Haiti: The politics of rebuilding

In the latest edition of Fault Lines, Avi Lewis travels to Port-au-Prince and to the Plateau Central to document the politics of rebuilding in Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake. It seems the complusion of Haiti’s former colonial masters to use the country and its people as a vast economic laboratory remains unceasing.

In the meantime, Isabel MacDonald at Huffington Post has compiled a “partial index of the West’s ‘humanitarian efforts’ in Haiti” to date:

  • Amount pledged for Haiti’s reconstruction over the following 18 months at the March 31 UN conference: $5,300,000,000
  • Percentage of this amount that has been paid: 1.9
  • Amount of pledged U.S. bilateral search and rescue assistance to Haiti that was delivered in the wake of the earthquake: $0

  • Value of the no-bid contract the U.S. government awarded the private prison group GEO in the month after the earthquake:$260,589
  • Ratio of U.S. pledges for Haiti’s reconstruction to Venezuelan pledges: 1:2
  • Value of aid the French government has promised Haiti through pledged contributions to UN agencies, NGOS and the Red Cross: $180 million
  • Quantity of this aid that has been delivered: $0
  • Cost of the French secretary of state for overseas development’s travel via private jet to a conference on aid for Haiti: $143,000
  • Estimated number of Haitians who remain homeless after the earthquake: 1,500,000
  • Amount that has been collected for Haiti relief by U.S. charities: $1,300,000,000
  • Number of Haitians without even tents or tarps for shelter: 232,130
  • Haiti’s global ranking in terms of the number of NGOs operating in the nation, measured globally on a per-capita-basis: #1
  • Haiti’s global NGO-per-capita ranking before the earthquake: #1
  • Ratio of Haitian-produced rice to U.S.-imported rice consumed in Haiti in 1985: 22:1
  • Ratio of Haitian to US-produced rice consumed in Haiti in 2000, 5 years after an IMF structural adjustment program went into effect reducing rice import tariffs: 1:2
  • Value of USAID’s current contract with a subsidiary of the parent company of American Rice Inc., the corporation that is considered to have most benefited from the demise of Haitian rice production: $126,000,000
  • Value of total French humanitarian assistance to Haiti since the earthquake: $35,956,408
  • Estimated value today of the compensation Haiti paid France for lost French slave trade profits after Haiti, a former French slave colony, won independence: $40,000,000,000

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