Helga Zepp-LaRouche Calls For "Operation Frederick Douglass" To Save Haiti
November 18, 2010 • 5:58PM

Let us start to make an international mobilization to save the Haitian people and organize for a full reconstruction of Haiti, so that everybody in this country can have a decent life. And let's call it "Operation Frederick Douglass."

The unfolding catastrophe which is happening in Haiti right now is a mirror of what will happen to the rest of the planet if the attitude towards this beautiful country is not changed dramatically. When the earthquake happened, 10 months ago, and no significant aid has been sent in the meantime, instead you have cholera and a shootout between demonstrators and soldiers. In February, Lyndon LaRouche made an urgent call to send the U.S. Army Corps of engineers and work with the Haitian government to relocate the 1.3 million homeless people, and he stressed very emphatically that this had to occur before the rainy season or else there would be the danger of floods, mudslides, and the deadly sewage for 1.5 million people. Haiti did not have one single sewage treatment plant at that time, and LaRouche said if one does not act immediately, soon there would be the danger of dengue fever, cholera, typhoid and other plagues.

And LaRouche called on the US President to act. In a webcast question on January 30th, he said in his answer that the United States has to take the approach to Haiti of Presidents like Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. That not many countries should come in, but that it was important to respect the sovereignty of Haiti, and that, therefore, the United States must make a treaty arrangement with Haiti to re-establish full sovereignty after the aid and reconstruction of the country has been fulfilled. The call of Lyndon LaRouche was supported at that time by many medical and military professionals on the ground. It was turned down explicitly by President Barack Obama, who pulled out the military, and so therefore, one can say very clearly that he has the moral responsibility of what is now the situation in Haiti.

On the 24th of March, Bill Clinton, who at that time was US special envoy to Haiti, made an urgent appeal to move the people sitting in the camps to higher ground, or else there would be the danger of many tens of thousands endangered to die. Again, there was no response from the US President. On the 25th of October, after the cholera had broken out, LaRouche issued an urgent statement saying: It is still not too late to save hundreds of thousands of lives. That the Obama administration should immediately return the US military to Haiti and coordinate emergency provisions of clean water supplies, a mass relocation out of the disease-infected hellholes for 1.5 million people and stop the 10-month period of complete negligence. As of October, 1.3 million people were still in temporary camps, 40% had no access to clean water, 30% have no toilet at all, and the average number of people sharing one toilet in Port-au-Prince is 273. Only 10% of families have tents, and not one cent of the 1.15 billion dollars pledged by the US government has been sent.

Now you have cholera and chronic infections, malnutrition, hunger and many, many people who are suffering from an untreated psychological trauma. The present horrifying condition of the victims in Haiti are a total indictment of the US administration and the international community, a catastrophe which was visible for so long and predictable that it would happen, like the present cholera catastrophe.

Not acting when you can, amounts to genocide.

The actual aid given, maybe at most 1 billion dollars, and not the 10 billion pledged; compare that to the 30 trillion dollar bailout packages for speculation, for high-risk speculation in investment banks and hedge funds. If you compare this, it is very clear that Haiti will be the fate of the rest of the world if this attitude is not changed.

The situation in Haiti is no natural disaster. In October 1989, San Francisco had a similar earthquake, of a similar magnitude, namely 7 on the Richter scale. At that point, you had 63 people dead, 3,000 wounded and 12,000 homeless. In Haiti, it was 300,000 deaths and 1.5 million people homeless.

Now this is all due to a lack of infrastructure and the lack of a solid foundation of urban development. Therefore, the reconstruction of Haiti has to build up infrastructure, cities, industries, and agriculture. And this has to occur in the context of building the NAWAPA and PLHINO water management projects. It has to be in the context of building the world land-bridge as the reconstruction after the collapse of the present system. And we have to think in terms of 25 years of development, of one generation of development for Haiti. And we have to have a solemn commitment to do that. We should call it: "Operation Frederick Douglass," because there is no better name to give Haiti a better future.

Haiti declared independence on the 1st of January, 1804. This was the first successful rebellion of slaves in the Americas, which occurred after the American revolution, and defeated the military of the colonial powers of Spain, England and Napoleonic France. And since that time, the fate and history of Haiti has been extremely closely connected to that of the United States. Haiti supported the American revolution and was allied with Alexander Hamilton. Haiti was punished for this through blockades and quarantines. This was changed again when Lincoln became President in the 1860s, and then the US finally diplomatically recognized Haiti. At that time, Frederick Douglass became the plenipotentiary to Haiti.

With Woodrow Wilson, this changed again to the worse, and Haiti was invaded and occupied from 1915, through a brutal occupation until 1934. Franklin D. Roosevelt ended that occupation and started the Good Neighbor era. With the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the situation worsened again. And you can see that the situation in Haiti for more than 200 years, has been the direct reflection if the US identity was that of the American Revolution and Constitution and Declaration of Independence, or if the American identity was that of a de facto British colony, and guided by the so-called special relationship between US and Great Britain acting as an empire.

Now let's take the horrifying pictures of the people dying in the hell holes in Port-au-Prince right now. These pictures should haunt those who are responsible for this totally unnecessary catastrophe. President Obama should look at these pictures, long and thoughtfully, and so should every speculator in high-risk speculation do likewise. And if President Obama cannot develop the empathy with the suffering and immediately contact the government of Haiti and offer a treaty arrangement and deploy the Corps of Engineers; if he cannot develop that empathy, where he is clearly in the unique position to help, then he should immediately make place for a President who can.

Let's mobilize for "Operation Frederick Douglass," and let's make that the first cause of an international alliance for development until Haiti is saved and rebuilt. And let me end this message with a quote from a speech which Frederick Douglass gave on January 2, 1893:

"In the nature of the country itself there is much to inspire its people with manliness, courage and self-respect. In its topography it is wonderfully beautiful, grand and impressive. Clothed in its blue and balmy atmosphere it rises from the surrounding sea in surpassing splendor...

"It is a land strikingly beautiful, diversified by mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers and plains, and contains in itself all of the elements of great and enduring wealth. Its limestone formation and foundation are a guarantee of perpetual fertility. Its tropical heat and insular moisture keep its vegetation fresh, green and vigorous all the year round. At an altitude of eight thousand feet, its mountains are still covered with woods of great variety and of great value. Its climate, varying with altitude like that of California, is adapted to all constitutions and productions.

"Fortunate in its climate and soil, it is equally fortunate in its adaptation to commerce. Its shore line is marked with numerous indentations of inlets, rivers, bays and harbors, where every grade of vessel may anchor in safety. Bulwarked on either side by lofty mountains rich with tropical verdure from base to summit, its blue waters dotted here and there with the white wings of commerce from every land and sea, the Bay of Port au Prince almost rivals the far-famed Bay of Naples, the most beautiful in the world."

Now let us make the promise that that will be the future of Haiti in the near future, again.