The Whole World is with Haiti

The majority of countries in the world have already made a generous and immediate response to the earthquake that Haiti experienced yesterday evening. For the people of Haiti, the poorest of the region, the effects of the earthquake are catastrophic, massive and devastating.

According to the experts, within only three hours, from 4.53pm local time on Tuesday, the worst chain of seismic activity in the history of the Caribbean region happened with around a dozen earth tremors with the first one registering 7 on the Richter scale and the others registering between 4 and 6 degrees.

The level of destruction must be huge, especially if you take into account the country’s enormous poverty and the flimsy construction of most of the populations’ housing.
We already know that in the capital, Port au Prince, where around two million people live, the significant buildings like the governor’s palace, the cathedral, the seat of parliament, the UN mission to Haiti building as well as hotels and recreational centers are all destroyed.

The shortage of an adequate communications infrastructure means that the exact figures are not yet known but the signs are that the calamity is only unfolding and the final results will be horrifying.

It should be noted that there has been a huge and generous response. As soon as Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez heard about the earthquake, he ordered the sending of relief and asked the international community to act immediately and urgently to alleviate the plight of the Haitian people.

Food, medicines, bandages and clothes and other personal items are the priority, above all to take into account that sanitary arrangements have also been wrecked by the earthquake.

It can be gathered from the information that is public to date that countries from practically all the continents have started to send in help. The heart of the world at the moment is with Haiti and this is heartening, above all if we take into to account how our sister country has been forgotten and neglected for years and years.

And once the urgency of the situation has been attended to, we should reflect on how it was possible that another humanitarian catastrophe of such proportions, perhaps invisible on a daily basis, can carry on for decades in this Caribbean country before the indifferent eyes of the planet.

It must be asked how did 65% of the population come to live below the poverty line, that life expectancy only reaches 55 years, that 80% of the labor force is unemployed and 90% of its people lack access to health services.

The hunger, poverty, sickness, and ignorance and death are public knowledge and happen in front of the world’s eyes. Many countries contribute military personnel to the United Nations forces to contain the social and political effects of this poverty, but very few, like Cuba or Venezuela, send their professionals to struggle to eradicate it.

Why does it take a devastating earthquake to remind the world that eight million human beings live on the edge of the abyss in this corner of the Caribbean?

Of course, we applaud and celebrate all the help that can be sent to mitigate the sorrow of these moments. We only want that when this emergency has passed, that all these countries maintain the same spirit of generosity with the same spirit of solidarity with this country which was the first independent country in the American continent to deliver itself from a medieval situation after the atrocious years of colonization.

More Information
> Henry Reeve Cuban Medical Brigade in Haiti
International Aid Flows to Haiti
> Cuba increases aid to Haiti
> Stand with the people of Haiti
> Cuban Medical Diplomacy: When the Left Has Got It Right
> Text is a Radio Havana editorial
> Pictures are from Cubadebate (Google translation does a reasonable job of converting the page to English)
Red Cross