The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Haitian Government Driving Refugees from the Camps

Apr 26, 2010

The following article is from the April 23 issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France

Three months after the January 12th earthquake, which left hundreds of thousands of people without homes or shelter, the Haitian government carried out the forced eviction of refugees from the camps the population had set up in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Seven thousand people were evicted by government forces from the city’s stadium. Some ten thousand people had taken refuge within the grounds of Saint Louis of Gonzague high school, a very upper crust establishment in the capital. They have been evicted. A church official dared to approve the evictions, claiming, “It isn’t normal for the emergency to continue after three months!” So much for Christian sharing and morality!

These camps had provided only makeshift shelter, but they let those who have lost everything have easier access to drinking water, toilets, food and medical care than if they were living alone.

In other words, by driving the refugees from the camps, the Haitian government has shown it hasn’t the slightest concern for the living conditions of the population – just as it demonstrated right after the earthquake. And by driving the refugees out of their camps, the Haitian government makes their living conditions even worse.

In addition, the rainy season has arrived in Haiti, posing a serious threat to this weakened population.

International organizations are the willing accomplices of the Haitian government’s plan to drive the homeless from the capital. Distribution of food has stopped or been cut back in certain camps. A spokesman for the World Food Program stated, “It’s part of our strategy. Things are beginning to return to normal in Haiti,” as though thousands of homeless refugees were normal!

Such international personnel show their contempt for the Haitian people. They dare to think that “normal” in Haiti means disgusting living conditions and extreme misery!