President Obama’s pronouncements, promises and pledges on Haiti have been clear-eyed, vigorous and robust and it could most probably turn out to be one of the most pivotal and defining moments of the Obama presidency, other than issues and events in the home or domestic front in America which demands presidential attention as well.
President Obama public statements of support for Haiti and Haitians, regarding the magnitude of the catastrophes, calamities and tragedies in Haiti, in the aftermath of the recent earthquake, have been, to say the least, a watershed event, an epochal mark on the sands of time, and an affective turnaround in America’s plethora of negative policies which were imposed on Haiti during the preceding two hundred years and counting.
President Obama’s comments have been such relief, this, even despite the unfair criticisms by some conservatives of President Obama, for his pronouncements and pledges on Haiti. We know that even mere pledges and promises can be subverted as exampled in the unnecessary delays in aid delivery to Haitians, during the past ten days Giving full effect to promises and pledges, through reasoned, and coordinated sustained policies will determine result oriented measurable outcomes.
The outpouring of support, the promises and pledges have been plentiful, but actual delivery on those promises and pledges will be the test at reckoning.
Monitoring will be key as well even as we move from the search and rescue phase to the relief, recovery, to reconstruction and rebuilding the shattered lives of Haitians and Haiti’s physical structures.
Since 1804 when Haiti declared her freedom, political independence and self-determination, the US has had a standing policy through which the US stifled, undermined and stymied economic and political growth in Haiti, including the invasion and occupation of Haiti for several decades by America, and the most recent American interference, manipulation through an engineered regime change in 2004 which saw the overthrow of President Betrand Aristide. It is still quite possible that the United States and others, are still in a position to undermine Haiti even now. On the other hand, the US could be a force for good in Haiti. Hopefully.
Cataclysmic seismic events in Haiti on January 12, is compelling me to publicly reveal what I have expressed privately to close associates and professional colleagues, about a litmus test which I have reserved for President Obama foreign policy, in which is my plan to measure and hinge President Obama’s new America and American policy regarding Haiti and Cuba as my single parameter, for measuring whether or not, President Obama, as president, as distinct from Obama the candidate, possesses the necessary backbone, the Chutzpa and gravitas to rework favorable policies directed at these two beleaguered Caribbean nations.
Two nations of the Caribbean beleaguered, badgered and besieged for far too long by the United States of America punitive policies. It is important to note that America, all through history, have had the support, wink and nod of France and other allies of the United States in the pursuits of these wrongheaded policies. The time is nigh for change. Haitians and Haiti have been punished enough, they have been broken enough!
Outside intermeddling and manipulations have had crippling effects as were intended by those who wanted Haitians and Haiti pulverized and pauperized, thousands of Haitians live abroad and prosper, which shames those who pretend that Haitians cannot govern themselves. Haiti have remained in a blockade, and economic and political emasculation hence negative growth in Haiti
And then came the devastation. The recent earthquake, as terrible as it was, and as high as the magnitude of suffering and hardship which the earthquake has foisted on Haiti and Haitian, it also may be a boundless opportunity . An opportunity for France and American to atone for the affronts and crimes against Haiti and Haitian during the course of the past two hundred years.
The earthquake is an opportunity for a new beginning for Haiti and her peoples, and as well for those who love Haiti and peoples of Haiti. This tragedy, as painful an adversity, as it is, it does presents a chance for reconstruction, reawakening and rebirth for Haiti and Haitians, in which Haitian at home and in the Diaspora will participate actively, vigorously and prodigiously. This can assuredly be given worldwide support and impetus by those who have affronted and wronged Haiti in the past. It provides a chance for atonement and a window of opportunity to do the right thing for Haiti and Haitians and all those who wish Haiti and Haitian well.
Haiti and her people have been strangulated for far too long, with arrested development and planned obsolescence through a foreign coalitions and domestic puppets and enablers of foreign conspirators against Haiti. Haitian leaders were always expected to be in obeisance to America and France or emasculated and undermined upon failing to kowtow.
It is our hope therefore, that the outpouring of sympathy and support after the earthquake continues and leads to a groundswell of sturdy positive policies towards Haiti for the long term and for the long run. Our hope and expectations are that, lasting economic, political and infrastructural structures will be erected henceforth. And that these efforts will, in turn restore Haiti to the once great and proud people of Haiti.
Haiti as we know it, is a nation established by former West African slaves, who rose from the ashes of adversities and twin evils of slavery and colonialism. Haiti and Haitians have been exemplification of heroism, of courage and grace under fire. Haiti and Haitians have had to endure constant pressures and degradations. It is a historical fact that Haiti’s poverty was imposed on her by those who are now quick to sermonize sanctimoniously about how Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere with paucity of infrastructures. Even so, Haiti and Haitians have demonstrated extraordinary determination and resilience in the face of steady adversities.
We hope that from now forward, that the formerly undermined and emasculated Haitian economic and political leadership and Haiti Diaspora, are co-opted into the relief and reconstruction which is now unfolding in Haiti in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.
Haitians and others worldwide interested Haiti’s long term interests, through recovery and reconstruction and reconciliation of the historically disparate political and economic class which has been Haiti. Those who have prescribed economic liberalizations in the past, policies which decimated agricultural sector and local capacity, should be prevented from presiding over Haiti again now and prevented from imposing strictures which have arrested and retarded development in Haiti. Haitian government should not be undermined by foreign governments ever again. Indigenous Haitian political and economic leadership should be cultivated for the purpose of setting Haiti on the path of permanent upsurge in economic and political development.
President Obama should be applauded for offering the Temporary Protective Status or TPS to Haitians who are already here in the US and are in dire immigration limbo. Haitians in Haiti desirous of living in the US should be assisted in doing so, for after all, Haitians are ideal immigrants, Haitians are law abiding and Haitian value education and as a consequence, Haitians are the sorts of immigrants any nation needs. Haitians have been discriminated in all immigration matters, in both formulations and implementations, when compared with other nations infested with economic, political and natural disaster and instabilities which arises as a consequence.
Perhaps too, the devastation will level the class apartheid in Haiti between the establishment business class and the poor majority, classes of Haitians which have historically been pitted against
one another, in the game of cat and mouse. The events of last two weeks should be used commence a true national reconciliation and healings for Haiti and Haitians, in order to reach closure of the preceding fractious, turbulent 200 years of ceaseless punishment for Haiti and Haitians.
It should be mentioned here that there were unnecessary delays in the search and rescue efforts in Haiti. There was needless delays in the distribution of water and food during the first ten days. Foods and other essential supplies, were seen behind soldiers and at the airports undistributed, and journalists were able to hand food over to survivors without incidents. There were excruciating delays, quite unnecessary delays in deploying helicopters for air dropping supplies as have been done in other locals in the past. We recognize that disasters of the magnitude in Haiti, imposes logistical nightmares.
But there surely cannot be any excuses for the apparent unconscionable delays witnessed in news reports from Haiti. Two weeks after the earthquake, no water or food, imagine that in New York City and ask yourself if there will be docile reaction. And then there were those who sought to blame hapless Haitians for so-called looting, when it was clear that desperation had set in, after ten days of dehydration and hunger. News that only very limited numbers of survivors have been served is rather depressing, to say the least. Fort Nationale is one such embarrassing example where rescue and relief have not been received 15 days after the earthquake. People literarily have lived with their bereavement and their dead, while still dehydrated and starving. All this have happened while relief planes compete for space and place with what looks like a new military invasion and occupation of Haiti all over again, by the historical usual suspects!
Search and rescue work is ebbing, and most foreign teams are heading out of Haiti. Recovery, reconstruction and reconciliation should be pursued simultaneously. Reconciliation across the board should be actively promoted, so that a lasting economic and political stability and tranquility can be found. It is time for true national reconciliations in Haiti, which evinces peaceful return of all political exiles, including former President Betrand Aristide. There is for instance, the story told of an Haitian lady in Florida, who cannot return to Haiti even after this earthquake calamitous havoc wreaked upon Haiti and Haitian, she, prevented from entering or returning to Haiti, just because she was a supporter of former President Aristide.
Millions of Americans have demonstrated immeasurable generosity. I hope however that the United States government demilitarize Haiti, there are already complaints against an overbearing military presence which acted at times, as hindrances, impediments and obstacles to speedy delivery of basic human essentials, water, food, urgent medical care. Haiti will need outside assistance, engineers and technical experts in various fields, but not another foreign army of occupation. The US should withdraw troops, leave Haiti to the UN and a multilateral conglomeration of Latin/Caribbean nations to lead the efforts. To do so will be best, and the US through such dispassionate or objective gesture, will demonstrate to the world, that she is a true supporter and well wisher of Haiti and Haitians
Haiti’s glorious history and her checkered past , cause and effect, are all public knowledge. Haiti’s stunted, stymied arrested and decimated development, particularly the agricultural sector were imposed by outsiders, there is a history of rice farmers from Arkansas etc which were subsidized and enabled to subvert Haiti’s local agriculture and food productions. The new efforts in Haiti, must consciously avoid repeating these evils and affronts of the past, which were perpetrated against Haiti and Haitians.
The cataclysmic and calamitous events of January 12, presents a wonderful opportunity, to rebuild Haiti and stand Haiti in good stead, a Haiti in renaissance is born, glory restored to Haitians and Haiti.