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Profile: USAID

 
  

Positions that USAID has held:



 

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USAID actively participated in the following events:

 
  

(October 18, 1996)      Haiti Coup

       Haiti agrees to implement a wide array of neoliberal reforms outlined in the IMF's $1.2 billion Emergency Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) put together by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Organization of American States (OAS). The recovery package, to be funded and executed over a five-year period, aims to create a capital-friendly macroeconomic environment for the export-manufacturing sector. It calls for suppressing wages, reducing tariffs, and selling off state-owned enterprises. Notably, there is little in the package for the country's rural sector, which represents the activities of about 65 percent of the Haitian population. The small amount that does go to the countryside is designated for improving roads and irrigation systems and promoting export crops such as coffee and mangoes. The Haitian government also agrees to abolish tariffs on US imports, which results in the dumping of cheap US foodstuffs on the Haitian market undermining the country's livestock and agricultural production. The disruption of economic life in the already depressed country further deteriorates the living conditions of the poor. [International Monetary Fund, October 18, 1996; International Report, 4/3/1995; Shamsie, 2002; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: Organization of American States (OAS), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), USAID
          

After May 21, 2000      Haiti Coup

       Political groups opposed to the party of Jean-Bertrand Aristide form the Democratic Convergence, a coalition made up of roughly 200 groups, which is headed by former Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul, a previous Aristide supporter and leader of the Convention for Democratic Unity. [Boston Globe, 2/14/2004; Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004] The Convergence is a product of the USAID program, “Democracy Enhancement,” the purpose of which is to “fund those sectors of the Haitian political spectrum where opposition to the Aristide government could be encouraged.” Financial support for the Convergence comes from the International Republican Institute (IRI), which is associated with the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy. The IRI receives about $3 million annually from Congress, as well as millions more from private Haitian and US interests. The organization's board includes a number of “current or former Republican Party officials, Republican officeholders, or members of Republican administrations.” The IRI's activities in Haiti are not completely understood and Roger Noriega, the US permanent representative to the Organization of American States, has always refused to elaborate on the organization's work in Haiti. [Boston Globe, 2/14/2004; Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC), 2/27/2004; Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004; Chomsky, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: USAID, International Republican Institute (IRI), Roger Francisco Noriega, National Endowment for Democracy, Evans Paul, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Democratic Convergence
          

November 2000      Haiti Coup

       Jean-Bertrand Aristide runs unopposed in Haiti's presidential elections and wins with 91.5 percent of the vote. The opposition Democratic Convergence party does not participate in the elections in protest of the May 21, 2000 congressional and municipal elections (see May 21, 2000) which its members claim were rigged. The election turnout is disputed. Though some news agencies report a low turnout of between 5 percent and 10 percent, Aristide's party, as well as five US-based NGOs—Global Exchange, the Quixote Center, Witness for Peace and Pax Christi—estimate the figure at 61 percent, or 3 million of Haiti's voters. [CBS News, 11/29/2000; Global Exchange, 2001; Associated Press, 12/7/2000; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004; BBC, 7/7/2000; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004; Zmag, 5/5/2004] These figures are also supported by USAID-commissioned Gallup polls taken both before and after the elections, but which are suppressed by the US. [Zmag, 5/5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Democratic Convergence, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, USAID
          

March 2002      Haiti Coup

       A USAID-commissioned Gallup poll indicates that 61.6 percent of the survey's participants sympathize or are members of Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party, while only 13 percent say they support the Democratic Convergence or any of its associated parties. Sixty percent of the respondents indicate that the Haitian leader they trust most is Aristide, though several say they trust no one. Democratic Convergence leader Gerard Gourgue, with only 3.7 percent, is the next most trusted politician. [Zmag, 5/5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Gerard Gourgue, USAID, Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

February 2004      Haiti Coup

       Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI), a Haitian “human rights” organization, compiles a list with the names of about 85 alleged human rights violators, all of which belong to either the Lavalas party or to the Haitian National Police. The names come from phone calls made to their “hotline” and possibly from other leads as well. CARLI issues leaflets containing the names to the public, calling for their arrest. The leaflets—published only in French, not Creole—are also given to the US embassy and USAID, which sponsors the hotline program. It is unclear whether or not CARLI—whose staff consists of only two volunteer lawyers—investigates and confirms the allegations before it publicizes the names of the condemned (see February 29, 2004). The accused are never contacted to respond to the charges. People named on the list flee their homes and go into hiding, fearing that the rebel paramilitary groups will come after them. They later tell a National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation that they were not guilty of the charges and that the list had been used as a political ploy by the opposition to instill fear. The delegation also interviews CARLI's two lawyers and uncovers strong evidence suggesting that the organization is a tool of the opposition (see February 29, 2004). [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
People and organizations involved: Tom Griffin, National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR), USAID, Judy DaCruz, March 2004 National Lawyers Guild Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, Edward Carlson
          

Early April 2004      Haiti Coup

       A National Lawyers Guild human rights delegation visits the offices of two Haitian “human rights” organizations, Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI) and National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR). During the visits, the delegation's members become convinced that the two organizations are working with the opposition. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI) - In the case of CARLI—which publishes lists of alleged human rights organizations, which it disperses to the public, the police, other government agencies, USAID, and the US Embassy—there are several factors which cause suspicion among the delegation's members: [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
Though the group insists that it thoroughly investigates “each of the 60 to 100 monthly calls and verifies all information beyond a reasonable doubt before publicly condemning a person by naming him/her,” CARLI “has no full time staff” —only two volunteer lawyers. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
“Hotline” forms completed by the group include terms like “a supporter of the dictator Aristide.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
The delegation finds “no evidence that CARLI conducts any investigation before condemning the named person.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
“The person ‘condemned’ to the list is never contacted to answer to the allegations.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
The lists have contained only Lavalas supporters. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
The leaflets dispersed to the public are written only in French, which is spoken and understood mainly by the educated elite. Most Haitians speak Creole. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
CARLI has never investigated cases involving Lavalas victims. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
“CARLI was asked if it would consider ceasing the publication of the ‘list’ because it was forcing innocent people into hiding and to fear for their lives, preventing people from returning to their jobs and schools,and, as a non-judicial forum, was creating the possibility of a extra-judicial execution squads, and non-judicial arrest warrants. CARLI refused.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR) - The well-funded NCHR claims to represent victims of human rights abuses, regardless of their political affiliation. But the organization demonstrates an obvious bias in favor of the opposition. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
The NCHR cannot name even one incident where a Lavalas supporter was a victim of a human rights abuse. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
“NCHR took the delegation into a large meeting room where the wall was adorned with a large ‘wanted’ poster featuring Aristide and his cabinet, in small photos, across the top. It named Aristide a ‘dictator’ guilty of human rights abuses. Among a long list of other charges, it condemned him for the murder of John Dominique and included a large photo of Dominique's dead body. The poster calls for the arrest and imprisonment of Aristide and his associates.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
“The Delegation suggested that NCHR's neutrality and inclusiveness might be better expressed with additional posters condemning, for example, FRAPH, Jodel Chamblain, Jean ‘Tatoune’ Baptiste, Ti Kenley, etc. While the Director and the staff acknowledged the existence of all of those named, they laughed at the suggestion of adding other wanted posters to the office.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
Many of the newsletters, “open letters,” and advisories that were in the NCHR waiting room refer to Aristide as a “dictator.” None of the literature addresses abuses against supporters of Aristide. [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
“NCHR was asked if they would investigate the 1000 bodies dumped and buried by the morgue during the last few weeks at Titanye (see March 7, 2004) (see March 28, 2004), and the alleged malfunctioning of the refrigeration at the morgue. The director and his staff denied ever knowing about these events, laughed, and said none of it was true.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
“NCHR was asked if it would investigate the dumped bodies at Piste D'Aviation (see March 22, 2004) (see March 23, 2004). The director and his staff laughed and denied that it was true. The Delegation then showed NCHR the photographs we had taken of the ashes and fresh human skeletons. In response, the NCHR director told us that the General Hospital routinely dumps bodies at the Piste D'Aviation.” [National Lawyers Guild, 4/11/2004]
People and organizations involved: Tom Griffin, March 2004 National Lawyers Guild Human Rights Delegation to Haiti, Edward Carlson, Comite des Avocats pour le Respect des Libertes Individuelles (CARLI), National Committee for Haitian Rights (NCHR), USAID, Judy DaCruz
          

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