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Citizen Eve
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Quote Citizen Eve Replybullet Topic: Haiti: We Care ... A Brief History
    Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 3:27pm
What got our Haitian Brothers & Sisters to this day ...


Why The US Owes Haiti Billions – The Briefest History




By Bill Quigley. Bill
is Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights and a long-time
Haiti human rights advocate. Quigley77@gmail.com


Why does the US owe Haiti Billions? Colin Powell, former US Secretary of State, stated his foreign policy view as the “Pottery Barn rule.” That is – “if you break it, you own it.”

The US has worked to break Haiti for over 200 years. We owe Haiti. Not charity. We owe Haiti as a matter of justice. Reparations. And not the $100 million promised by President Obama either – that is Powerball money. The US owes Haiti Billions – with a big B.

The US has worked for centuries to break Haiti. The US has used Haiti like a plantation. The US helped bleed the country economically since it freed itself, repeatedly invaded the country militarily, supported dictators who abused the people, used the country as a dumping ground for our own economic advantage, ruined their roads and agriculture, and toppled popularly elected officials. The US has even used Haiti like the old plantation owner and slipped over there repeatedly for sexual recreation.

Here is the briefest history of some of the major US efforts to break Haiti.

In 1804, when Haiti achieved its freedom from France in the world’s first successful slave revolution, the United States refused to recognize the country. The US continued to refuse recognition to Haiti for 60 more years. Why? Because the US continued to enslave millions of its own citizens and feared recognizing Haiti would encourage slave revolution in the US.

After the 1804 revolution, Haiti was the subject of a crippling economic embargo by France and the US. US sanctions lasted until 1863. France ultimately used its military power to force Haiti to pay reparations for the slaves who were freed. The reparations were 150 million francs. (France sold the entire Louisiana territory to the US for 80 million francs!)

Haiti was forced to borrow money from banks in France and the US to pay reparations to France. A major loan from the US to pay off the French was finally paid off in 1947. The current value of the money Haiti was forced to pay to French and US banks? Over $20 Billion – with a big B.

The US occupied and ruled Haiti by force from 1915 to 1934. President Woodrow Wilson sent
troops to invade in 1915. Revolts by Haitians were put down by US military – killing over 2000 in one skirmish alone. For the next nineteen years, the US controlled customs in Haiti, collected taxes, and ran many governmental institutions. How many billions were siphoned off by the US during these 19 years?

From 1957 to 1986 Haiti was forced to live under US backed dictators “Papa Doc” and “Baby Doc” Duvlaier. The US supported these dictators economically and militarily because they did what the US wanted and were politically “anti-communist” - now translatable as against human rights for their people. Duvalier stole millions from Haiti and ran up hundreds of millions in debt that Haiti still owes. Ten thousand Haitians lost their lives. Estimates say that Haiti owes $1.3 billion in external debt and that 40% of that debt was run
up by the US-backed Duvaliers.

Thirty years ago Haiti imported no rice. Today Haiti imports nearly all its rice. Though Haiti was the sugar growing capital of the Caribbean, it now imports sugar as well. Why? The US and the US dominated world financial institutions – the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank – forced Haiti to open its markets to the world. Then the US dumped millions of tons of US subsidized rice and sugar into Haiti – undercutting their farmers and ruining
Haitian agriculture. By ruining Haitian agriculture, the US has forced Haiti into becoming the third largest world market for US rice. Good for US farmers, bad for Haiti.

In 2002, the US stopped hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Haiti which were to be used for, among other public projects like education, roads. These are the same roads which relief teams are having so much trouble navigating now!

In 2004, the US again destroyed democracy in Haiti when they supported the coup against Haiti’s elected President Aristide.

Haiti is even used for sexual recreation just like the old time plantations. Check the news carefully and you will find numerous stories of abuse of minors by missionaries, soldiers and charity workers. Plus there are the frequent sexual vacations taken to Haiti by people rom the US and elsewhere. What is owed for that? What value would you put on itif it was your sisters and brothers?

US based corporations have for years been teaming up with Haitian elite to run sweatshops teeming with tens of thousands of Haitians who earn less than $2 a day.

The Haitian people have resisted the economic and military power of the US and others ever since their independence. Like all of us, Haitians made their own mistakes as well. But US power has forced Haitians to pay great prices – deaths, debt and abuse.

It is time for the people of the US to join with Haitians and reverse the course of US-Haitian relations.

This brief history shows why the US owes Haiti Billions – with a big B. This is not charity. This is justice. This is reparations. The current crisis is an opportunity for people in the US to own up to our country’s history of dominating Haiti and to make a truly just response.


(For more on the history of exploitation of Haiti by the US see: Paul Farmer, THE USES OF HAITI; Peter Hallward, @#$%ING THE FLOOD; and Randall Robinson, AN UNBROKEN AGONY).


Edited by Citizen Eve - 17 Jan 2010 at 4:10pm
"the time is always ripe to do right", Nelson Mandela.
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Quote Citizen Eve Replybullet Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 4:09pm
Haiti will rise again ...
You are not just in our thoughts ... we will be at your side ... we will nurse you back to health ... we promise ... I promise.
"the time is always ripe to do right", Nelson Mandela.
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Quote sandra Replybullet Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 4:17pm
I hope conditions will be much better when Haiti rises again. I was just reading this article and I...I don't know what to do. It's so scary, sad and heart-wrenching.


Haiti Quake: 85 Haitians await death
          

– An old man is fed a few nuts from his nephew while lying outside his quake damaged nursing home in Port-au-Prince, ,

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The old lady crawls in the dirt, wailing for her pills. The elderly man lies motionless as rats pick at his overflowing diaper.

There is no food, water or medicine for the 85 surviving residents of the Port-au-Prince Municipal Nursing Home, barely a mile (1 1/2 kilometers) from the airport where a massive international aid effort is taking shape.

"Help us, help us," 69-year-old Mari-Ange Levee begged Sunday, lying on the ground with a broken leg and ribs. A cluster of flies swarmed the open fracture in her skull.

One man has already died, and administrator Jean Emmanuel said more would follow soon unless water and food arrive immediately.

"I appeal to anybody to bring us anything, or others won't live until tonight," he said, motioning toward five men and women who were having trouble breathing, a sign that the end was near.

The dead man was Joseph Julien, a 70-year-old diabetic who was pulled from the partially collapsed building and passed away Thursday for lack of food.

His rotting body lies on a mattress, nearly indistinguishable from the living around him, so skinny and tired they seemed to be simply waiting for death.

With six residents killed in the quake, the institution now has 25 men and 60 women camped outside their former home. Some have a mattress in the dirt to lie on. Others don't.

Madeleine Dautriche, 75, said some of the residents had pooled their money to buy three packets of pasta, which the dozens of pensioners shared on Thursday, their last meal. Since there was no drinking water, some didn't touch the noodles because they were cooked in gutter water.

Dautriche noted that many residents wore diapers that hadn't been changed since the quake.

"The problem is, rats are coming to it," she said.

Though very little food aid had reached Haitians anywhere by Sunday, Emmanuel said the problem was made worse at the nursing home because it is located near Place de la Paix, an impoverished downtown neighborhood.

Thousands of homeless slum dwellers have pitched their makeshift tents on the nursing home's ground, in effect shielding the elderly patients from the outside world with a tense maze of angry people, themselves hungry and thirsty.

"I'm pleading for everyone to understand that there's a truce right now, the streets are free, so you can come through to help us," said Emmanuel, 27, one of the rare officials not to have fled the squalor and mayhem. He insisted that foreign aid workers wouldn't be in danger if they tried to cross through the crowd to reach the elderly group.

Violent scuffles erupted Saturday in the adjacent soccer stadium when U.S. helicopters dropped boxes of military rations and Gatorade. But none of this trickle of help had reached the nursing home residents, who said some refugees have robbed them of what little they had.

Dautriche, who was sitting on the ground because of her broken back, held out an empty blue plastic basin. "My underwear and my money were in there," she said, sobbing. "Children stole it right in front of me and I couldn't move."

The area was an eery corner of silence within the clamor of crying babies and toddlers running naked in the mud. Guarding the little space was Phileas Julien, 78, a blind man in a wheelchair who shouted at anybody approaching to turn back.

During moments of lucidity, Julien said he was better off than other pensioners because the medicine he was taking provided sustenance. A moment later, he threw his arms out to hug a passer-by he mistook for his grandson.

Also trying to guard the center was Jacqueline Thermiti, 71, who couldn't stand because of pain but who brandished her walking stick when children approached.

"Of all the wars and revolutions and hurricanes, this quake is the worst thing God has ever sent us," Thermiti said.

Initially, Thermiti and others believed their relatives would come to feed them, because many live in the slums nearby. "But I don't even know if my children are alive," she said.

Thermiti was surprisingly feisty for someone who hadn't eaten since Tuesday. She attributed that to experience with hunger during earlier hardships.

"But I was younger, and now there's no water either," she said.

She predicted that unlike other pensioners, she could still hold out for at least another day.

"Then if the foreigners don't come (with aid)," she said, "it will be up to baby Jesus."


Edited by sandra - 17 Jan 2010 at 4:20pm
I asked for all things so that I might enjoy life; I was given life so that I might enjoy all things
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Quote Citizen Eve Replybullet Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 4:37pm
It is ... it is ... but amidst all of this there are opportunities for renewal and even growth Sandy ... yes, some will die ... a sad situation.
"the time is always ripe to do right", Nelson Mandela.
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Quote sandra Replybullet Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 4:41pm
Cripes! I can't deal with that. Rats sniffing at helpless people, people waiting to die. This is too much....
I asked for all things so that I might enjoy life; I was given life so that I might enjoy all things
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Quote Citizen Eve Replybullet Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 4:56pm
Where is God in all of this ... please no bull @#$% responses ... quiet is ok

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Quote sandra Replybullet Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 5:04pm
CE, I'm sure that others are asking the same question.
I asked for all things so that I might enjoy life; I was given life so that I might enjoy all things
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Quote Citizen Eve Replybullet Posted: 17 Jan 2010 at 5:13pm
Did you hear what that cunt Pat Robertson had to say about the tragedy ... that is intentional Sandy ... these @#$%s have influence ... and it is how they reinforce the stereotypes and disparities that we continue to experience in spite of the abundance ... and they call themselves christian ... a @#$%ing sham ... am really venting now ... pisses me off ... I know communism did not do better either ... we do have tha capacity to do good ... its all about the choices we are making as individuals and as leaders ... 
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Quote sandra Replybullet Posted: 18 Jan 2010 at 4:15am
No, I didn't hear, CE. I did not turn on my TV yesterday. I'll check the net news later.

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Quote Citizen Eve Replybullet Posted: 18 Jan 2010 at 11:30am
If sending money ... Partners in Health is a great place to start ... they have been working in Haiti long before this disaster ...

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking-news/v-fullstory/story/1429930.html

If Haiti is to `build back better'

By PAUL FARMER

Paul Farmer is the Presley Professor of Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, the co-founder of Partners In Health, and the deputy to Bill Clinton, United Nations Special Envoy for Haiti.


A few months ago, I joined President Clinton as a volunteer to, in his words, help Haiti ``build back better'' after a series of storms in 2008 destroyed an estimated 15 percent of already beleaguered Haiti's GDP. We had just been meeting about these efforts and a series of upcoming forums to be held in Port-au-Prince, and I was then going to join colleagues from Partners In Health in central Haiti, where I have had the good fortune to work with remarkable Haitian medical colleagues for many years. The day before our New York meeting, Port-au-Prince was flattened by an earthquake. There is not a lot left to be said, but having just returned from Port-au-Prince, there are some points worth underlining.


If Haiti is to ``build back better,'' as President Clinton has been saying, there are lessons to be learned from our efforts, not always honorable or effective, to help Haiti over the past two centuries. This can change and must do so, if we are to be real partners in responding to this latest misfortune.


The scale of the disaster is coming into view. All of the clichés born of extremity came to mind as I saw the city of Port-au-Prince in the dark after this huge earthquake. Symbols of authority and some sort of civility were flattened or tottering. The National Palace looked like a meringue pie that had been sat on. A foul smell hung over the General Hospital, which had just run out of diesel fuel and was surrounded by the injured, the sick, and, of course, piles of those who did not make it. But contrary to rumors of looting and mayhem, the city of two million was quiet, which in itself was unusual. I had never experienced Port-au-Prince without the blaring of radios and car horns. And I expect it will remain this way -- calm, as long as people are offered dignity and respect and the necessities of daily survival: food, water, sanitation and shelter.


The public open spaces of the city (there are few of these) and many streets have been closed off by the citizenry seeking protection from both aftershocks and troublemakers (there have been more of the former than of the latter). What strikes me from Port-au-Prince, apart from the enormity of the disaster, has been the magnitude of the response among those unaffected, whether within Haiti or without -- the simple desire to help -- and the difficulty we will face in seeking to match that goodness with the surpassingly enormous need. So far the desire to help has not been matched to the need, and there are several things to keep in mind as the situation on the ground changes rapidly.


First, rescue and relief efforts are far from over. Although for some they are too late, for others they are just beginning. The head of the United Nations here, who stepped in to replace a fallen comrade, just told me that by digging through rubble they have found someone alive under the ruins of their headquarters. Throughout the city and in the debris of a number of public buildings, people can be heard calling for help. Some are texting on phones that they are alive. It must be no different in other devastated cities, such as Jacmel in the south.


Rescuing survivors will take heavy equipment and experts. These are being brought in now from around the world. But this enormous outpouring of concern and support will be hard to receive. The airport in Port-au-Prince is clogged with aircraft. Some are turned away. All day yesterday, I was with a group of surgeons and anesthesiologists who had brought their skills and supplies. They had to wait many hours before being cleared to land, not because the control tower was destroyed (it was), but because there simply were so many aircraft requesting clearance. A plane full of requested personnel and supplies circling overhead while people die is the right metaphor for the challenges facing us in the short term. Making sure this concern is translated into meaningful rescue and relief efforts is a significant challenge, and here are some basic points that experts in disaster relief make all the time.


Second, in-kind donations are not really what is needed now. I attended a meeting at the U.N. in which this was underlined to assembled ambassadors and donors. Send money, not in-kind donations. To my surprise, the only exception noted that day was Meals Ready to Eat, as there is no way to cook safely in Port-au-Prince at present.


To this I would add that some people do have in-kind services to offer. Trauma specialists are a good example, but in addition to the obvious supplies, surgeons need blood banks, water, and space in which to work. Fuel is needed for generators. All of these are in short supply. So even when a response is highly specific and of obvious utility, like the call for trauma specialists, anesthesiologists, orthopedists, and hospital supplies, coordination is king. But coordination also requires resources -- telecommunications equipment, vehicles, fuel, and cash, to say nothing of feeding and housing of staff. And so coordination can exist in principle and be visible on the ground, yet still be a key goal.


In other words, we cannot give up on improving coordination by dismissing important actors as unable to perform their function. The Haitian people, victims of yet another series of blows, are already helping one another, and many have built up informal networks to help their neighbors in need of food, water, or first aid. The Haitian attitude expressed in the saying, ``If there's enough for two, there's enough for three'' has no doubt saved many lives over the past 72 hours. Coordinating with the people of Haiti means getting messages out on the radio and cellphone, when these services have been restored, to direct people to places where basic needs can be met.


Third, the Haitian government has been dealt a severe blow and not just to its buildings. If at a quarter to five in the afternoon an earthquake takes down not only the National Palace but also the Ministry of the Interior, the State Department, the Tax Bureau, and the Ministries of Finance, Planning, Public Works and Public Health, as well as the parliament building, you can well imagine the gaps created in an already weak public sector. The situation at the United Nations mission is similar. Although the U.N. headquarters collapsed and most of its leadership remains unaccounted-for, the U.N. is rebuilding. Central to this effort is the U.N. arm responsible for bringing together humanitarian groups including nongovernmental organizations to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. The World Food Program, too, has expertise in responding to such disasters; it is already present in Haiti.


Fourth, aid should be coordinated and conceived in a way that shores up Haitian capacity to respond. The planeload of surgeons mentioned above were responding to a call from the Haitian National University hospital. It should be noted that the leadership of that hospital (also surgeons) and the director of nursing have been at their posts for days. They are showing up to work even without the coordination and cash and supplies they need. Identifying such priceless local partners is important for many reasons related to relief and rescue, but it is most important for reasons related to recovery.


Some of this emergency response can be done with longer-range views in mind. Schools must be rebuilt, but in the interim, children must be back in school soon, and rebuilding the city's housing stock will require a different kind of urban planning and a long-term commitment to respect for the Haitian people's wishes.


Finally, I was reminded last night that rescuers will get tired. I went to see my hardy colleagues -- Haitian, Americans from Boston and Miami, Irish, and Cuban. A couple of them had been in Port-au-Prince before the quake -- attending, ironically, a meeting on disaster preparedness -- and had spent every waking moment attempting to assuage suffering the scale of which most of us have never seen. Here again, coordination and cash are king. Just like everyone else, they will need food and a safe place to sleep. Two of my medical colleagues have been sleeping in a jeep. Another two have spent the past two nights without any sleep at all. One of my Haitian colleagues had a dressing on her hand but did not comment on it. She was looking for water and food for the rescuers and, of course, worrying about her own family, some of whom were still unaccounted for.


Like so many of my Haitian colleagues, she represents what is best about that country: an inextinguishable spirit of resistance that represents hope even in the darkest of times.


 
greg_farrants@yahoo.ca
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"Violence is initiated by those who oppress, who exploit, who fail to recognize others as persons - not by those who are oppressed, exploited, and unrecognized. It is not the unloved who initiate disaffection, but those who cannot love because they love only themselves," Paulo Freire.


"the time is always ripe to do right", Nelson Mandela.
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