Recent Feature Articles

A cornerstone of post-earthquake 'reconstruction', the Caracol park is not living up to its backers' lofty promises

By Jonathan M. Katz, published on Al Jazeera, September 10, 2013

CARACOL, Haiti - The young men playing dominoes in this tin-roofed fishing village used to have high hopes for the industrial park being built up the road. They had heard of the U.S. government's plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a part of Haiti where most people are barely scraping by, and promises from a South Korean garment manufacturer to create tens of thousands of jobs.

But less than a year after Caracol Industrial Park's gala opening — with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Sean Penn, designer Donna Karan and Haiti's current and former presidents among the guests — the feeling these days is disappointment. Hundreds of smallholder farmers were coaxed into giving up more than 600 acres of land for the complex, yet nearly 95 percent of that land remains unused. A much-needed power plant was completed on the site, supplying the town with more electricity than ever, but locals say surges of wastewater have caused floods and spoiled crops.

By Beverly Bell and Alexis Erkert, published on Other Worlds, April 25, 2013

As we mourn the deaths of nearly 200 people in yesterday’s garment factory collapse outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, we publish this article about the very issue of garment labor exploitation on the other side of the world. Economist Paul Collier's 2009 report "Haiti: From Natural Catastrophe to Economic Security" recommends for Haiti the same model that in Bangladesh has resulted in a race towards lower pay, disastrous working conditions, and the deaths of more than 800 garment workers since 2006. This article begins to explore the implications of sweatshop labor as a model for development.

By Kim Ives, published in Haiti Liberté weekly, edition of April 10, 2013

A chorus of outrage is building against former Haitian president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier as he sits in the dock of a Haitian court, charged with crimes against humanity during his 15-year rule. However, the U.S. government remains strangely and completely silent. A 40-year-old trove of diplomatic cables, newly unearthed by WikiLeaks and reported exclusively here on Haiti Liberté, helps explain why.

By Isabeau Doucet.
An earlier version of this article was published in The Nation. This version is published in the weekly Haiti Liberté, issue dated March 27, 2013.

I contracted cholera two years ago by the breezy beaches of Port Salut, while attempting to escape burnout, a broken heart, and the lingering pangs of Dengue fever in Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.

Cholera's not a whole lot different from food poisoning and is no big deal if you have a clean toilet, potable water, know how to treat it, and aren't malnourished.

UN human rights expert: Haiti and international community should "throw light" on cause of cholera outbreak

By Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch (CEPR), March 21, 2013

According to reports on Twitter yesterday, the United Nations independent expert on the human rights situation in Haiti, Michel Forst has resigned for “personal reasons,” even though his mandate was supposed to continue for another year. In one of his last acts, Forst’s report for the U.N. Human Rights Council was presented yesterday, recommending to Haiti and the international community that they “throw light” on the cause of the cholera outbreak and “respond to any compensation requests”. The cholera outbreak has killed at least 8,050 and sickened over 650,000 more.

On Second Anniversary of Illegal Election: Martelly and Washington push for another “electoral hold-up”

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, March 20, 2013

March 20, 2013 marks the second anniversary of a patently illegal and exclusionary election that brought President Michel Martelly to power.

The first round of that election, held on Nov. 28, 2010, was a complete fiasco, marred by disorganization, voter fraud, and disenfranchisement. Furthermore, months earlier, Haiti’s largest party, the Lavalas Family of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, had been illegally and arbitrarily excluded from fielding a candidate.

UN News Center, March 11, 2013

See also these recent stories:
Urgent Action: Displaced face arbitrary arrest (Grace Village camp)
By Amnesty International, March 6, 2013
UN expert urges World Bank to increase protection and promotion of the right to adequate housing
Press release, Office of the High Commissioner for Humn Rights (UN), March 6, 2013, and re-posted to the Under Tents campaign website, March 7, 2013
FRAKKA denounces arson attacks on displaced persons camps
Press release, Feb. 28, 2013

11 March 2013 – The top United Nations humanitarian official in Haiti has expressed grave concern about recent incidents of forced evictions of internally displaced persons (IDPs), following his visit to a site in the capital, Port-au-Prince, from which thousands of people were forced to leave.

By CEPR Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch, February 27, 2013

865 days after Haiti’s cholera epidemic first began, with over 8,000 dead and some 650,000 sickened, the government of Haiti, with international support, officially launched a ten-year cholera eradication plan today after months of delays. The plan calls for an investment of $2.2 billion in clean water and sanitation infrastructure, with some $485.9 million needed for the next two years. Currently 31 percent of the population does not have access to potable water, while 83 percent lack access to adequate sanitation. By 2022, the plan aims to deliver potable water and improved sanitation services to 85 and 90 percent of the population, respectively.

Three years after the earthquake, major changes needed to avoid an aid legacy of deeper poverty for Haitians

Statement by the Canada Haiti Action Network, January 7, 2013

Billions of dollars of aid to Haiti have been pledged or spent following the devastating earthquake on January 12, 2010.[1] Yet three years later, life remains very harsh for many of the country’s ten million people. By every social, economic and environmental measure, Haiti’s prospects for post-earthquake progress remain exceptionally challenging. The U.S., Canada and other wealthy countries need to end the destructive cycle of interference in Haiti’s sovereign affairs. They have a duty to provide meaningful assistance not only for obvious humanitarian reasons but also in recognition of the harm committed against the Haitian people over the decades by big power interference.

By Roger Annis, first published on Rabble.ca, Nov 11, 2012

Hurricane Sandy struck another heavy blow to Haiti on October 23, 24. At least 54 people died and several dozen more are missing. Several tens of thousands of people were flooded out of their homes or camps. There are some 370,000 people stuck in appalling conditions in earthquake survivor camps while hundreds of thousands more have gone back to damaged homes or whatever ramshackle shelter they can find.