Haitian children die as school collapses

This video is called Occupation in Haiti Today Part 1.

This is Part 2.

From the BBC:

Deadly school collapse in Haiti

A school has collapsed in a suburb of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, killing at least 30 people and trapping an unknown number under the rubble.

Hundreds of rescuers are working to free people from the wreckage of the school in Petionville, where some 700 children are educated.

At least 25 people have been brought to hospital, some seriously injured.

Relatives of pupils missing inside the three-storey building were crying and screaming outside.

The school, La Promesse College, is located in Petionville, described by The Associated Press as “a relatively affluent suburb” of the capital. …

Wendell Theodore, a correspondent for Haiti’s Radio Metropole, reports that the second floor of the school was still under construction when it fell in.

“There are two floors that were packed with children,” he told French radio station France Inter.

“The third [second, in English terms] floor was still under construction, construction that wasn’t complete of course. Several people agree that this could be behind today’s accident.”

Haiti has been a occupied country ever since the United States drove away its elected president. The occupiers care about neocolonial control. Not about poor Haitians having to eat mud instead of bread. Not about lack of construction rules protecting children´s lives from corporate greed.

Desperate relatives fight with rescue workers to enter building where at least 92 have died and hundreds are believed still trapped: here.

Death toll, public outrage rise in aftermath of Haiti school collapse: here.

Ruling party embarrassed as voters join in boycott of Haiti election: here.

Revolutionary Haitian Priest, Gerard Jean-Juste, Presente! Here.

Haiti: Students demonstrate for minimum wage increase: here.

Student demonstrators protesting against the elimination of medical-school classes and for a minimum-wage boost attacked and burned a UN police vehicle in Port-au-Prince on Wednesday: here.

Haiti and Iran elections: here.


Haiti’s electoral council has banned the influential party of exiled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide from next year’s legislative elections: here.

5 thoughts on “Haitian children die as school collapses

  1. One of George Bush’s many disasters was neglecting the world’s poor, which created more desperation and potential recruits for Al Qaeda.

    President-elect Barack Obama understands the importance of fighting global poverty, from both a humanitarian and a national security perspective.

    Let’s encourage Obama to keep his promise to fight global poverty.

    Bob Fertik

    Dear Activist,

    Now that we have a new president, it’s time to tell him: stick to your promises to help the world’s poor. In these difficult economic times, it is more important than ever for our new president to hear from us that fighting global poverty is still a priority.

    Tell President-elect Obama that you’re counting on him to keep his campaign promises:

    1. To double annual foreign assistance, providing at least $50 billion in aid by 2013 for HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. That aid will ensure that at least 4.5 million people are on anti-retroviral treatment by 2013 and prevent 12 million new infections.

    2. To make the U.N. Millennium Development Goals a part of American policy. By the end of his first term, Obama promised to show progress in meeting these goals, including reducing by half the number of people living on less than a dollar a day and suffering from hunger.

    Tell him that one of the keys to helping the world’s poor is prioritizing maternal and child health. In the developing world, one woman every minute dies needlessly in childbirth. These women aren’t dying because the health community doesn’t know how to prevent their deaths; they are dying because the world is failing to help.

    As you may know, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty through the empowerment of women. Women and girls, when equipped with the proper resources, have the power to help their families and entire communities escape poverty.

    Tell the president-elect to make fighting poverty a central part of his foreign policy. Ask him to stand with you in solidarity with the 1.4 billion people who live on a little more then a dollar a day … the 72 million children who are not in school today … the one woman who dies every minute from pregnancy-related causes.

    Thank you for your support,

    Helene Gayle, MD, MPH
    President and CEO, CARE


  2. International Action Center


    Stop Deportation of 30,000 Haitians!

    Tell President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban, Caribbean Economic Community Chair Barrow, Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, ICE director John P. Torres, Congress and members of the media: Stop the Deportation of 30,000 Haitians!

    Please tell Homeland Security and ICE to STOP THE DEPORTATION OF 30,000 HAITIANS!

    Sign the Petition today at http://www.iacenter.org/haiti/haitideportationpetition


    To: Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Homeland Security; Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy;
    cc: President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Congressional leaders, and members of the media

    Dear Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Homeland Security and Esther Olavarria, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Homeland Security:

    The Department of Homeland Security has singled out 30,000 Haitians living in this country to be deported to the famine, disease and homelessness currently raging in Haiti.

    >From September to December last year, Haitians had “temporary protected status” which allowed them to stay because four hurricanes had washed houses, bridges, roads, crops and the land on which they were growing away.

    Now, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesperson says the 10,000 UN peace keepers currently occupying the country guarantee everybody’s safety.

    A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Miami replied, “Deportations at this time are simply inhumane, sending people to conditions of famine and disease.”

    The temporary protected status must be restored for these 30,000 Haitians and they must be released from detention and house arrest immediately.

    Haiti’s National Coordination of Food Supply (CNSA) estimates 3 million Haitians out of 8 million cronically eat less than they need to maintain themselves.

    People not only need food, they also need homes. The bishop of Cap Haitian says that over 10,000 buildings, which sheltered 165,337 families in his diocese, have been destroyed.

    In Gonaïves, which used to be Haiti’s second largest city, every single building was damaged. Over 500 people died there and over a thousand in all of Haiti.

    The Haitian government has refused to issue travel documents because it cannot handle a massive influx of 30,000 people when its economy is in complete shambles. In response, ICE is threatening to keep Haitians under indefinite detention.

    Almost all the people that ICE targets are people of color but many Haitian activists feel that they have been singled out because they resist the wishes of the United States.

    For example, they elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president in 1990 over the U.S. favorite. After a U.S.-backed coup in September 30, 1991, he came back and in 2000 was elected president with 92% of the vote. Another U.S. organized coup-kidnapping sent him into exile in 2004.

    Many other citizens of countries like Nicaragua and Honduras living in the U.S. have received TPS after natural disasters. Haitians should be released from detention and granted the same relief.


    Sign the Petition today at http://www.iacenter.org/haiti/haitideportationpetition


  3. Apr 16, 1:30 PM EDT

    Haitians want Hillary Clinton to stop deportations

    Associated Press Writer

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Women selling hot peppers and black beans in a sprawling market in Haiti’s capital talk of their unending economic woes, their hungry children and their dismal hopes that politicians will do anything about it.

    As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton arrived in Haiti on Thursday, the expectations of Haiti’s people are dismally low. President Rene Preval escorted Clinton from the airport to the national palace for a private meeting.

    Disappointment is widespread over unkept promises of aid to Haiti. The country has not yet recovered from last year’s food riots and four tropical storms that killed nearly 800 people and caused $1 billion in damage.

    Political tensions also are running high ahead of Sunday’s long-delayed Senate elections, which some parties disqualified from running have threatened to disrupt.

    In the noisy Croix-des-Bossales market, women fixate on their families’ hunger as they bat beetles away from unsold piles of food.

    “There’s no money in this country because there isn’t any work,” said Therese Bejaman, 38, who sells coconuts imported from the neighboring Dominican Republic.

    Bejaman’s husband lost his job at the commercial port across the street a few years ago. Now their seven children, aged 6 to 18, depend on her traveling hours over washed-out roads to the border, where she pays about $5.60 for a dozen coconuts with hopes of making about 5 1/2 cents of profit on each one. It’s not going well.

    “They aren’t selling fast,” she said.

    With other countries struggling amid the global economic crisis, aid to Haiti has been affected.

    A donors conference Tuesday in Washington was a disappointment. It raised $324 million for Haiti but – despite entreaties by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, security council members, Bill Clinton and others – that amount was more than $600 million short of what the country needs for economic development and hurricane recovery.

    Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis said Wednesday that the pledge is not as much as the country needs, but is more than she expected from donors, given the crisis.

    But Haitian lawmakers said the international community has failed to keep its promises, leaving the country to struggle at a critical turning point.

    Hillary Clinton told the donors’ conference that the United States is providing nearly $290 million in non-emergency aid to Haiti this year. After meeting with Preval, she is expected to go to the Dominican Republic for a town-hall meeting.

    The discussions will likely include a request to temporarily stay deportation orders against an estimated 30,000 Haitians in the United States, whose repatriations would further drain Haiti’s resources by eliminating the money they send home. Preval may also ask for more relief from Haiti’s heavy debt burden, estimated to include $1.6 million in payments to the World Bank each month.

    Amid the glum atmosphere, there have been some incremental improvements in Haiti. In this market, some vendors have left their open-air stalls for a red and yellow building constructed last year by the Venezuelan government. Their shouts and staccato rhythms drummed out on glass soda bottles by soft drink sellers now echo off the building’s metal roof.

    And some staple foods are cheaper, a year after skyrocketing prices, especially for imported rice, fueled riots that torched parts of the capital and further discouraged investment.

    Last year, Marie-Louie Louis sold the equivalent of a 2-pound coffee can full of rice from a Florida subsidiary of Stuttgart, Arkansas-based Riceland Foods for about $4.37. Now that costs $3.13.

    Still, regular meals remain too expensive for most Haitians, 80 percent of whom live on less than $2 a day.

    “The price has gone down, but only if you can afford it. Everyone else is going hungry,” said 44-year-old Yuatte Jose, a mother of three who also is raising her late sister’s orphaned twin daughters.

    Down the road from the market lies Haiti’s rundown parliament, where unemployed people beg for money and jobs outside the gates. Inside, legislators worry that unsolved problems will fester into more unrest and suffering.

    Haiti faces more than a $125 million budget shortfall and its decimated economy, once a tourism and manufacturing hub, no longer supports any major industries. Security is provided by 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers as its police force struggles to rebuild.

    The disappointing results of the donor conference at the Inter-American Development Bank will mean budget cuts and continued lags in job creation, Deputy Guy Georges said.


  4. Apr 19, 3:59 AM EDT

    Blocked candidates could tarnish Haiti vote

    Associated Press Writer

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian President Rene Preval could see his economic projects and constitutional reform emerge as the big winners when long-delayed Senate elections are finally held on Sunday.

    A Senate majority for his Lespwa party, which has a candidate running for every seat but one, would help Preval achieve a long sought-after reform of Haiti’s 1987 constitution, increasing executive powers and allowing presidents to seek consecutive five-year terms.

    It would also build support for Preval’s economic programs, meant to relieve poverty in a nation where 80 percent of people live on less than $2 a day.

    But Sunday’s vote could be more notable for who is not running.

    Haiti’s provisional electoral council disqualified all candidates from former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s still-popular Fanmi Lavalas party – a fact that may cause unrest or tarnish election results.

    Some in Port-au-Prince were worried about their safety on election day, which has long been associated with violence and intimidation in Haiti.

    “Today is my last day on the street. I’m going home until Monday,” said Jean Rolin, a 35-year-old plumber who did not plan to vote.

    A total of 79 candidates will vie for 12 Senate seats. With races involving five to 18 candidates each, most are expected to end in run-offs between the top two vote-getters. Preval’s party already holds six of 18 seats in the upper chamber.

    Security forces including 9,000 U.N. peacekeepers are prepared for protests by Lavalas supporters and others who have threatened to disrupt voting because their candidates were banned from the ballot.

    Both Aristide and his former party still enjoy widespread support, especially among Haiti’s urban poor.

    Preval, who was prime minister under Aristide, was elected president in 2006 with strong Lavalas backing. But Aristide’s supporters now consider Preval a traitor for failing to return the exiled president to Haiti.

    Lavalas petitioned the electoral council to allow its candidates to run for Senate, but its case was weakened by a split in the party. Council President Frantz-Gerard Verret said the candidates were disqualified because they failed to produce documents signed by Aristide, the party’s leader who was flown to exile in Africa on a U.S. plane during a 2004 rebellion.

    “This is essentially a political decision,” University of Virginia Haiti expert Robert Fatton Jr. said, referring to the council’s ruling. “All the parties who made this decision are essentially united against Lavalas and want to marginalize Lavalas as far as they can.”

    The electoral council, not the government, had a sole role in approving candidates, Preval said Thursday at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    “We are doing everything in our power to ensure that the government is neutral in the running of the elections,” Preval said. He plans to return from the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad to vote in person on Sunday.

    Clinton praised Haiti’s electoral process as free and fair, and called it a model to be emulated by nearby Cuba.

    But the U.S. embassy in Port-au-Prince joined Canada and the Organization of American States in voicing concern when Lavalas was excluded from the ballot in February. U.N. Security Council delegates in March praised Lavalas for continuing to contest the decision.

    Armed U.N. peacekeepers escorted ballots and voting materials to polling places in the capital on Saturday, and international election monitors fanned out to countryside precincts.

    The elections were originally scheduled for late 2007, but canceled after the electoral council was dissolved amid infighting and an alleged assassination attempt on one of its members. Riots then toppled Haiti’s government and four successive hurricanes led to nearly 800 deaths last year.

    Twelve seats are now vacant after 10 senators’ terms expired, one died in a car crash and another resigned.


    Associated Press Writer Evens Sanon contributed to this report.


  5. Pingback: Civilians suffer in wars | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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