Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Haiti, Despised by All: by Eduardo Galeano

Haiti, Despised by All: by Eduardo Galeano, published in the World Press Review, December 1996

The Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano has written several books denouncing foreign intervention in Latin America. Decidedly to the left, his views have a large following among Latin American intellectuals. Haiti is the country that is treated the worst by the world's powerful. Bankers humiliate it. Merchants ignore it. And politicians slam their doors in its face.

Democracy arrived only recently in Haiti. During its short life, this frail, hungry creature received nothing but abuse. It was murdered in its infancy in 1991 in a coup led by General Raoul Cedras.

Haiti
Three years later, democracy returned. After having installed and deposed countless military dictators, the U.S. backed President Jean Bertrand Aristide-the first leader elected by popular vote in Haiti's history-and a man foolish enough to want a country with less injustice.
In order to erase every trace of American participation in the bloody Cedras dictatorship, U.S. soldiers removed 160,000 pages of records from the secret archives. Aristide returned to Haiti with his hands tied. He was permitted to take office as president, but not power. His successor, Rene Preval, who became president in February, received nearly 90 percent of the vote.

Haiti

Any minor bureaucrat at the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund has more power than Preval does. Every time he asks for a credit line to feed the hungry, educate the illiterate, or provide land to the peasants, he gets no response. Or he may be told to go back and learn his lessons. And because the Haitian government cannot seem to grasp that it must dismantle its few remaining public services, the last shred of a safety net for the most defenseless people on Earth, its masters give up on it.

Haiti

The U.S. invaded Haiti in 1915 and ran the country until 1934. It withdrew when it had accomplished its two objectives: seeing that Haiti had paid its debts to U.S. banks and that the constitution was amended to allow for the sale of plantations to foreigners. Robert Lansing, then secretary of state, justified the long and harsh military occupation by saying that blacks were incapable of self-government, that they had "an inherent tendency toward savagery and a physical in ability to live a civilized life."

Haiti
Haiti had been the jewel in the crown, France's richest colony: one big sugar plantation, harvested by slave labor. The French philosopher Montesquieu explained it bluntly: "Sugar would be too expensive if it were not produced by slaves. These slaves are blacks .... it is not possible that God, who is a very wise being, would have put a soul . .., in such an utterly black body." Instead, God had put a whip in the overseer's hand.

Haiti

In l903, the black citizens of Haiti gave Napoleon Bonaparte's troops a tremendous beating, and Europe has never for given them for this humiliation inflicted upon the white race. Haiti was the first free country in South America or the Caribbean. The free people raised their flag over a country in ruins. The land of Haiti had been devastated by the sugar monoculture and then laid waste by the war against France. One third of the population had fallen in combat. Then Europe began its blockade. The newborn nation was condemned to solitude. No one would buy from it, no one would sell to it, nor would any nation recognize it.


Not even Simon Bolivar had the courage to establish diploma tic relations with the black nation. Bolivar was able to reopen his campaign for the liberation of the Americas, after being defeated by Spain, thanks to help from Haiti. The Haitian government sup plied him with seven ships, arms, and soldiers, setting only one condition: that he free the slaves-something that had not occurred to him. Bolivar kept his promise, but after his victory, he turned his back on the nation that had saved him. When he convened a meeting in Panama of the American nations, he invited England, but not Haiti.

Edwardo Galeano

The U.S. did not recognize Haiti until 70 years later. By then, Haiti was already in the bloody hands of the military dictators, who devoted the meager resources of this starving nation toward relieving its debt to France. Europe demanded that Haiti pay France a huge indemnity to atone for its crime against French dignity.

The history of the abuse of Haiti, which in our lifetime has become a tragedy, is also the story of Western civilization's racism. --Eduardo Galeano, Inter Press Service

8 comments:

  1. So this is the story of Haiti.I had no idea of it's history and more than likely the United States average citizen knows nothing either.It is shameful the way we treated the Haitians,it is shameful the world has treated them as they have.Why has the media produced a special for all the world to see.Someone should.

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  2. I agree. Haiti has been an independent nation since the days of Thomas Jefferson (3rd US president), the United States didn't recognize Haiti as a nation until Abraham Lincoln (16th president).

    Perhaps Mr. Edwardo Galeano will publish more of his works in English.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

    --Ron Edwards

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  3. Haiti is the asshole of the Western Hemisphere for a reason. NIGGERS! You can send that shithole millions in aid. Which we keep doing. It doesn't change a thing. Niggers are incapable of creating any kind of civilization. Quit pretending you are even human :D

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you're an asshole. If Niggers were so unproductive your white ass wouldn't have stolen their labour for CENTURIES! You got rich off of the backs of stolen LABOUR! You epitomize the sphincter of the anus. You stole people, you stole land, you stole natural resources, you're just a thieving, lying, and cheating genocidal asshole.

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    2. You must be an AMERICAN.

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  4. We can agree, we can disagree, we can even agree to disagree ... BUT .... We will comment civilly with one another. Name calling is counterproductive, if you want to disagree ... state your case and prove it. Although I believe in freedom of expression and freedom of speech, I shall not tolerate abusive language.

    --Ron Edwards, US Slave Blog

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  5. I'm Indigenous Australian, my people faced genocide as well.
    it upsets me to think of the slave trade, and all that happened- racism is primitive and evil, to hate and mistreat a fellow human being, and to consider them lower than yourself, is psychotic, you'd have to be deranged. I cant believe how Haiti as a country was treated- its disgusting. civility is to have morals, values and understanding(how could anyone call themselves "civilised", if they can stand by and let people suffer), as a society no-one should allow sub-standards of living anywhere- too bad there's never anyone with power that wants to help

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    Replies
    1. People with power rarely, if ever, want to "help" ... they are takers, not helpers .... after all, it was/is the people with power that keep Haiti powerless.

      There is nothing wrong with Haiti or the Haitian people. Their island has been deforested and they have been poorly governed. I live in the USA and our land was also devastated by deforestation it was called the "Dust Bowl." We enacted stringency agricultural and land reclamation projects to quell the loss of the topsoil of our arable lands.

      Haiti could reclaim their land and harvest water. They would need to do some major terracing to keep their top soil from flowing into the sea. They need to add indigenous tropical plants that could be easily grown in poor soils to provide an anchor for the soil and food -- yams, or sweet potatoes come to mind. The island's mountains are made-up of limestone which is a natural water cleanser.

      Other islands like Bermuda use limestone for the roofs of their buildings and they reclaim rainwater by off of their limestone roofs into cisterns for the dry seasons. Gray waste water, non-sewage of course, could be used for toilets and irrigation. The sewage could also be reclaimed to add fertility to the soil for trees, not food production. Fruit trees could be planted along the roadsides as a supplemental food supply.

      They could do this all themselves and keep the IMF out of their pockets.

      Thanks for your comments.

      --Ron Edwards, US Slave Blog

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