Haiti one year on – hungry masses live in tents, under threat from cholera while women face rape


ALMOST one year after the Haitian earthquake that made millions homeless, the working class and the poor of Haiti are still suffering.

They are still homeless and still hungry, and are now menaced by a cholera epidemic, after no emergency action has been taken to rebuild their homes and their communities, despite the $11bn of aid.

The UN security council was much more devoted to the task of establishing a garrison on the island to prevent any revolutionary developments, and decided that this was the number one task of the intervention, and not reconstruction of the ruined housing and infrastructure.

The price being paid for this approach is over one million in tents, cholera sweeping the country, and women and children under daily threat.

The masses are demanding to know where has the $11bn gone, it certainly has not been used to re-establish them in their homes.

There is no doubt that the situation in the island does call for revolution, and for the expulsion of all of the agents and agencies of imperialism that are now infesting Haiti.

Men, women and children sleep on the streets, or are in chaotic camps without light, heat or any proper sanitation, and without any protection or any hope for the future.

The original desperate situation caused by the earthquake has now been worsened by hunger, cholera and rape.

Amnesty International has just published a report that shows that almost one year after the earthquake and the UN intervention: ‘Women and girls living in Haiti’s makeshift camps face an increasing risk of rape and sexual violence.’

Its statement says: ‘One year after the earthquake which killed 230,000 people and injured 300,000 on 11 January 2010, more than one million people still live in appalling conditions in tent cities in the capital Port-au-Prince and in the south of Haiti, where women are at serious risk of sexual attacks.

‘Those responsible are predominately armed men who roam the camps after dark.

‘More than 250 cases of rape in several camps were reported in the first 150 days after January’s earthquake.’ This is according to Amnesty International’s 39-page report, ‘Aftershocks: Women speak out against sexual violence in Haiti’s camps’.

Gerardo Ducos, Amnesty International Haiti researcher, said: ‘Women already struggling to come to terms with losing their loved ones, homes and livelihoods in the earthquake, now face the additional trauma of living under the constant threat of sexual attack.

‘For the prevalence of sexual violence to end, the incoming government must ensure that the protection of women and girls in the camps is a priority. This has so far been largely ignored in the response to the wider humanitarian crisis.

‘One woman, Suzie, recounted how she was living in a makeshift shelter with her two sons and a friend when they were attacked around 1.00am on May 8th. Suzie and her friend were both blindfolded and raped in front of their children by a gang of men who forced their way into their shelter.’

All this is happening under the guns of the UN garrison.

Gerardo Ducos added: ‘Amnesty is calling for the new Haitian government to urgently take steps to end violence against women as part of a wider plan to address the humanitarian effort. Amnesty’s report insists that women in the camps must be fully involved in developing any such plan.

‘Immediate steps should include improving security in the camps and ensuring that police are able to respond effectively and that those responsible are prosecuted.’

Haitian governments have always been dominated by the desire to ‘help themselves’ and have never helped the people. This new regime will be no different.

The Haitian crisis does call for a socialist revolution to evict the Haitian ruling class who are enjoying the bulk of the UN aid while the masses go hungry and face terror.

Such a revolutionary uprising is surely not far away!