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Features

Haiti 2010: Exploiting disaster

Part II

Peter Hallward

2010-11-18, Issue 505

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/features/68863

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‘For the last twenty years, the most powerful political and economic interests in and around Haiti have waged a systematic campaign designed to stifle the popular movement and deprive it of its principal weapons, resources and leaders,' writes Peter Hallward. January’s earthquake ‘triggered reactions that carried and that are still carrying such measures to entirely new levels’.

* Sections I and II of this article were published in Pambazuka News, Issue 504.

III

As untold thousands of bodies were left to rot in the rubble of Port-au-Prince, in February and March international attention turned to plans for the massive reconstruction process. Almost every credible observer agreed about many of the most urgent things that needed to happen.[36] The recovery had to be Haitian-led. The priority had to be measures that would empower ordinary Haitian people to regain some control over their lives, to gain or regain access to an education, an income, a place to live, a future for themselves and their families. The internationally-imposed neoliberal policies that for decades have devastated the agrarian economy and reduced the state sector to an impotent façade had to be dropped and then forcefully reversed. There had to be massive and systematic investment in essential public services, in all parts of the country. Genuine Haitian sovereignty, popular, economic and political, had to be restored.

Instead, the actual reconstruction process has mainly conformed to precisely the same old tendencies that have made Haiti so vulnerable to natural, economic and political disaster in recent decades. The great majority of Haitian people have been entirely excluded from all meaningful participation in the planning or execution of reconstruction work. Apart from a series of forums that began at the Aristide Foundation in Tabarre in March, there has been little or no attempt to bring 'large groups of Haitians together to ask for their opinions, their input, or their stories.'[37] Even so-called 'civil society' organisations and groups (including PAPDA, ENFOFANM, GARR, SOFA, the MPP and so on) nurtured as part of the anti-Lavalas campaign before and immediately after the 2004 coup have been shut out of this new phase of Haiti's 'transition to democracy.'[38] No significant measures have been taken to stimulate the local agrarian economy or to encourage the decentralisation of people, resources and investment. The strategic plan drafted in early 2009 by neoliberal 'development' economist Paul Collier and subsequently adopted by the UN's reconstruction team remains geared above all to the exploitation of Haitian poverty, as the most reliable means of generating new profits for the benefit of elite and multinational corporations. The political framework that will force implementation of this plan remains one in which the autonomy of Haiti's people and government is reduced more or less to zero.

One of the most striking features of the relief effort was the almost automatic decision of the 'international community' to work through their own agencies and NGOs, rather than the Haitian state or grassroots popular organisations. For every dollar of US aid to Haiti in the first weeks after the disaster, only a single penny was received by the Haitian government.[39] Six months on, of the US$1.8 billion for earthquake relief sent to Haiti, Paul Farmer notes, 'less than 2.9% has so far gone to the government.'[40] In February, Haiti's president René Préval and his ministers began to complain more loudly about the way foreign governments and NGOs had taken control of the relief and reconstruction effort. In early March, Préval called on the United States to 'stop sending food aid' to Haiti 'so that our economy can recover and create jobs.'[41] Other Haitian leaders 'including Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive are not happy with the way the aid money is being delivered', reported the AP on 5 March: 'the NGOs don’t tell us [...] where the money’s coming from or how they’re spending it.'[42] On 27 March, speaking from the main hospital in Port-au-Prince, Partners in Health medical director Dr Joia Mukherjee confirmed that in practice, international management of relief involved 'the real disempowerment of the government. The entire response has bypassed the government in its entirety and this is very worrisome for people in Haiti.' At a time when hundreds of millions of dollars were starting to funnel through foreign and NGO agencies, the government still had no access to 'funds for general operating costs, like paying people’s salaries. For us, the most clear example is the general hospital, [...] the only public referral hospital in the city – [where] salaries haven’t been paid for 4.5 months. You have doctors and nurses and other staff living in their cars, living on the street, living in tents and they haven’t been paid.'[43]

The subordinate status of the Haitian people and government was made crystal clear in the run-up to the decisive international donors conference held at the UN's New York headquarters on 31 March 2010. The total amount pledged by conference participants came to the substantial sum of US$5.3 billion over eighteen months (with an additional US$4.6 billion anticipated, in theory, for subsequent years). Of this US$5.3 billion, the only direct support pledged to the Haitian government amounted to just US$350 million (i.e. 6.6 per cent of the total), set aside to cover unpaid salaries of state employees. The key decision, however, involved the creation of a mainly foreign body to decide on the allocation of these promised billions, the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC). The commission is jointly chaired by Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, and former US President (and former Haiti occupier) Bill Clinton. (Original plans for a 24-member board – 11 Haitians along with 13 foreigners representing international financial institutions and the larger donor nations – had to be revised, in the face of subsequent protests, to allow for numerically equal Haitian/foreign representation). Once plans are approved by this IHRC, another group of foreign technocrats and World Bank officials will then supervise the subsequent spending.[44]

No doubt some degree of centralised investment coordination is better than the debilitating fragmentation that has hitherto prevailed in the Haitian 'republic of NGOs', NGOs that even before the earthquake provided around three-quarters of local public services. As Bellerive points out, before the IHRC was established, '100% of the money pledged to Haiti was decided by the one giving it', so a move toward 50 per cent is a step forward of sorts.[45] Nevertheless, there is no disguising the fact that Haitians will serve as the junior partners on this commission, in ways that none of the donor countries themselves would ever contemplate. In the weeks after the UN conference, the largest donors held up initial disbursement of the promised billions until a sufficiently cowed Haitian government was prepared to offer formal acknowledgement of its subordination. As Yves Engler explains, 'the international community – led by the US, France and Canada – demanded the Haitian parliament pass an 18-month long state of emergency law that effectively gave up government control over the reconstruction.'[46] When parliamentary terms expired in Haiti in May 2010, the IHRC took over as the de-facto government of the country, and in terms of actual power and influence it will remain in charge well after new legislators are elected in November.

One of the main reasons why the Haitian government is in no position to argue with the terms dictated to it on 31 March is that long-term international insistence on the privatisation of publicly-owned assets have stripped it of direct control over most of the resources and skills required to maintain some control over its economy (let alone cope with a full-scale disaster). Transport, construction, education, energy, health-care, agriculture, banking – virtually every component of every sector has already been sold off to members of Haiti's tightly integrated business community. State owned factories of two essential products, flour and cement, were privatised in 1997, during Préval's first administration. A year into his second administration, Préval announced the privatisation of Haiti's most valuable state-owned asset, the national telephone company (Téléco), and by mid 2007 almost half of the workforce, some 2,800 employees, had already been laid off. Téléco has been one of the few reliable sources of public revenue and employment in neoliberal Haiti, and Téléco workers protested the privatisation process from start to finish.[47] To no avail; four months after the earthquake, in early May 2010, the government finally sold a majority stake to a subsidiary of the Vietnamese army, for a mere US$59 million. (Over these same years, the Irish company Digicel rapidly expanded to take a commanding position in Haiti's substantial and lucrative mobile phone market, and by 2008 it was already generating revenues of more than US$250 million).[48]

Today, Patrick Elie notes, 'Haiti is the most privatized country in the world. Almost everything that could be privatized here has been, and the only reason prisons have not been privatized is because it is not yet profitable for them to do so.'[49] As a result, the Haitian government has lost some essential abilities – the ability to create jobs for large numbers of people, to appropriate needed land and resources, to produce vital construction materials and other goods – precisely at the moment of greatest need. By 2009, 65 per cent of Haiti's budget already came from external sources[50], and such far-reaching dependence breeds far-reaching deference. Although most of Haiti's crippling international debt was slowly forgiven over the course of 2010 (as a result of public pressure the IMF reluctantly cancelled Haiti's outstanding debt of US$268 million on 21 July, while simultaneously insisting that urgently needed credit should take the form of a new US$60m loan, to which the usual macroeconomic strings will apply), needless to say donor countries have stubbornly refused to acknowledge let alone discuss the several far-reaching ways in which they owe money to Haiti, rather than the reverse.[51]

Even in the wake of January 2010, no significant steps have been taken to palliate let alone reverse the neoliberal privatisation process. Even now, the depth and urgency of domestic needs are not enough to overturn the basic 'development' model that has been imposed on Haiti for decades: Orientation of the country's economy in line with the interests of local sweatshop owners and international consumers, privileging export-oriented agriculture, low-wage jobs, and tourism.[52] Punitive trade measures drove small Haitian farmers out of business and led to the massive population explosion in Port-au-Prince in recent decades; when so little aid materialised in the first weeks after the earthquake, more than half a million people retreated to their villages and farms, or what remains of them. With a little support they might well have stayed there. With modest job creation and credit facilities in the countryside, with small amounts of money for seeds and fertiliser, Jeffrey Sachs pointed out in late January, 'Haiti's food production could double or triple in the next few years, sustaining the country and building a new rural economy.'[53] But as usual, Haiti's small farmers received little or nothing. Only a paltry US$23 million of the UN's initial request for emergency funds was intended for the agrarian sector, and by the end of February the UN admitted that even this money still hadn't been received. 'In the countryside', Reed Lindsay observed in early March, 'there is no evidence of any humanitarian aid, much less for agriculture.'[54] As a result, confirms Mark Schuller, 'with no jobs, no aid, no prospects of rural development, nothing to keep people in the provinces, the bulk of this reverse migration was undone, and Port-au-Prince is once again a magnet for those seeking jobs.'[55]

IV

Although the rhetoric has recently evolved to take more notice of local sensibilities, over the last several decades the substance of international development policy has remained remarkably consistent. In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, up in the higher, wealthier and mostly undamaged parts of Pétionville everyone already knew that it's the local residents 'who through their government connections, trading companies and interconnected family businesses' would once again pocket the lion's share of international aid and reconstruction money.[56] At the same time, their counterparts in the US, represented by powerful think tanks and lobbyists like the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute or the RAND Corporation, were quick to see that (as RAND's James Dobbins, one of Clinton's former special envoys to Haiti, put it) 'this disaster is an opportunity to accelerate oft-delayed reforms', including 'breaking up or at least reorganizing the government-controlled telephone monopoly. The same goes with the Education Ministry, the electric company, the Health Ministry and the courts.'[57] Of course, Eduardo Almeida of the Inter-American Development Bank admitted in mid-February, there many 'large construction companies who are already contacting us, since the investments are going to be huge; it's going to be attractive for any company.'[58] And of course, as an Associated Press reporter would point out five months after the earthquake, 'most of the companies seeking work in Haiti won't talk about it, in part to avoid seeming like they are capitalizing on catastrophe',[59] in part because public distribution of substantial reconstruction funds will only begin in earnest in late 2010.

Some of Haiti's most powerful businessmen, however, have already paired up with multinational logistics and disaster recovery companies in order to take full advantage of the unprecedented influx of development funds. The Vorbe group, for instance, is one of the largest construction and logistics companies in Haiti, run by one of the powerful families that supported the 1991 coup; it has joined with the Alabama-based disaster recovery company DRC, which was awarded more than US$100 million in contracts after Katrina (and which was investigated for fraudulent billing after Hurricane Mitch in Honduras). Haitian magnate Gilbert Bigio, likewise, has become a partner of Florida-based AshBritt Inc. AshBritt's CEO Randal Perkins is a prominent and well-connected political donor in the US, whose lobbyists helped him secure a US$900m contract for helping clean up post-Katrina New Orleans.[60] By early June, AshBritt had already invested US$25 million preparing its Haitian reconstruction operation on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, in anticipation of substantial government contracts later in the year.[61] Other US companies that have profited from disaster in recent years may well calculate that finding a Haitian partner is an unnecessary expense: Leslie Voltaire, currently serving as a mediator between the Haitian government and the IHRC, reportedly told one local businessman that 'only 15% of the [reconstruction] contracts will be going to Haitian contractors.'[62]

In addition to foreign investors, so far it is mainly foreign-funded NGOs that have benefited the most from Haiti's misfortune. 'All of the millions that are coming into Haiti right now are going into the hands of NGOs,'[63] complained Préval in early March, and in the estimation of one veteran social worker (Ruth Derilus), 'of all the money they send here, only 10% actually makes it to the ground. The rest is spent on foreign experts, hotels, car rentals, hotel conferences.'[64] The NGO sector has grown to become a 'state within a state', agrees former Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis: 'We've seen the NGOs performance in Haiti, by experience, and there's been no development!'[65]

As anyone who visits Port-au-Prince will readily confirm, there is a 'massive gulf between people from the UN and the NGOs, and the people they're here to help.'[66] Foreign NGO workers 'continue to humiliate and discriminate [against] poor and respected Haitian citizens', regrets Haitian journalist Wadner Pierre, 'by assuming they are all dangerous, violent, or savage people, and they do not know anything, not even how to put up a tent.'[67] Tim Schwartz is probably the best-placed foreign observer of the NGOs that now control most of what happens in Haiti's 'public' sphere. 'The NGO sector in Haiti is best described', he writes, 'as an uncoordinated mass of organizations de facto unaccountable to any governing or regulatory institution, i.e. no accountants, no auditors, no reviews, and no publication of poor or dishonest performance [...]. My own research on this matter suggests that at least 90% [of NGOs in Haiti] are rife with corruption, functionally inert, or give money intended for the poor to people who do not need it.'[68] Surveying the performance of relief organisations during the first half of 2010, the Disaster Accountability Project was struck by a 'shocking lack of transparency,'[69] and in early July, even CARICOM leaders began to speak openly about the ways in which the ever-growing influence of NGOs threatens 'to undermine the democratic institutions in Haiti.'[70]

Foreign investors and foreign NGOs, needless to say, also tend to need foreign protection to guarantee their security. True to form, once the initial wave of foreign troops began to subside, private, neomilitary security companies like Triple Canopy (which took over the Xe/Blackwater security contract in Iraq in 2009 and Overseas Security & Strategic Information began promoting their services.[71] As an Al Jazeera report on a 9-10 March meeting of security companies in Miami explained, firms like GardaWorld, DynCorp and their ilk naturally 'see new disaster areas as emerging markets.'[72]

Their 'humanitarian' counterparts in the UN and in USAID have done everything possible, within the limits of public decency, to facilitate such emergence. During the March donor conference John Holmes, the UN official in charge of Humanitarian Affairs, confirmed the essential development priority, telling the Associated Press that 'the best sign that recovery was under way in Haiti would be an uptick in private investment.' The president of Haiti's Chamber of Commerce and leading Haitian member of the IHRC (and a prominent supporter of both anti-Aristide coups), Reginald Boulos, reminded donors that a boost of foreign investment would depend on publicly-funded 'improvements in infrastructure' and 'a climate change in the business environment.'[73] According to Boulos, the agenda for change includes a reduction in government interference and corruption; what it most definitely doesn't include is any significant improvement in the pay or conditions of Haitian workers.

The year before the March 2010 conference, Boulos was a prominent opponent of a sustained campaign to increase Haiti's pitiful minimum wage to the equivalent of US$5 a day (at a time when in terms of actual purchasing power, Haitian wages have dropped to less than a fifth of their 1980 value). A series of well-organised strikes over the summer of 2009 helped encourage the Haitian legislature to approve the US$5 rate; less public sorts of pressure encouraged Préval to overrule parliament and cap the increase at just US$3 a day. Soon afterwards, in the autumn of 2009, Préval and the UN's special envoy to Haiti (Bill Clinton) announced plans for a new Free Trade Zone on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, and Clinton has been drumming up new garment sector business ever since.

There are currently around 25,000 garment-sector workers in Haiti, making T-shirts and jeans for labels like Gildan, Hanes, Gap and New Balance. Factory profit margins average about 22 per cent.[74] Canadian garment manufacturer Gildan is one of several companies that expanded production in Haiti after the 2004 coup, reassured by a post-democratic regime that promised a tax holiday and a moratorium on wage increases. In April 2005, CIBC World Markets analyst Ronald Schwarz found that 'Gildan's manufacturing is among the most cost-competitive in the industry [...]. Gildan's labour costs in countries such as Haiti and Honduras are actually cheaper than those in China.'[75] As things stand, companies like Gap (which already indirectly hires around 4,000 Haitian workers) are planning to develop their own 'made-in-Haiti' clothing lines, and Grupo M, a large DR-based contractor whose Haitian operations include work for companies like Levis and Banana Republic, is planning to double the size of its facilities in Ouanaminthe.[76]

The US-driven recovery strategy for Haiti turns on legislation (the Haiti Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act, or HOPE) that promises, over a limited period, US tariff exemptions for clothes assembled in Haiti. Clinton and the UN hope that in the coming years a new round of HOPE legislation will help create tens of thousands of new low-paid jobs. As several seasoned observers have pointed out, the same strategy was first used almost 40 years ago, in partnership with 'president for life' Jean-Claude Duvalier.[77] Then as now, the investors promise that the creation of low paid jobs will somehow lead to more and higher paid jobs, and thus lift Haiti out of poverty.

The promise is belied, however, by the fact that these same investors and their apologists have always strenuously opposed even modest increases in the wages of Haitian workers, who are now so intensively exploited that a full-time job is no longer adequate for the barest necessities. Previous rounds of investment have in fact led to further real-term reductions in Haitian wages and incomes, and not the reverse: Today, without the money sent home to their families by slightly better paid Haitian workers (trapped in many of the most heavily exploitative sectors in North America and the Caribbean), the Haitian economy would collapse overnight. As some investors and their advisors are candid enough to admit, Haiti's most significant 'comparative advantage' remains the stark fact that its people are so poor and so desperate that they are prepared to work for no more than a twentieth of the money they might receive for comparable employment in the US.[78] If workers are 'barely able to scrape by', as David Wilson argues, 'their spending can do little to stimulate job creation either in Haiti or in the region as a whole.' Even this pathetically inadequate stimulus, moreover, is unlikely to last longer than the momentary effects of an injection of foreign-funded investment in infrastructure: In the Caribbean region as a whole, the light assembly sector has been shrinking rather than growing, as a result of competition from China and a drop in US demand, with tens of thousands of jobs lost in recent years in neighbouring Dominican Republic alone. The UN/US proposal, in other words, is less a matter of creating new jobs than of temporarily re-locating some old ones – moving them from places where the pay is poor to a place where it's frankly obscene.[79] Given his commitment to this old agenda, notes Richard Morse, UN envoy Bill Clinton isn't bringing change or hope to Haiti. 'Clinton, along with USAID, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations are bringing more of the same to Haiti: More for the few and less for the many.'[80]

In 2002-2003 the Aristide/Neptune government, under exactly the same sort of 'investment' pressure, reluctantly and controversially went along with the creation of a World Bank funded free trade zone on the border of the DR, at Ouanaminthe. In those years, the government was at least able to take the small step of doubling the minimum wage. This time around, as an Al Jazeera report observed in July, post-quake plans for the new zone are proceeding without any discussion of wages at all.[81] The sweatshop owners who were the driving force behind the 2004 coup – Andy Apaid, Charles Baker, and their associates – are now in a more blatantly abusive political position than ever before.

V

For the great majority of Haiti's people, preservation of such a profitable and deferential 'business climate' comes at a truly devastating price: The transformation of poverty into misery, the decimation of local food production, and the loss of any government capacity to cope with changes in global food prices or supplies. In the spring of 2008, global food prices soared and many Haitians began to starve. That April, their anger took on a political shape. Hundreds of thousands protested, and the pressure forced Préval's prime minister, Jacques Edouard Alexis, to resign.[82] But in 2010 as in 2008 and previous years, the main response has been to increase rather than reduce reliance on a major source of the problem itself: International food aid. 'In 2006/07, the entire budget of the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture was a measly $1.5 million', Robert Fatton notes, 'a figure that contrasts sharply with the $69 million spent on the UN World Food Program. Instead of reconstructing its rural sector and promoting domestic food production, Haiti has remained a country of malnourished and hungry people alarmingly dependent on external assistance and charity.'[83] If development organisations were 'serious about improving agricultural output', Tim Schwarz agrees, 'they should stop undermining the local market with foreign produce and instead buy Haitian surpluses, use them in nutritional supplement programs for mothers and children as well as store them for redistribution in lean seasons.'[84] Instead, as Schwarz demonstrates in convincing detail in his 2008 book ‘Travesty in Haiti’, food aid has been deployed systematically and deliberately, from the beginning of its intensive use in the 1980s, to 'destroy the Haitian economy of small farmers.' Ostensibly humanitarian assistance has transformed the country into a captive market for highly subsidised US surplus production in grains and rice. Much of the support that USAID gives to charities like CARE comes 'in the form of food and the requirement is that the food must be sold on the local markets', at prices that undercut the local competition. Schwartz shows that in recent years food aid has increased not just when local harvests are weak, but also in years of local surplus – with predictable consequences for Haitian farmers.[85] In 2010, intensification of this predatory policy amounted to little less than full-scale economic sabotage.

Meanwhile, the majority of people affected by the earthquake are obliged to wait for the humanitarian investor-saboteurs to determine the course of their future exploitation. It's likely they will wait for a long time. The 2010 donor conference was the third such conference for Haiti since 2004; it's been difficult if not impossible to verify the actual conversion of pledges into payments in the wake of the first two conferences, and a year after the 2009 conference 'only 15 percent of the pledges that were made had actually been met.'[86] So far, the 2010 conference fits the same pattern. By mid summer, only five countries (Venezuela, Brazil, Norway, Estonia and Australia) had contributed to the UN's Haiti Reconstruction Fund, and less than 10 per cent of the US$5.3 billion pledged in March had actually been paid.[87] So far, the governments of France and the US have paid almost none of the millions they promised. US citizens, by contrast, responded to Haiti's plight with exceptional generosity, paying US$1.3 billion to relief oriented charities.[88] Unfortunately, these charities then opted to keep much of the money for themselves, or for an undetermined future. In May, CBS investigated five of the largest charities: CARE, the American Red Cross, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, and the Clinton Foundation Haiti Fund. The last two on the list refused to answer questions, but their websites indicated that they had spent less than 15 per cent of the US$52m they collected; CARE had spent 16 per cent of the US$34.4 million it collected, and the Red Cross has around a quarter of its US$444 million. Two months later, ABC news confirmed that of the US$1.138 billion donated to the 23 largest charities, 'at least 62.7 percent, $714.3 million, has been allocated for future Haiti relief efforts or is unassigned.'

Lack of accessible funding, predictably, translates into a scarcity of discernible improvements 'on the ground'. All through the spring of 2010, press reports described the incredulity of both local residents and foreign observers as they watched the reconstruction effort proceed with a complacency and incompetence that beggar belief.[89] 'Real recovery and reconstruction efforts have yet to begin', a Danish Church Aid worker observed in late June, and 'international standards defining what people are entitled to after a disaster are in no way being met.'[90] Incredibly, as of late summer 2010, only 2 per cent of the rubble has been cleared from the streets of Port-au-Prince.[91] Incredibly, 98 per cent of the 1.5 million people made homeless continue to live in more than a thousand desperately inadequate camps, alternately baked by the tropical sun and flooded by torrential rains. Most of these people still lack a waterproof tent, let alone a transitional shelter capable of withstanding the hurricane winds that batter Haiti most summers, often with devastating effect.[92] An IJDH survey of internally displaced families conducted in July found that 'aid has trickled to a halt in most camps', leaving 75 per cent of the families surveyed suffering from systematic under-nourishment and 44 per cent dependent on untreated water.[93] Rates of rape and violence against women have rapidly increased, and in most camps residents have no access to any sort of legal process or protection, or even any means of communicating with the foreign troops who continue to patrol their city.[94]

Today, Isabeau Doucet writes, 'tens of thousands of families are subject to a relentless cycle of exodus, dispersal, and brutality at the hands of the Haitian National police and privately hired armed groups, in violation of Haitian and international law.' In some places, 'rather than clearing rubble from the streets, bulldozers are plowing over the tents of undesired "squatters" only to resettle IDPs expelled from elsewhere.'[95] Many thousands of the unwilling residents of these camps have been evicted or threatened with eviction by putative private landowners, forcing them to retreat to still more precarious or out-of-the-way locations.[96] The IHRC and the government has been unwilling to oblige other owners to sell land needed for more adequate resettlement camps, or even to oblige putative owners to prove the legitimacy of their titles with deeds or tax records. This too is no surprise, since as the AP reports, the government 'appointed Gerard-Emile "Aby" Brun, president of Nabatec Development, a consortium owned by some of Haiti's most powerful families, to be in charge of relocating the squatter camps in Port-au-Prince.'[97] According to BAI (Bureau des Avocats Internationaux) lawyer Mario Joseph, almost 'all land in Haiti is controlled by the elite through years of bribery and corruption [...]. In as much as 70% of forced expulsions, the land claims are disputable,'[98] but 'the poor have been excluded from their land for years, and are now excluded from the process determining their rights to lodgings.'[99]

In this as in so many other ways, Kim Ives confirms, the aftermath of January 12 reveals that:

‘…the principal fault-line in Haiti is not geological but one of class. A small handful of rich families own large tracts of land in suburban Port-au-Prince which would be ideal for resettling the displaced thousands [...]. However, these same families control the Haitian government and, more importantly, have great influence in the newly formed 26-member Interim Commission to Reconstruct Haiti (IHRC) [...]. The IHRC is empowered for the next 18 months under a "State of Emergency Law" to seize land for rebuilding as it sees fit [...], but the elite families on this body in charge of expropriations are not volunteering their own well-situated land to benefit Haiti's homeless. As a result, only one major displaced person camp, Corail-Cesselesse, has been built, about 10 miles north of the capital, on a forbidding strip of sun-baked desert situated between Titayen and Morne Cabrit, two desolate zones where death-squads dumped their victims during the anti-Aristide coups.’[100]

This 'model' camp at Corail-Cesselesse remains the showcase of the reconstruction effort to date, an obligatory stop on the itinerary of every visiting journalist. Corail's tents are laid out in symmetrical rows, and it boasts latrines, showers, and a small clinic. But nothing else: There are no markets, shops, or schools within walking distance, and there is no work. 'There really is nothing to do', a resident told Mark Schuller. 'You can't stay in your tent because of the heat. You can't go outside because of the dust. And you can't leave the camp because there's nothing to do.'[101] Camp Corail is little more than a holding pen, and a flimsy one at that: Most of its tents collapsed during a storm the night of 12 July, injuring six people. By that stage, months after their construction was announced, only one of the hundreds of 'transitional houses' anticipated for the camp had been built.[102] Camp Corail is itself located on land owned by Nabatec, incidentally, which stands to gain handsomely from both the government's compensation scheme and from an anticipated industrial park planned for the new neighbourhood. In this way, Ives concludes, 'the bourgeoisie keeps its best land and sells its worst for a huge, guaranteed profit.'[103]

Most of the homeless, meanwhile, have no choice but to continue camping on the first patch of earth they were able to find – one camp, for instance, is perched on the strip of concrete, two meters wide, that divides the Route de Carrefour. By early June a grand total of 7,500 people had been moved from the most vulnerable campsites to 'planned' resettlement zones, and by the end of July, the UN admitted that only 6,000 of the required 125,000 durable shelters required had been built. At the height of this misery, in July, the UN mission chief Edmond Mulet acknowledged that 'we have lost the sense of urgency.'[104]

VI

As you might expect, there is no such sense of loss among people more directly concerned by the disaster. Perhaps the most striking feature of the whole post-quake period has been the extraordinary hardiness and discipline of the hundreds of thousands people who have lost their relatives, homes and possessions, and who from day one began to organise themselves into new communities. They have pooled their resources, arranged for the distribution of food and water, improvised informal systems of justice. The camps are the product of desperation, but the unprecedented concentration of people also affords unprecedented opportunities for association and assembly: the same factors that have turned Cité Soleil into a centre of popular political power in recent decades have also begun to take effect in Champs de Mars and the other larger camps. 'In the camps', Camille Chalmers observed a few weeks after the quake, 'people are talking a lot about solidarity, fraternity, mutual aid.'[105] In the face of dramatic vulnerability and marginalisation, camp residents have also begun to exert some political pressure. 'Citizens regularly take to the streets', Beverly Bell wrote in July:

‘…to demand housing for the displaced, good education, and support of national agricultural production. They have recently protested violence by the U.N. security mission, non-payment of wages to state workers and teachers, and the introduction of toxic Monsanto seeds, among other complaints. Grassroots organizations still meet regularly to develop their strategies for political change, as they have throughout history. Across the country on any given day, small groups perch on broken chairs under tarps in refugee camps, huddle amidst rubble in the courtyards of earthquake-destroyed schools, or sweat under thatched-roof gazebos […]. They are developing pressure points for housing rights and protection against rape for those in camps. Some plan information campaigns aimed at sweatshop workers, others programs to politicize youth. The agendas are seemingly endless.’[106]

On 22 March, hundreds protested the flying visit of former US presidents Clinton and Bush. On 10 May, several thousand people were dispersed by police tear gas after they converged on the ruins of the national palace, calling for Préval to resign. On 17 May, thousands more people demonstrated against Préval and the 'state of emergency law' passed the previous month, which gave de facto control of Haiti to the foreign-dominated IHRC. UN tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests ended a more militant student demonstration on 24 May[107], and the next day thousands more people converged on the palace ruins.[108] Hundreds rallied in Port-au-Prince to denounce the UN occupation on 1 June, the day of its sixth anniversary; six weeks later, several thousand marched in celebration of Aristide's birthday, calling for his immediate return.[109] Then on 12 August, residents of a dozen or so IDP camps, threatened with imminent eviction, organised the first of a growing and open-ended series of protests against abuse of their human rights, against the expulsions, and against illegitimate land claims.[110]

In the election year of 2010, as in the previous elections of 2000 and 1990, the key political difference remains the division between (a) critics calling merely for a more efficient deployment of reconstruction resources and more 'reasonable' forms of cooperation with the occupying troops and aid workers, and (b) activists working to rekindle popular mobilisation for fundamental political change as the only viable means of regaining national sovereignty and establishing social justice. Spokespeople for the NGOs, the UN, the US and other 'friends of Haiti' freely grumble about local inefficiency and corruption, but tend to leave political questions to one side. From this perspective, after all, the fundamental decisions have already been taken, and it only remains to find 'willing partners' prepared to carry them out; the only roles left for the Haitian people themselves are those of dignified beneficiaries on the one hand or of resentful 'obstacles to reform' on the other. The UN's humanitarian chief, for instance, remains concerned first and foremost with 'the potential consequences in terms of both politics and security of large demonstrations in some sensitive places.'[111] Stability, i.e. docility, remains the top priority. As the CEPR noted in early June, a review of 'the last five Joint Operations and Tasking Centre (JOTC) reports reveals that the MINUSTAH [UN stabilisation mission] is still focusing almost solely on security. Combining data from the previous six days, the JOTC reports show that MINUSTAH has undertaken 5,092 security operations, involving 29,537 troops, and 56 maritime patrols. On the other hand, there have been 51 humanitarian assistance missions, involving just 359 troops.'[112]

By contrast, activists organising in and around the BAI and the new coalition PLONBAVIL (National Platform of Base Organizations and State Victims) focus on the mechanisms of exclusion that have pushed the vast majority of Haiti's citizens to the outer margins of politics. 'There is a sort of merging of the Fanmi Lavalas base organizations and former PPN members happening there', Kim Ives observes, 'one which has happened without the consent (and maybe somewhat to the chagrin) of the leaders of both parties. It was really an attraction and elopement of the "bases," and my sense is that the centre of anti-imperialist resistance to the Préval plan and crew was and is really coming out of that crucible. This is where the progressive and revolutionary leadership for this post-quake era is emerging from.'[113] Patrick Elie, likewise, stakes everything on a renewal of the popular movement that opened the door to political change in the late 1980s: 'I put all my money on our ability, at the level of the grassroots movement, to remobilise the Haitian people, to make them believe, once more, that they are the key players in politics.'[114]

Unfortunately, the main institutional legacy of the Lavalas mobilisation – Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party – is itself both divided and largely excluded from the political process. After its landslide election victory in 2000, opposition politicians anticipated that FL might remain hegemonic for 'sixty years'.[115] The second anti-Lavalas coup and its aftermath have helped level the political playing field. In 2004 Aristide and many of his ministers were forced into exile; his Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and dozens of other high-level members of FL were imprisoned. In the run-up to the 2006 presidential elections the leading FL candidate, Father Gérard Jean-Juste, was jailed on trumped up charges and prevented from standing. In August 2007, the country's most prominent human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine was 'disappeared' (and is presumed dead) shortly after he announced his intention to stand as an FL candidate for the senate. Préval's hand-picked Provisional Electoral Commission (CEP) went on to block FL candidates from participating in senate elections in April 2009, on bogus procedural grounds.[116]

In response, FL campaigners and supporters organised a boycott, and only a tiny fraction of the electorate turned out to vote – 11 per cent, according to Préval's officials, but less than half that according to his opponents and most observers.[117] In public, US and UN officials condemned the CEP decision and called for the inclusion of all political parties. Curiously, however, when the CEP stuck to its guns the US and the rest of its 'international community' quietly abandoned calls for free and inclusive elections, and instead agreed to cover most of the election's costs. Brian Concannon draws attention to the double standard: 'all of the international agencies that had 'criticized the exclusion when it was made, praised the elections when they were held without the participation of FL or over 90% of Haitian voters.'[118] In November 2009, the CEP again barred FL again (along with several other parties) from registering for legislative elections originally planned for February 2010, despite the fact that FL went out of its way to meet the new procedural requirements invented the previous spring; again the CEP won international support and funding. After the earthquake obliged the CEP to push this next round of elections back to November 2010, they renewed (on 21 July) the exclusion of FL yet again, and again in apparent defiance of US and international recommendations.[119]

As a result, the next Haiti parliament and president will be elected, once more, without the participation of the most popular political organisation in the country. So long as the result is an apparent endorsement of the status quo, no doubt these elections too will receive the international stamp of approval in due course.

The FL leadership has made matters worse by indulging in years of sterile post-Aristide in-fighting. By early 2008, animosity between rival factions had grown so intense that they had become more or less separate organisations, and by the spring of 2009 a number of leaders with grassroots support had defected to Préval's camp. Government harassment coupled with the lack of unity deprives the popular movement of any imminent opportunity to use what Samba Boukman could still call, in 2006, its 'greatest weapon' – its ability to win elections.[120] At the time of writing (in September 2010), the presidential election scheduled for November 2010 held out little prospect of significant change. For a brief moment in mid-summer, the singer Wyclef Jean's celebrity candidacy rekindled a brief burst of media interest in Haiti. Some commentators were charmed by his youth and 'energy', while others drew attention to his support for the 2004 coup and for neoliberal policies, his lack of political qualifications, programme or experience, and the financial scandals that have plagued the Yele Haiti charity he fronts.[121] The journalist Ansel Herz summed him up best by describing him as Haiti's Sarah Palin: 'incoherent, incompetent and in it for himself.[122]' Having lived most of his life in the US, Wyclef (along with the formerly Miami-based militant Lavarice Gaudin and a dozen other hopefuls) was declared ineligible to stand in August. The remaining candidates include Préval's former Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis, Jean-Henri Céant (Aristide's former lawyer and a veteran behind-the-scenes FL operator), and Aristide's last Prime Minister, the moderate FL loyalist Yvon Neptune. Neptune probably represents the most powerful degree of institutional continuity with the pre-2004 régime, but many in or with the FL base still condemn him as a de-facto collaborator with the coup. The two anti-Lavalas coups have gone a long way towards eliminating any residual belief that genuine social change in Haiti might still be possible by 'formal' democratic means. 'In all the camps I’ve visited', writes journalist Isabeau Doucet, 'there is no interest in the elections let alone any enthusiasm for any particular candidate.'[123] Like many like-minded observers, the progressive weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté has dismissed the upcoming 2010 election as a 'charade' rigged up by the foreign 'friends of Haiti' in order to legitimate the occupation, and will not back any of the candidates.[124]

In many ways Lavalas is today less an organisation than an idea and a memory, and the lack of adequate organisation and leadership leaves the renewal of popular mobilisation vulnerable to all kinds of opportunistic manipulation. According to some of the mediators that serve as go-betweens between various political interests and the captive residents of the camps, many of the people who participate in demonstrations for or against the government do so for the sake of (pitifully small) financial reward. 'Nobody protests without money in this country', one such mediator told Al-Jazeera in July: 'the rich people keep us in misery, to make us do whatever they want'[125] – which is to say, more often than not, to do nothing at all. The May 2010 protests, the most substantial since the quake, were endorsed by politicians from all sides of the political spectrum, including veteran Lavalas partisans like René Civil and prominent 2004 coup supporters like Hervé Saintilus, Evans Paul, and Himmler Rébu.[126] The most important political question in Haiti today concerns the direction, priorities, and integrity of this incipient protest movement. Along with many of his allies, PLONBAVIL's Yves Pierre-Louis is 'very aware of the dangers posed by allowing former putchists into our alliance and demonstrations', while insisting that 'the unity and consciousness of the progressive forces in this mobilization are strong.'[127]

In the election of 2010, as in the last four presidential elections in Haiti, everything will depend on whether this unity and this consciousness are strong enough to prevail over the vast and diverse array of forces drawn up to oppose them. The earthquake has sharpened and accelerated the basic political choice facing Haiti: Either renewal of the popular mobilisation in pursuit of equality and justice, or long-term confirmation of the island's current status as a neocolonial protectorate.

23 September 2010.

BROUGHT TO YOU BY PAMBAZUKA NEWS

* The first half of this article was published in Pambazuka news, Issue 504.
* Peter Hallward is professor of Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University, London.
* Please send comments to editor@pambazuka.org or comment online at Pambazuka News.
*
NOTES

[36] See for instance, Mark Schuller, 'Haiti's Resurrection: Promoting Human Rights', Huffington Post, 5 April 2010; Robert Fatton Jr., 'Toward a New Haitian State', The Root, 9 February 2010; Tim Schwartz, 'Program of Development in Interest of Impoverished Haitians', 7 March 2010; Yves Engler, 'The Political Roadblocks to Haiti's Reconstruction', Counterpunch, 16 July 2010; Paul Farmer, 'Testimony to the Congressional Black Caucus: Focus on Haiti', 27 July 2010; Melinda Miles, 'Haiti's Answer for Six Months and Sixty Years', Let Haiti Live, 12 August 2010.
[37] Laura Flynn, '"We Want our Voices to be Heard": Democracy in Haiti's Earthquake Zone', Haiti Action, 3 May 2010.
[38] 'Haitian NGOs Decry Total Exclusion from Donors’ Conferences on Haitian Reconstruction', IJDH, 18 March 2010, .
[39] Martha Mendoza, 'Haiti Gets a Penny of Each U.S. Aid Dollar', AP, 27 January 2010.
[40] Paul Farmer, 'Testimony to the Congressional Black Caucus: Focus on Haiti', 27 July 2010.
[41] Kim Ives, 'Haiti Reconstruction: Factories, not Fields', NACLA 43:3 (May 2010).
[42] Jonathan Katz, 'Criticism Grows on How Money Is Spent in Haiti', AP, 5 March 2010.
[43] 'Partners In Health’s Medical Director and Director of Advocacy and Policy Urge Donor Countries to Support the Haitian Government', Partners In Health, 27 March 2010, www.pih.org, accessed 31 March 2010.
[44] Kim Ives, 'For $10 Billion in Promises, Haiti Surrenders Its Sovereignty', Haïti Liberté, 31 March 2010.
[45] Interviewed by Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', Faultlines, Al-Jazeera English, 12 July 2010.
[46] Yves Engler, 'The Political Roadblocks to Haiti's Reconstruction', Counterpunch, 16 July 2010.
[47] Jeb Sprague and Wadner Pierre, 'Haiti: Workers Protest Privatization Layoffs', IPS, 24 July 2007.
[48] 'Denis O'Brien's Digicel is Upwardly Mobile in Haiti', Irish Times, 20 June 2008.
[49] Isabeau Doucet, 'The Drama of Haiti's Internally Displaced', part two, Haïti Liberté, 25 August 2010.
[50] Yasmine Shamsie, 'Export Processing Zones: The Purported Glimmer in Haiti's Development Murk,' Review of International Political Economy, October 2009, cited in Regan Boychuk, 'The Vultures Circle Haiti at Every Opportunity, Natural or Man-made', MR Zine, 2 February 2010.
[51] Cf. Bill Quigley, 'Why the US Owes Haiti Billions -- The Briefest History', Huffington Post, 17 January 2010; Naomi Klein, 'Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor Nation', The Nation, 12 February 2010. The earthquake did at least provide an occasion to put restitution of the old French debt (see above, page 000) back on the agenda, in a manner of speaking, when in July an audacious 'Yes Men'-style prank announcing French intentions to repay the money they extorted over the course of the nineteenth century attracted some prominent supporting signatures and considerable attention in the press. See 'M. Sarkozy, rendez à Haiti son argent extorqué', Libération, 16 August 2010; Kim Willsher, 'France Urged to Repay Haiti Billions Paid for its Independence', The Guardian 15 August 2010.
[52] Ashley Smith, 'The "Shock Doctrine" for Haiti', Socialist Worker, 8 February 2010. To anticipate some of the implications of a new 'tourist boom' in Haiti, see Polly Patullo, Last Resorts: The Cost of Tourism in the Caribbean (NY: Monthly Review Press, 1996).
[53] Jeffrey Sachs, 'Haiti's Road to Recovery', The Guardian, 31 January 2010.
[54] Reed Lindsay, 'Haiti's Excluded', The Nation, 11 March 2010.
[55] Mark Schuller, 'Rained Out? Opportunities in Haiti Washing Away', Huffington Post, 21 July 2010.
[56] William Booth, 'Haiti's Elite Spared from Much of the Devastation', Washington Post, 18 January 2010.
[57] James Dobbins, 'Skip the Graft', The New York Times, 17 January 2010; cf. Isabel MacDonald, 'Same Old Interests Have Plan for "New Haiti"', The Indypendent, 29 January 2010.
[58] Quoted in Avi Lewis, 'Haiti: The Politics of Rebuilding', Fault Lines, Al Jazeera English, 12 February 2010.
[59] Ben Fox, 'Foreign Firms in Haiti Ready for Construction Boom', AP, 7 June 2010.
[60] Martha Brannigan and Jacqueline Charles, 'U.S. Firms Want Part in Haiti Cleanup', Miami Herald, 8 February 2010; cf. Jacqueline Charles, 'Groups Jockey for Role in Haiti Revival', Miami Herald, 9 March 2010.
[61] Ben Fox, 'Foreign Firms in Haiti Ready for Construction Boom', AP, 7 June 2010.
[62] Kim Ives, 'Only 15% for Haitians: Interim Commission Prepares to Dole Out Reconstruction Contracts', Haïti Liberté, 16 June 2010.
[63] Cited in Jacqueline Charles, 'Groups Jockey for Role in Haiti Revival', Miami Herald, 9 March 2010.
[64] Cited in Reed Lindsay, 'Haiti's Excluded', The Nation, March 11, 2010.
[65] Interviewed in Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', Faultlines, Al-Jazeera English, 12 July 2010.
[66] Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', 12 July 2010.
[67] Wadner Pierre, 'Haiti Post-Earthquake: Discrimination and Prejudice', The Dominion weblogs, 24 June 2010.
[68] Tim Schwartz, 'How to Save the NGO Sector from Itself', 10 March 2010.
[69] Report On Transparency of Relief Organizations Responding to the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, Disaster Accountability Project , 12 July 2010.
[70] Peter Richards, 'Flooded with NGOs, Haiti Looks to Fall Presidential Polls', IPS, 7 July 2010.
[71] Cf. Anthony Fenton, 'Haiti: Private Contractors "Like Vultures Coming to Grab the Loot"', IPS, 19 February 2010; Bill Quigley, 'Mercenaries Circling Haiti', Haïti Liberté, 3 March 2010; Martha Brannigan, 'Haiti Rebuilding Summit Under Way in Miami', Miami Herald, 10 March 2010.
[72] Rob Reynolds, 'Al Jazeera reports on the Haiti 'Summit' for Private contractors', Al-Jazeera, 10 March 2010.
[73] Jonathan Katz, 'Private Investment Key to Haiti's future', AP, 1 April 2010.
[74] Jonathan Katz, 'Post-quake Haiti's Economic Revival: Is Low-Paying Garment Industry the Answer?', AP, 21 February 2010; Ashley Smith, 'The "Shock Doctrine" for Haiti', Socialist Worker, 8 February 2010.
[75] Carolyn Leitch, 'Analysts Upsize Gildan Targets,' Globe and Mail, 12 April 2005, cited in Regan Boychuk, 'The Vultures Circle Haiti at Every Opportunity, Natural or Man-made', MR Zine, 2 February 2010.
[76] Sean Gregory, 'Entrepreneur Manufactures a Haitian Recovery', Time, 3 May 2010; Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', Faultlines, Al-Jazeera English, 12 July 2010.
[77] See for instance Kim Ives, 'Who Will Lead Haiti Reconstruction?', Haïti Liberté, 24 March 2010.
[78] 'Due to its poverty and relatively unregulated labor market,' Paul Collier writes, 'Haiti has labor costs that are fully competitive with China, which is the global benchmark. Haitian labor is not only cheap, it is of good quality. Indeed, because the garments industry used to be much larger than it is currently, there is a substantial pool of experienced labor' available for use (Collier, 'Haiti: From Natural Catastrophe to Economic Security: A Report for the Secretary-General of the United Nations', January 2009, http://www.focal.ca/pdf/haiticollier.pdf)
[79] David Wilson, 'Rebuilding Haiti" -- the Sweatshop Hoax', MR Zine, 4 March 2010.
[80] Richard Morse, 'Haiti: Stuck in a Trap', Huffington Post, 28 March 2010. As Morse points out, 'Importing cheap rice and sugar were concepts sold to Haitians by Haitian Economist Leslie Delatour during the mid to late 1980's. It was called Chicago economics: free markets. The concept destroyed rural production and incentives in Haiti and sent an additional 2 million people to go live in Port au Prince [... Today,] lobbying is still taken care of by a Delatour, Leslie's younger brother Lionel. Right now the younger Mr. Delatour is looking to attract more people out of the countryside and into the city with his HOPE2 garment bill, which is the crux of Haiti's economic future if Mevs, Soros, Boulos, Ban Ki Moon and Bill Clinton get their way. Mr. Delatour is also busy trying to funnel reconstruction monies to brother Patrick Delatour, Minister of Tourism and reconstruction "expert", and sister-in-law Elizabeth Delatour Préval who has helped turn the Haitian government, led by husband President Rene Préval, into a lobby machine for Haiti's elite families' (ibid.).
[81] Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', Faultlines, Al-Jazeera English, 12 July 2010.
[82] Nazaire St. Fort and Jeb Sprague, 'Anti-Hunger Protests Rock Haiti', NACLA, 25 April 2008; cf. Nazaire St. Fort and Jeb Sprague, 'Once-Vibrant Farming Sector in Dire Straits', IPS, 4 March 2008.
[83] Robert Fatton Jr., 'Toward a New Haitian State', The Root, 9 February 2010; Caroline Preston and Nicole Wallace, '6 Months After Earthquake, Haiti Struggles to Rebuild', The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 8 July 2010.
[84] Tim Schwartz, 'Program of Development in Interest of Impoverished Haitians', 7 March 2010. By the spring of 2010, even Bill Clinton could see that his own neo-liberal assault on Haitian farmers, in the 1990s, had been counter-productive. ‘It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake,’ Clinton admitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on 10 March (Katz, 'With Cheap Imports, Haiti Can't Feed Itself', AP, 20 March 2010).
[85] Tim Schwartz, Travesty in Haiti (Charleston: Booksurge, 2008), 108, 94.
[86] 'Partners In Health’s Medical Director and Director of Advocacy and Policy Urge Donor Countries to Support the Haitian Government', Partners In Health, 27 March 2010, www.pih.org, accessed 31 March 2010; cf. Annis, 'Canada's Failed Aid', Haïti Liberté, 4 August 2010.
[87] Isabel Macdonald, 'Where's Haiti's Bailout?', Huffington Post, 12 July 2010.
[88] Caroline Preston and Nicole Wallace, '6 Months After Earthquake, Haiti Struggles to Rebuild', The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 8 July 2010.
[89] See for instance Kathie Klarreich, 'Haiti Relief: Anger, Confusion as Authorities Relocate Homeless', Christian Science Monitor, 20 April 2010; CBS Evening News, 'Relief Efforts "Certainly Not Good Enough"', 22 April 2010.
[90] E. Thomas Johnson, 'Haitians Still Wait for Recovery', LA Times, 25 June 2010.
[91] Tamara Lush, 'Just 2 Percent of Quake Debris in Haiti Cleared', AP, 11 September 2010.
[92] Mark Weisbrot, 'Washington and International Donors Have Failed Haiti, Sacramento Bee (CA), 13 August 2010; cf. Katie Kane, 'A Country "Forgotten"’, The Missoulian, 6 June 2010; Mark Schuller, 'Haiti's Resurrection: Promoting Human Rights', Huffington Post, 5 April 2010.
[93] IJDH, '"We've Been Forgotten": Conditions in Haiti's Displacement Camps Eight Months After the Earthquake,' 23 September 2010, pp. 1-2, http://ijdh.org/archives/14633
[94] See in particular BAI, 'Our Bodies are Still Trembling: Haitian Women’s Fight Against Rape', IJDH, 27 July 2010.
[95] Isabeau Doucet, 'The Drama of Haiti's Internally Displaced', part one, Haïti Liberté, 11 August 2010. Needless to say, when the IHRC finally met on 17 August to rattle off an initial round of reconstruction targets and plans, 'there was no mention of the humanitarian disaster and human rights violations suffered daily by 1.7 million internally displaced, many of whom have not yet received emergency supplies after seven months' (Doucet, 'IHRC Promises Millions for "Sustainable Development"', Haïti Liberté, 18 August 2010).
[96] Ansel Herz, 'Haut-Turgeau, Haiti: The Camp That Vanished and the Priest Who Forced Them Out', IPS, 9 March 2010; Herz, 'Displaced Fear Expulsion from Makeshift Camps', IPS, 8 April 2010. Cf. 'Forced IDP Relocations', TransAfrica Forum, 12 April 2010; IAT, 'Vanishing Camps at Gunpoint', 14 July 2010. 'Though there are some programs to relocate people back to their homes', Sasha Kramer points out, 'the majority of displaced people were renters with uncertain property rights and 50% of the buildings in Port au Prince are now uninhabitable. Most of the camps are located on private property and pressure to relocate has been intense and at times violent. With nowhere else to go, many families are forced to endure terrible conditions and human rights violations only to sleep under a leaky tarp' (Sasha Kramer, 'Haiti 6 Months Later; Frozen in Time', Our Soil, 12 July 2010).
[97] Jonathan Katz, 'Fights Over Land Stall Haiti Quake Recovery', AP, 11 July 2010.
[98] Cited in Doucet, 'The Drama of Haiti's Internally Displaced', part one, Haïti Liberté, 11 August 2010.
[99] Miles, 'Haiti Earthquake Survivors To Peacefully Demonstrate to Call Attention to the Horrific Conditions in Camps', Let Haiti Live, 12 August 2010.
[100] Kim Ives, 'Six Months Later: Land Ownership at the Crux of Haiti's Stalled Reconstruction', Haïti Liberté, 14 July 2010; cf. 'Sean Penn on Haiti Six Months After the Earthquake', Democracy Now!, 13 July 2010.
[101] Schuller, 'Rained Out? Opportunities in Haiti Washing Away', Huffington Post, 21 July 2010.
[102] Miles, 'Rain and Weeping at Camp Corail', Let Haiti Live, 30 July 2010; Edward Cody, 'Despite "all that money," More Than 1 Million Haitians Remain Displaced by January Earthquake,' Washington Post, 22 August 2010.
[103] Kim Ives, 'Six Months Later: Land Ownership at the Crux of Haiti's Stalled Reconstruction', Haïti Liberté, 14 July 2010.
[104] Cited in Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', Faultlines, Al-Jazeera English, 12 July 2010.
[105] Interviewed in Avi Lewis, Haiti: The Politics of Rebuilding, Fault Lines, Al Jazeera English, 12 February 2010.
[106] Beverly Bell, '"We've Lost the Battle, but We Haven't Lost the War:" Haiti Six Months After the Earthquake', The Wip, 12 July 2010.
[107] Ansel Herz, 'U.N. Clash with Frustrated Students Spills into Camps', IPS, 25 May 2010.
[108] Yves Pierre-Louis, 'Broad Mobilization Against Préval Continues', Haïti Liberté, 19 May 2010.
[109] Randall White, 'Thousands in Haiti March on Aristide's Birthday', Haiti Action, 16 July 2010.
[110] Doucet, 'The Drama of Haiti's Internally Displaced', part two, Haïti Liberté, 25 August 2010.
[111] Reed Lindsay, 'Haiti's Excluded', The Nation, March 11, 2010; cf. Ansel Herz, 'Looking More and More Like a War Zone', IPS, 30 March 2010.
[112] 'MINUSTAH Continues to Prioritize Security Over Relief', CEPR, 2 June 2010.
[113] Kim Ives, letter to the author, 25 May 2010.
[114] Quoted in Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', Faultlines, Al-Jazeera English, 12 July 2010.
[115] Damming the Flood, 75.
[116] The final FL list of candidates was endorsed by the party leader (Aristide) by fax, but at the last minute the CEP invented a new requirement, knowing FL would be unable to meet it: Aristide, still exiled in South Africa and denied entry to Haiti, would have to sign the list in person. In the 2006 elections, by contrast, several former FL senators claimed to represent FL without the endorsement of either Aristide or the membership, and the CEP made no objection (Jeb Sprague, 'Fanmi Lavalas Banned, Voter Apprehension Widespread', IPS, 17 April 2009; cf. IJDH, 'International Community Should Pressure the Haitian Government for Prompt and Fair Elections', 30 June 2010; Ira Kurzban, 'Unfair and Undemocratic', Miami Herald, 8 September 2010).
[117] Wadner Pierre, 'Empty Streets, Empty Boxes: Haitians Reject Manipulated Election', HaitiAnalysis, 30 June 2009.
[118] IJDH, 'International Community Should Pressure the Haitian Government for Prompt and Fair Elections', 30 June 2010.
[119] 'Haiti's Leader Rejects U.S. Election Proposals', Reuters, 30 June 2010; Wadner Pierre, 'Haiti Gears Up for Polls – Again, Sans Lavalas', IPS, 30 July 2010.
[120] Damming the Flood, 32.
[121] Cf. Kevin Edmonds, 'The Assault on Haitian Democracy,' NACLA, 23 August 2010.
[122] Ansel Herz, 'Stay in the States: Incompetent, Egotistical Wyclef Jean Offers Only False Hope for Haiti', New York Daily News, 7 August 2010. 'The very fact that he is taken seriously' in the foreign press when he has no qualifications of the job, adds Robert Fatton, is another indication of the fact that the US tends to 'look at the typical Haitian population as a bankrupt kind of species' (cited in Tamara Lush, 'Haiti Ruling Ends Wyclef Jean's Run for President', AP, 21 August 2010).
[123] Isabeau Doucet, letter to the author, 16 September 2010.
[124] 'Notre Position sur la conjoncture politique', Haïti Liberté, 11 August 2010; English translation at http://canadahaitiaction.ca/content/haiti-libert%C3%A9-editorial-political-situation-upcoming-election 'The CEP and Préval have excluded the most popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas, and are trying to corrupt its members', argues Yves Pierre-Louis, 'but 'the masses remain attached to Jean Bertrand Aristide as their national representative [...]. The priorities of [their] mobilization are to demand the resignation of René Préval and the CEP, to form a transitional political power capable of organizing inclusive elections [...], and to get rid of the international community’s imposed occupation forces' (Yves Pierre-Louis, interview with Isabeau Doucet, Port-au-Prince, 17 Sept 2010).
[125] Carlos Jean-Charles, interviewed in Sebastian Walker, 'Haiti: Six Months On', Faultlines, Al-Jazeera English, 12 July 2010.
[126] Kim Ives, 'With Strange Bedfellows: Mobilization Against Préval Gains Momentum', Haïti Liberté, 12 May 2010.
[127] Quoted in Kim Ives, 'With Strange Bedfellows', Haïti Liberté, 12 May 2010; cf. Yves Pierre-Louis, 'Broad Mobilization Against Préval Continues', Haïti Liberté, 19 May 2010.


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