Haitian bloggers have been circulating this video of a “Master Plan” for the development of Haiti’s 287 sq mile island of La Gonave as an “international island operated as a business”. It is a remarkable example of the literal carving up of a prostrate country for the development of oil refineries, monocrop plantations, commercial water privatization, cruise ship ports, coast-to-coast all-inclusive resorts, golf courses and luxury villas. There will be small reserves left for the “natives” to live in faux-historic villages where they can be on view in “cultural performances” when not serving as chambermaids and plantation workers. Access will be via first a private executive airport and then by its own international airport, bypassing Haitian national authorities to give developers and tourists easy access to their own little “island paradise”. This loss of sovereignty and citizenship is typical of resort development throughout much of the Caribbean, including current massive developments along the coasts of nearby Jamaica, as seen in our recent screening of Esther Figueroa’s film Jamaica for Sale. But this plan is especially stunning in its comprehensive nature, bald land grab, environmental destruction, and cynical combination of industry, tourism, and property development under the green-washed guise of “renewable energy”. In the context of Haiti’s huge need for post-earthquake reconstruction, the developer “Global Renewable Energy” claims to be bringing jobs to the desperate people of Haiti, even though most jobs in such developments are usually filled by foreign contracted workers. It is not clear how far this plan has progressed with the Government of Haiti, but everything should be done to stop it now.
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