Haiti: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Guinea, U.S. baseball industry, divorces and blood export, Haitian refugees.



The U.S. baseball industry exploits cheap Haitian labor for sewing the leather covers on the baseballs. All U.S. baseballs are now produced in Haiti.

Quickie divorces and the export of blood plasma have both come under scrutiny. The divorce business, booming since Mexico ceased to offer divorces in 1971, is criticized as drawing the wrong kind of tourists, and the blood plasma export is considered rank exploitation of poor Haitians, who receive $4 and a bottle of soda pop for 1 1/2 pints of blood.

Haitian refugees, who have been arriving on U.S. and Bahamian shores in leaking boats, are posing a problem for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Claiming to be political refugees fleeing the repressive Haitian regime, they seek asylum in the U.S. The INS, insisting that this is merely a pretext to enter the U.S., calls them economic refugees who are taking jobs away from Americans. However, since the U.S. is simultaneously welcoming planeloads of Cuban economic refugees, moves to deport the Haitians strike many as hypocritical.

Toussaint L'Ouverture (also spelled Louver-ture), was a freed man who, born into slavery in 1743, had received an education from his master. Able and intelligent, he had long been concerned over the plight of black slaves. He had early gained some influence in the slave community through his knowledge of herbs--some blacks believed him associated with the gods. When the Revolution broke out, he 1st aided his master's family to escape to the U.S., then organized an army of some 4,000 blacks and joined the revolt. He was a brilliant military strategist who easily gained prominence in the struggles that followed. However, the expedition sent by Napoleon to reconquer the colony succeeded in tricking him--he arrived nearly alone at a meeting, was captured, bound, and shipped to France. There he died in jail of combined neglect and abuse at the hands of his jailers, on April 7,1803.

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