One of the more interesting retort in the famous Watergate Affair happened when deep Throat, the inside informant fed the investigative reporters Woodward and Bernstein the advice “Follow the money”. I reflected on this upon thinking about Petro Caribe, its challenges and its much needed outcome if justice is to prevail.
Crime has always been a lucrative activity for those outside the law. Very few moral constraints interfere with the goals and the methods used by criminals to reach them. Every day concerns like respect for the law, the satisfaction of working to satisfy your needs and the ability to understand what other hard working bread earners are feeling become moot and made for “suckers”, while these criminals preen and puff their feathers around flashing their money and leisure filled life. Many empty headed but otherwise attractive women gravitate to this sort of fellow, while we also find young gigolos ready to please both men and women with easy money to spread around. This kind of spectacle will always influence the unthinking youngsters and be used to provide entertainment in the media. Sadly those in charge of our entertainment cater to this kind of lifestyle which they constantly put up on screens and in useless lyrics quickly forgotten as the next tune comes up.
Which brings us to Haiti and the society we live in. A society whose mores and values duplicate themselves even in the immigrant subculture we establish in the USA. In Haiti, most public events feature a bunch of guys flashing money, drinking the best scotch or vodka surrounded by easy women while most of them have never put in an honest days work. Some earn their money somewhat legally since they own businesses, but they hardly work, leaving the labor and all useful activities to people who are paid crumbs. The harder you job is, the less you are paid in the country while criminals who work even less than bosses are giving the royal treatment in all public places. I have been to restaurants in Haiti where you get served after the party of some politician while the excuse given is about a reservation made prior. All in the name of VIP treatment for crooks, dealers, kidnappers and murderers.
The Petro Challengers need to follow the money from the source to its eventual destination to figure out who are all the culprits and their accomplices. Banks have to be actively involved in moving the money out of Haiti. Many of the new businesses, supermarkets and gas stations with mini marts popping up are the result of money stolen then reinvested. All of this is happening with the active involvement of banks and institutions using financial instruments. Unless Petro Challenge identifies the financial instruments used to siphon most of the money out of Haiti we will only be concentrating on the small and medium sized fish, save for Martelly, Lamothe and Laleau who should be part of the big haul. Many prominent business people in the country have benefited from the largess of Petro Caribe through questionable contracts and business deals. Companies popped up to take advantage of this windfall from heaven or more precisely from government handouts, a couple of them going to President Jovenel Moise and his banana, sorry plantain growing business which earned him the nickname Neg Banan. By identifying the people involved in putting together the instruments and financial packages required to allow the money to pass through the banks we will locate where the money went. Not only in Haiti but at the other end in foreign banks the money was received and allowed to be cleaned and put to use buying properties, investing in stocks and bonds while also opening large accounts in those institutions. International money laundering laws are being broken by those entrepreneurs who do not respect the law and have no moral ethics. Their motto is to steal from Haiti anytime you get the chance.
Follow the money and the upper crust of Haiti will explode into a collection of convicts sent to jail while forced to return their ill gotten gains. A bunch of highly educated fools who prefer to steal and rob rather than use their education for positive things will find their way into jail cells where they belong. Without this clean up campaign the Petro Challenge will never be fulfilled and the country will remain the snake pit, poorly managed, dirt filled hell we are forced to live in. Next we will get some toxic waste like we did many years, if this is not happening yet because those that did not get enough from Petro Caribe will look for a way to earn a living, after all there is no one governing just the new Ali Baba, his wife and forty thieves, a replay of the Martelly regime only with a different crew and no more handout from Venezuela. This is why the country is sinking into an abyss every day. The money trail should yield all the culprits associated with one of the biggest embezzlement in the Caribbean Islands. This is like an iceberg where most of the action is still below public awareness, hidden in records diligently stashed away. The boxes need to be opened to allow the truth to come out so that we can be set free. Freedom, Lord we need freedom from the sky, the heavens and hell on earth.