Opinion

The hand U.S. had in Haiti

In a recent piece in The Miami Hurricane, (published Monday, Jan. 25) Anthony Wojtkowiak argued that the United States should instruct the International Monetary Fund to forgive Haiti’s crushing debt. On this tactical question, I agree.

As U.S. citizens, however, perhaps we can think of some other options open to us. Surely, we are obligated to at least understand why Haiti, the beneficiary of the most U.S. intervention in the 20th century, remains the poorest country in the West.

Woodrow Wilson first invaded Haiti with Marines in 1915, killing thousands, disbanding the parliament and passing a U.S. written constitution allowing for foreign ownership of land and resources. Our troops finally withdrew in 1934, leaving in its place a vicious National Guard that would receive direct U.S. training and funding throughout the two brutal Duvalier dictatorships (both supported by the United States) from 1957 to 1986.

In 1990, Jean-Bertrand Aristide became Haiti’s first democratically-elected president, beating the U.S.-supported former World Bank official Marc Bazin. The government was overthrown in a military coup a year later, and though Aristide was later returned to office by the United States, it was on the condition that he would continue the economic program of Bazin.

Predictably, previously self-sufficient farmers were driven into urban slums to work for starvation wages and end up killed by the earthquake that would later tear through their primitive shantytowns. Finally in 2004, Aristide was, as he put it, “kidnapped” by U.S. Marines at gunpoint and has since been prohibited from returning to his country.

How much of this policy and its results are our responsibility? Luckily for us, our responsibility has not been in forming, or even ratifying, such policies but we are guilty if we do not work to affect these policies in the future.

So, what do we do now? Anyone who wishes to discuss it, or would like evidence for the above historical assertions, please e-mail me.

Adam Bird-Ridnell is a sophomore majoring in history and philosophy. He may be contacted at abirdridnell@themiamihurricane.com.

February 28, 2010

Reporters

Adam Bird-Ridnell


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

Miami coach Jim Larranaga is staying on the Hurricanes while they keep piling up wins. Dewan Huell h ...

Shakey Rodriguez, the Miami high school basketball coaching legend, vividly remembers the first time ...

It was a good day for the Miami Hurricanes basketball team. They moved up to No. 6 in the AP Top 25 ...

Erykah Davenport and Shaneese Bailey made key plays back-to-back late in the game and four players s ...

1. MARLINS: Jeter's Fish trade Gordon. Stanton next?: While others spend -- like the Angels to ...

William W. Sandler Jr. Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education earns national recognition for it ...

Retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez gives "Major League" advice to UM’s fall graduating c ...

Becoming the Man of the Hour ...

Always a little bit of a flair for the dramatic. ...

A scholarship created by retired Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez and born out of his love ...

Dewan Huell recorded his second double-double of the season as Miami improved to 9-0 with a 59-50 wi ...

The Miami Hurricanes football team hosted the 2017 Football Awards Show at Gusman Hall on the Univer ...

The Miami women's basketball team begins play at the Puerto Rico Classic Monday against Sacrame ...

The University of Miami women's basketball team capped its seven-game homestand with a 79-31 wi ...

University of Miami senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios earned 2017 first-team 2017 CoSIDA Academic ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.