Haiti

On July 12, six months to the day after January's earthquake, the Haitian government held a ceremony behind the crumbled National Palace. Before assembled dignitaries from embassies, NGOs, and Haiti’s elite, President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive draped medals of honor on prominent figures ranging from CNN celebrity journalist Anderson Cooper and Hollywood actor Sean Penn to retired Colonel Himmler Rebu and retired General Herard Abraham, officers who have enforced dictatorships and participated in coups over the past 30 years.
The following is a talk delivered by Scott Weinstein to a public forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba on May 7. Weinstein is a Montreal-based nurse who volunteered for five weeks of medical duty in Haiti shortly after the January 12 earthquake. The full speech can be read at Rabble.ca. * * *
Venezuela foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said on June 2 that Venezuela’s announced cancelling of Haiti's debt of US$395 million with Petrocaribe was now official. Petrocaribe is a program under which the Venezuelan government offers discounted oil, to be paid back over long-term low-interest loans, to Caribbean and Central American nations. Maduro made the announcement after the World Summit on the Future of Haiti. The summit was held in the Dominican Republic with the participation of representatives from 50 countries.
The president of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced on May 24 that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on November 28, the constitutionally prescribed date. “The CEP is up to the task of organising general elections in the country”, said Gaillot Dorsinvil, who is also the handicapped sector’s representative on the nine-member council, handpicked by President Rene Preval. But tens of thousands of Haitians don’t agree and have been demonstrating in the streets in recent weeks to demand a new CEP — and Preval’s resignation.
Haiti has been devastated in recent weeks by Hurricanes Fay, Gustav and Ike, and tropical storm Hanna. Fay was the first to hit, on August 15, and Ike was the last, on September 7.
An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President
By Randall Robinson
Basic Civitas Books
280 pages, US
The early April food riots in Haiti were a product of decades-long neoliberal economic policies foisted on the poverty-stricken nation. Since 2007, prices for a number of essential foods, including rice, rose by about 50%.
Damning the Flood: Haiti, Aristide & the Politics of Containment
By Peter Hallward
Verso, 2008
442p, US$29.95
The way US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on Haiti and Venezuela in its 2008 World Report reveals an underlying assumption that the US and its allies have the right to overthrow democratic governments.
The following is abridged from an interview with Haiti solidarity activist Roger Annis for the Norwegian left daily newspaper Klassenkampens.

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