June 9, 2010
an interview with agronomist Volny Paultre on agrarian reform in Haiti:
Agriculture is part of the solution to the problems of Haiti. But most of the opportunities are not directly in farming. Farming is saturated.
One candidate for the upcoming presidential elections apparently disagrees.
And while not one construction contract has yet been awarded, foreign firms are drumming their fingers. Meanwhile, debris removal hinders progress.
… there is so much debris to dispose of — 20 million to 25 million cubic yards (15 million to 19 million cubic meters), enough to fill the Louisiana Superdome five times — and only one approved dumping site for the entire country, the Port-au-Prince terminal Varreux.
April 8, 2010
I’m linking to this opinion piece because, it’s a helpful reminder of how to understand Haiti’s reconstruction: in many ways, disaster is big business. Somebody somewhere is always making money. I want to cover the same topics, here: where’s the money going? who’s getting government contracts?
As a journalist though, I’d tone down the us v. them approach and get the other side. Governments outsource all the time; every contractor can’t be crooked. Some might even be experts at what they do. I’d at least like to get their perspective, have them react to the criticism. Later I’ll delve more into Haitian voices, also highlighted in the opinion piece:
Twenty-two Haitian organizations, representing religious, conflict resolution, women, human rights, development, and other sectors, had this to say about the three recent international donors’ meetings: “[T]he process is characterized by a near-total exclusion of Haitian social actors and a weak and non-coordinated participation by representatives of the Haitian state… We need an alternative process which can define a new national project which incorporates strategies to counteract exclusion, political and economic dependence, and poverty.”
Read the rest on CommonDreams.org.