As Rains Roll In, Help Still Not Reaching the People
By INDYKIDS STAFF
A ‘Children’s Emergency’
When ten U.S. missionaries tried to take 33 children out of Haiti without the right documents, they were arrested and accused of kidnapping. Many of the children had parents who were still alive. A Haitian judge later cleared most of the missionaries of charges after hearing from the children’s parents that they had willingly given over their children.
Illegal adoption and kidnapping are just two of the many problems that Haiti’s children have faced since the earthquake. Many children remain in hospitals unclaimed and unsure if their parents are still alive. In addition to the homes that were ruined in the earthquake, around 90 percent of the schools in and around the city of Port-au-Prince have been damaged or destroyed.
“Delivering aid for children is critical because the crisis in Haiti is a children’s emergency,” said UNICEF (The United Nations Children’s Fund) Executive Director Ann M. Veneman.
How Haiti Became Poor and Stays Poor
Bad luck isn’t the reason why Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. For hundreds of years, Spain, France and then the United States have invaded and occupied Haiti and made huge profits off the land and people. France became rich using slave labor to produce goods such as coffee, sugar and wood. Later, the United States made large sums of money by controlling Haiti’s banking system and debts.
Now the U.S. government and the institutions it dominates, such as the World Bank, are planning to set up more low-wage jobs in Haiti making clothes for Gap and Levi as well as other manufactured goods. The minimum wage in Haiti is less than $3 a day.
“If we are serious about helping we need to stop trying to control Haiti’s government, to pacify its citizens, and to exploit its economy,” wrote Peter Hallward, author and professor at Middlesex University, in The Guardian newspaper. “And then we need to start paying for at least some of the damage we’ve already done.”