US MARINES POINTING GUNS AT UNARMED, PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATORS, MAY 2004. KEVIN PINA IS THE GUY TO THE LEFT HOLDING CAMERA AND WEARING A WHITE SHIRT AND JEANS
KEVIN PINA REPORTING FROM THE GROUND IN HAITI
Kevin Pina, journalist and documentary filmmaker, has been reporting on Haiti for 20 years.
The following is a summary of Kevin’s February 1, 2010 report on Radio KPFA-Flashpoints program. His reports air at 5:00 PM West Coast and 8:00 PM East Coast, Monday – Friday (depending on phone connection). Go to www.kpfa.org to listen live.
-Distribution of food and water continues, but coverage is spotty and many areas of Port-au-Prince still not having received food.
-UN has altered its food distributions by giving out coupons to women only for bags of rice. Presumably, the women, as the primary caretakers of children, are to distribute the rice among family members.
-The UN continues to refuse to cooperate with grassroots groups to facilitate distribution of food.
HEALTH, DEATH, AND LIVING CONDITIONS
-It appears that the death rate is beginning to pick up again. More outbreaks of measles, tetnaus, and a huge number of people with infected, open wounds. Babies are dehydrated and many women are increasingly anemic.
-A huge funeral/memorial service was held at the site of the mass grave where the Haitian government is putting the dead — latest death estimate is 170,000 and expected to go higher. After the funeral, participants demanded he return of President Aristide to Haiti to lead the recovery effort.
-There are several tent cities, more like sheet cities, throughout the capital of Port-Au-Prince. Pina is still concerned about plans for re-locating Haitians because most will refuse to go. In each camp, Haitians have organized themselves for security, identifying who needs critical health care, who needs better shelter., etc.
-Everyone is very concerned about the coming rainy season which they believe is going to cause a huge health crisis.
US TROOPS, UN PEACEKEEPERS AND GOD KNOWS WHO ELSE
-US Marine convoys are on the move and for the first time yesterday, they included large troop transport trucks that hold about 30 soldiers each. Pina is not aware of particular humanitarian assistance that the US troops are providing and assumes this new deployment is to fan soldiers out throughout the country. A colleague of Pina’s said he asked the US Marines if he could hop a ride on any of their helicopters that might be heading to Jacmel. The response was, “we don’t go to Jacmel because it is a no-go zone, because the Cubans are there.” Supposedly Canadian troops are covering Jacmel.
-The Aristide Found. and Medical School have been caring for the injured since the beginning of the crisis. Yesterday, US Marines were guarding the medical school, checking IDs of those who want to enter. The reason for their heavy presence there is not apparent.
SPARKS OF RESISTANCE
-In addition to the outpouring of support for Aristide at the mass funeral, it appears that representatives of Lavalas (Aristide’s political party) are planning on holding a press conference later in the week.