AIDS Activist Danny Glover’s Labor of Love
(BlackDoctor.org) — As the rest of the world watched Haiti begin its arduous climb out of the chaos of last year’s catastrophic earthquake, veteran actor, humanitarian and Black AIDS Institute board member Danny Glover took one look at all the developments and shook his head.
As he saw it, U.S. military personnel had moved in a little too quickly to take control of the country’s rescue and recovery efforts, and now they were at the forefront of the island’s peacekeeping operations too, beating countries like France, the United Kingdom and China to the punch.
While many in the Haitian government have responded positively to U.S. efforts to help the country regain stability, Glover is concerned about potential underlying motives. He says we may be overlooking what could be the United States’ covert attempt at neocolonialism.
“Twenty thousand troops on the ground, and you can’t get water and food to the people?” he asked. “We have to make sure this is not a militarization process all under the guise of security. … Rescuers were coming from all over Latin America–Brazil, Venezuela–[and] even Europe to help Haiti. And yet the U.S. has control over the airspace and determines who lands and doesn’t land there. This is of concern to a lot of people.”
It’s hard to fault Glover for being a bit protective. A longtime fan of the island–Latin America’s first independent nation and the world’s first Black-led republic–the actor fell in love with Haiti when he first traveled there in 1973 for a dose of culture and history.
“Before I went, I didn’t know anything about the Haitian revolution,” he said. “I didn’t know anything [about] its heroes: Toussaint L’Ouverture, Jean-Jacques Dessalines and others. But I came to learn that the U.S. played a role in undermining Haiti’s sovereignty over the years. It purposely attempted to maintain a relationship [with Haiti] that would bring about a legacy of instability.”