Political Focus: Trumps ignorant comments and the truth about Haiti

John Bozick, Web Editor

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Last week President Donald Trump made headlines yet again for saying something completely outlandish and downright ignorant, calling Haiti, Ecuador and African nations “shithole countries” during a national security meeting.

Trump, who was being a presented with a bipartisan immigration plan, spoke to a room full of officials saying, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

Trump also mentioned we should have more people from countries like Norway in the United States, yet if the reaction from the Norwegian press has anything to say about it, Norwegians find our country to be the real “shithole”. Trump’s comments also show his ignorance as an American toward Haiti, as our country played a large role through election rigging and kidnapping, partly made Haiti the way it is today.

Haiti became a country in 1804 following the only successful slave revolt in history against France, forming the first black republic Haiti faced re-enslavement from a French invasion in 1824. Faced with invasion Haiti agreed to pay the French an “independence debt” worth 150 million gold francs in order to compensate slave owners for the slaves they lost.

Haiti did not pay this debt off until 1947, 140 years after the slave trade was deemed illegal and ended, all the while struggling economically.

The U.S. refuses to recognize Haiti as a sovereign nation until 1862 when the southern states seceded from the nation, fearing of a similar slave revolt southern states pressured the federal government into ignoring the small southern island.

Yet following its recognition the U.S. began an era of exploitation in Haiti, beginning with an invasion and military occupation of the country in 1915 that lasted until 1934. During this time, any resistance to the puppet government installed was violently put down while the U.S. began an unfair trade policy that effectively crippled Haiti economically.

Haiti was unable to have a single democratic election due to violence until 1991, when Jean-Bertrand Aristide won the vote with 67 percent support. However with backing from the U.S., the Haitian military staged a coup and Aristide was forced into exile. During this time the U.S. invaded the country yet again, where it occupied Haiti from 1994 until 1997, seeking to “restore peace” and “democracy” to the country.

Aristide was able to win the next election in 2000 with 92 percent of the vote, yet in Feb. 28, 2004 he was removed from the country and forced into exile in Africa where he remains today. Speaking to CNN in 2004, Aristide stated that the U.S. forced him into exile, yet at the time the George W. Bush Administration refused this idea.

The exploitation of Haiti is just a small part of U.S. foreign intervention that can be looked at much more in depth, and in an era riddled with cries of “Russian meddling”, everyone should be encouraged to dig deeper into how much the United States has meddled in the affairs of another sovereign nation. You may find the answer as to why many of these “shithole nations” are the way they are.