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May 01, 2005
Haiti

I think I'll keep shouting about this until someone in the world o'blog besides me seems to care.

There's definitely some bias in this article but that doesn't mean it's not worth reading. Haiti is still in turmoil after the USofA made a "regime change" a year or so ago.

Four months after his installation, [the new “interim” prime minister] Latortue had Yvon Neptune, the prime minister under Aristide, arrested and charged with murder. On February 11, 2004, Neptune fought and defeated an armed gang-led uprising near the village of Saint-Marc. While Aristide’s opponents claim 50 people were killed by those under Neptune’s command, the UN independent expert on human Rights in Haiti concluded “there was no massacre”. However, Latortue has pushed for his prosecution.

Now Neptune has been on a hunger strike, but it looks like he may be about to join Aristide in exile.

In the meantime, it seems that citizens of Haiti expect little from the upcoming elections. (requires registration)

Well, who can blame them? They elected their last government and look what happened.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — If there was any hope among Haitians that the departure of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide would lead to a better life, it has largely vanished during a year marked by violence, unrelenting extreme poverty, and crumbling health and educational services.

With U.N. peacekeeping troops seemingly helpless to stop the relentless criminal attacks and robberies, Haiti's promise for a democratic future, with a presidential election scheduled for the fall, hardly inspires optimism.

With U.N. peacekeeping troops seemingly helpless to stop the relentless criminal attacks and robberies, Haiti's promise for a democratic future, with a presidential election scheduled for the fall, hardly inspires optimism.

The slum-dwellers who catapulted Aristide to power say they have little knowledge or interest in the elections, and faint hope that any new government will better their lives. People say they feel ignored by the provisional government that took over after Aristide went into exile amid an uprising by armed rebels.

What is left, 14 months after Aristide, is the same sheer human misery that has plagued the small Caribbean nation for much of its tumultuous history, and sad resignation among a populace that has seen too many leaders fail to turn the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation into an economically independent democracy.

"This government doesn't look down to the poor, but up to the rich," said Johnny Paul, a 30-year-old resident of the dangerous Cite Soleil district of Port-Au-Prince, adding that he does not see any point in voting.

In Forte Dimanche, one of the Haitian capital's poorest neighborhoods, a woman and her small children methodically stirred soil, butter, salt and water with their hands one recent day, fashioning the mixture into Frisbee-sized cakes they will dry in the sun.

This is what the neighborhood families eat.

Next to the family's makeshift outdoor kitchen was a foreboding and dank cement building, a place the hated Tonton Macoutes — government police during the Duvalier dictatorships that ruled Haiti — used as torture chambers. The structure was burned in December, during fights between local police and gangs.

This is where they sleep.

Two small pits in the yard hold human bones — the remains, local residents said, of people killed during gang fights in December. The children in this neighborhood aren't among the 60 percent of Haitian youngsters who are able to go to school, and unemployment — officially 80 percent in Haiti — is the norm.

Maybe these same problems existed before we stepped in and removed their government, but the USofA and the U.N. aren't making things any better.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:21 AM


Comments

Hey, we have bigger fish to fry. Those nuclear tipped missiles of N. Korea's don't grow on trees, you know. They take a lot of care and feeding and ignoring. And besides, we have the whole destruction of social security to worry about.

Priorities!

Posted by: Hal at May 1, 2005 11:55 AM

How silly of me. What was I thinking?

Posted by: Anne at May 1, 2005 12:00 PM