Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stepping In It

Julian Fantino has never had a reputation for winning friends and influencing people. He not only has shocked and offended Haitians. He's also made enemies in the United States. The Globe and Mail reports that the State Department is not impressed:

One of the U.S. State Department’s top Haiti officials said it sees Canada as a valued partner in the country and doesn’t want it to change any of its programs.

“Haiti is not going to become a middle-income country overnight,” Eileen Wickstrom Smith, a senior official in the U.S. State Department’s Haiti office, said Wednesday.

“We continue our strong partnership with the government of Haiti and the people of Haiti, and we would like to see the Canadian government continue its programs. We think they’ve been an important contributor, and we would like them to stay that way.”

And, while the Harper government has been displaying its inept diplomacy at the UN for some time, Fantino has blackened Canada's reputation further:

A senior Haiti official from the United Nations Development Program said there’s more going on in Haiti than Mr. Fantino may have seen on his recent first trip to the country.

“We are saddened actually that Canada, they are reviewing their support,” said Jessica Faieta, a deputy director for the UNDP’s Latin American bureau.

“I think for anyone who comes to Haiti for the first time, you normally are actually shocked by the level of challenges that the country has. But we also need to look deep into the context of where the country is coming from.”

Any competent government minister would know that, when you visit a place for the first time, you listen and keep your mouth shut.

But who said that Fantino was a competent minister?  He knows nothing about diplomacy. One suspects that, were he crossing a cow pasture, he couldn't help but step in its leftovers.


Danneau said...

Leave us not forget the events of February, 2004, when Canada worked with US and French interests to ensure that Haiti would continue to be ruled by a viper's nest of pliant and corrupt toads.

Owen Gray said...

Haiti has been the Poland of the Western Hemisphere, Danneau. It may have officially gained its independence in 1804; but the vultures have always circled its half of the island of Hispaniola.

Canada's "reformed" aid policy is guaranteed to keep its people among the wretched of the earth.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

You failed to mention that what lied behind the inept diplomacy of the minister is the Harper Governments focus is foreign aid, that it should serve Canada Corporate interests first and then possibly aid the local people if possible.

Owen Gray said...

I mentioned that in an earlier post, Philip. But you're right to bring it up again.

These folks are all about looking after themselves. It's no wonder our international reputation has taken such a beating.

kirbycairo said...

The treatment of Haiti by rich, mostly Western, nations is surely one of the saddest records of colonial abuse in history. And obviously they are doing nothing to change the situation.

Owen Gray said...

They have no intention of changing things, Kirby. These folks believe that wealth brings privilege. And there are certain people, in their opinion, who must not know privilege.