by Scott Creighton
I wish I could tell you this was an April Fools joke. I really do.
About a month ago Bill Clinton sat in congress and admitted that he played a vital part in the willful destruction of the agricultural base of Haiti in order to “relieve them of the burden of producing their own food so they could leap right into the industrial revolution“. Not only does he try to pass off their neoliberalization scheme as a “mistake” but he admits it was really only good for “some of my farmers (subsidized rice farmers) in Arkansas“.
Well, not only was it good for “his farmers” from his home state who just happened to be political donors as well, but it was also very good for another interest he had back in the day; the company that created a Board of Directors chair for his wife when he became Governor of Arkansas.
You see, the “leap into the industrial revolution” Bill Clinton was talking about was the predicted migration to the urban centers that the population of the rural farming areas had to make. This “blight flight” produced a vast number of dislocated migrant workers living in shantee towns who would work for next to nothing in all the sweatshops that Bill Clinton helped set up.
And of course who benefited from that? WalMart. Bill Clinton’s good old friends, the Forbes 500 top ten billionaire Walton Family.
“Since 1981, until about a year or so ago we started rethinking it, we thought that we rich countries that produce a lot of food should sell it to poor countries and relieve them of the burden of producing their own food so that, thank goodness, they can leap right into the industrial era. It has not worked. It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas but it has not worked. It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to, I am not pointing the finger at anybody, I did that. I have to live everyday with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce their rice crop in Haiti to feed those people.” Bill Clinton, March 2010
Clinton’s mia culpa is clearly too little too late, especially considering the fact that he has been appointed, by his Secretary of State wife no less, to become the defacto emperor of Haiti.
In short, what Bill Clinton is saying is he purposefully and willfully destroyed the economy and the standard of living for millions of Haitians, so naturally of course, we should hand over to him complete control of all the money donated and raised for the rebuilding of that same nation. A $10 billion dollar fund will be handed over to one of the chief architects of the neoliberalization of Haiti …and no one bats an eye.
What Bill Clinton actually did was just an extension of the neoliberal scheme started by Reagan and Bush 41. The idea was to collapse the agricultural base of targeted nations by opening up their markets to corporate produced agribusiness food products that were subsidized by the US taxpayers. This allowed these businesses, “my farmers” as Clinton refers to them, to get in and sell cheap products that would undermine rice prices in Haiti to the point where local farmers could not afford to compete. Top that with forcing the Haitian government to pass laws requiring local farmers to buy seed and fertilizer from our companies at inflated rates, and you have a recipe for deliberately wiping out the entire indigenous agricultural base.
Once that income source was cleared out, the rural communities that surrounded the agricultural industry of Haiti would soon be forced to relocate into the urban centers in order to simply survive. And those people moved right into Bill Clinton’s other neoliberal trap in Haiti, the sweatshop garment industry.
Forced to live like peasants and work like dogs for slave wages, the people of Haiti suffered for decades as a direct result of Bill Clinton’s and George H. W. Bush’s neoliberalization of a nation. The people suffered horrible lives for decades while the friends of Bill Clinton got rich selling those shirts and sneakers at WalMart. Of course those products being flooded into America ultimately undermined our textile industry and the strength of their realted unions and thus the viral infection of neoliberalization spread.
In a more recent interview, also covered on Democracy NOW!, Clinton again talks about the “mistake” they made back then, only this time he leaves out the “my farmers” part. But he does go a bit further in explaining the deeper destruction his neoliberal policies caused the people of Haiti. Policies that were basically enacted at gunpoint. Keep in mind the notion that the same process is happening here as you read his comments.
“We really believed for 20 years that if you moved agricultural production there (I suppose hes talking about “his” farmers in his home state again) and then facilitated its introduction into poorer places (forced open markets) you would free those places to get aid (impoverish the nation so the IMF and World Bank could come in) to skip agricultural development and go straight into an industrial era (garment factory sweatshops) and it’s failed everywhere its been tried… and it also undermines a lot the culture, the fabric of life, the sense of self-determination…. we genuinely thought we were helping Haiti…” Bill Clinton, late March 2010
As he delivered that last little part, the part where he says they thought they were helping the people of Haiti, you can see a little smirk on his face. He actually breaks out in a little smile as he says it.
Instead of flowing directly to the Haitian government, the aid will be managed by a proposed Interim Haiti Recovery Commission co-chaired by former President Bill Clinton and Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive. Democracy NOW!
It’s not hard to understand the real nature of what the Bill Clinton led program actually has in store for Haiti as that the signs are already there for all to see.
Last week Clinton and George (wipe my hands off) Bush traveled down to Haiti to strong-arm the puppet president there to pass a law which would allow the new neoliberal Clinton regime to take any land they saw fit from whomever they wanted for the reconstruction process. Its kind of an eminent domain law which the donors at this weeks conference wanted as an assurance prior to investing their “donations”. It basically allows for any corporation that Clinton is shilling for to take any land they want in order to basically do anything they want with, as long as it is going to turn a profit.
“of course this entire conference is the culmination of the final takeover of Haiti by the US… its pretty much a US run show. The World Bank is going to be deciding who gets the money.”
Clinton has apparently turned over a new leaf, even though he is still surrounded by the same financial advisors he had with him back in the days when they were “mistakenly” destroying the “fabric of life” of the Haitian people and others in Africa and so on. This new leaf seems to be to reintroduce agricultural business back into Haiti. I wonder if “his farmers”, the massive agribusiness companies, will be looking to move down to Haiti to set up corporate farms down there. The soil should be choice at this point considering it hasn’t been farmed for decades. Should get pretty good crop yields per acre wouldn’t you say? And with all that cheap labor waiting for “aid” down there, profits should be through the roof.
Only in a country this fucked up could a story like this one just slip under the radar of the main stream media.
When you have a political dynasty (one of two) so entrenched in our corrupt system that the secretary of state can anoint her own husband to manage $10 billion in reconstruction aid for a country that he has admittedly decimated, on purpose, for decades… and that story gets nearly zero coverage, and what little coverage it does get is actually positive, its beyond ridiculous. Just beyond ridiculous.
No wonder Clinton was practically laughing when he talked about thinking he was helping the people of Haiti. He was laughing at us. We are the April Fools joke here. and that ain’t no joke.