Everyone knows there are three sides to Haiti’s odd social, political and economic situation: the version put forward by the international community and the local barons, that of the voiceless and persecuted majority and the truth. Unfortunately, the accepted version is the one disseminated by the first group that acts as the legitimate representative of the country’s interests. Complicating matters is the sad reality that Haiti is actually on its knees and more pressing issues take precedence over correcting this anomaly.
The callousness of the current regime and its sponsors in disqualifying country’s largest political party from participating in the yet-to-be scheduled next general elections tells the whole story. Change or stability, as seen through the lenses of the local barons and the international community, revolves around maintaining the status quo and quelling the aspirations of the majority. The February 29, 2004 infamy that saw the forced departure of a constitutionally elected government was the most noticeable aspect of this shortsighted and arrogant policy that will inevitably produce more of the same: a cycle of violence and instability. Perhaps this is exactly what the international community wants, since Haiti could not possibly move forward with the same politic of exclusion that remains the primary source of its torments.
Naturally the paternalism of the international community “we know what is best for you” masquerading as genuine empathy is emblematic of the dilemma facing Haiti in the wake of the January 12 disaster that killed 2 percent of the country’s population. The onerous conditions attached to the financial pledges made by the international community completely ignore the social realities prevailing in Haiti and take away what little is left of the country’s sovereignty. The proposal to privatize the country’s ports, which in all likelihood will result in foreign entities controlling these vital parts of Haiti, is a case in point. The role of a future Haitian government in administering the country’s ports of entry will be reduced to that of a contractor operating within a framework predetermined by their nominal owners.
If implemented the proposal will be a 21st century version of the 1862 leasing of l’Ile-à-Vache by Bernard Kock, who swiftly drawn up a plan to populate the island with 5000 slaves from the U.S, in effect providing Washington with the perfect alibi to establish a protectorate over the island, since those slaves were U.S properties as dictated by the policies of the era. Unfortunately for Bernard Kock and fortunately for Haiti, the plan fizzled with the North victory over the South in the U.S Civil War (1861-65). With the Republicans intent on punishing the defeated South during the Reconstruction Era (1865-77) by extending citizenship to the freed slaves, the colonization project, as Bernard Kock’s scam was known, simply foundered as the freed slaves were no longer unwanted beings that need to be relocated far from U.S shores. Had the U.S Civil War dragged on a bit longer, Haiti would have had a mini-Liberia right under its belly.
There is also the worrisome problem of the NGOs, which seems to escape the attention of the regime. Created and funded by foreign entities, the NGO’s are the most conspicuous impediment to Haiti recovering its sovereignty and stability. Surprisingly they are included in the joint commission tasked for the reconstruction of the country, something that has never been attempted before in the annals of imperialism. Even Bill Clinton, the special U.N envoy to Haiti, saw the need for the government to rein them in. Apparently, the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing, since these NGOs, bona fide foot soldiers of the multinational corporations and foreign governments are essential to implementing the policy of subjugation envisioned by the international community.
Meanwhile peddlers of the gospel of resignation (evangelical Christians) are swamping the population with bibles and the promise of celestial salvation for their earthly sufferings. Many of them consider Haiti “the greatest harvest of new believers”. With a government devoid of any strategy to deal with the suffocating presence of these destructive agents, the future of the Haitian nation remains, at best, murky. The so-called opposition, more interested in getting the accolade of the international community, is not expected to rise to the challenge even if it were to be successful in the yet-to-be scheduled elections. Therefore the unholy alliance with the occupiers that characterizes the Préval regime will likely be reinforced in the next elections, leaving the prospect of a Haitian renewal more remote than ever before.
The sad truth is that the international community relies on foreign academics with cursory knowledge of Haiti and the local barons to formulate policies toward the country. The end result is a succession of flawed decisions, particularly the current experiment, which consists of maintaining the status quo and subduing the population for at least a generation. Nonetheless, the inevitable failure of this impractical and irresponsible policy will be attributed to Haitians’ unresponsiveness to the merits of western civilization and entreaties from its keepers. In this seemingly hopeless situation, do we, Haitians, want another century of apathy from our leaders; the instability, violence, misery, ridicule and perennial foreign domination? Divided, demoralized, and without a raison d’être, the population should brace itself for the worse, since a Charles-Henri Baker presidency may be in the offing.
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