Friday, October 31, 2008

Why Haiti Is So Poor: Racism.

"The people of Haiti are as poor as human beings can be," John Maxwell begins, in his article "Haiti: Racism and poverty." Mr. Maxwell then outlines the immense wealth of Robert Zoellick, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, a man who's "entertainment allowance could probably feed the entire population for a day or two." So, Mr. Maxwell concludes, "It is not hard to understand that Mr Zoellick cannot understand why Haiti needs debt relief."

Haiti is now forced by the World Bank and the IMF, to pay more than $1 million a week for debts incurred by the US supported dictatorships of Papa and Baby Doc Duvalier, the succeeding military government (1991-1994) of coup plotters sponsored by the US and the US installed puppet government of Gerard Latortue—that was brought about by the US coup-knapping of President Aristide in 2004.

In order to qualify for further financial assistance or really more debt burden, Haiti must prove itself "credit worthy" by paying this onerous and unjust debt.

Bush announces Robert Zoellick as his choice to head the World Bank 06.30.07. Zoellick is described as one of Bush’s best friends and closest allies and an ultra-globalist PNAC war hawk. Pic: R.L. Wollenberg
A joint press release by Center for Economic and Policy Research, Haiti Advocacy Platform Ireland-UK, Haiti Support Group, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, Jubilee Debt Campaign UK, Jubilee USA Network, Partners in Health is posted at takes Mr. Zoellick to task for having "misled" storm-struck Haitians over debt cancellation promises made during his recent visit to Haiti.

The following is an excerpt of the press release:
Call for World Bank chief to explain claim that $500m Haitian debt already cancelled – weeks after relief delayed by six months

Haitian and international civil society groups have today written to World Bank President Robert Zoellick asking him to clarify ‘misleading’ remarks about debt cancellation made on a visit to storm-ravaged Haiti last week. [1]

Zoellick is reported to have told journalists in Port-au-Prince that Haiti’s $1.7 billion debt was “half-forgiven” and promised “the rest of the debt” could soon be cancelled. [2] He was also reported to have stated that $500 million of Haitian debt had already been cancelled. [3]

In fact, none of Haiti’s debt stock has yet been cancelled by the World Bank, and in recent weeks the World Bank has delayed debt cancellation for Haiti by six months. This comes as the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes described the four hurricanes that have struck the country as the “worst disaster in the last 100 years” to strike Haiti. [4]
Mr. Maxwell continues to outline Haiti's past and recent history in his indictment of the racist, corporatist, imperialistic and White supremist system that keeps Haiti underdeveloped and desperately poor:
The reason Haiti is in its present state is pretty simple: Canada, the United States and France, all of whom consider themselves civilized nations, colluded in the overthrow of the democratic government of Haiti four years ago. They did this for several excellent reasons:

  • Haiti 200 years ago defeated the world’s then major powers, France (twice), Britain and Spain, to establish its independence and to abolish plantation slavery. This was unforgivable.

  • Despite being bombed, strafed and occupied by the United States early in the past century, and despite the American endowment of a tyrannical and brutal Haitian army designed to keep the natives in their place, the Haitians insisted on re-establishing their independence. Having overthrown the Duvaliers and their successors, the Haitians proceeded to elect as president a little Black parish priest who had become their hero by defying the forces of evil and tyranny.

  • The new president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide, refused to sell out (privatize) the few assets owned by the government (the public utilities mainly).

  • Aristide also insisted that France owed Haiti more than $25 billion in repayment of blood money extorted from Haiti in the 19th century as alleged compensation for France’s loss of its richest colony and to allow Haiti to gain admission to world trade.

  • Aristide threatened the hegemony of a largely expatriate ruling class of so-called “elites” whose American connections allowed them to continue the parasitic exploitation and economic strip mining of Haiti following the American occupation.

  • Haiti, like Cuba, is believed to have in its exclusive economic zone huge submarine oil reserves, greater than the present reserves of the United States.

  • Haiti would make a superb base from which to attack Cuba.

  • The American attitude to Haiti was historically based on American disapproval of a free Black state just off the coast of their slave-based plantation economy. This attitude was pithily expressed in Thomas Jefferson’s idea that a Black man was equivalent to three fifths of a white man. It was further apotheosized by Woodrow Wilson’s Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan, who expostulated to Wilson: “Imagine! Niggers speaking French!”

    The Haitians clearly did not know their place. In February 2004, Mr. John McCain’s International Republican Institute, assisted by Secretary of State Colin Powell, USAID and the CIA , kidnapped Aristide and his wife and transported them to the Central African Republic as “cargo” in a plane normally used to “render” terrorists for torture outsourced by the U.S. to Egypt, Morocco and Uzbekistan.

    Before Mr. Zoellick went to Haiti last week, the World Bank announced that Mr. Zoellick’s visit would “emphasize the Bank’s strong support for the country.” Mr. Zoellick added: “Haiti must be given a chance. The international community needs to step up to the challenge and support the efforts of the Haitian government and its people.”

    “If Robert Zoellick wants to give Haiti a chance, he should start by unconditionally cancelling Haiti’s debt,” says Brian Concannon of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. “Instead the World Bank - which was established to fight poverty - continues to insist on debt payments when Haitians are starving to death and literally mired in mud.”

    “After four hurricanes in a month and an escalating food crisis, it is outrageous that Haiti is being told it must wait six more months for debt relief,” said Jubilee USA Network National Coordinator Neil Watkins.

    “Haiti’s debt is both onerous and odious,” added Dr. Paul Farmer of Partners In Health. “The payments are literally killing people, as every dollar sent to Washington is a dollar Haiti could spend on healthcare, nutrition and feeding programs, desperately needed infrastructure and clean water. Half of the loans were given to the Duvaliers and other dictatorships and spent on presidential luxuries, not development programs for the poor. Mr. Zoellick should step up and support the Haitian government by canceling the debt now.”

    “Unconditional debt cancellation is the first step in addressing the humanitarian crisis in Haiti,” according to TransAfrica Forum Executive Director Nicole Lee. “There is also an urgent need for U.S. policy towards Haiti to shift from entrenching the country in future debt to supporting sustainable, domestic solutions for development.”

    The above quotations are taken from an appeal by the organizations represented above.

    Further comment is superfluous.
    Further Reading:
    HAITI: Activists Urge World Bank to Erase Crippling Debt
    By Nergui Manalsuren
    Inter Press Service (IPS)

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    great post

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