On Jan. 9, MASSIVE demonstrations throughout Haiti supported former President Aristide after he was summoned to court on frivolous charges seen as political persecution. People say that putting Aristide on trial is the same as putting the Haitian masses on trial and that the charges are meant to divert attention from the third earthquake anniversary and the theft of billions in aid. Speak out against the Red Cross for building a luxury hotel with aid funds. Rally Friday, Jan. 11, 4:30-5:30 p.m., outside Red Cross headquarters, 3901 Broadway, near MacArthur BART, Oakland.
Haitian President Michel Martelly has managed to inspire popular opposition to his regime almost since his election in May 2011. Martelly, who came to office in a grossly unrepresentative process which excluded Lavalas, the country’s most popular party, has been closely linked with figures around former dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
Update Sept. 30, 2012: For the past two weeks, massive demonstrations have rocked Haiti, protesting constitutional changes and the corruption of the Martelly government. The democratic and participatory spirit of the 1987 Constitution has been subverted by the illegitimate President Michel Martelly, who announced new amendments, which concentrate executive power and herald the return of death squad Duvalierism to Haiti.
On July 15, 2011, to mark the 58th birthday of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a gathering of volunteer medical doctors and nurses provided a free medical clinic in Port-au-Prince. This year was special because of the return of Haiti’s first democratically elected and twice ousted president.
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.”
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.
Four tropical storms in a month killed between 500 and 1,000 Haitians and left hundreds of thousands homeless. Because preparedness under Aristide had been abandoned and the U.N. won't help, damage and suffering are much worse than necessary.