Clintons, Leahy launch controversial US-funded industrial park in Haiti

ADVERTISEMENT
The United States is paying for $124 million of the cost of the industrial park in Caracol that will be built around a South Korean T-shirt conglomerate's exports to the United States, reports The Associated Press. The investment is seen as a major gamble for the Clintons' reputation in the region — Bill Clinton was the United Nations' special envoy to Haiti — and has already raised questions about its sustainability, its distance from the capital, Port-au-Prince, and potential damage to coral reefs.

Leahy in a statement said he was visiting in his role as the State Department's top Senate appropriator to oversee U.S.-assisted relief and redevelopment efforts in Haiti.

“Private investment is one key to developing Haiti’s economy, and this private-public partnership is intended to help jump-start this long process,” Leahy said. “This industrial park holds much promise, but there are many hurdles ahead that will test its lasting impact. Many decades of redevelopment efforts in Haiti have been burdened by lack of basic infrastructure and social services such as education, housing, medical care and a functioning justice system, and government corruption has contributed as well in derailing earlier large-scale projects.”

“This project also presents environmental challenges which need to be responsibly resolved. Helping Haiti emerge will require consistent effort and oversight, and I wanted to see these latest efforts for myself.”