Profiteers and Rising Prices for Food and Entry Fees

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Monday, 08 February 2010 17:42

Tim Schwartz writes from the Haiti-D.R. border:

There are some things that should be known about DR dealing with Haiti.

On the one hand, the Dominicans have made commendable efforts to help. The government send mobile food kitchens that are making 60,000 hot meals per day. It was the earliest food distribution on the ground--day after the quake--and is the most efficient I have seen...

But Tim also notes:

But there is regretable profiteering as well.
The border customs has upped the entry fees for Haitians to $35. So while foreigners get waved through at no charge, the thousands of Haitians, with passports, desperately trying to get to Miami or elsewhere are paying more than 3 times what they are supposed to pay. [They were already charging $20--which is double what they are supposed to charge. My basis for saying this is that I have been paying $20 for ten years. Several months ago, Jimmy Carter was at the border at the same time as I, and one of the customs guys ran me down and gave me $10 of my $20 back]. Now they have kicked it up to $35 I suspect this is unauthorized because the bus is only charging previous custom entry fees.

Then there [are] the kids who were in the DR hospital grounds. Very disturbing. They apparently have been sending kids back, broken limbs, infections, and all.

Meanwhile, Aljazeera reports that “aid agencies believe that 10 per cent of the donations are being sold on the black markets in Haiti” as food prices increase. Hundreds of protesters marched against poor aid distribution and the corruption responsible for aid being diverted to the marketplace, Reuters reports.