Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oil in Haiti? What a Surprise. Not!

A friend of mine in Haiti sent me the link to this article by Jerry Mazza a few days ago. It suggests that Haiti has as much oil as Venezuela and that the fear of those with the Power is that Haiti will nationalize its oil in the best interests of its poverty-stricken population the way Venezuela has done. The suggestion is that oil exploration may have caused the earthquake which, in turn, provided a convenient excuse for U.S. troops to once again occupy Haiti as they have been urged to do for some time by neo-liberal corporate interests.

I wish I could say the idea blew my mind. But it didn't. So I'm reprinting the whole thing here. Read it, consider the implications while you think about the hundreds of thousands of Haitians that were killed, maimed and displaced during the earthquake, and then ask yourself how in the world we can stop this machine before it eats us all alive.

Mazza writes:

This discovery comes from an incredibly deep well of information in the writings of Ezili Danto (Marguerite Laurent), in her article, Part 2, Oil in Haiti as the economic reasons for the US/UN occupation, written in January. Danto’s opening line links to Part 1 of the story from her website, and contains a cache of press clippings by her and other Haitian authors, dated October 2009. Both parts are worth their weight in the gold of truth, revealing recent events as part of an ongoing privatization of Haiti’s abundant assets, with Papa Clinton plus 20,000 US troops there to put a benign face on guarding those assets as a “humanitarian effort.”

She writes, “After the earthquake, I questioned whether oil drilling could have triggered the earthquake. (Did mining and oil drilling trigger the Haiti earthquake?)

Then suddenly, after spending years hitting myself against Officialdom’s colonial rock that kept denying Haiti had significant resources. After being called crazy and un-American for writing that the 2010 earthquake gives the US the perfect disaster-capitalism opportunity to come out from behind the UN and openly occupy Haiti to secure Haiti’s oil, strategic location and other riches for the corporatocracy. Just after I wrote about oil drilling causing earthquakes, on the following Tuesday, a veteran oil company man comes forward in Businessweek to say, and one wonders how he can so authoritatively speculate about the area of the faultline without intimate knowledge of the drillings, explorations, Haiti’s wellheads and oil map, et al, but nonetheless his sudden, seemingly unprompted revelation, is that Haiti lies in an area that has undiscovered amounts of oil, it must have oil and the earthquake ‘may have left clues’ to petroleum reservoirs! Oil that, uhmmm, ‘could aid economic recovery in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, a geologist said.’ (
Haiti Earthquake May Have Exposed Gas, Aiding Economy by Jim Polson, Jan. 26, 2010, Bloomberg.) Yep, yep he may really mean: ‘that could aid Haiti’s US-occupied economy recover its strategic oil reserves’ for the global elite. No? I could be wrong, but I am thinking ‘and the cover up, starts.’ But I won’t say so. Let Stephen Pierce tell the story.

The geologist, Stephen Pierce, who worked in the region for 30 years for companies like Mobil Corp, reported in a telephone interview with Business Week, “The quake may have cracked rock formations along the fault, allowing gas or oil to temporarily seep towards the surface.”

Pierce added that “A geologist . . . tracing that fault zone from Port-au-Prince to the border looking for gas and oil seeps, may find a structure that hasn’t been drilled.” Pierce, now working for Zion Oil & Gas Company, a Dallas-based company drilling in Israel, also said, “A discovery could significantly improve the country’s economy and stimulate further exploration,” as Danto said earlier.

He also contributed information that “The Greater Antilles, which includes Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and their offshore waters, probably hold at least 142 million barrels of oil and 159 cubic feet of gas, according to a 2000 report by the US Geological Survey. Undiscovered amounts may be as high as 941 million barrels of oil and 1.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, according to the report. Among nations in the northern Caribbean, Cuba and Jamaica have awarded offshore leases for oil and gas development. Trinidad and Tobago, South American islands off the coast of Venezuela, account for most Caribbean oil production, according to the US Energy Department.”

So, quite naturally, Haiti has a sizeable reserve of oil and natural gas. Why would it not? It shares the Caribbean waters with surrounding oil-producing islands. Also, it isn’t news to the US, but it definitely is not news to a 30-year geology veteran who worked for oil companies like Mobil Corp.

In fact, there’s always been oil in Haiti. US/USAID actually guaranteed an oil contract for a US businessman named Charles C. Valentine as far back as November, 1962, curiously a year before the JFK assassination, one of the things on JFK’s plate back then being the cancelation of oil-depletion allowances. Meanwhile, US/USAID gave Valentine’s company monopoly control over pretty much everything to do with oil in Haiti. Then the agency paid him to take a walk. He claimed $327,304 from the agency, which was itself able to “extract” it from the Haitian government, plus $4,398 in interest charges. So there’s a not-too-pretty picture here of what was going on then and, most probably, now.

Danto provides material from the Haitian scholar Dr. Georges Michel, who claims the US knew about oil and natural gas reserves back in 1908 and began explorations in the 1950s, locking up “strategic gas reserves for the US,” to be tapped when Mid-East oil became less valuable. The unspoken rule here is that hyped scarcities of oil keep prices high. Yet, oil companies have to have a full tank somewhere in case Mid-East supplies diminish sharply, raising prices for whatever reasons, the War on Terror, hostilities in Iraq, embargos on Iran, to mention a few.

But the US still needed to keep dictatorial governments in power in Haiti as its ace in the hole, and try to overthrow any duly elected democratic governments from 1991 on, for fear some popular president might want to nationalize oil and gas reserves for the benefit of the bitingly poor Haitian people as Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela. Ms. Danto points us to an article by Ginette and Daniel Mathurin that says there’s more oil in Haiti than in Venezuela.

As mentioned earlier, Danto writes, “The earthquake(s) may have just been a large hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ operation . . . to release the hydrocarbons from isolated pockets so oil and natural gas could be more easily accessed. Or, perhaps drilling at the existing wellheads in Port au Prince may have linked up with existing fractures and interconnected to affect the fault-line and cause the earthquake as an unintended consequence. There have been reports of minor earthquakes in Port au Prince these last few years of very small magnitudes. They could have caused damage that interconnected with the latest fracking to destabilize the fault line, cause the earthquake.” (And then there’s always the ever present HAARP).

That said, read every word of this article. Then move to the articles in Part 1, including one on Clinton’s reasons for being there, “Deep Water ports built to take tanker off-loads from other oil or Haitian oil sources.” Part 2 also provides you with a detailed history of US privatizing while Haiti battles for its life, struggling with human trafficking, abduction of children for slave labor and pedophilia. Frankly, I can’t write it any better than Ms. Danto and her fellow Haitian writers, whose hearts are as deep as the ocean, intellect clear as the Haitian sky, souls angry as the island hurricanes.

Beyond that look for a significant article from Part 2, Haiti’s Riches: Interview with Ezili Danto on Mining in Haiti. This interview goes beyond oil and gas to the US and other foreign powers mining for gold, copper, uranium, bauxite, and other natural resources in Haiti. Her comments note the potential environmental impact, poisoning of water, air, earth, and people, in the mining processes. It also deals with the absence of significant payment to the Haitian people for their resources, but rather using the people as low-paid, slave laborers to extract and give away their own national wealth. It’s the awful irony of colonialism revisited.

It includes tales of US deal-making with puppet governments under the first coup d’etat from 1991-4 (under Bush Sr.), and from the last coup d’etat in 2004 (under Bush Jr.). The 10-year period between coups, during which the duly elected Aristide was Haiti’s president, were halcyon years for Haiti. But Aristide, a catholic priest, was kidnapped after the last coup from his own country by US operatives. Consequently, the misery, human and natural, severely intensified by 2008.

This interview comes also with a call for accountability, transparency, and laws for a fair share of financial reparations to the people of Haiti. Danto points out that her people are not beggars, except through the actions of their foreign oppressors, primarily the US. This article, as the others, is well worth your time and attention. It will take the wind out of the sails of our current media rhetoric, projecting ourselves as Haiti’s benefactors fallen like angels from the sky.

In fact, Danto writes, “imposed famine from fraudulent ‘free trade’ policies are destroying Haitian food sovereignty, increasing violence and organized kidnappings, drug-dealings and arms trafficking, and, perhaps genocide and forced sterilization by this wholesale foreign-foreign-imposed (UNICEF/WHO [World Health Organization] $10 million dollar) vaccination program in UN occupied Haiti).” This is excerpted from Danto’s Note “Genocide by vaccination in Haiti” and “Is this a way to sterilize women, as was done to Puerto Rican women?” from June 15, 2008.

Let me sign off now, so you can get to read these links. Class is out. Life begins again, with all of us trying to make a united effort to help Haiti grab the helm of its future, and not drown in the schemes and avarice of the giant from the north, including some Canadian sharpies. They constitute, as Danto says, “the UN/US military proxy occupation securing oil/gas reserves from Haiti. The wealthy, powerful and well-armed . . . robbing the Haitian people blind.” In short, Danto’s writings and press-clippings constitute one of the few sources in the world where you will find these crimes against humanity so explicitly described.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. Reach him at


Greg L said...

This is quite interesting. Haiti is always painted as such a "poor" country, yet there seems to be an inordinate amount of interest in what goes on there. This is certainly food for thought. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

If it is true about Haiti'S Riches why their keep it secret,or their shame, my opinion Is time for Haitian put themself togheter,their will suprise

Changeseeker said...

If Haiti has riches, this article suggests that they're owned by U.S. corporations. That's why the U.S. government needed to get rid of Aristide. He would probably have taken a "Haiti for Haitians" stance and the corporations wouldn't have been in control any more.