Haiti's real deal with the devil

Pat Robertson thinks that Haiti is poverty stricken (and earthquake-stricken) because the country made a deal with Satan to help them overthrow the French.

Back in May, the Times Online provided some slightly better insight into Haiti's past. Beyond a vague assumption that Imperialism had probably screwed Haiti somehow, I didn't know much about the country's history. Reading this story has been nothing short of nauseating.

Summary: Haiti was forced to pay France for its freedom. When they couldn't afford the ransom, France (and other countries, including the United States) helpfully offered high-interest loans. By 1900, 80% of Haiti's annual budget went to paying off its "reparation" debt. They didn't make the last payment until 1947. Just 10 years later, dictator François Duvalier took over the country and promptly bankrupted it, taking out more high-interest loans to pay for his corrupt lifestyle. The Duvalier family, with the blind-eye financial assistance of Western countries, killed 10s of thousands of Haitians, until the Haitian people overthrew them in 1986. Today, Haiti is still paying off the debt of an oppressive dictator no one would help them get rid of for 30 years.

The rest of the world refuses to forgive this debt.

So, in a way, maybe Robertson is right. Haiti is caught in a deal with the devil, and the devil is us.

Update: mgfarrelly points out another thing I didn't know—the U.S. Congress is currently considering a bill called The Jubilee Act for Responsible Lending and Expanded Debt Cancellation. Part of what this bill would do is help countries like Haiti get their debt canceled, without making that cancellation conditional on things like closing down free schools or raising the cost of fresh water. Maybe a good time to contact your representatives about about this bi-partisan measure.


  1. Is this the same Pat Robertson who owns Diamond mines that use slave labor?

    Yes , Robertson knows the devil very well.

  2. Boo-hoo, poor little Haitians. Why didn’t they overthrow Papa Doc long before he could place Baby Doc? Sometimes I believe that the people deserve whatever government they get.

    1. Forgiveness makes more sense than self-righteousness.

      And self-righteousness coming from poeple in a position of privilege is just pathetic.

      Florsie, go eat a turd.

    2. Blaming the victims just a little bit doncha think?

      Also, living in Distrito Federal: Mexico, you better be putting your money where your mouth, what are YOU doing about your countries corrupt goverment? Human trafficing? Drug wars? Over 7,724 murders last year, and over 100 this year already.

      Poor Haitians indeed.
      Poor Mexicans.

      1. I’m doing my part by not feeding the corruption in any way. I don’t think mexico is a victim either. We deserve the government we get because most of my country doesn’t give a fuck of what is going on.

        1. Glad to see your comfortable with status-quo.
          And thank you for the excellent demonstration on how corrupt governments stay in power for so long.

        2. Yeah, well, you’re still being a jerk by coming in here and saying “boo hoo” when six figures of Haitians just died. Get rid of the rock in your chest and get yourself a damn heart.

          1. Dang Xopher, and you called ME “Amoral or Deranged”…

            Think I’ll pass that hat to Florsie if it’s OK with you.

          2. Yes, amoral or deranged as opposed to clearly immoral AND bug-fuck crazy AND a total jackhole. Florsie already has THAT hat.

            You see, I was being moderate in your case. And I still consider you worth talking to, just not about coffee!

    3. Boingboing has some of the most insightful and thoughtful posters online, and then it has twatwaffles like yourself.

      I say we chip in some cash to send you to Haiti to help these poor wretches. Come on, a one way ticket to paradise.

      1. TWATWAFFLES!?!?!?!


        That’s a new one on me. I really like it. I’m sitting here at my desk (at WORK, damn you!) giggling like a psychopath who’s just pushed a guy in a wheelchair down the stairs.

        No wheelchair, no stairs, and the person you just called a twatwaffle richly deserved it! I laugh without guilt.

        Please collect your internet at station four.

    4. “Sometimes I believe people deserve the government that they get.”

      Yes, but do their children? I mean, look at what we’ve done to ourselves in the US. Nothing so monstrous as Haiti, but there’s no denying that corporations rule Washington and many state capitols.

    5. Which would mean you deserved George Bush. Please do try living under a repressive regime before shooting your mouth off about them or how one should go about overthrowing them.

    6. Haiti has been under United States DOMINATION throughout its existence. The Duvaliers were supported by the US.

    7. Obviously if they could have over thrown him they would… Papa Doc had the countries money tied up in his debts that he accumulated to fund his mass killling and devilish ways…the haitian people (my people) begged for help but because soo much money was owed to the same people they were asking for help from those countrie turned there back on haiti.

  3. Whoa, so the Haitians took out an expensive freedom loan and then complain about making payments? Maybe they should have rented their freedom until they could afford to buy a freedom, like we did.


    I bet Pat Robertson would look really funny if God set him on fire. Or even if some Haitians set him on fire. Which I wouldn’t blame them for doing.

    1. The Deal with the Devil stuff is loony all right. Robertson let that one fly during a Disaster Relief segment. Presumably, disaster relief for Haiti, since he follows that goofiness with this: “…we need to pray for them, a great turning to God. And out of this tragedy, I’m optimistic something good may come, but right now we’re helping the suffering people, and the suffering is unimaginable.” Maybe we let him get some money to Haiti before the immolation – that’d be the smart move.

  4. Another contributing factor is that the leaders of Haiti, both before and after their independence weren’t good stewards of their environment (possibly because they were attempting to pay off this debt). They engaged in clear cutting and slash and burn agriculture. This contributed to heavy soil erosion. This soil erosion in turn damaged their rivers, leaving them with poor soil for farming, and unhealthy rivers. A study in contrasts is the environment and agricultural health of the Dominican Republic, which shares the same island, and has a much healthier environment, and less dependence on foreign agriculture.

    1. Florsie, Scuba SM, similarly inclined et al.: All that ignorance doesn’t look good on you. The French were decisively defeated in 1804; the debt incurred was the price of international recognition after decades of social and economic isolation. Don’t blame Haitians for the soil erosion and slash-and-burn; the US developed pretexts for occupying Haiti in order to liberate it (sound familiar?) in the early 20th century–around the same time Hollywood got its first zombi movies (not a coincidence)–and invaded Haiti, staying from 1915-34. During that time thousands of Haitians were pressed into service in chain gangs to build roads for agribusiness and clear (illegally seized) forest land to grow crops for US firms. The US (Marines) returned again in the 40s, and the US has ‘intervened’ whenever it has been deemed expedient. Subsequent governments made deals with US govt’s to stay in power–but the Haitian people have never stopped fighting with courage and dignity, in spite of the cards they have been dealt.

      1. Anon,

        I was not assigning blame to the Haitians, I was making the point that not only is the country in debt and the population in deep poverty, but also that their natural resources have been plundered rather than sustainably managed. The fact that those resources have been plundered in turn means that it’s even harder to build an acceptable quality of life, regardless of debt. At no point did I assign blame, I simply highlighted the environmental issues present in Haiti as a contrast to the environment in the Dominican Republic. The geo-political pressures that encouraged that plundering have been discussed by others.

        Please don’t put words in my mouth.

  5. Thank you Maggie for posting about this and not that glorified internet troll Robertson. The man at my CTA stop who screams about the Freemasons has more cogent thoughts.

    Jubilee USA is a group of faith organization working towards the cancellation of these debts, They do good work and as recently as December were helping get the US House to put debt cancellation into practice.


    Along with the famed ONE campaign and “Make Poverty History” these groups are trying to give the people of Haiti and other nations a fighting chance.

    As for anyone barking that “people get what they deserve” it’s worth noting that debt relief after the revolutionary war, as well as open credit from abroad, is the reason the US was able to survive. While penalizing war debt after WWI led Germany down a very dark path.

    Forgiveness makes more sense than self-righteousness.

  6. I thought Pat Robertson was dead. Just a happy dream, I guess.

    As for Haiti, “it is a debt not owed by the people,” as Sweet Honey in the Rock said in their song “Ode to the International Debt.” I’d like to quote more, but the lyrics don’t appear to be on the web anywhere.

    1. There is money going overseas to buy changes that will never come
      Dollar backed Contras spill the blood of the people in small nations we won’t leave alone
      There are Contras in Nicaragua, US trained death squads in El Salavador
      I hear Jonah Savimbe holding hands with Apartheid is being lead to drink at the trough
      USA sponsored violence create refugees all over the world
      They poor into LA, DC and Arizona seeking sanctuary from our guns

      Meanwhile, in the corporate boardrooms, they talk about the debt as if it could be paid
      But money borrowed and loaned for guns you can’t eat and buildings you can’t live in and trinkets you can’t wear, it is a debt not owed by the people.

      There is money going overseas to buy changes that will never come
      Dollar backed Contras spill the blood of the people in small nations we won’t leave alone

  7. True, and interesting. But don’t forget that Haiti’s first democratically elected president, who actually did stuff like, you know, raise the minimum wage from $1 a day was ousted by a US backed coup in 1991, then after he was re-elected with 90%+ of the vote in 2000, had a second coup carried out against him in 2004, backed by the US, and this time also Canada and France.

    Why did France jump on in 2004? President Aristide had been making moves in international court to have them pay back this ridiculous debt you’re talking about in the post.

    So yeah, Haiti’s suffering isn’t only because of /historical/ imperialism.

  8. So what prevents them from defaulting? They would hardly be the first country to do so. It might ruin their credit in the international market, but what has credit (and debt) gotten them so far?

    1. So far as I can find, it won’t ruin Haiti’s credit on the international market so far as investment is concerned because the big international rating agencies don’t even bother to rate them.

      So, yeah, nothing to lose, really.

      1. Tahiti isn’t doing so bad; from my understanding, the French actually LIKED them, though.

        I always thought the English were the best of the colonials. The Belgians and Dutch appear to have been the worst, followed by the French, Spanish, Americans, and English.

  9. Nevermind the massive environmental degradation caused as haitians cut everything down for cash or to make room for cash crops.

  10. When you think about it, this is essentially Iceland’s present quandary as well. England is threatening to call in the IMF goons if the country doesn’t pay up for Gordon Brown bailing out UK depositors in Icelandic bank/Madoff money schemes. To do so, they are being told to shut down their schools and hospitals and make ready for about a 1/3 of the population to leave the country to support what is essentially, for now at least, a financial war between England and Iceland. If they refuse, will they too see a future of coups and dictatorships instigated by Western powers eager to run their factories on Iceland’s geothermal power and low wage impoverished workers during the coming peak oil years? If I were an imperialist, which really all the leaders of the Western powers are, I would seize on this moment to enslave another nation so close to home.

    As for Haiti, that is exactly what we see– an impoverished population supplying cheap labor while the starving eat mud and the IMF prevents real development. Their president overthrown and removed by US-supported goons, their land pillaged and deforested, and those who speak out murdered. I think Mr. Robertson would do well to live a month in a shack in Haiti before he passes his judgment.

    1. @Uniquack #17

      Yeah, I’m Icelandic, and that’s exactly what I see.
      The recent action by the president is the first positive step I’ve seen taken, maybe there is hope for Iceland yet.
      The funny thing is, according to the rules it’s very questionable whether Iceland should pay at all, If Iceland should pay then it’s questionable whether the amount is more than around 1/3 of what we’re being pressured into paying. Our governments (two of them, so far) just bow to the idol of the international money market, and have let known bullies like britain pressure them into agreeing to deals which are out of this world, without contesting whether or not we have to pay.

      We’ll see.

      Personally, I think that if the system in Iceland (healthcare and education) crash, then we’ll see a proper revolution.

  11. As much as I love learning things it can be so much simpler just believing the stupid things..

    I thought Haiti had brought it on themselves, I hadn’t looked through the reasons WHY they had done as they have.
    The immolation of the environment makes much more sense now, knowing about these debts, and the way that the french behaved.

    Funnily enough, former french colonies tend to be doing rather badly. Even the brits seem to have treated their subjects/slaves better.

  12. Interesting but let’s not forget the ongoing role of two particularly destructive religions – Voodoo and Catholicism.

    1. Now wait just a darn minute! I resent your putting those two in the same category!

      Voodoo is relatively harmless.

  13. The Devil wishes he had that much power. Haiti’s unfortnate crime has been demonism and voodoo worship. Which god-fearing countries like America and France have taken advantage. One wonders of Yahweh has taken notice?

  14. Vhat!? Zis iz subversive schtuff!

    People like Pat Robertson really push the envelope of never saying what they actually think, just what is expedient for them. In a way, if you think about it, they’re totally trapped. They’re marionette monkeys, spastically dancing for almighty power and money. They don’t have the freedom of sharing in public their own thoughts and feelings and worries and hopes. They’re not stupid, they’re quite aware. Doublethink can only take you so far. For this level of unreality you have to be aware of your lies.

    I feel sorry for the man. I of course feel more sorry for people like the people of Haiti who have done nothing all their lives but get screwed by rich people like us every time we go to the grocery store. But I feel sorry for Robertson too. He does not have the freedom that we have to think and exchange ideas as he wishes. He’s a slave to his addiction. Sure, we can say he could quit any time, repudiate his lies etc….but that’s discounting the power of an addiction to power and fame and money, which is very real.

    I’m just saying it’s sad.

  15. What a delightful fellow this Robertson is.

    I’m not even surprised to see he’s slightly blurry on the dates : Napoleon III wasn’t event born when Haiti was freed.
    And a man like Toussaint Louverture had little need for a pact with the devil : when you have his talents both military and political, are gutsy and wily enough to go toe-to-toe with first the nice dudes from the Terror era then Napoleon and play the 3 major colonial powers of your time for fools, there’s not much that can stop you.
    Plus, since he wasn’t exactly a pure altruistic good guy, he even had the good taste of getting screwed and killed before he had the opportunity to turn on his own (others took care of that for him, though). That even allowed him to stay in History as the first black leader to ever beat a colonial empire, and pretty much a hero.

    Bottom line is Haiti was the first free black republic. Freed by its own hand to boot.
    There had to be a hell of a price to pay.

  16. Thank you so much for the Post Maggie.

    It’s a crime that we allow such poverty to exist so close to our border. Its a shame anywhere, but we don’t even need to take a long flight to help these people, all we really need to do is stop trying to steal from them.

    1. And clearly their economy has collapsed because of it? Again, Canada is cool.

      The debts nations like Haiti owe are almost laughable, especially when you compare them to financial bailouts that have produced far less in the way of results or improved quality of life. When people talk about a “level playing field” this is the sort of leveling that needs to be done.

      Thanks for posting that link Maggie. It’s a really good piece of legislation and the White House is shepherding it pretty quietly through the House from what I’ve seen. Debt relief is widely non-partisan. Remember when Bono and Jesse Helms (!) befriended each other? It was over the issue of debt cancellation.


    2. Cnd cncls dbt frm Ht…

      Wll yh, gss nt cllctng th bx f “Strk nywhr” mtchs, tw bttls f rm nd th gt tht thy wr wd s nc gstr… t lst symblclly.

      1. Is that really neccessary? Sweet Christ in a Cup, man, we’re not speaking Arabic here. Put some damned vowels into your sentence.

        Also: great article.

        1. Hmmm…. Interesting Aurini. Not sure what happened there.

          Wrote the post just fine. Hit submit and nothing happened. Copied what I had written. Hit “Refresh”. Pasted what I had written and hit “Submit” again and things seemed to go through fine. Not sure what happened to the vowels.

          Think of it as a “Mad Lib”.

          Since it seems to both you so, here is the way it SHOULD have read.

          Canada Cancels Debt From Haiti…

          Wll yh, gss nt cllctng th bx f “Strk nywhr” mtchs, th tw bttls f rm, nd th gt tht thy wr wd sms lk nc gstr… t lst symblclly.

          Hope that clears things up.

          1. Since it seems to both you so, here is the way it SHOULD have read.

            Canada Cancels Debt From Haiti…

            Wll yh, gss nt cllctng th bx f “Strk nywhr” mtchs, th tw bttls f rm, nd th gt tht thy wr wd sms lk nc gstr… t lst symblclly.

            Thanks Antinous. That made me snarf more than anything else today — I’m still giggling. It’s good to have a little humor.

  17. Cool. Robertson’s dickheadery made it onto the top-of-the-hour news summary on NPR.

    Which means we’ll probably get to hear Colbert’s and Stewart’s takes on it in a day or two.

  18. Pat Robertson should have left this earth with his good old pal Jerry Falwell. Why does that piece of garbage get taken seriously in the first place is beyond me.

    For people trashing Haiti comfortably in front of your computers on blogs, forums, websites and etc.. Mission accomplished. I have always known there are cowards and people who dis countries and continents that go through actual feeling of hell (poverty) than that of what people here with a comfortable life has but find the time and place to wine about their life being rough. Hopefully you won’t need help, should that happen people should give you the same reaction that you are giving at this moment.

  19. What has happened to you people? Hey why don’t we all have a laugh about this. Current figures have estimated around 150,000 people dead. 9/11 was nothing! Or did those people deal with the devil as well.

    1. @35 Didn’t you hear? 9/11 was TOTALLY also a deal with the devil. All those fornicators and drug addicts and homosexuals, bringing God’s wrath down on the ‘murrican People.

  20. As if we needed to recognize more of what a tragedy this is…it’s interesting to read the accounts of what Hispaniola aka Haiti was like before the white man. In A People’s History of the United States we hear the exact same thing being done by Columbus. It was the best of paradises, a utopia as near as history can tell, and our European ancestors turned it into a slum. We’ve made sure it only got worse.

    We have found the enemy and he is…

  21. It is I hope a sign of things to come! This is the only way, late as it is that we will save our planet. It’s not deeds so much as a changed attitude to business and above all to each other that will save us. So glad to see a government initiative like this! As for the French, despite their accent being charming, they are truly an arrogant people. My daughter travelled overseas and danced there but , to my surprise, she phoned me one day and said what pigs of arrogant people the French are.This surprised me as all her training as in all classical dance was done in French and she has the ‘je ne sais quoi’ that the French like. Well, they may have liked her but she didn’t like them.

  22. There are apparently 10 primary sources describing a secret “Dahomeyan blood oath” involving a pig sacrifice led by a voodoo priestess at Bois Caiman at the start of the revolution. Of course, whether Dahomeyan/voodoo blood oath = pact with Satan is up to you.

    My reference book, *Voodoo in Haiti*, says that the story is taught to Haitian schoolchildren.

    Raging scholarly debate here:

    1. Nice link, Fred. I thought Pat Robertson was just pulling that story/legend out of thin air. Fascinating stuff.

  23. I’d like to thank Florsie and glory bee for taking the time to make some truly insightful comments. Well done. Now go play in traffic, would you.

    Watching that video makes me all shades of pissed off. Rage, even. But reading #22, Delaney’s comment helped it subside into what it is, any way you look at it.

    Sadness indeed.

  24. I just watched the video… again… and I have to say I am not sure what is worse, the bile and excrement coming out of Pat Robertson’ head… or the mindless head bobbing and false concern/agreement showing on the face of the slag sitting on his right.

    Please god…. please please please… just this once can we have a little INSTANT KARMA to wipe these smug self-righteous assholes off the face of the earth, or, at the very least, give them a flaming case of incurable and horribly itchy crotch rot? In little Jebuz name… amen.

    1. I think being reincarnated as Pat Robertson would be a very cunning punishment. I mean, would YOU want to be like him? It must suck to hate people that much.

  25. We may want to forgive the debt out of hope that others will follow our lead…

    After all, we’re going to need some pretty serious debt forgiveness of our own soon.

  26. @ derfla8 #30 Thankyou for pointing that out.I was not aware of Canada’s initiative July 2 2009. Apparently the finance minister announced that Canada forgave a current $2.3 million loan to Haiti along with a further $963 million to other nations, including all debt owed by Latin American and Carribean nations. That would buy a lot of rum and goats, even in the sad little misanthropic world inhabited by ‘chupacabras’ and it’s ilk.I am confident that Canada will step up to the plate on this occasion and offer substantial aid,particularily in light of the fact that the Governor General of Canada is Haitian by birth.

  27. Let’s not forget the massacres by UN troops either. (Google UN massacre Haiti and watch the videos; remember to have a barf bag ready.) I think the biggest one was the July 6, 2005 where they managed to indiscriminately fire about 20,000 rounds into a slum that morning. Contrary to the spin-doctors, the UN troops aren’t there to keep anything that could be called a peace. They’re there as the goon squad for the thug who was President of France when they went in. Their mission is to make sure that nothing, such as an incorrect choice at the ballot boxes, threatens the finances of a particular French clique.

    Except for Vietnam and Algeria, France has never released any of its colonies in any meaningful sense – and look at what Vietnam had to go through! It used to rely on an army of criminals (Foreign Legion) to make sure that it stayed the world’s pre-eminent Colonial Power but the UN seems happy to take over that roll whenever Paris picks up the phone.

    Small wonder that the French are often at the head of the Yankee-bashing Brigade: it makes for an nice distraction from their own, worse behaviour.

  28. Adjusted for inflation in today’s dollars, in 1825 Haiti agreed to pay French slaveowners $625,101,768.82 for their independence and as protection from reprisals…starting a chain of bankruptcy the country has never been able to get out from under. I guess Pat Robertson’s devil was white European slave owners?

  29. here ya go, xopher

    Ode to the International Debt
    Lyrics and music by Bernice Johnson Reagon. Songtalk Publishing Co. 1985
    Performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock from the album Live at Carnegie Hall (1988)
    There is money going overseas to buy changes that will never come
    Dollar backed Contras spill the blood of the people in small nations we won’t leave alone
    There are Contras in Nicaragua, US trained death squads in El Salavador
    I hear Jonah Savimbe holding hands with Apartheid is being lead to drink at the trough
    USA sponsored violence create refugees all over the world
    They poor into LA, DC and Arizona seeking sanctuary from our guns
    Meanwhile, in the corporate boardrooms, they talk about the debt as if it could be paid
    But money borrowed and loaned for guns you can’t eat and buildings you can’t live in and trinkets you can’t wear, it is a debt not owed by the people.
    There is money going overseas to buy changes that will never come
    Dollar backed Contras spill the blood of the people in small nations we won’t leave alone

  30. …Pat Robertson is the result of shining the Bizarro Ray on Howdy Doody.


    …Kids, help me out here: Should I turn that into a new OM’s Law, or is it just a slightly unproven hypothesis?

  31. Well the two situations do look a bit similar, don’t they?

    Haiti goes into debt- unscrupulous swine capitalize on it by issuing predatory loans.

    Haiti is devastated by an earthquake- an unscrupulous swine capitalizes on it by trying to look like a prophet in hindsight. “So what if they died, they deserved it, I told you so! How awesome am I, right?”

    He really needs to get caught with a male prostitute or something. Hopefully something even worse for his image, like a goat wearing lipstick.

  32. Part of what this bill would do is help countries like Haiti get their debt canceled, without making that cancellation conditional on things like closing down free schools or raising the cost of fresh water.

    Perhaps debt cancellation should be made conditional on not incurring more debt.

  33. Okay, in Robertson’s favor, he’s got the same problem that anyone believing in an omnipotent diety does– either Haiti got smacked because they were evil (Hooray, God/Allah/Gaia is just!) or Haiti got smacked for no other reason than shits and giggles (Hooray, Lovecraft got it right!)

    I imagine most religious people would engage in similar degrees (if different flavors) of illogic before abandoning the belief in a just and merciful god.

    Anyone out there think there’s a God who kills people because he thinks it’s fun? The news’d back you up here…

    1. I won’t speak for Robertson, who is a Douche among Douches, but the Salon article calls his views “racist” even though it also provides the source of Robertson’s belief. The fact is, from a Christian point of view, assuming the story is true (as even Salon’s expert admits could be the case) then this “deal with the devil” thing is totally legit.

      Let me play Christian’s advocate for a minute: All spiritual practices, no matter how “good” they seem, are originated from the Devil if they’re not Christianity. This is how he fools people, you see, because they seem to have good results, though behind the curtain, it’s the Devil pulling the strings. Ergo, this voodoo ceremony was like putting Satan on the guest list, and he’s still partying VIP all-access back stage in Haiti.

      End of advocacy. Ridiculous? Yes, but if you accept the premise of Christianity, then this opinion is basically inevitable.

      Of course, Robertson is still an unscrupulous douchebag.

  34. Partners in Health is a good organization to donate to. It has lots of people in Haiti and has been doing great work there for a long time. (I have no tie to it.)

    Here’s its head, Paul Farmer on 60 Minutes. Really compelling stuff.

    And here’s a donation page:

    (I posted this in another thread; apologies for the spam, but this is obviously important.)

  35. @77 Anonymous “Play the Christian’s advocate”? I think not. When will you moderately intelligent people bother to recognise the difference between…Christendom and Christianity? The former the business of rote,rite and ritual the latter? Well! why cast pearls? Chupacabara @ 74, you got disemvowelled, by the moderator, a dubious distinction. Welcome to BoingBoing try to keep up with the quality of the opinions and observations you’ll find here.

  36. The Haiti Debt Should be canceled with out strings attached besides good governance if the nation is to make any strides ahead.
    Douglas A. Musunga

  37. I think Haiti – and all heavily indebted developing countries – should begin opting out. Default on the debt, you may as well. If Iceland can and Argentina can so can the rest of us.

  38. Hey Pat, ever notice how the “Bible Belt” and “Tornado Alley” cover a lot of the same ground? What exactly did all those (apparently) god-fearing Christians do to deserve the constant threat of destruction?

  39. All harsh words and opinions aside, what I would like to see is a real, deep, and insightful analysis comparing Haiti with The Dominican Republic. As others have pointed out, they share the same island, but their historical trajectories couldn’t have been more different. Yes, I’m sure that debt structure may have had something do to with it (perhaps even the primary cause), but I’d like to see analysis that goes a little deeper to look at the whole picture. Too often people start peeling back the onion until they find a pet theory and then stop digging. I’d like to see something that examines the whole picture, as much as is possible.

    Does anyone know of such an analysis? I’d be indebted to you if you could post it (but would prefer the debt to be forgiven before it drives me to third-world status).


  40. Uh… why is it American liberals take any world disaster and find some way to blame it on the REAL devil, their own country, the United States. It’s like some kind of self-flaggelation mental disease. Pat Robinson aside (yes, he’s an idiot), the profoundly uninformed and intellectually dishonest Ms. Koeth-Baker states that the debt was paid back more than half a century ago and then new debt was created by a corrupt dictator who borrowed his way back into bankruptcy. Now, If the evil western countries ( read: United States)had NOT lent him the money then liberals would be screaming bloody murder that we refuse to make wealth available to impoverished countries, and they would say in fact that we are murdering Hatians because we won’t lend them money. So we lend the money, probably with next-to-nothing interest rates, and give them forever to pay it back, but we are still the eeeevil ones. Add to that this astonishingly inane comment:”Today, Haiti is still paying off the debt of an oppressive dictator no one would help them get rid of for 30 years.
    WAIT! Now the United States is evil for NOT removing oppressive dictators???!!! Isn’t that what made us evil vis a vis Saddam Hussein in Iraq??!! This sort of intellectual “analysis” has more holes in it than swiss cheese. Clrly, Ms. Kth-Bkr hts hr wn cntry nd wll mk ny rgmnt, hwvr stpd, t spprt hr blf tht n th nd, t’s LWYS th ntd Stts tht s th vl mpr. Wht n bslt tl.

  41. If you do a google: “religion of Haiti”, they are 95% Catholic. Does Robertson consider Catholism a religion of the “devil”. I hope Pat Robertson dies the death of a Haitian. This fool is simply mentally deranged, and he should have our backs turn towards people like him and Rush the drug addict. The Haitians overthrew their French slavemasters who were so brutal. We got the Louisana territory as a result of the independence of Haiti. Haitians are despised by the white christians because “those uppity blacks” had the nerve to overthrow their white slave masters. What the hell has Bill Clinton being doing in Haiti for the last year. While the people were mixing butter and dirt…billy boy was trying to get investment for tourism projects. He didnt get food, water, build some roads, hospitals etc for the haitian people starving to death! Clinton was down there selling off the land to big investors to create a tourism industry which those multi national corporations would own. Brazil has had “peace keepers” there since the Bush regime kidnapped and removed the first democratically elected president Aristede and installed another puppet. Haiti is the biggest embarassment for the US and all the western nations as they permitted the poorest of the poor a 4th world nation to continue living under the most deplorable conditions, while the West tried to figure out, “how to get their resources, how to continue to abuse the Haitian people”.

    1. Actually, there are a lot of Protestants who don’t consider Catholics to be Christians.. most of them right down in the Bible belt.

      As for the article itself, loved it! I went on that site and filled out my information and submitted the letter.. I can’t spare much in order to help the victims of the earthquake, but encouraging my rep to vote for that act is something I can at least do.

    2. It’s not unheard of for evangelicals to assert that Catholics are not even Christians. It takes a seriously warped world-view and a lot of willful ignorance, but it happens.

      1. It’s not unheard of for evangelicals to assert that Catholics are not even Christians.

        I know Catholics who make the same distinction.

  42. ill lich: Hey Pat, ever notice how the “Bible Belt” and “Tornado Alley” cover a lot of the same ground? What exactly did all those (apparently) god-fearing Christians do to deserve the constant threat of destruction?

    Actually my theory about that is that the arbitrariness of tornados leads to that kind of belief. Tornados can reduce the fourth and seventh houses on a street to kindling, while leaving the others untouched. Since most people are deeply uncomfortable with random chance, because it makes them feel too out of control, they instead believe that it couldn’t happen to them because they’re virtuous…they go to church, or they don’t commit sodomy, or they always meekly submit to the TSA agents, so they think they’re safe. Or, equivalently, they carry a rabbit’s foot.

    Missy30s, thanks! Actually I have the album at home, but I was at work when I wanted to quote the song.

  43. Robertson is probably a Morman in disguies, Please understand the the original Hebrews were Africanoid and since Columbus there has been a Negative Propaganda against Africanoid Societies. This should not be surprising to anyone. If you don’t beleive me read more history than what has been provided by our learning institutions…

    1. While I’m sure I agree with the intent of whatever it is you’re posting, it doesn’t make much sense. Why would Pat Robertson need to be a Mormon to be a jerk? What do the Hebrews have to do with anything? And racism and subjugation of “Africanoid” (African?) people started long before Columbus. And what does Columbus have to do with Africa anyway?

        1. Antinous,

          Just think about how much more fun you’ll be when you’re old, and your brain starts to act up and make random memory connections, and you start blathering to your children about Mormons and Hebrews and LOLCats.

  44. To #91 – Actually, Haiti is about 75% Catholic and 25% Protestant, though many people (especially Catholics) also practice some form of vodun.

    Regarding Bill Clinton focusing on developing the island’s tourism industry, have you stopped to consider that maybe having tourists visit the island would strengthen its economy, and in turn its tax revenues, which could be used to build schools and hospitals? Those things don’t pay for themselves.

    1. With all due respect, having tourists visit the island would strengthen the pockets of the investors, (visit a resort down there it’s beautiful) the revenues go to the investors not to the surrounding communities..come on, it is duplicated every where. In Mexico they call it’s called a Fideicomiso and the money goes to the Investors and the Bankers. We all know how banks love to give money away.

  45. Mormons believe that the Biblical Curse on the descendants of Ham is upon BLACK PEOPLE . It is related in the Book of Genesis 9:20-27.
    Hidden in the Root of this Philosophical Superior, Separatist Society in which we live in. One can look into the past and ask themselves why… Why the need to change the identity of those ancient people. Why are things sort of one sided.
    Then we find Christopher Columbus in competition with Magellan bent on conquest. Bitter that he was not the first in the “New World” Christopher, takes African P.O.W.’s discovered in Native Camps that were captured in fights with Neighboring African tribes, back to the King. Gives them over as slaves and makes no mention of their massive existence in this new territory.(information found in Columbus’ journal)
    The Church then uses the scriptures as propaganda (G.9:20-27) for all-in-favor to move forward with the plan of expanding Religion, Territory, and World Domination (Why the need for propaganda: because in Christianity everyone is free)
    And so again today we find Religion being used in an effort to propagandize the excuse for the non performance of aid from those who can provide it most easily both then and now, and we have those that are just old enough to remember the original parameters of the plan but go blabbing off at the mouth as if they are in a secret lodge meeting, And as far as “racism and subjugation of “Africanoid” (African?) people started long before Columbus”: You must see that the first Thirteen Egyptian Dynasty’s were Nubian.3150BCE – 1650BCE

  46. Even an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus would need some sort of proof that real chaos worshipping exists there before ordering an exterminatus

  47. By writing about pat, we are giving this insane man a forum. Why are people even listening to him? Why the hell do we even care what he has to say? Would we listen to a severe delusional schizophrenic about health care reform? Just stop blogging about him, good or bad it is still making his voice heard.

    1. He’s already got a huge forum in the form of the 700 Club and the set of evangelicals who listen to and respect him.

      Showing what an ass he is on Boing Boing or the Rachel Maddow show is not going to significantly increase the number of people who listen to him and agree with him. But is is going to shine a spotlight on what an ass he is. Maybe it will even make some people who have always basically respected him without thinking about it say “wait, really, he said that? Maybe this guy is a bit over the top…”

  48. If Robertson was a true and humble man of God he would put his self righteousness aside use all his resources, roll up his sleeves and be on the next plane to Haiti and do what Christ would do, pray for the broken and the sick and offer a “cool glass of water” thus showing unconditional love and do everything he possibly could to help humanity…

  49. “The god who created the sun which gives us light, who rouses the waves and rules the storm, though hidden in the clouds, he watches us. He sees all that the white man does. The god of the white man inspires him with crime, but our god calls upon us to do good works. Our god who is good to us orders us to revenge our wrongs. He will direct our arms and aid us. Throw away the symbol of the god of the whites who has so often caused us to weep, and listen to the voice of liberty, which speaks in the hearts of us all.”

    This is what is reported to have been said at the Bookman Rebellion. It does not look like a “deal with the devil” to be. To me, it looks as if they are saying that the French follow an evil God, whereas they follow the good and just God.

  50. Santiago, Chile, July 2, 2009
    Canada Cancels All Debt Owed by Haiti
    this makes me sooooo very happy with canada this is what should be going on with the rest of the world shame on the rest of you who judge and opinionate/who are you?we are so spoiled that we have forgotten to have mercy on those of us who have so much less/love and prayers to the people of haiti/ hang in there as you always have

  51. This is beyond partisan lines, beyond religious beliefs ,beyond borders, beyond flamers,and beyond blame itself even and
    beyond ignoramouses like Robertson. This is a natural geological catastophe, unfortunately bestowed on a country already in poverty and turmoil. I love the USA and am so proud of all the Doers that have given of themselves from any country or religion. I’m proud of my fellow humans that actually are trying to do something positive to help these poor people in thier hour of sheer agony. may thier struggles achieve even the smallest bit of comfort and hope.
    Do something will you! its time, shut up and give

  52. Since I am living in what is part of the Louisiana Purchase, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louisiana_purchase)
    I can sympathize with the Haitians’ original purchase idea.

    Pat Robertson trying to be a self appointed spin-doctor for his view of God has certainly stirred the pot. (They must be evil for God to do this to them)

    So who is complaining about the U.S. military invasion of Haiti now? Taking over the airport, running troop convoys keeping supplies from the people they meet (so what if they are going to a place where there is suppose to be a food distribution)? I am sure that will come soon. Sigh.

    OBTW, the Times Online link above http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6281614.ece seems to have disappeared.

  53. It seems like people want to assign blame for Haiti’s perma-poverty to one cause. When has anything as complex as ongoing national poverty ever been due to one cause? There are many fathers of this Western Hemisphere orphan:

    Columbus- OK, the folks he persecuted were mostly exterminated, but he should not get a pass.

    French- Seizing land? check! Slavery? check! Particularly brutal slavery? check! Sore losers after the revolt? check! Keeping your financial boot on the neck of a downtrodden people trying to rise? Check!

    USA- We didn’t recognize their independence, for obvious (slavery) reasons. We participated in French reparations by making loans, and we took over their country when they didn’t pay. We also built a good bit of what little infrastructure there is in Haiti, and the time we ran it was probably it’s period of greatest progress. Our recent involvement has been murky at best, but anyone who criticizes us for both dealing with dictators and meddling in Haitian politics and for NOT doing business with Haiti had better put forth a coherent way to thread that needle. And it can’t involve wishing into existence a non-corrupt Haitian political class. You either deal with Haiti as it is or you try to change it. We have tried both, a bit. Neither path excels.

    Haiti- Corruption, irrationality>due to ignorance>due to poverty>due to corruption>which prevents wealth formation>which begets corruption as the only path for the ambitious, and back to the chorus… which prevents anything good from happening, all amplified by the history above. Haiti has the power to fix many of its problems, and the outside world can help, a tiny bit. I am not criticizing Haitians, just pointing out that the status quo ante reinforced the same aspects of the culture that prevent progress. It’s not just Haiti, this is the case in many dysfunctional places.
    We should use an understanding of Haiti’s past to help it towards its future. Assigning blame alone doesn’t matter much.

    Anyone have a model for successful transformation of places like Haiti?

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