Researched by Leora Johnson and Elizabeth Vortman
Human rights groups released a report revealing the Bush Administration’s blocking of “potentially lifesaving” aid to Haiti in order to meddle in the impoverished nation’s political affairs. In addition to being the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti also has some of the worst water in the world, ranking last in the Water Poverty Index. The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights released internal U.S. Treasury Department documents on Aug. 4 exposing politically motivated actions by the U.S. to stop the dispersal of $146 million in loans that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved for Haiti. The IDB originally approved the loans in July 1998, including $54 million for urgently needed water and sanitation projects. However, documents show that IDB and U.S. Department of Treasury (DOT) staff sought ways to tie the loans’ release to unrelated political benchmarks that the U.S. government wanted the Haitian government to reach. This intervention was in direct violation of the IDB’s charter, which bars the Bank from basing decisions upon the political affairs of member states.
“Bush Administration Accused of Withholding ‘Lifesaving’ Aid to Haiti” Cyril Mychalejko, upsidedownworld.org, 6/25/2008
“RFK Center Releases Documents Outlining US Actions to Block Life-saving Funds to Haiti” RFK Memorial Center for Human Rights, 4/08/2008