Haiti

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.

“With food prices rising, Haiti’s poorest can’t
afford even a daily plate of rice, and some take desperate measures to fill their bellies”, according to a January 29 Associated Press article by Jonathan Katz.

An official from ousted president Jean Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas political movement was abducted at gunpoint on October 27. Dr Maryse Narcisse acted as spokesperson for exiled president and belongs to the five-member executive committee of Fanmi Lavalas. She was taken in front of her home in the area of Petion-Ville in Haiti’s capital.

During a 24 hour visit in Haiti’s Plateau-Central, human rights organisation AUMOHD (Association of University Graduates Motivated for a Haiti with Rights), headed by lawyer Evel Fanfan, recorded interviews with hundreds of victims from the 2001-04 attacks by former soldiers in the area. During this period, three of the most heavily targeted Lavalas communities were Mirebalais, Lascahobas, and Belladeres. (Fanmi Lavalas is the party of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Haitian president ousted in a 2004 coup.) Human rights investigators visited all of these communities and held discussions with groups of the victims.

At least 500 Teleco workers received termination letters on July 6 as part of the government’s announced plan to privatise the company.

IPS — Nearly two months since UN troops began launching heavy attacks that they say are aimed against gang members in poor neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince, roadblocks and barbed wire remain in place and the atmosphere is grim.

At least six people were wounded on January 24, following an operation by the UN peacekeeping force (MINUSTAH). One victim, attended to immediately by Doctors Without Borders, says she was hit by stray bullets, according to the daily newspaper Le Nouvelliste.

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