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Fight Like Hell

Beverly Bell @ Common Dreams - The pioneering labor organizer Mother Jones said, "Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living."

That pretty much sums up the priorities for Haiti today.

The fighting like hell has always been fierce in the nation that was once called the "pearl of the Antilles," the wealthiest of all Caribbean colonies - the wealth derived from Africans slaves for French colonialists. In the 1790s, the slaves began a rebellion that merged subterfuge on the plantations with guerrilla warfare by escapees from the plantations. In 1804 they won, thus creating the only successful slave revolution ever, the first Black republic in the world, and the second independent republic in the Western Hemisphere.

Though liberated from France and from slavery, neither they nor their descendants ever really became free. Self-proclaimed emperors and presidents-for-life exploited the poor for their own behalf, as well as for the large landowners and commercial sector. State neglect of citizens' needs, feudal agricultural practices, and violent security forces kept people trapped in vicious poverty and suppression of their rights. Concentration of land and resources has further devastated the vast majority, 54% of whom today live on less than $1 a day.

Foreign governments have contributed to this state of affairs. The independent nation was born with a crippling debt to the French equivalent to $21 billion today. Read more.

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