Haitian, Dominican floods: social, not natural disaster

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An imperialist-caused disaster

Post by admin » Fri Jun 04, 2004 9:09 am

[quote]Washington has promised a miserly $50,000 through its misnamed Agency for International Development. Ottawa has offered $43,000...[/quote]

Is this a joke or what? Can we believe those figures from the U.S. and Canada??? Well, I am not a believer in foreign aid (because it impoverishes), but those promises must have been delivered with some demented, psychotic, sardonic laughs!

Thank you, once again, Cuba for your inspiring example!

The following is an editorial from the same source as the article aboce. Both texts can be found at http://www.themilitant.com/index.shtml

Vol. 68/No. 23 - June 14, 2004
An imperialist-caused disaster

Massive, unconditional humanitarian aid to Haiti and the Dominican Republic! Cancel the foreign debt of the two countries imme
diately! U.S., French, and Canadian troops out of Haiti now! This is what working people should demand as the only steps that can begin to address the devastation from the floods and the long-term social catastrophe facing workers and farmers on the island of Hispaniola.
Mouthpieces for big business have hypocritically lamented what they call a “tragedy” and “natural disaster.” Their cheap words are a cover-up of the real crime and culprits. Why do such devastating floods and mudslides occur periodically in the Haitian-Dominican border region? Why do they happen in other semicolonial countries such as Nicaragua and Indonesia, but not in imperialist countries like the United States or Japan?

These are not natural calamities—they are man-made. That is, they are caused by decades of imperialist plunder.

In Haiti, as in Nicaragua and Indonesia, a major reason for the destructive effect of the flooding is extreme deforestation. Lush woodland once covered 90 percent of the country, but after dec
ades of intensive tree cutting for firewood and charcoal, barely 1 percent of Haiti has tree cover.

The stark contrast between green forests on the Dominican side of the border and bleak deforestation and soil erosion on the Haitian side is unforgettable to anyone who has seen it from an airplane flying over the area. Haiti's forests have disappeared because, without access to electricity or modern fuels, thousands of workers and farmers depend for heat, light, and cooking on charcoal made from chopping down trees.

Government officials blame working people for cutting trees to deflect attention from the real cause of the crisis: imperialist domination. For the past century, Haiti's potentially rich economy has been distorted to serve the needs of U.S. billionaire families as well as domestic capitalists, who have filled their coffers while plundering the country's natural wealth, superexploiting its labor, keeping land in the hands of big landowners, and refusing to provide for basic needs lik
e electrification, housing, roads, schools, and health care.

Washington has enforced these conditions with brute force, sending in the Marines in 1915 and backing bloody dictatorships in the decades that followed. Last February U.S. troops were used to force the elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, into exile and to prop up a regime whose leaders have the blood of working people on their hands. Imperialist troops are there today not to provide aid but to keep Haiti safe for U.S., French, and Canadian capitalists.

Similarly, the Dominican Republic has long been plundered by U.S. and domestic capitalists. A major vehicle for this pillage is the foreign debt, which in the past four years has doubled to $7.6 billion in a nation of 8.5 million. Instead of being used to provide jobs, land, and other vital needs of the vast majority of Dominicans, millions of dollars are spent every year in interest payments to U.S. and other imperialist bankers. As in other semicolonial nations, this economic
subordination is perpetuated by unequal terms of trade between the Dominican Republic and the major industrialized powers, as well as ruinous U.S. trade tariffs on Dominican exports.

The Dominican government uses the army and police to brutalize workers and farmers protesting imperialist-dictated austerity measures and the lack of electrical and other services. In the flood-ravaged areas, many residents are Haitian migrant workers who are terrorized by the Dominican cops in order to maintain them as a cheap source of labor power.

In face of the terrible human toll sparked by the flooding and mudslides, what is Washington's response? A slap in the face—$50,000 and two “disaster experts.” The U.S. government doesn't send volunteer doctors, it sends soldiers—redeploying some of their occupation troops, whose job in Haiti is to keep working people in check.

In contrast, revolutionary Cuba—despite a hostile government now in power in Port-au-Prince—offers invaluable help with no strings att
ached. For the past five years, more than 500 volunteer doctors, nurses, and technicians have been offering free, quality medical services in remote rural areas of Haiti, where U.S. and Haitian doctors are unwilling to work.

After Hurricane Georges in the Caribbean and Mitch in Central America wreaked havoc in 1998, the Cuban government sent hundreds of medical volunteers to the affected regions. The volunteer contingents then remained on a long-term basis. Cuba also established a Latin American Medical School in Havana that has trained, free of charge, thousands of students from across the Americas, including Haitian youth.

What a contrast between Cuba's selfless solidarity and the U.S. rulers' callous concern for their profit system! What an indictment of imperialism!

The Cuban people and their leadership are able to provide such an example—where the mightiest capitalist power in the world will not—because of what a socialist revolution makes possible.

Cuba points the road th
at workers and farmers will need to take in the United States and in other countries: organizing a movement to wrest power out of the hands of the exploiting classes, establish a government of working people, and join the worldwide fight for a society based on human dignity and cooperation, not the capitalist law of the jungle.


Post by JustinFelux » Fri Jun 04, 2004 2:31 pm

I thought that was a slap in the face as well. It reminds me of when Bush invaded Afghanistan, and during the invasion he had TWO airplanes fly around dropping crates of food, and this was presented as evidence of what great humanitarians we are--how we are always willing to aid those in need.

TWO planes for a country the size of Texas.

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