Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Morne Bossa Neighbors Nervous

by Haiti Grassroots Watch and Inter Press Service

The population of Cardouche, a small village about 12 kilometers south of Cap-Haïtien in Haiti’s North department, is nervous about three new mining exploitation permits granted last December in an opaque and secretive process.
            Located near the Morne Bossa deposit, the Cadouche economy is based mostly on agriculture. Families work day and night to take care of their needs. And they ask themselves if they are invisible to the authorities in Haiti’s capital.
            Recently, over a hundred people living in Cardouche met to learn more about the mining industry. One after another, they asked questions and expressed their frustrations.
            “Until today, not one single member of the government or of the company has consulted the population to hear our complaints or ask for our agreement to the mining of the Morne Bossa deposits,” said Mezadieu Toussaint, a teacher and farmer in his fifties. “If the mine benefits the population, that would be wonderful. But we are worried that it will poison our environment.”

Haitian Senate Calls for Halt to Mining Activities

by Haiti Grassroots Watch and Inter Press Service

Outraged that they have not been consulted, this week Haitian senators called for a moratorium on all activities connected with recently granted gold and copper mining permits.

            In a resolution approved by 15 of 16 senators present, the lawmakers also demanded the establishment of a commission to review all of the current mining contracts and “a national debate on the country’s mineral resources.”

            The resolution – voted Feb. 20 in reaction to three new gold and copper mining permits issued late last year by the government – decried “the genocide that accompanied the pillage of our mineral resources in the 15th century”, “the waste of resources… since the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake,” the foreign mining experiences of the 20th century which caused “trauma,” and “the incapacity of our country to calmly undertake negotiations related to its mineral resources in a context of political disequilibrium.”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is Martelly’s “Free School” Program Really Working?

(for Haiti Liberte)

Port-au-Prince, Feb. 13, 2013 – “PSUGO – A victory for students!” banners and posters all over the capital and provincial cities proclaim. Photos show smiling, handsome students in clean uniforms.

            The Program for Universal Free and Obligatory Education (Programme de scolarisation universelle gratuite et obligatoire - PSUGO) seeks to educate “more than a million” students per year for five years, according to the Ministry of National Education and Professional Training (Ministère de l’éducation nationale et de formation professionnelle – MENFP). But is the US$43 million-a-year program a “victory” for students?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

WikiLeaked Cables Raise Question: Did the U.S. Green-Light Duvalier’s Return in 2011?

By Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Feb. 7, 2013 promises to be a hot day in Haiti.
            Thousands of Haitians are planning to march through Port-au-Prince to protest President Michel Martelly’s patent corruption and drift toward a repressive neo-Duvalierist dictatorship.
            At the same time, former President-for-Life Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier will be personally appearing in the capital’s Appeals Court to answer a challenge by his regime’s victims.
            One year ago, Investigating Judge Carves Jean ruled that Duvalier should not be prosecuted for the many crimes against humanity committed under his 15-year rule from 1971 to 1986, including extrajudicial executions and jailings. Human rights groups like Amnesty International and its Haitian counterparts cried foul, as did over a dozen of people who had filed human rights complaints against Duvalier following his return to Haiti in January 2011. They appealed.  Ironically, Judge Jean Joseph Lebrun, the head of the Appeals Court, set the hearing for final arguments against Judge Carves Jean’s ruling for the 27th anniversary of the Duvalier regime’s fall.

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