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By Mina Remy
September 10th, 2012
The United States is facing its worst drought in nearly 50 years. Not alone in its extreme weather, parts of Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia (especially India) and South America are in the same boat. And while the drought certainly affects people in these nations directly, the impact may be felt as much – if not more – in the small Caribbean nation of Haiti, for reasons as complex and numerous as import-dependent food systems, lack of agricultural investment, and just plain bad luck and timing (from earthquakes to floods to global climate disruption).
By Mina Remy
September 4th, 2012
Before I arrived at Grassroots International (nearly a year ago), I thought I understood the hardships imposed on Gaza. I knew about the imposed siege, had read and heard of the Turkish flotilla of 2010 and other humanitarian attempts to reach Gaza. I even knew about loss of acres of farmland, inadequate access to potable water, shortage of medicines, shortage of building materials, and periodic bombardment by the Israeli Defense Forces.
They left San Vicente searching for a peaceful place to live, free of the oppressive British colonial powers. Three thousand women, men and children sailing atop the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea were thirsty and hungry. The sun over their heads was abrasive. Many perished before reaching the island of Roatan, Honduras, their new home. Today, many of their Garifuna heirs, an Afro-descendant population in the Caribbean coast of Central America, are still struggling for days of peace, like their ancestors envisioned some 213 years ago.
This summer, a group of Grassroots International supporters and allies participated in a delegation to Pernambuco, Brazil. There they saw first-hand the resilient and powerful work of the Landless Workers Movement, the Movement of People Affected by Dams, and the Via Campesina. Along the way, delegates talked with with small farmers, families living in encampments waiting for land, and indigenous communities working to protect their ancestral lands from the incursion of impending dams.
Below is a blog from Peggy Newell, one of the delegates and a Grassroots International supporter, offering her reflections on the journey.
Traveling to Not That Brazil, by Peggy Newell
Two weeks ago, Haitian President Michel Martelly toured Caracol Industrial Park in the Northeast Department with stops at the Park’s power plant and future employee housing site. He also used his visit as an opportunity to urge the project’s construction workers to “give the best of themselves in building this new Haiti.”
Things are not going well for Caterpillar or Elbit Systems’ stocks.
For Haitian peasants July 23, 1986, will always be remembered with sadness and renewed conviction. On that day at least 139 peasants were killed in Jean-Rabel, located in the Northwest of the country, by Tonton Macoutes following orders from local landowners. Most of the peasants killed were advocating for land reform by contesting local landowners’ claims to State-owned land. The massacre took place at a turbulent time in Haitian history, a mere few months after a popular struggle led to Jean-Claude Duvalier’s ouster, which in turn led to a power vacuum immediately filled by a bloody military junta. The junta remained in place until the democratic election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1991.
Two excellent pieces written recently about the intersection of the June 22 coup d’état in Paraguay and land issues offer a clear analysis of the core issues behind the power struggle in the South American nation.