Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How the US Impoverished Haiti

The following article give a brief, ie incomplete, history of the economic crisis in Haiti up til 2003. Things have only worsened since then. The earthquake of January 12 dealt the crushing blow. The article makes clear the culpability and responsibility of not just France, but of the United States in whose sphere of influence Haiti lies.

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How the US Impoverished Haiti

Author’s update: The horrific disaster that has befallen Haiti is perhaps unprecedented in the Western Hemisphere. Estimates now say that perhaps hundreds of thousands have died as a result of the Jan. 12 earthquake. The media have constantly recited, as a mantra, that Haiti’s weak infrastructure and poor quality of construction account for the large number of deaths. The implication is that Haitians are unable to govern and build a reliable, sustainable society. The truth of the matter is that, left to their own efforts, Haitians would have been more than able to build a reliable democracy with adequate infrastructure. But they have never been allowed to do so – not by Europe and certainly not by the United States. The article below was written in 2003. It attempts to describe how Haiti has been by design maintained as the most impoverished nation in our hemisphere. Contact your congressional representatives and urge them to move Congress to increase aid to Haiti. For more on direct aid and action, go to
Like this earthquake victim, Haiti has been crushed under U.S. exploitation and debt for most of its existence. Though the demand by Haiti for reparations from France is just, it obscures the role the United States played in the process to impoverish Haiti – a role that continues to this day. Today Haiti is a severely indebted country whose debt-to-export ratio is nearly 300 percent, far above what is considered sustainable even by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Both institutions are dominated by the U.S. In 1980 Haiti’s debt was $302 million. Since then it has more than tripled to $1.1 billion, approximately 40 percent of the nation’s gross national product. Last year Haiti paid more in debt service than it did on medical services for the people. Haitian officials say nearly 80 percent of the current debt was accumulated by the regimes of Francois and Jean-Claude Duvalier, Papa Doc and Baby Doc. Both regimes operated under the benign gaze of the United States that has had a long and sordid history of keeping Haiti well within its sphere of economic and political influence. It is now well known that the primary source of Haiti’s chronic impoverishment is the reparations it was forced to pay to the former plantation owners who left following the 1804 revolution. Some of the white descendants of the former plantation owners, who now live in New Orleans, still have the indemnity coupons issued by France. So in fact, at least part of the reparations paid by Haiti went toward the development of the United States. In 1825 Haiti was forced to borrow 24 million francs from private French banks to begin paying off the crippling indemnity debt. Haiti only acknowledged this debt in exchange for French recognition of her independence, a principle that would continue to characterize Haiti’s international relationships. These indemnity payments caused continual financial emergencies and political upheavals. In a 51-year period, Haiti had 16 different presidents – new presidents often coming to power at the head of a rebel army.
Nevertheless, Haiti always made the indemnity payments – and, following those, the bank loan payments – on time. The 1915 intervention by the Marines on behalf of U.S. financial interests changed all of that, however. The prelude to the 1915 U.S. intervention began in 1910 when the National Bank of Haiti, founded in 1881 with French capital and entrusted from the start with the administration of the Haitian treasury, disappeared. It was replaced by the financial institution known as the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti. Part of the capital of the new national bank was subscribed by the National City Bank of New York, signaling, for the first time, U.S. interest in the financial affairs of Haiti. The motivation for the original U.S. financial interest in Haiti was the schemes of several U.S. corporations with ties to National City Bank to build a railroad system there. In order for these corporations – including the W.R. Grace Corp. – to protect their investments, they pressured President Woodrow Wilson and his secretary of state, William Jennings Bryan, to find ways to stabilize the Haitian economy, namely by taking a controlling interest in the Haitian custom houses, the main source of revenue for the government. After Secretary of State Bryan was fully briefed on Haiti by his advisers, he exclaimed, “Dear me, think of it! Niggers speaking French.” Ironically, however, Bryan, a longtime anti-imperialist, was against any exploitative relationship between the U.S. and Haiti or any other nation in the Western Hemisphere. In fact he had long called for canceling the debts of smaller nations as a means by which they could normally grow and develop. Not surprisingly, Bryan’s views were not well received in Washington or on Wall Street. Due to the near total ignorance at the State Department and in Washington generally about Haiti, Bryan was forced to rely on anyone who had first hand information. That person turned out to be Roger L. Farnham, one of the few people thoroughly familiar with Haitian affairs.
Farnham was thoroughly familiar with Haitian affairs because he was vice-president of the National City Bank of New York and of the new National Bank of the Republic of Haiti and president of the National Railway of Haiti. In spite of the secretary of state’s hostility to Wall Street and Farnham’s obvious conflict of interest, Bryan leaned heavily on Farnham for information and advice. As vice president of both National City Bank and the National Bank of the Republic of Haiti, Farnham played a cat and mouse game with the Haitian legislature and president. Alternately, he would threaten direct U.S. intervention or to withhold government funds if they did not turn over control of the Haitian custom houses to National City Bank. In defense of Haitian independence, lawmakers refused at every juncture. Finally, in 1914, with the outbreak of World War I, Farnham was able to convince Washington that France and Germany posed direct threats to the U.S. by their presence in Haiti. Each had a small colony of business people there. In December of 1914, Farnham arranged for the U.S. Marines to come ashore at Port Au Prince, march into the new National Bank of Haiti and steal two strongboxes containing $500,000 in Haitian currency and sail to New York, where the money was placed in New York City Bank. This made the Haitian government totally dependent on Farnham for finances with which to operate. The final and immediate decision to intervene in Haiti came in July of 1915 with yet another overthrow of a Haitian president, this time the bloody demise of Vilbrun Guillaume Sam. For the next 19 years, the U.S. Marine Corps wielded supreme authority throughout Haiti, often dispensing medicines and food as mild forms of pacification. Within several years, however, charges of massacres of Haitian peasants were made against the military as Haitians revolted against the road building programs that required forced labor. In one such incident at Fort Reviere, the Marines killed 51 Haitians without sustaining any casualties themselves. Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt awarded Major Smedley D. Butler the Congressional Medal of Honor. That’s not unlike the awarding of Medals of Honor to the “heroes” of the massacre at Wounded Knee, in which hundreds of Sioux Native Americans were slaughtered in 1890.
Reports of U.S. military abuses against the Haitians became so widespread that NAACP official James Weldon Johnson headed a delegation to investigate the charges, which they deemed to be true. While the U.S. occupation was not without some successes – the health care system was improved and the currency was stabilized – it was in other economic spheres where the most damage was done. For the entire 19-year duration of the intervention, maximum attention was given to paying off Haiti’s U.S. creditors, with little to no attention given to developing the economy. In 1922 former Marine Brigade Commander John Russell was named High Commissioner of Haiti, a post he held until the final days of the occupation. Under Russell’s influence, all political dissent was stifled and revenue from the custom houses was turned over, often months ahead of schedule, to Haiti’s U.S. bond creditors, who had assumed loans originally extended to Haiti to pay off the French plantation owners’ reparations! By 1929, however, with the Western world’s economic depression and the lowering of living standards throughout Haiti, serious student strikes and worker revolts, combined with Wall Street’s inability to lure serious business investors there, Washington decided it was time to end the military occupation. When then President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Haiti in 1934 to announce the pullout, he was the first head of a foreign nation in Haiti’s history to extend a visit. Despite the American military pullout, U.S. financial administrators continued to dominate the Haitian economy until the final debt on the earlier loans was retired in 1947. Soon after the U.S. withdrew from Haiti, a Black consciousness movement of sorts took hold that was the precursor of the “negritude” movement popularized by Aimee Cesaire and Leopold Senghor. Francois Duvalier, an early believer in “negritude,” came to power in the late 1950s, popularizing ideas that resonated with a population that had withstood a white foreign occupation for many years.
By the time Duvalier grabbed the presidency of the world’s first Black republic established by formerly enslaved peoples, Haiti had experienced more than 150 years of chronic impoverishment and discriminatory lending policies by the world’s leading financial institutions and powers. The economic forecast for Haiti has not improved, even with the democratic election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, since he has been consistently demonized in the U.S. and world pres
s. --Jean Damu is the former western regional representative for N’COBRA, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, and a former member of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, taught Black Studies at the University of New Mexico, has traveled and written extensively in the Caribbean and Africa and currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Email him at This story first appeared in the San Francisco Bay View in 2003.
Mahdi Ibn-Ziyad, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor Philosophy/Religion & Graduate Liberal StudiesRutgers University, Camden, NJRutgers @ Atlantic Cape Community College, Mays Landing, NJ
ziyad@camden.rutgers.eduHonors History Teacher, Camden High School Social Studies, Dept.Chair, PAC/Fundraisers, Camden Education AssociationCEA Rep. District Curriculum and Professional Development Committeesmibnziyad@camden.k12.nj.usHome address:
Box 1906 Camden, NJ 08101; cell 856.655.9488; Douglass' "Philosophy Born of Struggle", 1857"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of struggle. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one ... but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will".

Monday, March 29, 2010

How 10,000 NGO's Helped Haiti Out - out of everything Haiti had

The following editorial from the Guardian shows who 'helped' Haiti to become the basket case country she has become. With friends like these, who needs enemies? Given the deaths of over 300,000 Haitians in the recent earthquake, and the tens of thousands more who will die because of inadequate shelter and food and other necessities, perhaps an investigation should be undertaken to see which of the 10,000 NGO's could be held culpable in these unnecessary deaths. Certainly Haiti must be considered a crime scene because somebody has committed high crimes for an awful long time. It is time for justice and rebuilding!

Unthinkable? Curb aid in Haiti

long before the earthquake hit, much of Haiti was run not by its government but by NGOs


The role the United States and France played in the impoverishment of Haiti must count among the less glorious achievements of both countries. Successive US presidents, from Ronald Reagan to George Bush, have contributed to the destruction of Haitian agriculture, with the result that Haiti, a natural rice producer, had to import subsidised US rice. This accelerated the flight into the cities, with the cataclysmic consequences witnessed when the earthquake struck. So that when Bill Clinton, now the UN envoy to Haiti, this week questioned whether the aid effort was helping Haiti to become self-sufficient, one had to remind oneself what happened to Haiti under Mr Clinton's presidency. He was, nevertheless, asking the right question. Long before the earthquake hit, much of Haiti was run not by its government but by NGOs. A World Bank study in 2006 counted 10,000 of them alone, the highest per capita concentration in the world. Of those, 800 alone were employed in agriculture, managing $85m of the $91m budgeted for public investment in 2006-07. Disaster relief has merely accelerated this process, and the UN's role has been to co-ordinate 900 NGO groups registered with it. The excuse for circumventing the Haitian government has been either its corruption or its complete absence, but the cure has become worse than the disease. The aid ought to be going to Haitians and their popular movements should decide how to rebuild the country. Foreign agendas for Haiti have not worked.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Haiti Is A Training Ground for US Military

While in Haiti recently, camped out at the UN compound near the airport, I could not help but notice the massive military presence and activity of US forces. They flew planes, helicopters and operated other heavy noisy equipment 24/7. What was strange was the lack of humanitarian effort. I personally did not see US forces engaged in any relief work. They were just on patrol. I saw them protecting banks. They controlled airport traffic and key roads in Haiti. I kept wondering -"What are all these soldiers here for?"

There was no security problem of major proportions - the Haitian people were very well behaved and peaceful. Remarkable under the circumstances.This article based on information found in 'Stars and Stripes' may provide an answer: Haiti is a training ground for Afghanistan!

US Military Uses Haiti As Training Ground for Afghanistan

A recent report in Stars and Stripes reveals the nature of the US military operation in Haiti. Combat units from Iraq and Afghanistan have been deployed in Haiti under the banner of a humanitarian operation. Conversely, Haiti is also being used as a military training ground for forces without in-theater combat experience.

According to the
Stars and Stripes report (March 14, 2010): "Marines deployed to Haiti to render emergency aid following January’s devastating earthquake are already training for the fight in Afghanistan."

Marines from the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit who were dispatched to Haiti in the immediate wake of the earthquake are now being deployed in Afghanistan. In fact, the decision to send them to Afghanistan was taken prior to their deployment in Haiti:

"A small group of Marines stormed several small concrete buildings inside the wire at their seashore camp while their comrades played the roles of Afghan insurgents, shouting “bang” as they engaged their opponents in a mock attack. The day before, when Lt Gen Dennis J. Hejlik, commanding general of the II Marine Expeditionary Force visited the Marines on shore, he praised their good work in Haiti and asked them, “What’s next for you when you get home?”

“Afghanistan,” came the reply.
As Huey helicopters buzzed overhead, Hejlik talked about the recent Marjah offensive, adding that there would be 20,000 Marines in Afghanistan by summer. “You will join them next spring,” he told the Marines at Carrefour. One of them, Sgt. Timothy Kelly, 23, of Johnston City, Ill., said members of his unit learned about the Afghan mission just before they got orders to head for Haiti."

The training in Haiti "is geared towards close-quarters battle tactics":

“Only a couple [of Marines in Kelly’s squad] have experience in Iraq or Afghanistan,” he said. ...

We have a lot of guys that aren’t going to be here for that Afghan deployment. The ones who are, we might as well get them in the mind-set.

Another Marine at Carrefour, Lance Cpl. Keith Cobb, 23, of Soso, Miss., said the Afghan deployment will be his first time in a war zone.
“I want to kill the terrorists and get rid of the bad people, but I would rather be here because I know I’m going home after this,” he said

Close Quarters Battle (CQB) is fighting involving small combat units "which engage the enemy with personal weapons at very short range". The training imparted in Haiti is to be used in both urban warfare and counterinsurgency operations.

On March 25th, the US military reported that some 2,200 Marines, involved in humanitarian relief in Haiti had been withdrawn from the country.

The Role of The Canadian Military

The Canadian military has adopted a similar pattern. Haiti is used as a launchpad for redeploying combat troops to the Middle East war theater.

Canadian troops initially dispatched to Haiti under a humanitarian mandate are being sent to Afghanistan: "Soldiers of the Royal 22nd Regiment will have only two weeks before they have to switch their focus from providing emergency relief in Haiti to intensive combat training for a tour in Afghanistan, the commander of all Canadian troops overseas says." ( National Post, Febraury 23, 2010). The training of Canadian forces in Haiti, however, is to be imparted in Canada, prior to their redeployment.

Global Research Articles by Michel Chossudovsky

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Three Presidents in Haiti (video)

So what are they there to do? Are they the solution or the problem?
What exactly is the Obama plan for the rebuilding of Haiti?
The handshake ?
Maybe it's the Haitian people who should be cleaning off their hands
of the Bush-Clinton slime!
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Monday, March 15, 2010

Clintons Rape Haiti

Remember when we were all perplexed over the appointment of the first black President,Bill Clinton, by the second black President, Barrack Obama, (along with George W Bush), to oversee the Haitian relief effort being mounted by the US government?
Why would Mr Obama do such a thing?
Well, according to a Mr Pumphrey, it's all about the hundreds of millions of Haitian dollars that ends up in the pockets of the Clintons from the privatization of the Haitian phone system.
Did Obama know about that?
What else don't we know about related to the continuing rape of Haiti?
Check out the interview below for the details,
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Clinton Family Pockets Haiti Assets in Telephone Company Privatization, Says Pumphrey
by Glen FordA Black Agenda Radio interview by Glen Ford

Backed by the might of the United States military and their own official positions, the Clinton power couple plus brother-in-law have muscled themselves into the Haitian telephone monopoly. This cozy public-private partnership poses huge conflicts of interest, says Paul Pumphrey, of Brothers and Sisters International – and robs the Haitian people of hundreds of millions in revenues a year. But then, that's what empires are for, isn't it?
Interview, click here:

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Report From Haiti

4 March 2010

Report from Haiti

(excerpts from a letter to the Hon Minister Louis Farrakhan)

What I expected to do was to go to Haiti and be able to come back with some clear ideas about what to do and how to proceed. Actually, going to Haiti and working for 8 days literally blew my mind. I was not prepared for what I saw. The destruction of property in Haiti is nearly total in the Port au Prince area. All but the most modern buildings are destroyed. One third are reduced to rubble heaps, another third are collapsed and another third are still standing but structurally damaged. I believe less than 1/10th of the buildings will be salvageable. There is very little heavy machinery available to remove the debris and people are picking through the rubble with bare hands. They are looking for bodies, and personal belongings that have been lost, including money.

The Haitian people are in shock. They are deeply wounded –physically and in spirit. The whole nation is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, as it is now called. Nobody knows the true death toll. It is probably close to half a million. It will continue to rise with the onset of the rainy season. The worst could be ahead of us. Hundreds of thousands are injured and many are permanently disabled and unable to work to earn a living. Many are now amputees in need of physical therapy and rehabilitation, which is not available. There are hundreds of thousands of orphaned children who have no support, no education, or even a place to live.

I worked at a makeshift orphanage on the last day I was there. There were 83 orphans there who had been orphans before the quake. They had lived in 3 separate orphanages that collapsed in the quake. Out of 300 – 400 orphans only these 83 survived. The make shift orphanage was in a cleared out junkyard, with one large yellow tent and several smaller ones. A ‘kitchen’ of sorts was set up in an old rusted out truck bed. I did medical exams and set up a tetanus clinic to try and prevent tetanus (lock-jaw), which is epidemic in Haiti. The children were running around barefoot on broken glass and metal.

Nearly everybody in Port au Prince is homeless. They live in contrived ‘shelters’ made of pieces of plastic and whatever they can find in so-called ‘tent cities’. Only there are hardly any tents. One of biggest needs as the rainy season begins – there are already heavy downpours and flooding- is for tents and other temporary shelters. At least 200,000 tents are needed right away. The Rotary Club has a campaign to get tents into Haiti – they shipped 2000 that I know of.

Most of the people in Port au Prince need to be relocated. They were tricked into leaving their rural homes in the first place under the Clinton Administration. An ‘interpretation’ was made that they could earn more gold for their labor in sweat shops set up in Port au Prince. My understanding is that Haiti was to be made into the new Taiwan – cheap labor for producing export goods. For the most part that never materialized – just like the promises made to Haiti down through history by other American Presidents have never been kept. From Washington, to Lincoln, to FDR, to Obama, they have all been liars when it came to Haiti.

The most vulnerable Haitians should be evacuated to the United States where they can receive the kind of help they need and deserve. Others need to be relocated to other locations inside Haiti – to higher ground to escape the flooding.

The rainy season presents mortal danger to tens of thousands of highly vulnerable and weakened people living in intensely over-crowded conditions. There is no sewage treatment in Haiti. There is no clean up in the makeshift camps. The floodwaters will carry disease far and wide – malaria, typhus, cholera, dengue fever, etc. Many will die unless they are evacuated as soon as possible. It will take many years to rebuild the city and the homes for the people to live in.

There is much Haitian history to learn. And there are all of the political, economic, and cultural issues that are relevant as well. However, I will leave those issues to the scholars who know about such things. We had plenty of scholars on hand at the workshop at Saviour’s Day. While I enjoyed their presentations and learned a lot, to me, in an ongoing crisis emergency like the one in Haiti, everything done has to have a practical survival value. I don’t think the Haitian people need more rhetoric.

It is crucial to recognize the important things that must be done or lives will be lost needlessly. The fact of it is that the magnitude of the tragedy is not due to the earthquake itself, but to the on-going policies of the United States, France and other nations toward Haiti. Hundreds of thousands are dead due to bad and immoral policy.

It is true that the Haitian government has been dysfunctional in this crisis. But when I saw the utter destruction of the National Palace, the symbol of Haitian independence, and the other government buildings, it is clear why the Haitian government’s response is lacking. The government has been crushed. How many government workers are dead or mortally wounded, homeless? Certainly, their documents, equipment and work places no longer exist. There is no communication infrastructure. The government has to be re-organized if that is possible. How long will that take? The US military – along with the UN- has taken over, and is the de facto government. Entrée into or out of Haiti is controlled by the US military.

What role do I see for the Nation of Islam in Haiti? Frankly, I don’t really know. What is needed physically is beyond the physical resources that we have. Adoption of orphans would help. What is needed is the rebuilding of the country from the ground up. What is needed for Haiti is covered in point No. 4 of What the Muslims Want. Maybe our role is a political one – to get the US government to do by Haiti what is required by all that is moral and decent to rectify past injustices that have now been amplified by the devastation of the earthquake.

The government of the United States should:

    Undertake an immediate evacuation of perhaps as many as 1 million Haitians to safety and security in Haiti and elsewhere

    Undertake the establishment of temporary shelter communities out of the flood plain of Port au Prince

    Undertake the building of basic infrastructure in Haiti: roads, ports, sewage and water treatment, and electricity

    Undertake the reforestation of Haiti and environmental remediation

    Undertake the rebuilding of Port au Prince and other areas, and even the construction of new cities

    Undertake the redevelopment of agriculture and industry to reestablish a viable Haitian economy

    Undertake to support education and training of the Haitian people

    Undertake to immediately dismiss the so-called ‘debt’

    Undertake to immediately investigate the more than 10,000 NGO’s - some of which are corrupt and have exploited Haiti’s poverty to their own advantage

    Undertake an investigation into the literal enslavement of children and others in Haiti

    Undertake to work through the thousands of Haitian-American organizations in the diaspora on behalf of Haiti as a whole

    And finally,

    To disavow any US interest or intention to expropriate Haiti oil, gold, uranium and other natural and human resources and to investigate the possibility that the US military triggered the earthquake from the HAARP facility in Alaska

The recent discovery of vast oil reserves under the Port au Prince harbor, if developed for the benefit of Haiti, is more than sufficient to elevate Haiti’s economic status and pay for the rebuilding efforts. But the thieves must be held at bay.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

True Haiti Death Toll Unknown

The following article makes ridicule of the Haitian government's attempts at estimating the number of its citizens who perished in the recent 7.0 earthquake. The numbers go up, the numbers go down. No one knows for sure, and perhaps we never will. But we do know those who are living today as survivors and that if strong efforts are not mounted now many of the would-be survivors will be counted among the dead. With the onset of the rainy season in Haiti, shelter from the elements and basic sanitation are essential to prevent the further break out of epidemic diseases. We don't want to be in a position of counting any unnecessary deaths due to inaction.
Will We Ever Know the Haitian Death Toll?
Wednesday 03 March 2010
by: Alfonso Chardy and Jacqueline Charles The Miami Herald
The view from the busy two-lane road is spectacular: tall limestone mountains rising to the east and the turquoise Caribbean shimmering to the west.
But this is no tourist resort. It's the site of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of mass graves where government crews buried tens of thousands of people killed by January's 7.0-magnitude earthquake.
While many of the mass graves are clearly marked with white wooden crosses atop mounds of dirt, the precise number of people buried beneath them may never be known. That's because since the earthquake, the Haitian government has not provided a precise accounting of the number of victims.
The disparate figures that government officials have provided over time cannot be verified. However, accounts by truck drivers who transported many of the bodies and workers who helped bury the victims suggest that official figures may not be incorrect.
Establishing a more precise death count is important for several reasons. It would help quantify the human loss, add historic context to one of the Western Hemisphere's worst disasters and help clarify initial confusion over varying death figures.
Haitian government estimates ranged from 100,000 to 270,000 in the days following the earthquake that crumbled thousands of buildings, including the presidential palace, government ministries, schools, churches, businesses and homes.
A government spokesman told The Miami Herald that more than 200,000 people have already been laid to rest in common graves, but that that figure does not include victims still under the rubble and victims buried privately by families or friends.
At the same time, workers at the Port-au-Prince main cemetery said that dozens of private crypts were reopened for earthquake dead.
Keeping Log
Though some Haitian officials have talked of logbooks listing victims, two government drivers who carried bodies to mass graves in their dump trucks and one worker who helped bury them in Titanyen said they did not see anyone keeping tabs.
The drivers and the worker said the main mass graves were in the Titanyen area, about 50 miles north of Port-au-Prince.
Assad Volcy, a spokesman for the National Palace, said more than 200,000 Haitians have been buried in common graves. He explained that government experts devised a formula to estimate how many quake victims have been buried.
But Volcy said he did not know what the formula was. He promised to obtain an explanation of the formula but he has not.
Asked about multiple conflicting figures cited by the Haitian government in the days and weeks after the earthquake, including one as high as 270,000, Volcy said the figures reflected estimates that rose as officials continued to "count" victims.
Official Numbers
The figure of 270,000, according to the Haitian government, was cited by President René Préval during a meeting in Ecuador in mid-February with South American leaders.
The number was much higher than the first specific death toll of 111,481 issued on Jan. 23.
The next official figure, issued Jan. 24, put the death toll at 150,000. On Feb. 6, the government raised the figure to 212,000. On Feb. 9, the official figure jumped to 230,000.
The next day Préval was quoted as saying 270,000 dead in a communiqué issued in Port-au-Prince, which his government withdrew a few hours later, citing a typo. A short time later, also on Feb.10, a second communiqué was issued changing the figure to 170,000.
In an interview, Volcy said that the varying death tolls reflected rising estimates as officials "counted" more and more dead. But Volcy also could not account for the 60,000-body discrepancy between the Feb. 9 and Feb.10 estimates.
Asked if Haitian officials were confused, Volcy said no.
"There has been no confusion," he said. "Perhaps there was an error, but our estimates have been based on a formula to estimate numbers."
Volcy said that according to the formula, which he could not explain, the number of bodies buried in common graves was more than 200,000. The figure excludes bodies still under the rubble or buried in private funerals, he added.
In an interview, a senior Haitian transportation official said his agency transported at least 170,000 bodies to mass graves in the Titanyen area in the first three weeks after the earthquake.
Jean Gardy Ligonde, technical director of the government-run transportation and construction agency known as Centre National des Equipment or CNE, said that between 80 and 100 dump trucks carried the bodies, with each truck making several trips a day.
"Some trucks carried as few as five bodies, others as many as 20 or 50 or 130," Ligonde said.
Asked if CNE kept precise logbooks listing each body picked up on the street, Ligonde said the agency did not. His statement contradicts that of his boss, Jude Celestin who told The Miami Herald in the days following the quake that CNE workers carried a log with them to keep track of the bodies as they were being loaded into dump trucks.
After the interview, Ligonde called The Miami Herald and said he had been mistaken and that indeed logbooks were kept, but CNE officials said they didn't have them.
Ligonde said he believes the number of dead is higher than the 170,000 CNE trucks carried to the Titanyen area because bodies also were picked up by private dump trucks and dump trucks belonging to Haiti's sanitation department, Service Metropolitain de Collecte de Residus Solides or SMCRS.
Harry Toussaint, the SMCRS coordinator, said in an interview that his agency used 10 of its 14 dump trucks to pick up bodies. He said his trucks also carried the bodies to the Titanyen area.
Toussaint said his trucks made between two and four trips a day carrying at most 50 bodies per truck. Toussaint said SMCRS' involvement in the collection and transportation of bodies lasted only a few days, from about Jan. 14 to about Jan. 19, but added that SMCRS did not keep a precise count of bodies it transported.
Nelis St. Ange, for example, said that in the first two or three weeks after the earthquake, he transported between 100 and 150 bodies on each of the five to six trips he made every day between Port-au-Prince and the mass grave area in Titanyen.
A second driver, Mario Yancy, relayed a similar account.
Yancy and St. Ange said they drove the bodies to open graves dug by other workers in Titanyen, an area of limestone mountains, farms and small seaside motels and bars along the two-lane National Route One from Port-au-Prince to Cap Haïtien in the north.
Maxis Maxime, a farmer in the area who says he helped bury victims, said trucks ferrying bodies came to the open mass graves and dumped bodies in them for about two to three weeks after the earthquake.
"They came in the morning, in the afternoon and in the early evening, day after day, bringing many, many victims," Maxime recalled. "They stopped coming after the third week."
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Floods Hit Haiti

Haiti is now at the beginning of the rainy season when torrential rains produce yearly floods and mud-slides. This year as a result of the 7.0 magnitude quake that struck January 12, the risk of death during this rainy season has risen to incalculable levels. With at least 1.5 million homeless there is no doubt that unless large scale evacuations are mounted right now, the death toll in Haiti will rise dramatically. Already 13 have died since the rains have begun. Without proper sewage treatment and drainage epidemic disease will soon be raging through the refugee shelter camps that are housing the homeless in less than sanitary and healthy conditions.
Haiti needs at least 200,000 tents and a massive evacuations of the most vulnerable immediately.

Quake-torn Haiti hit by floods
Heavy rain has caused flooding in Haiti, killing at least 13 and trapping people in their homes and cars
Heavy rain has caused flooding in
Haiti, killing at least 13 people as swollen rivers forced people on to roofs and trapped people in cars and homes.
With 1.3 million homeless and many living in makeshift camps with little or no sanitation as a result of
January's earthquake, aid agencies have warned of another humanitarian disaster as the rainy season looms.
Several towns and villages in southern Haiti have been flooded since Saturday, a spokesman for the civil emergency unit said. UN troops and Haitian police moved 500 prisoners from a jail in Les Cayes as 1.5 metres of water swamped the coastal city. Witnesses said houses collapsed and people fled for high ground.
"At one point, people had to climb on the roofs of their homes," Joseph Yves-Marie Aubourg, the government's representative in the region, told Reuters. Five people died when their car was carried away, and others on foot were swept away in the torrent.
Les Cayes largely escaped the 12 January quake which devastated Port-au-Prince and killed more than 220,000, according to government figures. Its population was swollen by families fleeing the capital.
The government, the UN, and aid agencies have all raised the alarm about the rainy season, which starts in March or April and continues until autumn.
The scale of Haiti's catastrophe means that even a huge relief effort has not provided adequate shelter to hundreds of thousands of people. There are 415 temporary settlements housing roughly 550,000 quake survivors, according to the Organisation of International Migration. Others are living in rubble or with relatives.
The UN aims to provide every family with two plastic tarpaulins by 1 May. So far about 40% of the 1.3 million in need have received tents, tarpaulins or shelter toolkits, according to the Red Cross. Even if the UN reaches its target, rains could turn camps into disease-ridden swamps.
Already the stench of human waste is overpowering at settlements like Saint-Louis de Gonzague, which has one portable toilet for 10,000 people. Doctors have reported widespread cases of diarrhoea, abdominal pain, fever and infections. The big fears are cholera and typhoid.
It took just a few hours of rain one night last month to turn some Port-au-Prince camps into muddy quagmires. The rainy season brings tropical torrents and, from summer, hurricanes.
Nature's deadline has prompted the authorities to try to thin the makeshift camps by registering families whose homes can be swiftly repaired and rebuilt. Others will be encouraged to move in with relatives or friends.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Has the US Military Occupied Haiti?

The following video details exactly what I saw with my own eyes while on the ground in Haiti. US and UN troops in control of the airports and the streets of Haiti, while ignoring the plight of the Haitian people. They are acting like an occupying force that has taken over the government of Haiti without declaring that to be so. They are turning away aid trying to enter the country. I saw them guarding banks - not delivering food or other aid. The aid is piling up at the airport surrounded by military and razor wire. What's going on? We deserve answers and the Haitian people deserve help.