Friday, January 15, 2010

A quick history of Haiti

This is a quick history of Haiti in a nutshell and should give you an idea why things are so screwed up there.
France and Spain were at war on the island known as Hispaniola. When the conflict was settled the island was split with the Spanish gaining the east and the French the west. The Spanish were mining gold and forcing the locals into slave labor. They also imported slaves from Africa. The French had sugar cane and indigo production and much the same conditions on their side. The Spanish and French brought with them wonderful things like small pox that did a number on the locals who had no resistance. If that weren't bad enough the Catholic church was instituting their convert or die policy. You may remember it as the inquisition.
Fast forward just a bit and the gens de couleur or natives have and win a revolution, but only temporary. It was at this time around the time of the French revolution that slavery is abolished in the colony. Political winds quickly change and Napoleon sends troops to reestablish slavery. He sends 20,000 troops to reclaim the land. Yellow fever wipes out the French troops but the Haiti leader Toussaint L'Ouverture is kidnapped and taken to France where he dies in custody. The new native leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines finally defeats the French but as an agreement for the newly formed country must pay 150 million francs to French King Charles X as reparations for the loss of slave labor profits.
During the next 200 years Haiti faces 32 coups and many brutal dictators including Pappa Doc and his son Baby doc Dulviere from 1957 to 1987. Each leader seemed to take his turn raping the country and pushing its people further into poverty.

So when I hear some blather about how they brought it on themselves or other silly notion it irritates me. This country was nothing but a gold mining town much like in the old west. Only instead of using that money to build a state or in this case a country, all the money went overseas or to an elite class rich enough to have their own armies. This event is compared to Katrina but then again maybe this quake is an example of what America could become if we're not careful. And it will be a true test of our "civilized" society. We're lucky enough to be large enough that people in a city or state can move elsewhere. The people of Haiti have no where to go.
And as for Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh I think they need to go back and reread the book of Job.


Four Dinners said...

Some human beings are intrinsicly bad and some do their best to be good.

Sounds like Haiti's had more than it's share of the bad.

Actually, I can't recall hearing anything on TV or radio from Haiti government officials.

Have they got any?

S.W. Anderson said...

I heard on the radio a day or two ago that for many years Haiti was a major sugar producer. Then, U.S. agribusinesses (think corn/fructose producers) and sugar interests put the slats to Haiti's sugar industry, and left large numbers of Haitians without work. Some began cutting down trees, with the result that runoff created flooding and eroded topsoil, screwing up what could be decent farmland.

These are facts of Haiti's past and present Limbaugh, O'Reilly and other lowlife media types won't discuss, of course.

Randal Graves said...

You forgot the part about Satan.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic read!.
Prior to this post, I knew very little of Haiti.So lemme see if I have this right:
Greedy,powerful aristocracy that kept for themselves instead of furnishing their people w/proper housing and services, is why we are seeing such devastation and the suffering that comes along with it?
What's not to understand?

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