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Let’s be clear, everyone has failed Haiti

“Keep Haiti’s name out of your mouth.”

Boys look out the windows of a classroom at homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. They are sheltering at Philippe Guerrier High School in Les Cayes, Haiti, where school officials have told the more than 100 people sheltered there that they will have to leave to allow classes to begin again. But people say they have no place to go. CREDIT: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell
Boys look out the windows of a classroom at homes destroyed by Hurricane Matthew. They are sheltering at Philippe Guerrier High School in Les Cayes, Haiti, where school officials have told the more than 100 people sheltered there that they will have to leave to allow classes to begin again. But people say they have no place to go. CREDIT: AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump probably thought he was scoring points when he attacked Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton for her foundation’s work in Haiti in Wednesday’s final presidential debate. But the truth is neither candidate or party has room to talk about what’s best for the country.

“ I was at a Little Haiti the other day in Florida and I want to tell you they hate the Clintons. Because what’s happened in Haiti with the Clinton Foundation is a disgrace,” Trump said.

Clinton quickly defended her decades’ long involvement with Haiti saying that the Foundation raised 30 million dollars following the 2010 earthquake that shattered the island nation. “We’ve done things to help small businesses, agriculture and so much else. And we’re going to keep working to help Haiti because it’s an important part of the American experience,” she said.

Everyone has failed Haiti, the world’s first independent black nation.

Trump tried to use Clinton’s relationship with the country as an example of her corruption and quipped, “They don’t want you to help them anymore.”

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Besides Trump’s flub of conflating the Miami neighborhood with the country, the businessman seemed to miss the fact that Haiti has been let down by both Democrats and Republicans.

Journalist and author Jonathan Katz pointed out that everyone, even debate moderator Chris Wallace, botched the Haiti question. Wallace, he said misstated that Clinton gave foundation donors special access regarding Haiti relief efforts.

Katz went on to say that the real criticism was with Clinton wrongly combining U.S. interests in her Foundation’s Haiti relief efforts while she was Secretary of State.

That sentiment has been at the crux of U.S.-Haiti relations. Everyone has failed Haiti, the world’s first independent black nation. The U.N. only recently admitted to facilitating Haiti’s cholera epidemic after years of denying it. And even when the United States and non-profits aimed to help with relief after a deadly disaster, such as Hurricane Matthew, there was arguably more harm than help. The Clinton Foundation has been a part of that problem.

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The Clintons have invested a lot of time and effort into helping rebuild Haiti, but in doing so the political couple became entangled in bad policy and sketchy business deals.

As president, Bill Clinton ordered an invasion in 1994. Ten years later then-President George W. Bush ordered another invasion, which restored power to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was overthrown by a faction allegiant to former Haitian dictators François and Jean-Claude Duvalier. That move unsettled some of Haiti’s wealthiest families who backed the dictators.

Hillary Clinton has her own legacy in Haiti: many Haitians and Haitian Americans criticize her support of former President Michel Martelly, who stepped down from his post in February following fraud allegations, and the fact that her brother Tony Rodham is often involved in the Clinton Foundation’s business deals in the island nation.

The Clinton Foundation used a contractor in Haiti to build “hurricane-proof” shelters who is now being sued for giving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers that were laced with formaldehyde and sickened Hurricane Katrina victims in the U.S. and Haitian students. The Clintons also failed to deliver on promises to revise the aid process, in which money that was supposed to aid Haiti following the 2010 earthquake went to U.S. non-profits and charities.

During the final presidential debate, criticism mounted for both candidates regarding Haiti’s political and developmental issues.

Others came to Clinton’s defense, showing Little Haiti’s region’s support of the candidate.

And despite Clinton’s complex role with Haiti’s history and politics, Little Haiti residents and the internet at large were quick to let Trump know he’s no friend of theirs either. Local Florida paper, the Miami New Times reported that Little Haiti residents supported Clinton over Trump 19 to one.

This post has been updated to reflect that both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush ordered invasions in Haiti.