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Tag: Haiti and Latin America
As we move into the next solar return, there is much to look forward to despite the stasis that seems to infect this nation with the disease of white supremacy or racial domination. OK OK, perhaps the silver lining is a bit too buried to find Osumare’s twinkle beyond any pots of gold you’ve stumbled upon recently. The knowledge that no matter how it looks, the Creator is in charge and the bad guys just look like they are always winning is what sustains us.
Congratulations to William Rhodes on a successful trip to South Africa, where he took a quilt created by his students at Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School in San Francisco to honor the legacy of an international hero, President Nelson Mandela, and returned with art panels from workshops conducted with youth in various townships and regions from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
Russell Maroon Shoatz is out of solitary confinement! Hugo Pinnell had his first contact visit in 40 years last weekend. Kiilu Nyasha announced this wonderful news at a reception following the second public hearing on solitary confinement called by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, Feb. 11.
A now famous quote from Ernesto Che Guevara says, “At the risk of sounding ridiculous, the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” The legacy of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense has proven this repeatedly, even though the city in which the party was born continues to shower those who struggle within her boundaries with the most heinous disrespect.
San Francisco was well represented at Cannes this year. Native son Danny Glover sat on a panel about documentary filmmaking, while San Francisco’s Kevin Epps showed his film “Straight Outta Hunters Point 2” to its first international audience. The San Francisco Black Film Festival held a news conference with “Godfather of Independent Film” Robert Townsend.
The U.N. estimated international donors gave Haiti over $1.6 billion in relief aid since the earthquake – about $155 per Haitian – and over $2 billion in recovery aid – about $173 per Haitian – over the last two years. Yet Haiti looks like the earthquake happened two months ago, not two years.
Haitian President Michel Martelly has revived discussion about a professional army, and some of the funds he is requesting to raise his “new” army are meant to cover back pay for the army of bandits disbanded by President Aristide. For those who never knew or forgot the crimes of the FAd’H, this masterful video by Kevin Pina should serve as an excellent introduction or reminder.
The “peacekeepers” are the fastest-growing branch of the U.N., with a budget of U.S. $8 billion and over 110,000 troops serving 15 operations. Ten percent of this budget is spent on Haiti – a small country that is not at war – to train foreign troops for future warfare against their own civilians.
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.
Half a year following the earthquake, conditions in Haiti are worse than ever. Still, there is “a lot to be hopeful for,” according to Robert Roth of the activist network Haiti Action Committee who recently visited the Caribbean island. An interview.
Many survivors of Hurricane Katrina, which struck New Orleans and the U.S. Gulf Coast in August 2005, have been seeing their own reflection in media images of Haiti earthquake victims and feel personally driven to help organize assistance for the people of Haiti.
Triple Canopy, a private military company with extensive security operations in Iraq and Israel, is advertising for business in Haiti. Jeremy Scahill reports on a number of bloody incidents involving Triple Canopy, including one where a team leader told his group, “I want to kill somebody today … because I am going on vacation tomorrow.”
For decades, the Saint Louis de Gonzague school has groomed some of Haiti’s most elite political players. Francois Duvalier, the iron-fisted dictator who ruled Haiti for 14 years, sent his son to the school. Now its grounds are home to nearly 11,000 Haitian families, driven out of destroyed neighborhoods in central Port au Prince.
In the weeks since the devastating earthquake in Haiti, familiar patterns of interference and neglect by the major powers that dominate the country are firmly entrenched. Notwithstanding heroic efforts of ordinary Haitian people, Haitian government officials and agencies and many international organizations, a grave health risk hovers over the people and the direction of Haiti’s reconstruction remains entirely undetermined.
Many New Orleanians have roots in Haiti. The 500 enslaved people who participated in the 1811 Rebellion to End Slavery – the largest armed uprising against slavery in the U.S. – were directly inspired by the Haitian revolution. We are also linked by first-hand understanding of the ways in which oppression based on race, class and gender interacts with disasters.
As Haitians engage in their latest war for survival, it is instructive to see how certain neighboring nations responded to this crisis, for a nation’s response unveils its motive, its fears and its hopes. Cuba sent doctors; the U.S. sent soldiers.
Friday, Feb. 12, one month after the earthquake, the first day of Jounen jèn, the days of mourning and remembrance, and we walked through the twisted iron and dusty shards of glass of the shattered National Cathedral. It was as though the world had ended.
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.”
You can walk down many of the streets of Port au Prince and see absolutely no evidence that the world community has helped Haiti. Twenty three days after the earthquake jolted Haiti and killed over 200,000 people, as many as a million people have still not received any international food assistance.
Haitians are helping Haitians. Young men have organized into teams to guard communities of homeless families. Women care for their own children as well as others now orphaned. Men and boys are scavenging useful items from the mounds of fallen buildings. Women are selling mangoes and nuts on the street. Teens are playing with babies.
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