Over the past decade, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the United Nations International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have urged poor countries to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. “End Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Reset the Economy for a Better World,” read caption of a June 2020 WEF article on the launch of the “Great Reset” initiative.
The WEF article quoted IMF Executive Director Kristalina Georgieva. “Now we have to step up, use all the power we have, which in the case of the IMF is $1 trillion,” she said, to create “a big reset, not a big reversal.” By “reversal” she meant the return to the use of fossil fuels after the pandemic. By “reset” she meant the transition to renewable sources. “I would particularly like to use low oil prices to remove harmful subsidies,” she said.
Last week, the government of the small Caribbean island of Haiti took the advice of the IMF, the WEF and the World Bank and announced the end of fuel subsidies. Result there were riots, looting and chaos. A powerful gang leader used the public outrage over the announcement to block the port and orchestrate the overthrow of the government. Looters attacked warehouses and made off with food aid. Rioters burned beach houses and businesses. And several European embassies closed to protect their staff.
The root cause of Haiti’s problems cannot be laid at the feet of the WEF or the IMF, and many exaggerate the role of the Great Reset in policymaking. Haiti has been protected by the US government and international agencies for decades. In 1994, the UN Security Council authorized the military occupation of Haiti after its military overthrew a democratically elected president in 1991. The earthquake killed over 100,000 people and devastated infrastructure in 2010. As for the WEF, it was the subject of ridiculous conspiracy theorists.
But there is no doubt that it was the Haitian government’s announcement to cut fossil fuel subsidies that sparked the current chaos, nor that it was supported by the WEF, the IMF and the World Bank. Conspiracy theories aside, the influence of the WEF is quite real, and one of the main requirements of the Great Reset was the phase-out of fuel subsidies in poor countries after its launch. And after the Haitian government announced last week that it would do just that, thousands of Haitians took to the streets to burn tires at roadblocks. “The population exploded,” the truck driver he said and The Wall Street Journal.
In an email sent to me, an IMF spokesperson defended the agency’s advocacy of reducing fossil fuel subsidies. “The fund supports the current government of Haiti’s fuel reform goals,” the spokesperson said. “The fund has also been recommending for several years a gradual reducing fuel subsidies, but only after careful preparation and initiation of (i) compensatory social benefits for affected vulnerable groups, including the transport sector, and (ii) clear communication about the rationale and ultimate goal of the subsidy reform.” [Emphasis in original.]
But the IMF should have known none cutting fossil fuel subsidies would anger citizens. In 2018, the Haitian Govt he agreed k IMF demands that it reduce fuel subsidies as a assumption for reception $96 million from the World Bank, the European Union and the Inter-American Development Bank, sparking protests as a result in the resignation of the prime minister. And in 2014, the government of Haiti on the advice of the World Bank combined Fuel prices are rising with higher spending on health and education, as recommended by the IMF, resulting in widespread strikes that forced the government to restore subsidies by early 2015.
And it’s not just Haiti. More than 40 nations since 2005 caused riots after a reduction in fuel subsidies or another increase in energy prices. It happened at the beginning of this year Kazakhstan, Ecuador in 2019, Nigeria in 2012, Bolivia in 2010and Indonesia in 2005. “Interestingly,” the researchers note, “the story plays out in much the same way, and the consequences of both action – and inaction – are also very similar.”