Canadian Colonialism in Haiti?

I’ve been hot on the trail of the US Administration lately, but that doesn’t mean that I have ignored the transgressions of our government here in Canada.

No, I’m not talking about the truly idiotic soap opera that’s going on between the Liberals and CPC about “The Grewal Tapes“… I’m talking about a story that I have only just heard about thanks to Matthew Good’s (yes, the same Matthew Good) excellent blog and the Canadian alternative news source, rabble.ca

From Rabble:

The situation in Haiti has deteriorated to the point that many pro-coup groups, most recently student associations that called for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s resignation, are now demanding the removal of installed Prime Minister Gerard Latortue. It is obvious, even to the casual observer, that the most destructive elements of Haitian society are reasserting their power behind the guns of UN troops.

To commemorate Haiti’s May 18 flag day, anti[-UN]-occupation groups held events from banner drops to information pickets to marches in Vancouver, Ottawa, Halifax and around the world. The actions were in solidarity with the tens of thousands who took to the streets of Port au Prince and a number of cities outside Haiti’s capital.

Since mid April, Cité Soleil, the largest and poorest slum in the country, has been a virtual prison with UN checkpoints controlling movement in and out. A recent UN military operation into the Cité left 20 dead in one weekend, according to UN officials. Community representatives in the Cité claim the actual figure was 100, mainly unarmed, residents. The situation in Cité Soleil is so desperate that in an amazing act of solidarity on April 20, thousands of demonstrators marched from the almost as impoverished neighbourhood of Bel Air to bring bags of rice to Cité residents.

Canada was one of the main players last year when troops were sent. And we continue to play a huge role in the ongoing situation in Haiti.

As Rabble says… the first step is information and breaking this story to the media that doesn’t want to cover it. We need to know the facts and we need to know what’s happening right now in Haiti and what Canada’s role is and has been.

If we wish to pretend as though we know how to do things “better” then we have to show it. Actions speak louder than words. It’s time to start asking our government what their actions have been in Haiti.

7 thoughts on “Canadian Colonialism in Haiti?”

  1. I guess I’m confused. If the UN is keeping the peace in Haiti, why do you blame Canada for backing the wrong players. Surely the UN is calling the shots.

    And by the way, if there is a place where it can be claimed it is hell on earth, it is Haiti. I have met a Haitian family who have visited my church. My church has sent several groups there to help build both church buildings and medical clinics (the Haitian family includes a wife who is an MD and runs a clinic for the poor in Port-au-Prince) and many nurses with very scarce medical supplies which are used up in a week there is such a need. Haiti is destitute and the saddest place I’ve ever known.

  2. Can I recommend a quick tour through the archives of dominionpaper.ca and of zmag.org/weluser to check the “causes” of the current intervention? The long and short is that Cnada, the US and France have powerful vested interests in ensuring that there is no democracy in Haiti:it seems to me that Levi Strauss was one of the biggest offenders here, and that US agrictultural interests ar also high on the list. The whole history of Haiti is one of a fight by the Haitians to be able to govern themselves without interference from outside powers, but that the US and France have colluded to ensure that nothing will come of it through their willingness to practice economic warfare when they aren’t puttting troops on the ground to support corporations who pay the politicians’ bills. Do a search for information on Smedley Butler, an American military figure who was part of several interventions in banana republics who finally concluded that the whole exercise was a racket. Read about the supposed electoral fraud of the Aristide government and check it against Katherine Harris in Florida or the recent smelly stuff in Ohio. The pretext for intervention is thin at best and mostly fantasy. The UN is kissing some American posterior here, and Canada is helping to make up for its public refusal to become embroiled in Iraq. It’s easier to beat up on Haiti than Iraq and few seem to care that this is another iteration of enforcing the Monroe Doctrine rather than an exercise in building democracy.

  3. I don’t blame Canada for backing the UN. I’m merely interested in what is currently going on in Haiti. There is an incredible lack of information about the current goings’on in that poor country and in the interest of ensuring that the UN and Canadians are doing the job they should, we need to know more about the situation.

    Rabble.ca brings up a potentially disturbing scenario and it needs to be investigated. As Dan points out, the US and France have dirty pasts in this nation and as these two countries represent the perhaps our two closest allies throughout the decades in both official languages it is clear that Canada potentially has their finger in a nasty pie.

  4. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. What has the US or France got to gain by keeping them in ignorance and poverty? Their only natural resource is agriculture and the sugar crop. Is sugar so valuable that the US would find that a reason to “colonize” this poor pathetic little country No I haven’t read the references from Dan. I’m at the office and will have to wait until I am home to do any reading. I’m sure it will be the usual leftist anti-american screed but what the heck, I’m game, I’ll read one more version of the litiny of American crimes against humanity.

    I know first hand that Haiti has 80 % unemployment and poverty level and 50% literacy with a burgeoning birthrate typical of 3rd world countries. It seems imporbable to me that there is any truth to the charge that we are “protecting our interests” in Haiti by proping up bad and undemocratic regimes. Aristade had a record for all the world to see of corruption, political imprisonments and deaths and plain old everyday fascisim. Perhaps we should have invaded. Oh wait, nobody likes it when we do that.

    One thing that American know first hand is that a rising tide lifts all boats. We helped Europe and currently help many other 3rd world countries with billions of dollars of aid. What logic could there be that would make successive American adminstrations keep Haiti from a democratic form of government. First we are forcing democracy on the ME and next we are obstructing democracy in our own back yard in Haiti- for sugar, yet. Makes sense to me.

  5. The litany of anti-American “screed” is, unfortunately all too well warranted:not because Americans are in any way fundamentally different from Canadians (or French or Spanish or British or Russian, and I am an American citizen), but because the US is an extraordinarily powerful nation whose ruling clique has frequently used that power for the extension of corporate power in the service of greed and lust for further power. I love Americans and have enjoyed travelling around most of the Western States and a bit of the Northeast. But notice that all the nations listed above have been involved in adventures in empire. Look at who has owned what in Haiti and you’ll see that cheap labour is what drives corporations, but also that the current administration in particular hates the idea of a truly democratic nation in its midst and proximity–a country run by the people and by representatives of the people, and not by those enlisted to give the correct answers to the limiting questions asked by the Dems and GOP. When the US stops bullying and holding back aid to small countries with democratically elected governments and plays on a fair and level economic ball field, the Haitians won’t have to worry about 80% unemployment. The ownership clique in Haiti was at the root of the UN intervention, and the whole thing was done under the same kind of false premises that lead to the invasion of Iraq and the financing of and meddling in other “revolutions” around the world intended mostly to solidify the grip of global capital on the doings of the planet. Keep reading. It’s tough, it’s time-consuming, and once you get a fuller picture of how far down the road we are to a cancerous and destructive social structure, you’ll have to ask yourself how you’re going to fit into the picture. All I want is a society where everyone strives and no one starves. Too radical? For some, yes. I would contend that without a move in that direction, cockroaches will be kings of creation before long.

  6. Dan – You’ve been in Canada too long. The Haitian labor is so cheap it’s free apparently most of the Haitians are’nt getting paid at all lest why do 80% of them have no job and no income?

    “Bullying” seems to be the favorite word of you Canucks. It’s all I hear out of you. Makes you sound so…British which I generally quite like but “bullying” is getting overworked from the leftists up there.

    ” but also that the current administration in particular hates the idea of a truly democratic nation in its midst and proximity–”

    And your proof of that statement would be?

    “All I want is a society where everyone strives and no one starves.”

    Well, just keep modeling your society after Europe. Far too little striving going on over there and a very dim future in the making with the demographics of no young workers soon to be a reality for them. Where will the money come from to keep pensioners from starving in Europe when there is only about half or less of the younger workers needed to keep the benefits above starvation level?

  7. By the way,Dan, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected (the last time) with over 90% of the votes. Doesn’t sound too democratic to me. In a free and fair democratic election, 90 % of the voters do not vote for just one man…I wonder what happened to the opposition? More US and French manipulation, no doubt. Maybe you ought to do some reading beyond dominionpaper.ca for a broader view of the Haitian situation. It just takes a little google.

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