DECEMBER 22, 2011
Based in two socialist Latin American countries, a group dedicated to helping indigenous populations in that region just got a generous $13 million grant from the U.S. government to combat “exploitative child labor” in Peru.
The allocation comes on the heels of a similar, $10 million grant by the same agency—the Department of Labor (DOL)—to fight child labor in Ethiopia. In that case the African country’s notoriously corrupt government, recently exposed for illicit financial flows in the billions, will likely handle some of Uncle Sam’s money. Corruption, kickbacks and bribery are on the rise in Ethiopia, according to a new report issued this week by a research group that aims to curtail the cross border flow of illegal money.
As if that weren’t bad enough, this week’s allocation will go to a Bolivian and Ecuadorian-based group called Desarrollo y Autogestión (Development and Self-management) that promotes social and economic development for “impoverished” and “marginalized” groups. Both Ecuador and Bolivia have socialist governments that have worked to redistribute wealth in the last few years. In fact, it’s been well documented that Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa is running a socialist-dictatorship similar to Venezuela’s.
Obviously, any groups—such as Desarrollo y Autogestión— that operate in this system are approved or have some sort of ties to the regime. That makes U.S. government funding all the more outrageous. Just look at the wording of the DOL’s announcement. It says that the $13 million project is designed to “combat poverty and social exclusion.” How? By engaging “local indigenous leaders and communities.”
This is all part of the DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB), which ensures that workers around the world are treated fairly and are able to share in the benefits of the global economy. ILAB’s mission is to use all available international channels to improve working conditions, raise living standards, protect workers’ ability to exercise their rights, and address the workplace exploitation of children and other vulnerable populations.
As is the case with most government bureaucracies of this magnitude, the mission requires generous funding by American taxpayers. In its congressional budget justification for fiscal year 2012, the DOL asks for more than $1.5 billion to fund its various causes abroad. This includes $40 million to combat exploitative child labor internationally, more than $18 million for “program evaluation” and nearly $14 million to implement worker rights programs through technical assistance.
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