“Obama is a Socialist!”
lol ya rite
“Look how great our president is, he’s so cool when he plays basketball! :-)”
A Wikileaks post published on The Nation shows that the Obama Administration fought to keep Haitian wages at 31 cents an hour.
(This article was taken down by The Nation due to an embargo, but it was excerpted at Columbia Journalism Review.)
It started when Haiti passed a law two years ago raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. According to an embassy cable:
This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day).
Haiti has about 25,000 garment workers. If you paid each of them $2 a day more, it would cost their employers $50,000 per working day, or about $12.5 million a year ... As of last year Hanes had 3,200 Haitians making t-shirts for it. Paying each of them two bucks a day more would cost it about $1.6 million a year. Hanesbrands Incorporated made $211 million on $4.3 billion in sales last year.
Thanks to U.S. intervention, the minimum was raised only to 31 cents.
These papers have come to light thanks to Haiti Liberte, a small Haitian n
I feel like saying it was the Obama administration is kind of disingenuous though, isn't it? If what the report says is true then it was the State Department, and then only a few well connected individuals out of that.
Just trying to moderate the vitriol :P
Haiti is a miserable place. Before their 1790s revolution the french half of the island made more money than the entire 13 colonies. Jefferson considered immediately repressing the new government and the lesser Napoleon got his ass handed to him for making that mistake.
The US succeeded in occupying the country under Wilson and until FDR. All attempts to state build durning that time were water on sand. The US left and it fell back into ruin.
There were legit elections in the 90s and then a military coup. Clinton interviewed after leaving Mogadishu and succeeded in getting the president back in power, but failing to stem the refugees.
The country has been on life support for some time. The government is neopatrimonal, there are voodoo cults running around, it's an ecological wasteland, unemployment is the norm, crime is the norm, AIDS is the norm.
After the earthquake everything became 100x worse. Nothing has been rebuilt, people live in tents, and water, food, and fuel have become scarce.
Most of its economy is remittances and aid. The only people investing are forced to march through mangroves of bureaucracy and corrupt locals. The FDI is riddled with these parasites.
I'm sympathetic to the nationals, but if the country is going to be saved I'm more keen to do more to accommodate the factory owners.
They're dirt poor, but I don't think they are eatting dirt and tree bark. Remittances go a long way, but they're a two edged sword; money comes in but capable laborors go out. Haiti needs condoms, zoning, property rights, local development, rule of law, and jobs. Any extra money we throw at it will just end up in the wrong place.