Currents

Disaster Capitalists Flocking to Haiti in a Gold Rush

Disaster capitalists were flocking to Haiti in a “gold rush” for contracts to rebuild the country after the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, wrote the current U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Merten in a secret Feb. 1, 2010 cable obtained by WikiLeaks and reviewed by Haïti Liberté. Ambassador Merten’s announced “gold rush” began as Haitians were still being pulled from the rubble. Since then, USAID has doled out nearly $200 million in relief and reconstruction contracts. By this April, just 2.5% of the money had gone to Haitian firms, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Washington coordinator Lewis Lucke, for one, justifies making money off of disasters. “It’s kind of the American way,” he told Haïti Liberté. “Just because you’re trying to do business doesn’t mean you’re trying to be rapacious. There’s nothing insidious about that… It wasn’t worse than Iraq.” [Source]


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