Again I want address the tragic condition confronting Haiti as a result of the recent devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake. Shortly after the quake, the airwaves of many major network television and cable stations aired a telethon responding to the immediate needs of this crippled, impoverished country.
Throughout the world individuals and governments have been sending urgently needed supplies, and many organizations are forming charity collections of money and supplies. My local newspaper ran a poll and reported that 27% of their readers were contributing money and 73% were not. I suspect that this surprising high non-participation rate is directly attributable to Haiti’s well publicized history of corruption.
Before we draw strong convictions I suggest that you do some background home-work about the history of this island nation, and I have a couple of suggestions for you to consider.
Your Commander commends his fellow citizens for their prompt and substantial response to the suffering in Haiti, but I predict that we will be criticized by several foreign governments and pundits who have a long history of speaking loudly, but delivering little in financial aide to suffering peoples in their time of need. The French who have a long history of abusing the Haitian people are already vocal in criticizing America’s early humanitarian actions on the ground in Port Au Prince.
The 9 million suffering people of Haiti need help now and will require outside assistance for several years to come, because their government is essentially non-functioning. Internal and political corruption specifically has been a fact of life in Haiti for years. Our government has funneled billions of dollars into Haiti over the years, and there is little or nothing to show for that humanitarian helping hand. The lack of accountability for the responsible and effective application of that aide was and is inexcusable.
Accountability must begin immediately. I suspect that is another reason there is a reluctance to give money by the polled 73% non-participants. One source has reported that U.S. aide has totaled 1.6 billion during the decade of the 90s, which represented about $266,000 per person. Why are the people of Haiti so poor?
The United Nations, who has had a large contingent on the ground in Haiti for many years, has again proven to be both non-effective and so bureaucratically inept that the American contingents must take the lead role. The local government is non-functioning, and the U.N is in over its head. The U.S. Air Force got the major airport operational with its unique ability. We will come under intense criticism, but only our skills and abilities can address this almost impossible challenge.
When you study the reference documents that I have suggested you will quickly note that the United States and many other countries such as France, Germany, and Spain have a sad history of interference or ulterior motives in Haiti’s governance. Where has our State Department’s oversight been in the appropriate spending and use of our overly generous aide dollars?
It is time for our government, the United Nations, and all other countries’ governments to demand that all aide dollars be spent appropriately and wisely. Remember the ex-President Baby Doc Duvalier, who had followed his corrupt father, Papa Doc, fled into French exile with $80 million stuffed in his luggage on an American supplied military aircraft.
No one knows how to predict or prevent earthquakes, but it appears to me that the United States is getting sucked again into nation building, and spending your precious dollars. We cannot walk away from this tragedy, but we must demand or shame participation from other countries. If we don’t do that someone is bound to claim we want to make Haiti our 51st State, but maybe some politicians want Haiti’s 9 million votes.
Your Commander believes that it is appropriate to permit the thousands of illegal Haitians who currently reside in the United States to stay for the next 18 months on temporary visas, but do not kid yourself because it will be impossible for them to be returned to Haiti anytime soon. I predict there will be a political initiative to permit them to stay permanently, so their votes can be garnered by our greedy political opportunists. Unfortunately a high percentage of those people will be added to our welfare rolls for many years to come.
Seriously, it is time that once and for all conditions in Haiti are at least improved to a degree that the human beings who were born in this pesthole of humanity have a chance for a better life experience. Thus, I am suggesting strongly that you know where you generous financial contributions are going. Make sure the charity is worthy of your support, and that someone or something is not stuffing your hard earned money in their pocket.
Finally, everyone should remember this old adage, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will have food for life.” We must teach the Haitian people, the children in school and the adults of that nation, so that they can participate in a healthy economy and way of life.