Iron Market’s famous two towers rise from the rubble as earthquake anniversary approaches. Resumption of Dominican deportations comes under criticism.
Two main themes have dominated the Haitian press this week: anticipation of the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010 and the publication of the report by l’Organisiation des Etats americains (Organisation of American States-OEA) on the viability of the first round of presidential voting.
Next week’s commemoration will be marked by the inauguration of the newly rebuilt Marché en fer (Iron Market) in Port-au-Prince. Le Marché en fer was ‘the kernel of the Haitian capital, a teeming, throbbing abundance of goods’ and its reconstruction is notably the first building work to rise above the rubble in a city flattened by the earthquake.
The year-long project has been funded by Denis O’Brien, CEO of telecoms provider Digicel. O’Brien is the single largest investor in the country, with over 2 million customers in Haiti. A documentary – From Haiti’s Ashes – has been made about his project and will be shown later in the year on the BBC.
Apart from O’Brien’s project, criticism in the world’s press has been widely directed at non-government organisations. Oxfam International, Action Contre la Faim (Action against Hunger) and Compassion International have made their accounts public after criticism from the North American press over the situation of millions of Haitians, one year after the disaster. Read more about how Oxfam International has spent $68 million out of the $98 million donated here.
In the latest instalment in the political crisis, the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton’s, chief of staff announced that the USA would support the OEA’s ruling, even if it meant a nullification of the results of the first round of presidential voting on 28 November 2010. The OEA’s results will be made public early next week.
Such a ruling would pacify the protesters who continue to remonstrate in the capital. On Monday, burning tyres were piled up, blocking the main roads of Port-au-Prince and similar happenings are reported throughout the island. The protesters are calling for the current president, René Préval, to step down after massive fraud in the voting process worked in his party’s favour.
In other news, more than 700 Haitian immigrants have been deported this week from the Dominican Republic. Cholera prevention has been cited as one of the reasons for the resumption of the deportations, which were paused after last year’s earthquake.
The deportation process has been criticised by human rights groups, notably because people are being stopped and questioned based largely on their physical appearance.
Father Mario Serrano, director of Le Centre d’appui aux réfugiés et aux immigrés des jésuites (Jesuit support centre for refugees and immigrants) warned that many lorries heading back to the Haitian border contained those in possession of legal documents, as well as those from the Dominican Republic who have darker than average skin.