One year on and Haiti still lies in ruins

Political unrest and cholera outbreaks force conservators to suspend work

By Marisa Mazria Katz | From issue 220, January 2011
Published online 12 Jan 11 (News)

New York.

The reconstruction of Haiti’s badly damaged art and cultural heritage institutions was suspended this December in the wake of violent protests that ripped through capital Port-au-Prince. The turmoil was sparked by claims that the No­vember presidential and legislative elections were riddled with fraud. Run-off elections are scheduled for 16 January.

“There are a lot of difficulties to overcome working in Haiti right now between the ongoing cholera epidemic and the current unrest associated with the presidential election,” said Corine Wegener, curator at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and president of the United States Committee of the Blue Shield, an organisation that responds to global heritage disasters. Fol­lowing the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti in January 2010, Wegener convened a meeting with several organisations, including the Smithsonian, to devise a strategy for reconstructing the country’s devastated cultural institutions.

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