Pour Cockburn, Haïti-2010 c’est Katrina-2005

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Pour Cockburn, Haïti-2010 c’est Katrina-2005

Il semble instructif de s’arrêter à un premier reportage de Patrick Cockburn sur le désastre d’Haïti (dans The Independent de ce jour, à ce lien). On connaît Cockburn: pas précisément pro-US, certes, mais excellent journaliste, spécialisé dans le reportage avec enquête sur place, disposant de nombreuses sources internationales.

Le fait est que sa première appréciation renforce la tendance que dénonçait indirectement Dan Kennedy, du Guardian (voir notre F&C d’hier). D’abord, il présente un tableau de la récente histoire de l’île autant que de l’attitude de Washington vis-à-vis du désastre comme si Haïti était véritablement un des quelques “51ème Etats” de l’Union existants de par le monde. Ensuite, il présente l’historique du poids de l’interventionnisme US. Il fait les premiers constats du désordre qui caractérise l’aide US, qui est présentée par Obama comme une responsabilité spéciale des USA vis-à-vis d’Haïti. A la lumière de son expérience de l’aide Us à l’étranger, notamment en Afghanistan, il prévoit le pire.

«The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005.

»Five years ago President Bush was famously mute and detached when the levees broke in Louisiana. By way of contrast, President Obama was promising Haitians that everything would be done for survivors within hours of the calamity. The rhetoric from Washington has been very different during these two disasters, but the outcome may be much the same. In both cases very little aid arrived at the time it was most needed and, in the case of Port-au-Prince, when people trapped under collapsed buildings were still alive. When foreign rescue teams with heavy lifting gear does come it will be too late. No wonder enraged Haitians are building roadblocks out of rocks and dead bodies.

»In New Orleans and Port-au-Prince there is the same official terror of looting by local people, so the first outside help to arrive is in the shape of armed troops. The US currently has 3,500 soldiers, 2,200 marines and 300 medical personnel on their way to Haiti. […]

»…US marines occupied the country from 1915 to 1934. Between 1957 and 1986 the US supported Papa Doc and Baby Doc, fearful that they might be replaced by a regime sympathetic to revolutionary Cuba next door.

»President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a charismatic populist priest, was overthrown by a military coup in 1991, and restored with US help in 1994. But the Americans were always suspicious of any sign of radicalism from this spokesman for the poor and the outcast and kept him on a tight lead. Tolerated by President Clinton, Aristide was treated as a pariah by the Bush administration which systematically undermined him over three years leading up to a successful rebellion in 2004. That was led by local gangsters acting on behalf of a kleptocratic Haitian elite and supported by members of the Republican Party in the US. […]

»Many of the smaller government aid programmes and NGOs are run by able, energetic and selfless people, but others, often the larger ones, are little more than rackets, highly remunerative for those who run them. In Kabul and Baghdad it is astonishing how little the costly endeavours of American aid agencies have accomplished. “The wastage of aid is sky high,” said a former World Bank director in Afghanistan. “There is real looting going on, mostly by private enterprises. It is a scandal.” Foreign consultants in Kabul often receive $250,000 to $500,000 a year, in a country where 43 per cent of the population try to live on less than a dollar a day.

»None of this bodes well for Haitians hoping for relief in the short term or a better life in the long one. The only way this will really happen is if the Haitians have a legitimate state capable of providing for the needs of its people. The US military, the UN bureaucracy or foreign NGOs are never going to do this in Haiti or anywhere else.»