Haiti and the U.S.- a long history of blunders

While Haiti isn’t on most American’s radar, until a disaster strikes, we’ve been screwing the country for the last hundred or so years.

In fact, our “help” has actually caused many of the conditions that made this earthquake even more deadly.

For a great synopsis of our history, read this piece from the St. Petersburg Times site- but especially pay attention to this part:

Nor was that the only time U.S. policy undercut gains made by U.S. aid.

Before 1950, Haiti produced most of its own food. But after the International Monetary Fund persuaded it to reduce import tariffs in the ’80s, U.S. rice poured into the country and put many rice farms out of business. Today, three-fourths of Haiti’s rice comes from the United States.

via Centuries of folly scar Haiti – St. Petersburg Times.

Greg pointed me to some other great articles- but, I’m going to let him sum them up in comments.

Here is our discussion on the issues- and how reactive solutions aren’t solving problems in third world nations.

Enjoy!

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11 Comments on "Haiti and the U.S.- a long history of blunders"

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Ice Bandit

   The Haitians are in a constant state of forced anorexia, and according to Esrati and Hunter Morning Show, it is the fault of American companies. Of course, like so many theories originating from these shockmeisters, it is wrong, from the company that Dave mentioned (Nestle is headquartered in Switzerland) to the basic theory of agriculture imports. Fact is, using your theory, Dave and Greg, there should be gangs of machete wielding thugs roaming the area of Wayne and Wyoming. The US imports more agriculture than any country in the world ($1 billion from China alone) and yet, our agriculture has never been more productive (the US exports eight times more agriculture to Beijing than it brings in). Agriculture does not flourish in voodoo reinforced kleptocracies, which Haiti most assuredly is, nor do farmers prosper in areas that ignore property rights. If all 10,000 charitable agencies operating in Haiti left today, the dysfunctional Haitian culture would ensure mass starvation. Yeah, the US occupied Haiti several times in our shared history, but American troops still occupy Germany and Japan without the third world aftermath. But we all understand the inclination of leftists to want to blame the US for any international calamity. What the Haitians really need is a free market, but two centuries of a toxic culture may be impossible to undo……………..

Ice Bandit

  It was still late in the disastrous Carter administration, but the Old Bandito had a smile on his face and a song in his heart. For he, in a miracle almost on par with the parting of the Red Sea, was able to go six months without being under the influence of the Demon Rum or John Barleycorn. Filled with an almost messianic fervor, the Old Bandito somehow got the idea that it was his duty to save all the drunken miscreants of Detroit. Let the history record the Old Bandito’s efforts as a failure, not only because of the sheer number of Motor City inebrianats (at the time, it was the urinating,  barfing and passing out on the sidewalk center of the universe) , but also because, by and large, drunks in Motown did not want to be saved. Not all dysfunction can be cured, and that goes for nations as well as people. Dominicans, who as Greg noted share the island with Haiti, have a hard-edged policy about their neighbor; they frankly don’t tolerate Haitians. As far as the basket case that is Africa, sub-saharian and otherwise, the Old Bandito’s guess is that babies on that continent who never come in contact with Nestle products fare far worse than those who do. The problem isn’t Nestle David, but the international left’s unending search for a corporate boogeyman. You’re probably right David, a free market would probably not turn Haitians into gentlemen farmers. But that is not the fault of markets, for they will only avail themselves to those with the freedom, the patience and the gumption to exploit them; traits Haitians seem to be historically lacking………..

Ice Bandit

   Yep- free markets solve all problems- just like they have here. (David Esrati)

   Well, dear David, where did you get the idea that the US has a free market in any area from agriculture to the US toy industry whose demise you lamented last week. Remember a couple of years ago, when gasoline was around the $4 a gallon mark, that the geniuses in Washington decided that ethanol was going to be the next big thing? Farm subsidies for corn were implemented, and giant distilleries popped up all around the midwest to produce this wonderous elixir. Of course, as with just about every government plan, this turned into a bust of historic proportion. Gas prices fell, and the lack of corn for human consumption caused prices for all foodstuffs to skyrocket with the greatest impact felt in the third world. The Old Bandito sure is happy he wasn’t in Chiapas during the “tortilla riots” of last year. Meanwhile, these giant distilleries sit unused, some only partially completed. Don’t count on the media (other than bloggers) to chronicle this sorry episode, and don’t expect anyone in Washington to face a news camera and say “boy, we were wrong on this one.” And as for toys, recent government regs concerning testing for minute amounts of lead not only put the small toy producers out of business, but has caused such groups as Goodwill to get out of the used toy business. So from farm subsidies that incentivize corn that will never be eaten to the filling of landfills with teddy bears, the dark and deleterious hand of government never stops. Free markets, David? Certainly not here; we prosper in spite of government  rather than because of it……………
 

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter
Well Bandito at least you give a good go and as always you seem to denigrate the DC decisions much like D&G, but never offer any solutions.  My question to you is “What do you want Government to do?” I want Government to be a counterbalance outside forces that unduly cause the common AMERICAN harm, whether it be Corporate Propaganda or Enemies of America’s Freedom. For instance lets try this question.  If a person has a recurring sinus condition is it better to load them up on Claritan or tell them to use the Neti Pot first?  It has taken my 40 years of Sinus infections and Pill popping to come to the realization that a homeopathic method is much more effective.  Now do you think the makers of Claritan or Neti Pots would dominate in a Free Market Solution?  Take a look at Norway and its response to infections and you may get a clue that not all Free Market Solutions are the best ones, just the best marketed and well funded. I will try to offer some salient points that link the Haitian response as we compare the Food Dumping orchestrated by the Western Aid societies that is directly counter to the teach a man to fish argument.  Mexico bought into this dumping and in effect drove its own farmers out of business, as did Haiti.  But when that aid goes away, can the population support itself?  No.  Russia had enough pride and Nationalism to recognize the problem when they see it. This has no doubt unnerved American producers, who gained a foothold in the Russian market in the early 1990s, in part, their Russian critics say, by swamping Russian producers with cheap chicken. Since then, Russian officials have angered American producers and officials with a raft of restrictions and quotas meant to help domestic producers. Because we have monoculture and lazy farmers that continue to get subsidies to grow the same crop we got a STUPID response from the government as gas prices elevated – Ethanol, which is unsustainable at any price as the inputs of energy and… Read more »
John Ise
I lived in Haiti from 1998 – 2000 and love the country dearly.  Here’s something I sent out a couple of days ago. Watching too much TV re. Haiti made me depressed and sick.  This op-ed on the other hand is just what the doctor ordered and offers some hope for Haiti.  Haiti is a nation of resistance and resilience.  Were this not the case, it would not exist. Despite what Pat Robertson and other misguided zealots may say, the Haitian people did not deserve this.  They will pick up the pieces and begin the long, long, long, hard, hard, hard task of rebuilding.   Haiti won’t be the same, but it will recover.   Don’t Give Up on Haiti By Amy Wilentz January 15, 2010   Almost since its inception, outsiders have proclaimed Haiti doomed. In the wake of its 1791 slave rebellion, which led, in 1804, to independence from France and the establishment of the world’s first black republic, observers were convinced the island nation would not survive. The sin of the triumphant Haitians was not only their blackness. Even worse, while many professed Christianity, the great majority followed traditional African practices, or voodoo.   More recently, doomsayers have focused on Haiti’s corrupt leadership, on its environmental disasters and its failure to find a good fit with globalization. And yet, the country has limped on, defiantly resilient. With Tuesday’s devastating earthquake, Haiti’s inevitable demise is again being heralded, most egregiously by fundamentalist minister Pat Robertson, who declared the earthquake evidence that Haiti was under a curse because it had made “a deal with the devil” to get out from under French rule. Well, Robertson is an unvarnished speaker, let’s put it that way. But he is not the only one who thinks like this.   As Paul Farmer, the doctor and international humanitarian, has written, even the media, which should know better, have helped “to perpetuate a series of peculiarly potent myths about Haiti and Haitians.” Robertson, in other words, is saying out loud what many have been thinking, without knowing why. I have at least seven e-mails in my in-box from well-meaning… Read more »
Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

Thanks John and here is another author who looked at the issues.

Travesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid and Drug Trafficking; by Dr. Timothy Schwartz; 2008
 
http://www.amazon.com/Travesty-Haiti-Christian-orphanages-trafficking/dp/1419698036
 
http://3907.cupe.ca/wp/?p=456

Ice Bandit

  My question to you (Ice Bandit) is “What do you want Government to do?” (Greg Hunter)

  Well, dear Greg, what the Old Bandito wants government to do can be summarized in two words; not much. But since a large and centralized and runaway government can do just about anything it wants (with the Obama administration as a template) perhaps a more appropriate question would be “what do you want government to be?” And El Bandito’s answer to that question is government should be minimized, minimalized and broke. In the area of drug enforcement alone, the government has dozens of overlapping agencies, each with police powers, with each agency pursuing a criminal investigation in an area that at best should be considered a public health issue. The bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spends its’ days complicating three legal areas, with the latter being protected by a constitutional amendment. The department of Housing and Urban Devolopment (how’s this for a successful bureau?) is but another example of an expensive and freedom trampling boondoggle we can no longer afford…..

  “but (Ice Bandit) never offer any solutions…” (Greg Hunter)

  Au contraire, mon freire. El Bandito de Helios is the solution dude. And the solution is a smaller and less intrusive government that respects and protects the citizenry, and values freedom over control. The Founders were right to fear a large goverrmental behemoth, and authored and approved a constitution to limit said state. And we do not receive our rights and freedoms from a state; they are gifts from God upon which no government may impede nor infringe. What you are really saying, dear Greg, is “Ice Bandit offers no solutions that two brainwashed by government morning commentators find palatable…….

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

Well Bandito I would make that deal!  Believe me I would take a sword to most of the agencies and bloated bureaucracies.   I guess I wanted to pare it down with some thought and consideration but I am at the point that it probably needs to burn to the ground.  It appears the elite from NYC and DC are pouring enough fuel on the pyre and we will see if it burns soon.  I only participate in the daily bitching to get it off my chest.  Much Love!

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

As disgusting, sickening, depraved, immoral, and unconscionable as it may sound – there should have been no aid sent to Haiti instead it should have been a virus. Having stripped Haiti of 99% of its forest, the Haitians are now crossing the border into the Dominican Republic to cut down trees to create charcoal.
Yes, the Haitians are victims of farm subsidies in the USA, but to a far greater extent they are victims of unfettered procreation and their own ignorance. Pretty soon everyone and their dogs will be feeling like victims of something. I think I’ve transitioned from doomer to despondent.

 
Free market Christianity err insanity….

James R Herman
James R Herman
Ok, I’ll weigh in on Haiti as one symptom of overpopulation along with exclusionary zoning in this country. Could you be happy having just one child? Over population is a world wide problem. The Chinese are finally addressing over population in their country by enforcing a one child rule as a humane way to bring down their over population. The air is so foul and the overcrowding so miserable that all I can say is that it was about time. But why do we have to wait until it gets that bad. I’ve heard that 25,000 children die every day from disease, hunger and malnutrition. In other words, they die from over population. It’s not only China, look at India, look at Saudi Arabia, look at Haiti, look at Mexico. Heck, look at any urban area in the good old United States of America. They pulled a 42 year old woman who was pregnant out of the rubble in Haiti. I can only wonder how many children she already had. We need a world wide tube tying campaign for both men and women but especially for women since they are the ones who bear children. Global warming is a symptom of over population. Back in the mid 1950s when they first started measuring carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere they found that it was already increasing. Back then the population was 2 billion. So clearly 2 billion was already too high. Now the population has risen to 6.5 billion. So carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen right along with the increase in population. If you haven’t already seen the movie, “An Inconvenient Truth” in which Al Gore gives his slide show on global warming, I encourage you to do so. My recommendation is that we have a world wide law that says to a woman: Have one and then you’re done. Tie her tubes right when she delivers. When the population gets back to a sustainable level (something below 2 billion and the carbon dioxide has come back down below 300 parts per million) then we can allow a… Read more »
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