David L. Wilson of Weekly News Update on the Americas was in Port-au-Prince with a delegation when the Jan. 12 earthquake struck the city. Because of limited electricity and internet access, he was unable to send this report out until after he got back to New York the morning of Jan. 18.:
PORT-AU-PRINCE — Wednesday night, January 13, the second night after a giant earthquake shattered this city, was filled with strange sounds.
At one point a hundred or more people rushed along the Avenue Henri Christophe in front of the Hotel Oloffson in the southwestern part of the city. They were shouting in Creole: "Dlo! dlo!" ("Water! Water!") and claiming, improbably, that a tsunami was coming from the hills to the southeast. Later a vehicle stopped at the intersection by the hotel so a man could make an announcement over a booming loudspeaker. Apparently he was looking for volunteers for something; a few young men climbed on to the back of his vehicle. All I understood was the phrase "gen yon sitiyasyon difisil," repeated over and over—literally, "there's a difficult situation." [...]
Read the full article at World War 4 Report: http://ww4report.com/node/8229
or MRZine: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2010/wilson210110.html
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Friday, Jan. 22, NYC: Press Conference on Haiti
HAITI EMERGENCY COMMITTEE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE! January 20, 2010
For more information, contact Marty Goodman Phone: (646) 898-7328 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
STOP BLOCKING AID–NO TO US/UN OCCUPATION
WHAT: Press conference including an eyewitness to the earthquake.
WHEN: Friday, January 22 at 12:00 p.m. (Noon). Rally at 4 pm at same location.
WHERE: Outside the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, 140 East 45th Street, Manhattan (between 3rd Avenue and Lexington)
Contact:Tel: 646-898-7328 or HaitiEmergencyCommittee-Owner@yahoogroups.com
On Friday, January 22, 2010 at 12 noon, the Haiti Emergency Committee will hold a press conference in front of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, at 140 E. 45th St. The press conference will feature members of the newly formed Haiti Emergency Committee and a member of a delegation who has just returned to the U.S. from the ravaged Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as other speakers.
Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are feared dead under the rubble following the January 12th earthquake. Haiti needs robust Emergency Assistance. The first 48 hours in the aftermath of the earthquake were very critical. Right from the first few moments after the earthquake, the Haitian people have been digging people out with their bare hands and household tools, with no assistance from the U.S. government.
People throughout the world are striving to support the Haitian people any way they can. Yet, the U.S. military has taken total control of the ports and the main airport in Port-Au-Prince (as well as throughout the country) and is refusing to allow cargo planes from different countries such as Turkey, Iran, Venezuela and Cuba, and from such crucial non-profit agencies as Doctors Without Borders, to bring urgently needed medical supplies, water, food, and medicine to the people in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere.
For days, US and UN officials on the ground stopped volunteers from distributing supplies to the people in the hardest hit places. There is a real Humanitarian crisis in Haiti and the US/UN must stop preventing the aid from reaching the people. This is mass genocide.
Haitians living in Port-au-Prince did the best they could in mobilizing themselves and their scant resources to deal collectively with their situation. Yet as occurred during the Katrina aftermath, the US media has portrayed the people as animals, looters and criminals, providing the rationale for the US government to send over 11,000 heavily armed troops into Haiti and seizing control of the airport, ports and facilities. But the media's portrayal is not true. It is NOT what is happening on the ground in Haiti. The US/UN officials and military personnel must stop preventing the distribution of aid provided by other countries and by not-for-profit agencies from around the globe.
The United States, instead of providing the immediate aid necessary in the first critical hours, mobilized an arsenal of military hardware and personnel with at least 11,000 soldiers to militarily occupy Port-au-Prince and the rest of Haiti, adding to the 9,000-strong UN military force in the country. The Haitian people need humanitarian assistance – water, medicine, medical supplies, healthcare workers -- not a military arsenal. The Haiti Emergency Committee says NO to this military deployment in Haiti. We oppose the occupation of Haiti.
1) Let the aid get through to Haiti! Stop preventing the Haitian People from organizing their own relief efforts. Stop U.S. Military interference with international rescue & humanitarian aid. Yes to solidarity, No to militarization.
2) Stop denying Humanitarian entry into the US for Haitians whose lives are at risk.
3) END U.S./U.N. occupation of Haiti.
4) Stop the cruel and unjust IMF/World Bank/USAID structural adjustment program in Haiti.5) Cancel Haiti's debt to foreign banks, countries and to the International Monetary Fund.