Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"Haitians are not to blame for their current status of poverty; they were rather the victims of a system that was imposed on the whole world. They did not invent colonialism, capitalism, imperialism, unequal exchange, neo-liberalism or any of the forms of exploitation and plundering that have prevailed in this planet during the last 200 years."
He also brought up the issue of whether the land itself can ever sustain the nearly 9 million people living on it. I have wondered something along these lines: has the land been ruined beyond repair?
Along these same lines is a short article in Time.com about Clinton's "second chance" with Haiti.
The second news item: unfortunately more flooding in Haiti. So far 11 people are confirmed dead, but it always seems to me that these 'official reports' greatly underestimate the true loss of life. Last year when the 4 hurricanes swept through Haiti "about 800" people were reported to have died. But the number likely represents only those bodies that were found. If a body was not found it was not counted.
Here's the article from Reuters:
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, May 21 (Reuters) - Floods triggered by torrential rains have killed at least 11 people in Haiti, as the poor Caribbean nation struggles to recover from last year's disasters, civil protection officials said on Thursday.
Several hundred homes have been damaged or destroyed and more than 600 families have been left homeless from flooding during the past three days, according to official reports.
"The 11 victims we counted is the death toll we have registered since last night," Pierre-Louis Pinchinat, assistant director of the civil protection office, said. "But we fear the death toll may be a little higher since the rain continued to fall until today in several parts of the country."
Most of the victims were killed while crossing rivers or when their flimsy homes collapsed, officials said. Five died in the northern Artibonite area, three in the Central Plateau, two in the South and one in the Grande-Anse area.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is vulnerable to floods due to massive deforestation, poor drainage in cities and because many shanty towns were built near river beds.
About 800 people were killed last year by a succession of storms and hurricanes. The scars of those storms are still visible in the hardest-hit city, Gonaives.
Many Haitians fear they could face new destruction during the hurricane season that begins on June 1. Haitian government agencies have stepped up efforts to set up shelters. (Editing by Jim Loney and Paul Simao)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Haitian government chooses MCC partner to produce documentary
Joshua Steckley and Cathryn Clinton
May 12, 2009
MCC = Mennonite Central Committee. MCC has a very strong reputation throughout the world as an organization that works with integrity and compassion.
Here's a link to the article.
Here is the actual article:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Support Local Production (known as KPL in Creole), an organization co-founded by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), has been selected by the Haitian government's Presidential Commission on Competition to produce a documentary and a commercial that highlight Haitian agriculture.
The government-funded documentary and commercial will be used in the government's campaign to increase sales of Haitian agricultural products locally and abroad.
Since its founding in January 2008, KPL has produced 10 commercials that encourage Haitians to consume local produce. These are broadcast daily on the publicly owned Haitian National Television.
KPL coordinator Ari Nicolas says, "When we started over a year ago, we had to pay $2,500 a month for the television station to air our commercial two times a day. After the food riots last year, they started giving us free airtime. Now, the government is paying us."
In addition to governmental changes, the national broadcaster recently quit broadcasting commercials for imported rice. Haitian farmers have lost jobs because cheaper, subsidized rice from the United States has flooded the Haitian market.
In response to international encouragement to help alleviate poverty, the Haitian government began market liberalization in 1986. While lowered tariffs brought cheaper imported food to Haiti, they had a devastating effect on agricultural production, particularly in rice, sugar and poultry sectors.
Christian Aid, an international development charity, estimates that around 831,900 Haitians have been affected by the loss of agricultural income.
According to a study in 2008 by the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development, a nonpartisan organization, Haiti now relies on imports for more than half of its food supply.
Nicolas does not blame all Haitian troubles on the market liberalization policies. He says that 300 years of slavery and colonialism taught Haitians they were inferior, and this belief affects them today. "We wear Western clothes, create Western music and eat imported food because we still think who we are and what we can make is no good," he says.
Through commercials, school visits and conferences, KPL reminds Haitians of the importance of valuing their humanity. "As KPL, we are simply trying to make Haitians remember who we are, and what we can produce. Once we can change this mentality, everything else will follow," Nicolas says.
The KPL commercials can be viewed online at mcc.org/haiti.
Joshua Steckley is an MCC worker from Waterloo, Ontario. Cathryn Clinton is a writer for MCC.
Friday, May 8, 2009
The trade school is being funded by a group called IDEJEN (Out-of-School Youth Livelihood Initiative). There are a number of these trade schools throughout Haiti and I'm very glad to see one has started in Pestel! The tuition/expenses are paid-for by IDEJEN.
The schools are designed for older youth (late teens to early 20s) and the school provides 2 years of education: the first focuses primarily on reading/writing and the second focuses mainly on one of two trades: masonry or animal husbandry. The trades were chosen based on the needs of the area.
The program is funded by USAID and you can read more about it here.
Saturday, May 2, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009