"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

Haiti: A Case Study in British Empire Genocide

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), and more recently the World Trade Organization (WTO), have destroyed Haiti's agriculture and starved its population to death, to the point that many desperately-hungry Haitians today fall prey to unscrupulous vendors who sell them "dirt cookies" -- biscuits made of clay, salt and oil.

This is the same policy of enslavement and extermination that the British Empire practiced in its Caribbean colonies, exposed so graphically by American System economist and patriot Henry C. Carey, in his 1853 book {The Slave Trade, Domestic and Foreign}. Alexander von Humboldt made the same observations in his early 19th century writings about British enslavement of its colonial populations in the region.

Up until the mid-1980s, when trade liberalization was introduced, Haiti was self-sufficient in rice production, its main staple. By the mid-1990s, the situation had changed dramatically, especially after the government signed a "structural adjustment" agreement with the IMF in 1994. The latter included even more trade liberalization measures, including the slashing of the 35% tariff on rice imports to 3%, as well as privatization of health care and other services. Haiti joined the WTO in 1996, and has continued to be victimized by it and the IMF to the present time -- accumulating an unpayable foreign debt along the way.

According to a 2004 report prepared by American University, doing the IMF's and WTO's bidding earned Haiti the top spot in the IMF's 1999 Index of Trade Restrictiveness. But it didn't prevent its people from becoming more impoverished, and the country from maintaining its status as the least-developed nation in the Western Hemisphere. Today, 80% of the population lives on less than $2 a day, and about half live on $1 a day or less. Yet incredibly, because of unequal income distribution, Haiti has the most millionaires per capita in the region!

It is also the second-largest importer of rice among Central American and Caribbean nations, importing 82% of total rice consumption from the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of rice farmers, millers, and those engaged in other aspects of the trade, were displaced by the flood of cheap imports, with no options for other employment. Those who migrated to the cities usually ended up in the "informal" sector, petty commerce, or as destitute slumdwellers.

While two-thirds of Haitians are still engaged in agriculture today, that activity often consists of literally scratching something out of the dirt. Desperate to produce anything edible, many farmers resorted to intensive cultivation techniques, which accelerated soil erosion. Soil erosion causes the loss of 15,000 hectares of cultivated land annually. One hundred and fifty years ago, 93% of Haiti was covered by forests; today only 3% remains.