Rhum Barbancourt – Haiti’s Best Known Export


Haiti. Most of you had never heard of it before the earthquake a couple of years ago. Following that disaster, the ravaged island was been plastered all over CNN and other major news networks. Celebs like Sean Penn and Kim “The Butt” Kardashian have seemingly taken over Haiti’s public relations – making the poorest country in the Westeren Hemisphere their latest “cause célèbre.” Mr. Ciccone-Wright-Penn is prolly still big pimpin’ in his outboard-motored aluminum skiff, pump-shotgun at the ready, while tossing out cases of rice and beans. Makes the heart warm, don’t it? K.K. on the other hand, seems perfectly content, simply parading her perfectly juicy ass around for additional photo ops and exploitation. They’re not the only ones taking advantage of the poor trying to help a brother out; they’re just at the forefront of attention is all.

Those who did know a little somethin’ about Haiti prior to the Earthquake, at least knew that it was Columbus’ first stop in 1492 (then known as Hispaniola). Questioned further, most of those folks would rattle off mindlessly degrading and crazy myths like (a) “Oh yeah. Those dudes like to get their beastiality on with monkeys. That’s where A.I.D.S. came from” (b) “You’re Haitian? You practice Voodoo, right?” and (c) “Hades? Isn’t that where the devil kicks it?”

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Yep. This.

I have mixed views on racism.  I should first state that I am a minority… “It only takes a drop.”  I was born in the U.S. to Haitian immigrants.  My parents came here in the early 60′s to escape a doomed country, political strife, economic misery, complete governmental corruption, lawlessness, rape, murder, maiming and lack of infrastructure.  They came to escape 400 years plundering and lack of opportunity.  

But primarily, they came to avoid a witch hunt by “Tonton Macoutes” (Duvalier’s version – at right – of the “Schutzstaffel“), whose aim was to mutilate and kill anyone who was even under the suspicion of speaking out against the government.  It all culminated in something called the “Jérémie Vespers” in which several of my Grandfather’s direct relatives were rounded up and executed.  Long story.  My family decided it was best to then get the hell out of dodge. 

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