Food riots in Haiti turn deadly

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Food riots in Haiti turn deadly

Post by Barb » Sun Apr 06, 2008 11:27 am ... 331921.stm

Food riots turn deadly in Haiti

At least four people were killed and 20 wounded when demonstrations against rising food prices turned into riots in southern Haiti, officials say.
Reports say scores of people went on the rampage in the town of Les Cayes, blocking roads, looting shops and shooting at UN peacekeepers.
The UN said its personnel had opened fire at some of the armed protesters.

For two days running, parts of Haiti have been erupting into violence triggered by the soaring cost of food.

The prices of rice, beans and fruit have gone up by 50% in the last year.
Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a report saying that the food crisis threatened the Caribbean nation's fragile security.

The demonstrations against the high cost of living began on Thursday in a number of towns, but in some areas they turned into riots.

On Friday, thousands took to the streets again, with some blocking roads, burning cars and looting shops. A small group of protesters also broke into the UN compound in Les Cayes and damaged its gate.

We know that these demonstrations have been infiltrated by individuals linked to drug dealers and other smugglers Jacques Edouard Alexis Haitian Prime Minister

Some also fired shots at peacekeepers deployed in the town in an attempt to maintain public order. The UN troops fired back in response.

The ensuing unrest left three dead in Les Cayes, including one young man who demonstrators said was fatally shot in the head by the UN peacekeepers. The UN said it was investigating the death.

Haiti's Prime Minister, Jacques Edouard Alexis, condemned the violence, but said the mass demonstrations had been manipulated.

"We know that these demonstrations have been infiltrated by individuals linked to drug dealers and other smugglers," he said.

Mr Alexis said he had made $10m (£5m) available for schemes to help fight the rising cost of food, including food aid and half-price fertiliser. He also announced job creation and credit programmes.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the Americas. Around 80% of the population lives on less than $2 (£1) a day.

Dr Roger Malebranche

the Haitian problem

Post by Dr Roger Malebranche » Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:31 pm

I am always amazed at the brazen gall of Haitian politicians. They always have an excuse and it is of course always someone else's fault. Now it is drug dealers and smugglers. In other words those unknown perpetrators are the reason why people demonstrated. DUH ! Could it have been hunger and desperation pushed to the max ? Seeing children and loved ones starve to death ? I am sure our politicians all have their bellies full, full enough of course to tackle urgent Haitian problems like expulsing Mr Boulos from the senate for having a USA passport.
I wonder when my country will rise from the dead ?
Dr Roger Malebranche.

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Post by Serge » Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:26 pm

Yes my friend, the situation is dire in Haiti. While the problem is worldwide, in Haiti, with its lack of structure, a totally deficient national production, the situation has reached a very dangerous point.

Every class is affected, from what I understand, even those who have plenty money. I just learnt that thousands of people have shut down the main road in Petit-Goâve. Imagine what could happen if the whole country erupts as whole. This is partly the fault of this Gvt. which is totally unable to communicate, to keep in touch with the people. As I said above, many countries are going through the same riots: Egypt, many countriees in West Africa and so on. So the problem is no unique to Haiti, but, the Gvt. does not how how to communicate in general and it reacts too late or too slowly. What a tragedy!

Let us hope that something will be done to prevent a total breakdown reminiscent of a not too distant past.....


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Post by Barb » Mon Apr 07, 2008 10:00 pm

This is in no way meant as any kind of solicitation, but is meant as an example of the difficulties people there face. I had posted earlier about Theo's Work and Pwoje Espwa, whose website I follow and to whom I contribute. It is an orphanage run by a Catholic priest in Les Cayes. We got an e mail that in order to continue the neighborhood feeding program and the school (600 kids) at the same level of feeding activity, they would need to raise an additional seven thousand dollars a month because of rising food prices within the last six months. When you think that everyone is facing a perportionally steep rise in prices just to keep eating, it is pretty grim.

I also saw an article on the BBC that talked about the rising sense of nostalgia for the good old days of Duvalier, and I think I have learned enough on this board to disregard it as the propaganda that I think it was.

Dr Roger Malebranche

Post by Dr Roger Malebranche » Tue Apr 08, 2008 5:29 pm

Hi Barb, Hi Serge
I know the Cayes area well and it was one of the regions in Haiti where food was always plentiful. There is a nearby village called Camp-Perrin which looks (to me anyway ) like the proverbial Eden lost eons ago. And YES there is a longing in Haiti for the Duvalier days where there were security and stability as long as you kept your eyes and mouth closed. This longing is mostly from younger Haitians who never knew Duvalier as he the man was: a psychopath, a blood thirsty monster and the reason why the country is the way it is now.
But I respectfully disagree with you Serge about the problem of hunger being world wide. We cannot look at Egypt and the Saharan countries. Let's just at our close neighbors, The Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico and all the Caribbean islands. All are doing so much better than Haiti. Why ? Why ? In the 1940s, 50s Haiti was a showpiece and I remember how insulted a Haitian would be if someone told him that he looked Jamaican or African. We have reached a level so low that either we start coming up or we should donate the island to someone who could help it. Our nitwit politicians are there to bicker and fill their pockets. They would not know how to properly run a cockfight.


Re: the Haitian problem

Post by Gelin_ » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:46 pm

[quote]...I wonder when my country will rise from the dead ?[/quote]
It is MEN who put it among the dead and it was a slow process. It will take MEN again to help it rise from the dead and the process will be harder and slower. It is much easier to destroy than to build. It takes nine months for a child to take form inside the mother, and it takes many years and hard labor to raise that child into a adult. Right? But how long does it take for a death-spreading mind to pull the trigger and end that life? Just a few seconds. The deeper Haiti goes down the harder it's gonna be; but it's not impossible.


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Post by jafrikayiti » Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:05 pm

Apa li papa bèl demokrasi !

Nou te fè eleksyon an 2000 ak lajan Ayisyen, yo te di li pa bon. Yo defèt li.

Apa Tontonnwèl te pote bon jan Prezidan Boniface mache tèt bese pou nou... ansanm ak tout Premyeminis ki sot Boca Raton tou won. Yessir !

Jodi a, se grangou pèp la grangou...Tontonnwèl ap ba li plon.

2, 3, 10, 100 Ayisyen mouri.... ki lès k ap konte. MINUSTAH tire, san koule.... epi jan sa k mouri a rele...? Non sa a pa di n anyen.....bliye sa...

Men kite yon moun ki "moun" (pou yo) ta mouri ou ta tande bri....

Monchè nan figi tout kolabo, tout anachis ki mete nou la a mwen voye on plot krache !

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Post by Guysanto » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:53 am

[quote]When you think that everyone is facing a proportionally steep rise in prices just to keep eating, it is pretty grim.[/quote]
You are right, Barb. There is serious cause for concern because the members of the Haitian Diaspora who have traditionally supported Haiti with their dollars are getting squeezed too. Any serious disruption in the flow of remittances may have catastrophic consequences for Haiti.

[quote]I also saw an article on the BBC that talked about the rising sense of nostalgia for the good old days of Duvalier, and I think I have learned enough on this board to disregard it as the propaganda that I think it was.[/quote]
Well, that would be similar to children wishing that their mother return to an abusive husband because they miss his income or because their home appeared to be better kept at the time.

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Post by Serge » Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:53 pm

I am only now reading your post. and let me say this quickly. The worldwide hunger is quite real and you can find the references easily all over. Yes, Haiti used to be self sufficient in food, so did Zimbabwe. Not anymore. There is fear of food riots in many countries in Asia, AFrica etc.

Our neighbours are doing well in that department. They did not have an obscure, obtuse, vicious , totally destructive, retrograde dictator like Duvalier, to whom we owe the total decline of our national production. It is well documented how agriculture went down the drain under his regime, and how overpopulation became a reality in Port-au-Prince.

We are paying dearly for all that now. No wonder our neighbours are doing better than we are on all fronts! Add to that the militaray's role after 1986, the many coup d'état, the devastating coup of 1991, during which Cedras and his thugs destroyed everything the peasants had been building in Hinche, the incompetence and lack of vision of our leaders, a private sector that only performs well in opposition , but does not see further than the tip of its nose, in short, a tragically incompetent political class, and you have a recipe for disaster. No one seems to learn anything from anything..

Roger, I am not trying to find excuses for those in power now, I am just saying that because of a lack of vision, of planning, of initiative, the actual Gvt. has managed to assume a worldwide problem. That did not have to be. The irony of it all is that many other countries are looking at what is happening Haiti and have already taken some necessary steps to prevent the same situation from arising in their countries. That is some kind of reference, right?

I could go on and on, but let me me stop here.



Food riots in Haiti turn deadly

Post by Dunord » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:56 pm

The food riots in Haiti started out innocent enough I am sure but soon turned into a way for certain groups to make their political points.
There is a shortage of food worldwide developing and of particular concern for Haiti is rice. True, Haiti used to be self sufficient in rice but that was a few million people ago. The rice exporting countries which employed modern farming techniques could provide rice cheaper than the small farmers in Haiti. The tariffs on imported rice were lifted and imported cheap foreign rice saved many people from starvation. Now the exporting countries such as those in southeast Asia have slowed the export of rice by order of their own government so that their own people don't suffer. The USA farmers and their socialized agribusiness are reaping the financial benefits but this won't last. The globalization of food which everyone in power seemed to think was a good idea is now showing its ugly side and, that is, without global planning one depends on weather and markets to determine the global supply of food.

I believe Preval is on the right track when he speaks of government subsidized fertilizer so that we can at least afford to begin growing our own rice and other products but the truth of the matter is that without land reform, which no one wants to talk about, food self sufficiency in Haiti is only a dream as the population continues to grow.

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