Thursday, January 14, 2010

Now this is a fine mess.

Update: Exiled former Haitian President Aristide, speaking in South Africa, says he's ready to return to Haiti, but it's unclear when or how – AP about 1 hour ago from BreakingNews Headquarters 1:20am

I hope the power vacuum doesn't happen that way.

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It was late last year, when Bill Clinton was appointed as the Haitian ambassador that I thought to myself - why is he all of a sudden taking an interest in Haiti? It bugged me for a while, but not enough to really find out the reason. It wasn't important then.

A few weeks ago something pointed me to the reason why. I don't remember now how I found it. It was guilt - the story said. You see, Clinton has a long history with Haiti. Oh. You missed it over endless coverage of cum stained dresses? Me too really. Haiti has always been a spot of the world America forgets about.

Truth be told, I do vaguely have some memories of the time. Yet, so vague I'd just be making shit up if I recounted it from memory.

So when the earthquake hit I felt motivated enough to find the reason. The 1994 US invasion of Haiti. I'm not going to go into the story. You can read about it here. And I would, because the very recent news seems to scrub Clinton and sanitise his involvement. Instead I see reports of how 4 hurricanes are the reason Haiti is so poor. However, in this article from last year Clinton seems to reveal his feelings of guilt.

From CBSnews.

"Bill Clinton grimaced Friday as he recalled the severe embargo he oversaw as president against Haiti's then-brutal regime, a move that destroyed the very economy he is now fighting to revive.

Clinton said the action was necessary to end a junta's brutal and illegal rule. A decade and a half later, the now-U.N. Special Envoy to Haiti believes the country has its best chance yet to recover from a decision whose effects are still felt today.

"I hated it," Clinton told reporters at a private pier he hopes will be used by a revived garment export industry. "But when you have people being burned to death with tires around their neck, that's important too. We had to bring an end to that."

Then-President Clinton inherited limited sanctions aimed at weakening the regime that overthrew democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991. In the spring of 1994, they became an embargo that prevented all goods from entering Haiti except humanitarian supplies, crippling the economy.

An assembly sector that had employed 100,000 workers fell to just 17,000 jobs, according to the U.S. State Department. It has barely recovered since."

So, when I see reports of President Money Bags exclaiming loudly "We are not taking over Haiti". You only have to draw a small line as to why the US is taking (by most reports now) - hardly a leadership role.

I mean, people act as if Haiti is on the other side of the world. Hell, Wolf Blitzer of CNN didn't even know what time zone it was in. I'll try to dredge back up the video. (Here. 5 minutes30 seconds or so in) People float here on rafts it so freakin' close.

So, as Haitians grow more desperate - one wonders what kind of a power vacuum this is going to turn into. It's been a couple of days now, and their own government doesn't seem to have power. Technically I suppose yes, but I've seen tons of video out of that place. I don't see any UN or Haitian officials. So - who is going to take control? I don't think the Haitians have the luxury of someone not taking control.

You know, when I was growing up - the UN helicoptered food into places. So did we. Now everything is bottle-necked at the airport? They know helicopters can land anywhere.

Anyway. This whole thing is just going to be really, really messed up. When I see guys who go into the trenches to report on war start to break down and cry. You know this is going to be messed up.

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