Trump hits the legacy of the Clinton Foundation's failure in Haiti

Was this some sort of a cheap shot as liberal defenders of the Clintons seem to be implying? Donald Trump took a page from the past in his latest swipe at the Clintons, bringing up the still horrible conditions in Haiti, many years after the nation was devastated by a massive earthquake. The Clinton Foundation had been on the scene, putting some money into rebuilding efforts, but the long terms effects seem to have been minimal at best. (Washington Post)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday accused the Clinton Foundation of failing to live up to promises it made to help redevelop Haiti after the massive 2010 earthquake devastated the country.

And those attacks — which come as the foundation faces intense scrutiny over receiving foreign donations — in some way echo complaints that have been made by Haitians on the ground.

“While Haiti has suffered, the Clintons and their pals have cashed in. Bill and Hillary’s brothers have signed housing deals in Haiti, and one wound up on the board of a gold mining company,” Trump said during a speech in Greenville, N.C., Tuesday evening. “Clinton Foundation donors have seen the Clintons pave the way for their investments.”

Those are some fairly serious allegations and they drill directly to the heart of the scrutiny being applied to the Clinton Foundation. Is it truly a global force for good and lifting up mankind or a massive cash machine which the Clintons have used to enrich themselves while selling off access to one of America’s premier power couples? As with most things, there’s probably a bit of both, but the situation in Haiti certainly doesn’t speak well for their efforts. One large, sore thumb seems to be Caracol Industrial Park, a project which the Clinton Foundation promised would turn things around for the Haitians. Circa has a pictorial piece which walks us down memory lane.

Six years later, Haiti still isn’t back on its feet. It’s not even close. It remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with an estimated 60,000 people living in tents or camps.

Promoted by Bill and Hillary Clinton through the work of the Clinton Foundation and during her tenure as secretary of state, the 600-acre, $300 million Caracol Industrial Park was meant to be the U.S. government’s flagship reconstruction project in the Caribbean nation.

At its star-studded opening in 2012, then-Secretary Clinton called it “a model not just for Haiti, but for the world.”

To make way for the new industrial park, hundreds of farmers were removed from their land and given meager compensation in return. Many are now unemployed.

The State Department and its partners said the park would create 65,000 jobs when fully operational.

Nearly four years later, there are just over 9,000 employees. Workers that Circa spoke with make the equivalent of $3.81 per day.

Caracol Industrial Park certainly started off with a lot of promise. Or perhaps the more accurate way to describe that would a lot of promises. Haiti was clearly in need of some infrastructure and long term jobs to get people working, paying into the system and rebuilding their lives. Caracol was to be a key piece in that puzzle. Nobody is saying that it was ever going to be easy in a place like Haiti which wasn’t exactly a capitalist paradise to begin with, but it looked like it would produce more than this.

9,000 jobs is better than nothing, but for the most part the industrial park more resembles an abandoned Olympic resort town years after the games have moved on. Back in January the Wall Street Journal was already calling it the Clinton’s half baked Haiti project. The people of Haiti remain largely forgotten at this point and their new normal is frankly depressing. The Clintons seem to have done pretty well out of it, though.

So no… Trump wasn’t totally off base here. But it was an unexpected line of attack to be sure.