News Release

“The Real Looting in Haiti”

NICOLE LEE
Lee is executive director of TransAfrica Forum.

TRACIE WASHINGTON
Co-director of the Louisiana Justice Institute, Washington said today: “The real looting in Haiti is not the people trying to get food to survive. The real looting of Haiti is the economic policies of the U.S. and France, as well as institutions such as the IMF and World Bank, in addition to the disaster capitalism that is fast setting in.

“In Haiti, 200 years of crippling debt imposed by France, the U.S. and other colonial powers drained the country’s financial resources. Military occupation and presidential coups coordinated and funded by the U.S. have devastated the nation’s government infrastructure. Although the country has more than 10,000 NGOs [non-governmental organizations], many of them are profiteering off the small nation’s misery, rather than lifting up people’s lives.

“As we saw in the aftermath of Katrina, some politicians, corporations and think tanks see disasters as opportunities for profiteering. Author Naomi Klein reported that within 24 hours of the earthquake, the influential right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation was already seeking to use the disaster as an attempt at further privatization of the country’s economy. The Heritage Foundation released similar recommendations in the days after Katrina, calling for ‘solutions’ such as school vouchers.”

Background: Shortly after the earthquake in Haiti, the Heritage Foundation posted an article titled “Amidst the Suffering, Crisis in Haiti Offers Opportunities to the U.S.” that began: “In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake [sic] offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region.” The piece has since been altered and the titled changed to “Things to Remember While Helping Haiti.” See governmentality

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167