Reported by Evette D. Champion
If you were to drive past 1 Pierrepont Plaza in Brooklyn Heights, you will see numerous Haitian activists rallied out front. You may be wondering why they chose this particular address to stage their protesting.
Just a few days before the protesters started rallying, 2016 presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton signed the lease on the building, thus making it her political headquarters. The activists began waving signs in front of the Cadman Plaza West entrance on Thursday asking, “Where is the money?”
The activists claim the Clintons squandered away billions of dollars which was intended to be used to rebuild Haiti after the horrific earthquake in the small country back in January of 2010.
Hillary’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, acted as the United Nations special envoy to Haiti while Haiti was undergoing reconstruction. As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was in charge of the United States Emergency relief response and plans for recovery.
According to the protestors, a portion of the money that was intended for the recovery was actually given to investors the Clintons’ favored. They added that organizations and people who are associated with the Clinton Foundation received an unfair advantage when Haitian commodities were auctioned off—including the rights to mine gold.
These claims have been made partially because Tony Rodham, Hillary’s brother, is a member of a gold mine in Haiti. An article in the Washington Post suggests that Rodham’s involvement with the mine is a source of great controversy in Haiti.
Craig Minassian is a spokesperson for the foundation and gave an interview to the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday. “Their assertion about the Clinton Foundation is false,” he maintained. “The Clinton Foundation has no involvement in the mining sector in Haiti.”
According to the Clinton Foundation’s website, there has been approximately $36 million contributed to Haiti for relief and other projects. Millions of dollars have also been contributed as a result from partnerships garnered between corporations, government, NGOs, and other individuals.
A lot of the work the foundation has been given has been directed toward small businesses, entrepreneurs, and other farming cooperatives, like Smallholder Farmers Alliance. The Smallholder Farmers Alliance works with approximately 2,000 small farmers who grow limes and other crops. The foundation also creates projects that manufacture facilities and hotels which are used to provide a living wage to residents.
Mary O’Grady wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in which she said that in the five years since the earthquake, it “remains a poster child for waste, fraud, and corruption in the handing of aide.” In this article, she specifically singled out a project spear headed by Mrs. Clinton and the Clinton Foundation.
Human Rights Watch outlined Haiti’s lack of progress in the 2015 World Report:
The Haitian government and international community made limited progress in 2014 to address the devastating impact of recent natural disasters and a deadly cholera epidemic. Political stalemates, resource constraints, and weak government institutions continued to hinder the Haitian government’s efforts to meet the basic needs of its people and address long-standing human rights problems, such as violence against women and inhumane prison conditions.