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Massive Earthquake Hammers Haiti

Posted on Jan 12, 2010
Wikimedia Commons / Earth Sciences and Image Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center

Aerial view: This NASA image shows Port-au-Prince, Haiti, some 10 miles from the epicenter of Tuesday’s earthquake.

A major magnitude 7.0 earthquake and two big aftershocks slammed Haiti on Tuesday, causing widespread damage in and around the Caribbean nation’s capital city of Port-au-Prince. As details emerged that evening about casualties and damages, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States called the quake “a catastrophe of major proportions.”  —KA

The Wall Street Journal

An Associated Press videographer saw the collapsed wreckage of a hospital in Petionville, near Port-au-Prince. Reuters news agency cited a witness saying several buildings had crumbled in the capital and that there were dead and injured trapped in the rubble.

At least 1.8 million people live within the area where the earthquake had its highest intensity, John Bellini, a geophysicist at the USGS, told The Wall Street Journal. “With a strong and shallow earthquake like this in such a populated area, it could really cause substantial damage,” he said.

The quake was the most powerful to hit Haiti since at least 1770, according to USGS records, Mr. Bellini added. “This isn’t normally an earthquake-prone area,” he said.

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By andrushka, January 15, 2010 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

@NYCartist: A “tiny” country: Luxembourg, however, I am French.

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By Blackspeare, January 14, 2010 at 5:54 pm Link to this comment

Glad to see my comments roused a few responders.  That is my goal to make outlandish comments, but with a modicum of truth to get responses——and it usually works.  Actually Haiti became impoverished after their independence when they were embargoes by most of the world——and that led to a succession of corrupt leadership that continues to this day.

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By NYCartist, January 14, 2010 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

@andrushka: thanks.  I’ve only been to Washington DC a few times:once as a new teacher in the early 1960s, then for the big AntiVietnam War protest in the 1960s.
I have travel some in Europe, but not since 1964 (money or illness prevents/prevented return there):
London, then leased a Deux Chevaux in Paris and first spouse and I drove across Alps into Italy, down to
Naples/Brindisi, ferry to Greece, up thru Yugoslavia and back to Paris - 8 wonderful weeks.  Would you like to say where you are in Europe?  I’m in NYC, as my name indicates.  Happy New Year.

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By andrushka, January 14, 2010 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

@NYCartist: I lived in Washington D.C.
@Stellarwinds: Thanks for your post. I hope that it is clearly understood by those who contribute here.

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By andrushka, January 14, 2010 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

@Blackspeare: Yes, we know that, HOWEVER, NO earthquakes since the 18th century!  Also, IF I am not mistaken….. the country is extremely poor due to many causes I ‘ll let you find out for yourself what they are.  Just read Haiti’s history!!!

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By samosamo, January 13, 2010 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

I am not up on the levels of corruption in Haiti, just know that
there is corruption and a heap of poverty, but to the point via
the title of this post and that is living on a fault line anywhere
and with the larger the number of people the bigger the loss of
life and property, but guess what, nature could give a shit.

Who will give a shit are the corporations that will move in and
move everybody out to create the ‘new’ Haiti casino world and I
would surmise the architects are staying late at work tonight to
start drafting the plans for those casinos.

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By radson, January 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

Xntrk : Interesting post ,but not to forget the the Louisiana Purchase ,Napoleon and Lower Canada

Rfidler : something worth contemplating ,don’t piss -off a Russka Babuchka


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By Xntrk, January 13, 2010 at 2:35 pm Link to this comment

I posted at a different article about the casualties in Haiti, before I realized there were 2 articles. Now I am faced with the ignorance of 90% of the posters here. I am excluding rfidler, because I cannot tell how much he knows about Haiti’s history, from his posts - But at least, he cares!

All this talk about a tropical paradise and Papa Doc and the Ton-Ton Macoute, etc ignores Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803). In 1793, he began fighting the French, and Spanish, and British, to free the slaves [including himself] in Haiti, but not to achieve total independence from France. When he was defeated, and killed by Napoleon’s Government [Complicated moves, here. I’d suggest reading up on it]. With Toussaint L’Ouverture’s death, the real War for Independence began. Another ex-Slave, Dessalines, continued the fight. Upon defeating the French, Dessalines and his followers established the independent nation of Haiti in January 1804. Haiti became the first [and only] independent Black Government in the Americas.

It is this history, the first and only Black Colony to win Independence from a European country until the Mid-Twentieth Century, that has earned Haiti its place at the bottom of the economic ladder.

It’s not stupidity, or incompetence, or laziness, that prevents them from rising. It is the intransigent hatred of White Supremacists who cannot forgive a Black Country for beating them. You see the same thing in Africa: Every time a leader appears who might change the status quo, he is killed, or jailed, or corrupted. Can’t have those uppity Blacks showing up Whitey. If you doubt this, just think about our own history of assassinating any Black Leader who succeeds in arousing Blacks in the US [Excepting W.E.B. Du Bois who managed to emigrate to Africa in the late 1950’s [He suffered from a double prejudice: He was a Commie too].

Anyway, donate to help the Haitians, who especially need it, as we have done everything possible to make life untenable for them, even before the earthquake.

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By stellarwinds, January 13, 2010 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, go ahead, feel bad,

shed your couple of digital tears on a blog,

which amount to absolutely nothing

while your beloved ‘merica is the one who brought this about.

Indeed, most of these people died because they live in slums, with rocks to hold down their roofs.

They now lie under the rocks.


Now ‘merica brought this about, perhaps not the earthquake (although… google HAARP for details)

‘merica illegally invaded and overthrew the duly elected Aristide in 2004 to replace him with the preval crony with all the corruption that goes with it… (and prevented Aristide from coming back several times since despite popular clamor for his return)

in 6 years of illegal US occupation, and all these supposed dollars in foreign aid…

how many in cite soleil were able to to put a real roof, and not rocks, over their heads?

That’s the proof in the put-in,

everything else is bla bla…

This is what ‘merica has wrought.

I know you’d rather not face that reality.

but this is you,  who you are,

the scrouge ‘merica (whether under bush or obama) is for the planet.

Did you know that the main staple for most of these people is salt mixed with mud?

where’d the foreign aid go?  Ah, I see, in the free trade zones, right back in those corporate pockets!

and then you’ll act surprised when the chicken will come home to roost?

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By NYCartist, January 13, 2010 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

A real heartbreak.  Made worse by many ways.  See today’s DemocracyNow

Andrushka, Where did you live in the US in the 1960s and 1970s?  I’m a tiny bit younger than you.

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By Blackspeare, January 13, 2010 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment


“so tell me why they should have built according to those codes?”

Because the city lies on a geologic fault line!

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By andrushka, January 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm Link to this comment

@Jim Yell: You can yell all you want, but the last earthquake in Haïti occured in the 1700’s, so tell me why they should have built according to those codes?

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By Blackspeare, January 13, 2010 at 10:54 am Link to this comment


“You’re not playing——you are silly.” Is that an argument?”

No, it’s not an argument——it’s an insult!  And the next time you feel inspired to write such bombastic harangue in your posts, kindly write them on Scot tissue——it will be less irritating to the sphincter muscle of the recipient.

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By rico, suave, January 13, 2010 at 9:24 am Link to this comment


I did understand your post. But, as I mentioned to andrushka, your post is a perfect example of truthdiggers finding a way to work evil reactionary fascism into every issue, even an issue of purely natural provenance. What possible need was there for you to mention Papa Doc other than that? If the quake had hit Cuba, would you have lamented that Fidel was just another one of the disasters to have hit that potential tropical paradise?

And, as I also mentioned to her, apropos the rhetorical style favored by truthdiggers, all you have is “You’re not playing——you are silly.” Is that an argument? Does that advance the discussion? You prove my point perfectly.

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By Jim Yell, January 13, 2010 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Haiti is a case study in what happens when the rich take no responsibilty to pay decent wages and work for the common good. It also asks the question of “when we see the horrible results of not building to code, why have we abandoned a program which helped Seattle to retro-fit their buildings to withstand earthquake and to see that new buildings where built to earthquake codes?”

In this country and in Seattle, which had a smart enough population to see the advantage in government created movement to protect the whole community from devestation by earthquake, we see a marked lack of distruction from earthquake. In Haiti we see a society in which government takes no responsibilty in controlling the high handedness of the rich and the products of hard, overwhelmning poverty.

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By andrushka, January 13, 2010 at 8:44 am Link to this comment

@rfidler: I appreciate and thank you for your answer. As I am on the opposite side of you, both politically, physically, and….geographically (Europe), I am sure that we can maybe find common ground at times.  As for helping in Haïti, I shall certainly do that financially, for physically, it would be hard considering that I am 71 and not too mobile. I’ve never been to Haïti, but when I lived in the States in the sixties and seventies, I had and still have a lot of friends from there.

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By Blackspeare, January 13, 2010 at 8:26 am Link to this comment


“My posts on this thread are indeed silly. I’m trying to play to the crowd.”

You’re not playing——you are silly.  You didn’t even understand my post.  Let me see you can can get this.  Haiti has had more than it’s share of troubles both natural disasters and corrupt leadership.  Naming Duvailer and the Ton-Tons was an example of that corruption since Papa Doc is the poster child for Haitian corruption.

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By rico, suave, January 13, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment


I started reading truthdig about six months ago, hoping to find a forum for adult conversation with a progressive perspective. I am a conservative and wanted to test my ideas against those with opposing views on social, economic and political issues.

What I found in the vast majority (certainly not all)of the posters was a group of envious, racist, jealous, conspiratorialist, hateful, generally illiterate, misfits whose only aim was to figure out how to make rich people as poor as they are and make the U.S. and Israel go away. Their principal rhetorical device is ad hominem attack. Their source for all the evil in the world is Bush, Cheney and the Israel lobby.

My mental picture of the typical truthdig poster is a homeless loser who pushes his shopping cart up to the public library, jumps on a public computer and starts bitching about how life sucks.

So I’ve pretty much given up on truthdig as a place to learn anything or find anyone who can, in your words, bring something to the world at large.

My posts on this thread are indeed silly. I’m trying to play to the crowd.

Maybe I’ll see a lot of you guys down in Haiti helping with the relief effort…..

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By DrKeithCurrie, January 13, 2010 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

May god help them who are affected by the massive earthquake at Haiti.

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By andrushka, January 13, 2010 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

Do you really think you are funnily spiritual RFIDLER? What do your comments bring to the world at large?....nothing.

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By rico, suave, January 12, 2010 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

PS- When was the last time les Ton-Tons had any clout in Haiti?

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By rico, suave, January 12, 2010 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment


You’re right. It was les Ton-Ton Macoutes, abetted no doubt by W and Dick.

Really- are you in any way capable of seeing this as a purely natural disaster, completely removed from politics and conspiracy?

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By Blackspeare, January 12, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

There’s an old saying——When it rains it pours!  Haiti surely has had it’s share of disasters from man-made to natural.  An island country that should have been a tropical paradise.  I guess it all started with Papa Doc and the Ton-Ton Macoute.  I once worked with a fellow from Haiti and when you mentioned the Ton-Ton Macoute a fear would come over his face.

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By rico, suave, January 12, 2010 at 7:30 pm Link to this comment

What percent of GNP will Venezuela and Cuba spend on Haitian relief compared to the U.S.?

Oh, that’s right- Haiti is Francophone. Fuck ‘em.

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By rico, suave, January 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment

Will Bush and Cheney NEVER stop????

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