Invest outside the box for Haiti

haiti

Thankfully, the natural instinct of the global community is “How can I help?” when disaster hits. As we grow through this current disaster in Haiti, perhaps the question should develop into, “How can I invest in Haiti?”

The question is, how can the international community really help especially after the television cameras disappear to cover the next crisis. The international community can invest in new buildings, energy efficiency, reliable and relevant health care, educational systems and new technology. I would propose that anyone doing business in Haiti, whether it is a government organization, a non-governmental organization, a non-profit/charity; a religious organization, an individual donor – basically any enterprise that has any dealings with Haiti – take an oath of fair business.

In a business way of thinking, if success is not being accomplished, then plans can change and be adapted to a new formula for success. Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results? In business, there is a reality; either it is working or it isn’t. If it isn’t working, a new plan for success is created.

My suggestion is to integrate fair business principles to lead good governance, economic opportunities, education for all and basic health rights.

For Haiti, thinking out of the box is vital. Aid dollars need to be invested differently now. I emphasize investment because financial support is an investment in the future capabilities of Haiti. Investing in charities only builds charities and is not creating self-sustaining opportunities.

Investing in a transparent, socially responsible, accountable organization is vital to changing the dynamic on the ground. With a little bit of broadminded thinking, purchases and donations become growth opportunities. Rebuilding Haiti is the opportunity for a 21st century Marshall Plan. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.

An easy option is to purchase items made in the crisis country be it art, furniture, produce, clothing, machinery, etc. If it says “Made in Haiti” buy it.

In addition, a multitude of investment options are available. Options include investing in health care, education, refugee support, loans, housing, green building, energy efficiency and venture capital funds. Think outside of the box. Ask questions. Invest in building the nation up not rebuilding the status quo.

Some organizations to consider:

ACCION International – Microfinance

Calvert Social Investment – Loan fund

Catholic Relief Services – Microfinance

Developing World Markets – Bank

Emergency Liquidity Facility – Venture Capital Fund

Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA International) – Microfinance

Fonkoze – Microfinance

Freedom from Hunger – Microfinance

Habitat for Humanity International – Housing developer

Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) – Venture Capital Fund

Oikocredit – Loan Fund

SERRV International – Social Enterprise

Businesses have a powerful role to play in any society. It is time to think out of the box when a crisis hits and invest in for-profit enterprises to create jobs, stability, health, security and start to leverage the talents of the community.

Make a difference, invest in Haiti.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C.

http://www.csrplus.co.uk/blog/?p=2645

oh so THAT’s why…

http://gawker.com/5447408/pat-robertson-thousands-died-because-haitian-slaves-swore-a-pact-with-the-devil-for-their-freedom

Thousands Dying Because Haitian Slaves ‘Swore a Pact with the Devil’ for Their Freedom

Galactically vile Christian cleric Pat Robertson told his CBN viewers today that Haitians are “cursed” because their ancestors “swore a pact with the devil” to liberate themselves from the French in 1804. “True story.”

What else would he say? Robertson can’t let human suffering pass without finding a way to insinuate that God did it deliberately because he hates gay people, black people, Catholics, or whatever other poor dying sap he can find to cruelly mock and use to his own political and fundraising advantage.

In the wake of 9/11, he hosted Jerry Falwell on his show, The 700 Club, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ by saying “the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way” bore responsibility for the attacks and resulting deaths. Robertson nodded in agreement at his guest, adding that “we have sinned against Almighty God, at the highest level of our government, we’ve stuck our finger in your eye…. The Supreme Court has insulted you over and over again, Lord. They’ve taken your Bible away from the schools. They’ve forbidden little children to pray. They’ve taken the knowledge of God as best they can, and organizations have come into court to take the knowledge of God out of the public square of America.”

After Katrina, Robertson consulted his soothsaying cross and determined that God killed 1,000 or so poor black people because they got too many abortions: “Have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected in some way?” He went on to hope that the confirmation of John Roberts as chief justice to the Supreme Court could forestall further carnage.

Pat Robertson is as hateful and seized by superstition as any Taliban mullah with a knot in his forehead from obsessively banging it into a prayer mat. The motivation for this latest proclamation is no doubt the fact that about half the people in Haiti practice voodoo, an amalgam of Catholicism and African animism that dates to the importation of West African slaves there in the 16th century, and that was common to the slaves who whose uprising against their French owners eventually became the Haitian Revolution. For a more nuanced explication Haiti’s Satanic provenance—”Government Of The Devil, By The Devil, And For The Devil”—go here.

So because the people of Haiti practice a different religion from Robertson—about which everything he knows he learned from watching The Serpent and the Rainbow—it follows that their historic liberation in a bloody war must have been the result of a negotiation with a malevolent supernatural being who intervenes in worldly affairs. And every tragedy that has befallen their ancestors since has been deliberately directed at them by an all-powerful and loving god who wants to kill them, repeatedly, because they gained freedom by striking a deal with his enemy.

Who’s the fucking witch doctor?

UPDATE: A spokesman for Robertson e-mailed Politico’s Ben Smith to helpfully explain that “countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries…believe the country is cursed,” so Robertson was relying on sound scholarly research in tracing the cataclysmic earthquake to a well-documented pact with Satan that the people of Haiti entered into at the turn of the 19th century.

On today’s The 700 Club, during a segment about the devastation, suffering and humanitarian effort that is needed in Haiti, Dr. Robertson also spoke about Haiti’s history. His comments were based on the widely-discussed 1791 slave rebellion led by Boukman Dutty at Bois Caiman, where the slaves allegedly made a famous pact with the devil in exchange for victory over the French. This history, combined with the horrible state of the country, has led countless scholars and religious figures over the centuries to believe the country is cursed.

Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath.

If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them. His humanitarian arm has been working to help thousands of people in Haiti over the last year, and they are currently launching a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of this disaster. They have sent a shipment of millions of dollars worth of medications that is now in Haiti, and their disaster team leaders are expected to arrive tomorrow and begin operations to ease the suffering.

Quake death toll may top 100,000: Haitian PM

The real question is–WHY are there NINE MILLION (super impoverished) humans on half an island that small? Why? Do take note–if this island was UNINHABITED, no one would care when the ground shook. Roll that around your head for a second.

“Haiti quake could affect 3 million: officialHead of UN peacekeeping mission, 15 peacekeepers reportedly among dead”

Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN Wednesday the death toll from the earthquake that rocked his country could be “well over 100,000.”

The 7.0-magnitude quake struck Tuesday afternoon, and has left Port-au-Prince, the capital city, in ruins.
View Haiti Earthquake in a larger map

Haiti contacts

Canadians with family in Haiti can call the Foreign Affairs Emergency Operations Centre in Ottawa at 800-387-3124, 613-943-1055, or email sos@international.gc.ca. Canadians in Haiti can get in touch with Canadian Embassy officials in Port-au-Prince by calling 613-996-8885.

No official casualty numbers have been released yet.

Haitian President René Préval told the Miami Herald Wednesday he has been stepping over dead bodies and estimated thousands of people were killed.

He said Bellerive’s projection may be high because it was based on the extent of the destruction rather than firm counts of the dead.

“We have to do an evaluation,” Préval said, describing the scene as “unimaginable.”

“All of the hospitals are packed with people. It is a catastrophe,” he said.

“Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed,” he told the paper. “There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them.”

How to Help

To help those affected by the earthquake, here’s a list of organizations accepting donations.

Shattered communication systems in the Caribbean country made it impossible to immediately determine the number of casualties from the Tuesday afternoon quake, but an International Red Cross official estimated that three million people in the impoverished country of nine million may have been affected and could need emergency aid.

UN supplies funding

People gather in the street after an earthquake levelled many buildings and houses in Port-au-Prince Tuesday.People gather in the street after an earthquake levelled many buildings and houses in Port-au-Prince Tuesday. (Jorge Cruz/Associated Press)

Paul Conneally said it would take a day or two to get a clear picture of the number of dead and injured, as well as the damage.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed for massive aid for Haiti and announced that the United Nations is releasing $10 million US from its emergency funds.

“There is no doubt that we are facing a major humanitarian-assistance emergency and that a major relief effort will be required,” he said.

Ban said the earthquake has had a devastating impact on Port-au-Prince, while other areas of Haiti appear to be largely unaffected.

“Buildings and infrastructure were heavily damaged throughout the capital. Basic services such as water, electricity, have collapsed almost entirely,” he said.

Aftershocks also continued to rattle the capital.

Scores of injured people lay in the streets of Port-au-Prince early Wednesday as aid groups around the world prepared to provide disaster relief.

A map showing the epicentre of the quake.A map showing the epicentre of the quake. (CBC)

Simon Schorno, a spokesman with the International Committee of the Red Cross, told The Associated Press that finding and rescuing survivors will be a priority, and aid workers will also help hospitals cope with casualties and establish clean water sources.

He said the 7.0-magnitude quake had caused “massive destruction in all the main neighbourhoods” of Port-au-Prince.

“Haitian Red Cross staff are trying to do what they can but are completely overwhelmed, so there’s no structured response at this point.”

Officials feared hundreds, and possibly thousands, of people were killed in the quake. The National Palace was badly damaged and thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.

The UN also reported Wednesday that the main prison in Port-au-Prince had collapsed and an unknown number of inmates escaped.

Countries pledge millions in aid

Worldwide relief efforts have begun in earnest, with countries pledging to provide aid, including rescue workers, doctors and supplies.

U.S. President Barack Obama promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort, adding that the U.S. commitment to its hemispheric neighbour will be unwavering.

“We have to be there for them in their hour of need,” Obama said.

Aid pledges to Haiti

Country Pledge
Canada $5 million
European Commission $4.52 million
Spain $4.52 million
The Netherlands $3 million
Germany $2.3 million
China $1.03 million

A Homeland Security official also said the U.S. will halt the deportation of Haitians who are living illegally in the country in light of the earthquake. Those who were to be deported to Haiti will remain in U.S. detention centres for now.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada “stands ready to provide any necessary assistance to the people of Haiti during this time of need.”

The government will deploy the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) — Canada’s team of 200 Canadian Forces personnel, which provides help to areas affected by disaster for up to 40 days.

A 20-member reconnaissance team is due to land in Haiti on Wednesday afternoon to determine how best to assist the country, said Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon.

Other nations — from Iceland to Venezuela — said they would start sending aid workers and rescue teams. Cuba said its existing field hospitals in Haiti had already treated hundreds of victims. The United Nations said Port-au-Prince’s main airport was “fully operational” and open to relief flights.

Haiti by the numbers

Population Slightly more than nine million, 95% black, 5% white or mixed-race
Median age Just over 20 years
Fertility rate 3.81 children born/woman
Life expectancy About 61 years
People living with AIDS 120,000 (2007)
AIDS deaths 7,200 Haitians (2007)
Literacy 53%
(Source: CIA World Factbook)

The quake struck at 4:53 p.m., centred 16 kilometres west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of eight kilometres, the U.S. Geological Survey said. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti, on the island of Hispaniola.

The temblor appeared to have occurred along a strike-slip fault, where one side of a vertical fault slips horizontally past the other, said Tom Jordan, a quake expert at the University of Southern California. The quake’s power and proximity to Port-au-Prince likely caused widespread casualties and structural damage, he said.

“It’s going to be a real killer,” he said.

This image released by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a shake map of the Haiti area, prepared Tuesday.This image released by the U.S. Geological Survey shows a shake map of the Haiti area, prepared Tuesday. (U.S. Geological Survey/Associated Press)

Most of Haiti’s people are desperately poor, and after years of political instability, the country has no basic construction standards.

Tuesday’s quake was also felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, but no major damage was reported. In eastern Cuba, houses shook, but there appeared to be no significant damage.

Caribbean earthquakes

Jan. 12, 2010: Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Magnitude: 7.0. Widespread damage as epicentre of quake was 15 kilometres outside the capital. Number of dead unknown.

Nov. 29, 2007: Martinique region, Windward Islands. Magnitude: 7.4. Quake destroyed buildings, and much of the island lost electricity. One person died.

Oct. 8, 1974: Leeward Islands. Magnitude: 7.5. Damage was minimal, and no one died because the epicentre was far enough from any inhabited island.

Aug. 4, 1946: Samana, Dominican Republic. Magnitude: 8.1. Quake and resulting tsunami killed 1,600

Oct. 11, 1918: Northwestern Mona Passage, Puerto Rico. Magnitude: 7.5. Quake killed 116 people and caused $4 million in property damage.

Feb. 8, 1843: Leeward Islands. Magnitude: 8.5. At least 5,000 people died in a quake felt from St. Kitts to Dominica. This was the largest earthquake to hit the eastern Caribbean. In Antigua, the English Harbour sank.

May 2, 1787: Puerto Rico. Magnitude: 8.0. Possibly the strongest earthquake to hit the region. It caused widespread damage across Puerto Rico.

June 7, 1692: Port Royal, Jamaica. Magnitude: unknown. Quake killed 2,000 people. Much of the city slipped into the ocean.

Haiti: a long descent to hell

Haiti, born of slavery and revolution, has struggled with centuries of crippling debt, exploitation, corruption and violence

Jon Henley

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 January 2010 19.00 GMT

Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier‘Papa Doc’ Duvalier in 1962 (centre, with leg extended), who ruled Haiti with the aid of the murderous Tonton Macoutes militia. Photograph: Robert Lerner/Getty Images 

Geography and bad luck are only partly to blame for Haiti‘s tragedy. There are, plainly, more propitious places for a country and its capital city to find themselves than straddling the major fault line between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates. It’s more than unfortunate to be positioned plumb on the region’s principal hurricane track, meaning you would be hit, in the 2008 season alone, by a quartet of storms as deadly and destructive as Fay, Gustav, Hannah and Ike (between them, they killed 800 people, and ­devastated more than 70% of Haiti’s agricultural land). Wretched, also, to have fallen victim to calamitous flooding in 2002, 2003 (twice), 2006 and 2007.

But what has really left Haiti in such a state today, what makes the country a constant and heart-rending site of ­recurring catastrophe, is its history. In Haiti, the last five centuries have combined to produce a people so poor, an infrastructure so nonexistent and a state so hopelessly ineffectual that whatever natural disaster chooses to strike next, its impact on the population will be magnified many, many times over. Every single factor that international experts look for when trying to measure a nation’s vulnerability to natural disasters is, in Haiti, at the very top of the scale. Countries, when it comes to dealing with disaster, do not get worse.

“Haiti has had slavery, revolution, debt, deforestation, corruption, exploitation and violence,” says Alex von Tunzelmann, a historian and writer currently working on a book about the country and its near neighbours, the Dominican Republic and Cuba. “Now it has poverty, illiteracy, overcrowding, no infrastructure, environmental disaster and large areas without the rule of law. And that was before the earthquake. It sounds a terrible cliche, but it really is a perfect storm. This is a catastrophe beyond our worst imagination.”

It needn’t, though, have been like this. In the 18th century, under French rule, Haiti – then called Saint-Domingue – was the Pearl of the Antilles, one of the richest islands in France’s empire (though 800,000-odd African slaves who produced that wealth saw precious little of it). In the 1780s, Haiti exported 60% of all the coffee and 40% of all the sugar consumed in Europe: more than all of Britain’s West Indian colonies combined. It subsequently became the first independent nation in Latin America, and remains the world’s oldest black republic and the second-oldest republic in the western hemisphere after the United States. So what went wrong?

Haiti, or rather the large island in the western Atlantic of which the present-day Republic of Haiti occupies the western part, was discovered by Christopher Columbus in December 1492. The native Taino people knew it as Ayiti, but ­Columbus claimed it for the ­Spanish crown and named it La Isla Española. As Spanish interest in the island faltered with the discovery of gold and silver elsewhere in Latin America, the early occupiers moved east, leaving the western part of Hispaniola free for English, Dutch and particularly French buccaneers. The French West India Company gradually assumed control of the colony, and by 1665 France had formally claimed it as Saint-Domingue. A treaty with Spain 30 years later saw Madrid cede the western third of the island to Paris.

Economically, French occupation was a runaway success. But Haiti’s riches could only be exploited by importing up to 40,000 slaves a year. For nearly a decade in the late 18th century, Haiti accounted for more than one-third of the entire Atlantic slave trade. Conditions for these men and women were atrocious; the average life expectancy for a slave on Haiti was 21 years. Abuse was dreadful, and routine: “Have they not hung up men with heads downward, drowned them in sacks, crucified them on planks, buried them alive, crushed them in mortars?” wrote one former slave some time later. “Have they not forced them to eat excrement? Have they not thrown them into boiling cauldrons of cane syrup? Have they not put men and women inside barrels studded with spikes and rolled them down mountainsides into the abyss?”

Not surprisingly, the French ­Revolution in 1789 raised the tricky question of how exactly the Declaration of the Rights of Man might be said to apply both to ­Haiti’s then sizeable population of free gens de couleur (generally the offspring of a white plantation owner and a black concubine) – and ultimately to the slaves themselves. The rebellion of Saint-Domingue’s slaves began on the northern plains in August 1791, but the uprising, ensuing bloody civil war and finally bitter and spectacularly brutal battle against Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces was not over for ­another 12 years. As France became ­increasingly distracted by war with ­Britain, the French commander, the ­Vicomte de Rochambeau, was finally defeated in November 1803 (though not before he had hanged, drowned or burned and ­buried alive thousands of rebels). Haiti declared independence on 1 January 1804.

As Stephen Keppel of the Economist Intelligence Unit puts it, Haiti’s revolution may have brought it independence but it also “ended up destroying the country’s infrastructure and most of its plantations. It wasn’t the best of starts for a fledgling republic.” Moreover, in exchange for diplomatic recognition from France, the new republic was forced to pay enormous reparations: some 150m francs, in gold. It was an immense sum, and even reduced by more than half in 1830, far more than Haiti could afford.

“The long and the short of it is that Haiti was paying reparations to France from 1825 until 1947,” says Von Tunzelmann. “To come up with the money, it took out huge loans from American, German and French banks, at exorbitant rates of interest. By 1900, Haiti was spending about 80% of its national budget on loan repayments. It ­completely wrecked their economy. By the time the original reparations and interest were paid off, the place was basically destitute and trapped in a ­spiral of debt. Plus, a succession of leaders had more or less given up on trying to resolve Haiti’s problems, and started looting it instead.”

The closing decades, though, of the 19th century did at least mark a period of relative stability. Haitian culture flourished, an intelligentsia emerged, and the sugar and rum industries started to grow once more. But then in 1911 came another revolution, followed almost immediately by nearly 20 years of occu­pation by a US terrified that Haiti was about to default on its massive debts. The Great Depression devastated the country’s exports. There were revolts and coups and dictatorships, and then, in 1957, came François ­”Papa Doc” Duvalier. Papa Doc’s regime is widely seen as one of the most corrupt and ­repressive in modern history. He ­exploited Haiti’s traditional belief in voodoo to establish a personal militia, the feared and hated Tonton Macoutes, said to be zombies that he had raised from the dead.

During the 28 years in power of Papa Doc and his playboy son and heir, Jean-Claude Duvalier, or Baby Doc, the Tonton Macoutes and their henchmen killed between 30,00 and 60,000 ­Haitians, and raped, beat and tortured countless more. Until Baby Doc’s ­eventual flight into exile in 1986, Duvalier père and fils also made themselves very rich indeed. Aid agencies and ­international creditors donated and lent millions for projects that were often abandoned before completion, or never even started. Generous multi­national corporations earned lucrative contracts. According to Von Tunzelmann, the Duvaliers were at times embezzling up to 80% of Haiti’s international aid, while the debts they signed up to ­accounted for 45% of what the country owed last year. And when Baby Doc ­finally fled, estimates of what he took with him run as high as $900m.

It is hardly surprising then that Haiti isn’t Switzerland. The Duvaliers’ departure, as Keppel puts it, “left a void, and a broken and corrupt government. Democracy got off to a ­really bad start there. The Duvaliers may have bankrupted the government, they may been brutal, but they could keep control of the place. Since they went, Haiti has seen more coups, ousters and social unrest.” The country is short on investment, and desperately short on most of the infrastructure and apparatus of a functioning modern state. For ­Keppel, while Haiti’s problems ­undoubtedly began “a long way back, there have been periods when it could have set itself on a different track”. It’s the recent transition from dictatorship to democracy that is at the root of ­today’s problems, he believes. “It’s led to a situation where the population is continuing to grow, where poverty drives many of them to Port-au-Prince, and where Port-au-Prince, even at the best of times, doesn’t have the ­infrastructure to cope with them. And then comes an earthquake of an ­unprecedented magnitude . . .”

Von Tunzelmann isn’t so sure. Haiti’s descent began earlier than that, she ­believes. One reason why Haiti suffers more than its neighbours from natural disasters like hurricanes and flooding is its massive deforestation, under way in the country since the time of the French occupation, she says. “The French didn’t manage the land at all well,” she says. “The process of soil erosion really began then. And then in the chaos after the revolution, the land was simply parcelled out into little plots, occupied mainly by individual families. And since the 1950s, people have been cutting it down and cooking on charcoal. As the population has soared, the forests have come down. Haiti is now about 98% deforested. It’s extraordinary. You can see it from space. The problem is, it was those ­forests, those tree roots, that held the soil together. So with every new storm, more topsoil and clay disappears.” ­Arable land is ­reduced, simply, to rubble. Even before the devastating storms of 2008, Haiti’s population was starving. There were shocking reports of desperate people mixing vegetable oil with mud to make something that at least looked approximately like a biscuit.

“I wouldn’t lay it all at the door of history,” says Keppel. “But it’s true to say that while this earthquake was ­unprecedented and unpredictable and would have caused huge problems ­anywhere, Haiti is impacted by natural disasters much more than some of its neighbours. The infrastructure is so poor; the government can’t control all its territory. There’s been a whole combination of factors, many of which have repeated themselves over and over, that have left Haiti in the state it’s in today.”

Among aid workers whom Von Tunzelmann has spoken to, Haiti today is “down there with Somalia, as just about the worst [most damaged] society on earth. Even in Afghanistan, there’s a middle class. People aren’t living in the sewers.” As far back as the 1950s, she says, Haiti was considered unsustainably overcrowded with a population of 3 million; that ­figure now stands at 9 million. Some 80% of that population live below the poverty line. The country is in an advanced state of industrial collapse, with a GDP per capita in 2009 of just $2 a day. Some 66% of Haitians work in ­agriculture, but this is mainly small-scale subsistence farming and accounts for less than a third of GDP. The unemployment rate is 75%. Foreign aid ­accounts for 30%-40% of the government’s budget. There are 80 deaths for every 1,000 live births, and the survival rate of newborns is the lowest in the western hemisphere. For many adults, the most promising sources of income are likely to be drug dealing, weapons trading, gang membership, kidnapping and extortion.

Compare Haiti with its neighbours, equally prone to natural disasters but far better equipped to cope because they are far better functioning societies, and the only conclusion possible, says Von Tunzelmann, is that it is Haiti’s turbulent history that has brought it to this point. For the better part of 200 years, she argues, rich countries and their banks have been sucking the wealth out of the country, and its own despotic and corrupt leaders have been doing their best to facilitate the process, lining their own pockets handsomely on the way.

Approach Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic and the lush green of the forest begins again: this is a wealthier place. An earthquake here has less impact because constructions are stronger, building regulations are enforced, the government is more ­stable. In nearby Cuba, hardly a country rolling in money, emergency management is infinitely more effective simply because of a carefully coordinated, block-by-block organisation. Haiti has two fire stations in the entire country – and ­people on $2 a day cannot afford ­quake-proof housing.

• This article was amended on 18 January 2010, to clarify that a reference to Duvalier-era debts constituting 45% of what Haiti owes referred to the situation in 2009, and to clarify that a quote from interviewee Alex von Tunzelmann about the level of social damage in Haiti was her paraphrasing of what aid workers had told her.

the gall of religion:

some christian teacher dude in haiti be saying “thanks to the lord, our god, who graciously saved our lives…” about surviving with his students someplace outside..i mean FUCK! so all those corpses he’s stepping over??? how deluded can one be? how conceited…the tens of thousands dead also ‘deserved’ life. it’s called probability you silly silly creature. just blame a ‘devil’.

and theists call ME arrogant

Cuba to let U.S. use Cuban airspace for Haiti effort

da beginning of da good news–nature brings humanity closer, cuz nature is our mudder yet our only true enemy

Agreement sharply reduces flight time, officials say

Washington — Reuters Published on Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 7:51AM EST

The Cuban government has agreed to let the U.S. military use restricted Cuban air space for medical evacuation flights carrying Haitian earthquake victims, sharply reducing the flight time to Miami, a U.S. official said on Friday.

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said a deal had been reached allowing evacuation flights from the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to pass over the communist-ruled island on the way to Florida. The deal would shorten the flight time by 90 minutes on trips that normally are routed around Cuba.

U.S. military disaster relief teams in Haiti have been taking injured quake survivors to Guantanamo for treatment. Some victims are being sent from Guantanamo to south Florida for further treatment.

U.S. President Barack Obama since taking office in January has sought to soften the hard-line approach his predecessor, George W. Bush, took toward Cuba. The Obama administration last year eased restrictions on Cuban-Americans visiting and sending cash to relatives in Cuba.

Mr. Obama has made clear the long-standing U.S. economic embargo on Cuba will remain until the Cuban government implements Democratic reforms.

so why did those missionaries/nurses/aid people GO to Haiti, if they’re all running away, back home now? what the hell was your purpose to begin with? losers. it really reveals how vapid all those poverty pornographers are