Rife with fraud and corruption, the U.S. government’s multi-billion-dollar Haiti aid program has failed miserably to help citizens of the impoverished island nation, yet the Biden administration is sending tens of millions more under the auspice of Caribbean climate funding. At a recent meeting in the Bahamas, Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled a new $100 million allocation from American taxpayers earmarked as general “support for the Caribbean” to among other things transition renewable energy, address climate change and resilience building across the region. The money will also address energy, food security and humanitarian needs in the various islands.
Buried deep in this month’s announcement is that fact that the biggest chunk of money will go to Haiti, though billions in U.S. aid have disappeared over the years as American taxpayer dollars keep flowing to the poverty-stricken country with no oversight. In fact, billions in U.S. assistance—with billions more from the international community—has made little difference. Since the 2010 earthquake Uncle Sam alone has provided Haiti with over $5.6 billion to help it bounce back but more than a decade later that has not materialized and no one really knows what happened to the money. The funds were supposed to provide Haiti with “life-saving post-disaster relief as well as longer-term recovery, reconstruction, and development programs,” according to the State Department, which confirms that after the 2021 earthquake the U.S. “again mobilized a whole-of-government effort to provide immediate assistance at the Haitian government’s request.” Haiti’s reconstruction and development will continue for many years, the State Department predicts, adding that since 2021 it has doled out a whopping $278 million in humanitarian and health assistance for Haiti.
The U.S.—under both Democratic and Republican administrations—has poured lots of money into Haiti despite systemic lapses in the programs it funds. For instance, a costly initiative a to build housing failed miserably after the U.S. spent $90 million and tens of thousands of Haitians remain homeless a decade later. The Clinton Foundation and Clinton Bush Haiti Fund also came up with some $88 million for earthquake recovery but Haiti remains a disaster, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Even before the tremor a federal audit revealed that hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars were wasted on reckless Haitian projects with the single largest chunk—$170.3 million—going to a failed port and power plant adventure heavily promoted by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Clinton-backed power and port venture is the biggest and most expensive failure mentioned in the probe, which was ordered by a Florida congresswoman who at the time confirmed a “troubling lack of progress and accountability” in Haiti reconstruction projects. All these years later many Haitians still live in deplorable, shanty town tent cities and a never-ending epidemic of cholera keeps claiming lives. Nearly half of the Haitian population does not have enough food, according to the United Nations, which confirms that armed gangs have overrun most of the country’s capital of Port-au-Prince.
Where has all the U.S. aid gone and why does the government keep sending our taxpayer dollars when it has failed to help the Haitian people? Earlier this year the Biden administration awarded Haiti another $56.5 million in humanitarian aid, explaining that it was “for the people of Haiti in response to the country’s humanitarian crisis and cholera epidemic.” This month’s allocation includes $54 million to counter the island’s “humanitarian crisis,” including gang violence on civilians that has prevented Haitians from accessing critical food, safe drinking water and other basic supplies. More than $10.4 million will go to Haiti’s agricultural and livestock sector to enhance resilience and productivity that will improve food security. “This new funding will provide vulnerable Haitians with urgently needed humanitarian assistance, including vital food assistance, as 4.9 million people face acute food insecurity amid the crisis,” according to the recent U.S. government announcement. “In addition, these funds will provide access to safe drinking water and health care, as well as support care for survivors of gender-based violence and other protection services for the most vulnerable.”
Posted June 30, 2023