by Ezili Dantò
This writing reviews, in two parts, the consequences of US investment in Haiti. It looks at the New York Times investigation into the Caracol industrial park, its anchor tenant, the South Korea’s Sae-A Trading, giving Haiti context with the
August 17, 2012 Lakou New York (Kreyòl) interview
Dahoud Andre and Manno, the hosts of Lakou New York interviews Haiti farmers whose lands where taken and given to foreigners for the Caracol Industrial Park MP3 Lakou New York Interview
July 25, 2012: Jeff Blankfort interviews Ezili Dantò on US pillage in Haiti and the Caracol Industrial Park
Bitter Cane documentary on industrial parks in Haiti 40-years ago. The piece illustrates that Washington’s bait and switch use of donation dollars and US taxpayer aid for private profit is a colonial blueprint in Haiti. US intervention is not intended, even when called “Haiti reconstruction” to provide sustainable jobs and infrastructure for Haitians. Caracol itself is window dressing covering the infrastructure the US is building for the mineral and vast oil reserves the US occupies Haiti to exploit. For part 2, click here.
Haiti: Foreign Investment means Death and Repression, Part I
Haiti July 2012New York Times Video – A Factory Grows in Haiti
The showcase project for Haiti’s earthquake reconstruction is being built far outside the disaster zone, in a location that could jeopardize the country’s key conservation effort. (Photos)
Haiti, 35, 40years ago “Notice how long ago it’s been since Haitians knew there was gold in Haiti. It’s the same for Haiti’s vast oil, which the US strategically denies. But now that the one-percenters have de-legitimized elections and lined up their puppet government, perhaps sometime soon the New York Times shall suddenly “discover” Haiti oil reserves and what Ezili HLLN has been pointing out for a decade now. Haiti’s mineral riches and oil in Haiti are the economic reasons the US took down Haiti’s democratically elected government in 2004, installed the US occupation behind UN guns with the humanitarian invasion.”-Ezili Dantò of HLLN
The constant US bait and switch in Haiti: A Historical Perspective
The uninformed, reading the New York times on Haiti two years ago, not the New York Times of Earthquake Relief Where Haiti Wasn”t Broken (July 5, 2012), vilified and marginalized Ezili’s HLLN, said we exaggerated when we pointed out that Western foreign investment in Haiti has mostly meant more Haiti suffering, death, pain and inhuman tribulations. (See, Bitter Cane pt. 6/7.)
The Deborah Sontag’s New York Times investigative report maintains that in the rush to show reconstruction progress the international stakeholders and US State Department building the Caracol industrial park have ignored labor and environmental concerns.
But Haitians who die a thousand deaths for Haiti renewal know there is a hidden war of attrition going on against the Haiti masses. The tyranny is not inadvertent. (US justice for the Haiti cholera victims would be collectively awarding $40million to Paul Farmer pharmaceuticals for cholera vaccines.)
Historically for Haiti, what is called foreign “investment” has always meant the unscrupulous extraction of profits without regards to its consequences on the people or environment and leaving no useful gain in Haiti whatsoever. More malicious, the conditions for US-style (one-percenter) investment requires the Haiti government not to subsidize its own people’s critical public service needs but to leave this to the so-called free market.
Hurting the peasant and poor Haitian to the point of collapse so to force these masses to accept any wage, any pie-in-the sky-promise of jobs and infrastructure, any political condition imposed by the humanitarian invasion is the central focus of US policy in Haiti, not a corrosive side effect, unintended, haphazard, incidental or misguided as the critics of the Caracol industrial project seem to diplomatically say. The failure of US foreign aid in Haiti is structural and ugly. Racism and paranoia inexorably reigns. In the mindless fury the corporatocracy views Haiti as a time bomb which must be defused immediately.
|HLLN on Haiti Riches
Haiti Riches: Lakou New York Interview with HLLN’s Ezili Dantò (Kreyòl) with Dahoud Andre and Manno on environmental degradation concerns of post-coup d”etat gold/copper mining in Haiti by foreign companies, May 6, 2009
Foreign investment has thus equaled more Haiti suffering – that is, the taking of Haiti peasant lands for building factories, foreign compounds, for mining, other resource extractions and agribusiness that pollutes, contaminates water supplies, crops, and fails to bring sufficient local economic benefits. (More than 15% of Haiti’s territory is under license to North American mining firms and their partners.)
Foreign investment doesn’t ignite ”ªHaiti development when all capital is flown overseas, the companies pay no taxes and there’s no living wage.
“the showcase project of the reconstruction effort is this: an industrial park that will create jobs and housing in an area undamaged by the temblor, a venture that risks benefiting foreign companies more than Haiti itself.”
Sontag explains that the Caracol site contains Haiti’s:
“most extensive mangrove reserve and a large strip of coral reef. Before the earthquake, the bay had been picked from 1,100 miles of coastline to become the first marine protected area in Haiti, the only Caribbean country without one. “The fact of having chosen this site, I”d call it heresy,” said Arnaud Dupuy, head of Haiti’s Audubon Society.”
Assembly plant factories caused great damage to Haiti back 40years ago when Papa Doc Duvalier, before his death, allowed their entry. That damage created the slum of Site Soley (although slum hotbeds started with the first US occupation), the primary “unstable” Haiti area given as a pretext for the endless 2004 UN MINUSTAH mission into Haiti. So what troop surge, Blackwater-like private military security or additional military deployment is the US searching a pretext for in the oil and gold-rich North of Haiti?
Sae-A closed flagship Guatemalan factory against backdrop of antiunion repression, rape, worker abuse, goes to ”ªHaiti
Having laid the eugenics groundwork, there is no way the United States is not fully aware of the labor and environmental damage projects like the Caracol industrial park will cause. And, combine with the $2obillion worth in gold mining activities also in that area -the tipping point impact, deadly ruptures, further economic and social quakes to come.
Deborah Sontag writes that before “the Haiti deal was sealed, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. urged American and international officials to reconsider.” Her report explains how Sae-A’s labor practices were consistently brought to the attention of officials:
“The A.F.L.-C.I.O. summarized what it called Sae-A’s “worst labor and criminal law violations” in Guatemala, accusing Sae-A of using bribes, death threats and imprisonment to prevent and break up unions and said a local union suspected company officials of involvement in a union leader’s rape never investigated by Guatemalan authorities…labor advocates worry, too, that Caracol will undermine the nearby Codevi industrial park, the only unionized garment operation in the country. Fernando Capellán, the owner of Codevi, said, “They’re going to destroy my jobs to create cheaper jobs in Caracol.”
With this toxic cocktail of conflicts and intentional malice, the only question is: why wouldn’t US officials expect the coming ”ªbloody showdown and Haiti”¬ battle to clear this Charlemagne Peralte area of foreign dominance?
This Caracol “foreign investment/development” and “opening Haiti for business” US spiel is a REPEAT of the sugar plantation failures and foreign capital promises used to pillage Haiti, exploit, make foreigners rich. Failed sweatshops zones being sold as “development” is too transparent an idiocy for the supporters of the Caracol park to couch and excuse their lack of a moral compass, greed, cluelessness or sheer malevolence with protestations about “a rush to make reconstruction progress!” Wasting millions on ineffective cholera vaccines, instead of immediately spending the donation dollars on permanent clean water and sanitation infrastructure, was also justified by Washington as “a rush to make progress!”
The damage and death of the old industrial parks are well documented in the Bitter Cane documentary film made clandestinely under the Duvalier dictatorship.
For Ezili’s HLLN, the indigenous revolutionary model and lexicon to end despotism, dependency, the humanitarian invasion and US occupation in Haiti was set long ago by the African Ancestors at the beginning of the Haiti revolution with the Bwa Kayiman call: “stop the imperialist, their Black collaborator and all their evil forces.”
Haitians peasants have no problem with private property ownership, the lakou/konbit and a mix-economy with public controls exercised on critical sectors to the common good, like infrastructure, clean water, sanitation, roads, health care, basic education, food production, adequate housing not being subject to profit as the sole barometer for these basic needs to sustain life, not luxuries. The documentary uses a Marxist lexicon which may not resonate for this age. Nevertheless Bitter Cane is a worthy reference point. It provides direct historical context, illustrates the Haiti struggle and how such US industrial parks, racist and neoliberal economic policies in Haiti meant more suffering for Haiti’s masses.
BAIT AND SWITCH
Today, US-style investment in Haiti means the US collects monies for earthquake relief but uses it to build private hotels, private industrial parks; to pay US Regis College to train Haitian nurses overseas while Haiti indigenous university is left to rot; to support tourism, to lease the Fort Liberte deep water port in order to put into application US dreams for Haiti oil pillage and oil transshipment center; to lease Caracol bay and lands for private corporate profits, all behind the “helping Haiti” moniker.
It means the same companies who are touted as bringing jobs to Haitians are the same ones who have caused unemployment and repression to increase. For instance, take fertile lands providing a living to peasants, gift it to foreign businessmen for the Caracol factories or to foreign mining companies, leave displace farmers jobless and in deeper poverty and deprivation. (Gold Rush in Haiti: Good for whom?; Top Five Reasons Why Caracol Industrial Park is Disastrous for Haiti ; Corruption uninterrupted in Haiti; If Ezili HLLN could reach CNN’s audience on the 4th of July; Rebuilding Haiti – the Sweatshop Hoax.)
The US says its bringing jobs, but foreigners cause Haiti unemployment.
US SAY ITS BRINGING JOBS, BUT FOREIGNERS CAUSE HAITI UNEMPLOYMENT
“As a result of these US free trade policies, over 830,000 rural Haitian jobs were lost and hundreds of thousands of Haitians were forced into the capital looking for work, where eventually they would meet up with the massive earthquake and death on January 12, 2010 at 4:53.” ”Ezili Dantò at Corruption uninterrupted in Haiti
US “investment” in Haiti is not about providing sustainable relief with living-wage jobs, saving Haiti lives or bringing to application indigenous Haiti democracy and promoting human rights, who doesn’t know that historical fact? (See video of sweatshop workers in Haiti in 1971 talking about how US investment creates suffering at Bitter Cane Pt. 5/7. Compare it to the New York Times July 2012 video showing how the US used earthquake donations dollars and federal power to displace poor Haiti farmers from fertile lands, lease land, build a private, lock-down industrial park, gift it to foreigners for factories regardless of ecosystem pollution, call this “investing in Haiti.”)
Bait and switch is a corrupt practice that’s against the law, isn’t?
Alright, so, I am hereby announcing a consumer protection law suit for the bait and switch on earthquake relief dollars. That way, IDJH-Brian Concannon and his NGO-guru board member, Paul Farmer, may rush in to send a demand letter to their friends at the Red Cross, Clinton Global Initiative, Bush-Clinton Fund, World Bank (Jim Kim co-partnership), et al… and start a new fundraising campaign to collect monies for their new “lawsuit” to protect human rights, right away. LOL
OK, I digress. But it is sadly funny sometimes.
Leclerc’s imperative is fulfilled in Haiti today through debt, privatization, unfair trade, US occupation behind UN guns and wage slavery.
“Six years in the making and filmed clandestinely under the Duvalier dictatorship, Bitter Cane is a timeless documentary classic about the exploitation and foreign domination of the Haitian people.”
ED’s Note: Haitian locals idea of land ownership differs than Western notion. Up North in Haiti there is the landowning system mentions in part 1 of Bitter cane. But still no one bothers to kick a Haitian off lands unless they are not known to the community or the owner finds a foreigner to sell it to. Still, ” Haitians own more land than any other nationality in the Caribbean. But their lands are now being robbed. The Haitians from the Diaspora provide the platform for Clinton, Bush, Obama and other members of the US-Euro corporatocracy to take Haiti lands.” Haiti: The soul of Africa, not for sale.
MONEY HAS NO ROOT, you use it, it’s gone
NGO invasion and this new US occupation brings a way of life to Haiti without Haitian roots and thus without Haitian coping skills.
Destruction of a way of life, replaced with permanent poverty and more apartheid
We are a people of open markets, who are being told to go work at Western-style FTZs with private security, lock-down gates with exclusion the name of the game. This is the apartheid Haiti the Euros want. Notice how EVERY open marketplace in Port au Prince has been BURNED down in the last few years.
SHADA and HASCO– evidence the used of Haiti-Americans figureheads under the first US occupation to help the foreign ruling elites exploit Haiti, just as the neoDuvalierists Haitians in power under today’s occupation help cement the NGO invasion, UN occupation, Bill Clinton as Haiti ruling viceroy and the Caracol, Fort Liberte and gold mining (lowest 2.5% royalty rate in the Hemisphere) exploitation.
The conditions in Haiti at the height of the assembly plant era – 30, 40 years ago.
The bait and switch use of charity and US taxpayer dollars (as “aid”) to cement the private profits of the wealthy, white and their Black collaborators in Haiti is a colonial blueprint. It’s not new like, for instance, you might think from reading the very good New York Times expose. It’s the same old, same old.
WHAT’S COMING AT HAITI
(that’s hidden behind the headlines.)
We live in a time where the privileged elites, who trade all that’s in Haiti as the hottest American corporate chattel and security, are masters at seeming to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth to their audiences.
The distances in understanding are daunting, even depressing. For though the New York Times’ expose is outstanding. I count maybe one other NYT article in the last eight years that comes close to actually revealing the corporatocracy at work in Haiti this well. Just the 2005, Mixed U.S. Signals Helped Tilt Haiti Toward Chaos, and that had its limitations as we noted back then.
But the collection of statements and quotes do not convey the full truth about the on-going US Haiti repression and enslavement. It underlines our times inability to SEE that the US war against the Haitian peasant masses is not haphazard but systematic, vicious and intentional. This obfuscation of a fundamental reality is reflective of the untold lies schools and this society tells itself, as well as perhaps reflective of a combination of cognitive dissonance and the Stockholm syndrome- which, in this case, involves the corporate victim paradoxically forming a positive relationship with their corporate oppressor, intensified by racism and paternalism that fragments seeing the Haitian peasant/masses as an equal and an equal victim of the predatory corporatocracy.
The Times inability to SEE that the US war against the Haitian peasant and masses is not haphazard
The New York Times expose shows only one place – Caracol, Haiti – where earthquake relief is used where Haiti wasn’t broken. This is useful and well researched but it has not gone deep enough.
Understandably that may not be their job but ours as Haitians. It behooves Haiti justice advocates to address what’s left out that is relevant to the issue of using donation dollars and US aid for private profit and to destabilize.
The expose doesn’t tell us how many years the neoDuvalierist-Haiti government LEASED the Caracol lands, Caracol bay and Fort Liberte port to the foreigners for?
Doesn’t show you that this use of donation monies, of US Federal power and taxpayer dollars is not an isolated incident, new and separate from the reality that happens all over Haiti. And, if the truth be told, the reality oppressed Black countries and Black peoples face all around the world with the oppressing profiteers.
Doesn’t explain why Washington swapped Haiti lives and lands to get a South Korean Maquilas into Haiti but not a Brazilian Maquila? The geopolitical maneuverings fills a few US imperial agendas: cements Haiti poverty; sends a message to all dissenters in the region about US elites’ dirtier capacity for maintaining their world looting system despite the horrors of the quake in Haiti; underlies efforts that contains Brazil’s economic ascendancy in the Hemisphere; promotes a servile and useful South Korean client state; makes no apology for using charity donation dollars and US taxpayer dollars to support unfair labor practices, corporate welfare for giant US manufacturers, worldwide low-wages or to feed the WalMart-ilk’s appetite for closing down small local businesses.
Doesn’t correlate the high cronyism, corrupt and feudal patronage involved. The South Korean stranglehold in Haiti that keeps multiplying. The UN-MINUSTAH troops in Haiti are led by South Korean, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Paul Farmer is the Deputy UN Special Envoy to Haiti and his partner at Partners & Health is South Korean, Dr. Jim Yong Kim who is the US-dominated World Bank’s newly elected Korean born president. For the first time in UN history the World Bank, not the UNDP, is the banker for donor country relief and reconstruction funds raised for Haiti and administered by Washington through UN envoy to Haiti, Bill Clinton. They’ve put Haiti under tutelage for 8-years and counting, gather together gleefully destroying. Their latest excursion and economic fascism is this proposed Korean-operated factory slave laborjobs in Caracol on the burial ground of Haiti’s revered liberator, Charlemagne Peralte.
The Caracol capitalist vultures pay no taxes, tariffs or custom duties, get free land, free factory, luxurious gated communities but see no double standard with their money changers taxing Haiti Diaspora remittances, the only direct aid to the poor. Haitians pay an extra $1.50 per transfer and .05cents per phone call to Haiti. No other nationality in the world are paying these transfer fees and taxes.
The expose doesn’t touch on another crux of the matter. This Caracol “jobs-for-Haiti” is bait. Window-dressing behind which to finance and provide infrastructure and housing for the Denver-based miner Newmont(Eurasian/Marien Mining), Canada’s Majesco/VCS Mining and other foreign companies mining Haiti for gold, silver, copper, worth more than $20 billion dollars.
During the first US occupation, both HASCO (the Haitian-American Sugar Company) and SHADA (Haitian-American Society for Agricultural Development) were foreign controlled, but used Haiti figureheads to circumvent the Haiti Constitution prohibiting foreign land ownership. The article mentions the negative legacy of the sisal plantation that was in the Caracol area back then, but prudently doesn’t say a word about the SHADA and HASCO similarities with the looting Haiti-American collaborators of today. See on our website, Caracol, SHADA: Hoax masking foreign appropriation of fertile Haiti lands.
The New York Times focuses on the eviction of farmers for a factory complex just nine miles down the road from US mining operations worth $20 billion. What about the farmers evicted for Newmont and Majesco mining to mine for gold at the lowest mining royalty rate (2.5%_ to Haiti in the Hemisphere. Will this help Haitians or just the parasitic foreigners?
People all over the world, where Newmont has active mines, from Nevada, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana to Peru, are mad about Newmont and the gold mining industry. The Akyim indigenous community in Ghana has launched a world campaign to protest against Newmont. This week five protesters died in a clash in Peru over the Newmont mine. In the US, Newmont mining is accused of not paying Nevada taxes.
If the powerful Newmont conglomerate is not paying tax on mining profits in Nevada USA, how reasonable is the expectation it shall pay the negotiated Haiti 50% profit tax or even the lowest 2.5% royalty rate in the Hemisphere to vulnerable Haiti?
Haiti is severely deforested, just suffered the worst earthquake damage in world history and its fragile water supply is already contaminated by foreign feces – UN-imported cholera from 2010. What will leaking cyanide, arsenic emissions, mine waste, Marine ecosystem destruction and open pit mining and unsupervised drilling leave Haiti with up North?
The Times article doesn’t make the obvious correlation, nor mention the ecological concerns with the mining, just talks about Caracol Bay and Fort Liberte ecological concerns.
Most telling is how the Times article notably fails to mention, simply skips the obvious – Haiti’s vast (an Olympic pool to Venezuela’s glass of water) oil reserves in the North, its connection to the Caracol project.
VOID THE ILLEGAL SOFA AGREEMENT
Additionally, the piece doesn’t explore the Haiti solution to the on-going US and neoDuvalierist repression and resource pillage in Haiti.
Real investment in Haiti means a stop to foreign domination that allows the Caracol travesty to exist. The solution is for the bi-centennial US occupation of Haiti behind UN mercenary guns to come to an end, the elitist humanitarian invasion, economic and class apartheid to end.
Indeed, the nationwide and even overseas (Diaspora) political and social terror against Haitians, supported by NGO donation dollars and US taxpayer dollars which prohibits the Lavalas opposition party to occupation to participate in elections since 2004 must end. The people would have risen up long ago against the humanitarian invasion but for the concerted international effort to re-image the old Duvalierist opportunists and stifle Haitian dissent.
If Haiti were allowed to use its own vast mineral and oil resources to elevate its people’s standard of living, it would not need the promise of slave-wage
factory jobs which are a hoax anyway. Just bait to bring in the mining and oil executives into Haiti without protest.
Parliament must void the illegal Status of Force agreement (SOFA) that brought the UN to Haiti in 2004. Haitian workers must be stakeholders in their own country, not disenfranchised by foreigners interested in profit at all cost. It’s inhuman to expected the poor to sacrifice their life, dignity and welfare for the economic gain of the global elites, their Haiti collaborators and for the consumer interests and pleasure of overseas Target/GAP/Walmart customers. The solution is for economic sovereignty to return; Haiti lands, labor, oil reserves and mineral wealth prioritized for use in Haiti’s domestic development. (For solution listen or read transcript
Haiti: Foreign Investment means Death and Repression,Part II
THE SLOW AND SILENT GENOCIDE THE US IS CONDUCTING IN HAITI
In 1971 the minimum wage was about $1.30 USD per day. It was raised to about $2.60 or 70 gourds in 2003. In 2004 it was cut back in half to $1.60 or .36 gourds by the US coup detat folks.
Since the 1970s Haiti assembly plant workers, mostly all women, have battled to raise the minimum wage to a living wage and for humane working conditions. (Workers interviewed in the older Bitter Cane documentary as well as those interviewed around 1996 in the Mickey Mouse goes to Haiti documentary talk about how they suffered abuse for protesting the indecent wage. Even then, Haiti workers were pushing for .63 US cents an hour wage or approximately $5 USD dollars per day for a minimum wage.)
In 2009, though the Haiti parliament voted to raise the assembly plant minimum wage to 200 gourdes or the equivalent of US $5.00 a day (about .63 U.S. cents an hour.), UN Envoy Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton at the Obama State Department forced Haiti officials to rescind the vote.
Today’s Haiti minimum wage for assembly plant workers is approximately$3.00 USD per day/ .38 U.S. cents an hour or 125 gourdes per day. Because of inflation, the $3.00 per day wage is not much higher than what the minimum wage had been 35 to 40 years earlier. That’s nothing less than genocidal.
It’s even more crushing and unimaginable when you factor not only the depreciation of the Haitian gourd over the last few decades but that local agriculture was decimated by systemic US and neoliberal economic attack on Haiti peasants. And practically all of Haiti’s food is now imported from the US and world food prices much higher.
Moreover, the minimum wage is really less than .38 cents an hour for $3 for an 8-hour day because the Haitian women work not 8 hours per day but more like 12 hours per day. They are given a daily quota to fulfill and can’t leave until that quota is met and it takes more than 8-hours for that to happen.
“Then, when the Haitians were once again pauperised, the experts and their elite allies introduced the nearest thing to slavery known to this century – free zones, where Haitians laboured for the price of less than one Jamaican patty a day. The women were injected with drugs which stopped their monthly periods so they wouldn’t need time off to have babies. They were prohibited from joining unions. Hold on tight to your screams.”–John Maxwell The Audacity of Hopelessness, April 05, 2009 ( Obama’s offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery.)
If it was bad to live on 70gourds or $1.60 per day when the American dollar equaled 5 Haitian gourds and most Haitians could still live off the land, with fruit trees, and because Haiti was still self-sufficient in food sovereignty, in rice. Imagine how much deeper the deprivation and poverty is today to earn $3 per day when the exchange rate is approximately 40 Haitian gourds to one US dollar.(Recommended HLLN Links on : US “Free Trade” Fraud Promotes Famine in Haiti; Mickey Mouse Goes to Haiti Part 1 and Part 2, 1996 documentary from the National Labor Committee; Obama’s offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery.)
For those who don’t know, when the 1970s, 1980s food-for-work program were replaced with seasonable cash-for-work job programs to maintain infrastructure for the foreigners, the USAID/Care/Catholic Relief Services, et al, programs would hand out these jobs just when the peasants should be planting and tending to their fields causing them to miss another harvest. This, another way to wipe out local Haiti agriculture was routinely implemented by the Western mindsets known to exterminate entire civilizations in the Western Hemisphere under the guise of “bringing civilization”. (See also, Bill Clinton’s Heavy Hand on Haiti’s Vulnerable Agricultural Economy: The American Rice Scandal.)
Caracol was the site where, during the first US occupation of Haiti (1914-1934) the US Marines ran the Chabert Post prison labor camp, infamous for its brutal treatment of dissenting Haiti peasants.
Revered Haiti hero, Charlemagne Péralte was initially buried on the property in an unmarked grave before getting a state monument further up North in Cap Haitian. It’s one of the places where forced Black labor made fortunes for Spain, France and then US plantations owners, permanently deforesting Haiti. It wasn’t fully reclaimed by Haitians until the overthrow of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986.
The way I see it, in a deep, long, historical way, Haiti was founded by ex-slaves who overthrew a plantation system and people keep trying to get them to return to some form of plantation,” he said. “There have been cycles of this type of project, where the idea is that foreign investment will modernize the country. But things have gotten progressively worse for Haitians.”Earthquake Relief Where Haiti Wasn”t Broken (July 5, 2012)
An export-based economy for Haiti is a tired US policy
An export-base economy for Haiti didn’t work 4o-years ago and the devastation it left is still being absorbed by Haitians with famine, containment-in-poverty and the presence of UN troops today. This new endeavor has already brought suffering to Haitians: the US project kicked Haiti farmers off their lands and gifted it to foreigners for factories and private businesses in the looming presence of UN guns.
The US has the information NOW to stop this project and prevent Haitians from further great sufferings to come tomorrow – not wait until perhaps hundreds of thousands more Haitians are dead, traumatized or fleeing Haiti on the open seas.
40-years ago, in the 197os, under Baby Doc’s-Martelly-type “open for business”, Catholic Relief Services and Care, where running the “food for work” programs in Haiti that helped destroy Haiti indigenous jobs, rendered the peasants homeless, brought dependency.
Such US policies disempower the Haiti masses and that disempowerment also disempowers the US masses and is neither good governance nor ethical. The corporatocracy pits wage earners worldwide against one another for the benefit of the corporatocracy. The irony is that US workers are undercut by the low Haiti wages. But it’s US taxpayer and donation monies that are used to suppress the Haiti laborers, keeping them with no voice to fight. (See, 1969 Re-opening Haiti to US and foreign investment – Bitter Cane 4/7 )
BUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE TO SERVE THE INTEREST OF FOREIGN CAPITAL” A Historical Perspective
If past atrocities are not to be repeated, we should recall how at the height of the assembly plant era 35, 40 years ago, subsidized imported food was given in exchange for Haiti labor to build infrastructure for US factory owners and the bauxite miners.
Haiti labor was used to build infrastructure for foreigners. Not infrastructure to service Haitians and the foreign resident worker, but privatized infrastructure to service foreign capital’s interests in maximizing profit at all costs. (See video 1969/1971 Re-opening Haiti to US and foreign investment/food-for-work and also, Ezili Dantò on The Slavery in Haiti the Media Won”t Expose and Expose the Lies.)
The US disinterest for labor and environmental concerns and privatized use of donation dollars at Caracol industrial part is a REPEAT of history and as Professor Dubois says, it’s “tired.” The consequences are predictable. ( 1969/1971 Re-opening Haiti to US and foreign investment/food-for-work)
This Obama Administration application of disaster capitalism and the shock doctrine is like pouring gasoline onto a fire already set by past US missteps in Haiti. There’s no sane reason for the US to be unleashing the South Korean Sae-A factory on vulnerable Haiti’s back despite Sae-A’s despotic reputation for using bribes, rape, death threats and imprisonment to prevent and break up unions.
HAITI DOESN’T NEED ANYMORE PAIN
It’s not surprising to veteran and bruised Haiti justice advocates that unregulated, unfettered capitalism create and uses depravity to make a profit. We were awake and suffering in scorching neocolonial fires when Bill Clinton returned President Aristide in 1994 with 20,000 US troops to ramp up privatizing Haiti and re-imaging the bloody Duvalierist as civil society.
Foreign investment has always meant MORE Haiti fleeing refugees, indefinite detentions, deaths and suffering. Donation monies and US taxpayer “aid” monies are privatized in Haiti and used to profit and make the rich richer. This is NOT new in Haiti. It’s the STANDARD. (Watch in 2012- A Factory Grows in Haiti and in 1971 Bitter Cane Pt. 5/7.)
From 1971 on, beginning with the tenure of Baby Doc Duvalier, Haiti was “open for business.” How did that go for Haiti domestic development and human rights ? See history at videos –Bitter Cane 4/7 and Bitter Cane 6/7.)
It cost Haiti billions in lost trade, tax, custom duties and tariff revenues, more than 5,000 Haitian lives and over 70,000 Haiti refugees fled the tyranny of the first US-supported regime change landing in Guantanamo Bay detention center to be further terrorized. 20,000 Haitians were slaughtered from 2004-2006 during the second US repression. More than 500,000 Haitians fled Haiti under the Duvalier dynasty supported and financed for the bulk of their reign by the US government.
THE WORLD ECONOMY HAS CHANGED, THERE’S NO LABOR-INTENSIVE JOBS WITH HIGHER PROFIT MARGINS IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE THAN IN CHINA, IT’S A HOAX
“Sweatshop development” is an oxymoron and a hoax. Except China which has 1.3 billion people with no workers rights or semblance of a representative government, the FTZs are closing everywhere.
There won”t be the promised 20,000 jobs available over this so-called 6-year period Haitians are sacrificing life, lands and livelihood for now. The US has been holding that carrot of 20,000 jobs out since 2004, as can be verified by checking the record. Back in 1987 when the Berlin Wall fell and the Asian market place opened up so that the 7 to 10million Haitian labor market could not compete with 1.3 BILLION people, the assembly plants had no reason to stay in Haiti.
When they left, the infrastructure built (from back-breaking food-for work peasant labor) to service the assembly plant companies, the private ports (like the privatized Miragoane port servicing the bauxite mines of Reynolds Metals aluminum) were abandoned, left in gross disrepair or purposely destroyed to prevent the people’s movement and democratically elected government from success.
Mostly, Haitian infrastructure improvements are allowed to stand in Haiti only if they serve foreigners or their local subcontractors. The roads and ports were built for foreign business use.
In the period of the first US occupation, HASCO controlled the electric company, the railroad company and the Port au Prince wharf. The Haiti railroad and train cars only carried HASCO sugarcane from the plantations to refineries to port for export while Haitians had no way to improve domestic agriculture by getting their produce to local markets before it rotted. This has been the case since neocolonialism began with the first foreign-supported Haiti coup d”etat in 1806 that killed Haiti’s founding father and put the assimilated sons of France in power. (Haiti a time bomb which must be defused immediately; Haiti: The soul of Africa, not for sale ; Obama’s offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery; Caracol, SHADA: Hoax masking foreign appropriation of fertile Haiti lands.)
The US legislative conditions(HOPE ACT II) imposed upon Haiti for hosting non-tax paying foreign companies such as the Caracol industrial park, which make duty free garments and goods for the export market, COMPELS Haiti to agree NOT TO INVEST in needed public services – clean water, sanitation and waste management, public roads, health care, et al. Imposes controls, rules out Haiti government ownership of economic assets. (See, Statement of Haitian Activists on the HOPE legislation passed by Congress, December 16, 2006:Enriching the few at expense of the many is not “HOPE” but fueling more despair.)
Haiti is in dire need of public services, clean water, sanitation, infrastructure, local manufacturing, local food production, local agriculture and for the government to invest in this and be accountable to its citizens for these services.
Unless its designed and implemented with Haiti monies, by Haitians for Haitians, no Haiti reconstruction shall provide sustainable jobs and infrastructure for Haitians.
Are the ridiculous Haitian collaborators abroad and in Haiti along with the US drones implementing the despotic one-percenters’ edicts, so brainwashed they believe whatever the ruling corporatocracy says, can”t see there’s nothing benevolent or bungling about US investment in Haiti, that it’s a total HOAX. Are they simply too comfortable in the good life to think independently, just machines with one directive from the corporatocracy, no free will, no ability to unplug?
Ayisyen kote nou ye toutbon?
Ezili Dantò of HLLN
Li led li la
July 9, 2012
Forwarded by Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Washington Justice For Haiti:
In support of Paul Farmer’s pharmaceuticals and the Farmer groups – Brian Concannon/IDJH – asking the UN to judge itself guilty on behalf of Haiti cholera victims, Washington Post opines, justice for the Haiti cholera victims would be collectively awarding $40million to Paul Farmer pharmaceuticals for cholera vaccines – Ezili Dantò on Washington Post editorial supporting expansion of Farmer’s ineffective cholera vaccines
MORE BACKGROUND INFORMATION
July 5, 2012, Reuters
(Reuters) – A fifth protester has died following two days of clashes with police, officials said on Thursday, as critics said President Ollanta Humala’s crackdown on a rally against a $5 billion gold mine proposed by Newmont had gone too far.
Humala, a former military officer who says the mine would generate thousands of jobs and huge tax revenues in the northern region of Cajamarca, has not spoken about the violence this week – even as his ministers suspended freedom of assembly to quell the rallies and opposition lawmakers urged police to show more restraint.
The clashes this week, the first in eight months of protests against the mine, are likely to increase calls for Humala to replace Prime Minister Oscar Valdes when Peruvian leaders normally shuffle their Cabinets around July 28, Peru’s Independence Day.
Valdes, who was one of Humala’s instructors in the military, led a crackdown on protests against the mine in November. At the time, he was interior minister and was later promoted.
Left-wing leader Marco Arana, a soft-spoken former Roman Catholic priest who has rallied demonstrators to stop construction of the biggest mine in Peruvian history, was released from police custody after video aired on local TV showed him being detained and beaten by police on Wednesday.
Arana is widely thought to have presidential ambitions. He and his allies on the left say Humala has drifted too far to the right since taking office and has put the interests of global miners ahead of poor peasants. Opponents of the mine say it would cause pollution, hurt water supplies and fail to generate enough local economic benefits.
Humala took office a year ago urging mediation to solve hundreds of disputes nationwide over natural resources, but has lost patience with protesters and has suspended civil liberties to curb demonstrations at least three times.
Members of Humala’s party have blamed Arana and another strident opponent of the mine – Gregorio Santos, the president of the Cajamarca region – for inciting violence at a rally of 2,000 people on Tuesday where protesters threw rocks and vandalized public buildings. The rallies spilled over into Wednesday.
Official data shows at least 15 people have died during Humala’s term in protests over natural resources, compared with 174 who were killed in similar circumstances from 2006 to 2011 on the watch of his predecessor, Alan Garcia.
U.S.-based Newmont’s project in Cajamarca, known as Conga, is partly owned by local miner Buenaventura and would produce between 580,000 and 680,000 ounces of gold annually. Conga would essentially replace the nearby Yanacocha mine run by Newmont and Buenaventura that is nearing the end of its life.
Protesters have expressed outrage that Humala gave the miner permission a week ago to proceed with construction of the project after Newmont agreed to comply with a more stringent environmental mitigation plan recommended by outside experts.
Newmont has agreed to build larger reservoirs that would replace two or more in a string of alpine lakes and guarantee year-round water supplies in towns that suffer during the dry season. It started work on those reservoirs over the weekend after nearly all construction work on the mine had been stopped since November because of protests.
The company’s local office said on Tuesday the violence was unfortunate, but said it was “reaffirming its commitment to Cajamarca.”
Peru, which has vast mineral resources, is the world’s second-largest producer of copper and sixth of gold, but many mining communities suffer from widespread poverty and complain a decade-long economic boom has passed them by.