Tuesday, June 21, 2011

No Disaster Tourism for Haiti

A compilation of Haiti and world news.
Photo by KeelyKernan at Flickr.com
Children in a tent camp Port au Prince, Haiti
The kid goes to Haiti the week of the US Open", and wins it all...
Defend Haiti | Sports | Monday, 20 June 2011

Rory McIlroy's visit to Haiti as UNICEF's "Irish Goodwill Ambassador" may have just been a humanitarian visit, and not the design of an agent or public relations firm. However, some have cried foul, saying this is more of the type of "disaster tourism" Haiti has seen since the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake.

It's very heart-warming that so many generous and beautiful souls have taken an interest in Haiti. Many ordinary people around the world have given to Haiti relief. Most common folks and some celebrities do not support Haiti for the attention or accolades – Haitians are grateful to them for their humanity and goodwill.

However, what Haiti needs is sustainable development and political pressure on Washington from U.S. citizens asking that the U.S. support sustainable development, not sweatshops and disaster capitalism. Washington's neoliberal policies and counterproductive actions are keeping Haiti poor and underdeveloped.

It's unfortunate that some actors, musicians, entertainers, athletes, political players and any number of folks are able to raise their public profile with a "goodwill" trip to pose with the children and people of "the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere." Want to raise money for your personal or favorite NGO? Are you planning to run for political office or to make a bucket load of money by NOT running? Have you just been involved in an embarrassing, high profile scandal? If that describes you, then Haiti is the place to go for a disaster tourism tour of the rubble, illness and misery! And don't worry, the same conditions will exist for years to come, so just keep on sustaining the republic of NGOs to remain in Haiti indefinitely.

Haiti does not need more TOURISTAHs! Haiti has the hated MINUSTAH occupying force to fill that role.

Making Sense of Martelly's National Fund for Education
Defend Haiti | Economy | Monday, 20 June 2011

It's despicable that the poor are now being taxed via their cell phones and wire transfers. Of course, Martelly has no intention of taxing the leeching multinational corporations, repugnant rich elite, and others who do not invest or support Haiti's human and infrastructure development.

If this new education program, which is mired in controversy and mistrust from Haitian in and out of the country ever gets off the ground, since the Haitian diaspora are the guarantors of this latest stalled IDB loan, we should at least have a say in the curriculum.

For instance, in what language will schools be taught -- some prefer French, many support Kreyol--both? What about culture and history? Will Haitian and African culture be given priority -- they should? Also, math, science and technology should prepare the students for highly-skilled careers. Will they get music, health and physical education? Show us the curriculum!

Arcade Fire in Haiti: "So much joy..."
The Observer | World News, Haiti | Sunday 19 June 201

Arcade Fire's Régine Chassagne tells a moving story about a concert her group held in the remote mountain village of Cange. The charming story hit a sour note for me when Régine talked of being the opening act for RAM. Folks outside of the Haiti and the Haitian diaspora may not be aware that RAM leader Richard Morse supported the 2004 coup which ousted Haiti's first democratically elected government.

The rock band has attached their name to Partners & Health (PiH), a worthwhile, sustainable and effective NGO with medical projects in Cange and other remote areas of Haiti. Unfortunately, Mr. Paul Farmer, PiH's founder, once a promoter of democracy in Haiti, has become part of Haiti's myriad problems since he joined the UN occupying force as their "special envoy" to Haiti. Since then, Farmer's not (to my knowledge) shared his opinions on fraudulent elections, the barring of Aristide's party Fanmi Lavalas from elections, and the stagnant progress rebuilding Haiti by his pal William Jefferson Clinton, who heads the IHRC. To his credit, Farmer did speak out about the imported UN cholera. Farmer voiced the necessity of finding the origins of the disease when his UN colleagues were against naming the source. As we know, that trail lead back to the UN.

Wikileaks Cables Reveal: After Quake, a “Gold Rush” for Haiti Contracts
HaitiAnalysis.com | Politics | June 16th, 2011

War and disasters are seen as opportunities for some. Naomi Klein calls it "disaster capitalism."

THE GOLD RUSH IS ON!” [U.S. Ambassador] Merten headlined a section of his 6 p.m. situation report – or Sitrep – back to Washington."

Lucke, for one, justifies making money off of disasters. “It’s kind of the American way,” he told Haïti Liberté. “Just because you’re trying to do business doesn’t mean you’re trying to be rapacious. There’s nothing insidious about that... It wasn’t worse than Iraq."

More on Disaster Capitalism from Truthout...
Attacking Libya - and the Dictionary
Truth-out.org | Politics | Tuesday 21 June 2011

The Obama administration's rush for oil in Libya has them redefining war.

American and NATO planes are violating Libyan air space, they are finding targets, dropping bombs, and the bombs are killing and maiming innocent people and destroying civilian buildings and other "soft" and "hard" targets. It is a war, but according to an Obama administration 32 page report titled "United States Activities in Libya," it is NOT war.
"War is only war, it seems, when Americans are dying, when we die. When only they, the Libyans, die, it is something else for which there is as yet apparently no name."
According to Reporter Kevin Hall of MacClatchy, the Libyan war ties to development of oil in the Caspian region and other oil rich regions. It marks a scramble for oil and controlling Europe's energy supply. Read his article: Wikileaks cables show it was all about the oil.

Haiti Housing Plans: BBBC vs Kay Pam
Defend Haiti | Thursday, 16 June 2011

A lot of distrust for Michel Martelly and his plans for Haiti is manifested in his adoption of a René Preval mortgage plan called Kay Pam. President Martelly has been disingenuous in presenting the plan has his own.

Without question, more suspicions about Haiti's first ever mortgage program are raise by the untimely death of Guiteau Toussaint, the President of National Credit Bank (BNC), who had partnered with Preval on the mortgage plan and who was to launch the project just before his untimely death. Toussaint was murdered at home In Petion-Ville, Haiti during an armed robbery on June 12, 2011. The death is being called an assassination and some suspect a political motive. The police are questioning suspects.

Perhaps not coincidentally, given Martelly's hatred of Aristide and Lavalas, some suspects are said to be Fanmi Lavalas political activists, including former Bush 2004 coup era political prisoner, Yvon Antoine aka Yvon ZapZap -- though it was later reported that his detention was unrelated to the death of Toussaint. No word yet on why Yvon Antoine is being detained. Also detained for questioning and conditionally released was a prominent businessman named Franck Ciné.

As for the mortgage program, many details need to be revealed and are missing from the discussion. The new president still has not been able to get his government appointments approved by Parliament, including his Vice President designate, Daniel-Gerard Rouzier. Rouzier committed a misstep by announcing his intention to disband the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC), but hours later Martelly subsequently promised to work with the IHRC to make it more "efficient."

Martelly's mortgage program is troubling. Martelly says in a video on YouTube that the interest rate on these mortgages will be fixed at 8%. This sounds exorbitantly high for what amounts to public housing projects.

The mortgage plan is very optimistic, but unrealistic, given the high unemployment rate in Haiti. How will people be able to pay this mortgage? The sewing factories and other sweatshops that are planned or operating in Haiti do not and evidently will not provide Haitians, who work without unions or benefits, with a living wage. The new Haitian presidential administration's first priority should be sustainable Haitian jobs, not enslavement to a high-interest mortgage.

It doesn't recommend Martelly's new mortgage plan that he himself ended up in foreclosure on three of his properties in South Florida.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails