Sunday, January 31, 2010


Let me be perfectly fair. Considering the similarities in the responses to Hurricane Katrina and the Haiti earthquake, it's entirely possible that sheer incompetence is the only reason Haiti is being occupied right now.

After Katrina, the National Guard sealed off the city and preventing anyone from getting in or out. Even the Red Cross was not allowed in at first. Residents attempting to flee the city were turned back at gunpoint. Meanwhile, private mercenaries poured into the city to protect the property of the town's wealthiest citizens. Four days passed before any serious rescue effort was mounted. It was ten days before they began fishing bodies out of the toxic soup.

I'm entirely willing to accept the possibility that the militarization of the relief effort in Haiti is simply due to gross incompetence on the part of the federal government when it comes to responding to disasters. But I tend to be too cynical to embrace the possibility that bad things happen in Washington "on accident." My hunch is that the 15,000 troops in Haiti will continue to be there throughout the reconstruction effort, which will probably be neoliberal in orientation and therefore highly unpopular among the mass of Haitian poor. That former president Clinton has been praising sweat shop labor in that country as "economic progress" in the media seems to validate my suspicions. My guess is Haiti will emerge from this tragedy even more economically dependent than before, if that is even possible.

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