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

MAY 11, 2009 3:15PM

HLLN on the causes of Haiti deforestation and poverty

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Ezili Dantò's Note:

Haiti’s poverty is the result of the theft and exploitation of Haiti by the world’s wealthy countries and their corporations. Haiti’s poverty is not, as asserted in Amiel Blajchman's article, directly linked to deforestation. But, if one repeats this assertion long enough, as has been done with Haiti, it becomes sort of a journalistic boilerplate. But that does not mean it's the truth, the whole truth and based on verifiable facts.

Haiti's poverty began with a US/Euro trade embargo after its independence, continued with the Independence Debt to France and ecclesiastical and financial colonialism. Moreover, in more recent times, "the uses of U.S. foreign aid, as administered through USAID in Haiti, basically serves to fuel conflicts and covertly promote U.S. corporate interests to the detriment of democracy and Haitian health, liberty, sovereignty, social justice and political freedoms. USAID projects have been at the frontlines of orchestrating undemocratic behavior, bringing underdevelopment, coup d'etat, impunity of the Haitian Oligarchy, indefinite incarceration of dissenters, and destroying Haiti's food sovereignty essentially promoting famine. Recall, for instance, USAID project such as the slaughter of the Kreyòl pigs that greatly impoverished the peasants, the Peligre dam that made landless peasants, the Miami rice that destroyed Haiti's domestic rice, the trade laws that brought sweatshops enticing rural Haitians to the capital and created the slum of Site Soley when the US companies closed shop and went elsewhere." (See, HLLN on oversight needed on USAID).

Throught its "democracy enhancement program," USAID financed the projects of subversion, infiltration, military deception and psychological operations that the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the International Foundation for Election Systems ("IFES") carried out in Haiti t0 destabalized the Constitutionally elected Aristide/Preval government and ouster it in 2004 bringing the UN proxy occupation for the U.S." (See, Matters to be investigated.)

But, if we stick only to deforestation here, Haiti’s deforestation is due as much to the use of wood for charcoal as the soil erosion occurring right now in Haiti (because of the current destruction of Haiti's mountains) is due to digging up for cement, marble, granite, aggregate, gold and copper by the Haitians peasant for constructing their houses! Haiti's peasants could be using charcoal and raw mountain materials for construction to meet their sustainable daily needs for centuries and would not have denuded the mountains or dug them up to the extent visible today, leaving Haiti with the soil erosion it is currently experiencing and the craters that will be left when Haiti’s remaining mountain ranges and natural protection have been more thoroughly exploited and mined by the transnational corporations now in Haiti. Mining Haiti's mountains for extraction of raw materials for the foreign construction industry has been steadily going on for decades in Haiti and since before the 1980s. The digging up of Haiti, for the construction industry and, to a smaller scale at present, for its mineral wealth (gold, copper...), post-Bush Regime Change/2004 coup d'etat, has intensified.

The Euro/US companies carting off Haiti's natural resources, by digging its mountains right now, and before that, by razing whole Haitian forests to the ground for lumber to meet Western profit needs, along with the destruction of Haiti's peasant economy (elimination of Haiti’s indigenous black pigs and dumping of US rice that destroyed domestic agriculture) so that the peasant could not afford other fuel, are the primary reasons for the environmental degradation in Haiti.

It's a process that started in colonial times, continued under the 19-year US occupation (1915-1934) and now, it's Haiti's mountains that are being dug up, mined and destroyed by the International companies taking the mineral wealth of Haiti that are in the mountain rocks (gold, copper, uranium, iridium, granite, marble, coal, limestone oil and gas explorations) behind these UN guns. That's why, contrary to, the article's assertions, Haiti is no longer the "poorest in the Western Hemisphere, Nicaragua is! But that little colonial narrative - also having NOTHING to do with the realities of Haitian lives - will also be repeated and reprinted, ad nausea, and also readily believed by uninformed readers. For more, go to:

Ezili Dantò/HLLN's counter-colonial narrative on Haiti's deforestation;
Interview on the Mining of Haiti's Resources
Haiti Riches
Pointing Guns at Starving Haitians: Violent Haiti is a myth; and,
Comparing crime, poverty and violence in the rest of the Hemisphere to Haiti

The poor Haitian peasants' meager and what would otherwise - without the centuries of plunder of Haiti forests and mountains by Western profit extraction companies - have been a sustainable use of charcoal for daily fuel is primarily blamed for Haiti's poverty, Haiti's soil erosion and deforestation. The multiple causes which accelerated the deforestation in Haiti and that don’t involve blaming the poor Haitian are simply not addressed in most writings about Haiti's soil erosion and environmental degradation.

Ezili Dantò
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network ("HLLN")
May 11, 2009
Email: erzilidanto@yahoo.com


Recommended HLLN Link:
by Chris Scott for CKUT (90.3 FM) in Montreal, Recorded April 29, 2009 (Audio (34:03))
Ezili Dantò, HLLN

Listen to CKUT Interview (34:03) with Ezili Dantò on Mining of Haiti Resources and Riches by Chris Scott for CKUT (90.3 FM) in Montreal, April 29, 2009
Haiti's Poverty is Directly Linked to Deforestation and Habitat Loss, Written by Amiel Blajchman, May 10th, 2009

- Nicaragua not Haiti is the "poorest in the Western Hemisphere"
Nicaragua not Haiti is the "poorest in the Western Hemisphere

If you put stock in IMF-"GDP" theories, than Nicaragua, not Haiti, is the "poorest in the Western Hemisphere." But don't expect the media to change their standard "journalistic" boilerplates and titles summarily stuck to Haiti. Manipulating figures is a Kolon art, Haiti suffered over a billion in damages in 2008 due to four storms more severe than multiple Katrinas, "resulting in 15 percent loss of Haiti’s Gross Domestic Product." What similar catastrophes happened to Nicaragua in 2008 that it fell behind and why isn't the UN going there to help them become more "stabilized," or "developed" as the UN is now claiming its doing in Haiti. Inquiring minds wanna know?

Nicaragua not Haiti is the "poorest in the Western Hemisphere

Does the Western economic calculation of wealth fit Haiti -fit Dessalines idea of wealth distribution?NO!

Liv Blan, Fanmi Lavalas - A map of some of Haiti's mining resources, also showing at least 5 oil sites in Haiti

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

Obama's offered HOPE is sweatshop slavery

Haiti's Riches - Who profits behind UN/US/Brazilian guns from Haiti's comparatively vast natural resources while the people starve, get sold out and Haiti rendered a beggar nation...

Haiti's ruling Oligarchy - Category Zero, The Mercenary Haiti families are the richest in the Caribbean

Zen Haitian on Haiti's Poverty Pimps

Pointing Guns at Starving Haitians: Violent Haiti is a myth

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"Haiti’s remaining mountain ranges and natural protection have been more thoroughly exploited and mined by the transnational corporations now in Haiti."

Its a scary thought, that at this very moment, these transnational corporation are doing irreparable harm to the mountains; Haiti's great environmental monuments. What is to become of the "land of mountains," when the mountains are destroyed?

The maroons battled the slaveowners from these mountains. They must be protected and preserved by all necessary means. A people who lose their monuments, will lose their historical legacy. If these precious metals are to be mined, it must be done with careful attention to preserving them. A people so long subjected to unspeakable injustice, misery, and mind numbing poverty deserve to reap the full benefit of their country's resources. These resources must be nationalized.

The Haitian people's hand is being forced -- they must take action to protect their heritage. The recent latest sham elections in Haiti have set the stage for a showdown with the co-opted government of Rene Preval, the transnational corps and the immoral ultra-rich sweatshop owners.
This is a good look at the causes of poverty and famine in Haiti: top of mind today, hopefully this will get more readership with the earthquake. Bumping into the feed.
I just got in from a meeting/panel given by MAS/Bataille Ouvrier (sp) and a professor of sociology here in North Miami. I'd be interested in hearing more about how we can help to bring the nation of Haiti to a state of improved self-sufficiency - beginning with their doing away with 'aid'.


I'm enjoying your posts. Thanks!!
Respect Dwain Martin,
Thanks for taking the time to read this post and the others you also posted comments on for Oct. 8. Gave me the opportunity to go back and take a look as I noticed you're comments coming in. Enjoyed your input. I am grateful that you found them worthy enough to keep reading and to read so many at one sitting. Very nice and kind of you. Be well, Ezili Dantò
all of us must to help to this persons..every one how can...