Haiti’s Curse

The stories and photos coming out of Haiti this week remind us of our powerlessness against the forces of nature and beckon us to reach out and help.

But the devastation that resulted from the earthquake in Haiti was not solely the result of a natural disaster. This devastation was magnified by Haiti’s poverty. Long known to be the poorest country in this hemisphere, the people of Haiti continue to struggle with economic forces that are beyond their control.

So, while we are powerless in controlling or even predicting earthquakes, we certainly have it within our power to become knowledgeable of domestic and foreign economic policies, implemented by the United States that negatively impact other countries, in particular Haiti, our poorest neighbor.

For many years, Congressional Representative Maxine Waters has been a champion for the fair treatment of Haiti as it relates to our trade policies. You can find our more about Congresswoman Waters’ long history here. Many others in the progressive community have tried to get some attention focused on Haiti especially around immigration and trade.  In the YouTube video directly below, progressive author and activist Naomi Klein discusses the opportunities that open up for some as a result of crisis.

And, of course there is Pat Robertson who claims that Haitians made a pact with the devil and, as a result, has been cursed by God.  If Haiti is cursed, who or what is driving the policies that effectively keep Haiti oppressed?

There are ways to contribute to the people of Haiti.  Many disaster relief organizations have already started to deliver care packages and other goods and services, among them is the American Red CrossOPUSA, and others.   But beyond making contributions to aid those who have lost homes and loved ones in the earthquake, we must continue to push for more progressive representation in congress in the United States. This is one of the long term strategies we, as progressives, can implement that will, in the future, help to reduce the devastation these inevitable natural disasters can cause.

Below is a clip from a documentary about labor conditions for Haitian workers that work for an American company who has factories in Haiti. This was made before the earthquake but it gives some insight into who benefits by keeping Haiti so poor.

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Comments

  1. says

    The USA has not been a pure player in Haiti, but it has not been a pure villain or even the prime villain. A moral and effective response in Haiti calls upon us to insist that others responsible do their share.

    In particular, note this cogent comment:

    Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-01-14/why-haitis-earthquake-is-frances-problem/

    Why Haiti’s Earthquake Is France’s Problem

    by Tunku Varadarajan

    (When it came to Haiti, France was first a brutal colonizer, and then a usurious bully. Tunku Varadarajan on why it’s time for reparations.)

    As Haitians lurch destitute in the rubble, and as governments, churches, and NGOs do the best they can to bring succor to Haiti’s hell, a vivid solution to the country’s needs presents itself, one so obvious and irrefutable—so resonantly just—that it must be advocated with the greatest of energy: France must repay its colonialist debt to Haiti by paying for much of the island country’s reconstruction.

    Haiti’s chronic impoverishment began at its birth in 1804, when, having overthrown its French rulers in a bloody, 12-year slave revolt, the newborn nation was subjected to crippling blockades and embargoes. This economic strangulation continued until 1825, when France offered to lift embargoes and recognize the Haitian Republic if the latter would pay restitution to France—for loss of property in Haiti, including slaves—of 150 million gold francs. The sum, about five times Haiti’s export revenue for 1825, was brutal, but Haiti had no choice: Pay up or perish over many more years of economic embargo, not to mention face French threats of invasion and reconquest. To pay, Haiti borrowed money at usurious rates from France, and did not finish paying off its debt until 1947, by which time its fate as the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country had been well and truly sealed.

    In this era of multibillion-dollar bailouts of private banking institutions, $22 billion should scarcely raise a Gallic eyebrow. But to Haiti, the sum would be a godsend.

    France must now return every last cent of this money to Haiti. In 2004, at the time of the 200th anniversary of Haiti’s independence, the Haitian government put together a legal brief in support of a formal demand for “restitution” from France. The sum sought was nearly $22 billion, a number arrived at by calculations that included a notionally equitable annual interest rate. (For a full account of the calculation, read Jose de Cordoba’s excellent news story in The Wall Street Journal, published on Jan. 2, 2004.) The demand was made by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a firebrand ex-preacher who was forced out of office by a violent uprising that February. His successors, Boniface Alexandre and Gerard Latortue, controversially chose to renounce Haiti’s claim for restitution/reparations. (There was, of course, much pressure exerted on them by France, which had found Aristide’s demand politically disconcerting.)

    This last act of renunciation weakens Haiti’s legal case against France, notwithstanding the fact that the treaty under which France gouged 150 million gold francs from Haiti was clearly unconscionable and executed under duress. But this story is not one of law and legality alone, nor even one of wealth and poverty. (France’s GDP is $2.85 trillion, while Haiti’s is a mere $6.95 billion.) It is, rather, one of historical justice and political morality: No one can dispute that an extortionate and bullying treaty, concluded at a time when France was an imperial hyper-puissance and Haiti a friendless fledgling, is an ugly stain on France’s national conscience.

    The money involved is not a sum that will give sleepless nights to Christine Lagarde (France’s finance minister) or Bernard Kouchner (its foreign minister) or President Nicolas Sarkozy. In this era of multibillion-dollar bailouts of private banking institutions, $22 billion should scarcely raise a Gallic eyebrow. But to Haiti, the sum would be a godsend.

    More than that, however, this is money that is Haiti’s own. As Haitians lie prostrate, buried under the rubble of their nation, France must do the moral thing, the just thing, the civilized thing: France must write Haiti a reparations check for $22 billion.

    (Tunku Varadarajan is a national affairs correspondent and writer at large for The Daily Beast. He is also a research fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and a professor at NYU’s Stern Business School.)

  2. Timeparticle says

    Hi, Sharon. I wanted to update you on the Conspiracy Theory relating to the Haitian earthquake. First, an interesting book written by Rosalie Bertell.

    Bertell Reveals Many New Weapons of Mass Destruction 
by Larry Ross, February 28, 2005

    

The book is: “Planet Earth the Latest Weapons of War” by Rosalie Bertell, a distinguished and world-famous scientist. She is a winner of major international awards for science. As a Catholic Nun she has dedicated her life to her continuous work for humanity.
What she reveals is unbelievably stunning – almost stupefying.

    Even I did not want to believe it at first, and I’ve been fighting against a global nuclear doomsday for over 50 years. But her credentials are impressive and impeccable.. 
She reveals how “the military is testing radically new weapons which imperil the earth and all life on it. Such as HAARP, which heats sections of the ionosphere until they bulge to form a curved ‘lens’ which will ‘reflect’ HAARP’s massive energy beams back to earth to destroy selected targets. She thinks ‘HAARP may destabilize a system that has established its own cycle for millions of years’ – protecting life on earth.

    
Or ELF, which ‘creates pulsed, extremely low frequency waves which have been directed deep into the earth itself, potentially disrupting delicately poised tectonic plates of the earths crust’ Off the Coast of Indonesia, tectonic plates in the Indian Ocean shifted to cause the Boxing Day Tsunami, killing over 250,000 people in 2004.
Dr Bertell tells us that HAARP and ELF are some of ‘growing chain of astonishingly powerful, and potentially interactive, military installations, using varied types of electromagnetic fields or wavelengths, each with a different ability to affect the earth or its atmosphere’….

    She reveals that she believes the U.S. and Russia are collaborating on these projects to create pin-point accurate high tech weapons.

    Then, an article from Global Research describes the massive military deployment in Haiti….

    A massive deployment of military hardware personnel is contemplated. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has confirmed that the US will be sending nine to ten thousand troops to Haiti, including 2000 marines. (American Forces Press Service, January 14, 2010)

    Aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson and its complement of supporting ships has already arrived in Port au Prince. (January 15, 2010).  The  2,000-member Marine Amphibious Unit as well as and soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne division “are trained in a wide variety of missions including security and riot-control in addition to humanitarian tasks.”  

    In contrast to rescue and relief teams dispatched by various civilian teams and organizations, the humanitarian mandate of the US military is not clearly defined: 

    “Marines are definitely warriors first, and that is what the world knows the Marines for,… [but] we’re equally as compassionate when we need to be, and this is a role that we’d like to show — that compassionate warrior, reaching out with a helping hand for those who need it. We are very excited about this.” (Marines’ Spokesman, Marines Embark on Haiti Response Mission, Army Forces Press Services, January 14, 2010)

    While presidents Obama and Préval spoke on the phone, there was no discussions between the two governments, regarding the entry and deployment of US troops on Haitian soil. The decision was taken and imposed unilaterally by Washington. The total lack of a functioning government in Haiti was used to legitimize, on humanitarian grounds, the sending in of a powerful military force, which has de facto taken over several governmental functions.  

    So, the question the Theorists pose is, could the U.S. create an earthquake in Haiti via high tech weapons and use the devastation as an excuse to occupy a strategic location in the Caribbean?

    • says

      The U.S. created the Haiti earthquake? That’s as bottomless as believing that God did it because of their 1791 pact with da Devil. If the U.S. wanted to take over Haiti militarily, it would just do it. Why would they want to destroy its buildings first? If they could create earthquakes, what’s stopping them from doing it to Cuba right next door? Or NW Pakistan where Osama bin Laden and his men are hiding out? If the U.S. had such a weapon, Russia and China would learn about it with their network of spies and be loudly complaining in the U.N. about upsetting the world balance of power. Still, you might rush the script through to Hollywood for James Cameron’s next 3-D project :) On the other hand, yes, Haiti would be a great place for U.S. military bases, after it holds its hands out to Haiti’s people, drops its age-old racism, and offers to annex it as the 51st state, making all Haitians U.S. citizens. In return, Haitians must give up their racism and accept all Americans as compatriots, along with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Can there be an annexation or will baseless hate-filled fictions like yours rule the day?

    • Roger says

      Rosalie Bertell has become a flake and this writer has become her apostle. The University of Alaska HAARP research program has to do with ionospheric propagation of radio waves – any HAM radio operator can tell you what that means. HAARP is not a weapon of war. Bertell just can not tolerate being ignored by the conspiracists – she has to remain at center stage and because of her former reputation, a good deal of which may in itself not be really deserved because she may be far better at playing a scientist than actually being one, she still gets to write books. Global Research also claimed that the Indian Ocean Tsunami was triggered by Israeli frog men planting a nuclear bomb deep in the ocean on the fault line – any geologist can tell you that is pure bad science fiction. Even good science fiction has to be believable. Rather than writing nonsense about the Haitian earthquake being caused, donate your hourly rate for the time you spent pondering this to Haitian relief.

  3. says

    Haiti was cursed by white racism, and now that it’s kaput in the U.S. why not seize the golden opportunity to turn the 2010 disaster into Haiti’s blessing by uniting it to the U.S. as the 51st state, allowing mass 2-way migration to mix the pops. and end Haiti’s cycle of poverty and govt. corruption forever? Study my megamerge proposal and see how easily it can be done, after which the U.S. can hold out its hands to Dominican Republic, Cuba and Mexico to share the New World in peace in the 21st century. Click the url.

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