- Haiti is no stranger to adversity and anguish - over
500 years of severe oppression, slavery, despotism, colonization, reparations,
embargoes, sanctions, deep poverty, starvation, unrepayable debt, and natural
calamities from destructive hurricanes to a dozen magnitude 7.0 or greater
Caribbean region earthquakes in the past 500 years. The last major one
was in 1946 at 8.1 in the adjacent Dominican Republic, also striking Haiti.
Earlier catastrophic ones were in 1751 and 1770, both devastating Port-au-Prince,
and the 1842 one destroying Cap-Haitien in the north.
- On September 25, 2008, Phoenix Delacroix quoted geologist
Patrick Charles of Havana's Geological Institute saying:
- "conditions are ripe for major seismic activity
in Port-au-Prince. The inhabitants of the Haitian capital need to prepare
themselves for an event which will inevitably occur."
- Citing a real danger, he explained that the dangerous
Enriquillo Fault Zone extends across Port-au-Prince, starting in Petionville,
traversing the Southern Peninsula to Tiburon. Noting earlier tremors in
the area, he said a larger earthquake usually follows, yet no precautions
were taken, leaving Haitians vulnerable to what happened - vast destruction,
perhaps hundreds of thousands dead, countless numbers seriously injured,
and disease, depravation, and militarized occupation haunting survivors
in the aftermath.
- After Washington ousted President Jean-Betrand Aristide
in February 2004, UN Blue Helmets (MINUSTAH) occupied Haiti as paramilitary
enforcers. They still do, subordinate to around 20,000 US land and sea
based troops, including Marines, Army 82nd Airborne paratroupers, Navy
assault ships, and Coast Guard vessels offshore, a powerful force for indefinite
occupation, severe repression, and ruthless exploitation for American interests
- obstructing, not providing, humanitarian aid, and facilitating potentially
hundreds of thousands of deaths from starvation, dehydration, disease,
untreated wounds, trauma, and for some perhaps just giving up and expiring
unnoticed, unreported, and uncared about by forces able to help.
- It's an old story for Haitians, beleaguered for over
500 years and under America's thumb for nearly two centuries, unrecognized,
embargoed, exploited, and slaughtered to assure their freedom is denied.
Now again, but first some background.
- Occupied Haiti
- On April 30, 2004, the UN Security Council authorized
MINUSTAH - paramilitary peacekeepers, illegally sent for the first time
ever to support a coup d'etat regime in place of a democratically elected
- Rebel thugs got free reign to join them in the streets,
the result being hundreds turned up dead or missing. The state Port-au-Prince
morgue was swamped with bodies. Many showed up with their hands tied behind
their backs and bags placed over their heads. Ruthlessness was empowered.
Orders came from Washington.
- Bodies turned up everywhere, in streets, on beaches,
abandoned as food for pigs, and anyone connected with Aristide's Fanmi
Lavalas party (FL) was fair game.
- US Marines and foreign troops arrived, not to deliver
aid or for protection, but to intimidate, terrorize, crush resistance,
solidify coup d'etat rule, and destroy Haitian democracy under Aristide
and prevent any chance of it returning.
- MINUSTAH and the reconstituted Haitian National Police
(the force Aristide abolished with the army) took over from the initial
Multinational Interim Force (MIF), terrorizing Haitians through thousands
of political killings, disappearances, torture, and unlawful arrests and
- FL was effectively destroyed and Aristide's remarkable
accomplishments ended in areas of healthcare, education, free expression,
economic and social reforms, human rights and justice, lost under coup
d'etat rule and thereafter under the Preval government, a pseudo one subservient
- In the 2006 presidential and parliamentary elections,
he agreed to painful concessions, surrendered his authority, and yielded
power to US and elitist Haitian interests - a shameless betrayal of his
- After the coup and thereafter, episodes like the following
- On December 22, 2006, Blue Helmets assaulted Cite Soleil
(one of Port-au-Prince's most impoverished communities), randomly shot
and killed 30 or more people, supposedly to capture a gang member, but
in fact to terrorize.
- In an earlier July 6, 2005 incident, hundreds of heavily
armed troops attacked Cite Soleil with an array of powerful weapons - high-powered
assault ones atop armored personnel carriers, precision rifles for assassinations,
and a type of gattling gun firing depleted uranium tipped armor-piercing
bullets. Thousands of rounds were indiscriminately fired. About 70 people
were murdered, and many were left unattended to bleed to death on streets
or in their homes.
- On January 23, 2007, MINUSTAH forces were back, open
fired randomly for hours, and used helicopters to reign death from the
skies, killing dozens, then removing the dead to prevent a body count.
- From February 2004 - December 2005 alone, Wayne State
University School of Social Work researchers estimated that 8,000 people
were murdered and 35,000 women sexually assaulted in the greater Port-au-Prince
area - attributed to MINUSTAH, the Haitian National Police (PNH), Haitian
demobilized army members, and anti-Aristide paramilitary gangs enlisted
to commit terror. Also reported were documented kidnappings, extrajudicial
detentions, assaults other than rape, death threats, physical threats,
and threats of sexual violence against helpless people. The report concluded
that "crime and systematic abuse and human rights were common in Port-au-Prince"
involving criminals but also "political actors and UN soldiers."
- Today, similar abuses crush resistance, prevent the restoration
of democracy, and keep Haitians cowed, abused and exploited. Washington
decides their fate, and now the Marines are back along with thousands of
combat paratroupers and naval forces (an authorized 20,000 force mostly
arrived), not to provide aid, to deny it and perhaps let hundreds of thousands
perish - a crime of genocidal proportions, a US specialty, honed and perfected
from decades of ritual slaughter, especially against people of color, deemed
inferior to American "exceptionalism" and "moral superiority."
- Marines came earlier in 1915, stayed 20 years, ravaged
the country, destroyed Haitian society and institutions, and committed
horrendous crimes against humanity. Most notorious was the infamous 1929
slaughter of 264 peasants protesting in Les Cayes. In addition, corvee
or forced labor was employed, brutally exploited, and new weapons tested
like today, including aerial bombing years before the Nazis did it against
Guernica (in April 1937) in support of Spanish fascists in the country's
- Haiti's Catastrophic Tragedy
- After its worst catastrophe in nearly 170 years, millions
in the country need everything, not Marines - food, water, medical care,
shelter, and deep compassion at their greatest time of need.
- Instead, the country is occupied, militarized, denied
aid, and taken over for greater exploitation. General Ken Keen, in charge
of forces, says US troops will "be here as long as needed," signaling
an open-ended commitment for years.
- On her January 16 photo-op visit, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton practically announced an emergency decree, suspension of
the rule of law, and authorization of curfews and martial law under Pentagon
control. She said:
- "The decree would give the government an enormous
amount of authority, which in practice they would delegate to us,"
omitting that its choice was do it or else.
- Despite the calm and lack of disorder, it's now official
under Pentagon command enforcing a state of emergency and martial law.
US troops control Port-au-Prince's airport and port facilities, blocking
and slowing aid, including relief flights from France, Brazil, Italy and
other countries, diverting them to the neighboring Dominican Republic,
hours from Port-au-Prince on bad roads. In addition, the Red Cross and
Doctors Without Borders report aid flights can't land for fast access to
treat the injured, ill and dying. Pentagon troops obstruct them, willfully
letting people suffer, die, and be ethnically cleaned from Port-au-Prince
areas wanted for new development. More on that below.
- According to General Keen:
- "If an air traffic controller doesn't know what's
on an incoming plane, then he doesn't know what priority to give it."
- Military flights in and ones out with US citizens and
foreign nationals have top priority. Saving lives don't matter. They're
just Haitians, poor, black, unimportant, to be removed, using the earthquake
as a pretext to do it, dead or alive.
- In natural disasters, immediate aid is critical. After
that, casualties multiply fast and in Haiti they're exploding, from a lack
of medical supplies and equipment, vital surgeries, infections, diseases,
extreme trauma, and inadequate essential to life supplies not let in or
delayed. Three million or more Haitians need help. A fraction of that number
are getting it. As a result, thousands are dying daily.
- Phillippe Bolopion from FRANCE24 TV said supplies are
piling up at the airport and not being delivered. Desperate people can't
"understand why the generosity of the world isn't getting to them.
It's really hard to comprehend."
- Radio Television Esponola's (RTVE) Fran Sevilla reported:
- "There continues to be no distribution of humanitarian
aid, of food and water. I ask myself how all these human beings survive.
I ask if anyone is helping them, if they are receiving anything, and the
answer is always no. They survive thanks to the solidarity between them,
sharing between families and groups of friends what little they have, what
they can get."
- President Rene Preval is disturbingly absent and silent,
reportedly at the airport, out of sight, playing no role in the relief
effort - something he should lead, not abstain from, and do it visibly,
actively, on the ground in Port-au-Prince, what Aristide would do if there.
- Despite the obstacles, some nations are doing what they
can, Venezuela for one, a critical Hugo Chavez saying on his weekly Sunday
- "It seems that the United States is militarily occupying
Haiti, taking advantage of the tragedy....Thousands of (soldiers) are disembarking
in Haiti as if it were a war. (Haiti) needs doctors, tents, rescue teams
and machinery....Now, who said soldiers, rifles and machine guns are necessary?"
- Venezuelan and Cuban aid were some of the first to arrive,
and Chavez and Castro promise more, including food, water, doctors, medical
supplies and rescue equipment, yet Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicholas
Maduro said shipments were diverted to the Dominican Republic, losing precious
hours to deliver it to victims.
- So far, Venezuela alone has sent fuel, 616 metric tons
of food, and 116 metric tons of equipment, including water purification
systems, electrical generators and heavy equipment for moving rubble, Chavez
- "The Venezuelan people (will do more and) will donate
all the fuel the Haitian people need. We are coordinating with the president
of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, who put the terminal of the
refinery of his country at our service."
- Chavez later announced that another five ships loaded
with food and medical supplies left for Haiti on January 19 with Venezuelan
soldiers on board to "protect the safety of everyone, but not to militarily
occupy (the country) as the US intends to do."
- Venezuela and other ALBA nations (Bolivarian Alliance
for the Americas) pledged generous aid, additional shiploads already sent
carrying thousands of tons of food and other supplies.
- America's Response - Occupation, Not Aid
- In a show of strength, US paratroupers took control of
the Presidential Palace, symbol of the nation's sovereignty, wanting it
for a command center, and angering one Haitian to say:
- "I haven't seen the Americans in the streets giving
out water and food, but now they come to the palace."
- From another:
- "It's an occupation. The palace is our power, our
face, our pride," now taken, occupied, a deep humiliation while critical
needs go begging.
- Besides control, security is top priority, never mind
how calm, resilient, compassionate, and committed able Haitians are to
help, asking no more than for vital supplies to survive at a time they
can't provide them on their own. Yet Keen claims:
- "incidents of violence (are) imped(ing) our ability
to support the (Haitian) government and answer the challenges that this
country faces as they're suffering a tragedy of epic proportions,"
one America exacerbates along with repressive MINUSTAH forces, to be reinforced
with thousands of additional troops.
- In separate incidents, they fired tear gas and rubber
bullets at a crowd close to the Port-au-Prince airport, and Hatian police
did as well against civilians in the city center. Another report said police
were shooting Haitians and letting them bleed to death in the street.
- "We don't need military aid. What we need is food
and shelter," shouted one man at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
during his one-day visit with officials and UN forces, not to assess the
tragedy and direct massive aid to address it.
- Arriving on January 17, he left the same day, an appalling
display of arrogance and indifference. During a photo-op near a tent city,
he was heckled by angry crowds demanding help from the international community.
Instead he said:
- "Coordination will improve as we are better organized.
Deliveries are now being made in a more effective and efficient manner."
- In fact, they're being obstructed and prevented from
landing, and much getting in is stacked at the airport, not delivered or
delayed. The result is death, devastation, and human suffering everywhere
while Ban, Hillary Clinton and husband Bill come for photo-ops and shameless
comments like the former president saying:
- "There was an extraordinary amount of time devoted
to try and dig through those buildings to try to find living and dead."
- If fact, no heavy equipment was delivered. UN and US
troops didn't help, and Haitians had to use small implements and their
bare hands to rescue a bare handful of people on their own while perhaps
hundreds of thousands perished.
- At the same time, desperation grows, arousing one woman
- "I have been here every day. I heard they gave away
some food but there was a riot....we have been on this spot since the day
of the earthquake and we have not seen anyone give away anything but water,"
and not enough.
- Another man shouted:
- "Have we been abandoned? Where is the food?"
- Head of mission of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Michelle
Chouinard, described their enormous challenges:
- -- limited supplies of everything;
- -- extreme crush injuries, partial amputations and open
- -- people in severe pain with festering wounds;
- -- a young man, typical of others, with a traumatic crush
injury; he was young and strong, but his leg was dead and had to come off;
- -- gangrenous limbs removed to save lives;
- -- after surgeries, patients can't go home; they have
none and need care - to prevent infections, change dressings and control
- -- many amputees and the paralyzed need lifelong care,
but from where, by whom, and the numbers are so great it's impossible to
- -- thousands of children have been orphaned;
- -- shocked, traumatized people are everywhere;
- -- the number of people needing surgery is overwhelming;
teams work under makeshift conditions around the clock with inadequate
supplies running out as well as enough fuel for refrigerating medicines;
- -- people are dying and will die without essential treatment,
and for the seriously ill, survival depends on leaving Haiti for what's
not available internally - but Washington is blocking Haitian citizens
from leaving, even parents whose children are US citizens; they can go,
not their parents.
- Two million or more are homeless, living on streets or,
if lucky, in tents. Partners in Health, (with 25 years experience providing
healthcare to Haitians), estimates 20,000 are dying daily from lack of
surgery and essential treatment. The human tragedy is incalculable. Tens
of thousands of bodies get dumped in mass graves like garbage.
- MSF's Dr. Greg Elder fears:
- "The next health risk could include outbreaks of
diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, and other diseases among hundreds
of thousands of Haitians living in overcrowded camps with poor or nonexistent
- On January 20, even The New York Times reported that:
- "....people (are) writhing in pain (in squatter
camps around the capital), their injuries bound up by relatives but not
yet seen by a doctor eight days after the quake struck. On top of that,
the many bodies still in the wreckage increase the risk of diseases spreading,
especially, experts say, if there is rain."
- The Wall Street Journal reported that Port-au-Prince
General Hospital is besieged by over 1,000 patients needing surgery. "....thousands
of injured, some grievously, wait outside virtually any hospital or clinic,
pleading for treatment."
- BBC correspondents said aid arriving by sea is taken
to the airport, "where it is piling up and not being distributed to
those who need it." As a result, most Haitians are getting little
or nothing. An estimated two hundred thousand or more have died. Many more
will perish for lack of help.
- At the same time, MINUSTAH and US forces provide security,
not aid, leaving Haitians on their own, at the mercy of what relief agencies
can provide and doctors from Cuba, Venezuela and other concerned nations,
not America, not the EU, not Canada, not the world's wealthiest states
able to mount a sustained, large-scale effort but won't.
- Instead, reports say flyers are being circulated throughout
Port-au-Prince, telling people to evacuate to safer places. It's reminiscent
of New Orleans post-Katrina, a mass ethnic cleansing exodus to level the
city's most valued parts, prepare it for upscale development, and prevent
poor Haitians from returning.
- On January 22, AP reported that:
- "Haitian officials are planning a massive relocation
of 400,000 people from makeshift camps to the outskirts of the capital....to
help residents survive the aftermath of the catastrophic earthquake."
- In fact, Pentagon forces run everything, providing aid
not their concern. They're relocating people, dumping and forgetting about
them, out of sight and mind.
- The New York Times ignores it, referring only to aid
groups helping the homeless by "an epic relocation (of) up to one
million people." Not a word about capitalizing on disaster for profit.
- Before the quake, Haiti had over 10,000 NGOs profiteering
on the nation's misery, preparing now for a bonanza at the expense of the
poor, displaced and immiserated.
- Blocking a Haitian Exodus
- The Pentagon has Haiti under siege. Five US Coast Guard
vessels and Navy warships patrol offshore to interdict those fleeing and
forcibly return them back home.
- On January 19, cnn.com reported that:
- "A US Air Force plane serving as an airborne radio
station is broadcasting messages to Haitians (warning) them not to attempt
ocean voyages to the United States, saying they will be intercepted and
turned back home if they do."
- The message comes from Raymond Joseph, Haiti's US ambassador,
saying in Creole:
- "Listen, don't rush on boats to leave the country.
If you do that, we'll all have even worse problems....If you think you
will reach the US and all the doors will be wide open to you, that's not
at all the case. And they will intercept you right on the water and send
you back home where you came from."
- If large numbers flee, they'll be incarcerated at Guatanamo's
Krome Service Processing Center under conditions others earlier faced.
After the 1991 coup deposed President Aristide, thousands fled to America.
Most were sent home, but around 300 were held at Guantanamo because tests
showed they were HIV positive. In subsequent years, thousands more were
- Conditions were deplorable. Treated like prisoners, they
were held behind razor wire in leaky barracks with bad sanitation, poor
food, and little medical care even for the sick and pregnant women. After
one protest and a hunger strike, crackdowns were severe, and many were
- In October 2002, 212 Haitians reached South Florida seeking
asylum and safety. Instead, they were rounded up, handcuffed, held in detention,
and grossly mistreated. Families were separated from children, husbands
from wives, and siblings from each other, but it wasn't an isolated incident
under a secret Bush administration policy authorizing what now is the Department
of Homeland Security to detain South Florida arrivals, regardless of their
- It's how Washington always treated Haitians since they
began arriving over 50 years ago to escape repression, only to be treated
abusively once here.
- Today, sick and dying Haitians are denied visas for emergency
medical treatment and those with them can't leave. On January 19, the Miami
Herald reported that commercial flights from Haiti are banned because checks
can't screen out potential terrorists, a policy applying to Haitians, not
US citizens or others allowed to depart.
- Abducting Haitian Children
- Noted international law and human rights expert Professor
Francis Boyle reports the following:
- "The USA is stealing the alleged 'orphans' of Haiti,
taking them away from their families. Haiti is currently being occupied
by the United States....Obama basically told Preval he was taking over
the country, and Preval said OK -- no choice in the matter" as Washington
does what it pleases, especially against defenseless countries like Haiti.
- "....the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to this
situation. It clearly states in Article 2:
- 'The Convention shall also apply to all cases of partial
or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party, even
if the said occupation meets with no armed resistance.' "
- Under Fourth Geneva, Haitian "orphans are protected
persons under the terms of the (Convention). Hence, they cannot be moved
from Haiti for any reason. To do so is a serious war crime."
- Boyle added that Defense Secretary Gates said America
won't police Haiti. However, under Fourth Geneva, occupying the country
and displacing its sitting government (even in weakened form) is precisely
what Washington is doing.
- On January 19, The New York Times headlined, "53
Haitian Orphans Are Airlifted to US," then explained that some Haitian
orphanages "are fronts for traffickers who buy children from their
parents and sell them to couples in other countries." Now profiteers
are stealing them.
- According to UNICEF spokesperson Christopher de Bono:
- "In orphanages in Haiti, there are an awful lot
of children who are not orphans."
- According to UNICEF adviser Jean Luc Legrand, children
are also missing from hospitals.
- "We have documented around 15 cases of children
disappearing from hospitals and not with their own family at the time.
UNICEF has been working in Haiti for many years and we knew the problem
with the trade of children....that existed beforehand. Unfortunately, many
of the....networks have links with the international adoption market."
- Fast-track adoptions are proceeding in Belgium, Canada,
France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and America.
- They're victims of child-traffickers, now aided by Homeland
Security's January 18 announced policy of waiving visa requirements on
humanitarian grounds for Haitian children approved for adoption, or perhaps
abducted to be sold for profit, never to see their parents again or know
if they're alive. DHS is facilitating a crime, a practice it's expert at
targeting Latino immigrants, including documented US citizens.
- Boyle asks who gives "the White Racist United States
(the) Divine Right to go around the world (stealing) Black Children from
Third World Countries, depriving those children and their countries of
- "The forcible transfer of children of one group
(Black Hatians) to another group (White Americans) is genocide under the
1948 Genocide Convention (besides violating Fourth Geneva)."
- It may also violate America's "Genocide Implication
Act as amended by the Genocide Accountability Act and perhaps the US War
- The White House pressured the Haitian government to comply,
forcing it to be complicit in child abductions - trafficking potentially
thousands of Haitian children for profit at a time they're most vulnerable.
- "Notice the duress and coercion involved here. The
Black Haitian government was forced by the White Racist USA to surrender
up their Children to White American child thieves," parents complicit
in a crime with lawyers helping them who know better but are well paid
to stay silent.
- Boyle asks:
- "Are we American Lawyers going to stand by and let
their genocidal thievery of Haitian babies happen? Or are we going to do
something to stop it?"
- Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre
for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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