Cruise ship docks at private beach in Haiti for barbeque and water sports

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196 Responses to “Cruise ship docks at private beach in Haiti for barbeque and water sports”

  1. RPlumb says:

    As good a story as this makes, there are a couple of things to make note of. The Cruise boat site is 85 miles from the earthquake (300 miles sailing distance). Having been there once, I know the location is very remote on the North Coast and in an area untouched by the earthquake. The images of survivors trying to climb the 12 foot fence (which I didn’t see) or being turned back by the armed guards (who I also didn’t see) is fantasy. There are very few Haitians in the area. That said, I do respect the sensibilities of the passengers who chose to remain on the ship, out of respect for the situation on other parts of the island.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I saw the picture of the ship, glanced at the title and hoped this was a story about some cruise line sending a ship to Haiti to act as a floating aid station.

    Oh optimism, you cruel shit.

  3. Cefeida says:

    Just putting it out there because I had trouble finding it myself: for those who would like to donate via Paypal, go to ebay

    http://donations.ebay.com/charity/event.jsp?NP_ID=-52

    You don’t have to have an ebay account, they just have a special Haiti Relief page where you can easily paypal money to a lot of good charities, Doctors Without Borders among them.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ballardian.

  5. Ugly Canuck says:

    Life goes on.

    And as always, life is for the living.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The more I think about it, the more outraged I am that people are shunning a visit to any part of Haiti. Boycotts are for countries you HATE. Tourism *helps* them. Hating a cruise ship does not somehow make up for people killed in an earthquake…. where’s the logic??

  7. Drinking the well says:

    Difficult discussion in my opinion, I think the local craftsman are quite happy they can still earn some money in these dire times. It would be more respectful though if they just kept it at that and skipped one day of hedonism.

  8. jgs says:

    The passengers on that ship are no more guilty — or innocent — than anyone else who spends their money enjoying themselves rather than supporting disaster relief or other mensch-y pursuits, which from time to time is most of us. They’re just having a harder time ignoring it. Not to say that’s a bad thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Reductio ad absurdum. It’s quite a bit different if you’re not physically in proximity to the site of the disaster, don’t you think?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I agree, 40 palettes could only help 40 painters.

  10. Anonymous says:

    That’s one thing that’s difficult to have an opinion on… On the one hand you can say it’s cynical, on the other hand you have people who paid for that vacation in advance. Saying that those people don’t have the right to get what they paid for seems a bit odd to me.

    Besides that I guess that we have a situation similar to the one after the Tsunami: Even if it sounds harsh, those tourists have to keep coming as they bring the money the Haitians need.

  11. Matt J says:

    So what do you suggest the ship does instead? Not dock, in which case the food on board won’t be delivered, or dock, but don’t let the passengers out, in which case the local people presumably employed by the cruise ship company won’t get paid. As jgs points out, the passengers are no more or less guilty than the rest of us, they are just geographically closer to the disaster area.

    • Cory Doctorow says:

      How about this alternate world announcement:

      In recognition of the enormous profits that the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has derived from this disaster-striken island, we have come into port briefly to drop off donations from the corporation and passengers, which will go to general relief, with specific sums earmarked for the local people who would otherwise have served us at this time. To those local people, we give our most sincere condolences for the family and friends who have been killed, injured or left homeless, and we urge them to tend to those loved ones today rather than waiting on us while we enjoy ourselves.

      Of course, we wouldn’t dream of spending a day frolicking and gorging ourselves on this beautiful beach, while 200,000 freshly dead disaster victims await burial beyond our high fences — for the same reason that we expect that our neighbors won’t come over to the ashes of our burned homes with party-streamers, cake, and a Yahtzee set. It would be as grotesque as toasting marshmallows over the crematorium’s chimney, as tasteless as taking tourist photos at a memorial service for someone’s beloved child.

      We have made arrangements with one of the other local ports-of-call for our passengers to get some time to relax, and we will put in there later today. We thank our passengers for their understanding over the brief delay.

      • Matt J says:

        Just to clarify, I find the whole fenced in rich person’s playground beach a disgusting idea, but no more disgusting because a disaster happened nearby. The proximity of the earthquake just shows the grotesqueness of the whole venture in sharper relief. And also, I’m not sure how affected Labadee is by the earthquake. There are many places in the Dominican Republic nearer to Port-au-Prince than Labadee is. It seems very paternalistic to pay people unaffected by, but in the same country as a disaster for work which has not been done.

      • SomeDude says:

        Cory, you propose that this is like neighbors coming over to the ashes of one’s burned home with party-streamers, cake, and a Yahtzee set. To massage this analogy a bit: suppose I live a block away from neighbors who have a son graduating from college (and by “a block”, I mean a distance where I cannot actually see their house from mine, though I could walk there). I don’t know these neighbors personally. These neighbors have invited various relatives to come celebrate this event with them on the weekend of the graduation. The date draws near, and the various invited relatives figure out how to take time away from their jobs and familial responsibilities, and they purchase their airline tickets.

        My house burns down hours before the neighbors’ relatives arrive.

        What should the neighbors feel, or do? Should they turn the visiting relatives away at the door? Should they relocate the celebration to some other location? If the visiting relatives have fun, are they inconsiderate?

        How might the answers to these questions vary depending on how close/far the neighbors live from me, or how well we know each other?

      • Anonymous says:

        This comment is intended to be a reply to your alternative announcement as well as the post and tone in general:

        Regarding your alternative announcement, I still see it as inferior to Royal Caribbean’s action. The reason being is that now the local market, employed Haitians and, indirectly, the entire Haitian economy would be deprived of the money the tourists would have spent (which also makes it inferior to giving the Haitians time off with pay). Depriving a disaster zone of one of its few remaining businesses would only worsen the situation. In fact, I think your alternative announcement would be the more despicable, because the company could garner positive press, even while depriving the Haitians of this business activity.

        This is a classic case of ignoring the “law” of unforeseen consequences. While such actions would be seen as for the good of Haiti, in reality it would be to their detriment for the purpose of burying the cognitive dissonance you, and those tourists, feel (for instance, the profit from that hamburger that guy refused to shove down his throat could have fed a family).

        Also, you condemn the tourists for having fun so close to a disaster zone, but how is this any different from our relative position in North America? I doubt you have sacrificed your normal daily routine and little pleasures due to this crisis, and in fact probably feel relatively pleased with yourself because you have donated some sum of money to the cause. But how does a Barbeque in your backyard differ from a Barbeque on that beach? In both instances, there is little more you can do to help.

        Extending this argument, you noted that the Royal Caribbean is donating all proceeds from business activities involving Haiti will be donated to “help stricken Haitians”. You have not extended this same courtesy. You are benefitting yourself by making posts about this tragedy, and condemning others for insufficient action when you have failed to even match the same action.

        While you decry the actions of greedy corporations and corporate apologists, you simply cannot deny you are a beneficiary of this system. Put simply, your condemnations ring hollow when you are not in any position approaching solidarity with the strife of the Haitians, or even match the gestures of those you condemn.

        In close, I wish to ask a simple question. Take the case of two doctors. Say one of them leaves to go to Haiti and help victims in Red Cross aid camp pro bono. The other decides to spend the day on his yacht, but donates a sizable portion of his practice’s income to the Red Cross aid camps. This income keeps those aid camps funded, staffed and supplied. You would likely agree that the doctor working pro bono is more noble, but which doctor has done the most good?

      • holtt says:

        Perfect alternative Cory. Exactly what they could have done to help Haiti.

      • Anonymous says:

        Excellent. This was my first response when my husband sent me this article. The poverty in Haiti was overwhelming prior to the earthquake but, the cruise ships brought income to this impoverished nation. I also agree that now is not the time to stop the ships from coming into port but, rather provide a whole perspective to passengers. I have been in Haiti three times when I was much younger and I still remember the poverty.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know that ANY of what your forecast to happen will, IN FACT, happen?

  12. AsteriskCGY says:

    All this does is makes me think where are all the ship transports in all this. I remember the port at Port Au Prince was down.

    Then this made me realize you got a perfect beach you could probably use for this kind of stuff for wherever this place might be.

    Place should open up for transport ships.

    On another note, I would think the passengers of this cruise would not want to stop at Haiti right now. Makes for a real buzzkill.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Anyone that was actually on the cruise that went to Labadee care to comment?

  14. Steeevyo says:

    I can not be outraged about this. Who is better?
    The person sending a check of ten dollars to ARC? Or the tourist spending money on site.
    I would feel uncomfortable too if i was a tourist on that cruise.
    But i would never encourage to exploit this non event in a populist manner. Just read all the self righteous comments on the Guardian website and you’ll get the picture.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It goes to show how money and greed out weighs human suffering.Sad, very sad.

  16. Kenneth Extension says:

    “Port” appears to be a a generous description of Labadee — see http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/Labadee.htm.

    This story does raise an interesting moral question, though. Should the cruise company — who has invested heavily in the area and whose business helps support the local economy — pull out of Haiti all together, or continue with business as usual in a part of the country that appears to be unaffected by the natural disaster?

    If/when Haiti recovers from this immediate situation and the charitable aid stops, it’s going to need money from somewhere and the tourist industry would appear to be one of the few things that the country has going for it.

    So, which is best for a company that does business with Haiti — pull out now for a short-term PR gain and long-term hardship for Labadee, or stick with its investment, suffer the PR consequences and continue to support the Haitian economy?

    There’s clearly more to this story than this sensationalist BB headline (by Cory – quel surprise) makes out.

    • Cory Doctorow says:

      Why yes, if you frame this as either the company abandoning Haiti or turning thousands loose to frolic by the misery, then the latter looks better.

      You could make the same case for the decency of an employer who forces an employee to work after his children were killed in an auto-wreck: “Would it be better if he fired the worker?”

      No. It would be better if he gave him time off with pay while he is reeling from tragedy.

      And it would be better for Haiti if the company made its donations and then didn’t demand that the undoubtably bereaved and reeling locals wait on its customers while they gorge and sun themselves.

      There is “more to this story” indeed: there’s an army of corporate apologists who can’t conceive of any middle ground between cavorting on a disaster site and abandoning people altogether, and who dismiss anyone who sees things differently as “sensationalist.”

      • thunderhammer says:

        Cory’s analogy of an employer forcing an employee who loses a child in a car wreck to work rather than firing him is just a little off, I think. A better analogy is if the employer himself loses a child in a car wreck (and so do all of his employees). The employer can’t pay his employees if he shuts down the business to grieve.

        Now let’s say the company in question sells party hats. Is it disrespectful for me to buy a party hat from them when they are grieving?

        Not making the stop would have been better PR. I’m sure the cruise company realizes it. But I really don’t think that would have been better for Haiti.

      • Anonymous says:

        And you can’t see the difference between cavorting 80 miles away from a disaster and cavorting on top of a disaster.

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        “You could make the same case for the decency of an employer who forces an employee to work after his children were killed in an auto-wreck: “Would it be better if he fired the worker? No. It would be better if he gave him time off with pay while he is reeling from tragedy.”

        I have *never* heard of this happening for hourly service workers, even in first world countries. “Leave with pay” is something that happens for white collar salaried workers (and perhaps the remnants of unionized industrial workers). For the rest, if they want pay, they have to work the hours.

    • Anonymous says:

      When exactly did Haiti become the responsibility of the United States? There’s 192 members of the United Nations. Where’s the hospital ship / aircraft carrier / security forces / relief money / leadership effort? People in Cuba and Jamaica could pretty much just stand on the east side of their islands and heave relief supplies over to Haiti. How about the freakin Dominican Republic – their on the same island. What are THEY doing to help?

      Where are the Russians and the Venezuelans? What are the people of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria doing to help Haiti?

      Ya know I sure feel sorry for those people. And I’m glad we are helping. Even tho we don’t have to.

      It’s one of those NICE things Americans do. Because we are the good guys. And we care about other people.

  17. Anonymous says:

    These people had no problem with going on a cruise while Hatians were ‘being piled up in the streets,’ so that’s not the issue here. The real issue is that they were confronted point blank with this fact and it made them uncomfortable.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I personally, think this, as an idea, is disgusting, earthquake or no earthquake – “It was hard enough to sit and eat a picnic lunch at Labadee before the quake, knowing how many Haitians were starving,” said another. “I can’t imagine having to choke down a burger there now.” Says enough for me. Such a horrible contrast, and having these passengers nicely separated from the carnage seems so evil to me.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The cruise ship mentality is one of excess: bigger and bigger ships, unlimited eating, etc. Is it any wonder why these people think it’s a good idea to dock in Haiti and sun themselves at a private resort while chaos is occurring there. They feel that they are “helping” the Haitian people by paying them to service their sense of “entitlements” while visiting the island. “Hey…I know you guys are suffering and stuff, but here’s $5…..could you bring me a beer?” Real JO’s.

  20. BritSwedeGuy says:

    It’s just the proximity that’s bringing a universal truth home – there will always be ‘rich’ and there will always be ‘poor’. The right-wing decry Obama trying to instill a little bit of basic human decency into society – in the shape of health care reforms – as ‘socialism’. Elements of the right would also happily let Haitians rot.
    Fixing this needs more than money (not to say it doesn’t need money too)

    • Cory Doctorow says:

      This isn’t just proximity revealing truth, though that’s happening too. This is about when and where it is appropriate to take one’s leisure, to play and to relax. Presumably, the passengers at the Independence of the Seas wouldn’t strip off and get a tan in a cemetery in their own home towns, or show up in a terminal ward with a picnic lunch and a boom-box.

      When you are bereaved, you don’t expect that the rest of the world will stop until you recover. But it *is* reasonable to expect that they won’t come over to your house uninvited and put some Adam Sandler videos on the DVD player and snog on the sofa while you weep in the bedroom.

      • Anonymous says:

        The resort at Labadee is over 80 miles from Port-au-Prince- it’s not like they’re stepping over bodies and rubble to get to the tiki bar. How far out’s your mourning radius, anyhow?

      • Day Vexx says:

        “This is about when and where it is appropriate to take one’s leisure, to play and to relax.”

        …and apparently, a lot of cruisers thought this WAS a good time, back when they booked their cruise months and months before. Considering how many families will plan reunions on board, or big anniversary celebrations, etc, you can imagine how difficult it might have been for all these folks to just say “okay, I’ll cancel” and re-do it when Central America gets its s**t together. These people didn’t show up to hurt anyone, or to rub their good fortune in the locals’ faces– I think it’s willingly blind to pretend otherwise.

  21. Derk says:

    No mention then of the $1M dollars Royal Caribbean are donating to the disaster fund? or did I miss that?
    Royal Caribbean International has contributed the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986, employing 300 locals, allowing another 200 to sell their wares on the premises, and paying the Haitian government US$6 per tourist. For Haiti tourism is a major source of revenue, so what would you have them do? Cut off a source of revenue when its needed most?

    To call Labadee a port is laughable, its a beach. A Port of call. It is not a deep water region, no cranes, no real infrastructure to deal with large amounts of aid.

  22. Jack says:

    The idea that anyone cannot see how this is a dictionary definition of a “faux pax” x 1,000,000 needs their heads examined.

    There’s a time and a place for everything. When a country like Haiti is digging mass graves for the dead, and people are starving in the streets, this is just massively inappropriate.

    Now can these same boats filled with passengers come to port *gasp* without passengers and provide shelter? Or is that simply some wacky idea.

  23. No1_vern says:

    Two things I would like to ask,

    Why wouldn’t they allow the passengers to help – physically help either move supplies, or help with finding people/removal of rubble?

    Why are they insisting that many of the survivors be moved to the USA when they have perfectly good land right there in Haiti?

  24. Anonymous says:

    What would you have RCL do? If they cancel the trips that stop in Haiti, no additional aid, no matter how small or large, will get to Haiti. And what of the people who booked cruises months before the earthquake? What is their crime? I returned from a cruise on Sunday with RCL, and the next trip was stopping in Labadee. I’m not sure I would barbeque and drink cocktails while looking at devastation, but that’s just me. I used my shipboard Seapass account to donate directly to the Haitian relief effort. I booked my cruise in November of last year. Try thinking for a moment before you just criticize.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like the story from Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Galapagos’. With the ship Bahía de Darwin. Much parallels

  26. Ceronomus says:

    Here is another great headline…

    Internet Blog Readers Bash Cruise Company For Delivering Aid to Haiti!

    “Tone-deaf corporate assholes,” captions BoingBoing member Cory Doctrow.

    “The name of the ship in the photo is ‘Independence of the Seas’. More like ‘Arrogant A-hole of the Seas’,” replied another user.

    See, I can make up sensationalist news too!

    I mean,
    Who CARES that the Cruise ships are delivery aid supplies?

    Who CARES that the Cruise Company is the largest corporate aid money supplier to date?

    Who CARES that all money made from Haiti is being also donated back to the relief efforts?

    Who CARES that the Haitian government WANTS them there?

    Really, much better to refer to them as “Tone-deaf corporate assholes.”

    How much has BOINGBOING contributed to the aid efforts? I mean, if you are going to attack folks for giving aid in what you feel is an inappropriate manner, surely it is justified that I wonder how much aid YOU’RE sending.

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      How much has BOINGBOING contributed to the aid efforts?

      Have I mentioned that there have been multiple posts with innumerable links for donations?

  27. Hawley says:

    unlike you obnoxious hypocrites i have decided to not have any fun what so ever until death and misery has been outlawed

    • Felix Mitchell says:

      @ #17 HAWLEY

      This isn’t about whether it’s OK to have fun, but whether it’s appropriate to do so on the doorstep of people who have just experienced a huge and deadly disaster. A sensitive and respectful person should be aware of how others feel and be careful about displays of his own good fortune right when said others have had misfourtune. This doesn’t preclude enjoying yourself at appropriate times and locations, of which there are many.

  28. HonestJohn says:

    Labadee is 139 km from Port-au-prince, it’s “owned” by RC, it was untouched by the earthquake.
    Royal Caribbean International has contributed the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986, employing 300 locals, allowing another 200 to sell their wares on the premises, and paying the Haitian government US$6 per tourist.
    The resort is completely tourist-oriented, and is guarded by a private security force. The site is fenced off from the surrounding area, and passengers are not allowed to leave the property. It is also blocked off from the remainder of Haiti by mountains.
    A controlled group of Haitian merchants are given sole rights to sell their merchandise and establish their businesses in the resort. Although sometimes described as an island in advertisements, it is actually a peninsula contiguous with the island of Hispaniola. The cruise ship moors to the pier at Labadee capable of servicing the Oasis class ships, which was completed in late 2009.
    Knowing all this it makes sense to allow this to continue, as it benefits the dismal Haitian economy. The article plays on peoples guilt.
    How would suspending RC from doing business do anybody any good at all? Contribute money to the relief then go order your Starbucks latte, and make yourself feel better.

  29. Anonymous says:

    How hard is it for some of you to grasp the fact at how fucked up this is. Seriously. hundreds of thousands are dead people are starving, and then a ship filled with the whitest most privileged people in the world roll uo and literally rub their nose in misery by showing up, partying, eating and drinking… while protected behind a giant fence
    and then leaving…. probably leaving your goddamn trash behind like they don’t have enough to clean up

    What sort of a slfsh sshl do you have to be to not see how this is wrong…

  30. Anonymous says:

    It’s not just the timing. Who actually wants to spend a vacation behind a 12′ fence? And that was true even before this disaster.

    I’ve gone on vacations south of the US (Bahamas and Mexico), but at least in both countries there was no need to be guarded like that.

    I really have to wonder about people who will go somewhere that even the beach needs that kind of security.

  31. Anonymous says:

    How many people outraged by this have not had any fun since the earthquake began?

    As mentioned by another poster, Royal Carribean have donated charity, and they also provide important tourism revenue.

    So the people onboard are probably doing more to help than most people complaining about them.

    This is a non story.

    This is just letting people feel superior to the greedy rich so they can donate $15, not go on a cruise and feel like a saint.

  32. xinit says:

    It does read like dancing on graves if you judge only by the portion of the story quoted by Boing Boing.

    I don’t think Cory read past the first paragraph of that Guardian article, instead going for tabloid style reporting.

    “Friday’s call in Labadee went well,” said Royal Caribbean. “Everything was open, as usual. The guests were very happy to hear that 100% of the proceeds from the call at Labadee would be donated to the relief effort.”

    Forty pallets of rice, beans, powdered milk, water, and canned foods were delivered on Friday, and a further 80 are due and 16 on two subsequent ships. When supplies arrive in Labadee, they are distributed by Food for the Poor, a longtime partner of Royal Caribbean in Haiti.

  33. floraldeoderant says:

    The “if cruiseliners can’t have fun while tragedy happens, then no one can have fun while tragedy happens” argument works in a high school debate team kind of way. But only in that way.

    Anything else is just posing as clever, as too-cool-for-empathy, when no one else in the world cares about your asinine posturing. Knock. It. Off.

    • Rindan says:

      The “if cruiseliners can’t have fun while tragedy happens, then no one can have fun while tragedy happens” argument works in a high school debate team kind of way. But only in that way.
      Anything else is just posing as clever, as too-cool-for-empathy, when no one else in the world cares about your asinine posturing. Knock. It. Off.

      I don’t think the point is that you should feel awesome about sunning in Haiti. I am pretty sure I would not have been able to leave the ship. Playing while a few million people are dead, dying, homeless, or otherwise miserable doesn’t sit terribly well with me.

      The point is that before you angrily finger wag at these people, you need to realize that the vast majority of judgers here are no better in practical terms. Playing on the beaches in Haiti might seem grim, but if you are busy dying in Port-au-Prince the guy playing on the beaches of Haiti is likely doing you MORE good than the BoingBoing’er sitting at his computer playing video games. At least the guy in Haiti is dumping a few bucks into the local economy.

      I guess my point isn’t about whether or not it is right or wrong to go to Haiti as a tourist. My point is that the assumed moral superiority of those who are sitting around doing nothing at home is false. Your role, sitting at home doing nothing, is perhaps less morbid and offensive to the other rich white people around you, but to the people of Port-au-Prince, you are pretty much just as worthless as the tourist. Hell, you are even more worthless because at least the tourist are putting money in and even the most morally dense have to sit and ponder a nation in ruin before they go play, while you sit on your ass watching TV.

      You might find the tourist slimy, but as far as Haiti is concerned, you are just as worthless*. Get off your high horse. You suck too.

      *I am sure that there are actually people here for whom this doesn’t fit. People who have made real contributions to the relief effort are of course doing something. I just have a sneaking suspicion that these people are in a very small minority.

  34. Anonymous says:

    I live in an area often affected by hurricanes, and I work in a tourist-related business. We start the push for the return of tourism as soon as the storm is over. Even when the roof on our home was a blue tarp or our living room was full of sand & water, I went to work because my family needs my paycheck. Thank God I have never had to do this while mourning a lossed loved one or searching for a missing child, but even still I would not expect the world to stop turning because of my pain. To imply to tourists headed for my community following a hurricane that they should go elsewhere, would cause future financial hardships above the hardships brought by the storms. I think the same logic applies in Haiti. The Haitians need our support, and the American dollars will spend the same, whether they came from tourists, or from someone who Tweeted a donation.

  35. netsharc says:

    Presumably they are afraid of getting sued because in their cruise agreement there is a clause somewhere that says “We will make a stop at Haiti”, but that’s a pretty weak argument, if some passenger (like the one in the article who says “I’ll be there on Tuesday and I plan on enjoying my zip line excursion as well as the time on the beach.”) decides to sue, they can always invoke the “natural disasters” clause, as well as the moral “you’re a giant dick!” one.*

    If I were in charge I would’ve told the passengers we will just dock to unload the food (and presumably get fuel and water?), and if anyone would like to donate money for the relief funds/port workers/trinkets sellers they can contact the ship’s purser.

    * Actually, since the captain is the boss, I’d tell the passengers any complaining people will be thrown off the ship.

  36. usonia says:

    I can’t help but think it would be funny if the passengers were pressed into service distributing relief, shoveling rubble, whatever would help. Heck, make it a choice: “You can stay on the ship, you can frolic on the beach, or you can go do something decent for humanity”.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Funny” because it would inconvenience vacationers, or “funny” because it would inconvenience rescue staff who’d have to worry about looking after unprepared conscripts to their effort?

  37. Camp Freddie says:

    What matters is what the Haitians want.

    If they want to be left alone to grieve than the curise company should respect that.
    If they want business as usual, to keep local businesses running and provide work for Haitian businesses, then the cruise company should dock at the beach.

    In any case, I really doubt that people were out there playing beach volleyball and downing pina coladas while chatting up the waitresses. I’m pretty sure that the passengers would be sensitive to the tragedy. If anything, I expect that a visit would make them more likely to send a big donation to the Red Cross or Medicin sans Frontiers as soon as they could.

    I suspect that the best course of action is to continue with business as usual but just cancel the big BBQ party and any other events that seem a bit too much like laughing while people are dying. Obviously any Haitian staff should not be forced to work their regular shifts unless that is what they want.

  38. wrwetzel says:

    Consider what could have been accomplished if the 3500 passengers on board put on heavy work gloves and spent just a day of their vacation helping to clear rubble, dig out survivors, bury the dead, comfort survivors.

    That’s the ONLY thing I could think of doing if I were anywhere near Haitian soil, certainly not bathing or relaxing on the beach.

    Consider what more could have been accomplished if the ship opened its doors to house and feed 3500 Haitian survivors while conditions stabilize in their towns. Leave the passengers home for a trip and help people really in need.

    • Matt J says:

      You do realise that Labadee is about 100km from the worst affected area? And besides, your suggestion is stupid. There is no shortage of manual labor in Haiti, just specialist equipment, so a few hundred fat American tourists won’t do much good, especially since I doubt the ship had 3500 pairs of work gloves on board.

    • skofarrell says:

      Wow. and I’m guessing they can walk the 80 miles from the north coast of Haiti to Port au Prince? I’m sure the resuce workers would welcome 3500 dumb, fat, tourists to help.

  39. jamesarthus says:

    Instead of spending money for enjoyment on the cruise they would have helped the victims of the disaster. They really need money., food., medicines and more to overcome the problems.

    @wrwetzel — I agree with you …. they would have given the shelter to the really need persons

    Let the light fall on those persons who is suffering

    May god bless them

  40. leviathan says:

    So, what exactly was on those palletes anyway? Cake?

  41. Apreche says:

    I don’t see how the geography makes a difference.

    Millions of people in the US spent this weekend lazing about on their couches, eating comfortably, and watching football. Just because these cruise passengers happened to be geographically closer to the disaster makes them or the cruise company somehow worse than anyone else? Are the couch potatoes in Florida worse than those in New York because they’re so much closer to Haiti?

  42. imajication says:

    I saw a movie last night. Am I horrible person for having fun while thousands die and suffer in Haiti? Is it that much better that I’ve had my fun 1000+ miles away.

    I’ve also visited 3rd world countries. Though they weren’t in the midst of a disaster, I was walking within feet of hundreds of people who didn’t have plumbing or proper nutrition. Come to think of it, I walk past that here in the US, too. Though there’s not hundreds of them.

    That being said, it would be kind of difficult for me to party right next a huge disaster. It would be like singing karaoke in a room next to a funeral. It’s not like you could do anything to help, but please, show some respect.

    I guess what I’m saying, as many other posters have said, is that picking on these people on the cruise is an unfair way to make us feel better about ourselves. Perhaps it helps us deal with our survivor guilt, “Oh, I still have a nice house that wasn’t destroyed while thousands died in Haiti, but at least I’m not shaking my booty on a beach down there.” Face it, we’re all insanely lucky to be better off than them. Well, most of us are. I guess a few people reading this might have had horrible tragedies.

    We just need to give what we reasonably can, and keep them in our hearts.

  43. AGC says:

    If Haiti was a real country they would seize that ship and use it for a medical clinic. But it isn’t a real country, it’s a playground for NGO’s.

  44. Cefeida says:

    While visiting several South American ports on a working (as in, not cruise) ship, I was surprised to see that every port town had such an enclave designed specifically for rich foreign yachters and cruise-ship tourists- there was a fence, there were guards, everything was neatly paved and trimmed like a hotel resort. Most visitors never even left these compounds- perhaps out of fear?

    I was disappointed that so many people manage to take holidays in poor(er) countries without giving a moment’s thought to what goes on outside their luxurious resort. “I’ve been to Panama”, they would say. No, you’ve been to the marina. Panama was outside the gate.

    And this cruise- well, managing a huge floating hotel is nothing simple and you can’t just drop everything and go on a humanitarian mission when you’ve got paying passengers. Harsh but true. People make good points here saying that it is better for the ship to dock if its absence would take business away from the locals.

    I feel like more could and should have been done- with all the luxury the ship brings with it, surely some of it could have been used to help the Haitians. It would have been a fantastic gesture on the cruise company’s part. But it would mean someone somewhere would have to decide to sink a huge amount of money and have his employees begin a complicated operation which they are not trained for, while remaining responsible for the passengers who did, in fact, pay to take a safe cruise, and not to be detained by helping natural disaster victims. In other words, not as simple as it seems.

    • kenmce says:

      Cefeida:
      While visiting several South American ports… I was surprised to see that every port town had such an enclave designed specifically for rich foreign yachters and cruise-ship tourists- there was a fence, there were guards, everything was neatly paved and trimmed like a hotel resort. Most visitors never even left these compounds

      I’ve seen that. Sometimes there will be armed guards on the beaches. Guests can walk right by them, locals are turned back. Your stay there is being managed. They are not particularly trying to fool you, they are protecting their valuable cash cow (you) from predators.

      The fences are there to keep riff-raff and unpleasant sights away from visitors. Beggars, muggings, and street walkers are probably not what they want John Q. Visitor to remember about their stay. Visitors can cross the fence and go into town if they want to. I do it, but I recognize that it’s not for everyone.

  45. TheAdvocate says:

    Well said Rindan and Axx.

    While we are blogging people are dying. We shouldn’t blog now should we?

    Question. What about the times when we are vacationing in third world countries where just outside of the resort people are living in squalor and horrendous conditions? Isn’t that bad as well?

    So many hypocrites, so little time.

  46. MB says:

    Well, SomeDude, if your neighborhood didn’t have a fire department and the house was still on fire (a more analagous situation), hell yes you cancel your party and take your guests over there to help. Human decency, I suppose, needs to be explained to some of us.

    • SomeDude says:

      MB wrote:

      Well, SomeDude, if your neighborhood didn’t have a fire department and the house was still on fire (a more analagous situation), hell yes you cancel your party and take your guests over there to help.

      Still on fire, no fire department… I can understand that interpretation. I could also see arguments that the house is not on fire, as well as arguments that there is a fire department.

      MB wrote:

      Human decency, I suppose, needs to be explained to some of us.

      Yes, your view of human decency needs to be mandated to everyone. Please continue, because personal attacks bring people closer together than earnest attempts at thoughtful discussion ever will.

  47. Anonymous says:

    So what… the article itself says “The Florida cruise company leases a picturesque wooded peninsula and its five pristine beaches from the government…”

    The Hatian government got paid. Tourism is probably one of the countries largest industries and for now Tourism in Haiti is probably not doing so well.

    You want the cruise line to stop sending business Haiti’s way? yeah, thats an even better solution. For the sake of of feeling bad we should also stop sending them business besides what they are getting for relief.

    You give a man a fish you feed him for a day but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for life Business as usual is the best kind of relief… thank got its still possible there.

    What they should have done is arrange a way to let the passengers to volunteer in some small way. Hold a vigil, light candles, have a moment of silence, let passengers send money directly or even better LET SOME SELECT ORPHANS AND VICTIMS JOIN THEM FOR A MEAL.

    But if they want to sit on the beach and take in the sun and snorkel and do whatever then let them. Its good for Haiti. It shows what Haiti was and will be again. In a way you could say its what the old Haiti would have wanted. Its a hard thing to picture but I have no problem with it.

    My heart goes out to the victims. I have friends who have family there. I think that stopping tourism commerce with them now is exactly what they do not need.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Contrary to the majority i for one applaud Rc decision to resume their cruises to Haiti as soon as possible, I even go further as to say that other cruise companies (if possible) should do the same thing . First Rc provides most needed jobs in labadee and also create business opportunities to artisans and local people who provide tourists with additional services such as excursions, rides etc. Those Hatians working at labadee need their jobs to support their families ad probably even help relatives in need who are victims of the disaster. By the way labadde is located in the northern part of haiti, I doubt is literally meters away from affected areas, even though starvation, like it or not, has always been part of Haiti, so even though maybe nobody noticed before there has always been people on the other side of the fence living practically in inhuman conditions.

  49. Osprey101 says:

    The comments written by a bunch of Boingers who have never missed a meal in their life are revealing. Unsurprising, but revealing.

  50. Anonymous says:

    People are on vacation, spending their hard earned money and using their one or two weeks of vacation time. Just because there is a tragedy doesn’t mean everyone in the world has to feel sad or help out. My only hope is that the cruise ship would take a poll from their customer’s before-hand and explain the situation and if the customers still wanted to go on the beach then that’s their choice. Most people when asked to think about those circumstances will do the right thing and stay on the ship. But if you don’t ask and snap people back to reality for a second. Then people will continue on with their eating drinking, and trying to forget their own troubles back home mindset. Just give them the choice the cruise ship has obligations to its customers don’t blame them. It sounds like that’s exactly what they did and what they should do. It would have been better if they arranged to dock a farther away like over near Punta Cana or something and then just stopped to drop off supplies but that’s just me.

  51. LeFunk says:

    “But it *is* reasonable to expect that they won’t come over to your house uninvited and put some Adam Sandler videos on the DVD player and snog on the sofa while you weep in the bedroom.”

    Strangely enough, I find this image kind of comforting.
    If uninvited strangers came to weep in my bedroom, well.. I don’t know about that.

    Of course it would be callous to party in Haiti right now.

  52. Anonymous says:

    If it is wrong, then why is it suddenly wrong now because of the earthquake? What i’m saying is, if these same people were partying in, say, Australia, would that make a different impact on the Haitian earthquake victims? You still have one group of people who paid a lot of money for a party and presumably are not in crisis, and another group of people who are both poor (before the quake) and now in horrible crisis. Whether the middle-class Americans are partying in the USA, Haiti, or somewhere else, really has nothing to do with the aftermath of the earthquake per se.

    So if there is a problem here, I think it is similar to one of these two situations:

    a) waving a piece of cake under the nose of someone who’s doctor has just forbidden them to eat cake, or

    b) a hitherto sheltered meat eater who is suddenly confronted with having to see a real, live slaughterhouse in action.

    If it is the first, it’s just rude and tacky, not wrong.

    If it’s the second, then it is a matter of people being unexpectedly confronted with a reality they would prefer not to see. If this makes them uncomfortable because they feel they ought to be helping instead of having a good time, then I think they would make a better impact by doing aid work of some kind (once they get home from their cruise) than by staying on the ship just to make a point.

  53. wil9000 says:

    The name of the ship in the photo is “Independence of the Seas”. More like “Arrogant A-hole of the Seas”. Yes, RC has donated a lot of money, and paid a lot of money, but they have also reaped untold profit from Haiti over the years. The right thing to do would have been to return to the last port, put off the passengers, issue them refunds or tickets for a later cruise, and then go to Haiti and donate all the food on board to the relief fund, and offer all the state rooms and facilities to refugees, at least for a week or so. Can you possibly imagine the good press a move like this would have generated for RC? But no, instead they must continue “Business as usual, we can’t possibly be expected to inconvenience our boatload of rich A-holes.” I hear they’re expanding the special circle in hell that was built to accommodate those who found ways to profit off of the 9-11 attack and the Indian Ocean tsunami. Plenty of room for these guys, I hope.

    • kenmce says:

      wil9000:
      The right thing to do would have been to…

      You’re being very casual with someone elses time, money, and property here. How about you build your own cruise line, then you can do what you want with it.

  54. Anonymous says:

    As someone who literally just signed up for a cruise to this port, I agonized over this as well, then got to work doing research. RC has done what it should during this disaster: Ships docking are bringing transportable supplies for relief, they’ve donated US$1M to relief efforts, they elected to continue shore visits to their facility in Labadee, they’ve provided a means for passengers to donate through their on-board accounts, all profits from the Labadee port are being sent to disaster relief agencies.

    RC has been operating in Labadee for 20 years, established a foundation there (Solano) ten years ago, and employs several hundred staff in Haiti (not to mention the knock-on effects of tourists). Had they abandoned Labadee, a tragedy limited to the other side of the island would impact yet more Haitians. Frankly RC could do nothing other than what they’ve done – and it’s the right thing to do.

    In the end my family decided that moving forward in Haiti is more important than cutting them off. Did we donate to ARC? Yes. Do we feel guilty? No.

  55. Kurt says:

    Cruise ships dock in countries every day in which the people are poor, starving, sick, and dying; the only difference here is that some of the passengers are aware of it.

  56. Anonymous says:

    Also the suggestion the cruise ship should have rerouted to Port au Prince and drafted the thousands of passengers as impromptu aid workers for a day is hilarious.

    The logistics of port au prince are already badly strained. Cruise ships are absolutely mammoth and need special facilities to unload passengers. Most of the passengers on cruise ships are old or fat and they are basically all wholly unskilled in manual labor or aid work. You’d throw a giant spanner into the workings of the Port or Prince logistics and you’d gain a bunch of clumsy busybodies in exchange that would almost certainly do more harm than good.

    Not to mention the distance issue. Labadee is on the complete opposite end of the island from Port au Prince. They’d have to sail all the way around just to get there.

    People need to learn more geography before they start making inane analogies like people partying in Manhattan after 9/11. This would be more like trying to ban BBQ’s in San Francisco for the entire month of September.

  57. Anonymous says:

    People need to consider the 10′s of thousands of dollars being generated in the Haitian economy every single day the ship is docked there. The best thing those tourists can do to help the Haitians while they are there on vacation is SPEND MONEY rather than sit on the ship whining about it. Those tourist dollars will end up going a lot further than the 10 bucks I donated to the Red Cross. There are hundreds of Haitian employees working for the resort and even more vendors selling souvenirs to the tourists, all who rely on that income to feed their families. The tourists just happen to be in a unique situation to be able to have fun and help Haiti at the same time.

  58. Anonymous says:

    “They really missed an opportunity here. Setting up signups so that passengers could volunteer to help out for the day if they so chose would have been a heartwarming gesture that would have worked as easy PR in the process.”

    How? They were about 100km from Port au Prince. How were they going to get over there and help? It’s not like they were being dropped off right next to the devastated area.

    Moreover, the LAST thing they need in Port au Prince is more bodies needing to be fed, particularly if those bodies aren’t going to be contributing anything useful (as would be the case for almost anyone on that cruise ship. Cruise ships are not stuffed full of mechanically skilled strapping young single men) who would just overtax the already strained logistics of Port au Prince.

  59. Anonymous says:

    The ship carried 40 palettes of relief supplies.. NOT docking just because it would be bad mannors “when they are having such a rough time” THAT would be a scandal.

  60. Anonymous says:

    I myself have travelled to Labadee a few years back. These people suffer the worst forms of poverty even in the best of times. I understand that you may be uncomfortable with going to that port of call during this particular time but are you seriously going to further punish the people of Haiti who’s source of income is these passengers? You don’t realize how much these people depend on your tourist dollars. You would do further damage to take that away from them. There are over 500 individuals who work at Labadee. They sell their artisan crafts, run excursions, take care of the guests needs. And every ship that arrives will be bringing much needed goods to the region. If you are so bothered by it maybe you can not eat your meal there (all the leftovers go to the haitians) and spend a little more on the arts and crafts (don’t haggle) and tip a little more generously. I consider it a time that people can open their hearts and wallets and help the Haitian community. They need life to go on as normal as possible for them. They need to feel productive. Don’t take that away from them.

  61. Baldhead says:

    Okay it seems none of you has been to labadee or worked for a cruise line. I’ve both worked for RCCL and been to Labadee so here’s a few points. 1)as a port it’s useless. all people and equipment have to be loaded onto smaller boats to get ashore. 40 pallets would take all day. 2) as the first ship in those pallets would have been from existing ship stores, and likely much of what could be spared. 3)the medical staff on that class of ship is i think 12 people. Not much use there. 4) the passengers booked months in advance. And perhaps were already on the cruise when the quake hit. I feel much worse about Labadee re: the coup attempt a few years ago than this. 4) Labdee’s buildings are scarcly moe than open= roof structures in sand not hard to knock down or put back up again. And not really designed for habitation.

    in short, while being upset about this might be understandable, I can’t fall in line with it at all. RCCL is helping far more than anyone posting here is.

    • Chris S says:

      “as a port it’s useless. all people and equipment have to be loaded onto smaller boats to get ashore.”

      This is no longer true. As of mid-December, they had finished a new pier at Labadee that could dock even the Oasis-class vessels.

      However, this is still only a *pier* – a long thin ribbon of dock that the vessel can tie up alongside. You are still limited to forklifts and trucks to move materials from and to the vessel.

  62. lividrecords says:

    I made a vlog http://bit.ly/8VQUgX of how Royal Caribbean appalled me when I went on a cruise trip that stopped in Haiti. This vid is from June of 2008. My company Livid Records is also helping Haiti, you can see how here- http://bit.ly/7ACnVF -Chuck

    • HonestJohn says:

      Chuck, by you not getting off the boat, you didn’t spend any money so you hurt the Haitians more than you helped. You also said that RC was great in your video, why were you appalled? Sounds more like guilt to me. RC contributes more to Haiti’s tourist economy that anything else, they are a good thing not bad…btw I’m going on the same cruise next month and plan to spend extra money in Labadee, even though I’ve already sent in a contribution through the Red Cross.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Labadee looks to be 100+ miles due North from Port-au-Prince, looking at the maps in Wikipedia. I have not heard how far the devastation extends, but I would guess that the most urgent problems in the immediate Labadee area are from existing poverty, rather than earthquake damage. In any case, I’m sure that supplies delivered to Labadee can be put to some humanitarian uses. But I don’t think RC is behaving evil here – given the distance, it would seem as though logistics wouldn’t allow Labadee to supply Port-au-Prince effectively.

  64. wil9000 says:

    I just heard a story on NPR that said that at least 80% of the buildings at Labadee had been flattened. Guess 100km away just wasn’t far enough.

  65. ScottMcG says:

    I seem to recall a similar situation after the big Tsunami in Indonesia a few years back. There were people vacationing on the beaches and expecting service from those who had spent the previous few days hauling drowned bodies off of those same beaches. A few were interviewed and most said something like, “hey, I paid for this trip and I’m going to enjoy myself. It’s not my fault they just suffered a disaster.” These people were generally regarded as assholes, and I don’t see a big difference between them and this bunch.

    I guess it’s tough – you’ve booked your 20th class reunion on this cruise and all of your Facebook friends are really jazzed about getting drunk and sunburned together. It’s all you’ve talked about for the last 3 months and you just want to have some fun. It would be really insensitive for the cruise line to tell you that you’re not going to be making this one stop on your cruise because the people who would be waiting on you and putting up with your crap just had a terrible disaster and had more important things to do, like find missing loved ones and bury the dead.

    Having your vacation itinerary altered is an inconvenience. Having your country thrown into chaos and ruin is a disaster. I have absolutely no sympathy or respect for anybody on that cruise who feels entitled to their day on a highly-guarded Haitian beach under these circumstances. I wouldn’t have liked the idea a month ago, but now it’s just offensive.

  66. freshacconci says:

    Everybody: it’s tasteless, pure and simple. Should we go about our lives? Yes. Can we do anything directly about this disaster? Probably not. We can send money. Some can go down to Haiti and help. Our governments are sending aid.

    However, having a party less than a week after the biggest earthquake in the area in 200 years, where possibly 200,000 have died, many of whom are not even buried yet, and the survivors are trying to survive on little or nothing, is simply abhorrent. Yes, it has everything to do with proximity and geography. BBQ while people are starving, people too poor to even go into that fenced-off area unless they work there? And as far as those who work there needing the money, let’s just all assume that they are working there during this tragedy more out of fear of losing their jobs than anything else. They would probably prefer to be helping their family, neighbours and friends.

    The cruise line could have given them time off with pay. The cruise line could have told the passengers who booked the trip before the earthquake that, hey, in light of the recent disaster, we’ve decided that it would be tasteless in the extreme to go to Haiti right now. We’ll drop off these supplies and we’re passing around a hat and we’ll then sail to [wherever else] for your port-of-call. It’s an extreme situation and simple human decency would say not to throw party right next to the devastation. It has nothing to do with misplaced guilt or the rest of the world living their lives.

    I seem to recall Americans–of every political stripe–saying everything had changed right after 9/11. Even comedy was supposed to disappear. Of course life went on.

    But nobody set up a fucking bbq while the towers smoldered.

  67. Anonymous says:

    This is an issue of decorum. Visitors’ behavior needs to be subdued and respectful when visiting the site of a natural disaster. Anything less is uncivilized. The whole world is not expected to stop eating, drinking, and enjoying life, but to shove it in the face of someone who is grieving is just rude. This is why we wear black and behave in a respectful manner when we attend funerals. I can’t believe how many people don’t grok this.

    • Axx says:

      New headline? “Bloggers Blog While Haitians Starve?”

      A line has been drawn in the sand – it’s inappropriate for cruise ships to dock at Labadee Beach. Is is appropriate for them to dock in Bavaro? San Juan? Is it appropriate to eat a burger in Juan Dolio while people starve in Port au Prince? To drink water in Munich? Is it appropriate to have pithy meta-discussions on Boingboing while children die buried under rubble?

      And what of all the non-publicized tragedies that we are ignoring? 150 just died in Nigerian riots over the past 48 hours. Can cruise ships appropriately dock at the Cote d’Ivoire?

      You’ve thrown down the gauntlet, Cory. Now you have some specifics to attend to.

  68. Farah says:

    We were on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a wedding the week before the earthquake, and were in Labadee exactly one week before the earthquake hit. First of all, Labadee is barely a port, just a large pier, a beach and some small buildings. I really don’t think it is equipped for large transport. It is also quite far from the devastation, none of the structures in Labadee sustained any damage. It is in remote area, we could see no other civilization around us other than the complex itself.
    The whole complex is staffed with local Haitians, and there are several vendors set up to sell handicrafts. I am sure the workers there would not be happy if the cruise line decided to halt all activities there, thus not allowing them to earn their income. And stopping the ship but not letting the passengers off is not a good idea either, since many of the emplyees would lose tips and sales from merchandise, not to mention the $6 per head fee that Royal Carribean pays the government of Haiti for each pasenger who disembarks.
    Many poverty stricken countries rely on the tourism industry, why should we deny Haiti that right simply because of guilt? Labadee was a beautiful place, we should let Haiti use that beauty for its own gain, now more than ever.

    • Anonymous says:

      you are absolutely right. last time i took a cruise, u could tell that the ports we stopped in wanted, needed the cruise line industry there.
      If these passengers feel guilty about going, I have a suggestion. Don’t go. This way the country gets no revenue, no delivery of relief goods, only what they already have….nothing.

  69. bwcbwc says:

    What a bunch of hypocrites. If it bothers you that much to be enjoying yourself in the midst of disaster, don’t get on the cruise in the first place.

    And why does proximity make it any worse? It’s not like they’re holding up Pat Robertson banners saying it’s all because the Haitians are satanists. If they feel that much more guilt about enjoying themselves in port than they do on the cruise ship or at a restaurant back home, at least they are in a position to do something about it. Leave a big tip for the employees where it’s needed the most. If anything they are in a better position to make a difference than anyone here on the mainland.

    Life goes on in the midst of disaster. Before you knock anybody else for being so tasteless, look in the mirror when you get back from your meal at your local Chili’s, P.F.Chang’s or whatever.

  70. bwcbwc says:

    Oh, and if proximity DOES make that much of a difference, how much time and/or money have you spent supporting your local homeless shelter in the past year?

    People who live in glass houses…

  71. Anonymous says:

    Bad business decision on the part of RC. Very bad. A good cruise line has an alternate location for its stops, or at least can choose to stay docked way offshore for that day and give cruisers appropriate refunds for scheduled activities.

    The fact that they brought everyone there while this disaster was going on can subject them to lawsuits from cruisers who could viably claim that RC forced them into a situation of emotional stress, severe embarrassment and shame.

    40 palettes doesn’t seem like a huge contribution when everyone is partying and barbecuing ship side. The PR hit RC is taking will smother all that.

    If the Captain was smart, since he is in command and control of the ship, he would have anchored the ship way offshore, scheduled it as a Day at Sea, and had shuttles bring the palettes a few at a time to the Haitian shore.

  72. Lobster says:

    I don’t think this is morally wrong. The people who were genuinely disturbed by it probably didn’t go out and play. If they’d said no one was allowed to go have fun, then the people who didn’t really care would just sit around pretending they did (meanwhile phoning their agents for a refund). They did drop off some supplies. So no, not morally wrong.

    Just really, REALLY tasteless.

  73. Anonymous says:

    A few people seem to think the cruise ship was en route when the earthquake happened. But think about this: how did those pallets of relief supplies get on the ship?

    This is in very, very bad taste. If the cruise line had canceled three weeks of cruises, told the passengers it was because of the disaster, and used the cruise ship to transport relief supplies and workers for three weeks, they’d have a huge PR coup. Instead, they now look like they’re fiddling while Rome burns.

  74. demidan says:

    Why not kick the bastards off board tear down the 12′ high walls and let the passengers help survivors out on the “pristine” beach? Fiddling while Rome burns much?

  75. Dead Robot says:

    Presumably they are afraid of getting sued because in their cruise agreement there is a clause somewhere that says “We will make a stop at Haiti”

    Royal Caribbean has altered itineraries, mid-sailing, for less. They’ve avoided stops for the sake of weather, so I doubt this decision to carry on business as usual was decided lightly.

    I do know that if I were a passenger (and I have been to Labadee and found the “compound” very uncomfortable) I would not disembark out of respect – much like Cory suggest – I’ve paid my money and there’s not much else I can do, give the compound workers the day off from the tourists.

  76. Ugly Canuck says:

    Some moving Haitian photos here:

    http://www.cryptome.org/

    With some excellent Afpak war photography, too.

  77. blacksquare says:

    The question is not whether to have fun near a disaster area. Of course we don’t have a responsibility to suffer in solidarity. the question is why does this cruise line effectively own an oasis in the poorest country in our hemisphere. That has to do with much larger issues of social justice than can be answered either with some donated food or some self righteous tourists abstaining from the zip line just this once (evryone was fine going to haiti to party prior to the earthquake).

    Sure, the cruise line probably provides livliehoods to some people. Just like sweatshops in Cambodia provide jobs that are better than nothing. But is better than literally nothing okay with everyone? Certainy the cruise line is making out with substantial profits from the arrangement. This earthquake should bring to our attention the bleak history of Haiti in which the us has played a role. This little fantasy island that generates so much profit for the cruise line is part of a history of exploitation that goes back literally to Columbus. Waiting a week for most of the bodies to be cleaned up in port-au-prince before going on a party excursion won’t change that.

  78. Uniquack says:

    The reaction of some to pointing out the gross disrespect of this action is interesting in its own right. They seem to react with anger and ad hominem attacks and it appears to be highly defensive. What are they feeling insecure about? Are they feeling guilty?

    It’s really okay to feel guilty sometimes– it’s a normal human emotion and if we listen to it and it makes us treat others better, to see our us vs them sense of group identity as more inclusive than before, we increase our chances of survival. Perhaps it’s a useful group selection trait. Don’t fight it, use it. Only when it gets distorted and not tested against reality does it become part of a neurotic response.

    In this case, I would say there are clear ways that the guilt of the passengers and cruise line operators could have motivated them to recognize how to better respect the humanity of the Haitians. Cory outlined a very decent response that shows what that could be like. Some passengers responded to the situation with guilt and stayed back in solidarity while others felt uncomfortable with their guilt and reacted by getting angry at those who brought up not going to party, while still others perhaps lacked the moral development to know what they did was disrespectful. A similar pattern seems to hold in the discussions among various people here.

    As for the whole nature of the enterprise, it’s instructive to see this part of the Haitian economy in the context of its history and economic subjugation, primarily by the United States. While the US has refused to forgive Haiti its debts, the US has actively and violently worked to overthrow its elected leaders. Even with the current Preval government, the UN “peacekeepers” have stood back while goons wotking for international corporations that rely on underpaid laborers kill union leaders and Lavalas party members who speak out for self determination. Bill Clinton took a special interest in “helping” Haiti move into its neoliberal “development” but pushing for these tourist ports fenced away from the troubles of the starving Haitian poor. It does nothing to resolve the economic troubles of Haiti and simply generates more money for US and European banks to extract in their debt repayments. It is simply another piece of the exploitation of Haiti. And should Preval or any other leader, like Aristide tried, refuse to completely comply with all demands, they will be removed with violence, as our former Bush regime made sure to do. Haiti is a cheap source of labor for sweatshops and an extra revenue source for bankers. That suffering happens on the other side of the fence doesn’t matter to any of these goons, from the ones with machetes to the ones in suits, including the man who was our 42nd president. At a larger scale, neoliberal exploitation/ “development” is really the same story, happening all the time, as the little event that occurred on a Haitian beach this week.

  79. Ceronomus says:

    First off,
    Anyone who hasn’t signed up and trained as a disaster relief volunteer of who hasn’t, at minimum, donated money to the relief efforts has no place to talk. Whether you are at home firing up the BBQ or on a beach, out of sight of the rest of Haiti, firing up a BBQ doesn’t really matter. The end result is the same…you’ve done nothing. Moral indignation rather than taking action is worse.

    That said? This article is the worst sort of hyperbole.

    “The Florida cruise company leases a picturesque wooded peninsula and its five pristine beaches from the government for passengers to “cut loose” with watersports, barbecues, and shopping for trinkets at a craft market before returning on board before dusk. Safety is guaranteed by armed guards at the gate.”

    Nowhere does this actually say that this is what actually HAPPENED on this trip mind you. It merely states the purpose of the leased area. Indeed, it cites people who weren’t going to bother going ashore at all…

    So a cruise ship stops, delivers 40 palettes of relief supplies, donates all proceeds from the stop to the relief effort while the company donated an additional one million dollars to the effort…and they get demonized for it?

    Way to be supportive of a company that is actually DOING something. When the EU is pledging about $550 million , a million from a single entity is a pretty nice gesture.

    While proximity to the disaster might make things seem more tasteless, if one isn’t going to help in the effort, no matter WHERE they are, they are just as useless. Everything else is just trying to make ourselves feel good because we MUST be better than the people who are closer who aren’t doing something.

    People have their own lives to lead. It doesn’t mean that they should be callous, but it also doesn’t mean that they should be demonized for it. From the responses here one would think that these people are going out, raping Haitian woman and eating Haitian babies.

    And those of you who blanketly label those on the cruise as “rich assholes” have apparently not priced cruises lately. Most of the people on ships like this are average people who save up their money, not over-privileged folks like the Hilton sisters.

  80. Ceronomus says:

    Okay… I missed

    “Some booked on ships scheduled to stop at Labadee are afraid that desperate people might breach the resort’s 12ft high fences to get food and drink, but others seemed determined to enjoy their holiday.”I’ll be there on Tuesday and I plan on enjoying my zip line excursion as well as the time on the beach,” said one.”

    That’s pretty callous. However, my point still stands. One could argue that these same people, by going ashore and spending money (which goes to the relief effort) are actually doing MORE to help the situation than people sitting at home in the States doing nothing.

    Heck, where is BoingBoing’s link to donate money to disaster relief?

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      where is BoingBoing’s link to donate money to disaster relief?

      There have been multiple posts about Haiti with innumerable links to donate.

  81. Dave! says:

    I have also been on RCL cruise that had a port of call at Labadee. There are a couple of things about this that do leave a bad taste in my mouth:

    When we were on our cruise (about 5 years ago) RCL made absolutely no mention of Haiti. Anywhere. The marketing materials, info, crew, etc. all called the place simply Labadee or sometimes “the West Indies”. They never said Haiti, presumably because they didn’t think people would like it very much.

    Which doesn’t matter, because Labadee is about as representative of Haiti as Epcot is of the future. Access is strictly controlled by RCL and the only version of Haiti you are allowed to encounter are the crafts-folk they bus in (via water ferry) to work there. And they aren’t eager to talk about the conditions in the rest of Haiti–they are eager to make money by selling you their handicrafts.

    As others have mentioned, it’s a shallow water “port” so the idea of using it as a port for disaster relief is pretty laughable. When RCL “docks” there, the boat pulls up quite a way off shore, and passengers are ferried across on smaller boats. My understanding is that it’s also somewhat geographically isolated in-land by mountains, which doesn’t make for easy transport, either.

    As for the debate about which is better, to go there and spend tourist dollars or skip there and ignore the tragedy, that’s not the choice.

    RCL could have easily skipped this port of call and told passengers why. They could even credit them for a portion of their tickets, or given them free shore excursions at another port to make up for it. I sincerely doubt many passengers would not be understanding.

    Then, RCL could have agreed to *keep paying* all of their Haitian employees, etc. during the duration of the tragedy. To say, “it’s better that those Haitians can keep making money” is wrong-headed. RCL could keep paying them while at the same time actually not making them work–allowing them to take time to help with disaster relief, help find missing relatives–grieve–whatever they need. I am quite sure what they make in income is a pittance to RCL.

    Finally, nothing prevents RCL from continuing to lease Labadee, continuing to employ Haitians, and from donating money, lending boats, etc. to aid in disaster relief. It’s just silly to think that they need to actually *dock* in Labadee to allow passengers to have fun while such horrific tragedy is happening in Haiti and to try to imply that what they are doing is somehow “good” for the locals.

  82. Anonymous says:

    C’mon folks. The trickle downers with their inscrutable, unassailable logic are just as as smug in their world view, which they use to contrast with, and complain about – any other point of view. After 911 there was still a Manhattan, but the fear of economic loss was just the intended effect on the part of the terrorists. The US had to be reminded to get back to spending and overcome the very real individual level fear each citizen had.

    In Haiti pragmatism is all that needs to be remembered. In terms of jump starting the economy when it is locally needed the most, well duh. However, if just one person in a position to effect real longstanding change in this impoverished nation reads these hip blog comments and decides to encourage others with the way they invest their resources as well, just maybe the discussions are worthwhile. Fundamentally, if your thing is to go south to really economically weak countries and live just like a king for a week – because you can – without regard to how the other half can’t come to your own country to try life at an all-you-can-drink ski chalet because there is no such thing, you are doing it wrong.

  83. TK says:

    I can see how everyone wants the ship to be utilized for the aid as much as possible (like providing on board medical care or shelter), but face it, such wishful thinking may lead to a much worse consequence for every party involved. Let me set up a scenario here: the ship has been turned into floating clinic allowing locals to use its facilities for treatment and shelter. Sounds good, isn’t it?

    Here’s a real world for you: people storm on board the ship, passenger’s security may be jeopardized, looting may happened, not enough security to get the situation under control, many may attempt to be a stowaway, riot may occurred when supplies run out, ship may become unsanitary from human waste and disease without enough cleaning personnel, ship’s interior may be damaged and will require extensive repair until it’s fit for cruise passengers again (causing the loss of passenger revenue while under repair and loss of jobs).

    When weighting the needs for both parties equally, the intention for the ship to not be used for on-board aid station is justified. They did their best to provide through supplies, local business spending and donations while maintaining a reasonable business bottomline. As for the passengers “having fun on the beach,” this is the case of the company showing the honesty by giving the passengers what they’ve already paid for. It’s a disgusting image, I know, but what else can they do? Lock themselves up on a ship? Being sent to disaster area and face danger and uncertainty? Everyone has a duty, and for cruise passengers, their duty to be a passenger is perhaps the best for the situation.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Royal Caribbean’s frequenting Labadee actually makes it possible for thousands of people to earn a living – since they count on this ship coming to port, especially now, for revenue. Why should they abandon Haiti now, when they most desperately need the help? The ships bring supplies and I read that the company is also donating $1MM to aid relief efforts on the ground. I’ve taken many cruises and think the company overall is doing what they feel is the right thing to do, given what’s happened. I personally think they made the right call by docking. An announcement from the captain about why they were docking, and how they were helping, was most likely handled on board. It would be unconscionable to let passengers off the ship without stating how everyone can lend a hand, to make donations – and what the company itself is doing to be part of the solution.

  85. Anonymous says:

    The thread is too long to read every single comment, but has it been mentioned that in order to maintain a foreign flag (which all cruise ships do – it enables them to run their casinos, among other things), a cruise ship MUST dock somewhere outside the USA on EVERY voyage. Hence, an itinerary including Puerto Rico and the USVI has to stop somewhere like Labadee for legal reasons. Finding an alternate place for thousands of people to hang out for a day on a week’s notice (infrastructure!) is not as easy as you might imagine.

    I agree that it’s tasteless, but RC may not have had much of a choice.

  86. ChesterKatz says:

    Would anyone be defending these people if this were a story about them throwing a block party in downtown Manhattan on September 12, 2001?

    • Xopher says:

      THERE we go. I was pretty sure someone would beat me to this. Exactly right, ChesterKatz.

    • Ceronomus says:

      These folks aren’t parading through Port Au Prince, they are actually in a secluded area. Hell, I’m betting the majority of Haitians didn’t even know that they were there…seeing as their rather busy with other things.

      But certainly, let’s all get offended on their behalf.

      The fact is that the cruise line has ZERO obligation to have brought food relief, ZERO obligation to donate money, heck ZERO obligation to even be in Haiti at all when there are certainly safer places to be.

      Right now, the cruise line is one of the largest corporate donors to the relief efforts.

      Coca-Cola, Abbott Laboratories, Bank of America and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line are all in for a million dollars. In the case of the Cruise line, they are in for a million, plus food relief, plus the proceeds raised while in port.

      So sure, we can demonize the companies doing the most to help….

  87. takeshi says:

    So, the passenger was having a “hard enough” time eating barbecue while Haitians starved, but this is just too much. The contrast is virtually unnoticeable to me. A country in peril is a country in peril.

  88. Ceronomus says:

    Continuing to dock there, as the Haitian Government has requested, makes sense.

    Every cruise that is canceled or refunded increases the cost of every dollar that they are donating. Would you rather donate $5 that costs you $5 or would you prefer to donate $1 that costs you $5?

    Which do you think does more good?

    Again, attacking one of the companies currently donating the most to help the region? Really? Because you don’t like the way they are doing it?

    Do you really think the Haitians CARE so long as they can get the help they so badly need? They were under no obligation to help at all. They could’ve simply sailed to a different port and sent no aid.

    The sad thing is that the folks here wouldn’t have given them any grief for that.

    Carnival Cruise lines has just pledged $5 million in aid…want to spit in their faces on behalf of the people receiving the aid too?

    I mean, if pitching in during a natural disaster is bad PR…the easiest solution is to not do it and give you folks what you seem to want.

  89. Bobo Gabeski says:

    Sadly and ironically, if any of those passengers decided to give up that leisure time, they probably would be blessed for the rest of their lives by volunteering to help for a few days. Would really show them how lame the rest of the cruise would be, and give them something to talk about for the rest of their lives.

  90. BdgBill says:

    Give me a break. Not a single Haitian was harmed by the ships presence there. As the article states, the ship dropped off a lot of emergency food. I went out and had dinner at a nice restaurant Friday night. Should I feel guilty because people in Haiti were suffering? I don’t think so.

    Stating that the cruise line has made “enormous profits” from Haiti is disingenuous at best. The one day visit to the private beach there is just a small part of the trip easily replaced by something else. There are plenty of islands in the Caribbean that would be all too happy to sell and fence off some beach to bring in some cash.

    Cory seems to be most upset that cruise ship passengers are separated from the islands population by a fence and protected from that population by armed guards. I have been to Haiti and can tell you that it would be absolutely unsafe to simply drop off American cruise ship passengers unprotected anywhere in the country. The security situation is only marginally better than Somalia.

  91. Anonymous says:

    On the surface, RCL looks like a bunch of jerks with jerk passengers but in reality what happened was RCL was outfitted with aid for Haiti.

    Port-Au-Prince harbor is a diaster zone with no way to unload the supplies. However Labadee has means of getting the goods from ship to shore and it takes time, a lot of time to unload. This puts RCL in a bind, they can let the passengers sit on the ship and enjoy the ships amenities or they can allow them to go to the beach and spend some money that will help the local economy. They choose to do both which allowed the passengers to make their own moral judgements rather than having a cruise ship make those judgements for them.

  92. ill lich says:

    Well. . . at least all this didn’t happen on Bastille Day, if you catch my drift.

  93. Cefeida says:

    The house on fire analogy breaks down when we look at scale and restrictions. I would rush to help if my neighbour’s house was burning, but I wouldn’t run there if there were firemen already working (because I’m not trained in fighting fire), or if my trip across the street was as complicated as getting off a ship in a foreign country and risking not being able to get back home- and if, possibly, I wasn’t entitled to make that decision.

    I mean, yes, it would have been PERFECT if the cruise company, the entire crew and the passenger body said in unison: we need to go out there and help the victims, extend our stay to dig for a few days, donate everything we can because we can replace it so much easier than they. While we’re here, we should do everything we can to help. But the logistics of this are just crazy for a ship full of unprepared tourists.

    With all that of course it’s sickening that anyone would still want to relax on the beach and go zip-lining. Yes, in practice, staying on board instead does nothing to help, but human solidarity is an important thing sometimes.

  94. petercrowell says:

    I wonder how realistic is it to expect a bunch of untrained, hung over vacationers to show up at a major disaster area and “lend a hand” for a day. That sounds like tossing a logistical nuisance onto an existing logistical nightmare. Leaving them on the boat or fenced in on the beach is probably the smartest thing you could do, if you have to land at all.

    But using cruise ships as floating relief stations is a fantastic idea.

  95. Anonymous says:

    It’s not the passengers I have the biggest issue with. It’s that the company had to plan in advance to have picnic supplies and staff ready at this beach in advance. How cold a person and/or corporation could you possibly be to go ahead with this planning after the news of this earthquake?

    Why not treat your passengers like adults as well, and ask if any would like to assist in transiting all -and I mean all- available supplies on the ship to the shore? I can only imagine how incredibly helpless the passengers with any human compassion must feel stuck on a cruise passing by Haiti right now. I know I would be demanding a chance to help out, however small my contribution.

  96. Anonymous says:

    I have been to this area in Haiti (called Labadee) with Royal Caribbean and I can guarantee you it hurts the Hatian people more if the ship does not stop or if passengers stay on board. They make a great deal of money from the tourist that shop on their island.

  97. pencilbox says:

    Hey Cory:

    I agree with your post, and haven’t read an argument in this thread to make me change my position,

    BUT

    I see now that RC is advertising on boingboing?

    what gives?

  98. EMJ says:

    “I would feel uncomfortable too if i was a tourist on that cruise.”
    Consider the tourist cruise an analogy of our comfortable, western lives.
    Wake up – you (and I) are on that cruise, just at a different scale.

    Now it’s up to you (and me) to decide what to do.

  99. Anonymous says:

    Why hasn’t haiti’s goverment turned over that docking facility over to any of the countries comming to the aid of the Haitain people???????
    Why hasn’t our people who have been sent to evaluate whats needed just say hey we have a sea dock available over there and say we need the area..

  100. Anonymous says:

    Roya Caribbean has been stopping here for a few years, there’s nothing new about them going to Labadee. It’s no different than any other time of the year, and most of the time the economy of Haiti benefits because of the tourism so why not?

  101. Anonymous says:

    I was on that ship with the rest of my family last week. When news broke out that there was a disaster in Haiti, my first reaction was that we should bypass that island all together in respect for their losses. But then, the captain made an announcement saying that there was no reason for us to change course and were to port there as scheduled. At this point, I can tell you that lots of passengers were outraged by this decision and started putting lots of pressure upon the administration of the ship to at at least send relief and allow us passengers to make charitable donations. Later on they announced that they would be sending 12 crates of relief supplies, as well as all revenue generated on the island would go towards relief.

    Basically, as a passenger, we were put in a position where we had no choice but to go to the island. Me and my family debated on whether or not we’ll be getting off the ship that day, well, since we were already there and spending money on locals would benefit them more than not doing anything, we got off the ship.

    Getting off the ship was as if nothing had happened. As usual there was a local band greeting us and playing local tunes, there were 3 different bbqs going on at different areas of the private beach and passengers with jet skis were still zooming about. It all felt so very wrong.

    I then went off to visit the area of the island where local craftsman displayed their wears. I can’t say any of them looked visibly happy to be there, but were trying to make money for their families. Many of them had stories claiming they lost a sister or a mother. I went on to look at their work, I bought bracelets, a mask and a painting. I didn’t have the heart to barter with them much, and gave them what they asked.

    Then we all got off the island. I’m glad that I’ve at least made some contribution to their economy and gave money directly to a few locals. As we came back home last night, we’ve already made donations to the red cross to help them some more. In all, I think Royal Caribbean could do so much more to help that country which generates so much profit for them. On their part not enough is being done (I don’t think those 12 crates were anywhere near enough and so much more could have been sent considering what is spent upon the passengers).

  102. Ceronomus says:

    Yes, and how much has Boing Boing itself contributed. I mean, if Boing Boing is going to attack a company for donating $1 million plus supplies, then certainly the Boingers themselves are all contributing at a decent level and not merely posting lip service right? I mean, nobody is attacking Amazon.com for donating nothing, but at least they have a prominent button to go to a donation page so that their users can donate money.

    If Cory is going to head the donation of $1 million under the heading of “tone-deaf corporate assholes” I’m REAL interested to know what sort of contributions he and Boing Boing itself are making.

    Lip service is cheap. Posting a prominent donation button is cheap and easy…

    I’d like to see this blog put its money where its mouth is.

  103. adamcoe says:

    I work on a cruise ship…currently we’re in Nassau, Bahamas. Should we tell our guests here that they can’t go to the beach because of this disaster? I agree that it seems in bad taste to show up on an island right after an earthquake and drink and have a great time, but what about 2 weeks ago, when that same ship was there, and while there was no earthquake, the country was still full of people starving and struggling to live? Just because the situation there is worse now doesn’t change anything. What about all the cruise ships that go to any number of countries full of people who are poor, the victims of corrupt governments, or any other major problem? Before you get too nuts poo-pooing a cruise ship for showing up and doing what they do, realize this stuff goes on all the time, all over the globe. Tourists show up on ships and all-inclusive resorts in horrifically poor countries, and party in places only steps from where people starve, get robbed, and die in the streets. This is just a hot story to make people feel better about themselves for not being one of the apparent bad guys.

  104. jsor says:

    Shame on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, it is an absolute disgrace having picnics on a private island owned by them while there is total devastation close by. People are trapped under rubble, people are starving and desparately need medical supplies. Why publicize this trash! I will never cruise with Royal Caribbean again and will make sure others do the same!!

  105. Anonymous says:

    I agree with whoever it was that said the system should be attacked from within.
    It is unethical to live the easy lives we do when our opulence comes from the subjugation of others, but it’s not necessarily any common American individual’s fault that we have a higher standard of living.
    I think that humanitarian aid does a lot to offset the damage that our lifestyles cause poorer regions in the world. However, it’s never really been enough to ‘fix’ the problems we’ve helped cause in other countries. But, it’s unrealistic to think that many Westerners will stop living our privileged lives because it hurts others.
    So maybe the only thing we can do is hope that we’ll donate enough money this time to help those poor Haitians recover to a somewhat sustainable standard of living. It’s really doubtful though, but maybe.

  106. arborman says:

    The cruise ship is a small but clear example of the larger and glaring disparity in our world. It is one of the many little things that will eventually see somebody building some 21st century version of the guillotine.

    In that kind if disaster, the only human thing for anyone nearby with capacity and opportunity to do is to help as much as they are able. If a line of kids get hit by a bus across the street from the restaurant you are eating in, do you:

    a) Help in any way you can
    b) Finish your meal

    Any ship is legally obligated in international maritime law to render any aid it can to a vessel in distress. Somehow a country or a city is different, but morally it is much the same.

    Though I know it is never going to happen, that cruise ship – and all the others nearby – should have cancelled its cruise and rendered aid in whatever way it could. The fact that isn’t the most obvious and immediate response of such ships and companies is a large part of what will get the tumbrels rolling someday.

    • Ceronomus says:

      @Arborman
      Morally it is very different. Ships are required to provide aid, not because they are the best equipped, but because they are often the only aid a vessel in distress might be able to get.

      The fact that they STILL rendered what aid that they were qualified to is fantastic.

  107. wylkyn says:

    The amount of holier-than-thou outrage on here is really rather pathetic, in my opinion. 80 miles distant is hardly dancing on the grave, so all those examples of partying in the ashes are a bit hyperbolic. Try to get a grip, people. Your outrage might make you feel superior, and that’s super, but it doesn’t achieve diddlysquat in the way of helping the people in Port au Prince. Certainly this cruise line (and maybe even some of those rich people that it’s okay to hate) has done more for the people of Haiti in this crisis than any of us have.

  108. Anonymous says:

    Why is everybody so shock? This is a typical American business practice. Why help humans when bankers are in financial difficulties. Corporate America has no respect for human life. Health insurance companies, oil companies, quimical plants, power plants and so on, they kill more people than natural disasters. Just think for 1 minute, there is nothing shocking about this. It happens everyday. Captalism at its best!! When are you going to book your next cruise??? Are you going to book on Royal Carabians??? If the price is right??? Sure, why not!!!

  109. sam1148 says:

    The ship purchases the food used at the beach. Leftovers are given to food banks/employees.

    Perhaps the rational solution would be for the ship to continue their stops. Purchase the food to support the locals; but not have the food for passengers consumption.

    Still allow the local merchants to sell their wares..and have donation tables set up..so passengers could drop off items, and make donations. And a table for donations to the employees that would otherwise loose income in tips. And RCCL still pay them their base wages for the duration.

    It would bother me consuming supplies from a country in need when those could be used better locally.

  110. Anonymous says:

    Ok people this is my view. They could stop the cruise ship from docking altogether and take away the food and supplies that they provide. It would also take away any and all income that the island still has coming from the cruise ships. OR we could allow the ship to dock and refuse to let the passengers off. That would allow for the food and supplies to enter the island, however it would take away the money that Haiti gets from the passengers spend on the island. Haiti needs all the money they can get and that includes the money from the cruise ships. Each cruise ship provides alot of money for Haiti, from the employees that work on the dock to the peasant farmer who grows the food the passengers eat on the island. Do you really want to take away the money from the Haitians right now????

  111. Anonymous says:

    The headline could well have read “Cruise Line Delivers Relief Supplies to Haiti While Keeping Haitian Business Operations Functioning”. RCCL employs between 200 and 300 Haitians to operate this destination beach. it pays them considerably more than the $2.00 per day the average Haitian lives on. As well, there are local businesses patronized by the guests from the cruise ships. Those who would have the cruise ships go elsewhere are just spreading the devastation from the earthquake zone to a remote beach 80 miles away. Seems a poorly thought out strategy to me.

  112. Ellen says:

    I was on the Independence of the Seas, and 1/2 way through our cruise, the earthquake happened. We all assumed that the ship would change course or itinerary. The captain announced that Royal Carribean had dedicated employees of Haiti that they did not want to abandon them. He felt like leaving them, would be like leaving his family in a time of need. I assure you the mood on the ship was reflective of the situation. We had no choice to go or not go, we did collect $26,000.oo in one day for the relief efforts. Royal Carribean also brought pallets of relief aid to deliver to Port o Prince and dedicated monies spent on certain excursions were donated to the relief efforts as well. Not everyone on that ship is rich (we saved for a long time inorder to afford to go) and we are human. After hearing the Captain’s comments about his feelings of abandoning his family….it made sense to go and do what we could. Look and examine what you did those days during the horrible disaster, and ask yourself what if you were on the ship when it happened….what more could I have done? I sleep at night with a clean conscience knowing we did all we could with our circumstances.

  113. Anonymous says:

    I have not read all of the comments, but I wanted to share this bit from an email that my aunt, who was on this ship, sent to friends and family:

    …We had already decided that if indeed we went there we would not get off the ship because it just didn’t seem right to sit on that beautiful beach and enjoy ourselves while there were thousands and thousands of people just over the mountain trapped and dying. The captain said though that the people of Haiti were begging us to come ashore to spend money, so we finally decided to go. The earthquake was on the southern end of Haiti and we were docked on the northern side. Plus, Royal Caribbean leases a large stretch of shoreline there so we had the beach to ourselves. The only people there were us, security personnel and about 200 locals selling their wares…

    …The captain had told us that we’d have an opportunity once we got back on the ship to make donations, so we just mainly shopped and offered our condolences to the people of Haiti. We were shielded from seeing any of the devastation due to the fact that there was a security perimeter that we were forbidden to cross, plus huge mountains with only one road in which was blocked off. I read that Royal Caribbean as a whole provided over a million dollars in relief funds and our ship alone collected about $50,000. That was in addition to our shopping purchases and the relief supplies. So, I guess it was the right thing to do, but it sure felt strange sitting on that beautiful beach knowing that people were dying all around us…

    … In addition to experiencing the full spectrum of weather from cold and snow to hot and humid, then rain and finally 60 some degrees, we also went from utter luxury to close proximity to death and devastation all within nine days. Emotionally, it was a roller coaster ride that I will never forget. Just looking into those people’s faces and listening to their stories made my blood run cold. Each vendor had friends and/or loved ones who were either killed or hurt or were still trapped under the rubble. I just wanted to hug each one and sit down and cry with them. In fact, I wanted to stay and help by handing out water or comforting children or whatever needed to be done, but there was no way to do it. We were not allowed past the security barrier. I found out after I got home that they had several aftershocks after we left, one fairly big one on Sunday, and I just kept remembering those faces and how scared they must have been. Please, each one of you, consider donating whatever you can to the Haiti Relief Fund, if you haven’t already. I can tell you first hand…these people are DESPERATE for your help and they are so appreciative. It can make the difference between life and death, and we are SO blessed to have all that we do…

  114. Anonymous says:

    This is another form, of colonialism. Rich tourists can enjoy a part of Haiti, that is off limits, to the average. Haitian. As during colonialism, the Haitians are second class citizens, in their country.

  115. Anonymous says:

    Royal Caribbean is the number 1 source of tourism revenue for Haiti. They are delivering disaster relief supplies while carrying on with their business.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labadee
    Labadee (also Labadie) is a port located on the northern coast of Haiti. It is a private resort leased to Royal Caribbean International. Royal Caribbean International has contributed the largest proportion of tourist revenue to Haiti since 1986, employing 300 locals, allowing another 200 to sell their wares on the premises, and paying the Haitian government US$6 per tourist.[1]

  116. ciacontra says:

    People are making too many negative assumptions about the passengers. Just because they’re on a cruise ship doesn’t mean they’re the freakin French Aristocracy. I’d bet that a majority of them would have jumped at the chance to do some volunteer work once on shore. Sailing in, Captain announces “I’m sure you’ve all heard about the disaster in Haiti. We’ll be pulling into port tomorrow and will be organizing volunteer groups to do some relief work. If you are interested please sign up at the Second Mate’s Office. Or you may BBQ on the beach, you cretinous swine. That is all.” I bet most of the passengers would volunteer to help. Nothing technical or complicated, of course, a couple hundred well-meaning volunteers without any skills or leadership would just make things worse. But there’s always a sort of factory-like make-work in any relief effort. Load/Unload, sort, package, fetch, carry, that some of the crew or willing local NGOs could organize. The proverbial “Grab a shovel and start filling sandbags” of any disaster. Even if it was just for a day, as Eek says “It never hurts to help!” And I’d also bet that those who volunteered would find it more fulfilling, would talk about it excessively (likely extolling their own personal heroic efforts, of course) and would come back with stories that might get others to donate as well.

  117. aldous says:

    “Kids’ sleepovers with the dinosaurs in London’s Natural History Museum.’

    While people are dying in Haiti! Shame.

  118. FitnessOver50 says:

    Poor choice resulting in bad press for Carnival. They should have altered the route and sent the supplies via another means of transport.

    • Chris S says:

      “They should have altered the route and sent the supplies via another means of transport.”

      The more I dig on the background on this, the more I think they’re doing something useful under less than ideal circumstances.

      Looks like they are the fastest transport. It also appears that almost every cruise vessel docking there over the next while will be bringing in supplies. Go looking for pictures of the dock there, though – this is strickly forklift and truck operation; no cranes or multi-level conveyors here. Nearby this area are Haitian facilities – still operating – that need those supplies.

      As to timing – this was an 8 day cruise that departed Ft Lauderdale on January 9th. They had been on the water for 5 days before the quake struck. They picked up the special provisions from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Acting as a delivery run wasn’t part of the original cruise.

      Cruise ships operate on a very tight schedule. This ship was in Haiti on Friday – by Sunday, they were *departing* on a different cruise. That same tight schedule means that picking a different port of call – with 48 hours notice – was going to be next to impossible. Even a half-day’s delay to the schedule would start to push back into an affect on close to ten thousand people.

      Finally – UN officials on the island are indicating this stop, with passengers going onshore, is a net benefit for Haiti. Keeping the economic engines turning over will mean that Haiti can continue to recover long after the disaster aid starts tapering off.

      For anyone without specialized and needed skills, the aid message has been pretty consistent – cash donations through trusted groups. Three thousand unplanned volunteers just dropped in sixty miles from Port-Au-Prince isn’t going to be a big help. Donations made by those same passengers via their cruise account will be.

  119. greengestalt says:

    Hard call.

    Those ships aren’t free, nor is keeping them running, and they do have a business. It looks like the cruise ship did some good transporting supplies. They should help evacuate some people to the US for medical treatment, depending on capacity, but that’s up to them. Haiti is a good tourist destination for them, it’s in their best interests to help out.

    And cruises these days are not full of “Elite stuffed shirts”, more “The Grizzwolds”. The elites tend to have their own yachts and such these days, and it’d be interesting to see how/what they are doing, though I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them are helping.

    However, I would have been one of the passengers that stayed inside, or -only if I was able to- helped the relief. If I was a regular tourist I might have (depending on feasibility) gone to my favorite ‘haunts’ and gave any people I knew that survived the money I planned on spending there.

    Some have suggested the Captain should have ordered -or guilt tripped- the passengers to help the efforts, etc. The Captain is the law on his ship, but he rarely owns it or the business and in any case his first duty is to his passengers and ordering people not prepared to help in such an anarchic, dangerous situation is putting them at risk. Furthermore, if any wanted to help, his duty would be to asses their ability, warn them of the dangers and try to discourage them.

    “Arr, matey… Look through me spyglass here… It seems that Lucky Pierre’s Bar, Grill and Brothel is one of the buildings collapsed and it bodes ill for your associates… Now, I’ve told you when the ship will go and if you want to search for any of them, do so at the daytime and I’ve warned you of the risk… You do still want to go? Very well, I’ll try to get one of the guards to accompany you, but tip him good and don’t tell anyone or I’ll be in trouble. Furthermore, let’s not be delicate in these times, as Captain it’ll be my pleasure to perform a shipboard marriage…or adoption… should you wish to ‘rescue’ anyone.”

  120. kaleyj says:

    I’m a travel agent & proud of Royal Caribbean International. The Govt of Haiti has requested the ships to dock as well as Former President Clinton!

    Reasons: For each ship that docks, Haiti is paid for use of Labadee which is 100 miles from PAP. RCI employees over 250 Haitians that man the site as well as over 300 people who sell their wares to the tourists. You stop this, you have put all these people out of business with no money coming into the island or to support their families…..

    Although the ship docks and has shore excursions, this revenue is all being donated to Haiti as well as Alcohol sales on the island. RCI is paying to be there & not making a dime off the stop by donating any Revenue as well as bringing much needed supplies via their vessels on each ship!

    They also went thru the Labadee site & donated beach chairs, mattresses, and bedding to the make shift hospital that has been set up.

    This cruise line is not sitting back and waiting like all the other companies out there. They have this as their private resort but if the people onboard wish to stay onboard, then you’re NOT HELPING! Just making negative noise instead of helping the situation. No, you don’t have to go on the beach or eat, but get off the ships and buy something from these people & help them with their economy!

    The world has ignored Haiti knowing how poor this place is before & yes the earthquake made this even worse, but spend your money there while the ship unloads badly needed food and water and supplies!

    This is why Royal can not stop going to Labadee!!!! They are HELPING! You also can’t stop your vacation or life because of what happened. When Katrina hit the US, people still came to the US & when our Buildings were destroyed in NY, people still were coming & vacationing in NY. This helped our economy & we need to help theirs by going & spending money! Buy what you can or just donate some money to the people who are servicing Labadee…..

  121. Anonymous says:

    The people on this cruise were very blessed to be able to afford such a nice luxury. they remain blessed while others in the world deal with difficulty. How nice that I was born in the US when others are born in Darfur. My wife is from Mexico and I have spent a lot of time there, beyond the tourist areas. People are generally happy even without 46″ plasma screens. The people on the cruise took that cruise knowing they were going to port on one of the poorest islands in the world. That was their choice. If they didn’t know they would be drinking champagne in front of some of the worst poverty known to mankind, then shame on them.

    This is the cruise lines busy season, and it would be devastating to give up a boat or not run a trip, but it was a deal with the devil from the beginning. Go visit any ecosystem destroyed by the tourist industry and you will understand. Look at the natural beauty of Grand Cayman as it is paved over. Look at the fish and coral decimated by careless divers and boaters. I could go on. The same goes for the Mexicans that burn through their natural resources to satisfy uncaring tourists.

    If the airlines and cruise lines offered transportation to the personnel that are ready to travel to Haiti to help, then they could hold their corporate heads high.

  122. Anonymous says:

    First, it seems to me that they should have made the stop to drop off the relief supplies. No travelers should have been allowed off ship for a beach party or whatever.

    Second, it’s “pallet.” A palette holds paint for an artist, a palate is the roof of your mouth or your preferences in taste…a pallet is the wood/plastic/metal thing you stack goods onto for shipping.

    Sorry, I work in a grocery store and that mix up always bugs.

  123. Anonymous says:

    I feel bad for the people of Haiti and it will take a long time for them to recover from this tragedy. There are a number of countries besides the United States helping them out and that is good.
    The economy is bad all over and there are people in our own country who don’t have enough food, who don’t have a place live, who don’t have medical insurance and aren’t receiving the treatment they need.
    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing one to the other because Haiti is in bad shape but we also have to remember to take care of our own.
    As far as the cruise ships – I say, let them stop and give the people a chance to earn some money and bring some normalcy to their lives.

  124. Anonymous says:

    Look at this way, the Royal Caribbean lease to the Government provides MONEY to the people of Haiti that they would otherwise not have. They brought aid to the country on their stop. Should Royal Caribbean abandon Haiti and pull more revenue from the government? You can’t be everything to all people.

  125. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone else think that cruise ship vacations are for the lazy and thoughtless? Cruise ships are environmental disasters (in terms of waste produced)–far worse than airline flights. The fact that they are so popular says a lot about the culture here.

  126. Eric Hunting says:

    I was commenting elsewhere that most recently built cruise liners in the world -as well as most new naval vessels- employ hybrid power systems where the ‘engines’ are in fact an electric power plant generating power for a series of electric-driven props or ‘azimpods’. So those many cruise liners sailing around the Caribbean all can potentially be used as stationary electric power plants -doubling as hospitals or aid-worker housing at the same time. This was in fact done by the US Navy during the recent California electricity crisis.

    This, by the way, is also how we could get renewable energy from the Equator -such as produced by OTEC plants- to the rest of the world. We need no elaborate ‘hydrogen infrastructure’. With existing technology hydrogen tankers could function as enormous batteries simply by plugging their ship-board power plants into urban mains at the docks.

  127. AirPillo says:

    I can see, obviously, why this would make everyone uneasy… but at the same time I don’t see any action on the cruise company’s part that someone wouldn’t find reprehensible.

    If they keep conducting business people are wracked with “survivor’s guilt” and feel horrible that others are able to have fun near others who have died and suffered.

    If they turn away from Haiti entirely, they’d be seen as staying aloof from the whole scenario and people would judge them for abandoning all contact with the place just because tragedy has made it distasteful to their customers.

    I can’t really think of much they can do. They can’t exactly show up and turn over all the staff and supplies that their customers have already paid for.

    I guess they could ask for volunteers among the passengers to go do some volunteer disaster relief service for the duration of their stay or make donations but those who didn’t want to still need to be given what they paid the business for.

    • Xopher says:

      And what do you think the negative reaction would be in Cory’s alternate-world scenario, where the ship puts in to drop off the relief supplies and then leaves? You’re cherry-picking for scenarios that support your point and then saying you don’t see any others.

      • Cefeida says:

        “And what do you think the negative reaction would be in Cory’s alternate-world scenario, where the ship puts in to drop off the relief supplies and then leaves?”

        Easy. The cruise company would be accused of depriving locals of much-needed business in a time of crisis. It would be said they abandoned a port safe enough to dock in to spare their passengers’ feelings. It would be speculated that they are cutting possible losses at the cost of the Haitians who depend on cruise ships and their passengers for income.

        My initial reaction to this post was to be outraged at RC, but that passed quickly as logic came knocking, and is completely gone after reading just a few of the sensible comments about how, actually, proceeding as normal was the best thing the company could do for Haiti.

        Thanks for posting that letter, Annon #177 .

      • AirPillo says:

        I was actually just casually musing without having read all the comments. I don’t exactly have any motive to defend the company. It’s a corporation, it’s amoral, it doesn’t care. They hardly need people to defend their honor when all they care about is conducting business.

        • Xopher says:

          Well, you said you didn’t see any possible action on the company’s part that someone wouldn’t find reprehensible. This is because you’re not paying attention, as you admit, not because they had no such choice.

          • AirPillo says:

            Exactly correct. I should have paid better attention. His suggestion is a good one.

            I am glad I skipped Cory’s comments the first time, though. That’s a hell of a lot of vitriol just for someone who simply hadn’t quite worked out the valid solution he suggested. It’s always unpleasant to see someone so very, very eager to use any excuse to treat other people as disgusting and inferior.

            Very smart brain, very saddening personality.

  128. Hal says:

    It sounds like the cruise ship company has long standing relationships in Haiti. They are better placed than someone who thinks about Haiti once or twice a year to decide what is appropriate.
    Aid can help people in the short term but in the long term Haiti needs investment and trade. It sounds like that is what the cruise company has been provide and will continue to do provide after most of the rest of the world has forgotten about Haiti and moved on to the next disaster.

  129. Anonymous says:

    How about reworking the stop:
    -passengers can spend the day at the beach, or
    -tour the effected area and spend their tourist dollars on a hard hit country that really needs tourist dollars,and will be escorted by locally hired security personal which will also help the local economy, or
    -volunteer at a relief and aid center while we are in port, again, with locally provided security.
    And remember, haiti still needs tourist dollars to help get its economy back on track! tell your friends about how nice a country it is!

  130. Anonymous says:

    im not being a socialist liberal.
    am just outraged by the anglo-saxon lack of respect and common decency that goes under the banner of pragmatism.
    as usual.
    saying ‘they are supporting the economy of haiti’ at a time like this is like paying a beggar in mumbai 500 rupee to let you spit in his face.
    total disgrace

    i dont preach socialism, just plain moral outrage ;)

  131. Anonymous says:

    You know, there is an opportunity here. Three obvious options arise under the circumstances:
    1) Get off the ship while docked in Haiti and enjoy your vacation as if nothing is happening.
    2) Don’t get off, write and whine about it as if you yourself has become some sort of victim. How ironic is that? You’re going to whine about something like when there are still people trapped only miles from where you sit and whine…..shame on you.
    3) This seems so obvious I can’t believe no one is actually writing about it. Gather a group and see if there are some unusual circumstances in which you are actually able to help – no matter how seemingly small the help may be in your own terms. Maybe you can help and maybe you can’t. But at least you would have done something instead of sitting there wishing you were somewhere else. Greatness comes from people that do what most others deem as impossible or against the social norm. But that’s your choice if you want to be the average American (or pick your nationality, for that matter) that sits and only complains about what OTHERS choose to do instead of making a choice of possibility for yourself.

  132. Anonymous says:

    A multi faith religious service will be held right after the passnegers are done with BBQ and water sports in meemory of the 100,000 victims of the haitian earthquake.
    Done, and on with the “Operation RESCUE” headline on Cnn, the $10 pledge, and all is well in the best of worlds. With a clear conscience.

  133. Ernunnos says:

    Those 12′ walls and armed guards were there long before this disaster, and anyone who partied on that beach has been partying yards from misery. Sure, the misery’s greater now. But so is the aid provided. If you tolerated this before, why get upset now? It’s still as much of a net positive as it ever was. (If it ever was.)

  134. Ceronomus says:

    From Royal Caribbean

    As one of Haiti’s largest foreign investors for almost 30 years, we are providing at least $1 million in humanitarian relief in response to the catastrophic earthquake in Port-Au-Prince. We are partnering with charitable organizations such as Food for the Poor, the Pan American Development Foundation and the Solano Foundation. We are also delivering much needed goods and supplies to Haiti via our cruise ships.

    Leslie Voltaire, Special Envoy of the government of Haiti to the United Nations said, “Given the terrible economic and social challenges we now face in Haiti, we welcome the continuation of the positive economic benefits that the cruise ship calls to Labadee contribute to our country.”

    In addition to continuing our visitation to Haiti, and the revenue it brings to the country, 100% of the company’s net revenue from the destination will be contributed to the relief effort. Guests will also have the ability to make donations to the Food for the Poor’s Haiti Relief Fund through their onboard accounts fleetwide.

    To learn how you can contribute immediately, visit: http://www.foodforthepoor.org/royalcaribbean

    For ongoing updates, please visit Royal Caribbean President and CEO Adam Goldstein’s blog here.

    The following ships will be delivering goods to Haiti, such as: rice, dried beans, powdered milk, water, canned goods and other supplies. When the supplies arrive in Labadee®, they will be transported to an offsite location to be distributed by Food for the Poor, a long time partner of Royal Caribbean in Haiti.

    * Independence of the Seas® – Friday, January 15th
    * Navigator of the Seas® – Monday, January 18th
    * Liberty of the Seas® – Tuesday, January 19th
    * Celebrity Solstice® – Friday, January 22nd

    • Anonymous says:

      God damn that exploitative cruiseship company, daring to donate its evil, evil profits and having the temerity to deliver food aid!

  135. copperscroll says:

    I wondered 20 years ago, why our Cruise ship stopped at Haiti? Back then Haiti was destitute. the people sleeping in mud huts with no running water,children running naked in the streets begging for money,selling bananas & sunglasses stolen from tourists;poverty stricken/filthy. Haiti leased a portion of its island to Royal Caribbean Lines.The Haitian gov’t.(now Rene Preval) got paid HUGE money for the privilege of Cruiselines docking at Haiti. Haiti got lots of $ since then too. So,where’s all the money? Maybe gold plumbing in the Haitian Palace & lining the pockets of cronies from previous administration? (Papa/Baby Doc)What a crooked regime. No infrastructure, no emergency services,no security for its citizens after 30 years of tourism? I wouldn’t give them 1 dime now! Don’t blame the the tourists and don’t blame me. Haitian gov’t. never said ‘stop docking at our ports’ due to the tragedy. Even as the Haiti government is asking for donations from the world, its corrupt administrators are benefiting from this disaster and abandoning their posts!

  136. badbcky says:

    They really missed an opportunity here. Setting up signups so that passengers could volunteer to help out for the day if they so chose would have been a heartwarming gesture that would have worked as easy PR in the process.

  137. Sterlic says:

    So it seems that the best choice RC could have made was to skip the stop in Haiti all together. No aid, no money, but they would have avoided all of this negative PR. It wouldn’t even have been covered as “Cruise Ship Doesn’t Stop in Haiti” doesn’t excite the blood as much as “Luxurious Cruise Ship Passengers Party on the Ravaged Haitian Coast.”

  138. Anonymous says:

    While this seems tasteless to me, I suspect if you asked the local Haitians about having the ship skip this stop, they wouldn’t care for the idea and might even express annoyance at patronizing (white) foreigners with an unseemly focus on their own sanctimony, regardless of how much damage it did to the already weak Haitian economy.

    “Health insurance companies, oil companies, quimical plants, power plants and so on, they kill more people than natural disasters”

    Documentation? Oil and chemical companies in particular have done far more to improve the human condition than, say, the environmental movement.

    As for power plants, where exactly would you get electricity from?

  139. Anonymous says:

    Has anybody here been on a cruise? You usually only get about 7 hours on land at these ports of call. You can leave the boat in the morning, but you have to be back on by 4:00 or they leave you. Your entire day would be spent in a bumpy bus traveling 80 miles to the disaster epicenter. The passengers cannot just “throw on some work gloves” and pitch in.

    Imagine where you live right now. Now imagine a town 80 miles away from you. If they had an earthquake, would you know anybody there who actually died? Would you cancel your birthday party at the sushi bar because of it? I highly doubt that it would affect any plans you had in place longer than a day in advance.

  140. Anonymous says:

    Seriously people. It is no picnic in the park to pay alot of money for your cruise and make one of your stops in a disaster area. The cruise line did this as a good will gesture. In the midst of all the tragedy Haiti still needs to be on the map and the economy needs to pick back up. You don’t abandoned a country because it no longer serves a luxury purpose. Believe me the customers are not parading around their good fortune they are probably seeing what they can do to help.

  141. mrsomuch says:

    That is really dark. It’s like something out of a really cynical SF novel. I’m not quite sure where to file this…

  142. Anonymous says:

    How is this different from what the rest of the USA is doing? We all get to play with our toys, eat fine food, and look fashionable because we’ve benefited from our nation’s domination of the hemisphere.

    The poverty of Haiti and other areas is exactly what has enabled our lifestyle. The US government occupied Haiti for much of the early 20th century, supported the Duvalier dictatorships, and overthrew Aristide when he got too socialist.

    Haiti could have adequate emergency response. They could have their own effective security, healthcare, food distribution, etc. They could even have had shock proof buildings. The USA (and France) could have paid them the massive reparations that they are owed in order to enable this kind of economic development.

    But we didn’t do it. Why would we? We like having that reserve army of the poor to make sure that our servant laborers (south Asia, Latin America) don’t demand too much, lest we outsource THEIR jobs. Places like Haiti ensure that capital always has a place to threaten to move to.

    Military and economic forces have ensured that the US state and corporate powers have frankly dominated the world, allowing cheap labor and materials to flow back home.

    Real social justice will come when American’s consume only the value of what we can sustainable produce through our own labor.

    I drove several hundred miles today getting myself and my friends around the suburbs. I had a prime rib for dinner. I know it’s crazy and evil and I want to see our way of life fall. The way we live is unjust and unsustainable.

    Most ethical leftists try to avoid hypocrisy by adopting puritan lifestyles. Eating vegan, buying only fair trade or only consuming what can be found in dumpsters.

    I think this just creates a marginal subculture. It might make you feel good to not be complicit in exploitation, but it won’t do anything to change society.

    Only by living normally and attacking from within can we win.

    • colgar says:

      Anonymous has never been to Haiti and knows very little about it or its history. Haiti is poor because they have had corrupt governments since the French left in 1807. The people of Haiti are victims of their own people and their own apathy.

      Those that emigrate do quite well when they take the initiative to leave the country where little has changed for over 200 years. It is easy to blame the wealthier countries of the world but it is without merit. The people of Haiti are responsible for their own plight.

      The country offers little to the world economy so to say that its poverty enables the wealth of more enlightened ambitious countries is pure rubbish. Millions upon millions of aid has only been pilfered by the warlords that prey upon its own people.

      The devastion of the capitol is a tragedy. Worse than that the countries abject lack of infrastructure is responsible for the deaths of thousands. Supplies arrived within hours only to rot at the airport for lack of decent roads and gangs of maurading looters.

      As for the cruise ship, what little economy Haiti has is in large part dependant on those cruise ships and its passengers spending money there.

      It makes absolutely no sense to make matters worse by denying Haiti that income. If I live to be 100, I can not understand why people do not think these things through.

    • Anonymous says:

      Haiti’s poor state is not because of us. They have an extremely corrupt government. Look at his palace and the way he lets his people live. What are we to do get involved in every countries affairs? Because we have it better than many are we to save the world? We can’t get involved in every countries financial disasters- Lord knows if something happens here there will be NO country running to our rescue. So people are on a cruise- should they feel guilty they are enjoying themselves?

  143. jtegnell says:

    This is exactly the kind of thing Naomi Klein extensively documented in her tome.

    Haiti is soon to be the next great business opportunity. Strap those boots on, Blackwater (er, I mean Xe)! Time’s a-wastin’!

  144. drew3ooo says:

    Can we please dispense with the crap, uppety “they’re bringing in much needed tourist dollars” excuse and inane moral relativity for just a bit? There was nothing of a good idea in this. If they wanted to help, the ship would have announced over the loudspeakers that it is “stopping just long enough to unload all its food, linen and medical supplies for donation, and any passengers with medical training or first aid knowledge will be found volunteer opportunities, otherwise, we will be happy to take the rest of you to the nearest airport for flights home as what’s going on here is just a little more important and we’re going to turn out big stupid luxury liner into a floating hospital to take on surplus victims in some attempt to salvage a little bit of self respect.”

    There was no local shopping going on. Do you think those people left the fenced in area for even a second to ‘spread the wealth’ around? At the least they could have sent some small boat over to deliver their supposed donations and then stayed the hell out of the way.

    • Ceronomus says:

      Of course Drew, with no time, no supplies, and lacking crew trained for such a thing, let’s turn the cruise ship into a floating hospital with ZERO notice. Might as well ask them to fly to the moon.

      Doctors without Borders is doing an excellent job of setting up hospital facilities on site. Donations to help their efforts would be far more cost effective than immediately retrofitting a cruise ship as a hospital. Indeed, it would be a huge waste of resources to do such a thing in this case. The Cruise company (and Haiti) are far better off with the cruise ships delivering supplies and the company giving money to people TRAINED to handle these situations.

      I don’t see YOU dropping a million dollars of aid, PLUS supply shipments, to Haiti…or did I miss that in all of the “let’s crucify the company that is actually doing some good in Haiti and is continuing their visits at the REQUEST of the Haitian government?”

    • kenmce says:

      drew3ooo:
      what’s going on here is just a little more important and we’re going to turn ou(r) big stupid luxury liner into a floating hospital to take on surplus victims in some attempt to salvage a little bit of self respect.”

      So Drew,

      I’m going to stop by your place in the morning and appropriate your car. There are people suffering and I’m just going to lend it to them for a while, okay?

      Also, I’ve got a couple dozen homeless street people and I’m going to let them crash at your place ’till they can get back on their feet again. Some of them are a little foggy on living indoors, but we’ll help them learn.

      There may be some inconvenience, but we’ll come out of it with some tremendous self respect, so I’ll see you in the A.M.

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