By Nancy Roc
Last weekend, Donald Trump attacked the city of Baltimore and called it a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess”, a “very dangerous & filthy place” where “no human being would want to live”.
Haitians know exactly how much it hurts to be called those names. Trump should see the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince to realize that he is – and the function he represents- are responsible for this mess.
I feel sincere sympathy for Baltimore’s people for two reasons: first of all, Baltimore was not only once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States, but it is only about 40 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. I wonder why Trump doesn’t see how it mirror the policies drawn in the nation’s capital.
Second of all, I am sure that some of Baltimore’s taxpayers must contribute to the USAID programs in Haiti. The 2020 President’s Budget Request for the State Department and USAID is $40 billion, which includes $19.2 billion in assistance that USAID fully or partially manages with taxpayers’ money.
Dear Americans, do you know that, last weekend, on July 28th, Haiti commemorated the 104th sad “anniversary” of the American occupation? Do you know that, despite your taxpayers’ money, Haiti is still the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and one of the poorest now in the world? Do you know why? Because United States’ hegemony and the Monroe Doctrine always viewed Latin America as your “backyard”.
Haiti, the First Black Republic in the World, freed itself in 1803 from slavery. Since then, it has been punished for expressing its self-determination. First by France and from 1915, by the United States. Look at us now. Look at Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, the three Latin American countries that have broken from US domination. Look at the U.S. “backyard”.
Cuba has experienced an embargo since 1958. Still, it has driven the country to develop a resistance economy without relying on foreign goods. Cuba has a universal health care, better than yours. Still, Trump broke off the Obama’s warming of Cuba–United States relations that began in December 2014, ending a 54-year stretch of hostility between the two nations. Now, the Trump administration has revised its travel regulations to Cuba, prohibiting cruises to dock in the island’s harbour, forcing companies to cancel sailings. In Venezuela, Maduro continues to resist the current US-led coup attempt.
In Haiti, under Rene Preval’s presidency, Haitians started to enjoy a stable life. But the deadly earthquake in 2010 violently interrupted progress. The failure of the aid from the US – led by Clinton and the international community- has made headlines all over the world.
Since then, instead of allowing Haitians and the Haitian diaspora to take over and build their country, the U.S. imposed on us a thug-singer president, Michel Martelly, whose power grew as scandals swirled during and after his term. Indeed, corruption under his regime, supported by the U.S., rocked the nation. The PetroCaribe’s scandal last year was the most eloquent of these episodes. Haiti’s president, Jovenel
Moise, accused of an embezzlement scheme that defrauded the country’s poor out of billions of dollars of aid from Venezuela. Still, the U.S. is backing up Moise, Moise, who lobbies in the U.S., where he publishes an opinion piece in the Miami Herald but refuses to address his own people – and cannot do so- as he has been declared unfit to lead an entire nation asking him to resign.
So rest assure Baltimore’s people. We know how you feel but you still live in a paradise city compare to our “shithole”. I guess that for Trump, Haitians are not humans.
(Nancy Roc is an independent and award-winning Haitian-Canadian journalist, writer and political analyst with 30 years of experience. Her work has been published around the world).