Haiti revisited / Haiti revisitado

Sadly, it appears by the worst estimates that 200.000 people have lost their lives in the earthquake that hit the Caribbean nation of Haiti on the past January 13th 2010. I recently wrote about Haitian workers taking to the street to demand an hourly raise up amounting to 5 dollars a day. I mentioned some of the many social and political earthquakes that shook up Haiti’s history. But it was not until the recent natural disaster that I revisited Haiti and re-read one of my favourite sources: Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou (Donald J. Cosentino Ed.), particularly chaper 4, entitled The Social History of Haitian Vodou.

As I read about the political processes that fabricated Vodou’s bad name, I also turned to the news for current information on Haiti’s disaster. I realized that if history was harsh on Haiti, the future looks like a really bad voodoo hollywood film plot. If Haiti remains in the imagination of the west as the place of black magic and voodoo dolls, it is its people who continue to be mercilessly pinned on. As Haitians are still being pulled from the rubble, in the myst of aftershocks, insufficient and slow humanitarian aid, and foreign troops put in place to prevent unaided people from ‘looting’, certain institutions concern themselves on how to take advantage of the situation. Yeah… really. Sources? See links below, after portuguese version.

Oh, and the raise to 5 dollars per day? They agreed to 3,75.


Tristemente, as piores estimativas indicam que 200.000 pessoas perderam a vida no terremoto que atingiu o Haiti no passado dia 13 de Janeiro 2010. Escrevi recentemente sobre os trabalhadores que no Haiti saíram para a rua para exigir um aumento salarial que lhes permitisse ganhar 5 dôlares por dia. Mencionei nesse post alguns dos muitos terremotos sociais e políticos que agitaram a história do Haiti. Mas só depois do recente desastre natural revisitei o Haiti, quando reli uma das minhas fontes favoritas, Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou (Donald J. Consentino Ed.), em particular o capítulo 4 que conta a história social do Vodou.

Enquanto lia sobre os processos que fabricaram o mau nome dado ao Vodou, também procurei noticias atualizadas do desastre. E aí percebi, que se a história foi dura no passado com o Haiti, o futuro parece a trama hollywoodesca de um filme de má qualidade sobre voodoo. Irónicamente, enquanto o Haiti continua na imaginação ocidental a ser o lugar da magia negra e das bonequinhas onde se espetam agulhas malévolas, são os próprios Haitianos que continuam a ser alfinetados sem misericórdia. Enquanto esses são tirados dos escombros, no meio de aftershocks, ajuda humanitaria lenta e insuficiente, e tropas estrangeiras encarregadas de não deixar ninguém ‘saquear’ nada, certas instituições preocupam-se em como aproveitar a situação para avançar certa políticas. Sério. Fontes? Vejam abaixo (links em inglês).

Ah e o aumento para 5 dólares por dia? Ficou pelos 3,75.





About manu|escrita

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One response to “Haiti revisited / Haiti revisitado

  • Manel

    WTF?!?! I had been wondering what was behind all this aid activity. There’s natural disasters everywhere around the globe and no one moves a finger… So there had to be some other interest. The story is not new, I just thought that they had changed the tune. But no, same tune, and everyone dances…

    Obrigado Manela

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