Friday, January 28, 2011

Haiti, Aristide, and the US

OMNI HAITI NEWSLETTER #1, JANUARY 28, 2011, Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace

History of Haiti
Reliable Aid to Haiti


The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (1-21-11) published an essay by Ray Walser of the Heritage Foundation entitled “Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Out!” The essay is extremely hostile to Aristide: “Aristide’s shameful record of polarizing politics, corruption and thuggery.” “…Aristide pretty well shattered Haiti—and kept it that way.” No evidence was given, so we can only guess why Walser feels such animosity.
Others who share his dislike of Aristide:
Amy Wilentz. The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier. See her article in The Nation (2-8) “The Haiti Haters,” about David Brooks, Anne Applebaum, Pat Robertson, and ideas for a renewed Haiti

Farmer, Paul. The Uses of Haiti. “In 1994 [Farmer] wrote The Uses of Haiti, a sweeping history that reveals the consistent role of foreign powers, especially the United States, in the exploitation and oppression of the Haitian people. After several years out of print, an updated version of The Uses of Haiti has now been reissued.
The book rips apart the myth, so often repeated in the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets, that Haiti is a world apart, inexplicably the "poorest country in the Western hemisphere." Farmer shows that Haiti has always been enmeshed in a global system of imperialist competition, its resources and people ruthlessly exploited for profit, its repeated struggles for liberation brutally suppressed. As Noam Chomsky wrote in the 1994 introduction, the book "tells the truth about what has been happening in Haiti, and the U.S. role in its bitter fate."' Helen Scott, “The Uses and Abuses of Haiti.” International Socialist Review (April 2003).

--Peter Hallward, Damming the Flood: Haiti , Aristide, and the Politics of Containment.
Hallward interv. by Amy Goodman 2-21-10. History of gross inequalities and exploitation. Haitians forced to work for $3 a day, their public resources were privatized for gain of a few, Aristide rose through grassroots democracy: won election by 70%, his party held big majority in Parliament, he disbanded the army, resisted foreign military rule. But he was kidnapped by US and exiled to South Africa, where he remains 2-21-10. [Still there 1-28-11—D] Haiti lost at least 200,000 people by the earthquake, perhaps 300,000; the nation needs him. But he is not allowed to return.

--Pate, Shirley. “Paying for Winning the Revolution.” Peace and Freedom (Spring 2010). How France compelled Haiti to pay billions for restitution to French clave owners for loss of property (including slaves), how Pres. Aristide sued France seeking reparation , and how France with US and Canadian support organized a coup against him.

--Naomi Klein, “Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor.” The Nation (March 1, 2010). Argues Haiti’s right to reparations.

Date: Tuesday, December 28, 2010, 7:04 AM
“The UN Mission in Haiti: OAS official Ricardo Seitenfus speaks out”
by Gearóid Ó Colmáin
The Special Representative for the Organisation of American States Ricardo Seitenfus was relieved of his duties 24 hours after he gave a candid interview to the Swiss newspaper Le Temps on Monday December 20th in which he lambasted the UN occupation of Haiti.
In an interview with the Swiss paper Le temps (December 20th 2010), Ricardo Seitenfus, blamed international capitalism for the ills of Haiti. Referring to Haiti’s 200 year national liberation struggle the Brazilian born academic said…..:
Gearóid Ó Colmáin is a columnist in English and Gaelic with Metro Éireann, Ireland’s multicultural newspaper. His blog is at . He can be contacted at

“WikiLeaks Points to US Meddling in Haiti”
Kim Ives, Guardian UK
Intro: "US embassy cables reveal how anxious the US was to enlist Brazil to keep the deposed Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of Haiti."

--Aristide, Jean Bertrand. In the Parish of the Poor and Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization. Aristide is part of the Catholic movement by priests and nuns for the poor in Latin America, which confronted establishment exploitation of the poor throughout the hemisphere.

Miami Herald runs full-page statement calling for the return of Aristide
Signers included Dr. Paul Farmer, founder of Partners in Health, actor Danny Glove rand Reverend Jesse Jackson.

Bill Quigley and Nicole Phillips: Five Reasons to Care about Haiti’s Sham Elections 11-27-10
Haiti needs legitimate leaders right now. Unfortunately, the elections set for November 28, 2010 are a sham. Here are five reasons why the world community should care.
First, Haitian elections are supposed to choose their new President, the entire House of Deputies and one-third of the country's Senate. But election authorities have illegally excluded all the candidates from the country's most popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas - and other progressive candidates. Lavalas, the party of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has won many elections in Haiti - probably the reason it was excluded. If this were the US, this would be like holding elections just between the Tea Party and the GOP - and excluding all others. Few Haitians will respect the outcome of these elections.

By Kiilu Nyasha, “The Haitian Tragedy and Mainstream Media Response” Jan. 17, 2010.
I cannot remain silent in the face of so much racism and disinformation streaming over the mainstream media regarding the ongoing Haitian tragedy… Ignored by most commentators is the truth of Haiti's historic and ongoing poverty -" in classic "blame the victim" coverage. E.g., it's not mentioned that Haitians fought their way out of slavery in 1804, and were celebrating their bicentennial when the U.S. kidnapped and exiled (for the second time) their popular President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who won two landslide victories in internationally monitored elections


“Haiti and America's Historic Debt” By Robert Parry
January 13, 2010
“Announcing emergency help for Haiti after a devastating 7.0-magnitude earthquake, President Barack Obama noted America’s historic ties to the impoverished Caribbean nation, but few Americans understand how important Haiti’s contribution to U.S. history was………” This fascinating essay gives an account of the Haitian revolts of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and their consequences to the US and to Haiti.

“30 Years Ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened?
The U.S. Role in Haiti's Food Riots” By BILL QUIGLEY
April 21, 2008
For the whole article go to:\
………The New York Times lectured Haiti on April 18 that “Haiti, its agriculture industry in shambles, needs to better feed itself.” Unfortunately, the article did not talk at all about one of the main causes of the shortages -- the fact that the U.S. and other international financial bodies destroyed Haitian rice farmers to create a major market for the heavily subsidized rice from U.S. farmers. This is not the only cause of hunger in Haiti and other poor countries, but it is a major force.
Thirty years ago, Haiti raised nearly all the rice it needed. What happened?
In 1986, after the expulsion of Haitian dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loaned Haiti $24.6 million in desperately needed funds (Baby Doc had raided the treasury on the way out). But, in order to get the IMF loan, Haiti was required to reduce tariff protections for their Haitian rice and other agricultural products and some industries to open up the country’s markets to competition from outside countries. The U.S. has by far the largest voice in decisions of the IMF.
Doctor Paul Farmer (BG: Farmer has been shown recently as a commentator on the earthquake in Haiti)was in Haiti then and saw what happened. “Within less than two years, it became impossible for Haitian farmers to compete with what they called ‘Miami rice.’ The whole local rice market in Haiti fell apart as cheap, U.S. subsidized rice, some of it in the form of ‘food aid,’ flooded the market. There was violence, ‘rice wars,’ and lives were lost.…………” From B. Geary, “thinkcivic”


…..As Randall Robinson, the founder of the TransAfrica Forum correctly says, "Haiti's
misery is largely not of its own making."

"An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, from Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President"
Randall Robinson Basic Civitas Books, 2008

"Walking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance"
Beverly Bell Cornell University Press, 2001

“The Other Regime Change: Overthrowing Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide” by Lyn Duff and Dennis Bernstein in Impeach the President: The Case Against Bush and Cheney,” ed. Dennis Loo and Peter Phillips Seven Stories P, 2006.

HELPING HAITI. Immediately following the earthquake solicited suggestions for qualified, reliable relief organizations. This caution is required because some organizations were not trustworthy. Timothy Schwartz. Travesty in Haiti: A True Account of Christian Missions, Orphanages, Fraud, Food Aid, and Drug Trafficking. Book Surge, 2011. Rev. The Progressive (Dec. 2010-Jan. 2011). “A must read for everyone, but especially for those who want to work in Haiti to actually empower Haitians to help themselves and rebuild their country.”
Fayetteville Free Weekly (1-28-10) provides a helpful checklist on how to avoid scam and give your money directly to Haitians: “Give to Haitians, Not to Scam Artists,” p. 35.

Haitian Women Hardest Hit By Earthquake….
USAID As the world responds to the devastation in Haiti, it's critical that we remember those who are both hardest hit by natural disasters and least likely to receive international aid: women and children. Read why.

In choosing where to donate, we highly encourage you to give to local, grassroots women's organizations, who know best how to help their communities but often cannot access international aid.

For our suggestions on U.S. organizations giving 100% of donations to grassroots Haitian groups click here.

More on women, Haiti and reconstruction:
Mourning The Loss of Haitian Feminist Leaders
Food and Agriculture Organization: Haiti's Rehabilitation Starts with Farmers

Al-Islam Students Association (AISA) is raising funds for Haiti Earthquake Victims through a Charity Organization "Humanity First." Would you please include Humanity first in your listserve. They have sent several medical teams comprising of doctors and nurses with medical and food supplies. These relief teams travel using their own funds and the donated money almost entirely (95%) goes to the victims. …..
Every time someone sends a text message "Support Humanity" to 20222, their phone bill will be charged with $5 donation for Haiti for Humanity First. Their website is
Thanks, Hameed Naseem

Compiled by Dick Bennett for OMNI

United Way is working on the long-term recovery in Haiti

Rapid Response Chaplains
are deploying to Haiti-you can make a difference by partnering with us!

AmeriCares Sending Emergency Relief to Haiti. Donate Now

Habitat for Humanity is working on shelter for victims. Donate today! (these 4 from Denise Garner)

In Arkansas: Haiti Education Foundation, 1810 W. Block St., El Dorado, Ark. 71730. And see: (from DemGaz)

From American Friends Service Committee
Today, AFSC’s first shipment of medical supplies arrived in Port-au-Prince. This is only the beginning of AFSC’s longer-term response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
To address the immediate need for medical equipment and supplies, AFSC released $50,000 to our partner, Handicap International. They have received the first shipment for supplies today.
Also today, AFSC is releasing an additional $50,000, to provide ten thousand meals over the next 100 days to families in three hard-hit neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, where food is an increasingly urgent priority. In this phase of response, AFSC is partnering with HEKS (Swiss Interchurch Aid).
AFSC’s plan extends beyond short-term, needs such as food and water. We are also planning an ongoing response to help Haitians rebuild their communities over time.
Help us continue to support the Haitian earthquake survivors as they rebuild their lives and communities – make a donation now ……...
Be sure to check our web site, , and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news.

Dear friends,
Avaaz members have surged to the help of Haiti raising over $1 million in just a few days! Every dollar/euro/yen donated is immediately being sent to empower trustworthy local partner organizations to scale up their efforts, but the devastation is staggering and the needs remain massive. See the email below -- let´s stand with the Haitian people, help now! ………………

Based on expert advice from leading humanitarian NGOs who have been working in Haiti for over 20 years, we're offering donations to trusted local organizations, including:
Honor and Respect for Bel Air, a big community-based network in Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince, which is also supported by our friends at the respected Brazilian NGO Viva Rio
Coordination Régionale des Organisations de Sud-Est (CROSE), which brings together some of the most active community groups in the South of Haiti where the earthquake struck hardest. These groups include: women's groups, schools networks and local cooperatives
Zanmi Lasante, sister organization of Partners in Health (PiH) in Haiti. PiH and its partners have been among the first to respond with emergency medical services to the most vulnerable
In 2008, Avaaz members donated over $2 million for Burmese monks to respond to the devastating Cyclone Nargis. Our money made an incredible difference there -- because it went directly to local people on the front lines of the aid effort………
With hope for Haiti, Luis, Paul, Graziela, Paula, Ricken, Pascal, Alice, Benjamin, Milena and the whole Avaaz team……
ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages! You can also follow Avaaz on Twitter! …..To contact Avaaz, please do not reply to this email. Instead, write to us via the webform at . You can also call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US) or +55 21 2509 0368 (Brazil).

NATIONS SENDING AID (what nation is not?)
USA, Germany, France, Venezuela, Gaza…….

Here are more humanitarian groups suggested by other orgs. Dick

Israeli nation
Partners in Health
Unitarian Universalist Assoc. and UUSC
Mercy Corps
Grameen Haiti
Doctors Without Borders (repeated)
Haiti Relief (a Lutheran Church)

Here is what two of my friends, retired from a major news network, have encouraged their friends to use. OXFAM
I trust it because they were in a position to know who does what with donated monies.
…….A number of organizations are already engaged in critical relief efforts, and I urge you to support as many of them as you can. One of them, Oxfam America, has an emergency response team of more than 200 people already on the ground. Make a donation to Oxfam's earthquake relief effort in Haiti:
Or, for a list of other organizations to donate to and ways to make a difference, see ........
Al Gore Chairman Alliance for Climate Protection

The Israeli team is actually en route now. They left Israel yesterday evening in two Boeing 747's. But there is a 4-man Israeli rescue team on the ground that came from Mexico.
As for places to donate:
In the United States, several Jewish groups -- including the American Jewish World Service (, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (, American Jewish Committee ( and B'nai B'rith International ( -- have set up mailboxes for donations. As always with Jewish groups - too many!
And did you know that if you donate money via Visa card, Visa takes a 3% cut of your donations? Mike Lieber

Dear Readers,
Below is a letter written by Ophelia Dahl, Executive Director of Partners in Health (PIH), an international organization dedicated to healthcare for the poor. They are currently working in Haiti to coordinate relief efforts and save lives after the dreadful earthquake that struck the nation.
It is estimated that the death toll could rise to over 100,000 and many more will be left hungry and homeless. We at the Americas Program strongly encourage all of you to give generously to support our partner organization PIH in these efforts—the donation links follow Ophelia’s letter. DONATE NOW TO HELP OUR EARTHQUAKE RELIEF EFFORTS
Watch for exclusive updates on the pages of the Americas Program as we seek to locate and hear from our collaborators. We will be following the situation closely……….

UUSC and the Unitarian Universalist Association have launched a joint earthquake relief fund to help the survivors of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12.
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake centered near Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti. The situation is chaotic, communications systems are down, and debris impedes movement around the city. The U.N. estimates that 2.2 million people are affected and fears that the loss of life may reach into the tens of thousands.
Please donate now — your generous support will help us help the people of Haiti recover from this disaster………

Mercy Corps, Grameen Haiti
…….We have heard from quite a few people asking what they can do to help. We've created a link page on our website with many support organizations who are already on the ground in Haiti. If you feel so moved, please make a contribution to one of these or your favorite charity.
While there are many good organizations you can support, we are directly familiar with the following two. These groups do long-term sustainable development and conflict resolution work (both have people on the ground in Haiti helping with this crisis).
Mercy Corps
Mercy Corps works almost exclusively in high-risk conflict and post-conflict environments, implementing innovative conflict resolution and peacebuilding programs which will be essential to Haiti both now and moving forward. They are working right now to deliver rapid, lifesaving aid to hard-hit communities in Haiti.
Grameen Haiti
"For years, Grameen Foundation has been using microfinance and technology to help Haitians move themselves out of poverty. Grameen is working to help the nation recover from this recent disaster and will continue, as hard as it may be to imagine, to help their local partners build a Haiti that is more prosperous than pre-earthquake conditions."
This is an opportunity to stand in support of our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
All of us at The Peace Alliance.

……..There are many excellent organizations doing humanitarian work. If you are
considering making a Haiti-related donation, you might consider these three

Doctors Without Borders
Partners in Health

Carolyn Griffith forwarded this from Calvin Bey:
……If you are looking for a place to send money here is another option. I know these folks will make wise use of every penny. Send contributions to Haiti Relief, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 5114 Twinbrook Rd, Fairfax, VA 22032……....


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