Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Haiti in need of massive support

To the Editors:

Regarding last week’s “Local help for Haiti” article, I was glad to hear about what is being done in Durango to help Haiti. But now that MLK week is over what can people still do? A recent meeting was held in Montreal, Canada to assess the aid effort and plan the next steps. Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean-Max Bellerive, told world officials that “massive support” from the international community is still needed. It is believed that the 7.0 magnitude quake killed as many as 200,000 people. Millions have been affected by the earthquake that has not just killed and injured tens of thousands of people but also destroyed homes, shattered livelihoods and wiped out vital services. This is a catastrophe on a massive scale, and it is absolutely vital that each of us do our part to help organizations delivering emergency aid on the ground in Haiti. The emergency is made worse by the fact that it affected one of the poorest countries in the world. As we’ve seen time and again in emergencies, the poor are hit the hardest. With something of this magnitude, Haiti still needs our help.

Oxfam America is a well respected international humanitarian organization working in Haiti for decades on long-term solutions to deep-rooted problems of poverty and social injustice, helping people improve their livelihoods and working with local organizations. Oxfam’s emergency work is tailored according to need and provides both immediate relief and longer term support to help people get back on their feet and support themselves. Oxfam’s emergency work today is clean water. People can go ten days without food, but we can only go three days without water. Many of the water sys

tems are broken down because of this tragedy. Oxfam is the lead agency in the ground among international NGO’s for water, sanitation, and hygiene.Chris Martin, lead vocalist for Coldplay, has joined Oxfam’s call for funds to help those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Chris Martin, who travelled to Haiti with Oxfam in 2002 to meet coffee farmers supported by the charity, said: “I visited Haiti with Oxfam a few years ago. It’s a country of extreme poverty and brutal living conditions. Most people in Port-au-Prince live in tin shacks. The earthquake that has struck Haiti will have turned the city into an unimaginable hell. The people of Haiti will be desperate for help and assistance. You can make a donation at www.oxfamamerica.org.” The band made a donation to Oxfam last week. Other public figures that are supporting Oxfam include George Clooney, Beyoncé, Madonna, Radiohead and State Radio among others.

Oxfam has a 200 strong-team working across Haiti – including 15 emergency specialists – and will be responding with public health, water and sanitation services to prevent the spread of waterborne disease. It also has links with a large network of community volunteers who can get aid to affected people quickly. You can learn more about how Oxfam is responding by visiting their website at oxfamamerica.org. If you’d like to help out, you can make a donation to Oxfam America by visiting their website at oxfamamerica.org or texting the word “OXFAM” to 25383 to make a $10 donation. Together we CAN make a difference.  

– Thank you, Zachary Ray, Durango


Still waiting on change

Dear Editors,

So we’re about a year into the Obama presidency, but before I start spewing about it, full disclosure: I voted for, volunteered for and donated to Barack Obama’s campaign. And of course, like many of you, I proudly put an Obama sticker on my car. “Change we can Believe in” was his slogan.

What a defining symbol of change it was, seeing a black man sworn in as president. But was it more symbolic than substantive? There’s no doubt our country and the world is better off with the Obama team than the McCain team. Sarah Palin, a heartbeat away from being president? What a nightmare. Even Republicans have to admit (but they won’t) Bush left Obama with a truck-load of crap: Huge deficit, two wars, economy in ruin, massive unemployment, foreclosure crisis, military over-stretched, world standing at an all time low, on and on. We voted for “Change” and that’s what we expect.

But where’s the change? Obama’s escalating the war in Afghanistan even though Al Qaeda has moved on. Gitmo, still open. Extraordinary renditions, still happening. Military contractors, still ripping us off. Secret meetings, still happening. The FBI still spying on us. Corporate bailouts but nothing for the people who need it. No new financial regulations just bigger bonuses, and with our money! The current health care bill is a gift for big insurance with no public option that would create real competition.

Why aren’t Cheney, Bush and the rest being tried for the illegal war in Iraq and torture? Hell, Cheney is practically taunting Obama to do it, ripping into him on a weekly basis.

C’mon, grow a pair! They’re obviously guilty. Lock ‘em up.

The Democrats have a super majority and have done nothing with it. Can you imagine what treachery the right wing-nuts would do with such control? Oh sure, Obama’s made some good appointments and says the right things like climate change is real, but the U.S. role at the Climate Summit in Copenhagen was seen largely as obstructionist. I thought this charlatan was going to stick it to the corporations instead of sticking it to us? Naive, I know.

Last week, I scraped that Obama sticker off my car, cursing the entire time. At least with Bush and Cheney, we knew we were going to get screwed, just look at how they got in office. But with Obama, our guy, we were lied to, then screwed. That actually hurts more. We need change alright, but this isn’t it.

– Thanks, Bill Vana, Durango


Beyond the surface of Haiti

To the Editors,

With international focus now upon Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake of Jan. 12, it would behoove every one of us to read about Haiti, its history and its state of affairs prior to the recent disaster. The rebuilding of this country will take years, if not decades, and will require a consinued global commitment to help ensure stability, security and promise to all Haitians. An understanding of U.S. foreign policy toward Haiti, past and present, as well as other little-known historic events will shed light on the chronic crisis that has been perpetuated in this country, now exacerbated by the recent natural disaster.

I recommend the following eye-opening books:

- The Uses of Haiti, by Paul Farmer

- Mountains Beyond Mountains ,by Tracy Kidder

- An Unbroken Agony, by Randall Robinson

Please contribute to Haiti in any way you can during the current crisis, and continue to stay informed and support efforts to vitalize the country in the future.

– Lisa Pedolsky, Durango