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José Antonio Gutiérrez of the Latin American Solidarity Centre has reviewed Peter Hallward's Damming the Flood: Haiti and the Politics of Containment for the Irish Left Review:
This new edition provides an additional chapter which updates us with the events in Haiti after and around the earthquake. These fateful events don't alter the conclusions Hallward arrived at in the first edition; if anything they're re-enforced and proved right. The speed at which a humanitarian tragedy was turned into an opportunity to further deepen military occupation, allowing the US take over the island, proves that Haiti has not lost its appeal for the "Humanitarian Interventionists" in any way. Also, the widespread acceptance of the occupation as a positive action by most of the world's media shows that popular perception has come to accept that it is natural to keep Haitians at gun point, even in the most extraordinary and tragic circumstances. Lastly, it sadly proves through the series of logistical blunders, such as the primacy of military over humanitarian aid, the state of neglect in which the victims were abandoned for weeks before they saw any meaningful help (with the exception of understaffed Cuban doctors), and by the fact that most aid which was promised by foreign donors (both agencies and governments) has not been delivered more than one year later, that Haitian people's lives are a very low priority on the international community's agenda. This year's anniversary of the earthquake was one of shame for all the self-proclaimed "friends" of Haiti.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide has returned to Haiti after seven years of exile in South Africa. Aristide and the remarkable Lavalas movement twice won landslide victories in democratic elections, and twice were ousted in US-backed coups.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! (along with actor Danny Glover) travelled on the plane with Aristide and is blogging live updates on the Democracy Now site.
However, Aristide's return does not mean that US intervention in Haiti has come to an end—according to the Press Association:
US President Barack Obama had tried to keep the controversial figure away from his country until it holds a presidential election on Sunday, fearing he could destabilise the process.
An array of leading writers, philosophers, activists and campaigners have published an open letter calling for the international community to support the democratic process in Haiti, starting with new elections:
The powers that dominate Haiti have facilitated the return of the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier while discouraging the return of the twice-elected president (and Fanmi Lavalas leader) Jean-Bertrand Aristide. These powers, with their allies in the Haitian business community, have made it clear that they seek to delay Aristide's return until after 20 March. They will only allow Aristide to return after a suitably pliant new government has been installed, to preside over the imminent reconstruction process.