Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eduardo Galeano on Haiti

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Apr. 13, 2015, the influential Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano, 74, died of lung cancer in Montevideo. He wrote over 30 books, including the seminal “Open Veins of Latin America” (1971) and the“Memory of Fire” trilogy, composed of “Genesis” (1982), “Faces and Masks” (1984), and “Century of the Wind” (1986).
            Haiti was a regular theme in Galeano’s work, and he wrote an exceptional speech, Haiti, Occupied Country, which he delivered at Uruguay’s National Library in Montevideo on Sep. 27, 2011.
            This week, we present a few excerpts of Galeano’s writings on Haiti.
           
From “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.

Three years after the discovery, Columbus personally directed the military campaign against the natives of Haiti, which he called Española.
            A handful of cavalry, 200 foot soldiers, and a few specially trained dogs decimated the Indians. More than 500, shipped to Spain, were sold as slaves in Seville and died miserably. Some theologians protested and the enslavement of Indians was formally banned at the beginning of the 16th century.
            Actually it was not banned but blessed: before each military action the captains of the conquest were required to read to the Indians, without an interpreter but before a notary public, a long and rhetorical Requerimiento exhorting them to adopt the holy Catholic faith: “If you do not, or if you maliciously delay in so doing, I certify that with God's help I will advance powerfully against you and make war on you wherever and however I am able, and will subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their majesties and take your women and children to be slaves, and as such I will sell and dispose of them as their majesties may order, and I will take your possessions and do you all the harm and damage that I can.”
...
In the second half of the [18th] century the world's best sugar was being raised on the spongy coastal plains of Haiti, a French colony then known as Saint Domingue. Northern and western Haiti became a human antheap: sugar needed hands and more hands. In 1786 the colony brought in 27,000 slaves; in the following year, 40,000. Revolution broke out in the fall of 1791 and in one month, September, 200 sugar plantations went up in flames; fires and battles were continuous as the rebel slaves pushed France's armies to the sea. Ships sailed containing ever more Frenchmen and ever less sugar. The war spilt rivers of blood, wrecked the plantations, and paralyzed the country, and by the end of the century production had fallen to almost nothing. By
November 1803, almost all of the once flourishing colony was in ashes and ruins. The Haitian revolution had coincided – and not only in time – with the French Revolution, and Haiti bore its share of the international coalition's blockade against France: England controlled the seas. Later, as its independence became inevitable, Haiti also had to suffer blockade by France.
            The U.S. Congress, yielding to French pressure, banned trade with Haiti in 1806. In 1825 France recognized its former colony's independence, but only in exchange for a huge cash indemnity. General Leclerc had written to his brother-in-law Napoleon in 1802, soon after taking prisoner the slave armies' leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, "Here is my opinion about this country: all the blacks in the mountains, men and women, must be suppressed, keeping only the children under twelve; half the blacks in the plains must be exterminated, and not a single mulatto with epaulets must be left in the colony." 
            The tropics took their revenge on Leclerc: "Gripped by the black vomit," and despite the magical incantations of [Napoleon’s sister] Pauline Bonaparte, he died without carrying out his plan.... But the cash indemnity was a millstone around the necks of those independent Haitians who survived the bloodbaths of the successive military expeditions against them. The country was born in ruins and never recovered: today it is the poorest in Latin America.
...
In the first years of our [20th] century the philosopher William James passed the little-known judgment that the country had finally vomited the Declaration of Independence. To cite but one example: the United States occupied Haiti for twenty years and, in that black country that had been the scene of the first victorious slave revolt, introduced racial segregation and forced labor, killed 1,500 workers in one of its repressive operations (according to a U.S. Senate investigation in 1922), and when the local government refused to turn the Banque Nationale into a branch of New York's National City Bank, suspended the salaries of the president and his ministers so that they might think again. Alternating the "big stick" with "dollar diplomacy," similar actions were
carried out in the other Caribbean islands and in all of Central America, the geopolitical space of the imperial mare nostrum.

From Memory of Fire: Genesis

1459: La Isabela
Caonabó

Detached, aloof, the prisoner sits at the entrance of Christopher Columbus's house. He has iron shackles on his ankles, and handcuffs trap his wrists.
            Caonabó was the one who burned to ashes the Navidad fort that the admiral had built when he discovered this island of Haiti. He burned the fort and killed its occupants. And not only them: In these two long years he has castigated with arrows any Spaniards he came across in Cibao, his mountain territory, for their hunting of gold and people.
            Alonso de Ojeda, veteran of the wars against the Moors, paid him a visit on the pretext of peace. He invited him to mount his horse, and put on him these handcuffs of burnished metal that tie his hands, saying that they were jewels worn by the monarchs of Castile in their balls and festivities.
            Now Chief Caonabó spends the days sitting beside the door, his eyes fixed on the tongue of light that invades the earth floor at dawn and slowly retreats in the evening. He doesn't move an eyelash when Columbus comes around. On the other hand, when Ojeda appears, he manages to stand up and salute with a bow the only man who has defeated him.

1496: La Concepcion
Sacrilege

Bartholomew Columbus, Christopher's brother and lieutenant, attends an incineration of human flesh.
            Six men play the leads in the grand opening of Haiti's incinerator. The smoke makes everyone cough. The six are burning as a punishment and as a lesson: They have buried the images of Christ and the Virgin that Fray Ramon Pane left with them for protection and consolation. Fray Ramon taught them to pray on their knees, to say the Ave Maria and Paternoster and to invoke the name of Jesus in the face of temptation, injury, and death.
            No one has asked them why they buried the images. They were hoping that the new gods would fertilize their fields of corn, cassava, boniato, and beans.
            The fire adds warmth to the humid, sticky heat that foreshadows heavy rain.

From “Memory of Fire: Faces and Masks

1758: The Plains of Northern Haiti
Makandal

Before a large assembly of runaway slaves, François Makandal pulls a yellow handkerchief out of a glass of water.
            "First it was the Indians."
            Then a white handkerchief.
            "Now, whites are the masters."
            He shakes a black handkerchief before the maroons' eyes. The hour of those who came from Africa has arrived, he announces. He shakes the handkerchief with his only hand, because he has left the other between the iron teeth of the sugar mill.
            On the plains of Northern Haiti, one-handed Makandal is the master of fire and poison. At his order cane fields burn, and by his spells the lords of sugar collapse in the middle of supper, drooling spit and blood.
            He knows how to turn himself into an iguana, an ant, or a fly, equipped with gills, antennae, or wings; but they catch him anyway, and condemn him; and now they are burning him alive. Through the flames the multitude see his body twist and shake. All of a sudden, a shriek splits the ground, a fierce cry of pain and exultation, and Makandal breaks free of the stake and of death: howling, flaming, he pierces the smoke and is lost in the air.
            For the slaves, it is no cause for wonder. They knew he would remain in Haiti, the color of all shadows, the prowler of the night.

1772: Léogane
Zabeth

Ever since she learned to walk she was in flight. They tied a heavy chain to her ankles, and chained, she grew up; but a thousand times she jumped over the fence and a thousand times the dogs caught her in the mountains of Haiti.
            They stamped the fleur-de-lis on her cheek with a hot iron. They put an iron collar and iron shackles on her and shut her up in the sugar mill, where she stuck her fingers into the grinder and later bit off the bandages. So that she might die of iron they tied her up again, and now she expires, chanting curses.
            Zabeth, this woman of iron, belongs to Madame Galbeaud du Fort, who lives in Nantes.

1791: Bois Caïman
The Conspirators of Haiti

The old slave woman, intimate of the gods, buries her machete in the throat of a black wild boar. The earth of Haiti drinks the blood. Under the protection of the gods of war and of fire, 200 blacks sing and dance the oath of freedom. In the prohibited Voodoo ceremony aglow with lightning bolts, 200 slaves decide to turn this land of punishment into a fatherland.
            Haiti is based on the Creole language. Like the drum, Creole is the common speech of those torn out of Africa into various Antillean islands. It blossomed inside the plantations, when the condemned needed to recognize one another and resist. It came from African languages, with African melody, and fed on the sayings of Normans and Bretons. It picked up words from Caribbean Indians and from English pirates and also from the Spanish colonists of eastern Haiti. Thanks to Creole, when Haitians talk they feel that they touch each other.
            Creole gathers words and Voodoo gathers gods. Those gods are not masters but lovers, very fond of dancing, who convert each body they penetrate into music and light, pure light of undulating and sacred movement.

1794: Paris
"The Remedy for Man is Man,"

say the black sages, and the gods always knew it. The slaves of Haiti are no longer slaves.
For five years the French Revolution turned a deaf ear. Marat and Robespierre protested in vain. Slavery continued in the colonies. Despite the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the men who were the property of other men on the far plantations of the Antilles were born neither free nor equal. After all, the sale of blacks from Guinea was the chief business of the revolutionary merchants of Nantes, Bordeaux, and Marseilles; and French refineries lived on Antillean sugar.
Harassed by the black insurrection headed by Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Paris government finally decrees the liquidation of slavery.

1794: Mountains of Haiti
Toussaint Louverture

He came on the scene two years ago. In Paris they called him the Black Spartacus.
            He was a coachman on a plantation. An old black man taught him to read and write, to cure sick horses, and to talk to men; but he learned on his own how to look not only with his eyes, and he knows how to see flight in every bird that sleeps.

1802: The Caribbean Sea
Napoleon Restores Slavery

Squadrons of wild ducks escort the French army. The fish take flight. Through a turquoise sea, bristling with coral, the ships head for the blue mountains of Haiti. Soon the land of victorious slaves will appear on the horizon. General Leclerc stands tall at the head of the fleet. Like a ship's figurehead, his shadow is first to part the waves. Astern, other islands disappear, castles of rock, splendors of deepest green, sentinels of the new world found three centuries ago by people who were not looking for it.
            "Which has been the most prosperous regime for the colonies?"
            "The previous one."
            "Well, then, put it back," Napoleon decided.
            No man, born red, black, or white can be his neighbor's property, Toussaint L'Ouverture had said. Now the French fleet returns slavery to the Caribbean. More than 50 ships, more than 20,000 soldiers, come from France to bring back the past with guns.
            In the cabin of the flagship, a female slave fans Pauline Bonaparte and another gently scratches her head.

1803: Fort Dauphin
The Island Burned Again

Toussaint L'Ouverture, chief of the free blacks, died a prisoner in a castle in France. When the jailer opened the padlock at dawn and slid back the bolt, he found Toussaint frozen in his chair.
            But life in Haiti moved on, and without Toussaint the black army has beaten Napoleon Bonaparte. Twenty thousand French soldiers have been slaughtered or died of fevers. Vomiting black blood, dead blood, General Leclerc has collapsed. The land he sought to enslave proves his shroud.
            Haiti has lost half its population. Shots are still heard, and hammers nailing down coffins, and funeral drums, in the vast ash-heap carpeted with corpses that the vultures spurn. This island, burned two centuries ago by an exterminating angel, has been newly eaten by the fire of men at war.
            Over the smoking earth those who were slaves proclaim independence. France will not forgive the humiliation.
            On the coast, palms, bent over against the winds, form ranks of spears.

1816: Port-au-Prince
Pétion

Haiti lies in ruins, blockaded by the French and isolated by everyone else. No country has recognized the independence of the slaves who defeated Napoléon.
            The island is divided in two.
            In the north, Henri Christophe has proclaimed himself emperor. In the castle of Sans-Souci, the new black nobility dance the minuet – the Duke of Marmalade, the Count of Limonade – while black lackeys in snowy wigs bow and scrape, and blacks hussards parade their plumed bonnets through gardens copied from Versailles.
            To the south, Alexandre Pétion presides over the republic. Distributing lands among the former slaves, Pétion aims to create a nation of peasants, very poor but free and armed, on the ashes of plantations destroyed by the war.
            On Haiti's southern coast Simón Bolívar lands, in search of refuge and aid. He comes from Jamaica, where he has sold everything down to his watch. No one believes in his cause. His brilliant military campaigns have been no more than a mirage. Francisco Miranda is dying in chains in the Cadiz arsenal, and the Spaniards have reconquered Venezuela and Colombia, which prefer the past or still do not believe in the future promised by the patriots.
            Pétion receives Bolívar as soon as he arrives, on New Year's Day. He gives him seven ships, 250 men, muskets, powder, provisions, and money. He makes only one condition. Pétion, born a slave, son of a black woman and a Frenchman, demands of Bolívar the freedom of slaves in the lands he is going to liberate.
            Bolívar shakes his hands. The war will change its course. Perhaps America will too.

From “Memory of Fire: Century of the Wind

1937: Dajabón
Procedure Against the Black Menace

The condemned are Haitian blacks who work in the Dominican Republic. This military exorcism, planned to the last detail by General Trujillo, lasts a day and a half. In the sugar region, the soldiers shut up Haitian day-laborers in corrals--herds of men, women, and children--and finish them off then and there with machetes; or bind their hands and feet and drive them at bayonet point into the sea.
            Trujillo, who powders his face several times a day, wants the Dominican Republic white.

1937: Washington
Newsreel

Two weeks later, the government of Haiti conveys to the government of the Dominican Republic its concern about the recent events at the border. The government of the Dominican Republic promises an exhaustive investigation.
            In the name of continental security, the government of the United States proposes to President Trujillo that he pay an indemnity to avoid possible friction in the zone. After prolonged negotiation Trujillo recognizes the death of 18,000 Haitians on Dominican territory. According to him, the figure of 25,000 victims, put forward by some sources, reflects the intention to manipulate the events dishonestly. Trujillo agrees to pay the government of Haiti, by way of indemnity, $522,000, or $29 for every officially recognized death.
            The White House congratulates itself on an agreement reached within the framework of established inter-American treaties and procedures. Secretary of State Cordell Hull declares in Washington that President Trujillo is one of the greatest men in Central America and in most of South America.
            The indemnity duly paid in cash, the presidents of the Dominican Republic and Haiti embrace each other at the border.

1943: Milot
Ruins of Sans-Souci

Alejandro Carpentier discovers the kingdom of Henri Christophe. The Cuban writer roams these majestic ruins, this memorial to the delirium of a slave cook who became monarch of Haiti and killed himself with the gold bullet that always hung around his neck. Ceremonial hymns and magic drums of invocation rise up to meet Carpentier as he visits the palace that King Christophe copied from Versailles, and walks around his invulnerable fortress, an immense bulk whose stones, cemented by the blood of bulls sacrificed to the gods, have resisted lightning and earthquakes.
            In Haiti, Carpentier learns that there is no magic more prodigious and delightful than the voyage that leads through experience, through the body, to the depths of America. In Europe, magicians have become bureaucrats, and wonder, exhausted, has dwindled to a conjuring trick. But in America, surrealism is as natural as rain or madness.

1969: Port-au-Prince
A Law Condemns to Death Anyone Who Says or Writes Red Words in Haiti

Article One: Communist activities are declared to be crimes against the security of the state, in whatsoever form: any profession of Communist faith, verbal or written, public or private, any propagation of Communist or anarchist doctrines through lectures, speeches, conversations, readings, public or private meetings, by way of pamphlets, posters, newspapers, magazines, books, and pictures; any oral or written correspondence with local or foreign associations, or with persons dedicated to the diffusion of Communist or anarchist ideas; and furthermore, the act of receiving, collecting, or giving funds directly or indirectly destined for the propagation of said ideas.
            Article Two: The authors and accomplices of these crimes shall be sentenced to death. Their movable and immovable property shall be confiscated and sold for the benefit of the state.
Dr. François Duvalier
President-for-Life
of the Republic of Haiti

From “Haiti, Despised by All,” an article for the Inter Press Service in September 1996

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It has more foot-washers than shoe-shiners: little boys who, for a penny, will wash the feet of customers lacking shoes to shine. Haitians, on the average, live a bit more than thirty years. Nine out of every ten can't read or write. For internal consumption the barren mountain sides are cultivated. For export, the fertile valleys: the best lands are given to coffee, sugar, cacao, and other products needed by the U.S. market. No one plays baseball in Haiti, but Haiti is the world's chief producer of baseballs. There is no shortage of workshops where children assemble cassettes and electronic parts for a dollar a day. These are naturally for export; and naturally the profits are also exported, after the administrators of the terror have duly got theirs. The slightest breath of protest in Haiti means prison or death. Incredible as it sounds, Haitian workers' wages lost 25 percent of their wretched real value between 1971 and 1975. Significantly, in that period a new flow of U.S. capital into the country began.
            Haiti is the country that is treated the worst by the world's powerful. Bankers humiliate it. Merchants ignore it. And politicians slam their doors in its face.
            Democracy arrived only recently in Haiti. During its short life, this frail, hungry creature received nothing but abuse. It was murdered in its infancy in 1991 in a coup led by General Raoul Cédras.
            Three years later, democracy returned. After having installed and deposed countless military dictators, the U.S. backed President Jean Bertrand Aristide – the first leader elected by popular vote in Haiti's history – and a man foolish enough to want a country with less injustice.
            In order to erase every trace of American participation in the bloody Cédras dictatorship, U.S. soldiers removed 160,000 pages of records from the secret archives. Aristide returned to Haiti with his hands tied. He was permitted to take office as president, but not power. His successor, René Préval, who became president in February, received nearly 90 percent of the vote.
            Any minor bureaucrat at the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund has more power than Préval does. Every time he asks for a credit line to feed the hungry, educate the illiterate, or provide land to the peasants, he gets no response. Or he may be told to go back and learn his lessons. And because the Haitian government cannot seem to grasp that it must dismantle its few remaining public services, the last shred of a safety net for the most defenseless people on Earth, its masters give up on it.
            The U.S. invaded Haiti in 1915 and ran the country until 1934. It withdrew when it had accomplished its two objectives: seeing that Haiti had paid its debts to U.S. banks and that the constitution was amended to allow for the sale of plantations to foreigners. Robert Lansing, then secretary of state, justified the long and harsh military occupation by saying that blacks were incapable of self-government, that they had "an inherent tendency toward savagery and a physical inability to live a civilized life."
            Haiti had been the jewel in the crown, France's richest colony: one big sugar plantation, harvested by slave labor. The French philosopher Montesquieu explained it bluntly: "Sugar would be too expensive if it were not produced by slaves. These slaves are blacks .... it is not possible that God, who is a very wise being, would have put a soul . .., in such an utterly black body." Instead, God had put a whip in the overseer's hand.
            In l803, the black citizens of Haiti gave Napoleon Bonaparte's troops a tremendous beating, and Europe has never for given them for this humiliation inflicted upon the white race. Haiti was the first free country in South America or the Caribbean. The free people raised their flag over a country in ruins. The land of Haiti had been devastated by the sugar monoculture and then laid waste by the war against France. One third of the population had fallen in combat. Then Europe began its blockade. The newborn nation was condemned to solitude. No one would buy from it, no one would sell to it, nor would any nation recognize it.
            Not even Simon Bolivar had the courage to establish diplomatic relations with the black nation. Bolivar was able to reopen his campaign for the liberation of the Americas, after being defeated by Spain, thanks to help from Haiti. The Haitian government supplied him with seven ships, arms, and soldiers, setting only one condition: that he free the slaves – something that had not occurred to him. Bolivar kept his promise, but after his victory, he turned his back on the nation that had saved him. When he convened a meeting in Panama of the American nations, he invited England, but not Haiti.
            The U.S. did not recognize Haiti until 60 years later. By then, Haiti was already in the bloody hands of the military dictators, who devoted the meager resources of this starving nation toward relieving its debt to France. Europe demanded that Haiti pay France a huge indemnity to atone for its crime against French dignity.

            The history of the abuse of Haiti, which in our lifetime has become a tragedy, is also the story of Western civilization's racism.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

World Bank Mining Ruling Will Only Bring More Pain to Haiti


By Nathalie Baptiste (Haiti Liberte)

In early February, in yet another blow to Haitian civil society, the World Bank refused to hear a complaint filed by the Justice Mining Collective on the revival of the mining sector in Haiti.
            According to the World Bank, Haiti’s mining sector is constrained by “outdated legal framework, weak institutional capacity and widespread lack of information” about the sector among politicians and the public alike. Meanwhile, activists and community members that live in mining zones have consistently voiced complaints about the effects of mining, ranging from exploitation to environmental degradation.
            The World Bank’s refusal to address these very real concerns about the environmental impacts of mining is a failure to acknowledge that Haiti is on the short list of countries that will be most affected by climate change.
            At Haiti’s first Mining Forum, held in 2013, experts tried to convince Haiti’s government of all the positive developments that would come from developing the country’s mining sector. And they succeeded — at the end of the forum, then-Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was certain that the mining sector was Haiti’s ticket out of abject poverty.
            Mining, of course, can be lucrative for a select few — but the environmental damage would have a profound effect on Haiti’s environment.
            In 2014, risk consultancy firm Maplecroft released its annual Climate Change Vulnerability Risk Index, which ranked Haiti at number 6 and classified the situation facing the country as “extreme.” With its location in the Caribbean making it susceptible to tropical storms, extreme deforestation, overfishing, frequent droughts and other natural disasters, it’s no surprise that Haiti falls near the top of the list. Weak infrastructure, dilapidated hospitals and crumbling roads only exacerbate the problem, and the current political crisis leaves Haiti vulnerable to political unrest.
            Economic benefits aside, mining comes at a great environmental cost. Some of the impacts include water pollution, loss of biodiversity and soil contamination. The chemicals used in the mining process also pose a great public health risk. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge of Haiti knows why the country could not possibly sustain any more public health risks or contaminated water.
            For an understanding of what gold mining does to a country’s water supply, look no further than El Salvador. After a mining company poisoned the San Sebastián River, members of the community that gets its water from the river are now suffering from illnesses like kidney failure.
            Salvadorans are currently fighting to prevent the World Bank from handing over another gold mine to another multinational mining company, in a desperate effort to keep the country’s largest river, the Lempa River, from ending up like the San Sebastián.
            The World Bank’s treatment of Haitians is similar to that of the United Nations and the cholera lawsuit; both have long-term impacts on the livelihoods of Haitians, a fact that appears unimportant to these international entities. Shrugging off the environmental concerns of an extremely climate-vulnerable nation, though, is tantamount to willingly destroying lives.

This article originally appeared on the Latin Correspondent website.


The Back-Story of the Late Oriel Jean, Former Security Chief for Aristide


by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

(The second of two articles)

On Mar. 2, 2015, gunmen killed Oriel Jean, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s former security chief from 2001 to 2003, in Port-au-Prince. After misleading media reports and rumors, he was falsely accused of selling out Aristide when jailed in the U.S. for 30 months on charges of money laundering. After returning to Haiti in September 2013, he led a low-profile life running a construction company.

In 2001, as the George W. Bush administration began targeting Aristide officials like Oriel, a few dozen heavily armed paramilitary “rebels,” led by former army officer and police chief Guy Philippe and former death-squad leader Jodel Chamblain, began launching military raids from the Dominican Republic on the Police Academy on Jul. 28, 2001 and the National Palace on Dec. 17, 2001, both of which the Special Unit for Guarding the National Palace (USGPN), under Oriel’s direction, repulsed.                                                                                          
            In 2002, using one of its usual political pressure tactics, the U.S. issued a list of Haitian government officials, including Oriel, to whom it would deny visas due to their alleged ties to Haitian drug traffickers. On Jun. 27, 2003, conservative Radio Métropole reported that Oriel had been “spotted” two days earlier leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport “incognito... with his entire family” for Canada, insinuating that he was fleeing the country and might be arrested by Canadian authorities. Oriel rebutted the report the same day in a telephone interview with Radio Kiskeya, saying he’d traveled to Montreal for no more than two weeks to seek medical attention for a bad knee, while his family had joined him for a vacation and to see relatives.
            “Before you spread rumors, you should try to confirm the information,” Oriel complained to Kiskeya and the media in general. “There are simple calls you could make. My God, if I am going to leave for a few days, do I have to hold a press conference?”
            Despite the interview, Oriel hastily flew back to Port-au-Prince on Jul. 1, 2003. But, with the U.S. tightening the political screws, it was decided he should resign as USGPN chief a few days later, just as Nesly Lucien had been forced to resign as police chief in March 2003.
            Oriel continued to play a central but background role in Aristide’s security until the coup d’état of Feb. 29, 2004. Eight days later, armed with a visa and having received assurances from an official in the Canadian Embassy that he was welcome, Oriel flew from Punto Cana, Dominican Republic to Toronto, but he was arrested on arrival there. Canadian authorities told him they had cancelled his visa.
            “My lawyer and I asked them how they could revoke someone’s visa without telling them,” Oriel told Haïti Liberté in a 2007 interview. “If someone has no right to enter Canada, you have to tell them that beforehand, not after they’ve taken a flight and arrived there... If they don’t want me to enter, return me to the Dominican Republic or Haiti. I even asked them to return me to Haiti.”
            According to Oriel, he and his lawyer had won this argument when the proceedings were interrupted, and the judge was presented with an extradition request from Washington.
            “My lawyer told me that I could fight the extradition request, but given the close relationship between Canada and the U.S., I had very slim chances of winning,” Oriel said. “The legal fight, the judicial process, in Canada might take two or three years during which time I’d be detained, and if I did lose, the clock would start at zero again when I was extradited to the U.S.. So despite some opposition from my family and supporters in Canada, I decided not to fight the extradition request and to face my accusers in the U.S..”
            Oriel was extradited to the U.S. on Mar. 19, 2004. Prosecutors accused him of helping to offload drugs and demanding a cut of drug profits, charges Oriel vigorously denied. He insisted that he had taken part in no illegal activities or drug-trafficking whatsoever.
            “But my lawyer said to me: ‘Listen son, you’re not in Haiti anymore. Here in the U.S. they have this charge called conspiracy. Even if you personally weren’t involved in anything, if you were at all associated with someone who is charged with a crime, and you even accepted five cents from him, there are ways to accuse you. Going to a trial is very risky given the demonization of [the] Lavalas [government]. I advise you to clear yourself, tell them what is true, what is not true, and make a deal.’”
            Oriel followed the advice and admitted to knowing Haiti’s three principal drug traffickers and having even accepted gifts from them. “Knowing they were drug traffickers, I should have kept my distance from them,” he said. “I admitted my error and agreed to pay the price.”
            “As I did my job, I thought I was just dealing (en affaire avec) with the Haitian government,” he added. “I didn’t realize I was dealing with the U.S. government.”
            He made a deal to plead guilty to the charge of “Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering” and to testify against drug trafficker Serge Edouard, who was convicted for life in 2005.
            “There are some who say I betrayed Aristide and said things about him and gave up other people, and that was why I got so little time,” he said in his 2007 interview. “People can say anything. The truth is that I simply told them what I knew about the drug traffickers.”
            Released from prison in September 2006, with one year probation, Oriel went to work as a parking lot attendant at Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood Airport, working the midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift. The U.S. State Department granted him an S visa, given to “alien witnesses and informants,” which had to be renewed every year following an interview.
            Some years, U.S. officials would delay the renewal. One of those years was 2011. Following Aristide’s Mar. 18, 2011 return to Haiti from a seven-year exile, Oriel told Haïti Liberté that the Justice Department had sent a team of three investigators to ask him questions about Aristide. He said he provided them with no answers and sent a hand-delivered message to Aristide about the visit. In the same note, he gave Aristide some advice and warnings about people in his security team.
            Finally, Oriel decided to leave Florida and return to Haiti in September 2012. Under the terms of his S visa, he would not be allowed back into the U.S., so he knew it was a one-way trip. “He didn’t want to stay in the U.S. any longer,” his wife Bettina told Haïti Liberté. “He was tired of working nights at the parking lot. He felt a lot of stress in the States from work, financial problems, and his immigration status and thought he could contribute more in Haiti. He was like a fish out of water.”
            Back in Haiti, he went to work as Operations Director for Claudy Construction, owned by Claude Guillaume, who also owns Claudy Center Borlette, a popular private lottery in Haiti. “The Martelly government offered him a job, but he refused it,” said Oriel’s childhood friend Alix Sainphor. “He didn’t want to be involved in politics, and he didn’t want anything to do with Martelly.”
            He maintained a low profile, but trouble came looking for him. Investigating Judge Ivickel Dabrézil subpoenaed Oriel, along with many others, including Aristide, to provide him with any information they had concerning the Apr. 3, 2000 murder of radio journalist Jean Dominique and his radio’s guardian Jean-Claude Louissaint.
            Oriel said that he told Dabrézil what he knew about the matter, testimony that might implicate former Lavalas Family Senator and Aristide Foundation director Mirlande Libérus – now living in Florida – in the double killing.
            “You have to understand that I have no power, no money, no team of lawyers to avoid talking to Dabrézil when he subpoenaed me,” Oriel told Haïti Liberté in 2013. “He is taking testimony from many people. I told him exactly what was said to me, what I did, and what I know. First, I don’t want to get in trouble by hiding something or telling a lie, and second, I think we should get to the truth in the Jean Dominique case. It’s gone too long unsolved.”
            “Some people say I accused Aristide, which is not true,” he continued. “I was dealing with Mirlande. I don’t know where it went from there. She will have to give her testimony. But don’t blame me for just telling what I experienced.”
            With this tension between certain former Lavalas Family leaders and Oriel, the stage was set for tragedy.
            “He had received numerous death threats, particularly in February 2014,” said Sainphor. “At that time, he chose to leave Haiti and stay in the Dominican Republic for a month and a half. When he felt the danger had passed, he returned. But shortly before he was killed, he had received more threats.”
            Some Haitian analysts question whether the hidden hand of the “laboratory,” as the U.S. military/intelligence complex is called in Haiti, might be involved. “It could be that the laboratory killed two birds with one stone,” said Henriot Dorcent of the party Dessalines Coordination (KOD). “They eliminate a very connected and experienced guy who was once a militant in and apparently remained sympathetic to the Haitian people’s struggle for justice, democracy, and sovereignty. And at the same time, they lay the crime at Aristide’s doorstep, thereby undermining the people’s mobilization against the regime of President Michel Martelly, their puppet.”
            This hypothesis is given credence by the reaction of Martelly’s former spokesman Guyler C. Delva, secretary general of SOS Journalists, who put out a Mar. 3 statement saying that Oriel had “constantly been the subject of death threats from individuals close to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide whom he had accused of ordering the murder of Jean Dominique.” In truth, even in a long interview with the former security chief which Delva made public on Mar. 10 on Radio Caraïbes, Oriel stopped short of directly accusing anybody of the crime but simply lays out a version of events and circumstances that are very suggestive. As Alix Sainphor said: “Guy Delva is lying, twisting and framing Oriel’s words to further his own agenda.”
            Other pro-Martelly politicians, like Sauveur Pierre-Etienne of the Struggling People’s Organization (OPL), have also charged that Aristide is behind Oriel’s killing.
            “Aristide had asked Mirlande and others to ‘neutralize’ Jean Dominique, whom he saw as a strong challenger for the presidency coming from Préval’s party Kozepèp,” Oriel told Haïti Liberté in 2013. “Did he mean for them to physically eliminate him? Frankly, I don’t think so.”
            Oriel Jean’s funeral is scheduled to be held on Mar. 11 at the Parc de Souvenir cemetery in Port-au-Prince, where he will be buried. He is survived by his wife, Bettina, his father, Odiyel, two sisters, Mamoune and Gladys, and four children, two boys and two girls, ranging in ages from 27 to 12.
            It is perhaps fitting to close with Oriel’s own words from his 2007 interview with Haïti Liberté: “The U.S. government and media has tried to paint me as a corrupt criminal, like Jean-Claude or François Duvalier, Ti Bobo, Bòs Pent, Luc Désir, etc. Those who know my trajectory, who know where I come from in the struggle since 1986, know that’s not me. Those who have worked alongside me know that I’m a militant and an upright citizen (sitwayen de bien). However, I recognize that I’m not perfect, I made errors as everyone does, and I’ve paid for my errors and started anew. I have made my self-criticism (otokritik). But I have never been a trafficker, a drug dealer, a criminal. I cannot spend my whole life fighting against dictatorial power – people who kill others, who beat others – to become one of them today. My relationship with someone I should not have been friendly with, which got me into trouble, I don’t deny that. I accept that. But to make me into something I’m not is not good. I’m very critical because I was in a key post, and I saw how the government finished badly, and I’m critical of many people. I’m critical of Aristide, I’m critical of myself, I’m critical of many people who were in power because I saw what happened in front of me and how in the end it was the people who were the victim. As I always say, I am a child of the people, I was raised among the people, and I will die among the people.”


Saturday, January 10, 2015

AHP: Milliers de manifestants dans les rues de Port-au-Prince ce jeudi dans le cadre de la de la dernière phase de l'opération Burkina-Faso: les manifstants s'estiment tout près du but


Port-au-Prince, le 8 janvier 2015  (AHP) – C’est ce jeudi 8 janvier qu’a été lancée, comme annoncé, la dernière phase de l’opération Burkina Faso qui vise à contraindre le président Michel Martelly à la démission.

Des miliers  de manifestants ont ainsi gagné les rues de la capitale à l’appel de plusieurs organisations politiques et populaires de l’opposition., se déclarant persuadés que le chef de l'Etat ne pourra pas résister à la pression.

La manifestation a  démarré, comme à l’accoutumée, devant les vestiges de l’ancienne église Saint-Jean Bosco à La Saline. 

Après avoir traversé plusieurs  quartier populaires dont le  Bel-air, les manifestants ont fait escale devant le siège du parlement au bicentenaire où ils on critiqué les parlementaires qui flirtent, selon eux,  avec le president Michel Martelly pour des privilèges et  pour obtenir la  prorogation de leur mandat qui, en principe, prend fin ce lundi 12 janvier.

AHP: Crise politique: l'avenir du premier ministre désigné Evans Paul toujours hypothétique: les partis politiques de l'opposition auraient refusé d'endosser sa nomination et l'auraient clairement fait savoir au chef de l'Etat

Agence haitienne de presse 

Port-au-Prince, le 8 janvier 2015- (AHP) – Rien n'est encore joué dans le dossier Evans Paul, premier ministre designé ulilatéralement, selon l'opposition, par le président Michel Martelly.

Divers secteurs exerceraient  des pressions de toutes formes, au parlement et ailleurs, en faveur et contre  M.Paul qui circulent aujourd'hui sous haute sécurité, bénéficiant d'une partie importante du back-up de  l'ancien premier ministre forcé à la démission, Laurent Salvador Lamothe

Selon des informations proches des discussions engagées entre le président Michel Martelly et  les partis politiques de l'opposition, ces derniers ne seraient pas prêts à endosser  la nomination de  l'ancien secrétaire géneral de la Convention Unité Democratique (KID) et l'auraient  clairement fait savoir au chef de l'Etat.

Washington Post: Haiti is broken because of intervention

Washington Post - Letter to the Editor
The Dec. 28 editorial “Haiti’s broken politics” concluded that, absent international intervention, Haiti will crumble into anarchy. In fact, Haiti’s crisis is, in large part, a consequence of U.S. and international intervention.
This country has been occupied by U.N. soldiers for more than a decade. And it was U.S. pressure that led to the 2010 elections, months after the earthquake and weeks after the eruption of a virulent cholera outbreak, introduced by those U.N. troops. Fewer than 23 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

AS MARTELLY PREPARES TO JETTISON LAMOTHE: NATIONWIDE UPRISING GAINS STRENGTH IN HAITI

By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

A nationwide uprising against the regime of business partners
President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe continued
to gain steam this week with massive demonstrations in several major
cities, including Port-au-Prince, Léogane, Petit Goâve, Cap-Haïtien,
Fort-Liberté, Ouanaminthe, and Aux Cayes.

Feeling the protests' heat, Martelly made a short televised national
address on Nov. 28 to announce his formation of an "advisory
commission" made up of 11 people whom he called "credible, honest, and
trusted by society" to provide him "in eight days" with "a
recommendation" on what path to take out of Haiti's political
imbroglio, saying that "the nation is divided, the problems are many,
the problems are complicated."

Martelly outlined five categories of recommendation which he had
gleaned from "two months" of "consultations" with Haiti's political
actors: 1) remove Lamothe as Prime Minister; 2) dissolve Parliament on
Jan. 12, 2015 when the terms of most senators and deputies expire; 3)
change the composition of the Electoral Council; 4) form a Constituent
Assembly to overhaul Haiti's 1987 Constitution; and 5) extend
Parliament's life or put in place a council to function in place of
Parliament.

Tellingly, Martelly did not include, or even mention in his address,
the principal demand of the nationwide protests: that he and his prime
minister immediately resign, ceding power to a State Council and
Supreme Court judge, as happened when demonstration-beset-dictator
Gen. Prosper Avril resigned in March 1990. The ensuing Dec. 16, 1990
election, carried out without the supervision of any occupying force
like the current UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), was among
the fairest in Haitian history.

AHP: La commission présidentielle consultative a-t-elle reçu un mandat secret?A-t-elle une surprise pour la constitution?

Agence haitienne de presse (AHP)

La Commission présidentielle consultative formée récemment par le président Michel Martelly pour officiellement lui  faire des propositions de sortie de crise, est déjà au coeur de tous  les questionnements .

Déjà mercredi, le président du Sénat la mettait en garde contre toute recommandation qui ne tiendriat pas compte  du Sénat de la République, soulignant que  le Grand Corps existera  tant que la constitution sera en vigueur.


De son côté, le Directeur exécutif de l'Initiative de la sociéte civile appelait  la commission présidentielle à faire  des recommandations qui favorisent la création d’un climat favorable à la tenue des prochaines élections.

Cependant, plusieurs secteurs soupçonnent cette commission dont la plupart des membres sont presentés comme des proches du pouvoir, d'avoir des ambitions qui ne sont pas de son ressort.

Nouvelle manifestation anti-gouvernementale ce vendredi à Port-au-Prince et dans plusieurs villes de province: Fanmi Lavalas apporte son soutien pour réclamer aussi justice pour les victimes du 5 décembre 1991



Port-au-Prince, le 4 décembre 2014 – (AHP) -  L’Organisation Politique Fanmi Lavalas apporte son plein soutien à la manifestation anti-gouvernementale annoncée pour demain 05 décembre rappelant que cette date marque  le 24eme anniversaire de l’attaque armée survenue au cours d’un meeting du candidat à la presidence, Jean Bertrand Aristide, à Pétion ville.

L’ancien sénateur Lavalas Louis Gérald Gilles a fait savoir que cette manifestation sera l’occasion de réclamer justice pour les victimes de cette attaque, et celles du régime de Martelly, appelant la population à prendre part en grand nombre  à ce mouvement.

Louis Gerald Gilles indique que la manifestation devrait parcourir plusieurs quartiers populaires, passer devant les locaux du parlement, de la primature, de l’ambassade de France pour aboutir devant le palais national.

UNIFA, Four Years of Growth



UNIFA Medical Students in the Laboratory
In the fall of 2014, UNIFA an accredited institution of higher education in Haiti, began its fourth academic year since its rebirth in 2011.  The University was founded by former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.  When he returned to Haiti from forced exile in South Africa in the spring of 2011 he promised to dedicate himself to education in Haiti.    Since then he has done just that, reopening UNIFA just six months after his return.   There are now over 1000 students studying at the UNIFA campus in four degree granting programs: Medicine, Nursing, Law and Political Science, and a brand new program in Physical Therapy.
New School of Physical Therapy Opens
The new School of Physical Therapy, which opened on Oct 6, 2014, is the first Physical Therapy School in Haiti. (There are only a handful of Physical Therapists in Haiti and all were trained elsewhere.)  This program is a partnership between UNIFA and Stony Brook University, State University of New York.  This school answers the acute need for Physical Therapists in Haiti, a need that became particularly clear after the 2010 earthquake when many people suffered devastating injuries that require intensive rehabilitative treatment.  Stony Brook faculty are working with UNIFA faculty to create the curriculum, and they will provide the much of the teaching staff for the courses particular to Physical Therapy.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Largest Demonstration to Date Demands President Martelly’s Resignation

by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)

On Tue., Nov. 25, tens of thousands poured through the streets of Port-Au-Prince to demand the departure of President Michel Martelly. Observers and journalists reported that it was the largest anti-Martelly march yet during October and November, which have seen many outpourings around the country but particularly in the capital.
            As usual, the marchers began in front of the churches St. Jean Bosco in La Saline and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belair and converged at Rue Saint-Martin. After marching up the Delmas Road, they took Delmas 32 to Bourdon, and then marched on the National Palace. A week earlier, on Nov. 18, police fired on a similar large march at Delmas 32, killing at least two and dispersing the demonstration.
            Among the many chants of the demonstrators, most noteworthy was “No negotiations with Martelly!” and “Martelly must leave for Haiti to be free!” The marchers also called the Haitian president a corrupt dictator, liar, murderer, drug-dealer, and kidnapper.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hundreds March to Demand Political Prisoners’ Release

by Thomas Péralte and Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Oct. 30, hundreds of demonstrators marched from downtown Port-au-Prince to Carrefour to demand the release of Haitian grassroots opposition leaders Biron Odigé and Rony Timothée, who were arrested in a massive Oct. 26 demonstration.
            The marchers also called for the release of dozens of other political prisoners languishing in jails throughout Haiti including Aux Cayes, Petit Goâve, Jacmel, Cap Haïtien, and Port-au-Prince.
            Just before the march, authorities announced that Mr. Odigé had been transferred to the new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets while Mr. Rony was sent to the jail in Arcahaie, 20 and 50 kilometers north of the capital respectively.
            The two leaders head the Patriotic Front for Respect of the Constitution (FOPARC), one of the principal grassroots groups organizing demonstrations against the Martelly regime over the past three years.
            Police arrested about 21 other demonstrators in protests on Oct. 17 and 26.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gas Price Hike Fuels Misery and Anger in Haiti

by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)

President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe have decided to dramatically raise government-fixed fuel prices in Haiti over the next six months despite the plummeting price of oil on the world market and the Haitian Senate’s refusal to approve their budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The price hikes, announced by Finance Minister Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, took effect on Oct. 10, 2014 and will rise in three or four increments.
            According to the proposed budget still not approved by the Senate, a gallon of gasoline will rise from its current cost of $4.38 (200 gourdes) to $4.70 (215 gourdes) until December; in January 2015, it would jump to $4.99 (228 gourdes); finally, during February and March 2015, it would be set at $5.32 (243 gourdes) a gallon, a 21.5% increase overall.
            A gallon of diesel over the same time period would increase from $3.54 (162 gourdes) to $3.87 (177 gourdes) to $4.03 (184 gourdes) and finally to $4.20 (192 gourdes) in March 2015, an 18.5% increase.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice.

Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP) Nouvelles du 3 septembre 2014

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice. Les avocats de l'ancien chef d'Etat rappellent entre autres, s'être adressés à la  justice, particulièrement à la Cour de cassation pour obtenir le dessaisissement de son  dossier du juge d’instruction, Maître Lamarre BELIZAIRE, pour cause de suspicion légitime.

 Note de presse  du Bureau des Avocats internationaux

"Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE présentent leurs compliments à la  population et croient opportun de dénoncer une campagne de désinformation visant à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE a refusé de se présenter devant la justice.  Rien n’est plus faux.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harry Numa: 1961-2014

By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Harry Numa, 52, a long-time leader of the National Popular Assembly (APN) and later the National Popular Party (PPN), died in the early morning hours of Aug. 25 in a tragic car accident in the southwestern Haitian city of Jérémie. His funeral was held and he was buried in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 30.
            Born in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 31, 1961, he spent his early years under the dictatorships of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier. “On Rue Sans Fil where he grew up, Harry revealed himself to be a true leader among the youth both through the positions he took and by his serious attitude,” wrote his wife, Lucienne Houanche Irby, in a funeral tribute. “For those who knew him, Harry didn’t joke often. He took everything seriously. Caught up in the socio-political situation of the country, he saw himself as a defender of the weakest and most marginalized.”       In 1980, Harry traveled to New York, where he went to Rockland Community College and worked various jobs. But in 1987, after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, he returned to Haiti like many young people to take part in the burgeoning democracy movement and the newly formed National Popular Assembly (APN), a nationwide popular organization which played a key role in contributing to the political rise of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the turbulent post-Duvalier period. Harry also played an important role in the leading leftist weekly of the day, Haïti Progrès.
            During the coup d’état of 1991 to 1994, Harry largely stayed in Haiti where he set up a clandestine printing press to put out anti-coup flyers and a special version of Haïti Progrès, which for several months in 1994 was unable to enter Haiti from New York, where it was printed, due to an international embargo which stopped airline flights.

U.S. Haitian Puppet Targets Jean-Bertrand Aristide Yet Again

By: Joe Emersbergerfirst published, in a slightly different version, by Telesur.

No evidence of corruption has ever been found to incriminate the former Haitian leader, who was overthrown by a U.S.-led coup.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is once again being hounded with bogus corruption allegations by the government of Michel Martelly – a government that owes its existence to U.S. bullying.
            I don’t dismiss corruption allegations against any politician lightly – even one the U.S. despises. Reasonable, but uniformed, readers may ask why we can be sure the allegations against Aristide are baseless.
            If the facts were widely known about what the U.S. has done in Haiti in recent years, nobody would ask that question. They’d be too busy working for the prosecution of U.S. officials for crimes perpetrated in Haiti. In fact, Canadian, French and United Nations officials would also be struggling to stay out of jail for aiding and abetting those crimes, as I’ve mentioned before.
            On Feb. 29, 2004, the U.S. perpetrated a coup against Haiti’s democratically elected government which was headed by Aristide. That’s worth repeating. The U.S. directly perpetrated the coup. It did not simply provide decisive support for a coup carried out by local allies as it has done so many times in Latin America. In this case, U.S. troops physically removed Aristide from Haiti in the middle of the night and flew him off to the Central African Republic. Canadian troops assisted the U.S. by securing the airport in Port-Au-Prince. The U.S. government claims that Aristide begged rescue from a small group of “rebels” even though his own security team could have led him to safety, if that was his priority, in various countries within the Caribbean.  The U.S. and its allies, after its alleged “rescue” of Aristide, took over Haiti and promptly set up a dictatorship under Gérard Latortue. The rebels – essentially led by the death squad leader Jodel Chamblain – were immediately made completely subordinate to the U.S. and its allies. Rebels who objected too strongly to their subordinate role were simply told to get lost and, in a few very isolated cases, hunted down. Hundreds of the more obedient “rebels” were incorporated into a revamped Haitian police force under the close direction of U.S. and UN officials. Yes, criminals were made police under the direction of even bigger criminals in Washington. That’s how our upside down world functions.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Interviews with IJDH's Brian Concannon and Haiti Action's Pierre Labossiere on the trumped up charges and character assassination targeting of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio's Senior Producer Kevin Pina interviews IJDH's Brian Concannon & Haiti Action Committee's Pierre  Labossiere. Listen to the interviews here: http://www.haitiinformationproject.net/blog.php

Stop the attacks on former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Movement

By: Haiti Action Committee - HaitiSolidarity.Net

      On Aug. 13, the Haitian government summoned former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to court on corruption charges. This summons is part of a chilling pattern of repression aimed at destroying Aristide’s political party, Fanmi Lavalas, as the country approaches new legislative elections. We denounce it in the strongest possible terms.
      On March 18, 2011, tens of thousands of people followed President Aristide’s car as it drove from the airport to his home, following his return from seven years of forced exile. They then climbed over the walls into the courtyard of the Aristides’ residence to continue an emotional and heart-felt greeting for Haiti’s first democratically elected president, overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated coup in 2004. In his speech at the airport, President Aristide focused on education and the importance of inclusion for all Haitians in the process of restoring democracy.
      Since his return, President Aristide has done exactly what he promised to do – reopen the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA). On Sept. 26, 2011 the Medical School once again opened its doors. Today, there are over 900 students studying medicine, nursing and law at a university whose mission is to provide higher education to all sectors of Haitian society, not just the children of the rich.

Aristide Warrant and Brandt Prison Break Overshadow Election Derailment

By Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Last week, Haitian demonstrators erected barricades of burning tires and car frames in front of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's home in Tabarre to prevent the government of President Michel Martelly from arresting him. On Aug. 12, investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire had issued a court summons for Aristide to come to his offices for
questioning the next day, Aug. 13. Aristide never received the
last-minute summons which was allegedly left at his gate, according to his lawyer Mario Joseph. Having heard about the summons on the radio, Joseph did show up at the 10 a.m. hearing with a letter explaining that the summons had not been correctly served. Ironically, Judge Bélizaire did not show up for his own hearing but nonetheless later that afternoon issued an arrest warrant for Aristide because of his
absence.

Meanwhile, at about 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, two vehicles of armed men shot automatic weapons at the outside of the new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets, just north of the capital, precipitating the escape of 329 prisoners. Among them was Clifford Brandt, 42, the scion of a prominent bourgeois family who was jailed in October 2012 (but to date never tried) for heading a kidnapping ring that held hostage the
son and daughter of Haitian banker Robert Moscoso. On Aug. 12, Dominican authorities recaptured Brandt and three other fugitives across the border in the neighboring Dominican Republic and turned them over to Haitian authorities, who tried to take credit for the capture. (The Dominican Defense Minister had to issue a statement setting the record straight.)

These two unfolding dramas, perhaps by design, have all but eclipsed a much more ominous development last week: the cancellation of parliamentary and municipal elections, already two years overdue, which had been promised for Oct. 26. As a result, it is all but certain that another third of the Haitian Senate and many in the House of Deputies will see their terms expire on Jan. 12, 2015, rendering the Parliament nonfunctional and Martelly ruling by decree.

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