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Haiti - February 2013 update

For all the wringing of hands at the time of the devastating earthquake which hit Haiti a few years ago, the country remains, in effect, a basket-case and all the aid promised at the time of the earthquake hasn't materialised.

Author and independent journalist, Antony Loewenstein, returned to Haiti last month and reported on what he found in a piece in The Guardian.

"A dynamic and increasingly thriving Haiti is one the US-backed government wants the world to see. President Michel Martelly and prime minister Laurent Lamothe, whose faces are plastered across billboards and propaganda material throughout the country, are close to the Obama administration and have benefitted from their association with Hillary Clinton when she was secretary of state. For example, some industrial parks were built thanks to US funds; the much-heralded one in the north of Haiti, at Caracol, has fallen far short of official expectations.

This doesn't stop the US from continuing to push the tired and failing economic model of low paying textile factories to fill the stores of its own country; after decades of advocating the same ideas, without success, it shows the weakness of the Haiti state that its leaders continue to agree to it.

After the 2010 earthquake, billions of dollars from across the world were pledged to the country and yet the vast bulk of this money never reached Haiti, remaining in the pockets of inefficient foreign contractors. As I documented in my 2013 book Profits of Doom, Haiti has suffered both decades of brutal dictatorship and Washington-based policies that alienated workers, slashed wages and cemented permanent poverty."

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