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Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 02:41:10 GMT
Reply-To: Rich Winkel <rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu>
Sender: Activists Mailing List <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>
From: Rich Winkel <rich@pencil.math.missouri.edu>
Organization: PACH
Subject: Oxfam & D'GAP Condemn USAID on Haiti
To: Multiple recipients of list ACTIV-L <ACTIV-L@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu>

/** econ.saps: 240.0 **/
** Topic: Oxfam & D'GAP Condemn USAID on Haiti **
** Written 4:04 PM Nov 8, 1995 by dgap in cdp:econ.saps **
(Following is a joint News Release from Oxfam America and The Development GAP

NGOs Condemn USAID for Undermining Haitian Democracy

Oxfam America, news release, 8 November 1995

Non-governmental organizations accused the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today of undermining democracy in Haiti by withholding previously committed aid.

The U.S. says it wants democracy in Haiti, yet USAID is acting to undercut a very fragile democratic process in that country, said Lydia Williams, Public Advocacy Coordinator for Oxfam America. Major economic reform would not take place in the United States without Congress getting involved, but that's what our government wants Haiti to do.

At immediate issue is the refusal of USAID to release $4.6 million in aid because the Haitian Government has refused to move ahead on privatization and other areas of economic reform until such moves are publicly debated and approved by Parliament. Among parliamentary concerns is a desire to put anti-monopoly laws in place before the privatization process begins.

In a letter to USAID Administrator Brian Atwood, more than forty U.S. NGOs pointed out that the Haitian legislature was seated only recently and that U.S. demands that Haiti take swift action on economic issues belie stated commitments to a process of consensus building on national reconstruction as a precondition for sustainable development.

Lisa McGowan, Haiti Coordinator at The Development GAP, said, They may call it 'good governance', but they are still telling the Haitian government how to organize their economy without allowing the will of the Haitian people to be expressed through their Parliament.

We expected a lot more from USAID's leadership. They promised they would not condition aid on the implementation of economic 'structural adjustment' measures, but that is exactly what they are doing, McGowan added. They are insisting on a number of measures, including privatization, the reduction of the state payroll, and the removal of interest-rate ceilings which will result in credit being out of the reach of small farmers and entrepreneurs.

McGowan said, USAID is helping to further polarize Haiti. If a crisis develops, it could lead to another foreign policy embarrassment for the Clinton Administration.