A Tale of Two Clintons
As the primaries for the 2016 U.S. presidential election heat up, there is a single refrain that anybody supporting Hillary has learned and learned well: she’s got the experience. More specifically, she’s got the foreign policy experience. This is true. Indeed there are some candidates, Bernie Sanders tentatively included, who get going on foreign policy with about the fluency of Ayatollah Khamenei trying to explain the plot of Rocky 4. Let’s look then, at what kind of experience Hillary Clinton has to offer instead. Hoist up your Fruit of the Loom tighty whities, tuck in your Hanes tee, and buckle up those Levi’s: it’s time for a blood curdling account of U.S. foreign intervention.
After the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which left somewhere between 230,000 and 316,000 people dead, the U.S. began a relief effort which focused on new and expanded infrastructure. At the same time, the government began using this leverage to help rig the Haitian election in favor of American and Haitian corporate interests. They began by forcing one of the major candidates, Jude Celestin, to drop out, putting pressure on the sitting government which was endorsing him. Hilary Clinton herself, Secretary of State at the time, turned up in Haiti in late 2011 to finish the job and force a victory for Michel Martelly. As described firsthand by Hillary in a revealed email, she was at pains to hide her recent involvement in the electoral playmaking and to convince the Haitian public she was there to help facilitate smooth elections.
Obama, indebted to the Clintons for their campaign endorsements, had apparently gifted the Haiti assignment to Hillary who, working alongside her trusted steed Bill, made short work of the place. Bill, who was responsible for managing billions of dollars of reconstruction money on behalf of the U.N., quickly handed out contracts to friends of the notorious Clinton Foundation. Even Hillary’s brother got gold-mining interests in the country.
Why Michel Martelly was chosen is neither mysterious nor forgivable. Martelly was a well-known pop star who ran on that fame, and had made clear on multiple occasions that his intention was to abolish Haiti’s parliament. The decision to prop him up was made after Hillary Clinton was informed that Reginald Boulos, one of the biggest industrialists in Haiti, and the Private Sector Economic Forum, of which he was a member, were in favour of Martelly’s election. Martelly would become an easy puppet, eager to consolidate power for the executive branch and already paid for by corporate interest.
As a major part of the post-quake recovery effort, the U.S. government helped to build an enormous industrial park in the village Caracol, aided by funds from the Clinton Foundation. The park, operated by such companies as Target and Walmart (on whose board Hillary sat for 9 years), produces mostly garments, and was a focal point of the international relief effort. Many of the park’s employees, however, were and remain largely overqualified and simply cannot find other work in the absolutely legless Haitian economy. The Clintons, however, were not interested in economic recovery. They were there to lay new steel for U.S. corporate sweatshops.
After factory workers began petitioning the Haitian government for a raise in the minimum wage, corporations like Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, and Levi began lobbying the U.S. State Department to intervene, which it did. Curious what the controversial new wage demands amounted to? 61 cents an hour. More than any of those companies were willing to pay, and indeed more than Hillary Clinton would suffer them to pay. Wages ended up increasing by 9 cents, to 31 cents an hour. And while Hillary Clinton worked tirelessly from one side, Bill worked from the other, as head of a panel of economic advisors to the new president Martelly, building an American corporate engine on top of ruins.
So yes it’s true, Hilary Clinton has the foreign policy experience to beat. Not only that, she’s partially to thank for the sweet deals you’re getting on socks. A vote for Hilary is a vote for cheap boxers and leggings. And if you can ignore who’s stitching them, then why the hell not.