The article below first appeared on the World Socialist Web Site, and was linked to at the Peace and Freedom Party blog.
excerpt from an article at WSWS.org
The history that “binds” the US and Haiti
Bill Van Auken / January 15, 2010
In his statement on the Haitian earthquake Wednesday, President Barack Obama referred to the “long history that binds us together.” Neither he nor the US media, however, have shown any inclination to probe the history of US-Haiti relations and its bearing on present catastrophe confronting the Haitian people.
Rather, the backwardness and poverty that have played a substantial role in driving the death toll into the tens, if not hundreds, of thousands are presented as a natural state of affairs, if not the fault of the Haitians themselves. The United States is portrayed as a selfless benefactor, ready to come to the aid of Haiti with donations, rescue teams, warships and Marines…
What is deliberately obscured by this comparison is the real relationship, which has evolved over more than a century, between “wealth generation” in the United States and poverty in Haiti. It is a relationship built on the use of force to pursue US imperialism’s predatory interests in a historically oppressed country.
If the Obama administration and the Pentagon carry through with reported plans to deploy a Marine expeditionary force in Haiti, it will mark the fourth time in the past 95 years that the US armed forces have occupied the impoverished Caribbean nation. This time, as in the past, rather than aiding the Haitian people, the essential purpose of such a military action will be to defend US interests and guard against what the Times refers to as the “proclivity for insurrection.”
The roots of this relationship go back to the birth of Haiti as the first independent black republic in 1804, the product of a successful slave revolution led by Toussaint Louverture, and the subsequent defeat of a French army sent by Napoleon…
There are, however, other ties that bind and are deeply felt, as the immensity of the tragedy in Haiti unfolds. There are over half a million Haitian Americans officially counted in the US and undoubtedly hundreds of thousands more who are undocumented. Their presence concretizes the class interests and solidarity that unite Haitian and American workers. Together, it is their task to sweep away the conditions of poverty and devastation in both countries, along with the capitalist profit system that has created them.