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Haiti Then and Now

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SharynS
Post Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:17 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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By John Reimann

Already, their priorities are being revealed; the focus is to airlift Americans out and troops in, rather than to bring in food, water and medical supplies. As Jarry Emmanuel of the World Food Program commented on the US priorities at the airport, Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed. In the coming days, it will be interesting to see how US forces coordinate with the aid efforts of Venezuela and Cuba. Already, the Heritage Fund, a major right-wing US think tank, has called for one objective in Haiti to be to counter influence of those two countries in Haiti.

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Last edited by SharynS on Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Laboryes
Post Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:29 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 2055
Sharyn, I see you liked John's piece as much as I did!

Thank you for giving it a thread of it's own. John is an amazing person IMO.

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SharynS
Post Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:56 am

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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And here we go. Doctors Without Borders... ...Blocked From Landing in Port-au-Prince

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Laboryes
Post Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:22 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 2055
Peoples Solidarity with Haiti
- Make Demands on the U.S. Government


Statement from the International Action Center - www.IACenter.org

The International Action Center expresses its full solidarity with the Haitian people at this time of greatest crisis following the devastating Jan.12 earthquake. In the Haitian capital, tens of thousands of lives have been lost and the lives of hundreds of thousands of additional people are at stake. It is essential that there be an all-out effort for immediate and massive humanitarian relief effort.

Tons of supplies could be parachuted to desperate people in immediate need of food and especially water. The delivery of this essential aid, plus the placement of rescue and medical teams must be the priority. Dozens of countries from all over the world, rich and poor, immediately sent hundreds of doctors and emergency medical teams and search and rescue teams and supplies. Cuba already had 344 health workers in Haiti and is ready to send 152 more.

Because the United States is the most powerful and wealthiest country in the world and is so near to Haiti , it is almost inevitable that many will look to Washington to lead the rescue effort. And with all concerned for immediate relief for the Haitians, it will be easy to ignore the political realities both before the calamity and in its aftermath. These realities, however, will continue to affect the future of Haiti , and all of us should keep them in mind.

1. Haiti is the poorest and least developed country in the hemisphere, everyone repeats. That is true, but it is because Haiti has been occupied by U.S. imperialism again and again. In 2004 in a coup, planned from Washington and supported by troops from France and Canada , President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a president democratically elected by over 75 % of the vote was kidnapped and removed. The U.S. still prevents President Aristide from returning to Haiti from South Africa , where he is exiled. The U.S. set up an occupation of Haiti under UN command. Six years of this UN occupation has done nothing to develop Haiti or improve its infrastructure. Instead it has led to still greater poverty and hunger and higher debt.

2. The Pentagon is controlling the U.S. intervention in the disaster. Its priority is not the rapid delivery of food and water, but the establishment of a beachhead of 2,200 Marines and 3,500 paratroopers, now increased to 10,000 military to police the Haitian population. This military has a dual role that includes delivery of aid, but its main role is repression and control, just as it is in Afghanistan , Iraq and other occupied countries. Jarry Emmanuel of World Food Organization stated: “There are 200 flights going in and out every day. But most of those flights are for the U.S. military. Their priorities are to secure the country. Ours are to feed.”

3. President Barack Obama has appointed not only Bill Clinton but also George W. Bush in charge of raising support for the U.S. relief effort. It was Bush -- probably the most hated of U.S. presidents worldwide -- who cynically delayed relief efforts and allowed the people of New Orleans to drown following the Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and who presided over the kidnapping and enforced exile of President Aristide.

4. From 1804, when the first successful slave revolution in history drove out the French colonialists and slave masters, until the present, Washington has continually imposed sanctions, debt repayments and military intervention in an attempt to crush Haitian independence. The U.S. directly occupied the country from 1915 to 1934 and again in the last 20 years.

5. The $100 million President Obama promised sounds like a lot of money, but it is tiny compared to the amount the rulers of France and the United States stole from Haiti and its people over centuries. It is a fraction of the $1 billion that Haitian workers in the diaspora send home to their families every year. It is less than what the U.S. spends in 5 hours for the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq . It is far less than 1% of the $18 billion that Goldman Sacks executives will receive in bonuses after a $700 billion bailout of the banks.

6. The IMF immediately gave a $100 million loan to Haiti . This is an outrage and a crime. Haiti ’s debts are already unsustainable. Hundreds of millions in debts remain from the U.S. imposed Pap Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier dictatorships. IMF required ‘structural adjustments’ have forced Haiti from sustainable agriculture to cash crops for the rich, raised the price of electricity, leaving millions in the dark and frozen pay on vital social services of doctors, nurses, teachers, public transit and infrastructure.

Millions of people in solidarity with the Haitian people are making great efforts to send emergency supplies. The Haitian people themselves are organizing and gathering desperately needed supplies. Along with emergency peoples relief efforts there must be peoples’ demands on the U.S. government and the powerful corporations.

In light of the above points, the International Action Center proposes the following demands:

* Immediate delivery of food, water and medical supplies, not military occupation;
* Allow the return of democratically elected President Aristide to Haiti and restore his government,
* Reparations from the U.S. , France and Canada so that Haitians can take charge of the relief effort and invite the international assistance of their choice;
* Immediate Cancelation of Haiti ’s debts
* Immediate asylum for all Haitians in the United States
* Permission for Haitian residents of the U.S. to go to Haiti to help their families and to return to the U.S. ;
* Self-determination for Haiti .


International Action Center
55 W. 17th St, # 5C, New York , NY 10011
212-633-6646
www.IACenter.org

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Laboryes
Post Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 4:45 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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Give bankers' bonus money to Haiti

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wm pasz
Post Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:17 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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Location: Toronto
At the risk of being the proverbial turd in the punch bowl, I'm having trouble buying Reimann's suggestion that the difficulties currently experienced in bringing aid to this devastated country are part of some nefarious plot by the neo-liberals to do something ... nefarious. It would be helpful if Reimann provided some insight into just who it is that's lurking behind the alleged plot and for what purpose. This country was looted of its resources long ago and has no social safety net to speak of. There's nothing there to take, nobody to rob and no social infrastructure to unravel. The Bilderbergers/Illuminati/33 degree Masons etal just aren't interested.

That various political outfits, whether American, Cuban or from Mars, might be popping off with their usual rhetoric is just the normal noises they make when some media face-time is in the offing.

On top of that, Reimann's musing about a resurgence of a labour movement and working class activism in Haiti shows he doesn't have much of a clue about what's really going on there. 80% of the population lived in abject poverty before the quake. There was no labour movement or working class because - duh - nobody was working.

I have a much more plausible theory for the difficulties the aid workers are experiencing. First of all, the main airport is a rickety piece of crap that can't handle a small fraction of the air traffic that's trying to get in. For those who aren't aware of this, landing planes isn't quite like parking buses. There's a lot more that needs to be taken into account logistically. Secondly, it makes perfect sense to send the military workers in there first. This society has devolved into outright barbarism. How long do you think that aid workers and materials would last without a well-organized security presence and without restoration of order? Let's get real.

It may also interest Reimann and others to know that substantial work is already going on "on the ground" to bring food, water, medical care and other necessities to the Haitians. The scale of the destruction and the resulting chaos.

While there's no question that Haiti's economic and social issues are the product of many factors including the historical issues that Reimann mentions, it seems to me that spinning the efforts of many thousands of first responders to help this devastated country into a platform for harebrained conspiracy theories is really kind of offensive. IMHO this is at the same level of coherent thinking as the Obama birther "movement".

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SharynS
Post Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:39 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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There you have it Ly, another reason to "like" John's article, totally worthy of discussion/debate. In the wake of the disaster i too went with just do it. But once you look at the shear logistics of this thing you get a sense of how quickly a relief effort could fall apart.

That's not to say there isn't room for conspiracy. Anyone else wonder, when we have all the resources needed at our finger tips, why it is we wait until there is a disaster of this magnitude to give until it hurts - everyone.

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the doc
Post Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 9:54 pm

Joined: 27 Sep 2006
Posts: 121
It is really sad when you see the devestation in Haiti,and the help is slow getting there. The fact remains that all that is needed just does not go poof and is there. All of the needs that must be met, must be done safely for the all the people involved. I have a question though, where the hell is the president of that country? I don't know if he was killed in the quake or not, but no word from him. Did he jump in his private jet and fly away as is usually the case? Make no mistake, this country is being kept right where the U.S. Government wants it. They pay to get their guy into office, and nobody else. It is sad I think that the good old CIA could not have been at ground zero on that day. Then maybe a better Haiti might just arise from all this. In all the abject poverty that one sees and then to look at a pic of the presidential palace (now in ruins) it is really sickening. The people need to look around and see what is going on and get rid of what is wrong in that
country and then start again. Sad
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atuuschaaw
Post Posted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:38 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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Location: an ahwangan
Best thing I've read so far" : Haiti 2010: An Unwelcome Katrina Redux..By Cynthia McKinney.

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Laboryes
Post Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:46 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 2055
wm pasz wrote:
This country was looted of its resources long ago and has no social safety net to speak of. There's nothing there to take, nobody to rob and no social infrastructure to unravel.



Wanda the link AT posted by Former Rep. Cynthia McKinney seems to contradict your theory of nothing else to"loot" from Haiti. Thoughts?

Cynthia McKinney wrote:

Quote:
"There is evidence that the United States found oil in Haiti decades ago and due to the geopolitical circumstances and big business interests of that era made the decision to keep Haitian oil in reserve for when Middle Eastern oil had dried up. This is detailed by Dr. Georges Michel in an article dated March 27, 2004 outlining the history of oil explorations and oil reserves in Haiti and in the research of Dr. Ginette and Daniel Mathurin.

"There is also good evidence that these very same big US oil companies and their inter-related monopolies of engineering and defense contractors made plans, decades ago, to use Haiti's deep water ports either for oil refineries or to develop oil tank farm sites or depots where crude oil could be stored and later transferred to small tankers to serve U.S. and Caribbean ports. This is detailed in a paper about the Dunn Plantation at Fort Liberte in Haiti.


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Laboryes
Post Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 4:23 am

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
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The latest, totally predictably, is that the news is starting to fill with pictures of desperate people fighting over a sack of rice that some benevolent Red Cross employee is handing out. What they won't explain is that they made these people starve for a week first, driving them to desperation.

Another factor is that while some non-profit groups there have been working in communities for years and have connections with the people in the community, it's the big aid groups that are distributing the food in the main, and these groups have no such connections, so they're coming in as complete outsiders.

See this link for a good interview on the subject:

http://www.democracynow.org/2010/1/22/security_red_zones_in_haiti_preventing

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SharynS
Post Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:48 pm

Joined: 28 Jan 2006
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Location: the 'puter
Some things to think about from F. William Engdahl

The Fateful Geological Prize Called Haiti
Quote:
Leaving aside the relevant question of how well in advance the Pentagon and US scientists knew the quake was about to occur, and what Pentagon plans were being laid before January 12, another issue emerges around the events in Haiti that might help explain the bizarre behavior to date of the major ‘rescue’ players—the United States, France and Canada. Aside from being prone to violent earthquakes, Haiti also happens to lie in a zone that, due to the unusual geographical intersection of its three tectonic plates, might well be straddling one of the world’s largest unexplored zones of oil and gas, as well as of valuable rare strategic minerals.


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Free speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game. Free speech is life itself. - Salman Rushdie
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Laboryes
Post Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:56 pm

Joined: 29 Jan 2006
Posts: 2055
You know sometimes it's just truly fucking embarrassing to be an American...

Quote:
The trailer industry and lawmakers are pressing the government to send Haiti thousands of potentially formaldehyde-laced trailers left over from Hurricane Katrina — an idea denounced by some as a crass and self-serving attempt to dump inferior American products on the poor.


Read more if you can stomach it

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"When people refuse to obey, then democracy comes alive."
Howard Zinn
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