Washington, DC – “In a recent opinion piece on the Scripps Howard News Service, ‘U.S. still undermining Haiti,’ which has previously appeared on biased or non-legitimate “news” sites, Mark Weisbrot accuses the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and IRI of spending “tens of millions of dollars to make Haiti under Aristide ungovernable.”  This uninformed comment proves Mr. Weisbrot’s ignorance and shows he does not have even a basic understanding of the assistance and work organizations like USAID and IRI carry out.

“If Mr. Weisbrot took the time he would learn that for more than a decade, IRI along with its sister organization, the National Democratic Institute, have been working with democratic activists and civil society leaders in Haiti who want to live in a country free of government repression and corruption.  IRI programs have worked to help strengthen democratic political parties and encourage women and youth participation in the political process.   Mr. Weisbrot also would learn that the IRI is not the “international arm of the Republican Party.” The institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance and the rule of law. 

“Mr. Weisbrot offers no proof of his ridiculous conspiracy theories.  But his irresponsible charges echo the claims of brutal dictators like Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, Aleksandr Lukashenko in Belarus, and Islom Karimov in Uzbekistan that the U.S. government is trying to overthrow their governments.  These dictators, as with the dictators in Haiti, are alone responsible for their actions and their results.  If they refuse to allow their citizens the freedom they deserve and continue to use violence and repression to hold on to power, they alone will be responsible when their citizens say enough is enough.” 

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