Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/648/10671

From The Socialist newspaper, 23 November 2010

Cholera epidemic sparks clashes between Haitians and UN troops

VIOLENT CLASHES in Haiti between protesters and United Nations troops on 14 November left at least two dead and 16 wounded in the country's second city, Cap-Haitien. Street barricades forced shut the city's public buildings and airport and a police station was set alight. Other protests and shootings were reported in Hinche and Gonaïves. The unrest also spread to the capital, Port-au-Prince, which was devastated by January's earthquake that left 250,000 dead and millions homeless.

Niall Mulholland, CWI

The protests were sparked by the outbreak of a cholera epidemic that has, so far, officially caused over 1,000 deaths and 1,000 new cases every day. There is widespread speculation that Nepalese UN troops inadvertently introduced the disease, which closely resembles a south Asian variant.

When Hurricane Tomas brushed the island on 5 November, the waterways spilled over, creating ideal conditions for the spread of cholera. This reinforced long-standing resentment towards UN troops amongst Haitians. UN 'peace-keeping' troops have grown to 12,000 since a coup, with US backing, overthrew the 'leftist' populist president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 2004.

There is also widespread anger towards the government of president René Préval, which is regarded as corrupt and feeble and blamed for failing to stop the spread of cholera. Foreign diplomats are now speculating whether elections set for 28 November will go ahead.

What began as an isolated diarrhoea case one month ago in the rural Artibonite valley, has rapidly led to over 17,000 people being taken to hospital. Epidemiologists warn that now it is in the water supply it can last for months or years. The disease has now reached Port-au-Prince, which is still in ruins following January's earthquake.

Cholera is caused by a water-borne bacterium called vibrio cholerae. Left untreated, it causes diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration and shock. It can kill within just 24 hours.

The disease creates few problems where there is clean water, sanitation and hygiene but Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is particularly vulnerable. There is not one sewage plant in the whole country, although the rich have septic systems in their homes.

Even before the earthquake, most Haitians lived in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions. Now many of Port-au-Prince's three million people live in tent cities, next to open sewers. Throughout the country, many people are forced to get water from the same rivers where people also wash and defecate.

Cholera is relatively easy to cure if patients are given antibiotics in time but Haiti's impoverished health service is hopelessly unable to cope. Poverty and a ruined infrastructure mean many Haitians come looking for medical help too late, or not at all.

Reconstruction

The United Nations estimates that 200,000 Haitians could get infected by the disease and appealed to the 'international community' for a $163 million emergency aid appeal. But the appalling 'humanitarian' record of the major capitalist governments towards Haiti can give the poor no confidence whatsoever.

Ten months after the earthquake, 1.5 million Haitians remain homeless and most of Port-au-Prince is still reduced to rubble. Only a tiny fraction of the $5 billion pledged by world governments for reconstruction, including over $1 billion from its neighbouring US superpower, has actually reached Haiti.

The plethora of largely unaccountable charities and NGOs that have sprung up in Haiti in recent years, can, at best, only benefit a tiny fraction of the tide of humanity that is in desperate need.

On the basis of capitalism, the vast majority of Haitians will remain impoverished, jobless, illiterate and hungry and living in shantytowns and tents.

This existence means that the mass of people will remain highly vulnerable to diseases and 'natural disasters'. Some 80% live below the poverty line. Joblessness sits at a staggering 75%.

More than ever, the Haitian masses need to have democratic control of the resources in society. Socialists call for immediate and fully funded emergency medical aid to combat the cholera epidemic, as well as a massive post-earthquake reconstruction programme, planned and organised through elected committees of workers, land labourers and poor people in every area.

The masses of Haiti urgently need good quality, quake-proof standard housing, hospitals, schools, roads and infrastructure, including access to clean water and sanitation, and other vital public resources and services.

Socialists oppose the unjust trade policies imposed on Haiti by the big capitalist powers and call for all foreign debts to be cancelled. We call for jobs and a living wage for all and for state subsidies for struggling small farmers. Living standards can only be transformed by bringing the main planks of the economy into public ownership, under democratic workers' control and management.

Change

For decades, Haiti has been plagued by poverty, joblessness and military dictatorships. The huge social gap between the poor Creole-speaking black majority, that makes up 95% of the population, and the French-speaking rich, 1% of whom own nearly half the country's wealth, remains untouched.

Workers and the poor in Haiti need their own independent class organisations, trade unions and a mass party with a socialist programme, to fight for real fundamental change.

Socialists demand an end to imperialist meddling - UN forces out of Haiti - and stand for a socialist Haiti, as part of a voluntary and equal socialist federation of the Caribbean.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 23 November 2010:


Youth Fight for Education

Youth Fight for Education: No cuts, no fees, save EMA!

No to victimisation, defend student protesters!

Defend university access for all!

Universities occupied over fees and cuts


Anti-cuts campaign

Not one job or one service to be cut

Mass organised action can stop cuts

1,000 march in Gloucester against 'scorched earth policy'

Fighting cuts: A militant stance is what's needed

Profiting from the most vulnerable

Government plans are an attack on council tenants

Fast news


Socialist Party workplace news

Firefighters on the march

McCluskey elected Unite general secretary


International socialist news and analysis

Ireland in crisis

Scotland and Wales: Don't accept the 'hand you have been dealt'

Cholera epidemic sparks clashes between Haitians and UN troops

Massive food price hikes spell disaster for poorest people


 

Home   |   The Socialist 23 November 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Haiti:

triangleHaiti Earthquake - Natural Disaster, Unnatural consequences?

triangleFast News

triangleHaiti: Survivors shackled by huge debt and poverty

triangleHaiti - disaster compounded by capitalism

Troops:

triangleSocialist inbox

triangleIreland: 100 years since the 1916 Easter rising

Water:

triangleMovement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangleWe're freezing: reverse cuts to boiler replacement schemes!

Earthquake:

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

United Nations:

triangleRefugee rescue

International

International

10/1/18

Iran

Movement challenges Iranian regime

10/1/18

Appeal

Appeal from Iranian independent unions

10/1/18

Sweden

Sweden: School strike against deportations

3/1/18

Catalonia

Catalan elections: PP humiliated

13/12/17

Israel

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

13/12/17

CWI

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

6/12/17

US

Trump's tax plan: Robin Hood in reverse

6/12/17

Ireland

Irish capitalist state: rotten to the core

6/12/17

Women

Fighting sexism, violence and capitalism - an international struggle

22/11/17

US

Trump's tax attacks

22/11/17

Australia

Australia: massive yes vote for marriage equality

21/11/17

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe: Mugabe gone - but his regime remains in power

15/11/17

Minneapolis

USA: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

10/11/17

Minneapolis

US: Historic vote for Ginger Jentzen campaign in Minneapolis

8/11/17

Sweden

Sweden: 'Revolution2017' success

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

triangle10 Jan Strike wins biggest pay rise in ten years

triangle10 Jan Movement of workers and youth challenges Iranian regime

triangle10 Jan Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's...

More ...

triangle16 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'Bad Art' - socialist struggle in the arts

triangle16 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: Building socialism in Cardiff in 2018

triangle17 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Planning for 2018

triangle17 Jan Salford Socialist Party: Housing crisis - the socialist solution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2