Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WikiLeaks Cable: Obama Admin. Pressured Haiti Not to Raise Minimum Wage


What can you buy for 61 cents? In the case of the Obama Administration, that was simply too much for the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Wikileaks cables expose that the Obama Administration put pressure on the disaster-stricken country, Haiti, to not raise its hourly minimum wage to 61 cents an hour, or $5 a day.

Perplexing being that everything in Haiti has skyrocketed since the January 2009 earthquake. A large can of peaches is reported to be roughly $40 American dollars by Haitian activist Mawiyah Duperval of Haitian American Ministries and Ujaama International based in Haiti.

According to the report by the Columbia Journalism Review, American corporations who hire Haiti's 25,000 garment workers, like Hanes and Levi Strauss, were pissed off because that meant they had to pay their workers an increase. So let's put this together, a pair of Hanes' underwear costs more than a worker making about 200 of them in a day.

Since the earthquake there has been much criticism of the lack of aid that actually went directly to the Haitian government, less than 7 cents, the question remains "Where is the money?" According to a Huffington Post article back in 2010, here was the breakdown.

Each American dollar roughly breaks down like this: 42 cents for disaster assistance, 33 cents for U.S. military aid, nine cents for food, nine cents to transport the food, five cents for paying Haitian survivors for recovery efforts, just less than one cent to the Haitian government, and about half a cent to the Dominican Republic.

According to the Huffington Post, it was the culture of corruption in Haiti that had "donors" and other governments worried that the money would not go to the right people.
"There's a perception of corruption, but I would like to tell the Haitian people that the Haitian government has not seen one penny of all the money that has been raised – millions are being made on the right, millions on the left, it's all going to the NGOs (nongovernmental organizations)" Preval said, speaking in Creole at a news conference.

Relief experts say it would be a mistake to send too much direct cash to the Haitian government, which was already unstable before the quake and routinely included on lists of the world's most corrupt countries.

"I really believe Americans are the most generous people who ever lived, but they want accountability," said Timothy R. Knight, a former US AID assistant director who spent 25 years distributing disaster aid. "In this situation they're being very deliberate not to just throw money at the situation but to analyze based on a clear assessment and make sure that money goes to the best place possible."
What this basically means is that, though billions of dollars were pumped into Haitian relief aid, and the relief aid efforts for Haiti changed the way in which people give through technology, the people in the country are not equipped for its proper development.

As well, it maintains the gross inequitable trade agreements that developing countries have with other countries who are struggling. I guess that is why we are being billed for a $20 can of Coca Cola sipped by a UN "peace keeping" soldier shitting in the rivers of Haiti.


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