November 16, 2010

Haiti Cholera Death Toll Passes 1000. Two More Die From Gunshots.

The Haitian Ministry of Public Health official statistics for November 14th reveal that the death toll from cholera had already passed 1000 two days ago. 42 deaths on the day, and 1034 in total.  According to the BBC this evening:

United Nations peacekeepers have stepped up security after violent protests on Monday left two Haitians dead.

Some of the demonstrators accused peacekeepers from Nepal of introducing cholera to Haiti for the first time in a century.

At least one of the men was shot dead by the UN peacekeepers. The UN said one man was shot dead by peacekeepers in Haiti's second largest city, Cap Haitien, after he fired at a soldier. However the AFP news agency quoted a local official as saying the young man had been shot in the back and the protesters had been armed with stones.

Another young man was killed by gunfire on a street in Cap Haitien during the clashes, police said. A number of locals and UN peacekeepers were injured in the clashes.

According to Reuters:

Protesters in Haiti, blaming United Nations troops for a cholera epidemic that has killed hundreds of people, attacked U.N. peacekeepers in two cities on Monday.

The U.N. mission blamed the violence in Cap-Haitien and Hinche on political agitators it said were bent on stirring up unrest ahead of presidential and legislative elections set for November 28 in the earthquake-hit Caribbean country.

In Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second city on the north coast, U.N. blue helmets were fired on by armed demonstrators and one demonstrator was killed when a peacekeeper opened fire in self-defense, the U.N. mission (MINUSTAH) said in a statement.

U.N. troops also used tear gas against the protesters.

"MINUSTAH reiterates its firm commitment to support the Haitian national police in maintaining order and security in the country to guarantee the continuation of the electoral process and Haiti's reconstruction," the U.N. statement said.

Officials and residents in Cap-Haitien said earlier on Monday that hundreds of protesters yelling anti-U.N. slogans had set up burning barricades and torched a police station.

"MINUSTAH urges the population to remain vigilant and not to allow itself to be manipulated by the enemies of stability and democracy in the country," the U.N. mission said.

Nevertheless, the violent incidents raise questions about security for the elections, which will choose a successor to President Rene Preval, a 99-member parliament and 11 members of the 30-seat Senate.

Currently it seems everyone in Haiti is blaming everyone else for the terrible suffering the inhabitants are enduring. Protesters blame the U.N. for bringing cholera to Haiti. The U.N. blames "the enemies of stability and democracy" for the protests. In the meantime another 44 people have died in one day. According to Reuters once more:

Analysts say the elections could be the most important in Haiti's history but many see the path to the polls threatened by risks of political violence, as well as the huge humanitarian challenges.

Do you suppose that after the forthcoming  "electoral process" is finally complete all the death and destruction will stop, "stability and democracy" will prevail, and "Haiti's reconstruction" will begin at long last?

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