Saint Domingue ou Haïti – L’enfer?

Haiti, a cursed country? Une nation des damnés? Les damnés de la Terre? It surely seems so. But, its people, truly ‘resilient’?

As if liberating itself from France (to which it was compelled to pay ‘reparations’ until 1947 for its victory and freedom from slavery) were not costly enough, it would be victim to the forces of nature, hurricanes and earthquakes – and recently the United Nations (and its Nepalese soldiers), not to mention home-grown remarkably corrupt despots, courtesy its northern neighbour, who would do their ‘fair bit’ of pillaging, repression and murder. Haiti is a country with a poverty rate of some 60% and with its one percent as rich as the poorest 45% of the population.

With massive deforestation and insufficient vegetation for soil retention, flooding and the consequent loss of life become facts of life. For over a decade in this century, rains, storms and hurricanes of varying intensity have buffeted many parts of the country. And now comes Hurricane Matthew and its deadly aftermath to add to its continuing woes.

Haiti’s long and bitter experience with post-disaster ‘assistance’ has prompted some not at all tepid articles. Couple from The Guardian. This, Haiti cannot endure any more broken promises after Hurricane Matthew, with a key paragraph,

Outside forces have much to atone for. In many ways it is the failures of international support since 2010 that have had greater consequences for Haiti than its longstanding political failures. There is now a desperate need for a new type of engagement with Haiti. After Matthew, Haiti simply cannot endure any more broken promises

However this headline does put the issue more starkly, After Hurricane Matthew, will aid predators ravage Haiti? Fortunately, two countries have never engaged in the ravaging of the poorest country of the Western Hemisphere. These two are Venezuela and Cuba, traditionally two of the first ready to assist, and who do so without the media circus of photo-ops of the ‘aid predators’. As TeleSUR reports, Venezuela and Cuba Show Solidarity with Haiti After the Hurricane. Lead paragraphs,

Cuba sent a group of 38 health professionals from the Henry Reeve Brigade who are trained in disaster medicine and infectious disease containment. The volunteer team was outfitted with essential medicines and equipment and has already arrived in the Haitian capital of Port au Prince.

For its part the Venezuelan government has already sent two shipments with humanitarian aid, the first was an airplane with 20 tons of nonperishable food, water, blankets, kitchen utensils, disposable materials, tents, ponchos and medicines.

Now we should remember that a better prepared Cuba had itself experienced the same hurricane, and received prompt assistance from a beleaguered Venezuela.

Which brings to mind that that devastating earthquake of 2010 in which far in excess of 100,000 lives were lost, the very year of that cholera outbreak. Then would arrive with great pomp and circumstance L’Impéreur Guillaume et L’Impératrice Hillary, accompanied by a phalanx of US corporate media for the obligatory PR photo-ops to suggest truly great deeds in the offing. And the rest, as they would say, is history – only to be re-awakened by Hurricane Matthew, as TeleSUR reports, Devastating Hurricane Renews Debate on Clinton Legacy in Haiti As confirmation that glib speeches of accomplishment no longer impress the increasingly less uninformed, we learn, as below,  in this compelling report that rejects US corporate media’s penchant for reflecting, parroting the establishment’s official narrative,

After the worst storm in decades made landfall in Haiti last week, Bill Clinton wrote on Twitter October 4th: “Praying for everyone impacted by #HurricaneMatthew. Here’s how you can help in Haiti,” linking to an article on Medium detailing how the “Clinton Foundation community” is responding to the disaster.

“Is this a joke, you looted Haiti once already,” responded one Twitter user. “Clintons still scamming off poor Haiti after a natural disaster,” wrote another.

And with regard to this altruism business, we are again reminded of that stark headline in The Guardian, with this tidbit,

Controversially, however, US$6 billion [of funds raised by that august Clinton Foundation] was spent on formaldehyde-riddled trailers distributed by a top Clinton campaign donor–Clayton Homes–that sickened Haitians left homeless by the earthquake, with trailer occupants complaining of headaches and other illnesses.

(Note: not all of the US$6b collected were disbursed, only several million.)

Well, at least the former US president, now prosperous multi-millionaire, is not responsible for those UN Nepalese soldiers who brought the ravages of cholera to Haiti.

As for the former Sec State, also prosperous multi-millionaire and pre-selected, anointed candidate of the corporate Democrat party for the US presidency, we are reminded,

But [Hillary] Clinton’s meddling in Haiti predates the 2010 earthquake. Beginning in 2008, Clinton, while a U.S. Senator, lobbied against a minimum wage hike in Haiti, according to WikiLeaks cables, scheming with foreign sweatshop owners doing business in the country.  Blocking the wage hike deepened inequality  in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

(And this ruthless meddling would come on the heels of the coup in June 2009 against the democratically elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, a coup legitimated by the fmr Sec of State. Honduras today reflects the result of such ‘benevolent’ ministrations.)

Despite the ravages of 2010, the economy did resume economic growth, yet much remains lacking. Why, after two centuries, is Haiti, in essence, a ‘protectorate’ of ‘the international community’, a country shackled to dependence on foreign, Western ‘humanitarians’? Is assistance the now routine foisting on the country of armies of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), many of whom by their efforts fail to ensure measurable institutional development or even cadres of well-trained local professionals and bureaucrats to move the country forward? And as for the role of the American [US] Red Cross?

It should not be too long before we are treated to condescending pronouncements of the Haitians being a ‘resilient’ people, undaunted in the face of adversity. Truly a people who know how to suffer – as the highly paid ‘do-gooders’ visit, play their well-advertised role, then leave with yet another something for their CV, while leaving the Haitians to continue to show to an admiring, amazed world they are indeed a ‘resilient’ people.


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