[2012] Haiti and the Development of Globalization

This is something I wrote in 2012. I think it is worth a read given the latest development that President Trump has labeled the nation of Haiti a shithole.




Haiti is a small Caribbean nation that along with its neighbor the Dominican Republic makes up the island of Hispaniola. This is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and had seen more than its share of tragedy before an earthquake struck in January of 2010 killing 230,000 people and leaving millions homeless. ( 1: Pg 3) The tragic history of Haiti is one that intersects with the development of global governance through the centuries. The Sociology of Globalization by Luke Martell serves as a primer of globalization; in this essay I will introduce an overview history of Haiti and connect them to concept of globalization discussed in his book. Globalization is a sociological schema that, through some competing and some compatible perspectives, describes the world as growing increasingly interdependent and universal. Drivers of globalization are chiefly economic, political, social and cultural; globalization can be used to explain or advance both neoliberal agendas and social justice movements. It is not necessary to make positive or negative qualifications to approach discussions on globalization, and Martell and others use the perspectives of skeptics, transformationalists and globalists as devices for constructions understanding of the schema.

           For the purposes of this paper I will largely take a transformationalist perspective, accepting that the world is becoming more globalized. I am additionally concerned with social justice and seeing how, from a conflict perspective, Haiti is an example of the negative potential that trends in globalization can cause.  One temporal categorization suggested by Martell for understanding globalizations history is divisions of: Early Modernity, Modern Globalization, and 20th and 21st Century Globalization. (2, Chapter 2) I will use these categories for discussing Haiti’s history and the basic developments of globalization as a defining world trend.


From Spanish to French Colonization

          When Columbus landed in Haiti 1492 he left a small band of Spaniards which stayed behind with the native Taino population. Within a century the Taino’s, estimated to have been a population in the hundreds of thousands, were wiped out through causes such as slavery and smallpox. (3, pg 123) Spain claimed the entire island of Hispaniola as territory, but failed to settle all of it, leading to further colonization by French and English citizens by the 17th Century. (4) In 1625 Spain signed a treaty with France, leaving the land that would become Haiti under French rule as Saint-Domingue. (4)

          Under French rule, Haiti’s population grew to 30,000 whites, 27,000 creoles, and 465,000 slaves of African descent. (4). The land and people were exploited to produce products such as sugar, coffee, cocoa and cotton for French consumption. Racial disparity was an obvious feature, but there were classes of freed black Haitian, some codified in the Code Noir laws of 1685. (5, pg 61) For instance it was commonplace for French colonizers to marry slaves, who could then have rights like land ownership. (5, pg: 66) As a colony Haiti also served purpose as a practice in what would be called ‘nation building’ today; Le Cap was one city that was methodically developed on a grid plan with all the possible features of a modern city and called the ‘Paris of our island’. (5, pgs:22,23) The Western Hemisphere was a world of colonies connected by the economy of slavery and trans-Atlantic seafaring traffic, Haiti a crucial piece to this interconnected world.

          With the intent of focusing more on the modern era of globalization, I have given this period of Early Modernity a short treatment. However the horrors of slavery and this time cannot be understated. Sufficiently established however, is that Haiti was becoming settled as a crucial part of the region, with peoples of the Americas, Africa and Europe interacting over centuries. It is worth note that the very technology that the technology that made colonization through long distance sea travel was the compass, invented and exported from the Islamic world. Haiti serves well as an example of early modernity, as by the 18th century it existed in the intersection of networks of economy, politics and culture. It’s racially diverse makeup and economy would throw the nation into abolitionist and freedom movements taking hold in other parts of the world.

Revolt, Struggle and Freedom

          Slave revolts led by Touissant Louverture in the late 18th Century jeopardized colonial rule. The bloody revolts grew out of political organizations of plantation workers, and occurred at a time when Napoleons France was at war with Britain; the Spanish and English looked to make allies amongst the freed slaves against the French, and potentially gain control of Haiti. (5, pg 152) Political and military power in Haiti at that time was fractured, and the freed Haitians made and broke alliances, at turns fighting off British, Spanish and French would be colonizers. (5, pgs 153,-67)  To salvage the colony France made declarations to bring soldiers back to its side, if Haitians would join them in their fight, their freedom would be granted. Napoleons French generals succeeded in gaining favor, and their promise of emancipation was a honest one; the French National Convention in Paris looked to their colony as example and abolished slavery throughout the Empire in 1794. (5, pg 170) Haiti was not just the setting of proxy battles on the world stage, it was an example of the resilience and determination of people to free themselves from tyranny and bondage.

          Toussaint Louverture became the civil and military leader of the freed slaves under reestablished French colonial rule. He was a brilliant orator, of West African royal lineage, with a European education and Catholic beliefs. “He had been in his life both master and slave.” (5, pg 176)  The negotiation of power between France and Haiti was tenuous, and Louverture had both allies and enemies (5 chap 9,10 Furthermore British and Spanish interests sowed dissent and attempted to make military and economic gains in the colony which Louverture put down (5 chap 10,11) While he was an able ruler and began to establish stability in Haiti, it was clear Louvertures alliances were with his countrymen over France.

          With French control dissolving, Louverture was invited to a meeting ostensibly to discuss terms of a truce, instead he was kidnapped and taken to France where he would die.(6, Farmer, pg 12) But in 1803 Haiti defeated France militarily and declared its independence. (6, Farmer, pg 13). “It was Latin America’s first independent country and the only nation ever born of a slave revolt.” (6, Farmer, pg 13) The words and leadership of Toussaint Louverture have been remembered and echoed through history, inspiring other freedom fighters. On his death bed he is said to have spoken:

“In overthrowing me you have cut down in Santo Domingo only the truck of the tree of black liberty. It will spring up again by the roots for they are numerous and deep.” (6, Farmer, pg 13)

Jean- Jacques Dessalines became Haiti’s first president. His declaration of independence included the statement ”Vow before me to live free and independent, and to prefer death to anything that will try to place you back in chains.” (3, pg 126)

          Haiti’s battles to free its nation, against Napoleon’s empire and other would be masters represented not just its own peoples struggle for freedom, but illustrated the weaknesses of expanding power. The French themselves relied on a network of coalition forces in their own struggle to regain the territory; mercenaries from Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and Denmark joined them. (3, pg 125) Just as the world was shifting into the period referred to in Martell’s text as Modern Globalization, the world was expanding with empires asserting their strength and others fighting for self determination over their future. As the period of Early Globalization was closing, continents and cultures were connected like never before, with networks of interdependency that involved economy, politics and culture.


An Independent Haiti and its relations with the world empires and the United States

          U.S. foreign policy towards Haiti could be foreshadowed in the statement of Senator Robert Hayne from 1826, “Our policy toward Hayti, is plain. We can never acknowledge her independence… these questions belong to class, which the peace and safety of a large portion of our Union forbids us to discuss.” (3 141; 7, pg 427) That which was forbidden to discuss was the ability of those of African descent to self govern, that this type of human could be anything more than property. A free black republic threatened the institution of slavery in the United States, the lower classed status of black personhood and foundations of security and economics in America at the time. Despite an opportunity for alliance in the hemisphere and access to Haitian export, the U.S. allied with Europe in animosity towards Haiti.

          Throughout the 18th and 19th Century the U.S. grew in power and influence, owing much to isolationist and protectionist domestic resource policy, the exploitation of abundant virgin resources, and the hard to monetize benefit of human slave and exploited labor. Interactions with Haiti reflected the U.S. history of slavery and exploitation of an entire categorization of humanity; to recognize a small nation on a small island challenged the American narrative.  Haiti itself, whether as a colony or independent historically, relied on exporting for economic viability, coffee and sugar being two examples of major crops. (4) As an independent nation it was punished by other empires in the global community by restricting access to trade. In 2010, former head of the Organization of American States mission in Haiti, Ricardo Steinffus summed up succinctly the ill treatment Haiti had experienced:

“Haiti’s original sin, in international theatre, was its liberation. Haitians committed the unacceptable in 1804” (1, pg 368)

          The U.S., Canada and other European powers all play a role in the plight of Haiti; through economic intervention or suppression, forced isolation and military interventions, Haiti has endured Centuries of suffering. For 175 years Haiti repaid fines to France for its independence along with trade sanctions only agreed upon to have access to world trade markets. The 150 million francs paid to France is estimated to be valued at 500 million of today’s U.S. dollars. (6, Famer, pg 13).

          In the late 19th Century leading up to the first World War, the U.S. was developing campaigns of strategic interest and colonization, Cuba and Puerto Rico being occupied in 1898. ( 1, pg 211). Ostensibly to prevent Germans from annexing Haiti themselves, the U.S. Navy began an occupation of Haiti in 1914(1, pg 211), that would last until 1934 (6, Farmer, pg 13) A destabilized political sphere filled with coups and vacuums of power, economic debts, and the executions of political prisoners were other factors which had contributed to justifying intervention and occupation in the nation. (1, pgs 204-211)

           In many ways the 20th Century occupation of Haiti fit the pattern of neo-liberal intervention we see in globalization today. Puppet politicians like Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave was supported and ushered into the presidency (1, pg  217), the U.S. took control of the treasury (1, pg 218) solidified military bases and set about to build infrastructure to facilitate U.S. interest. (1, pg 224 Although peasant resistance took place a form of pseudo slavery was implemented under Haitian corvee law, where paid labor could be conscripted for necessary projects.  (1, pg 240) Justified through legal frameworks, the American occupation of Haiti was nonetheless brutal with murder, rape, bombings and other horrors common to war as characteristic. (1, pg 235-238). A lasting feature of the American occupation was the creation of the Gendarmerie, foot soldiers trained and commanded by Americans who would inflict brutality, serving as police and mercenaries that were characterized as being cannibals, capable of atrocities (1, pg 232). When America handed power back to Haiti in 1934, it handed it to the Gendarmerie, who had been renamed the Garde d’Haiti. The power wielded by this armed military force would affect politics of Haiti for the ensuing decades, and Paul Farmer notes, “Until it was demobilized by President Aristide in 1995, the Haitian army has never known a non-Haitian enemy.” (6, Farmer, pg 15).

          The US occupation of Haiti had characteristics of later American campaigns, in Vietnam and Iraq for instance: humanitarian goals were sighted as justification for inserting troops and resources and humans were exploited, all amidst rampant human right violations; characteristics that fit the bill of 20th Century American neo-liberal campaigns of occupation. Haiti held geo-political interest to the Unites States, similarly to nearby Cuba.  U.S. exploitation of Haitian products and labor, and the instillation of military bases point to the real interest there.

          The posture of the U.S. and the rest of the world towards Haiti in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries are consistent with ideas about Modern Globalization. Neo-liberal ideas were developed and pushed by agents of capitalism, expansionism and imperialism like the United States. Industrialism has made world travel and manufacturing easier connecting the empires of the world through trade. The global community was dominated by powerful nation-states, with increasing privatization of economies and wealth. As a small nation with strategic locale and resources, the treatment of Haiti on the world stage is not surprising.


Duvalier Years

          The decades that followed the U.S. occupation of Haiti were marked with militarism, coups and the long reign of the Duvalier family dictatorship. The presidencies of Francois "PAPA DOC" and Jean-Claude "BABY DOC" Duvalier were bookended by unstable despotic coup instilled regimes. Their own reign was almost 30 years between the father and son, from 1957-1986. (8). Paul Farmer speaks of the political conditions during this period as having

"No free press- and no dissent, to be sure no radios or newspapers; no politicians declaring themselves the heads of parallel governments. The Duvalier’s and their military dealt with all such threats ruthlessly , while the judiciary and the rest of the world looked the other way." (6, Farmer, pg 15)

 With their secret police, the paramilitary group the Tontons Macoute and the Haitian Army, the Duvalier’s were brutal and killed an estimated 30,000 Haitians. (9) This period was marked also by the flight of intellectuals and those with the resources to leave, creating a Haitian diaspora. “Papa Doc” ruled until his death, “Baby Doc” was in power until forced to flee in 1986 after a period of losing his grip on power due to the rise of compassionate Catholicism and liberation theology (6, Farmer, pg 15)

          The growing opposition to “Baby Doc” Duvalier in the late 80s also owes somewhat to the Haitian diaspora and a change of policy from the U.S. While the major media outlets might have been silent on the brutality of the regime, expatriated Haitians often spoke out against the Duvalier’s; bold activists within Haiti acted out, and Catholic movements of liberation theology bolstered in ‘Vatican II’ programs began to pressures the brutal dictatorship. (1, pgs354-356) “Baby Doc” Duvalier fled Haiti in 1986 leaving a vacuum of power, in a nation that had been stripped of resources, political structure, wealth and institutional stability over the last several decades. (6, Farmer, pg 15 ) The period that followed was just as brutal, with inconsistent leadership and civil war type conditions with Haiti becoming a routing point for cocaine to the United States (10). Military thugs controlled the politics in Haiti and terrorized the people leading up to the 1990 elections. (farmer Haiti 16)

          There is much that could be said about this period in Haiti and how it relates to globalist neo-liberalism of the time. Despite their brutality the Duvalier’s were tolerated by the US and the world (with some exception) where later Aristide was not because their rule was compatible to neo-liberal interests. The equivalent of 2 billion of today’s US dollars was given to Haiti in aid (80% from the US) between 1972 and 1981 (1, pg 351) when the Duvalier agenda was compatible with Western powers. International press played up the vodou aspects of Haitian culture and portrayed them as primitive and susceptible to “demagogic political appeal" and portray Papa Doc as a strange but benign ruler.(1. pg 344) and a  1960's state Department report found that Papa Doc was a "fitting" president for Haiti. (1, pg 345) So media and politic outside of Haiti in the early days of Duvalier rule served to add legitimacy and contextualize a brutal regime. International media, and powerful political entities have the power to externally support brutal regimes like that of the Duvalier’s through their silence, cooperation with and support of such regimes.

Aristides term and the coup

          In 1990 democratic elections were a dangerous endeavor in Haiti, progressive church leaders like Jean-Bertrand Aristide were suppressed by the holdover military and paramilitary forces. On September 11, 1988 for instance a church where Aristide had been preaching was attacked by assassins, killing at least 12 (1, Pg 132). As a hero of the slums, Aristide's candidacy brought a surge of voters to the polls; international observers were on hand when he won 67% of the nations vote in 1990. (1, pg 133) As President his alliances were with the poor, but the military, Haitian elite and international interests were not with the priest Aristide. In September of 1991 he was deposed in a military coup led by the Haitian military. (10) Exiled in Caracas and then Washington D.C., Aristide was technically still the President, but military and their civilian backers held the real power in the country. (1, pg 133) As the balance of power shifted to competing elements of the military in Haiti, tens of thousands of people fled the country in the next three years. (1, pg 133) The Haitian military, with many of its head officers trained by the CIA in the School of the Americas paramilitary training compound, ramped up cocaine trafficking through the country to the United States and fought over the profits. (10) The unstable rule of the military, unrest from the populace that had tasted democracy and was still bolstered by the wave of liberation theology, and the continually declining economic and political environment was an untenable situation.

           In 1994 Aristide, escorted personally by President Bill Clinton and 20,000 U.S. troops returned Aristide to power and restored the constitutional democracy of Haiti. (1, pg 133) However, the U.S. did not disarm the military and forces that had opposed Aristide, and blocked the President from fulfilling his full term, the 3 years in exile were lost to him and Haiti. (10) The U.S. under Clinton mandated other conditions of Aristide’s return that demanded

“He adopt the program of the defeated U.S. backed candidate in the 1990 elections, a former World Bank official who had received 14% of the vote…The harsh neo-liberal program that Aristide was compelled to adopt was virtually guaranteed to demolish the remaining shreds of economic sovereignty.” (6,Chomsky, pg 6)

Haitian law bars a president from serving consecutive terms, and after the election of 1995 Aristide handed power over to the democratically elected Rene Preval; the first time one President peacefully handed power to another elected candidate in Haiti. (1, pg 134).  

          Rene Preval was the first Haitian President to complete his full term and hand power over to the next president.(1, pg 134). The next President just happened to be Jean Bertrand Aristide, elected once more with excess of 90% of the vote in 2000. (1, pg 134) Aspects of international power, led by the U.S. were not happy with the results, internal and external pressures were put upon Aristide. Aid was cut to the Aristide government, for instance a Inter-American Development Bank Loan that was to assist infrastructure and public programs, blocked by the U.S. lobby. (6, Farmer, pg 17). However, finance to Aristide’s opposition expanded, millions were funneled into NGO’s and groups like the NCHR (National Coalition For Haitian Rights), a group that was paid to spy and inform on members of Lavalas (Aristide’s political party). (10) The efforts of Aristide to lead his country were undermined, and the nation was destabilized by international aid, led by the U.S., Canada, and France going towards groups to undermine the democratically elected President.

          By 2003 paramilitary forces like FRAPH (discussed later) were training and gathering forces in Haiti and especially the neighboring Dominican Republic.  (10) FRAPH began taking over towns and terrorizing the citizenry, in February of 2004 Aristide was forced onto a plane by 50 U.S. marines and flown to the Central African Republic. Aristide called it a kidnapping (6, Democracy Now interview, chapter 8) while the U.S. called it a resignation. There continue to be competing official stories but through the years the plausibility of the U.S. story lessens and all evidence points to the events that forced Aristide out of power a coup with the facilitation and backing of U.S. powers. (6, Farmer, pg 35).  When arriving in Africa Aristide made a statement that referenced his hero:

“I declare in overthrowing me they have uprooted the trunk of the tree of peace, but it will grow back because the roots are Louverturian.” (6, Farmer, pg 24)

          When asked in an interview with Canadian television why the U.S., Canada, France and Britain would want to interrupt the progress and independence of a small country like Haiti, journalist Kevin Pina answered

"Aristide represented independence...Aristide represented not playing the game of neo-liberal economics...Aristide had invested in a universal literacy program. he had created Alpha Restos, a system of meals for the poor...under neo-liberal economics you can't do this." (10)

                                                                                                                            There is one certainty in Haitian politics, Aristide was one of the most popular figures of all time. Arsitides Lavalas political party is the most popular one in the nation. When the party was barred from 2006 elections, there were mass protests and voting boycotts. (19) A suppressed 2002 Gallup poll confirmed this (6, Farmer, 23) and whenever given the opportunity Haitians voted for him in overwhelming majorities. He has however had little support from Haitian elites and international finance or from agents with neo-liberal agendas. Before a complete analysis of Haiti and globalization in the 20th and 21st Century can be rendered more background on some of the institutions and individuals involved is required.




          It is important to look into the nature of one of the most powerful military forces in Haiti to understand international influences on Haitian politics.. FRAPH (the Front for Advancement of Progress in Haiti) was formed and led by Joseph Constant, a former CIA agent.  FRAPH played a role in both coups against Aristide and Constant was tried in absentia in 2000 for murders and crimes committed but the U.S. where he was in exile refused extradition requests. (11) In a bizarre twist Constant was tried and convicted, currently serving a prison sentence for real estate fraud in New York. (12)

          The significance of the example of FRAPH and Emmanuel Constant is the role of international (often U.S.) arming, training and commanding paramilitary groups in nations like Haiti. With FRAPH, CIA training and bankrolling allowed for a destabilization, terrorizing and overthrow of a constitutional democracy. In the sphere of globalization, organizations like FRAPH can covertly push the agendas of their sponsor proxy powers like the United States. International media may misrepresent the nature of organizations like FRAPH, perhaps as freedom fighters, obfuscating their origins and motivations.

Bill Clinton

          President of the United States from 1994 through 2000, Bill Clinton was in office during tumultuous times for Haiti. During his presidency and beyond he took interest in the small nation and was named UN special envoy to Haiti in 2009, preceding the devastating earthquake of 2010. In 2010 he took responsibility for some of his failed neo-liberal policies in Haiti, in regards to food and agriculture:

          “I have to live everyday with the consequences if the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did.” (3, pg 150)

In 1994, before returning Aristide to power Clinton ignored an OAS embargo on Haiti and secretly shipped oil and supplies to the illegitimate regime. (6, Chomsky, 6) Both Bill and Hillary Clinton have been associated with Andy Apaid, founder of Group 184 , an NGO which “provided the veneer of mass appeal to the second coup against Aristide in Feb. 2004.” (13) Andy Apaid is a wealthy owner of factories in Haiti that partners with American and Canadian brands for manufacture, and both Bill and Hillary have toured his sweatshops personally. (13) Following the 2010 earthquake, actions by Clinton in Haiti have often been controversial. For instance, his foundation in 2011 wasted funds on emergency shelters for schools that turned out to be useless, poorly constructed health hazards. (14)

Wyclef Jean

          Wyclef Jean is an international music star, was born in Haiti but spent most of his life in the United States. He is an example of global culture himself, having performed at the world cup with Shakira in Munich. Undoubtedly one of the world’s most famous Haitians, the stars response to the earthquake of 2010 illustrated how personality could interact with a global response to disaster. There was already controversy around Wyclef Jean, which intensified when he announced his desire to run for President of Haiti in 2010. His example illustrates however the power and potential for both positive and negative influence a global personality can have.
          After the 2010 quake the world responded to the crisis in Haiti in an outpouring of support for the troubled nation. Wyclef galvanized some of that support and his charity YELE Haiti raised millions of dollars through a text message effort and he also participated with Bill Clinton in a philanthropy conference in September 2010 to announce Haitian recovery aid. (15) Wyclefs success in raising funds demonstrated that a global community could respond quickly to crisis through technology. It perhaps also demonstrated the danger in galvanizing around charismatic personalities and the way good will and humanitarianism could be manipulated.
          The full scope of Jeans intentions are unknown, but can a non-profit, celebrity driven NGO be the most logical way to gather and administer disaster response funds? Jean himself has been accused of tax evasion, money laundering and misuse of donations from YELE Haiti itself (16) He also produced an anti-Aristide movie, The Ghosts of Cite Soleil that featured interviews with Andy Apaid. (16) Although eventually blocked by the Haitian constitution from running, his presidential candidacy illustrated how an outside international personality could affect internal domestic politics. It is unknown how genuine or self serving his candidacy was, but it is clear he had lived outside of Haiti for 30 years, and as impassioned as he may have been, he was an outsider. Despite his image as a freedom fighter for the poor, he is a rich man by American standards and may not have understood the practical needs of Haiti.

          WikiLeaks, an international organization led by Julian Assange, maintains a website (mirrored through many web portals for its own protection) where anyone can upload classified documents in the interest of government transparency and social justice. Several leaks have pertained to Haiti, and relations to the U.S. and the U.N. According to documents, when factory operators in Haiti opposed the Haitian Parliamentary raising of the minimum wage in 2009, they were bolstered by quiet, background support from USAID, the US Embassy, and the corporate brands of Hanes and Levi’s.  (17) The US State Department stepped in and negotiated with then Haitian President Rene Preval, and when the dust settled the 61 cent per hour minimum wage mandated by the Parliament was reduced to 31 cents per hour. (17) One thing the WikiLeaks documents reveal is interventionism through U.S. and global corporate forces to intervene in Haiti’s self determination in engines of politics and economy.  Also worth note is the existence of WikiLeaks itself, an international organization made possible through modern technologies.

The United Nations

          The U.N. has had a shameful record in Haiti, especially since the 2004 coup against Aristide. The U.N. MINUSTAH mission in Haiti has been responsible for massacre of civilians, even connected to political activities such as the targeting of Lavalas members. (13) Rapes of civilians are common, some caught on video.  (18) A cholera epidemic that killed more than 6,000 Haitians in the conditions following the 2010 earthquake was introduced through the negligence of U.N. forces. (18) Introduced to provide security after the ouster of Aristide, the U.N. has been an unwanted presence, suppressing political activity and often perceived as doing the dirty work for the U.S. and corporate interests.


          When flying in to observe the devastation of the Earthquake in Haiti, French President Nicholas Sarkozy’s landing helicopter blew the tarps off of nearby shelters. (20)  The reason for the visit was ostensibly humanitarian, but Sarkozy’s arrived in a fashion suitable to his countries historic relationship with Haiti. Before the coup in 2004, Aristide began calling on France to repay Haiti, with interest, the money that had been politically extorted from them by France.  His ‘21’ campaign was persistent, calling on France to pay 21 billion dollars in restitution and offering Haitians a 21 point plan of how the money would benefit Haiti. (6, Farmer, 21) As the former colonizer that extracted such great wealth from the nation, does France owe a debt to Haiti?

The Earthquake

          When a massive earthquake struck Haiti near its capitol on January 12, 2010, it was a human disaster as much as a natural one. The same international players with hands already in Haiti affairs would come to be involved in its recovery efforts. Centuries of poverty, social and civil unrest had left Port-au-Prince underdeveloped and overcrowded. Neo-liberal policies over the last few decades decimated Haiti’s agriculture and driven more people into the city. The earthquake “starkly exposed the Haitian state’s inability to help its people in time of crisis.” (1,pg 367) With all the aid and support pouring in from around the world to help has been impacted from being effective due to a complete lack of infrastructure in the country. (1, pg 365-367) As established, agencies operating within Haiti often serve cross purposes or have dubious motivations. With 21st Century technology the world saw the devastation in Haiti on their TV screens and through the internet, donated money in faster and new ways, but whether this is net positive or negative remains to be seen.


          The acceleration of globalization in the late 20th and 21st century was apparent in the events of Haiti from the Duvalier up through the devastation of the 2010 earthquake. While one of the first free countries in the western hemisphere, in a sense Haiti has never been free. Patterns of colonialism and interventionism have become more sophisticated and covert, with the interests of the U.S. and other nations, international finance and corporate power, and political ideologues all having a hand in Haiti’s politics. Political events have been shaped by the whims of outside forces, through militarism, media and finance. Throughout the history of globalization Haiti has been a player on the world stage, but can’t be seen to have benefited from its emerging patterns. Whether skeptic, transformationalist or globalist, if social justice is a concern something has to change for Haiti.






1.. Dubois, Laurent. Haiti:The Aftershocks of History. Henry Holt and Co. New York, NY. 2012

2. Martell, Luke. The Sociology of Globalization. Polity Press. Malden, MA. 2010

3. Farmer, Paul. Haiti: After the Earthquake. Public Affairs. New York, NY. 2011

4. Rodman, Selden, Robert Alexander, Amy Wilentz. Haiti. Lauren S. Bahr (ed) Collier’s Encyclopedia (Vol 11, Pgs 581-589 ). Macmillan Educational Company. New York, NY..

5. Dubois, Laurent. Avengers of the New World. The Story of the Haitian Revolution. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. 2004.

6. .Chomsky, Noam;  Farmer, Paul; Goodman, Amy. Getting Haiti Right This Time.  Common Courage Press. Monroe, ME. 2004

7. Benton, Thomas Hart (ed) Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856: Dec 7, 1846-Sept. 30, 1850. United States Congress. D. Appleton and Company. New York. 1858

8. Lewis, R. Anthony. Language Culture and Power: Haiti under the Duvaliers. Caribbean Quarterly. Vol 50. No 4. Dec. 2004.

9. Wilentz, Amy. Duvaliers and Haiti’s Triple Threat. The Nation. March 19, 2012. Pages 22-23

10. Pina, Kevin in interview.Face To Face: Haiti in discussion. ICTV:Victoria. Lazarus Productions. 2006  https://vimeo.com/9298939

11.Pierre-Pierre, Garry. City’s Haitians Divided on Deporting Man Tied to Murders. The New York Times. October 23, 2008

12. Semple, Kirk. Ex-Militia Chief From Haiti Is Sentenced to Up to 37 Years for Fraud. The New York Times. October 29, 2008

13. Pina, Kevin. Clinton’s Silence Challenged in Haiti. Haiti information Project. 2009. http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HIP/7_7_9/7_7_9.html

14. Macdonald, Isabel; Doucetm Isabeau, The Shelters That Clinton Built. The Nation. August 18, 2011.

15.Philanthropy Conference Announces Aid for Haiti. The Washington Post. 9/27/2008

16. Hinton, Charlie. Wyclef Jean for President of Haiti? Look Beyond the Hype. The San Francisco Bay View. August 2, 2010.

17.Coughin, Dan; Ives, Kim. WikiLeaks Haiti: Let Them Live on $3,00 a Day. The Nation. June, 1 2011.

18. Weisbrot, Mark. Is this Minustah’s Abu Ghraib moment in Haiti? The Guardian UK. 9/3/2011.

19. Pina, Kevin. Lavalas Flexes its muscles in Haiti. Haiti Information Project. 2009. http://www.haitiaction.net/News/HIP/4_20_9/4_20_9.html

20. Lindsay, Reed. Haiti’s Excluded. The Nation. March 29, 2010.




Every other show on television is a police or medical procedural and these productions go to lengths to consult professionals to at least give an appearance of verisimilitude; sci-fi similarly dialogues with the scientific community for inspiration and fact checking. This diligence is born of deference more than craft or curiosity, it is the elitism and power of lofty, status-quo figures that seem to compel TV writers' rooms to afford respect to certain corners of our economic hierarchy. Accuracy is a good thing, yet the elitism of the TV writers' room is quite apparent when it comes time to portray the lives of disenfranchised and poor people. Condescension and mockery seem to be the default brush wiped across Final Draft, but the writers themselves display their own laziness, bias and lack of curiosity when they fail to respect the representation of our cultures lesser classes. If they pay their grocery clerk, homeless, ditch digger, construction, housecleaner or unemployed characters much thought at all, they must assume that the real life people these crude caricatures are drawn from just aren't they type of people that would watch their show. 
This poor writing is apparent frequently, but I explored it further through an angle of plumbing. 

I have some knowledge of the trade as I am a failed plumber. The greatest challenges I faced in my pursuit of the trade were intellectual, and I found most plumbers I have known to have greater intelligence than the average holder of USC or UCLA graduate degrees in screenwriting. The frequency with which a plumbing issue is used as a plot device is interesting but utterly fascinating is the fact that I can think of zero examples where large details are not botched through the writing. These can be minor issues of trade vocabulary, but usually, the inaccuracies have as much to do with physics as they have to do with plumbing itself.

I take notes now when I run across examples, for a time I thought of writing a lengthy critical essay based on this premise. I made several trips to the Writers Guild Foundation library and read the scripts for episodes of Mad Men, Orange is the New Black and others to see where things when wrong. From scripts I have been able to get my hands on, it has always been in the script that inaccuracies and negative portrayals first began. I haven't written the essay, but I made a series of satirical videos where Roger Rooter incorporates my research into his reviews of television. 

Inserted here are a few examples of these videos. Since making these I have continued my research. The most notable example is Baskets, where an impossibly pressurized waste line created an impossible sewage disaster that was a significant story point across several episodes. Had the writer spent an hour talking to a plumber, they could have come up with two or three other ideas that would have been more accurate and visually interesting. Lack of curiosity and care for a large segment of humanity means you divorce your story from a segment of the population you want to reach and you lose the opportunity for inspiration and new ideas. 

An un-Civil War

I try to keep my politics of my site...not this time. 
A wave of secessionist wannabes is starting, and I will do my best to stop it.

Yes, California is leading the call for #CalExit. 
They are flying the Califronia state flag in support of their efforts
In copy/paste form (from my facebook regurgitations), here come my feelings about California secessions, "Yes, California" and all the people behind it...


Here is Louis J. Marinelli, the front "leader" of your secessionist movement Yes, California. 
This man, who wants to lead an independent nation-state of California, was born and raised in New York but spent a few years in Russia too. He has been a California "native" since 2011. 
His political activism includes working in the John Edwards presidential campaign, running the "Protect Marriage: One Man, One Woman" and becoming a strategist for the "National Organization for Marriage". 
As a kick off to the coming Civil War, I would love to meet the first President of the California Republic in the alley of his choosing.


Shervin Pishevar looks to be the largest, angel investor in Yes, California , the leading driver of secessionist #CalExit calls. If you love what Uber has done for union cab jobs and what AirBnB has done for housing and rent, good news(!) he leads Sherpa Capitol, the Venture Capitalist firm that funds those companies. 
Born in Iran he is now proud to be a California "native". 
His political activism involves hosting a 2016 fundraising event for Hillary Clinton that raised 15 million and investing in Kony 2012!

Maybe he'll have a role in the Treasury department of the new Republic of California!

Does the average Californian know that our state flag is a racist symbol? 
It comes from the Bear Flagger's, white Americans that were "illegal immigrants" to California when it was still Mexico. They were violent, racist extremists that murdered Native's (about 200,000). Then they were encouraged to and gleefully started to murder Mexicans and Californios. 
The California flag was their flag.
Now a pack of bitter, tech capitalists that have lost a contest for the first time in their lives want to secede. They'd fly the flag of the new California Republic with no sense of irony or understanding of history. 
Telling, like I said months ago, this election is very much like the election of 1860. And here sore losers want to start a civil war. I won't march for Trump and I won't march for a Silicon Valley tyrant.

If Silicon Valley starts a Civil War I will stand against it. They will lose, just like they lost the last one (and yes I see bitter secessionists as successors of their Dixie Democrats). 
I could possibly be in support of the state joining Mexico.

Every citizen of the world is affected by US foreign policy. Seceding would hurt our ability as individuals to change evil US policy. As a state I don't see us as great carriers of virtue either, we were the state of Reagan after all! We usually vote center right, evidenced that we couldn't even abolish the death penalty. 
It feels good for a small margin of liberals to declare themselves the good guys and hold themselves in higher regard than the rest of this country. An independent California would just be another (potentially militaristic) neoliberal, globalization, capitalist disaster with new Silicon Valley oligarchs. 
I would be open to considering joining Mexico because we have a lot of cultural similarities and our economy could potentially work as a stabilizing factor and lead to more humanitarian, fair relations with D.C.

You will proudly turn a thumb to the rest of this country and call them xenophobes and racist. Then you talk of fleeing to Canada, or starting a new country, possibly joining with Oregon and Washington. How is this not racist and xenophobic? You fantasize about a great white flight, potentially to the great white north. Then leave this country to a tyrant, a series of tyrants to follow him? Shut up and fight. You aren't going to secede. Anyone who tries to secede, especially under a racist flag, especially if they are goosestepping behind a Silicon Valley wannabe despot, I will fight with everything in my power.

This plot, led by a pack of cowardly Silicon Valley Vulture Capitalists that hide themselves from their own websites, should be roundly mocked. The proponents putting money behind it should be found out, called out and shamed for the racist, crybaby sore losers they are.

In my mind we can start a conversation about joining Mexico. With shared history and historical precedent for this land being Mexico, it makes sense. We have a lot of common culture and economic interests that would tie well into each other. Doing so could normalize DC and Mexico relations and stabilize some of the chaotic political sectors of Mexico.

Beyond that, I am a politically tolerant person with room to discuss many points of view. However, my tolerance ends with this ridiculous scheme for secession. I will call it stupid wherever I see it pop up.

Added an old spec....

 Was watching the excellent Fuller House yesterday, then this morning read a discussion in a forum about writing spec spin-offs. Most people gave the excellent advice of "don't do it", "it'll never sell", "intellectual property"....Then I recalled I wrote a spec spin-off a few years back called, Gibbler. It set up a world where Kimmy Gibbler was spending her thirties recovering from addiction and living on the fringes of society in the Mission District. It's not great or anything, but was a fun excercise. So I posted it up to the television script section.

New EP of Quality Sketch

Episode 11 of Quality Sketch is up. I am always up against a clock to get these edited and through. It was one of the more fun tasks of my week but I always wish I had just a little more time to tweak things in editing. Like everything I do it is a tug of war between fun, economy, time and quality!

Writing and other progress...

With fellowship season here, I have had to stop work on editing of the Future Doo-Wop novel. Just a bit too far behind on writing that is more mission critical.  That will be on pause until I feel a bit more caught up. I am posting a new spec for Man Seeking Woman. I am currently revising a feature script that I will post soon and writing a pilot. 

I am not too psyched about the Man Seeking Woman spec. It is a show that on its face is tonally loose and carefree so I felt fairly empowered to write in its world. Having done it though I came to realize that for a program with a moving target it feels hard to tell if I hit the bullseye. I can safely say I didn't. My favorite episodes of MSW have very distinct acts, with a unique hook to each of them . They don't all do this but, my favorite ones do. I attempted to do this in outlining, but the dense plotting I did made the whole thing overlong so I felt compelled to stay riffing on a play on noir that I was going for. But I am happy that I took a romantic comedy trope theme/idea and explored it from an obtuse and heightened angle like the show often does. There are other moments.

Happy to have written it though and on to the next thing. Things are chugging along!

New Future Doo-Wop page with weekly updates

I've been rewriting the Future Doo-Wop novelization one chapter at a time. If anyone is reading along I would love feedback, questions and notes! This is my first novel and I have no formal editing services so any input you have would go far to improving the work.

There will be a new chapter posted weekly to the page.

EP 9 of QS is up

...added the 9th episode. This one has a few Thanksgiving bits that were super fun to do. AS usual it was a slapdash hurried effort to get it out on time, so there are edges rougher than I wish they would have been!

beating NaNoWriMo

I passed the 50k mark yesterday and "won" NaNoWRiMo. It was easier than I thought I would and I ended up with something I think could be worthwhile with heavy revision. I kept pushing beyond the 50K and will try to finish out the rough draft before the end of November 

NaNoWriMo update

I announced I was going to try writing my first book in my first NaNoWriMo . This post could have been about how I failed at that, but surprisingly I am on track so far. I often announce an endeavor that isn't to be and it just falls to the side, but that may not be the case this time. 

I am currently a few hundred words shy of twenty thousand words towards my fifty thousand. I am pacing at about 2,000 words a day, all while also writing three pages of screenplay and putting in work on the new episode of Quality Sketch. And of course the day job. Sleep and life can wait though. 

Halloween check in

Halloween passed and I didn't get to mark the holiday as much as I would have liked, meaning I had no opportunity to get drunk and hyphy.  I was pretty happy with my costume,  Ernest P. Worrell, as I've been on an Ernest kick, re-watching all his stuff and listening to the excellent podcast, Ernest Goes To Podcast. 

I mostly just got chance to wear this for some work functions, so I'll likely re-use it next year. That said, work was pretty fun/hectic this week. We put on a big Halloween show that I got to put on a lot of fun and creative hats for. I am pretty proud of the kiddie song, BOO I co-wrote with Danny Hesse for the occasion, you can hear it at about the hour fifty mark.

Sexy Gumby

Concept design for my dream Halloween costume, Sexy Gumby. 

Hopefully next year.

First (last?) NaNoWriMo

Maybe I'm a psychological self-flagellant but I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. I have never written a novel before but  have played with the idea of adapting a TV pilot of mine. Seems like a good time and low stakes scenario to indulge this itch. 
I also need to complete the first draft of my new feature script in November so I'll be a crazed person by December. 

Episode 8 of Quality Sketch is out

Up on the page and youtube is our 8th episode of Quality Sketch. Each episode takes about 4 hours of production time and 40 hours of editing to create. Reliant on the talent of an all volunteer production crew and of course the talented comedic performers that come in and share their sketches, a lot of work goes into each episode. But mostly it's a lot of fun and experimentation !


Just posted up two sketch scripts, one is new, the other older. 

WD-E-40 is a commercial parody - what if E-40 was selling spray lubricant?

THE GENTRIFICATION OF PLYMOUTH was one I was hoping to actually produce. It was important to me that I could find a Native American performer to be a part of it and help rewrite it. I didn't, so the sketch won't happen this year.

Crowdfunding form letter respose

One thing I loathe is receiving requests to support a crowdfunded campaign from someone who has never indicated to me that they have taken the time to check out any of the things I have made. 

There have been instances where I have supported the crowdfunded campaign of others and gotten zero acknowledgement or thanks. 

I have never personally created or marketed such a campaign. I am actually not opposed to doing so and may try it in the future. But I plan to have some ettiquette to the way I go about it, and actually support those that support me.

Here's a form letter I created to respond to the worst offenders.


Added short - PISSER

Just added a short script, PISSER to the site here. There may still be a few drafts left, but I'm wanting to get this out there. This is based off the very first feature script I wrote more then ten years ago. I lost that script in a computer crash, I think it also exists in an old AOL e-mail that I have no idea how to find. I was so upset over losing not just that script but a huge chunk of creative output when the computer died, that I was very much stunted creatively for some time. 

The premise of that script has stuck with me for a long time and I have played with the idea of re-writing it. This short came about because I realized the conceit of idea would work well on a smaller scale. Also, it solves the issue I always had with the clumsy third act of the feature. 

I am hoping to actually produce this. If I can rally a few other folks who are excited about the premise, I would love to make this my next project. I think the outrageous concept, if executed with realism, is something people would want to see.

I think every writer or creative person has toyed with the idea of writing reviews/ being a reviewer. I don't say critique, because I see some academic and cultural merit to that, while I increasingly see Reviewers as  sad, filthy piss-heads. It struck me that, as I have tried my hand and more things and create more of my own unique things, I lose any interest in judging others work. There is exceptions, it can be fun to have an outburst against something I perceive as hack and I have written reviews myself in the way way past. But the more you understand the rarity of an idea and the difficulty in executing it, once you see others misunderstanding of your own expression and know that you will be guilty of this fault towards others, it all becomes very so what and why.  I guess this is a rant or review on Reviewers.

I plan to expand later: to talk about why I don't write screenplay coverage professionally anymore, why I am an anti-perfectionist and other related topics.