The San Francisco Chronicle - An earthquake cannot be prevented, but this one was so deadly because of a failure of human will. The descendants of slaves, who built so much American wealth, live in wretched conditions due to economic exploitation and neglect.
I write this one week after the quake. Doctors Without Borders and other effective providers have been forced to take a time-consuming route through the Dominican Republic at the other side of Hispaniola Island. One Haitian friend has told us people wrote down her relatives' names but provided no help.
Why is this? "Security" trumps humanitarian assistance when people are stigmatized for being in need. Assessing that need can take precedence over meeting it. Port-au-Prince before the quake was the embodiment of de-funded government, privatization or nonexistent essential services, degradation of public space, and a people cheated out of democracy. The first popularly elected president in Haitian history, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, exiled with U.S. complicity, is to this day denied a passport to return to his own country. Read more.