Mary O’Grady has been following this story for several years, and she updates on it following the earthquake,
Democrats and Haiti Telecom
Clinton and friends are back in business.
In the late 1990s some Haitians working at Teleco told me that “the Kennedy company Fusion” was getting a special rate discount and that it had an office inside Teleco. I called Fusion to inquire but it would not even confirm whether it did business in Haiti. Then the FCC told me that its file containing the Haiti contracts, which are public documents, was missing. When the FCC asked carriers for duplicate copies, Fusion coughed up one, from 1999. Then it went to court to block my request to see it.
Fusion lost, and when the contract was released it showed that the company had a rate of 12 cents per minute when the official rate was 50 cents. As one Haitian told me, on one of the busiest routes in the Western Hemisphere, “it was a gold mine.”
Among Mr. Kennedy’s more hilarious claims is that Fusion’s sweetheart deal with Teleco was “an innovative agreement” and an example of “deregulation of state-owned monopolies.” The FCC has suggested otherwise in another similar situation. In 2008 it fined New Jersey-based IDT $400,000 for failing to file its 2003 Teleco agreement for 8.75 cents per minute, a 66% discount from the official rate.
An American entrepreneur who does business in the Caribbean recently explained the Haitian landscape to me this way: “We did not bother with Haiti as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act precludes legitimate U.S. entities from entering the Haitian market. Haiti is pure pay to play. The benefit of competitive submarine cables would be transformative for the Haitians. Instead, they were stuck with Clinton cronies taxing the poor.”
What is worse, as the latest aid effort demonstrates, at least some of them have not gone away.
No change on that, no break for the blighted country.