Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti : From manmade disaster to disaster capitalism

The Guardian :
"Any large city in the world would have suffered extensive damage from an earthquake on the scale of the one that ravaged Haiti's capital city on Tuesday afternoon, but it's no accident that so much of Port-au-Prince now looks like a war zone. Much of the devastation wreaked by this latest and most calamitous disaster to befall Haiti is best understood as another thoroughly manmade outcome of a long and ugly historical sequence ..."
... a historical sequence which saw Canada join France and the US in overthrowing the popular and democratically elected Aristide -twice - in favour of a brutal rightwing dictatorship more friendly to offshore sweatshops. The government we apparently preferred was formed by former Tonton Macoutes who subsequently murdered thousands of people. Sometimes we have called this "Responsibility to Protect".

And talk about holding the bully's coat, Canadian troops held the airport while US troops deported Aritide to Africa.

"Relentless neoliberal assault on Haiti's agrarian economy has forced tens of thousands of small farmers into overcrowded urban slums. Although there are no reliable statistics, hundreds of thousands of Port-au-Prince residents now live in desperately sub-standard informal housing, often perched precariously on the side of deforested ravines. The selection of the people living in such places and conditions is itself no more "natural" or accidental than the extent of the injuries they have suffered.

The international community has been effectively ruling Haiti since the 2004 coup. The same countries scrambling to send emergency help to Haiti now, however, have during the last five years consistently voted against any extension of the UN mission's mandate beyond its immediate military purpose. Proposals to divert some of this "investment" towards poverty reduction or agrarian development have been blocked, in keeping with the long-term patterns that continue to shape the distribution of international "aid"."

On the day after the quake, the disaster capitalism vultures were already circling overhead ...
The Heritage Foundation :

"Long-term reforms for Haitian democracy and its economy are also badly overdue. Congress should immediately begin work on a package of assistance, trade, and reconstruction efforts needed to put Haiti on its feet and open the way for deep and lasting democratic reforms.
In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region."

. See also Rusty Idols and Thwap

Bill Quigley at Democracy Now : US Policy in Haiti Over Decades “Lays the Foundation for Why Impact of Natural Disaster Is So Severe”

Naomi Klein at Democracy Now : Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again

Max Blumenthal : How Washington's Plot Against Haiti Worsened the Earthquake Disaster


Cliff said...

Excellent Rabble piece here.

opit said...

Democracy Now! has good posts on this : both from Naomi Klein
and Bill Quigley

Alison said...

The Rabble piece is a reprint of linked Guardian article, Cliff, and yes, it is excellent, isn't it?
Subtitle in The Guardian version:
If we are serious about assisting this devastated land we must stop trying to control and exploit it

Thanks, Opit. I looked for a statement from Naomi but not apparently well enough.
Opit's links :
Naomi Klein Issues Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again

US Policy in Haiti Over Decades Lays the Foundation for Why Impact of Natural Disaster Is So Severe

Anonymous said...

Thanks for addressing Canadian complicity in this, Alison.
Nothing about it in our media naturally.
After the coup against Aristide in 04, they emptied out the prisons and all Haitian National Police were fired and replaced by military trained by the US. Canada sent 100 RCMP to help.
Today the Globe and Mail announced 800 Canadian soldiers will be sent to Haiti.


West End Bob said...

I watched the "Democracy Now" video of Naomi prior to reading your post, Lady Alison.

Thank goodness we have people like her to point out the motives of corporate interests . . . .

chris said...

Max Blumenthal weighs in.

Thanks for the links. Too disgusted to write more.

skdadl said...

Harper: The international community recognizes it has to "go into Haiti and finish the job."

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