by John Maxwell The depth of American culpability for Haiti's misery is immeasurable. At every stage in the first Black republic's history, the U.S. has attempted to snuff out not just the spirit of the people, but the people themselves. In the current era of occupation by American surrogates, Haitians are denied the elemental necessities of life, such as food and potable water. Because the Americans and French willed it so, Haitians "would have to forget that they were human beings deserving of rights and respect; they would still be dipping water from gutters and puddles. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
None Dare Call It Genocide
by John Maxwell
This article originally appeared in
"The United States has felt able, whenever it chose, to ‘intervene' to put the Haitians in their proper place."
It may come as a surprise to many more Europeans than to American white people that a great many intelligent and sophisticated people of African ancestry are convinced that there are important classes of whites who are conspiring to wipe them off the face of the Earth.
This may be the most pervasive conspiracy theory of all because it is made more credible by an impressive history of genocidal attacks on black people and other non-whites. Advocates for "Indians" of the Amazon say the natives believe they are threatened not simply by greedy ranchers and gold miners but by missionaries from the United states, hoping to clear oil-rich areas of the indigenous populations as in Darfur. In Bolivia, for example, the recent attempt by some provinces to disaffiliate themselves from the rest of the state is seen as a kind of proto-genocide aimed at separating the richest land from control by the majority Indian populations.
The slave trade was itself a genocidal operation as well as a plutocratic enterprise, and there are those who say that the damage done by the slave trade has been grievously underestimated, in order to deprecate the importance of Africans and their civilizations and, therefore, their worth in the world.
King Leopold's "civilizing" assault on the Congolese, described by him as a charitable endeavor comparable in intent to the Red Cross, was able to kill 10 million Congolese in 20 years, suggesting that the toll of the slave trade may have been grossly underestimated. In South Africa, the 50 year Apartheid regime was not only explicitly anti-African, but in its terminal stages was frantically developing biocidal agents to eliminate and exterminate black people all over the world. Dr. Wouter Basson, a cardiologist, was the lead scientist in the attempt to sanitize the world for white people. He still practices medicine in South Africa.
The United States has always had a bad reputation in race matters. Although a black Barbadian, Crispus Attucks was the first American military casualty of the Revolutionary war, and blacks from Haiti, including the later Emperor of Haiti Henri Cristophe, fought for American Independence, blacks were infamously defined as only three fifths human when the new state proclaimed its freedom and independence.
It was probably no surprise that twenty years later when the new state of Haiti proclaimed its own independence, the Haitians, having fought for freedom over three centuries, thought it so precious that they implemented the first universal declaration of human rights, valuing every human being, male and female, adult and child, as essentially entitled to the same rights.
Ever since then the Americans and the Haitians have been at odds over freedom and human rights and the United States has felt able, whenever it chose, to "intervene" to put the Haitians in their proper place.
There is not enough time to detail the various methods used to pacify the restless natives of Haiti, including dive-bombing peasants in the 1920s, installing a cruel and corrupt army in the thirties and watching paternally as the army and the elite, empowered by the US, wreaked their sadistic and oppressive will on the Haitian people.
Having tolerated and fostered the wicked Duvalier dictatorships for 30 years, the US and its elite clients were not about to let democracy loose on the Haitian people. And when the Haitians decided to reclaim their freedom under the leadership of Jean Bertrand Aristide, the Americans first sabotaged and then aborted the Haitians' dreams of democracy, first by blackmail and then at gunpoint. ‘Rock stone a' river bottam' If the Americans had left the Haitians to their own devices they would probably be just as poor but a lot less miserable.
When Jean Bertrand Aristide took office in Haiti in 1990 it was with the enthusiastic approval of the Haitian people, who saw in him the man of their dreams of emancipation, the little black priest who knew them and what they wanted to do. The Duvaliers and their successor military rulers allowed the parasitic elite, Haitian/American businessmen and other foreigners with "dual citizenship" to rape and pillage Haiti. Aristide meant to build paradise on the dungheap their oppressors had created. That was not the American/elite plan.
They threw him out after a few months but relented under pressure to accept him back in 1994 to serve out the few months left of his term. When he campaigned again for reelection after the Preval interregnum (Haitian presidents are limited to one term) the Americans directed by the International Republic Institute and US AID poured millions into Haiti to set up anti-Aristide movements. It didn't work but they continued with campaigns of lies, slander and political doublespeak designed to discredit him internationally, if not in Haiti.
Since they couldn't move his people they hit on a brilliant idea. They would make it impossible for him to govern.
"The prevalence of disease and malnutrition is staggering in Haiti. The country is plagued by the highest HIV rates in the hemisphere, representing nearly 60 percent of the known HIV infections in the Caribbean. Tuberculosis remains endemic and is a significant cause of mortality. Malaria-nearly non-existent in many other Caribbean countries-remains a deadly problem in Haiti. Even simple prevention measures, such as childhood vaccination for tuberculosis, are woefully lacking.
"Water-related diseases are also rampant throughout Haiti. For example, in 1999, infectious diarrhea was found to be the second leading cause of death in Haiti. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 88 percent of diarrhea cases in the world result from the combination of unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and improper hygiene.xlii In the same 1999 study, gastro-intestinal infection was the leading cause of under-five mortality in Haiti."
‘Water is Life' If Haiti could manage to bring clean water to the people, that alone would revolutionize the country. It would be a powerful means of raising health standards generally and preventing epidemic infant deaths. It would, by itself, be a new dawn of freedom.
The InterAmerican Development Bank agreed and in 1998 said it would lend Haiti some money to set up modern water supplies in two cities for a start. To get these loans Haiti cleaned up its debts to the international financial institutions and got ready for some progress.
They are still waiting. The water supplies, intended to reduce disease and infant mortality were repeatedly blocked by the United States and its accomplices. The George Bush administration intervened illegally to stop the IDB distributing the pittance and the other members of the Bank including France and Canada went along with the fraud. And countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and the rest of the hemisphere, caved in like terrified pimps and said not a word.
Meanwhile Aristide was getting help from Cuba to build a medical school; Dr Paul Farmer's Boston based Partners in Health was revolutionizing the management and treatment of HIV/AIDS, which had been decimating Haiti, and Aristide built more schools in three years than had been but in Haiti for the past 200.
He had to go.
Worthies such as the Jamaican descended Colin Powell swallowed the propaganda of the elite and their fascist North American friends. Luigi Einaudi, the American deputy secretary General of the Organization of American states was heard to say that all that was wrong with Haiti was that Haitians were running the place.
They would soon fix that.
Some of the most fantastic lies began to be spread about Aristide: He was a devil worshipper, a dictator, a hater of democracy, a tyrant, a terrorist, a murderer. And one fine morning in 2004, almost exactly 200 years after the worlds first declaration of human rights on the soil of Haiti, the American ambassador came to President Aristide with a message. You'd better leave old chap, or there are people here with some coffins for you and your wife.
So, the dream was over. Aristide was gone. And, best of all, the poor, disease ridden Haitians would not get their water supplies, would have to forget that they were human beings deserving of rights and respect; they would still be dipping water from gutters and puddles.
There is a report out this last week which chronicles this bestial farce in excruciatingly painful detail. It is published by a coalition of NGOs: the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, the Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice and its affiliate the International Human Rights Clinic at Mew York University's School of Law, and Partners in Health, now the largest health care providers in Haiti with its sister organization in Haiti, Zanmi Lasante, treating almost 2 million patients last year, building houses and treating malnutrition as well as AIDS and TB and The report is in English but is called in Haitian creole Wòch nan Soley : The Denial of the Right to Water in Haiti. Woch nan soley may be loosely translated into jamaican creole as "Rock stone a ribba bottam neva know sun hot."
It is an irresistible true story of some of the most depraved mischief ever visited upon any people, anywhere by another people. It may be downloaded from the web at the websites of any of the authors. Partners in Health may be found at www.pih.org. The RFK center at www.rfkmemorial.org and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at chrgj.org. Read it and weep with rage.
John Maxwell of the University of the West Indies (UWI) is the veteran Jamaican journalist who in 1999 single-handedly thwarted the Jamaican government's efforts to build houses at Hope, the nation's oldest and best known botanical gardens. His campaigning earned him first prize in the 2000 Sandals Resort's Annual Environmental Journalism Competition, the region's richest journalism prize. He is also the author of How to Make Our Own News: A Primer for Environmentalists and Journalists. Jamaica, 2000. Mr. Maxwell can be reached at