Comments for Africa Speaks Blog Thu, 04 Feb 2010 19:07:19 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Haitians will defend their sovereignty by Africa Speaks Thu, 04 Feb 2010 19:07:19 +0000

Comment on Haitians will defend their sovereignty by Africa Speaks Tue, 02 Feb 2010 19:34:34 +0000 Haitians will defend their sovereignty Pt. 2 By The Real News
Ronald Charles: After Haitian revolution, colonial oppression turned into oppression by its ruling elite

Comment on The Kidnapping of Haiti by Africa Speaks Thu, 28 Jan 2010 09:11:42 +0000 Security Kills: U. S. Fear of Democracy in Haiti by Mark Weisbrot
Six days after the earthquake in Haiti, the U.S. Southern Command finally began to drop bottled water and food (MREs) from an Air Force C-17. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had previously rejected such a method because of “security concerns.” The Guardian reports that people are dying of thirst. And if they do not get clean water, there can be epidemics of water-borne diseases that could greatly increase the death toll. But the United States is now sending 10,000 troops and seems to be prioritizing “security” over much more urgent, life-and-death needs. This is in addition to the increase of 3,500 UN troops scheduled to arrive.

Cancel Haiti’s Debt by Sarah van Gelder
Haiti has a painful history with debt. When it won its independence in 1804 — just the second country in the hemisphere to do so — it was required to pay restitution to France. Haiti went millions of dollars (billions in today’s dollars) into debt to compensate the French for their loss of property — including the lost profits from slave trading. Only by paying this restitution could Haiti end a crippling embargo by the French, British, and Americans. Money that the new government might have invested in building a new nation poured into loan payments that continued until the loan was paid off in 1947.

IMF chief in U-turn as Venezuela cancels Haiti debt
International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn has made a U-turn on the US-dominated financial institution’s attempt to burden earthquake-devastated Haiti with another $100 million (£61.7m) of debt. Mr Strauss-Kahn declared that he now supported efforts to “delete all the Haitian debt, including our new loan,” following criticism from leaders such as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who announced his own country’s immediate cancellation of a $295m (£182m) debt on Monday.

Comprehensive ALBA Project to Help Haiti
A comprehensive project for emergency aid, restoration and reconstruction of Haiti was approved on Monday in Caracas by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

ALBA countries allocate $120 million in aid to Haiti
The Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) politico-economic bloc, at a special meeting in the Venezuelan capital on Monday, adopted a plan aimed at giving aid to Haiti in the elimination of the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and in the restoration of that Caribbean country.

Chavez Writes Off Haiti’s Oil Debt to Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez announced Monday that he would write off the undisclosed sum Haiti owes Venezuela for oil as part of the ALBA bloc’s plans to help the impoverished Caribbean nation after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake. “Haiti has no debt with Venezuela, just the opposite: Venezuela has a historical debt with that nation, with that people for whom we feel not pity but rather admiration, and we share their faith, their hope,” Chavez said after the extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA. He also announced that ALBA has decided on a comprehensive plan that includes an immediate donation of $20 million to Haiti’s health sector, and a fund that, Chavez said, will be at least $100 million “for starters.”

Comment on When Are Haitians Looters and When Are They Just Hungry? by Africa Speaks Thu, 21 Jan 2010 16:34:50 +0000 When the Media Is the Disaster: Covering Haiti

by Rebecca Solnit

Soon after almost every disaster the crimes begin: ruthless, selfish, indifferent to human suffering, and generating far more suffering. The perpetrators go unpunished and live to commit further crimes against humanity. They care less for human life than for property. They act without regard for consequences. I’m talking, of course, about those members of the mass media whose misrepresentation of what goes on in disaster often abets and justifies a second wave of disaster. I’m talking about the treatment of sufferers as criminals, both on the ground and in the news, and the endorsement of a shift of resources from rescue to property patrol. They still have blood on their hands from Hurricane Katrina, and they are staining themselves anew in Haiti.
Full Article :

Comment on When Are Haitians Looters and When Are They Just Hungry? by Africa Speaks Thu, 21 Jan 2010 10:32:15 +0000 The Looting Lie

In the wake of Haiti’s earthquake, the media is widely reporting stories of looting. Didn’t they learn anything after Hurricane Katrina?

By Cord Jefferson
January 15, 2010 –

It’s been three days since an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale devastated the small island nation of Haiti, leaving tens of thousands dead and many survivors homeless. Sadly, the images and stories emerging from the disaster—including dead children and aid shortages—are all too reminiscent of those that followed Hurricane Katrina. So is an unfortunate media talking point: looting.

Already, tales of “machete wielding gangs” looting Haiti’s rubble are widespread, from news outlets on the left and the right. Similar stories surfaced after Hurricane Katrina, but we now know of a large body of evidence proving that the media greatly exaggerated reports of post-Katrina New Orleans being overrun with violence and theft.

To discuss this troubling media phenomenon, and to better understand what happens in the immediate fallout of massive natural disasters, Campus Progress spoke with Dr. Kathleen Tierney, professor of sociology and behavioral science and director of the Natural Hazard Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Do you think that because the victims of both Haiti and Katrina were poor and black, the media approached the stories with a certain perspective?

Definitely. There is an institutionalized racism in the way these poor black disaster victims are treated. The victims of Katrina were treated with so much presumption, as if you could assume they were going to loot, because they were black. Just like we know that the people in Haiti are bad because they’re black. Black men especially are demonized. During Katrina, the media picked up on every rumor—whether it was raped 4-year-olds in the Superdome or people shooting each other. Actually, for a paper me and a couple of my graduate students wrote called “Metaphors Matter,” we found some transcripts of TV programs in which members of the media expressed regret. They were saying, “We really blew it during Katrina; we acted on all of these rumors.” I myself was on Jim Lehrer’s show, where they were asking about the looting [in Katrina], and I got into it with a police officer, and he ended up agreeing with me that it was a myth. It’s not real. I thought the media would have learned something after Katrina, but evidently they haven’t. Here we go again.
Full Article :

Comment on Disaster Capitalism Headed to Haiti by Africa Speaks Wed, 20 Jan 2010 11:22:37 +0000 Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again
by Naomi Klein
Readers of the The Shock Doctrine know that the Heritage Foundation has been one of the leading advocates of exploiting disasters to push through their unpopular pro-corporate policies. From this document, they’re at it again, not even waiting one day to use the devastating earthquake in Haiti to push for their so-called reforms. The following quote was hastily yanked by the Heritage Foundation and replaced with a more diplomatic quote, but their first instinct is revealing:
“In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the public image of the United States in the region.”

Comment on Disaster Capitalism Headed to Haiti by Africa Speaks Mon, 18 Jan 2010 22:11:03 +0000 France, Venezuela, Nicaragua Accuse the US of Occupying Haiti
The United Nations must investigate and clarify the dominant U.S. role in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, a French minister said Monday, claiming that international aid efforts were about helping Haiti, not “occupying” it.

Comment on The Rescue Operation’s Priorities in Haiti by Africa Speaks Mon, 18 Jan 2010 17:19:13 +0000 Frustration mounts over Haiti aid
Tensions are rising on the streets of Haiti as the bulk of earthquake survivors continue to go without food, medicine or proper shelter. Aid organisations continued to struggle to reach them with supplies on Sunday, six nights after the devastating earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

A bottleneck at the capital’s small airport – the main entry point for the massive assistance pledged by world leaders following the disaster – means little help has reached the many people waiting for help in makeshift camps on streets strewn with debris and decomposing bodies.

Some aid agencies have complained about a lack of co-ordination at the Port-au-Prince airport, where the US military has taken over operations.

IMF to Haiti: Freeze Public Wages
…it’s also time to stop having a conversation about charity and start having a conversation about justice–about recovery, responsibility and fairness. What the world should be pondering instead is: What is Haiti owed?

Haiti’s vulnerability to natural disasters, its food shortages, poverty, deforestation and lack of infrastructure, are not accidental. To say that it is the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere is to miss the point; Haiti was made poor–by France, the United States, Great Britain, other Western powers and by the IMF and the World Bank.

Comment on Haiti: Aid effort facing an uphill battle by Africa Speaks Sat, 16 Jan 2010 07:58:23 +0000 Patrick Cockburn: America is failing Haiti – again
The US-run aid effort for Haiti is beginning to look chillingly similar to the criminally slow and disorganised US government support for New Orleans after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Five years ago President Bush was famously mute and detached when the levees broke in Louisiana. By way of contrast, President Obama was promising Haitians that everything would be done for survivors within hours of the calamity.

Scrambling to Get Out of Haiti

Relief trickles in, but not enough

US takes control of Haiti airport

Shortages become acute as bodies pile up in Haiti

Haiti Says 200, 000 May Be Dead, Tensions Rise

Looters roam Port-au-Prince as earthquake death toll estimate climbs

Enormity of Haiti quake disaster clear from the sky

Haiti mass graves receive unclaimed, unidentified bodies

Comment on Haiti: Aid effort facing an uphill battle by Africa Speaks Fri, 15 Jan 2010 18:22:02 +0000 Anger Mounts Among Desperate Haitians Over Supplies Stuck at Airport

Gangs Armed With Machetes Loot Port-Au-Prince

Haiti Earthquake Victims Despair as Food, Water and Medical Relief Delayed

U.S. military mobilizes thousands for Haiti relief

Disaster relief in Haiti faces difficulties…

Bodies rot; Haitians mad