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For Haiti : Honor and respect
by Anne Cauwel
27 January 2010

The disaster that struck Haiti has raised an impressive show of solidarity
worldwide. This is good: solidarity is the tenderness of the people! And
relief is essential, when everything fails to start with the drinking-water,
when you cannot even bury the tens of thousands of lives ... and when
the chaos caused by the earthquake has s ’add a daily reality already
marked by scarcity of drinking water and hunger for the vast majority of
Haitian people.

But this aid is accompanied by a narrative provided by all the media and
Western governments which is an insult to Haiti and that bodes worse for
the principles that will govern the country’s reconstruction. We’re
rehashing length of antenna and articles that characterize Haiti: extreme
poverty, crime and violence, the proximity to France, which does
everything to help the francophone countries. Finally, Haiti, tried two
years ago by four devastating hurricanes and the earthquake today would
be struck by a curse! When one is cursed, it is a divine power punishes
you: you must be very guilty to attract such a punishment!

Should we not begin by asking why Haiti is so poor?

Haiti French colony until the late eighteenth century, then called Saint
Domingue and known as “the pearl of the Antilles” - was due to food
produced there first and foremost the sugar, the richness of France. More
than 400 000 black worked for 30 000 French owners. The conditions of
slavery were so atrocious that the life expectancy of slaves was not more
than 9 years and that therefore the majority of them were “bossales”
directly from Africa.
When these slaves rebelled against their tormentors and the colonial
power, their leader Toussaint Louverture was imprisoned by the French and died in an icy prison in the Jura, Napoleon sent his army to quell the
revolt. General Leclerc, his brother, leading the expedition and wrote to
the Emperor: "That’s my opinion about it: you must remove all the
negroes of the mountains, men and women, and only keep the children
under twelve years, half of exterminating blacks plains, and leave the
colony no mulatto wearing braids. [1] The French army is defeated: in
1804, Haiti became an independent state. This is the first and only time
in history that men and women enslaved were able both to abolish
slavery, to make their independent country, to defend cons deemed
invincible army and put an end to colonial structures.

The Haitian revolution was and remains an example to the oppressed
peoples: antislavery, anti-colonial, since independence it offers its
solidarity to those fighting to liberate their own people: the Venezuela,
Cuba, Mexico and the young republic of the United States ( where slavery
continued to exist) receive assistance in Haiti for their own emancipation
from colonialism and slavery.

Regarded as a highly dangerous example for other nations, Haiti was
subjected to a long international embargo. And she was severely
punished, not by any god, but by France: while it had been devastated by
the war against France where one third of its population had died and
where all the infrastructure had been destroyed in 1825

Haiti was summoned, under the threat of military invasion of France to
pay a ransom of 150 million gold francs to compensate the country for
losses incurred by the settlers. The Haitian government bowed to this
demand and Haiti, to France to repay this sum which would be equivalent
today of over 20 billion dollars, cut trees to sell wood and precious above
all into debt to foreign banks: thus was formed in the nineteenth century
the first external debt of developing countries. Haiti took nearly seventy
years to pay his ransom and the ultimate running agios still in the early
twentieth century ...

Subsequently, the Haitian treasury was looted by a marine expedition in
December 1914. It followed a military occupation of the country by the
United States that lasted twenty years, both because the Haitian
resistance was particularly fierce (Charlemagne Peralta, who directed the
peasant resistance is a martyr whose Haitians keep the memory),
because North Americans tried to establish new large plantations that
were the source of new deforestation and because the United States
withdrew only after obtaining the abolition of the constitutional provision
that prohibited foreigners to own businesses in Haiti.

The dictatorship of the Duvalier family then lasted 29 years. When they
fall, they were greeted in France with a fortune of 900 million dollars, an
amount that exceeded the amount of external debt at the time. The
Duvalier quietly enjoy the property in France (while Switzerland has
returned to the Haitian State 6 million dollars deposited by Duvalier in
Swiss banks: it is small compared to the money stolen in Haiti, but it ’ is
in this sense that justice should be exercised).

In 1971, Baby Doc had succeeded his father as the country produced its
power until that time he was inaugurated president of the State
Department to initiate policies that would put an end to food sovereignty
of Haiti, with the intervention of the IMF and World Bank.
For example: all the pigs “Creole” basic economic unit of any rural family
were slaughtered by a specialized company to halt the ASF so-called
imminent in Haiti is that no evidence was provided - . This body disposal
Haitian pigs operated at the behest of the United States via the IDB
(Interamerican Development Bank) and with the complicity of other
countries such as Canada.

The U.S., by flooding the market Haitian subsidized rice was priced below
the price of locally produced rice have broken the chain of national rice
production. It was the same for all agricultural commodities, so that the
dumping of food in North America sponsored by the U.S. State to destroy
local production which has neither the means nor subsidies, ended up
having Because of the food produced locally. Victim of this unfair
competition, Haiti became the receptacle of food of poor quality in the
United States.

One wonders why the United States engaged in the deliberate destruction
of agriculture in Haiti over the last forty years: beyond the interest to
have a market for its products, strong interest on the remaining light the
limited purchasing power of Haitians, honored the need of the United
States to install assembly companies in a country so near to supply the
North American market. The maquilas are overwhelmingly located in
Mexico’s border region with the U.S., they are also in Haiti. Everything
has been done in this country have a reservoir of manpower reduced to
idleness due to rural exodus and ready to accept any wage and working
conditions. The path of emigration is almost blocked and we know how
much illegal immigration on makeshift boats is deadly. Haitian leaders
were gratified with the outcome of this policy, which gives them the
competitive advantage of Haiti in global competition: it puts the Haitian
labor among the cheapest in the world. All along the border with the
Dominican Republic and in the capital have therefore developed the
assembly firms. The year 2009 was marked by many workers’ struggles,
relayed by students, for a minimum wage increase: President Préval was
himself heavily involved in this debate to avoid increasing the minimum
wage initially passed by the National Assembly, it must be said that he
was under pressure from business leaders threatening to close their
plants if the wage increase.

We must conclude this review of the history of two centuries when the
misery of Haiti is manufactured by the major powers who have continued
to pay the country to its bold black anticolonial. In 1991, during the first
democratic elections facing Haiti, was elected the priest Aristide, from the
theology of liberation. He was overthrown in a coup nine months later. He
will return to the presidency in February 2001, not without a visit to the
United States who travels to Haiti a character who has very little to do
with the president who had raised so much hope ten years earlier.
However, the approach of the bicentennial celebration of the Revolution,
Aristide has the audacity to claim to France repair the harm it caused to
Haiti, calling for the restitution of the money that was extorted from him
the previous century.

The answer was not long in coming: in 2004, Aristide was again toppled
by a military expedition led by the United States, France and Canada.
Kidnapped by military, he was expelled and has since lived in exile in
South Africa.

The expedition has given way to a military occupation disguised as peace
mission: MINUSTAH, the UN Mission for Stabilization in Haiti. Deployed
since June 2004, its mandate was recently extended at the request of
President Preval. So it is composed of nearly 9,000 men-including large
contingent of Brazilians, Argentines, Chileans and fewer contingent of
Guatemalans, Bolivians and Ecuadorians, only 2 of 20 members of Staff
are South American and U.S. military intelligence control. The
“intervention subcontracted by the United States” in the words of Nobel
Peace Adolfo Esquivel of Argentina, for Haitians is the symbol of the loss
of national independence. Who has visited Haiti know that the majority of
the Haitian people feel the presence of MINUSTAH as an insult. The
tension was aggravated when the 114 Sri Lankan soldiers accused of
raping women and girls have been repatriated. They have obviously
benefited from total impunity.

So we did not come primarily to talk about any curse! The poverty of
Haiti has not fallen from heaven, it was made during two centuries of
foreign intervention, it was the deliberate work of the great powers at the
forefront of which include France and the United States. The French today
must know the tragic history of relations between France and Haiti, the
role that France, directly and through international financial institutions,
play in sustaining and deepening the misery of Haiti .

Patrick Poivre d’Arvor, as Ambassador for UNICEF, dares to write in the
Figaro of 15 January: "It’s one of the people ... most cursed by history.
But it is not responsible for the story here. The French people either. "
These are not innocent of this nonsense, but the expression of thought
unique to the work in Haiti.

We can not forget that the extreme precariousness of the social situation
in Haiti, where drift really gigantic size of this disaster is the result of two
centuries of colonialism, violent military interventions and looting that led
to Haiti to receive the dubious title of “the poorest country of America.”
This situation has been aggravated over the past two decades with the
application programs savage neoliberal adjustment in the economy and
society in Haiti, with the maintenance of an illegitimate foreign debt,
which depletes the resources of the nation, with the devastation of the
environment and agriculture and with the imposition of the interests of
transnational companies.

For two centuries the history of Haiti is a symbol of racism and anti -
humanism white, expressed bluntly by President Jefferson in the
nineteenth century when he spoke of "this plague-independence and anti-
slavery blacks who took their independence by Arms The Uruguayan
Eduardo Galeano wrote, back in 1996: "The history of aggressive against
Haiti, which today is tragic dimensions, is also the history of racism in
Western civilization“ [2].

Everything is now feared that, under the guise of relief and
reconstruction, face a deliquescent Haitian state and weakened it with the
crushing of the National Palace, the Palace of Justice and various
departments is as materialization-symbolic foreign powers taking
advantage of the situation offered by the chaos in order to drastically and
ultimately the country under trusteeship. MINUSTAH was already put
under military tutelage, the mission of Special Envoy of UN entrusted to
former President Bill Clinton during the year 2009 opened the way for
economic development trust. Today, the U.S. took control of the airport
and announced the deployment of ten thousand soldiers, two of
thousands of marines. Elsewhere or at other times, it would provoke a
worldwide protest. Regarding Haiti and under cover of humanitarian
mission, the new occupation has cost almost no diplomatic (the France
raised a mild protest at the failure to land in Port au Prince for a French
plane carrying a hospital when the need for hospital care from countless
injuries is most acute). This is the Southern Command of the U.S. Army
has taken the lead.

It is necessary to recall that the geostrategic position of Haiti in the
Caribbean Sea makes its control a key element of U.S. policy in the
region. The disaster that struck Haiti provides a unique opportunity in the
United States to exercise that control.

One can not fail to be shocked at the lies of omission of our media appear
every day to screen a French doctor, or Canada or North America. Their
dedication is wonderful. But not a word and not an image of the
assistance provided by Cuba to Haiti. But it is incommensurate with the
help of Western countries and is only given in emergency: she started
more than ten years after Hurricane Mitch. The first 100 Cuban doctors arrived in Haiti in late
1998. Hundreds of Haitians in Cuba studying with scholarships. Nearly
400 doctors and health personnel Cuban working every day in 227 of the
337 communes. The Venezuela and Cuba have a joint cooperation
program in Haiti for up ten health centers (called diagnostic centers text):
the first four already installed, providing free medical care and quality of
thousands of Haitians. Cuba has sent following the earthquake’s
International Contingent of Doctors Specialized in situations of disasters
and epidemics named Henry Reeve trained 152 doctors. Why our media
they pass over in silence the solidarity of this small Caribbean countries,
especially yours that Cuba is an impoverished country by a blockade of a
half-century and by the hurricanes that have hit hard in 2008 ?

Finally, I absolutely reject that reputation for violence that is against
Haitians. The crime is not usually stronger in Port au Prince and in other
major southern cities. Outside the capital, we saw more peace in Haiti
and in many countries. There is nothing wrong happened to the Cuban
doctors around the country.

The television show enjoyment of degrading images of looting in Haiti: Is
it not legitimate, when it has been several days without water and food,
get them where they can find them when nothing not working properly?
Who lives in Haiti knows how the dignity of the Haitians is injured by the
false image we present to them. This image has been enhanced since the
earthquake misery, chaos, crime and the inability to solve their own

Who lives in Haiti also knows how these people are in everyday life
sweet, hospitable, kind, brave, hardworking, creative. This country is full
of poets, rhetoricians, writers, painters, sculptors, as if creating beauty
was the only dignity of those whom they took everything, the only escape
from the ugliness of poverty. Furthermore, it is not an illiterate Haitian
who does not know and takes pride in the history of his country.
This nation is also facing with courage and optimism rare in successive
trials overwhelm. On 16 January, the court of human rights at the
Trocadero, in the gathering to honor victims of the earthquake and to
collect, Haitians have been saying they were not a people cursed but a
brave people who will rise from its ashes.

How to express our solidarity with the Haitian people?

First, do not lend our minds to the infamous speech on Haiti dominant
view based on hypocrisy and charity even the heir Duvalier cleanses his
conscience by offering today funds a family foundation, derisory Report
theft committed by the same family! Being constantly alert to mentally
undo the dominant thought. Being convinced that the Haitian people is a
great nation which does not help begging pais deserves full solidarity and
commitment to his side to break down barriers to their empowerment.
Beyond the necessary relief, he must seek redress not only the
cancellation of Haiti’s external debt but repayment of sums unduly
punctured by the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) for external
debt and the establishment of a fund equal to the ransom paid to France
in order for the completion of reconstruction projects.
You should know that billions could be dumped on Haiti: it would not
change anything and would only increase dependence and corruption, if
administered by a State subject to the dictates of big powers and
international financial institutions, or even worse if these powers (or one
of them) decide to take in hand the plight of Haiti, thus denying him the
ability to administer itself. One way to help Haitians, is fighting for non-
interference in each of our governments to finally, once and for all
Haitians may be responsible for their fate. It will exert political pressure
to prevent the disaster as an excuse for worsening the trusteeship of

Finally, be attentive to the demands of the Haitian civil society and
answer them. The Director of PAPDA (Haitian Advocacy Platform for
Alternative Development) sent January 14 the first information I take
most of the section on “SOLIDARITY STRUCTURE” called for by this
platform of popular organizations:

"It’s time for a large wave of solidarity between peoples that allows:

a) Overcoming illiteracy (45% of population)

b) Build a system of efficient free public education that respects the
history, culture, ecosystem

c) Overcoming environmental crisis and rebuild with the massive
participation of young internationalists and the 30 watersheds

d) Build a new public health system by linking traditional and modern
medicine and providing quality primary services available to 100% of the
population to overcome childhood mortality, malnutrition, maternal

e) Reconstruct a new city with a different logic based on human
urbanization and balanced according to the workers and the real creators
of wealth, focusing on transport, scientific research, urban agriculture,
handicrafts and folk arts the parks that promote biodiversity

f) Building food sovereignty on the basis of a comprehensive agrarian
reform, with priority for agricultural investment to use the reserves of
productivity in a logic which respects the ecosystem, biodiversity and the
needs and culture of the majority of the population .

g) To destroy the ties of dependency with Washington, the European
Union and imperialism. Abandoning the policies dictated by the various
versions of the Washington Consensus. Breaking with the IFIs and their
plans (...) "

PAPDA finally proposes to do away with MINUSTAH and build solidarity
brigades from people to people.
Let each one of us cares!

Footnotes :

[1quoted by Michel Collon in the “seven sins of Chavez”

[2Galeano”los pecados of Haiti"

Anne Cauwel