Haiti Archives 1995-1996
11/11/95 HAITI: U.S. confirms withholding of aid

Copyright 1995 InterPress Service, all rights reserved. Worldwide distribution via the APC networks.

U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali warned this week that a failure by Haiti to conclude an agreement with the IMF could mean not only a hold-up in badly needed funds, but also a delay in the scheduled transition departure of the U.N. mission to Haiti early next year.

Such an eventuality would be strongly opposed to the position of the Clinton administration, which has repeatedly promised to withdraw its forces — which make up more than half of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti — no later than the end of February.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which controls virtually all of Washington’s aid programme in Haiti, the World Bank, and the IMF all insist that the reforms are necessary to kickstart the economy and promote competition and investment.

But many Haitians — and, it appears, many new parliamentarians, are sceptical, especially when it comes to privatising key industries. For one thing, the parliament reportedly wants to put into effect anti-monopoly laws before the privatisation process gets underway.

In a recent letter to USAID Administrator Brian Atwood, more than 40 U.S. NGOS argued that Haitians should be permitted to reform their economy at their own pace.

‘’They may call it ‘good governance,’ but they are still telling the Haitian government how to organise their economy without allowing the will of the Haitian people to be expressed through their parliament,’’ said Lisa McGowan of the Development Group for Alternative Policies (DGAP).

‘’USAID had promised it would not condition aid on the implementation of economic ‘structural adjustment’ measures, but that is exactly what they are doing,’’ she added. ‘’They are insisting on a number of measures, including privatisation, the reduction of the state payroll, and the removal of interest-rate ceilings, which would result in credit being taken further out of the reach of small farmers and entrepreneurs.’’

Burns stressed that most U.S. aid was continuing to flow to Haiti. He said it includes assistance to train and deploy a new police force, to reform the judicial system and to complete the electoral process which culminates in balloting for Aristide’s successor next month.

Other aid which continues, he said, is for health care and feeding programmes, and for environmental and education projects.

Altogether, Western donors and international agencies have pledged about 1.2 billion dollars in aid and loans for Haiti over the five years beginning with Aristide’s restoration in Oct, 1994. Of the total, Washington has pledged almost half, with about 200 million dollars to have been spent over the past year. (END/IPS/JL/95)

Origin: Rome/HAITI/ ----

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