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January 28th, 2010
06:20 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Dishonoring the Dead

Haitians cover their noses in an attempt to mask the smell of dead bodies in Port-au-Prince.

Haitians cover their noses in an attempt to mask the smell of dead bodies in Port-au-Prince.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Tonight on 360°, Anderson demands answers and accountability about why the bodies of earthquake victims in Haiti are being dumped, not buried; just dumped in a landfill outside Port-au-Prince.

He tracked down Haitian officials and tried to talk with the state company dumping the bodies.

Crews from the Centre National d'Equipements (CNE) were told to pick up the bodies.

As Anderson has reported, an awful smell follows the CNE trucks as they make their way around the city.

When the trucks arrive at the landfill, the names of the dead aren't logged in a book, photos aren't even taken of the bodies. Men, women and children are just dumped, with no respect, no dignity.

Back here at home, we've got the raw politics of President Obama's State of the Union Address.

The president traveled to Tampa, Florida today where he once again promised to fix America's financial troubles.

"We're not going to rest until we've rebuilt an economy, in which hard work and responsibility are rewarded and businesses are hiring again and wages are growing again, and the middle-class can get its legs underneath it again," Pres. Obama told a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa.

While in Florida, Pres. Obama announced the federal government will spend $8 billion developing a nationwide high-speed train system.

The program "will help accelerate job growth in an economy that is already beginning to grow," Pres. Obama said.

The rail corridors will be built in 31 states, and each cover between 100 and 600 miles.

While Pres. Obama focused on the economy today, the biggest buzz in Washington centered the an unexpected moment during last night's State of the Union speech.

With justices in the audience, Pres. Obama criticized the Supreme Court for its ruling last week on campaign financing.

"With all due deference to separation of powers, last week, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests – including foreign corporations – to spend without limits in our elections," Pres. Obama said last night.

Justice Samuel Alit, part of the high court's conservative-majority, was caught on camera as it appeared he mouthed the words "not true, not true."

CNN's Jeffrey Tobin has the history behind these two men. This isn't the first time theree's been tension between them.

Join us for these stories and much more at 10 p.m. ET.


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Maria H-Miami

    Anderson, thank you for staying in Haiti, I'm sure it's not easy on you but what these people are going through is worse. I went through the destruction of Hurricane Andrew which does not compare to Haiti but I can still relate, I went 3 months without electricity, 100 yr old oak tree on my roof, it even took my driveway and all the grass on my property, dead fish in my pool, bathed in alcohol after every shower,water still had some contamination, Looters everywhere, broken roads, no toilet for 1 week, found neighbors 1/2 car in my front yard,drove miles for food, banking. So, thank you for helping us all not forget the Haitian people.

    February 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  2. unostudent1

    I think the dumping of bodies in landfills is awful, but does not surprise me because the Haitian government has often times abandoned their own while they are living... so why would they respect them any more in death?

    January 31, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  3. SHELLA

    YOU DOING A GREAT JOB , GOD BLESS YOU

    January 30, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  4. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Let's all pray that God has received them all with open arms and that they will rest in eternity.

    January 29, 2010 at 10:01 am |
  5. Michael Homsi

    Haiti was hit by an unprecedented disaster, one that haven't been seen in century. They weren't up to it before the quake, with it, every society would have crumbled, even our well developed North America society, we wouldn't have fared any better.
    Imagine one of every 3 homes destroyed in New York or Toronto, our spoiled inhabitants without water or food without electricity or gasoline to drive a car or heat homes in the sub zero weather, we wouldn't know what to do, because we never expierienced hardships, how is it we would servived for a day, never mind for two weeks.
    Haitian were kept in need forever, of them a whole industries of NGO'S make their living and justify their existence, hat would the Red Cross and OXFAM do without them ? I am sure they will be out of business, in other words, the 6 figures executives working from tall towers in our capitals would be out of a job.

    January 29, 2010 at 9:14 am |
  6. AmericanMom

    It is beyond sad that the Hatian Gov't is refusing to bury it's own...but the president of that country is not concerned for his people (the history of the country tells that) He is enjoying his 'vacation in Venezuela and stayingwhere he can make more money. He is greedy and inhumane-that is his history. Please tell me, now that this disaster has exposed this government for wht it is, some country does not go in there and remove that gov't and make a government for the peole who so desperately need it?!! That is what I am hoping for...

    As for Obama. He is a pompus person. It amazes me that he take a public shot liek he did on the Supreme court...THEY made the decision for whatever reason and it is not up to the President (according to our own COnstitution) to 'scold' the other branches of power....again, he is a sales man, not a leader...It is sad our country was manipulated by this man and his tactics...I am hoping that those who see the light will rise to the occassiona nd let the PEOPLE of this country run it the way our FOunding Fathers planned it to be run...let's look BACK at the Constitution of these UNited States....

    January 29, 2010 at 8:35 am |
  7. Lisa M

    This is awful about the way the bodies are being dumped with garbage in the same hole. This shows the Haitian Govenrment has so little respect for their people. These people counted their life mattered...some one misses them ....loved them ...and cries for them now not even knowing where there are. Its disgraceful the lack of respect they are showing to these poor souls that perished will show the world who they really are. Their actions speak loud and clear. Even seperate the human beings from the garbage ...something. I am sure they did not do this to their family. The foreigners are showing more empathy for the suffering of the Haitian people than their own Government. Its disgraceful.

    January 29, 2010 at 5:31 am |
  8. Cathy

    To all the government's who have emergency preparedness plans in effect – how is that you have not thought to put together a plan of action to assist those countries who are so poor and destiute during a massive natural disaster such as we are seeing in Haiti?

    It appears each country that has gone into Haiti is doing their own thing – there needs to be a concise plan as to who will clear roads / remove building rubble / rebuild (perhaps from scratch) power plants / water filtration systems – at this rate the death rate will double if not triple from disease.

    January 29, 2010 at 3:24 am |
  9. B.K. Cross

    Did you really expect anything else from this justice of the supreme court? Bush appointed a bunch of right winged neo coonservatives to the bench and the rest of us now have to sit back and watch as they change the american landscape to fit their image of america – before it is all over corporate america will be running the show (as if their not doing it already).

    It's like a bunch of spoiled kids

    January 29, 2010 at 2:27 am |
  10. valerie

    I like millions of others contributed money to Haiti. Why? Because I thought the old saying "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day" Whilst the other saying is "Teach a man to fish and he will eat every day". Haiti has enough money from around the world to get up off their feet and build their own country. They have the money. Far too long has Haiti been known as the poorest country. They couldn't improve this because they didn't have the money. Now they do. What is the Government doing.? From what I saw on the T.V. tonight (nothing) They can't even organize a distribution of food which is piled up there. Where was the law control. ? Yes outside help is needed but not for the obvious but all the Administrators, Chiefs, the President et all should all be fired and responsible, educated people put in their place if only whilst the western world shows them how life, democracy and control of a country should operate. As for the lack of dignity of bodies being strewn around without any identification made me sick. This was an indication of what life means to the government of Haiti. Lastly I would love to know prior to the quake what the "presidents palace: looked like inside. I have seen so many of starving countries and its people who's leaders live in the grandest of oppulence.
    I for one will not be giving a single cent more to Haiti. Where is my money going?

    January 29, 2010 at 1:55 am |
  11. Alexandra, New york

    Thanks Anderson for such a coverage.

    I really like the way you got that lady (minister of information or ...) talking. The world can see how dishonest the haitian gov't is. As an Haitian, I am sad for what happen to the people of Haiti, but I am also glad because this, sort of, denunciates the level of corruption existing in this country and the lack of honesty in those ones who one would think are there to provide for the people and to have this country moving.
    Please AC, whenever you come across anyone from this government don't hesitate to tackle them on all the aids Haiti has been receiving, etc... They are certainly going to lie, but the international community can be exposed to the truth and plan on Haiti's recovery without these basterds, if one penny would not go into their hands, how great would that be.

    January 29, 2010 at 1:46 am |
  12. Patricia

    In a time like this, the one thing we don't need are blamers and complainers. I think if we pray more and complain less, we will begin to see changes and our minds will be clear to help in what ever way we can as opposed to looking for reasons to throw stones. That goes for our own government as well. So let's pray more and complain less.

    January 29, 2010 at 1:40 am |
  13. Lynn & Dave

    We are Canadians who have given to multiple crisis over the years and there are some horrible realities you have to face... As how distubing it is to see the dumping of bodies in a hole or pit, we have to remember this is one of the most impoverished countries in the western world. We understand that creating dialogue may immobilize people, we all have to rememeber that these people are trying to find their compass and balance. They do not have the time to do things as we would. So they may not have the time to identify the dead, but they have to minimize further heatlh concerns. They ( Haitians) need to also be trying to minimize more serious health complicatons. In addition they are lost, and mourning the lost of love ones. So can American TV stop sensationalizing Haiti, and focus on what is important!! Which is .. honouring their losses and rebuilding their lives.

    January 29, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  14. Marilyn Tbeur

    This is horrible! I can't believe I'm seeing bodies that are suppose to be burried in mass graves, still there in the open! Goodness gracious, these people are human beings! These people were our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, US citizens, Haitian citizens, citizens from other countries. How and why is this allowed to happen? WHO THE HELL is in charge of this catastrophe? Someone should be responsible for these bodies! This is not the way our love ones are suppose to be treated! Even after death due to this tragedy. I AM APPALL to see the sight of these bodies as a human being. Not even an animal should be treated this way! I wonder if those 4000+Americans are there in those exposed graves. I believe it might've been impossible for pictures to be taken of all of these poor people who lost their lives, but someone should've been taking pictures so that their families can see and Identify them. I guess the families are going to have to assume they love ones perished in the earthquake, when they don't see or hear from them. While watching CNN tonight, I can't believe the Minister of information was not only rude and interuptive of Anderson Cooper while he was asking her questions, but she also acted like she was unaware (saying no, no, what bodies?) of the bodies that were dumped in graves that were still not covered. The Haitian Ambassador is NUTS! Even though he's not in Haiti, he should be in touch with his people, and trying to look out for their best interest! Further, more while trying to have a conversation with a CNN producer, he rudely hung up the phone. Because of his rude and abrupt behaviour, the Haitian Ambassador should be made to step down! (or should I say out) In my opinion, this goverment needs an overhall, and that is to get rid of the present, and appoint better for the future of Haiti, who cares about their people! This is so heartbreaking, and most certainly a nightmare! Please wake me when it's over, as I think I'm still dreaming! May God bless them all! Thank you Anderson for your reports! You are a very strong person to do all you're doing. God bless you and Dr Gupta my friends, and stay safe!

    Marilyn Tbeur, KC MO

    January 29, 2010 at 1:24 am |
  15. Jeffrey Bass

    While I can understand having to remove the remains of the many dead in an expediant manner, there should at least be some sort of decorum for documenting the bodies i.e. photographing, and while people at the burial site could at least prepare an open pit for the burial of remains rather than just leaving them exposed. I seen your interview with the minister of misinformation, it seemed to me she was being deliberatley ignorant. It seems as though some aide work goes quite smoothly until you see the Haitin Govt. get involved then it seems to go south.There needs to be sweeping changes or the upper class will return to tere elietist selfcenterd past. God bless the people of Haiti & the CNN crews covering this tradgety

    January 29, 2010 at 12:52 am |
  16. Carmen D

    This is so typical of the haitian government; they have no shame, no brain; they are liars, inconsiderate, & arrogants. They don't have any idea about leadership they represent the shame that we haitians have to live with. Where is the dignity? Where is the leadersip? It is deeply sad to see how the gvmt is treating the deads; lying about it & thinking that they can get away with it. Titanyin is always known as a burrial for the deads & the livings. It is not enough that the government has to treat the bros & sis as animals by throwing food @ them like animals in the jungle, they think that it should be acceptable in the eyes of the world. Now the haitian gvmt is an open book. The world is seeing them for what they really are. They pretend to be so knowledgeable, & does not understand the meaning of organization. Shame on all of them. They should leave power if they want to do haiti & its people a big favor. Thanks to CNN & to AC360 the light is shining bright on the gvmts. & everyone can see what haitian people knew all along
    Thanks good night

    January 29, 2010 at 12:46 am |
  17. Mirriam

    AS much as I like Andersen Cooper and think he is doing a good job reporting in Haiti, I think he needs to step back and realize that the officials and Haiti are doing the best they can in a horrific situation. He repeatedly has said that he has never seen the dead treating so disrecpectfully as he is seeing in Haiti. Wll, let me refresh his memory from 2005. When Hurricane katrina hit New Orleans, hundreds of dead bodies were left on the streets and in homes for over a week. many of the bodies decomposed from the water and the heat damage and parents were forced to walk pass these corpes with their small children watching. One journalist reported, "What is remarkable is that on a downtown street in a major American city, a corpse can decompose for days, like carrion, and that is acceptable. " Did Andersen Cooper not cover the Katrina disaster.........was he watching television?? So, consider Katrina had approx 1400 dead in the WEALTHIEST country in the world...........mr. Cooper should get off his high horse and cut the Haitians some slack on their efforts to bury 150,000 corpses in the POOREST country in the western hemisphere.

    January 29, 2010 at 12:39 am |
  18. Rene Delahanty

    Anderson Cooper,

    Thank you for your reporting of the Hati situation. As always, your reporting is straight-forward and you speak from the heart. I know your viewers appreciate your hard work in bringing the honest news to them.

    Regarding the Napa Valley stimilus matter. If my math is accurate, if you divide $54M by 200 jobs, each worker is receiving approximately $270K. That is a lot of funds per person even if it is spread over three (3) years given the dire economic climate our nation is currently facing. I am all for building-up areas in our country that desperately need it and giving our citizens decent paying positions, but could our government please tightened the budget as most of American citizens are having to do.

    Good luck with all of your support for Hati. I know personally that many people are working together to support Hati in these troubled times.

    Sincerely,
    Rene

    January 29, 2010 at 12:08 am |
  19. CleggH

    My televison does not leave CNN. I have only been a viewer for a couple of years and I feel more fully informed then ever in my life.
    My heart hurts for the people in Haiti and I pray for them. Thank you Anderson Cooper for your dedication to providing the world with so much information making us all aware of the seroiusness of all that is going on in Haiti.

    January 29, 2010 at 12:05 am |
  20. karen

    Please continue to hunt down all the slamless politicians in Haiti who turn a blind eye to what you're seeing. It's horrible about the mass graves but they could now start at least be doing this more respectful. Where is everybody??? Thank you Anderson

    January 28, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  21. Tatiana

    Thank you so much AC and CNN for keeping them honest. The Haitian government never allow any reporter, not Haitian reporter anyways, to challenge them this way. I look forward for your reportage on my homeland every night, sometimes spending the entire 2 hrs crying for the sufferings of my fellow Haitians. Your reportage is vital for me since I am so far away from home. God bless you for all you do for this nation. The Haitian people will never forget you. You are in our hearts and we love you AC.

    January 28, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  22. cath

    Im really thankful for the work that cnn is doing thank you so much
    There's a lot of thing thats goes on in my country you will never find answer for this is one of them. (Like kidnapping)
    Thank u again.

    January 28, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
  23. Rick Baumeister

    I've tried several times over the past week to contact various news sources concerning the non-buried bodies there in Haiti. I've spent over 40 years in the trucking industry hauling frozen foods coast to coast. What I don't understand is why those bodies weren't put into refrigerated trailers and frozen until they could be respectfully identified and buried when the massive catastrophy obtained some sort of organization. Refrigerated trailers could have been equiopped with a shelving system whereas up to nearly 1000 bodies could have been respectfully positioned within these trailers with dignity, frozen and, as I said, identified at a later date. Thereby eliminating the outrageous probability of massive disease for an endless amount of time. I simply don't understand why someone has not considered this. Yes; certainly that would be a huge undertaking. And seeing those bodies just lying with limbs protruding in the open; we could have shown the Haitian people more respect than what is being accepted as "the best we could do". Someone should have gone another step farther than that. How can we get that measure started? Or is it too late now?

    January 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm |
  24. MeShell

    I pray for the people of Haiti and their land. I pray for their salvation as a country. This much is true. However, on the more important subject at hand...don't you think that is a contradiction, building another form of transportation? Only about a quarter of the people in Haiti are receiving supplies, while others are still being found alive! Shouldn't we be worrying about spending money to give relief to this country??? And how is that saving energy to better our world? I thought we were supposed to be utilizing the E factor here. Many devestations in many different parts of the world are still in need of help! God Bless Us All!

    January 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm |
  25. Dorival Bertaglia-Brasil

    Haiti also needs to respect their dead!
    I suggest making a monument covering the various mass graves, which would honor all the dead.
    If not for the moment that it is the memory that is made in the future.

    January 28, 2010 at 10:51 pm |
  26. Haitians in mourning

    Sometimes we thought we were alone because we were abandoned by our government even though we were always there for each other. But, in the midst of this horrific disaster, our Lord has proven to us that we were never alone but He was waiting for the right time to show us how much compassion and love there is in every human being in every corner of the world..

    I have cried and watched on TV how my Haitian family is suffering and dying, feeling so helpless. Some are lost forever, there will never be closure. We will always be in mourning but are very grateful that the world cares.

    Frères et soeurs d'Haiti soyez courageux comme à l'ordinaire parce que le monde est avec vous. Brothers and sisters of Haiti continue to be strong, the world is on your side.

    Please, do make sure that help reaches every corner of the country. They are all in dire need of medical help, food, water, shelter.

    To the world I say, you will never be able to dry our tears but your help will forever ease our pain.

    Mèsi bocou. Thank you very much to all.

    January 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm |
  27. Veronica Ann

    Anderson,

    Thank you for your investigation. This must be the hardest coverage you have ever done. These are all lessons that everyone should heed! No one is immune to the injustice that we are observing in Haiti.

    Where are the government officials?

    January 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  28. Valerie

    that is sad no respect for no one loved ones they died in a tragic do they have go out like that like no cares i know Goverment and leader no beter they would there loves treat like that. Do un to others as thou do un too you

    January 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
  29. Theresa

    This govenment wasn't working in better times so,are you really expecting it to be working now? Any country that allowed such shoddy contracting for their living citizens certainly isn't going to be concerned about how or where the dead are buried. Disgusting–shameful!

    January 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm |
  30. Frances

    I think it's horrible to see how the Haitian government is handling the bodies of the dead. They need to put the bodies in plastics bags and let the people identify them if possible. Then they should bury them nicely in mass graves and count them also. Also, Anderson Cooper should stop thinking that all people rescued now were somehow playing in the rubble and got trapped. Just accept that's it's a miracle!

    January 28, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  31. Michael Laforme

    I agree it's not right to treat the dead the same way you would treat a piece of garbage, Granted the government of Haiti have thousands of dead,but these are people with loved ones who will always wonder whom these unidentified people are or if they were the ones they were looking for.
    Mr Cooper I seen your clip on the mass grave sites I hope your investigation turns up some answers. From my own obsevations I am almost convinced the Government of Haiti is still corrupt

    January 28, 2010 at 10:23 pm |
  32. Gabriela from Nicaragua

    I am watching right now AC360 and I can see to the people of Haiti, singing and dancing and praying in the streets, what an example of strenght, tolerance and faith!!! And I am so happy that the 16 year´s old girl who was rescue yesterday is doing Ok!!!
    All my love to Anderson and all the crew!

    January 28, 2010 at 10:04 pm |
  33. Karen

    Saving the Children of Haiti –
    The United States has many closed Army Bases, why not get them
    opened and make a secure orphange for the children.
    All Army bases have everything – Medical, Cafeteria's etc. even
    Classrooms for education.
    The children would be safe from 'kid-trafficking, black market etc."

    January 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
  34. Lee

    Yet another great followup story from you Anderson, thanks. Its just horrific and disgraceful how such a corruptive government should treat its dead Haitian people like that. Haitian people who've lost their relatives will never be able to know where their bodies are dumped. There will certainly be a lot of anger from the Haitian people, that's why Preval doesn't dare to show his face because of his evil guilt.

    January 28, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  35. Karen

    Saving Haiti – Idea

    The USA and aound the world have thousands of old
    Railroad Box Cars, just sitting and rusting . why not get them shipped to Haiti and make homes – they would be stronge, able to handle wind, rain, & mud. With the openings at the ends, they would be safe at night /cut out openings for windows.
    Paint and make a new Haiti, pay money for the people to work for food and give them some pride in re-building Haiti.

    January 28, 2010 at 9:48 pm |
  36. Annie Kate

    I like Obama's train idea. I would like to see him encourage states and local governments to pursue the implementation of mass transit like New York has. Looking forward to hearing more about Obama's train plans tonight on the show and hearing Jeff Toobin's take on Justice Allito and Obama.

    January 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  37. Vicki

    What is done to the least of us will done to the rest of us. Good work

    January 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm |
  38. Munir

    Anderson

    Thank you, thank you. Our people deserve better. There is no excuse for such a behavior. This government does not deserve any respect from its people and should be help accountable.

    Thank you again

    Haiti will not forget and we shall rebuild

    Munir

    January 28, 2010 at 9:01 pm |
  39. loveline A

    that is really sad. no respect for the dead. this is not the way I would want to be remembered if I were dead. The government of haiti has a lot of explaining to do and I still haven't heard Preval saying anything about this. Is he still the president?

    January 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm |
  40. LHaitienne

    It's so sickening even at this point THE HAITIAN GOVERNMENT is not stepping up to the plate to show us (the Haitian people at home and abroad) that they care at least for the dead. Disaster happened, we have no control over that but show respect for those who perished. Yeah, put them in a mass grave but don't dump them as garbage and use a truck to block access to where they are at. I hope you all know that there are ways that they could have been identified. They will never be forgotten because they are someone's family and as long as Anderson and Dr. Gupta are there the world will continue to know about it. President Preval, how proud are you of the work you have done???

    Anderson, Dr. Gupta, please continue keeping Haiti in your list of work to be done. You are our heroes of the year. God bless you all at CNN.

    Mèsi bocou. Thank you very much.

    January 28, 2010 at 8:59 pm |
  41. Annie Kate

    The dead in Haiti should be buried even if its in a mass grave. Each one should be properly buried not just to give respect where it is due but to also protect the living against potential infections that can arise from the dead being left unburied. Haiti's condition right now is bad enough and they don't need disease from unburied bodies on top of it, plus I'm sure everyone would be grateful for the clearing of the odor in the air. I don't think this situation is from lack of respect but from being overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction left behind by the earthquake. Haiti may be doing the best it can at the moment.

    I like Obama's train idea. I would like to see him encourage states and local governments to pursue the implementation of mass transit like New York has. This would get a lot of cars off the road and provide affordable transportation to those who cannot afford the cost and upkeep of a car. Looking forward to hearing more about Obama's train plans tonight on the show.

    January 28, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  42. Mike in NYC

    Expecting "accountability" in a place like Haiti implies incredible naiveté.

    Same for respect and dignity. Sad but true.

    January 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm |

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