Saturday, January 16, 2010

U.S. State Department's Historic Goal in Haiti

Since World War II, the U.S. State Department has apparently been very interested in making sure that Haiti's constitution benefits U.S. special business interests more than the people of Haiti. In a confidential Aug. 18, 1946 message to the U.S. Secretary of State, for example, then-U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Orme Wilson wrote the following:

"I have the honor to report that President Dumarsais Estine requested me to call upon him this evening at the National Palace...

"This discussion furnished me an opportunity to tell the President that while the United States Government was inspired to the kindliest sentiments towards Haiti and desire to relieve the economic status of the peasant...I felt that it could not view with satisfaction such attempts as are apparently being made by means of the proposed new constitution too destroy or injure American business interests legally established in the country. I referred in particular to Article 6, which would appear to occasion severe injury to American capital invested in agricultural enterprises...I pointed out...I felt a distinct anxiety, since Article 6 definitely limits the land holdings of foreigners and that, in the case of one company, the Haitian-American Sugar Company, this would appear to occasion immense damage, since the latter's real property amounted to about 9,000 acres..."

(Downtown 11/23/94)

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