A critically pedagogical analysis of the Haitian devastation
> Critical pedagogists have a peculiar way of examining people, current events, politics, claims-for-democracy, the canonized curriculum, and the occasional dissonance that erupts when all of the former don’t align with what good ol’ learning is supposed to constitute. Good learning according to some scholars included within the critical-pedagogy orbit (Chomsky, 2000; Loewen, 1995; Sardar & Davies; Vidal, 2004; Zinn, 1980, 2005), especially relevant to the part about the role that teaching has been an instrument of developing patriotism and unquestioning acquiescence of America’s domestic affairs and foreign forays, is to be blind to making critical associations between then and now. Good ‘ol teaching in their critical assessment is that style of pedagogy that sustains the status quo. I recently polled a cadre of students (ages vary appreciably along a K-12, and post-secondary spectrum) regarding what association automatically comes to mind when I mention Christoper Columbus and Haiti. Invariably speaking, despite the age of the respondent or the scholarly level, none were able to respond beyond the mere refrain–after a pregnant pause–that they didn’t know. Wow!, and that’s to say the least.
Regarding the cataclysmic tragedy that has gripped the island of Haiti and has immobilized, killed, left destitute, and exposed the abject poverty that Haitians have been inuring for seemingly forever, we know two certain realities. First, the palpable damage wrought by the severe earthquake more than a week ago–with its epicenter near the heart of Haiti–demonstrated the magnitude with which nature’s forces are utterly callous and remorseless respecting the lives lost in its wake. Human beings surveying the plenary destruction that has shattered the human lives and the physical infrastructure of Haiti find incomprehensible the fact that an estimated 150,000 to 250,000 lives have perished. Perhaps because we can’t predict or control the movements and subsequent demolition with which earthquakes occur and prevail, leaves us stultified–feeling inadequate, really–that shakes our internal security. Secondly, the earthquake that compounded the pre-existing destructions that Haitians were forced to abide, had sister earthquakes of seemingly stronger magnitude that left in the wake of its aftermath socioeconomic damage along with political instability and physical destruction; though the epicenters of those tremblors originated not on the island itself, but rather in Western Europe and America. In times not too long ago.
This theatre of the absurd that we are entranced with–for now that is, because amnesia of history is the first casualty of democracy–, with its actors all appearing as benevolent protagonists that are hard to disdain and disagree with, are on the stage itself. Sure, even the much parodied Greek plays consist of tragedy and felicity; however, sometimes the most important facts concerning the assigned roles that each is to play have been carefully and scrupulously relegated to the unread scripts that were left behind the curtain…you know… backstage. Sometimes those truths are daunting and damn-near demonstrable of the fairytales that people have been told to obfuscate questions that produce disquietedness; questions that sometimes reduce things down to binarisms of black-and-white; right-and-wrong; just-0r-unjust; democratic-or-
In the introduction to Paul Farmer’s (2005) presciently political analysis of the risible historicization that the United States and cooperating European nations have employed “The Uses of Haiti,” Noam Chomsky iterates a truism that is incontrovertible prima facie; yet, short on the essential why’s on stating “[t]his is a book I fear is fated for oblivion” (p. 15). He was right to a degree, and not because the book or its topic was uninteresting. No! It was because the Haitians were slated for oblivion ever since their initial encounter with European ambassadors of religion and the precursors of democracy.
Jonathan M. Katz, a news correspondent for the Associated Press, in a San Francisco Chronical article entitled, “A week after quake, aid is elusive,” quotes a mother of two who has been living on the streets with extended family pleading, “We need so much food.” Katz informs us that, “It is not just Haitians questioning why aid has been so slow for victims of one of the worst earthquakes in history: an estimated 200,000 dead, 250,000 injured and 1.5 million homeless,” but that additional declaratives and interrogatives are abounding. Dr. Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health, and the deputy U.N. envoy to Haiti, while also being the author of the aforementioned book, released a statement saying that “Our medical director has estimated that 20,000 people are dying eacvh day who could be saved by surgery.” The reasons, though varied, that attribute to the exacerbated numerical figures quantifying the noy-yet-dead, according to Katz, may be teh result of “pre-existing poverty and malnutrition [that] put some at risk even before the quake hit.” The beginning and sustainment of that poverty is one of those truths kept behind the curtain. So too is that institution that has facilitated the maintenance of a portion of that poverty that has been indicted in the following telling observation and inquiry by Marie-Noelle Rodrigue, the Doctor’s Without Border’s deputy operations manager, who commented within Katz’s article that “[i]’s frustrating to see planes landing, officials coming in and military planes coming in, carrying military personnel and their supplies… We see there are priorities being given but don’t understand on what grounds.” Let’s see what history has to say about these peripatetic characters who have had a direct hand in Haiti’s immiseration.
Haiti was the first independent nation brought into being as the result of its revolutionary black slaves effecting a successful slave revolt against its white, imperialist European masters. Sure, many of us are taught about the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria–the conveyances that would introduce Christopher Columbus to the “New World;” and the indigenous inhabitants of such would be introduced to deception, destruction, Christian deliverance, and death. Gold was Columbus’s initial motivation, finding it wherever he could–plundering all along the way–and the welfare of those destroyed in the process was fathomably okay by his religious interpretations. As Admiral Columbus explained in a letter to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, dated July 1503: “Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise” (Loewen, 1995; Major, 1961). And those original inhabitants of the island that Columbus encountered, the island that the autochthonous inhabitants called Ayiti (meaning high mountainous country) were lighter complected than the the Haitians of contemporary times. How did that come to be? What happened to the original population that Columbus encountered? “For,” as Farmer explicates, “a Haitian people to be created anew, the original Haitians had to be effaced…[and] this process took surprisingly little time, despite the island’s large indigenous populatio” (2005, p. 53).
The first thing that Columbus did, acting in a prefatory manner respecting what succeeding European imperial colonialists would follow, was to convince his native charges of their mutable position in the overarching design of colonialism. The Requerimento, though read aloud in Spanish to a non-Spanish speaking population, was the first order of business explaining this. It read:
I implore you to recognize the Church as a lady and in the name of the Pope take the King as lord of this land and obey his mandates. If you do not do it, I tell you that with the help of God I will enter powerfully against you all. I will make war everywhere and every way that I can. I will subject you to the yoke and obedience to the Church and to his majesty. I will take your women and children and make them slaves… The deaths and injuries that you will receive from here on will be your own fault and not that of his majesty nor of the gentlemen that accompany me (Loewen, 1995, p. 43).
And how prescient those words would be for the onslaught of disaster that would be exacted against the first Arawak-speaking Haitian indigenous group; then later on, for their African replacements. Though systematically chronological was the cause-and-effect of Columbus’s original lusting for gold, and the denouement that materialized in decimation of the Arawaks, the complimentary components of fairytales that are sing-sung in every school-child’s class about the 1492 miraculous feat almost leaves one misty-eyed for the Admiral, his crew, and his boats. Yet, when history, in the eloquent words of Howard Zinn, in his book A People’s History of the United States, is merely:
The treatment of heroes (Columbus) and their victimes (the Arawaks)–the quiet acceptance of conquest and murder in the name of progress–is only one aspect of a certain approach to history, in which the past is told from the point of view of governments, conquerors, diplomats, leaders (1980, p. 9.).
However, when variant perspectives of history are assumed, ones that amplify the conventionally muted narratives of the indigenous, we find that European imperialism, and its off-shoots of democracy were shams. Let’s examine a little more closely what happened to the Arawaks that would eventuate their replacement by a blacker, and in the cultural mindset of imperialistic Europe, more dispicable people, than the Arawaks. For this, we have to quote Zinn at lenght when informs us that:
On Hispaniola [island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic], out of timbers from the Santa Maria, which had run aground, Columbus built a fort, the first European military base in the Western Hemisphere. He called it Navidad (Christmas) and left thirty-nine crew members there, with instructions to find and store the gold. He took more Indian prisoners and put them aboard his two remaining ships. At one part of the island he got into a fight with Indians who refused to trade as many bows and arrows as he and his men wanted. Two were run through with swords and bled to death. Then the Nina and the Pinta set sail for the Azures and Spain. When the weather turned cold, the Indian prisoners begain to die (1980, p. 3).
After persuading Spain’s royalty to financially back the next expedition for the gold that could be mined by the specimens representing the native Arawaks, with the promise that Godliness would go before goldliness, “Columbus’s second voyage was the true beginning of the invasion of the Americas” (Stannard, 1992, p. 67). For that particular voyage, outfitted with over a thousand soldiers and prospective colonists–and stopping along the way at the Canary Islands to upload steerage consisting of cattle, pigs, and goats–would introduce death by way of disease and drudgery that would depopulate the island expeditiously. If it wasn’t the result of “[m]ore than 50,000 natives [who] were reported dead from those encounters [from the swine influenza that spread within a couple of months of the pigs arriving on the island],” than the rapaciousness with which Columbus sought his gold, sure finished the job. Latter-day terrorists could learn a lesson or two on how true, unflinching terror is used to subjugate a people. “In March 1495,” we are told by D. E. Stannard in his book American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World:
he massed together several hundred armored troops, cavalry, and a score or more of trained attack dogs. They set forth across the countryside, tearing into assembled masses of sick and unarmed native people, slaughtering them by the thousands. The pattern set by these raids would be the model the Spanish would follow for the next decade and beyond (1992, p. 70)
And if the veracity concerning the reporting of such depradations be questioned as hyperbole, or revisionist history-telling, let’s lend an ear to one of Columbus’s missionary priests, Bartolome de Las Casas, who we know wouldn’t tell a lie regarding the terrorism employed. When some of the Arawaks were initially killed outright in the open, and this carnage sent those who had temporarily survived seeking refuge for cover in the surrounding forrest, de Las Casas, in a florid manner, explains that:
Once the Indians were in the woods, the next step was to form squadrons and pursue them, and whenever the Spaniards found them, they pitilessly slaughtered everyone like sheep in a corral. It was a general rule among Spaniards to be cruel; not just cruel, but extraordinarily cruel so that harsh and bitter treatment would prevent Indians from daring to think of themselves as human beings or having a minute to think at all. So they would cut a Indian’s hands and leave them dangling by a shred of skin and they would send him on saying “Go now, spread the news to your chiefs.” They would test their swords and their manly strength on captured Indians and place bets on the slicing off of heads or the cutting of bodies in half with one blow. They burned or hanged captured chiefs (de Las Casas, 1542).
Again, I can only ponder how many school-age children are told the real story of the contact and deliberate depopulation of the authochthonous Haiti inhabitants. And if the thinking is that adult men were the invariant victims of such wrath, de Las Casas deserves our attention for one more moment because he says that:
The Spaniards found pleasure in inventing all kinds of odd cruelties, the more cruel the better, with which to spill human blood. They built a long gibbet, low enough for the toes to touch the ground and prevent strangling, and hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Savior and the twelve Apostles. When the Indians were thus still alive and hanging, the Spaniards tested their strength and their blades against them, ripping chests open with one blow and exposing entrails, and there were those who did worse. Then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive. One man caught two children about two years old, pierced their throats with a dagger, then hurled them down a precipice (de Las Casas, 1971, p. 94).
This orgy-fest of disembowelment, decapitations, drudgery, and deliberate diabolical dispossession had so feverishly run its rampant course that “[b]y 1496,” as Stannard proceeds to tell us length:
the population of Hispaniola [Haiti] had falled from eight million to between four and five million. By 1508, it numbered less than a hundred thousand. By 1518 it numbered less than twenty thousand. And by 1535, say the leading scholars in this grim topic, for all practical purposes, the native population was extinct. In less than the normal lifetime of a single human being, an entire culture of millions of people, thousands of years resident in their homeland, had been exterminated (pp. 74-75).
The teaching of economy is sometimes regarded as a core academic mathematically-laden subject that is rarely introduced in lone fashion; much less in a contextual matter prior to high school matriculation. However, if the catalyst for the enrichment of western Europe–and later its satellites–originated in the gold extraction, unpaid labor, forced extinction of indigenous gruops, and their eventual replacement by Africans that would exacerbate the triangular trade as aftershocks of the epicenters in Europe, than that kind of economics is easily comprehensible and teachable. When humans are reduced to commodities that produce untold wealth for others, yet are deprived of their ownership of their own bodies, much less their work, I beg to differ, but that kind of economics explains the enormities of extended socioeconomic debilitations. So, when de Las Casas witnessed the wholesale annihilation of one group, his sympathy key struck another tone–he suggested Africans as a suitable replacement for the drudgery that the natives couldn’t endure. The future uses of Haiti really commence therefrom. As Farmer convincingly apprises us about this genesis, it’s an eye-opener. He says that:
With the rapid disappearance of the “Indians,” Spanish settlers needed another source of expendable manpower with which to build forts, mine for gold, and clear and till the soil. Columbus had introduced sugar cane, an event that was to have enduring signficance on this island, as elsewhere in the New World. Cultivation of this difficult crop required slaves, and for this, the enterprising colonists turned toward Africa. Transatlantic traffic in humans began in earnest in 1517; by 1540, some 30,000 Africans had been imported to Hispaniola. By then, many sugar plantations boasted more than 200 slaves (2005, p. 54).
So rapid was the blackening of the population of Haiti by the enforced importation of African slaves, that by the turn of the century, according to the observations of the then present historian, Antonio de Herera, in his words, “There are so many Negroes in this island, as a result of the sugar factories, that the land seems an effigy or an image of Ethiopia itself” (Williams, 1970).
It is absolutely critical that we establish at the outset of the discussion of the enforced Transatlantic Slave Trade that we indubitably accept the fact this lot wasn’t meekishly accepted by the Africans–for they were still Africans, though physically displaced–until those intrinsically cultural and essentialist qualities of Africanness were beat, bred, and bled out of them. Rebellion and revolt, on the part of the Africans emptied from the Bight of Benin for that triangular trade, began from the word go. Many of those Africans were the same ones who lineage reached back into the glory of the Ghanaian, Malian, and Songhay Empires–empires that attested the strong values that Islam had inculcated within their fibre of being (Jackson, 1994). We have to juxtapose this against the pitiless and placid pictorials of the contemporary Haitians as being weak, unmanageable, forlorn, and a hapless people. The slave revolts that began at the time of physical restrainment in Africa, to the continuation in the form of attempted mutinees on slave ships, to the strategized, calculated, and oft-times spontaneous revolts of the masses that spread like conflagration across plantations throughout the Americas, has well been documented and recorded by a host of scholars (Aptheker, 1952; Diouf, 1998; Du Bois, 1965; Franklin & Moss, Jr., 1994; Jackson, 1970; James, 1989; Stampp, 1984; Zinn, 1980). C. L. R. James for instance, in his book, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Overture and the San Domingo Revolution, delineates the predicating factors that systemmatized the inhuman conditions underwhich slaves were stockaded. We have to quote James at considerable length to appreciate the slaves’ determination to revolt. He says:
Contrary to the lies that have been spread so pertinaciously about Negro docility, the revolts at the port of embarkation and on board were incessant, so that the slaves had to be chained, right hand to right leg, left hand to left leg, and attached in rows to long bars. In this position they lived for the voyage, coming up once a day for exercise and to allow the sailors to “clean the pails.” But when the cargo was rebellious or the weather bad, then they stayed below for weeks at a time (James, 1989, p. 8).
Those subjected to such debasement weren’t no punk people ( I know, the dreaded use of the double-negative; however, though deemed a grammatical deficit by some eurocentric scholars, many dialects employ its use). Revolution always festered; not only beneath the surface, but was scorchingly transmissable to all submerged within that enterprise.
A combination of factors made the cauldron of slavery that more complex and perdurable for the slaves involved within the treacherous enterprise. For one, since there was a dramatic shift from a gold-mining venture for wealth to agriculturally-oriented pursuits, the work required was doubly back-breaking. For another, the conveyance of slaves across the ocean, soon to be followed by enforced servitude, took its toll. The economics of profit was realized through the selling of skin.
The work was exceptionally difficult for the slaves; especially subsequent to the signing of the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697 that ceded a third of the western portions of Hispaniola to France. “Thus began in earnest the era of sugar slavery, which had been foretold in the previous century but would in the 1700s become a malevolent machine” (Farmer, 2005, p. 55). However, the effect of the “machine” was deleterious for the humans. For as James reminds us:
[T]he slaves in San Domingo could not replenish their number by reproduction. After that dreaded journey across the ocean a woman was usually sterile for two years. The life in San Domingo killed them off fast. The planters deliberately worked them to death rather than wait for children to grow up (1989, p. 14).
And this is incontestable on two accounts. First, we know that the plantation system–especially the sugar, cotton, and tobacco–was worked from can’t- see- in- the- morning until can’t- see- at- night. Secondly, as Farmer elaborately posits:
The trade’s bookeepers left precise records. One has only to compare annual “import” figures with the year-end census to see that slaves did not last long on the plantations of Saint-Domingue. One historian estimates that between 1766 and 1775, the quasi-totality of one sugar plantation’s slaves were replaced by “new blood,” most of it in newly arrived Africans (2005, p. 55).
We could go on, and on, and on. We could finally arrive at the juncture in this sordid history when the slaves after multiple fits-and-starts of initiating a successful uprising and revolution, finally recognized such in 1804 after repelling the French colonialists and Napoleon’s war machine backed admiralcy; and this subsequent to the French citizenry getting its inspiration for overthrowing its oppressive government by the revolution launched in the United States against Britain. Yes, revolutions are infectious. However, all revolutions sought to overturn tyranny and oppression aren’t perceived as inherent valuations materialized as human beings’ quest for self-determination. According to James Loewen in his telling book, Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, other things determined whether Haiti was going to be recognized as a legitimate cause for freedom. But this is revealing, for this is the part tht most teachers forget to inform their students about United State’s blind justice. Loewen reminds us that:
Our young nation got its first chance to help in the 1790s, when Haiti revolted against France. Whether a president owned slaves seems to have determined his policy toward the second independent nation in the hemisphere. George Washington did, so his administration loaned hundreds of thousands of dollars to the French planters in Haiti to help them suppress their slaves. John Adams did not, and his administration gave considerable support to the Haitians. Jefferson’s presidency marked a general retreat from the idealism of the Revolution. Like the slaveowners, Jefferson preferred a Napoleonic colony to a black republic in the Caribbean. In 1801 he reversed U.S. policy toward Haiti and secretly gave France the go-ahead to reconquer the island. In so doing, the United States not only betrayed its heritage, but also acted against its own self-interest (1995, pp. 149-150).
That accent on betrayal that would slur the democratic speech that is invariably concomitant America’s foreign and domestic policies, would remain consistent in America’s treatment fo Haiti. “Those niggers (yeah, this was the parlance of that day) over there, thinking that they’re so independent, uppity, siddity, and all, well, let them just make a lone go at it and see where that gets them.” Although fabricated, that conversant line guided America’s interest toward them until now.
Those acts of betrayal weren’t just rhetorical devices used like a dog’s bark to repel. No! Those pronouncements had teeth that facilitated an entrenchment of political-economic debilitation and volatility that would keep Haiti financially insolvent and dependent for two centuries. For just as Jean-Jeacque Dessalines, considered by many to be the founding father of Haiti–after Toussaint L’Overture–, declared in 1804 after the massacre of the French that, “[n]ever again shall colonist or European set foot on this soil as master or landowner. This shall henceforward be the foundation of our constitution;’ that document was nullified by hegemonists in absentia.
Shortly after Haiti’s independence, the United States colluded with a quartet of European nations–France included–to, “orchestrate a diplomatic quarantine of ‘the Black Republic’ as the island’s leaders dubbed their new country” (Farmer, 2005, p. 65). So salient were the components of race and racism as governing forces determining the implausibility of the formal recognition of a self-determined, self-sustaining, independent republic nation predominated by blacks, that according to historian Robert Lawless (1992), an exchange of racial sentiments flavored the discourse between France’s foreign minister and President Monroe. Such dialogue, though expressed in missive form, stated that the fulcrum point behind denying support for Haiti existed because:
the existence of a Negro people in arms, occupying a country it has soiled by the most criminal of acts, is a horrible spectacle for all white nations…There are no reasons…to grant support to these brigands who have declared themselves the enemies of all government (p. 76).
Furthermore, the United States, demonstrating that she could be a conciliatory host of sorts to the perdurable suppression of blacks (for we have to keep in mind that slavery as an institution of debauchery, death, and dispossession made the U.S. exceptionally wealthy beyond the competing imperial and colonial nations) set teeth firmly behind the bark uttered before. With its eye on the restive black population in the states potentially being inspired by the independence and thriving of Haiti, and an impetus provided by the recent acquisition of the Louisiana Purchase that accelerated the U.S. aspirations for Western Hemispere hegemony that would reach full expression in the 1823 Monroe Doctrine, Haiti was to be fully contained. As Lawless explicates further, this didn’t just last a short while, because:
The United States blocked Haiti’s invitation to the famous Western Hemisphere Panama Conference of 1825 and refused to recognize Haitian independence until 1862. This isolation was imposed on Haiti by a frightened white world, and Haiti became a test case first, for those arguing about emancipation and then, after the end of slavery, for those arguing about the capacity of blacks for self-government. Great Britain was one of the few nations that had dipomatic relations with Haiti, and it was from the writings of English racists and antiabolitionists that Haiti began to get it widespread press (1992, p. 82).
Consequently, what was to be expected from such bullying from the big boys on the world block was the ostrasization of Haiti by the international community. Haiti was treated like a step-child. And as Farmer reminds us:
Though some have confused this status with economic and political isolation, a pariah nation may have many uses. It may be a source of raw materials and tropical produce, much as a colony; it may serve as a market for goods; it may serve as a cautionary tale (2005, pp. 67).
Cautionary tale indeed. For with the socio-relations of Haitians already set at odds with an imported racial hierarchization scale that put mulattos and whites on top, and the darker Haitians on the bottom, in conjunction with stepped-up pressure by the U.S. for political and economic complementary disruption, the sordid story of Haiti’s step into the 20th century would read like script. Since many of the future reentrenchments were delivered at gunpoint, the remaining shall be a bulletted synopsis of Haiti’s perpetuated economic depression.
Just like any other presumed colony, Haiti was occupied by the United States from 1915-1934. Yes, that read from 1915 through 1934. That was a permanent militaristic occupation. America was already familiar with the waters surrounding Haiti, for as Hans Schmidt reminds us, “Navy ships visited Haitian ports to ‘protect American lives and property’ in 1857, 1859, 1868, 1869, 1876, 1888, 1889, 1892, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, and 1913” (Schmidt, 1995, p. 31).
Subsequent to the United States’s military leaving the island in 1934,separated only by the short intermission that WWII would shift America’s attention directly from Haiti, political and economic direction for the caribbean nation would still be guided by U.S. hegemonic order. Two successive puppet regimes under Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and his son, Jean-Claude “Baby-Doc” Duvalier, from 1957 until February 7, 1986, left the masses of Haitians poverty-striken while American stooges waxed financailly fat.
The raw materials that Haiti has been blessed with have not been utilized by the Haitians for self-enrichment. That business of Haiti being treated as a colony stood true for all materials, animate and inanimate. Proof: geologically speaking, Haiti sits on one of the richest limestone deposits. Limestone is one of the critical components required for manufacturing cement, yet Haiti imports a disproportionate ratio cement to that it exports. This is one of the residuals of the economic debilitations that have remained intact since the early 20th century. The journalist, Kim Ives, who was recently interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!, speaks more eloquently about the economic domination exacted against Haiti.
The story is long, winding, and complex. Americans looking across the Gulf now, looking at Haitians with their hands extended out, asking sincerely for assistance, begging for the richest of nations to give a portion of what they have fleeced from this former “jewel,” should reexamine the why’s and wherefore’s regarding Haiti’s perpetually grinding poverty. That poverty was intentional. That poverty was deliberate. And the selection by the Obama administration to have both Clinton and Bush head-up the earthquake relief effort might really have some doubting where this help will end up. Both of those administrations deeply secured the political-economic demise from which the island suffers from. There are already some Haitians–though as appreciative as can humanly be–questioning the heavy military buildup in their country; and anticipating the departure of those troops.
So that future teachers could possibly provide a balance to the ledger, perhaps the U.S. may just provide humanitarian assistance without that damning military occupation that just puts a sinking feeling into a people’s heart who have already tasted the bullets and butter of American foreign humanitarian assistance. Perhaps, the U.S. may relax and make more fair the double-standard attached to the granting of Haitians asylum if they reach our shores. Where for some Cubans exiting Cuba has been accepted (as long as they’re majoritively anti-Castro), the majority of Haitians have been detained; then deported. Perhaps all foreign debts that Haiti owes to the IMF and the World Bank may be forgiven and expunged. That’s a start. Oh yeah, there is one more thing… we have to begin telling those truths about America’s involvement with peripheral nations, large and small, that gradually abut against, and contravene, those seemingly sanctimonious principles of democracy.
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