2 Years After Haiti Earthquake, Praise Becomes Resentment

Haitians have become suspicious of relief groups that rushed to their aid after the quake, saying that they have seen little improvement in their lives, Marjorie Valbrun writes at iWatch News.

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Homage to quake victims outside Port-au-Prince (Thony Belizaire AFP/Getty Images)

In a blog entry at iWatch News, Marjorie Valbrun investigates life in Haiti two years after a devastating earthquake ripped through the city's capital. She says that residents have become resentful of relief groups because their lives have not improved, and many are demanding an accounting of how aid money is being spent.

The humanitarian response was so appreciated that few could have predicted two years later the long and deep thread of anger toward NGOs that now runs through Haitian society.

Many Haitians refer to their country as “La république des ONG,” a reference to the presence of so many NGOs that are sometimes working at cross purposes with Haitian officials, and sometimes in competition with each other.

Antagonism is evident in graffiti painted on walls around Port-au-Prince; in commentary on Haitian talk radio and televised public affairs shows; and in conversations on neighborhood porches and college campuses. NGOs are variously described in Haitian Creole as “vòlè” (thieves or crooks), “malonèt” (liars) and “kowonpi” (corrupt).

On a concrete wall across the street from Institut National d’Administration de Gestion et des Hautes Etudes Internationales, and Faculté des Sciences, universities with a history of student-led, anti-government protests, student union members listed acronyms of 13 NGOs along with those of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the United Nations.

A red “X” is painted over each organization’s name.

At the bottom of the wall reads: “Tout Komplis Nan Mizè Nou,” -- All complicit in our misery.

Read Marjorie Valbrun's entire blog entry at iWatch News.

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