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The death of Fidel Castro, for those of us living in the belly of the beast, has meant being forced to endure non-stop lies and hypocrisy from the mass media about Fidel. According to our “free press,” Fidel was a “brutal dictator” who would not allow “democratic” elections like we have here. Two words put the lie to the story that U.S.-style elections bring justice and prosperity: Donald Trump.
Miguel Gonalez is a Colombian man who teaches youth how to play the traditional African-Indiginous rhythms of our ancestors from all over Africa and the Americas, opening the door for children intellectually trapped in the system’s schools to develop a knowledge of self, with the first steps being through playing the heartbeat, the drums. His organization, New Urban Drum Culture, is unique in its approach in helping to build self-esteem in at-risk inner-city youth.
Haitian activist lawyer Ezili Danto speaks on the current state of Dominican apartheid and the denationalization of Haitians within its borders. “The Dominican Republic is the Israel of the Caribbean,” Danto says, noting that they sided with the Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War. “Haiti is a sanctuary for freedom, a sanctuary in a world where, when the Africans liberated the island, it was the only place on Planet Earth where slavery of Black people did not exist.”
Do they think that we are stupid? We were there. We have the pictures. We have the video. We heard what they said. We saw what they did. Yet, publications blatantly misrepresent the truth, posing serious harm to Black lives. These misrepresentations actively push forth a narrative that absolves law enforcement of the brutality and racism they inflict and, ultimately, blame victims for their own repression. We are not here for it.
Lawyer, artist and activist Ezili Danto gives the Block Report audience a history lesson on the first republic to free itself militarily from slavery, under the direction of the first Pan African head of state, Dessalines. We are talking about none other than Haiti. She also gives us a little bit of the history of the Dominican Republic and its relationship with Haiti as well as the role that the mulatoes have played in Haitian history.
On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in the Dominican Republic, supposedly a paradise of European development, a Haitian man named Henry Claude Jean, known as “Tulile,” a humble shoe shine worker, was found hanging in a park in Santiago, his hands and feet bound. In Haiti, the U.S.-installed Martelly dictatorship and its controlled opposition remain silent about this atrocious lynching.
Five years ago, after the catastrophic Haiti earthquake, the international community – a self-defined “Core Group” under the leadership of former President Bill Clinton – took over Haiti recovery and reconstruction and announced they would “build Haiti back better.” But this was a euphemism for land grabbing, privatization, occupation and imperial plunder. Black lives don’t matter in the United States, much less in Haiti.
The strain of cholera brought to Haiti by Nepalese U.N. soldiers in 2010 has spread to the Dominican Republic, Cuba and now Mexico. In the past few months, Mexico has reported 176 confirmed cases of the disease, with one death. The Pan American Health Organization reported that the genetic profile of the strain in Mexico presents a greater than 95 percent match with the Haitian strain.
The Feb. 29, 2004, kidnapping and coup d’état began a brutal ongoing U.S.-U.N. occupation that aimed to suppress Haiti’s people’s movement and roll back the hard-won democratic gains since the ouster of Baby Doc Duvalier in 1986. Soldiers from other nations, including Ecuador and Brazil, later joined this occupation army, named MINUSTAH, which currently numbers 9,357 uniformed personnel.
In what is clearly a continuation of the Feb. 29, 2004, U.S. instigated coup d’etat against Haiti, former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been called before Martelly’s handpicked government prosecutor Lucmane Delile in what is widely believed to be an attempt by Martelly, the U.S. and France to wage a campaign of political persecution against Aristide, Fanmi Lavalas, and the democratic process and progress in Haiti.
“Haiti may have many problems but until 2010 cholera was not one of them. In fact, the country had no known history of the disease at all,” the Al Jazeera host explains. In October 2010, the first of now 8,000 Haitians died of cholera introduced to Haiti by U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal and the U.N.’s negligence in allowing their untreated waste to poison a major river.
Sandy wreaked havoc in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. More than 60 people have been killed in those neighboring countries. Haiti has lost her crops. Over 200,000 are left homeless with far fewer resources than New York City to rescue and restore what was lost.
With 54.42 percent of a record-turnout vote, Hugo Chávez has won a fourth term as president of Venezuela, in a race widely recognized as a crucial struggle between the progressive forces of the “Bolivarian Revolution” and the right-wing opposition of U.S.-backed Henrique Capriles.
It took nearly a year since the start of Haiti’s cholera epidemic for scientists to get conclusive proof that the cholera bacteria in Haiti are identical to bacteria in Nepal. The only reason it took so long to discover that Haiti’s cholera came from Nepal is because scientists had until now not bothered to compare the cholera from Haiti to cholera from Nepal.
"I was at his (President Aristide's) house, we heard a roar of shouts of joy, and then over the walls people started coming in, pouring into the courtyard of the house when they saw the car. People were accompanying the car as many as three miles from the airport to his house," relates Pierre Labossiere of the jubilant welcome that greeted the Aristides on their return to Haiti ending seven long years of exile for them and brutal repression of the people they had to leave behind. Pierre tells the story of the Haitian people and how their never-say-die spirit continues to inspire the world.
One of the stories least reported has been the one about Haitians organizing for themselves. This is one woman’s story of how she, her family and the people in the various communities in which she works came together collectively to care for each other’s needs and how that struggle has become the foundation of a new movement of the poor for change in education and the material lives of women and men – a struggle for dignity.
Haitians say protests are the inevitable outcome when troops who have occupied Haiti for five years with seeming impunity have introduced a deadly, misery-multiplying disease.
The cholera epidemic has killed 250 Haitians and over 3,000 more are infected and may die. This cholera is caused by drinking dirty, toxic water. According to Haiti’s health minister, cholera “can kill in three hours because once the diarrhea starts it doesn’t stop.”
Within days of a Jan. 12 earthquake that devastated much of southern Haiti, the New York Times was using the disaster to promote a United Nations plan for drastically expanding the country’s garment assembly industry, which employs low paid workers to stitch apparel for duty-free export, mainly to the U.S. market.
A million people are still homeless or needing shelter in Haiti. A million have been given food by the U.N. World Food Program in Port au Prince – another million in Port au Prince still need help.