No matter what, the Haitian quake would have been a major disaster, but it did not have to be quite as bad as it was.
The horror that is the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake has many of us, of course, looking around for explanations of why Haiti is so poor. Since I have no ideas to offer for the resurrection of Haiti, I've spent my time looking for people to blame, and there are many. Some of them are French, since the government of Charles X committed an act of armed extortion in 1825 when it demanded of its former slaves 150 million francs in reparations (you know those French, the pact with the devil that was enslavement wasn't enough for them--they had to make a second pact with the devil that insured Haiti's impoverishment for generations). The US has been fiddling with Haiti off and on since the French went away, but the sin that really struck me in my researches took place during the Reagan Administration (as did so many in all areas). American hog farmers became nervous about the appearance of African Swine Fever in Haiti, in the 400,000 strong population of indigenous black swine, animals that the peasantry depended upon for survival (article here). American authorities and Haitian authorities then set about exterminating ALL of these hogs. Don't you love that? Then they sent the peasants a few experimental white hogs from Iowa that were used to luxury conditions, just to see if they might be able to live there. The Haitian hogs were classic hogs who did classic hog business--scavenging, getting fat, making use of what they could find. The new American hogs needed to live in American hog idleness in a world without the facilities they were used to.
Guess what happened to the Haitian peasantry and to their land? The land is denuded, the peasantry has moved to Port-au-Prince, and over-populated Port-au-Prince is now one of the great disaster areas in modern history... [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Huffington Post>
As horrific as this story is, there’s even more. In 2004, Bush and the GOP aided in the overthrow of Haiti’s government. They also blocked several international loans to help build up Haiti’s infrastructure, which could have facilitated relief. In addition, Bush and the GOP facilitated dumping US rice on the Haitian market to stabilize the rice here. This destroyed Haiti’s farm economy and hundreds of thousands more peasants left their land to overpopulate Port-au-Prince even more. Reagan, Bush and the GOP did not cause the earthquake. That was ordained in the geological subduction zones that formed the island over a major fault line. But they did reach out a hand of GOP greed to make it worse.