Haiti is currently cleaning up from the devastating Hurricane Matthew but thankfully there are questions being asked about the viability and usefulness of foreign aid as well as the debts the poverty-stricken nation endures.
It’s a key theme in my book, Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe (out in paperback in January), as I investigate where the billions of dollars of aid money has disappeared in Haiti and which companies and corporations are turning a profit. Haiti is also a featured country in my documentary in progress, Disaster Capitalism.
A piece in The Conversation this week, by academics Jason von Meding and Giuseppe Forino, criticise the global response to the latest Haitian disaster:
Investigations have revealed that the actors of predatory capitalismrushed to secure quick and easy profits in the wake of calamity. This has helped to prevent any serious effort to address disaster risk by sidelining local stakeholders.
Under the guise of goodwill and solidarity, the United States has officially supported what journalist Antony Loewenstein calls “the latest incarnation of a tired model that failed to deliver long-lasting benefits to locals, but instead delivered cheap labour to multinationals”.
No argument for skills development and employment opportunities can really excuse abusive labour practices. In Haiti, these simply reinforced underlying vulnerability and made a mockery of the commitment to “build back better”. In reality, the United States’ interests have been protected and served in Haiti for a century.