[News] Haiti Ten Years After the Earthquake

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jan 27 10:47:22 EST 2020


/As we commemorate the 10^th  anniversary of the terrible earthquake 
that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, we extend our solidarity to the 
people of Puerto Rico who have experienced the devastation caused by 
Hurricane Maria in 2017 and the recent series of earthquakes.  As in 
Haiti, these natural disasters have been exacerbated by colonial 
occupation, and the denial and misuse of aid.  Recovery cannot proceed 
without decolonization and true democracy.  One struggle, one fight. /

*Haiti Ten Years after the Earthquake*

**

January 12th marked 10 years since the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that 
killed more than 300,000 people, and left an estimated 1.3 million more 
homeless. Much of the greater Port-au-Prince region lay in ruins, 
including the presidential palace, 17 of 19 ministries, and many schools 
and hospitals. Entire neighborhoods leveled. Power out. Roads blocked 
with rubble, some still not removed.

Generous people worldwide, including half of all registered voters in 
the United States, donated $3 billion to NGOs, as part of the total of 
$16.3 billion spent or promised for earthquake relief, but most of this 
money never reached Haitians on the ground. Also figures vary by source, 
and we really don’t know a lot about where much of the money went. By 
the end of 2018, $7.54 billion had been dispersed by donors, with little 
to no accountability for how or where it was spent, much of it on 
projects that did not directly benefit Haiti or Haitians. Many countries 
never gave what they promised. Of the money pledged, $972M was for debt 
relief – money Haiti never had in the first place. NGOs used much of 
their $3 billion for overhead (spent in the countries where they are 
based) or left money unspent. The American Red Cross received $486 
million, took out25% for its own internal expenses, built 6 houses, and 
used some of what was donated for Haiti in other countries.The Clinton 
Bush Fund spent $2 million building a luxury hotel for business 
travelers.  The biggest investment went into the Caracol Industrial 
Park, more than 130 miles from Port-au-Prince, which today provides only 
a fraction of the sweatshop jobs promised.

The United States government militarized the emergency aid. They sent in 
thousands of troops to provide “security,” when Haitians needed food, 
water, and medical care. There had been no security crisis at all. Even 
a U.S. general noted things were “relatively calm.” The airport was so 
clogged unloading military personnel and supplies, that Doctors Without 
Borders said that five of its cargo flights carrying 85 tons of medical 
and relief supplies were turned away and had to be shipped into Haiti by 
ground from the Dominican Republic. Flights from the World Food Program 
were delayed up to two days.

In the meantime, Haitians were taking matters into their own hands, 
organizing themselves into popular committees to clean up, to pull 
bodies from the rubble, build refugee camps, and provide for security. 
Grassroots women’s organizations that permeate Haitian communities 
mobilized to contend with the collective loss of already vulnerable 
housing, water, food, and livelihoods. Many of these resourceful 
organizers belonged to the /Lavalas/ movement of President Jean-Bertrand 
Aristide, twice elected by huge majorities, but overthrown by military 
coups in 1991 and 2004, and this is what the United States government 
and the Haitian elites feared the most. Instead of distributing 
emergency supplies to those who could deliver them most effectively, the 
thrust of militarized “relief” was to /prevent/ supplies from reaching 
those who could help the most, out of a distrust of Haitians, the 
dismissal of their ability to rebuild and direct their own 
reconstruction, and the fear they might actually succeed. And in case 
any mass demonstrations developed in the streets, U.S. and U.N. 
occupation troops were there to put them down.

The United States pledged $940M by the end of September, 2010, but 
almost half, $465 million, went through the Defense Department as 
reimbursement for their expenses. Of $2.43 billion in donations that 
came in by the end of 2010, at least 93% went back to the UN or NGOs to 
pay for supplies and personnel, or never left the donor states at all. 
$151 million was completely unaccounted for. Only 1% - $24 million, went 
to the Haitian government.

The United States seized on the earthquake as a pretext to reinforce its 
neoliberal economic agenda on Haiti. And the Haitian earthquake proved 
to be highly lucrative to foreign businesses. In the private sector, of 
nearly $1 billion spent in US government contracts for postquake Haiti 
by April, 2011, only 23 of 1490 contracts went to Haitian firms for a 
total of $4.8 million. Through 2018 the US Agency for International 
Development (USAID) awarded $2.3 billion, but only 2.3% of it went 
directly to Haitian organizations or companies. A Haitian official 
commented, “We are the ones accused of corruption for the money we don’t 
receive.”

In spite of all efforts to marginalize them, the Haitian grassroots 
movement has only grown stronger in the ten years since the quake. Their 
advocacy led to the return of President Aristide from exile in South 
Africa in 2011, but all they could do to stop the imposition of Michel 
Martelly as president was to not vote. Aristide’s /Fanmi Lavalas/ Party 
was still banned from participating in elections, because it was 
understood they would win. Despite the record low turnout, the world 
powers recognized Martelly, who began his administration of repression, 
theft, corruption, and the selling off of Haitian land and resources.

Upon his return, Aristide and his wife and colleague, Mildred Trouillot 
Aristide, reopened the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA), 
which has now graduated its second class. UNIFA has Schools of Medicine, 
Nursing, Physical Therapy, Engineering, Dentistry, Law and Continuing 
Education, and is raising funds to build a teaching hospital. Radio and 
Tele Timoun operate from the Aristide Foundation and provide news to 
counter the monopoly news corporations.

But the United States, the United Nations, and the Haitian elites still 
fear the popular movement, and have turned to increasingly brutal 
tactics to suppress it. In a completely corrupt election cycle in 
2015/2016, /Fanmi Lavalas/ was allowed to run candidates, but they were 
prevented from winning through massive voter suppression and fraud. The 
electoral council named a completely unqualified Jovenel Moise 
president, stopping a recount in mid-process. Haitians have been in the 
streets ever since in protest.

Now it’s been discovered that $4.2 billion has disappeared from 
Petrocaribe funds. Venezuela has been selling Haiti oil at discounted 
prices through its Petrocaribe program, initiated by the government of 
Hugo Chavez, with the understanding that Haiti will sell the oil at 
market rate and use the profit to finance infrastructure and economic 
development. Instead the Martelly and Moise regimes have stolen it, and 
the protests have only grown stronger calling on the imposed president 
Moise to resign.

Instead Moise has dug in and is refusing to leave. Police, under the 
control of the United Nations, and death squads reminiscent of the 
/tonton macoutes/ of the Duvalier dictatorships operate with impunity. 
In November, 2018, they massacred at least 77 people and possibly many 
more whose bodies were not found, in the historically militant 
neighborhood of La Saline. 
<https://secureservercdn.net/50.62.88.95/65c.874.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/The-Lasalin-Massacre-ONLINE-7-11-19-Nat-NLG-2.pdf>They 
attack demonstrations, and on June 24, 2019 fired into a crowd of 
protesters, killing as many as 30 people. Moise is now hiring foreign 
mercenaries as well to control and terrorize the population.

Haiti needs massive solidarity to support the grassroots movement 
calling for the overthrow of the Moise regime, and the creation of a 
society based on democracy and economic equality. There is almost no 
informed media coverage of Haiti now.Haiti Action Committee is working 
to Make Haiti Visible and to support the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund 
-*www.haitiemergencyrelief.org <http://www.haitiemergencyrelief.org> *- 
which will get donations to the people on the ground doing the work to 
fulfill the dream of the 1804 revolution that has been suppressed ever 
since. Please join with us.

-- 
sent by Haiti Action Committee

<https://haitisolidarity.net/donate/>


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