Sunday, March 16, 2014

Groundhog Day for Haiti

On p162 of his book "The New World Strategy" Colonel Harry G. Summers describes the Yogi Berra "déjà vu all over again" aspect of US intervention in Haiti:

"Nearly 80 years ago," noted the July 10, 1994, Washington Post [ De Santis, Hugh; Dillon, Kenneth J "WHEN WE LAST INVADED HAITI . . . We Stayed a Long Time: History's Cautionary Lessons"] , "Woodrow Wilson dispatched Marines to Haiti for many of the same reasons that appear to be motivating Clinton. That intervention led to a 19-year occupation that ended in a failure to foster democracy." As in 1915, "armed intervention would probably meet little resistance," but also as in the past, there is no strategic concept for achieving democracy there.

So, from Wilson, to Clinton, to now, with a new documentary from Michele Mitchell, Haitian Studies Association founder Jocelyn McCalla, and social and economic rights expert Melinda Miles, "Haiti: Where Did the Money Go?":

After a 7.0 earthquake brutalized Haiti in January of 2010, Americans donated a stunning $1.4 billion to major charities. Ten months later, filmmaker Michele Mitchell went to the Caribbean nation to observe and record conditions there, with a follow-up trip ten months after that. She and her production team found that half a million people still lived in squalid camps or worse settings, with malnutrition and cholera on the rise. The resulting documentary asks several pivotal questions: Where exactly did the donations go?
Haiti seems a perennial basket case, at least till Detroit secedes:

However, I cynically believe that Clinton's main motivation for engaging in a kabuki theater performance of giving the pretense of attempting to stabilize Haiti was reason # 2 sandwiched between two platitudes:

In his November 1994 statement on "the thinking behind our decisions about where and how to use force in the post-Cold War world," Defense Secretary William Perry outlined the rationale for the Haitian intervention. "In Haiti we were prepared to use force because we have interest in protecting democracy in this hemisphere,[ real reason-> ]preventing the flow of refugees [ <- blink=""> real reason
] and putting a halt to a cruel, systematic reign of terror over the Haitian people."

And from SNL 1992 Groundhog Day  News Update:

Kevin Nealon:Well this week the Haitian boat people were ordered back to Haiti from the Guantanamo Bay refugee camp in Cuba. Just returned from Port of Prince, Haiti is our star Caribbean reporter ‘Crystal Blue Persuasion’. How are things in Haiti?

Crystal Blue Persuasion: Things are terrible Kevin. You see, I don’t know how we could have let them people go back to that God for saken country. I have seen more concern for holes in the ozone and for ‘Where’s Waldo’ than human beings. But you know I told them Haitians nobody cares about you because #1, you speak French, OK? We hate the French in America you know? They’re snotty and they don’t wash and their language- it don’t make sense you know? It don’t spell the way it sounds. Oui, oui, o-u-I- we. O-u-I spells o-yoo-ee. What, they’ve never heads of phonics? And #2 nobody cares because you don’t have any famous movie star spokesperson. Them crippled children, they have Jerry Lewis. Stray animals have Betty White and you know why them Cubans are here in this country right now. 2 words- Ricky Ricardo. Trust me now, if Jacques Cousteau was Haitian, them refugees would be in New York right now. See I’m Jamaican, why do you think I’m here huh? Why do you think 1.5 million Jamaicans are here right now? Because we give you so much, we give you Jamaican beef patties, we give you reggae, we give you the whole Marley family. Bob Marley, Lisa, Ziggy, and 2 words- Harry Belafonte. I rest my case.

Kevin Nealon: Thank you, Crystal Blue Persuasion. Well hundreds of spectators watched on Groundhog’s day Sunday as Punxatawney Phil came out of his hole, saw his shadow and was shot dead by Pat Buchanan, indicating no more weeks of winter, spring, summer or fall for the groundhog.

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