Wednesday, January 27, 2010

About history and Haiti

I have been so sickened by people (such as Pat Robertson and others) who have blamed the people of Haiti for their poverty and other misfortunes. I'm glad Bill Moyers has offered a commentary about it all. Here's part of his piece:

Start with the French. They ran Haiti as a slave colony, driving hundreds of thousands of slaves to early deaths in order to supply white Europeans with coffee, sugar and tobacco. In 1804, the slaves rebelled and after savage fighting defeated three foreign armies to win their independence. They looked to America for support, but America's slave-holding states feared a slave revolt of their own, and America's slave-holding president, Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence, refused to recognize the new government.

Their former white masters made matters worse by demanding reparations, and by exploiting and exhausting the country's natural resources. Fighting over what little was left, Haitians turned on each other.

Coup followed coup, faction fought faction, and in 1915, our American president Woodrow Wilson sent in the Marines. By the time they left almost 20 years later, American companies had secured favored status in Haiti. In 1957, the country was taken over by the brutal and despotic rule of Papa Doc Duvalier, whose son, Baby Doc, proved just as cruel as his old man. Don't let the familial nicknames fool you. The Duvaliers were murderous thugs and thieves who enjoyed the complicity of American interests until the dynasty played out in 1986.

There's more. The article is entitled "Haiti's Problems Are Rooted in Its Colonial Legacy". Do click through and read it all if you have a couple of minutes. It's not very long.

1 comment:

  1. I read his article earlier today. It was appalling. Our country messed around way too much in the politics of the western hemisphere using the Monroe Doctrine--namely we're the biggest so you have to do as we say and we're going to profit from everything you have, to you detriment, whether you like it or not. We then pointed fingers and engaged in name calling about the shiftless, lazy, unmotivated people of those countries. Is it any wonder many of them think of us as the "Ulgy American."


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