Tarnished: The True Cost of Gold (eBook)

Tarnished: The True Cost of Gold tells the stories of those who mine gold—the lustrous, coveted symbol of wealth. Eleven journalists traveled to 10 countries to tell these stories. Their work combines first-rate reporting, vivid imagery and video, previously published by the Pulitzer Center, an innovative non-profit that supports international journalism.

In Chapter Four, Jacob Kushner investigates the future of mining in Haiti, a land ravaged by an earthquake in 2010. Gold remains its hidden treasure, one of the country’s few unexploited natural resources. Kushner asks where the wealth will go when—and if—tons of precious metals are unearthed. (A version of this chapter was originally published by Guernica Magazine).

Download the eBook for iPad, iBooks for Mac or Kindle.

Four years after the Haiti earthquake, what have billions in US aid bought?

The United States spent $2.8 billion to help Haiti rebuild, but the results have been a disaster of a different kind.

By Jacob Kushner

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — In the four years since Haiti’s disastrous earthquake, the United States has promised $3.6 billion in aid, at least $2.8 billion of which has already been spent.

Has it helped? GlobalPost examined more than one dozen studies and audits to estimate how much of that money made it through US government and NGO bureaucracies to the ground in Haiti — and what good it did there.

Read the article at GlobalPost.

In Haiti, all eyes on US to reform food aid program

US Congress is on the verge of rejecting a money-saving proposal that would deliver US food aid to more people and boost foreign farmers in the process.

Sacks of American rice for sale at a Port-au-Prince market. (Jacob Kushner/GlobalPost)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The idea that the delivery of American food aid needs an overhaul goes almost without question here in the capital of a nation still recovering from the devastating earthquake of four years ago.

Farmers in Haiti and many of their counterparts in the United States are joining foreign aid organizations calling on the United States to stop sending American crops to Haiti through what many critics say is the deeply flawed and wasteful strategy of the current, multi-billion-dollar US Department of Agriculture Food for Peace program.

“Unfortunately US policy doesn’t consider first the political interests of farmers abroad, but of its own,” said Camille Chalmers, director of a Haitian farmers’ association.

“But now there is a chance to change that,” he added.

Read the full article at GlobalPost. 

New hospital encourages doctors to stick around as Haiti continues to rebuild

Pediatricians in residence Dr. Roosler Billy Telcide, 27 (right), and Dr. Ben Bechir Beaubrun, sit in the children’s waiting room at the Partners in Health University Hospital in Mirebalais. Telcide said he’s excited to learn first rate patient care at the new facility– and to carry those standards with him as he practices medicine to his hometown once he completes his residency. /Jacob Kushner

MIREBALAIS, Haiti — When Roosler Billy Telcide completed medical school in Port-au-Prince, his hopes for finding a residency to prepare him for a career as a pediatrician were modest.

“I had a dream when I was a medical student to do my residency where I can find a scanner, an MRI, and all those things Partners in Health has,” said Telcide, 27, in reference to Boston non-profit whose state-of-the-art teaching hospital opened last year in the town of Mirebalais, north of Port-au-Prince.

Funded by private donors and grants, and using equipment donated from the Boston area, the $25-million, 300-bed University Hospital of Mirebalais (HUM) already handles some 800 outpatient visits a day, offers chemotherapy to cancer patients, delivers 200 to 300 babies per month and operates a 24-hour emergency ward. Its mission: provide free, first-rate health care to Haitians who could otherwise not afford it.

Read the full story as it appeared at GlobalPost.

Fabienne Jean sits at home with her prosthetic leg propped up on a coffee table. -Nick Kozak

RADIO: Haiti Three Years After The Earthquake: Still Rebuilding A Life

The earthquake that struck Haiti three years ago this month sent a concrete wall crashing down onto the 30-year-old dancer Fabienne Jean. Her right leg was crushed and had to be amputated. When Fabienne danced again, she was hailed as a symbol of Haiti’s post-earthquake recovery.

But as reporter Jacob Kushner discovered, the quest to rebuild one woman’s life would take much more than that. Kushner followed Fabienne’s story for nearly a year, reporting from Port-au-Prince, Boston and New York. Listen to the five-part series and see photos by Nick Kozak at wlrn.org.

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A woman holds the gold she found this week. Image by Ben Depp. Haiti, 2012.

Haiti’s Gold Rush

Riches beckon from beneath Haiti’s hills, and mining companies are hoping to lock in huge tax breaks to get at them.

Deep in Haiti’s northern mountains, a half-dozen supervisors at a mining exploration site spent their days playing dominoes at a folding table next to a helicopter pad. For weeks they waited in La Miel, off a dirt road deep in the countryside, for Haiti’s government to give them the go-ahead to search for the gold they believe is buried in the hills around them.

Read the full story as it appeared at Guernica.
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PHOTO: Haitians face persecution across Dominican border

Merchants cross the Haitian-Dominican border in Jimaní (JACOB KUSHNER)

Haitians Face Persecution Across Dominican Border

When a 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, in January 2010, the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, responded immediately by sending doctors, rescue teams, and over $34 million worth of emergency aid. Since then, the Dominican government has constructed a state-of-the-art university in northern Haiti and worked with Haiti’s new government to improve conditions across the border.

But neither the Dominican state nor the majority of its citizens have shown any such mercy to the estimated 500,000 to 1 million Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent living in their midst.

Access the article through NACLA subscription services

Read the accompanying sidebar story, Life in a Border Town Marred by Tension (no subscription necessary). (more…)