Date: Sat, 13 Jun 98 11:17:01 CDT
From: email@example.com (Rich Winkel)
Subject: This Week in Haiti 16:12 6/10/98
/** reg.carib: 213.0 **/
** Topic: This Week in Haiti 16:12 6/10/98 **
** Written 2:46 PM Jun 10, 1998 by firstname.lastname@example.org in cdp:reg.carib **
American Planfor Haiti
This Week in Haiti,
Governance is the latest code word which the U.S. government
and multinational banks are using. It means: bypass a nation's central
government, violate its sovereignty, and pump funds directly to
non-governmental organizations (NGOs), local officials, and private
One sees the word
governance quite often in the new
Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 1999-2004 drafted by the U.S.
State Department's Agency for International Development (USAID), of
which Haiti Progres has recently obtained a copy in French. In fact,
governance is the lynch-pin of the U.S. government's strategy
on how to influence Haiti's political and economic course over the
next five years.
The first guiding principle of USAID is to promote efficient
governance through assistance in the areas of justice, rationalization
of public offices, and the modernization of the State enterprises,
reads the report's introduction. In other words, the U.S. government
wants to continue its recycling of putschist soldiers and its training
and indoctrination of Haiti's policemen and judges, promote the mass
layoff of state workers, and privatize Haiti's profitable public-owned
USAID feels that it must do an end-run to achieve its agenda because
the central government remains weak and lacks leadership and
political will, to implement our dictates to the letter, the
authors could have added.
In areas like education, health, and the
environment, we will work in collaboration with the ministries and
agencies of the central government, but we will not count only on them
and we will not furnish them with major funding either. USAID
still holds out a carrot to them, however, and arrogantly talks as if
it were the elected representative of the Haitian people.
extent that the central government will display the will to work with
USAID, the strategy will be adapted so as to facilitate the positive
participation of the government. How generous of them.
The strategy of USAID will focus on local governments as partners
in development, the report declares.
USAID will also work
closely with groups of civil society at the local level. The objective
is not only to establish an honest and competent leadership in the
municipalities, but also to make the electorate more inclined to
discern abuses of power or inefficiency and to demand better
governance. So after decades of supporting the corrupt Duvalier
dictatorship and its military offspring, it is USAID which will now
honest and competent leadership and flush out
of power or inefficiency. In truth, they will seek to bring about
the exact opposite with their election engineering and creation of
organizations like the National Federation of Haitian Mayors.
In addition to trying to shoe-in their agents to local posts, USAID
will try to buy off the grassroots organizations which have been the
power base of the Lavalas, the national democratic movement which
coalesced around the candidacy of former president Jean-Bertrand
Aristide in 1990.
The emphasis [of USAID's strategy] is on
community participation at all levels, from implementing the Haitian
Government's policy of decentralization to the integration of the
popular organizations, the report states. Further on, it says that
the major part of the USAID strategy will be to work directly with
community groups, private organizations and local governments. USAID
will also support private organizations, both new and already
existing, so that they can act as think-tanks or as bases of
development in the areas of interest for this strategy. USAID also
popular participation as
a stabilizing factor and
plans to support the
formation of NGOs to promote the defense of
interests and organizing techniques. Translation: USAID wants to
replace the popular organizations which have organically sprung up
with its own
civil society creations.
USAID's strategy has one other political goal. The U.S. government
wants to be able to carry out its agenda even if Aristide is
re-elected as Haiti's president in the year 2000. Since the
U.S. government pushed him out of office in 1996, Aristide has become
a harsh critic of Washington's neoliberal austerity prescriptions in
Haiti and is likely not to be very cooperative if he returns to
power. USAID's version of
decentralization aims to cut him down
Furthermore, the USAID report reflects Washington's discovery that it
is easier to rig elections at the low-profile local level than in the
impassioned national race, at least in Haiti. It seeks to constrain
the power of the presidency which Aristide might again hold.
don't think that the central government will be the only interlocutor
and active provider of goods and services to the population, USAID
On the contrary, USAID will help to better define and
strengthen the active participation of local governments and civil
As usual, the report contains all the familiar and ridiculous USAID
notions. For example, it says the causes of Haitian poverty are
high population rate, mediocre training, and degradation of the
environment; these are rather poverty's symptoms. It decries
the incapacity of the government to furnish the resources to better
the primary education system after pressuring that same government
to trim education spending and funneling most USAID education funds to
private schools. The authors even get defensive, saying that if the
new strategy doesn't reduce poverty, USAID will be the target of
the distrust of the people and populist demagogy.
With its latest plan, USAID shows itself to be as meddling and
political as the International Republican Institute (IRI), which
several Haitian parliamentarians want expelled from Haiti for its
brazen orchestration of 26 right-wing parties into a new
opposition front (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 16, No. 8, May 13,
In any case, if Haiti's Foreign Ministry had an agency comparable to
USAID, it would be illegal in the U.S., unless it were registered,
tightly restricted, and monitored in its activities as an
a Foreign Government.
It has been one year since Rosny Smarth of the OPL (Organization of People in Struggle) resigned as Prime Minister on June 9, 1997. Since that time, President Rene Preval has nominated economist Ericq Pierre and economist/playwright Herve Denis for the post, but they were both rejected by the OPL-dominated parliament.
As we go to press, parliamentarians from the Anti-Neoliberal Block report, after a Jun. 9 meeting with Preval, that the next nominee will be Education Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis.
Preval's choice would not please members of the Block, who view Alexis
as favorable to neoliberal policies and as someone who
have the temperament to resolve [Haiti's] problems, according to
Deputy Gabriel Fortune. For the past 18 months, Alexis has been
embroiled in a bitter battle with teachers' unions over wages and
Block members say that the Alexis nomination is the fruit of an accord between the OPL and Preval, but OPL leader Yrvelt Chery denied that allegation.