Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sean Penn Comes to Argentina

article from February 15, 2012
By Jamie Douglas

Actor and political activist Sean Penn has now made it to Argentina to throw the weight of his support behind the Argentine’s claims of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands. He arrived in Buenos Aires, hat in hand, to beg for more aid for the people of Haiti, which is still suffering from the horrendous earthquake that devastated that poor, hyper-corrupt country on that disastrous afternoon of January 12, 2010.

Aid poured in, evangelical missionaries came to steal children, and former President George W. Bush made a rare appearance since the end of his disgraceful two terms in office, wiping his hands on Bill Clinton’s shirt after shaking a victim’s hand. (At least this time, nobody stole his watch.)

What has been stolen are hundreds of millions of US dollars, outright stolen or misappropriated since the aid money started flowing in while millions are still living in tents under the most inhumane conditions. I am sorry to say it, but that is business as usual in Haiti.

The ultimate insult is for a second-rate actor such as Sean Penn to come to Argentina, calling for an end to this ridiculous colonialism, a situation that the world cannot tolerate in these enlightened days. So he wants the Falklands, instead, to become an Argentinean colony?

What about US colonialism in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and Samoa, just to mention the biggies? From living in the US Virgin Islands, I know all-too well what the economic and crime situation is there and how the US government forced its purchase of the islands then neglected and ignored them. And let us not overlook the former Kingdom of Hawaii, where, as in Alaska, thousands of military-service personnel voted for statehood, completely nullifying the will of the actual inhabitants.

So the best Cristina can come up with for a suggestion to fix Haiti is to begin preparing and training the Haitians to have their own armed forces. Poor dumb Cristina, she was obviously on a different planet when Haiti last had a military, which was used for no other purpose than to subjugate, terrorize and murder its own citizens.

Granted, since gaining independence from France on January 1, 1804, the country has been one of chaos and instability. Under French rule, there was in place the dehumanizing system of a wealthy minority exploiting the illiterate poor majority, which was continued after the bloody revolution, with the mulatto children of the rich plantation owners taking over control. Many of these mulattos took advantage of their newly elevated social status to gain financial control, as well as control over most of the land, perpetuating the previous economic system of master and slave. One major difference was that the new rulers had to make massive reparations to their former masters, the French slave owners, in order to get recognition from the nation of France.

Despite democratic government, it was sugar that was king, and both Haiti and Hawaii produced an abundance of it. By 1789, Saint-Domingue, as Haiti was then known, produced 60% of the world’s coffee as well as 40% of the sugar consumed in England and France.

It would have served both Sean Penn and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to take a brief history lesson about Western colonialism before having that lovely photo opportunity in the Casa Rosada. Sean Penn, of course, is trying to keep his name in the headlines while doing good for the people of Haiti and for the NGO that helps street children in the north of Argentina and Haiti; but I must confess, I am a little uneasy with the fact that a Catholic priest, Father Carlos Molina, seems to be in charge of that project – for obvious reasons. Letting Catholic priests be in charge of NGOs dealing with young boys is somewhat like letting an elephant guard your vegetable patch.

Jamie Douglas
San Rafael, Mendoza

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