By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, LAS VEGAS, Nevada, Thurs. Oct. 20, 2016: Haiti made a surprise entry into the final debate showdown before the Nov. 8th general elections between Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Moderator Chris Wallace brought up Haiti based on a question of conflict of interest and emails that have surfaced showing that donors to the Clinton Foundation got special access to Clinton when she was secretary of state while those seeking grants for Haiti relief were considered separately from non-donors, and some of those donors got contracts – government contracts, taxpayer money.
Clinton did not answer the question directly but instead said she is “thrilled to talk about the Clinton Foundation because it is a world renowned charity and I am so proud of the work that it does.”
Donald Trump immediately went on attack mode in his response calling “what happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation … a disgrace.”
I was at a Little Haiti the other day in Florida and I want to tell you they hate the Clintons,” he added. “And you know it and they know it and everybody knows it.”
Retorting, Clinton said she and her husband have been involved in trying to help Haiti for many years.
“The Clinton Foundation raised thirty million dollars to help Haiti after the catastrophic earthquake and all of the terrible problems the people there had. We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it’s an important part of the American experience,” she added.
Trump addressed some Haitians in Little Haiti on Sept. 16, 2016 where several expressed anger with the Clintons and the way they have acted towards Haiti.
The former President of the National Assembly, former Senator Bernard Sansaricq, told Trump that the Bill Clinton administration, in 1994, tried to bribe him for support for the U.S. invasion of Haiti.
Leonce Thelusma, a former Haitian finance minister and a registered Republican, said Hillary Clinton has little to show for her and her husband’s involvement in Haiti, where most recently Bill Clinton served as U.N. special envoy and czar of the recovery effort after the quake.
“No Haitian has benefited from that,” he told the Miami Herald. “It’s unfortunate that we don’t have any institutions in Haiti that can call him and demand that he gives an account of the [earthquake] money.”
Haitian doctors, lawyers and former Haiti government ministers attended the event with Trump which was organized by Ringo Cayard, a Haitian community activist who said it’s time for the Haitian-American vote to stop being taken for granted.
Meanwhile, the Trump foundation’s 2010 tax return showed it did not donate a penny to relief organizations in the wake of tragedies like the massive Haiti earthquake of 2010.