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Vol. 74/No. 4      February 1, 2010

Open the border to
Haitian refugees
(front page/editorial)
The response of Washington and other imperialist governments to the earthquake in Haiti is criminal.

The small handful of rescue teams that were sent focused their efforts on embassies, government offices, hotels, and wealthy neighborhoods, while thousands trapped in working-class areas and factories were left to die. Doctors sat at the airport for days, when every minute counted. A week after the earthquake tens of thousands had still not received needed food and water.

Many Haitian working people organized themselves to do what Washington and international “aid” groups would not; they used whatever they had at hand to dig out survivors from the ruins, get people to hospitals and clinics, and find food to feed people.

Beefing up patrols of Haitian waters to prevent working people from leaving the island is more important to the U.S. rulers than getting medical care and food to those who need it.

The capitalist press and U.S. government officials blame the Haitian people for the social disaster unfolding after the earthquake. They point to the total collapse of the Haitian government and institutions and portray Haitian workers as looters.

U.S. and French imperialism, however, have been plundering the resources and people of Haiti for decades. U.S. troops occupied Haiti from 1915 to 1934 and Washington backed the brutal Duvalier dictatorship from 1956 to 1986, until it was overthrown by a popular revolt. In the 1990s, Washington forced the Haitian government to end tariffs on chicken and rice, driving thousands of workers and peasants out of work and off the land, while earning millions for U.S. capitalists.

In contrast, hundreds of Cuban volunteers in Haiti, alongside Haitians trained in Cuban medical schools, have dispensed immediate medical care to those injured in the earthquake. The solidarity and proletarian internationalism demonstrated by the Cuban-led brigades, who have treated thousands, exposes Washington’s self-serving pretexts about the “difficulty” of getting aid to those who need it.

The Haitian people need food, water, shelter, and medical care. Immediately fly those who need urgent medical care to U.S. hospitals! Provide massive reconstruction aid to Haiti, no strings attached! Cancel Haiti’s foreign debt! Open the door to Haitians who wish to come to the United States! Working people the world over should make these demands on Washington and other imperialist governments.
Related articles:
Haiti: U.S. gov’t fails to provide needed aid
Working-class areas last to get attention
Cuban doctors in Haiti respond rapidly to crisis  
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