Jordskælv i Haiti, made in USA

Ikke selve jordskælvet, naturligvis, men de ødelæggelser, det skabte. Hvis bygningerne havde været bygget ordentligt, var det ikke gået så galt. Men det kunne jo kun lade sig gøre, hvis landet ikke var så fattigt. Men hvorfor er det mon det?

Vi giver ordet til Ted Rall:

As grim accounts of the earthquake in Haiti came in, the accounts in U.S.-controlled state media all carried the same descriptive sentence: “Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere…”

Gee, I wonder how that happened?

You’d think Haiti would be loaded. After all, it made a lot of people rich.

How did Haiti get so poor? Despite a century of American colonialism, occupation, and propping up corrupt dictators? Even though the CIA staged coups d’état against every democratically elected president they ever had?

It’s an important question. An earthquake isn’t just an earthquake. The same 7.0 tremor hitting San Francisco wouldn’t kill nearly as many people as in Port-au-Prince.

“Looking at the pictures, essentially it looks as if (the buildings are of) breezeblock or cinderblock construction, and what you need in an earthquake zone is metal bars that connect the blocks so that they stay together when they get shaken,” notes Sandy Steacey, director of the Environmental Science Research Institute at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. “In a wealthy country with good seismic building codes that are enforced, you would have some damage, but not very much.”

When a pile of cinderblocks falls on you, your odds of survival are long. Even if you miraculously survive, a poor country like Haiti doesn’t have the equipment, communications infrastructure or emergency service personnel to pull you out of the rubble in time. And if your neighbors get you out, there’s no ambulance to take you to the hospital–or doctor to treat you once you get there.

In Haiti this week, don’t blame tectonic plates. Ninety-nine percent of the death toll is attributable to poverty.

So the question is relevant. How’d Haiti become so poor?

The story begins in 1910, when a U.S. State Department-National City Bank of New York (now called Citibank) consortium bought the Banque National d’Haïti–Haiti’s only commercial bank and its national treasury–in effect transferring Haiti’s debts to the Americans. Five years later, President Woodrow Wilson ordered troops to occupy the country in order to keep tabs on “our” investment.

From 1915 to 1934, the U.S. Marines imposed harsh military occupation, murdered Haitians patriots and diverted 40 percent of Haiti’s gross domestic product to U.S. bankers. Haitians were banned from government jobs. Ambitious Haitians were shunted into the puppet military, setting the stage for a half-century of U.S.-backed military dictatorship.

The U.S. kept control of Haiti’s finances until 1947.

Still–why should Haitians complain? Sure, we stole 40 percent of Haiti’s national wealth for 32 years. But we let them keep 60 percent.


Men der er mere – meget mere, så hop endelig over og læs det hele. Et godt supplement til indlægget om samme emne for et par dage siden.

Link: The Haitian earthquake: Made in U.S.A.

4 thoughts on “Jordskælv i Haiti, made in USA”

  1. Det må vel siges at være et særlig tydeligt eksempel på, at det ikke kun er effekten af klimaforandringer, der har med menneskers adfærd at gøre.

    Begrebet “naturkatastrofer” er i det hele taget ikke hvad det har været! (dengang det menneskelige samfund var mindre komplekst).

    Det der sker her på Jorden er mere og mere vores eget ansvar. Det er ikke kun et spørgsmål om at “give et bidrag til haitianerne”. Det er også et spørgsmål om politiske og økonomisk magtforhold.

    Rigtig godt link!

  2. Du har da vist helt glemt 40 år med Duvalierfamilien?

    Hvorfor er det så lige at hele byer også jævnes i f.eks. Iran og Pakistan når der er jordskælv? I Kina er det kun halve…

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