Is foreign aid crippling us?


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been proud of this country that I call home, this land where my spirit dwells, this abode where my ancestors’ blood shed so that I can proudly stand today as a descendant of revolutionaries, thinkers and fighters. Our ancestors were able to unionize, rise up and defeat a group of colonizers and expulse them from our land, taking action and claiming their freedom. But, unfortunately, 20 decades later, we are once again in the midst of another form of colonization but this time we’re not physically chained, bonded, forbidden to read, bred or whipped. This time we are enslaved by the empty promises and the high interest rates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the plethora of International organizations that have taken refuge on our small island in the name of “ job creation ”, “ progress ”, “ investment ” and “ aid ” and as a nation we are so eager to please the International community and so desperate for drastic change that we foolishly welcome them without questioning their intentions.

Although I am thankful for many of the opportunities and achievements of certain organizations, I cannot help but to think that foreign aid is crippling us, that these organizations are using funds given to them to create first drafts but not to implement projects already created for the country. These organizations are using approaches that have been successful in countries like Chile and Ecuador in Haiti when these tactics are not compatible with our system. On the other hand, as a nation we are known worldwide as corrupt, untrustworthy and chaotic to say the least and organizations do not trust us enough to disperse funds directly to our government. Therefore, they bring and employ their own people to control the funds and these foreign employees, although brilliant and accomplished, sometimes have a lack of understanding of Haitian culture, norms and practices. A lot of these organizations come to Haiti with their own staff, agendas, and projects, with no sense of cultural diplomacy or sensitivity, and set up shop. They don’t hire capable Haitians to lead them through the nooks and crannies, or even teach them about our culture because once again, the colonizing mentality reigns.

As Haitians we must make it very clear to these organizations that although we appreciate their efforts, there are certain principles and protocols that need to be met or followed when dealing with our people. We need to let them know that we are neither guinea pigs, nor research material, and that we are a resilient people that have been placed in unfortunate situations. Billions of dollars were pledged to Haiti through organizations such as the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) and the Clinton-Bush Global Fund but yet it’s difficult to see drastic changes. Have these funds been misappropriated?

Finally, we must not forget that we are a people with a revolutionary spirit; we always will, and always have stood against oppression, so let’s not forget who we are at such a turning point in our history for the sake of change.

Roberte Exantus


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