The people in the world were surprised at the fact that there were more than 230 thousand deaths and 3 million victims in the Haiti-earthquake on January 12, by which the concern rose up suddenly about Haiti, a small country of approximately 10 million people in the Caribbean Sea.
In the reports and articles of the mainstream mass media, the sides of "human-made disaster" as well as the historical background, were told in some extent. They pointed out poverty of the people, extreme gap between the poor and the rich, despotism and political confusion, spread of corruption and decay, and so on, which are all the domestic problems of Haiti. But the fundamental cause does consist in the imperial domination and exploitation and its historical deep-rootedness, which are not told.
Haiti is the second independent nation in the Americas, and the first republic of black people, moreover the first nation in the world that abolished the slavery, about 60 years earlier than the Emancipation Proclamation by Lincoln in 1863. So glorious Haiti became the "collapsed" nation like this at present. Why? In order to understand the reason of it, we have to consider the history of Haiti briefly.
(1) Independence, Abolition of Slavery, and Suffering from Isolation by Blockade
In Haiti (called Saint Domingue then, one of the French colonies), more than 400 thousand (or about 500 thousand by another view) black slaves were dominated by about 30 thousand French slave-owners. In the Caribbean Sea area, the native people were driven into extinction by slaughter and epidemic. And then the black slaves, forcibly taken from Africa, were forced to work under ill-usage. In Saint Domingue the plantations of sugar, coffee, and so on, were run in large scale, which was one of the main pillars supporting the economic prosperity of France then.
At the time of French revolution, in Haiti (Saint Domingue then), a large-scale rebellion by the black slaves broke out in 1791. In the end of more than ten years of the revolutionary struggle, Saint Domingue became independent to be Haiti in 1804. The revolution of Haiti was very shocking and had much impact at that time.
The revolutionary France government accepted the abolish of slavery and approved the independence of Haiti, though not immediately. But of course after that, both the empire of Napoleon and the revived monarchy of France did not approve the independence of Haiti and attempted to revive the slavery. The hardship and sufferings of Haiti went on and on for a long time since then.
In the meantime, U.S. was extremely cold to Haiti, which was not only because it tried to avoid the opposition to the European countries, but also because it feared the affection of Haiti revolution, especially the abolition of slavery. This reason was common to other countries. Just in this very point, the glorious honor of Haiti revolution, does exist in the human history. And just because of this, revolutionary Haiti was forced to be isolated and repressed by all of the world then that became reactionary.
In addition, it must not be forgotten that U.S. began to intend the domination of Latin America in those days already. It resembles closely that Japan began to move towards the invasion and domination of Korea, imitating the European countries right after the Meiji Restoration.
The revolutionary Haiti intended to keep up its independence at any cost, and tried to cut its way open by making an extremely disadvantageous deal with France, to pay 150 million franc at that time in exchange for France's approval of Haiti's independence. And the sum corresponded to ten-year-worth Haiti's revenue then.
After that, Haiti took about 60 years (or 100 years by another view) for the full payment, which resulted in selling by pieces and destroying its wealthy nature, and piling up other debts. It was carried over the 20th century; and the main country to rule Haiti changed from France to U.S., and the government of Haiti changed to a puppet-like one by a handful of the privileged.
(2) New Domination by U.S., Duvalier Dictatorship, and Birth of Aristide Gov.
With the outbreak of World War I, in competition with Germany, U.S.occupied Haiti by the Marine Corps in July, 1915. The occupation of Haiti by U.S. continued till August in 1934 for 19 years. And in that meantime, U.S. abolished the clause of prohibition of possessing lands and properties by foreigners, which was written clearly in the Constitution of Haiti enacted at the independence. And the U.S. rebuilt the large plantations, which caused renew cutting of forest and destroying nature.
After the occupation of U.S., followed the puppet-like dictatorial governments for U.S.. And the dictatorship of Duvalier family went on from in 1957 till 1986 about 30 years. The reign of terror strided using secret police "Tonton Macoute"; and destruction of nature and devastation of country advanced more; and moreover foreign debt swelled 17.5 times for 30 years; and poverty of the people expanded more.
The uprising that began late in 1985 spread swiftly all over the country, and the Duvalier dictatorship collapsed in February, 1986. At last the first democratic election of the president was held in December, 1990. At the election Jean-Bertrand Aristide got 67% of the votes, and was inaugurated as President in February, 1991.
The priest Aristide adheres "liberation theology" and began his activities in the slums from 1985. He tied up the relief of the poor with the movement of democratization, and kept on his activities under the risk of assassination through the days of repeated coup d'etat and military regimes.
(3) President Aristide, Exiled by Coup; and the Second Aristide Gov. Crushed Again
President Aristide tried to sweep corruption lasting under the previous governments, and also to improve the lives of the poor masses. Those reforms mean touching the interests of long-established oligarchy and stepping into the interests of U.S. imperialism and a handful of the privileged.
Opposing to these Aristide's reforms, the wealthy and the privileged and U.S. gathered together the powers of the military and the secret police "Tonton Macoute" by the plentiful money; and in September 1991, only 8 months after the start of Aristide government, they exiled President Aristide by means of coup d'etat.
In July 1994, 3 years after the coup, an agreement by UN mediation was concluded, which decided the return of President Aristide. But the contents of the agreement were to carry out neo-liberal policies, such as abolition of customs and privatization of state-owned companies, which the presidential candidate from the wealthy had held up. Moreover, there was added even amnesty for the participants of the coup.
Faced with a tough choice, Aristide accepted the agreement to return home in hopes of comeback in the presidential election in 2000. In the new constitution after Duvalier, no one can be President in two successive terms. Aristide's party nominated Rene Garcia Preval, the prime minister of Aristide government at the start in 1991, and won the election in the end of 1995.
President Preval worked on democratization and better measures for the poor to a certain extent within the framework of the UN-mediated agreement; and ended its term of 5 years safely. (The present government in Haiti is the second Preval's after the second Aristide's. Preval won the election again in the beginning of 2006.)
Fr. Aristide won an overwhelming victory again in the presidential election in the end of 2000, and was inaugulated as President in February 2001, starting the second Aristide government. But the imperial countries, the center of which is U.S., squeezed up Aristide government economically and financially from the beginning of its start, and forced it to run an extremely difficult budgetary management.
Binding the hands and legs of the Aristide government by international squeezing up economically, and stirring up dissatisfaction of the people by enlarging the economic difficuties, the anti-Aristide powers agitated anti-government activities.
On January 1 in 2004, the ceremony of Independence Day was held in the midst of freezing finances and economic blockade in fact. The anti-Aristide powers energetically organised demonstrations and riots before and after that ceremony, and at last they succeeded in the coup to exile President Aristide again by the uprising in February. Right after Aristide was taken away abroad by the U.S. airplane on February 29, the Marine Corps of U.S. and the French troops landed and occupied Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti.
(4) The Cause of Poverty : Debt-Slave and Intervention
The essential cause of extreme poverty in Haiti, does consist in the great pressure of foreign debts lasting for more than 2 centuries without ending off. Haiti has been forced to cumulate new debts in order to pay back the previous debts. Just the succession of that.
On March 31 was held the meeting of the countries to help Haiti. The total amount of support that was announced from 59 countries and institutions at the meeting, are about 9.9 billion dallars. And the provisional committee for reconstruction of Haiti, was formed. But it is Clinton, ex-President of U.S. and the special envoy of UN for Haiti now, who is to preside the committee. And almost all the mainstream mass media in the world have reported on a large scale and repeatedly, how doubtful it is whether the support money from all over the world will be used effectively or not, if it is left only to Haiti government.
It is just such imperial intervention that has made Haiti the very miserable situation like this now. All intervention must be stopped, of course also in this new recovery support.
On January 25, President Chavez of Venezuela announced that Venezuela would abandon all national claims of the credit to Haiti for nothing. The amount is 295 million dollars, which is about one-third of 1 billion dollars foreign debts of Haiti now. In that announcement President Chavez expressed thanks to Haiti, pointing that Haiti supported Simon Bolivar right after its independence, who was the leader of the struggle for independence of whole Latin America as well as Venezuela at that time.
All the countries and all the international financial institutions, should abandon all the claims to Haiti for nothing, as well as Venezuela just did so. If not so, it is quite obvious that the support money from all over the world will practically disappear into payment for foreign debts.
Being made debt-slave by international financial capitals, being kept alive or not, and being sqeezed out as much as possible; just to end off such a situation should be the most important support, and it would open the way toward the fundamental solution.
A lot of negative problems, which appear the inner problems of Haiti, are the inevitable results of the colonial domination and the extreme exploitation by the imperial superpowers such as U.S. and France. The exploitation through neoliberalism and repeated interventions by U.S. especially in these 30 - 40 years, forced Haiti to be the situation of national collapse.
Lots of peasants who lost their lands flowed into the capital city, and about 2 million people of less than about 10 million whole population, concentrate on Port-au-Prince. The districts where the poor people live and which occupy most of the capital city, lack the infrastructure of living and concentrate poor houses. Just to those areas, the earthquake directly hit.
(5) What Is the Genuine Support ?
U.S. dispatched as many as 10 thousand troops, the main of which is Marine Corps. Its nominal purpose is maintenance of security. But the real purpose of it, is to strengthen military pressure and to display its power against ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) countries, such as Cuba and Venezuela which openly oppose the imperial domination, suppression and intervention by U.S..
Virsus that, Cuba began the activities of rescue by the about 400 medical staffs right after the earthquake, which was the almost only medical activities that is absolutely important for the rescue of the alive at the beginning phase after earthquake.
Cuba's medical support to Haiti has been provided since 1998 for more than 10 years. It started as medical support to large damage by the hurricane in that year. After that, more than 6,000 Cuban supporters as the total number, have been providing medical support through "General Health Care Program". Cuba and Venezuela built 5 general medical centers in Haiti.
The results of such medical support were clearly shown in the statistics. In the period from 1999 till 2007, the deaths of newborns became from 80 to 33 per 1,000; the deaths of infants from 135 to 59 per 1,000; the deaths of childbirth mothers from 523 to 285 per 100 thousand; and the average life expectancy from 54 to 61.
Just because of these steady support activities, Cuba's medical staffs were able to do the important rescues right after the outbreak of the earthquake.
MSF (Medesins Sans Frontieres) sent many staffs to provide medical activities, too. Many medical supporters of U.S. and Canada also took active parts. Including them, there are some statistics of the main medical support activities from the outbreak of the earthquake till the last of March. According to them, the staffs that provided medical support at the local areas, are 3,408 of MSF, 45 of Canada, 550 of U.S., and 1,504 of Cuba. The treated sufferers are 54,000 by MSF, 21,000 by Canada, 871 by U.S., and 227,143 by Cuba. The number of surgical operations are 3,700 by MSF, 0 by Canada, 843 by U.S., and 6,499 by Cuba.
Needless to say, it is obviously shown what is the genuine support. "We send doctors, not soldiers." said Fidel Castro. But the major mass media never reported these activities by Cuba. On the contrary, they repeatedly screamed that "Collapsed" Haiti is the country which can't keep security and order without foreign "support", to justify the dispatch of troops by U.S., France, Japan and so on.
We must have the "eye" to look into the truth without being deceived by the propaganda or hipocrisy by mass media.
It is said that the name of Haiti means "land with a lot of hills" in the language of the native tribe that was wiped out to extinction, Taino-Arawak. The black slaves who won the independence, intended with this name of Haiti to express a sense of identity with the extinct native people as well as a mind that cherishes the rich nature of their land, I feel. It is also the expression of the spirit that never allow domination and suppression by foreign countries, I think.
In the declaration of independence in 1804, they declared, "We swear to the people all over the world and the future generations, that we rather choose death than live in the domination of France." And the constitution enacted soon after the independence, stated the permanent abolition of slavery and the prohibition of possessing lands and properties by foreigners in Haiti.
But just because Haiti intended to realize such high ideals as forerunner of the world, it was isolated and completely bullied through, by the great powers of Europe, mainly France, and also by U.S., which has continued on and on till now.
Those who looked down on Haiti as "collapsed" country of failure, should look in the truth mentioned above in this article. And if they live in the imperial countries, including in Japan, they should be ashamed of themselves.
(Haiti is the most typical example. There are many cases like Haiti all over the world. As for Japan, Okinawa has been just the inner colony of Japan. Now when we think about the problem of the U.S. bases in Okinawa especially in Hutemma, we should have the same viewpoint as on Haiti.)
"Haiti：Beyond the Mainstream Messages. Meet the Truth!" (klimaforum09) http://old.klimaforum09.org/New-translation-Haiti-Beyond-the?lang=da /
"Venezuela's Chavez Forgives Haiti's Debt" （venezuelanalysis.com） http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/5102 /
"Cuban Medical Aid to Haiti" (Counterpunch) http://www.counterpunch.org/kirk04012010.html
Huminori Sato, "Doukoku no Haiti (Haiti, Crying Bitterly)" (Gaifusha, 2007)
Tadao Hama, "Haiti no Eikou to Kunan (Glory and Sufferings of Haiti)" (Tosui Shobou, 2007)
Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel" (Soushi-sha, 2000 in Japan)