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#4431: The Dam at Peligre (fwd)

From: Stan Goff <stangoff@all4democracy.org>

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=== Origin of the Dam at Peligre ===

The "Organisme de Developpement de la Vallee de l'Artibonite" (ODVA) was
born of an agreement, signed in 1949 in Washington, D.C., between the
Haitian government and the Export-Import Bank. Initial plans for the dam
were older still, having been drawn up during the U.S. military occupation
of Haiti (1915-1934). It was during the U.S. occupation that Haiti's
constitution was rewritten to abolish one of its most famous articles: the
prohibition of foreign ownership of land in Haiti. This change lent a
legal facade to the rapid growth of U.S.-owned agribusiness, which was
even then treated as a form of development assistance to a "backward"
peasant society. Inspired in part by what was to become the Tennessee
Valley Authority, proponents of agribusiness in Haiti needed reliable
irrigation for rice production in the fertile plains that had once been
home to French plantations. In a sense, then, the dam at Peligre was an
early installment of what later became known as "the American Plan."

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