Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why vote when you live in a tent?

Elections will be held on November 28th in Haiti, but many are planning on not voting. Those not voting don't suffer from your typical apathy, they are the people who still live in tents, long after the January 12th earthquake.

A story from Inter Press Service finds that a majority of those who live in the tent camps will not vote in November. The people who are still homeless don't think that new politicians can do anything to improve their conditions. In our snippet, writer Judith Scherr asks for some opinions. Click on the link to the full article to read about a popular political party that is being excluded from the elections.

David Bazil now makes his home in Barbancourt2, near Port- au-Prince's international airport, a crowded camp of 310 families living in sweltering tents and tarp structures in various states of decay. A stream of water from the showers and rainstorms meanders between the rows of tents, spilling into a pool of mosquito-infested water that abuts the dwellings of several families.

Stinking latrines await the company charged with cleaning them. Adding to the misery, the owner of the property where the camp is located wants his land back.

IPS asked Bazil, vice president of the camp council, if electing a new government might offer hope to weary residents.

"The situation we experience here every day in this camp, we don't see why we would even participate in an election," Bazil said, speaking through a Creole translator. "The problems we're having are now; solutions need to be now. Politicians just make promises about what they'll do in the future. We cannot wait for the future."

In Camp Noailles, just outside Port-au-Prince, no one IPS spoke with planned to vote. A new president should come with plans to bring schools and jobs, "but most people come with a plan that doesn't work," one resident said.

Eric sells used clothes from the United States in downtown Port-au-Prince. Business is bad; people don't have the money to shop, he said. As for elections, "They cannot do anything for the country; our problems won't be solved in an election," he said.

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