I congratulate you and your feature writer Roberta Staley for reporting on the deplorable conditions in Haiti today [“Haiti’s road to ruin”, December 11-18]. I do wish the writer had probed more deeply her suggestion that foreign interference shares some blame for the situation.
Over the past 32 years, the Haitian people have fought courageously to establish progressive government that would tackle the country’s poverty and underdevelopment. First, they overthrew the U.S.–backed Duvalier family dictatorship in a popular uprising in 1986. Then they elected socially progressive governments three times—in 1990, 1995, and 2000. The 1990 and 2000 governments were overthrown by force and violence, with indispensable international backing and bankrolling.
Canada supported the second overthrow, in February 2004, contributing 800 soldiers to the dirty deed. It also joined in the ban on foreign aid that followed the second election to the presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2000. That ban was accompanied by a fierce propaganda war falsely accusing Aristide’s government of human-rights violations.
The true story was that Aristide was unwilling to sacrifice the population’s urgent needs to the demands of the foreign financial institutions and agribusinesses that bleed Haiti dry.
Canada remains a central participant in the UN–sponsored military and police mission in Haiti. The mission spends an astounding $600 million per year, all the while delivering next to nothing in social and economic development.
As I observed while in Haiti last year, the population deeply resents the refusal of the UN and the big three overlords—the U.S., France, and Canada—to do anywhere near what is needed to tackle the near-apocalyptic conditions in the country.
> Roger Annis, Haiti Solidarity B.C. / Vancouver