Hurricane in Haiti

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We are publishing here a statement by one of our contacts in the Dominican Republic after the hurricanes which devastated neighbouring Haiti, leaving several thousand victims. It very rightly denounces the primary responsibility of capitalism in the sombre balance-sheet of catastrophes which have little that is ‘natural' about them.

At the end of August, beginning of September, Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, was hit by the hurricanes Gustav and Hannah, leaving over a thousand recorded dead and thousands more disappeared, hurt or homeless. This tragedy is, as usual, being used by the ruling class to call for reconciliation between the classes and ‘humanitarian aid'.

You can make all the fine speeches you want, but the only force guilty for all these deaths is capitalism, first and foremost as the material author because it is responsible for the environmental crisis (see ‘The ecological crisis: real menace or myth' in WR 317); and, in the concrete case of Haiti, because it has been the victim of the pillage carried out by the great capitalist powers. They have brought about the deforestation of this part of the ‘Island of Hispaniola'[1], drying out the rivers and transforming their former riverbeds into settlements for a deprived population of workers, unemployed and poor peasants, who built their huts and barracks there, all of which were swept away when the channels once again became rivers swollen by torrential rain.

Decadent capitalism in Haiti has taken such a clear form that other nations refer to it as a ‘failed state', a country where a whole mass of people have no choice but to take to the sea in flimsy boats and head towards the Dominican side of the island or the US to sell their labour power. And there these workers often become victims of nationalist xenophobia; if the bourgeoisie isn't satisfied with robbing their labour, it robs them of everything else by using its immigration laws to chuck them out of the country.

How is it possible that so much is invested in military coups, guerrilla wars, armed invasions like the one carried out by MINUSTAB[2], which included troops from a whole range of countries (Peru, Chile, Nicaragua, Brazil, some of these claiming to be ‘socialist') and that all this money is never used to avoid tragedies like the ones provoked by Gustav and Hannah? Only the collective action of the proletariat of all countries, and, in the present case and as a beginning, the proletariat of the whole island of Hispaniola, can face up to capitalism which for years has had nothing to offer but crises and wars, to which we can now add climatic catastrophes.

Vi.

Workers of all countries, unite!

Internationalist Discussion Nucleus, Dominican Republic



[1] Hispaniola is the old name for the entire island, today divided between Haiti, a former French colony, and the Dominican Republic, a former Spanish colony

[2] Name of the ‘stabilising' mission of UN troops in Haiti