9 February, 2010 — World Socialist Website
On Sunday, Haiti saw one of its largest protests since the January 12 earthquake, as four weeks after the disaster, frustration with continuing hunger and homelessness mount.
Thousands of demonstrators, most of them women, marched through the streets of Petionville, a Port-au-Prince suburb, denouncing the local mayor, Lydie Parent, for hoarding food for resale and not distributing it to the hungry.
A significant amount of food aid has been channeled into Haiti’s informal markets, sold at elevated prices and clearly yielding a profit for some officials who are in charge of its distribution.
Congregating in front of the local municipal building, the demonstrators chanted “if the police shoot at us, we will burn everything,” Reuters reported.
“I am hungry, I am dying of hunger,” one of the marchers told the news agency. “Lydie Parent keeps the rice and doesn’t give us anything. They never go distribute where we live.”
Petionville, up the mountain from the capital, has traditionally been the preserve of Haiti’s economic elite. Shanty towns sprung up around the walled mansions of the country’s businessmen and politicians, however. Since January 12, one of the principal watering holes of the well-heeled, the Petionville Club, has been transformed into the capital’s biggest homeless encampment, where more than 40,000 quake victims have sought refuge on the club’s nine-hole golf course.
Sent in to police this yawning social divide are 360 US combat troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, who have set up camp around the club’s swimming pool and restaurant.
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