The fraud of ‘humanitarian aid’ in Haiti
It is guesswork, but the figures are so far: 200,000 dead, one-and-a-half million homeless, hundreds of thousands of orphans. Just a few days ago, three weeks after the quake, the UN said that it was "still far short" of providing food and water to those who need it. There are now around 20,000 US soldiers in Haiti or offshore, billeted, fed and provisioned. Most onshore are carrying heavy machine guns and grenades with the occasional small box marked "aid" for the TV cameras. In controlling the airport, the US army has prevented massive amounts of help from landing and being distributed. Last week, the US stopped planes from flying out the critically injured for four days at least. This is an operation undertaken not on behalf of the Haitian masses but of US imperialism. The CIA is probably already involved building up its local gangsters once again.
All the usual suspects of the "international community" are involved but it is America that is stamping its feet on the grounds of this misery in order to defend its imperialist interests against all and any rivals who might want to exert their influence. This sickening response by the US also shows the seamless continuity of the Clinton/Bush/Obama administrations in the interests of US imperialism, and particularly the wretched hollowness of Obama.
The general tone of the British media was "security". Just like New Orleans the hurt and damaged masses were seen as a threat. The BBC news vied with Sky to play this up with a reporter giving warnings of violence and "insecurity" over an image that clearly showed laughing young men flattening cardboard boxes to help people make some sort of shelter. It was all about to kick off according to the BBC and its supine reporters and this explained the woeful lack of assistance. Dr. Evan Lyon of a medical aid group which had been working up to 3am every morning in the heart of the capital where reporters feared to tread, said on January 20th: "There's no US military presence, no UN guards, no Haitian police, no violence and no insecurity". Indeed, for the great part, the Haitian masses, even amongst the devastation, showed great spirit, mutual aid and self-organisation (just like in New Orleans and almost every other major disaster) up to the point of organising committees and patrols in Port-au-Prince to keep criminal elements out.
But it's not all bad news; James Dobbins, Clinton's envoy to Haiti said that "This disaster is an opportunity to accelerate oft-delayed reforms". What he means is US imperialism picking up what's left for its own profit. And more good news: while food and medical aid was being turned away by US military control of the airport, a plane-load of Scientologists landed with their healing hands. The Mormons also came, and then the Baptists, who, with the help of the US military, rounded up and abducted who knows how many "orphans", in an operation reminiscent of South American military juntas. Given the modern history of child abuse by the Christian churches and the US/Haitian connections in people trafficking, it's not surprising that the Baptists thought that they could just scoop up dozens of children, without a change of clothes and anything to eat, and spirit them away into God knows what. What's also shown here is the connection between US imperialism and Christian fundamentalism.
"Rebuilding" Haiti is a sick joke. All that will be rebuilt is the security forces, some symbolic structures and what's profitable to the US. Proper rebuilding to protect the masses will not take place because it is not profitable for capitalism. The same will apply to whole swathes of the Caribbean likely to be hit by the continuing subduction where millions more are at risk (of the 600,000 killed by earthquakes in the last ten years, 99% have been killed in urban sprawls).
Aid as imperialism
"Aid" is another lie that is also part of any imperialist strategy. We've seen it in Britain regarding British "aid" to Palestine, which ignores the plight and basic wants of the poor and is mainly directed to building up the security forces. US General Colin Powell said that NGO's were the "force multipliers for the US government". They are sometimes set up, used or infiltrated by the intelligence services. Already groaning under IMF debt, the loans given to Haiti by governments will have to be paid back with interest (while donations freely given go to pay for overpriced goods and services). A recent UN account of 21 disasters over the last 20 years show "a 25% increase in their external debt as a result of aid". In such situations what services there are will be cut and taxes and energy prices will go up in order to pay back the loans.
The poor of Haiti have been remorselessly attacked and abused by the "international community" and particularly the USA. The extent of this disaster shows capitalism's responsibility for it and its total incapacity to be able to deal with its aftermath because profits are its key. This is one of the greatest disasters of our time and our solidarity must go to the Haitian masses.