Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tragedy and Irony in Haiti . . .
There is a terrible and ominous irony unfolding in Haiti this week. Amid the awful tragedy of tens of thousands dying in the earthquake, numerous countries are vying to be seen by the international community to be the most active in bringing aid to the Haitian people. Chief among these have been, of course, Canada, the US, and France. The irony is not missed on anyone who has watched Haiti over the years. For decades now these countries have been actively partaking of the exploitation of the Haitian people. They have undertaken this exploitation economically, politically and militarily. The support of the Duvalier dynasty by these Western countries allowed them to rape this country of its money, its power, and its dignity. Huge amounts of resources have been sunk into Haiti simply to ensure that Haiti does not evolve a decent democracy or economy. In recent times Western Countries tacitly (and sometimes actively) supported a coup in Haiti by General Cedras and then ensured that he stayed in power until he had completely hollowed-out the political opposition and destroyed any hint of a trade union movement. Only then did they allow the return of supposed 'democracy' only to later actually kidnap the Haitian President. The most recent disgrace was the fact that Western manufacturers who use Haiti as a source of very cheap labor close to the US shores, used their influence to ensure that Haiti did not pass a minimum wage law (which, if my memory serves was only five dollars a day!). Now, after years of abuse, the Western Countries are rushing in to aid the Haitians who they have so actively exploited. And already we are hearing stories of that aid being sidetracked away from those who need it most. The tragedy of Haiti is multifold and our governments are profoundly culpable.