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Haiti, four years after the earthquake: the mirage of reconstruction

Published in Spanish at Eldiario.es, 11 January 2014. Translated by Yolanda Segalés / Traduit per Yolanda Segalés

Whilst more than 170.000 people continue to live under canopies, reconstruction hub of activity focuses on luxury tourism, mining and on creating industrial areas.

76% of UE granted contracts for Haiti’s reconstruction in 2010 and 2011 were given out to European companies.

Criticism on Haiti’s government and civil society priorities being ignored arises when you ask in Haiti about International Cooperation.

Four years ago earth shook for 35 seconds in Haiti. Its epicenter at 25 km from Port-Au-Prince, the 7,3 earthquake on Richter scale took 220.000 lives. World was in commotion. After some time, whilst 80% of its population still live below poverty line and more than 170.000 people continue to sleep under canopies, reconstruction hub of activity focuses on luxury tourism, mining and on creating industrial areas. Read More…

Human Rights in Haiti (1) MINUSTAH: when occupation is a violation of human rights

One wonders where to start, given that the violation of human rights in a country like Haiti is constant and almost always goes unpunished.

Antonal Mortime, executive secretary of the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHD) is clear: “the presence of MINUSTAH is one of the major human rights violations in our country. It violates Article I of the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, since it is an attack on national sovereignty and a violation of the Haitian people’s right to self-determination.” This was also stated in the report that POHDH submitted to Gustavo Gallon, UN Independent Expert on the situation of Human Rights in Haiti, upon his taking office in late September 2013. Read More…

The bad reputation of international cooperation

Catalunya Zero Solidaritat? Zero Pau? Zero Drets Humans?

Catalunya Zero Solidarité? Zero Paix? Zero Droits Humaines? (Foto @frmat)

I am thousands of kilometers away from home, yet the echoes of protests such as  #PressupostosAntisocials #ZeroaONG still sound in my ears.

The recent cuts to the budgets of cooperation, peace, and human rights by the Catalonian government was a predictable blow. A government which does not believe the politics of cooperation to be other than a tool to promote the Catalonian corporation abroad.  A government which effectively never has pursued politics of cooperation. A government of and for the country’s middle class. A government which wants Catalonia to be open to international business but neglects solidarity efforts.

Being familiar with the work done by some of the NGOs in our country, the cut-backs in the sector can be read as wounding blow to the willingness for social and economic transformation on a global level.  Albeit the need for self-criticism, I can only defend the work of entities, which strive for this transformation and thus defend the need for public politics, which support these entities.

And then my thoughts return to #Haiti. I still have a good part of the road ahead of me, but it has already become complicated to defend the role of international cooperation here. And “the international cooperation” (in general terms) has won itself a bad reputation among the country’s social classes and popular movements.  Read More…

Haiti, the other earthquakes

A project on the other earthquakes that keep impoverishing Haiti. Since independence, 210 years ago, Haiti has been the object of continuous plundering, occupation and exploitation. This process has continued after the 2010 earthquake.

January 12, 2010, Haiti suffered an earthquake that left about 300,000 dead (between 200,000 and 316,000 according to various estimates) and 1.3 million homeless. Media around the world mobilised to cover “the tragedy of Haiti” during the days after the earthquake. Millions of euros were raised by NGOs around the world joining the governments and aid agencies promises. Emergency aid protocols and strategies were deployed around Haiti and hundreds of emergency projects first, and reconstruction projects later, were launched. Some say that more than 10.000 NGOs were working in Haiti, along with aid agencies and humanitarian aid teams (including army) from many countries and international organizations, from the United Nations to the World Bank. Read More…