From the Duvaliers to “Sweet Mickey” Martelly, are Haitians in for another bumpy ride?

Posted by on May 16, 2011

by Tola Adenle

Oh, no, not again, I thought when I first saw that Michel Martelly, or “Sweet Mickey” – another band boy or man, pardon me – would be in the run-off that would decide a new Haiti president, I had become already unshock-able as hip hop singer, Wyclef Jean did throw his hat in the ring for the presidential race earlier before finally giving up.  I had never heard of the guy until Haiti’s new round of presidential election but then, I can hardly keep pace with all the musical acts these days.

Haitians have been plagued by evil leaders since its freedom from France in the early 19thCentury led by  Toussaint L’Ouverture.  France, with the active connivance of other Western Allies, made sure the newly- independent country would never really be free by ensuring an amount far greater than Haiti’s capacity to pay was levied on the poor country as punishment for no longer being a place of harvest for France.  The problem of Haiti, though, grew by leaps and bounds under “Papa Doc” Duvalier and subsequently, his son, the overfed “Baby Doc” Duvalier – both of whom reduced the country and her people to mere zombies and serfs in the Duvalier Kingdom.  The father, a medical doctor who opposed a military coup in 1950, became president in 1957 but by the time he died in 1971, had completely destroyed his country through despotic rule and use of voodoo that claimed over 30,000 lives; by the time “Baby Doc” self-imposed himself a day or so after his father’s death in a sort of “the King is dead, long live the [new] King, the populace was too far gone in their being conquered to do anything!

Years of savagery in the hands of Papa Doc’s secret killer machine, the Tonton Macoute,had ensured that Haitians took Baby Doc’s promotion as a natural step.  They “would go down without a whimper”, to borrow a foreign diplomat’s description of expected Nigerians’ reactions to General Obasanjo’s massively-rigged elections of 2007 although to be fair, Nigerians did start protests only for George Bush the Son and Blair [the one who lied and made thousands died in Iraq] to take the wind out of Nigerians’ sail by congratulating late Yar Adua as soon as the protests started: the oil spigots had to be kept open.

There has not been any let-up in Haitians’ suffering either from internal repressive and corrupt forces or from outside meddlesomeness.  When their prayers seem to have finally been answered in the form of a former priest, Aristide who became president after the buffoonery of Baby Doc, the West was at it again led by George Bush The Son’s government and Canada and, of course, France  – that sent the U.S. Marines to kidnap Aristide, a democratically-elected and well-loved president who was then banished to South Africa with the firm instructions NEVER to cross the Atlantic towards the Americas!  His offence?  No socialist government in George Bush’s American backyard. Of course none of the manufactured lies against Aristide could stick but America got away with what it couldn’t and wouldn’t do in a white country in Europe.

A puppet government was put in place and the advent of UN peace-keepers, the same one that purportedly deliberately caused the Haiti epidemic that brought more deaths AFTER the earthquake – sealed Haiti’s fate.  Now, rape of famished young girls by these same “peace-keepers” and abundant cheap, slave-like labor is for the pickings for Western corporations.

No, I haven’t forgotten “Sweet Mickey” who is reputed, like most musicians worth their big cheques, to have a string of unwholesome behaviors.   Apart from the usual “bad boy” image of showbiz types, this guy is – among other vices – reportedly ethically ruthless: he purportedly cheated his fellow Haitian musicians of their work and made huge profits without remembering to say, here is yours, band  mates! Wyclef Jean is at least better despite the bad press he received in his attempt to collect charity for Haiti after the earthquake.

I’ve written often about how Nigeria’s corruption and lack of leadership – take away the strutting and chest beating – holds people of  African descent everywhere down and have used Haiti, the only black nation in the Western Hemisphere – and the poorest –  as prime examples; now, it seems there’s no end in sight to people’s suffering – there or here; the difference only lies in degrees of corruption and mis-governance.  There is no shining example of a black nation for the Haitis – “the wretched of the earth” – to look up to even as Nigeria’s immense wealth continue s to be looted by the ruling elites instead of using it to create a black country whose voice would be taken seriously at international for a.  Rather, she remains a tolerated nonentity valued only for her god-given natural resource like the desire a beautiful prostitute attracts in the opposite sex.



Nigerian newspapers and online news sources
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