Tuesday, April 25, 2017

“You Live Under Fear”: by Darlene Dubuisson and Mark Schuller

by Darlene Dubuisson and Mark Schuller

“With TPS, it’s like you live under fear,” thirty-something aspiring nurse Michaëlle explained. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. I live with stress because of that.”

            Michaëlle’s situation just got worse on Apr. 20, when Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly declared that Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 50,000 Haitian people living in the U.S. would be over.

            After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, President Obama granted temporary relief status to undocumented Haitians who had arrived in the U.S. before 2011. Given the slow pace of recovery efforts and subsequent disasters – notably the cholera epidemic that has killed over 10,000 and counting, and Hurricane Matthew that hit Haiti last October – TPS has been extended several times. The latest TPS is set to expire on Jul. 22, 2017.

            In essence, the Trump administration’s policy would amount to kicking out 50,000 people who have, despite their fear, put their faith in the U.S. government to legalize, like fifty-something child care provider Wideline. She recalls that “[We were told to] tell all fellow Haitians they don’t need to fear because they are going to give Haitians who are illegal in this country papers so they can work.”

            Wideline specifically acknowledged fear that TPS would become, in effect, a pipeline to deportation: “people spread fear, arguing that the papers were so that the U.S. government can identify Haitians living in the country in order to deport them. And this is why some people didn’t do it.”

            Given the switch in administration, TPS, like registering for DACA for many undocumented Mexican families, has meant that it places a target on people’s heads. TPS, like DACA, makes people visible to the State and thus more “deportable,” like undocumented rights activist Jeanette Vizguerra, who sought sanctuary in a Denver church this February.

            While this particular threat to the Haitian American community has gone largely unreported, it represents a betrayal for some. Unlike Mexican Americans, specifically targeted by then-candidate Trump, Haitian Americans, particularly in Florida, were actively courted by Republican strategists and Breitbart News.

            In 2000, the fate of the free world hung on 537 dimpled chads in the Sunshine State, home to an estimated 424,000 people of Haitian descent per the 2010 Census. This number is low not only because of undocumented but because people have to self-select as “Haitian.”

            Many Haitian community leaders and organizations were solid and early backers of Obama, the country’s first African American president. Compared to the Cuban community in South Florida, the Haitian Diaspora wields less political power because of the lack of dual citizenship. As the first and only slave revolt to beget a free nation, Haiti has long symbolized Black pride. As scholars such as Nina Glick Schiller and Georges Fouron and others argue, the Haitian Diaspora keeps their Haitian citizenship while sending remittances, representing a third of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

            Following the earthquake, organizations within the Haitian Diaspora such as the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti pushed for both TPS in the U.S. and dual citizenship in Haiti. Both were won in 2011.

            Why would this solid Democratic voting bloc help push the needle towards a candidate who openly expressed hostility toward immigrants?

            While the Haitian community is large and diverse, and therefore complex, an important factor was the role the Clintons – the “king and queen of Haiti” – played following the earthquake.

            On Apr. 11, the United Nations announced the end of its controversial military force. MINUSTAH belatedly and partially apologized for infecting Haiti with cholera, but it was too little, too late. And the UN is still attempting to dodge responsibility for a rash of sexual assault cases. The Clintons were involved in no-bid contracts for shoddy homes, high-end tourism, an apparel factory outside of Port-au-Prince, and gold prospecting.

            Some in the Haitian community might have forgiven this disaster capitalism if Haiti was “built back better” as Bill Clinton promised.

            It wasn’t.

            However, at least in the capital of Port-au-Prince, an argument can be made for at least some economic institutions and physical infrastructure being rebuilt. Much of this is an unrecognized initiative by Haitian people themselves, such as in Canaan, an informal settlement created to house the displaced after the earthquake.

            Following Trump’s election, proponents for ending TPS suggest that Haiti has recovered enough to support the return of these undocumented.

            It seems that yet again when officials speak of Haiti, they mean Port-au-Prince, where recovery efforts have been targeted. But Port-au-Prince is not Haiti. And Haitian TPS holders have origins all over the country, including the Grand’Anse that is still reeling from Hurricane Matthew. But people living outside of the capital are moun andeyò, “outsiders.” As the lackluster international response suggested, these people who live far from the NGO offices and high-end hotels don’t count. Their lives don’t matter.

            Like many community leaders here legally, people like Michaëlle who don’t have legal status define both as “home.” Professors Shannon Gleeson and Kate Griffith at Cornell University led a study of TPS holders in NYC. This research documents that Haitian TPS holders tend to have significant ties to this country, not the least having had children and raising them here.

            Of the 30 respondents in the Cornell study so far, most report being in the U.S. for decades, particularly beginning in the late 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Being Haitian in the 1980s was to endure ridicule and stigma, as Haiti was incorrectly blamed for AIDS. U.S. actions like the destruction of local pigs, rural bank accounts, as well as free-trade policies it imposed destroyed Haiti’s economy, triggering this migration in the first place. These actions benefitted large U.S. agribusiness and other corporations.

            The people in the Cornell study tend to have children here, and some report having left children back in Haiti. Many people report having worked in the undocumented labor force, but after receiving TPS they could apply for better paying jobs, albeit still below minimum wage. But these jobs require that their TPS be current, which costs $400 every eighteen months.

            Ending TPS would cause a deep wound in the Haitian community, ripping apart families, and punishing people who endure sub-minimum wage jobs because they believed the government would be fair.

            Especially because of the causes of the migration – not to mention exploitative working conditions –benefit U.S. companies in the first place, justice demands that the U.S. own its accountability to these temporary status holders.

            But TPS also affirms humanity and human decency. Michaëlle reported “I feel grateful because I am in this country. I have the ability to go to school and to work.”

            Michaëlle, like other TPS holders from Haiti, Honduras, and El Salvador, contribute to this country through their labor and the pursuit of their dreams.

            The least we can do is act, before the final ruling on TPS is handed down. There is a petition calling for Secretary Kelly to renew TPS.

The original version of this article was published in the Huffington Post. Darlene Dubuisson is a PhD Candidate in the joint Applied Anthropology program at Columbia University. Her research interests include black intellectualism, academic culture, diaspora, and transnationalism. Mark Schuller is Associate Professor at Northern Illinois University and affiliate at the State University of Haiti. Schuller has 30 scholarly publications on NGOs, globalization, disasters, and gender in Haiti, and wrote or co-edited seven books.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pleading Guilty, Guy Philippe Cuts Deal with U.S. Attorney for Lighter Sentence

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Former Haitian paramilitary leader and Senator-elect Guy Philippe sealed a plea bargain today with the U.S. Attorney’s office to get a lighter sentence in return for pleading guilty to just one count of money laundering.

In return, the U.S. government dropped its other two charges of “Conspiracy to Import Cocaine into the United States,” which carries a sentence of 30 years to life in prison, and “Engaging in Transactions Derived from Unlawful Activity,” which carries a 10 year sentence.

The charge to which Philippe, 49, pleaded guilty – “Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments” – carries a 20 year maximum sentence, but as part of the deal, prosecutors recommended Philippe be sentenced to only nine years.

Judge Cecilia Altonaga will set Philippe’s sentence in Miami on Jul. 5, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.. As in most plea deals, she will likely follow the U.S. Attorney’s recommendation.

Parole cannot be granted in federal cases, but the government can give Philippe a 15% reduction in his prison term for “good conduct,” meaning he could be out in seven and a half years or 2024.

The hearing to change Philippe’s Jan. 13 plea of “not guilty” took place in Miami on Mon., Apr. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and took all of 21 minutes. In addition to the defendant, in attendance were lawyers Mark A. Irish, Lynn M. Kirkpatrick, and Andy Camacho for the U.S. Attorney’s office, and Alan Shelley Ross and Zeljka Bozanic representing Philippe.

“We got a call from the U.S. Attorney’s office quite recently, proposing a plea bargain,” said Ross. “We were prepared to go to trial, but if you go to trial and you lose, you get whacked.”

Judge Cecilia Altonaga will set Philippe’s sentence in Miami on Jul. 5, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.. As in most plea deals, she will likely follow the U.S. Attorney’s recommendation.

In March, Judge Altonaga rejected acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg’s motion in limine to bar evidence that might show that the money Philippe laundered came from “the United States government or people authorized to work on behalf of the United States.”

Asked why the government had initiated a deal, the U.S. Attorney’s Special Counsel Sarah Schall told Haïti Liberté “the government won’t comment on plea negotiations.”

Asked if Altonaga’s March ruling could have motivated the U.S. government to make a deal, Mr. Ross was noncommittal. “It’s difficult to say,” he said. “They understood, as everyone did, my client’s history of participating in the coup against Aristide, in which the U.S. had a role. It has been discussed as part of this case, and there may have been concern that things might leak out that they didn’t want.”

But Ross suspected that “the age of the case played an important part in their decision” to make a deal because “the case is old – dating back to 1999 to 2003. It’s difficult to remount the effort because some people who were in jail are no longer in jail, and it’s difficult to get certain records and witnesses.”

“I don’t care what the motive is,” Ross concluded. “I just care about the result.”

To get the deal, Philippe had to agree to the U.S. government’s account of the crime that he committed, known as the “factual proffer,” a copy of which has been obtained by Haïti Liberté.

In the two-page document, signed by Philippe and his lawyers, he agrees to have “knowingly used his position as a high-ranking Haitian National Police officer to provide protection for [the] shipments of drugs and drug proceeds into Haiti in exchange for cash payments. Specifically, beginning in or around June 1999 and continuing until in or around April 2003, Philippe and others were paid in Haiti from the proceeds of the cocaine sales that occurred in Miami, Florida and elsewhere in the United States. Those bulk-cash proceeds would be smuggled from the United States to Haiti, and Philippe would be paid a portion of the proceeds.”

Philippe further admits that he “and his wife maintained a joint banking account at First Union National Bank in Miami, Florida. Between June 1999 and December 2002, Philippe knowingly wired over $376,000 in U.S. Dollars derived from the sale of cocaine from Haiti and Ecuador to this First Union National Bank account under the names of other people. Philippe also knowingly arranged for over $70,000 in U .S. Dollars of drug proceeds to be deposited into the account. Each of these cash deposits was made in amounts less than $10,000 to avoid the reporting requirements.”

Philippe further agrees that between June 1999 and April 2003, as he was waging war against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government, he received between $1.5 to $3.5 million “in bribe payments from drug traffickers, knowing that the payments constituted proceeds of cocaine trafficking.”

He then “shared the drug proceeds he collected with Haitian National Police officials and other security personnel to ensure their continued support for future drug shipments arriving into Haiti, to purchase a residence in Broward County, Florida, and to support himself and his family in the United States.”

In the plea agreement between the U.S. and Philippe, it is stipulated that “the Court may impose a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to 20 years, followed by a term of supervised release of up to 3 years” as well as “a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the property involved in the transactions, whichever is greater, and may order forfeiture and restitution.”

From 2001 to 2004, Guy Philippe led the Front for National Liberation and Reconstruction (FLRN), a force of a few hundred paramilitary “rebels” mostly based in the Dominican Republic, in cross border raids against Aristide’s government, which was finally overthrown, with the help of a U.S. SEAL team, in a Feb. 29, 2004 coup.

In November 2005, a U.S. grand jury issued a three count indictment against Philippe for drug trafficking and money laundering, but he holed up in the remote Haitian coastal town of Pestel, where he eluded four raids by U.S. and Haitian agents over the course of 11 years.

After a deadly May 2016 attack on a Haitian police station in Les Cayes, the government of interim President Jocelerme Privert put out an arrest warrant for Philippe, who was accused of masterminding the raid. The warrant provoked several radio and internet tirades by Philippe, daring the Haitian police to come and arrest him in his stronghold.

After being elected Senator for the Grand’Anse department in November 2016, Philippe felt cocky enough to make a victory tour to Port-au-Prince in early January 2017. A special Haitian police unit, with back-up from U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), was monitoring his movements and arrested him outside a radio station in the capital on Jan. 5. The same day, the Haitian police turned Philippe over to U.S. agents who flew him to Miami.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Flashpoints Radio: Special Haiti Episode Hosted by Kevin Pina.

Today on Flashpoints: 
      The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s current 18-month designation of Haiti for temporary protected status(TPS) expires on July 22nd will affect 58,000 Haitians who arrived in the US prior to January 12, 2011, one year after the earthquake. The Trump administration is signaling it will not renew TPS which will trigger their forced repatriation back to Haiti. 
     Then, we look at the ongoing moves of PHTK ruling clique in Haiti to restore the once dreaded Haitian military. 
    Finally, we talk with a Haitian political analyst about the current situation there.  Listen to the entire show here.

Friday, April 14, 2017

In Violation of Haiti’s Constitution: After MINUSTAH, UN Seeks to Keep an Armed Force in Haiti

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

The main thing you need to know about the Apr. 11 speech to the UN Security Council of Sandra Honoré, the head of the United Nations military occupation force in Haiti, is that she is not talking about a complete pull-out but a “transition.”

            MINUSTAH, or the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, is currently composed of about 3,200 soldiers and police officers, who cost $346 million this past year. First deployed in June 2004 (supposedly for only six months), the force’s current mandate ends on Apr. 15.

            In a Mar. 16 report, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres proposed that MINUSTAH be renewed for a final six-month mandate, ending Oct. 15. However, this force would be replaced by “a smaller peacekeeping operation with concentrated focus on the rule of law and police development,...[and] human rights monitoring,” Honoré said.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Former Haitian First Lady Visits Detroit with U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters

LISTEN HERE to an interview with former First Lady of Haiti Mildred T. Aristide.

Few countries in the world have faced as much hardship as Haiti. The Haitian people had been forced to deal with one disaster after another, whether caused by nature or by human hands.

It is a country that reminds us that inequality and institutional racism, subjects that are talked about frequently on Detroit Today, are not confined to the borders of the United States.

Former first lady of Haiti, Mildred T. Aristide, joins Congresswomen Maxine Waters Friday night in Detroit for a discussion about race at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History at 7 p.m.

Aristide joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to talk about Haiti’s people and history.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Prison Aid to Haiti for Captive Slave Labor

by Dady Chery (Haiti Liberte)

Haiti’s incarceration rate of roughly 100 prisoners per 100,000 citizens in 2016 was the lowest in the Caribbean. Nevertheless, there is a systematic campaign underway for more prisons. Canada and Norway have each given one prison to Haiti. Thanks to prison aid from the United States, three additional prisons have been inaugurated since 2016, and another is under construction.

            In the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Cuba, the incarceration rates per 100,000 people in 2016 were 232, 350, 145, and 510, respectively. These numbers alone do not tell the whole story, because the large majority of Haiti’s prison population are pre-trial detainees, many of whom are members of Aristide’s administration, resisters against government abuses like land expropriation, or political protestors who have not been charged with a crime. If Haiti were to release them, the incarceration rate would drop to about 30 per 100,000, which is lower than in Norway, Sweden, or Japan. Furthermore, if we consider the fact that another group of incarcerated people are Haitian nationals who have lived as legal residents of the United States or Canada nearly all of their lives and committed crimes abroad, then the real incarceration rate of Haitians drops to one of the lowest in the world.

Haitian Cholera Victims Demonstrate for MINUSTAH Departure, Reparations

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Mar. 29, 2017, the 30th anniversary of the popular referendum which adopted the 1987 Haitian Constitution, about 200 demonstrators rallied and marched from Port-au-Prince’s Champ de Mars to the Parliament to demand the immediate withdrawal of the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), reparations for the victims of MINUSTAH-imported cholera, and respect for the Constitution’s nationalist articles.

            Some 3,200 soldiers and police officers are MINUSTAH’s armed component, whose mandate expires Apr. 15. Almost 13 years after MINUSTAH’s deployment in June 2004, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a Mar. 16 report. proposed to the UN Security Council a final six-month mandate with “a staggered but complete withdrawal” of those forces by Oct. 15. However, in reality, the withdrawal would not be complete.

            Guterres proposed that a new mission of 295 UN policemen remain in Haiti to oversee elections and ensure “political stability” and “good governance.”

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Under Guise of Troop Withdrawal Discussions: Is Chile Pressuring Haiti to Join OAS Coup Efforts Against Venezuela?

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet visited Haiti this week ostensibly to discuss with Haitian President Jovenel Moïse the future of United Nations troops in Haiti. Since the deployment of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) in June 2004, over 12,000 Chilean troops have been deployed in Haiti, Bachelet said. Today, Chile has 392 soldiers and 41 police in Haiti, the second largest contingent after Brazil’s 981 soldiers.

            On Apr. 15, the UN Security Council is likely to renew MINUSTAH’s mandate for a final six-month period, as recommended by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a Mar. 16 report. Guterres proposed to the Council “a staggered but complete withdrawal” of the 2,370 UN soldiers remaining in Haiti to be replaced by a new mission of 295 UN police officers which would “support political stability, [and] good governance, including electoral oversight and reform.” There are now about 844 UN police officers in Haiti, bringing the current MINUSTAH armed force to over 3,200.

            In short, after MINUSTAH’s Oct. 15 end, a reduced, renamed mission would remain, on behalf of the U.S., Canada, and France primarily, to “monitor and exercise an early warning function” against any anti-imperialist political developments in Haiti (of course, Guterres used the euphemism “for conflict prevention, human rights and rule of law issues”).

            However, the day after Bachelet met with Moïse on Mar. 27, the Organization of American States (OAS) convened an extraordinary session at its Washington, DC headquarters on whether to sanction Venezuela for what OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro says is Venezuela’s “violation of every article in the Inter-American Democratic Charter.” In a Mar. 14 report, Almagro stepped up his years-long campaign to invoke the OAS’s sovereignty-smashing “Democratic Charter” to expel Venezuela from the body, as happened to Cuba after its 1959 revolution.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

After Aristide Court Appearance, Police Fire on Cortege, Wounding Two

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Mar. 20, Haitian police fired on partisans accompanying the vehicle of former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, after he had responded to the summons of an investigating judge in a money-laundering case against one of his former security chiefs.

            Several hundred supporters were escorting the three vehicles returning Aristide, accompanied by his party’s former presidential candidate Maryse Narcisse, back to his home in Tabarre, just outside of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Eluding Tricks and Raids, Guy Philippe Bargained for a Lighter Sentence, U.S. Says

He Wasn’t Immune or Mistreated, It Adds

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

For eleven years, the U.S. attempted all manner of ruses, persuasion, negotiations, and ambushes in an attempt to capture paramilitary leader Guy Philippe after a Miami grand jury issued a November 2005 indictment against him for drug trafficking and money laundering. But it was all unsuccessful until he left the rural, seaside Haitian town where he was holed up and ventured into the capital.

            Acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg enumerated the efforts of Haitian and U.S. authorities to apprehend Philippe, 49, in a Mar. 10 response to his lawyer’s motions to dismiss the charges against him because too much time had elapsed between the indictment and his Jan. 5, 2017 arrest by Haitian police. Philippe, through his attorney Zeljka Bozanic, also claimed he was unaware that he was being pursued, a contention the U.S. calls “patently false.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Haiti Action Committee: Attempted Assassination of Aristide Marks a New Stage of Terror in Haiti

Yesterday, there was an assassination attempt against former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president. President Aristide had been summoned to appear as a witness in a court case.
While returning from court, his motorcade was attacked by armed Haitian police. A number of people were injured in the attack. Mass protests against the police broke out immediately.
This attack on President Aristide signals a new stage of terror in Haiti.
In the wake of the electoral coup which installed Jovenal Moise, a right-wing protégé of former President Michel Martelly, as Haiti’s new president, there has been a marked increase in repression directed against grassroots activists.
This attack on President Aristide signals a new stage of terror in Haiti. It harkens back to the days of the Duvalier dictatorships. Human rights activists and all supporters of democracy in Haiti need to condemn this attempted assassination and demand that those who committed this act be brought to justice.
Contact the Haiti Action Committee at www.haitisolidarity.net, on Facebook at Haiti Action Committee, on Twitter @HaitiAction1or by email at action.haiti@gmail.com.

Haïti : le capitalisme des paramilitaires

 Jeb Sprague-Silgado -  América Latina en movimiento 

Cet article examine l’évolution et la flexibilisation des forces paramilitaires en Haïti, ainsi que les stratégies hégémoniques des élites transnationales. Dans ce contexte, la « flexibilisation » désigne la façon dont les opérations ou les composantes d’un processus sont modifiées pour répondre aux besoins d’une forme plus avancée de reproduction sociale et matérielle qui augmente ou diminue, et qui se redéploie et se réaffecte plus facilement. Je prête ici une attention particulière à la phase la plus récente du paramilitarisme en Haïti moderne, par rapport à la restructuration politique et économique d’Haïti à l’ère de la globalisation [1]. Tout au long de l’histoire du capitalism mondial, les groupes dominants ont développé des moyens d’atteindre l’hégémonie pour maintenir et projeter leur domination de classe. À l’ère du capitalisme global, une grande variété de moyens recyclés, modifiés et nouveaux pour atteindre l'hégémonie a émergé, y compris dans le bassin des Caraïbes.  

La question qui se pose ici est celle des enjeux de cette nouvelle ère du capitalisme global du point de vue du paramilitarisme, en particulier dans le cas d’Haïti. Est-il vrai, comme je tâcherai de le montrer, que le paramilitarisme n’a pas disparu à l’ère de la globalisation, mais a été modifié et fait partie des stratégies changeantes des élites (et surtout des élites transnationales) ?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Exposing the "real" mission of Christian zealots in Haiti

Reza Aslan - Religion Dispatches
After the massive earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, the popular televangelist Pat Robertson went on his flagship TV program, the 700 Club, and made an extraordinary claim. The earthquake, he said, was just one consequence of a pact with the devil made by Haiti’s revolutionary founders. 
“[The Haitians] were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon III and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so, the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’”
Most people – including most Christians – who heard Robertson’s statement were aghast. But for a small group of evangelicals who adhere to a fairly new Christian movement called Spiritual Mapping, Robertson was preaching the gospel truth. 

7 Years After Haiti’s Earthquake, Millions Still Need Aid

On Jan. 12, 2010, a massive earthquake ravaged Haiti, claiming up to 316,000 lives and displacing more than 1.5 million people. Today ― seven years later ― 2.5 million Haitians are still in need of humanitarian aid, according to a new report from the United Nations.
The quake tore a catastrophic path of destruction through the ailing island nation, leaving Haitians with a herculean recovery mission. In the years that followed, a string of devastating natural disasters have fueled ongoing famine and poverty crises, given rise to a deadly cholera epidemic, and quashed Haiti’s continued efforts to rebuild.
“Haitians continue to suffer years after the earthquake,” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Mourad Wahba, who has worked in the country for two years, told The WorldPost. “People lost their friends and family. I see the pain in their faces when they talk about it now. It’s a very long healing process.”

Having Helped Washington Overthrow Aristide, Guy Philippe Knows “Too Much” and Is a “Danger” to U.S., Lawyer Claims

Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte
What goes around, comes around,” says the proverb, and former Haitian “rebel” leader Guy Philippe must be pondering this karmic truth as he languishes in his Miami, FL jail cell.
In February 2004, he played a key role in helping U.S. Special Forces kidnap then President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti and whisk him off to a seven year exile in Africa. Today, Philippe claims, through his lawyer, that U.S. government agents illegally kidnapped him from Haiti on Jan. 5, 2017 and, with “shocking and outrageous” conduct, flew him to Florida to stand trial because he has “too much information” about Washington’s overthrow of Aristide.
In November 2005 (21 months after the coup against Aristide), a U.S. grand jury issued a three count indictment against Philippe for drug trafficking and money laundering between 1997 and 2001. After his arrest in Haiti and transport to Miami, Philippe pled not guilty to the charges through his Hollywood, FL-based lawyer, Zeljka Bozanic. On Feb. 28, 2017, she  filed with U.S. District Court in Miami two motions to dismiss and one motion to abate (temporarily suspend) the case against Philippe.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

1943-2017: René Préval: Who He Was and What He Represented

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

In 2009, former U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson called him “Haiti’s indispensable man,” who was “capable of imposing his will on Haiti - if so inclined.” Another diplomat recently dubbed him one of Haiti’s “three kings,” along with former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Duvalierists.

            They were referring to former Haitian president René Préval, who died of a heart attack on Mar. 3 in the capital’s mountain suburb of Laboule at the age of 74. Over the past 30 years, he had played one of the most important and contradictory roles of any politician in helping to briefly free Haiti from the political grips of Washington and the Duvalierists, nostalgic for the three decade (1957-1986) dictatorship of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier, only to lead the country back into their clutches by acquiescing to neo-liberal privatization campaigns, sovereignty-stripping international accords, minimum wage suppression, two foreign military occupations, and an “electoral coup d’état” a year after the 2010 earthquake.

            Préval was laid-back and personable, but low-key and retiring. He shunned the trappings of power and trumpeting his accomplishments, unlike his successor Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, a ribald, flamboyant konpa music star. For example, Préval was so prone to informality that he scandalized some Haitians by wearing a white guayabera in the group photo at a hemispheric conference where all the other heads of state wore suits.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Female witness speaks out about 2002-2004 crimes of Guy Philippe & his henchmen

By: Jafrikayiti Jean Elissaint Saint-Vil

 In this interview (in Haitian Creole), a native daughter of Lascahobas, Haiti, courageously describes several crimes committed by Guy Philippe and his paramilitary henchmen against unarmed Haitian women, men and children between 2002 and 2004.

 Philippe went on a rampage, armed, trained and protected by the CIA and the government of neighbouring Dominican Republic, on a mission to overthrow Haiti's legitimate democratically-elected goverment, led by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

No one has ever faced trial for the crimes described by this witness. Neither Philippe, nor his powerful criminal sponsors within Haiti, the U.S., Canada or Europe. For more see Jeb Sprague's excellent book "Paramilitarism: The assault on democracy in Haiti"

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Next Few Years Look Bleak

by Marc-Arthur Fils-Aimé (Haiti Liberte)

Haiti’s Nov. 20, 2016 elections did not live up to expectations. There was great hope that they would enable the country would emerge from its ever-deepening crisis. Instead, the elections were fraught with fraud and irregularities, sometimes similar but often different from that seen in 2015.

            Electoral participation was only about 20%, enabling neo-liberal political parties without a proven program to seize power. Many of those elected are rumored to be drug traffickers, smugglers, and perpetrators of other heinous acts, thus depriving them of legitimacy and respect. The nation will suffer for at least the next four or five years.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Haiti 2017: From Demonstration Election to Electoral Coup

By: Charlie Hinton - Haiti Action Committee
On January 3, Haiti’s Electoral Council (CEP) sealed the steal by confirming Jovenel Moïse as president of Haiti. A massive police presence resembling martial law has suppressed street protests, attacking demonstrators who have been in the streets daily since the 11/20 election with a stinging blue foam added to water cannons. A potent new tear gas burns and stings the skin. A tear gas attack on a poor neighborhood at 1 AM on 11/29 suffocated three infants to death.

Dr. Maryse Narcisse, Fanmi Lavalas presidential candidate.
Haiti moves into 2017 with a “president” who would never have won an honest election. A tiny number of ruling families backed by the United States, Canada, and France, operating through a United Nations military occupation, has imposed an imperial ruler on an unwilling population through a process they call an “election.” Everyone in Haiti knows this, but in this country, we don’t. International media reported the Moïse “victory” as a matter of legitimate fact, based on phony numbers released by the CEP. They either neglected or minimized the almost daily massive protests, and provided zero background or context, thus becoming willing participants in the fraud, and giving “fake news” a whole new dimension.
The only reason the November 20 election even took place is because massive daily street demonstrations protesting two fraudulent elections in 2015 forced a new election in 2016. They also forced the hated Hillary Clinton-imposed president, Michel Martelly, to leave office on schedule on 2/7/16, despite various maneuvers to attempt to extend his term.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Haiti’s Eroding Democracy: Haiti has a new president. But Jovenel Moïse’s right-wing coalition is far from stable.

by Jake Johnston (source: Jacobin)

After more than a year of delays, Haiti finally elected a new president this past November. Jovenel Moïse — nicknamed the Banana Man — scored a first-round victory in a sprawling field of 27 candidates, taking over 55% of the vote. The banana exporter, who has never held public office, was inaugurated on Feb. 7.

            The previous president, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, seemingly plucked Moïse out of nowhere last year, making him the new face of the Haitian Bald-Headed Party (PHTK). Moïse’s win is an extraordinary achievement for a political neophyte, but it has one glaring problem: only 20% of Haiti’s voters showed up on election day. Moïse became president with less than 10% of registered voters – only about 600,000 votes — supporting him.

As President Jovenel Moïse is Sworn In: Election Observers Slam “Haiti’s Unrepresentative Democracy”

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Former auto parts salesman and banana exporter Jovenel Moïse, 48, became Haiti’s 58th president on Feb. 7, 2017, in ceremonies at the Parliament and a miniature model of the former National Palace, which was destroyed in the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.

            The President of Haiti’s Senate and Parliament’s National Assembly, Sen. Youri Latortue, whom the U.S. Embassy has described as a “Mafia boss,” “drug dealer,” and “poster-boy for political corruption,” draped the ceremonial Presidential sash on his close political confederate, who takes over from interim president Jocelerme Privert.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

We Say No! To Stolen Elections!!

National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco 

Stands in Solidarity With Haitian Grassroots Movement

For well over a month, tens of thousands of Haitians have been demonstrating daily to protest yet another stolen election and another denial of their right to determine their own destinies. Despite this popular outcry and numerous reports of large-scale fraud and voter suppression the Electoral Council in Haiti, backed by the U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and the United Nations occupying forces (MINUSTAH), has just officially anointed Jovenel Moise as the next president of Haiti. Moise is a protégé of right-wing former President Michel Martelly, whose regime was marked by corruption, wholesale repression of political opposition, and the selling of Haiti’s land and resources to foreign corporations.
As Haitians demonstrate courageously to resist the imposition of an undemocratically selected regime, they have been met with repression from Haitian police and UN soldiers. In one incident, police attacked the community of La Saline, a stronghold of Fanmi Lavalas, for decades the party of the poor majority in Haiti. The police fired round upon round of tear gas and killed three infants. In another instance, police attacked a non-violent march using water hoses, tear gas, and a skin irritant that caused severe burns.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Michael Deibert , Haiti , and Right Wing Journalism

We here at the HaitiAnalysis kolektif feel it is important to remind our brothers and sisters of the manipulative media reports that have targeted Haiti over the years. One of the most dishonest corporate media journalists to write on Haiti has been former Reuters correspondent Michael Deibert. [1]

Whitewashing the Bush regime orchestrated 2004 coup d'état in Haiti and the preceding U.S. backed-destabilization campaign, Michael Deibert's writings often have functioned to demonize grassroots movements in the country while passing over the crimes of U.S. (and local rightwing) backed groups. In the wake of the coup, Deibert, in his reporting, ignored the mass state violence unleashed on poor communities in Port-au-Prince. The coup d'état and its aftermath resulted in many thousands of deaths and a long period of repression under the unelected Latortue dictatorship. The years that followed resulted in large-scale voter suppression, a major decline in voter participation, and the re-emergence of the nation's rightwing as a political force in the country.

Below are links to a number of articles criticizing his work over the years. Also included below is a criticism of Michael Deibert's 2005 book by the late Haitian pro-democracy activist Patrick Elie.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Reflections on the Past and Possible Future of Haiti's Foreign Policy

by Jacques Nési (Haiti Liberte)

The influence of what is called, with deceptive ease, the "international community" determines Haitians’ present and future, largely due to the deficit of national sovereignty and legitimacy that taints the Haitian authorities which act as intermediaries. This “international community” supposedly accompanies Haiti on its quest for democracy, sharing her concerns and uncertainties. But its overbearing influence is troubling. Is it not a little contradictory for Haiti, supposedly under the control of United Nations troops, to think about defining its own foreign policy? Is it not a phony posture, in this context of moral decay, to talk about formulating a foreign policy that takes into account Haiti’s interests and aspirations?

            Could this be nationalism? For a country which is completely financially dependent on the “international community,” wouldn’t it be utopian obstinacy for Haiti to think of forging new relations with it? Would Haitian authorities be ungrateful to think of solving their people’s  problems by insisting on a sovereign and autonomous approach?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Charcoal Is Not the Cause of Haiti’s Deforestation

by John Dale Zach Lea, Ph. D. (Haiti Liberte)

There is a widespread misconception that the use of charcoal (charbon in Kreyòl) is responsible for Haiti’s massive deforestation. Charcoal supplies 75% of energy used in Haiti. Without it, Haiti would be much more dependent on international energy suppliers and aid.

          Deforestation is caused by farmers clearing land for farming, often planting erosive crops such as corn and beans on mountainsides inappropriate for such crops. When trees are cut for charcoal, the roots are left, and the land is not plowed. Mesquite forests, Kasya, and Neem are repeatedly cut for charcoal because the trees coppice (re-sprout) and can be cut again in several years.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Legislative Elections Also Go to the PHTK and its Allies

by Catherine Charlemagne (Haiti Liberte)

Humans, unlike other animals, possess what philosophers call reason. Without entering into philosophical analysis - that is not the purpose of this chronicle at this point in the Haitian electoral process - it is now urgent that all people endowed with this faculty use their common sense.

            Using reason, let’s examine the final results of the Nov. 20, 2016 general elections, results which were challenged by the three main presidential candidates and some candidates for seats in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

            The presidential candidates – Dr. Maryse Narcisse of Fanmi Lavalas, Jude Célestin of LAPEH, and Moïse Jean-Charles of the Pitit Dessalines Platform – began protesting even before the results were published, giving a first round victory to their competitor, Jovenel Moïse of the Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK). But there was not just one election that day. There were also partial legislative elections (senators and deputies) and municipal races.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Remembering the violence of Guy Philippe and his FLRN paramilitary death squads

Eyewitness reports of: • harassment • false arrest • house burnings • death threats • rapes • assassinations • etc. 

This violence targeted members of the party of President Aristide immediately before and after February 29, 2004. 

Read here for testimonies of Lavalas Victims of the 2004 coup. 

Compiled by Kevin Pina for the Haiti Information Project (HIP) for the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund (HERF)

See entire report "Crushing President Aristide's Party [Lavalas] Through Violence"  Here.

Violent reprisals by Guy Philippe's Neo-Macoute supporters

Published on HAITI LIBRE

Since Friday, the day after the arrest and extradition to the United States of Senator Guy Philippe http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-19721-haiti-flash-senator-guy-philippe-extradited-to-the-usa.html the Haitian National Police (PNH) had to evacuate more than 50 US citizens to secure them to safer places in Haiti, confirmed the Police Commissioner in Grand'Anse Berson Soljour.

It should be recalled that more Americans are in the region to help the population following the passage of Hurricane Matthew, so the Commissioner advised American citizens who chose to stay, not to leave their residences. He explained that US citizens were evacuated to a police station before being transferred to a United Nations base, where they waited to be transported to Port-au-Prince, others are still waiting.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Senator-Elect and Former Paramilitary Leader Guy Philippe Arrested on Drug Charges

by Jake Johnson for CEPR

Guy Philippe, a paramilitary coup leader and DEA most-wanted fugitive who was elected to Haiti’s Senate late last year, was arrested on Thursday, just days before he would have been sworn into office and obtained immunity. Philippe has been wanted under a sealed drug indictment in the United States for years, but previous attempts at arresting him failed. Last year, the DEA confirmed to me that they maintained “apprehension authority” for Philippe, but would not confirm if any active efforts were underway to do so. He will now be extradited to the United States to face charges, though no indictment has been unsealed as of Thursday night.

Popular Protests Grow in Face of Mass Voter Suppression by Authorities

Resisting the lynching of Haitian liberty!

 By: Malaika H Kambon - San Francisco Bayview Newspaper

It should be obvious by now that the U.S./UN, EU, OAS, and various hired paramilitary police have engineered a second fraudulent election in as many years in Haiti.

This latest attempt to kill Haiti’s freedom by aborting her dreams of democracy via the electoral process was designed to prevent landslide victories by Fanmi Lavalas, reminiscent of the presidential victories of Jean Bertrand Aristide. The U.S. and UN do not want to see this.

But people have turned out in force, as protests continue against the blatant sabotage of the November 20, 2016 elections, where Dr. Maryse Narcisse and Fanmi Lavalas again sought to reclaim Haiti’s freedom, only to be met – again - by a U.S. elite intent upon electoral sabotage.

But the fraudulent elections have ignited the country. Daily protests have been held for over a month. For the 35th consecutive day, tens of thousands are in the streets, who see in the candidacy of Dr. Narcisse the fruition of their dreams: freedom, dignity and sovereignty via a political party of the people that knows what it wants to achieve.

The international press is busily trying to shore up the fraudulent "win" of PHTK (or bald head party) candidate Jovenel Moise. But even in an electoral process that was blatantly manipulated, Moise, “the banana man,” controls nothing in Haiti but his mouth, and that not very well.

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