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Plea for the restitution of wealth from the South arbitrarily confiscated from the North

  • June 3, 2024
  • 33 Min
  • 13

Transnational policy suffers from a flagrant imperfection to the extent that restitution procedures do not follow the confiscation operations carried out manu militari by industrialized nations. If there has been a seizure of ill-gotten buildings, bank accounts and villas by squanderers from underdeveloped countries without a clear desire to return the public funds extorted to the country of origin, then this is a new form of fraud perpetrated by the North. A dignified State cannot foster practices of triangular corruption – between politicians, businessmen and international agencies – which unfairly benefits its economy.

When, with its visor raised, a developed country profits from feeding the mechanisms of incitement to prevarication within companies run by corrupt leaders, it tarnishes its image by revealing its hypocritical character in the fight against asset laundering. No State deserves its place in the concert of democratic nations which advocate co-development and transnational justice when it surreptitiously enriches itself to the detriment of ethical principles and meritocratic guidelines. As long as the game continues in this biased arbitration for the benefit of the wealthy, the desire for shared prosperity promoted by the United Nations will only be perceptible on paper.

The following illustration aims to expose the illogical or even inciting stamp of bad morals generated by confiscation measures not followed by restitution. Suppose that due to flaws in the surveillance systems, Pierre stole a bunch of bananas from the neighbor’s (John) garden. After investigation, Pierre’s guilt was demonstrated. The village judge pronounced a verdict punishing Pierre “with complacency” and then confiscated the bunch of bananas from his own residence. Instead of handing over the bunch of bananas to Jean, the victim of the theft, the judge grants himself the latitude to profit from the corpus delicti while enjoying with his family.

At the slightest evil, this agent responsible for promoting the rule of law and social harmony in the village throws a few banana crumbs at Jean, in a false sympathy. Based on this aberrant practice, the more the village welcomes scams, the more the justice commissioner illicitly enriches himself. What would be the interest of this judge in putting an end to embezzlement in the village? Absolutely none!

The incentive mechanism being flawed, the judge would even be motivated to develop unfair strategies to encourage crime and feed the vicious circle of corruption. In the dark light of this model of asymmetric mechanism, proof of the involvement of a set of plenipotentiaries and international agencies in the chain of crime in Haiti has been established.

The gap is yawning between the noble objectives set and the meager achievements of multilateral development cooperation. It is shameful that certain international organizations, holding large budgetary envelopes, pride themselves on developing fifty-year or sixty-year cooperation with Haiti.

The lost funds of the CIRH and PetroCaribe

The failures of coordination in the management of multilateral CIRH and bilateral PetroCaribe cooperation illustrate that many financial crimes occur to the detriment of Haiti, while benefiting the giants of the “omnipotent” West. Going back to the dictatorial period, we can refer to the massive financial misappropriation of several hundred million dollars orchestrated by the Duvalier family, which were injected into the economic activities of France. Shortly after the fall of the dictatorship, under the presidency of JB Aristide, Haiti again lost considerable funds, particularly to the United States.

This shift towards a certain uncontrolled democracy coincided with a time when the geopolitical games and issues were especially unfavorable for Haiti. Thanks to popular fury, but against the wishes of the West, Aristide, winning the 1990 presidential elections “Lavalaseman”, would occupy the supreme office of the country. The lack of political finesse of this priest president coupled with the vindictive posture of the white man had made the political climate deleterious. Meanwhile, dirty money was amassed with greater ease.

Probably due to the weak presence of local and international institutions fighting against illicit enrichment, there were, among other things, very few barriers to deter drug trafficking. This involved several corrupt leaders and drug traffickers from the official corridor (police chief, parliamentarians, etc.) who would later be deprived of their ill-gotten wealth. Which had been confiscated in particular by the American authorities without being duly returned to this country which is constantly the subject of international injustices. The ransom of the independence debt imposed by France, estimated today at more than 28 billion dollars, is seen as the main source of Haiti’s economic asthenia.

Under the administrations of Holland and then Sarkozy, this subject was intensely debated. To calm things down, France had just recognized “a moral debt”. Really ! But here again, the mountains of promises to build schools and other infrastructures to heal the after-effects of this economic devastation and “compensate” the victims have only given birth to a mouse. Iconic political intellectual figures like Christiane Taubira, Jean Pierre Leglaunec and Thomas Piketty have provided fascinating insights into this injustice. For the happiness of multilateral relations, all wise minds are demanding reparation and restitution from France.

Particularly in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, technical reports revealed harmful collusions between several authorizing officers, international organizations as well as NGOs, involved in the mismanagement and misappropriation of public funds. The CIRH and PetroCaribe, two enormous sources of post-earthquake financing, are cataloged as the most spectacular financial scandals known to the country in recent years. Regarding the funds of the IHRC, through negligence or dishonesty, a former American president aided by the greed of a few shabby leaders and small intellectuals, facilitated multiple frauds and waste. At the local level, the hands of presidents, senators, deputies and ministers have been soaked up to their elbows in the PetroCaribe crime. The report from the Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes says a lot.

The IHRC co-chaired by former President Clinton and Prime Minister Bellerive experienced a resounding failure of coordination. When the juicy contracts were signed supposedly for the benefit of Haiti, the lion’s share went to the United States, in simple electronic writing. If they are not highly paid consultants, it is mainly foreign firms which have

taken over contracts, without necessarily respecting their terms of reference. The Haitian state, in collapse mode due to the smallness of its representatives, only received and managed a modest percentage of these envelopes which were to be allocated to the reconstruction of the country.

More shocking, in the case of the PetroCaribe, theft has never been carried out with such audacity. Never has a black-tie bandit been so condescending. To better plunder public coffers, the Martelly-Lamothe administration declared a state of emergency in all sectors. “Ti Manman Cheri”, “Ti Papi Doudou”, “Ede Pèp”, “Kore Etidyan”, “Banm Limyè, Banm Lavi”, public projects were conceived solely in hollow slogans. These spirits, eager for easy wealth, ridiculed an entire society in scenes of “Gouvènman Lakay” propaganda, broadcast on the antennas of most television stations in the Capital taken hostage by an arrogant mediocracy.

A stone was deposited for the execution of an airport, and the bill was several millions drawn from the public treasury account. A painted wall and a fortune were paid to anonymous, pseudonymous firms, and therefore synonymous with spectacular looting. A baroque footbridge was built on the road to Delmas, and the burden was more than 25 million dollars on the back of the Haitian state. These political impostors, making Haiti a country open for business and emerging with slogans, took it easy. During this reign of a repugnant mediocracy punctuated by clan kleptomania, the local lexical field was sadly adorned with a set of rare terms belonging to the dictionary of corruption. We read and heard on everyone’s lips, over-invoicing, multi-invoicing and the creation of phony firms designed by ministers and parliamentarians to unscrupulously dry up the sources of financial inflows to the public treasury.

Where the problem lies even more is that these gigantic amounts, transferred from the public account to individual bank accounts, were quickly extradited to these prosperous companies already equipped with development structures and infrastructures. These unfairly acquired riches were used in the construction of villas, the purchase of apartment chains and other commercial and residential properties abroad. Yet these same upstart multimillionaires, suddenly becoming major shareholders and owners abroad, rarely own a store at home. Negative externalities for Haiti but positive externalities abroad, the misdeeds of greedy leaders have served to improve the socio-economic indicators of the American, Dominican and Canadian economies.

Recently, Canada and the USA proceeded to confiscate substantial funds squandered from the Haitian public treasury, most of which undoubtedly bear the imprints of Petrocaribe. It is fair game for regulatory institutions to dispossess the kidnappers since the resulting dissuasive effects tend to dampen the movement of money laundering while discouraging recidivism. However, the crucial error that these confiscators-buccaneers deliberately commit is that of not initiating the process of returning the wealth amassed in opacity. Haiti is impatiently awaiting the return of these funds which are supposed to build infrastructure, hospitals, schools, roads, sports parks for the benefit of the community. It would be through this trilogical process – sanction, confiscation and restitution – that justice would be done and that a dignified society would regain the excellence of its soul.

Premium for crime and silence

With reference to the principle of economic rationality, an unfair system would never break down when the prosecutor – through whom the restoration of judicial balance should take place – had petty interests. Apart from his moral integrity, only a stupid judge would help put an end to offenses perpetrated in his village when such practices would serve to increase his personal wealth. Socially effective systems do not rely on the good faith or honesty of citizens; but rather on monitoring institutions which force them to respect the principles. The Norwegian leader is not necessarily honest by default; however, the control system and related sanctions force it to do so.

In the absence of standards and incentive mechanisms suitably established with a certain normative completeness, illicit markets cannot be banned. For example, if a State truly wishes to deter illicit drug trafficking, it is not enough for it to condemn sellers, speculators and buyers. Nor should he have the latitude to derive personal advantage from it. Otherwise the game would be b easy since, incognito, this State would tend to encourage and perpetuate this illegal trade.

Probably, the wealth coming from drugs and which was confiscated by a country which welcomed the dirty money of dealers, should have been redistributed to entities without the country having an immediate profit. This process can be initiated as a remedy for damage caused in

sectors such as health, sport and education, particularly in vulnerable societies. When the United States or Canada arrogate to themselves the right to extradite drug traffickers, confiscating their fraudulent wealth while it makes their economies grow, logic indicates that the failure of the fight against drug trafficking the drug is guaranteed. The reasoning is similar for the arms and ammunition trade which also suffers from the problem of conflict of interest “between judges and parties”. Those who produce submachine guns and Kalashnikovs would also be those who fight cross-border crime. Isn’t it obvious that the judge will become involved in feeding the system with more criminals.

Multiple financial investigations have revealed the culpability of many Western countries in the exploitation of significant fortunes of African countries. The new twist in counting implemented by predatory capitalist systems is to entrust the management of the country’s funds to corrupt political leaders who serve their causes, without reservation. These funds theoretically dedicated to the realization of collective projects in underdeveloped countries are transferred to foreign banks through cyber crime. Greedy political leaders fueling such crimes are most often imposed on decision-making circles in blatant collusions that involve embassies, international agencies and the business sector.

In return for their official positions which guarantee them impunity and the green light in the lure of easy gain, these presidents, ministers and directors general are forced to maintain a sepulchral silence in the face of foreign predations. They are puppets unduly installed to approve, like good useful idiots, the exploitative acts of the new filibusters. Since they lack notoriety and legitimacy, these leaders agree to develop, in concert with their bosses, socially harmful strategies to complete their mandates and regenerate later on the political scene. Thus, political power, which should be devoted to the coordination of public programs to ensure socio-political harmony, is transformed into the power of societal disruption. The time needed to create wealth is wasted on time-consuming rescue acrobatics initiated by the disgusting small groups who indulge in bulimia and megalomania on meager public resources. Haiti has experienced so much of such practices generating the expansion of crime since the enthronement of the PHTK regime.

In addition to veiled incentives, the asymmetry of information in the natural resources of certain underdeveloped countries leads to locally sub-optimal balances in the negotiation games. Thanks to the triplex of greed, incompetence and opacity, the international community, in its perfidious desire of a false Good Samaritan, prefers to negotiate with worthless leaders. This is undoubtedly an element of explanation of the agenda of international interference. By interfering in all their sovereign projects, the false friends of the international oppose any idea of ​​self-determination of weakened States. They lead their wings towards endogenous development by putting stones in their shoes. Naughty game!

Cavalier electoral intrusion to force the promulgation of their own results of ballots that they render fraudulent represents the main stratagem of the actors of the perfidious international community. Their main objective is to place incompetent and corrupt people in the strategic political axes of most societies in the South. Ricardo Seteinfus clarified in obscure clarity the absurd way in which the United Nations granted bonuses to incompetence and vagrancy in 2011 by electing Michel Martelly to the country’s supreme office: “the chameleon strategy”. It is since the geopolitical deviance led by the OAS and the UN following the 2010 earthquake that state banditry in cahoots with criminals from here and elsewhere has been established in the country. Ultimately, a dismal picture was painted in the country where the verbs rape, steal, kidnap, terrorize, decapitalize and murder are combined on a daily basis.

The convention against crime amputated

The giants of the West partially adopt the algorithm of the Crime Convention, amputating one of its upper limbs. “Under Article 14 of the UN Crime Convention, States Parties must give priority consideration to returning the proceeds of crime or confiscated property to the requesting State Party. The latter should therefore compensate the victims of the offense or return these proceeds of crime or these property to their legitimate owners. Contrary to this conventional mechanism, the way in which international institutions manage the money embezzled by economic smugglers and political dealers from the South does not contribute to ending the chain of transnational financial crime. These developed companies would even have an interest in offering bonuses to maintain the

corruption within these countries of the South refractory to taking the path of stability and development.

In recent years, multiple bank accounts belonging to former Haitian ministers, parliamentary presidents and businessmen have been frozen in America. Discussions on sanctions and confiscation of the assets of these masterminds of crime and corruption hit the headlines in the local and international media. However, with reference to Article 14 of the Crime Convention, mentioned above, steps to recover these funds have not been taken. In doing so, Canada and the USA are trampling on their image as societies promoting universal values ​​and salutary statutes initialed at international conventions. There is a glaring mismatch between the good that these societies advocate in theory and the evil that they endorse in practice.

Returning to our imaginary lump sum scenario, there would be a conflict of interest to the extent that the non-return of the stolen loot to its origin would amount to a translation of a fraud from the burglar of the land to the villain of the Court. The land thief could be in the current geopolitical context a senator, a prime minister or a president who extorted funds from the public treasury of his country to deposit them in tax havens. The villain of the Court would be akin to the plenipotentiary, the ambassador or the representative of an international organization serving the captor countries.

More than suspicions, in this system conducive to corruption and impunity, we constantly observe blatant situations where judges themselves become masterminds of kleptomania. However, if the usefulness of the judge is positively correlated with the well-being of the community, the functioning of the village would be imbued with the guidelines of justice. But in all cases, the judge must be forced by the monitoring institutions to return the bunch of bananas to its owner.

Even if he is the guarantor of justice, the judge is not above the law. We must remove any motivation from him to promote deviant behavior. Otherwise, he will be inclined to join criminals, including international buccaneers who confirm the thesis of the paradox of the natural resource curse. In the ignoble prospect of perpetrating their outrageous exploitations, they do not rule out wars and murderous conflicts within the country whose mineral wealth is coveted.

When an entire society believed they were failing in their diplomatic missions, at the end of their mandates, several impotent ambassadors were welcomed on a red carpet to their countries of origin. Failing promotion, they were re-engaged in other similar or larger missions. This observation is the same for a group of leaders who had occupied sovereign positions (prime ministers, ministers, DG, etc.). We must therefore deduce that on the one hand, the failure of the coveted country is bitter; but on the other, a predefined “filibuster” agenda of the international community was well executed.

When the political force does not align with the dialectical force to easily synchronize the theoretical and the practical by dictating better behavior, it is through the forces of the arguments that the lines move in the direction of collective interests. May the eagle eyes of civil society, particularly the press and the university, awaken to decree permanence regarding the restitutions and reparations that are due to Haiti by right. In the post-slavery era, Northern societies have been arbitrarily sucking up Haiti’s resources for two centuries. “Good accounts make good friends.” Haiti needs to recover its wealth and dignity by recovering the financial resources owed to it from France, the United States and Canada.

To the acts of sanction and confiscation, we must logically add this third angle, restitution, in order to mark in a 90 degree return the restoration of the economic balance of impoverished countries. The adoption of this trilogy will promote the achievement of shared prosperity while making multilateral relations equitable. It is unreasonable for country A (all-powerful) to take the option of enriching country B (impoverished) by partially implementing measures that are suitable for making its economy flourish.

Friends of Haiti – true or false – Haiti needs to rise from its ashes; return to him his multiple millions confiscated from you. Thank you so much !

Carly Dollin

[email protected]