International aid has begun to pour into Haiti, where Hurricane Matthew has left nearly 900 dead and sparked a new cholera outbreak, raising anew troubling questions about Bill and Hillary Clinton's involvement in the snakebit island nation.
Did the Clinton’s foreign policy, lobbying, and philanthropy following the ruinous 2010 Haiti earthquake do more harm than good?
After the worst storm in decades made landfall in Haiti last week, Bill Clinton wrote on Twitter October 4th: “Praying for everyone impacted by #HurricaneMatthew. Here's how you can help in Haiti,” linking to an article on Medium detailing how the “Clinton Foundation community” is responding to the disaster.
“Is this a joke, you looted Haiti once already,” responded one Twitter user. “Clintons still scamming off poor Haiti after a natural disaster,” wrote another.
The tweet was a reference to the aftermath of the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in 2010, leaving nearly 200,000 people dead. With the help of corporate donors, the Clinton Foundation raised billions of dollars in relief assistance.
Controversially, however, US$6 billion was spent on formaldehyde-riddled trailers distributed by a top Clinton campaign donor–Clayton Homes–that sickened Haitians left homeless by the earthquake, with trailer occupants complaining of headaches and other illnesses.
Aside from the Clinton Foundation, the United Nations and other aid organizations, namely the Red Cross, have garnered widespread criticism for botching their response to the historic natural disaster. The United Nations recently admitted its role in sparking the cholera outbreak in the first place, after years of silence in the face of criticism. The Red Cross, on the other, came under harsh fire last year after an expose revealed that it only build six permanent homes after raising millions of dollars to help victims in Haiti.
Hurricane Matthew struck as Haiti continues to recover from the debilitating 2010 earthquake and the political instability that ensued, much of it owing to Hillary Clinton's meddling while Secretary-of-State in the Obama Administration. In the post-quake elections, Clinton intervened to secure a spot for soon-to-be President Michel Martelly in the run-off against frontrunner Mirlande Manigat. A Haitian pop-star who had never before run for political office, Martelly, finished third in the first round of balloting after Jude Celestin, meaning he would not have advanced to the second round.
But Celestin, of the popular Lavalas party, caved to international pressure — including Clinton’s personal intervention — and dropped out of the race. Martelly was added to the ballot, and won against Manigat, whose left-leaning campaign had criticized the role of foreign aid organizations in Haiti after the massive natural disaster.
Now, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Haiti’s long-postponed presidential elections scheduled for Sunday were called off indefinitely. The country has been in political limbo for months after last year’s presidential run-off vote was rescheduled due to political turmoil and eventually cancelled, forcing a re-do of the entire election.
But Clinton’s meddling in Haiti predates the 2010 earthquake. Beginning in 2008, Clinton, while a U.S. Senator, lobbied against a minimum wage hike in Haiti, according to WikiLeaks cables, scheming with foreign sweatshop owners doing business in the country. Blocking the wage hike deepened inequality in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
With shoddy infrastructure, extreme poverty is on of the main reasons that Haiti us unable to better weather natural disasters such as Hurricane Matthew. In parts of the country, aid organizations report near-total destruction to poorly-constructed housing and other buildings.