Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Constellation of individuals & groups supporting the FLRN paramilitary insurgency in Haiti, 2000-2004

By: Jeb Sprague-Silgado  -- HaitiAnalysis

            Readers of my 2012 book Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti will have learned about a number of individuals involved in supporting the 2000-2004 paramilitary insurgency that targeted the country.  Below I have put together a compendium listing the different sectors and important individuals backing this violence.   A constellation of actors supported the FLRN paramilitaries (Front pour la libération et la reconstruction nationales) in the events leading up to the 2004 coup d’etat. Some of these groups were made up of just a handful of individuals. Others contained hundreds of individuals that lent support at one time or another. To elaborate upon this more clearly I have broken up these sectors into ten subgroups as follows:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Paltry Six Month Renewal of Haitians’ TPS Suggests It May Be the Last

by Steve Forester (Haiti Liberte)

On May 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would extend the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for some 50,000 Haitians living in the United States for only six months rather than the usual, appropriate 18 months.

            The wording of DHS Secretary John F. Kelly’s announcement sent very mixed signals and omitted extremely significant facts. It stressed that this is likely the last extension and that TPS holders should “attain travel documents” for return to Haiti. Very inaccurately, it also asserted that conditions in Haiti have greatly improved.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Comparing Venezuela’s Media with Our Own

By: Joe Emersberger - teleSUR

The international media's coverage of Venezuela comes down to caricatures that have been spread by Venezuela's opposition.

A reporter from one of the largest international media outlets contacted me recently because she was considering doing a story about how Venezuela’s TV networks have covered the protests that have raged since April 4. The quote I gave her (who knows if any of it will be used or if the story is ever written) stated the following:

The protests and the leading opposition leaders’ take on the protests are being extensively covered on the largest private networks: Venevision, Televen, Globovision. If people abroad sampled Venezuela’s TV media directly, as opposing to judging it by what is said about it by the international media and some big NGOs, they’d be shocked to find the opposition constantly denouncing the government and even making very thinly veiled appeals to the military to oust Maduro.

There are valid free speech concerns raised by the censoring of foreign outlets in Venezuela. However, there are also grave free speech concerns raised by the international media’s lopsidedly hostile coverage of Venezuela for the past 15 years. It speaks volumes about that coverage that Bernie Sanders’ campaign, for example, would call Hugo Chavez a “dead communist dictator.” That could never have happened if there had been remotely balanced coverage over the past 15 years.

One of the big NGOs I had in mind, Human Rights Watch (HRW), inadvertently illustrated my point about the international media's coverage by listing a deluge of newspaper editorials from around the word on its website that all reinforce the U.S. government/HRW view on Venezuela. The international media's coverage of Venezuela comes down to caricatures that have been spread by Venezuela's opposition. The editorials HRW listed have titles like “Maduro’s dictatorship,” “Maduro’s Venezuela becomes a dictatorship,” “Venezuela is officially a dictatorship,” “Venezuela’s descent into dictatorship,” and so on. Good luck finding a dissenting view in any significant U.S. newspaper, never mind a TV network. The same applies to Canada, the U.K. and numerous Latin American countries with right-wing governments.

Friday, May 12, 2017

La scène politique des États-Unis : La blanchité et la crise de légitimité du capitalisme global

Par Salvador Rangel & Jeb Sprague-Silgado -- Counterpunch & L'Aut'Journal

            La scène politique des États-Unis a subi un lifting dans le but de rétablir la légitimité décroissante de la classe capitaliste à orientation transnationale. Cette transformation s’est caractérisée par une droite qui a cherché à se représenter comme étant économiquement nationaliste afin d'élargir le soutien de la classe ouvrière (principalement, parmi la classe ouvrière blanche) dont la stabilité économique a diminué au cours de l'ère néolibérale.

Pourquoi cela ?

À partir des années 1970, face à la baisse des taux de profit et d'accumulation, ainsi qu'à l'augmentation de la concurrence internationale, le capital devait se libérer des contraintes nationales qui lui avaient été imposées pendant l'ère de « nouvelle donne » fordiste-keynésienne. L'une de ces « contraintes » avait été la responsabilité d'assurer la reproduction sociale de sa main-d'œuvre nationale.  La globalisation a permis aux capitalistes d'éliminer cette préoccupation, car ils pouvaient puiser dans un groupe mondial croissant de travailleurs marginalisés.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Real Crimes of Guy Philippe: Selections from “Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti” by Jeb Sprague - Part 1 of 3

By Jeb Sprague (Haiti Liberte)

Former paramilitary leader Guy Philippe will be going to jail for money laundering in connection with drug trafficking. But his more serious crimes were murdering Haitians and Haitian democracy as the leader of the “armed opposition” during the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d’état against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

            In the early 1990s, Emmanuel “Toto” Constant headed another anti-Aristide paramilitary organization known as the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH), which played a large role in killing an estimated 5,000 during the 1991-1994 coup d’état.

            Like Philippe, Constant was never tried for his crimes against humanity. Instead, in 1996, the Clinton administration gave him de facto political asylum in the United States. However, in 2008, he was convicted in New York of mortgage fraud and is currently serving a 12-37 year prison sentence.

            If he had gone to trial in May and been convicted, Philippe faced a life term for drug trafficking. Instead, he struck a plea deal with federal prosecutors whereby he will likely serve only 7.5 to 9 years in jail.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Thousands of Haitian Workers Are on Strike Against Foreign-Owned Sweatshops

By: Jeff Abbott - In These Times

Thousands of textile workers in Haiti have stopped work in factories and taken to the streets to demand of improved working conditions in the country’s maquiladora export industry. For more than three weeks, workers have mobilized to demand higher wages, an eight-hour workday and protections against increased quotas across the industrial centers of Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Ounaminthe and Caracol.

The strike follows the annual commemoration of International Workers’ Day.

Currently, workers receive a daily wage of roughly 300 gourdes, or about 4.77 U.S. dollars (USD), for a day’s work. Strikers are demanding that the wage is raised to 800 gourdes, or 12.72 USD—and that the eight-hour day be respected.

Workers face poor labor conditions in the country’s assembly-line factories, where they produce textiles for large U.S. companies such as Levi Jeans and Fruit of the Loom. Factory owners have long called for the use of violence against workers’ rights activists in Haiti and fired anyone known to associate with the unions.

Reuters: Haiti workers protest minimum wage as managers threaten exit

By: Makini Brice - Reuters

Hundreds of Haitian textile workers took to the streets on Monday to demand a higher minimum wage as managers of textile factories threatened to leave the country if the government did not clamp down on demonstrations.

Haiti has pinned some of its economic growth hopes on the textile industry, which accounts for 90 percent of its exports, according to, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The United States has granted Haiti a preferential trade deal, creating some 40,000 jobs, the Association of Haitian Industries said last November. Products made there are shipped to major U.S. retailers like Walmart and Target.

However, spurred by a recent hike in fuel prices and surging inflation, textile workers have begun protesting over pay.

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