The idea is again to share information about this disaster and how people around the world can provide aid to ongoing relief efforts - see previous blog here for details.
Haiti is, as we've been reminded by some news reports, the only nation to be founded by a slave rebellion - the African slaves managed to defeat the French back in 1791 and changed the original Arawak name for the island to Haiti. However since then they've had a pretty rough ride with western powers with blockades and one sided trade agreements. SchNEWS note: "The prize for most outrageous treaty probably goes to the 19th century French government, which demanded that Haitians pay France reparations for lost earnings following the loss of ‘their’ slaves."
There has also been the infamous dictatorship of ‘Papa’ Doc and ‘Baby’ Doc Duvalier who ruled the country with a unique form of voodoo oppression between 1957 and 1986 and saw Haiti change from being able to feed its population to becoming a cash crop economy reliant on US food imports.
Seeing the Bush and Clinton's video calling for funds reminded me of Aristide who was deposed by Bush Senior in ’91, reinstated by Clinton on condition Aristide signed up to a whole host of tough neo-liberal measures, only to be deposed by the Marines in 2004. Well it was not quite as simple as that but now we have seen the US take control of the country again - and one of their first measures was to try and control the flow of information out of Haiti by ordering the removal of all international journalists from the Haitian capital’s airport.
“We have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy—which is part natural, part unnatural—must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further in debt Haiti and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interest of our corporations. This is not conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.” Naomi Klein 14th Jan 2010We should also note that even as aid flows in to Haiti's desperate communities, money is flowing out to pay off the country's crushing debt - over $1 billion in unfair debt racked up years ago by unscrupulous lenders and governments. The call for full cancelation of Haiti's debt is building steam across the world, and has won over some leaders - but others are rumoured to be resisting. G7 finance ministers could reach a final decision at their summit in Canada.
Please join Avaaz and partners in calling for debt relief directly to the summit - click below to sign the petition:
Lastly sign a Downing Street petition re cancelling the debt here:
And very lastly (!) see post on buildings designed for earthquakes here.