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An Expression of Truth
Now you know.
There was an article online a few days ago. It appeared briefly, then disappeared. It was scheduled for release on Wednesday and was mistakenly put up too soon.
The article covered a series of US embassy cables dealing with the sweat shop situation on Haiti.
Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. By far. People on Haiti eat mud cakes instead of real food. That's how poor they are.
Thousands of them are textile workers. Their work conditions might be described as 'sweat shop'. But that description doesn't do their situation justice.
A family with three children needed USD 12.50 per day just to survive back in 2008 already. Three years later and things are worse.
Both Hanes and Levi-Strauss have factories on Haiti. The Haitians there sew together jeans sold in North America where the seams get split right as rain - this because the people up there get to eat better than mud cakes for breakfast lunch and dinner.
Hanes and Levi-Strauss pay strictly minimum wage. Which has been USD 0.31 per hour. This averages out to about $3 per day. Which gives you an indication of the long hours Haitians work.
Two adult Haitian textile workers make $6 per day but an average family of five will need over twice that just to survive. Do the math. And chew on a mud cake.
But hey - mud cakes aren't all bad! At least they make you feel full!
The Haitian hero Aristide's come back to Haiti. He was in South Africa. But he returned. US forces did all they could to stop him. Interrupt his travel, you name it. Aristide is dangerous to US interests in Haiti.
The Haitian government recently passed a law hiking the minimum wage up to US 0.61 - nearly twice what it previously had been. Hanes and Levi-Strauss went through the roof. They contacted Obama's White House.
Hanes and Levi-Strauss told Obama there was no way they were going to pay their Haitian slaves 61 cents an hour! Said and done: Obama's people contacted their ambassador on Haiti who in turn had a good chitchat with the Haitian government. Crisis averted.
A lot of people scratch their heads over Haiti. The people there are so poor - why won't anyone help them? The pat answer is 'they don't have anything to give us in return'. Some answer.
Then people find out that Haitians are desperate and would do anything to leave their impoverished island. But run into US forces in the Caribbean who catch them and return them promptly home.
Even electricity isn't something you can count on there. Cuba wanted to donate millions to Haiti to replace all their light bulbs - millions of them. (The Cubans do a lot of charitable things in the Americas. But the US media are damn well not going to report on it. The Cubans send out hundreds of their doctors to help the peoples in need in other countries. Nobody writes about that either.)
The US embassy found out about the Cuban light bulb deal and nipped that insidious deal in the bud. It wasn't good for Haitians to have better light bulbs and thereby reduce their energy consumption - not if it meant accepting charity from Cuba. That would be bad for US foreign policy. The US embassy stopped the light bulb deal.
Both Honduras (the runner-up in the poverty sweepstakes in the Americas) and Haiti have been offered generous aid programmes by Venezuela to help them out. Venezuela could give them a 40% discount on oil. Oil that would solve all those countries' basic energy needs. Electricity would be the norm. Other things would follow. Neither country would be destitute anymore. And people might stop eating mud cakes.
The US embassy again to the rescue. Haitians have to understand that the US powers that be do not like Venezuela. Your rescuing your people from starvation and utter darkness would be a setback for US policy in the area. You can't accept the deal.
No one bothered to ask the US embassy why their government couldn't make such a generous offer. After all, the people in the US have so much more wealth - they're able to buy Hanes apparel and Levi jeans (and split the seams over and over) so why not share the wealth a bit so Haitian textile workers don't have to eat mud cakes? And give their children mud cakes to eat because quite simply there is no real food?
It's been said Barack Obama's fancy suits today cost $25,000. That's an astronomical sum. Perhaps it was incorrectly quoted. Obama probably doesn't know what the threads cost anyway - it all goes on the taxpayer account.
But a Haitian textile worker making a fabulous $3/day would have to work almost 23 (twenty three) years to earn enough to buy Barack Obama another suit - this barring cost of living, food, rent, clothing, everything else. Twenty three years. For one simple shit Barack Obama suit.
A Haitian textile worker making a fabulous $3/day would have to work over 9,126 (nine thousand one hundred twenty six) years to earn what Hanes CEO Richard Noll gets in bonus for a single year.
Nine thousand one hundred twenty six years.
What does Richard Noll think at night when his head hits the pillow? And he looks across the landscape at his lovely wife with her hair in curlers and reflects back on his busy day as a big shot executive? Does he think about what a good job he's done for the Hanes stockholders? Does he give even the slightest hint of a thought for people feeding their children mud cakes?
Does Barack Obama do any differently?
The article will be out on Wednesday. As will the cable. Or rather 'cables'. Thousands of them. That show how the US powers that be effectively run internal affairs on Haiti and consistently and deliberately keep the people of Haiti impoverished - starving - to benefit US corporate interests.
And not just the textile industries - oil companies are involved as well, as Democracy Now reported.
And where would we be today if not for the mere conduit of WikiLeaks? The release of the Haitian embassy cables are an expression of truth - so let's see if the jeans splitters actually give a shit.
In their eyes there's something lacking
What they need's a damned good whacking
- G Harrison
Democracy Now: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Secret History of US Bullying on Haiti