I grew up listening to my brothers and sisters talk about making Molotov cocktails to throw at the American soldiers. I would ask, with my tainted ‘americanized’ view, “why would you bomb the soldiers that are there to help?” This would stir a rage in my sister. “You Americans are so stupid! You believe anything your news broadcasters tell you” What she said weighed heavily on me. I thought of what my resource was and concluded—she had a point. When ever did Haitians say they needed American help? When ever have they asked for it? Save for the earthquake in January of 2010, Haitians never asked shit of any country. Not when they were enslaved by France or won their freedom (only to be told they must pay France for winning the war). Not when they were occupied by Spain or when they drove Spaniards away. Not when they fought in the Civil War in America and was never given the promises that came with fighting (save for land in a place called Louisiana. Yes, Creole Louisianians! Your blood runs Haitian) Not ever, period. So why has America continued to have an unwavering interest in Haiti that spans the late 40s to present day? Does this have to do with democracy? or are they hoping to accomplish what they failed to do in Cuba?
Papa Doc was labelled a dictator by America and made to be enemy number one. The propaganda began and the plan to uproot him set in motion. Taking a closer look, I found that the days of Papa Doc were peaceful. There’s not a Haitian that lived in Haiti at the time that would tell you different. If you were a law abiding citizen you found Haiti to be as refreshing as the blue sea on white beaches in Jacmel. Neighbors boast of being able to leave their doors open, schools were modeled after Parisian system (which at the time far outweighed that of America), and agriculture was at its best. A farmer was able to live fruitfully off of his own land. Haitians grew their own rice, avocados, mangoes, and much more. The dark side to Papa Doc days was the fact that some officials abused their power and justice was not always fair. I ask you this, which country doesn’t suffer these things? The second problem was that Papa Doc refused to allow Americans full access to the country and its resources and THAT my friends was the biggest problem of all. But modeling his reign after Fidel Castro, whom he admired for standing up to America, he was able to keep the country out of the greedy hands of Americans. The aging Papa Doc turned the reigns to his son, the more liberal and westernized Baby Doc.
Doc junior, as many liked to call him, loved to splurge. He spent millions on himself and his wife. He saved, with the help of Americans, millions of stolen treasury money in Europe. He also courted Americans and allowed them more access than he father ever would have approved of. This relationship with America would mark the highlight of his personal life and the downfall of his reign as President of Haiti. Baby doc ran Haiti like Baptista of Cuba and the country felt the pinch of it. Less focus was placed on developing the education system. The educational partnerships that his father established with EU fell by the wayside while he toured the world with numerous visits to France and America. Americans had no interest in removing him until his greed got the best of him and he wanted to limit Americans plunder of the country’s resources. He did this not because he felt their actions, coupled with his own, would bankrupt the country but because he wanted more for himself. This would strain the relationship he had with the Americans and give the “fab five families” the power to uproot him and build an even stronger. The bourgeoisie five families that run the country dictated from then on what exactly went on in Haiti down to who would be the puppet President of the moment. Their MO is quite simple: Keep the people uneducated and poor while reaping the benefits of their hard labor. Of Course, they are well protected by (take a wild guess!) America.
Leadership after the Duvalier regime
For all the “bad” that is said about the Duvalier family there are a few things we could look back on and mourn the loss of. One is the fact that Haiti had a healthy export industry. In all actuality the export of goods is what caused the country to invest in agriculture. Since the removal of Baby Doc the country has imported 95% of all their goods. This is astonishing to say the least. Such import for goods the country can produce on its own is incredibly inhuman. Consider that a bag of rice which can feed a poor family of five would cost ten American dollars if produced locally. The imported bag of rice now costs that poor family of five thirty American dollars. I bet at this point you know who is the major supplier of all the goods Haiti is forced to purchase, yes? If you said America you win a cookie. Another trend in Haiti since order and discipline was removed was the increase in violence. The five families are known for arming bandits to cause chaos and disorder, not limited to forced rape of mothers and daughters by their own family members, to change the outcome of leadership. Again I remind you that these ghost owners of Haiti are well protected by America. Duvalier era ended and chaos, disorder, and extreme poverty began.
Now Haiti has a drunk for President. President Preval, who was Aristide’s lackey, is now president and awaits the results of election to determine his successor. Ever since the earthquake there are funds that was collected “for Haiti” that never reached the island. Food and supplies that were donated were being sold to the poor by Preval’s soldiers (tents, beds, and medicine included). In the midst of all of this chaos Preval was happy to relinquish responsibilities. After all, who has time to lead a country out of such disaster when alcohol calls?
Time to choose a leader and everyone comes out of the woodwork to run for presidency including musicians Wyclef Jean and Michele Martelli. Why would anyone want to be president of a country that is broken at it’s very core? Simple really. For the first time in history Haiti’s treasury is at a surplus. Such money! I can almost smell the saliva of the greedy. Of the thirty candidates we are left with three: Mme. Manigat, Michele Martelli, and Preval’s family member—Jude Celestin. Mme Manigat is the wife of past president Manigat, is educated, and well versed in politics. Michele Martelli is a flaming bi-sexual artist who has never been involved in politics but has a stellar resume in business dealings. Jude Celestin, a dead beat dad of eight who is known as a vacabon (translation is vagabon). Celestin is the best choice for both the five families and America. He would serve as the perfect puppet who would allow America to do as it wishes. The five families will allow America that right because they need their bread and butter (the country) to be rebuilt. All is well that ends well. For the people, the everyday worker, Mme. Manigat would seem on the surface the best choice. She presumably would work to restore the country and help to build a better Haiti.
The New Haiti
What will the New Haiti look like? That is the question of the year. The new Haiti according to American agenda will be touristic. Think gentrification on a grand scale and that will be Haiti. The poor people will be gated out of the most prominent lands and treated foreigners in their own land. Don’t believe me? Did you know that Americans have already started the task of purchasing land by the droves in Haiti? Were you aware that prior to the earthquake of 2010 areas were gated and the locals were forbidden from entering? Beaches were purchased by America and locals had to pay an exorbitant amount to enter? In summation, Haiti represents a new market for tourism and expanded export sales. That is the nuts and bolts of it. America focused on donations during the aftermath of the earthquake not to help the people but to raise seed money for a larger plan.