Saturday, January 2, 2010


Haiti has a history closely intertwined in ours. It was first discovered by Christopher Columbus. Later the French settled in this country and wiped out the entire population in order to mine it. To this day, there are NO native Haitians living on this Island. Once this was done, they then imported slaves from Africa. In year 1791, (after helping the US fight the British in the revolutionary war) these slaves decided they had enough and that they wanted to be a free country. They then fought the French and won. Haiti was the 2nd republic in the Americas, and the first black republic in the world.

However, the French said that they would only recognize them as a free nation if they paid for the damages the French had seen during the war. The amount they had to pay equals 21 billion dollars today, which was 10 times higher than their annual income. This was and is an absurd amount. The Haitians however knew that if they didn't pay this they would become slaves again, so they went into debt to French bankers with a ridiculously high interest rate. For the next 125 years, they put 80% of their annual income towards this loan. The US didn't see them as a soverign state and refused to recognize them for fear that our own slaves would get filled with "Bad" ideas and would revolt. From 1915-1934 the US actually invaded Haiti, and ruled as a dictator for several decades. Once we left, we put someone into Government who didn't know how to run a country. Haiti was a very succussful country, and infact one of the wealthiest countries during this time.

Since then, the US has demanded that Haiti reduce it's taxes on rice, which conveniently means that the US can ship it's rice in for a lot cheaper than local Haitian farmers can sell it for. This has put almost all farmers out of business. Once the Haitians relied mainly on US rice, we raised the prices, and with this inflation, the citizens can't afford it. Those who were already struggling to buy food for their children are now having an even harder time. 1 in 5 children in Haiti die before age 2 from preventable diseases, many from malnutrition and bad drinking water. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hempisphere, with 52% of it's population illiterate.

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