Socialist Worker

Haiti: the real looters are sitting in Washington

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2185

Four days after the disaster in Haiti, the media shifted its attention from images of suffering to those of looting.

Talk has turned to keeping “law and order”. Haitians are increasingly depicted as savages.

But the real savages and looters are the US ruling class.

Instead of helping to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure to meet people’s needs, the US is ensuring that the rich who have plundered Haiti for 200 years get even richer.

Ex-president Bill Clinton, now UN special envoy to Haiti, has begun to implement plans to turn north Haiti into a tourist playground, convincing Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines to invest £34 million to build a pier at Labadee.

The US government has made it easy to set up sweatshops in Haiti.

Billionaire George Soros has offered £31 million to build a new

industrial park. But in return the US is demanding that Haiti’s government drives down wages and conditions.

US intervention is making it more difficult for aid to get through and people are, unsurprisingly, trying to fend for themselves.

What do these hypocrites expect the hundreds of thousands of people who have had their homes and lives destroyed to do?

In New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, stopping looting was seen as more important than rescue.

Private companies were allowed to charge thousands to airlift the rich while poor people were left to fend for

themselves – and US troops shot at them as they carried food and water away from shops.

The people of Port-au-Prince are not looting – they are trying to survive.

The Heritage Foundation, a US right wing think tank, has articulated its priorities for the US in Haiti.

It proudly declares that president Obama is implementing the very same ideas.

“On the ground in Haiti, the US military can interrupt the nightly flights of cocaine,” they write, “and counter the ongoing efforts of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to destabilise the island of Hispaniola.

“This US military presence, which should also include a large contingent of US Coast Guard assets, can prevent any large-scale movement by Haitians.”

The foundation fears Haitians will “take to the sea in dangerous and rickety watercraft to try to enter the US illegally.”

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