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by Patrick Le Hyaric

Solidarity with Haiti

Translated Sunday 17 January 2010, by Isabelle Métral and reviewed by Derek Hanson

Like everyone else we are filled with horror and pain at the terrible catastrophe that has once more struck the people of Haiti. This people is close to us because we have owed it a debt ever since Richelieu organized the domination of the island by France to plunder its natural resources and set up slavery.

Every minute counts for thousands and thousands of Haitians, children, women, and men that still lie under the rubble. Every instant is precious to relieve the pain of families deep in mourning and grief after losing a dear one or losing all their possessions. In this distressing race against the clock to save as many lives as possible, it is a good thing that States and the UN are making strenuous efforts.

Their assistance is amply justified by the fact that the tragedy was considerably aggravated by the terribly frail and dilapidated state of Haitian infrastructures. It baffles the imagination simply to conceive how the capital, Port-au-Prince, could be plunged so quickly into this destructive spiral of horror and desolation. If the toll becomes so tragic, the reason is also because this country has remained dominated and plundered, as a result of the austerity plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund, when the country had already suffered the violent dictatorship of the Duvalier family and their “tontons macoutes” [1] and also the damaging effects of corrupt government. Thousands of deaths and casualties might have been avoided if the population had had immediate medical assistance and if their houses had been stronger.

How will the powers that be justify in the future the daily dilapidation of colossal sums sunk in over-armament and wars or the rescue of banks, when they allow destitute peoples like the people of Haiti to live in the utmost poverty? To this terrifying tragedy must be added the daily distress of its twelve million inhabitants, nearly four fifths of whom survive on less than two dollars a day. Our Haitian brothers made themselves heard in 2007 through their hunger riots: already, they alerted us to the basic selfishness of a world order that has been strangling them for two centuries. The rulers of the planet, it seems, still have not forgiven them for winning their dignity in 1804, when the island became independent. From the very beginning, the rulers and imperialists punished this people by organising a commercial blockade against it, and setting up puppet governments until the IMF put Haiti under supervision. As a result of which the country was never allowed to enjoy complete freedom, or build its own development, or have supreme control over its destiny. So much so that the country has been bled white.

Our Haitian friends have had more than their share of bloodshed, war and destitution. This makes international mobilization all the more important and vital. This is especially true of France, as France is bound to feel particularly accountable to the people of Haiti. The most active, and the widest solidarity is now urgently required. Thousands and thousands of people will need our help, lacking everything: drugs, basic equipment, foods, funds etc. to re-build their country.

Let us not waste a single minute! Our paper L’Humanité once more volunteers to support the efforts of Secours Populaire Français to organize our people’s solidarity. Haiti needs our solidarity!

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