News Release

Is Clinton’s Campaign Controlling Haitian Policy?

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AP is reporting today: “Haiti appeared to enter into another leaderless drift Wednesday as the provisional president’s 120-day mandate came to a close amid backroom negotiations and delays by the deeply polarized country’s political class.”

NIKOLAS BARRY-SHAW [in Canada], nik[at]ijdh.org, @haitivoteblog
Barry-Shaw is the voting rights associate for the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. He recently wrote the piece in Jacobin: “Clinton’s Long Shadow.” He also appeared on The Real News: “Clinton Fuelled a Crisis in Haiti: Why Is Nobody Talking About It?

He said today: “The mandate of Haiti’s interim president expired yesterday with no successor to take his place, raising questions about who will carry forward the country’s stalled electoral process. Dates for new elections were announced last week, after a verification panel ruled that the previous rounds of voting were so riddled by fraud and irregularities that the process should recommence at zero.

“The U.S. State Department opposed the verification process and sought to finish Haiti’s elections before the U.S. general election campaign begins in earnest this summer. The department’s overriding — though unofficial — concern has been that undue attention to Haiti might negatively affect Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. It desperately wants to keep the results of Clinton’s involvement in Haiti as secretary of state out of the media glare. But this policy could backfire badly.

“Ricardo Seitenfus, a Brazilian diplomat who served in Haiti when Clinton was secretary of state, publicly accused the State Department of wanting ‘to quickly elect a president in Haiti in order to not make any waves, so that Hillary Clinton’s campaign goes smoothly.’ The accusation has been echoed by other diplomats, Haitian businessmen and Haiti policy experts in the US.”

“The concern, according to Seitenfus, stems from the fact that Martelly’s five years of corrupt and authoritarian rule were a direct consequence of Clinton’s intervention in the 2010–11 elections. Another unflattering reality that the Clinton campaign would rather not draw attention to is the evident failure of Haiti’s post-earthquake reconstruction. Clinton and her chief of staff Cheryl Mills closely managed the internationally financed effort to rebuild Haiti after the 2010 quake. Bill Clinton pitched in as co-chair of a commission tasked with approving reconstruction projects. But six years later, there is no hiding the fact that the Clintons have not helped many ordinary Haitians.”

“Perhaps most troubling from the Clinton campaign’s perspective: the tiny handful of players who did profit from Haiti’s reconstruction includes several members of her inner circle, like Tony Rodham (Hillary’s brother) and Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien, a fact that Peter Schweizer and other Republican critics delight in pointing out.”

PROSPERE CHARLES, prospere.charles[at]1804institute.org, @1804institute
Charles is executive director of the 1804 Institute. He is a public policy analyst and social researcher with extensive experience in developmental issues and program management in Haiti.

Charles recently wrote a piece titled “Political Earthquake in Haiti,” which states: “The dictatorship of the international community is determined to replace the will of authentic Haitians. A return to slavery, in the form of corporate exploitation, is very much possible in Haiti right now. A return to the form of thinking that considers poor black Haitians as incapable of assuming their destiny seems to be the driving theory behind the actions of the UN, the Core Group, and the so-called Haitian elite, whose roots are keenly associated with politics of slavery and exploitation. That all of this is happening under the eyes of a black U.S. President, whose forefathers may owe a thing or two to this once heroic nation of Haiti, is unbelievable.”