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Is the Haiti Rescue Effort Failing?

Everyone wants to believe in the best intentions of all involved, but five days after the quake, with so few being helped, we have to ask: how did this get so badly done?

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The Guardian/Observer focuses on a water delivery crisis. The article doesn’t ask why armed troops were not assigned to protecting drivers:

Hundreds of thousands of Haitians are in desperate need of drinking water because of an earthquake-damaged municipal pipeline and truck drivers either unable or unwilling to deliver their cargo.

Many drivers are afraid of being attacked if they go out, some drivers are still missing in the disaster and others are out there searching for missing relatives," said Dudu Jean, a 30-year-old driver who was attacked on Friday when he drove into the capital's sprawling Cite Soleil slum.

The lack of water has become one of the greatest dangers facing Haitians in part because earthquake survivors stay outdoors all day in the heat out of fear of aftershocks and unstable buildings.

But there is something else going on.

The disaster planners have an agenda that goes beyond just saving lives. They want to use the crisis to rebuild Haiti along lines they support. (ie. Support of property rights etc) So far they have not spoken about how policies backed by the United States through the Caribbean Basin Initiative were responsible for uprooting peasants from the countryside to move them to the city to be a cheap labor reserve. In that Reagan era effort, pigs were killed and imported food replaced home grown varieties to benefit US suppliers. Debt dependence grew -- classic imperialist policies.

Read this report in coded uncritical top-down language from the Washington Post:

Even as rescuers are digging victims out of the rubble in Haiti, policymakers in Washington and around the world are grappling with how a destitute, corrupt and now devastated country might be transformed into a self-sustaining nation.

Development efforts have failed there, decade after decade, leaving Haitians with a dysfunctional government, a high crime rate and incomes averaging a dollar a day. But the leveled capitol, Port-au-Prince, must be rebuilt, promising one of the largest economic development efforts ever undertaken in the hemisphere -- an effort "measured in months and even years," President Obama said Saturday in an appeal for donations alongside former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. And those who will help oversee it are thinking hard about how to use that money and attention to change the country forever.

"It's terrible to look at it this way, but out of crisis often comes real change," said C. Ross Anthony, the Rand Corp's global health director. "The people and the institutions take on the crisis and bring forth things they weren't able to do in the past."

The Rand Corporation is a military contractor primarily, a center for spooks and covert strategies. The fact that they are being quoted as saviors is scary in itself. In other words, Haiti’s future is being planned outside of Haiti and will be imposed step by step.

I don’t know about you but anything that George W. Bush is supporting, I tend to be skeptical of, to say the least.

Let’s admit it, this disaster response is itself a disaster. And it's helping promote a new disaster to come.

Greg Palast points to some of the many contradictions that the TV networks that are milking Haiti’s pain in an orgy of self-congratulatory reporting have yet to explore:

*China deployed rescuers with sniffer dogs within 48 hours. China, Mr. President. China: 8,000 miles distant. Miami: 700 miles close. US bases in Puerto Rico: right there. [Greg, make that 25,000 miles away!]

* Obama's Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, "I don't know how this government could have responded faster or more comprehensively than it has." We know Gates doesn't know.

 
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