Mathias O is 34 years old. He is one of about 600,000 people still homeless from the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. He lives with his wife and her 2-year-old under a homemade shelter made out of several tarps. They sleep on the rocky ground inside. The side tarp walls are reinforced by pieces of cardboard boxes taped together. Candles provide the only inside light at night. There is no running water. No electricity. They live near a canal and suffer from lots of mosquitoes.
Despite the fact that over a million people remained homeless in Haiti one month after the earthquake, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Ken Merten is quoted at a State Department briefing on Feb. 12, saying: “In terms of humanitarian aid delivery … frankly, it’s working really well. And I believe that this will be something that people will be able to look back on in the future as a model for how we’ve been able to sort ourselves out as donors on the ground and responding to an earthquake.”
In Venezuela, solidarity with Haiti is based on humanistic and historical reasons. Haiti played an important role in Venezuela’s battle for independence, and as the world’s first Black republic it served as an inspiration to Venezuelan patriots. Since the earthquake, Venezuela has rushed tons of food, tents and fuel to Haiti and forgiven all debts.