- 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
- 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
- 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 president.
- 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 incarcerations.
- 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 to Washington.
- 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 people.
- After the coup and thereafter, episodes like the
following were commonplace:
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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 civil war.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- "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 broadcast:
- "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
- 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 saying:
- "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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- "There was an extraordinary amount of time
devoted to try and dig through those buildings to try to find living
- 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 to say:
- "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
- 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 fractures;
- -- 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 pain;
- -- many amputees and the paralyzed need lifelong
care, but from where, by whom, and the numbers are so great it's
impossible to help everyone;
- -- 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; and
- -- 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 sanitation."
- On January 20, even The New York Times reported
- "....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
- 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
- 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
- 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 interned there.
- 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 imprisoned.
- 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 asylum eligibility.
- 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
- 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
- "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 their future?"
- "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
- It may also violate America's "Genocide
Implication Act as amended by the Genocide Accountability Act and
perhaps the US War Crimes Act."
- 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 <mailto:email@example.com>firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Also visit his blog site at
sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Lendman News Hour on
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