Friday, November 30, 2012

Mystery Still Surrounds Young Man’s Death

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Shots rang out during a demonstration on Nov. 16 on Rue Oswald Durand near the Economy and Finance Ministry Annex, in front of the State University’s Law School.

            Afterwards, Daniel Stanley Florestal, 19, lay dead. His body is still lying in the state hospital’s morgue.

New Arrest in the Brandt Kidnapping Case

by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)

Haitian authorities have captured another alleged member of the kidnapping ring headed by Haitian elite businessman Clifford Brandt. Haitian immigration officers arrested Mathurin Kerwens Jacques at the border town of Malpasse on Nov. 20 as he tried to cross into the Dominican Republic. Jacques was taken to the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police (DCPJ) in Port-au-Prince.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

La reconstitution de l’armée ferait repartir Haïti 30 ans en arrière.

Par Jeb Sprague - Le Grand Soir

Le Gouvernement haïtien prépare le retour de l’armée haïtienne, pourtant dissoute, qui a été une institution coupable de nombreux crimes perpétrés dans le pays. Au même moment, des unités spéciales de la police ont été utilisées pour chasser les victimes du tremblement de terre hors des campements de fortune.

Alors que la société civile et les organisations populaires d’Haïti mènent une campagne contre un éventuel retour de l’ère de la répression duvaliériste, les citoyens américains, dominicains, et français devraient être mis au courant de l’appui historique que leur gouvernement a donné aux forces armées militaires et paramilitaires haïtiennes, ainsi qu’aux forces de sécurité.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Who is Really Leading Reconstruction Efforts in Haiti?

By: Haiti Relief & Reconstruction Watch, Center for Economic and Policy Research

After decades of bypassing the Haitian government in the provision of aid, after the 2010 earthquake there was an acknowledgment by international NGOs and donors that this time had to be different. The sentiment was summed up well by Nigel Fisher, the deputy special representative for MINUSTAH in Haiti when he told The Nation: “Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people are here delivering aid, but they are doing functions that should be done by the Haitians…You cannot complain about failures of the Haitian state if you don’t support it to grow stronger. For decades, we have not invested in that very much.”

            And yet, as HRRW and others have documented time and time again, just as in the past, the Haitian government, civil society and businesses were largely bypassed again. Less than one percent (PDF) of humanitarian aid went to the Haitian government or Haitian organizations in the 18 months after the earthquake. Just over one percent of the $450 million or so in USAID contracts have gone to Haitian firms. Furthermore, there have been consistent complaints from government officials that they are not consulted by international partners. Nevertheless, donors continue to tout the “Haitian-led” reconstruction effort. Another quote from Kathie Klarreich and Linda Polman’s recent Nation article makes it clear this is nothing more than rhetoric:

Hurricane Sandy is another blow to Haiti

by Roger Annis (for Haiti Liberte)

Hurricane Sandy struck another heavy blow to Haiti on Oct. 23 and 24, 2012. At least 54 people died, and dozens more are missing. Several tens of thousands of people were flooded out of their homes or earthquake survivor camps.

            There are some 370,000 people stuck in appalling conditions in the camps while hundreds of thousands more have gone back to damaged homes or whatever other inadequate shelter they can find.

Canada’s media reports, and doesn’t report, on Sandy in Haiti

The Montreal daily La Presse assigned Gabrielle Duchaine to report from Haiti in the aftermath of the hurricane. Her reporting was the most substantive to appear in Canada. She wrote two informative articles on the difficult conditions she observed in the south of Haiti where Hurricane Sandy struck hardest, including dealing a severe blow to food production.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Assassinated Cop Led Kidnapping Ring from Pernier Police Station

Police officials never moved against him despite kidnapping victim’s complaint

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Heavily armed assailants gunned down Police Division Inspector Yves Michel Bellefleur in a hail of bullets on the morning of Fri., Nov. 9 near the Gérald Bataille circle in Tabarre.

            A police spokesman and some media have presented the killing as a response from criminals to the Oct. 22 arrest of prominent Haitian businessman Clifford Brandt and several others – including policemen and ex-policemen – for kidnapping.

            However, a former police official told Haïti Liberté that Inspector Bellefleur was in fact working with Clifford Brandt’s criminal organization and led a kidnapping ring based in the police station of Pernier, which, not coincidentally, is the same neighborhood that Clifford Brandt’s abductees, Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso, were found and freed (see Haïti Liberté, Oct. 31, 2012).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

MINUSTAH and RNDDH Have a Great Deal for Which They Should Answer

By: Joe Emersberger, Jeb Sprague, and Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis

Dan Beeton, over at CEPR’s very useful Haiti blog, reported that

A new human rights report reaffirms the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti’s (MINUSTAH) responsibility for causing the cholera epidemic that has now killed over 7,600 and infected over 600,000.

There is no doubt that much of the report’s depiction of Haiti’s present human rights situation rings very true. Unfortunately, there is an appalling gap in the recent history that the report provides to explain why Haiti is in its present state. There is no mention in the report of the 2004 coup that ousted Haiti’s democratically elected government. There is no mention of the violent repression under the UN installed Latortue dictatorship that followed the coup -  at least 4000 political murders (overwhelmingly of partisans of the ousted government) according to study published in the Lancet medical journal. Numerous human rights studies (such as those published through the Miami University of School of Law, Harvard, the National Lawyers Guild, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, the Association des Universitaires Motivés pour une Haiti de Droits, the organization Human Rights Accompaniment In Haiti, and (belatedly) Amnesty International) further documented the greatly heightened political violence that took place during the post-coup period.  

It is not difficult to figure out why the report could not deal honestly with the 2004 coup or its consequences. One of the organizations responsible for authoring the report – RNDDH (formerly NCHR-Haiti) – was, quite literally, the official human rights group of the Latortue dictatorship. Immigration attorney Thomas Griffin reported in 2004:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The United Nations must cure Haiti of the cholera epidemic it caused

By: Mark Weisbrot - UK Guardian

Before Hurricane Sandy slammed into the east coast of the United States, it killed 54 people in Haiti and left tens of thousands more homeless. Haiti is especially vulnerable because of its poor infrastructure and environmental destruction, so people die there – as they did during the  earthquake in January 2010 – in greater numbers than they would in other countries subject to the same natural disasters.

But there is one disaster that was brought to Haiti directly by people, not by nature. It was not caused by shifting tectonic plates or extreme weather (or climate change). That disaster is the cholera epidemic that struck Haiti two years ago. Most people I talk to don't even know that United Nations troops brought this deadly disease to Haiti in October of 2010. There hadn't been anycholera in Haiti for at least 100 years, if ever, until some UN troops from South Asia dumped human waste into a tributary of the country's main water supply. Since then, more than 7,600 Haitians have died and over 600,000 have gotten sick.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Reconstituir al ejército hará que Haití revierta a un pasado de 30 años atrás

Por Jeb Sprague - La República

El gobierno Haitiano está haciendo planes para reconstituir al disuelto ejército, una institución responsable de muchos de los peores crímenes cometidos en la historia del país. Al mismo tiempo, el gobierno ha movilizado policías especiales para sacar de sus campamentos a los damnificados por el terremoto de 2010.

Mientras que la sociedad civil y las organizaciones populares en Haití están haciendo campañas en contra de un retorno a la época represiva de la dictadura  duvalierista, los ciudadanos de Estados Unidos y la Repùblica Dominicana debemos ser conscientes de la larga historia de apoyo que han dado nuestros gobiernos a los militares y paramilitares de Haití.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Haiti's hunger games: Disastrous food policy bites hands that feed

by Phillip Wearne, Haiti Briefing

One màmit (5.75lb tin) of rice? 150 Haitian Gourdes (about $3.57), up 50% since July. Corn meal? At 100 Gourdes per màmit, that has doubled in the past year. Beans? Well, they are only 210 Gourdes, a mere 40% increase.

            It is a measure of the scale of the food price crisis that Haitians are now using the word goudougoudou – their imitation of the sound of ground rumbling in the 2010 earthquake – to denote hunger pains. Soaring food prices mean the hungriest country in the Americas is getting hungrier.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

“Border of Lights” Marks Massacre Anniversary

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Some 200 people gathered in the border town of Dajabón, in northwestern Dominican Republic, from October 4-6 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the “Parsley Massacre” in 1937, when Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo ordered the slaughter of some 20,000 Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in an ethnic cleansing along the Dominican-Haitian border. The massacre took place over the course of about five days.

            The three-day event marking the bloodshed was entitled “Borders of Light.”

Arrest of Brandt for kidnapping explodes myths

Police Chief Orélus seeks to remove “bad seeds” on force

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Oct. 22, the Haitian National Police (PNH) arrested Clifford Brandt, the scion of a prominent Haitian bourgeois family, on charges of leading a kidnapping ring which includes other wealthy Haitians as well as policemen and former policemen. The ring allegedly kidnapped Coralie and Nicolas Moscoso, aged 23 and 24 respectively, the children of another bourgeois family, for a ransom of $2.5 million. Brandt led the police to the two bound and blindfolded abductees in a house in the Pernier section of the capital. The Moscoso kids were then freed.

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