To develop a dialogue bringing truth to a world fed on a diet of illusion and fantasy .

  • Issues like:
    The capitalist economic system
    The corporate/political system
    Degradation of the environment
    Energy depletion (Peak Oil etc)
    Alternative ways of living on this earth
    Are there viable alternatives?
    Spiritual survival in the Industrial Growth Society
    Any other issues that grab me or you!

and to hear from others who would challenge or support me or simply develop a theme.


Hello world!

08Nov09

Slave manacles used by the French in Haiti

Why is Haiti so poor?

It is amazing in all the coverage of the Haitian eathquake there is no mention of why Haiti is so poor and why there is no infrastructure in the country to even begin to cope with the earthquake. It is so typical of the modern corporate financed media not to ask those kinds of questions. I think I know why. Please read on.
The answer is that 200 years ago Haiti was one of the wealthiest Carribean countries. Now it is one of the poorest. Over the last 100 years Haiti’s economy has been undermined by the attentions of the neo-liberal economists from France, America and the IMF.
To my mind if we really want to help Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, we need to stop wringing our hands in aimless distress and demand that the bloodsucking IMF cancel its $265M debt with Haiti, for America to stop dumping subsidised food on Haiti and for France in particular to finance the re-structuring of Haiti’s destroyed agriculture in order that they can again grow their own food. Perhaps you could take this up by writing to your government, to your member of parliament, to the French embassy, to the media etc?
Read this and weep:
As a former French slave colony, Haiti was the first to win its independence through a slave revolt in 1804. After independence and the abolition of slavery on the island in 1825 Haiti was forced under military threat to compensate France for the loss of slave colony. They had to borrow the money from French banks to do this -150M French francs ($21 billion at today’s prices). It took haiti until 1947 to repay the debt. Remember France behaved in this manner just a couple of decades after their own rebellion proclaiming “Equlaity, Fraternity and Liberty“. What a pity these high-minded principles appear only to apply to white Europeans?
In 1900 80% of Haiti’s national income was being spent on debt servicing.
In 1995 Haiti was forced by the IMF to reduce its tariff on rice imports from 35% to 3%. Haiti was forbidden to subsidise its own rice prices. But was forced to import subsidised American rice – known as ‘Miami Rice’. Now a country that used to be a net exporter of rice buys 3/4 of its rice from abroad.
“Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest who has been the pastor at St. Claire and an outspoken human rights advocate, agrees. ‘In the 1980s, imported rice poured into Haiti, below the cost of what our farmers could produce it. Farmers lost their businesses. People from the countryside started losing their jobs and moving to the cities. After a few years of cheap imported rice, local production went way down.'”
http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/talkofthetown/view/20080503-134390/US-IMF-role-in-Haitis-food-riots
In 2003 Haiti paid $57M in debt repayments while receiving $39M in foreign aid. As they say on Wall Street: “You do the Math!”. Not surprisingly in 2003 Haitian President Aristide – the island’s only democratically elected leader in 200 years – demanded that the French Government pay compensation to Haiti. He was conveniently toppled from power in a coup less than a year later which he alleged was orchestrated by America.
In 2008 Haiti’s government was the first government to be toppled in food riots. Its people were protesting at the high cost of imported foods.

Poverty and deforetation form a vicious circle. In 1926 60% of Haiti was forested. Now it is only 2% forested. This massive deforestation contributes to soil erosion and landslides, climate change and flooding. Add earthquakes to that brew. The deforestation was caused principally by Haitans desperate for food and fuel because of their impoverishment. A charcoal vendor demonstrates the vicious cycle: “This is the only way I can feed my four kids,” said Vena Verone “I’ve heard about the floods and deforestation that caused them, but there’s nothing I can do about that.”
http://www.heritagekonpa.com/Caribbean%20Deforestation-%20Haiti%20crisis.asp

The IMF has just announced a further loan of $100M (on top of the $165M already owed) in the aftermath of the earthquake. As usual it comes with strings attached – even in the teeth of a huge natural disaster they need their pound of flesh – an enforced rise in electricity prices & a freeze on the wages of public employes!
See:http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/517494/imf_to_haiti_freeze_public_wages
 
I believe Haiti is a classic victim of all the elements of the corrupt and evil practices of the Industrial Growth society .
 
Please help while the media spotlight is on Haiti.




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