Our independent media tend to ignore grassroots struggles in Latin America and the Caribbean until something happens that gets them covered by NPR or the New York Times.
by David L. Wilson, World War 4 Report
May 1, 2010
During several days in early August 2009, thousands of Haitian workers walked off their jobs at assembly plants near the airport in northern Port-au-Prince and marched into the center of the city to demand an increase in the national minimum wage. Supported by public university students—who back in June had added the wage increase to their own list of demands—the strikers tied up traffic, surrounded government offices, tore down United Nations flags, and threw rocks at vehicles of the 9,000-member UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), a military force which has occupied Haiti since 2004. At one point the vehicle carrying US embassy chargé d'affaires Thomas Tighe was damaged, although the embassy insisted he hadn't been a target of the protests.
These dramatic protests barely got a mention in the US corporate media. This is not surprising: US opinion makers want us to believe that the workers, mostly young women who stitch garments for big US and Canadian apparel companies, are grateful for the chance to work at backbreaking jobs for starvation wages (they were calling for a raise to $5 a day). In fact, just as the workers were protesting, former U.S. president Bill Clinton, now the UN special envoy for Haiti, was pushing a plan to expand Haiti's assembly plant sector. Thousands of wildcat strikers marching on the capital clearly had no place in the corporate narrative.
What is more surprising is the apparent silence of the progressive US media about the protests. [...]
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