West Tennessee Haiti Partnership

Response to President Trump


I am very saddened to hear the ridiculous remarks by our president about certain countries he chooses to malign in his discussion about immigration, including Haiti, a country I have worked in for 10 years. 

I cant let that go by without stating that the Haitian people are some of the most generous hearted people I have ever had the privilege to know.

Did you know that Dessalines, one of the early fighters for Haitian independence, fought alongside LaFayette in our own American Revolution?

Did you know that the reason Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase was that  Napoleon was selling off territory to raise money to try to recover Haiti after the Haitian revolution threw out the French in 1804?

Did you know that the United States, as well as Britain and France, refused to recognize Haiti as an independent nation, and forced a trade embargo against the new country?

Did you know that Haiti finally got relief from the embargo and recognition as an independent country by agreeing to pay France 150 million gold francs in compensation for the “stolen property” taken from the French landowners who were thrown out by their own slaves?

Did you know Haiti was forced to borrow some of the money to pay that debt from banks in the United States?

Did you know that in 1914 President Wilson sent the Marines to empty the Haitian gold reserve?  And that the Marines stayed as an occupying force for 19 years?  This is when the iconic presidential palace was built, the one that toppled in the earthquake.  

Did you know that the now famous rice tariff imposed by the US forced Haitian rice farmers out of business?

So when you ask, Why is Haiti so poor?  Consider what our own (US) behavior has done over the past 200 years to contribute to their poverty.  And why the Haitians continue to be generous and open armed to their American neighbors and offer us their example of sincerity and hospitality.  Paul Altidor, the Haitian ambassador to the US, has been articulate and gracious today in his response to the unbelievably poisonous remarks of our president.

I applaud him for his willingness to take the high road.  Too bad our own president has no idea what that means.

Susan Nelson
Medical Director
West TN Haiti Partnership

Susan on ABC Channel 24 News:

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