Chris Saying His Piece.

Around May or June last year, I was hiking around in the mountains up above Montrouis and somebody asked me when the White Man was going to come and take Haiti. We talked about it while we hiked up the mountain together and I explained that the Americans would never come occupy Haiti no matter how much Haitians might want it because it’s just too messed up. It was a strange conversation, but about a month later I had almost the same conversation with a different person, a woman this time. I agreed that it would be wonderful for Haiti, and we both agreed that most Haitians don’t care who is in charge, they just want to be able to feed their families. I told her, though, that there would be a few people who would make a lot of noise and complain, and they would be the ones that got listened to.

Eventually, I got it figured out. Jean-Renaud came to me to talk about the rumor everyone was excited about. He said they were saying that the US was supposed to be taking over Haiti July 1 as a territory. I’ve know Jean-Renaud a long time so I told him that I agreed it would be so good to have an honest government but that it would never happen because so many Americans are still afraid of black people, whether they admit it to themselves or not. I promised to do a little research for him and found a link to this, a hoax message which claimed Haiti would become a protectorate July 1, 2009. Somehow, this hoax message got Haitians so excited that they were talking about it even out on the mountain paths and in banana fields.

From 1915 to 1931 the US occupied Haiti. It was the time of Haiti’s greatest economic progress. To give you some kind of idea what happened, there were 7 miles of improved roadways in Haiti in 1915, and over 1500 miles in 1931. The takeover happened in an emergency move by the Marines on a single naval vessel, and Haiti became American overnight, if I have my facts straight, with the loss of a single soldier. It was spurred by the last in a string of Coup D’etat, when the president being overthrown murdered the 50 hostages he had kidnapped as his enemies advanced on the palace. Actually, he took refuge in the French ambassador’s residence after the murders, and a mob entered, killed the ex-president and dragged his body through the streets of Port au Prince, pausing only to mutilate the body further from time to time. It was this deviation from the norm, ie killing and mutilating the president instead of merely exiling him, in addition to the violation of foreign territory at the French ambassador’s place, that brought the marines in to end the bloodshed and establish some order.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing, considering what our most recent occupations have looked like, is that Haiti’s occupation cost us nothing. Very quickly, American officials cleaned up the corruption in customs and used the revenue to build all the projects in Haiti.

I think you know where I’m going with this. Pre-earthquake, Haiti was no different than it was in 1915 with the exception of the UN presence. Preval would have most likely been forcibly removed from power before now without the UN presence. Even with the UN presence, it looked very much like Preval was setting himself up to run for a third term in violation of Haiti’s constitution. Corruption in government is virtually universal. Actually, I want to share with you a quote from a government official (I won’t name him, I still live in this country after all) from about 3:15 on Tuesday afternoon before the quake: “Nothing is free in Haiti.” To get anything done, it’s bribes, bribes and more bribes, and in most cases, you can wait a lifetime to get something as simple as a driver’s license or a passport if you don’t pass money into someone’s pocket.

Haiti ought to be occupied to give the Haitian people a chance. The majority of Haitians are NOT thieves, they are good people trying to feed their families. The problem is that the minority run Haiti as a kleptocracy. If the kleptocracy saw their livelihood being taken away from them, they would make a lot of noise, but they don’t represent the Haitian people. There are ways to subvert people like that, and the United States is the nation to do it.

The idea of a protectorate in Haiti was floated as recently as 2005. For whatever reason, the powers that be weren’t ready to make a commitment back then, and they probably aren’t now either, but there should at least be a discussion. Haiti is very consistent in some ways: its history keeps repeating itself. There will be more coup d’etat, hurricane after hurricane with an unprepared government in charge, and many more lives destroyed with Haiti’s pay-as-you-go criminal justice system.

Haiti ought to be another Puerto Rico. When Puerto Rico became American, Haiti was the wealthier country. Now, Puerto Rico has drive through fast food and Walmart and Haiti has… let me think about that for a minute… a lot of sun. However, if America could muster some courage and bring stability to Haiti, Haiti could experience growth to make even the Chinese jealous. They are a people who want to work and feed their families. After 10-15 years there could be a referendum and Haitians could decide to become another American commonwealth, or to return to their old ways.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I can enjoy my daughter’s birthday tonight. I know that in a few more days the Rolling blog is going to go back to its old readership levels, and I had to say my piece while people cold still hear my voice.

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27 thoughts on “Chris Saying His Piece.

  1. Well, as a practical matter, the US has occupied Haiti already. The US has sent an air craft carrier to Haiti, the military has exclusive control of the airport and is using a fleet of 33 helicopters to shuttle supplies to 9 locations around the country. C-17’s are air dropping food and water with airborne troops distributing supplies on the ground. Consider yourself occupied, my friend. (Even Hugo Chavez has been railing about US occupation of Haiti.)

    I suspect the country is so badly damaged that the US ‘occupation’ will have to continue for a year or longer. Eventually we’ll transition to another ‘UN mandate’ which muddles along like most UN mandates do. UN corruption is second only to Haitian corruption.

    As good as it might be for Haiti to become a US protectorate, I don’t think there would be much political support for it around the world. The American people might support it if we could be assured that was the collective will of the Haitian people. But it’s hard to imagine a referendum being held in Haiti anytime soon.

    On thing is for sure. If Haiti were to come under America’s wing, prosperity would surely follow as it does wherever the American flag flies.

  2. Well, point taken. I hope we (America) can help install some legitamacy to the government. When I heard that the Haitian leader left immediately to Santo Domingo to arrange for funding, I had to laugh! Sad, huh, but it was either that or cry.
    Walmarts or drive thrus aside, as here in the states we fight to keep them out of our neighborhoods, it would be an improvement if the people and the countryside, and the creatures, and the plants, and the water were cared for just because they’re part of God’s green Earth, not because someone has been paid off/bribed. And who do you bribe to keep a forest from being razed, anyway?
    I’m a spoiled American, granted, but I do give time and energy to my neighbors, my state, my country, and my planet.
    Here’s hoping and praying that Haitian’s basic needs get met so that they, too, can think beyond the next meal, drink, or blanket for shelter.

  3. Drive through fast food and WalMart are not good for anyone. WalMart is ruining our economy and drive through fast food is making people fat and sick.

    • Susan: This may or may not be true, I’m not sure. However, I’m pretty sure that the worst of Iraq’s problems at the moment are caused by people who strap bombs to themselves. There isn’t a Haitian in existence who would strap a bomb to himself. Some people would complain, but the vast majority of Haitians would be very, very happy.

      • I have no doubts. The US invasion and occupation resulted in over 2 million people leaving Iraq with no plans to return. Another 2 or 3 million have been internally displaces. Hundreds of thousands are dead, many more injured, and cancer rates and birth defects are sky-rocketing in areas that saw US bombings and heavy military action.

        The worst of Iraq’s problems right now is corruption. The violence has gone down significantly, and many parts of Iraq have been ethnically cleansed.

        One thing I think we would agree on – Americans have lives of comfort and ease, even those of us who only have what we have from a paycheck. I worked my way through college and graduate school, but no matter how hard I was willing to work, if I had not been born in a place with access to universities, and raised in a place where I never went hungry for more than a day – I could not have done it. I was blessed.

        But I have been looking at the “why” underlying the fact that some countries are so wealthy, and some are so poor….. and even here in the land of plenty, some are so poor and some so wealthy. There are reasons, and they are not pretty.

  4. This makes an ENORMOUS amount of sense and there is no better opportunity for it to take place, though I have certainly heard nothing of it happening, sadly.

    Happy birthday to your beautiful little daughter!

  5. For the working poor, WalMart is the only way to survive, and fast food is the only chance to afford to go out to eat sometimes – so not horrible for everyone.

    • Thank you, Jan. I was trying to get across a different idea though. Wallmart, to me (after having lived here for 8 years), is a place where you can go and buy almost any consumer item there is, cheap. Drive through fast food is, to a hungry Haitian, the epitome of luxury. You don’t even need to stand up to feed yourself in America, and we have come to take it for granted.

  6. Without saying anything about the need for the change of heart and mind that can only come through a relationship with Jesus, the kind of changes that are required in Haiti (and Iraq, and many other places in the world), are the kinds of changes that will require a change of mind on a cultural basis, and that takes a long time. It requires a generation or more (sometimes 2 or 3 generations!) of *education,* that is to say, of the ‘changing of minds;’ of having people change some of their values. That change might be as simple as re-organizing the priority of some values already held. It might be as drastic as completely dropping some values and adopting others.

    And before education can even start (certainly on a cultural level), there are the *requirements* of 1) security and of 2) sufficient wealth that people can have enough time to invest themselves (and/or their children!) in that education process. There is also the requirement of 3) a willingness on the part of the people (the culture) to ‘pay the long-term price’ of education (many years of time, money, hard work, etc.).

    Occupation might be able to provide the security, although, as the world is discovering in Iraq and Afghanistan and other places, there isn’t even a guarantee of that. The other two requirements, though, certainly over the long term, must be found in the hearts and the resourcefulness of the people (the culture). I think that if 1) the security could be provided to Haiti and 2) the Haitian ‘brain-drain’ could be stopped and even reversed (that is, if some of those skilled and gifted people that have left would return home to provide good Haitian leadership!), then Haiti could be set back on its feet and run ‘free.’ Wouldn’t that be grand?

  7. Tell it like it is!!! Thanks Chris. What do you think about sending this to Canwest Media??? This story should be published to the masses.

    • Thanks, Isabel. If the press is only talking to Haiti’s “leaders” then this story will never get out. There needs to be a discussion, at the very least.

      • “discussing” it in the heavenly realms:) with the One Who Really makes the difference…

        bless your hearts…

  8. We will pray for this. Thank you for your perspective. Sometimes (or most times) we are so clueless here. God bless you and your family.

    “What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are being slain all the day; we are looked upon as sheep to be slaughtered.’ No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8: 35-38

  9. I dont think we should hang on to that nation they have destroyed their country through over population and devostation to their natural forests. Yes they need help but the sooner we are out of there the better. You see babys born on tv and how wonderful that is. It is not wonderful its most of what is wrong there. USA cant be the welfare state for the world its bad enough that we do it for our own. They will all want or try to come here instead of cleaning up there mess. Thats not the answer and wont be solved by singing or having more babys.

    REALITY!

    • Is it all babies you disapprove of or just the black ones? That’s a rhetorical question, actually. Sorry, blog readers, I know you’re not supposed to feed the trolls, but I couldn’t help that particular comment. I won’t publish this guy’s further rantings…

      • Bless you heart of being honest…the political situation in Haiti reminds me of the situation on many reservations right here in the US…the corruption among the “leaders” on these reservations is rampant, and they do not represent most of the tribe members…will add Haiti to my prayers as I lift up Natives/tribes in our area…please know that there are people working to resolve similar situations in different places around the world…what we have found, is that it doesn’t seem to matter how much “human” effort we put into it, there is a spiritual stronghold that has to be dealt with partly due to the tribes’ unholy spiritual connections of the past…we are battling in the spiritual realm…any more ammo for prayer re Haiti would be much appreciated, and in the mean time we do what we can in the human realm… praying for serious break through everywhere…

  10. Hi I saw your program on Crossroads television program. It was so touching to see the work that you are doing in Haiti.
    As I have read this blog, I wonder if you have posted this as something God would want for this country or is this some good ideas that is being spread around. It is very important to distinguish the two. I have great ideas sometimes, but it doesn’t mean that it is God’s direction or desire for my life. I pray that God reveal his desire for this country and that if that is USA occupation permanently then great, but if not then let’s not do man’s work, but Gods.

    On another note the discussion surrounding Walmart is a heated one. It is not one of rich verses poor, but thinking about where the products that are sold anywhere come from. If anyone one of those are harming another human being (ex: slave labour) then it is wrong to support it. This broadens the discussion from Walmart versus other stores and focuses it on how are they being made.

    We should not export ideas into countries who are very desperate just because they are easy and fast. We need to do God’s will for everyone.

    I will be praying that God through all the missionaries and your family do his will in this country. I pray for the people. I pray for God’s wisdom, love, peace and healing.

    May God keep you safe.

  11. I could agree with you if i didn’t know that far too many U.S. foreign policy decisions are made for the benefit of the major U.S. corporations. When the corporations figure they’ve ripped off as much as they can, the U.S. support collapses. The bribes needed to maintain various Haïtian dictators in power came from those corporations. The U.S. likes “stability” in the governments it supports, and all too often that looks like Panama, the Philippines, and Cuba used to. The corporations don’t like socialism, so the U.S. doesn’t support even minimally socialist countries. I’d rather see Haïti as an OAS trustee company, perhaps with Costa Rica as the guarantor.

  12. It is no wonder that bribery is rampant in post-colonial countries; they learned it from their former oppresors. Walmart exploits all, the producers, the consumer, and their employees.
    Chris, Thanks for getting rid of the “babies” guy.

  13. Well said, Adam! To that point, Mark Danner has an OpEd in the 21 Jan 2010 NYT with an interesting perspective on Haïti’s history, “To Heal Haïti, Look to History, Not Nature”: .

    • Thank you for sharing the article, Pat, it’s very good. I don’t think the author’s solutions go far enough, however. What I was trying to get at in the original post is that a temporary occupation isn’t enough – that annexation, making Haiti our own – is the only way to break the cycle of poverty. The author underestimates the Haitian government’s capacity for holding its people back.

  14. Unfortunately, Chris, that is often through tactics that, in the U.S. and Canada, are decried as abuse of power. The pictures being shown around the world, from Pittsburgh, USA, a couple of weeks ago , were not unusual in Haïti just a few years ago. I believe that the Haïtian government and police can maintain peace and help bring prosperity to their country — IF they have the support of ALL segments of the population, and if they assiduously eliminate corruption and bribery at all levels. (I know. Our Congress is certainly not a good example for any nation.)

  15. I just had a picture of what you are doing in the natural realm, purifying water…is also what we need to pray for in the spiritual realm, due to the mix of spiritism with their faith, the unholy/toxic part needs to be filtered out, so they are left with the pure gospel of Jesus only…anyway, hope that makes sense, just catching up on your blog, and it’s late…bless you guys…

    ps…I’m right on the BC border but on the US side, and have been to Vernon several times to visit family there…learned about your blog from a fellow intercessor who shared it with me…

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