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On January 12th, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti. The earthquake was centered ten miles southwest of Haiti's capital Port-Au-Prince and was the largest earthquake to strike the Caribbean nation in more than two centuries. Buildings have collapsed and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN he believed more than 100,000 people have died. Among the buildings that collapsed were the Presidential Palace, the UN headquarters and at least one hospital in the capital.
The earthquake struck around 5:00pm and was followed by at least 27 aftershocks, the largest two of which were 5.9 and 5.5 in magnitude.
René Préval, the president of Haiti, has described
how he had been forced to step over dead bodies and heard the cries of those trapped under the rubble of the national parliament. "Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed," he told the Miami Herald. "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."
The last time an earthquake of this magnitude hit the south of Hispaniola, the island that Haiti shares with the Dominican Republic, was in 1751. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano has called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti. According to Moreau de Saint-Méry, while "only one masonry building had not collapsed" in Port-au-Prince during the 1751 earthquake, "the whole city collapsed" during the earthquake of 1770 earthquake. The city of Cap-Haïtien and other cities in the northern part of Haiti and the Dominican Republic were destroyed in an earthquake in 1842. In 1946, a magnitude-8.0 earthquake struck the Dominican Republic and also shook Haiti, producing a tsunami that killed 1,790 people.
Democracy Now Coverage:
Remember When We Talked About Imperialism?
WSWS: Major earthquake devastates Haitian capital
Haiti earthquake feared to have killed many
Haiti's National Palace Collapsed In Earthquake
An Urgent Appeal from the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund
Allow Aristide to return to Haiti now
Wikipedia: 2010 Haiti Earthquake
USGS: Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Strikes Haiti
Friday, February 29th
was the 3rd International Day in Solidarity with the Haitian People
: there were "coordinated protests on 4 continents on the 4th anniversary of the ongoing US/UN invasion, coup, and occupation against democracy in Haiti." Haiti Action Committee was at the Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley (64 Shattuck Square, 1/2 block south of University Ave. in Berkeley), starting at 7:30am, for a day of civil resistance and protest four years after the latest invasion of Haiti, which was led by the US Marines.
Haiti is still under a foreign military occupation which has been marked by rapes and wanton killings of the poor. Since the coup, Haiti has faced growing hunger, unemployment, and an increased cost of living. Haiti’s jails are still filled with political prisoners and the poor, while coup plotters and paramilitary death squads remain free. Although President Rene Preval was elected in 2006, most functionaries from the US-installed coup regime of 2004-06 remain in office today.
A protest in solidarity with the Haitian people was held in downtown San Jose at the corner of Market Street and San Carlos Street, at the south end of Cesar Chavez Plaza from 5:00pm to 6:00pm. Events were reportedly also planned for Santa Cruz, Sonoma, San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont, San Rafael, and many other locations around the world.
Indybay's past coverage of the MRS in Berkeley | Haiti Action Committee | HAC's Fact Sheet About the US Marines
On Tuesday, September 18
, the Bay Area-based Haiti Action Committee
(HAC) held a rally in downtown San Francisco to call attention to the
unresolved kidnapping of veteran Haitian human rights activist
East Bay drummers Ustadi, Tacuma, Rondo and Lanier kicked things off
by playing West African percussion near the intersection of Market and
MC Dave Welsh of the SF Labor Council, thanked the drummers and called
Robert Roth to the microphone.
Robert Roth, a San Francisco high school teacher and long-time HAC activist,
explained, "It's been over a month since Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine has
disappeared. He is a human rights worker, he's a psychologist, he's
worked with victims of torture from the coup of 1991-1994. He's
continued his human rights advocacy in Haiti during this recent coup
in 2004, a coup organized and created by the United States
government.... I want to just say that he is a deep thinker, and he
is a very, very important leader of the people's movement in Haiti.
And he has disappeared for over a month, and that's a crime against
the people of Haiti... We will not give up
hope for his safe return, we will not give up our demand that the
authorities in Haiti account for his disappearance, and bring him
safely back to his family, his people."
Haiti Action Committee co-founder Pierre Labossiere also spoke: "this beautiful brother,
psychologist, human rights worker, someone who's at the forefront of
the movement for justice, for economic and social justice for the
people of Haiti, and for people throughout the world."
Labossiere concluded that there was one message to deliver "to the US
embassy in Haiti, to the Brazilian authorities, who are in charge of
the UN mission in Haiti, to the Haitian authorities." That message:
"we need them to exert all their influence...they are very powerful,
very influential with all sectors of Haitian society, from the very
top politicians to the underworld, to demand one thing: that brother
Lovinsky be returned to his family safely. We can do that, it's
important, it's necessary that we do that."
A hero of the Haitian Resistance, singer and grassroots organizer, Annette Auguste ("So An") was seized from her home by US Marines as part of the 2004 coup d'etat in Haiti, and was held as a political prisoner for over 2 years. Jail did not stop her from organizing or from singing, and she is still doing both today. Oakland will welcome So An on Saturday, March 10th
, at 7PM at The Uptown, 401 26th St (between Broadway & Telegraph, near 19th St BART). Vukani Mawethu Freedom Song Choir, So An herself, and her husband Wilfrid, a master drummer, will perform.
"Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits," the new 90-minute film by Kevin Pina, introduced by So An, will be screened on Wednesday, March 14th
, at 7PM at the Grand Lake Theater, 3200 Grand Ave., Oakland. This documentary shows how foreign occupiers -- from the US Marines 1915-34 to the US, France, Canada and the UN in the present day -- have tried to destroy Haiti's popular movement for freedom, sovereignty and democracy. It also tells the story of the Haitian Resistance that will not die.
Haiti Action Committee | 8/06: So An Released | 2006 WBAI Interview with So An | 5/2005: Grandmother in Prison for Loyalty to Aristide
was an International Day in Solidarity
with the People of Haiti. The day was part of a campaign against the US/UN
Occupation by the popular movement in Haiti, leading up to February 15th,
when the UN Security Council is due to renew its Haiti mandate. The 8000
UN troops are seen as a proxy force for the US, French and Canadian
soldiers who overthrew Haiti's government in a 2004 coup. UN troops and
police-controlled death squads routinely assault communities that support
the Lavalas grassroots democracy movement. Organizers say, "We need to
act now in solidarity with our Haitian sisters and brothers, whose
unbreakable spirit, in the face of severe repression, just won’t stop."
have been held in the past, with actions in over 15
cities on July 21st, 2005
and in 47 cities in 17 countries on September 30th, 2005
Today, violent repression continues against grassroots
activists and communities – by UN forces and paramilitary death squads
created by the Haitian National Police. In addition to killings, this
repression has taken the form of sexual abuse, beatings, house burnings,
arbitrary arrests, and the prolonged, illegal detention of people without
any charges. UN forces have been repeatedly implicated in these
, people gathered at 4:30pm for a rally at Powell and
Market Street, followed by a march to the Brazilian Consulate. Brazil commands the UN military force in Haiti.
In San Jose
, people gathered
from 5pm to 6pm at the South end of Cesar Chavez Plaza.
Bay Area events | Haiti Action
Committee | Haitisolidarity.net