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A Link (re: Haiti)

Since a lot of people are talking about Haiti these days, I thought I would highlight an important article.
This describes exactly what I thought would happen as soon as I first heard about the earthquake in Haiti.  The United States and Canada have a long history of attempting to overthrow Haitian efforts to achieve democratic self-rule and I knew that the earthquake would be used as an opportunity to stage a military take-over under the guise of providing international aid.  While the earthquake was absolutely devastating, I suspect that we will make sure that the Haitians are paying for this for many generations.
Once again, Naomi Klein’s theory in The Shock Doctrine is confirmed.

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  1. Oil? Nope. Other natural resources? Nope. Weapons of mass destruction? Certainly not. Anything else of value to the US? Not that I know of. I’m not seeing how this “military take-over” is benefiting the US more than it’s benefiting a country that is lacking a military and is in need of a bit of crowd control.

  2. Joshy-boy,
    I suspect that you’re “not seeing” what’s going on because you don’t know what has been going on with Haiti for the last hundred years. For example, did you know that this is the fourth time that the US military has invaded Haiti since 1915? (Or, if you don’t want to call this an military invastion, it’s worth noting that the American military has invaded Haiti three other times in the last one hundred years… so that might spin how one understands the current deployment of 20,000 American troops). And you’re not entirely correct to speak of no natural resources. International Mining companies have been taking over lands in Haiti and Haitian farms have been taken over by international corporations that grow coffee (the rice farmers — who used to produce 95% of the rice used in Haiti but who were forced into poverty due to requirements imposed by the IMF in conjunction with local elites c.1987 — were driven into poverty). Also, you failed to mention the fact that Haiti does provide a number of Western companies with one very important commodity — cheap, sweatshop labour (you can find the short doc Mickey Mouse Goes to Haiti online, and that would give you a bit of an idea about that).
    Also, if you read other media sources that have been more faithful in reporting what has been going in Haiti (try searching the upsidedownworld and znet links I have on my blog) you’ll notice a lot of the falsity and even racism in the rhetoric about ‘crowd control’ (in this regard, I’m reminded of some headlines that appeared when Katrina occured — see here:
    Oh, and Haiti isn’t lacking a military, it has one closely associated with the small number of the local elites… the problem is that the members of this party are far outnumbered by the members of the masses whom they have fucked. No wonder they need outside protection (“Hey, North America, we sold our souls and the bodies of our people to you and now this disaster might make them try to claim what belongs to them… can you help us out?”).
    Anyway, you’re smart enough to research this on your own so I’ll stop myself here.

  3. Yeah, I thought about Shock Doctrine when I heard about the military headed in. I’d be interested to see, in Klein’s work, if there is a distinction placed between–as Josh notes–those places with resources and those without, and how military intervention played a role. Are all outcomes equal? I’d like to say they are, and at some level, economic co-option of resources is as bad as actual militant presence, but it’d be interesting to see the cases here.

  4. I definitely do not know what has been going on in Haiti for the past hundred years, and I barely know what’s going on in Haiti now (I heard there was an earthquake, and I also heard the earthquake was intentionally created by the US using a powerful device they have that can cause earthquakes, so I don’t believe too much of anything I hear). I’m certainly smart enough to research this on my own, but I’m also lazy enough that I won’t. So thanks very much for your reply!

  5. This article was pretty good, while I think it made some pretty big assumptions, for the most part I can attest to it.
    I’m actually typing this right now while I’m in a home in Port Au Prince, and we are one of the very few organizations that we have seen who is actually getting food directly into the hands of some of the displaced communities.
    Is it chaotic? yes. Numerous rushes at the door and having to try to crowd control haitans who are starving isn’t really violence at all, it’s people who are hungry and if they don’t get to the front of the line, there won’t be any left for them. The news channels simply edit beautifully to make it seem like riots and chaos. I’ve been in the middle of it a few times now, actually on the other side of the door so our volunteers don’t get trampled and I haven’t for one second felt unsafe or in danger.
    A lot of what was said is true. We had to fly into Dominican Republic and take a 8 hour bus ride over here and sit at the border for 3 hours to actually get here. There are military people everywhere, which is disheartening, because it doesn’t seem needed.
    I’ve been in good conversation with some Hatians here and they don’t seem put off by the military presence, I seem to be more upset about it than they are, which surprised me.
    I came here expecting Shock Doctrine type tactics all around me, the hard part is that it is mostly logistics, political stuff and very little physical proof that it is happening until it’s too late. All I know is that there is thousands of people without homes, who are starving for food and I really have no solutions. It breaks my heart to see, and I want to do things properly and not be part of a system that is making things worse, so I am open to all suggestions, unfortunately, i have heard no loving ones.


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