Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.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.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


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:

Troops:

triangleNorthern Ireland, August '69: 'Battle of the Bogside' and British troops on the streets

trianglePeterloo: "If the people were to rise and smite their enemies, was not this the time?" Samuel Bamford, demonstrator

triangle15 years since the invasion of Iraq: what we said

Water:

triangleGoing viral: Socialist comments and letters

triangleCuts and climate change cause floods

Earthquake:

triangleJapan - toxic legacy of the Fukushima disaster

United Nations:

triangleAnger continues to mount over imposition of direct rule

International

International

20/5/20

US

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

6/5/20

India

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

6/5/20

Trump

Trump puts profit before safety (again)

6/5/20

US

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

29/4/20

May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement

29/4/20

Ireland

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

22/4/20

USA

US private healthcare system in meltdown

14/4/20

Coronavirus

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

8/4/20

CWI

Coronavirus, capitalism and fighting for socialism worldwide

8/4/20

Amazon

Amazon workers threaten revolution!

18/3/20

France

French local elections: CWI candidate elected

18/3/20

Coronavirus

United States: private healthcare exposed as Trump throws money at markets

18/3/20

Coronavirus

'Health not profit' strike wave sweeps Italy

11/3/20

US

How can Trump be ousted from the White House?

11/3/20

Italy

Italy on lockdown: lack of resources and democracy causes panic

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999