by Meena Jagannath. Originally posted at AlterNet
A recent New York Times op-ed offers only half the picture.
What is the point of doing any work in Haiti? After all, the country is a mess and it’s hard to shake that habit. And its reputation.
Athena Kolbe and Robert Muggah’s December 9 New York Times op-ed illustrates in detail the post-rape reality for a survivor of sexual violence in Haiti – a series of misfortunes that encapsulate all of Haiti’s failings in responding to rape. Yet the authors make no mention of the hard work of many groups that have been trying to improve the country’s reputation.
The story is so vivid and real that I can imagine Wendy recounting it to me and my former colleagues at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) office in Port-au-Prince. Yet, it does Haiti a disservice by focusing on the negative, failing to mention the numerous efforts to combat rape in Haiti, and the numerous successes, since the earthquake. As the work of my colleagues at BAI and collaborators at women’s grassroots organizations like KOFAVIV (see also MADRE) and FAVILEK demonstrates every week, the story does not have to play out that way.
Continue reading NY Times Suggests It’s Pointless to Report Rape in Haiti, Ignoring Serious Efforts to Protect Women
by Timothy Alexander Guzman, Global Research, December 27, 2012
A former French colony called Saint-Domingue in the Western side of the Spanish Island of Hispaniola erupted into a Slave revolt against France. The revolt cost the lives of over 100,000 blacks and over 20,000 whites not including innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs of the revolution. The new Haitian Republic was born and won its independence from France in 1804. It became a free Republic that abolished slavery and became a center of inspiration for many African slaves across the world.
But since the Haitian Revolution and it’s resistance to slavery, Western nations has managed to keep Haiti enslaved. From Internal conflicts that divided Haiti to successive dictatorships and a constant fear against a French invasion in the decades that followed, Haiti has always experienced a struggle for freedom. When President Theodore Roosevelt introduced “The Roosevelt Corollary” in a 1904 address to the US congress in relation to the Monroe Doctrine, he mentioned the fact that the US will intervene on the side of Europe who was in constant war against their former colonial possessions in Latin America if any new conflict were to arise from that point on. In 1915, the US Marines lead by Major General Smedley Butler, occupied Haiti under the orders of US President Woodrow Wilson to protect US Corporations and to prevent a people’s revolution. The occupation lasted until 1934. Then after the US occupation ended, Haitians chose a national assembly and elected Sténio Joseph Vincent as President of Haiti with US approval turned out to be an Authoritarian President.
Continue reading Haiti’s Struggle for Freedom: US Imperialism, MINUSTAH and the Overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Originally posted at The New York Times
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A few days after the Jan. 10, 2010, earthquake, Reginald Boulos opened the gates of his destroyed car dealership to some 14,000 displaced people who settled on the expansive property. Seven months later, eager to rebuild his business, he paid the families $400 each to leave Camp Boulos and return to their devastated neighborhoods.
At the time, Dr. Boulos, a physician and business magnate, was much maligned for what was portrayed as bribing the homeless to participate in their own eviction. But eventually, desperate to rid public plazas of squalid camps, the Haitian government and the international authorities adopted his approach themselves: “return cash grants” have become the primary resettlement tool.
This represents a marked deflation of the lofty ambitions that followed the disaster, when the world aspired not only to repair Haiti but to remake it completely. The new pragmatism signals an acknowledgment that despite billions of dollars spent — and billions more allocated for Haiti but unspent — rebuilding has barely begun and 357,785 Haitians still languish in 496 tent camps.
“When you look at things, you say, ‘Hell, almost three years later, where is the reconstruction?’ ” said Michèle Pierre-Louis, a former prime minister of Haiti. “If you ask what went right and what went wrong, the answer is, most everything went wrong. There needs to be some accountability for all that money.”
Continue reading In the News: Rebuilding in Haiti Lags After Billions in Post-Quake Aid
by Evens Sanon and Danica Coto Associated Press, December 21, 2012 (AP). Originally at ABC News.
Haiti’s government announced Friday that it has awarded permits for the first time in the country’s history to allow two companies to openly mine for gold and copper.
The nation’s mining director, Ludner Remarais, said he hopes the move will bring a badly needed burst of money to the impoverished Caribbean country of 10 million people where many live on a $1.25 a day.
Remarais issued a gold and copper exploitation permit to SOMINE SA, which is jointly owned by Canadian company Majescor Resources Inc. and Haitian investors. Remarais issued a second gold exploitation permit to VCS Mining LLC, a North Carolina-based mining company with offices in Haiti.
Continue reading In the News: Haiti Awards Gold, Copper Mining Permits
by Jacqueline Charles and Nadege Green, The Miami Herald, Dec. 10, 2012
Haitian President Michel Martelly said Monday he plans to introduce an amendment in parliament giving millions of Haitians living in the diaspora, including South Florida, the right to vote in future elections. “Of course it will be up to the parliament to decide if it goes through,” Martelly said during a press conference Monday after an all-day invitation-only diaspora forum with members of the Haitian-American community at the North Miami Beach Library.
Martelly arrived in Miami over the weekend after a tour of Japan. He said he proposed the South Florida visit and the meeting with the Haitian community “to first of all thank the diaspora for their support” during his historical 2011 presidential victory and “to inform them on the progress in Haiti and finally to find a way to engage them to help us really develop Haiti.”
“I believe there is more that can be done by the diaspora,” he said. “But before we even ask for anything, I thought it was very important that we come here to not just tell them what we do, but also show them.”
Continue reading In the News: Martelly to Haitians in South Florida: ‘Haiti has changed a lot’