|by Roger Annis|
|Tuesday, 28 December 2010 23:14|
|As the one-year anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake approaches, a brutally frank account of the plight of its people has been delivered by a highly placed diplomat. Ricardo Seitenfus, the representative to Haiti of the Organization of American States, delivered a hard-hitting assessment of the foreign role in that country in an interview published in the December 20 edition of the Swiss daily Le Temps. iThe interview also appeared in the right-wing, Haitian daily, Le Nouvelliste.
Seitenfus is Brazilian and a graduate of the Institute of Advanced International Studies in Geneva. The truths he pronounced in the now-famous interview are not unique; they have been voiced by many Haitians and their allies abroad. But to hear them uttered by someone of his standing is a sign of the unraveling of a miserably-failed foreign military and political occupation force in Haiti.
The Failings in Haiti
Seitenfus questions the legitimacy and utility of the UN Security Council occupation force known as MINUSTAH. It numbers 13,000 military and police (an increase of 50 per cent since the earthquake) along with several thousand political officers. “Haiti is not an international threat,” he says. “We are not experiencing a civil war.”
He is asked, is it a counter-productive presence?
The answer is, yes. The diplomat traces the 200-year history of foreign subjugation of Haiti. He draws a line of continuity to the present. “The world has never known how to treat Haiti, so it has ignored it.”
He says the country has lived a “low intensity war” since 1986, the year of the overthrow of the Duvalier tyranny. “We want to turn Haiti into a capitalist country, an export platform for the U.S. market, it’s absurd. Haiti must return to what it is, that is to say, a predominantly agricultural country still fundamentally imbued with customary law.” Continue reading