The lesser peopleJanuary 24, 2011
Two weeks ago I wrote in my blog post “Why” the following question:
Why are Cubans so much better off than Haitians, despite the fact, that Cuba is a communist dictatorship and endured a total trade embargo by the western world for 50 years, while Haiti is a democracy under the guidance of the United States and is very connected with the US economy?
After having sieved through recent news I have to add some additional questions:
Why did the USA send 10.000 soldiers to Haiti instead of emergency personal, blocking the only airport for vital humanitarian relief and causing thousands of deaths? (Doctors Without Borders protested the US military’s continuing refusal to allow its planes to land at the Port-au-Prince airport.)
Why are still 800,000 people displaced one year after the earthquake? Why are still thousands of people living in tent cities like Champ de Mars and Corail Cesselesse?
Why have after one year less than five percent of the rubble been cleared and only 15 percent of the needed temporary housing been built? Why have only a few permanent water and sanitation facilities been constructed?
Why have less than 10 percent of the 9 billion US$ pledged for Haiti’s reconstruction during last year’s international donor conference actually been disbursed? Why have the USA only disbursed 120 million US$ of the originally pledged 1.15 billion US$?
Why was Lavalas, Haiti’s largest political party, excluded from the election?
Why does the USA not allow the democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide to return and why didn’t it oppose the return of the bloody dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, who’s troops tortured and killed thousand of people and who embezzled millions of state funds?
Why did the USA, France and Canada pressure president René Préval to change the election result (which is completely meaningless in anyway because of terrible irregularities) and threaten to exile him like Aristide before?
Why was Haiti able to produce 80 percent of its food in the 1980s and is now producing only 42 percent? How did it happen, that Haiti, who was self-sufficiency in producing rice now is the fourth largest importer of U.S. rice?
The UN stabilization force, MINUSTAH is hated by the Haitians and viewed as occupation force. Independent human rights organizations accused MINUSTAH and the Haitian National Police (HNP) of killing civilians and collaborating in numerous atrocities against civilians with the main goal to neutralize the supporters of Aristide and his party Fammi Lavalas. “The UN stabilization force effectively provided cover for the police to wage a campaign of terror in Port-au-Prince’s slums”, which were “an unflinching bastion of support for Aristide.”
MINUSTAH carried out several raids in Cité Soleil, a bastion of Lavalas, with heavy loss of life.
MINUSTAH commander General Pereira testified at a congressional commission in 2005 that “we are under extreme pressure from the international community to use violence,” citing Canada, France, and the USA. He resigned and was replaced by General Bacellar, who was found dead in his hotel room in 2006, probably assassinated.
In Oxtober 2010 Haitians demonstrated against the UN forces and were disbursed by teargas and rubber bullets. The demonstrators also burned a Brazilian flag.
4000 Haitians have been killed and 200,000 infected by a cholera epidemic brought to Haiti by Nepalese UN troops. The UN was unable to raise 163 million US$ with an emergency appeal to combat the spread of cholera. The disease is easily preventable when people have access to clean water and sanitation.
Despite MINUSTAH being reinforced to more than 13,000 troops and armed police after the quake, rape inside the camps has quadrupled, and violence against internally displaced people is growing with many forcibly expelled from their camps.
Haitian women and girls are facing an increasing threat of sexual violence. Amnesty International reported that hundreds of cases of rape occurred in several makeshift camps. “The women and girls are being attacked under their shelters in the camps, dragged by a group of men into a secluded area or into another tent, and just being raped there, because in most of the camps, there is no lighting at night.”
Most of the reconstruction contracts have gone to US companies. Only two went to Haitian firms. A significant percentage of the contracts went to two US firms with no-bid contracts. Of every 100 US$ of Haiti reconstruction contracts awarded by the American government, 98.40 US$ returned to American companies,
The only remaining question is why Cubans still want to leave their country and emigrate to the United States. The numbers significantly dropped from 20,000 in 2007 to 6,800 last year, but that is still an astounding high number considering the fact, that 48 million US inhabitants live in poverty, 50 million have no healthcare and the top one percent owns more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.
The answer: It is the miracle of the US media dream machine. US TV will not show destitute and homeless people or run down neighborhoods in Detroit or Cleveland. It shows neatly dressed and attractive men and women in luxurious homes who live a comfortable life and who can buy anything they want.
I took another look at a statistic and country comparison of homicide rates, that I used for the “Glock-works” posts:
The homicide rates of Cuba and USA are rather similar with 5.4 and 5.2 per 100,000
The homicide rate of Jamaica is 60, the rates of Haiti and the Dominican Republic are both 22.
It would be a worthwhile undertaking to discuss the political situation and the US American influence in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, but I have to leave that for another blog post.