Puerto Rico: Bloggers grieve over earthquake in Haiti

Haiti should also be remembered by its history of strength and infinite resilience. Haiti was the first country in Latin America to achieve its independence, and the first black post-colonial republic in the world. Now, more than ever, the Haitian people and Haiti, a country that has been plagued by corruption, poverty, neglect, and tragedy, must be remembered.

This is what Puerto Rican writer and blogger Mayra Santos Febres says in her post on the earthquake [ES] that has devastated this Caribbean island:

Tengo una deuda vieja con Haití. Todos la tenemos. Haití es la matriz primera, el lugar desde el cual nos nació el Caribe, es el Africa de adentro, el dolor innombrable, la cicatriz.
Fue el primer pais de América en donde un negro se atrevió a pensarse libre, a pensarse lider de pueblos (Toussaint L'ouverture). Ese descaro, Haití lo ha pagado caro. Todavía se lo cobran. No se lo perdona el Antiguo Imperio que crió una revolución (Liberté, Fraternité, Eglité) para todo Occidente, menos para ellos. No se lo perdona su propia estirpe, que convirtió en micos y parodias (Henry Christophe, Duvalier, Aristide) aquel sueño inicial de libertad, fraternidad e igualdad.
Y ahora esto; Haití es este montón de piedras que se derrumban. ¿Qué crimen ancestral no terminamos de pagar? ¿Por qué la tierra nos odia tanto (Le Damnées de la Terre, siempre, les damnées de la terre)? ¿Cómo nos levantamos ahora? Porque el Caribe entero no puede caminar sin Haití. Tropieza , trastabilla, muerde polvo. No puede seguir soñando el sueño que lo originó. No puede seguir intentando (egalité, fraternité, liberté) convertirlo en realidad.
Haití se derrumba, otra vez.
Y nosotros caemos. No podemos avanzar.
Sin Haití no se puede. Sin Haití caemos todos.

I have an old debt with Haiti. We all have. Haiti is the first womb, the place where the Caribbean was born, it’s the Africa from within, the unnamable pain, the scar. It was the first country in America where a black person dared think of himself as free, to think of himself as a leader of the people (Toussaint L’ouverture). Haiti has paid heavily for this impertinence. They are still paying. The Old Empire that harbored a revolution (Liberté, Fraternité, Egalité) for the West has not forgiven them. Even they have not forgiven themselves, like those who have made a parody of the initial dreams of liberty, fraternity and equality (Henry Christophe, Duvalier, Aristide). And now this. Haiti under rubbles. What sort of ancestral crime we have not finished paying for? Why does the earth hate us so much (Le Damnées de la Terre, always, les damnées de la terre)? How do we get up now? Because the Caribbean cannot walk without Haiti. It stumbles, it hits the dust. It cannot keep on dreaming the dream that gave birth to it. It cannot keep on trying (egalité, fraternité, liberté) to make it a reality. Haiti is falling again. And we are also falling. We cannot keep on walking. Not without Haiti. Without Haiti we all fall.

Most of the bloggers from Puerto Rico have lamented the tragedy by writing brief posts with the lists of local aid collection centers. On Twitter there have been lots of updates and news about the earthquake by Puerto Rican citizen media twitterers @caribnews and @blogdiva.  Mainstream newspapers such as Primera Hora and El Nuevo Dia have sent reporters and photojournalists to Haiti to cover the earthquake's aftermath. The Puerto Rican government has established aid collection centers, anounced fund-raising activities, and sent search and rescue units to Haiti.

Global Voices’ Special Coverage Page on the earthquake in Haiti is here.


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