It becomes clearer by the day that the U.S. invasion and blockade of Haiti has imperialist and racist, rather than charitable, goals. Besides maintaining a grossly underpaid or unemployed, U.S.-dominated, almost entirely black cheap labor pool there, the top U.S. priority is seizing political and military control of this strategically-located country. It stands at the geo-political crossroads of Caribbean trade routes, the Panama Canal, Cuba and Guantanamo Bay, Venezuela and potential off-shore oil reserves.
This follows a century of imperialist exploitation of Haiti, making it the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country, leaving it completely vulnerable to such an earthquake.
General Douglas Fraser, head of the Pentagon’s Southern Command, which runs the inadequate “aid” effort, said 13,000 of the 20,000 U.S. troops sent to Haiti would remain indefinitely. He told Agence France Presse (2/14/10), of “a transition of immediate relief capability to an enduring capacity here in Haiti.” The 7,000 departing troops, including the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, are now on their way to more pressing tasks in Afghanistan and Iraq.
One month into Obama’s “humanitarian” occupation of Haiti, its devastated working class continues to suffer severe shortages of every basic necessity. Fraser’s forces did woefully little to help Haitians:
• “As many as a million people have still not received any international food assistance.” (Huffington Post, 2/4/10)
• The January 12 earthquake left 1.2 million Haitians homeless and afflicted more than 3,000,000. “Only a quarter of those in need have plastic or a tent over their heads. And a lack of latrines looms as a major problem.” (Miami Herald, 2/14/10)
• The U.S. Navy News (2/9/10) boasted that, “Medical and dental personnel from the 24th MEU treated more than 100 Haitians [!] on the island of Gonave.”
• The USS Normandy delivered “more than 1,000 gallons of water” in its 21 days of Haiti service, an amount the ship uses every day to flush its toilets, and equal to the water in an average backyard swimming pool.
• The $450 million in U.S. aid sounds like a lot, but it amounts to just $150 per stricken Haitian. Compare that with the $1 million Obama is shelling out for each soldier in his ongoing civilian-slaughtering Afghan surge.
Bill Clinton For President — Of Haiti?
As U.S. soldiers patrol Haiti’s streets, Obama & Co. are cooking up a scheme to make Bill Clinton the country’s virtual colonial governor. The Miami Herald reported (2/10/10):
“The Obama administration is quietly advocating a plan to reconstruct Haiti that could involve a central role for former President Bill Clinton. The plan, designed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s staff and presented to top Haitian officials in recent days, calls for the creation of an Interim Haiti Recovery Commission to oversee the ‘urgent early recovery’ over the next 18 months. The commission’s top priority: create a Haitian Development Authority to plan and coordinate billions in foreign assistance for at least 10 years.
“The plan…states that the commission could be co-chaired by the Haitian prime minister and ‘a distinguished senior international figure engaged in the recovery effort.’ Haiti observers believe the job description describes [Bill] Clinton although he’s not named in the document. The United Nations has already named him to coordinate its reconstruction efforts.”
U.S. Bosses See Opportunity in Haitian Workers’ Misery
U.S. capitalists hope such direct political control will enable them to expand sweatshop operations in Haiti. One U.S. think-tank, the Center for Global Development (CGD), bankrolled by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, actually sees Haiti’s $3-a-day garment factory pay as key to recovery, provided bosses don’t beat workers too much: “Apparel assembly pays relatively low wages wherever it is done in the world…. The United States should… facilitate Haiti’s apparel exports and create [these $3-a-day] jobs…” (CGD, 1/25/10)
Before the quake Bill Clinton used his UN post mainly to campaign for more U.S. sweatshops in Haiti. Last October he led a trade mission — financed by billionaire George Soros — of U.S. investors that explored “manufacturing opportunities” in Port-au-Prince. If Obama’s plan goes through, Clinton could soon become Haiti’s garment boss-in-chief.
Kerry Kin Wants Relief Militarized for U.S. Wars, Present and Future
CHALLENGE has noted that U.S. rulers are using the Haitian disaster to divert people’s genuine compassion into serving U.S. imperialism. We revealed that the directors of Doctors Without Borders in fact represent Exxon Mobil, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and other interests profiting from U.S.-led wars. Now John Kerry’s daughter, Vanessa Kerry, MD, has called for an open militarization of medical relief under Pentagon command.
A resident at Harvard-run Massachusetts General Hospital, Kerry wrote in a NY Times op-ed piece (2/13/10), “The United States should create a service corps of doctors, nurses and medical technicians to deploy to humanitarian disasters like the one that struck Haiti last month.” In other words, well-meaning rank-and-file supporters of Doctors Without Borders should don the uniform of the U.S. war machine.
‘Healers in Uniform’ — A ‘Force Multiplier’ Enhancing U.S. Military
Dr. Kerry insists that giving modest medical care can help the U.S. ruling class (to which she belongs by birth) win the wars it now wages and must soon wage to preserve its threatened worldwide empire. She proclaims, “Our generals in Iraq and Afghanistan have long recognized that providing basic services to populations there is central to the success of their mission.” In a paradox only a capitalist could appreciate, Kerry said that more healers in uniform could actually enhance the Pentagon’s killing power: “In military terminology, improved health care should be seen as a force multiplier.” This is a technical term the U.S. military reserves for especially lethal weapons systems. Kerry’s plea looks like a backdoor attempt to revive the “national service” program (that is, a restored draft) her father couldn’t sell in his failed 2004 White House bid but one which was part of Obama’s 2008 campaign.
Catastrophes like Haiti prompt outpourings of sympathy and real attempts to help from the working class and its allies. Capitalists see disasters as chances to increase both their own profits and workers’ misery. Communists view them as opportunities to serve the working class, spreading our ideas to prevent disasters, with workers organizing our class to help all workers in a profit-free society.
Ridding the earth of the parasite class of billionaires through communist revolution is our Party’s long-term goal.