other states, and flew and shipped in 22000 troops to Haiti, even though there they considered was no security situation.


31-05-2016, 08:43 PM
This somehow didn't make the headlines. One wonders why...

The Red Cross received an outpouring of donations after the quake, nearly half a billion dollars... But the actual number of permanent homes the group has built in all of Haiti: six...The Red Cross won’t disclose details of how it has spent the hundreds of millions of dollars donated for Haiti...
LINK (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/04/red-cross-haiti-report_n_7511080.html)