by Stefan Christoff. Originally published in Briarpatch Magazine
Across Canada, people reacted swiftly to the massive 2010 earthquake in Haiti. As reports of major devastation on the ground went global, thousands in Canada mobilized to support the Haitian people through grassroots benefit concerts, telethons, and community collections in a historic expression of international solidarity and one of the largest disaster relief fundraising efforts in Canadian history.
In Quebec, home to one of the largest Haitian diaspora communities in the world, the earthquake clearly touched a collective nerve. On the streets in Montreal, Haitians held vigils to express collective loss and solidarity. Those who lost or were actively searching for relatives worked tirelessly to mobilize support, holding countless community fundraisers, cultural events, and donation drives.
Continue reading In the News: Red light on the Red Cross in Haiti?
by Roger Annis, published on Rabble.ca, July 10, 2012
Recently resigned Minister of International Cooperation Bev Oda was a symbol and point person for many of the harmful policies of aid and international relations that mark the Conservative government of Prime Minister Harper.
As Green Party MP Elizabeth May has noted, Oda may have been more of a hand raiser than policy and decision maker. Regardless, during her tenure, the government cut aid to some of the poorest countries in the world in Africa, it tied aid funding ever more closely to the interests and promotion of Canadian business abroad, and it cut funding to respected NGOs such as KAIROS that do not follow its foreign policy line.
Continue reading In the News: Bev Oda leaves behind a poor record in Haiti
By Roger Annis & Kim Ives, July 4, 2012
The following article was published on the Haiti blog of Rabble.ca. It also appears in the July 4 issue of Haiti Liberté newsweekly.
The plight of some 400,000 Haitians still living under tarps and tents since the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake has surged into the streets and headlines in recent weeks, highlighting one of Haiti’s most explosive and intractable issues. A new grassroots campaign, an international petition, several new reports, and street demonstrations are underscoring the problem’s urgency.
On May 31, dozens of protesters mobilized by the Forces for Reflection and Action on Housing Matters (FRAKKA) demonstrated in front of the office of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to denounce the broken promises of Haitian government officials to provide housing for earthquake victims. “We in FRAKKA have noted the growing speed of forced expulsions against the displaced people camps,” said Rénel Sanon, FRAKKA’s Secretary General.
For almost one year now, the government of President Michel Martelly has trumpeted a program entitled ‘16/6’ under which about 30,000 residents of six large camps would be resettled to their original but repaired 16 neighborhoods, all of which were badly damaged by the quake. The program has been heavily supported by foreign governments, including Canada. To encourage people to leave camps, residents were told they will receive a one-year rental subsidy of $500 per family.
Continue reading Haiti’s earthquake victims step up demands for housing
by Roger Annis, originally posted at Haiti Liberté
Haiti finds itself today with a neo-Duvalierist as President-elect, thanks to a concerted effort by foreign powers to continue thwarting the social justice aspirations of the Haitian people.
Michel Martelly is closely associated with Haiti’s extreme right that twice overthrew elected governments (in 1991 and 2004). He told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) Radio’s The Current on April 7 that Haiti has been “going in the wrong direction for the last 25 years,” which corresponds to the time during which the Haitian people have been trying to overcome the legacies of impunity, dependence, and underdevelopment left to them by the Duvalier tyranny.
Martelly has vowed to reconstitute the notorious Armed Forces of Haiti or FAdH, which former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide disbanded in 1995 due to its penchant for making coup d’états and committing massive human rights violations. Former and would-be soldiers are already training in camps around Haiti and waiting for their call to service.
Martelly also says that Haiti’s economic and social development depends on convincing more foreign investors to set up shop in Haiti, sweatshops in particular.
The two-round election that landed him in power was foreignfunded and inspired. The United States, Canada and Europe paid at least $29 million to finance it. The victor acknowledges his campaign costs – $1 million in the first round and $6 million in the second round – were largely covered by “friends” in the United States. He refuses to say who they are.
Continue reading In the News: Michel Martelly’s Electoral Coup d’Etat
by Roger Annis
Published in Haiti Liberte, Vol 3 #12, October 6, 2010
For the past several months, the Canadian armed forces have staged speaking events in cities across Canada to vaunt its role in Haiti in the month following the earthquake. Vancouver got its turn on Sept. 17 when one of the commanders of the two warships sent to Haiti shortly after the earthquake spoke at two events.
Commander Josée Kurtz of HMCS Halifax spoke before a small public forum hosted by the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia. For several weeks prior, the Institute featured a large photo display at its entrance of the military's presence in Haiti following the earthquake, a mission it calls Operation Hestia.
Continue reading Exagerated Claims: Assessing the Canadian Military’s Haiti Earthquake Response
A letter and petition from Canada Haiti Action Network
The Canada Haiti Action Network, working alongside colleagues in the UK and the United States, would like to announce the launch of a new petition campaign urging the reorientation of the relief effort in Haiti.
It has become increasingly clear that the immediate crisis provoked by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti has become a pretext for the massive deployment of military forces – particularly from the US, but also from Canada. For many reasons, this is a gravely mistaken policy, hidden amidst the outpouring of genuine concern for the suffering in Haiti.
The petition proposed (copy enclosed below) is an appeal for an alternative direction for this critical humanitarian effort, one that respects Haiti’s sovereignty, and directly acknowledges the need to reconcile Haiti’s past in order to face the future.
Continue reading Haiti Needs Emergency Relief, not Military Intervention!