Ezili Danto

Ezili Danto
August 01
Ezili Dantò is an award winning playwright, a performance poet, author and human rights attorney. She was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and raised in the USA. She holds a BA from Boston College, a JD from the University of Connecticut School of law. She is a human rights lawyer, cultural and political activist and the founder and president of the Ezili’s Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN). She runs the Haitian Perspectives on-line journal and the Ezili Dantò Newsletter. Ezili’s HLLN is the recognized leading and most trustworthy international voice in Haiti advocacy, human rights work, Haiti news and Haiti news analysis. HLLN’s work is central to those concerned with the welfare of the people of Haiti, Haiti capacity building, sovereignty, institutionalization of the rule of law, and justice and peace without occupation or militarization. Ezili Dantò is also an educator who specializes in teaching about the light and beauty of Haitian culture; the Symbolic and Archetypal Nature of Haitian Vodun; the illegality and immorality of forcing neoliberal policies on Haiti and the developing world... Since the UN-imported cholera outbreak on October 2010, Ezili' HLLN has insisted that environmental clean-up, clean water and sanitation are the only permanent solution to stop the UN cholera spread. Zili Dlo is a humanitarian project that provides free clean water. For more go to the Ezili Danto/HLLN websites at http://www.ezilidanto.com/ and http://www.ezilidanto.com/zili

APRIL 9, 2009 6:52PM

Obama's offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery

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Obama's offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery: Regarding paternalism, exploitation in Haiti, then the US-Euros to the Rescue! - Analyzing Paul Collier's article "Beyond the begging bowl" and Ban Ki Moon, Susan Rice, President Clinton's push for sweatshop jobs in Haiti

Ezili Dantò's Note:

Apaid-like sweatshop jobs as Paul Collier advocates in the article, entitled "Beyond the Begging Bowl" and as recently hawked by Ban Ki Moon, Susan Rice, Bill Clinton and Wyclef Jean, during their recent visit to Haiti, are not the new panacea for famine-stricken, storm-ravaged Haiti. This is tantamount to asking Haitians to collaborate in their own containment-in-poverty, endless indebtedness to the World Bank/IMF and dependency.

The hypocrisy inherent in Paul Collier's plan is too hideous. First, France, Canada and the Unite States take out Haiti's electoral democracy in 2004. They support an imposed US/Boca Raton-regime in Haiti that gives three years tax break to the rich, cuts Haiti's already low minimum wage in half and pays 10-years back pay to the bloody Haitian army that had not been securing US/Euro interests because of the democratic government in place. Said Boca Raton imposed regime helps slaughter as many Haitian dissenters to the Bush regime change and coup d'etat as possible (from 14,000 to 20,000 from 2004 to 2006), imprison as many as possible (about 8,000 most illegally incarcerated since the 2004 regime change) with Brazilian guns guns used to slaughtering the impoverished in their own favelas! Then, UN troops replaces the US Marine-led forces to continue a 30-year neoliberal economic policies, corporatocracy privatization schemes and unfair trade that dumps subsidized US farm goods to continue destroying a basically agricultural country. To compound matters Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus consistently request US aid monies "for Haiti" (aid = "begging bowl" monies) that goes, not to the Haitian government but directly to USAID, the foreign NGOs and Haiti's Oligarchy/mafia families, NEVER reach the poorest of the poor and mostly pays NGO salaries and the Haitian Oligarchy and administrative and shipping fees. The Bush regime change orchestrators would eventually, in February 2006, replace Haiti's electoral democracy with the puppet President Preval government under a UN protectorate, ratchet up the misery, plan to deport 30,000 Haitians in the US back to Haiti and then presto, the US-Euros announce stability, success and that their "rescue" of Haiti from Haitian incompetence may be sustained through "giving" HOPE Act II sweatshop-slavery jobs to Haiti! That is, then President Obama comes along and sends Pres. Bill Clinton with the Clinton Global Initiative ("CGI"), UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and former Brookings Institutes' senior fellow, Susan Rice with the Obama-Collier plan for the "management" of the US-Euro orchestrated and inflicted misery in Haiti.

These sweatshop jobs almost never pay even the low Haiti minimum wage, which is now 70gourdes or approximately $1.60 PER DAY and just only covers the workers' (mostly poor Haitian women) transportation to work and lunch! These HOPE Act sweatshop jobs being hawked by Paul Collier, Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, Wyclef Jean and UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon created the slums of Site Soley in the first place which gave the UN its excuse to be in Haiti since 2004!, making $600million per year, to control "gang violence." As if the world's elite actual cares about the human rights of poor Black Haitians, living in Site Soley, Haiti?!! in the first place...All this is the excuse to steal Haiti's resources, keep it in World Bank/IMF debt (modern day slavery) and continue to promote the Tarzan/Western Superhero/paternalistic narrative that feeds and masks the US/Euro corporatocracy's plunder and pillage in Haiti. All the poverty pimps are making money off Haiti's impoverishment- the charitable NGOs, the Breton Woods institutions and their USAID subcontractors, US security companies - DYNCORPS, Brown & Root, MINUSTAH, US Embassy cronies, et al and the Haitian Oligarchy. See: Energy and Mining in Haiti; Haiti's Riches and Rich countries use trade deals to seize food from the world's hungriest people, on Ezili's HLLN website.
"...Then, when the Haitians were once again pauperised, the experts and their elite allies introduced the nearest thing to slavery known to this century - free zones, where Haitians laboured for the price of less than one Jamaican patty a day. The women were injected with drugs which stopped their monthly periods so they wouldn't need time off to have babies. They were prohibited from joining unions.Hold on tight to your screams!..." The Audacity of Hopelessness, John Maxwell, April 05, 2009

What to do:

Assembly jobs aren't the whole answer. Haitians need food sovereignty, investment in environmental rehabilitation, domestic agriculture and food production, domestic manufacturing and jobs that circulates capital and investment IN Haiti. Haiti needs a stop to deforestation, investment in infrastructure, construction of flood-resistant bridges, roads and investment in such renewable energy as biofuels, wind turbines, solar, water and micro-hydro. Haiti needs cash crops, food production and alternative energy, immediately. A New US-Haiti Partnership is essential. The Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN)'s policy statement outlines what Haitians and Haitian-Americans are working to change in collaboration with the new US Congress and President Obama so to implement a more effective foreign polity with Haiti that centers on promoting sustainable development, self-sufficiency, and a sovereign, prosperous and stable Haiti. For more, go to: Haiti Policy Statement for the Obama Team;


What Haitian Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President

The assembly industry has not and will not help build Haiti's national economy, which should most naturally be agriculture. Ban Ki Moon's neo-liberal economic political plan for Haiti is as exploitative as the UN occupation brought on by sweatshop kingpin Andre Apaid for just this very purpose with the forceful ouster of Haiti's democratically elected government in 2004.

The UN, the Rwanda Genocide Model and the Vaccination Campaign:

In a March 30, 2009 editorial in the New York Times entitled Haiti’s Big Chance , Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General of the United Nations, wrote about expanding Haiti’s export zones, speaking glowingly about how assembly plant jobs in Uganda and Rwanda assisted in their "development." This mention of Rwanda and Uganda further solidifies that the international plan was always to secure Haiti through forceful depopulation, as was done during the Rwanda genocide under President Clinton, where the Hutus slaughtered almost one million Tutsis and Hutu political moderates with the UN peacekeepers then in Rwanda doing nothing to stop it. It's notable to recall that Susan E. Rice, Obama's US Ambassador to the US, who was on the Haiti visit with Ban Ki Moon and Clinton, was, during the Rwanda genocide, the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during President Bill Clinton's second administration and part of the Clinton decision makers refusing to use the word "genocide" to describe the slaughter in Rwanda. Susan Rice is credited with opining that: “If we use the word 'genocide' and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November [congressional] election?"

The specters and connections lifted up to Rwanda by the recent high-level International group visiting Haiti and recommending Haiti should be more like Rwanda and Uganda are profoundly disturbing. Concerned Haitians - who have suffered through the lack of empathy of such Internationals towards the consequences of their actions and policies in Haiti and in Africa - are reminded how on August 20, 2005, at a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and International Organization for Migration (OIM)-sponsored soccer match, attended by 5000 Haitian youths in UN-occupied Haiti , during intermission, foreign-imported machetes, ala-Rwanda, were handed out and directions were given to kill the Haitians ala that Rockstar video game - "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City." A UN headquarters was less than 100 yards away... Was the intention for the Haitians to do to each other what the Hutus did to Rwanda's Tutsis and Hutu political moderates? Could both of the coup d'etat's - in Haiti and Rwanda- that brought on the civil strifes, have been engineered to bring about more neo-liberal economics and financial colonialism? Today, after the genocide of almost one million of the Tutsis, Rwanda is in IMF/World Bank "development" success!!! The Haitians did not fulfill the US/UN expectations that day during the USAID/OIM-sponsored soccer game, although over 30 Haitian soccer fans were indiscriminately cut to pieces...So the scenario was allowed a replay the next day on August 21, 2005, and more Haitians chopped up ala-Rwanda style.... (No major news ever truly reported this, you may find it on our website).

A few years before Ban Ki-Moon's New York Times's declaration about how Haiti should follow the neo-liberal path of Rwanda and Uganda, in November of 2006, in an article entitled "Le Rwanda et Haiti 12 ans après," former International Republican Institutes' Stanley Lucas, one of the chief architects of the Bush 2004 Regime change/coup d'etat in Haiti which accounts for the UN occupation in Haiti in the first place, explained why Rwanda, known for, in less than one year, getting rid of almost one million of its own people is his inspiration and the model for "progress" that Haiti should emulate. (See also, Comment on an HLLN post: Rwanda and Uganda's role in the genocide in the Congo...and UN/US support for Rwanda and Uganda, erzilidanto, 04/01/2009).

Food Crisis

Clorox hunger in Haiti is when the hunger pains are so severe the people say their stomachs burn like they've swallowed Clorox. Perhaps it's just a coincidence and nothing to do with genocide and systematic de-population of Haiti that Haiti is famine-stricken and its people are dropping dead of intense Clorox hunger while the international "friends of Haiti" consider imposing the very same policies that caused the famine.

Perhaps the high level meeting in Ottawa on Haiti in 2003, known as the Ottawa Initiative , orchestrated by Western diplomats, including the OAS and European Union, where they planned for regime change in Haiti before January 1, 2004, meant something other than a Western intention to de-populate Haiti, by any means necessary, when Canada's Denis Paradis, reportedly stated that Haiti's internal problems is a "threat" to North American countries because Haiti might have, by some estimates, a population of 20 million by 2019. "It is a time bomb," Paradis said, "which must be defused immediately." (See, Haiti Progres' Canadian Officials Initiate Planning for Military Ouster of Aristide and, Coincidence or Intentional? - Is there an International plan to depopulate and exterminate a large portion of Haiti's population? by Ezili Dantò, November, 2006 ).

The Gran Ravine & Soccer Massacre and death
squads roaming free in UN-occupied Haiti

Obviously Haitians didn't properly cooperate in exterminating each other at the levels anticipated by the genocide orchestrators, even when they were corralled into a soccer field in UN-occupied Haiti and handed out foreign-made machetes to do so. So what other plans are the International "friends of Haiti" concocting to attain their Rwanda model in Haiti? Will it be by slow starvation; more sweatshop slavery jobs that shall create more slums in a few years throughout Haiti, like Site Soley; more Lame Ti Machete - Little Machete Army- attacks; by direct UN slaughters as was done on July 6, 2005 in Site Soley; will it be by endless IMF/World Bank indebtedness; privatizations of all remaining Haitian wealth; deportation of 30,000 more Haitians to Haiti to ratchet up the suffering some more; or, perhaps by vaccination? No. Not thinkable, right? But consider this: the coup d'etat thugs, like Guy Phillipe, Jean Tatoune and Louis Jodel Chamblain are still at large in US/UN occupied Haiti; and, the coup d'etat rebels, known as Lame Ti Machete, who were recruited to chop down the soccer fans are still at large, even though their identities are well-known. Maybe these Haitian mercenaries are left loose in UN-occupied Haiti so they may be used, at will, at some future date from now, just as they were left, by the UN, to roam free to hack up more innocent Haitians, again on July 7, 2006, almost one year after the August 2005 soccer massacre with total impunity? Perhaps when they've accomplished enough killings, when it's over, then the West can "make amends" by holding International War Crimes Tribunals to convict these war criminals for crimes against humanity they themselves created and nurtured in Haiti? The pattern is not new. It's being played out right now in Haiti, while the world's decision-makers and mainstream media, look away, pretending ignorance. (See also, to Esterne Bruner Assassinated, Sept. 21, 2006 - Lame Timanchèt suspected). The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, et al will continue with the traditional stories about the incompetent Blacks unable to rule themselves who now have hope because the UN has brought them security and stability.

The war against the people of Haiti and slow genocide won't matter. The Haitian women being raped by UN soldiers, humanitarian aid workers, or being terrorized and raped by the Western-coddled drug-dealers, thieves, thug, "rebels" and foreign mercenaries financed and imported into Haiti to oust Haiti's internationally recognized democratically elected Aristide/Neptune government and all 7,000 elected officials of Haiti back in 2004 will roam free or, pursuant to the Foley/Kosovo model get integrated in Haiti's parliament. It doesn't matter the international crime scene in Haiti. No. It won't matter when Madonna, Wyclef and Angelina Jolie come for their self-serving media junkets, just like when the horror being lived by Haitians got no press with the Ban Ki Moon, Wyclef, Susan Rice and Clinton recent visit. No. Perhaps Madonna, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will come and adopt one of our babies to help us out. As John Maxwell writes: hold on to your screams, Haitians. Hold on. There's more such benevolence and "help" to come from our "friends of Haiti." Haven't you heard, our "friends" plan a vaccination campaign.

Vaccinate Haiti

The International Community - that is, the "friends of Haiti" - have plans to pay themselves $20million to vaccinate 5.8million famine-stricken Haitians. Is this Genocide by vaccination?.

Why isn't the question reasonable?

Isn't President Obama offering more Andre Apaid-sweatshops to Haiti as "development," and seems to be continuing the neoliberal, death plan agenda of the Breton Woods institutions with Susan Rice? So, considering the experiences of Haitians with the international community, as with the 2004 Bush Regime Change/UN slaughters evidenced, for instance, with the USAID-sponsored soccer game massacre; considering the insistence by the UN Secretary General that Haiti ought to follow the neoliberal path of Uganda and Rwanda, both of which countries suffered immense depopulation through manufactured Western chaos and wars and where the succeeding Western-supported regimes went on to assist in the Congo war for mineral resources for the use of the West that cost 5.4million African lives; considering that the neoliberal economic policies destroyed Haiti's food sovereignty, leaving Haitians to starve and to be put under UN occupation for the benefit of France/US/Canada; and considering that Haiti, like Africa has been used by Western pharmaceutical companies as a human laboratory, why is it illogical for knowledgeable Haitians to feel chills and wonder at the recent vaccination campaign in Haiti. How safe are the live viruses in these oral polio vaccines and foreign concoctions, being injected into Haitians?

A health official gives drops of oral polio vaccination to a child at the Mission of Mercy school in the Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince.
Photo: Ramon Espinosa / AP

Shall Haitians ignore the patterns of debt, bribery in order to corrupt Haiti's officials and the political overthrows of Haiti's democratically elected government that's been the par-for-the-course-fare of the "friends of Haiti"? And, "move on" as President Clinton advised on his recent visit? Forget that there are still thousands of political prisoners in Haiti, and death squad leaders roaming free while Haiti's democratically elected President is forbidden, by the US/Euros, from returning to his own country? Shall we move forward with the dying, terror and molestation? Be silent about the genocidal depopulation plans we're living through? Shall we turn our faces away from the havoc recorded through vaccinations done by the international community on other recalcitrant populations to their domination, such as the polio outbreak in Nigeria caused by the live polio virus that is used in vaccines given orally? Such as the way all of the sudden, after apartheid, South African blacks, became scourged by the AIDs epidemic (7.5 million South Africans as of 2008), and then the Westerners, who possibly instilled it through their World Health vaccination programs, might then come in as "rescuers" with the life savings (profit/making?) anti retro-viral drug medicine? Yes, Haitians are expected to trust the "friends of Haiti" and help in our own destruction, otherwise we're not "cooperating" with progress. (See also Eugenics and depopulation - Rogue virus in the vaccine: Early polio vaccine harbored virus now feared to cause cancer in humans; and Ezili's HLLN Recommended Links on the Origins of Aids/HIV ).

UN repression and militarization is turning Haiti into a penal colony

There's more violence in other Caribbean and Latin countries than in Haiti. Only when the "friends of Haiti" decided to destabilized Haiti and oust Haiti's elected government did the dissent lead to periods of civil strife and violence. (See, Comparing crime, poverty and violence in the rest of the Hemisphere to Haiti). So, where's the progress, security and stability in Haiti that the UN, Canada, France and US are congratulating themselves about? The National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince that was built for a capacity of 800, updated to 1200 inmates, holds, as of 2008, 3,850 Haitian prisoners. For the first time in Haiti's 200-year history, there are children prisons, courtesy of "the friends of Haiti." Before the 2004 Bush coup d'etat, there were approximately 3,000 prisoners total in all of Haiti and barely 3,000 police officers, mostly without bullets in their guns, because of the Bush arms embargo on Haiti back then. As of 2008, Haiti has a new UN-trained Haitian police force of 9,000 police officers and there are 9,000 foreign soldiers on Haitian soil. Yet, there are more Haitian prisoners in overcrowded Haitian prisons, who have never had a hearing or been convicted of any crimes, more kidnappings, more rape of Haitian women and girls in Haiti - all WORST, than it was than before the 2004 Bush coup d'etat and "friends of Haiti's" domination of Haiti. As of 2008, there were 8,204 prisoners in Haiti, most were picked-up under the anti-Lavalas, Bush-imposed Boca Raton regime back in 2004 through 2006 and have never seen a judge or been convicted of any crimes. But President Bill Clinton, Susan Rice and Ban Ki Moon want Haitians to forget that with 9,000 new Haitian police, 9000 UN troops, the people’s security, living standards, civic freedoms and inclusion in the life of their nation is worst than it was in 2004. Clinton wants Haitians to thank the UN for taking away their sovereignty and coming in to protect US interests, the Haitian Oligarchy and the NGOs and humanitarian workers living almost like mini monarchs in Haiti.

Moreover, the UN troops have shown themselves to the world as merely cashing in on Haiti's misery and not assisting with Haiti’s social, economic, justice, infrastructure or any of its needs, not even the need for flood-barriers to stop hurricane ravages. They are living in hotels, have a reputation for stealing the goats of poor farmers in Haiti’s countryside and are seen to just be getting off running around pointing guns at famine-stricken, emaciated and storm-ravaged Haitians. Just last year, right before they renewed their $600 million dollar mandate, according to the Associated Press, U.N. Special Representative Hedi Annabi, insisted: "We don't have a development mandate and never will." So it appears incredibly self-serving and disingenuous that a UN that was only last year pronouncing, to all and sundry and for four years in Haiti, that it is a "peacekeeping" operation is - after its obvious failures and uselessness– abruptly going on a publicity binge to save face, as well as to, unilaterally reinvent its role in Haiti, taking on a development mandate posture, promoting its sweatshop vision for Haiti’s development and speaking for Haitians.

The veil has lifted completely. The UN has publicly revealed itself as the Haiti colonizing agent and proxy for the US/France/Canada, it actually is.

Thus, in a March 30, 2009 New York Times editorial, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon suddenly declared that: "in Washington, we will be asking donors to invest in Haiti, to step beyond traditional humanitarian aid. This is Haiti’s moment, a break-out opportunity for one of the poorest nations to lift itself toward a future of real economic prospects and genuine hope."

And so, there's no real contradiction. The UN/Bush/Andre Apaid/Stanley Lucas/coup d'etat and regime change - that is, the Rwanda neo-liberal economic plan - appears to be continuing in Haiti under President Obama. Susan Rice, Obama's newly appointed US Ambassador to the United Nations was with Clinton, Wyclef Jean and Ban Ki-Moon on their recent visit to Haiti. And, on his return to the US, Ban Ki-Moon wrote, in the New York Times' editorial, that:

"...expanding the country’s export zones, so that a new generation of textile firms can invest and do business in one place. By creating a market sufficiently large to generate economies of scale, they can drive down production costs and, once a certain threshold is crossed, spark potentially explosive growth constrained only by the size of the labor pool. That may seem ambitious in a country of 9 million people, where 80 percent of the population lives on less than $2 a day and half of the food is imported. Yet we know it can work. We have seen it happen in Bangladesh, which boasts a garment industry supporting 2.5 million jobs. We have seen it happen in Uganda and Rwanda..." (Haiti’s Big Chance By BAN KI-MOON, New York Times Op-Ed, March 30, 2009).

The US/Euro/UN emphasis is on the same ol' same ol' - export that leaves NO CAPITAL investments in Haiti and that have failed in the past to help authentic Haitian overall progress and, in fact, led to slums like Site Soley when the foreign assembly plants pack up. The people now living in the Site Soley slums initially left their rural farms, looking to find work in the capital in US assembly plants, after US policies destroyed Haitian rice, Haitian pigs and installed the sweatshop, assembly plants jobs, back in the 70s and 80s. Eventually these initial factories moved out of Haiti leaving these folks with no work and unable to go back to their farms where their produce could not compete with US dumped subsidized rice and other cheap produce imports.

Nonetheless, President Clinton, Ban Ki Moon, and Obama's Susan Rice are relying on foreign economist Paul Collier's policy paper on Haiti, promoting low-low wage assembly plant (sweatshop) jobs, where the Haitian workers (mostly Haitian women) would assemble US clothes, tariff free to the investors exporting said clothes into the US textile market. This is their VISION of the best way to "help" Haiti IF Haiti's electricity is cheaper and Haiti's port are put under better management! Paul Collier, Susan Rice and Ban Ki Moon factory owners don't even want to take the capital risk of supplying cheap electricity to factories, or solar and wind energy alternatives and training that might benefit the people of Haiti or the surrounding area their factories are located in. No. Haiti shall have no capital investment from their schemes. In fact, they want Haitian law to change so they can put in their own private electricity for these textile exports. Under their scheme, little attention is paid to workers rights, health care nor are the foreign sweatshop benefactors obligated to protect the Haitian environment from any of their industrial factory toxens. Moreover, Paul Collier and Ban Ki-Moon's plan calls for Haitians to allocate resources to make the ports cheap and fitted out for their factories' industrial uses while Haitian social, justice and economic needs take a further back seat.

Is this the totality of the Obama Team's vision for helping or "transforming" Haiti? This sort of US "partnership" hasn't worked in 30-years.

President Obama, Ban Ki Moon, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, President Bill Clinton, and the Clinton Global Initiative, ought to be looking more closely at HLLN's policy statement, instead of this Dewine/Collier same old, same old. Haiti needs a new US-Partnership where transnational U.S. corporations in Haiti - ie. Sweatshops - abide by Haitian labor, human rights, minimum wage and environmental laws.

Comprehensive long term solutions means fair trade with Haiti, trade that doesn't further degrade the environment, repress workers rights or contain Haiti in poverty, ignore Haiti's most essential domestic needs for food production. Haiti needs food sovereignty; for a cancellation of its debt to international financial institutions; for the US to grant Haitians TPS and equal immigration treatment; to support release of the political prisoners; justice not impunity; end the UN military occupation, for participatory democracy that means inclusion of the masses in the affairs of their own country; for the US/Euros to provide Haiti with authentic assistance with poverty reduction, domestic agricultural investments and community policing. Most of all, Haiti needs a US trade, aid and investment culture that is committed to integrating all levels of corporate responsibility - economic, social and environmental - in their entire range of operations; and, where U.S. corporations are also patronizing the informal sector of local service providers and generally not exporting all profits and capital but committing to paying equitable custom duties, not dumping assembly goods for export, or dumping subsidized US foods, but investing in mutually beneficial trade, aid and investment, with reasonable percentage of their Haiti profits put back into Haiti. (See, Economic proposals that make sense for the reality of Haiti).

U.S. investment in Haiti ought to focus on supporting local people-centered, self-sustaining projects to rebuild the flood-devastated former bread basket areas of Haiti in the Artibonite valley and Plaine du Sud. According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (FAO), the rice bowl areas in Haiti alone, are capable of producing food to feed 10 million people. Haiti has a population of 8.5 people and thus, Haiti has the capacity to feed itself. The U.S. should eschew old failed USAID and State Department policies, including voiding the CBI, OPIC, SEZ (HOPE Act) agreements, assembly plants, et al...and support this capacity for food sovereignty. For, these unfair, unbalanced and over-reaching US agreements and policies with Haiti are extremely one-sided, take morally repugnant advantage of Haiti's weak governments, lack of strong allies and have only proven to promote famine, hunger, endless debt and political instability as evidenced by the April 2008 food riots that forced the resignation of the Alexis government in Haiti. (Go to: What Haitian Americans Ask of the New US Congress and President).

Marguerite 'Ezili Dantò' Laurent, Esq.
President, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network ("HLLN")
April 5, 2009
Email: erzilidanto@yahoo.com

Beyond the begging bowl: Haiti need not be a failing state. Its problems are fixable if only the world community co-ordinatesby Paul Collier, The Guardian, April 3, 2009

An Open Letter to Ban Ki-Moon : Why Haiti Can't Forget Its Past By RICHARD MORSE | April 1, 2009 | Counterpunch

Please watch this and understand what MONEY is, how the bankers fleece you, bail themselves out, siphon off YOUR real wealth and how the money system is the most socially paralyzing structure in the world. Zeitgeist: Addendum

A Conspiracy or Not? by Ezili Danto, May 13, 2004

International Republican Institute's (IRI) former head man, Stanley Lucas, inspired by Rwanda by Ezili Dantò, Nov. 3, 2006

Le Rwanda et Haïti 12 ans après by Stanley Lucas, November 2, 2008

Recommended Links on Stanley Lucas and IRI

Rich countries use trade deals to seize food from the world's hungriest people

UN attempts to force sweatshop production on Haiti by mark osborn on March 31, 2009

The Audacity of Hopelessness by John Maxwell, April 5, 2009

Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa by Dambisa Moyo

Statement by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, United States Permanent Representative, on Haiti, in the Security Council, April 6, 2009

Rogue virus in the vaccine: Early polio vaccine harbored virus now feared to cause cancer in humans

Ezili's HLLN Recommended Links on the Origins of Aids/HIV

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You are not helping your cause any when you dip into lunatic conspiracy theories about the UN trying to kill off Haitians through vaccines, handing out 'imported machetes' or injecting people with AIDs virus, etc, etc.
You have not made the case why subsistenc farming is necessarily better than sweatshops. You mentioned cash crops as a solution- isn't that exactly the opposite of your goal of food sovereignty? Is there even enough farmland for the burgeoning population? China managed to bootstrap themselves out of abybsmal poverty precisely by doing sweatshop manufacturing. It's not pretty- but you got to do what you got to do. Don't dismiss sweatshop manufacturing when you don't have any other viable alternatives.
Ezili Danto- Thank you for outlining the many human rights violations of the Poverty Pimps in Haiti. They should be held responsible for the many acts they have perpetrated during their reign. I have outlined your charges and solutions in my own post: "The Poverty Pimps of Haiti."

Thank you for the comment. But before you summarily dismiss these facts, you ought to check out the links. Simply articulating jagon of "lunatic conspiracy" denies critical thinking. And no one who knows my work would use the word "lunatic" unless they believe that being poor means one should take any job offered and without regards to the right to life, health and basic civil and economic considerations. Such a person I'd call a lunatic, definitely. This cause is not just "my cause." Every human being should be concern about injustice. For you to think otherwise says something about your mindset. In terms of the UN, the polio vaccination and the imported machetes... The machetes were not made in Haiti. And, yes, the Haitian police, trained and sustained by the US/Canada/France/UN regime change folks, handed out the machetes; the "Summer Camp For Peace" soccer game was sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development and the International Organization for Migration, so they had to have had reps there and the UN had a station literally across the street from the soccer match and supposedly is in Haiti to protect Haitian civilians, so may also have been at the 5000 or so event of young youths.

The UN, after it was over, simply said they would investigate. That was in August 2005. In July 2006, another Little Machete attack occurred. This death squad roams free and if you had bothered to click on the links provided instead of burying your head in the sand, you would see the names of these murderers are well known. They are still roaming free in UN-occupied Haiti. The UN/US folks label "gangster" and arrest mostly Haitians who support the end of the occupation and return of Haitian sovereignty, not the ones who do their dirty work... Who could make this nightmare up, Icemilkcoffe? I'd love the luxury of you suburban amnesia. Really. This stuff is stank.

In addition to the info reference in the article that you may readily check out, that are direct interviews from Haiti on the Soccer Massacre, you may also read about the Soccer Match massacre at "USAID-Sponsored “Play for Peace” Soccer Tournament in Haiti Becomes Bloodbath"
or at http://www.ijdh.org/articles/article_grande_ravine_8-30-05c.htm .

I'll leave you to read the links provided about the documented harm that's been caused by the sort of oral polio vaccination injected in developing world peoples by the WHO... In terms of farmland to grow food, yes. 30 years ago Haiti fed its own people. Then the US neoliberal economic, fraudulent "free trade" started and besides sweatshops that created slums like Site Soley, they killed the Haitian pig which was an important economic point for the small farmers and started dumping subsidized US rice that destroyed Haiti's agriculture. .. The links to substantiate this are also provided in the article. If you'd bothered to read the article you feel so confident in dismissing, you'd have read right in it that Haiti 's breadbasket area - the Artibonite valley and Plaine du Sud - can provide all the food Haiti needs. I quote the above article "According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, (FAO), the rice bowl areas in Haiti alone, are capable of producing food to feed 10 million people." Haiti has 8.5 million people.

In terms of the garment industry factories, they leave no capital in Haiti, provide no workers rights or environmental protection and have been known not to even pay the lowest wage in the Western Hemisphere. I've outlined the alternatives.

Icemilkcoffee, the subject article is well documented and referenced. If you go to a reference and have a question on that information, I'd be happy to entertain it.
icemilkcoffee-- It would be unfortunate if you were to be forced to live in a cesspool and people to the south of you rained down their excrement on your head until you were stuck in a dung-heap of other people's making.

This would suck for you--that couldn't happen could it? But you know what they say - Karma is a Bitch.
icemilkcoffee-- It would be unfortunate if you were to be forced to live in a cesspool and people to the north of you rained down their excrement on your head until you were stuck in a dung-heap of other people's making.

This would suck for you--that couldn't happen could it? But you know what they say - Karma is a Bitch.
Haiti is a nation in deep crisis, and the US has never been supportive enough of this close neighbor. It is a disgrace that it took sixty years from Haiti's democratic revolution for the US to recognize it diplomatically. But it is fundamentally dishonest to attack Barack Obama for Haiti's having the abusive economic climate it has. There is no element of Obama's domestic or foreign policy that seeks the enslavement or the extermination of Haitians, and we all know how unfair and how dangerous it is to make such a claim.
That said, more needs to be done to allow for Haitians to develop a viable democratic system and a people-first economy. That likely means foreign investment, including national "donor" investment that allows for better more stable provision of electricity and sustainable infrastructure, that will benefit Haitians without necessarily benefitting foreign investors. A shift toward more people-first cooperation is needed; the best step for getting a better policy in the Obama White House would be to get better policy reports, with more hands-on experience and committed human rights activists, aid-workers and non-corporate entities, into the policy briefs on which Obama's longer-term Haiti policy will be based. Can a broad-based informational campaign be organized that will help raise awareness across the entire Washington policy apparatus?
Dearest Ezili,

Yours is the first important post I have come across on this site; actually the only with any true meaning from experience in the trenches I have seen.

This site has so deviated from the Salon concept into pedestrianism- thank you for starting a discussion based on REALITY.

I will limit this to two short observations. First, again this site has become populated with the backwoodsers Aristotle warned us about- they are everywhere here now going on and on about their problems here in the Wealthy western hemisphere- Yet none seem to have a clue that the first Island to be raped here remains the one most in need. I have spent time in Boca and hear your comments on that loud and clear- sadly, I'm not convinced to many others do.

Second and in conclusion, I am in my 50s now but have spent six decades as an Island Boy and full-time surfer/sailor all over the world. Nowhere, NOWHERE else on Earth did I ever encounter what I did in your country- How could I explain, especially having come off a beautiful ship (not mine!) that: a. I look white, but I'm not; I must be rich as such, but I'm not. so, b. I have no money to give to you who are quite literally swarming me, hanging on me, reaching in my pockets yet finding nothing.

Until we address Haiti the entire issue of Manifest Destiny will never be fully understood and put to rest forever.

Respect J.E. Robertson.

Thank you for the feedback. I wrote this piece so long ago, it surprised me to get more comments now. But, to address your comment, I try to be VERY careful with words, so I expect others to also be precise in their use of language. So, after I read your comments which seemed disconnected to the subject essay's points and the links substantiating the points made, I looked up the word "fundamentally' which apparently means "basically, at heart, at bottom, in essence, essentially; by one's (or its) very nature." Then, I checked out "dishonest," just to be sure my English wasn't failing me and guess what, I thought right, dishonest is defined as - lying, untruthful, deceitful, mendacious. 'Mendacious' seems to fit well with 'fundamentally' because it is more formal than lying, and suggests a chronic inclination toward untruth. So, Robertson, based on my essay above, which is fully documented, you write "It is FUNDAMENTALLY DISHONEST (for me) to attack Barack Obama for Haiti's having the abusive economic climate it has. First, I did not state that Obama is responsible for Haiti's abusive economic climate. I said his notion for changing it by proposing the same Bush thing, the same Haitian Oligarchy thing is no change. Specifically, I wrote in the essay:

"Isn't President Obama offering more Andre Apaid-sweatshops to Haiti as "development," and seems to be continuing the neoliberal, death plan agenda of the Breton Woods institutions with Susan Rice?"

"Is this the totality of the Obama Team's vision for helping or "transforming" Haiti? This sort of US "partnership" hasn't worked in 30-years."

For, at the time I wrote this essay last year, around April 2009, Obama, then through Suzan Rice and later on after I wrote this, through the appointment of President Clinton as UN Envoy to Haiti, pushed, the HOPE ACT which is about US sweatshops where Haitians, mostly Haitian women are making .38 cents an hour for an 8-hour work day or $3.00 a day (the new minimum wage). But it's really less than .38 cents an hour because the Haitian women work not 8 hours per day but more like 12 hours per day because they are given a daily quota to fulfill and can't leave until that quota is met and it takes more than 8-hours for that to happen. I outlined the then situation in Haiti, in detail, and with reference to Obama's proposal said this Obama proposal is NOT CHANGE. It's wage slavery. And then I went further and outlined some economic proposals that would be CHANGE and suggested the Obama team consider them. That is pretty much what I wrote. Kindly, Robertson, explain how that is "fundamentally dishonest" Robertson. English is my second language. I speak others and maybe I'm not understanding you here.

You also write that "There is no element of Obama's domestic or foreign policy that seeks the enslavement or the extermination of Haitians, and we all know how unfair and how dangerous it is to make such a claim."

What do you know JE Robertson about the US traditional domestic or foreign policy for Haiti that Obama inherited and seems to be extending, or, for that matter, what do you know about US Manifest Destiny, regime change, false benevolence, false food aid, false charity, fraudulent free trade that's really unfair trade, which all, form the basis of the neocolonialism in Haiti, that I, who have worked in this field for far too long, do not know? Enumerate them and then show why what I've said is lying, untrue, mendacious - "fundamentally dishonest" and not based on Obama's current domestic or foreign policy in Haiti. Why, as you say, it is "unfair and dangerous it is (for me) to make such a claim. To help you out, I'll even direct you to my most recent posting reviewing the Obama year and it's domestic and foreign policy towards Haiti. I just wrote that piece for the 2010 New Year. Go to: Obama's empty promises: Change did not come http://open.salon.com/blog/ezili_danto/2009/12/30/obamas_empty_promises_change_did_not_come

If you could find my article here "fundamentally dishonest" just out of thin air with no supportive reason to explain your assertions, I cannot imagine the words you'll find to label Ezili Dantò's year end: Obama's Empty Promises - once you've read that article!
I appreciate your opinion, Ezili!
good article, very useful information, very educational, thanks.