05 Sep Guest Post: Haiti and the Shock Doctrine
September 5th, 2012
By Matt Kennard
“In the Western hemisphere, in Haiti and elsewhere, we live under the shadow of your great and prosperous country. Much patience and courage is needed to keep oneÂ´s head” — Doctor Maigot to Mrs Smith in Graham Greene’s The Comedians
In the middle of Port-au-Prince, along a dusty road and behind some imposing metal gates, sits the E-Power electricity plant. In a capital city where electricity blackouts are a nightly occurrence, E-Power is the kind of company the international financial institutions (IFIs) running Haiti believe will lead “reform” – by taking power away from the state-run company, and running it for profit. The company was founded in 2004 by a group of Haitian venture capitalists excited by the departure of social-democratic president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The aim, it said, was to “offer a solution to power generation in Haiti”. Sure enough, two years later, in 2006, the new United States-backed president, RenÃ© PrÃ©val, launched an open bid for a contract to provide electricity to Haiti’s capital city. Seven companies took part: E-Power won.