Posts Tagged ‘earthquake’

Close to 500 undocumented Haitians enter Brazil in three days

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Brazil has issued humanitarian visas to hundreds of Haitians

[Translation of an article by the Spanish news agency Efe as published on January 2, 2012, in Listín Diario of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic. See original here and related article here.]

Some 500 undocumented Haitian immigrants entered the Brazilian city of Brasileia, on the Bolivian border, in the last three days of 2011, joining the approximately 700 who live in an improvised shelter in this Amazonian city of 20,000 inhabitants, official sources reported yesterday.

The immigrants arrived in mass over a few days in the midst of rumors that Brazil is studying the possibility of restricting the entry of Haitians across the Amazonian borders beginning this year, a source in the government of the Brazilian state of Acre told Efe. (more…)

Conservative Senator Coloma calls for review of Chilean military’s participation in Haiti

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

[Translation of an article from La Tercera of Santiago, Chile, for January 30, 2011. See original here. Senator Juan Antonio Coloma and the party he leads, the Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI), are politically rightist, both having supported the Pinochet regime. The UDI is the largest party in Congress, holding eight of 38 seats in the Senate and 38 of 120 in the Chamber of Deputies.]

Senator and president of the UDI [Unión Demócrata Independiente] Juan Antonio Coloma today called for the government to “review the participation” of Chilean troops in Haiti.

The senator based his request on the fact that, in his judgement, the UN forces in which Chile participates are seen lately “as forces of occupation” more than as forces for aid and order.

Coloma holds that the aid the country should be offered, especially since the earthquake, should be “more on the institutional level than on the military level.” Specifically, he said, this should be the case in the tasks of reconstruction and overcoming poverty.

The gremialista [right-wing] senator explained as well that the purpose of having Chilean troops in the country was, at the beginning, “to avoid a genocide” and that they remained there “to assure the election of René Préval.” Later, Coloma added, the people of Haiti began to see them as “forces of occupation.”

He thus requested a review of the renovation of the Chilean contingent in the next few months.

The UDI president’s stance comes days after the Senate defense committee, of which he is a member, asked the government to redefine and expand the role of Chilean troops in Haiti, placing an emphasis on reconstruction.

On that occasion, the president of the institution, Patricio Walker (Demócrata Cristiano) said that “we need to expand our efforts after the earthquake in that country. We have to support more forcefully the reconstruction and aid in the creation of a new institutionality so the state can have a greater participation.”

Brazilian general says withdrawal of troops from Haiti is not predictable

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Agencia Brasil photo

[Translation of an article from A Gazeta of Vitória, Brazil, for January 12, 2011. See original here.]

In charge of troops from the 19 countries making up the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH), including Brazil, General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz declared in an interview that at this time it is not possible to predict when the reduction of the international military presence in Haiti will begin.

Last year, Brazil increased its military contingent in the country from 1,300 to 2,600. Expectations that a gradual withdrawal of military forces would begin in 2011, as planned before the earthquake, will not be fulfilled, according to Paul Cruz.

“The (UN) Security Council resolution requires me to make an evaluation on the question of security and stability in order to propose a possible reduction of troops here.” (more…)

Diplomat in Haiti to be dismissed for criticizing OAS, NGOs

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Ricardo Seitenfus claims coup against Préval was suggested

[Abridged translation of an interview by BBC Brazil as published in Folha for December 29, 2010. See original here and related article here.]

By Fabrícia Peixoto

The representative of the Organization of American States in Haiti for two years, Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus is due to be fired from his position soon, a development he himself interprets as a response to his “critical position” on the role of the international community in the Caribbean nation’s recovery…

BBC Brazil – Have you been notified officially of your dismissal from your position?

Ricardo Seitenfus – No, not yet. I had decided not to take a vacation in December so I could be in Haiti during this delicate phase of the election. But the secretary general (José Miguel Insulza) asked me to take a vacation. I conclude that for the two months, February and March, that I was supposed to remain in Haiti I would no longer be there. But that is not the problem. The most serious thing is what is happening now: the OAS representative is not in Haiti during an electoral crisis. And I have an ability for dialogue with the Haitian government that no one else in the OAS has and that few in the international community have. (more…)

OAS representative in Haiti sharply critical of foreign aid and occupation

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Ricardo Seitenfus – Le Temps photo

Ricardo Seitenfus: “Haiti is proof of the failure of international aid”

[Translation of an interview from Le Temps of Geneva, Switzerland, for December 20, 2010. See original here and related articles here and here. Several sources reported immediately after the Le Temps interview that Seitenfus had been fired but in an interview in the December 29 Folha of Brazil (here) Seitenfus said he had received no official word on his status.]

By Arnaud Robert

A graduate of the Institut de Hautes Études Internationales (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) of Geneva, Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus is 62 years old. He has represented the Organization of American States in Haiti since 2008. He makes a genuine indictiment of international presence in the country.

–Le Temps: Ten thousand Blue Helmets in Haiti. In your opinion, a counterproductive presence…

–Ricardo Seitenfus: The system of dispute prevention within the framework of the UN system is not suitable for the Haitian context. Haiti is not an international threat. We are not in a state of civil war. Haiti is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. And nevertheless the Security Council, lacking any alternative, has imposed the Blue Helmets since 2004, since the departure of President Aristide. We are here on our eighth UN mission since 1990. Since 1986 and the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti has been in what I call a low-intensity conflict. We are faced with power struggles by political actors who do not respect the democratic process. But it seems to me that essentially, on the international scene, Haiti is paying for its close proximity to the United States. Haiti has been the object of negative attention on the part of the international system. For the UN it was a question of blocking power and turning Haitians into prisoners on their own island. For many, the anxiety of the boat people explains the international community’s decisions concerning Haiti. One wants them, at all costs, to stay home. (more…)

Chilean soldiers in Haiti: A subject of debate

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

La Nación photo

[Two articles on Chilean participation in MINUSTAH, the United Nations mission in Haiti.  See related articles here, here, here, and here.]

Time to withdraw Chilean troops from Haiti

[Translation of a commentary from La Nación of Santiago, Chile, for November 28, 2010. See original here.]

by Raúl Sohr

The death of a Haitian citizen at the hands of a Chilean soldier last week in Cap Haïtien was the last straw. The soldiers had found themselves surrounded by a rock-throwing crowd.

In fact, several soldiers were injured by rocks. The agitation was a reaction to the people’s distress and helplessness in the face of the cholera epidemic that had already killed more than 1,400 people and infected almost 25,000. (more…)

Haiti: Noticeable increase in acute malnutrition in l’Artibonite

Monday, September 13th, 2010

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse of Haiti for September 13. See the original article here.]

Port-au-Prince, September 13 – The number of children suffering from acute malnutrition has increased noticeably in the department of l’Artibonite (1), where thousands of displaced persons still live eight months after the earthquake, a local branch of the international organization Action contre la Faim (AcF – Action against Hunger) reports.

Without specifiying the total number of cases, the international NGO confirms in a report furnished to AlterPresse that 166 new cases were registered between June and September of 2010 in Gonaïves, Ennery, Anse-Rouge and Terre-Neuve.

The presence of displaced persons in differenct municipalities increases the pressure on prices in the public markets, with an increase of between 10 and 15 percent, AcF reports.

In addition to that reality, vulnerable families who have provided shelter to displaced persons have contracted “heavy debts to supply their nutritional needs, as well as the basic needs of their children and of those they have taken in.”

AcF teams, which work in support of the Ministry of Health and Population to control acute malnutrition in Gonaïves, 171 kilometers north of the capital, and in rural areas in the department of l’Artibonite, fear that floods during the present hurricane season, from June 1 to November 30, will aggravate even more the nutritional situation in the region.

A significant number of families in l’Artibonite have not yet recovered from the hurricanes that struck l’Artibonite hard in 2008, surveys AcF took in 2009 show.

Despite its vulnerability and the weakness of its infrastructure, the department of l’Artibonite gave shelter to around 140,000 displaced persons in the few day after the earthquake of January 12, which resulted in 300,000 deaths and more than a million homeless in the departments of l’Ouest, Sud-Est and Nippes, in southwestern Haiti.


(1) L’Artibonite is the largest of Haiti’s ten departments, or states. On the western coast, it is an important agricultural region. The capital is Gonaïves.

Haiti: Land ownership questions hinder reconstruction

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

[Translation of an article from HaitiLibre for July 6, 2010.]

Disputes over the ownership of land, which can take years to resolve, are hindering reconstruction efforts in Haiti and discouraging needed foreign investment, experts say.

The Haitian government and international aid organizations are in competition over construction of dwellings for the 1.5 million people living in camps. But before even beginning reconstruction, they need to determine who owns the land – a major challenge after the earthquake, which killed some 16,000 government officials and destroyed an unknown number of land title records.

“The catastrophe has made land claims more difficult and this situation is going to get worse. After close to 250,000 deaths, inheritance and the sale of land raise a number of questions. Is the owner dead or alive? If he is dead, are there children with rights to the land?”asks Erik Vittrup, head of the United Nations Human Settlement Program (UN-Habitat), based in Rio de Janeiro. (more…)

Alagoas and Haiti — two faces of the same tragedy

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

Port-au-Prince — LA Times photo by Carolyn Cole

With practically equal land areas, Alagoas and Haiti also have some historical similarities

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for June 23, 2010.]

by Thalles Gomes

Ti Rivye Latibonit, Haiti – The number of those affected by the heavy rains that fell on Alagoas last Friday, June 19, is astounding . According to data released on June 21 by the state civil defense office, flooding of the Mundaú and Paraíba Rivers affected 177,282 people, leaving more than 600 missing and 26 dead. All told, 26 towns were damaged by the floods. These are alarming figures, but it would be insane, to say the least, to compare them with the 300,000 dead and more than one million homeless as a result of the earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. In this case, there is a valid comparison not because of the quantities but because of the quality. (more…)

Haiti: Is the reconstruction commission finally working?

Sunday, June 20th, 2010

The CIRH, beset by concerns about its effectiveness, will have its first working meeting on Thursday, June 17.

[Translation of an article from Le Nouvelliste for June 16.]

by Roberson Alphonse

Barring further mishaps, the Commission Intérimaire pour la Reconstruction d’Haïti (CIRH – Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti) will hold its first working meeting in Port-au-Prince on Thursday, June 17, 2010. The meeting will allow for the drafting of directives for disbursing funds, Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, co-president of the Commission, told Reuters. “We have a program and a plan that have been accepted by everybody. Now we need the financial resources, the equipment, the know-how and the support,” he added.

At the Conference on the Future of Haiti in Punta Cana on June 2, Bellerive had declared, “The government and the CIRH will decide how the fiduciary funds will be distributed. President Clinton explained it very clearly and very firmly to the World Bank,” he continued, leaving to speculation fears about the difficulties of co-ordinating activities by different international financial institutions. (more…)

Haiti: The Camp Corail fiasco

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

[Translation of an article from HaitiLibre for June 4.]

The adventure began on April 10, 2010, the day survivors left the Petion Ville camp for the first relocation camp. Camp Corail, a vast empty territory that could accommodate as many as 250,000 inhabitants, the surreal vision of a government (with no money) that envisioned the construction of a new town within the framework of the decentralization of the capital. A model town growing out of the desert, where life would be good… “Streets and infrastructure will be built. A real community,” President René Préval had declared as he welcomed the first “pioneers of the new world” to a desert of sand and thorns. (more…)

Student and labor protests in Chile

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

Strudent demonstrators – El Mercurio photo

[Translations of two articles, the first from El Mercurio of Valparaíso for June 1, the second from El Mostrador of Santiago for June 3, 2010.]

[From El Mercurio]

Chilean students demonstrate for improvements in education

Close to 2,000 university students demonstrated peacefully in Valparaíso against the ministry of education (MINEDUC) and the administration of President Sebastián Piñera, whom they charge with not attending to their demands following the earthquake, against the dismissal of public employees and asking that public education in the country be strengthened. (more…)