5 August, 2010 — SocialistWorker.org
Ashley Smith analyzes the role of Bill Clinton’s Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission and other institutions that claim to look out for the interests of Haiti’s poor.
Bill Clinton speaks to the press as a little boy, badly injured in the earthquake, rests (Master Sgt. Russell E. Cooley IV)
AMID THE hoopla over Chelsea Clinton’s wedding at a posh estate north of New York City, there were plenty of toasts in the media to Bill Clinton and the good works he’s performed since leaving the White House.
In particular, Clinton’s role in working with Haiti, both before and after the catastrophic earthquake last January, was singled out.
To the U.S. media, Clinton is a compassionate statesmen, with only the best interests of the Haitian people at heart. Particularly since this year’s quake, he has been viewed as a decisive leader who can ‘get things done,’ in contrast to the country’s ineffective government. Because of his role as co-chair of the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), Esquire magazine called Clinton ‘CEO of a leaderless nation,’ the Miami Herald repeatedly refers to him as the ‘czar of the recovery effort.’
Ordinary Haitians have a different view. They remember Clinton as the man who, while president, demanded Haiti follow the ‘Plan of Death’–the neoliberal prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank that ‘structurally adjusted’ the Haitian economy in the interests of U.S. business, at the expense of the country’s peasants and poor.