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Haiti Relief; Don't Get Played

05/12/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011


I don't know who was responsible for EarthQuake relief in Haiti but I do know where the relief came from: USA.
I like to complain about US foreign policy just as much as the next guy but, here's one case where the Red, White and Blue were right on time. I don't know who made the call. I don't know if it was Obama, Sec of State Clinton, or whoever, but it was the right call. Thank you. This isn't to say that other nations didn't pitch in immediately; Brazil was here, Mexico was here, Italy was here, France was here, the Dominican Republic was here, but some one had to take a leadership position and it was the United States. The US came in strong and on time. The US presence gave a sense of calm to the Haitian people.

I'm not trying to say everything has been perfect in terms of food distribution or shelter distribution or getting to all the right people at the right time but I am saying that a major social catastrophe has been avoided.. so far.

Who was most noticeably absent? You guessed it.. The Government of Haiti. Zero. Nothing. Zilch. Absent. Invisible. That's what the Haitian people in Haiti are saying TO THIS DAY. Who else was noticeably absent? The United Nations. The United Nations was in a difficult position because the local UN leadership died in the Quake. Still... where are they now, two months later? Patrolling Delmas? Everyone complains about the UN (MINUSTAH) including members of the US Military AND the Haitian people.

I'm a jerk; I know it. I say things publicly that most people save for intimate cocktail parties or gatherings with friends. I say things out loud that most people aren't allowed to say: Here's an example. The Haitian Government is corrupt. They had two corrupt elections last year. 1) No one voted, 2) the Haitian Gov't financed preferential candidates and 3) the Haitian Gov't made up voting tallies. That's right, the Haitian Government is corrupt. No one wants to say it. I say it. MAY THE TRUTH SET US FREE. Haitian President Rene Preval is corrupt. That's easy. Here's the sticky part.. The United Nations was complicit in the corruption. That too is correct. The men and women in Baby Blue knew about the corruption and said nothing. That means they're complicit. That's my problem with this whole situation here in Haiti. Haitian history did not begin on January 12, 2010. Life in Haiti did not begin on January 12, 2010. Things were murky before the 12th. Things were wrong before the EarthQuake. No one cared. The press wasn't here. The corruption wasn't news. The international community was going along for the ride. Is the general public aware of this?


A) Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas wants a United Nations mandate to reconstruct Haiti. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-farnsworth/rebuilding-haiti_b_493568.html
My question is, if the United Nations is/was corrupt, then why does someone want to offer them the RECONSTRUCTION PIE?


B) President Obama is doing photo Ops with Haiti's President Preval. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/10/obama-situation-in-haiti-_n_494120.html
The words of the article were very subtle:
Obama: "The situation on the ground remains dire". "Washington will remain partners with Haiti on the long road to recovery and reconstruction."

Nothing specific. That's good diplomacy; points for Obama. Nothing should be specific right now. Watch out for this Haitian government. Their term is over. They're just looking for retirement money. They talk about decentralization in the last couple months of their ten year term; They talk about education in the provinces in the last couple months of their ten year term. When the international community is handing out rice to a displaced population, the Haitian Government says the food distribution hurts our image and hurts local production but in reality the Haitian Government is defending the rice importers. Does anyone know what happened to the $300 million dollars that was supposedly allocated to Haiti after the devastating Hurricanes in 2008? When the hurricanes hit, it was news everywhere. By the time the money came and disappeared the press was gone. Is that going to happen again?

B) The story on mercenaries by investigative journalist Nienaber http://www.huffingtonpost.com/georgianne-nienaber/haiti-reconstruction-merc_b_494650.html
had the Haiti EarthQuake Death toll at 300,000, whereas the piece with Obama and Preval shaking hands had the total at or above 230,000. Last month Dutch radio said not more than 100,000 Haitians died in the EarthQuake. That's a discrepancy of 200,000 dead. Preval has said 300,000 in the past. Interesting how the mercenaries and Preval both go with the 300,000 figure. I think in the end people will settle on or around 230,000 just because it seems to be the compromise figure. In reality no one was counting. No one knows.

Where do I get all this stuff?.. I live here.
.
Richard Morse
Port au Prince Haiti

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