December 5th, 2022 Global issues,Haiti,January 2010
Suspicious and vulture business in Haiti is on the rise after the earthquake last week. For the people of this country it is very hard to get food and water, but there are people using that opportunity to their advantage and are earning money through scamming and ridiculously high prices.
Bed in a regular hotel costs $200 (before the earthquake it was $70), and you can get a breakfast consisting of 2 scrambled eggs for $13. Fraudsters are selling a bottle of water at double the regular price, gasoline is also 2 times more expensive than before the disaster.
Looted goods from destroyed supermarkets are being sold on the streets of Port-au-Prince. More than 90 percent of restaurants and shops in the city are razed to the ground. According to journalists who arrived from all over the world, its very hard to get a descent meal.
– The meal is luxury – they said.
Unfortunately, the earthquake in Haiti is also used as a bait for potential Internet frauds. A Danish company that deals with Internet security, revealed more than 250 sites that are falsely representing as charity organizations and are collecting money to help the population of Haiti. But in fact, they are stealing the money of donors.
The most common form of fraud is sending the spam emails with an invitation to make a donation.
Similar scams have occurred after the tsunami in 2004 and after Katrina hurricane in New Orleans in 2005.
Theses websites serve only one purpose. When you scroll the text in an attempt to read how to make a donation, you can notice that the rest of the site is dysfunctional.
According to the latest data, the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th. killed at least 75.000 people, 250.000 were injured and around 1 million people are homeless.Haitian civil protection is estimated that the earthquake destroyed half the buildings in the capital of the country – one of the poorest in both American continents
December 5th, 2022 Global issues,Haiti,January 2010,News
Non-governmental organizations have opposed the adoption of children from Haiti, the mania that caught the world. More British NGO’s said that adopting Haitian children, that left without parents, immediately need to be suspended.
Organizations like Save the Children, and Red Cross have sought an urgent moratorium on new procedures for children adoption. The main reason for this is in belief that some parents are still alive under rubbles of Port-au-Prince. A few days ago the rescuers pulled out several people from the ruins. Because of that, if approved procedures are not suspended, some families might be broken forever.
According to some estimates the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12th, probably killed between 100.000 and 200.000 people.
– Adopting children outside Haiti would mean a permanent separation of thousands children from their families – said Jasmine Whitbread, director of Save the Children.
She and her colleagues believe that “children at this time should not leave Haiti, unless they go with members of their families or if the initiated procedures previously collected all the necessary documents”.
According to estimates by international humanitarian organizations, tens of thousands of children were left orphans after the devastating earthquake. It is assumed that many children are left alone among the destroyed buildings and the streets of Port-au Prince. Nevertheless, more countries announced that they will accelerate the adoption Haitian children.
Before the earthquake in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, was 380.000 orphanages or fosters.
But the European Commission called EU countries to be cautious during adoption procedures.
– Some EU countries, including Italy and Netherlands, have already announced that they will speed up the procedure for the arrival of children and their adopting – said a press spokesman of the European Commission.
He added that the countries face a very difficult situation, but caution is needed in terms of accelerating the adoption procedures.
– It is very difficult to understand when it is indeed to adopt children, even those who have lost their parents. Maybe adopting is not very best idea – added the spokesman.
December 5th, 2022 February 2010,Global issues,Haiti
Although aid still arrives in Haiti, the money starts to influence the pace of rescue of the people under the rubbles.
In addition to this claim goes that the United States has suspended its medical evacuations of critically injured Haitian earthquake victims until a dispute over who will pay for their care is settled, military officials said.
-The military flights, usually C-130s, carrying Haitians with spinal cord injuries, burns and other serious wounds, ended after Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida formally asked the federal government to shoulder some of the costs of the care. Other states have taken patients, too, and those flights have been suspended as well – the officials said.
But dispute over who will pay, and suspension, could be catastrophic for the patients.
– People are dying in Haiti because they cant get out – said Dr Barth A. Green, the co-founder of Project Medishare for Haiti.
As people are dying, officials argue who is to blame for the flights suspension.
Governor’s spokesman Sterling Ivey said that Florida stands ready to assist Haitians.
– But we need a plan of action for the care we are providing – said Ivey.
The Department of Health and human Services accused military for suspending flights.
A spokeswoman for the Department said the decision to suspend flights was made by the military, not the federal health department. But military spokesman said that the military had ended the flights because hospitals were becoming unwilling to take patients.
– The places they were being taken, without being specific, were not willing to continue to receive those patients without a different arrangement being worked out by the government to pay for the care – said Maj. James Lowe, the deputy chief of public affairs for the United States Transportation Command.
Meanwhile, Florida officials said the state hospitals had not refused to take more patients. Jeanne Eckes-Roper, the health and medical chairwoman of the domestic security task force for the South Florida region, said she had requested only that new patients be taken to other areas of the state, like Tampa.
Anyways, people are dying under the rubbles while officials blame each other for suspending flights that can save somebody’s life.
December 5th, 2022 February 2010,Global issues,Haiti
It happened, and the worst doubts have come to pass. The smugglers take the opportunity to earn money by smuggling children from Haiti.
On January 27th we posted the article entitled “Adopting Haitian children – does it help?”, explaining why the adoption of orphans may not be such a good idea.
The failed attempt by the New Life Children Refuge to take 33 Haitian children into the Dominican Republic has shed the light on the activities of groups that disregard the rules of international adoption. Haitian authorities are justifiably feared that chaos emerged due to the devastating earthquake on January 12th, which killed about 200.000 people, could provide an opportunity for traffickers to reach children.
The authorities in Haiti have investigated 10 American missionaries accused of illegally trying to bring children from the Caribbean country.
– We have information that some people are trying to steal children – said Minister of Communications, Marie-Laurence Laseg.
But baptist missionaries deny these accusations and claim that they have tried to help orphans and transfer them to an orphanage which was founded in the Dominican Republic. Even before the earthquake, Haiti was known as a nation of orphans, and now there are countless more children without parents.
In the past few weeks, children welfare organizations have been flooded with offers from families in the US and elsewhere willing to adopt children. Richard Danziger, head of counter trafficking at the International Office of Migration, says that in Haiti rules “cowboy adoption”.
– In these kinds of situations, there are all types of charities and church groups with, to be fair, good intentions. But that’s not the way to go about it – it doesn’t help an already messy situation. Children with no documentation get whisked away, and their families don’t know what has happened to them -said Mr. Danziger.
He added that this is not only against the law, but also taking advantage of people in a lousy situation.
Haitian Social Affairs Minister said: “This is abduction, not adoption.”
Roshan Khadivi from Unicef said that ” before the earthquake, the Haitian government estimated that is about 2.000 children a year were being trafficked out of Haiti”.
– These children generally find themselves in situations of domestic labour, sexual abuse or illegal adoption – said she.
In some cases, parents believe they are sending their children to legitimate orphanages, though the reality is that they are often put to work, living as slaves. Occasionally children are sold for money.
December 5th, 2022 Haiti,January 2011
A look back of the state of affairs in Haiti from the first black republic to today. Collection of video explaining the current state of affairs in Haiti. Haiti is currently suffering from with rampant cholera and over 800,000 Haitian living in tent cities as result of devastating earthquake.
December 5th, 2022 Haiti,January 2011,USA
One year after an earthquake devastated Haiti, much of the promised relief and reconstruction aid has not reached those most in need. In fact, the nation’s tragedy has served as an opportunity to further enrich corporate interests.The details of a recent lawsuit, as reported by Business Week, highlights the ways in which contractors – including some of the same players who profited from Hurricane Katrina-related reconstruction – have continued to use their political connections to gain profits from others’ suffering, receiving contacts worth tens of millions of dollars while the Haitian people receive pennies, at best. It also demonstrates ways in which charity and development efforts have mirrored and contributed to corporate abuses.Lewis Lucke, a 27-year veteran of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was named US special coordinator for relief and reconstruction after the earthquake. He worked this job for a few months, then immediately moved to the private sector, where he could sell his contacts and connections to the highest bidder. He quickly got a $30,000-a-month (plus bonuses) contract with the Haiti Recovery Group (HRG).
HRG was founded by Ashbritt, Inc., a Florida-based contractor who had received acres of bad press for their post-Katrina contracting. Ashbritt’s partner in HRG is Gilbert Bigio, a wealthy Haitian businessman with close ties to the Israeli military. Bigio made a fortune during the corrupt Duvalier regime and was a supporter of the right-wing coup against Haitian President Aristide.
Although Lucke received $60,000 for two months work, he is suing because he says he is owed an additional $500,000 for the more than 20 million dollars in contracts he helped HRG obtain during that time.
As Corpwatch has reported, Ashbritt “has enjoyed meteoric growth since it won its first big debris removal subcontract from none other than Halliburton, to help clean up after Hurricane Andrew in 1992.” In 1999, the company also faced allegations of double billing for $765,000 from the Broward County, Florida, school board for cleanup done in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma.
Ashbritt CEO Randal Perkins is a major donor to Republican causes and hired Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s firm, as well as former US Army Corp of Engineers official Mike Parker, as lobbyists. As a reward for his political connections, Ashbritt won 900 million dollars in Post-Katrina contracts, helping them to become the poster child for political corruption in the world of disaster profiteering, even triggering a Congressional investigation focusing on their buying of influence. MSNBC reported in early 2006 that criticism of Ashbritt “can be heard in virtually every coastal community between Alabama and Texas.”
The contracts given to Bush cronies like Ashbritt resulted in local and minority-owned companies losing out on reconstruction work. As Multinational Monitor noted shortly after Katrina, “by turning the contracting process over to prime contractors like Ashbritt, the Corps and FEMA have effectively privatized the enforcement of Federal Acquisition Regulations and disaster relief laws such as the Stafford Act, which require contracting officials to prioritize local businesses and give 5 percent of contracts to minority-owned businesses. As a result … early reports suggest that over 90 percent of the $2 billion in initial contracts was awarded to companies based outside of the three primary affected states and that minority businesses received just 1.5 percent of the first $1.6 billion.”
Alex Dupuy, writing in The Washington Post, reported a similar pattern in Haiti, noting, “of the more than 1,500 US contracts doled out worth $267 million, only 20, worth $4.3 million, have gone to Haitian firms. The rest have gone to US firms, which almost exclusively use US suppliers. Although these foreign contractors employ Haitians, mostly on a cash-for-work basis, the bulk of the money and profits are reinvested in the United States.” The same article notes, “less than 10 percent of the $9 billion pledged by foreign donors has been delivered and not all of that money has been spent. Other than rebuilding the international airport and clearing the principal urban arteries of rubble, no major infrastructure rebuilding – roads, ports, housing, communications – has begun.”
The disaster profiteering exemplified by Ashbritt is not just the result of quick decision making in the midst of a crisis. These contracts are awarded as part of a corporate agenda that sees disaster as an opportunity and as a tool for furthering policies that would not be possible in other times. Naomi Klein exposed evidence that, within 24 hours of the earthquake, the influential, right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation was already laying plans to use the disaster as an attempt at further privatization of the country’s economy.
Relief and recovery efforts, led by the US military, have also brought a further militarization of relief and criminalization of survivors. Haiti and Katrina also served as staging grounds for increased involvement of mercenaries in reconstruction efforts. As one Blackwater mercenary told Scahill when he visited New Orleans in the days after Katrina, “This is a trend. You’re going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations.”
And it’s not just corporations who have been guilty of profiting from Haitian suffering. A recent report from the Disaster Accountability Project (DAP) describes a “significant lack of transparency in the disaster-relief/aid community,” and finds that many relief organizations have left donations for Haiti in their bank accounts, earning interest rather than helping the people of Haiti. DAP Director Ben Smilowitz notes, “the fact that nearly half of the donated dollars still sit in the bank accounts of relief and aid groups does not match the urgency of their own fundraising and marketing efforts and donors’ intentions, nor does it covey the urgency of the situation on the ground.”
Haitian poet and human rights lawyer Ezili Dantò has written, “Haiti’s poverty began with a US/Euro trade embargo after its independence, continued with the Independence Debt to France and ecclesiastical and financial colonialism. Moreover, in more recent times, the uses of US foreign aid, as administered through USAID in Haiti, basically serves to fuel conflicts and covertly promote US corporate interests to the detriment of democracy and Haitian health, liberty, sovereignty, social justice and political freedoms. USAID projects have been at the frontlines of orchestrating undemocratic behavior, bringing underdevelopment, coup d’etat, impunity of the Haitian Oligarchy, indefinite incarceration of dissenters and destroying Haiti’s food sovereignty essentially promoting famine.”
Since before the earthquake, Haiti has been a victim of many of those who have claimed they are there to help. Until we address this fundamental issue of corporate profiteering masquerading as aid and development, the nation will remain mired in poverty. And future disasters, wherever they occur, will lead to similar injustices.
Resources Mentioned in Article:
Business Week: “Ex-US official sues contractor in Haiti for fees”
CorpWatch report on Debris Removal
MSNBC report on Ashbritt
Multinational Monitor report on Crony Contracting
The Washington Post: “One year after the earthquake, foreign help is actually hurting Haiti”
Report from Disaster Accountability Project
December 5th, 2022 Central America,Global issues,Haiti,Iran,Israel,January 2010,Palestine,Racism,refugee,Religion,USA,World
It is unbearable to watch, let alone experience, the latest tragedy that has struck Haiti. The religious evangelist and the host of The 700 Club Pat Robertson describes how these poor Haitians have made a pack with the devil for wanting independence from the French therefore god has now struck them with this tragedy. I adhere to a different view. That is I believe the devil has designated Pat Robertson as its spokesman.
It is heartwrenching to see the tragedy that has unfolded in this Caribbean country for the past several hundred years. Under the French Colonial rule, Haiti was subjected to the worst form of human exploitation possible. The same kind that the religious leaders practiced in the Untied States at the time. With the blessing of the Christian church leaders, a system of eradication, subjugation, slavery and exploitation of natives and Africans took place. The Haiti of today is the product of the religious establishments of the west that Pat Robertson and others adhere to.
The ideology of racism, intolerance, and lack of respect for all human life by the imperialists has created a country in despair-a country that does not have a single roof over its people and can not provide shelter, food, and safety for its citizens. Shame on the west and civilized world for letting a place like Haiti exist while spending trillions on unjust wars and corrupt financial institutions.
It is in places like Haiti that corruption, extremism and violence can breed. In another corner of the world you can see the impact of another religious extremism. Look at Afghanistan as an example. War and poverty in the past 50 years has produced a land where parents have no choice but to send children to ideological Islamic fundamentalism boarding schools for a loaf of bread. You can never fight the brainwashing when its done by the person that feeds you through a barrel of a gun. Or how Yemen, a country with over 50% of the population living in poverty, is the new breeding ground of terrorists and hate. Look at the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank. 60 years of occupation has produced economic despair and created the largest open-air prison in the world in the hand of Zionist extremists and Pat Robertsons. The tragedy that is taking place for half of the world’s population living on less then 2 dollars a day can not be resolved through military industrial complex, but through creation of sustainable nations with viable economies and governments.
No country or people can exist in a state of hopelessness and despair for long. If dictators can not be overthrown through nationalistic democratic movements then the population gravitates towards the next outlet, in most cases the religious institutions. Religious governments and institutions are more oppressive compared to the dictators that they replace. Look at the current religious government of Iran. Unfortunately, as we see in countries all across the globe, the price of installing friendly dictators may cost the West its national security, or at least its wealth through unjust wars.
It would be much more beneficial if our politicians and religious leaders conducted business through diplomacy and nation building rather than through war, conflict, and exploitation by religious institutions or the military industrial complex.