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Haiti earthquake: Some early photos and video

Via Aporrea, two YouTubes. Some photos:

And some video:

Aporrea is also reporting that the UN chief-of-mission in Haiti, Hedi Annabi, has been killed in the 7.3 magnitude quake. The UN building (and that of MINUSTAH) has been destroyed, along with at least one hospital and a prison building (from which several inmates are reported to have escaped.)

Natural disasters hit Haiti harder than anyplace else on Earth because of its poverty; El Duderino reminds us of why Haiti is so poor in the first place, and why it is also so vulnerable to coups planned from just a few hundred miles offshore. (Coups which, incidentally, have disgraced my own home and native land, and shame me as a Canadian.)

In a way, the destruction of the MINUSTAH headquarters seems like poetic justice, since MINUSTAH was originally there to prop up a government that the people of Haiti did not elect, and overstayed its welcome considerably--and under protest. Its real mission is unclear, but its apparent mission is to make sure that the original elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, doesn't get back into office in any way, shape or form. Its stated mission was to distribute aid and fight crime, but it seems to have been complicit in its share of crime and has been less than effective in distributing aid--except to foreign NGOs, of which there is certainly no shortage in Haiti, whatever else is lacking.

And there is a lot more lacking in that little country now.

Meanwhile, Venezuela's response was quick and to the point: They sent doctors and are gathering non-perishable food, clothing, medicines, etc. Solidarity in action, rather than endless preachy words. No wonder the Haitians gave Chavecito a hero's welcome last time he showed up in person. They will again, I'll bet, when they're back on solid ground.

Seguid el ejemplo qué Caracas dió...

UPDATES: Some other Canadian content on this story. A Progressive Bloggers member is worried about her parents, who are currently in Haiti and unaccounted for. Another Canadian citizen in the country texted for help, and got it. Meanwhile, a Canadian nurse is confirmed to be among the dead.

Comments

Since I was in community college, where I formed a friendship with a student from Haiti, I have long paid attention to the history, culture, and the politics.

It amazes me how little African Americans makes connections to Haiti--especially given the history as the first sucessful slave revolt and freedom from colonialism in the Americas.

The progressive-left has been amiss in ignoring Haiti, and not being critical of Obama for supporting supression of the authentic democratic expression of the people´s will (allowing the corrupt government to fanagle a way to prohibit the largest political party of Haiti--Lavalas--from competing in a fair manner, or any manner at all.

That all this gets covered up and ignored really says a lot about the state of the so called liberal-left in the US.

I have been castigated and marginalized when I point this hypocrisy up among the chattering blog class.

Aristide has been the best president of Haiti, and he has been villified to no end. The stupider among the liberal-left actually buy into the rightwing propaganda (as with Venezuela).

Disasters like this have a way of sabatoging elite control over the political situation. Let´s hope that the authentic forces of democracy in Haiti take the ball and run with it. Expose the Obama administration´s white supremist hypocrisy in supporting oligarchy in Haiti.

The cool Kos crowd will do its best to remain silent on the fundamentals of this hypocrisy. Effe them.

It certainly does look like the elite control got sabotaged by nature in a big way yesterday. MINUSTAH, which propped up the coup régime, got walloped.

Haiti has been interesting and frustrating for me to follow in the news--most of what I see is just crypto-racist "rah rah, aren't we doing wonders for those ingrates" feel-good drivel. And occasionally, when something really egregious happens, like the killing of a MINUSTAH soldier in revenge for something previously unreported, we get to see the true face of the coup. One thing we NEVER hear about in any mainstream outlet is the extent to which our "doing wonders" has actually hurt Haiti--like, for instance, how clothing companies "provide jobs" there. Yeah--SWEATSHOP jobs. Which are easily revoked--whenever the locals get uppity, the company withdraws the contract and moves to someplace where the labor laws are even worse. (Our "charitable" dumping of unwanted clothing in countries like that doesn't help; it makes it impossible for locals to produce clothing at a fair price and earn a decent living at it. In fact, I suspect that what it really feeds is the sweatshops!)