Corporations first…Unfortunately, the poor factory worker in Haiti couldn’t help Hillary or her campaign…Hillary…But just ask her, she’ll tell you…she’s always looking out for the little guy! So much for the champion of the factory worker…or the champion of the poor…
In Haiti, people work for peanuts. Slave wages. Less than $5 per day, but they supply the U.S. with tons of affordable clothing from big-name brands like Levi’s, Hanes and Polo. Haiti’s big advantage, compared to Asia, is their proximity to us, and thousands of Haitians are employed in the textile industry in part because of that. When Haiti passed a wage raise from $.24 per hour to $.61 per hour, American companies were predictably outraged.
Enter Hillary’s State Department…
Hillary Clinton colluded with big business to maintain slave wages for workers in one of the world’s poorest countries, according to the host of an RT American comedy news show.
Comedian and activist Lee Camp of RT’s Redacted Tonight mocked Clinton’s efforts to “keep 37 cents per hour out of the hands of destitute Haitians.”
“In 2009, while Bill Clinton was setting up one of the family’s shell companies in New York, in that same year Hillary Clinton was at the State Department working with U.S. corporations to pressure Haiti not to raise the minimum wage to 61 cents an hour from 24 cents,” Camp said April 17. “Seriously.”
Memos from 2008 and 2009 obtained by Wikileaks strongly suggest, but don’t prove without a doubt, that the State Department helped block the proposed minimum wage increase. The memos show that U.S. Embassy officials in Haiti clearly opposed the wage hike and met multiple times with factory owners who directly lobbied against it to the Haitian president.
The Clinton campaign (as expected) refuted the claim, and the State Department didn’t comment.- Politifact
This took place in 2011, and Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State. Our corporations were successful, and Haitians continued to work for worse slave wages than they otherwise would have, all so U.S. corporations could take home higher profits.
At the time, the U.S. Embassy said that the wage increase didn’t take economic realities into account, and that it was a move designed specifically to appeal to the unemployed and underpaid masses of Haiti. Imagine that. Imagine trying to help your people have a better life instead of catering to huge corporations at your people’s expense. The horror. –News.groopspeak
HOPE, not change
In 2011, Wikileaks made nearly 2,000 cables available to the progressive magazine, The Nation, and Haiti Liberté, a weekly newspaper in Port-au-Prince.
The two media outlets assessed the cables and found, among many other revelations, that the “U.S. Embassy in Haiti worked closely with factory owners contracted by Levi’s, Hanes, and Fruit of the Loom to aggressively block a paltry minimum wage increase” for workers in apparel factories.
The Wikileaks cables show U.S. Embassy officials began monitoring the minimum wage issue as early as 2008, when the Haitian Parliament began discussing doubling or tripling the daily minimum wage of 70 Haitian gourdes to keep up with inflation. That’s roughly equal to $1.75 a day, or about 22 cents per hour.
(Some context here: Three quarters of Haitians live on less than $2 a day, according to the United Nations’ World Food Program, while garments constitute about 90 percent of Haiti’s exports, according to the Guardian. Haiti increased the daily minimum wage to the equivalent of $5.11 in 2014.)
But back in 2008 and 2009, embassy officials repeatedly told Washington that a hike would hurt the economy and undermine U.S. trade preference legislation known as HOPE.
The program, shorthand for the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2006, gives garments manufactured on the island duty free access to U.S. markets. Levi Strauss, Haneswear, Nautica, and Dockers are just some of the American companies that benefit from HOPE. Congress passed HOPE II in 2008, extending the program for another 10 years.
In January 2008, Ambassador Janet Sanderson wrote that representatives of the business community — including the man tasked with implementing HOPE — had met with embassy officials and criticized Haitian President René Préval’s efforts to raise the minimum wage as the wrong medicine for the ailing economy.
An unsigned embassy cable sent to Washington in December 2008 echoed the private sector’s assessment and reported that increasing the minimum wage would “have significant impact” on business.
The State Department continued to promote HOPE as an economic boon for the island. In memos prepping U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Clinton for their visits to Haiti, chargé d’affaires Thomas Tighe told the diplomats to “urge” the Haitian government take advantage of HOPE and HOPE II.
For entire story: Politifact