Politics of The Earthquake:
Respect the People of Haiti
January 18, 2010
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Politics of The Earthquake: Respect the People of Haiti

By Robert Roth
Haiti Action Committee

In June of 2004, I went to Haiti with two other members of the Haiti Action Committee. We were there to investigate the effects of the political earthquake in which the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had been overthrown by a coup orchestrated by the United States, France and Canada.

What we saw still resonates. Hundreds of families who had had to flee their homes in the face of repression, thousands of grass roots activists in prison because of their association with Aristide’s Lavalas movement, literacy projects and schools destroyed, community-based activists forced into exile, Haiti returned to elite control in the name of “stability” and “security”.

We also saw the beginnings of the United Nations occupation, labeled “peacekeeping” by UN (Minustah) authorities, but clearly seen by the popular movement as the beginning of an international take-over of Haiti

The coup devastated Haiti. It shattered the promises of a truly democratic period in Haitian history. It interrupted a process of building schools (more schools were built under Lavalas governments than had been built in all of Haitian history), establishing health clinics and parks in the poorest communities, support for literacy efforts among women, respect for the indigenous religion of Vodou, and a commitment to the development of Haitian agriculture in the face of the flooding of Haitian markets by U.S. goods.

Six years later, here we are. Fanmi Lavalas, the most popular political party in Haiti, has been banned from participating in elections, with the full support of the United States. The Preval government has tailored its policies to what the United States demands, rather than to what the people need. There is a deep fissure between the people and the official government, a deep gap between the occupied and the occupiers.

Yes, the earthquake was a violent natural disaster, presenting overwhelming challenges to any government or any aid responders. Yet, it is clear that this natural disaster — just like that of Hurricane Katrina — is compounded by a political failure, the continuation of generations of assaults against Haiti, and — in particular — a brutal UN/US occupation that has brought to a grinding halt the promise of the Aristide years.

Now we watch the U.S. gear up for a massive military operation in Haiti, while people die due to lack of medicine, or starve while food supplies sit on the airport tarmac. We see the pictures of families digging their relatives out of the rubble, with no aid in sight. We read the usual racist slurs against Haitians, called “scavengers” or “looters” when, after many days with no assistance, they look for food and water in abandoned homes. We read that the problems of Haiti are rooted in “their culture and religious beliefs”, rather than in the harsh realities of colonialism and occupation. We hear CNN reports of a field hospital being ordered out of a community for “security reasons” by the United Nations, even in the face of wounded and dying people. And we read that Doctors Without Borders cargo planes were denied landing space in Port-au-Prince by U.S. military authorities.

This is a time to respect the resiliency and courage of the Haitian people. It is a time for aid, not charity, for solidarity not a U.S. military take-over. And it is a time to return President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to his homeland.

PLEASE DONATE ALL YOU CAN TO COMMUNITY-BASED GROUPS WHO ARE WORKING DAY AND NIGHT TO AID THOSE IN NEED. PLEASE GIVE WHAT YOU CAN TO:

 


see also

Haiti News Watch
AP misrepresents reality of Lavalas exclusion in Haiti elections Nov 29

Two-faced Democracy in HaitiNov 26

Perverted Priorities: Corpses, sham elections, and sweatshops in Haiti Apr 10

Clinton's 'silence' challenged in Haiti Jul 7

U.N. denials in Haiti Jun 30

Lavalas closed the doors again, elections in Haiti a disaster for Lespwa government Jun 27

"Thank you Bill Clinton" — one more assassination by UN troops in Haiti Jun 20

Haiti bids "A Dieu" to Father Jeri and promises "The Struggle continues" Jun 19

Haiti and Miami activists meet to plan for Fr. Jean Juste funeral Jun 17

Mon Père, Remembrances of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste
May 29

HaitiAction.net UPDATE
Reverend Father Gerard Jean-Juste

many past articles, photos and links of our beloved Pér Jean-Juste compiled on one page

Pè Jean Juste: personal remembrances - Respè

Lavalas flexes its muscles in Haiti Apr 20

Poll projects low voter turnout in Haiti: Protests banned by Kevin Pina    Apr 16   

Controversial Senate elections planned in Haiti Apr 6

Fanmi Lavalas: Haiti's largest political party shows no lack of leadership talent Mar2

Thousands march in Haiti demanding return of Aristide Feb 29

Propagandhi: progressive thrash, Haiti and activism on tour Feb 26

Haiti bill calling for investigation of U.S. role in 2004 Coup d'État Feb 5

The rebirth of Konbit in Haiti Dec 17

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Haiti Action Committee pamphlet: We Will Not Forget

 

Contact us: info@haitiaction.org