At least 6,000 protesters have marched through Haiti’s capital to demand lower fuel prices and the ouster of President Michel Martelly.
The protest in Port-au-Prince on Saturday remained peaceful overall although police threw tear gas and dispersed a crowd that had burned rubbish and tires in the street to block traffic. Continue reading
It isn’t exactly the towering 20-foot wall that runs like a scar through significant parts of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. Imagine instead the sort of metal police barricades you see at protests. These are unevenly lined up like so many crooked teeth on the Dominican Republic’s side of the river that acts as its border with Haiti. Like dazed versions of U.S. Border Patrol agents, the armed Dominican border guards sit at their assigned posts, staring at the opposite shore. There, on Haitian territory, children splash in the water and women wash clothes on rocks.
One of those CESFRONT (Specialized Border Security Corps) guards, carrying an assault rifle, is walking six young Haitian men back to the main base in Dajabon, which is painted desert camouflage as if it were in a Middle Eastern war zone.
If the scene looks like a five-and-dime version of what happens on the U.S. southern border, that’s because it is. The enforcement model the Dominican Republic uses to police its boundary with Haiti is an import from the United States. Continue reading
by Ryan Villarreal, International Business Times, October 31 2012
Haiti is suffering one of the worst impacts of Hurricane Sandy as torrential rains and flooding damaged more than 70 percent of the country’s crops, further weakening its already insecure food supply.
Hurricane Sandy caused major flooding in Haiti, resulting at least 52 deaths and damaging more than 70 percent of the country’s crops.
Staple crops like maize, plantains and bananas have been affected, which means Haiti will have to rely even more on increasingly expensive food imports as record summer droughts have driven up prices.
By Bill Quigley
07 October, 2011
Broken and collapsed buildings remain in every neighborhood. Men pull oxcarts by hand through the street. Women carry 5 gallon plastic jugs of water on their heads, dipped from manhole covers in the street. Hundreds of thousands remain in grey sheet and tarp covered shelters in big public parks, in between houses and in any small pocket of land. Most of the people are unemployed or selling mangoes or food on the side of every main street. This was Port au Prince during my visit with a human rights delegation of School of Americas Watch – more than a year and a half after the earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and made two million homeless.
What I did not see this week were bulldozers scooping up the mountains of concrete remaining from last January’s earthquake. No cranes lifting metal beams up to create new buildings. No public works projects. No housing developments. No public food or public water distribution centers. Continue reading
Weekly News Update
Residents of Caracol, a village in Haiti’s Northeast department, say they were never consulted or even warned about plans to build a huge new “free trade zone” (FTZ, a complex of assembly plants) on land where many of them have been farming for some 20 years. “It’s the most fertile area we have at Caracol,” resident Renel Pierre told journalist Sylvestre Fils Dorcilus. “It’s inconceivable and unacceptable that the government could choose this part of the land to set up an industrial park.”
The Parc industriel du Nord (Northern Industrial Park, PIN) is a joint project of the US government, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, or BID in French and Spanish) and South Korea’s leading apparel manufacturer, Sae-A Trading Co. Ltd. Together, they are putting some $300 million into the FTZ, which promoters claim will generate 20,000 jobs in the short term and 65,000 jobs over time. The Haitian government provided the land, which it says is state property; the administration of former president René Préval (1996-2001 and 2006-2011) promised to compensate the peasants who have been using it. Continue reading
Earthquake shook everything but the system!
Toussaint Louverture International Airport has returned to good health, clean and almost welcoming. It has escalators and duty-free shops. Jet bridges take you straight from your plane into the terminal, as never happened before the earthquake of 12 January 2010. It gives you hope that reconstruction has begun, or is beginning; the promised billions might have finally hit their first targets. You imagine the bulldozers, the diggers and the site trucks at work: perhaps these explain the traffic snarl-up that the taxi driver immediately tells you is a permanent fixture.
But no: rebuilding the airport is the only project to take shape in almost 12 months, backed by clearing the main urban arteries. Reconstruction has not yet started. Unlike the once solid buildings of now devastated Port-au-Prince, the grip of politicians and notables who have strangled Haiti for two centuries managed to withstand the earthquake. They’ve even stolen the word “reform”, which framed the social movement’s projected rebuilding of the institutions and state structures, and emptied it of meaning. For the moment, “reform” equals “staying just the same”. Continue reading
Pambazuka News, November 10, 2010
For the last twenty years, the most powerful political and economic interests in and around Haiti have waged a systematic campaign designed to stifle the popular movement and deprive it of its principal weapons, resources and leaders,’ writes Peter Hallward. January’s earthquake ‘triggered reactions that carried and that are still carrying such measures to entirely new levels.’
Just before 5pm on Tuesday 12 January 2010, Haiti’s capital city and the surrounding area were devastated by the most catastrophic earthquake in the history of the hemisphere. The scale of the destruction was overwhelming.
According to the most widely cited estimates, around 220,000 people perished and more than 300,000 suffered horrific injuries, leading to many thousands of amputations. Stories told by the bereaved defy summary. Perhaps as many as 200,000 buildings were destroyed, including 70 per cent of the city’s schools.
Today, more than half a year after the disaster in which they lost their homes and virtually all their belongings, around 1.5 million people continue to live in makeshift camps with few or no essential services, with few or no jobs, and with few or no prospects of any significant improvement in the near future.
Although the earthquake has no precedent in Haitian history, the factors that magnified its impact, and the responses it has solicited, are all too familiar. They are part and parcel of the fundamental conflict that has structured the last thirty years of Haitian history: The conflict between pèp la (the people, the poor) and members of the privileged elite, along with the armed forces and international collaborators who defend them. Continue reading