Often, when you mention Haiti in conversation and the anti-imperial struggle that has consistently been waged by the Haitian people against imperialist forces for centuries, you are met with minor acknowledgement and some confusion by the listener. Even in cases where there are those who understand Haiti’s battle against imperialist interventions and incursions – many people are still unclear about: “why Haiti.” This is especially true in the present, where there exists a propagandized belief that there are no broader imperialist aspirations in the Caribbean, insofar as those interests cannot be tied to interests in Latin America, and especially to Cuba. Persistent myths about Haiti and confusion about the nature of politics in the Caribbean have allowed systematic investigations into (neo) imperial enterprises in the broader region to go largely uninvestigated.
Soon after arriving in Oslo, my taxi zigzagged through the city’s well-organized streets and state-of-the-art infrastructure. Large billboards advertised the world’s leading brands in fashion, cars, and perfumes. Yet, amid all the expressions of wealth and plenty, an electronic sign by a bus stop flashed the images of poor-looking African children needing help. Over the years, Norway has served as a relatively good model of meaningful humanitarian and medical aid. This is especially true compared to other self-serving western countries, where aid is often linked to direct political and military interests. Still, the public humiliation of poor, hungry and diseased Africa is still disquieting. The same images and TV ads are omnipresent everywhere in the West.
The 27th iteration of the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or COP27, began on Sunday, November 6 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The gathering has brought together over 45,000 people from 196 countries, including 120 heads of state. Participants will have until November 18 to build serious, global solutions to address the pressing climate crisis in all of its dimensions. On November 8, the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, addressed the gathering. Maduro did not participate in the last several COP summits, and this year’s participation comes amid a moment of warming relations between his government and countries of the Global North and the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Biden administration has announced new sanctions which are intended to hit the poorest Nicaraguans – both in their pockets and in the public services on which they depend. This latest attack on a small Central American country is, as usual, dressed up as promoting democracy saying that the sanctions will “deny the Ortega-Murillo regime the resources they need to continue to undermine democratic institutions in Nicaragua.” But everyone knows the real target is ordinary Nicaraguans who voted overwhelmingly to return a Sandinista government to power in last year’s elections. Anyone hearing or seeing the NPR news item on the sanctions will have read that they are aimed at “Nicaragua’s gold industry,” with an implicit message that this hits President Daniel Ortega’s personal treasure chest.
Chaos reigns in the United Kingdom, where the prime minister’s residence in London – 10 Downing Street – prepares for the entry of Rishi Sunak, one of the richest men in the country. Liz Truss remained in office for a mere 45 days, convulsed as her government was by a cycle of workers’ strikes and the mediocrity of her policies. In her mini budget, which doomed her government, Truss opted for a full-scale neoliberal assault on the British public with both tax cuts and unacknowledged cuts to social benefits. The policies startled the international financial class, whose political role emerged clearly as wealthy bondholders indicated their loss of faith in the UK by junking government bonds, thereby increasing the cost of government borrowing and raising the mortgage payments for homeowners.
Making neighborhoods more “green” through environmental infrastructure and other green investments such as open space parks, rain gardens, permeable pavement and rainwater harvesting can result in an area being perceived as more desirable, which can lead to rents and property values going up. This, in turn, leads to lower-income residents being pushed out — a process called “green gentrification.” As wealthier residents move in, so do businesses that accommodate their tastes, while longer-term residents who don’t earn as much are faced with rising living costs, disappearing community institutions and, eventually, being displaced altogether. According to a report by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), rewilding could lead to those with lower incomes being pushed out of their local communities, The Guardian reported.
The international main-stream media rarely focuses on good news from Nicaragua, on its achievements in reducing poverty, and maternal and infant mortality, or on its expansion of health care, education, electrification, water and sewerage, renewable energy, and roadways. However, a recent article published on the web page of the Center for Strategic and International Studies conceded that Nicaragua had made major advances economically and, in spite of US sanctions, had “rebounded relatively well from Covid-19” and had ensured that Nicaraguans could feed themselves. The article noted that the Nicaraguan economy grew by 10.1% in 2021 and foreign investment increased by 39% from 2020 to 2021 with particular strength in energy and mining.
On August 29, in a new day of nationwide anti-government demonstrations, thousands of Haitians once again hit the streets in different parts of the country to protest against widespread insecurity, growing scarcity of fuel and the high cost of living. In the town of Petit Goâve, in western Haiti, citizens held a massive demonstration demanding the resignation of Prime Minister and acting President Ariel Henry, arguing that during the past one year of his management, he exacerbated the economic, political and social crisis in the country. According to reports from Rezo Nowdes, at least one demonstrator died after police launched tear gas at protesters in order to disperse them.
For many people, the daily reality is dire: As of May 2022, 58 percent of Americans (approximately 150 million adults) are living paycheck to paycheck. Inflation recently hit a 40-year high, with prices for food, rent, energy, and basic consumer goods increasing by the day. Despite this, the federal minimum wage remains locked in at $7.25 an hour — a rate that hasn’t increased since 2009 — and while wages have been increasing, they aren’t keeping pace with the cost of living. Meanwhile, the mitigation and management of excessive waste is a concurrent issue. As the initial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic wane, families who are downsizing their lives or cleaning out their closets face the challenge of finding a new home for their excess stuff — or simply dumping it in a landfill.
It all started with a survey. In April 2022, members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), went door to door in the town of Warangal in Telangana state. The party was already aware of challenges in the community but wanted to collect data before working on a plan of action. Thirty-five teams of three to four CPI(M) members and supporters went to 45,000 homes and learned how people were suffering from a range of issues, such as the lack of pensions and subsidised food. Many expressed anxieties around the absence of permanent housing, with a third saying that they were not homeowners and could not pay their rents. The government had promised to build two-bedroom apartments for the poor, but these promises evaporated.
Many of the people that I spoke to in the shacklands of Johannesburg and Durban said something that resonated with what I hear from the poor in Indian villages. When I asked why they didn’t go to the public hospital next door and instead chose to go to a private clinic, they would say they don’t feel respected in the public hospital and do not get dignified attention. This is exactly what I hear from the poor in India, who would often take loans they can’t easily repay to be able to visit a private clinic when they could have received the same drugs from a doctor in a public hospital. The questions of respect and dignity are often overlooked but they are fundamental. Struggling for this crucial aspect of quality of healthcare in our public facilities is a key challenge for health rights activists.
China and Latin American and Caribbean countries have agreed on deeper cooperation in poverty reduction, with joint efforts in areas such as post-pandemic economic recovery, infrastructure construction and digital technology, officials and experts said at the second Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)-China Forum on Poverty Reduction and Development, held virtually on Wednesday. At the forum, officials and experts from CELAC also praised China’s efforts to eradicate absolute poverty, especially through rural-urban integration and digital technology support, which are seen as valuable for Latin American countries to alleviate poverty and promote the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. CELAC estimates that the number of people living in extreme poverty rose by about 5 million between 2020 and 2021 due to the deepening of the social and health troubles prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, official data showed in January.
Palpite, Cuba, is just a few miles away from Playa Girón, along the Bay of Pigs, where the United States attempted to overthrow the Cuban Revolution in 1961. Down a modest street in a small building with a Cuban flag and a large picture of Fidel Castro near the front door, Dr. Dayamis Gómez La Rosa sees patients from 8 AM to 5 PM. In fact, that is an inaccurate sentence. Dr. Dayamis, like most primary care doctors in Cuba, lives above the clinic that she runs. “I became a doctor,” she told us as we sat in the clinic’s waiting room, “because I wanted to make the world a better place.” Her father was a bartender, and her mother was a housecleaner, but “thanks to the Revolution,” she says, she is a primary care doctor, and her brother is a dentist. Patients come when they need care, even in the middle of the night.
Last year, Anna James, a mother from Fayetteville, NC received a lifeline: monthly payments from the expanded Child Tax Credit (CTC). The program provided critical financial support as she cared for her two little boys who suffered from a rare and often fatal genetic disease. Between the hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, and care at home, Anna didn’t have time for paid work, and expanded CTC payments were all she had keeping her afloat. But this support didn’t last. The monthly expanded CTC payments ended in December 2021 after Congress failed to renew the benefit and it reverted to its pre-2021 status: a non-refundable, one-time tax credit. Non-refundable tax credits include a de facto “work requirement,” as they can only be claimed by someone with earned income, meaning Anna was no longer eligible to receive support.