Anniversary of Haiti earthquake

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The Jan. 12th Haiti Committee, a coalition of progressive Haitian organizations and their supporters, will be holding a press conference at the Haitian Consulate at 271 Madison Ave., New York, on Jan. 12, at 1 p.m. This will mark the anniversary of the devastating earthquake.

The committee demands: Occupation Troops Out of Haiti Now! Release All Emergency Aid to Haitian Popular Organizations Now!

The military troops occupying Haiti, under the banner of the United Nations (MINUSTAH), have shown themselves to be anything but non-partisan peacekeepers. At the tune of $612 million last year, occupation forces have repeatedly murdered unarmed civilians assembled to demonstrate their displeasure with the status quo. It has become clear that they are there at the behest of foreign powers and their domestic cronies

At the six-month anniversary, The Disaster Accountability Project released a report detailing a “shocking lack of transparency” in Haiti relief operations. According to its director, “donors have been duped. They generously donated in response to urgent appeals to save lives and help the people of Haiti after the devastating earthquake. Now, after billions in cash was raised, earthquake survivors are dying of cholera because conditions are so poor and the donated money is sitting in the bank. This is not what donors had in mind.”

We have reached the one-year mark and the situation for Haitians has grown much worse. Some 1.3 million people are still living under sticks and scraps of plastic, with inadequate water, sanitation, health care, or food.

The international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), which should have made basic sanitation and water infrastructure a priority, have failed miserably. With a few notable exceptions like Doctors Without Borders and Partners in Health, many of these NGOs are self-serving, and have refused to work with Haitian popular organizations on the ground. The Cuban medical team has also made a significant and exemplary contribution.

Jan. 12th Committee member Ray Laforest commented, “International solidarity and assistance is needed and appreciated, and the popular sector should be at the forefront of decision making in building a new Haiti that represents the interests of the majority.” More information: (646) 334.2613, (646) 898.7328.

> This article was originally published in the January 2011 print edition of Socialist Action newspaper.

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