Haiti

Haiti’s Senate has passed a bill that makes same sex marriage a crime and bans public displays of support for LGBTI rights. The bill — which would affect Haitian nationals and foreigners — will now go to the Chamber of Deputies, although a date for a vote has not been set.

Haitian law already defines marriage as being between a man and woman. But this bill seeks to expressly criminalise same sex marriage, with “parties, co-parties, and accomplices” to a same-sex marriage  — meaning even those who simply attend — facing potential jail terms of up to three years and an $8000 fine.

Hundreds of Haiti's factory workers protested in Port-au-Prince on July 10 against the government’s proposed paltry rise in the minimum wage.

Currently paid US$4.75 a day, workers mainly from factories outsourced to foreign companies are demanding wages rise to US$12.75 dollars for eight hours of work.

However, the government has said the minimum wage should only rise by 55 cents.

In a very lacklustre ceremony, with almost no international presence save a delegation of US diplomats, Jovenel Moïse was appointed president of Haiti this month. But no media outlet reported that, at the same time, Haitian streets were boiling with protests in rejection of Moïse and his administration. 

When Donald Trump is sworn in as president on January 20, he will take over the running of the US intelligence agencies — the CIA, FBI, NSA etc — that have brought charges to discredit the outcome of his election.

The Electoral College has rubberstamped Trump’s election and Congress has ratified it. The storm over allegations of Russian interference in last year’s elections will pass as The Leader takes charge and cleans house in these agencies.

But there are some things that should be noted about this brouhaha.

There is a very sinister, hellish thing behind the tepid concern that rears its head when a country like Haiti suffers a tragedy.

As 800 people died and 90% of parts of southern Haiti were destroyed by Hurricane Matthew earlier this month, leaving whole towns flattened, and people homeless and without basic infrastructure, the trending hashtag was #PrayForFlorida.

The images and accounts of Haiti’s devastation following Hurricane Matthew’s passage on October 4 are gut-wrenching. The death toll is in the hundreds and continues to rise. Entire villages in the country's southwest were obliterated. The response of a Haitian government, left besieged and without resources by decades of foreign plunder, is anaemic. The victims’ anguished appeals for help are heart-rending. The United Nations now says 1.4 million people are in need of assistance, urgent and immediate for half of them.

My heart breaks over Category 4 Hurricane Matthew’s slamming of Haiti, Jamaica and Cuba.

When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City where I live, our entire neighbourhood was destroyed — every single house was uninhabitable.

Venezuela confirmed shipments of humanitarian aid to the island nation of Haiti on October 5 after category four Hurricane Matthew made its way through Haiti. On October 8, the death toll fro the hurricane, which caused widespread devastation, was put at more than 800.

President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement of aid on his weekly television program In Contact with Maduro on the evening of October 4.

Slogan on T-shirts reads, "We will not obey". Sixty-eight grassroots groups in Haiti have issued an urgent call for solidarity with their struggle for free and fair elections, dignity and justice. The statement was written right before the postponement of the planned presidential “run-off” elections on January 24.
Independent journalist and author Antony Loewenstein has made a name for himself writing about war crimes, human rights abuses and corporate profiteering. For the first time, he is seeking to speak truth to power through the medium of film — with his first documentary Disaster Capitalism now in production. You can see a teaser at Loewenstein's website. You can visit http://antonyloewenstein.com for more details on his articles and books.

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