Haiti – Securing the Caribbean Nation’s Future

March 1, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

The island nation in the western hemisphere is still struggling to deal with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that caused an estimated three hundred thousand lives and millions displaced in the capital, Port-Au-Prince.

International aid, particularly from the United States and the global community to the relief organizations was significant for it helped in saving lives.

Despite the efforts, the suffering is far from over. The Haitian government is gradually addressing the humongous challenges following the catastrophe. Due to lack of resources, the government and the citizens were ill prepared for the calamity.

It’s noticeable in the comparison between Haiti and Chile, the recent earthquake victim.

Although, Chile has lost lives in the natural disaster, fortunately the death toll is proportionately less considering the greater magnitude than the one in Haiti.

Nevertheless, every life matters and the governments’ capabilities to restore normalcy is often tested during such national crisis.

Then there are displacement issues that are more demanding, with the population exodus from the disaster areas. If it’s harder for rich nations to cope with the tremendous humanitarian tasks after the natural events as seen during Katrina, it’s even more difficult for the poorer countries to salvage.

In Haiti’s case, the nation has been subject to prolonged foreign occupation and intervention initially by the French colonial power and,

Subsequently through U.S policy that enabled the military coups including the abduction of the democratically elected President Jean-Bertinand Aristide, currently forced into exile in South Africa and,

The U.S economic policy, that allowed corporations to dismantle the functioning economic structure established during the rare peaceful political atmosphere in Haiti.

Even though, the United States is currently making concessions to accept the earthquake victims as asylum seekers, the U.S foreign policy contributing to Haiti’s status quo cannot be ignored.

The present U.S gesture is admirable.

However, the previous administrations’ policy has transformed the once self-supportive Haitians into economic refugees in their soil.

U.S performance with respect to the military coups in Latin America has been consistent and Haiti is no exception.

The latest being the Honduran political crisis in 2009 – when the democratically elected President Manuel Zelaya, now exiled in Costa Rica, was ousted from power through coup d’état on the United States’ watch.

Providing economic aid to Haiti would temporarily ease the burden on the incumbent President, René Préval’s government.

Regardless of the commitment term, it’s not guaranteed to relieve the people from the worst economic conditions.

What the Haitian population require at the moment is not an extemporaneous political status, represented by the United States appointee – President René Préval,

Instead a viable government led by an experienced leadership of the republic choice, the President in exile – Jean Bertinand Aristide.

The Superpower interference in democratically elected government affairs has been detrimental to the natives and the entire region. Whether it’s Haiti, or for that matter Iran in the Middle East.

It’s inconceivable that the citizens are barred from residency in their country of birth or naturalization for political reasons imposed by the foreign powers.

Reference :

The exiled Haitian President Jean-Bertinand-Aristide and the Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, having been democratically elected continue to remain popular in their country of origin until now. Yet, they both are denied access to their country.

Again, it’s poignant to raise the conspicuous flaws or hypocrisy in the U.S foreign policy that is diametrically opposed on issues even when related to a singular nation like China or Israel…and justifiably condemned by the people worldwide.

For example, “The current U.S foreign policy with China” –

U.S is conciliatory to China’s occupation of Tibet irrespective of the prevalent persecution and mass killings of the peaceful Tibetans, including Beijing’s furor over the spiritual leader, His Holiness Dalai Lama’s truncated meeting with President Obama.

The U.S. position is claimed as a tough decision because of the “economic ties” with the communist nation.

On the other hand, the contemporary U.S agreement on Arms sales worth $8 billion with Taiwan, antagonizing the U.S. major creditor, China is somehow not considered an economic impediment.

Ref: Congressional Research Service – http://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RL30957.pdf – Thank you.

Taiwan: Major U.S. Arms Sales since 1990.

Taiwan arms sale to test US-China ties – www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2437419/posts –

“Many Taiwanese, however, consider Washington’s willingness to sell defensive weapons as a sign of enduring US commitment to a longtime ally …”

Likewise, U.S. policy towards Israel – The condemnation of Iran for the inflammatory remarks against Israel was appropriate.

Reportedly, the U.S. has not ruled out military action against Iran for the nuclear program.

Further, the hawkish representatives in Washington have earlier stated the use of nuclear weapons in this context.

Ironically, with Palestine –

The U.S. is passive on the provocative Jewish settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem as well as the National Heritage controversy, notwithstanding the Israeli authorities’ persisting oppression of the Palestinians – all of which are attributed to the past and the present peace process failure.

United States credibility as the “leader of the Free World,” is jeopardized because of the explicit double standards in the U.S foreign policy.

Haitian exiled President Jean-Bertinand- Aristide’s return to his native country is the honorable decision and a unique opportunity for the United States to remedy the former administrations’ undemocratic interception in the stable Haitian government then elected by the people.

The Republic of Haiti deserves a government that has the potential to revive the economic prospects that prevailed under Aristide’s Presidency.

Hence, upon the exiled leader’s arrival in his homeland, the ex-President would be able to participate in the 2010 elections and elected to the office with a resounding victory.

Indeed, that would be the best gift for the political and the natural disaster victims in Haiti.

Finally, Humanity owes it to Haiti in ending the population plight.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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