Fusion | What’s missing from the press coverage of the Clinton Foundation is a basic question: What do its activities and outcomes reveal about Hillary Clinton’s political values?
Colombia should be the Clinton Foundation’s best case study. Ground zero for the drug wars of the 1980s and 90s, racked by uneven development and low-intensity conflict for half a century, Colombia has received more foundation money and attention than any other nation outside the United States.
Bill and Hillary Clinton have visited the country often and enjoy close relationships with members of Colombia’s ruling party. Colombia has also been home to the vast oil and natural gas holdings of the man who is reportedly the Clinton Foundation’s largest individual donor, Canadian financier Frank Giustra. In short, conditions were right for Colombia to be the shining example of what the Clinton Foundation’s philanthropy can accomplish in the world, and what makes Hillary so proud of its efforts.
The American Media Institute, a nonprofit news service based in Alexandria, Virginia, partnered with Fusion to send us to Colombia to investigate the Clinton Foundation’s impact. We found ground realities that contrast, often starkly, with the nonprofit’s platitudes about its good work.
Many of the Colombian “success stories” touted on the foundation’s website – the ones specific enough for us to track down – were critical about the foundation’s effect on their lives. Labor leaders and progressive activists say foundation programs caused environmental harm, displaced indigenous people, and that it concentrated a larger share of Colombia’s oil and natural gas reserves in the hands of Giustra, who was involved in a now bankrupt oil company that worked closely with the Clinton Foundation and which used the Colombian military a 1984-stylesurveillance program to smash a strike by its workers.
It was a shocking record that belies the progressive principles on which the Clintons have based their political dynasty and philanthropy, embodied in the Clinton Foundation’s advertising copy: “Everyone deserves a chance to succeed.”