Crisis in Haiti

Stealing Haiti

By Bonnie Weinstein

In spite of the fact that there have been a multitude of examples of Haitians helping fellow Haitians since the January 12 earthquake—sharing the food they have, taking in their neighbor’s children, and pulling people from the rubble—the U.S. ruling elite has flooded the mass media with images portraying Haitians, especially the men, as “looters” and “gang members.”

They reinforce these myths by giving food and aid out to women only—and never enough to go around. Then they massively publicize photos of U.S. and UN soldiers and police holding back the frustrated and angry men who were turned away.

Whole villages chose delegations of their most trustworthy and strong men to pick up food, tarps and/or tents, for everyone in their village, and carry them back on foot. But this not reported.

And to date, there is no rational reason given by anyone as to why enough of these supplies can’t be distributed to all who need them. In this modern day and age of helicopters, jets, floating hospitals and giant cargo ships there’s no reason why plenty of supplies couldn’t be distributed quickly and efficiently. But that’s not what’s happening in Haiti, because that’s not the goal of “U.S. aid” in Haiti.

In a January 30, 2010 New York Times video, “Security in an Insecure Land,”1 The UN Police, with military caravan and camera, takes us to the poorest section of Port-au-Prince, Cité Soleil. The place looks like a giant concentration camp in the middle of a desert with shacks stacked next to each other.

The UN caravan has nothing with them but cameras and guns. The UN cop/narrator, Alix Sainvil, a Haitian-American United Nations police officer, who worked to “secure” Cité Soleil before the earthquake, interviews an emaciated woman inside her shack.

It was bright outside but the one-room shack, made of scraps of rusted corrugated metal and scraps of wood, was dark on the inside. There was one bed with a small child asleep on it. There’s no toilet or running water and there are holes all over the ceiling and walls that will soak everything inside when the rainy season comes.

The UN cop, Sainvil, takes the opportunity to point out that the woman’s most pressing issue was lack of sleep because of the “gangs” and “criminals” in the city; not the abject poverty and starvation she and all who live in Cité Soleil must endure and have endured for years and years.

There are no jobs, no food, no water in Cité Soleil, which is surrounded by police backed by UN troops with automatic weapons pointed at the people at all times. Many of the police wear facemasks to keep their identity a secret for fear of getting killed in the streets because they are so hated for their vicious behavior.

Neither the UN nor the police have offered any aid or provided any job opportunities other than as police informants (who don’t typically live very long)—not even before the earthquake.

Their only function is to police the people into submission and obedience. They treat the Haitian population as if they are, by their very existence, the cause of this poverty and not the victims of it.

The U.S./UN capitalist convoluted logic is, were it not for all these starving people pestering us for food, justice, independence and self-determination, Haiti would be a rich country for us to invest in.

The video caravan moves on down the road.

People—men, women and children—are standing alongside the road begging for help. Some have signs reminiscent of Katrina. They have been given no help at all since the earthquake.

Then the police and their camera, guarded by soldiers with tanks and automatic weapons, stop among a large group to “find out their needs.”

The cop, Sainvil, begins narrating to the camera. He explains that since the jail collapsed and prisoners escaped after the earthquake, he was worried that the “gangs” were taking over again.

The camera pans the crowd, stopping and zooming-in momentarily on the faces of all the men of working age.

One “gang member” (synonym “working-age male”) overhears Sainvil’s narration and bravely speaks up. He says to Sainvil as the camera focuses in on him (no doubt for identification purposes later), “Even if you’re not a looter, when you walk past a store. police will just shoot you for no reason. That’s the only thing you do!” He says this directly to Sainvil.

That, of course, is enough for Sainvil to designate this young man as a
“gang member.” He says, as they are driving away, “that young man is a ‘troublemaker.’”

In an earlier New York Times video2 that appeared January 22, 2010, “Confusion in Haitian Countryside,” U.S. Marines prevent the distribution of food to starving people due to “lack of security.”

They bring a truckload of supplies, but only a fraction of what is needed for the thousands assembled to receive the aid. Then the Marines, because their military chain of command says they haven’t enough men with guns to “maintain security” during the give-away, drive off with the truckload of food, leaving the starving men, women and children running after them empty-handed and in a state of shock, horror and disbelief!

This is shown in detail in the video. The heavily armed Marines—the strong, the brave—turn tail and run and take the food and supplies with them for fear of unarmed and starving, men, women and children.

In another incident reported in the February 9, 2010 New York Times article by Marc Lacey titled, “Fake Food Coupons Present UN With New Haiti Problem”:

“The United Nations canceled a distribution of free rice for thousands of hungry Haitians on Monday after counterfeiters printed up fake tickets to gain access to the giveaway. ...The ticket system was put in place last week to quell the sometimes-violent jockeying that took place during food giveaways in the first days after the devastating January 12 earthquake. …The Petionville site has been particularly problematic. In recent days, protesters have surrounded the mayor’s office there demanding that local officials stop hoarding food and give it to the local population.”

These videos and article illustrate just what the U.S./UN has been doing in Haiti even before the January 12 earthquake and what they are continuing to do today. They are patrolling these slums with automatic weapons targeting anyone who shows any signs of resistance to the deplorable state of poverty they live in. It is a heinous atrocity orchestrated by the U.S.!

Haiti is US/UN and Canadian occupied territory now. The people of Haiti are being treated like sub-humans incapable of governing themselves—the men innately criminal in nature and the women helpless against them. This propaganda is designed to justify the U.S.’s wholesale take-over of Haiti and the military occupation and enslavement of its population.

These are the same arguments that were used to rationalize slavery!

The U.S., the wealthiest nation in the world with 20,000 troops on the ground along with thousands of UN and Canadian troops, cannot or are not willing to bring enough food—not even enough plain rice—to feed the starving Haitians.

They are, however, very capable of sending tens-of-thousands of ground troops, delivering bombs, bunker busters, daisy cutters, white phosphorous and nuclear warheads anywhere they choose at a moments notice!

This, in truth, reveals the inherent weakness of the capitalist system of government. It is incapable of putting the welfare of humans above its interest in the pursuit of private profits. This is being played out to the hilt in Haiti right now.

The real criminals are these U.S./UN armed “relief trucks” that typically pull up with one-tenth of the supplies needed so that most Haitians go away hungry, getting nothing but their fury ignited.

This method of food distribution is unconscionable. This is Katrina in powers of ten!

In the face of one of the most devastating human catastrophes in modern times, the capitalist system shows it is incapable of thinking in any other terms except how to expropriate wealth wherever it can. And by force of violence if necessary. Even by taking advantage of a horrific natural and devastating human catastrophe.

The real nature of U.S. “aid” to Haiti is to “aid” themselves in the expropriation of Haiti lock, stock and barrel—the population be-damned!

1 Security in an Insecure Land

see also:

Haitian Law Enforcement Returns

The Haitian police are back on patrol in Port-au-Prince.

Haitians Scramble for Aid

France24 reports on desperate Haitians trying to get some aid food in the Cité Soleil district of Port-au-Prince.

2 “Confusion in Haitian Countryside”