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Billy Burnett Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-19-10 10:14 AM
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X-post:Haiti's Disaster Capitalists Swoop In- Refugees Moved From Camps Into "Work Zones"
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Haiti's Disaster Capitalists Swoop In- Refugees Moved From Camps Into "Work Zones"
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

Haiti's Disaster Capitalists Swoop In

Who benefits when refugees are moved from camps into garment and cell-phone industry "work zones?"

By Siddhartha Mahanta

Tue Sep. 14, 2010 3:07 AM PDT

Refugee evictions, private land grabs, disaster capitalismyou can't tell the story of Haiti without all this. Eight months after the earthquake, many of the 1.7 million Haitians living under tattered tarps in squalid squatter camps around Port-au-Prince are being forced to abandon the tent cities they've set up on privately owned land. Meanwhile, businesseseager to slurp up the spoils of disasterare swooping in to score major paydays by moving the refugees to new camps, some set to operate as industrial work zones. And there's no one stopping it.

In March, Haitian landowners and police authorities began kicking displaced Haitians out of their makeshift cities at the behest of the owners of the land on which the camps sat. International Action Ties, a grassroots community development agency working in Haiti, says authorities are regularly flushing out the camps. The International Organization for Migration, which heads up the international aid response to the quake, has been unable to prevent expulsions and has been relegated to playing mediator between landowners and camp occupants. A recent IAT report provides a vivid blow-by-blow of expulsions by Haitian police in the communes of Delmas and Cit Soleil: bulldozers demolishing flimsy shelters, policemen swinging batons and shooting their guns in the air, and several cases of sexual assault. IAT skewers the Haitian government and UN system, and blasts the aid community for not defending the refugees (for more, read this report from July).

And there's a twist: It's not even clear these landowners officially own the property that the displaced people are being expelled from. Murky titling laws have plagued Haiti since its early days, clouding landowners' claims with ambiguity and contributing to the country's current catastrophe. Post-colonial Haiti's first ruler, Jean-Jacques Dessaline, imposed dramatic land reforms in the early 1800s, apportioning plantation land among freed slaves. But after his assassination, subsequent efforts at reform failed, and military leaders appropriated old plantation land. Land titling gradually became more and more muddled as one dictator gave way to another. In the 1950s and '60s, Franois "Papa Doc" Duvalier meted out land to members of his death squads, or left property up for grabs. In the '80s, another attempt to formalize land holdings failed.

...

In the absence of government leadership on this issue, businesses and NGOs are filling the gapsand exploiting the situation. For instance, Nabatec, a consortium owned by some of Haiti's most powerful families, and World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, plan to build a new city of 300,000 displaced Haitians, complete with garment factories, homes, stores, and restaurants. This new business zone will be in Corail Cesselesse, about nine miles from Port-au-Prince. Nabatec owns the land where the refugees will live, and stands to gain a chunk of the $7 million dollars the Haitian government plans to pay landowners who've given up property for the site.

...

Full story --> http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/09/haiti-refugee-w...





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