Haiti's President, Hat in Hand

I read that Haitian President Rene Preval was heading to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama, "hat in hand."
The Miami Herald says that Preval is complaining that though millions of dollars have already been pledged to Haiti, little is going to the Haitian government. He goes on to say to the Miami Herald that we have had decades of neglect of the Haitian provinces and the Haitian agricultural sector.

1) Let me remind everyone that Rene Preval has been President of Haiti for 10 of the last 15 or 20 years.

2) The architect of Haiti's current economic plan whereby we neglect the provinces and move millions of people into an overcrowded Port au Prince is none other than Leslie Delatour.

3) Let's remember that Leslie Delatour's widow is now Mme President Preval. The HOPE 2 Bill which was meant to attract tens of thousands more to Port au Prince to work in factories was lobbied for and is being administrated by economist Leslie Delatour's younger brother Lionel Delatour, Preval's brother-in-law.

4) Reconstruction and tourism in Haiti is being headed up by Leslie Delatour's other brother Patrick Delatour, also Preval's brother-in-law.

5) These projects and this economic plan, though detrimental to Haiti's economic situation (poorest country in the Western Hemisphere), have been very positive for Preval, the Delatours, and the wealthy families they represent, especially when this minority imports rice, imports sugar, and makes cement deals, reconstruction deals and garment factory deals.

6) The Haitian government was invisible during the two months following the devastating earthquake unless you were at one of those meetings where they were fantasizing about how to spend reconstruction billions.

7) I still haven't seen any transparency on the millions of dollars the Preval government received from the Chavez oil deals. Word on the street and on local Haitian radio is that Preval has spent US$163,000,000 (one hundred sixty three million dollars US) since the quake. How the money was spent, no one seems to know. Perhaps the money was spent buying t-shirts for the folks that have been sweeping the streets for the last couple of weeks.

8) Has any one noticed how difficult it is to send some one something in Haiti? If you're sitting in New York and you want to send someone a tent in Haiti, have you been able to do it? Haiti is run and owned by a few people and it takes an event such as this earthquake to expose that Haiti is being choked by the neck by a few families and the insiders in the Haitian government.

9) It's time for a change. It's time to find new leadership in Haiti. It's time to change some of the rules. It's time to work with some new players who don't want to emulate the current players.

10) Preval has told world donors to stop handing out food in Haiti because of the negative image it creates; yet, there he goes to Washington, hat in hand.

Still here,

Richard Morse
Port-au-Prince, Haiti