[Documents menu] Documents menu

Date: Wed, 1 Nov 1995 18:05:38 -0800 (PST)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
To: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.951101180433.1011A-100000@crl14.crl.com>

Rice Corporation of Haiti (RCH)

Special Issue Report, [1 November 1995]

Washington Office on Haiti (WOH) has just released a SPECIAL ISSUE REPORT about the U.S.-owned Rice Corporation of Haiti, whose parent company has a virtual monopoly on rice imports.

Rice Corporation of Haiti (RCH) began operations when Marc Bazin's coup regime signed a 9-year contract in September 1992. RCH's corporate parent, a powerful U.S. agribusiness giant with headquarters in Houston and Los Angeles, has a history of what the New York Times called tainted trade.

As Haiti confronts extraordinary pressures from USAID, the World Bank, IDB and IMF to reform its economy through structural adjustments, RCH provides a timely example of the kind of project which U.S. corporations are encouraged -- and often funded -- to conduct under the banners of privatization, democracy enhancement and humanitarian assistance.

Such projects -- wrapped in development rhetoric about creating jobs, ensuring an affordable food supply and improving agricultural production -- raise key questions, not only for the Haitian poor but also for the U.S. citizen whose tax dollar often funds free market enterprises which richly benefit powerful U.S. corporations while further disempowering the peasant majority.

AID chief Brian Atwood said in 1994 Senate hearings that 60% of AID dollars go directly to U.S. businesss. A Washington Post columnist (Oct. 27, 1995) estimated that fully 80% of AID dollars go to U.S. corporations and experts.

When asked for the total grants, contracts, subsidies or other AID monies received by any Erly company -- RCH, Comet Rice, American Rice or Chemonics -- between 1980 and 1995, an AID spokesman reported that the AID mission in Haiti maintains that no Erly company has received AID funding in Haiti except for contracts under a coffee revitalization project and the agriculture PLUS project. In early 1993, however, a Chemonics employee spoke of managing all our projects in Haiti for years except for the rice project (RCH). That project, he said, was managed by an Erly representative working out of his home in Northern Virginia.

RCH is managed by the former director of the Caribbean Basin Initiative (1982-1988) and maintains an office in Port-au-Prince, a house in Petionville, and a facility in Laffiteau, 23 km north of Port-au-Prince.

A few of the questions raised in the SPECIAL ISSUE REPORT include: