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Haiti's promised rebuilding unrealized as Haitians challenge authoritarian rule

Independence Day, Jan 1, 2015, photo by Haiti Liberté.jpg

By Travis Ross and Roger Annis, published in the 'Speakout' feature section of Truthout.org, Monday, January 12, 2015 (This article was translated and published in Spanish in Uruguay. Find the Spanish version here.)

Five years following the January 12, 2010 earthquake that struck the capital city of Haiti, the loudly-trumpeted reconstruction of the country is still an unrealized dream. The beginning of the year 2015 finds Haitians engaged in a massive movement of political protest and empowerment seeking to renew, against all odds, their 210-year old nation-building project. Winning a renewal means setting aside the false promises and cruel betrayals of the past five years by the big governments and aid agencies of the world.

Haitians seek relief in Dominican border town but find security crackdown

Dominican soldiers control the entrance of thousands of Haitians hoping to sell goods at the Dajabon market on Jan. 5.jpg

By Renee Lewis, america.aljazeera.com, January 23, 2015

Every Monday and Friday morning, the bi-national market town of Dajabon fills up. Thousands of Haitians cross the border into the Dominican Republic and line the streets of Dajabon with everything from clothes to diapers to food. They wait for the Dominican buyers who arrive on buses, motorcycles and in SUVs from cities all over the country, lured by the cheap prices offered by Haitian sellers. 

Who owns what in Haiti?

Farmers on their expropriated land on the Haitian island of Île-à-Vache..jpg

By Jacob Kushner, newyorker.com, January 18, 2015

The island of La Tortue, off the northern coast of Haiti, has become best known as a place where Haitians facing hard times set sail for lot bo dlo—the other side of the water. When President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was first ousted, in 1991, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted and repatriated some eighteen hundred “boat people” who had fled Haiti’s north coast en route to South Florida. Recently, though, one British-American company has been working to bring large numbers of people in the other direction, from South Florida to La Tortue.

Haiti earthquake relief funds unaccounted for amid pervasive human misery

By John Marion, wsws.org (World Socialist Web Site), January 20, 2015

Raymond Joseph, a former Haitian representative to the Organization of American States and Haiti’s ambassador to the United States at the time of the devastating 2010 earthquake, recently declared on Bloomberg TV’s “Money Makers” program that “we don’t know where the money has gone.” Joseph was referring to the billions of dollars in foreign aid—including $4 billion pledged by the United States—for earthquake relief in Haiti.

US court dismisses 8,700 Haitian lives

By Joe Emersberger, telesurtv.net. January 22, 2015

Throughout its history, Haiti has received lessons in savagery from the world’s big imperial powers. The latest lesson was delivered about a week ago by a U.S. court that said the UN cannot be held accountable for criminal negligence that has killed 8,700 Haitians from cholera since 2010. The Obama administration, needlessly worried that the court might take the side of common decency, formally urged the court to rule the way it did. The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) noted that “Despite calls from around the world — including from the UN’s own human rights chief — that the UN must provide remedies to the victims of cholera, the organization has persistently refused.”

The search for justice for Haiti’s cholera victims

By Fran Quigley, counterpunch.org, January 21, 2015

Earlier this month, on the eve of the 5th anniversary of Haiti’s tragic earthquake, a U.S. District Court judge ruled against Haitians’ class action suit asking the United Nations to take responsibility for the deadly cholera epidemic it triggered in October of 2010. Viewed from both narrow and broad perspectives, the decision in Delama Georges, et al, v. United Nations, et al, was the wrong one, and it will be appealed.

Is USAID helping Haiti to recover, or US contractors to make millions?

Haitian man works on constructing a house next to a building destroyed by the 2010 earthquake.jpg

By Jake Johnston, thenation.com, January 21, 2015

The corrugated metal fences surrounding construction sites in downtown Port-au-Prince are covered with a simple message: “Haiti ap vanse,” or “Haiti is moving forward.” Where once many thousands of people made tattered tents and makeshift shelters their home, now massive concrete shells and cranes stand tall amidst the rubble. Returning to Haiti, along with much of the world’s major media, for the fifth anniversary of the earthquake that killed more than 200,000 and displaced 1.5 million, it’s impossible not to see some signs that Haiti is in fact “moving forward.” The large camps of internally displaced persons, the most visible sign of the quake’s lasting impact, have for the most part been cleared, though certainly some remain. But beneath the veneer of progress, a more disturbing reality is apparent.