Feb 10, 2010
Haiti has been reduced to a de facto "protectorate" of the United
States -- a grotesque form of non-sovereignty in which the subjugated
nation is "protected" by its worst enemy. Namibia under white-ruled
South African administration comes to mind, although in Haiti's case
the United Nations does not even pretend to be on the side of the
oppressed, acting instead as agent and enforcer for the superpower.
Haiti writhes under the agony of hundreds of thousands dead, Bill
Clinton picks through the bones in search of prime tourist spots and
mango plantation sites. America's most successful snake oil salesman is
pleased to do the Haitian people's thinking, planning and dreaming for
them -- and quite willing to speak for the afflicted country, as well.
"This is an opportunity to reimagine the future for the Haitian people,
to build what they want to become, not rebuild what they used to be,''
Clinton told the global oligarchs at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
one sweeping sentence, Clinton claimed a kind of sovereignty over the
Haitian people's very imaginations, assigning himself the right to
filter what was good or bad about Haiti's past, and what is permissible
in the future. Haitians are no longer allowed to possess their own
dreams and remembrances, which have apparently been placed in United
Nations trusteeship, under control of UN special envoy to Haiti, Bill
one of the world's most shameless personalities, the former president
is eminently qualified to represent both the UN and the U.S. armed
missions in Haiti. The 9,000 troops and police of the UN Stabilization
Force in Haiti (MINUSTAH) have for years waged war on the seaside
shanty neighborhood of Cite Soleil, a political stronghold of exiled
president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Before the February, 2004,
U.S.-backed coup, Cite Soleil was home to at least 300,000 desperately
poor but politically organized people. Relentless MINUSTAH raids have
drastically shrunk the slum's population. By 2006, only 30 percent of residents still remained in some sections of Cite Soleil, according to human rights workers.
the earthquake, MINUSTAH and the U.S. expeditionary force have
conspired to starve out what's left of Cite Soleil. Three weeks after
the catastrophe, the United Nations World Food Program described Cite
Soleil as "no-go, for security reasons."
the people of Cite Soleil been condemned to death and dispersal because
of their pro-Aristide politics -- a trait they shared with at least 60
percent of the population the last time a count was permitted -- or are
they doomed by their choice seaside location? Either reason will do, or
both. Haiti's poor are condemned in advance, for existing where
Haitian peasantry, which not so long ago kept the country
self-sufficient in basic foodstuffs, became inconvenient after
Washington forced Haiti to accept U.S. government-subsidized rice.
Port-au-Prince, a town of about a quarter million in 1960, swelled to
at least 2.5 million
as small rice farmers were forced off the land and into the
shanty-opolis, where they built what they could with the resources at
hand. U.S.-imposed "structural adjustment" made Port-au-Prince a
high-density death trap.
this U.S.-mandated migration -- which also contributed to the exodus
abroad of many hundreds of thousands -- is now numbered among the many
"failures" of the Haitian people. They must now move again, to places
outside Port-au-Prince where they can "reimagine the future," in Bill
Clinton's words. But whatever the Haitians might imagine, the United
States is determined to deny them the right to pursue those dreams.
Americans hector Haitians to summon the will to rebuild, but strangle
Haitian civil society by effectively outlawing the nation's most
popular political party, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas. Self-determination
is among those things Haitians must not be permitted to rebuild or
Americans seem to prefer that Haitians have no government, at all, even
one as compliant as that of President Rene Preval, who collaborated in
banning Fanmi Lavalas from taking part in elections. Only one cent of
every dollar in U.S. "relief" money goes to or through the Haitian
government, which is thus reduced to a crippled and largely irrelevant
spectator. The Americans will at some point "reimagine" precisely how
the Haitian "protectorate" will be managed in these extraordinary times.
Haitian people "need democracy and self determination," said a
statement by the U.S.-based Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice,
Peace and Reparations, "not more military interventions by the U.S.,
which has sent more than 10,000 troops to subdue our people." On
February 20, the Black is Back Coalition will hold a National March and Rally to Defend Haiti, in Miami, Florida. "Our people in Haiti must have reparations, not self serving charity from France and the U.S."
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