This week marks two years since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti. Hundreds of thousands are still in tent camps, without proper shelter and housing. Cholera stalks the country, having already claimed thousands of victims. Unemployment and poverty are rampant, and peasants are denied the right to work the land.
For years, the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN) has been quietly doing the work of providing genuine aid to grassroots projects in Haiti and serving as a watchdog of Canadian government statements and actions. The official rhetoric does not match the realities on the ground, as this recent Postmedia article quotes CHAN co-ordinator Roger Annis explaining:
“It’s really hard to quantify what’s happening in Haiti because there’s an absence of real, concrete facts and statistics — if you want to find out, you have to go there and see for yourself. The overarching story is that everything is going at a snail’s pace.”
The lack of transparency is just one of many serious problems with the “aid delivery” to Haiti. Bill Quigley and Amber Ramanauskas enumerate these issues in their recent article, “Seven Places Where the Money Did and Did Not Go.”
On top of the unfulfilled promises of aid, Haiti’s woes are compounded by the legacies of hundreds of years of oppression, intervention and exploitation.
Haiti, as much as ever, still needs our solidarity.
To help preview this Friday’s event, and to mark this sombre anniversary for Haiti, I’ll be doing a series of interviews this week on the new W2 Morning Radio Project airing on Vancouver’s Coop Radio (102.7FM).
I’ll be speaking to some of the leading advocates for self-determination and justice for Haiti: Nicole Phillips of the Institute for Justice and Democracy (Wednesday), Haiti Liberté editor Kim Ives (Thursday) and Alexis Erkert of Another Haiti is Possible (Friday). All three interviews will take place at 7:20 a.m. PST.
This week, let’s remember Haiti and resolve to support the essential ongoing solidarity work being carried out by groups like CHAN.