Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Haitians Demand Roads, Schools, Water

Haitians demand roads, schools, water

By G. Dunkel on December 16, 2012
Workers World

Mass protests, with barricades of burning tires, kept Construtora OAS, a Brazilian construction company, from moving its equipment out of Jérémie, Haiti, for four days at the end of November. This small city in the southwestern part of the country is still so riled up that schools were closed until the second week of December.

Jérémie, renowned for its poetry, art and architecture, doesn’t have a good road connecting to the rest of Haïti. OAS was tasked with building 42 miles of road connecting it to the southern city of Aux Cayes, but the company claimed it hadn’t been paid and so was pulling out. The Inter-American Development Bank and the Canadian government financed the $95 million project.

The people of Jérémie blamed the Haitian government, so they came out into the streets en masse to block OAS from moving its equipment until construction was restarted. The protests intensified after Haïti’s national SWAT team, the Corps for Intervention and Maintenance of Order, arrived on Nov. 29.

The press says one of the protesters, a young boy named Hilder Victor, was killed by gunfire. However, activists say more deaths occurred, and that about a dozen people had gunshot injuries.

“President Martelly lied to the population of the Grand Anse,” one protester told Haïti-Liberté. “He promised to build an airport, a power plant, schools, supply the city of Jérémie with drinking water, among other things. We have not received anything after more than a year and a half. Today, we have rebelled against the lies, the disrespect for the people of the city of poets, the lung of the country. And they sent Minustah troops and a CIMO force to shoot at us and bombard us with tear gas. Even children were not spared. We’re not afraid of these forces. We are organizing to give them a response with our own means.” (Dec. 9)

Jérémie, and the department surrounding it called Grand Anse, are isolated and were spared from the direct devastation of the 2010 earthquake and recent hurricanes. This relatively prosperous area had given Martelly a lot of support. It even elected senators who were in his party.

However, the complete unwillingness and incapacity of Martelly’s government to do anything at all for the people led to this uprising. It has become clearer that the only reason why Martelly’s government survives is the presence of Minustah, the United Nations military force in Haïti. Minustah is the U.N.’s cover for U.S. and French imperialist control.


Damien Marx said...

I was there as a medical volunteer. the most amzing thing is that the Haitians are so civilzed that they can have a rebellion with only one killed...probably by accident. All the bullets were fired in the air...a Haitian tradition.
Your comment about American and French imperialism is biased opinion, not "news". the UN troops were from Ruanda.

Kieran Kelly said...

It is wonderful that you were in Haiti as a medical volunteer, but surely you should learn a little more about the UN's role and how that relates to US and French interests. Perhaps you might also avail yourself of some of the information about the nature of the Ruandan regime, and its links to Anglo-US interests (ironically largely antithetical to French interests in Francophone Africa). Commenting on US and French imperialism is not biased opinion - its just not the News(speak) that you are used to.