Monday, December 30, 2013

Haiti Liberte: Drones and Slavery

by Peter Linebaugh (Haiti Liberte) is a Swiss “non-profit” organization that in April 2013 sent two representatives to Haiti to work with a couple “non-profits” called Open Street Map and International Organization for Migration. For six days with three drones and several lap-top computers these “drone adventurers” mapped 1) shanty towns in Port au Prince to count the number of tents as a first step in making a census and organizing “infrastructure,” 2) river beds to simulate water flow for future flood control, and 3) the University of Limonade “to help promote the school for the next generation of youth in Haiti.”
            These drone promoters also made a cheerful video with a happy sound track, pretty pictures of the blue sky, and scores of children running after these pied pipers launching their falcon-like drones as if the children too could fly as easily out of the man-made disasters of life.

Friday, November 22, 2013

As Huge Demonstrations Call for President’s Resignation: Proposal for a Post-Martelly Transitional Government Comes to the Fore

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Huge demonstrations calling for President Michel Martelly to step down are growing in size, scope, and frequency. On Nov. 7, a march of many thousands, called by the Patriotic Force for Respect of the 1987 Constitution (FOPARC), marched up the Delmas Road from La Saline and burst through the barricades which Haitian police had erected to prevent the crowd from marching through the tony streets of Pétionville.
            “We proved today that we don’t need a visa, we don’t need a passport, to go to Pétionville,” said demonstrator and journalist Wendel Polynice after the symbolically powerful victory.
            The demonstrators then marched back down to Port-au-Prince along the Bourdon Road. When they reached the central Champ de Mars, police dispersed them with teargas and shots in the air.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Illuminating Haiti’s Plight: A review of Claire Limyè Lanmè – Claire of the Sea Light, a novel by Edwidge Danticat

by Greg Dunkel (for Haiti Liberte)

A review of Claire Limyè Lanmè – Claire of the Sea Light, a novel by Edwidge Danticat, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2013

This fine insight-filled novel interlaces characters ranging from the 7-year-old girl whose name is the book's title, to a well-off shop keeper, the town's undertaker and mayor, a radio journalist, the owner of the local school, some gangsters, and the girl's father, a poor fisherman. These characters let Danticat examine a lot of issues that affect Haiti.
            She examines the issues of justice and violence, poverty and education, environmental exhaustion, how the dead are buried, how children play, how people celebrate, and the relations between Haitians in the diaspora (outside Haiti) and those who haven't left. Using her imagination to build the connections, Danticat makes the reader experience Haiti on a personal level.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Uruguay Will Withdraw from MINUSTAH, President Says. Beginning of End of UN Occupation of Haiti?

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Following a visit earlier this month from Haitian Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, Uruguay’s President José Mujica told a council of ministers on Oct. 28 that he would withdraw Uruguayan troops from the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), the 9,000 soldier force which has militarily occupied Haiti since June 2004.
            “It is a huge victory,” Sen. Jean-Charles told Haïti Liberté. “Uruguay’s bold step to show that it will no longer do Washington’s bidding in Haiti will hopefully be an example that other nations from around the world participating in MINUSTAH will follow.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Questions Swirl Around World Vision’s Targeted Food Program

by Haiti Grassroots Watch

A food distribution program aimed at expectant and new mothers and their babies may have increased the number of girls and women getting pregnant in and around the town of Savanette, located in Haiti’s Centre département (province).
            That's the perception of many residents and even beneficiaries of a USAID-funded World Vision “Multi-Year Assistance Program” (MYAP), running from 2008 through September 2013 here and in a number of communities in Haiti. As part of the MYAP, World Vision distributes food to pregnant women and mothers of children six to 23 months old (so-called “1,000 day programming”), as well as to vulnerable populations such as people living with AIDS, orphans, and malnourished children.

Demonstrators Surround Police Station as Prominent Regime Critic Arrested

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Over 1000 people massed in front of a police station in the Martissant section of Port-au-Prince on the evening of Oct. 22 as police encircled the car of outspoken lawyer André Michel, who was stopped while driving nearby shortly after 6 p.m.
            Just before 10 p.m., the police removed Michel from his vehicle, smashing its windows, his lawyer Newton St. Juste said. Mr. Michel was then taken into the police station, as CIMO riot police fired teargas and shots in the air to disperse the angry crowds outside.
            At midnight, Mr. Michel was still being held in the station with clusters of protestors regathering on some street corners, despite the lingering teargas.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Haiti: Turning Back the Clock

By: Ayana Labossiere - Haiti Action Committee

I will never forget my first trip to Haiti. In 1990, at five years old, I went to Haiti with my dad to visit family.  I spent my days chasing goats and chickens on farms, enjoying the beach with my family, playing with kids in the street, and learning my very first Creole curse words. I had an amazing experience and have long since given credit for these experiences to my family, without contextualizing them.  Haiti in 1990 and in 2001 (when I was there for a trip at the age of sixteen) was a place of poverty but also of hope. I never realized how fortunate I was to experience Haiti at the height of Lavalas organizing and during Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s presidency; the country was being run by a movement created by, for, and devoted to the grassroots and the poorest of the poor.
Going to Haiti now is different, harder, and more arduous.  Certainly, being an adult means that my lens has changed, but Haiti is becoming a place that I’d only heard about from my father and others who remember the Duvaliers’ dictatorships: a place of economic exploitation and brutal repression of the poor and a place of opulence and gaiety for the wealthy and foreign  And now, as an adult and high school teacher, it is part of my job to take high school students to Haiti and help them contextualize the poverty they see. In June 2013, I and other teachers in San Francisco took students to Haiti, where they were exposed to all of these harsh realities.  They were exposed to the massive tourism and propaganda campaigns dedicated to covering up these realities, and to the fight that Haitians continue to wage against the forces that would oppress them.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Behind Haiti’s Hunger

by Haiti Grassroots Watch

During the past year or so in Haiti, as humanitarian actors raised an alarm about hunger, Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW) journalists kept hearing complaints and rumors about the misuse, abuse, or negative effects of food aid. HGW journalists and the community radio members who worked with them decided to investigate.
            Why – when the country has received at least one billion U.S. dollars worth of food aid between 1995 and the 2010 earthquake – is hunger on the rise? Who are the actors in the “hunger games” in Haiti and internationally?  What can be done that isn’t currently being done?

Long-Awaited Haiti Cholera Lawsuit Against the UN to be Launched This Week

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

The legal noose is tightening around the United Nations to take responsibility for unleashing the world’s worst cholera epidemic in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation, where hundreds of thousands have been affected by the deadly disease.
            On Oct. 9, lawyers representing over 5,000 Haitian cholera victims and their families will file a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York to demand that the UN recognize its responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti three years ago and pay reparations.
            Lawyers with the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Port-au-Prince-based International Lawyers Office (BAI) first brought a legal petition against the UN in November 2011 within the world body’s legal redress framework. That 37-page complaint charged that the “UN is liable for negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, and deliberate indifference for the health and lives of Haitian people resulting in petitioners’ injuries and deaths from cholera” and sought financial compensation for 5,000 Haitian petitioners, constructive action to prevent cholera’s spread, and a formal acknowledgment of and apology for the UN’s responsibility for bringing cholera into Haiti.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Popular Forum: Roadmap Proposed for a Provisional Government

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Sep. 30, the 22nd anniversary of the 1991 coup d’état against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, tens of thousands of demonstrators poured into the streets of Port-au-Prince and Cap Haïtien to demand two things: “Martelly must go! MINUSTAH must go!”
            Knowing this agenda, the day before over 100 delegates representing about two dozen different popular organizations from all of Haiti’s ten departments gathered at the Fany Villa Reception Center in Port-au-Prince to reflect on and debate a proposal on how to form a provisional government which could lead the country to free, fair, and sovereign elections after Martelly’s departure from power, which all of the delegates felt would be coming in the days ahead, one way or another.
            The proposal was made by the Kòwòdinasyon Desalin or Dessalines Coordination (KOD), a new formation headed by several prominent veterans of Haiti’s democratic struggle over the past 25 years.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10 Steps to Dictatorship

10 steps to dictatorship: Why the grassroots movement in Haiti is
taking to the streets against President Michel Martelly - SF BayView

September 25, 2013

By: Charlie Hinton, Haiti Action Committee

1. Who is Michel Martelly? Martelly grew up during the 27-year
dictatorship of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son, Jean Claude
"Baby Doc." He joined the Duvalierist death squad, the Tonton
Macoutes, at the age of 15 and later attended Haiti´s military
academy. Under Baby Doc, Martelly, a popular musician, ran the Garage,
a nightclub patronized by army officers and members of Haiti´s tiny
ruling class.

After Baby Doc´s fall in February 1986, a mass democratic movement,
long repressed by the Duvaliers, burst forth and became known as
Lavalas ("flood"), from which emerged Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a
popular liberation theology Catholic priest, who was elected president
in 1990 with 67 percent of the vote in the first free and fair
election in Haiti´s history.

Martelly quickly became a bitter opponent of Lavalas, attacking the
popular movement in his songs played widely on Haitian radio.
Martelly "was closely identified with sympathizers of the 1991
military coup that ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide,"
the Miami Herald observed in 1996, and ran with members of the vicious
FRAPH death squad from that period, infamous for gang rapes and
killing with impunity.

On the day of Aristide´s return to Haiti in 2011, after eight years of
forced exile in South Africa and two days before the "run-off"
election, Martelly was caught in a video on YouTube insulting Aristide
and Lavalas: "The Lavalas are so ugly. They smell like s**t. F**k you,
Lavalas. F**k you, Jean-Bertrand Aristide."

2. The fraudulent presidential election of 2010-2011: In the
presidential election cycle of 2010-2011, the Electoral Council ruled
that Aristide´s Fanmi Lavalas Party could not participate, which
de-legitimized the whole corrupt process. Voter turnout was less than
25 percent in the primaries and less than 20 percent in the "run-off."

14 Caribbean nations sue European countries for slavery reparations

Lawsuits seek reparations from Britain, France, Netherlands for their roles in Atlantic slave trade

Associated Press

Fourteen Caribbean nations are suing the governments of the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands for reparations over what the plaintiffs say is the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.
In a speech Friday at United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves said the European nations must pay for their deeds.
“The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity – a legacy which exists today in our Caribbean – ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples,” Gonsalves said. “The European nations must partner in a focused, especial way with us to execute this repairing.”

The Proposed 2013-2014 Budget: More for the President, Less for the People

by Francklyn B. Geffrard and Kim Ives

President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe have presented to the Haitian Parliament for ratification their budget for the 2013/2014 fiscal year, but it has provoked criticism and outrage from economists, politicians, parliamentarians, and civil society. Many consider the budget scandalous. Sen. Steven Benoit of the West Department called it a "criminal budget." Speaking Aug. 23 on a Port-au-Prince radio station, Benoit said that the budget, if adopted as presented by the Executive, would penalize Haiti’s poorest. "This is a budget that aims to protect the strong over the weak, those who have few ways to survive," he said, vowing that he would never vote for it. The Chamber of Deputies, where the Executive maintains a majority of votes through bribery, passed the budget without any modifications after one reading. However, the Senate must agree to the exact same version of the budget before it can be ratified. Some ministries saw their budgets increased, while others were severely cut. For example, the Ministry of Economy and Finance’s proposed budget was more than doubled from last year’s 41 million gourdes (US$935,000) to 90 million gourdes (US$2 million). The Ministries of Justice and Public Safety as well as Interior and Local Communities also would get more money, while the Ministries of Agriculture, Education, Public Health, and Social Affairs would be slashed. Meanwhile, the proposed operating budget for the President has more than tripled in the last two years. In 2011 when President Martelly came to power, the budget for the Presidency was 95 million gourdes (US$2.2 million). This amount was increased to 165 million gourdes (US$3.8 million) in Fiscal Year 2012/2013, and for this fiscal year, the Presidency wants a budget of 329 million gourdes (US$7.5 million). There is no conceivable justification for this increase in a country facing a serious economic crisis. To make matters worse, for years the Haitian government has relied on international donors for budget support, usually to the tune of 60 to 70%. But this year the international community has reduced its budget support by 30%. To compensate, the Haitian government is proposing higher taxes and fees on a host of goods and services. The budget reflects the government’s priorities. Out of its total 126.4 billion gourdes (US$2.9 billion), 46.26 billion gourdes (US$1 billion) are earmarked for operations, 77.48 billion gourdes (US$1.8 billion) for capital and social investments, and 2.65 billion gourdes (US$60.4 million) for servicing Haiti’s debt, which Martelly and Lamothe have run up from zero to historic highs (over $1.1 billion) while in office. In short, the government’s operating budget and debt servicing are being significantly increased, while investment in vital economic sectors is being reduced.

Dr. Matthew J Smith reviews new book 'Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti'

Working USA: The Journal of Labor & Society

Book Reviews

Sprague, Jeb. Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti.
New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012. 400 pp. US$23.95 (paperback).

A sense of the arguments and perspective that drive Jeb Sprague’s
detailed study of paramilitarism in Haiti from the early 1990s to 2004
is given in the following quote, which comes in a closing chapter: “As
with all historical processes, Haiti’s recent history cannot be
reduced to pure good versus pure evil— the popular Lavalas movement
had its own contradictions and failures. Even so, right-wing
paramilitarism and its backers have produced, by far, the most victims
of political violence in Haiti in recent history” (p. 281). Sprague
supports this point—and at the same time aims to expose layers of
political complexity—with an intriguing assessment of the role of
paramilitary organizations in ensuring that popular movements in the
Caribbean republic are kept hobbled.

The span of the study is marked by the two overthrows of
democratically elected popular leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his
Fanmi Lavalas (FL) movement in 1991, and later in 2004. It is to
Sprague’s credit that he keeps in clear view at all times the link
between these events—now half-forgotten in the minds of a foreign
audience unable (or unwilling) to recall Haiti’s history prior to the
2010 earthquake—and contemporary politics in Haiti.

This is a crucial story. For too long, the role of paramilitarism in
these events has been recognized but little studied. This is somewhat
surprising given the presence of state- and private-funded agencies of
social control in Haiti’s history. In the nineteenth century, Haitian
leaders ensured dominance by using the armed forces under their
command to contain popular risings. There was always resistance, and
this resistance only encouraged leaders to sharpen their tools of
repression. Emperor Faustin Soulouque (1847–1859) had his own forces,
and they would form the template for the military control of some of
his successors.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Senator Accuses President of Planning Parliamentary Assassinations

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

A prominent Haitian senator charges that President Michel Martelly is planning to assassinate him and three other senators by withdrawing their security details and then attacking them with hired gunmen, who have allegedly already killed a community activist in August.
            In a Sep. 4 press conference, Senator John Joël Joseph of Haiti’s West Department said that Martelly and his wife, Sophia St. Rémy Martelly, held a meeting with Police Chief Godson Orélus in which they demanded that he suspend the security details for several prominent opposition senators and deputies. When Orélus refused, the First Lady became “very angry at him, saying that her husband never asks him for anything, so he better do it, thus she demanded that he withdraw the security” of those parliamentarians, Joseph said, claiming she slammed her hand on the table.

Another UN Soldier Accused of Rape in Haiti

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

The United Nations mission in Haiti, already facing a credibility crisis over its introduction of cholera, is facing new allegations that one of its troops raped an 18-year old woman this past weekend in the town of Léogâne, according to police inspector Wilson Hippolite. In an e-mailed statement, the UN acknowledged that they “are aware of the allegations made against a military staff member” and noted that a “preliminary investigation has been launched to determine the facts of the case.”
            According to Metropole Haiti, the alleged assault occurred off National Highway #2 on Sat., Sep. 7, when the 18-year old woman was approached by a Sri Lankan UN military officer. A Justice of the Peace, conducting a preliminary investigation, visited the site of the alleged assault on Sunday and found a used condom. Further tests are being conducted, according to the report. The accused has been moved to a different MINUSTAH base in another part of the country as the investigation unfolds. As of Jul. 30, Sri Lanka had over 860 troops stationed in Haiti, making it the third largest troop contributing country to the nine year-old mission.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Popular Organizations Issue Call for a Provisional Government to Replace Martelly

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On. Sep. 9, Haiti’s most outspoken opposition senator and leading popular organizations announced that they would hold a national conference in Port-au-Prince on Sep. 29 to forge an alliance and map out a path to forming a provisional government to replace President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.
On Sep. 3, the eight popular organizations had called on Haiti’s deputies to indict Martelly and Lamothe for, among other things, personally making threats on Jul. 11 against a judge investigating government corruption, thereby inducing his death two days later (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 7, No. 8, Sep. 4, 2013). On Sep. 6, thirteen deputies did formally submit an indictment in Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies, buttressing two separate parliamentary Special Commissions of Inquiry which had already recommended that Martelly and Lamothe be removed from office in reports issued on Aug. 8 and Aug. 23.
Citing the President’s flagrant sabotage in a judicial investigation, as well as his “perjury” and “treason” in the ensuing cover-up, the draft indictment called for “the impeachment of the President of the Republic and the dismissal of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice and Public Security to be carried out by the High Court of Justice,” constituted by the Senate.

As Deputies Uncover Same Crimes and Lies as Senators: Popular Groups Demand Lower House Indict President and Prime Minister

Parliament Chiefs Hold Meetings to Scuttle Impeachment Process

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

A second Special Commission of Inquiry into the Jul. 13 death of Investigating Judge Jean Serge Joseph, this one commissioned by Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies, released its report on Aug. 23, recommending that the lower house indict President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, and Justice Minister Jean Renel Sanon for illegally intervening in a judicial investigation, threatening a judge thereby causing his death, and then publicly and repeatedly lying about the matter.
            The findings of the report match almost exactly those of a Senate inquiry released on Aug. 8 (see Haïti Liberté, Vol. 7, No. 5, 8/14/2013). The Senate Commission also recommended that Parliament remove Martelly and Lamothe from office.
            Judge Joseph was investigating charges of massive corruption against Martelly’s wife, Sophia St. Rémy Martelly, and their son, Olivier Martelly. After issuing subpoenas for several high government officials to testify before him, he had been pressured and threatened personally by Martelly and others. Finally, in a secret Jul. 11 meeting, Martelly, Lamothe, Sanon, and other officials told the judge to call off the investigation, according to both parliamentary reports. Two days later, the judge died from a brain hemorrhage caused by either stress or poison.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Haiti Action Committee Introduces First Issue of "HAITI SOLIDARITY."

Haiti Action Committee has just released the first issue of our newsletter, "Haiti Solidarity." 
Volume 1, Number 1 is available for download below. Published copies will be available at upcoming Haiti events for $3.


Cover Art - "Hands Together"






You can download the issue here at the haiti action website or a direct link here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brazil Hides Humanitarian Emergency in Acre

With a “refugee” camp holding over 800 Haitians in inhuman conditions, Conectas charges Brazil is covering up an international crisis

by Conectas Human Rights (for Haiti Liberte)

The Brazilian government has for months now been playing a word game – between “immigration” and “refugee” – to minimize the severity of the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the small town of Brasiléia, in Brazil’s northern state of Acre on the border with Bolivia, some 240 kilometers southwest of the state capital Rio Branco.
            More than 830 immigrants – nearly all of them Haitians – are living inside a warehouse built for just 200 people, in extremely unhygienic conditions. They are required to share just 10 lavatories and 8 showers, where there is no soap and no toothpaste, sewage leaks outside in the open air, and people have been packed for months inside an area of 200 square meters under a metal roof, with black plastic sheeting for curtains, in temperatures that can reach 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). The local hospital reports that 90% of the patients from the camp have diarrhea. The shelter is already operating at four times capacity, and 40 new Haitians arrive every day.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Accusing President Martelly of Lying and “Treason,” Senate Report Calls for His Impeachment

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

A special Senate Commission of Inquiry into the sudden and suspicious Jul. 13 death of Investigating Judge Jean Serge Joseph released a bomb-shell on Aug. 8. Its highly detailed 29-page report charges President Michel Martelly, as well as his Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Justice Minister Jean Renel Sanon, with lying to the public and calls for Haiti’s Deputies to remove them all from office.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Haiti: Missing Healthcare on the frontline of HIV

Long before 9/11 and the subsequent incarceration of hundreds of so called ‘terror suspects’, in Guantanamo Bay,  thousands of Haitian refugees fleeing the  military junta in the early 1990s, were detained on the US base. Many of those detained were detained because they were suspected of being HIV Positive [+].

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Amy Wilentz and her Twitter Tantrum Regarding the 2004 coup in Haiti

by Joe Emersberger

On Twitter, Amy Wilentz angrily demanded that Justin Podur retweet a statement in which she emphatically denies ever supporting the 2004 coup that ousted Aristide:

I never ever supported the coup gainst Aristide. Ever. Retweet that!
Wilentz made this demand in response to a tweet somebody had sent Podur.

I assume Wilentz is correct. I don’t believe she ever supported (as in publicly applauded) the 2004 coup or called on Aristide to resign.  Unless she stooped to that level, it is not accurate to say she “supported the coup” without elaborating more on what exactly is meant by “support”. What Wilentz did do is spread lies about Aristide’s second term in government that helped make the coup possible and that help sustain the impunity of the perpetrators, especially former members of her own government. As Peter Hallward explained in a response to a piece Wilentz wrote for the Nation in 2012:

Sunday, August 4, 2013

UN’s Own Independent Experts Now Say MINUSTAH Troops “Most Likely” Caused Cholera Epidemic

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

The number of experts casting doubt on the likelihood of the U.N. having been the source of Haiti’s deadly cholera epidemic is getting increasingly smaller. In what Foreign Policy’s Turtle Bay blogger Colum Lynch calls a "dramatic retreat," a panel of independent U.N. experts who earlier had reported that the outbreak’s cause "was not the fault" of any "group or individual" and cited environmental factors – most notably Haiti’s lack of adequate sanitation – as being partly at fault, have now determined that U.N. troops from Nepal "most likely” were the cause.

Grassroots Groups Wary of “Attractive” Mining Law

by Haiti Grassroots Watch (for Haiti Liberte)

As the government works on preparing “an attractive law that will entice investors,” Haitian popular organizations are mobilizing and forming networks to resist mining in their country.
            Already one-third of the north of Haiti is under research, exploration, or exploitation license to foreign companies. Some 2,400 square kilometers have been parceled out to Haitian firms fronting for U.S. and Canadian concerns. Some estimate that Haiti’s mineral wealth – mostly gold, copper, and silver – could be worth as much as US$ 20 billion.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One Thousand Days of Cholera : Almost 8,200 Killed and Still No UN Apology

by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

A sad milestone has passed: it has now been 1,000 days since Haiti’s cholera outbreak began. Even though U.N. troops from Nepal have been linked to the outbreak through study after study, and even though U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti Bill Clinton admitted the troops were the “proximate cause” of the epidemic, the U.N. has yet to apologize. And its cholera eradication plan remains woefully underfunded, as we noted last week.
The Economist writes today of the U.N.’s continuance in dodging responsibility:

Cholera Tightens Grip on Haiti As Sanitation Funding Slows to a Trickle

by Haiti Grassroots Watch

Lack of financing for a ten-year cholera eradication plan means that the disease will likely be endemic to Haiti for years to come.
            Cholera bacteria are spread by contaminated food, water, and fecal matter. One of the essential parts of the US$2.2 billion National Plan for the Elimination of Cholera in Haiti is the financing for sanitation systems nationwide.
            The majority of Haitians – about eight million people – do not have access to a hygienic sanitation system. They defecate in the open, in fields, in ravines, and on riverbanks. The capital region produces over 900 tons of human excreta every day, according to the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Made in Haiti, Dumped in Haiti

Global demand for cheap clothing sabotages local garment trade, workers' rights

In Haiti, people wear T-shirts bearing unlikely English messages: "We're the 2% who don't care," says one; a respectable-looking grandmother dons a T-shirt emblazoned with "Crack is Whack!"; a little boy without shoes or pants wears a "Save Darfur" T-shirt; while training an illegal militia, a tough former army lieutenant sports a "Varsity Cheerleader" T-shirt.
The absurd messages on these garments—by-products of globalization—are often lost in translation for Haitians, but the crueler irony is that decades of neo-liberal measures have pushed Haiti to expand its apparel industry to export T-shirts to US markets. Garments are then branded with various designs, sold, consumed, discarded, and shipped back to Haiti, along with other used clothes, for resale in local markets, undercutting and decimating Haitian tailors and their trade in traditional-style clothing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Where are the Mosquito Nets in Haiti?

by John M. Zervos (Haiti Liberte)

During a recent visit to Haiti, I visited homes at internally displaced persons locations throughout Port-au-Prince and noticed a general void of mosquito nets. In fact, I did not see one. This was perplexing; with the rest of the world, I had read and watched the extensive news coverage of the 2010 earthquake, including the distribution of hundreds of thousands of mosquito nets to these same communities I was now visiting.

A Haitian Sweatshop Worker Speaks: “Mrs. Clinton Can Have Her Factories”

by Beverly Bell (Haiti Liberte)

The following is an interview Beverly Bell conducted with Marjorie Valcelat, an assembly work who ran an embroidery machine in a factory from 2005 to 2008. She says the experience made her so sick and weak that she’s not felt able to work since then.

I had three children I had to take care of; their father had left. And since I hadn’t had enough schooling, I didn’t have the skills to do much. So I said to myself, “I’m going to work at a factory.” When I got there, they showed me how to run the machines to embroider slips and nightshirts. I spent a month training, but during that time they didn’t pay me; I had to pay them for the training.

What Lies Behind the Arrest of Martelly-Confidant Jojo Lorquet?

Was he previously involved in money laundering with Martelly? Is this the beginning of a larger round-up and more revelations?

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Outlandish television host Joseph “Jojo” Lorquet is one of the Haitian president’s closest friends and was a New York promoter who booked “Sweet Micky,” the chief of state’s former musical stage persona, in cities around the U.S. for almost two decades.
            “Nobody is closer to Michel Martelly than Jojo Lorquet,” Lorquet told Haïti Liberté in a Brooklyn restaurant in December, shortly before he returned to Haiti to work in the Haitian First Lady Sofia St. Rémy Martelly’s Aba Grangou program, a supposed anti-hunger campaign. “Anything he’s going to do, I’m the first to know.”

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ecuador and Brazil Training New Haitian Army

By Charlie Hinton - Originally published by the Haiti Action Committee

The February 29th, 2004 kidnapping/coup d'etat began a brutal ongoing US/UN occupation that aimed to suppress Haiti's people’s movement and roll back the hard-won democratic gains since the ouster of Baby Doc Duvalier in 1986. The elimination of the traditional repressive and coup-fomenting Haitian military during the democratic period in 1995, one of the most popular actions of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s presidency, forced the direct and overt involvement of US, French and Canadian troops in the destruction of Haiti’s democracy. Soldiers from other nations, including Ecuador and Brazil, later joined this occupation army, named MINUSTAH, which currently numbers 9,357 uniformed personnel.

Stop Attacks on President Aristide and Haiti's Grassroots Movement

(from earlier in 2013)

By: Haiti Action Committee

The people of Haiti stand for justice, but they are against the misuse of the justice system for political persecution. That is why they have come out by the thousands today, in support of former President Aristide.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When Will Partial Senate, Municipal, and Local Elections Be Held?

by Francklyn B. Geffrard

The Jun. 19 telephone conversation between Haitian President Michel Martelly and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden seems to have had some impact on the behavior of the Haitian regime. Previously, the government was basically silent on the question of elections. But following Biden’s phone call, the organization of municipal, local, and partial Senate elections seems to suddenly have become a priority for the government. However, the Martelly government pointedly failed to mention in its official announcement about the conversation that Washington had encouraged it to hold elections before the end of this year. What a paradox!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Who Is Afraid of Elections?

by Yves Pierre-Louis

Since the formation of an electoral body known as the Transitional College for the Permanent Electoral Council (CTCEP), the administration of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has not shown any real willingness to advance the process that would allow, in an acceptable time-frame, elections for Senate seats and for local authorities.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Reconstruction of Massive Slum Will Cost “Hundreds Of Millions”

by Haiti Grassroots Watch

Three years after its star-studded launch by President René Préval, actor Sean Penn and various other Haitian and foreign dignitaries, the model camp for Haiti’s 2010 earthquake victims has helped give birth to what might become the country’s most expansive – and most expensive – slum.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Food Aid Reform Becomes More Urgent as Food Insecurity and Malnutrition Increase

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

The Associated Press’ Trenton Daniel takes a look at high levels of malnutrition and food insecurity in Haiti, reporting that: “Three years after an earthquake killed hundreds of thousands and the U.S. promised that Haiti would ‘build back better,’ hunger is worse than ever. Despite billions of dollars from around the world pledged toward rebuilding efforts, the country's food problems underscore just how vulnerable its 10 million people remain.

Dissatisfaction Growing with the Martelly-Lamothe Government

by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)

In recent months, demonstrations have erupted in different parts of Haiti demanding electricity, river dredging, road and bridge construction, support for farmers, and the building of schools and hospitals.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Continental Conference to End MINUSTAH

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Delegates from around the world will converge on Port-au-Prince May 31 to take part in a two-day Continental Conference aimed at bringing an end to the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH, which marks its ninth anniversary on Jun. 1.

Cholera Legal Suit Against the UN Takes Shape: Lawyers Seek Haitian Claimants in New York

by Kim Ives   (Haiti Liberte)                                                

On May 8, lawyers representing over 5,000 Haitian cholera victims told the United Nations that they are taking the world body to court in 60 days if it doesn’t accept responsibility for introducing the deadly microbe into Haiti’s waters.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Two Years After His Return, Aristide Finally Speaks Out

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide called for national unity to tackle the problem of hunger in Haiti and thanked the Haitian people for their massive show of solidarity the day before when thousands joined him in a slow procession through Port-au-Prince back his residence from making a court deposition on May 8.
            “Yesterday, was an ordinary day, but you made it into an extraordinary day, and I say thank you,” Aristide said on May 9 to about 20 journalists assembled in his home’s Spartan study, where he has spent most of the past two years since his return to Haiti from a seven year exile on Mar. 18, 2011. Since that day, when thousands also accompanied him home, it was the first time he has spoken publicly.

After Aristide Testifies to Investigating Judge: Massive March Signals Lavalas Movement’s Resurrection

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Well over 15,000 people poured out from all corners of Haiti's capital to march alongside the cortege of cars that carried former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide back to his home in Tabarre from the Port-au-Prince courthouse he visited on May 8.
            Thousands more massed along sidewalks and on rooftops to cheer the procession on, waving flags and wearing small photos of Aristide in their hair, pinned to their clothing, or stuck in their hats.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

ONA: Senate Uncovers Stupefying Corruption

by Yves Pierre-Louis (Haiti Liberte)

Since President Michel Martelly’s accession to power two years ago, corruption has become the hallmark of his regime. The State’s entire administration is in decline, marred by bribery, waste, mismanagement, illegal and arbitrary dismissals, and incompetence.
            The latest corruption scandal to erupt is in the National Insurance Office for the Elderly (ONA), Haiti’s social security institution which is supposed to manage the contributions of Haitian workers in the private sector to ensure their welfare as regulated by the Labor Code.

Despite Losing $1 Billion in Iraq, DynCorp Given Haiti Troop Contract

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

This article reveals how Washington is still investing in Haiti’s military occupation, not winding it down. HL

In an Apr. 9 press release, DynCorp International announced that the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) had awarded the company with a $48.6 million contract. The purpose of the contract is to “recruit and support up to 100 UNPOL and 10 U.N. Corrections Advisors. DI will also provide logistics support to the Haitian National Police (HNP) Academy and each academy class. In addition, DI will supply five high-level French and Haitian Creole speaking subject matter experts to advise senior HNP officials.”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lawyer Mario Joseph is Finalist for Swiss Human Rights Award

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

The Switzerland-based Martin Ennals Foundation and the City of Geneva have announced that Haitian human rights lawyer Mario Joseph of the Port-au-Prince-based International Lawyers Office (BAI) is one of three finalists for the Martin Ennals Award.

Protest against high prices and hunger

by Yves Pierre-Louis (Haiti Liberte)

On Apr. 11, 2013, several popular organizations from the capital’s poor neighborhoods, grouped in a coalition called the Heads Together of Popular Organizations (Tèt kole òganizasyon popilè yo), marched in protest against Haiti’s high cost of living, hunger, and unemployment with the slogan “Let’s Rise Up Against This Exploitative Hunger” (“Ann leve kanpe kont grangou kaletèt sa" offers word-play on the slogan “Tètkale” – meaning “completely” or “bald” – of President Michel Martelly’s government.) Starting in the poor neighborhood of Fort National in the north of the capital, hundreds of demonstrators marched through Port-au-Prince’s streets to protest the deteriorating conditions of slum dwellers in Port-au-Prince’s poorest neighborhoods including Fort National, Bel Air, Saint-Martin, Solino , La Saline, Cité Soleil, and Martissant.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Canadian Freeze of Aid to Haiti, the Precursor to CIDA's Demise

By: Matthew Davidson - HaitiAnalysis 

     Representing a new Canadian vision for international development, the Canadian government recently announced that it is merging the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Shocked, critics decried that "Canada's international effort[i] to help people living in poverty" is unlikely to substantially address or mitigate global poverty or inequality if CIDA's priority is to "advance Canada's long-term prosperity and security". However, the Canadian government had already indicated that changes were coming. By freezing aid to Haiti, the Conservatives signalled what could be expected for Canadian development practice elsewhere. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Senator Moïse Jean-Charles Visits Brazil and Argentina

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Senator Moïse Jean-Charles is presently on a speaking tour in Brazil and Argentina to raise consciousness about and to campaign against the continued military occupation of Haiti by troops of the so-called United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH. June 1st will mark the 9th anniversary of MINUSTAH’s deployment in Haiti, a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and of the Haitian Constitution. A major demonstration calling for MINUSTAH’s immediate withdrawal will be held in Haiti on that date, with participants coming from across Latin America.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wikileaks Exhumed Cables Reveal: How the U.S. Resumed Military Aid to Duvalier

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

A chorus of outrage is building against former Haitian president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier as he sits in the dock of a Haitian court, charged with crimes against humanity during his 15-year rule. However, the U.S. government remains strangely and completely silent. A 40-year-old trove of diplomatic cables, newly unearthed by WikiLeaks, helps explain why.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Inter-American Commission Grants Protection to IDP Camp Facing Eviction

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research

Last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) granted precautionary measures in favor of the 567 families that have been under constant threat of eviction in the Grace Village camp. Given the “imminent” threat to those in the camp, the IACHR urged the Government of Haiti:

The number of Haitian boat people is increasing

by Yves Pierre-Louis (haiti Liberte)

Hundreds of Haitians, since the beginning of 2013, continue to risk their lives to seek a better life abroad, to escape poverty, hunger, unemployment, and poor living conditions. Promises of change and millions or even billions of dollars released in the name of alleviating poverty in Haiti never seem able to actually improve the living conditions of the Western Hemisphere’s poorest people.
            Haitians living in the most remote corners of the country have no choice but to flee to the Dominican Republic, Florida, and other Caribbean Islands.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cholera in the Age of Privatized Water

by Isabeau Doucet (Haiti Liberte)

I contracted cholera two years ago by the breezy beaches of Port Salut, while attempting to escape burnout, a broken heart, and the lingering pangs of Dengue fever in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.
            Cholera’s not a whole lot different from food poisoning and is no big deal if you have a clean toilet, potable water, know how to treat it, and aren’t malnourished.
            But in hunger-wracked Haiti, where there is no sewage system and where water and sanitation are almost completely privatized, cholera has been a death sentence for over 8,000 people. According to a host of scientific studies (including the UN’s own investigators), the South Asian strain of the disease was likely imported by UN troops from Nepal in October 2010. Having sickened over 640,000, it is now the worst cholera epidemic in modern history.

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