[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#4093: Haitian pigs meet globalization (fwd)


    I find it very interesting that this article is attributed to 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide.  It seems particularly curious that Aristide would 
make statements like: "Today, when the peasants are told that 'economic 
reform' and privatization will benefit them they are understandably wary. The 
state-owned enterprises are sick, we are told, and they must be privatized. " 
 One must ask, who has benefit more from "economic reform and privatization " 
than Jean-Bertrand Aristide himself.  He and his wife have part or full 
ownership of phone companies (Three cellular and the illegal callback phone 
companies) from which they are making millions of US dollars while causing 
the state-owned phone company (Teleco) to lose tens (possibly hundreds) of 
million of US dollars every year. These are much-needed dollars that the 
government of Haiti could use to: 
    1) Pay the teachers in the public schools.
    2) Build or repair the much needed roads, schools, hospitals, courts, 
jails, clinics, etc.
    3) Pay the doctors working in the countryside,
    4) Upgrade the equipment and infrastructure of Teleco so that it could 
meet the communication needs of the Haitian     people.
    5) Finance the criminal justice system to enable them to remove the 
thugs, murders and thieves from the Haitian     communities.

    For those of us who love Haiti, let us not be fooled by those who say one 
thing while doing the opposite.  As you read the following article, be 
advised that, though it contains many true statements, it omits important 
facts.  Haiti has many enemies, some outside of its borders and some inside, 
all of whom endanger the future of Haiti. 
Paul A. Pumphrey

written by Jean-Bertrand Aristide
"The history of the eradication of the Haitian Creole pig population in the 
1980's is a classic parable of globalization. Haiti's small, black, Creole 
pigs were at the heart of the peasant economy. An extremely hearty breed, 
well adapted to Haiti's climate and conditions, they ate readily available 
waste products, and could survive for three days without food. Eighty to 85% 
of rural households raised pigs; they played a key role in maintaining the 
fertility of the soil and instituted the primary savings bank of the peasant 
population. Traditionally a pig was sold to pay for emergencies and special 
occasions (funerals, marriages, baptisms, illnesses and, critically, to pay 
school fees and buy books for the children when school opened each year in 

  "In 1982 international agencies assured Haiti's peasants their pigs were 
sick and had to be killed (so that the illness would not spread to countries 
to the North). Promises were made that better pigs would replace the sick 
pigs. With an efficiency not since seen among development projects, all of 
the Creole pigs were killed over a period of thirteen months.

  "Two years later the new, better pigs came from Iowa. They were so much 
better that they required clean drinking water (unavailable to 80% of the 
Haitian population), imported feed (costing $90 a year when the per capita 
income was about $130), and special roofed pigpens. haitian peasants quickly 
dubbed them "prince a quatre pieds," (four-footed princes). adding insult to 
injury, the meat did not taste as good. Needless to say, the repopulution 
program was a complete failure. one observer of the process estimated that in 
monetary terms Haitian peasants lost $600 million dollars. There was a 30% 
drop in enrollment in rural schools, there was a dramatic decline in the 
protein consumption in rural Haiti, a devastating decapitalization of the 
peasant economy and an incalculable negative impact on Haiti's soil and 
agricultural productivity. The Haitian peasantry has not recovered to this 

  "Most of rural Haiti is still isolated from global markets, so for many 
peasants the extermination of the Creole pigs was their first experience of 
globalization. The experience looms large in the collective memory. Today, 
when the peasants are told that "economic reform" and privatization will 
benefit them they are understandably wary. The state-owned enterprises are 
sick, we are told, and they must be privatized. the peasants shake their 
heads and remember the Creole pigs."