Skip to main content
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
Inside Politics
Time.com Time.com Time.com Time.com Time.com Time.com Time.com

The lobbying war for Haiti

By Tim Padgett and Kathie Klarreich


Story Tools


Haiti is the Western Hemisphere's poorest country. But with the departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, it is becoming clear how much money both he and his chief foe, the Bush Administration, spent not on alleviating that poverty but on politicking against each other.

E-MAIL ALERT
Haiti
Washington
Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Government

Last year alone, they collectively spent more than $2 million -- equivalent to almost 1% of Haiti's federal budget --on such efforts. The total funneled into these causes since the late-1990s exceeds $10 million. "It seems a selfish waste for both sides to focus their money in this way," says Robert Maguire, Haiti expert at Trinity College in Washington.

Before Aristide left Haiti last month, his government spent more than $1 million a year on an army of U.S. lawyers and lobbyists. (Nations of similar population and economic means, like Cambodia, typically spend less than a tenth as much on Beltway lobbyists.) Many of the recipients of Aristide's funds, like former California Congressman Ron Dellums, have close ties to the black congressional caucus, which has accused Bush of engineering a "coup" against Aristide.

The ousted President's supporters say the largesse was necessary: the Clinton and Bush Administrations withheld $500 million in aid for Haiti as retribution for the autocratic practices of Aristide and his left-leaning Lavalas Party, making lobbying more essential. In the end, says Miami attorney Ira Kurzban, U.S. general counsel for Aristide's government, "we collected more money [for Haiti] than [Aristide] paid us."

The Bush Administration, for its part, disbursed more than $1 million last year to groups like the International Republican Institute (I.R.I.), ostensibly to promote democracy in Haiti.

Critics say that was simply aid to Aristide's opponents. Spokesman Thayer Scott concedes that the I.R.I.'s work "had a political party-building component" but insists that "it created positive democratic space." If Washington really hopes to rebuild Haiti, Maguire points out, the space it should first focus on is the country's squalid streets.



Copyright © 2004 Time Inc.

Story Tools
Subscribe to Time for $1.99 cover
Top Stories
Panel: Spy agencies in dark about threats
Top Stories
CNN/Money: Security alert issued for 40 million credit cards
 
 
 
 

International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.