Thursday, February 04, 2010

Take Over Haiti?

A recent Washington Post article claimed that Haitians want the U.S. to take over the country. The story originally ran as Haitians Implore U.S. to 'take over' but was changed to As food distribution improves, Haitians want U.S to 'take over'.

The original article claims that Haitians want the U.S. to take over based on a couple of quotes from people on the street. It portrays the U.S. as reluctant helpers, in Haiti for solely humanitarian reasons.

Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia claim that the U.S. is using humanitarian aid as cover to take over the country. Those three countries have used every opportunity to paint the U.S. as an imperial power, but the history of U.S.-Haitian relations fits that narrative. Between 1868-1990, U.S. gunboats were sent to Haiti 28 times (Williams, US-Grenada Relations, pg. 8. He cites Musicant, The Banana Wars). The U.S. military has been in Haiti since then as well. From 1915-1934, the U.S. military ran Haiti.

There is no doubt that the Haitian government is incapable of providing desperately needed services to its beleaguered populace. The U.S. is the most able entity to fill that gap. After emergency aid is given, the question becomes, what will the U.S. do next? Will the U.S. use this tragedy to exploit Haiti as a cheap source of labor, or will Haiti be given a chance to succeed finally free of imperialists, interventions, and irresponsible leaders?

(The HQT-IE)

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