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Haiti's Sham Elections: Solidifying Imperial Control - by Stephen Lendman
On November 28, first round legislative and presidential elections will be held. As a previous article explained, democracy will be absent because the nation's most popular party, Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas, and 14 others are excluded, the system rigged to install Washington's favorites.
In a September 8, Miami Herald op-ed, Ira Kurzban, an immigration and employment law expert as well as
Aristide's former legal counsel headlined, "Unfair and undemocratic," saying:
"Imagine if (America's) Federal Election Commission disqualified the Democratic and Republican parties from the 2012 presidential election and declared that only candidates of minor parties could run."
"Yet (Haiti's November 28 elections) are just that - unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic."
Haiti's Cholera Epidemic: Mounting Illnesses and Deaths, Inadequate Aid - by Stephen Lendman
Three previous articles on the crisis can be accessed through the following links:
More will follow as events dictate.
In America, especially on TV, Haiti's epidemic gets scant, if any, coverage. In contrast, daily independent news reports are alarming. Yet, despite raging cholera across Haiti, aid is woefully inadequate. A November 19 Doctors With Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres - MSF) press release headlined, "Cholera in Haiti: MSF Calling on All Actors to Step Up Response," saying:
Haiti's Cholera Epidemic Sparks Outrage - by Stephen Lendman
In early November, thousands of Haitians rallied for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's return and presidential hopeful Jean-Henry Ceant in the November 28 elections, one rigged by banning 14 political parties, including Fanmi Lavalas, by far the most popular.
Ceant founded Aimer Haiti (Love Haiti), "a movement uniting and integrating human-centered (principles) and committed to the pursuit of the ideals of unity, solidarity and fraternity to build a new Haiti on the basis of shared responsibility, social justice, peace and economic progress for all."
Cholera Outbreak Hits Port-au-Prince - by Stephen Lendman
On November 9, Haiti Libre said city authorities examined at least 120 suspected cases, mostly in Cite Soleil, the extremely impoverished, densely populated community home to around 400,000. More vulnerable from Hurricane Tomas flooding, Partners in Health (PIH) called crowded camps "a potential flashpoint for a cholera outbreak. There is growing concern" about reported cases, thousands that may spread to many more.
In recent days, cases "continued to expand geographically. More (appeared) in Haiti's Central Plateau," PIH reporting 111 people hospitalized. Reported deaths also keep rising, likely much higher than Haiti's Health Ministry 544 figure on November 8. On November 9, Al Jazeera reported 583 deaths, the numbers increasing daily. The report also said:
Haiti's Cholera Outbreak: A Disease of Poverty - by Stephen Lendman
On October 22, Reuters confirmed Haiti's cholera outbreak, saying efforts were being made to prevent an epidemic that so far "killed nearly 200 people and sickened more than 2,000," official reports understating the threat.
On the same day, New York Times writer Donald McNeil, Jr. headlined, "Cholera Outbreak Kills 150 in Haiti," saying:
"A cholera outbreak in a rural area of northwestern Haiti....overwhelmed local hospitals with thousands of sick," according to the World Health Organization. Rural Artibonite, Haiti's main rice-growing area, 62 miles north of Port-au-Prince was struck, though cases were surfacing elsewhere. They're now in the nation's capital where overcrowding threatens a possible epidemic.
Earthquake Stricken Haitians Victimized by World Indifference - by Stephen Lendman
Over 10 months post-quake, Haitian suffering continues, victimized by world indifference, contempt, and paralysis, a new Refugees International (RI) report saying they're "Still Trapped in the Emergency Phase."
Under appalling conditions, camp inhabitants face evictions, violence, arbitrarily appointed absentee camp managers, and lack of concern for their needs, including by UN personnel. They're trained to know better and act responsibly, or they should be under all emergency circumstances they face.
Committed personnel, more resources, and direct action are needed, what hasn't been forthcoming so far. Instead, camps remain squalid, ill-served, and overcrowded under "appalling standards of living." Moreover, landowners threaten evictions, and they're happening. However, with nowhere to go, those displaced end up crammed into other camps or in new ones formed on their own.
Life in Devastated Haiti - by Stephen Lendman
Nine months after the January 12 earthquake, Haitians still have little relief. Over one and a half million left homeless continue struggling to survive, despite billions in aid raised or pledged. It's for development, predatory NGOs, not them. That's the problem, and they suffering as a result, little media attention paid to their plight.
On September 15, Los Angeles Times writer Joe Mozingo headlined, "No plan in sight for Haiti's homeless," saying:
Where to put them is contentious, reconstruction "hang(ing) on the potentially explosive issue" of who owns the land. For example, pre-quake, tenant farmers used to plant corn and sugar cane on a wealthy family's 20-acre parcel "below the city's main transmission lines of the Delmas 33 road."
Gender-Based Violence in Haiti - by Stephen Lendman
The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) works with grassroots groups there, in America, and the Haitian Diaspora, developing effective human rights advocacy for some of the world's most oppressed, impoverished, and long-suffering people, over 500 years and counting.
In late July, it issued a new report titled, "Our Bodies Are Still Trembling: Haitian Women's Fight Against Rape," a problem Amnesty International (AI) highlighted in March saying:
Misery and Despair Plague Haitians - by Stephen Lendman
Six months after Haiti's January 12 quake, inadequate relief has arrived, numerous accounts calling conditions hellish, unsanitary and unsafe - New York Times writer Deborah Sontag's July 10 article for one, headlined, "In Haiti, the Displaced Are Left Clinging to the Edge," saying:
Conditions around Port-au-Prince "contain a spectrum of circumstances: precarious, neglected encampments; planned tent cities (with poor sanitation); debris-strewn neighborhoods, (and only) 28,000 of the 1.5 million (or more) displaced moved into new homes," the affected areas "a tableau of life in the ruins."
Oxfam's Julie Schindall said "Everywhere I go, people ask me 'When will we get out of this camp?' " She doesn't know so can't say.
Coast Guard Fleet Slowed by Mechanical Woes During BP, Haiti Rescues
By Aaron Mehta and John Solomon | Center for Public Integrity
In the wee-morning hours after the Deepwater Horizon exploded, a Coast Guard rescue helicopter being dispatched to pluck oil rig survivors floating in the fire-engulfed waters could not launch because its hoist was broken.
The crew of the 25-year-old chopper was forced to switch to another aircraft, costing it 38 minutes at a time when the Coast Guard was trying to evacuate the wounded and search for missing workers who leapt into the Gulf Mexico to escape the fiery oil platform on the night of April 20.
Mechanical problems, like those detailed in the Coast Guard’s official incident logs for the BP accident, have been experienced repeatedly during the last two major crises that summoned the service’s famed search and rescue teams, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity shows.
At least three Coast Guard aircraft and one cutter suffered serious mechanical problems that delayed, cut short or aborted rescue missions during the Gulf incident, the logs reveal. The Coast Guard averaged one problem for every seven rescue sorties it operated during the first three days of the oil spill crisis in April, according to logs obtained by the Center. Read more.
The Administration has requested $63 billion in FY2010 supplemental appropriations:
• $33 billion for the Department of Defense (DOD) primarily for deploying 30,000
additional troops to Afghanistan;
• $4.5 billion in war-related foreign aid to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan;
• $5.1 billion to replenish the U.S. Disaster Relief Fund administered by the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA);
• $2.8 billion for Haiti reconstruction and foreign aid in the wake of the
• $13.4 billion to compensate veterans exposed to Agent Orange;
• $3.4 billion to settle land trust claims of American Indians in the long-standing
Cobell case; and
• $1.2 billion to settle the discrimination claims of 70,000 black farmers in the
Pigford II case.
Details here: PDF.
(Progreso Weekly Note: The following piece is further proof of the selective coverage that the mainstream media offer on the Cuba issue. As several independent analysts have frequently noted, all news that contradicts the image that the powers that be promote of Cuba as part of the “evil empire” is consciously ignored or minimized.)
At the recent UN Donor Conference on Haiti, Cuba announced a program to rebuild that country’s entire national health service. Although this was, arguably, the most ambitious and impressive ‘pledge’ of the 59 governments, regional blocs and financial institutions that made commitments, it was largely ignored by the leading U.S. media --and hence overlooked by most of the world.
The Cuban program, which is based on the highly effective system developed in that country, embraces primary, secondary and tertiary health care, and medical training. Some of the highlights of the Cuban plan are: Read more.
As I've noted before, Haiti's earthquake recovery problems were exacerbated by the economic and trade policies pushed on them by the United States. Now Bill Clinton has admitted as much:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The earthquake not only smashed markets, collapsed warehouses and left more than 2.5 million people without enough to eat. It may also have shaken up the way the developing world gets food.
Decades of inexpensive imports - especially rice from the U.S. - punctuated with abundant aid in various crises have destroyed local agriculture and left impoverished countries such as Haiti unable to feed themselves.
While those policies have been criticized for years in aid worker circles, world leaders focused on fixing Haiti are admitting for the first time that loosening trade barriers has only exacerbated hunger in Haiti and elsewhere. Read more.
Two and half months post-quake, the major media mostly ignore Haiti, the calamitous conditions on the ground, and the growing desperation of millions forced to largely endure on their own - out of sight, mind, the concern of world leaders, and UN, USAID and other aid organizations diverting most of the $700 million + donated to contractors and profiteering NGOs.
A March 11 New York Times editorial titled, "Haiti, Two Months Later," tried to have it both ways, citing relief effort failures, yet praising the US, UN, foreign countries, and aid organizations for:
"dispatch(ing) tents, tarps, food, water, medicine and doctors as they should. They have done a lot of good, particularly the United States, which rushed supplies, a troop force....and a hospital ship. Many lives were saved."
Unmentioned was the thousands of US combat troops obstructing aid, getting none to the most impoverished neighborhoods, and amounts to emergency shelters have been woefully inadequate, making calamitous conditions worse.
A March 25 Times editorial titled, "Haiti's Misery," in fact, admitted it, stating:
"The emergency in Haiti isn't over. It's getting worse, as the outside world's attention fades away....(Yet) Misery rages like a fever in the hundreds of camps sheltering hundreds of thousands of....people left homeless....The dreaded rains have swamped tents and ragged stick-and-tarp huts. They have turned walkways into mud lakes (exacerbating the problem of) cooking food, washing clothes, staying clean and avoiding disease."
"Thursday’s hearing helps set the stage for the upcoming debate this spring over White House requests for $33 billion in new war funding coupled with $4.5 billion in foreign assistance, chiefly for Afghanistan and its neighbor Pakistan. Added to this sum will be $2.8 billion more to help Haiti’s recovery from the disastrous January earthquake, and the total package will at least exceed $40 billion."
Thus "I'm voting for the war supplemental because it's the last one" and "I want to support my president" will be transformed this month into "But I caaaaaaaaaaan't vote against aid for Haiti. This is horseshit and needs to be called out now. If the war supplemental fails, they can and will pass the lipstick separately. And if $4.5 billion is to help Afghanistan, ask yourself what the other $33 billion is to do to it. GET ON THE PHONES NOW and tell them to vote this pig of a bill down.
Haitians don't want their aid used as cover for war funding.
Blogging GREAT Chile Earthquake/Tsunamis; Pres. Bachelet A Steady Leader; Japan Prepares For Tsunamis
by Linda Milazzo
UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/5:40AM (local Chile time)
CNN International is now reporting 101 aftershocks have been recorded in Chile since yesterday's 8.8 earthquake with 7 at 6.0 or higher. Over 300 fatalities have been reported with 60 reported missing.
Japan is seeing tsunami flooding on its northern island of Hokkaido. The tsunami projection from NOAA reports a wave of 4 feet has just arrived. 320,000 coastal residents have been evacuated. The tsunami warning for Russia has been lifted.
UPDATED: Feb, 28, 2010/3:40AM (local Chile time)
The death toll in Chile is now confirmed at 300. Chile has not yet asked for help from other countries. More than one million buildings have been damaged. More than a half million houses have been completely destroyed and two million people affected. President Bachelet has been coordinating services steadily for nearly 24 hours since 5AM yesterday.
American Genocides: Is Haiti Next?
By Stephen Lendman
Distinguished historian, scholar and activist Gabriel Kolko studied "the nature and purpose of (American) power (since) the 1870s," calling it "violen(t), racis(t), repressi(ve) at home and abroad (and) cultural(ly) mendaci(ous)." It's been the same since inception, historian Howard Zinn calling colonial America:
"a class society from the beginning. America started off as a society of rich and poor, people with enormous grants of land and people with no land. And there were riots, there were bread riots in Boston, and riots and rebellions all over the colonies, of poor against rich, of tenants breaking into jails to release people who were in prison for nonpayment of debt. There was class conflict. We try to" portray a benevolent nation. We weren't then. We're not now.
We waged war against Native Americans, African-Americans, ordinary Americans, the poor, disadvantaged and women. Since inception, we committed "genocide," according to Zinn: "brutally and purposefully....by our rulers in the name of progress, (who then buried ugly truths) in a mass of other facts, as radioactive wastes are buried in containers in the earth."
At home, profit over human lives and welfare took millions of working American lives. Abroad it was far worse, the result of direct or proxy wars, death squads, torture, occupations, alliances with despots, and neglect. Against indigenous and black Americans, it was worst of all. More on that below.
Haiti Is Open for Business
By Stephen Lendman
In December 1984, Canada's conservative prime minister, Brian Mulroney, told the New York Economic Club that "Canada is open for business," meaning US companies were welcome, the two countries would work for greater economic integration, America's sovereignty took precedence of his own, and corporate interests from both countries could operate freely at the expense of most Canadians.
That's always been Haiti's curse, now more than ever. Under American militarized control, Haiti is occupied for profit, its pseudo government largely invisible, and predators aim to cash in to the fullest. On January 21, in his article titled, "Securing disaster in Haiti," Peter Hallward explained, saying:
"....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 own leaders and 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. All three tendencies aren't just connected, they are mutually reinforcing. (They'll also) govern the imminent reconstruction effort as well, unless determined political action is taken to counteract them."
By Dave Lindorff
NBC, the Military Industry Network owned by General Electric, at least unless or until it is sold to Comcast, was, along with most of the rest of the US corporate media, outraged when, last year, the Associated Press circulated, and some newspapers ran, a photo of an American marine, Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard, dying after being shot in battle in Afghanistan.
There was all kinds of high-minded talk about the protecting the dignity of the dead, and about how it was not appropriate to show such images without the permission of the deceased’s close relatives.
But then how to explain the spectacle of poor Notar Kumaritashvili, the 21-year-old luge rider from the Georgian olympic team. Kumaritashvili had the misfortune of hitting the edge of the luge shute he was on during a training run in British Columbia, and, at a speed of 89 mph, he was thrown from his sled and over the safety wall into the air, where he hit a steel pole, which killed him.
Please join the War Resisters League in calling for a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawl in Haiti, an end to the militarization of aid, and a focus on the self-determination of the Haitian people.
"It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." -Abraham Maslow
The War Resisters League stands in support of the grieving families left in the wake of the disaster in Haiti. We celebrate the efforts of Haitian organizations currently working on the ground, including Haiti Action, Haitian Platform to Advocate Alternative Development (PAPDA), the National Congress of Papaye Peasant Movement (MPNKP), the Kordinasyon Rejyonal Oganysasyon Sides (KROS), Tèt Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen (TK), and the Peasant Movement of Papaye (MPP). We also honor the work of outside organizations, including many from the United States, such as Doctors without Borders, Partners in Health, and Grassroots International, supporting the relief effort with respect for the self-determination of the Haitian people during the long process of healing and recovery.
We are gravely concerned about the growing U.S. military presence in Haiti and the lack of a clear timetable for the withdrawal of troops. The U.S. military is a central conduit for the distribution of aid in Haiti and has been given temporary control of the airport in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has called the work ahead "a long-term undertaking" for the United States, stating that "the length of time that we will have thousands of troops in Haiti or off-shore, frankly, is impossible to predict right now." The top U.S. commander in Haiti, Army Lt. General P.K. Keen, has said that the security side of U.S. humanitarian relief operations in Haiti will take on a larger role in the days and weeks following the quake. As of January 21, 2010, 4,000 additional sailors and marines were deployed to Haiti, bringing the total number of U.S. troops in the country to 16,000.
Many have cited the inefficiency of aid operations in Haiti, which have left over five-sixths of those directly affected by the quake without food and little access to water while stores of food and medical supplies continue to sit on the ground at the airport. Reasons for this inefficiency have included the U.S. military's exaggerated and racist concerns about violence in Haiti, in spite of multiple reports that violence has been minimal and people have been helping their friends, families, and neighbors in a spirit of cooperation.
Haiti after 5 centuries of genocide, slavery, isolation, colonization and globalization
By Nick Egnatz
With the devastation of the Haitian earthquake of January 12, many Americans are literally learning of Haiti for the first time. The following is an attempt to present a very brief outline of Haiti’s history: first being dominated by Spain, then France and certainly for the last two centuries the United States.
The inspiration to write this came from reading and studying William I. Robinson’s Promoting Polyarchy -- Globalization, US Intervention, and Hegemony. Haiti, along with the Philippines, Nicaragua and Chile are case studies examined in detail.
Professor Robinson demonstrates how U.S. foreign policy changed in the 1970s from supporting dictators across the globe to an official policy of "democracy promotion." Unfortunately the democracy being promoted was not the small "d" democracy that Lincoln defined as government "of the people, by the people and for the people." It was polyarchy instead in which there is elite rule and the masses are given the illusion of democracy by participating in regular elections for pre-screened candidates. In polyarchy, the emphasis is on the forms and institutions of democracy such as regular elections, political parties and the rules and laws governing such. This is what passes for democracy in the U.S. There is no concern of what the results are. Whether these forms of democracy produce a government of, by and for the people is of no concern. While other sources are listed throughout the paper, it is Professor Robinson that is the source and my hope is that I have been able to do justice to a much needed understanding of the effects of U.S. foreign policy on our neighbors and ourselves.
We witness nightly on our television screens the courage and independence of the Haitian people who won their freedom defeating Napoleon’s army and then dealt with isolation from the great powers. Especially the United States which ignored its neighbor for the first century and then invaded, occupied and manipulated the Haitian government in pursuit of its own agenda of neo-liberal globalization (free trade, free markets, no regulations and tax cuts for the wealthy).
Leads the Spanish Genocide and Slavery
Second only to Cuba in size amongst Caribbean islands, Hispaniola is made up of the Dominican Republic on the Eastern two thirds, while Haiti comprises the Western one third. In 1492 after first stopping at San Salvador, Christopher Columbus, on a military/business mission to colonize the Orient, landed in Hispaniola. He was welcomed with gifts and kindness by the three million Taino Arawak Indians that lived in relative peace on the island. The man whose holiday we celebrate every October repaid this hospitality with enslavement, massacres and genocide.
Tom of TomDispatch wrote: And of course, with the drama of people pulled from the rubble went another kind of drama: impending violence -- even though the real story, as a number of reporters couldn't help but notice, was the remarkable patience and altruistic willingness of Haitians to support each other, help each other, and organize each other in a situation where there was almost nothing to share. It might, in fact, have been their finest hour, but amid the growing headlines about possible “violence” and “looting,” that would have been hard to tell.
Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences.
I’m talking, of course, about those members of the mass media whose misrepresentation of what goes on in disaster often abets and justifies a second wave of disaster. I’m talking about the treatment of sufferers as criminals, both on the ground and in the news, and the endorsement of a shift of resources from rescue to property patrol. They still have blood on their hands from Hurricane Katrina, and they are staining themselves anew in Haiti.
Within days of the Haitian earthquake, for example, the Los Angeles Times ran a series of photographs with captions that kept deploying the word “looting.” One was of a man lying face down on the ground with this caption: “A Haitian police officer ties up a suspected looter who was carrying a bag of evaporated milk.” The man’s sweaty face looks up at the camera, beseeching, anguished.
Another photo was labeled: “Looting continued in Haiti on the third day after the earthquake, although there were more police in downtown Port-au-Prince.” It showed a somber crowd wandering amid shattered piles of concrete in a landscape where, visibly, there could be little worth taking anyway.
A third image was captioned: “A looter makes off with rolls of fabric from an earthquake-wrecked store.” Yet another: “The body of a police officer lies in a Port-au-Prince street. He was accidentally shot by fellow police who mistook him for a looter.”
People were then still trapped alive in the rubble. A translator for Australian TV dug out a toddler who’d survived 68 hours without food or water, orphaned but claimed by an uncle who had lost his pregnant wife. Others were hideously wounded and awaiting medical attention that wasn’t arriving. Hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, needed, and still need, water, food, shelter, and first aid. The media in disaster bifurcates. Some step out of their usual “objective” roles to respond with kindness and practical aid. Others bring out the arsenal of clichés and pernicious myths and begin to assault the survivors all over again. Read more.
Excerpt: There were about 800,000 Haitians with handicaps and disabilities before the earthquake, Doubt said.
"Handicapped in Haiti have been largely unattended to or abandoned by their governments, and there are very few medical organizations who attend to them or provide a focus on them, so it was a very large job to begin with," he said. "There are going to be many more disabled (now), and among them a large population of newly amputated patients, and that population is going to grow."
Stuart explained that many people with injuries requiring amputation may not have made it yet to hospitals. Others may simply have skin wounds, but if they can't get to a hospital and their wounds become infected, it could necessitate amputation.
Anticipating the need, the group Physicians for Peace has begun to collect prosthetics, crutches, canes, walkers and wheelchairs. Amputees are typically fitted with new limbs after two to four months of healing.
Used prosthetics will be particularly beneficial in Haiti, where manufacturing artificial limbs is likely to be difficult, said Heather Mills, a U.N. Association goodwill ambassador.
Focus on Israel: Harvesting Haitian Organs
By Stephen Lendman
On January 15, Haaretz reported that:
"The Israel Defense Forces' aid mission to Haiti left Israel overnight (January 14) with equipment for setting up an emergency field hospital. Around 220 soldiers and officers (were) in the delegation, including 120 medical staff (to) operate the hospital in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince."
According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it includes "40 doctors, 25 nurses, paramedics, a pharmacy, a children's ward, a radiology department, an intensive care unit, an internal department and a maternity ward (able to) treat approximately 500 patients each day," including in two surgery rooms.
On January 20, Lebanon's Al-Manar TV reported on the mission, citing a damning You Tube video posted by an American named T. West from a group called AfriSynergy Productions.
"The video presents something to think about while exploiting the horrible tragedy that has befallen Haiti where Israeli occupation soldiers are engaged in organ trafficking."
Haiti is no stranger to adversity and anguish - over 500 years of severe oppression, slavery, despotism, colonization, reparations, embargoes, sanctions, deep poverty, starvation, unrepayable debt, and natural calamities from destructive hurricanes to a dozen magnitude 7.0 or greater Caribbean region earthquakes in the past 500 years. The last major one was in 1946 at 8.1 in the adjacent Dominican Republic, also striking Haiti. Earlier catastrophic ones were in 1751 and 1770, both devastating Port-au-Prince, and the 1842 one destroying Cap-Haitien in the north.
On September 25, 2008, Phoenix Delacroix quoted geologist Patrick Charles of Havana's Geological Institute saying:
"conditions are ripe for major seismic activity in Port-au-Prince. The inhabitants of the Haitian capital need to prepare themselves for an event which will inevitably occur."
Citing a real danger, he explained that the dangerous Enriquillo Fault Zone extends across Port-au-Prince, starting in Petionville, traversing the Southern Peninsula to Tiburon. Noting earlier tremors in the area, he said a larger earthquake usually follows, yet no precautions were taken, leaving Haitians vulnerable to what happened - vast destruction, perhaps hundreds of thousands dead, countless numbers seriously injured, and disease, depravation, and militarized occupation haunting survivors in the aftermath.
After Washington ousted President Jean-Betrand Aristide in February 2004, UN Blue Helmets (MINUSTAH) occupied Haiti as paramilitary enforcers. They still do, subordinate to around 20,000 US land and sea based troops, including Marines, Army 82nd Airborne paratroupers, Navy assault ships, and Coast Guard vessels offshore, a powerful force for indefinite occupation, severe repression, and ruthless exploitation for American interests - obstructing, not providing, humanitarian aid, and facilitating potentially hundreds of thousands of deaths from starvation, dehydration, disease, untreated wounds, trauma, and for some perhaps just giving up and expiring unnoticed, unreported, and uncared about by forces able to help.
It's an old story for Haitians, beleaguered for over 500 years and under America's thumb for nearly two centuries, unrecognized, embargoed, exploited, and slaughtered to assure their freedom is denied. Now again, but first some background.
Cuba, China, Venezuela Send Immediate Assistance to Haiti
By Deirdre Griswold | Global Research | Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
As soon as the devastating earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12, Cuban doctors began saving lives.
Years before this monumental disaster hit, Cuba had set up a medical mission in Haiti to provide health care in areas where there had been little or none; Cubans also were training Haitian medical workers in basic first aid. When the quake struck, these teams quickly went into emergency mode.
A relief plane from Venezuela was among the first to land in the stricken country, where normal services had ground to a halt. Venezuelan and Brazilian doctors soon joined the Cuban teams, who were accustomed to working in spartan conditions and had their own generators to power surgical equipment.
Other Cuban doctors who had been working in Haiti, but were in Cuba on vacation when the quake occurred, quickly returned. They were joined by additional Cuban surgeons experienced in working in difficult situations and Haitian doctors who had been training in Cuban medical schools in various specialties.
Within less than 24 hours, Cuban medical personnel in Haiti had already assisted hundreds of patients — a figure that grew to thousands by the weekend. Read more.
Looking for parallels to Haiti's catastrophe, many point to China. In May 2008, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the southwestern province of Sichuan, pancaking schoolhouses, buildings and homes and killing at least 68,000 people. But the ferocity of the tremor and a huge death toll may be the only parallels between the two quake-stricken nations.
I went back to Sichuan six months after the catastrophe and was amazed at the speed of physical and economic recovery. In Dujiangyan, the largest city in the quake zone, the rubble and the tent cities had disappeared. The jumble of debris was replaced by piles of new bricks, lumber and other construction materials. There was a building boom across the region, and dozens of temporary villages were erected to house the five million people rendered homeless by the quake. The prefab housing was made out of blue aluminum siding lined with styrofoam insulation. They had cement floors and were arranged in neat rows in flat spots at the bases of the mountains. Conditions weren't luxurious, but the camps were clean and the housing dry and fairly warm. Read more.