By Eduardo Galeano
From the Mexican newspaper La Jornada
As usual, the United Nations Security Council repeats that it will maintain a military occupation of Haiti because it must act “in case of threats to peace, breaches of the peace or acts of aggression.”
Whom does Haiti threaten? Whom does it attack?
Why does Haiti continue to be an occupied country? A country condemned to perpetual vigilance? A country obligated to continue to expiate the sin of its freedom, which humiliated Napoleon Bonaparte and offended the whole of Europe?
Might it be because of what Brazilian slave dealers in the 19th Century called “Haitianism”? The dangerous contact of Haiti’s customs of dignity and its vocation for liberty? The first country in the world that liberated itself from slavery, the first free – truly free – country in the Americas continues to be a threat?
Or might it be because that’s the rule imposed by a world devoted to the religion of weapons, a world that devotes half of its resources to the extermination of humans, calling its criminal expenditures “military expenditures”?
The United Nations spend 676 million dollars in the military occupation of Haiti. Millions of dollars to fund 10,000 soldiers whose only merit is having infected the country with the cholera that killed thousands of Haitians, soldiers who continue to rape and mistreat women and children with impunity?
Wouldn’t it be better to devote that huge amount to education? More than half of Haitian children do not attend school. Why? Because they can’t pay for it. Almost all elementary education is private, and the World Bank vetoes subsidies to free public education.
Couldn’t that fortune be channeled to building homes for the more than 300,000 victims of the 2010 earthquake who continue to live in temporary tents? Temporary forever?
Or devote those multinational funds to improving public health, which still depends on the miraculous solidarity between neighbors in every barrio and every town? Fortunately, those community traditions of mutual aid continue to generate the same creative energy that illuminates the prodigious sculptures and paintings by Haitian artists, who are capable of turning trash into beauty, but could improve much if military wastefulness could be directed to civilian objectives.