Securing disaster: The US repeats past mistakes in Haiti

Securing disaster: The US repeats past mistakes in Haiti

One week after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, it’s now clear that the initial phase of the US-led relief operation has conformed to the three fundamental tendencies that have shaped the more general course of the island’s recent history. It has adopted military priorities and strategies. It has sidelined Haiti’s government and ignored the needs of the majority of its people. And it has proceeded in ways that reinforce the already harrowing gap between rich and poor. These three tendencies aren’t just connected, they are mutually reinforcing – and they look likely to continue to govern the imminent reconstruction effort unless determined political action is taken to avoid them.

Haiti is the only country where slaves won their own independence, in a war that left a third of the population dead and the economy in ruins. Today it is not only one of the poorest countries in the world, it is also one of the most polarised and unequal – in terms of wealth as well as access to political power. A small clique of rich and well-connected families continues to dominate the country and its economy, while the vast majority of the population live on less than $2 a day. [continued…]

Haiti earthquake: aid agencies fear child trafficking

Aid agencies continued to warn against adopting children from Haiti today, amid unconfirmed reports that a number of children who had gone missing from hospitals in the devastated country may have been trafficked.

An adviser for Unicef told reporters that about 15 children had disappeared from hospitals, presumed taken.

Jean Luc Legrand was quoted as saying: “Unicef has been working in Haiti for many years and we knew the problem with the trade of children in Haiti which existed before, and unfortunately many of these trade networks have links with the international adoption ‘market’.” [continued…]

More than 150,000 have been buried, Haiti says

Haiti’s government provided a preliminary assessment of the earthquake’s body count on Saturday, putting it at more than 150,000, and declared that the search for survivors trapped in the rubble would soon be coming to an end.

Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue, Haiti’s culture and communications minister, said that 150,000 bodies from the streets had been collected and buried in the past 11 days.

She also said that there were at least 250,000 people homeless and that 200,000 residents of Port-au-Prince and its outskirts had moved to the provinces since the earthquake hit. [continued…]

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  1. Sirs,

    Disclosure: I was born in Israel, Jewish parents & upbringing, emigrated w parents to Canada at 13 yrs and have lived there for 48 yrs. An entrepreneur during most of my “gainful” time, I nevertheless espouse the left and am a progressive humanist who regularly reads The Nation, Harper’s, and Mother Jone’s and consider the west-bank settlements, as well as, Israel’s occupation and much of its treatment of the occupied abhorrent.
    My anti-theism [note the carefully chosen qualifier], criticisms of my native land, and [in particular] of reflexive NA Jewish support of Israel have alienated friends and family members for as long as 30 yrs – I have articles and letters to editor to prove it – but have NOT rendered me totally insensitive to counter-arguments. Hopefully neither has your bent entirely shut-off critical thinking of the retrospective sort; if it had not then you’ll consider the following.
    The disclaimer “If I came up with a headline claiming the devastation in Haiti is “good for the Jews”, I could reasonably be accused of being anti-Semitic.” does not exculpate you [as is clearly your intention] from poor taste or even worse. It’s one thing for the Israeli newspaper or a charitable organization’s spokes-person to be gauche, indelicate, or racist, and yes it’s true that you merely quoted accurately, but when the question is asked “WHY?” and you genuinely examine the reasoning behind and/or motives involved in the re-publication of that story (and, in particular, that negative, almost irrelevant, aspect of a much larger and benevolent story) on your site you might discover some uncomfortable truth. If you cogitate enough you might also determine that, analogous to the refrain about “just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone out there trying to ‘get me’”, sometimes those odiously reflexive “anti-Semite” criers do actually hit the mark – I actually think that the old parable about the ‘Boy who Cried Wolf’ should be updated to be called “The Jew who Cried Anti-Semites!”
    BTW, I only came upon this piece in trying to connect some dots regarding your excellent commentary regarding the history of Haiti abuse by the US.