HAS FOREIGN AID AND INVOLVEMENT HAMPERED HAITI'S RECOVERY EFFORTS?
(The Atlanta Post) - By Anthony Cain
It’s been nearly a year since the great Haitian earthquake, which ravaged the country and caused the world to take notice. Since then, many countries have continued to promise aid to the fledgling country as Haiti struggles to improve conditions for its citizens.
The United States remains the largest foreign source of aid to Haiti from the 2010 Haiti earthquake, donating more than $712 million in aid. While the aid and the arrival of foreign help was aimed to help speed up the recovery process for Haiti, as reported through the Los Angeles Times, this foreign involvement has caused many unforeseen problems for the country.
The Haitian government estimates that over 4,000 foreign aid groups are currently within the country. With many of these foreign aid groups coming into the country and setting up camps to help Haitian nationals, they have produced excess run-off in many small towns in Haiti and have become the blame for the recent choleric outbreak that has stricken 100,000 and killed an additional 2,000 people.
Haitians near the Artibonite River had a recent cholera outbreak and accused U.N. troops of dumping waste in the nearby river causing the outbreak. Upon further examination by the United States Center for Disease and Control, the results showed the U.N. troops were to blame for the outbreak. Many within the country aren’t directly experiencing aid relief efforts and would just prefer for all the blans (term for whites or foreigners) to leave the country.
Foreign influence also affected the political stability of the country by pushing for elections soon after the earthquake. With $6 billion dollars of aid promised to the country until the end of 2011, many donors wanted to see a more stable government in place before continuing their efforts.
This caused a very rushed Nov. 28th election where many still-displaced Haitians weren’t able to vote because they were unable to register.
Wyclef Jean, the former hip-hop artist now political figure, described his voting experience in a recent Huffington Post article: “On Election Day, I voted myself — after great difficulty. And I know other Haitian citizens who weren’t able to vote because they couldn’t find their name on the lists of registered voters — even though these people were registered residents of the country. The people need to be able to trust their government, but the Haitian government has proven time and again that it hasn’t earned that trust.” Political riots have erupted from the frustration of many Haitians feeling their voices aren’t being heard.
Lastly, the economy has also taken a hit as many of the displaced Haitians haven’t been able to return to their homes facing higher prices than ever before. The influx of foreigners has caused significant increases in housing as many wealthy Haitians sell housing to foreigners rather than Haitian nationals. The only group that has truly profited from the disaster is the Haitian elite, the ones who own apartment buildings, office buildings, car dealerships, and any other higher end products, who are now able to use the foreign presence to drive housing prices up while millions are still forced to live in tents waiting to go back to their prospective homes.
For many, the problems of Haiti have become a forgotten cause. However, the problems of Haiti are still mounting as foreign influence and aid have brought its own set of results. Haiti remains a country in turmoil and trying to recover from the disaster that happened nearly 11 months ago.