Cholera in Haiti: Murder by Foreigners with Internal Support. February 27, 2013 Etant Dupain, Let Haiti Live. Original article here
Finally, through its response to the legal complaint brought on behalf of the victims, the United Nations has made it clear that they couldn’t care less about the families of the 8,000 people who have died and the more than 650,000 people infected with cholera.
Despite the fact that it lacked mobilization and action at the grassroots level, the legal complaint was a critical part of asking the United Nations to take responsibility. The demobilization of popular organizations in the struggle against MINUSTAH has had a large effect and has given the public much to reflect on: what is the reason there hasn’t been a major mobilization from the population after the arrogant declaration of the United Nations?
One of the greatest deceptions is the position the Haitian government has taken throughout this cholera epidemic.
Several days ago the United Nations announced in an official note, and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon called President Martelly personally to notify him, that the people who have died from the cholera brought to Haiti by MINUSTAH have died and can be forgotten, and those who are infected are infected and that is all, because those who created this epidemic (the United Nations) have immunity and they are above the law.
You can analyze, condemn and debate the position of the United Nations, but they have clearly demonstrated that the lives of Haitians, especially the poor, mean nothing to them.
Now let us consider what the Haitian Government has said as a response or announcement to the families of the victims who brought the complaint against the UN. Nearly a week has passed and there hasn’t been a single Haitian official who has felt obligated to utter even a word – an attitude that isn’t new but at this time is even more remarkable for several reasons.
The first reason is the kind of people who are dying of cholera: what level of importance do they have in the eyes of the Haitian government?
Generally, it is poor people who are victims, people who have been nothing but tools of corrupt politicians who have used them in pursuit of their bourgeois goals as though they have no value. Despite the government’s oscillation between left and right over the last 25 years, the majority of officials have kept the heritage of the Duvalier dictatorship – that gift he left after 29 years – alive.
The behavior of the Haitian Government has been an embarrassment to the human rights organizations that have assisted the victims of cholera, especially the foreign organizations that have worked with local organizations to help the victims find justice and reparations.
Another reason the Haitian Government isn’t interested in prosecuting the United Nations is that many high-ranking officials in the government, along with their friends in the private sector, have major business interests that depend on the presence of the United Nations mission in the country.
Let us consider two aspects of this:
The business of housing
The business of restaurants
The percentage of Haitians that can pay $2,000 or $3,000 US each month to rent a one or two bedroom house is extremely small. This is a business that relies on the presence of the MINUSTAH and its large personnel along with NGOs. Many Haitian officials are engaged in the rental business or are connected to it through family and friends.
This is a principle that applies universally to the way the Government of Haiti functions.
Secondly, in terms of the restaurant business, more than 70% of Haitians are living in unemployment and survive on less than $2 US each day. There are statistics that would say it is even worse than this. What this demonstrates is that there is a small minority who have access to enough food each day, despite the fact that eating is not a privilege but a human right.
It is the price and kind of foods that are exaggerated – you can walk into many restaurants in Petion Ville and eat as though you were in New York or Washington, DC in the sense that you will pay the same price you would pay in those cities with breakfast starting at $11 US a plate and dinner being as much as $28 US.
An individual who works in a factory (which happens to be one of the few options for employment in Haiti’s formal economy) makes $150 US each month. Imagine if that person wanted to eat a dinner that costs $28 US.
What the poor of Haiti are experiencing at the hands of their fellow Haitians who lead the country shows a wound that has not yet healed, a social illness that paralyzes us all in everything we do, but especially in our relationship to foreigners.
Based on the declaration of the United Nations where they say they are above the law, and the fact that they enjoy the support of the Haitian Government that won’t do anything to challenge their immunity, it is clear that cholera can no longer be classified as an accident, or attributable to negligence, as we now see the Haitian Government is collaborating to further victimize those who have already suffered.
For those who will perish to cholera in the days before us, they are the victims of murder who deserve the right to seek justice in their own way, not only from the United Nations but from the Haitian Government, too.
Finally, it is not a court or a tribunal that will define whether or not the United Nations will give reparations to the victims. Historically, Haitians invent ways to remove the wicked forces that oppress them. The struggle for the departure of the MINUSTAH along with justice and reparations for all victims has only just begun.