Continuing to check the stories out of Haiti, we came across Haitian Earthquake: Made in the USA. This another great story–and a disturbing story–from Ted Rall. Count on Mr. Rall to bring Americans back to reality, just when many are celebrating the generous aid coming out of the states and much of the world.
Of course he is not actually arguing that the earthquake was somehow created in the states, only the severe poverty that has contributed to the devastation.
Earthquakes are random events. How many people they kill is predetermined. In Haiti this week, don’t blame tectonic plates. Ninety-nine percent of the death toll is attributable to poverty.
So the question is relevant. How’d Haiti become so poor?
The story begins in 1910, when a U.S. State Department-National City Bank of New York (now called Citibank) consortium bought the Banque National d’Haïti–Haiti’s only commercial bank and its national treasury–in effect transferring Haiti’s debts to the Americans. Five years later, President Woodrow Wilson ordered troops to occupy the country in order to keep tabs on “our” investment.
The story continues with more embarassing accounts of CIA and US military control of Haitian politics and trade.
From 1915 to 1934, the U.S. Marines imposed harsh military occupation, murdered Haitians patriots and diverted 40 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product to U.S. bankers. Haitians were banned from government jobs. Ambitious Haitians were shunted into the puppet military, setting the stage for a half-century of U.S.-backed military dictatorship.
The U.S. kept control of Haiti’s finances until 1947.
Still–why should Haitians complain? Sure, we stole 40 percent of Haiti’s national wealth for 32 years. But we let them keep 60 percent.
Rall’s sarcasm makes the story a strong criticism of US policy, but I wonder if others will take a more serious approach and really create an issue that may be overdue.
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