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Last Updated:[23-03-2010 23:40:34 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

Haitians Sceptical about US Re-build Formula

tradenews Most of Haiti’s population, who are left bereft of their loved ones and homes by the Jan 12 devastation of 7.2 magnitude earthquake is seemed to have woken up to the reality that everything happening in its country in the name of Aid is not all good. Many feel that most countries’ offering help to re-build their nation are in fact trying to fish in troubled waters.

Starting from the arrest of 10 US missionaries who tried to kidnap children after the quake in Haiti down to the recent apprehension of another man linked to the US missionaries by the Dominican police are seen as a prelude to exploitation and predation yet to jolt the Haitian coast. The quake that has killed more than 200,000 people has left thousands of children orphaned, and consequently vulnerable to being preyed upon by child sex traffickers.

Although millions of dollars have flown into Haiti in Aid and another $11.5bn expected to be spent by the UN in the next three years for socio-economic reconstruction of the country, an Al Jazeera report shows there are widespread misgivings among the Haitians about the rich nations’ participation in the whole re-building process. In a feature presented by Sebastian Walker in Al Jazeera elaborates that many Haitians see the expansion of foreign companies as a way to take advantage of the rampant poverty plaguing the nation, where the unemployment rate is up to 80 percent.

Miguel Angel Torres, a factory manager of one of the largest garment factories of the famous American brand, the Levi Strauss & Co told Al Jazeera that Haiti’s competitive factor of growth was its lowest salary. In the feature, Walker said with the promise of economic incentives for Haiti many multi-national companies were exploiting the cheapest wages in the world to make extra bucks, or in other words, “profiting from poverty”.

Walker pointed out that the sale of just one pair of jeans could pay off two weeks of a Haitian garment worker’s salary, $4 per day. It has been noticed that these low wages would not bring needed change to the Haitian economy unless stricter rules to raise the wages were enforced. He blamed the US president Barack Obama and former presidents, Bill Clinton and George Bush for their plans of promoting the US clothing companies in Haiti which took all the profits back home.

Yannick Etienne, a garment worker said the clothing firms were helping themselves under the garb of shaping the future of Haiti. She added that she couldn’t see any improvement in the economy through these projects rather than reproduction of poverty.

By Jose Roy

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