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#2594: Goff replies to Richard on Caribbean Comparison

From: Stan Goff <stangoff@all4democracy.org>

> From: patrick richard <rich0303@hotmail.com>
> Dear Goff,
> It is true that Cuba has made significant improvements during the last 45
> years in terms of Human development(Education and Health care). Although,
> the new view on economic development includes, among other indicators,
> political freedom, personal security, the rule of law, freedom of
> expression, and political participation. ( See UNDP or Tadaro, for a
> complete definition).

This is a model that was created by the bourgeois theorists of dominant
states.  If the definition of political freedom is the right to say whatever
you wnat about politics, maybe Haiti is freer than Cuba.  But if the
definition has anything to do with meaningful participation in the process
of determining political and economic priorities, then Cuba is a thousand
times more "free" than Haiti.  Certainly personal security and the rule of
law are greater in Cuba than Haiti.

It is also true that these comparative social
> indicators are very revealing of our wrenching and disastrous situation.
> However, to explain our underdevelopment solely by some sort of dependence
> or dominance relationship with the US and free markets, is irresponsible
> simplistic.

Help me out here.  What exactly IS responsible for the situation?  The model
of neo-colonialism in Latin America and the Caribbean is one of deliberate
underdevelopment of vassal states.  Are you suggesting that we accept the
arguement that the Haitian people choose tn llive in this situation?  Laying
the situation at the door of imperialism is not simplistic.  The history and
the various mechanisms and machinations of US/Haiti relations are anything
but simple.  No one is saying that the free market operated in Haiti or
anywhere else.  The whole notion of "free" market is a fiction.  My own
references to it are always meant to be freshly dipped in sarcasm.
Captialists do not tolerate free markets excpet where they see advantages in
them.  And imperialists have never tolerated anything of the kind.  That's
why they crush nationalist bourgeoisies as quickly as they go after
socialists.  They enforce a parasitic relationship.  Look at the capital
flows in and out of Haiti over the last century and tell me what you see.

( A similar thesis was advanced by the international dependence
> models during the 1970's: The neocolonial model, the false paradigm model
> and the dualistic-development thesis.

The evidence clearly supports the position that the US has maintained a
deliberate policy of underdevelopment in "the South."  It still does.  The
only development that is being allowed to this day, that is state-of-the-art
is when it is foreign-owned.

No wonder Aristide uses this kind of
> rhetoric invariably in his speeches. It is so easy. What a demagogue!).
> Passons. Although, I concede these are "externalities." Literally
> it is a fallacy to think that Haiti has practiced free market economy for
> the last 45 years. True, free markets per se do not work in developing
> countries, not just Haiti. (Another subject)
> ( I tend to refrain myself from offering my humble opinions concerning the
> path  of an economic development for Haiti).
> More, your alternative (implicitly) of adopting the cuban model, reflects
> our tendency to propose easy solutions to complex problems.

What I was implying was no such thing.  I was implying that Haitians do not
need the US to run their elections or to determine how Haiti will develop or
to define democracy for Haiti.  My call is not for a "model," but for

On the other
> hand, empirical studies of international comparisons show conclusively
> there is a strong correlation between democracy, political and civil
> and economic development (based on statistical testing over wide-range
> data).

Nonsense.  Correlation does not mean causation.  Countries that have long
benefited from colonialism and imperialism have established  leve of comfort
from that parasitic relationship adequate to buy off sectors of the working
class and ameliorate domestic political and economic contradictions.  This
gives them the political "space" to establish "consensual" mechanisms of
domination, where everyone votes and opines, but only a handful have the
material means to actually influence political outcomes.  Note that the fre
and democratic US never hesitated to employ brute force in its

This contradicts the "Lee Hypothesis" (Lee Ruan Yeu of Singapore) or
> Gunmar Myrdal(Asian Drama, 1964). Please be wary of very selective and
> limited information. True, there is no panacea to economic development.

You're beating the dickens out of a straw man.

> Nevertheless, a search for an effective approach should not consist of
> swinging to another extreme. A proper balance is of the essence. A
> mixture won't be found until we stop blaming others and take charge of our
> destiny.

Your implication is that the "blaming" is somehow divorced from actual
relations of domination.  If the US is trying to predetermine electoral
outcomes, exercising economic blackmail, continuing to militarily occupy the
country, et al, is pointing that out and objecting to it "blaming?"  I agree
the Haitian people should be allowed to take charge of their destiny.  But
to do that, the blan has to go.

> Patrick Richard
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