Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Farmers Pushed Off Land for Haiti Industrial Park


The USAID-funded Caracol Industrial Park has been under fire for its failure to live up to the promises made after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. This article sheds light on the failure from a different angle–the challenge to the self-sufficiency of Haiti’s farmers. Over 1,000 were forced off the land to make way for this Park, which is way outside the earthquake-affected area to begin with. If Haitian’s can’t feed themselves, they will continue to be dependent on foreign aid.

Measuring success in Haiti

Marie Clarke Brill, The Washington Post
March 25, 2015

The March 21 front-page article “The Clinton effect: Light and shadow” rightly picked up on the failure of the Caracol Industrial Park but failed to mention the biggest scandal of this Clinton-championed project: More than 1,000 farmers were forced off their land with only a few days’ notice to make way for the park, which was built on some of Haiti’s most fertile land.

Instead of consulting the communities on the kind of support needed, more than $170 million of U.S. emergency aid was spent building the park in an area far outside the earthquake disaster zone.

Five years on, only 4,500 jobs have been created — far short of the 65,000 projected by the State Department. And farmers still have not been properly compensated.

This flagship project for U.S. aid to Haiti is an expensive mistake, with farmers unable to access the land they need to grow food, graze their animals and generate income.

With Haiti struggling to feed its people, donors must invest in Haitian smallholder farmers so they can feed the country, not shove them aside to make a quick buck for foreign investors and local elites.

Marie Clarke Brill, Washington

The writer is executive director of ActionAid USA.

In the first paragraph of “The Clinton effect: Light and shadow,” we learned of a successful Clinton Foundation intervention that increased yields for peanut farmers, but this success is balanced in the second paragraph by the tale of a disappointed worker who cannot get a job at a foundation-supported “struggling industrial park,” implying that this foundation effort did no good. One industry that opened in the park employs 4,500 Haitians. True, had it been able to employ 9,000, the woman mentioned might have gotten a job, but the persistence of disappointed job seekers hardly means the foundation’s effort did little good.


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