By Dady Chery
1. The Caracol Bay area was slated to become a World Heritage Site and park, with great potential for tourism.[1-3] Caracol Bay includes a breathtaking barrier reef and the largest remaining mangroves in Haiti. The bay area hosts more than 20,000 migratory birds each year.
2. The Caracol Bay area is a site of great archaeological wealth. The region is of worldwide importance historically and has great potential for tourism. The famous Puerto Real — the Lost City of Columbus, long a puzzle to archeologists — was discovered near Caracol, about 2 km from En-Bas Saline. La Navidad Fort, erected on November 24, 1492 on Columbus’ instructions after the sinking of the Santa Maria, was found in En-Bas Saline, 1 km from Caracol. Guacanagaric, one of the largest and most complete Taino Indian villages, already 300 years old on Columbus’ arrival, was found near Caracol.
3. The introduction of a massive Free-Trade Zone (FTZ, sweatshop zone) into the area will create vast slums [1-3]. About 1,000 people were dispossessed to build the FTZ and have not been compensated. A deal was signed without any consultation with the farmers in the area, and the same week, the farmers who had just planted their crops, were evicted. Caracol used to be a fishing and farming village of about 11,000 people. The new sweatshops are expected to provoke the migration of an estimated 30,000 to 300,000 people into the area . The construction of only 5,000 homes for these 30,000 to 300,000 people should turn not only Caracol but also the surrounding communities into slums .
4. The FTZ will pollute massive quantities of fresh water. [1-3] Textile dyeing alone will pump 6,000 cubic meters of water daily from the groundwater and eject the waste into the Trou du Nord River and the Bay. Electricity at the Caracol sweatshops will be fueled by oil, resulting in heavy and toxic wastes. But this is nothing compared to the pollution anticipated for the river and bay from gold mining. It is unconscionable to give rivers and vast quantities of clean water to sweatshops and gold mines to pollute in Haiti while there is a cholera epidemic.
5. The bay is to be blasted to create a deep-water port for convenient export. On May 7, 2012, Martelly announced that construction of a deep-water port would soon start in Fort-Liberte Bay, near Caracol. The Fort-Liberte Port construction will require blasting of the Bay area. The new port is meant to serve sweatshops and mining.
Copyright © 2012, 2013 by Dady Chery. All Rights Reserved. Dady Chery is a journalist, playwright, essayist and poet, who writes in English, French and her native Creole. She is the Editor of Haiti Chery.