Posted by: jodyray | January 21, 2010

Placing Haiti’s Political Economy in Context


(image from http://jonathanauch.com/charbon/)

The following features Journalist Kim Ives on the historical and political Economy of Haiti. It provides a critical assessment of some of its national industries that has been privatized in large part by American businesses. This should provide only a part of the understanding of the Haitian historical-political-economic matrix. Very much worth watching.

From Ives:

[Washington] wanted the nine principal state publicly owned industries privatized, to be sold to US and foreign investors. So, about twelve years ago under the first administration of René Préval, they privatized the Minoterie d’Haiti and Ciment d’Haiti, the flour mill, the state flour mill, and the state cement company. Now, for flour, obviously, you have a hungry, needy population. You can imagine if the state had a robust flour mill where it could distribute flour to the people so they could have bread. That was sold to a company of which Henry Kissinger was a board member. And very quickly, that flour mill was closed. Haiti now has no flour mill, not private or public.

[…]

The other one is—and even more ironic, Amy—is the cement factory. Here is a country which is mostly made of limestone, geologically, and that is the foundation of cement. It is a country which absolutely should and could have a cement company, and did, but it was again privatized and immediately shut down. And they began using the docks of the cement company for importing cement. So when we drive around this country and we see the thousands of cement buildings which are pancaked or collapsed, this is a country which is going to need millions and millions of tons of cement, and it’s going to have to now import all of that cement, rather than being able to produce it itself. It could be and should be an exporter of cement, not an importer.

Watch the video here, hosted at DemocracyNow! (link opens in new window)

Comments welcome.

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Responses

  1. One interesting note: there’s a new cement plant being proposed in the Dominican Republic. It’s in an area that borders Haiti, so my cynical brain wondered if it’s owned by the same people who shut down the cement plant in Haiti. (The plant is also located near protected parks in the Dominican Republic.)

    See http://www.dominicantoday.com/dr/local/2009/5/29/32147/Dominican-Republic-cement-plant-row-spreads-to-NYC


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