Sunday, January 17, 2010

Pat Robertson Wasn't Completely Wrong

Haiti may well have made a pact with the Devil - depending upon your definition.

U.S. Intervention in Haiti since Haiti's independence from France in 1804

A few highlights:

1806: US Places Embargo on Trade with Haiti

1862: US Recognizes Haiti

July 18, 1915: US Sends Troops to Haiti

November 11, 1915: US Pressures Haiti into Signing Disadvantageous Treaty

(October 18, 1996): Haiti Agrees to Neoliberal Reforms

Either of those two deals could be seen as making a pact with the Devil.

Earthquakes are random events. How many people they kill is predetermined. In Haiti this week, don't blame tectonic plates. Ninety-nine percent of the death toll is attributable to poverty.

So the question is relevant. How'd Haiti become so poor?

The story begins in 1910, when a U.S. State Department-National City Bank of New York (now called Citibank) consortium bought the Banque National d'Haïti--Haiti's only commercial bank and its national treasury--in effect transferring Haiti's debts to the Americans. Five years later, President Woodrow Wilson ordered troops to occupy the country in order to keep tabs on "our" investment.

From 1915 to 1934, the U.S. Marines imposed harsh military occupation, murdered Haitians patriots and diverted 40 percent of Haiti's gross domestic product to U.S. bankers. Haitians were banned from government jobs. Ambitious Haitians were shunted into the puppet military, setting the stage for a half-century of U.S.-backed military dictatorship.

The U.S. kept control of Haiti's finances until 1947.


[In 1957] the CIA installed President-for-Life François "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Duvalier's brutal Tonton Macoutes paramilitary goon squads murdered at least 30,000 Haitians and drove educated people to flee into exile.


Under U.S. influence, [Papa Doc’s son and successor,] Baby Doc virtually eliminated import tariffs for U.S. goods. Soon Haiti was awash [in] predatory agricultural imports dumped by American firms. Domestic rice farmers went bankrupt. A nation that had been agriculturally self-sustaining collapsed. Farms were abandoned. Hundreds of thousands of farmers migrated to the teeming slums of Port-au-Prince.


The Duvalier era, 29 years in all, came to an end in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan ordered U.S. forces to whisk Baby Doc to exile in France, saving him from a popular uprising.


We twice deposed the populist and popular democratically-elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The second time, in 2004, we even gave him a free flight to the Central African Republic! [...] And it was kind of us to support a new government formed by former Tonton Macoutes.

  Ted Rall

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. There may be some delay before your comment is published. It all depends on how much time M has in the day. But please comment!