Join us Tuesday, March 19 at 6pm EST at Busboys and Poets on 450 K St. NW, DC for a book talk with CEPR’s Jake Johnston on his new book, Aid State: Elite Panic, Disaster Capitalism, and the Battle to Control Haiti

On behalf of the Haiti Advocacy Working Group, the Haitian American Foundation for Democracy, the Haiti Response Coalition, the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Institute for Policy Studies, we cordially invite you to a book talk on Tuesday, March 19 from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Busboys and Poets on 450 K St. NW, Washington, DC. 

RSVP here.

Tuesday, March 19
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Busboys and Poets
450 K St. NW, Washington, DC 20001

Introductory remarks by former US Representative Andy Levin (D-MI)

Haiti’s state is near collapse: armed groups have overrun the country, not a single elected leader holds office following the 2021 assassination of President Moïse, refugees desperately try to reach the US and Latin America, and the economy reels from the aftereffects of disasters, both man-made and natural, that destroyed much of Haiti’s infrastructure and institutions. How did a nation founded on liberation — a people that successfully revolted against their colonizers and enslavers — come to such a precipice?

After the 2010 earthquake, which killed tens of thousands, nearly half of US families donated to relief efforts, and countries from across the world pledged more than $10 billion to “build back better.” Shortly thereafter, researcher and investigative journalist Jake Johnston began following the money, scrutinizing aid and recovery projects that were a boon to Beltway contractors but that rarely seemed to deliver much for the Haitian people. Along the way, he dug into controversies around the UN mission in Haiti, political scandals in DC and Port-au-Prince, massacres and political repression in some of Haiti’s poorest neighborhoods, fraudulent elections, and a bizarre presidential assassination plot.

Aid State: Elite Panic, Disaster Capitalism, and the Battle to Control Haiti represents the culmination of Johnston’s efforts so far —  a definitive work examining the many things the international community got wrong in responding to one of Haiti’s worst-ever disasters, and the lessons to be learned. Johnston portrays a Haitian populace surviving and pulling together for Haiti’s future despite the actions, and motives, of rich countries that historically have intervened in Haiti in pursuit of their own interests.

Over the course of nearly 100 years, the US has sought to control Haiti and its people with repeated “humanitarian” interventions, and with handpicked leaders, to quell uprisings and protect elite interests. Earthquakes and hurricanes further devastated a state already decimated by the aid industrial complex. At the confluence of foreign aid and foreign policy, Aid State exposes the web of corruption, imperialism, and power politics that, in the shadow of reconstruction, took control of the world’s first independent Black nation.

Based on years of on-the-ground reporting in Haiti and interviews with politicians in the US and Haiti, independent aid contractors, UN officials, and Haitians who struggle for their lives, homes, and families, Aid State is a conscience-searing book of witness.

You can purchase the book here.

About the Author:

Jake Johnston is a Senior Research Associate at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. Jake Johnston has a B.A. in Economics from Boston University and an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. At CEPR, his research has focused predominantly on economic policy in Latin America, the International Monetary Fund, and US foreign policy. He is the lead author for CEPR’s Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch blog and his articles and op-eds have been published in outlets such as The New York Times, The Nation, The Intercept, Le Monde Diplomatique, Boston Review, and Al Jazeera.

RSVP here