Sunday, January 31, 2010

Constructive aid, not militarization wanted in Haiti

Thanks to David Morris for sending his translation of the following news article from TeleSUR in Haiti:

Haitian NGOs criticize militarization of Haiti and ask for more constructive humanitarian aid
TeleSUR 01/30/10

Several Haitian organizations are seeking the formation of new international solidarity brigades to help in the struggle for literacy and repopulation, among other needs.
A group of around 18 Haitian non-governmental organizations and social groups on Saturday criticized the United States government for sending military troops to the Caribbean nation and argued for constructive humanitarian aid after the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and other parts of the country.
"Humanitarian aid is now indispensable because of the magnitude of the catastrophe, but it needs to be constructive, undertaken with a diferent vision of the process of reconstruction," the groups write in an open letter directed to their counterparts elsewhere.
Several NGOs in Haiti that work to support rural and urban areas, campesino associations and feminists, expressed their desire to "see the birth of international solidarity brigades" involved in supporting causes like "the struggle for agrarian reform and integrated ownership of urban property."
These brigades could help in "the struggle against illiteracy and for repopulation, the building of new universal, decentralized and modern systems of education and pulic health," the organizations declared.
Among the NGOs and organizations are the Haitian Platform for Alternative Development and the Alternative Justice Program, which expressed their displeasure and indignation over a new invasion by 20,000 American marines and claimed that the Haitian crisis has been used as a pretext to justify an operation "that runs the risk of turning into a new military occupation," like the US interventions of 1915 and 1994.
They denounced a "strategy of remilitarization of the Caribbean basin as American imperialism’s response to the growing rebellion by the people of the continent against neoliberalism."
Haitian President René Préval has on several occasions rejected the notion that Haiti is under the guardianship of the United States, which was invited only to see to the security of the airport and the port, which were damaged by the earthquake.
United States ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten delcared to the local press that there are only 5,000 soldiers deployed in the country to aid in the distribution of humanitarian aid, while another US military contingent remains at sea in the Caribbean nation’s waters.
The NGOs and associations regretted the enormous material and human losses and the loss of "30 years of collective experiences"; nevertheless, at the same time, they offered congratulations for "the extraordinary impulses of solidarity shown by the population of the metropolitan area," which, they said, constructed 450 refugee camps "which contributed to saving thousands of persons imprisoned in the ruins."
The open letter was signed by the Karl Leveque Cultural Institute, the Haitian Conference of the Religious, Haitian Women’s Solidarity and the Small Campesinos of the Artibonite Movement.

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