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Lecture

ANT204H1 Lecture Notes - Colin Powell, Elections Canada, Canadian Business


Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT204H1
Professor
Leslie Jermyn

Page:
of 5
Canadian Involvement in Haiti
Tuesday June 9 th
, 2009
Intro
Background to the Coup
Canadian Complicity
Canadian Aid
UN involvement
Haiti Today
Why isn’t there an outcry?
- Canada has supported a coup in Haiti
- The support of Canada is shown in many ways, including “so called aid”
- Dr J argues that UN has not played a neutral role
- Canadians like to think of themselves as noble and benevolent, and most are oblivious to how unfair the situation and
Canada’s involvement in Haiti is
- In Feb 2004, it was presented to us that we have to get involved in Haiti, because Aristide was corrupt and using his
people, and was opposed by the majority poor population of Haiti
- We sent our police force, RCMP, and other people in order to train a new force so that that institution in Haiti would
be purged of pro-Aristide thugs
- Money to Haiti has mostly been funnelled through CIDA
- CIDA argues it goes to promote democracy (although they overthrew an elected president), and healthcare and
education
- Dr J will suggest there is a gap between our perception and what is actually going on in Haiti
- If we are complicit in a new legal coup, why do we get involved? If money doesn’t go to help the poor, where does it
go> If we aren’t doing good there, why aren’t Canadians unhappy or concerned?
Background
- Haiti is 1/3 of Espanola and the other 2/3 is Dominican. It is a high strategic interest for the USA
oNot far from shore of USA
oBoth Haiti and Dominican have been considered to be bulwarks, defences against he spread of Cuban
communism. Seen as anti-communist
oFor that reason, for 30 years, 56-86, one family controlled Haiti , the Duvaliars, with support of USA
- Babydoc (?) was opposed by Haitians because he had begun globalization, and the foreign investors that came to Haiti
were primarily clothing manufacturers, sweatshop style production
- If we look at Haiti geo-strategically, it doesn’t have the stuff that generally promotes foreign involvement (i.e, gas,
timber), so what is it (except from being anti-communist) that promotes inters in Haiti?
oIt has rotated through the bottom three in terms of rankings of poorest countries in the Western hemisphere
for years (i.e. sometimes its 1st, 2nd, or 3rd poorest – fluctuation)
oThis means Haiti has just one resource poor people. Who are very attractive in the global market because
of globalization, cheap labour, high profit margins
- Politics in Haiti – took a while to get democratic elections, till 1990
o1990 – Aristide was democratically elected, he said he would look after the poor. He beat out the USA and
elite people, he was the first nation leader to rep the masses rather than the tiny elite.
oAs soon as Aristide won, the CIA began to arm and back the Haitian military and paramilitary (non official
soldiers, thugs) in order to destabilize his regime. This was successful
o1991 – coup which forced Aristide to leave the country. He went to the USA, for the next 3 years, Clinton
was at pains to educate Aristide about his correct role. When he learned his lesson”, marines brought him
back to Haiti.
oHe was told that now he could only go to 1995 and would have to have elections again
Haitian Constitution says you cant have a president two terms in a row
- Rene pravale (?) won in 1995, on the grounds of being Aristide’s ally. IT turns out he was more into USA demands,
and he dropped tariffs and quotas which would have prevented imports of USA food. SO he allowed foreign food, esp
USA food, into the country. This drove Haitian farmers out. USA rice was cheaper than Haitian rice.
-Haiti is the 7th largest importer of foreign rice, and Haitian
- Aristide ran again, and won with a landslide. He is said to control from 60-70% of popular vote.
- Democratic Convergence – opposition
oBoycotted elections, and didn’t put anyone forward because they knew they could not compete with Aristide.
They did not put candidates forward
-Organization of American States (OAS) declared these elections to be democratically fair. UNTIL they realized
that Aristide was actually going to win with a landslide.
oAs votes run in, they start to invent problems
oSaid there were “irregularities” in the balloting for 8 seats in the senate, and said that Aristide has to open the
election again for these 8 seats
oAristide, said no because he knew what was going on and knew it was fabricated
- So USA and Canada led an aid embargo to Haiti. They had promised money to them, but with this election, they
boycotted Haiti’s aid money
oLeft Aristide with no money to run. They THEN even charged him interest on the loans that they had not
given to Haiti yet.
- Canada funnelled money through NGOs instead, to provide education and health etc
oThey wanted to send the message that the Haitian government is incompetent of providing basic things like
health and education, it was an attempt to destabilize image of Aristide
- In late 2003, Aristide supported a measure through government to increase minimum wage from $1 Canadian per day
to $2 Canadian per day
oAs soon as this passed, international pressure mounted both in press and in the ground, to get rid of him
oUSA started funding guerrilla leaders (thugs), arm them, and set up training camps
oThese groups started crossing the border, we were told this was a legitimate civil war, we were told
opposition forces which hated Aristide were these people
- In 2004, Colin Powell said the USA will not intervene, and everyone started flipping out
oIt was never hit to the press that the spark was the rise in minimum wage, it was all said that it was about
Aristide’s opposition
- Mostly foreign media, no one was actually there doing journalism, they were just attacking into the Haitian media
oAll of the Haitian media is owned by the 1% elite, there is no popular media
oThe 1% was making a story that made them look like there is anti-Aristide sentiment
oForeign media simply recycled these stories
oMost people came to believe that Aristide was illegitimate, that he was corrupt, violent,
-The opposition groups put forward a guy named Andre something (?)
- Why was Canada complicit?
Canadian Complicity
- Why was Canada involved?
- A government run by the 1% elite is better for Canadian business than a popular one
- Gildan active wear runs in Haiti, it is based in Montreal
oBeing able to make t-shirts in Haiti has been critical to Gildan’s success and global operations
oThe reason they didn’t want the minimum wage to go up, because in 2005 the textile quota system
disappeared on the basis of free trade (it had controlled USA imports and gave different countries quotas of
how much textiles they can export to the USA)
- USA could bring as much clothing from anywhere in the world. They would have gone to China, because it’s the
cheapest for clothing, and has the cheapest labour in the world.
- Gildan therefore had to figure out how to produce clothes that could compete with Chinese low benchmark, and the
only place this cheap labour could be guaranteed would be Haiti. This is why they moved out of Honduras and to
Haiti
- Gildan’s profit line
o1984 – 12 t-shirts = $28 at 8% profit = $2.24 profit
Canadian operations
o2004 – 12 t-shirts = $12 at 30% profit = $3.60 profit per dozen shirts
Foreign operation
- The difference between the profit is because of the change in cost of labour
- Post-coup, Canadian construction firm became in charge of improving highways in Haiti (even though no one owns
cars there, let alone afford a bike), and Quebec school system was paid to run schools in Haiti, and healthcare was
going to Quebec’s responsibility too
oHaiti loses its sovereignty
- SNC Lavalin – said they would build the railroads in Haiti
- A lot of money is going through CIDA, and this counts as “foreign aid” and makes us look good
- OECD publishes how much money countries give in aid
oIn the 60s they said each country should give 0.07% of GDP to aid, and OECD publishes these numbers
oCanada, when it is doing well, can reach only about 0.026%, which makes us look cheap
oIf you can spend military money through CIDA, and publish it as aid, then you can balloon up your number
and it makes Canada look better
- Canadian government and businesses have a lot to gain, cheap labour, bolstering aid numbers
- Where is this aid money going?
Canadian aid
- Some is going to Canadian businesses, where else is it going? Theres about 555 million dollars a year
- One place it is going is NCHR – National Coalition for Human Rights
oMandate is to protect due process in the law
oAfter the coupe, Yvonne Neptune was arrested under charge of orchestrating a massacre during the civil war,
he was accused of organizing a massacre in St Marc (?), he was charged with killing 50 people
oOpposition had taken St Marc and then they pushed out the guerrilla. When press arrived they found 5 dead
bodies. NCA claims the other 45 bodies were gone after 2 days because animals had eaten them. But there are
no animals in Haiti! Biggest animals are rodents. NCA spent heaps of money building this case against
Neptune, who remained in prison
oUnfairrr..!
- Another Canadian NGO, rights and democracy, supplies Aristide opposition to give them credibility as a real civil
institution
- Canadian Foundation for the Americas
oNational Endowment for Democracy (NED) which is funded by the USA and mandates to destabilize
regimes that are anti-USA
oNED was involved in the attempted coup against Chavez in Venezuela
UN involvement
- It is easy to see Canadian interests in Haiti, so UN should be neutral
- But there seems to have been problems with UN occupying force
- January 2006, after occupying forces have been there for 2 years
oInterim government set up in 2004
- January 8 – UN head “killed himself” and it showed up once in the news, and never again. Suspicious
- It turns out that people found out he did commit suicide, after meeting with oppositional groups to Aristide, people
suspect that if he didn’t increase the oppression of pro-Aristide populations (in Cite soleil – sun city) that he would be
relieved of duty
-His replacement had served under Augusto Pinochet, and was linked to torture during this time
Haiti Today
- Election was finally held in 2006, 2 years after Aristide
- Elections were monitored by Elections Canada
- Had to vote electronically, and only 10% of the population actually managed to register to vote, no one had access
- Then they set up only