Troops under United Nations command have opened fire on crowds of hungry Haitians seeking food, an ominous sign of impending confrontation between the people of the earthquake-wracked country and the armed forces dispatched there under the auspices of the imperialist powers.
On Monday, Uruguayan troops, part of the UN peacekeeping force deployed here since 2004, fired rubber bullets at people who crowded around food trucks, eventually pulling out and leaving sacks of rice to be fought over.
The next day, Brazilian troops proceeded more aggressively, using pepper spray and tear gas to hold off a crowd seeking food at a tent camp on the grounds of the devastated presidential palace. People ran from the spray coughing and with their eyes streaming.
Two tanks were brought up to menace the crowds when they began to reform, although Fernando Soares, a Brazilian army colonel, told the press: "They're not violent, just desperate. They just want to eat."
One soldier loaded a shotgun as the crowd watched, but did not fire. "They treat us like animals, they beat us, but we are hungry people," one Haitian, Muller Bellegarde, told an American reporter.
The World Food Program (WFP) was delivering 107 cubic tons of rice, oil and beans to the palace camp, enough to feed 20,000 people for two weeks. As the trucks rolled up, thousands came out of their tents and began lining up, but the queues soon became disorderly as it became clear that there was not enough food for all who needed it. Another man told Reuters, "We are too many. Two trucks are not enough for us. They will fight, and the soldiers will shoot and fire gas."Read More