On Saturday President Obama launched one of the biggest aid programmes in the history of the United States, to help Haiti after an earthquake which may have killed 200,000 people.
Obama, flanked by his predecessors George W Bush and Bill Clinton, announced on Saturday that he will lead a national campaign to raise funds for the survivors of the earthquake in Haiti which may be one of the most deadly in history..“We are preparing for one of the largest aid efforts in our history, to save lives and send help to prevent this catastrophe from becoming even more profound” said Obama in the White House.
The Haitian government has already given control of the country and the airport to the United States. 3500 US Marines have already arrived in the country, and many more are due, expected to stay in the country for some time. The Black Past
Haiti, the poorest country on the American continent, is one of the four principal importers of rice from the US. Up until 30 years ago Haiti produced all the rice (staple diet) that it required. But in 1986, alter the expulsion of the dictator Jean Claude Duvalier (Baby Doc), the International Monetary Fund lent Haiti 24.6 million dollars of which it was in desperate need, as the dictator had appropriated national funds, part of which are still in a Swiss bank, and about which Haiti can do nothing.In order to make the loan, the IMF demanded that the duty on imported rice and other agricultural products was reduced, opening the market to the competition from other markets.
In less than two years the Haitian farmers couldn’t compete with the so-called Miami rice, and the local rice market collapsed. American rice invaded the country and the farmers emigrated to the cities, increasing misery and slums.Coffee and sugar production went the same way.Between 80% and 85% of the population owned a pig, as pigs held an important function in fertilizing the soil and in the domestic economy, representing a sort of home made bank for the rural population. Traditionally one would sell a pig to resolve emergencies or special functions
(weddings, funerals, communions, illnesses, and, if necessary, to pay school fees and buy books at the beginning of the school year).
But in 1982 the international agencies convinced the farmers that their pigs were ill and should be slaughtered. They promised them that the pigs would be replaced by pigs ofa superior breed. With devastating efficiency never before seen in a development programme all pigs were slaughtered in a period of 13 months.
Two years later the better bred pigs arrived from Iowa, USA. They were so good that they required clean fresh water for drinking (80% of Haitians don’t have this), imported feed at 90 dollars a year, when the average wage of a Haitian is 130 dollars a year, and purpose built pigsties.
The Haitian farmers called the pigs “four legged princes”, and to add insult to injury they claimed that the meat was no good. It goes without saying that the replacement programme was a total failure. According to a monitor of the process the loss to the Haitian farmers in monetary terms could be calculated at 600 million dollars. Enrolment in rural schools went down by 30%, in these same areas the protein intake reduced dramatically, the undercapitalization of the rural economy was devastating, and the negative impact on the soil and the agricultural production incalculable. Even today the Haitian farmers haven’t recovered. Most of rural Haiti is still isolated from the global markets, so for most farmers the extermination of the creole pigs was their first taste of globalization. The Black Present
The US government will expropriate and demolish the homes of hundreds of Haitians in the Cité Soleil suburb of Port au Prince in order to extend the UN Occupation Forces’ military base to house the soldiers of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), at a cost of 5 million dollars.This work, charged to the US Government contractor and quasi official arm of the Pentagon and the CIA, DYNCORP Corporation, was announced after the bureaucrats from the Treasury Department of the Bush administration conspired with the Bank of International Development to obstruct the approved loan for the improvement of the quality of Haiti’s water, one of the worst in the world, for almost ten years.
The lawyer Evel Fanfan, president of the Association of University Graduates Moving for a Haiti with Rights (AUMOHD) said that the extension would destroy around 155 buildings. Most of these buildings are modest homes, but amongst them is a church. Since March 2009 around 80 homes have been demolished.“They started work without a word to the people living there”, said Fanfan. “The authorities haven’t said what’s happening, nor have they said whether the people will be located, or even compensated”. The Haitian bonded assembly plants:(Inother words textile industries which take advantage of cheap labour)
Those who have benefited most from cheap labour are the multinationals, mainly in the textile sector. There are currently many “free zones” to protect foreign enterprises, mostly North American. The country has become a veritable slave factory.It is being said that Haiti could be a “cheaper” option than China for American companies.
But our Europe, so supportive, hasn’t surrendered it’s slice of cake: the Caribbean countries have been obliged to sign the new “Economic Partnership Agreements” (EPA or APE, as they like to be called) which replace the Cotonou Agreement, which, although not perfect was at least acceptable, and which involves the total opening of their markets to our merchandise, without the aid for our agricultural products having been eliminated.On the EU delegation’s webpage the agreements are set up as a “great opportunity” for the Haitians. It’s possible that this will be the case for the very reduced élite who have continued to line their pockets during the 4 years since the coup d’état against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but not for the 80% of the population who will be gravely affected.It is easy to imagine the blackmail involved in getting them to sign the EPA. The EU’s presence in Haiti in the last few years has intensified, and in the period 2004 – 2006 (the years of the Latortue dictatorship) we were the “leading donor country”, although recently the USA have overtaken us.
Michel Chossudovsky writes:
With a growing part of the world population under the poverty line the sudden increase in the price of foodstuffs is having a devastating effect. There are millions of people in the world who are not able to buy food for their survival. In reality this is contributing to the elimination of the poor through starvation.Henry Kissinger once said “Control oil and you control the countries, control food and you control the populations”.
In this respect Kissinger declared in 1974, in the context of the “National Security Study: implications of increase in world population for the security of the USA and it’s overseas interests” that “hunger could represent an instrument “de facto” for population control”.
And the self-styled humanitarian aid?
“Starvation is not the result of scarcity of food, quite the contrary: a surplus of foodstuffs is used to destabilise agricultural production in developing countries” (Michel Chossudovsky “Global Starvation” – Globalresearch, 02 May 2008.
The journalist Kevin Pina, who witnesses the situation in Haiti, lived through the poorest years, the violence of the 2004 coup, the shocking repression that followed, brutality, threats, insults from the UN soldiers, and prison.
The ONGs sent to take charge of the UN aid are marking time: despite the fact that, according to statistics, they receive 45% of the foreign aid, 15% of it is returned to the donor countries; compare, in passing, the average annual salary of a ONG boss in Haiti, of USD 60,000, with that of average Haitian citizen, of even less than USD 250 a year. In Haiti at the moment everything benefits the private sector, whilst the rest of the population is in the hands of “charity”. This is the legacy that Bush, the UN and the teams of economic experts have left for Haiti.
Anyone with capital to invest is clearly favoured, while the “generosity” of the foreigners is increasingly relied upon by the rest. It’s clearly not to wonder at, whilst the economic monopoly is the hands of the few, we are hearing more and more often about the mud cakes that the inhabitants of the Cité Soleil in Port au Prince are being forced to eat.
Haitiis currently receiving emergency aid, but it won’t last long, and anyway, as it’s still a matter of charity, although it resolves the immediate problem, it won’t resolve the people’s long term problems.
Because Haiti doesn’t need charity and ill-intentioned “solidarity”. It is owed justice and reparations.
What hypocrisy on the part of those in power, the humanitarians, dishing out alms to the poor, when they deny the people a life of dignity.
Agencia Reuters Alma Giraudo Bill Quigley: USA Role in Haiti Hunger Riots Jean-Bertrand Aristide: Eyes of the Heart Michel Chossudovsky: Global Famine Kevin Pina: Mud Cookie economics in Haiti Agence Haitienne de Presse