The Voices of Haiti’s Voiceless: What We Have Learned


John Groarke, USAID | Haiti
Raymond Joseph, Author & former Ambassador of Haiti to the United States
Robert Maguire, Elliott School of International Affairs

The Voices of Haiti’s Voiceless: What We Have Learned

Reporting from Rachel Metz and Kelsey Hatchitt. Edited by Nicholas Johnson.

The final panel offered insight from two people with significant connections to Haiti or the international response to Haiti after the earthquake. The first perspective came from John Groarke, the USAID Mission Director for Haiti, who has served as the head of USAID operations in Port au Prince since 2013. From his perspective, USAID’s methods immediately following the earthquake were ultimately successful, effectively filling the place of the government after 28/29 government buildings were damaged. From the perspective of the US government, as Groarke noted, recovery programs following the earthquake and development programs in the years since have been successful in meeting the goals and intentions of the US government’s objectives. Groarke acknowledged ongoing development issues (including the housing situation), however the overarching basis for his presentation was the successes of the agency’s programs following the earthquake. While Groarke discussed the role of NGOs, for-profit contractors, and other international actors in the emergency response and development planning, he spoke little in the context of the goals for the voiceless. From presentations throughout the symposium, many of these goals seem to remain unaddressed in the USAID response.

Raymond Joseph, the former Haitian Ambassador to the United States during the 2010 earthquake, spoke of the importance of education and the marginalized on the borders of Port au Prince and beyond. Joseph’s presentation commanded that we measure success, not by numbers of materials distributed, but by the different populations reached across Haiti. Ultimately the neglected populations, especially those living in the countryside and the mountains, remain among the voiceless.