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a648: What does the Oakland committee know that we don't know?(fwd)
A former Lavalas friend wistfully remarks that "the Blancs" will never allow Aristide to get his hands on the fabled $500 million of so-called international aid, because they know all the wonders he would create with that money. Yes, those wonders even include creating 500,000 new jobs in less than five years! My wistful "friend" acknowledges that Aristide is a very rich man, but he dismisses corruption as a fact of life in Haiti ("You can't blame Titid for that"). Asked to name some of the wonders created by the $2.5 billion of so-called international assistance spent between 1994 and 1997, he questions the accuracy of that figure and denies that any of that money actually went to Aristide ("kòb sa a pat al nan men Titid"). To some people God gave a lot of faith, bur very little common sense.
To my poorly informed Lavalas friend neoliberalism is just another word, but the same is not true for the Oakland committee. Its members know how money lent to dependent countries under the neoliberal program actually weakens those countries' economy (destruction of local industries and agriculture, privatization of social resources, unfair competition, etc). When you add rampant corruption to that already sorry state of affairs, you end up with all kinds of foreign consultants, local government officials and shady businessmen paying themselves huge amounts of money, and very little money spent on programs that benefit the people. Typically a few kilometers of road will be built, but under such conditions that they will not last more than a decade. The end result is usually that the "majority class," i.e. the people who never tasted any of those beans, will have, for generations to come, to sweat out millions of dollars for interest payments alone.
The Lavalas regime owes the nation an accounting of its financial dealings over the last decade. It must account for all the money spent or borrowed in the people's name. Exactly how much money was borrowed, and what were the conditionalities of those loans? The Lavalas bosses must also explain how they intend to spend the extra $500 million they are begging for, and exactly under what conditions they are borrowing that money. They also need to show concretely just how they intend to curb their own fantastic appetite for stolen millions. Until then, they ought not to be trusted with more money. And until then, the Oakland committee needs to put away its walking shoes or else, all good intentions aside, it will end up serving a very bad cause.