Revolution #192, February 14, 2010
Reporter's Journal from Haiti
In the last week of January a reporter for Revolution traveled to Port-au-Prince to investigate the causes and consequences of the earthquake in Haiti, and to talk to a wide range of Haitians about their experiences, their feelings and their thinking about what is known in Kreyòl as the "Katastrof." He stayed for one week in different encampments of people made homeless by the quake. He was able to tour a large part of the earthquake zone, including parts of the huge working class districts of Delmas and Carrefour, the suburbs of Pétionville and Kenscoff, the downtown business, residential and governmental districts, and the field-hospital-and-shantytown in the nearby town of Léogâne, which lost over 80% of its buildings and at least 20,000 people in the quake.
During his time in Haiti our Revolution reporter spoke with dozens of people. They included former peasants who were part of the great migration from the countryside that swelled Port-au-Prince from one million to three million people in the last 20 years, street vendors, aid workers, youth, retired factory workers, radicals and revolutionaries, preachers, businessmen and small capitalists. He took part in intense street debates and quiet discussions about the reasons for the complete lack of U.S. aid in most parts of the zone, and for the brutality and incompetence of the Haitian government in this crisis. In the midst of these discussions, some people were introduced to the RCP's Manifesto, "Communism: The Beginning of a New Stage."
From these interviews and discussions a vivid picture began to emerge of a country which has struggled to deal with centuries of foreign intervention and oppression and with semi-feudal local despots. Haiti, already a country of shantytowns and a people on the edge of existence, has been knocked back by a devastating natural disaster. And now, as we have exposed in the pages of Revolution, Haiti is experiencing the subordination of humanitarian aid to the strategic interests of the U.S. imperialists. But this was also a picture of youth who are unbroken, staying up late into the night to talk revolutionary politics. There is feverish questioning and debate, as well as outbreaks of struggle and resistance.
In coming weeks, Revolution will bring you reports from this trip. We urge you to read and spread them to people all over the world, to contribute your own thoughts, and to raise money to help pay for this important revolutionary journalism, and to facilitate future trips to Haiti and elsewhere when dramatic events demand it.
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