Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 29 July 2015

Mark Steel: Did Satan change his terms and conditions for Haiti?

Published 20/01/2010 | 03:19

Former president and U.N. special envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton, right, talks to airport workers unloading relief supplies at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010.
Former president and U.N. special envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton, right, talks to airport workers unloading relief supplies at the airport in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010.
One year old Misa Gureline Bestige reacts as she wakes up from sleeping on the street with her family and other displaced people in in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Troops, doctors and aid workers flowed into Haiti on Monday even while hundreds of thousands of Tuesday's quake victims struggled to find water or food. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Bill Clinton, former President and U.N. special envoy for Haiti, right, greets a woman during a visit to the General Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Clinton promised that his foundation would provide medicine and a generator to the capital's General Hospital in order to doctors there can work through the night. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
In a Jan. 18, 2010 photo provided by the American Red Cross, Winnie Romeril, American Red Cross, International Disaster Response Volunteer, carries Estphane Shan towards a First Aid Post in in Croix Desprez, Poort-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/American Red Cross, Talia Frenkel)
People take goods from buildings collapsed during last week's earthquake in the market area of Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
A nurse feeds a quake-injured baby at the Israeli Field Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
People fight for goods taken from collapsed stores in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A man lies on the floor as he grimaces in pain after being injured during scuffles among people taking goods from quake-damaged stores in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
A youth wearing a carnival mask stands in front of quake-damaged buildings in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
People fight for goods taken from collapsed stores in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
People fight for goods taken from collapsed stores in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Search and Rescue Team clearing debris at a collapsed building in downtown Port-au-Prince, Jan. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Justin Stumberg)
A boy injured during last week's earthquake is treated at the Israeli Field Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
A woman gestures in the market area in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
People begs for food and water outside a supermarket in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Troops, doctors and aid workers flowed into Haiti on Monday even while hundreds of thousands of Tuesday's quake victims struggled to find water or food. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
People fight for goods taken from collapsed stores in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Men fight for goods taken from quake-damaged stores in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Looting spread to more parts of downtown as hundreds of people clambered up broken walls to break into shops and take whatever they could find. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Avi Berman, of Israel, sits next to a baby that was rescued from the collapsed house where his parents died during last week's earthquake at and Israeli Field Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
This photo provided by the U.S. Navy shows members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Search and Rescue Team clearing debris at a collapsed building in downtown Port-au-Prince, Jan. 17, 2010. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Justin Stumberg)
In this Jan. 17, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Air Force, an aerial view of downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti is shown after a major earthquake devastated the area on Jan. 12. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock)
People walk through fire and rubble in the market area in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. On the streets, people are still dying, pregnant women are giving birth and the injured are showing up in wheelbarrows and on people's backs at hurriedly erected field hospitals after Tuesday's earthquake. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In a Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 photo, Red Cross volunteer Jean Baptiste Kostner gives medical attention to Samantha Eskvowitz as part of the Dominican Red Cross response team in Cite Soliel, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/American Red Cross, Talia Frenkel)
US troops with the 82nd Airborne Division take cover as a helicopter takes off after unloading relief supplies for earthquake survivors in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
People take goods from a quake-collapsed store in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)
People run with goods taken from stores that collapsed during last week's earthquake in the market area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Looting spread to more parts of downtown as hundreds of people clambered up broken walls to break into shops and take whatever they can find. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
In a Jan. 17, 2010 photo provided by the American Red Cross, Haitian Red Cross volunteer Miname Glaude holds Michel Laurent, 15 mos. old, at a Red Cross medical center in Croix de Priez, Haiti. (AP Photo/American Red Cross, Talia Frenkel)
In this Jan. 17, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Navy, members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Search and Rescue Team rescue a Haitian woman from a collapsed building in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Justin Stumberg)
In this Jan. 17, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Navy, an air crewman drops humanitarian aid in support of earthquake relief efforts in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Justin Stumberg)
People take goods from collapsed stores in the market area in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Violence and looting broke up in Port-au-Prince as earthquake survivors scavenged for anything they could find in the ruins. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In a Jan. 17, 2010 photo provided by the American Red Cross,American Red Cross volunteer Renette Danger examines Kemsia Louis at a Red Cross medical center in Croix de Priez, Haiti. (AP Photo/American Red Cross, Talia Frenkel)
In this Jan. 17, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Air Force, an aerial view of Port-au-Prince, Haiti is shown after a major earthquake devastated the area on Jan. 12. (AP Photo/U.S. Air Force, Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock)
Displaced Haitians whose homes were either destroyed or too unsafe to return to, wake up on the street in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Survivors live outside for fear of unstable buildings and aftershocks. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
One year old Misa Gureline Bestige reacts as she wakes up from sleeping on the street with her family and other displaced people in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. Survivors live outside for fear of unstable buildings and aftershocks after Tuesday's earthquake. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A woman walks through earthquake rubble in the market area in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
People take goods from buildings collapsed during last week's earthquake in the market area of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A woman sweeps debris out of the street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, Jan. 18, 2010. On the streets, people are still dying, pregnant women are giving birth and the injured are showing up in wheelbarrows and on people's backs at hurriedly erected field hospitals. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
In this Jan. 17, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Air Force, U.S. citizens wait to be evacuated from Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti after a major earthquake devastated the area on Jan. 12.
Elliane Garcon cries as she watches the body of her husband, Rene Morancy, being dumped from a front loader into a truck as crews remove bodies from the streets in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Port-au-Prince
An injured girl is feed by a hospital volunteer at the general hospital in Port-au-Prince, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010.
An officer aims at people taking goods from quake-damaged stores in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
A national police officer throws a tear gas grenade during riots in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
Men carrying a stolen pot past a burning body in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
In this photo provided by the U.N., United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon speaks with displaced Haitians during his trip to Port au Prince, Haiti on Sunday Jan. 17, 2010.
In this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Navy, people crowd on to a boat during an evacuation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Survivors of Tuesday's earthquake extend their arms as U.S. troops with the 82nd Airborne Division distribute water in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
Haitians board a bus to leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
Some of the earthquake-devastated areas of Port-au-Prince, Haiti are seen in an aerial photo, Sunday Jan. 17, 2010.
A woman run with stolen items from a collapsed store as a Haitian police officer looks on in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
In this photo provided by MINUSTAH, Bolivian UN peacekeepers distribute water and meals to the residents in Cite Soleil
People, one holding up a knife, fight for goods taken from collapsed stores in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
In this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 photo released by the U.S. Navy, Naval Air Crewman 2nd Class Jason Harold, of Goldsboro, N.C., transfers a young Haitian earthquake victim from a Seahawk helicopter during a medical evacuation in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Men carry water in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
A girl smiles at Park Boyer, which has been turned into a temporary camp for people whose homes have been destroyed, in the Petionville neighborhood of Port-au-Prince on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Michael Laughlin, Sun-Sentinel)
A United Nations worker, who was just rescued from the collapsed United Nations headquarters building, responds to questions from medical personnel as he is carried to a temporary clinic in Port-au- Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010.
People ride with a coffin on top of a car as they arrive at the morgue in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
Earthquake survivors line up for food distributed by the UN near Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010.
Youths collect empty boxes after a food distribution by the UN near Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010.
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, looters fight for a bag of materials in Haitian capital Port-au-Prince on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010.
A woman prays during Mass held outside of the city's main Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010
A woman pleads with surgeon Dr. Augustine outside at a state-run hospital, to bandage up her daughter's legs as Augustine makes rounds to determine injuries and necessary treatment in Port au Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
People wave towards a helicopter in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. A powerful earthquake struck Haiti Tuesday
A rescue worker from Luxemburg rest with his search dog at the tarmac of the airport in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. Search-and-rescue, medical and other specialists from different countries continue to arrive in Haiti after the powerful earthquake that hit the country on Tuesday
People look for survivors in the wreckage of the collapsed Catherine Flon school in Carrefour, outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
Bodies of earthquake victims lie in an open mass grave in Sous Pianet, just south of Port-au-Prince
People line up to for gasoline in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
A man, wearing a face mask as a precaution against infections, walks past the collapsed Cathedral of Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
A cemetery worker rests before burying another earthquake victim in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
A man looks for a body among hundreds of earthquake victims at the morgue in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
People carry an injured earthquake survivor in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
Displaced people gather in an open area in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
In this photo released by the United Nations, buildings affected by an earthquake lay in ruins in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.
People carry a coffin containing the remains of an earthquake victim to a home for burial in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2010
In this Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010 photo released by the Philippine Mission to the United Nations, police officers from the Philippines and China search for colleagues who may be trapped in the rubble of the United Nations Police Headquarters in Port-au-Prince
A woman lifts a cloth to see the face of an earthquake victim lying in the street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
An injured earthquake survivor receives treatment at a medical clinic set up at MINUSTAH's logistics base in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
A man looks through the collapsed rubble of St. Gerard Church and School in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
A group of women react in disbelief as the body of the daughter of a woman, at center, is missing after the earthquake, in Port-au-Prince
Earthquake survivors wave to a helicopter flying over Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
A woman injured during Tuesday's earthquake eats while lying on a street in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010.
People fight over goods scavenged from the rubble of buildings collapsed during Tuesday's earthquake in Port-au-Princeac
People wait for medical attention in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
Scavengers look for goods amid the rubble
People, carrying scavenged goods, run away from the police in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
Scavengers look for goods amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
An injured child waits for medical attention in front of a damaged hospital in Carrefour, in the outskirts of Port-au-Prince
A body is buried in the rubble of a hotel in the aftermath of an earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Friday, Jan. 15, 2010
A victim is carried into the Hospital Universitaire de la Paix in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, members of a Chinese emergency rescue team inspect the collapsed headquarters of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. Desperately needed aid from around the world slowly made its way Thursday into the capital after Tuesday's magnitude-7.0 earthquake.
In this photo release by China's Xinhua News Agency, a doctor of the Chinese emergency rescue team, left, treats an injured child
Bodies of earthquake victims lie on th street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
A man sits next to a car after a powerful earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010.
Earthquake survivors gather in a shelter set up in the central public garden of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
Roselyn Joseph mourns over the body of her daughter, Emanuela Aminise, 14, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
A man sits among the rubble of collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
Aerial photo provided by The American Red Cross shows survivors gathered around bodies in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince during a joint Red Cross Red Crescent/ECHO (European Community Humanitarian Organization) aerial assessment mission following Tuesday's devestating earthquake.
The hand from the body of an earthquake victim hangs from a pick-up truck loaded with bodies waiting to be unloaded at a cemetery in Port-au-Prince,Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
A woman's name is tagged on her arm to identify her body outside the morgue in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
A funeral home has tagged the body of one of the huge amount lying outside the morgue in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
People gather around a gas pump seeking gas, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
A woman looks for a loved one among the bodies on the ground outside the morgue in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010
A woman is treated for her wounds on the grounds of the Canape-Vert Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
An boy injured by an earthquake has stitches sewn into his head at a makeshift clinic run by missionaries at a school in Port-au-Prince
A body lies among the rubble of a damaged building in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2010.
A young injured earthquake survivor holds a piece of bread in a makeshift shelter in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
People carry a body through the streets on Wednesday Jan. 13, 2010 in Port-au-Prince
People walk past a crushed car and other rubble in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
A man sits by an injured woman waiting for treatment at a makeshift clinic run by missionaries at a school in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
US citizen Carla Shown is carried by French firefighters after being rescued from the rubble of the collapsed Montana Hotel in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)
Magician David Blaine, left, performs a card trick for Michael Sharpe, of Manhattan, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010, in New York. Blaine is performing a 72-hour magic marathon in Times Square to raise money for Haiti earthquake victims. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
People ride with a coffin on top of a car as they arrive at the morgue in the aftermath of Tuesday's earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
People line up for gas at a gas station in the aftermath of the Tuesday's earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 13, 2010.
A cross stands intact in front of a church that collapsed during Tuesday's earthquake at the Canape Vert neighborhood
An arm pokes up in the sea of bodies outside the morgue in Port-au-Prince
Bodies fill the frontyard of the morgue in Port-au-Prince
Spanish rescuer carries two-year-old Redjeson Hausteen Claude after he was rescued from a collapsed home
A Spanish rescuer carries two-year-old Redjeson Hausteen after he was rescued
A Spanish rescuer carries two-year-old Redjeson Hausteen after he was rescued
Two year old Redjeson Hausteen Claude reacts to his mother Daphnee Plaisin after he is rescued
A Spanish rescuer carries two-year-old Redjeson Hausteen
A victim of the massive earthquake in Haiti on a street in Port-au-Prince
An injured child sits on the sidewalk in Port-au-Prince, Haiti (AP/Ricardo Arduengo)
People gather outside Haiti's quake-damaged National Palace (AP/Jorge Cruz)
A man carries an injured child outside Hotel Villa Creole in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
Injured people are tended to at Hotel Villa Creole in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Tuesday Jan. 12, 2010
In this photo taken from the Web site twitter.com, people gather in the streets in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010 after the largest earthquake ever recorded in Haiti
A damaged building is seen after an earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
People carry an injured person after an earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
This photo provided by Carel Pedre shows people running past rubble of a damaged building in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
Anthony Guarino, a seismic analyst at the Caltech Seismological Laboratory, shows the 7.0 earthquake peak from the Haiti earthquake at the laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
This May 20, 2004 provided by the Canadian Department of National Defence shows the Presidential Palace in Port au Prince, Haiti
Damage to the Hotel Villa Creole in Port-au-Prince, Haiti is shown on Tuesday Jan. 12, 2010
This image released by the US Geological Survey shows a shake map of the Haiti Region processed Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010
LA County Fire Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 2 prepares for possible deployment to Haiti at the California Task Force 2 warehouse in the Pacoima section of Los Angeles, on Tuesday Jan. 12, 2010
A girl waits for medical attention in front of a damage hospital in Carrefour, outskirts of Port-au-Prince, Friday, Jan. 15, 2010

Satan's terms and conditions must have got worse in recent times. The most prominent TV evangelist in the United States, Pat Robertson, announced that the Haiti earthquake was a result of a "pact with the Devil", made when they overthrew slavery 200 years ago.

But in the old days a pact with the Devil brought you a life of fame and riches and earthly pleasures. Now you get a few years of life in the world's poorest country and then buried under a pile of rubble.



Maybe the Devil will issue a statement soon, that "due to difficulties arising from the current economic climate, I have found it necessary to temporarily restrict certain privileges to my valuable customers. But you can be certain I will endeavour to maintain my usual high standard of evil, and look forward to satisfying more gluttony than ever once it is financially responsible to do so."



At least Robertson claims a spiritual logic for his sociopathic judgement. Whereas TV presenter Rush Limbaugh complained about the aid effort, saying, "We've already donated to Haiti. It's called income tax." That's the trouble. It's just take take take with some people isn't it?



Or there's the Heritage Foundation, an influential group among American politicians, which declared that "the earthquake offers an opportunity to re-shape Haiti's long-dysfunctional government and economy."



That's the aid they need, a hand-up not a hand-out. Because it takes a functional economist to see a disaster zone and think, "That's handy." If only the Heritage Foundation could get people out there to rummage through the wreckage searching for survivors, so they could call into an air pocket, "I could rescue you, but that would only make you dependent. So come up with a business plan, young fellow, and in years to come you'll thank me for this. Ta-ra."



To start with you'd think if the Haiti government had their wits about them they'd realise there are a lot of reporters out there with very few provisions, so a couple of branches of Costa Coffee would make a healthy return. But no, they're too dysfunctional to organise it.



The most worrying part of this craziness is it isn't far off the official US strategy. The International Monetary Fund has extended $100m in loans to Haiti for the disaster, and according to The Nation magazine, "These loans came with conditions, including raising prices for electricity, refusing pay increases to all public employees except those making minimum wage, and keeping inflation low." I suppose the idea is not to make things even worse. Give them more than the minimum wage and then you'd have binge-drinking to worry about as well.



This deal was probably arranged by the bank ringing Haiti's government and saying "Hello is that the Prime Minister? It's Miriam here from the IMF. I'd like a few moments to talk to you about your account, only I notice from our records that you've had a tectonic catastrophe so you'll need to revise your payments."



Several aid organisations have complained about the role the American government is playing. For example, a spokesman from the World Food Programme said: "They organise 200 flights a day, but most are for the US military. Their priority is to secure the country." This may be why Bill Clinton was able to tell business leaders that this is an ideal time to invest in the country, because, "the political risk in Haiti is lower than it has ever been in my lifetime." Who can honestly say they don't consider the political risk before handing out money to a disaster zone? All of us wonder, as we make our donation, whether we'll get our 50 quid back, with a bit of profit for our trouble, otherwise we're being fools to ourselves.



But Clinton had a point. Because at one point Haiti was ruled by President Aristide, who refused to implement all the IMF's demands for privatisation and keeping wages to a minimum. So the US government backed a coup that overthrew him, exiled him and banned his political party, making the place much less risky for business.



This might explain why the American forces are being treated with suspicion, as their priority may not be to provide aid, but to "secure the country." This could also explain the statement by Robert Gates, US defence secretary, who said he couldn't use transport planes to drop supplies in Port-au-Prince as "air drops will simply lead to riots."



Maybe someone should consult an expert on theology, but I'd say there's a chance that if the Devil's still doing pacts, there'll be something way off the Richter scale soon passing right under Wall Street.

Independent

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