Shards of untold chronicles of deceit and distrust have poisoned the atmosphere in Haiti over the past couple of centuries: residual resentments over tumultuous relationships between the country and the world, particularly the United States. Those historical scars have casted some antagonistic clouds over the authenticity and genuineness of the world’s sudden altruistic and empathic initiatives.
Characterized by the Dalai Lama, “such a massive show of global assistance and solidarity -- one sign of the world's increased interdependence -- would not have been possible 100 years ago,” and many observers have agreed. As the shocking images grabbed the world’s attention, governments around the globe pledged about $10 billion over the span of 10 years to help with the long-term reconstruction of Haiti. In addition, individual benevolence had also funneled about $1.3 billion through NGOs and other aid organizations with direct access to the people of Haiti.
Nevertheless, history may disagree with the naïveté of some perceptions, as many now tend to look at Haiti’s prolonged torments through the prisms of finality. In fact, it may outright reject the notion that the recent chaotic implosion is the turning point for the poor nation. This is due, in large measure, to a legacy of corrosive policies aimed at-- according to some-- “hindering any step towards progress” of several generations.
Those policies or “Haiti’s Death Plan”, as Tom Reeves explained in his extensive report, have literally constituted a death grip around the neck of a feeble nation then scrambling to establish its identity.
The U.S. and its powerful, influential imperialist partners needed to ensure that Haiti’s abolitionist ideals didn’t spill over into the entire Western Hemisphere. Hence, Haiti’s turbulent history was marked by centuries of strategic invasions, presidential assassinations, military coups, civil unrests, embargos, outright neglect, dismissals, and denials. In the meantime, Haiti’s economic infrastructure regressed to prehistoric status while its citizens starved. Consequently, some Haitians have been wondering about the true intentions of the foreigners this time around.
As recently as 2004, the incriminating fingerprints of the U.S. and its loyalists were found all over the civil unrest that led to the removal of the democratically elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide whom they restored to power only ten years prior. To accomplish this endeavor, U.S. Special Forces (about 200 of them) trained a 600-member paramilitary army of anti-Aristide Haitians in the neighborhood country of Dominican Republic and supplied them with 20,000 M16 rifles. Hipolito Mejia, the president of the Dominican Republic, inked that initiative.
Further, the same U.S. government, currently one of the largest donors in the rebuilding efforts that managed, in 2001, to convince Europeans countries, the IMF, WORLD BANK, and the European Union to suspend credits for Haiti. In addition, it also funds the International Republican Institute (IRI) with $3 million annually, an organization with strong connections to well-known criminals and thugs who led the civil uprising and eventual overthrow of Aristide. For instance, three months after the IRI met with the leader of the anti-Aristide movement, Guy Phillippe, 20 of his commandos attacked a hydroelectric plant in Haiti’s central plateau killing a security guard.
Not surprisingly though, incidents such as those were nothing new to Haitians; they have been at the mercy of imperialism’s iron fists since 1915 with the first U.S. invasion. It was then characterized as a strategic deterrent to growing German geopolitical ambitions over Haiti’s accessibility to the Panama Canal. However, five additional U.S. military interventions in Haiti would follow, yet the people of the country, 70 to 80 percent of whom has been unemployed, have not experienced any significant improvements in their lives as a result.
In light of this perpetual cycle, some have even conceded that every foreign intervention has left the country worse off and that the first sovereign black state in the Western Hemisphere was being punished for their insolence 206 years ago; hence, the residual resentments.
With presidential elections scheduled for November 28, 2010, what could be the agenda of the Obama Administration and his loyal imperialist following? “This was one of those moments that calls for American Leadership,” he argued passionately soon after the disaster leveled Port-au-Prince, and added that this intervention was “for the sake of our common humanity.”
On the other hand, several hundreds NGOs, with enough cash to perhaps purchase the entire country, continue to operate in stealth mode, about 24,000 foreign troops are on the ground, a crippled government plagued by a history of corruption, and enough power starved political parties to fill all 50 seats in the United States’ National Governor Association. This scenario may have provided some validity to the concerns and nervousness of so many Haitians.
While this impotent people look outward to the international gods to wave a magic wand and make its troubles disappear, they also question the credibility of the flood of emotions thrown at them. Meanwhile, some familiar tune has invaded the atmosphere in Haiti: it will take some drastic steps to convince donors to honor their pledges.
"I'm going to call all those governments and say, the ones who said they'll give money to support the Haitian government, I want to try to get them to give the money, and I'm trying to get the others to give me a schedule for when they'll release it,"
These are the words of former President Bill Clinton in a televised interview with CNNs Anderson Cooper.