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Richards hosts vigil, launches donation drive for Haiti

Borough President Donovan Richards hosted a vigil in partnership with Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP) to honor the more than 2,000 people who died in a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the island nation.
“From natural disasters to political turmoil, Haiti has been dealt blow after blow in recent years, but the resolve of the Haitian people and our Haitian American community is unmatched,” said Richards. “In the wake of this destructive earthquake, Queens stands ready to offer a helping hand to our Caribbean neighbors in their time of need.”
To assist in Haiti’s recovery, Richards launched a donation drive in support of the countless Haitian families impacted by the earthquake.
“As much as it saddens me to see Haiti go through yet another disaster in the midst of its existing challenges, I, along with my Haitian brothers and sisters, remain ever more committed to a better and stronger Haiti for generations to come,” said HAUP CEO and executive director Elsie Saint Louis. “My heartfelt gratitude to the friends and partners of the Haitian people who continue to reach out in so many big and small ways in support, empathy and collaboration.”
Until September 22, donations of bottled water, non-perishable food, personal care products, toiletries and feminine hygiene products can be dropped off at Borough Hall at 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. The lobby is open 24 hours a day.
“I think the people of Haiti are not just resilient but we are strong, we are smart, we are determined,” said Saint Louis. “What we need is for you to stand by Haiti, this is not the time to give up on this country.”

BP holds vigil for Haiti, launches donation drive

Borough President Donovan Richards hosted a vigil in partnership with Haitian Americans United for Progress (HAUP) to honor the more than 2,000 people who died in a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the island nation.
“From natural disasters to political turmoil, Haiti has been dealt blow after blow in recent years, but the resolve of the Haitian people and our Haitian American community is unmatched,” said Richards. “In the wake of this destructive earthquake, Queens stands ready to offer a helping hand to our Caribbean neighbors in their time of need.”
To assist in Haiti’s recovery, Richards launched a donation drive in support of the countless Haitian families impacted by the earthquake.
“As much as it saddens me to see Haiti go through yet another disaster in the midst of its existing challenges, I, along with my Haitian brothers and sisters, remain ever more committed to a better and stronger Haiti for generations to come,” said HAUP CEO and executive director Elsie Saint Louis. “My heartfelt gratitude to the friends and partners of the Haitian people who continue to reach out in so many big and small ways in support, empathy and collaboration.”
Until September 22, donations of bottled water, non-perishable food, personal care products, toiletries and feminine hygiene products can be dropped off at Borough Hall at 120-55 Queens Boulevard in Kew Gardens. The lobby is open 24 hours a day.
“I think the people of Haiti are not just resilient but we are strong, we are smart, we are determined,” said Saint Louis. “What we need is for you to stand by Haiti, this is not the time to give up on this country.”

Hands off Haiti! The U.S. has done enough

An Associated Press headline on July 8 read, “Biden with few options to stabilize Haiti in wake of slaying.” Following the assassination of president Jovenel Moïse, AP reports, “the U.S. is unlikely to deploy troops.”
Nonetheless, the American political and media establishments seem to blithely assume that Haiti’s internal affairs are very much America’s business. State Department spokesman Ned Price said “It is still the view of the United States that elections this year should proceed.”
An “electoral timetable” proposed by Moïse was “backed by the Biden administration, though it rejected plans to hold a constitutional referendum.”
Imagine, for a moment, that Russian president Vladimir Putin announced his support for the U.S. holding 2022 congressional midterm elections, but denounced a proposed constitutional amendment.
Haven’t American politicians spent the last several years kvetching about supposed “Russian meddling” in U.S. elections? Is there some particular reason why “election interference” is bad when others do it to us, but good when we do it to others?
The United States has intervened in Haiti’s internal affairs for more than 200 years, almost always with poor results for both countries’ populations.
After Haiti’s slave population rose up and overthrew their French masters, Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton recognized Toussaint Louverture’s new regime and encouraged independence. (Louverture maintained the colonial relationship with France until 1804.)
Under Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. withdrew that diplomatic recognition under pressure from slave owners who feared a spread of Louverture’s rebellion to the American mainland, and refused to recognize Haiti’s independence until 1862.
Subsequently, Washington intervened militarily in Haiti multiple times, occupied the country from 1915 to 1934, and supported the dictatorships of Francois “Papa Doc” and Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier from 1957 to 1986 on the Cold War logic that Haiti could be a Caribbean “counterweight” to Communist Cuba.
Since the fall of the younger Duvalier, the U.S. government has continued to intervene in Haitian affairs, dangling and withdrawing aid, engaging in economic blockade, and intercepting and repatriating U.S.-bound refugees, based on who’s in charge in Port-au-Prince and whether they toe Washington’s line.
While it’s simplistic to conclude that the US government is responsible for all of Haiti’s many problems, Washington certainly bears a great deal of responsibility for those problems. The way forward and out of that culpability is less, not more, interference in Haiti’s affairs.
If the U.S. government really needs a “Haiti policy,” that policy should include two elements: free trade and welcoming refugees. Beyond that, hands off Haiti!

Thomas L. Knapp is director at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.

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