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#621: SAP plans (fwd)
I was never able to get anything in writing about the SAP, but in some
conversations, and I don't remember with whom, what I understood was that the
intention was to "encourage" Haitian peasants to leave the land and go to
work in the industries in Port-au-Prince, the rationale being that having
them work the land was not the best use of their labor, which was the
best/cheapest commodity Haiti had available for use in the international
marketplace. Thus, having them work cheap for the foreign-owned (or
Haitian-elite-franchised) assembly plants WOULD be the highest and best
use... beneficial to whom, I would like to know?).
If this sounds a little like the Enclosure Acts in England that drove the
peasants off their land to go work in the English wool mills around the time
of the Industrial Revolution, well, maybe it's no accident.
I think the English peasants had living conditions possibly a little better
than what the Haitian factory workers have in Cite Soleil, but not much
better -- they also had to contend with viciously cold winters and little or
no money for heat, food, clean water, sanitary facilities, etc. (Read Frank
McCourt's "Angela's Ashes" for a glimpse of what it was still like in
Limerick, Ireland, in the mid-1900s... )
Curiously, at the same time USAID is sending technicians and money (I don't
know how much) to the Haitian countryside to help farmers with productivity,
its other hand is also working in Washington and Port-au-Prince to strip them
of their land. I once asked somebody in USAID about this (as I guess many
have)_ but got no answer.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, an American acquaintance of mine with a
lot of time in Haiti told me she had asked a USAID employee what their plan
was for Haiti, and she was told, "Haiti will self-destruct."
Maybe I'm just being negative...