The white curse
It is an actuality topic, but it has always been there.
The white curse
The first day of this year, the freedom fulfilled two centuries of life in the world. Nobody found out, or almost anybody. A few days later, the country of the birthday, Haiti, went on to occupy some space in the mass media; but not for the anniversary of the universal freedom, but because there came untied there a blood bath that ended up by turning the president Aristide over.
Haiti was the first country where the slavery was abolished. Nevertheless, the most widely used encyclopedias and almost all the texts of education attribute to England this historical honor. It is true that a good day changed of opinion the empire that had been a world champion of the slave traffic; but the British abolition happened in 1807, three years after the Haitian revolution, and turned out to be so slightly convincing that in 1832 England had to prohibit the slavery again.
Nothing has again the ninguneo of Haiti. For two centuries, he suffers scorn and punishment. Thomas Jefferson, worthy of the freedom and slaves' owner, was warning that from Haiti the bad example was coming; and he was saying that there was that “to confine the pest in this island”. Its country listened to it. The United States stayed on sixty years granting diplomatic recognition to the freest of the nations. Meanwhile, in Brazil, it was called haitianismo to the disorder and to the violence. The proprietors of the black arms were saved from the haitianismo until 1888. This year, the Brazil abolished the slavery. It was the last country in the world.
Haiti has been an invisible country again, up to the next butcher's shop. While it was on the screens and on the pages, at the beginning of this year, the means transmitted confusion and violence and confirmed that the Haitians have been born to be right the evil and to be badly the right.
From the revolution for here, Haiti has been only capable of offering tragedies. It was a prosperous and happy colony and now it is the poorest nation of the western hemisphere. The revolutions, some specialists concluded, they drive to the abyss. And some of them said, and others suggested, that the Haitian tendency to the fratricide comes from the wild heredity that comes from the Africa. The order of the ancestors. The black curse, which it pushes to the crime and to the chaos.
Of the white curse, one did not speak.
The French Revolution had eliminated the slavery, but Napoleón had resuscitated it:
— Which has the most prosperous diet been for the colonies?
— the previous one.
— since, that is restored.
And, to re-implant the slavery in Haiti, he sent more than fifty ships full of soldiers.
The raised blacks conquered France and conquered the national independence and the liberation of the slaves. In 1804, they inherited a ground devastated by the devastating plantations of sugar-cane and a country burned by the fierce war. And they inherited “the French debt”. France the humiliation inflicted on Napoleón Bonaparte received face. To little of being born, Haiti had to promise to pay a gigantic indemnification, for the damage that had done being liberated. This atonement of the sin of the freedom cost him 150 million Francs I pray. The new country was born strangulated by this cord tied to the neck: a fortune that at present would be equivalent to 21,700 million dollars or to 44 entire budgets of the Haiti of our days. Much more than one century took the payment of the debt, which the usury interests were multiplying. In 1938 the final redemption was fulfilled, finally. By that time, already Haiti belonged to the banks of the United States.
In exchange for this fortune, France recognized officially to the new nation. No other country recognized it. Haiti had been born condemned to the solitude.
Simón Bolívar did not also recognize it, although it owed everything to him. Ships, weapon and soldiers it had given him Haiti in 1816, when Bolivar came to the island, defeated, and he asked for cover and help. Everything gave him Haiti, with the alone condition of which it was liberating the slaves, an idea that till then had not occurred to him. Later, the worthy triumphed in its independence war and expressed its gratitude sending to Port-au-Prince a gift sword. Of recognition, to speak.
In fact, the Spanish colonies that had spent to be independent countries kept on having slaves, although someone had, also, laws that were prohibiting it. Bolivar dictated his in 1821, but the reality was not considered well-informed. Thirty years later, in 1851, Colombia abolished the slavery; and Venezuela in 1854.
In 1915, the marines disembarked in Haiti. Nineteen years remained. The first thing that they did was to occupy the customs and the office of collection of taxes. The army of occupation retained the salary of the Haitian president until he resigned himself to signing the liquidation of the Bank of the Nation, which turned into division of the Citibank of New York. The president and all the rest blacks had the entry prohibited in the hotels, restaurants and exclusive clubs of the foreign power. The occupants did not dare to restore the slavery, but they imposed the work forced for the public works. And they killed very much. It was not easy to extinguish the fires of the resistance. The guerrilla chief, Charlemagne Péralte, fixed in cross against a door, was exhibited, for lesson, in the public square.
The civilizing mission concluded in 1934. The occupants moved back stopping in its place a Guardswoman made by them, to exterminate any possible democracy hint. The same they did in Nicaragua and in the Dominican Republic. Some time later, Duvalier was the Haitian equivalent of Somoza and of Trujillo.
And this way, of dictatorship in dictatorship, of promise in treachery, the misfortunes were joining and the years.
Aristide, the rebellious priest, came to the presidency in 1991. It lasted a few months. The government of the United States helped to knock down it, took it, submitted it to treatment and once recycling returned it, in arms of the marines, to the presidency. And again it helped to knock down it, in this year 2004, and again there was slaughter. And again there returned the marines, who always return, like the flu.
But the international experts are much more devastating than the invading troops. Submissive country to the orders of the World Bank and of the Monetary Fund, Haiti had obeyed its instructions without chistar. They paid away from him denying the bread and the salt to him. The credits froze him, although it had dismantled the State and had liquidated all the tariffs and subsidies that were protecting the national production. The rural growers of rice, which were the majority, turned into beggars or ferrymen. Many have gone and keep on going to stop to the depths of the Caribbean sea, but these castaways are not Cuban and rarely they appear in the newspapers.
Now Haiti imports all its rice from the United States, where the international experts, who are the quite absent-minded people, have forgotten to prohibit the tariffs and subsidies that protect the national production.
On the border where it finishes the Dominican Republic and begins Haiti, there is a big cartel that he warns: The bad step.
To another side, the black hell is. Blood and famine, misery, pests.
In this so awesome hell, they all are sculptors. The Haitians have the habit of gathering canisters and fierros old men and with ancient mastery, cutting away and hammering, its hands believe marvels that are offered on the popular markets.
Haiti is a country thrown to the garbage dump, for eternal punishment of its dignity. There it lies, as if it was a scrap. He waits for the hands of its people.
Taken of the web
Eduardo Galeano is a writer and Uruguayan journalist who advocates an awkward journalism removed from the constant praise of the power, and he includes to the journalistic writing inside the ways of doing literature.
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