The “food riots” in Haiti are easy fodder for the media especially when no explanation is seen to be necessary. Try and find a single report with any historical background to the food crisis other than relating it to the overall food crisis across the global south and the rise in the West’s demand for bio-fuel. Once again the majority world feeds the minority world’s over consumption. A case of feeding the cars whilst starving the people.
Some facts about Haitian government’s spending (the Haitian government is not really a government – it’s a kind of proxy group of puppets working under the direction of the US).
Haiti’s government sends almost $1 million per week in loan payments to the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), much of which is payments on loans given to past dictators. That money could be better spent feeding Haitian citizens and stimulating Haiti’s economy.
But money (that Haiti doesn’t have) is not just being used for loan repayments . Not only has Britain been uncritical of MINUSTAH***‘s many atrocities in Haiti they have been selling arms to Haiti. The most recent UK foreign office report dated 12th December, 2007 is revealing. Not just arms to Haiti but to their neighbour The Dominican Republic and to Columbia and Ecuador plus a host of other countries. So why does Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, need the following weapons including air-to-air missiles and components for submarines?
aircraft radars, air-to-air missiles launching equipment, air-to-surface missiles launching equipment, air-to-surface rockets launching equipment, bomb handling equipment, components for airborne electronic warfare equipment, components for aircraft carriers, components for aircraft radars, components for air-to-air missiles launching equipment, components for air-to-surface missiles, components for anti-ship missile launching equipment, components for anti-ship missiles, components for anti-ship missiles, components for antisubmarine rockets launching equipment, components for combat aircraft, components for combat helicopters, components for command communications control and intelligence equipment, components for corvettes, components for depth charges, components for electronic warfare equipment, components for fire control equipment, components for frigates
The report doesn’t state the cost involved and there are many different kinds of missiles. But it’s fairly easy to work out by looking at the cost of previous sales. For example in 1995 the cost of 210 medium range missiles was $50 million so we are talking about a huge amount of money. You wont find the arms sales reported in any of the mainstream media when they write about people demanding food – demanding to be treated like human beings.
The Hatitian government is broke. The Haitian government has never been anything but broke. How could it be anything else. $millions have been spent on building the massive new US Embassy and USAID compound in Port-au-Prince. $millions are being spent by the various NGOs to pay their staff, run their 4x4s, pay staff housing etc but what exactly are they doing there? I cant claim to know everything about Haiti but from what I saw and the people I spoke to in Haiti and Haitian activist in the Diaspora, no one knows what these NGOs do except they are not working with the people in areas like Cite Soleil. The UN has thousands of troops, personnel and $ at their disposal yet a prominent human rights activist and trade unionist can disappear and 8 months on no one can say where he is.
Another Haitian fact is that on the occasions when Haitians have made a choice for change such as the revolution [1791-1804] and in the first Aristide government of 1991 and the 2nd of 2000, the US and other western countries – France, Britain, have intervened and held the country to economic ransom for daring to decide their own future.
The other day a sista friend said something very true about Haiti and Haitians in reference to the failure of the Black media in Britain to publish anything about the disappearance of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine. “People love the Black Jacobins but they dont like the Haitians”. I would add, Black people love to talk about Touissant L’ Oveture and the slave revolt but they dont like to talk of today’s Haitians
***MINUSTAH is led by Brazil with additional troops from Bolivia (apparently these were promised and deployed before Evo Morales took over in Bolivia but there is a big question as to why he has not withdrawn them), Nigeria, Benin, Chad, DRC, Burkina Faso and more.
Every Wednesday, 5-6pm there is a vigil for Lovinsky Pierre Antoine outside the Brazilian Embassy in London and cities across the world.