Letters to the Editor

Haiti still needs help

In response to an Other Views article published on Jan. 6, Haiti still needs our help:

While we agree with Thomas Adams that progress has been made rebuilding Haiti after the devastating earthquake of Jan. 12, 2010, the U.S.-funded Caracol Industrial Park — part-funded by US emergency relief funding — represents a clear violation of the land rights of Haitian farmers.

More than 1,000 farmers were forced off their land with only a few days’ notice to make way for the park. The crops they were growing on some of Haiti’s most fertile land were dug up and replaced with concrete.

The farmers were not consulted before losing their land and livelihoods, and received wholly inadequate compensation months after they had been forced to leave.

With Haiti on the brink of another food crisis, the decision to spend a quarter of USAID emergency funds building the Caracol Industrial Park far outside the disaster zone looks even more absurd.

As the biggest donor to Haiti, the U.S. government must make its aid more accountable and transparent.

USAID-funded projects must not force farmers off their land, and adequate compensation for the farmers of Caracol must be paid.

Kysseline Jean-Mary Chérestal

Senior Policy Analyst, ActionAid USA, Washington, D.C.