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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:24 AM
Original message
IMF urges 'Marshall Plan' for Haiti
Edited on Thu Jan-21-10 03:24 AM by Turborama
Source: Al Jazeera English

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for an ambitious international recovery plan for earthquake-ravaged Haiti, similar to the US "Marshall Plan" that rebuilt Europe after World War II.

"My belief is that Haiti, which has been incredibly hit by different things - the food and fuel prices crisis, then the hurricane, then the earthquake - needs something that is big," Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters on Wednesday. What is needed, he said, is "not only a piecemeal approach, but something which is much bigger to deal with the reconstruction of the country - some kind of a Marshall Plan that we need now to implement for Haiti."

While the primary focus remains on rescue and immediate relief efforts after the massive January 12 quake, international financial institutions say urgent measures are needed to help rebuild Haiti's shattered economy.

Last week, the IMF promised an interest-free loan of $100 million in initial emergency funds to the Haitian government. However, the loan has drawn criticism for adding to the country's debt burden. "The most important thing is that the IMF is now working with all donors to try to delete all the Haitian debt, including our new loan," Strauss-Kahn said.

Read more: http://english.aljazeera.net/business/2010/01/201012134...



Let's hope that this call for reconstruction is heeded but with the quality of life of the Haitians as a priority, instead of simply big bucks for the corporations.

This reminds me of Biden's call for a similar reconstruction effort prior to the invasion of Afghanistan...

Biden to propose reconstruction if Afghanistan attacked

October 3, 2001 Posted

By CNN State Department Correspondent Andrea Koppel and State Department Producer Elise Labott

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is expected to propose legislation for a long-term reconstruction and development plan in Central and South Asia following any military campaign against Afghanistan, an aide to the senator told CNN on Wednesday.

The senator will propose the plan, similar in nature to the Marshall Plan's reconstruction of Europe after World War II, in an effort to create an economic and social climate in which terrorists will not be able to operate, the aide said.

Full article: http://archives.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/10/03/ret.bide... /


---- --- ----


Biden's proposal 10-03-2001

=snip=

Let me make this very bold proposal as to what I think we should and could do. The plight of the Afghans had reached a crisis point before September 11, and the prospect of military action has made matters even worse. The U.N. places the number of Afghan refugees at about 3 million, and in Iran at about one half that, with another million displaced within Afghanistan itself. These people are living--if one can call it that--in conditions of unspeakable deprivation. One camp in the Afghan city of Herat is locally called, quite appropriately, ``the slaughterhouse.'' The expectation of U.S. attacks has already prompted more desperate people to flee their homes, and a estimated 1.5 million may soon take to the road.

U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan has issued an appeal for $584 million to meet the needs of the Afghan refugees and displaced people, within Afghanistan and in neighboring countries. This is the amount deemed necessary to stave off disaster for the winter, which will start in Afghanistan in just a few weeks.

We must back up our rhetoric with action, with something big and bold and meaningful. We can offer to foot the entire bill for keeping the Afghan people safely fed, clothed, and sheltered this winter, and that should be the beginning.

We can establish an international fund for the relief, reconstruction, and recovery of Central and Southwest Asia. We can do this through the U.N. or through a multilateral bank, but we must be in it for the long haul with the rest of the world.

The initial purpose of the fund would be to address the immediate needs of the Afghans displaced by drought and war for the next 6 months. But the fund's longer-term purpose would be to help stabilize the whole region by, as the President says, draining the swamp that Afghanistan has become.

We can kick the effort off in a way that would silence our critics in the rest of the world: a check for $1 billion, and a promise for more to come as long as the rest of the world joins us. This initial amount would be more than enough to meet all the refugees' short-term needs, and would be a credible downpayment for the long-term effort. Eventually the world community will have to pony up more billions, but there is no avoiding that now, not if we expect our words ever to carry any weight.


If anyone thinks this amount of money is too high, let me note one stark, simple and very sad statistic. The damage inflicted by the September 11 attack in economic terms alone was a minimum of several hundred billion dollars and a maximum of over $1 trillion. The cost in human life, of course, as the Presiding Officer knows, is far beyond any calculation.

The fund I propose would be a way to put some flesh on the bones, not only of the Afghan refugees, but on the international coalition that President Bush has assembled. All nations would be invited to contribute to this fund, and projects for relief and reconstruction could be carried out under the auspices of the United Nations. Countries that are leery of providing military aid against the Taliban could use this recovery fund as a means to demonstrate their commitment to the wider cause.

Money from the fund would be used for projects in several countries. In the short term, it could help front-line countries handle the social problems caused by existing refugee burdens or the expected military campaign. This would further solidify the alliance and give wavering regimes, especially Pakistan, a valuable ``deliverable'' to present to its own people.

The fund would also be used for relief efforts within Afghanistan itself. This could take several forms. It could help finance air drops of food and medical supplies. It could support on-the-ground distribution in territories held by the Northern Alliance and other friendly forces. And perhaps, most significantly, it could provide the Pashtun leaders of the south with a powerful incentive to abandon the Taliban and join the United States-led effort.

Think of the impact. Many Pashtun chiefs, including current supporters of the Taliban, are already on the fence. If the Pashtuns, who are now going hungry, saw relief aid pouring into neighboring provinces or in from the air, with their own leaders stubbornly stuck by Mullah Omar and refused such aid well, we could suddenly find ourselves with a lot of new allies. The seemingly intractable problem of forging a political consensus in Afghanistan might become a whole lot easier to solve.

A massive humanitarian relief effort will not guarantee a favorable political solution.

But it clearly is within the realm of possibility. We can establish our credibility by committing ourselves to providing this aid now, before the first bomb falls.

The funding that I propose will address not only the short-term goal, but the more important (and more difficult) longer term ones as well. Whatever we do in Afghanistan--whether it involves the commitment of military, political, or humanitarian assets--must be geared toward a long-term solution. We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past. If we think only in the short term, only of getting Bin Laden and the Taliban--which we must do, but that is not all we must do--we are just begging for greater trouble down the line.

We have a unique opportunity here and right now--a window of opportunity that will not be open forever. Now, while the attention of the country and the world is focused on this vital issue, we can create a consensus necessary to build a lasting peace in the region.

This will be a multinational, multiyear, multibillion-dollar commitment. And if we take a leading role, I am confident that other nations will follow.

Today is not the time to speak about political reconstruction of Afghanistan. The situation is extremely fluid, and delicate negotiations are in progress. This Chamber is not the appropriate place for such a sensitive discussion.

Today is also not the time to discuss all the details of the long-term economic reconstruction package for the region. Once the immediate refugee crisis is dealt with, there will be plenty of opportunity to deal with the nitty-gritty of how best to help the people in the region rebuild their lives. I will not presume to lay out a long-term agenda today. But some of the foremost items on such an agenda might include the following:

Creation of secular schools, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan, to break the stranglehold of radical religious seminaries that have polluted a whole generation of Afghan boys. The Taliban movement is an outgrowth of this network of extremist seminaries, a network which has been funded by militant forces around the world and has fed off the lack of secular educational opportunities.

We can also be involved in the restoration of women's rights. The Taliban created a regime more hostile to the rights of women than any state in the whole world. Women under Taliban rule have been deprived of even the most basic of human rights. A critical element of the new school system, I should emphasize, will be providing equal education for girls and boys alike. If Afghan girls and women do not have a chance to go to school, they will never be able to have the rights they are so cruelly denied now by the Taliban.

De-mining operations: Afghanistan is the world's most heavily mined country. Clearing these mines will take time, money, and expertise. Until these fields are cleared, farmers--whether currently trapped in refugee camps or trapped by drought--cannot start farming their land.

Creation of full-scale hospitals and village medical clinics in Afghanistan and throughout the region. As in the case of schools, the absence of such services has created a void filled by radical groups.

People sometimes ask why extremist organizations have been so successful in recruiting support in the Muslim world. Let me tell you, they don't do it all by hate. Many militant groups provide valuable social services in order to gain goodwill, and then twist that goodwill to vicious ends.

Another thing we can provide is a crop substitution program for narcotics. This week, the Taliban reversed its short-lived ban on growing opium. As part of a long-term solution, we have to help the Afghan farmers find a new way to support their families. We cannot let Afghanistan resume its place as the world's No. 1 source of heroin.

Building basic infrastructure: Just as Saddam manipulated images of war in Iraq, the Taliban could have success doing the same. We have to counter this effort by drilling wells, building roads, providing technical expertise, and a whole range of development projects.

We are portrayed as bringing destruction to the region. We must fight that perception: we must prove to the world that we are not a nation of destruction, but of reconstruction.

Full transcript and video: http://www.c-spanarchives.org/congress/?q=node/77531&id...



For a reminder of what happened after this speech and how prescient Biden's predictions were...

Timeline From 2001 Onwards That Clearly Shows How Subsequent Empty Promises of Economic Redevelopment Led us to the SNAFU in Afghanistan President Obama Was Left to Deal With

&

Timeline That Clearly Shows How Bushco Redirected US Forces - and Subsequently Everyone's Attention - from Afghanistan to Iraq

-
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:27 AM
Response to Original message
1. And the vultures are circling. Poor Haiti. n/t
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 03:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. The last thing Haiti needs is to have the IMF
move in like the vultures they are and put the country into debt as they have so many other third world countries.

This was one of Haiti's problems in the first place.

Anyone who doesn't understand why this should not happen, should read John Perkins' 'Diary of an Economic Hitman' and Naomi Klein's 'Shock Doctrine'.

What Haiti needs are grants, not loans. And in fact, they are owed billions of dollars by those who have profited from the misery they inflicted on that poor country for nearly two centuries. France and the U.S. ought to start repaying the debt they owe.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 04:14 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. Check this out, sabrina:
Clinton calls for more private investment in Haiti

09/09/2009

Former US President Bill Clinton, the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, is calling for more private investment in the country.


Mr. Clinton told a Security Council meeting on Wednesday that his mandate as Special Envoy is to work with the government and people of Haiti to ensure that the country's recovery effort has the same level of assistance he had when he worked on recovery for the tsunami-affected areas.

Clinton said he and his team were also encouraging more private sector investment in Haiti to maximize the country's investment potential and to promote opportunities made possible by the more secure environment the UN mission in the country has helped to create. And to help secure the private investment, Clinton said he planned to lead a trade mission to the country in a few weeks.

"In August, the government shortened the length of time it takes between filing an investment proposal and its approval. This is a very good beginning. But we need to do more, to rebuild the roads, the infrastructure, the power supply necessary to advance agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Given the untapped economically viable opportunities for clean energy and greater energy efficiency, there is also no reason why H can't become much more energy-independent in a way that will create substantial numbers of new jobs and will cut long-term costs to business, government and individual citizens."

http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/detail/81178....
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 10:07 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. 'Private investment' ~ I just read the link to the Democracy Now
interview below about how under Aristede Haiti's flour and cement mills were nationalized. But after he was ousted, they flour mill was sold to a private industry run by Henry Kissinger and finally closed down. So, they went from being able to provide their own flour to having to buy it at far more expensive prices from the U.S. And of course, the people have been starving.

Sounds like a bargain basement sale of Haiti once again. Haiti is a perfect example of the results of privatization. And I know they are already bringing in the private mercenaries to help with 'security'.

More and more it looks like Chavez was right.

Don't know if you saw this though ~ makes me wonder about Clinton, is he for Haiti or against it?

http://www.cubavsbloqueo.cu/Default.aspx?tabid=2584

blockquote]Bill Clinton Praises Cuban and Venezuelan Aid to Haiti<[br />
CUBA, October 1, 2009. Former US President Bill Clinton, now appointed as UN special envoy to Haiti, praised the support given by Cuba and Venezuela to this Caribbean nation to help palliate its precarious social and economic situation.

Granma newspaper reports this Thursday that the acknowledgement is part of a report presented by Clinton to the Americas Conference in Miami.

Clinton said that the last time he was in Haiti he inquired about what was being done in terms of prevention prior to the hurricane season and he learned that (Venezuelan president) Hugo Chavez had donated 87 million dollars.

Haiti used the money to purchase machinery to remove land at the places that were affected by the floods caused by last years hurricanes.

Thank you for that link, EFerrari. I can't forget how involved Clinton is with the Bush gang. I would prefer to see South America involved in helping them.
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YouTakeTheSkyway Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 04:24 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. While I agree that Haiti does not need loans, but instead grants
It seems to me, the quickest means to forgiving Haiti's outstanding debt is unfortunately through the IMF and World Bank.

After which, individual nations will have to forgive the rest of Haiti's debt on a one on one basis (there's no real means for eliminating everything in one shot).
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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #10
19. No, what Haiti needs now and always did, was a fair trade
agreement with the West. Instead it has been invaded and occupied (by the U.S. for years, to 'protect their interests there') robbed by the west, embargos set up from the time it declared its independence by the U.S. and France, privatized by the same suspects, with its resources sold to the highest bidder and loans forced on it by the World Bank (think Wolfowitz when you think of these predatory organizations).

I don't know why Americans are so resistant to the truth about this country. I know it's hard to have to acknowledge that we are nto what we claim to be at all, not even close. We are now, an Imperial nation, we kill people for profit, we control their resources and if they resist we kill and torture them, just like all Empires before us.

The rest of the world knows this, especially those countries who have suffered under the heavy hand of the U.S. government. We are NOT interested in creating Democracies, in fact we hate them, like Venezuela, because Democracies will not hand over their resources to foreign nations. We love and support brutal dictators because we can manipulate them and if they eventually resist, like Saddam Hussein, we take them out and that keeps them in line.

The only way to end this Imperial government and return to the Democratic principles this country was supposed to be founded on is to stop denying the truth and for the American to take off the blinders and start demanding democracy HERE, and let everyone esle take care of themselves.

The blame for Haiti's condition can be laid directly at the door of the U.S. and France mostly. The British tried, but we got there first. Denying it won't change history and Americans only look foolish to the rest of the world when they do so. It is now common knowledge and strikes fear in the hearts of people of other nations when they hear 'The U.S. will be here to take care of things'. That is sad, because we could so easily be the good guys.
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The abyss Donating Member (930 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #19
28. Didnt those original IMF loans break the back on Haitis local rice production?
I read somewhere that part of the original loan agreement was that the nation would need to allow foreign competition in the form of rice imports. In essence killing local production.

I could be wrong, operating only on a memory/thought here.

Anyone recall this?

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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:00 PM
Response to Reply #28
33. It was the agreement made for Clinton to bring back Aristide.
That's one reason my skin crawled when I saw him being made the face of Haiti's "recovery".
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:31 AM
Response to Original message
2. The IMF Doesn't Do Marshall Plans
so they would have to be totally out of the picture. And Haiti and I would be very happy about that.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:44 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. The IMF and the WB did at one point, they are a product of Bretton Woods
who do you think administered it? Oh yes, these two.

So perhaps somebody did crack like I don't know a history book.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 05:50 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. Why Don't You Look at Indonesia, If You Think Ancient History Applies to Today?
Ask them about what Timmy Geithner did for them, as their IMF overlord.

Or ask Chavez. He's freeing South America from IMF imposed debt slavery.

That's why the US sent guns and not food, water and medicine to Haiti. The banksters fear that Chavez will free that tiny, beaten nation.

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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #12
24. It IS Indonesia that they are looking at, not quite a success
and they brought food and water too. I know facts and all
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-22-10 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #24
29. I am not referring to the naturally-caused Tsunami.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #5
22. The Economic Cooperation Administration and Organization for European Economic Cooperation did
(the latter being the forerunner of the OECD)

http://archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/4...
http://www.marshallfoundation.org/Library/doc_eca.html
http://books.google.com/books?id=YipOlJqr6msC&pg=PA165#...

I can't find anything saying the IMF or World Bank administered the Marshall Plan.

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Turborama Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #22
31. I looked into this when I was at college...
Edited on Mon Jan-25-10 10:02 PM by Turborama
I can't find the full reference list on the hard drive I'm using at the moment but I might be able to dig it out of my old broken one, if you'd like me to...

McMichael's book that's referenced to is this one (link goes to pages that are cited): Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective


Concisely explain the dominant meanings of development

The contemporary use of the term development dates back to when "the development project" first emerged under the bilateral Marshall Plan which then became formalized under the multilateral Bretton Woods program (McMichael pp 40-45). This was set up, in the post war period, through America seeing the need to set up a vast new program of assistance. This was done in order to hold back the perceived communist threat - which was seen by America as a threat to worldwide freedom (Ibid) - from encroaching on vulnerable postcolonial states that were viewed to have political and economic weakness. (Ibid) Henry Morgenthau, the conference president, best typified this ideal when he stated, Freedom of opportunity is the foundation for all other freedoms. (Ibid p.48)

There were two agencies the Bretton Woods conference created for achieving this development which were:

The International Monetary Fund, which was set up to disburse credit to enable the stabilisation of foreign currencies (Ibid P.47) and would achieve the stabilisation of national finances and the revitalisation of international trade (Ibid p.48).

The World Bank, which was created to raise money for international development (Ibid p47). The money the World Bank raised was to be used on making loans for major national infrastructural projects (Ibid p.48).

These two institutions were used to lubricate the world economy by moving funds to regions, i.e. developing countries, which needed purchasing power (ibid p.48). The World Bank lending had Eurocentric first world priorities by emphasising what it considered to be productive investments, such as energy and export agriculture rather than social investments, such as education, health services, water and sanitation facilities and housing. (Ibid p.50)

Comeliau (pp 113-114) states that by looking at Article 1 of the statutes of the World Bank Group, a text drafted by the Bretton Woods conference to state the purposes of the World Bank, one can tell by the stated purposes of the bank - such as To promote private foreign investment by means of guarantees or participations in loans and other investments made by private investors - that its main objective is not social progress or the struggle against poverty but instead it is to support, through its investments, the productive, commercial and financial activity of the financial sector. (Comeliau p.114) This is not to say that poverty and social progress are not concerns for the World Bank but that they are not priorities.

For most people development means the raising of the quality of life, raising of the standards of living for individuals, groups and nations. (Ryrie p.35) The main method of judging a nations standard of living is the use of Gross National Product per capita (Ibid). This is a measure of the material standard of living in a country though, not an indicator of the quality of life in any particular country. The quality of life of a country can be judged by physical well being through life expectancy, the availability of medical services and nutrition, educational development through levels of literacy and school enrolment rates and by the quality of a countrys basic infrastructure such as the availability of drinking water, communications and electricity (Ryrie p.35).


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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:37 AM
Response to Original message
3. Call me cynical
but the IMF is not exactly the feel-good organization of the century.
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Altoid_Cyclist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 06:15 AM
Response to Reply #3
14. Call me cynical also. One of the few songs about the IMF and their actions.
"Call it Democracy" by Bruce Cockburn


Comments on the song by Cockburn:
"Through a growing familiarity with the Nicaraguan revolution, a recognition of North-South relations began to take shape. Nicaragua, the Philippines, Chile, virtually all of Latin America really, Indonesia, emerging African countries... Wherever you look you find the same financial interests at work. Working to get rich without controls, at the expense of the poor. When the poor complain, out come the troops, and then the arms companies get rich too."

Lyrics:

Padded with power here they come
International loan sharks backed by the guns
Of market hungry military profiteers
Whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
With the blood of the poor

Who rob life of its quality
Who render rage a necessity
By turning countries into labour camps
Modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

Sinister cynical instrument
Who makes the gun into a sacrament --
The only response to the deification
Of tyranny by so-called "developed" nations'
Idolatry of ideology

North South East West
Kill the best and buy the rest
It's just spend a buck to make a buck
You don't really give a flying fuck
About the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

See the paid-off local bottom feeders
Passing themselves off as leaders
Kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
Open for business like a cheap bordello

And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy
And they call it democracy

See the loaded eyes of the children too
Trying to make the best of it the way kids do
One day you're going to rise from your habitual feast
To find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
They call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
Takes away everything it can get
Always making certain that there's one thing left
Keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

Live version of the song.

<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/68zccrskOqQ&color1=0xb1b1b1&co... "></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"></param><embed

The people of Haiti are going to need help from somewhere, but I'm not sure that the IMF is the group to turn to with their dubious history.



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sabrina 1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 09:53 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. Perfect description of the IMF.
And the World Bank. All anyone needs to know about the World Bank is that Wolfowitz was appointed as head of WB not so long ago.

Thanks for posting that, I had never heard it before.

As far as help, they will need it.

Venezuela and Cuba have been helping them for years. Chavez got a commitment for one billion dollars towards helping them just last year I think, and Venezuela itself has donated over 80 million over the past number of years to help build infrastructure. Haiti used the money to buy materials to build power plants etc. Sadly they were probably destroyed by the earthquake. Both countries have also provided medical staff, and training of Haitian doctors.

I think since Haiti has always had good relationships with South American countries because of their history, I would feel a whole lot better if whatever help they need is organized by their allies rather than the U.S. which has done nothing throughout its history other than cause them to fail, deliberately. And to rob them of whatever assets they've had.

Chavez paid off Venezuela's debt to the World Bank. Those organizations keep countries in a state of poverty, restricting what they can do by imposing all kinds of conditions on them.

And, while some people here had a fit when Chavez warned that the U.S. was in Haiti to try to take it over, he was most likely right, unless things have suddenly changed after 200 years. He, unlike most Americans, knows the history well.
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Altoid_Cyclist Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 10:56 AM
Response to Reply #17
21. You're welcome.
All that I ever hear from the conservatives (especially some of my in-laws) where I live is how evil people like Chavez and Castro are. They never want to hear about the positive things that they've done to help people in their region of the world.

I think that you're correct that countries in South America and some of their allies need to have a large say in how Haiti is rebuilt. I can't see where the decisions of the US and the IMF/World Bank have always been in the best interest of the countries and people that they are supposedly "helping" to build a better way of life.



This is another comment that Cockburn made while traveling in Central America in the early 90's. It isn't about Haiti, but parts of it seem very appropriate given the events of the last week. The emphasis was added my me.


"The moving part of it for me," he said, "was, well, first of all, to see what suffering people can really experience, and then to see how people respond to that suffering or to the threats that they're under and so on. Especially in the refugee camps, people were so together, given the circumstances, and had such an ability not to fall into hopelessness. That was the most moving thing at all, and that, combined with the threat of violence against those people particularly, was a terrible feeling and a terrible set of feelings to have and a terrible sort of juxtaposition to see.

"These people had absolutely nothing and no prospects whatever. Still, they were trying to get something going, they were still building schools in their refugee camps even though they had nothing to put in them, no books and no teachers. They built a little infirmary even though they didn't have any medicine, just so they'd be ready when it did come, and it never did, of course. The Mexican army went in and burned it all down after a while.

"But those people still had this ability to go, 'Well, okay, we're just gonna build something here.' That just made the kind of cynicism, that we who live in the developed world can so easily feel about the usefulness or not of political action, seem so pathetic. It seemed like complete self-indulgence for us to sit around going, 'Oh, well, there's nothing we can do.'"

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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:43 AM
Response to Original message
4. One of the people apporached to do this is
Professor Collier of Oxford. Went trolling and he apparently is not a neo liberal, but a Keynseian economist

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

If this is the case I am not going to bother explaining why this is important.
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Goldstein1984 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 03:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. "...Haiti, which has been incredibly hit by different things..."
Yes, they have. But the IMF seems to have forgotten to add imperialism and exploitation by foreign financial interests to the list of disasters Haiti has suffered.

Let the IMF have their way, and Feudalistic Capitalism with reign in Haiti. Ask the good people of Latin American about the strings attached to help from the World Bank and IMF.

Let's all sit back and watch another case study in disaster capitalism.

Recommended reading for anyone wanting to make sense of what's to come in Haiti: "The Shock Doctrine," by Naomi Klein.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 04:00 AM
Response to Original message
8. In the early stages
it was mentioned that whatever Haiti got should be by way of gift - not loan. That's how it should be.
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lostnfound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 05:43 AM
Response to Original message
11. "Deterring democracy" (as Chomsky says) will be the real goal.
'Crisis capitalism'..it will be conducted with a splash of humanity that would have been absent under Bush, but the goals may well include squelching any emergent green shoots of popular democracy from rising in Haiti. Haiti is a problem for neoliberals because the Haitian poor stick together.
On DemocracyNow yesterday, it was mentioned that Haiti under Aristide had a state-owned flour mill, cement factory, and telephone company. The U.S. orchestrated his kidnapping and exodus in 1991 and in 2004, and each time Haiti was conveniently "open for business".

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/20/journalist_kim_iv...
Aristide, in both cases, was taken from Haiti, essentially by US forces, both times. The first time he ended up spending it in Washington, but now hes presently in South Africa, where hes been for these past six years. But along with this politicalthese political earthquakes carried out by Washington were the economic earthquakes, the US policy that they wanted to see in place, because Aristides government had a fundamentally nationalist orientation, which was looking to build the national self-sufficiency of the country, but Washington would have none of it. They wanted the nine principal state publicly owned industries privatized, to be sold to US and foreign investors.

So, about twelve years ago under the first administration of Ren Prval, they privatized the Minoterie dHaiti and Ciment dHaiti, the flour mill, the state flour mill, and the state cement company. Now, for flour, obviously, you have a hungry, needy population. You can imagine if the state had a robust flour mill where it could distribute flour to the people so they could have bread. That was sold to a company of which Henry Kissinger was a board member. And very quickly, that flour mill was closed. Haiti now has no flour mill, not private or public.

AMY GOODMAN: Where does it get its flour? This is the poorest country in the western hemisphere.

KIM IVES: It has to import it, and a lot of it is coming from the United States.

The other one isand even more ironic, Amyis the cement factory. Here is a country which is mostly made of limestone, geologically, and that is the foundation of cement. It is a country which absolutely should and could have a cement company, and did, but it was again privatized and immediately shut down. And they began using the docks of the cement company for importing cement. So when we drive around this country and we see the thousands of cement buildings which are pancaked or collapsed, this is a country which is going to need millions and millions of tons of cement, and its going to have to now import all of that cement, rather than being able to produce it itself. It could be and should be an exporter of cement, not an importer.


I'd like to believe that the US took over air traffic control (and has sent thousands of troops) for purely "humanitarian" reasons, but does anyone else wonder if the policy is shaped in some circles mostly by a desire to prevent another Cuba or Venezuela from rising from the ashes? The Heritage Foundation by the way had a statement about the earthquake as an "opportunity" (to impose neoliberal policies on Haiti) up on its website within 8 hours of the earthquake happening. So don't tell me that its conspiratorial to think that 'some circles' don't exist.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 05:53 AM
Response to Reply #11
13. Very Likely the Airport Was Seized to PREVENT Aid from Cuba and Venezuela
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #13
32. Thom Hartmann said something about the US trying to dial back
aid from Cuba but I could never figure out what he meant. Haiti is much closer culturally to both Cuba and Venezuela than it is to us.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
15. If the IMF is involved it's most likely a Smash-n-Grab.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
16. No "loans". No IMF. nt
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Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
20. The IMF should just fuck off and die, imo...
Edited on Thu Jan-21-10 10:51 AM by Spazito
The "payment" the IMF demands for their loans is, in effect, the servitude of the receiving countries' citizens ensuring they work for the rapacious corporations that take anything of value from said receiving country.

The IMF offers countries the equivalent of "Sophie's Choice".

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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #20
25. Our family lived under Marshal Law for a few weeks while in Singapore (1964)
Edited on Thu Jan-21-10 02:03 PM by ShortnFiery
before Americans and Brits were spirited out of the country.

IF YOU ACCIDENTLY HAPPEN TO BE ON THE STREETS AFTER CURFEW, THE AUTHORITIES CAN SHOOT YOU DEAD ...

NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
:scared:

Not a good way to live. :(
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Spazito Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Not a good way to live for sure!
The Marshall Plan, though, is NOT the institution of martial law, it was a plan put in place in Europe after WWII to rebuild the war-torn countries instead of abandoning them or demanding restitution as was done after WWI which set in place the conditions that resulted in the rise of Hitler and nazism in Germany.

The IMF doesn't really care if a Marshall Plan is instituted, they, in reality, would have little to do with it other than to inflict themselves (corporate entities) upon the people of Haiti by loaning money only if the people of Haiti will give over all that is theirs.

The IMF offers only a Hobson's choice or, if you will, a "Sophie's Choice", really no choice at all as they only 'offer' the choice to countries devastated as is the case with Haiti.

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ShortnFiery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Oh, I stand corrected.
:blush:

Thanks for the full explanation. :hi:

"a Marshall Plan is instituted, they, in reality, would have little to do with it other than to inflict themselves (corporate entities) upon the people of Haiti by loaning money only if the people of Haiti will give over all that is theirs."

So if I'm not mistaken now, the USA will enjoy what could be termed as "Disaster Capitalism?"

No, better than being shot on sight but not by much. ;)
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-22-10 11:31 AM
Response to Reply #25
30. That's "Martial" Law
NOT the Marshall plan...
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-21-10 12:04 PM
Response to Original message
23. Those who politicize this disaster should rot in the same moldy cellar
as Rush and Pat. :grr: :banghead:
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