By Ardain Isma
CSMS Magazine Staff WriterIn a yesterday’s press release, Mr. Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF Executive Board announced that a $109.5 Million dollar loan package was approved for Haiti. According to the press release, the Executive board approved a three-year arrangement for Haiti under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) in a total amount equivalent to SDR73.7 million (about US$109.5 million) to support the government’s economic program. An initial disbursement of SDR 28.1 million (about US$41.7 million) will become available immediately. The Haitian authorities announced their intention to use SDR20.5 million (about US$30.4 million) of the first disbursement to repay outstanding credit drawn under the Fund’s Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance. It sounds like the Préval government is finally going to move ahead with its so-called economic program. For some time, Rene Préval has been in hermitage, plunging into total indifference while the spiral of violence continues to take whole all over Haiti. As always, the devil is in the detail, and the Haitian authorities will never tell the truth that lies beneath this new loan package. Nor will they have the gut to say NO to this new loan that will do nothing but deepening the country’s dependence vis-à-vis foreign donors. It is hard to imagine that this new loan package will do any good to change the dire economic situation of the country. Out of that 109.5 million dollars, 41 million is set to be released shortly, not to be used in some social or economic programs but rather to draw 31 million from it to repay outstanding credit. One can be sure that the remaining 10 million will go toward enflaming the pockets of high-ranking officials as the new holiday season kicks in. In other words, the 10 million dollars is a reward to corrupt and unpatriotic officials for allowing their country to be the infinite slave of the International Monetary Fund—an institution that most countries have already shunned.
The big lies
Shortly after the press release, Mr. Kato moved quickly to justify the loan package. “Haiti has made an important start in its transition away from political and economic instability. Under two successive programs supported by the Fund’s Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance, the authorities were able to restore macroeconomic stability through fiscal discipline and improved economic governance. As a result, economic growth resumed, the currency stabilized, inflation was halved, and international reserves were significantly increased,” he said. Macroeconomic stability in Haiti may be in his mind and in his mind only. No one believed it, not even the lumpen bourgeois from the downtown district, who would poise to gain in any economic boom in Port-au-Prince. The shameless Kato, fearing that the journalists he was speaking to would have serious doubt, he went on to say that “following successful presidential and parliamentary elections in the first half of this year, the new authorities have made concerted efforts to maintain macroeconomic stability, improve security, and develop home-grown strategies to increase growth and improve living conditions for the poor.” Improving living conditions for the poor? These days, there are not many people in Haiti who can afford 3 meals a day. As poverty breeds violence and indecency, the two thriving businesses are the kidnapping business and a new form of prostitution professed by young, “respectable” family girls who would otherwise be in college if it weren’t for that shameful, daily quest to put food in the mouth. Mr. Kato ends his passionate “plea” by saying that the Haitian government moves down this path as a “pledge to continue zero central bank financing of the budget [because] the FY2007 budget allows for a significant reorientation of spending to social services and domestically-financed public investment…[as well as] facilitate further efforts to strengthen the banking sector.” Obviously, in the eye of the beholder, lies like these will never go through; and the deprived Haitian masses will never believe in these pathological lies for they are the ones who have to put up with the hellish, day-to-day life in the country. As Haiti is making a noise dive into lawlessness, the silence of Préval is the direct result of promises he made to those who parachuted him into office in order to prolong the “legitimacy” of foreign occupation of Haiti. Préval understands his role—a puppet head of State with no real strategy to pull the country out of international humiliation. In fact, he praises foreign forces in the country as he did before the Brazilian parliament just three weeks after he was elected. The UN presence in Haiti is something that he sees as his best hope of staying in power. He despises the masses who voted him into office, and he has already cowed before the dinosaurs and compradors, who would never forgive him for pre-empting their presidential ambitions and would not hesitate a second to chop his head if given the opportunity.
Demonstrations against foreign occupation are on the rise
On November 18th, glorious day in Haitian history and national holiday that celebrates the last battle that put to rest the French occupation of the country in 1803, students were marching through the streets of Port-au-Prince, demanding an immediate departure of the UN mission. According to several news organizations, as they reached the downtown district, gunfire erupted, scattering demonstrators. Witnesses said a security guard at a nearby bank fired the shots and was later arrested by police after protesters threatened to lynch him. It was not clear what prompted the shooting. Two students were wounded by bullets, one in the leg and the other in the back, witnesses said. The UN troops arrived in June 2004 to quell unrest after Aristide was forced into exile. Instead, what the people are witnessing is a sustained repression against shantytown dwellers by the same UN troops sent to protect them. Under the rule of engagement, a UN soldier would shoot an innocent Haitian first before asking question. The occupation can no longer be camouflaged. Haitians are a patient people, but they will never be zombified. They know better. While the Haitian elite have IMF representatives to lobby for them and have the repressive structure at their disposal, in this struggle, the Haitian masses WILL get the last laugh for history is on their side. Also see: Rene Prevsl takes office