Despite well-documented fraud and waste in the U.S. government’s costly and ineffective Haiti recovery campaign, American taxpayer dollars keep flowing to the poverty-stricken Caribbean island with no oversight. This month the Biden administration revealed it is dedicating an additional $56.5 million to the failed initiative, explaining that the money is “for the people of Haiti in response to the country’s humanitarian crisis and cholera epidemic.” The announcement says Haiti’s alarming levels of gang violence have prevented people from accessing food, fuel water and other basic supplies but fails to reveal how this latest allocation will change that.
This has been going on for many years and billions in U.S. assistance—with billions more from the international community—has made little difference. Since the 2010 earthquake Uncle Sam alone has provided Haiti with over $5.6 billion to help the nation bounce back but more than a decade later that has not materialized and no one really knows what happened to the money. The funds were supposed to provide Haiti with “life-saving post-disaster relief as well as longer-term recovery, reconstruction, and development programs,” according to the State Department, which confirms that after the 2021 earthquake the U.S. “again mobilized a whole-of-government effort to provide immediate assistance at the Haitian government’s request.” Haiti’s reconstruction and development will continue for many years, the State Department predicts, adding that since 2021 it has doled out a whopping $278 million in humanitarian and health assistance for Haiti.
The money keeps flowing despite systemic lapses in the programs it funds. For instance, a costly initiative a to build housing failed miserably after the U.S. spent $90 million and tens of thousands of Haitians remain homeless a decade later. The Clinton Foundation and Clinton Bush Haiti Fund also came up with some $88 million for earthquake recovery but Haiti remains a disaster, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Even before the tremor a federal audit revealed that hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars were wasted on reckless Haitian projects with the single largest chunk—$170.3 million—going to a failed port and power plant adventure heavily promoted by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The Clinton-backed power and port venture is the biggest and most expensive failure mentioned in the probe, which was ordered by a Florida congresswoman who at the time confirmed a “troubling lack of progress and accountability” in Haiti reconstruction projects. All these years later many Haitians still live in deplorable, shanty town tent cities and a never-ending epidemic of cholera keeps claiming lives.
American taxpayers have the right to ask where all that money went and why their government does not have a process in place to assure resources are properly used to actually help the Haitian people. One national news report pointed out years ago the disconnect between the massive amount of private and public aid and the poverty, disease and homelessness that still plague the country. More recently, the nation’s biggest mainstream newspaper published an article asking why Haiti still despairs after billions in foreign aid. “Since a powerful earthquake devastated the country in 2010, foreign aid seems only to have helped perpetuate some of the country’s biggest troubles,” the story reads, adding that Haiti’s institutions have become further hollowed after the international community—including the U.S., of course—pumped $13 billion of aid into the country. A researcher at a Washington D.C. think tank is quoted in the story saying that spending billions on so-called nation-building in Haiti has not worked and has contributed to the state’s erosion.
Evidently, this will not stop the government from sending more money. Even the Trump administration requested $145.5 million for aid to Haiti during its last year in office. Like many of the awards before it, the Biden administration claims that the most recent $56.5 million allocation will help “meet urgent humanitarian needs” of people across Haiti by providing food assistance, medical supplies, access to safe water and better healthcare. “The United States continues to stand with the people of Haiti during this challenging time,” the recent grant announcement says.