Monday, 25 January 2010

More on Haiti (Author Unknown)

Another interesting read, sent to me via email (Thanks Catherine).
I'm sharing not because I am anti-establishment or anti- a particular govt but because it was rather educational. Of course if it is not factual please comment with corrections etc.


The contention that the Voodoo religion is a serious factor in causing the misery of Haiti is a myth, and a pernicious myth at that.
Haiti, once called The Jewel of the Antilles, was the richest European colony in the entire world, richer than the colony of America .  Economists estimate that in the 1750s Haiti provided as much as 50% of the Gross National Product of France. The French imported sugar, coffee, cocoa, tobacco, cotton, indigo dye and other exotic products from Haiti . In France they were refined, packaged and sold all over Europe . Incredible fortunes were made from this tiny colony on the island of Hispaniola .
How could Haiti have once been the source of such wealth and today is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere ? How could this land that was once so productive, today be semi-barren? How did "The Jewel of the Antilles" become the Caribbean 's poorest.
One of the primary reasons that Haiti was such a productively rich land was because of slave labour. Not only did the slaves work long days under tremendously unsafe conditions, with little or no technology beyond hand labour, but Haiti 's slave system was the most brutal in the Caribbean . Many documents of Western slavery explain that the ultimate threat to a run away slave is that they are going to Haiti or Jamaica .
Unfortunately for the masses of Haitians, slavery did not die with French rule... Rather, the basic concept of forced cheap labour was passed on to the emerging native Haitian elite. The French system allowed for some slaves to earn their freedom by exceptional work. This system worked well to get more productivity from the slaves, and the system was tough enough that very few slaves were able to earn their freedom.
A second group of slaves who became free were the mulattoes, the children of white masters and black slave women. These children were in a middle ground, uncomfortable to both slaves and whites. The slaves never knew how the white man would respond to his child, but often the slave owner didn't want to be reminded of his paternity. Thus mulattoes were not welcomed in either community. Many mulattoes received their freedom and formed a special middle class elite in the colonial period.
A special class of freed slaves emerged. About 1/2 of them were freed black slaves and about 1/2 of them were mulattoes. They could receive some education, operate businesses, own property and in general imitate the French.
This imitation of the French became the hallmark of these freedmen. They wanted a clear separation from their slave backgrounds. Thus they imitated the whites... They adopted their religion, language, dress, culture, education and ways.. But, most importantly for this story, they learned the value of slave labour. The colonial French heritage carried on in the Haitian elite's imitation of the French labour system. This is an important factor in Haiti 's later misery.
After the Haitian revolution which concluded in January, 1804, Haiti became the first black Republic. The United States was still a slave nation, as was England and France . The U.S.A. and European nation  decided that Haiti 's model of a nation of freed black slaves was a dangerous precedent. Europe and the U.S.A. boycott of Haitian goods and commerce plunged the poor Haitian economy into chaos. Haiti had no Navy and these nations put a ring of ships around this tiny nation stopping import or export for years. They would for no reason bombard the island with cannons to make them an example.
It is difficult to measure the exact impact of this international conspiracy. Here was a nation of ex-slaves trying to rise to democratic self-rule, trying to run an economy in which the majority had only served as slaves before. The international boycott of Haitian products at this time was devastating for Haiti 's long-term economic development.


Black nations love to celebrate their Independence , but unless you fight for it over and over, all they got was Dependence.Trinidad , Barbados , Jamaica and some Africa countries paid what was called  indemnity fee to get Dependence from Europe .
In 1838 President Boyer of Haiti accepted a 150 million francdebt to pay this indemnity. Indemnities were paid for lands of former slave owners taken over after the revolution. For the roads and buildings that they use to make money. This debt plagued the economy of Haiti for over 80 years and was not finally paid until 1922. In the meantime Haiti paid many times over 150 million francs in interest on this debt. It is difficult to measure the incredible harm which this did to the Haitian economy.
Perhaps the most serious blow Haiti ever had to her independence and self-image was the occupation of the United States Marines in 1915. The marines invaded and took over control of the island. Collection of revenues, the banks, land and property was now in the U.S.A. hands. The U.S.A. forced through a New "Haitian" Constitution which repealed the 1804 provision that foreigners could never own land in Haiti . The U.S. decided who would and would not be government worker. The U.S. rape the country of it’s resources. Since the U.S. administrators could not speak French, they abolish education for 90% of the population. It was a crime to read, just like blacks in the states.

The occupation ended in 1934. However, the U.S. presence in both the economy and internal government affairs was well established. Ever since the occupation and increasingly since 1946, the United States , through the power of its aid packages, has played a central role in Haitian politics. In this way the U.S. has contributed to the misery of Haiti since it has given oppressive governments comfortable aid packages which kept these rulers in power for U.S. gain. The U.S. pay to keep brutal Haitian governments in power so that American military, propaganda and economic interests could be served. The result may well have served the interests of U.S. control in the region, but the issue here is the cause of Haitian misery. U.S. backed governments have certainly been a major factor in this suffering.

The people ran away from the lowlands, the plantations, away from the cruel rulers who would have effectively enslaved them again. They ran to the mountains where they would be safe from the soldiers and police of the u.s. backed Government. And their they have in large measure remained. This pattern of relocation has defined several aspects of Haitian life which undermine the development of a healthy economy.

The price the Haitian masses have paid for their freedom has been to live at or below subsistence, remaining in their tiny huts and non-fertile mountain regions in order to have peace and freedom from oppression.

For nearly two centuries they have sub-divided their small plots among their generations of descendants until the plots of land are very tiny and relatively unproductive.
A widespread attitude has developed holding that no government could ever be good government. Folk wisdom seems to demand that one retreat ever further from government and eke out an existence outside the mainstream of society and make their own law in these poor regions.
All of these factors contribute greatly to the misery and Haitian people suffering. They are a direct legacy of Haitian politics and government. These evils are brought to the Haitian people by the greed of the Elite Haitian Government low dogs and supported by Foreign pit bulls.


For the most part the 3% of the people who constitute the Haitian elite are descendants of those same families who were free prior to the independence of 1804. There are elite which is mainly mulatto and some blacks. These two groups have their own fights and battles, but in the in cases when the masses have attempted to rise up and assert the rights the elite and rich blacks rallied together using their wealth and power to crush the masses.
The poverty and misery in Haiti are human created. The root causes are the political and economic systems which have dominated Haiti for all her Dependence years. These oppressive factors have come from the International community, especially France and the United States . However, the Haitian elite - the children of the slave masters, comprising of only 3% of the Haitian people has also been a major factor in creating and continuing these oppressive conditions.


Felicia said...

About your hair, looks absolutely beautiful to me!! Thanks for the history lesson on Haiti. There were things that I didn't know and I appreciate the information.

Bajan Lily said...

Thanks :)


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