Overthrow
March, 1982

Haitians Fight Back
By Paul DeRienzo

Economic conditions in Haiti are the most miserable in the Western Hemisphere. The Haitian people are the poorest in the Americas. Fifty percent of Haitian children die before the age of four, 80% of the children under the age of six have malaria, only 15% can read and for each teacher in Haiti there are 189 soldiers

Perhaps the most ghoulish symptom o the U.S. control of Haiti’s economy is the fact that 6,000 Haitians survive only by selling their own blood for $12 a month which results in 5 tons of human blood each month being shipped to the USA.

It is obvious why so many Haitians have to get out of their country. Today there are thousands of Haitian "boat people" imprisoned in concentration camps throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The largest group is the 2200 at the Krome Avenue Detention Center (a former Nike missile base) in Miami.

The conditions in the camps are not much different from conditions in Haiti. One Haitian refugee now imprisoned in Otisville, NY because of his alleged participation in a rebellion at the Krome Avenue camp last fall describes the food in the camp. He says: "When you finish eating the food you feel like throwing up and people have diarrhea all the time. The water is very stinky and dirty and it had reddish color and this is the water they give us to drink."

Once this brother was locked up in solitary for 8 days at Krome because he complained about the water being fed to his child. When he demanded milk for all the children he was thrown into solitary confinement.

The racism against the Haitians is ugly and strong. The refugees are often struck by the reality of life in the "promised land". Instead of finding gold streets they are called "black dogs". They are denied freedom to speak and all other individual freedom.

On August 23, sixteen Haitians began a hunger strike at Krome to protest the disgusting food and fascist treatment. By that afternoon the hunger strike grew to 90; the next day there were 128 hunger strikers. Those 128 Haitians did not eat for a whole week. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) pigs tried to cover up the hunger strike by bringing in more food by truck. But when the food truck came, nobody would eat; the entire

Women are kept separate from the men in even worse conditions: 400 women in one room, the rest outdoors in tents.

The refugees put up a bedsheet banner with the words, "ALL WE NEED IS OUR FREEDOM" and "IT IS EITHER FREEDOM OR DEATH".

The news media showed up as the refugees began to run; many jumped the fence and escaped. The guards attacked with tear gas. They grabbed the original 120 hunger strikers and shipped them to the Federal Corrections Institute. From there they were sent to the upstate N.Y. prison at Otisville.

On Christmas eve 600 Haitian refugees, all the men at the Krome Detention Center refused to eat their Christmas dinner. The men announced they were on a hunger strike until all the refugees are released,

On the following Sunday a support demonstration gathered outside the detention center. When the guards opened the gates the demonstrators charged inside. The fight made national news as the INS pigs clubbed and gassed the people At the same time 150 Haitians escaped over the back fence.

The INS freaked out and brought in 77 new guards trained along the Mexican border to surround the camp.

The authorities are still freaked because they remember the rebellion in Miami’s Liberty City in 1980. On December 29 over 1000 people from Liberty City jammed a meeting that demanded the release of the refugees.

The U.S. has warped Haiti’s economy-supported Papa Doc and Baby Doc, two brutal, sick tyrants. When the people who have been starved and terrorized from their homes flood the USA to escape they are thrown into concentration camps to rot.

The Haitians are our brothers and sisters and they are fighting for their lives. We who are in the belly of the beast should learn from them and help them all we can.

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