Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fidel on Haiti

Photo by John Carroll
December, 2010

Fidel hints at parallel between Haiti, Cuba
Tacit message: Solutions won't come from abroad

In his latest "reflection," Fidel Castro appears to draw a parallel between Haiti and Cuba, hinting at the catastrophic effects of forcing a nation to globalize when it's simply not ready.

To do so, Castro takes on the voice of Brazilian diplomat Ricardo Seitenfus, who last year was appointed special representative of the Organization of American States in Haiti. Seitenfus was abruptly removed from his post last week, on Dec. 25, presumably for statements he made Dec. 20 to the Swiss newspaper Le Temps.

In his article, published Tuesday in Granma, Castro uses one of his preferred literary techniques: to select excerpts from other people's writings to make his own point. Here are some of the Seitenfus quotations he chose.

"Force is what defines international relations with Haiti, never dialogue. Haiti's original sin on the world scene is its liberation. The Haitians committed the unacceptable in 1804: a crime of lèse majesté for an impatient world. [...] The Haitian revolutionary model scared the big powers. The United States did not recognize Haiti's independence until 1865. [...] From the start, independence was compromised and the country's development blocked. [...]

"They want to turn Haiti into a capitalist country, a platform of exportation for the American market. That's absurd. [...] One part

of Haiti is modern, urban and looks abroad. [...] It is a country open to the world. [...] More than 90 percent of the educational and health systems are in private hands. The country has no public resources to operate a state-run system, even minimally.
"The problem is socioeconomic. When the rate of unemployment reaches 80 percent, to send a stabilization mission is unsustainable. There is nothing to stabilize." [Blogger's Note: The reference is to the United Nations' Stabilization Mission to Haiti, which has been there since 2004.]

"Haiti is not an international threat. We are not in a civil war situation. [...] For the U.N., the purpose was to freeze power and transform the Haitians into prisoners on their own island.

"Emergency aid [from abroad] is effective, but when it becomes structural, when it replaces the state in all its tasks it becomes a collective lack of responsibility.

"For the transnational NGOs, Haiti has become in a place of forced passage [...] of professional formation. [...] There is an evil or perverse relationship between the strength of the NGOs and the weakness of the Haitian state. Some NGOs exist only due to the Haitian misfortune.

"Faced with the massive importation of consumer goods to feed the homeless people, the situation of Haitian agriculture has worsened. The country offers free room to all humanitarian experiences. It is morally unacceptable to consider Haiti as a laboratory. Haiti's reconstruction and our promise of $11 billion [in aid] stoke greed.

"[Haiti] is the sum total of our dramas and the failures of international solidarity. We're not up to the challenge. [...] It is necessary to go to the Haitian culture, it is necessary to go to the land. [...] Nobody takes the time or wishes to try to understand what I would call the Haitian soul."

December 28, 2010 in Economy & Trade, Fidel Castro, The Americas | Permalink

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/cuban_colada/2010/12/fidel-hints-at-parallel-between-haiti-cuba.html#ixzz19Si1O9Cr

No comments: