Haiti, San Martin and the Odious Foreign Debt
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, 14 Feb 2022
The colonising logic of the centres of conditioning capital, from the very beginning, sought to take over Latin America, dominating it in different ways, according to their interests, beyond the principles that were proclaimed and the freedom that was promised.
Haiti, cradle of Latin American freedom
7 Feb 2022 – It is worth noting that Haiti was the second American country to declare its independence in 1804, after the United States in 1776 and the first and only triumphant slave revolution in the world that abolished slavery.
The country was a French colony on the western part of the island of Hispaniola (Santo Domingo). Toussaint L’Ouverture was the leader of the Revolution, whose name is not generally known.
The paradox was that France, the country of the French Revolution of 1789, with its principles of “liberty, equality and fraternity”, which inaugurated a new vision of human rights with the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”, nevertheless attacked the Haitian revolution, since it became clear that for Europe or the United States, the principles proclaimed are valid as long as they do not affect their interests. Haiti represented an enormous threat to the established colonial, racist and slave-owning system. It had to be borne in mind, for example, that a slave was an economic asset and that this capital could not be lost by freeing him or her. Cruel hypocrisy typical of the centres of economic power.
Simón Bolívar, who was against the enslavement of people and peoples, always thanked Haiti for having supported him, welcomed him and lived there for a time, to think about and carry out his liberating deed. The expedition of Los Cayos is the name given to the invasion organised from Haiti.
The Venezuelan soldier set sail on 31 March 1816 from the port of Anquín, carrying 1,000 black Haitians who joined the liberating enterprise. Simón Bolívar triumphed over the Spanish forces in the naval battle of Los Frailes, landing on Margarita Island in Venezuela, from where he began his liberation campaign, accompanied by the liberating force of ex-slaves.
San Martín against odious debt
Also, from the idea of integral freedom and respect for individuals and peoples who can neither be slaves nor dominated, in the concept of true independence, General San Martín gave many examples for history.
Thus, it is worth mentioning that, in the additional articles of the Provisional Statute sanctioned by General San Martin in 1821, in his capacity as “Protector of the freedom of Peru”, he stipulated in the additional articles that: “The Government, animated by a feeling of justice and equity, recognises all the debts of the Spanish government that have not been contracted to maintain the slavery of Peru and to harass the other independent peoples of America”. He made it clear that the odious debt, which originated to maintain the enslavement and domination of the peoples of America, should not be accepted.
This clear vision of the liberator has not been the same as that which has later pervaded the free peoples of the Americas. The economic-political and financial powers have been busy recolonising and enslaving us through illegitimate, odious, usurious and illegitimate foreign debts, most of them contrary to the common good of our peoples, subjecting them to new slavery and clouding them of their real independence and their future. Suffice it to say that now Haiti, subjected to unacceptable foreign debts, government corruption that goes hand in hand with these loan contracts and various climatic inclemencies, is the poorest and most abandoned people in the Americas.
Baring Brothers Loan
While San Martin proclaimed that slavery of all kinds had to end, because it did not allow independent peoples to develop, in 1824, Argentina, through Bernardino Rivadavia, contracted a loan in London with Baring Brothers for one million pounds sterling. A loan of which they actually received 550,000 pounds sterling, or almost half, and over 80 years they ended up paying nearly 4,800,000 pounds sterling, which was approximately nine times more than what they received.
Not validating illegitimate debts
The foreign debt became, from the beginning, one of the main conditioning factors of national development and a major obstacle to autonomous political decision-making by Argentine governments. Surrounded by secret clauses and a large unconstitutional delegation of functions to the executive branch and a lack of control by the legislative and judicial branches.
Why should we accept, without analysis, debts that clearly appear to be illegitimate, usurious, odious and unlawful, which conditioned and still condition our future? Why are the debt agreements with secret clauses, the names of the supposed creditors in general and those hidden in investment funds, of all those responsible for signing them for Argentina, the names of the intermediaries, the commissions paid and the real beneficiaries of the operations not made public? Why are the trials for criminal and civil liability not activated where appropriate? Why does the Supreme Court of the Nation, so jealous of its independence, not intervene to declare null and void the delegation of jurisdiction that the debt agreements have, which leave us subject to judges of first instance of other countries, as was the case of what happened with Judge Thomas Griesa of New York, who made us pay shamefully what was requested by vulture funds? Why are we scared of the consequences of questioning our debts, and why are we afraid to let people know what they really are? Why, in the proposed agreement with the IMF, do we have to render accounts every three months and accept controlling officials of the Fund in central places of our sovereign economic decisions?
We are a country that recognises all real debts and has more than paid them, but not those that, in the words of San Martin “have been contracted to maintain slavery”, illegally conditioning us, like so many, especially now the one adopted by President Mauricio Macri, part of it for 100 years, which illegally makes us slaves to the designs of the creditors for six generations.
Now, by submitting the agreement with the IMF to the National Congress, the Legislative Power that represents us is given the possibility to order the suspension of payments, to analyse the origin, those responsible, the destination and consequences of the debt of 44.5 billion dollars contracted with the IMF. It is not possible to approve a debt that seeks only to negotiate the time of its payment with undue interest, without analysing the legality of the loan and the destination of the money. Why are the names of the beneficiaries of the flight of the dollars that occurred not given?
The people want to know! and not be forced to bear odious payments only out of fear of unscrupulous creditors and the political, financial and media operators who represent them. The Homeland, in its true destiny of San Martinian and Bolivarian freedom and independence, summons us.
Miguel Julio Rodríguez Villafañe is a constitutional lawyer from Córdoba and journalist-opinion columnist.
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