It was just a few short weeks ago that Haiti was all over the mainstream media. It was on the front page of the newspapers and it was the lead item on the six o'clock news shows. Even Mark Sainsbury and Close Up wanted to talk about something other than Alison Mau, All Blacks getting into trouble and women who go crazy over clowns.

It couldn't last of course. The media have moved on to other things - like Tiger Woods for example - consigning Haiti to the 'Just Another Natural Disaster in a Faraway Land' file.

Haiti has only got itself to blame because it has not had the decency to have another massive earthquake and thus provide the media with new pictures of death and destruction.

I'm sure TV3's Mike McRobert's would then be on the first plane back to Haiti, to repeat his 'Saint Michael of New Zealand' performance for the cameras.

While the western media ignores Haiti, Washington's consolidation of its power in the Caribbean nation continues unabated. Only the alternative media is sounding the alarm bells.

Just last week, on March 31, there was an significant meeting in New York.

It was euphemistically called the 'International Donors Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti'.

It was attended by, among others, the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Bill Clinton ( who is the UN Special Envoy to Haiti ), the President of the World Bank and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Also in attendance, as the Chair of the United Nations Development Group and Administrator of the United Nations Development programme was our former Prime Minister, Helen Clark.

Haitian President René Préval also made an appearance. Although he sometimes claims to be in charge of Haitian affairs , he has consistently pursued the neoliberal agenda of Washington against the wishes of his own people.

He is the puppet of the Obama administration and he must do its bidding if he wants to stay in office. When he criticised the Obama administration for sending some 20,000 marines into Haiti, he was described as 'corrupt' by Washington. The implication was clear - don't upset Washington if you know what's good for you.

Preval has returned to his usual cheerleader role.

At the conference he made a point of praising his American masters.

'Today it has been demonstrated that the international community will continue to support Haiti in the long-term and we will meet the needs," he said.

During the conference, Hilary Clinton presented the 'Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti'. It's sounds impressive and positive but it is another nail in the coffin of Haitian democracy.

Haiti will not be allowed to become a economically and politically independent nation but will have imposed on it the neoliberal agenda of the United States - backed by the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF.

The calls by the Haitian people to revive its agriculture - so it can be come become self-sufficient in food again, have been ignored.

Washington's plan revolves around sweatshops and tourism.

Helen Clark said: 'The UN will support short term job creation; the development of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises; and the creation of the enabling environment needed for investors to help generate sustainable employment over the long term,'

When Clark speaks of 'the enabling environment needed for investors to help generate sustainable employment over the long term' what she is really endorsing is the setting up of more American-owned sweatshops.

Haiti will be chained to the failing American economy. Haitian workers will be forced to assemble imported clothing and electronic goods from the United States. Its either that or act as servants for American tourists. And Haitian workers will continue to be paid next to nothing. This is what Clark calls 'sustainable employment'.

The neoliberal agenda of Washington is opposed by the Haitian people who have simply been ignored in the drive to make Haiti safe for American capitalism.

Progressive Haitian and Dominican groups meeting in Santo Domingo on Mar 17 concluded:

'We must break with economic dependency,We need to build an economic model that encourages national production by focusing on agriculture, livestock, and agro-industry aimed at meeting our own food needs (cereals, tubers, milk, fruit, fish, meats, etc.).'

Wrote Haitian Richard Morse in the Huffington Post:

'Bill Clinton isn’t bringing hope to Haiti. Bill Clinton isn’t bringing change to Haiti. Bill Clinton, along with USAID, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations are bringing more of the same to Haiti: more for the few and less for the many.'

And all this is happening under the auspices of 'the great liberal hope', Barack Obama - and supported by the likes of Helen Clark.


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