Naomi Klein

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Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor

Published in The Nation

If we are to believe the G-7 finance ministers, Haiti is on its way to getting something it has deserved for a very long time: full "forgiveness" of its foreign debt. In Port-au-Prince, Haitian economist Camille Chalmers has been watching these developments with cautious optimism. Debt cancellation is a good start, he told Al Jazeera English, but "It's time to go much further. We have to talk about reparations and restitution for the devastating consequences of debt." In this telling, the whole idea that Haiti is a debtor needs to be abandoned. Haiti, he argues, is a creditor—and it is we, in the West, who are deeply in arrears.

Our debt to Haiti stems from four main sources: slavery, the US occupation, dictatorship and climate change. These claims are not fantastical, nor are they merely rhetorical. They rest on multiple violations of legal norms and agreements. Here, far too briefly, are highlights of the Haiti case.


Join the Climate Trial

[The following was co-written by Naomi Klein, author of the #1 international bestseller The Shock Doctrine, Terry Tempest Williams, world renowned wildlife author, Bill Mckibben, founder of 350.org and author of The End Of Nature, and Dr. James Hansen, author of Storms of my Grandchildren, and who is regarded as the world's leading climatologist. All recognize the trial of Tim DeChristopher to be a turning point in the climate movement. Included are links to resources for travel to Utah].

Dear Friends,

The epic fight to ward off global warming and transform the energy system that is at the core of our planet’s economy takes many forms: huge global days of action, giant international conferences like the one that just failed in Copenhagen, small gestures in the homes of countless people.


A Model for Haiti: An Excerpt from The Shock Doctrine

Posted on Newsweek.com

As if disasters aren't bad enough on their own, they often precede an even more chilling aftermath, argues Canadian journalist Naomi Klein. In The Shock Doctrine, published in 2007, Klein contends that disasters leave populations vulnerable to carefully calculated policy changes that would never pass muster under normal democratic circumstances. The following is an excerpt from the conclusion of The Shock Doctrine, outlining steps other groups have taken to prevent "disaster capitalism" from prevailing post-crisis.


A Small Victory for Shock Resistance

In response to the wave of criticism, the IMF has just issued a statement saying that they will try to turn the $100-million loan to Haiti into a grant. This is unprecedented in my experience and shows that public pressure in moments of disaster can seriously subvert shock doctrine tactics. They are also now saying that they will not put conditions on the emergency loan—another popular victory, since this is not what they were saying last week. Of course people have to keep up the pressure to make sure Haiti's debts really are cancelled as the IMF is now predicting they will be. Something to hold them to!

Here is the IMF's statement:

"IMF Chief Calls for 'Marshall Plan' for Shattered Haiti"
January 20, 2010

With Foreign Aid Still at a Trickle, Devastated Port-au-Prince General Hospital Struggles to Meet Overwhelming Need

Amy Goodman and the incredible team from Democracy Now! are in Haiti telling some very hard truths about the international response to the earthquake. Please take the time to watch today's enraging report on how the manufactured "security" threat is blocking desperately needed medical care.

Amy also conducts an illuminating interview about Washington's obsession with privatizing Haiti's national industries, from flour to phones to cement. This weak, privatized state has made the current crisis much more severe.

For a little more context on this issue, here is an interview I conducted with Jean Bertrand Aristide back in 2005.

Aristide in Exile
By Naomi Klein, The Nation, July 14, 2005

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