Blame America First 

It seems unfashionable these days to defend America’s darkest errors, much to the chagrin of a columnist tasked with refereeing reader debates. Consider a letter to the editor [“Meddling Americans,”, Feb. 3] that blasts the United States and France’s contributions to creating the economic hellhole known as Haiti. The letter-writer claims that, while the earthquake was just bad luck, the United States has done plenty to ensure that any natural disaster would be unnaturally disastrous.

“Haiti’s problems (earthquakes aside) are not supernatural, but man-made,” wrote Paul Ames, of Eureka.

Ames recounts how the U.S. refused to acknowledge Haiti as an independent nation until 60 years after Haiti’s actual liberation from France. Sixty years later, he writes, the United States invaded Haiti, then installed and sponsored brutal dictators—most notably the Duvalier clan. Haiti had its first elected president in 1991, until a U.S.-sponsored coup. Bill Clinton allowed Jean-Bertrand Aristide to return as president, but forced him to impose free-trade structural adjustments. “[As a result, Haiti,] a former food-exporting country, soon became 100 percent dependent on imported food,” Ames wrote.

The only online comments the letter received were from Hayduke (“Good letter”) and sonny (“Yes, VERY good letter.”) What happened to the gripe that liberals always “blame America first”?

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Jesse Fruhwirth

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