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Caribbean

Haiti: Promised rebuilding unrealised; authoritarian rule challenged

Important achievements in earthquake rehabilitation were achieved with the public health initiatives taken by Haiti's Ministry of Public Health in cooperation with large international missions and many smaller, vital health care projects. The contributions of Cuba and Partners In Health stood out.

For more on Haiti, click HERE.

By Travis Ross and Roger Annis

Haiti: Tyrant Jean-Claude Duvalier dead, but his legacy survives

Papa Doc with Baby Doc.

For more on Haiti, click HERE.

By Roger Annis

October 8, 2014 -- Truthout, submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author -- Jean-Claude Duvalier, the tyrant who ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986, has died in Haiti at the age of 63. His death provides a moment for political reflection by the Haitian people, especially in view of the reality that so much of Duvalier's harsh political legacy remains alive and well in the island country.

A UN Security Council foreign military occupation has entered its 11th year. It serves to bolster much of the authoritarian Duvalier legacy, which has always, at its heart, been about excluding the Haitian people from governing their own country.

Grenada: ‘A big revolution in a small country’

We Move Tonight: The Making of the Grenada Revolution
By Joseph Ewart Layne
St. George’s, Grenada: Grenada Revolution Memorial Foundation, 2014
Paperback 203 pp.
ISBN: 9781492724582

Review by Laurence Goodchild

October 3, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “A big revolution in a small country” is allegedly how Fidel Castro described the overthrow of Grenada’s authoritarian government when being questioned on the matter back in 1979[i]. Grenada, a country which has a population of no more than 110,000 and a land mass of only 133 square miles, certainly is small. Yet the revolutionary transformation of the island between the years of 1979 and 1983 sent profound shockwaves throughout the Caribbean and beyond; well into the metropolitan centres of imperial power.

The economic and social progress made in those years is well documented and can largely be attributed to a state-led development strategy, expansion of participatory welfare programs and an independent foreign policy[ii]. These features of the revolution, which made it a beacon for all those struggling against colonial and neo-colonial practices, are what made it “big”. Furthermore, it is these features, rather than any illusionary threat, which undoubtedly led the USA to invade Grenada in 1983.

Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 2)

August 2, 2014 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- This is the next installment of the debate between Felipe Stuart and Michael Karadjis on the question of the concept of an anti-imperialist "camp" and related positions, strategies and tactics. The first part can be read at "Is there an 'anti-imperialist camp'? A debate (part 1)". Below, Stuart responds to Karadjis' previous contribution, followed by a final reply by Karadjis. Further discussion will continue in the comments section at the end of this post.

By Felipe Stuart

Michael Karadjis, thanks for your response to my last article.

I suspect that your distinction between class-based politics and anti-imperialist-based politics is rooted in a failure on your part to understand that imperialism itself is all about class and class struggle. I hope I am wrong, but let’s discuss that.

I movimenti sociali dell’America Latina delineano la solidarietà con l’alleanza ALBA

[English at http://links.org.au/node/3361.]

Di Federico Fuentes

28 maggio 2013 -- Znetitaly.altervista.org -- Un importante vertice di significato mondiale, svoltosi in Brasile dal 16 al 20 maggio, è passato in gran parte inosservato dalla maggior parte degli organi di stampa, comprese molte fonti di sinistra e progressiste.

Questo vertice non è stato del solito tipo, che coinvolge capi di stato e capitani di industria.

E’ stato invece un raduno di rappresentanti di movimenti sociali di tutta l’America Latina e dei Caraibi – luogo della maggior parte delle lotte e delle ribellioni popolari dei recenti decenni.

Questa regione rimane anche l’unica dove è comparsa un’alternativa al capitalismo neoliberale a mandare avanti questa alternativa è l’Alleanza Bolivariana dei Popoli della Nostra America (ALBA). Capeggiata dai governi liberali di Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador e Cuba, annovera 8 stati membri, ma cerca di rapportarsi con i movimenti popolari, non soltanto con i governi.

Latin America: Social movements map solidarity with ALBA alliance

By Federico Fuentes

May 27, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- An important summit of global significance, held in Brazil on May 16-20, 2013, has largely passed below the radar of most media outlets, including many left and progressive sources.

This summit was not the usual type, involving heads of states and business leaders. Instead, it was a gathering of social movement representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean -- the site of some of the most intense struggles and popular rebellions of the past few decades.

This region also remains the only one where an alternative to neoliberal capitalism has emerged. Pushing this alternative is the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA). Spearheaded by the radical governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cuba, it has eight member states, but seeks to relate to people's movements, not just governments.

Ska: the pulse that doesn't die; Reggae: evolution of a rebel music

Foundation Ska
The Skatalites
Heartbeat/Rounder through Festival

Review by Norm Dixon

March 25, 1998 -- Green Left Weekly -- Viewers of late night music television will have noticed a revival of the unmistakable "ba-ba-ba" ska pulse in some of the clips emanating from the US. Punk/thrash bands like Rancid and No Doubt, as well as longer established new-wave ska outfits like the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Toasters, are leading what is dubbed the "ska-core" or "third wave ska" movement.

This revival is simply the latest example of how western pop music repeatedly rejuvenates itself (via often circuitous and complex paths) from the music of the African diaspora.

Ska appeared in Jamaica around the time of independence in 1962. It reflected the pride and assertiveness of the Jamaican people as they threw off the shackles of formal British rule. Ska was Jamaica's first indigenous popular music, and its influence has spread far and wide.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Jamaican musicians made their living playing in "society bands" — big bands which played very restrained swing music for the colonial upper crust and their local imitators in swank hotels and nightclubs. Poor Jamaicans, in the countryside and the ghettos, played and listened to traditional, African-derived mento music.

Hurricane Sandy is another blow to Haiti

Farmers in Haiti. Photo by Elizabeth Whelan.

By Roger Annis

November 10, 2012 -- Rabble, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Roger Annis's permission -- Hurricane Sandy struck another heavy blow to Haiti on October 23, 24, 2012. At least 54 people died and dozens more are missing. Several tens of thousands of people were flooded out of their homes or earthquake survivor camps. 

There are some 370,000 people stuck in appalling conditions in the camps while hundreds of thousands more have gone back to damaged homes or whatever other inadequate shelter they can find.

Most media reports focused almost entirely on the storm's impact on the United States, while mostly ignoring its severe consequences in the Caribbean. 

Media reports, and doesn’t report, on Sandy in Haiti

Puerto Rico elections: New Partido del Pueblo Trabajador to challege neoliberal parties

By Antonio Carmona

October 31, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- After years of strategic dialogue and an arduous process of electoral inscription, Puerto Rico can now count on an organised alternative, a political party that is committed to defending the interests of the working class and marginalised sectors of the island’s population. On November 6, 2012, the new Working People’s Party (Partido del Pueblo Trabajador, PPT) will run 71 candidates, from governor to members of the municipal legislative assembly. “Breaking the electoral barrier” and “Puerto Rico should be governed by those who sweat for it” are the slogans that the PPT brings to the 2012 elections.

The PPT represents a radical break with traditional politics on the island, as it welcomes people who believe in social justice, democratic rights, (local) sustainable development and environmental protection, independently of the positions that individuals may hold concerning the country’s political status.

Jamaicans seek change, elect opposition PNP

Jamaica's first female prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller.

By Barry Weisleder, Montego Bay, Jamaica

January 6, 2012 -- Socialist Action (Canada), posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- Car horns blared, orange flags waved and campaign reggae jingles pulsated. Youthful political celebrants blew vuvuzelas from roving car caravans on the evening of December 29, 2011, continuing well past sunrise, across the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica.

A snap election called by the governing Jamaica Labour Party catapulted the opposition People's National Party into government after a five-year hiatus. In terms of seats in the House of Representatives, it was a landslide, 41-22 for the PNP. In terms of votes, it was a 3 per cent shift from the very close 2007 results. This time the PNP won 53 per cent, the JLP 47 per cent. Political pundits were equally surprised by the relatively large margin of victory, and by the record low 52 per cent turnout.

Photo essay: Thousands hit the streets of Durban to protest UN 'Conference of Polluters'; Small Island States join Occupy COP17

Overview of the march. Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC.

[For more on the COP17 Durban climate talks, click HERE.]

Photo essay by Orin Langelle (Global Justice Ecology Project) and Anne Petermann (Global Justice Ecology Project-Global Forest Coalition).

December 3, 2011 – Climate Connections -- Around 12,000 people from South Africa and around the world hit the streets of Durban, South Africa, to protest the UN Climate Conference of Polluters on December 3.

Photo: Petermann/GJEP-GFC.

Interview: Cuba's health-care miracle in Haiti

Dr Jorge Balseiro Estevez, of the Henry Reeve Cuban Internationalist Medical Brigade, interviewed by Roger Annis

October 30, 2011 -- Canada Haiti Action Network -- Dr Jorge Balseiro Estevez is director of the University Hospital of Psychiatry in the city of Camaguey, Cuba. He is a specialist in psychiatry and health administration and auxiliary professor of medical sciences at the university. He is a member of the Henry Reeve Cuban Internationalist Medical Brigade[1] and a director of the brigade’s field hospital in the city of Leogâne, Haiti. Leogane was the epicentre of the earthquake of January 12, 2010.

Estevez was invited to Canada on a speaking tour to some 15 cities across Canada in October and November 2011. The tour was organised by the Canadian Network on Cuba and its local affiliates, with sponsorship from a broad range of trade unions, health professionals and Haiti solidarity groups.

Roger Annis of the Canada Haiti Action Network sat down with Estevez on October 30 in Vancouver for an interview about the Cuban medical mission’s accomplishments in Haiti and the challenges that lie ahead.

Fact-finding delegation reports on post-earthquake Haiti

Cuban and Cuba-trained Haitian doctors at work in Haiti.

July 26, 2011 -- Canada Haiti Action Network -- Three Canadian solidarity activists conducted a 10-day fact-finding and solidarity mission to Haiti from June 20 to 30, 2011. The delegation, organised by Haiti Solidarity BC, the Vancouver affiliate of the Canada Haiti Action Network, travelled throughout the earthquake zone, including Port-au-Prince, Léogâne and Jacmel.

We visited neighbourhoods, camps of displaced people, medical centres and human rights and social organisations there to gain an overview of the most pressing needs in Haiti. During some of our visits and interviews, we were joined by other Canadians working on aid projects.

Haiti: Diplomat delivers searing indictment of occupation regime

January 9, 2011 -- Socialist Voice -- Of all the commentaries and interviews coinciding with the anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake, none are likely to exceed in significance the interview granted by Organization of American States representative to Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus, to the Swiss daily Le Temps on December 20, 2010.

The critique he delivered to the newspaper is especially significant for Latin America and the Caribbean because Seitenfus is Brazilian. Sensitivity is running high in the region over the evident failure of the international relief effort led by the big powers – the United States, Canada and Europe – whose interventionist policies had already done so much harm to Haiti before this latest catastrophe.

Cuban medics in Haiti put the world to shame (UK Independent)

[See also "Cuba: Reversing the medical `brain drain’ – the many faces of ELAM".]

By Nina Lakhani

Castro's doctors and nurses are the backbone of the fight against cholera

December 26, 2010 -- The Independent -- They are the real heroes of the Haitian earthquake disaster, the human catastrophe on America's doorstep which Barack Obama pledged a monumental US humanitarian mission to alleviate. Except these heroes are from [the United States'] arch-enemy Cuba, whose doctors and nurses have put US efforts to shame.

A medical brigade of 1200 Cubans is operating all over earthquake-torn and cholera-infected Haiti, as part of Fidel Castro's international medical mission which has won the socialist state many friends, but little international recognition.

* * *

STOP PRESS: New Henry Reeve Brigade arrives in Haiti

By Juan Diego Nusa Peñalver

Haiti: `Don't blame Haitians for election fiasco'

The popular Fanmi Lavalas party was excluded from the November 28 Haitian elections.

The following article appeared on the op-ed page of the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest circulation daily newspaper, on December 1, 2010. Kevin Edmonds is a freelance journalist and graduate student at McMaster University’s Globalization Institute. Roger Annis is a coordinator of the Canada Haiti Action Network.

* * *

By Roger Annis and Kevin Edmonds

December 1, 2010 -- Those who counselled against holding a national election in Haiti in the midst of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis will take no comfort in the debacle it became. Our thoughts rest squarely with the tens of thousands of people afflicted with cholera, and the hundreds of thousands of earthquake victims still without shelter, clean water and hope. How much suffering could have been alleviated with the tens of million of dollars spent on a wasted electoral exercise?

Haiti: Sham `selection' serves interests of wealthy elite and foreign powers

November 18, 2010 -- Democracy Now! -- "Protests against UN continue over cholera outbreak". Protests are continuing in Haiti over the cholera outbreak that has now killed more than 1100 people and infected some 17,000. For the full transcript of the report, click here.

By the Canada Haiti Action Network

November 12, 2010 -- The Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN) is once again expressing its grave concerns about exclusionary elections in Haiti.[1] It joins with the many Haitians as well as human rights organisations in Haiti and abroad in condemning these elections as serving the interests of Haiti's wealthy elite and the foreign powers that have dominated Haiti's past and present.

Peter Hallward: Haiti 2010 -- Exploiting disaster

With Peter Hallward's permission, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is making available the Afterword to the 2010 paperback edition of Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment (Verso, 2010), published in November. Readers can download the essay HERE, or read it on screen below.

Links' readers are urged to purchase Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment. Click here to do so.

Read more on the situation in Haiti HERE.

* * *

By Peter Hallward

Haiti nine months after the quake: Poor tell West, ‘Nothing! Nothing! We’ve seen nothing!’

By Isabeau Doucet

October 28, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- "Nothing! Nothing! We’ve seen nothing!", chanted the crowd of internally displaced people (IDP). They were pursuing former US president Bill Clinton from his photo-op in their squalid camp on his way to the third Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) meeting in downtown Port-au-Prince on October 6, 2010.

The crowd protesting Clinton was from the IDP camp on the golf course of the former Pétionville Club, a bourgeois enclave created by US marines when they first occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934. Ironically, the camp is considered one of the capital’s best, thanks to the attention brought to it by actor Sean Penn.

Disaster management: New Zealand, Haiti and the ‘Cuban way’

Earthquake damage in Christchurch. Although similar in magnitude to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti that killed 250,000, nobody died in the September 5, 2010, New Zealand quake.

By Reihana Mohideen, Manila

September 8, 2010 -- Comparisons must be made between the impact of the September 5 earthquake on Christchurch, New Zealand, and the quake that hit Haiti in January. The nature of a global system that maintains these inequalities should be exposed over and over again. In Haiti – with a population of around 9 million – some 250,000 people died in the earthquake and (according to government figures) 200,000 were injured and 1 million were made homeless. Some eight months later disaster still grips peoples lives. Fortunately, but in a staggering contrast, no lives were lost in New Zealand, although the earthquake was of a similar -- but slightly more powerful --- magnitude (7 on the Richter scale).

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