Thursday, August 30, 2012

On the Transformed Existence of Dead Haitian Artists

By André Juste - Haiti Liberte

It’s late night. Trying to make some sense of the death of three artists-compatriots, I plop down on my studio’s sofa and pour myself a finger or two from a bottle of Barbancourt.  Rum, I’ve suspected for some time, doesn’t quite agree with me, but a friend had left a half-empty bottle on my tap-tap-colored bar. I pour from my glass a trickle onto the floor, a self-consciously learned gesture I’ve tried out a few times before.

           Frank Robuste has died. His early work, especially a forceful depiction of a rara dancer, had caught my eyes over 30 years ago. I would encounter him in progressive circles a few times since I first saw his fiery painting and even attended an informal display of his art at a mutual friend’s apartment. We would remain mostly cordial to each other. His paintings had devolved into this voguish, stylized cubism that harks back (by way of Bernard Wah’s curvilinear approach and Wilson Bigaud’s more sober “Conflict and Tension”) to modernist Cuban shows in mid-forties Haiti. More recently, he would regale me with some scintillating tidbits and quite bold observations about various personalities on the Haitian art scene, including his own brother Valcin II, who died before him. (Robuste discounted the supposed risks that his more well-known brother took for his political themes during the repressive days of Duvalierism. He had, allegedly, some tacit  tonton macoute  support — although, in truth, the razzle-dazzle of  his  cubist style might well have been protection enough.)

Tropical Storm Isaac: Victims Fault Government for Not Enough “Concrete Action”

By Yves Pierre-Louis - Haiti Liberte

After the passage of Tropical Storm Isaac through Haiti from Fri., Aug. 24 to Sat., Aug. 25, 2012, Haitian authorities gave a preliminary damage report at a press conference on Mon., Aug. 27.

            According to the authorities of the Civil Protection Office (OPC), the two departments most affected by the storm were the West and the South East, where the balance sheet amounted to 19 dead, more than 300 houses destroyed, 15,812 displaced, and hundreds of houses damaged. Agriculture, roads, and electricity networks were also hit hard. (Reports on Aug. 28 said the death toll had risen to 24.)

            Isaac also plunged Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, into a total blackout, with all 32 power grids knocked out. Dukens Raphael, the Deputy Director General of the state power company Electricity of Haiti (EDH), announced that workmen were working hard to repair the damaged electrical network, with 11 grids already back up by Tuesday.

            In terms of prevention, the central government sent each of nine departmental delegations two million gourdes (US$47,500), while the delegation of the West department received five million gourdes (US$118,900), according to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. Nonetheless, there were many cries of help from various parts of the country after the storm.

            Appeals for assistance came from La Saline, downtown Port-au-Prince, Kenscoff, Tabarre, Canapé Vert, and other places. In the giant slum of Cité Soleil, the polluted grey river running though it overflowed and flooded many houses, while the roofs of many others were blown away Friday night. The population of Cité Soleil is desperate.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Haiti: Un livre expose le rôle violent des paramilitaires

par Judith Scherr

OAKLAND, Californie , 22 août (IPS) - L'armée brutale d'Haïti a été dissoute en 1995, mais les paramilitaires armés et en uniforme, sans aucune affiliation avec le gouvernement, occupent aujourd'hui les anciennes bases militaires.

Le président Michel Martelly, qui a promis de rétablir l'armée, n'a pas appelé la police ou les casques bleus pour déloger ces soldats ad hoc. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crisis Group report on MINUSTAH is a whitewash, not remedy, for Haiti’s ills

by Roger Annis and Kevin Edmonds (Haiti Liberte)

The think-tank International Crisis Group (ICG) issued a 28-page report on the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) on Aug. 2, 2012. Entitled “Towards a Post-MINUSTAH Haiti: Making An Effective Transition,” the report’s central recommendation is that the military occupation regime should remain in Haiti for at least another five years.
            This is the sixth report the ICG has produced on Haiti since the January 2010 earthquake. The organization has shown a capacity for frank and unbiased opinion. Its study on shelter and housing issued in June 2011, for example, criticized the Haitian government and its international sponsors for utterly failing to meet the desperate housing needs of Haitians.
            In this latest report, however, the group accepts without question the presence of MINUSTAH and its claim to have the best interests of Haitians at heart. The report amounts to a political whitewash that misrepresents the political circumstances that brought the mission to Haiti in 2004 and has kept it there ever since.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Book Exposes Violent Role of Paramilitaries in Haiti

 OAKLAND, California, Aug 16 2012 (IPS) - Haiti’s brutal army was disbanded in 1995, yet armed and uniformed paramilitaries, with no government affiliation, occupy former army bases today.
President Michel Martelly, who has promised to restore the army, has not called on police or U.N. troops to dislodge these ad-hoc soldiers.
Given the army’s history of violent opposition to democracy, Martelly’s plan to renew the army “can only lead to more suffering”, says Jeb Sprague in his forthcoming book “Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti”, to be released mid August by Monthly Review Press.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lamothe Ousts Mayard-Paul! What is the struggle behind the scene?

by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)

As was customary during the Duvalier years, fierce power struggles between the strong-men (and women) in the Martelly regime have begun.
            In a cabinet shuffle announced on August 6, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has eliminated his rival Thierry Mayard-Paul as Interior Minister.
            Mayard-Paul represented the more "makout" wing of the neo-Duvalierist regime, as opposed the more "bourgeois" sector, whose leader is Lamothe. [“Makout” is a reference to the Tontons Macoutes, the armed force which defended Duvalierist power.]
            The fight recalls the endless conflicts between "dinosaurs" and "technocrats" throughout the 15-year regime of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier (1971-1986).

A Record of Police Crime Cover-Ups: After Seven Years, Will Mario Andrésol Stay On as Haiti’s Police Chief?

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

FLASH: Just hours after this article was published on the morning of Aug. 15, the National Palace announced that Godson Orélus would replace Mario Andrésol as Haiti's Police Chief. To understand why, read on.
Mario Andrésol is one of Haiti’s most powerful men. He heads Haiti’s only official armed force, the 11,000-member Haitian National Police (PNH). The force is officially an autonomous civilian body; its chief, called the Director General, is nominated by the president, then ratified by the Parliament.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

UN Should Get Rid of Cholera Epidemic That It Brought to Haiti

Mark Weisbrot  (CEPR)

Haitians have had a long and arduous struggle just to achieve the rights that most people in the rest of the hemisphere have enjoyed. From the revolution of Haitian slaves that won independence from the French in 1804, through the U.S. occupation (1915-1934), the Duvalier family dictatorship (1957-1986), and the last 20 years of devastating foreign intervention, the “international community” just hasn’t seen Haitians as having the same basic human rights as people in other countries. 
They still don’t, perhaps because Haitians are too poor and black.  While the horrific earthquake of January 2010 brought international sympathy and aid – much more pledged than delivered – it didn’t bring a change of attitude toward Haiti.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Churches, NGOs, US Congresspersons Demand Action For Clean Water and Cholera Accountability

by Roger Annis (Haiti Liberte)

A broad coalition of religious, human rights, and non-governmental organizations has come together in the United States to demand that the United Nations political/military mission in Haiti, and the governments supporting it, take responsibility for the disastrous cholera epidemic brought to Haiti in October 2010.

The group’s concerns are backed by an open letter signed by 104 members of the U.S. Congress. The letter, dated Jul. 18, 2012, is addressed to Susan Rice, the U.S. representative to the UN Security Council. It demands that the UN take the lead in addressing its culpability for the epidemic by facilitating the construction of clean water facilities.

Please Donate to the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund

And Support WIkiLeaks

As well as