By Dady Chery, Haiti Chery. The Convention of Political Parties, headed by former senator Turneb Delpe, held a national conference of 30 political parties and civilian organizations in Cap Haitien on Monday and Tuesday October 15-16 to formulate solutions to Haiti’s current crises and counter the Martelly-Lamothe regime as a united front. Together the political parties and civilian organizations drafted The manifesto of Cap-Haitien. UPDATE: Full text of manifesto included in French and English.
By Staff, International Labor Rights Forum. Two separate fires in Pakistan killed more than 300 trapped workers: 289 workers in a Karachi apparel factory (sweatshop) and 25 workers in a Lahore shoe factory on Tuesday September 11, 2012. National Trade Union Federation of Pakistan (NTUF) leader Nasir Mansoor called this the “darkest and saddest day in the history of Pakistan’s labor movement.” The fires are considered to be the logical result of the low prices buyers offer the factories and the quick deliveries they demand.
By Roberson Alphonse, Le Nouvelliste | Translation and editorial comment by Dady Chery, Haiti Chery. According to Dieuseul Anglade, director of the Office of Mines and Energy in Haiti (Bureau des Mines et de l’Energie, BME), the outlook is encouraging, and during the negotiations for exploitation, the Haitian state will keep close watch to ensure that the citizens of Haiti benefit from the country’s mineral wealth. Meanwhile, the region’s mayors have been dismissed, depriving the citizens of a voice in their local government, and land prices have skyrocketed. (English | French)
By Rachelle Charlier Doucet, AlterPresse | Translation and editorial comment by Dady Chery, Haiti Chery. A massive industrial park is scheduled to open in the Caracol Bay area of Haiti, although no plan is in place to mitigate the park’s impact on a region that has been proposed as a World Heritage Site for its ecological, historical, and archaeological importance. The park’s manufacturing and textile dyeing alone will require pumping 6,000 cubic meters of water daily from the groundwater and ejecting toxic wastewater into the Trou du Nord River and, ultimately, Caracol Bay. Electricity will be produced from oil, resulting in heavy and toxic wastes. Construction of 5,000 homes for a predicted migration of 30,000 to 300,000 people is expected to result in bantustanization of the area and neighboring communities. (English | French)
By Staff, Haiti Grassroots Watch. Part 7 of 7. “It wasn’t possible to anticipate the presence of the complex and precious ecosystem of the Caracol Bay before we conducted this environmental evaluation.” – Impact study by U.S. Koios team. The bay, which is home to mangrove forests and the country’s longest uninterrupted coral reef, is the subject of intense international study and part of several plans for a regional park. (English | French)
By Staff, Haiti Grassroots Watch. Part 6 of 7. The same week over 300 agricultural plots in Caracol, Haiti, were unexpectedly destroyed, the Haitian government signed an agreement with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, IDB, and Korean textile giant Sae-A Trading to convert the lands into an industrial park. This park will dump its wastes into a bay with extensive coraf reefs and one of the country’s last mangrove forests. (English | French)
By Staff, Haiti Grassroots Watch. Part 5 of 7. Are low-wage, low-skilled assembly industries in Haiti really a “stepping stone” to more complex industrial development? In the Mexican maquiladora boom areas, the water table is dropping by 1 to 1.5 meters every year due to intensive use of water; the blue dye run-off from jeans pollutes rivers and irrigation ditches; 67% of homes have dirt floors, and 52% of streets are unpaved. (English | French)
By Staff, Haiti Grassroots Watch. Part 4 of 7. ”You get some factories and some salaries, and everything else is imported…. People need to know what FTZs are, what has happened in Mexico, or Honduras, so they don’t think these things will ‘save’ us.” – Camille Chalmers, Economist. (English | French)
By Staff, Haiti Grassroots Watch. Part 3 of 7. Haiti is the only country that guarantees the U.S. market duty-free and quota-free access. With every free-trade zone that gets built on prime agricultural land, more farmers are put out of work. Thus Haitians import more food as real wages drop to rock bottom in the sweatshops, where there are now plans to legalize 3 x 8 hours work shifts. In Haiti, we sometimes talk figuratively about being eaten up. This comes pretty close to the real thing. DC (English | French)
By Staff, Haiti Grassroots Watch. Part 2 of 7. “It’s a big error to bet on the slave-wage labor, on breaking the backs of workers who are paid nothing while [foreign] companies get rich. It’s not only an error, it’s a crime…. [Assembly factories] work with imported materials, they’re enclaves. They don’t have much effect on the economy.” – Haitian economist Camille Chalmers. (English | French)
By Kristin Palitza, IPS | Editorial note by Dady Chery, Haiti Chery. In response to demands of a living wage from unions of Lesotho’s textile factory workers this summer, the World Bank is recommending to Lesotho’s government that it should ditch its textile industry, after the manufacturers have benefited from Lesotho’s attractive tax breaks. DC