Conversations with the Living: The Haitian AIDS Crisis

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Archive for the ‘International Haiti Earthquake Relief’ Category

January 12th – 1 Year Later

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So, it’s been almost one full year since the cataclysmic earthquake that devastated Port Au Prince and it’s outlying areas. Haiti’s already unstable infrastructure and volatile political structure took a violent  hit; one that may potentially take another century to fully recover from.

In the quake’s aftermath we saw the international community stand up in a show of solidarity; vowing to help this unfortunate island state to rebuild. Countries all over the world pledged billions of dollars and endless amounts of manpower to assist in recovery.

Out of the spotlight celebrities and politicos worldwide dusted off their camouflage and khakis, without a doubt tweaking their press conference speeches on chartered Gulf stream jet rides to the Dominican Republic, as they prepped for the cameras documenting their forays across the St. Domingue/Ayiti border.

Hell, we even had Haitian politicians finally fessing up and promising to put aside their petty banana republic ideological differences and do what’s best for the country.

In the US, Haitian Americans and ex-pats united in a way that hadn’t been seen since the days of the 4 H’s in the 1980’s. Haitian groups were organizing, planning, plotting, and pontificating at an insane rate; guided by the simple premise of rebuilding this once proud nation into the land that L’Ouverture and Dessalines would have envisioned. There were fund raisers, records, and conversations with the UN. We even united Bubba and Dubya!

Haiti was finally on the map, and for those of us that lost family and possessions on January 12, 2011, there was hope. Then a funny thing happened over the next year.

Absolutely nothing.

Gede Greg Cee

IDPs, NGOs and Human Rights

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Mark Schuller, a professor of African American Studies and Anthropology at York College, the City University of New York, and tireless advocate for Haitian human rights recently published the report Unstable Foundations: Impact of NGOs on Human Rights for Port-au-Prince’s Internally Displaced People, which discusses the consequences of NGO involvement in the displacement camps in Haiti.

Schuller’s research on the ground in Haiti along with eight Haitian University students and a colleague at the Faculté d’Ethnologie, Université d’État d’Haïti was conducted over a six-week period. “Quantitative and qualitative surveys were taken in three inter-related areas: conditions and services within the camps, residents’ level of understanding and involvement in the camp committees, and interviews with committee representatives.”

Results show once again that the exclusion of Haiti’s people in decisions made regarding their livelihoods and rights as citizens does very little to change the urgent situation in Haiti, and that NGO relationships with Haitians have numerous unintended negative impacts.

“Despite the fact that many NGOs empower camp committees to select recipients and distribute aid — most notably food, until the government stopped general distribution in April — most official committees do not involve the population. Less than a third of people living in camps are aware of the strategy or even the name of the committees. Two-thirds of members are men, despite well-documented concerns about gender-based violence. While to most NGOs managing camps or offering services these camps represent their “local participation,” it is clear that the present structure leaves much to be desired”.

Schuller outlines specific policy recommendations, noting that “It is not too late to rebuild on solid foundations”, but the foundations are still unstable and recovery is being hindered by the slow delivery of promised aid.

Below is a link to the report summary published in the Huffington Post and a PDF download of the full report.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-schuller/unstable-foundations-huma_b_749924.html

http://ijdh.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Report-unstable-foundations-final-2.pd

Question of the Day

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Has the world forgotten Haiti or are there just too many things going on in the world?

Written by conversationswiththeliving

October 10, 2010 at 8:09 pm

Ask any Haitian: What’s in a word? Turns out a whole lot

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According to the Associated Press, Haiti is still waiting for the money pledged by the United States after the earthquake. Key word is pledged. Pledging (or promising) is a far cry from actually paying out. According to the AP:

Nearly nine months after the earthquake, more than a million Haitians still live on the streets between piles of rubble. One reason: Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived. (http://bit.ly/bGJhPF)

That is much needed money that would go into rubble clearing (most of it is still in the streets) and subsequent infrastructure rebuilding.

Well done, Obama Administration. What’s next? Cutting funding for PEPFAR? Oh wait, you did that already. Where’s Bush when you need him?

– ML

You Be The Judge

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Below find the link to the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy for Haiti.

http://haitispecialenvoy.org/

It will be interesting to monitor the messaging on this site as the Haitian elections near.

Gede Greg C.

Show Us The Money, Don’t Show Us The Way

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Washington Post reporter Mary Beth Sheridan wrote an interesting piece on how a fraction of aid pledged to Haiti for disaster relief and the rebuild of Port Au Prince has actually been distributed. To blame are the usual suspects, Rene Preval and the rest of the Haitian leadership, for hampering progress. Either they are not making decisions fast enough, or in Preval’s case, not warming up to the US backed Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) which would monitor fraud and be co-chaired by Jean Max Bellerive and Bill Clinton, as primary reasons why things are currently a mess in PAP.

The seeds are being sown for  a full scale takeover of Haiti at this point. We all know that the only time a disaster is really a disaster is when you miss a chance to implement policies that you couldn’t have previously. What the UN, US, and EU are calling procrastination on Haitian leaders’ parts is probably a nation’s realization that it’s hard fought sovereignty is slipping away. You be the judge.

Show Us The Money, Don’t Show Us The Way

Gede Greg C.

Treat Us Like The Cubans

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I really hope the US government would and allow the 55,00 visa eligible Haitians to come to these shores. The disenfranchised from all other countries seem to have an EZ Pass to these shores. It’s puzzling that Haitian victims of January 12th’s earthquake still meet resistance from this administration.

Treat Us Like The Cubans

Gede Greg C.