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A SPECIAL SECTION: Haiti, Since the January 12, 2010 Fierce Earthquake
Posted July 28, 2010  


A Few Haitian-Americans, the Vagabond People who Call African-Americans "Deviants" 

          emmet till body


Emmett Till's body was shown in an open coffin, in Chicago, in 1955. Close-up photographs of his face and lynching appeared in black publications



FIRST, must I identify myself as a Haiti native-born.

I find it to be beyond reason and logic, if not, too, superbly ungrateful, for a few unauthorized young Haitian-Americans, who apparently do not have a grasp of United States' history, in racial discrimination terms, to permit themselves, by way of a July 22, 2010 WBUR 90.9 FM show (Invisible Communities), which was rebroadcast three days later on the Boston's radio station of the same name, to go to undetermined length with the perception that Haitians are superior when compared to African-Americans.

"Yes, we were born in the U.S.; we are of Haitian parentage; still, we do not identify or style ourselves as African-Americans, rather Haitian-Americans, because they are perceived to be 'deviants,'" apparently meaning that they are big criminals who peddle drugs, practize gangsterism.
jacqueline laguerre
ONE OF THE VAGABOND PEOPLE Jacqueline LaGuerre, a Haitian-born nurse, sits in the pews at the church where, Pierre Eddy LaGuerre, her husband, is a pastor, Philadelphie Seventh Day Adventist Church, in Malden, Mass.. (Jess Bidgood for WBUR)
Long before the minuscule number of those young Haitian-Americans were born, their parents arrived in the U.S. from Haiti (historically, a sinkhole of carnage), where they knew the heavy-duty, bloodthirsty dictatorships of both, Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, causing them to endure the indignities of blanket abject poverty, which unfortunately today is still the norm, everyday (quality of life) in the U.S. was rather a sad, inhuman affair of racism for African-Americans, depriving them, on the average, of even the rudimentary economic opportunities and metrics from other categories - education, health, environment and connectedness - needed to not only change their material conditions, in the positive terms, but also to progress in many other ways in life. Still, the new Haitian immigrants, who preferred the contours of their native tongue, Creole, for everyday speech because they did not speak the language of Shakespeare, English, also found embrace in the African-American community.



God, according to the Eight Commandment (Exodus 20:15) teaches us not to steal from others. No more the man of God. Repeated allegations of grand-scale corruption - for which he remains silent, perhaps he is not inclined to encourage a public debate about improper and unlawful conduct - involving thousands of dollars of church funds about Pastor Pierre Eddy LaGuerre, the espouse of one of the vagabond people, Jacqueline LaGuerre (in Haiti, she successfully completed medical doctor studies; in the U.S., she repeatedly failed the medical doctor license examination), have caused many in the Boston's Haitian-American community to label the man they before perceived to be in close communication with God a crook or Charles Ponzi in religious vestments - sadly, a departure from a positive past.


Now that those same young Haitian-Americans are, too, the beneficiaries (free riders) of the long, painful struggle of African-Americans, certainly with the help of untold number of  Caucasian persons, to, at least, consign to the archives of history the many ugly manifestations of racism, regrettably they seem committed to be the new Brutuses of their transplanted African brothers and sisters, as the unpleasant words uttered by them suggest.

Hopefully, the insignificant number of young Haitian-Americans of concern will cease to permit ignorance to obstruct their progress, in U.S. black history terms, as they gain the knowledge needed to press forward. They will most likely reconsider their unfortunate way of thinking of African-Americans. The sentiments expressed, in relation to their perception of this racial group of people having brown to black skin will, rather, (hopefully), be in the positive terms. Freed slaves of African ancestry, they must also learn, were, too, finally granted citizenship after the 14th Amendment of the U.S. charter was adopted in the aftermath of the Civil War, in 1868. 

Those few young Haitian-Americans certainly do not speak for the whole of the state of Massachusetts hard working Haitian-American, Haitian community, which especially after the January 12 fierce earthquake (damage, according to World Bank's economists, other experts is estimated at USD 7.804 billion) needs the assistance of everyone - Black Americans, White Americans and others - to, hopefully, rebuild their nearly eviscerated native nation of Haiti, where the current situation, sadly, is also one of dictatorship for-life in the making, gross incompetence and endemic corruption - a Damocles sword.
Enter Haiti president, Rene Preval, the tinhorn dictator
Rene Preval seems destined to fulfill Voltaire's description of Bourbon kings of France: " They learn nothing, they forget nothing." To paraphrase Voltaire, Preval has no accomplishments to learn from, he has nothing completed successfully to forget about. He has long presided over Haiti - once as prime minister, twice in the capacity of president. Still, he remains a person with an inspired alienation from reality.



Haitian president is defined as a chief executive officer having no serious macro-economic program, no macro-political plan to permit  his or her nation to press forward.


Today, long after the January 12 killing earthquake, Preval continues to pay next to nothing attention to the eminently unwanted suffering of his fellow compatriots. "Where were you on the day of the earthquake? This was the very embarrassing question he was asked by U.S. Cable News Network (CNN) Anderson Cooper, long after the prominent television journalist repeatedly urged the president, who was nowhere to be found, to come to the help of his suffering people. The man who is not of nature public speakers volunteered the following few words: "My palace collapsed, I am now homeless." No serious reference was made about the estimated three million displaced people, the approximately 300,000 inhabitants of the small Caribbean island who lost their lives, millions of others their possessions - not a surprise at all. Before that tragic day of January, he did not have even a reduced number, of, say, ill-conceived anti-poverty measures.
earthquake h1eartquake h2
Haiti, immediately, more than six months after the killing earthquake. (Photos may be copyrighted)  
What's more, the same man referred to in a July 22, 2010 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report, "WITHOUT REFORM, NO INVESTMENT IN HAITI," as someone having marginal capacity for leadership has recently made his intentions known to a group of approximately thirty wealthy Haitian businessmen (all, previous supporters, oligopolists) during a participant-only-invited meeting at his ultra-luxury private residence that he will continue to be a public servant? after his current presidential term comes to an end in early February next year, as mandated by the 1987 constitution. This time, rather in the capacity of a Russia's Vladimir Putin like prime minister. It is sure an indication that a capable Haitian man or woman's chances of honestly winning the presidency will be infinitesimally slim and the new president (a Haitian-type Dmitry Medvedev), in name only, will have no actual authority.

Arguably, Preval's actions do not suggest a departure from the self-destructing political behavior that has prevented Haiti from being classified as even something more than a dirt-poor nation. The tax revenues (some of them stolen) collected are usually far from being sufficient to pay for the (economic) cost of public goods. For example, in FY 2009, according to the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report, the U.S. telecommunications firm, Trilogy Partners, which operates under the Voila brand name, paid nearly USD 20 million in corporate taxes to the Haitian government, which represented close to 10 percent of the nation's total tax revenue for the year. Sure it is easy to understand the uninterrupted dependence of the perpetually troubled land on foreign aid monies, principally from the U.S., to help pay for roughly 70 percent of the items of its niggardly budget.

The U.S. government holds the big and fat purse, as they say in the vernacular. Its failure to stop Preval's political corruption, a man who is known to consume alcoholic beverages distilled at a high proof for breakfast, opens the door to a more dangerous Haiti - a national security threat, given its close proximity to the state of Florida. Is there, at least, a precedent for what may occur in Haiti, for example terrorists attempting to use the lawless small Caribbean corner to practize jihad (Muslim holy war) against the U.S., as more people are forced to endure grinding poverty? Despite an incalculable number of arrests, custodial convictions, it has long become a transshipment point for Colombian drug lords, with the U.S. as the final destination for their illicit products.
Re-enter Haitian-Americans, African-Americans
A nagging sense of incomprehension is a perennial feature of the human experience. On behalf of the state of Massachusetts Haitian-American community and others, I urge the African-Americans to invite their intelligence not to permit the use of unpleasant, derogatory words by a reduced number of Haitian-Americans, who seem not to have yet attained the age of reason, have a real talent for derangement, to translate into hostility between two groups of honest, hard working people who are Africans by heritage - though many of them are of the European race or white in appearance. With your invaluable monetary contributions, too, Haitians are convinced that they can reverse their dismal economic trajectory.

By way of conclusion, I sincerely offer my expressions of regret. "Yes, we can," to borrow the few famous words of current U.S. president, Barack Hussein Obama. Only together can we all - White Americans, Black Americans, to cite only these ones - progress and be certain that the U.S., the nation we cherish so much continues to be placed at the top prestige pyramid of the most advanced sovereign states in the world - an investment with long-term dividends.

The writer, Yves A. Isidor, who teaches economics at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, is executive editor of, a democracy and human rights journal.

                                            , the scholarly journal of democracy and human rights
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