15 January, 2010

Haiti - Limbaughh Pat RObertson - CUBA? who said Cuba?

Rush Limbaugh has said that Americans shouldn.t help out with cash because .we.ve already donated to Haiti. It.s called the U.S. income tax," while Christian TV leader Pat Robertson, appearing on The 700 Club, told the millions of Christian Broadcasting Network viewers that Haiti.s woes in the past couple of hundred years can be traced back to a pact with the devil made by its early 19th-century leaders.
"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about," Robertson said Tuesday. "They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third [sic] and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said .We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.. True story. And so the devil said, .Ok it.s a deal.. And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another, desperately poor."

The damage is devastating, but in many ways, Haiti was in shambles far before the quake hit. So how did Haiti become so poor?

"Greedy dictators" and "a long line of Western imperial powers that have maldeveloped, purposely maldeveloped Haiti," said April Knutson, a senior lecturer in French who teaches the history of Haiti at the University of Minnesota. Knutson has been to Haiti five times doing research and humanitarian work.

She said the history of Haiti is one of unrest, obstacles and repression.

"Haiti was a colony of France. There was a slave uprising in 1791, and they beat the French," she said.

That's the uprising evangelist Pat Robertson was talking about on Jan. 13's "700 Club" broadcast, when he suggested that the earthquake was the work of the devil, because of what happened in 1791.

"And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French,'" Robertson said.

According to Knutson, there's a tiny glimmer of fact in what Robertson said.

"There was a voodoo ceremony just before the uprising, on the night before, led by a hero of Haiti," she said.

Some accounts say that the voodoo priests sacrificed the blood of a pig. But voodoo has been the religion in Haiti, and this ceremony wasn't at all out of the ordinary.

"I don't consider voodoo a pact with the devil at all," Knutson said. Rather than voodoo being associated with darkness and evil, "I think of light, strength and beauty," she said.

At any rate, the slaves had a real battle on their hands in 1802, when Napoleon send 20,000 French military forces to try to reclaim Haiti.

"These self-emancipated slaves defeated Napoleon's army in 1804. January 1, 1804. It's a glorious moment in the history of Haiti and the history of the world," Knutson said.

But victory came at a tremendous cost. In 1802, most countries still held slaves. Seeing them rise up and gain independence, freaked out the Western World, and they got even.

"They cut (Haiti) off from trade and development," Knutson said. "This lasted through most of the 19th century, a total blockade."

The economic destruction came after decades of French rule where the French stripped Haiti of its mahogany forest, and removed much of its natural resources. Shocking, because in the mid-1700's, more than three-fourths of the world's sugar came from Haiti (which was then called Saint-Domingue).

In the 1900s, peasant uprisings led to United States fears over Caribbean instability. So the United States Marines came into Haiti and occupied the country.

"The U.S. occupied Haiti for 19 years and put down any attempts of the Haitian people to reassert their independence to become a self-sustaining country," Knutson said.

Some reports indicate that as many as 10,000 political leaders and organizers were killed by U.S. troops during the first stages of the invasion and occupation.

After the U.S. left, the 20th Century was a time of tremendous political unrest, and poverty for Haitians. The U.S., France and Canada supported dictators, like Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Papa Doc Duvalier murdered and terrorized his people, killing tens of thousands of political opponents. He had support because he was "anti-communist" and there were fears that Cuba would spread communism to the rest of the Caribbean.

When he died in 1971, his son "Baby Doc" was even more ruthless.

A glimmer of hope came in 1990, when Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected with 67 percent of the vote. Aristide said he wanted to double the minimum wage, redistribute the agricultural land, and get the educational system in order.

He was overthrown the next year in a military coup. In 1994, the U.S. military restored Aristide to power. In 1995, an Aristide-chosen candidate was elected president. Aristide was elected again in 2004, but was tossed out by another coup in 2004.

"The greed seems unbelievable," Knutson said.

Most Haitians live on $1 a day, those working in the garment industry get paid $2 a day.

"We want cheap consumer goods and we don't think about the lives of people who make them," she said.

"Haiti's a country the rest of the world ignores. Governmentally, I think the great powers want to contain Haiti, they want to keep it poor," she said.

Haiti Earthquake USA France exploitation Catastrophe CUBA

Did anyone sat Cuba?

Why Is Haiti So Poor?

Because Haiti agreed to make reparations to French slaveholders in 1825 in the amount of 150 million francs, reduced in 1838 to 60 million francs, in exchange for French recognition of its independence and to achieve freedom from French aggression. This indemnity bankrupted the Haitian treasury and mortgaged Haiti's future to the French banks providing the funds for the large first installment, permanently affecting Haiti's ability to be prosperous.

Rush Limbaugh has said that Americans shouldn.t help out with cash because .we.ve already donated to Haiti. It.s called the U.S. income tax," while Christian TV leader Pat Robertson, appearing on The 700 Club, told the millions of Christian Broadcasting Network viewers that Haiti.s woes in the past couple of hundred years can be traced back to a pact with the devil made by its early 19th-century leaders.
"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about," Robertson said Tuesday. "They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon the third [sic] and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said .We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.. True story. And so the devil said, .Ok it.s a deal.. And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got something themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another, desperately poor."

Those who have any concern for Haiti will naturally want to understand how its most recent tragedy has been unfolding. And for those who have had the privilege of any contact with the people of this tortured land, it is not just natural but inescapable. Nevertheless, we make a serious error if we focus too narrowly on the events of the recent past, or even on Haiti alone. The crucial issue for us is what we should be doing about what is taking place. That would be true even if our options and our responsibility were limited; far more so when they are immense and decisive, as in the case of Haiti . And even more so because the course of the terrible story was predictable years ago -- if we failed to act to prevent it. And fail we did. The lessons are clear, and so important that they would be the topic of daily front-page articles in a free press.
Reviewing what was taking place in Haiti shortly after Clinton "restored democracy" in 1994, I was compelled to conclude, unhappily, in Z Magazine that "It would not be very surprising, then, if the Haitian operations become another catastrophe," and if so, "It is not a difficult chore to trot out the familiar phrases that will explain the failure of our mission of benevolence in this failed society." The reasons were evident to anyone who chose to look. And the familiar phrases again resound, sadly and predictably.

There is much solemn discussion today explaining, correctly, that democracy means more than flipping a lever every few years. Functioning democracy has preconditions. One is that the population should have some way to learn what is happening in the world. The real world, not the self-serving portrait offered by the "establishment press," which is disfigured by its "subservience to state power" and "the usual hostility to popular movements" - the accurate words of Paul Farmer, whose work on Haiti is, in its own way, perhaps even as remarkable as what he has accomplished within the country. Farmer was writing in 1993, reviewing mainstream commentary and reporting on Haiti, a disgraceful record that goes back to the days of Wilson's vicious and destructive invasion in 1915, and on to the present. The facts are extensively documented, appalling, and shameful. And they are deemed irrelevant for the usual reasons: they do not conform to the required self-image, and so are efficiently dispatched deep into the memory hole, though they can be unearthed by those who have some interest in the real world.

They will rarely be found, however, in the "establishment press." Keeping to the more liberal and knowledgeable end of the spectrum, the standard version is that in "failed states" like Haiti and Iraq the US must become engaged in benevolent "nation-building" to "enhance democracy," a "noble goal" but one that may be beyond our means because of the inadequacies of the objects of our solicitude. In Haiti , despite Washington 's dedicated efforts from Wilson to FDR while the country was under Marine occupation, "the new dawn of Haitian democracy never came." And "not all America 's good wishes, nor all its Marines, can achieve [democracy today] until the Haitians do it themselves" (H.D.S. Greenway, Boston Globe). As New York Times correspondent R.W. Apple recounted two centuries of history in 1994, reflecting on the prospects for Clinton's endeavor to "restore democracy" then underway, "Like the French in the 19th century, like the Marines who occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934, the American forces who are trying to impose a new order will confront a complex and violent society with no history of democracy."

Apple does appear to go a bit beyond the norm in his reference to Napoleon's savage assault on Haiti , leaving it in ruins, in order to prevent the crime of liberation in the world's richest colony, the source of much of France 's wealth. But perhaps that undertaking too satisfies the fundamental criterion of benevolence: it was supported by the United States , which was naturally outraged and frightened by "the first nation in the world to argue the case of universal freedom for all humankind, revealing the limited definition of freedom adopted by the French and American revolutions." So Haitian historian Patrick Bellegarde-Smith writes, accurately describing the terror in the slave state next door, which was not relieved even when Haiti 's successful liberation struggle, at enormous cost, opened the way to the expansion to the West by compelling Napoleon to accept the Louisiana Purchase . The US continued to do what it could to strangle Haiti, even supporting France's insistence that Haiti pay a huge indemnity for the crime of liberating itself, a burden it has never escaped - and France, of course, dismisses with elegant disdain Haiti's request, recently under Aristide, that it at least repay the indemnity, forgetting the responsibilities that a civilized society would accept.

The basic contours of what led to the current tragedy are pretty clear. Just beginning with the 1990 election of Aristide (far too narrow a time frame), Washington was appalled by the election of a populist candidate with a grass-roots constituency just as it had been appalled by the prospect of the hemisphere's first free country on its doorstep two centuries earlier. Washington 's traditional allies in Haiti naturally agreed. "The fear of democracy exists, by definitional necessity, in elite groups who monopolize economic and political power," Bellegarde-Smith observes in his perceptive history of Haiti ; whether in Haiti or the US or anywhere else.

The threat of democracy in Haiti in 1991 was even more ominous because of the favorable reaction of the international financial institutions (World Bank, IADB) to Aristide's programs, which awakened traditional concerns over the "virus" effect of successful independent development. These are familiar themes in international affairs: American independence aroused similar concerns among European leaders. The dangers are commonly perceived to be particularly grave in a country like Haiti , which had been ravaged by France and then reduced to utter misery by a century of US intervention. If even people in such dire circumstances can take their fate into their own hands, who knows what might happen elsewhere as the "contagion spreads."

The Bush I administration reacted to the disaster of democracy by shifting aid from the democratically elected government to what are called "democratic forces": the wealthy elites and the business sectors, who, along with the murderers and torturers of the military and paramilitaries, had been lauded by the current incumbents in Washington, in their Reaganite phase, for their progress in "democratic development," justifying lavish new aid. "The praise came in response to ratification by the Haitian people of a law granting Washington 's client killer and torturer Baby Doc Duvalier the authority to suspend the rights of any political party without reasons. The referendum passed by a majority of 99.98%." It therefore marked a positive step towards democracy as compared with the 99% approval of a 1918 law granting US corporations the right to turn the country into a US plantation, passed by 5% of the population after the Haitian Parliament was disbanded at gunpoint by Wilson's Marines when it refused to accept this "progressive measure," essential for "economic development." Their reaction to Baby Doc's encouraging progress towards democracy was characteristic - worldwide -- on the part of the visionaries who are now entrancing educated opinion with their dedication to bringing democracy to a suffering world - although, to be sure, their actual exploits are being tastefully rewritten to satisfy current needs.

Refugees fleeing to the US from the terror of the US-backed dictatorships were forcefully returned, in gross violation of international humanitarian law. The policy was reversed when a democratically elected government took office. Though the flow of refugees reduced to a trickle, they were mostly granted political asylum. Policy returned to normal when a military junta overthrew the Aristide government after seven months, and state terrorist atrocities rose to new heights. The perpetrators were the army - the inheritors of the National Guard left by Wilson 's invaders to control the population - and its paramilitary forces. The most important of these, FRAPH, was founded by CIA asset Emmanuel Constant, who now lives happily in Queens, Clinton and Bush II having dismissed extradition requests -- because he would reveal US ties to the murderous junta, it is widely assumed. Constant's contributions to state terror were, after all, meager; merely prime responsibility for the murder of 4-5000 poor blacks.

Recall the core element of the Bush doctrine, which has "already become a de facto rule of international relations," Harvard's Graham Allison writes in Foreign Affairs: "those who harbor terrorists are as guilty as the terrorists themselves," in the President's words, and must be treated accordingly, by large-scale bombing and invasion.

When Aristide was overthrown by the 1991 military coup, the Organization of American States declared an embargo. Bush I announced that the US would violate it by exempting US firms. He was thus "fine tuning" the embargo for the benefit of the suffering population, the New York Times reported. Clinton authorized even more extreme violations of the embargo: US trade with the junta and its wealthy supporters sharply increased. The crucial element of the embargo was, of course, oil. While the CIA solemnly testified to Congress that the junta "probably will be out of fuel and power very shortly" and "Our intelligence efforts are focused on detecting attempts to circumvent the embargo and monitoring its impact," Clinton secretly authorized the Texaco Oil Company to ship oil to the junta illegally, in violation of presidential directives. This remarkable revelation was the lead story on the AP wires the day before Clinton sent the Marines to "restore democracy," impossible to miss - I happened to be monitoring AP wires that day and saw it repeated prominently over and over -- and obviously of enormous significance for anyone who wanted to understand what was happening. It was suppressed with truly impressive discipline, though reported in industry journals along with scant mention buried in the business press.

Also efficiently suppressed were the crucial conditions that Clinton imposed for Aristide's return: that he adopt the program of the defeated US candidate in the 1990 elections, a former World Bank official who had received 14% of the vote. We call this "restoring democracy," a prime illustration of how US foreign policy has entered a "noble phase" with a "saintly glow," the national press explained. The harsh neoliberal program that Aristide was compelled to adopt was virtually guaranteed to demolish the remaining shreds of economic sovereignty, extending Wilson 's progressive legislation and similar US-imposed measures since.

As democracy was thereby restored, the World Bank announced that "The renovated state must focus on an economic strategy centered on the energy and initiative of Civil Society, especially the private sector, both national and foreign." That has the merit of honesty: Haitian Civil Society includes the tiny rich elite and US corporations, but not the vast majority of the population, the peasants and slum-dwellers who had committed the grave sin of organizing to elect their own president. World Bank officers explained that the neoliberal program would benefit the "more open, enlightened, business class" and foreign investors, but assured us that the program "is not going to hurt the poor to the extent it has in other countries" subjected to structural adjustment, because the Haitian poor already lacked minimal protection from proper economic policy, such as subsidies for basic goods. Aristide's Minister in charge of rural development and agrarian reform was not notified of the plans to be imposed on this largely peasant society, to be returned by " America 's good wishes" to the track from which it veered briefly after the regrettable democratic election in 1990.

Matters then proceeded in their predictable course. A 1995 USAID report explained that the "export-driven trade and investment policy" that Washington imposed will "relentlessly squeeze the domestic rice farmer," who will be forced to turn to agroexport, with incidental benefits to US agribusiness and investors. Despite their extreme poverty, Haitian rice farmers are quite efficient, but cannot possibly compete with US agribusiness, even if it did not receive 40% of its profits from government subsidies, sharply increased under the Reaganites who are again in power, still producing enlightened rhetoric about the miracles of the market. We now read that Haiti cannot feed itself, another sign of a "failed state."

A few small industries were still able to function, for example, making chicken parts. But US conglomerates have a large surplus of dark meat, and therefore demanded the right to dump their excess products in Haiti . They tried to do the same in Canada and Mexico too, but there illegal dumping could be barred. Not in Haiti , compelled to submit to efficient market principles by the US government and the corporations it serves.

One might note that the Pentagon's proconsul in Iraq , Paul Bremer, ordered a very similar program to be instituted there, with the same beneficiaries in mind. That's also called "enhancing democracy." In fact, the record, highly revealing and important, goes back to the 18th century. Similar programs had a large role in creating today's third world. Meanwhile the powerful ignored the rules, except when they could benefit from them, and were able to become rich developed societies; dramatically the US, which led the way in modern protectionism and, particularly since World War II, has relied crucially on the dynamic state sector for innovation and development, socializing risk and cost.

The punishment of Haiti became much more severe under Bush II -- there are differences within the narrow spectrum of cruelty and greed. Aid was cut and international institutions were pressured to do likewise, under pretexts too outlandish to merit discussion. They are extensively reviewed in Paul Farmer's Uses of Haiti, and in some current press commentary, notably by Jeffrey Sachs (Financial Times) and Tracy Kidder (New York Times).

Putting details aside, what has happened since is eerily similar to the overthrow of Haiti 's first democratic government in 1991. The Aristide government, once again, was undermined by US planners, who understood, under Clinton , that the threat of democracy can be overcome if economic sovereignty is eliminated, and presumably also understood that economic development will also be a faint hope under such conditions, one of the best-confirmed lessons of economic history. Bush II planners are even more dedicated to undermining democracy and independence, and despised Aristide and the popular organizations that swept him to power with perhaps even more passion than their predecessors. The forces that reconquered the country are mostly inheritors of the US-installed army and paramilitary terrorists.

Those who are intent on diverting attention from the US role will object that the situation is more complex -- as is always true -- and that Aristide too was guilty of many crimes. Correct, but if he had been a saint the situation would hardly have developed very differently, as was evident in 1994, when the only real hope was that a democratic revolution in the US would make it possible to shift policy in a more civilized direction.

What is happening now is awful, maybe beyond repair. And there is plenty of short-term responsibility on all sides. But the right way for the US and France to proceed is very clear. They should begin with payment of enormous reparations to Haiti ( France is perhaps even more hypocritical and disgraceful in this regard than the US ). That, however, requires construction of functioning democratic societies in which, at the very least, people have a prayer of knowing what's going on. Commentary on Haiti , Iraq , and other "failed societies" is quite right in stressing the importance of overcoming the "democratic deficit" that substantially reduces the significance of elections. It does not, however, draw the obvious corollary: the lesson applies in spades to a country where "politics is the shadow cast on society by big business," in the words of America's leading social philosopher, John Dewey, describing his own country in days when the blight had spread nowhere near as far as it has today.

For those who are concerned with the substance of democracy and human rights, the basic tasks at home are also clear enough. They have been carried out before, with no slight success, and under incomparably harsher conditions elsewhere, including the slums and hills of Haiti . We do not have to submit, voluntarily, to living in a failed state suffering from an enormous democratic deficit.

Guillaume Raynal attacked slavery in the 1780 edition of his history of European colonization. He also predicted a general slave revolt in the colonies, saying that there were signs of .the impending storm..[13] One such sign was the action of the French Revolutionary government to grant citizenship to wealthy, free people of color in May of 1791. However, white plantation owners refused to comply with this decision and within two months isolated fighting broke out between former slaves and the whites. This contributed to the tense climate between slaves and grands blancs.[14]
Raynal.s prediction came true on 22 August 1791, when the slaves of Saint Domingue rose in revolt and plunged the colony into civil war. The signal to begin the revolt was given by Dutty Boukman, a high priest of vodou and leader of the Maroon slaves, during a nocturnal religious ceremony at Bois Caïman.[15] Within the next ten days, slaves had taken control of the entire Northern Province in an unprecedented slave revolt that left the whites in control of only a few isolated, fortified camps. The slaves sought revenge on their masters through .pillage, rape, torture, mutilation, and death..[16] Because the plantation owners long feared a revolt like this, they were well armed and prepared to defend themselves. They retaliated by massacring black prisoners as they were being escorted back to town by soldiers. Within weeks, the number of slaves that joined the revolt was approximately 100,000, and within the next two months, as the violence escalated, the slaves killed 2,000 whites and burned or destroyed 180 sugar plantations and hundreds of coffee and indigo plantations.[16]
By 1792, slaves controlled a third of the island. The success of the slave rebellion caused the newly elected Legislative Assembly in France to realize it was facing an ominous situation. In order to protect France.s economic interests, the Legislative Assembly needed to grant civil and political rights to free men of color in the colonies. In March 1792, the Legislative Assembly did just that.[16] Countries throughout Europe as well as the United States were shocked by the decision of the Legislative Assembly. Members of the Assembly were determined to stop the revolt, so apart from granting these rights, they dispatched 6,000 Frenchmen to the island. Meanwhile, in 1793, France declared war on Great Britain. The white planters and slave owners in Saint Domingue made agreements with Great Britain to declare British sovereignty over the islands. Spain, who controlled the rest of the island of Hispaniola, would also join the conflict and fight with Great Britain against France. The Spanish forces invaded Saint Domingue and were joined by the slave forces. By August 1793, there were only 3,500 French soldiers on the island. To prevent military disaster, a French commissioner freed the slaves in his jurisdiction. The decision was confirmed and extended by the National Convention in 1794 when they formally abolished slavery and granted civil and political rights to all black men in the colonies. It is estimated that the slave rebellion resulted in the death of 100,000 blacks and 24,000 whites. [17]
The author Thomas Carlyle described these events dramatically:
"[describes disorders and shortages in France] ... not so much as Sugar can be had; for good reasons ... With factions, suspicions, want of bread and sugar, it is verily what they call déchiré, torn asunder this poor country: France and all that is French. For, over seas too come bad news. In black Saint-Domingo, before that variegated Glitter in the Champs Elysées was lit for an Accepted Constitution, there had risen, and was burning contemporary with it, quite another variegated Glitter and nocturnal Fulgor, had we known it: of molasses and ardent-spirits; of sugar-boileries, plantations, furniture, cattle and men: skyhigh; the Plain of Cap Français one huge whirl of smoke and flame! What a change here, in these two years; since that first 'Box of Tricolor Cockades' got through the Custom-house, and atrabiliar Creoles too rejoiced that there was a levelling of Bastilles! Levelling is comfortable, as we often say: levelling, yet only down to oneself. Your pale-white Creoles, have their grievances: . and your yellow Quarteroons? And your dark-yellow Mulattoes? And your Slaves soot-black? Quarteroon Ogé, Friend of our Parisian Brissotin Friends of the Blacks, felt, for his share too, that Insurrection was the most sacred of duties. So the tricolor Cockades had fluttered and swashed only some three months on the Creole hat, when Ogé's signal-conflagrations went aloft; with the voice of rage and terror. Repressed, doomed to die, he took black powder or seedgrains in the hollow of his hand, this Ogé; sprinkled a film of white ones on the top, and said to his Judges, "Behold they are white;" . then shook his hand, and said "Where are the Whites, Ou sont les Blancs?" ... Before the fire was an insurrection by the oppressed mixed-race minority. So now, in the Autumn of 1791, looking from the sky-windows of Cap Français, thick clouds of smoke girdle our horizon, smoke in the day, in the night fire; preceded by fugitive shrieking white women, by Terror and Rumour. ..."[18]
[edit]Leadership of Toussaint

One of the most successful black commanders was Toussaint L'Ouverture, a self-educated former domestic slave. Like Jean François and Biassou, he initially fought for the Spanish crown. After the British had invaded Saint-Domingue, he decided to fight for the French if they would agree to free all the slaves. Sonthonax had proclaimed an end to slavery on 29 August 1793. Toussaint L'Ouverture worked with a French general, Étienne Laveaux, to ensure all slaves would be freed. He brought his forces over to the French side in May 1794 and began to fight for the French Republic. Many enslaved Africans were attracted to Toussaint's forces. He insisted on discipline and restricted wholesale slaughter.
Under the military leadership of Toussaint, the forces made up mostly of former slaves succeeded in winning concessions from the English and expelling the Spanish forces. In the end, he essentially restored control of Saint-Domingue to France. Having made himself master of the island, however, Toussaint did not wish to surrender too much power to France. He began to rule the country effectively as an autonomous entity. L'Ouverture overcame a succession of local rivals (including the Commissioner Sonthonax, André Rigaud, who fought to keep control of the South, and Comte d'Hédouville). Hédouville forced a fatal wedge between Rigaud and Toussaint before he escaped back to France.[19] Toussaint defeated a British expeditionary force in 1798, and even led an invasion of neighboring Santo Domingo, freeing the slaves there by 1801.
In 1801, L'Ouverture issued a constitution for Saint-Domingue which provided for autonomy and decreed that he would be governor-for-life. In retaliation, Napoleon Bonaparte dispatched a large expeditionary force of French soldiers and warships to the island, led by Bonaparte's brother-in-law Charles Leclerc, to restore French rule, and under secret instructions to later restore slavery [needs citation]. The numerous French soldiers were accompanied by mulatto troops led by Alexandre Pétion and André Rigaud, mulatto leaders who had been defeated by Toussaint three years earlier. During the struggles, some of Toussaint's closest allies, including Jean-Jacques Dessalines, defected to Leclerc.
L'Ouverture was promised his freedom, if he agreed to integrate his remaining troops into the French Army. L'Ouverture agreed to this in May 1802 but was later deceived, seized, and shipped off to France. He died months later while imprisoned at Fort-de-Joux in the Jura region.[6]

Jean Jacques Dessalines
[edit]Resistance to slavery

For a few months the island was quiet under Napoleonic rule. But when it became apparent that the French intended to re-establish slavery (because they did so on Guadeloupe), Dessalines and Pétion switched sides again, in October 1802, and fought against the French. In November, Leclerc died of yellow fever, like much of his army, and his successor, the Vicomte de Rochambeau, fought an even more brutal campaign. His atrocities helped rally many former French loyalists to the rebel cause. The French were further weakened by a British naval blockade, and by the unwillingness of Napoleon to send the requested massive reinforcements. Napoleon had sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States in April 1803, and had begun to lose interest in his ventures in the Western Hemisphere. Dessalines led the rebellion until its completion when the French forces were finally defeated in 1803.[6]
The last battle of the Haitian Revolution, the Battle of Vertières, occurred on 18 November 1803, near Cap-Haitien and was fought between Haitian rebels led by Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the French colonial army under the Viscount of Rochambeau. On 1 January 1804, from the city of Gonaïves, Dessalines officially declared the former colony's independence, renaming it "Haiti" after the indigenous Arawak name. This major loss was a decisive blow to France and its colonial empire.
[edit]Free republic

On 1 January 1804, Dessalines, the new leader under the dictatorial 1801 constitution, declared Haiti a free republic. Haiti was the first independent nation in Latin America, the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world, and the only nation whose independence was gained as part of a successful slave rebellion. The country was crippled by years of war, its agriculture devastated, its formal commerce nonexistent, and the people uneducated and mostly unskilled.[20][1]
Haiti agreed to make reparations to French slaveholders in 1825 in the amount of 150 million francs, reduced in 1838 to 60 million francs, in exchange for French recognition of its independence and to achieve freedom from French aggression. This indemnity bankrupted the Haitian treasury and mortgaged Haiti's future to the French banks providing the funds for the large first installment, permanently affecting Haiti's ability to be prosperous.[21]
The end of the Haitian Revolution in 1804 marked the end of colonialism in Haiti, but the social conflict cultivated under slavery continued to affect the population. The revolution left in power an affranchi élite as well as the formidable Haitian army. France continued the slavery system in Martinique and Guadeloupe. Great Britain was able to abolish its slave trade in 1807 and in 1833 abolished slavery completely in the British West Indies. France formally recognized Haiti as an independent nation in 1834, as did the United States in 1862.[9]

The Haitian Revolution was influential in slave rebellions in America and British colonies. The loss of a major source of western revenue shook Napoleon's faith in the promise of the western world, encouraging him to unload other French assets in the region including the territory known as Louisiana. In the early 1800s, many refugees, including free people of color and white planters, of whom some in both categories had owned slaves, settled in New Orleans, adding many new members to both its French-speaking mixed-race population and African population.[citation needed]
In 1807 Britain became the first major power to permanently abolish the slave trade. However, slavery was not fully abolished in the British West Indies until 1833, and it continued in the French colonies until 1848. The Haitian Revolution stood as a model for achieving emancipation for slaves in the United States who attempted to mimic Toussaint L'Ouverture's actions. L'Ouverture remains a popular figure to this day. In 2004, Haiti celebrated the bicentennial of its independence from France.

The Haitian Revolution (1791.1804) is the period of violent conflict in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, leading to the elimination of slavery and the establishment of Haiti as the first republic ruled by people of African ancestry. Although hundreds of rebellions occurred in the New World during the centuries of slavery, only the revolt on Saint-Domingue, which began in 1791, was successful in achieving permanent freedom. The Haitian Revolution is regarded as a defining moment in the history of Africans in the new world.
Although an independent government was created in Haiti, its society continued to be deeply affected by the patterns established under French colonial rule. The French established a system of minority rule over the illiterate poor by using violence and threats. The racial prejudice created by colonialism and slavery outlived them both. The post-rebellion racial elite (referred to as mulattoes) were descended from both Africans and white planters. Some had received an education, served in the French military, and even acquired land and wealth. Lighter complected than most Haitians, who were descendants only of enslaved Africans, the mulattoes dominated politics and economics.[1]
Historians traditionally identify the catalyst for revolution as a Vodou ceremony in August 1791 performed at Bois Caïman by Dutty Boukman, a Voudo pries

The riches of the Caribbean depended on Europeans' taste for sugar, which plantation owners traded for provisions from North America and manufactured goods from European countries. Starting in the 1730s, French engineers constructed complex irrigation systems to increase sugarcane production. By the 1740s Saint-Domingue, together with Jamaica, had become the main supplier of the world's sugar. Sugar production depended on extensive manual labor provided by enslaved Africans in the harsh Saint-Domingue colonial plantation economy. The white planters who derived their wealth from the sale of sugar knew they were outnumbered by slaves by a factor of more than ten and lived in fear of slave rebellion.[3]
In 1758, the white landowners began passing legislation that set restrictions on the rights of other groups of people until a rigid caste system was defined. Most historians have classified the people of the era into three groups. One was the white colonists, or blancs. A second was the free blacks (usually mixed-race, known as mulattoes or gens de couleur, free people of color). These tended to be educated, literate and often served in the army or as administrators on plantations. Many were children of white planters and slave mothers. The males often received education or artisan training, sometimes received property from their fathers, and freedom. The third group, outnumbering the others by a ratio of ten to one, was made up of mostly African-born slaves. A high rate of mortality among them meant that new slaves were being continually imported. They spoke a patois of French and West African languages known as Creole, which was also used by native mulattoes and whites for communication with the workers.[4]
White colonists and black slaves frequently had violent conflicts. Gangs of runaway slaves, known as maroons, lived in the woods away from control. They often conducted violent raids on the island's sugar and coffee plantations. The success of these attacks established a black Haitian martial tradition of violence and brutality to effect political ends.[5] Although the numbers in these bands grew large (sometimes into the thousands), they generally lacked the leadership and strategy to accomplish large-scale objectives. The first effective maroon leader to emerge was the charismatic François Mackandal, who succeeded in unifying the black resistance. A Vodou priest, Mackandal inspired his people by drawing on African traditions and religions. He united the maroon bands and also established a network of secret organizations among plantation slaves, leading a rebellion from 1751 through 1757. Although Mackandal was captured by the French and burned at the stake in 1758, large armed maroon bands persisted in raids and harassment after his death.[3][6]
[edit]Situation in 1789

In 1789 Saint-Domingue, producer of 40 percent of the world's sugar, was the most profitable colony the French owned and in fact the wealthiest and most flourishing of the slave colonies in the Caribbean. The lowest class of society was enslaved blacks, who outnumbered whites and people of color by eight to one.[3] The slave population on the island totaled almost half of the one million slaves in the Caribbean by 1789.[7] They were mostly African-born. The death rate in the Caribbean exceeded the birth rate, so imports of enslaved Africans continued. The slave population declined at an annual rate of two to five percent, due to overwork; inadequate food, shelter, clothing and medical care; and an imbalance between the sexes, with more men than women.[8] Some slaves were of a creole elite class of urban slaves and domestics, who worked as cooks, personal servants and artisans around the plantation house. This relatively privileged class was chiefly born in the Americas, while the under-class born in Africa labored hard under abusive conditions.
The Plaine du Nord on the northern shore of Saint-Domingue was the most fertile area with the largest sugar plantations. It was the area of most economic importance. Here enslaved Africans lived in large groups of workers in relative isolation, separated from the rest of the colony by the high mountain range known as the Massif. This area was the seat of power of the grand blancs, the rich white colonists who wanted greater autonomy for the colony, especially economically.[9]
Among Saint-Domingue.s 40,000 white colonials in 1789, European-born Frenchmen monopolized administrative posts. The sugar planters, the grand blancs, were chiefly minor aristocrats. Most returned to France as soon as possible, hoping to avoid the dreaded yellow fever, which regularly swept the colony.[10] The lower class whites, petit blancs, included artisans, shopkeepers, slave dealers, overseers, and day laborers. Saint-Domingue.s free people of color, the gens de couleur, numbered more than 28,000 by 1789. Many of them were also artisans and overseers, or domestic servants in the big houses. [11]
In addition to class and racial tension between whites, free people of color, and enslaved blacks, the country was polarized by regional rivalries between the North, South, and West. There were also conflicts between proponents of independence, those loyal to France, allies of Spain, and allies of Great Britain - who coveted control of the valuable colony.
[edit]Impact of French Revolution

Further information: French Revolution
In France, the majority of the Estates General, an advisory body to the King, constituted itself as the National Assembly, made radical changes in French laws, and on 26 August 1789, published the Declaration of the Rights of Man, declaring all men free and equal. The French Revolution shaped the course of the conflict in Saint-Dominque and was at first widely welcomed in the island. So many were the twists and turns in the leadership in France, and so complex were events in Saint-Domingue, that various classes and parties changed their alignments many times.[citation needed]
The African population on the island began to hear of the agitation for independence by the rich European planters, the grands blancs, who had resented France's limitations on the island's foreign trade. The Africans mostly allied with the royalists and the British, as they understood that if Saint-Domingue's independence were to be led by white slave masters, it would probably mean even harsher treatment and increased injustice for the African population as the plantation owners would be free to inflict slavery as they pleased without even minimal accountability to their French peers.[9]
Saint-Dominque's free people of color, most notably Julien Raimond, had been actively appealing to France for full civil equality with whites since the 1780s. Raimond used the French Revolution to make this the major colonial issue before the French National Assembly. In October 1790, Vincent Ogé, another wealthy free man of color from the colony, returned home from Paris, where he had been working with Raimond. Convinced that a law passed by the French Constituent Assembly gave full civil rights to wealthy men of color, Ogé demanded the right to vote. When the colonial governor refused, Ogé led a brief insurgency in the area around Cap Francais. He was captured in early 1791, and brutally executed by being broken on the wheel.[6] Ogé was not fighting against slavery, but his treatment was cited by later slave rebels as one of the factors in their decision to rise up in August 1791 and resist treaties with the colonists. The conflict up to this point was between factions of whites, and between whites and free coloreds. Enslaved blacks watched from the sidelines.[3]
Leading French writer Count Mirabeau had once said the Saint-Domingue whites "slept at the foot of Vesuvius",[12] an indication of the grave threat they faced should the majority of slaves launch a sustained major uprising.

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posted by u2r2h at Friday, January 15, 2010


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our hearts go out to the Haitian people. Of interest -- You can see a clip of Toussaint's last moments in prison from the short film "The Last Days of Toussaint L'Ouverture" at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2468184/

Mon Jan 18, 04:47:00 am UTC  

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