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Where is the Money? We Can Wait No Longer…

“A promise is a comfort only to a fool.”  These were the words CARICOM representative Camillo Gonsalvez used to describe the state of international pledges for the reconstruction of Haiti at a Brooklyn community forum on May 26, 2010.  Mr. Gonsalvez was referring to the startling contradiction that on March 31st international donors pledged a total of over $10 billion at the “Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti,” and yet, the Haitian Government is currently forced to operate with only 20% of its yearly budget.

With the cameras flashing and videos streaming, international donors such as the U.S., E.U., and the InterAmerican Development Bank, made promises to a devastated Haiti that they were not willing to keep.  Now, over 6 months since the earthquake, over 1 million Haitians are still homeless in tent and tarp cities and the Haitian government has not seen the relief money pledged.  In addition, the Haitian government continues to be undermined by the thousands of well-funded foreign NGOs and development agencies that circumvent its sovereignty at every opportunity.

In the face of great suffering and adversity, the so-called “developed” nations told the world what they wanted to hear and then disappeared into thin air.  True international solidarity has been shown only through the tangible action and sacrifice of progressive nations, such as Cuba, Venezuela, ALBA and CARICOM.  While the U.S. was shipping over 10,000 soldiers to secure private interests, Cuba and CARICOM already had thousands of doctors and emergency workers on the front lines, working 24/7 to support their Haitian brothers and sisters in their time of greatest need.

In an exemplary act of international solidarity, Hugo Chavez immediately cancelled Haiti’s $295 million external debt with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and summed up the historical importance of Haiti in the fight for freedom and self-determination of oppressed people everywhere, stating  ”“Haiti has no debt with Venezuela, just the opposite: Venezuela has a historical debt with that nation, with that people for whom we feel not pity but rather admiration, and we share their faith, their hope.”  The contradiction between real action and flashy lip service could not be more clear.

Join us on Friday, October 1, 2010 at 7 PM at Sistas’ Place 456 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn NY for a city wide forum on Haiti: 6 months later and help us hold every country that pledged accountable for every penny pledged. Also, join us on Saturday, September 25, 2010 for a solidarity march from the Haitian Consulate at 10 AM 271 Madison Avenue, to the United Nations at 42nd Street and First Ave, New York City and make our voice heard!”

By Kenta Darley Usmar

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