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IPS: Harkening Back to Dark Days in Haiti

Jul. 16, 2014 - 1:52 pm
Analysis by Nathalie Baptiste - Inter Press Service

WASHINGTON, Mar 12 2014 (IPS) - On Oct. 16, 1993, Alerte Belance was abducted from her home and taken to Titanyen, a small seaside village used by Haiti’s rulers as a mass grave for political opponents. There she received machete chops to her face, neck, and extremities. Despite her grave injuries, Belance was able to save herself by dragging her mutilated body onto the street and asking for help.

Belance’s survival was extraordinary, but not all were so lucky.
On Jan. 18, 1994, Wilner Elie, a member of the Papaye Peasant Movement, was knifed to death by a group of masked men in his own home. His 12 children were handcuffed by the assailants and forced to watch helplessly as their father was brutally murdered.Elie and Belance’s tragic stories were not anomalies. Not long ago in Port-au-Prince, decapitated bodies littered the streets, warnings to would-be dissidents. Violent men sexually abused young women seemingly for sport.People were ambushed in their homes and shot to death for attempting to escape. Thousands of Haitians fled in shoddy boats through treacherous waters to the United States, only to be sent back despite outcries from human rights groups.Though it reads like a horror script or dystopian novel, this is not fiction. This was reality for millions of Haitians living under military rule. And now, as the Haitian government moves to rebuild its once-banished army, some Haitians are wondering whether a sequel is in the works.

A dark legacyHaiti has a lengthy history of military and state-sanctioned violence. Shortly after coming to power in 1957, the infamous dictator Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, feeling threatened by the regular armed forces, created a paramilitary force to protect himself.Nicknamed the Tonton Macoutes (Uncle Gunnysacks) after an old tale about a bogeyman who abducted unruly children and placed them in gunnysacks to be eaten at breakfast, these men carried out unimaginable murders and sent tremors of fear throughout the nation.Accountable to virtually no one, they continued their reign of terror after Papa Doc’s death and through the rule of his successor and son, Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. After Baby Doc was forced to flee in 1986, the Tonton Macoutes were officially disbanded, but other paramilitaries continued in their footsteps.Meanwhile the military itself continued to interfere in Haiti’s politics. On Sep. 29, 1991, Jean Betrand-Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, was ousted by a military coup just eight months into his presidency.The coup, led by Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras, plunged the nation into a particularly violent and turbulent period. For three years the Haitian military and its paramilitary arm, the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, ran an exceptionally brutal regime, kidnapping, torturing, and murdering supporters of the ousted Aristide. By 1994, the death toll had reached an estimated 5,000.Following an intervention by the United States, Aristide was restored to power in late 1994 on condition that he implement economic reforms favored by Washington. He dismantled the military the following year. The disbandment of the military did not cure Haiti of all its ills, but the dissolution was followed by three successful transitions of presidential power – in 1996, 2000, and later in 2010.In 2004, however, a paramilitary force consisting of former soldiers with help from United States, France, and Canada organised a second successful coup against Aristide, who had been elected to a second term in 2000 after serving out his first in 1996. Even after their official disbandment, former soldiers were still able to influence political outcomes in Haiti.A return to formAnd now, after two decades in the shadows, the military is back: Haitian President Michel Martelly has followed through on a campaign promise to reconstitute the Haitian military. The new force launched its first operations this February.This has left many Haitians wondering why a country with no external threats, a history of violent, military-led repression against its own citizens, and an abundance of more pressing problems would need—or even want—a new military. “Given the history of Haiti’s military,” warned Mark Weisbrot, its “existence alone could be considered a threat to security.”Martelly’s personal history provides some clues about his own sympathies. Before he began his political career, Michel Martelly was a provocative konpa singer who went by the name Sweet Micky. During the Duvalier era, he ran a nightclub named Garage that was frequented by military officials and other members of Haiti’s tiny elite.Around this time Martelly befriended Lieutenant Colonel Michel Francois, the man who would later become chief of the secret police under Raoul Cedras. Martelly remained a “favourite” of the thugs who worked for the Duvalier regime and, after its collapse, would even accompany the death squads organised by Francois to murder Aristide supporters.While death squads hunted dissidents by night, Martelly taunted them by day. Lavalas, the massive pro-democracy movement launched by Aristide after Baby Doc was ousted, quickly became the target of Martelly’s biting lyrics. Throughout Aristide’s presidency, Martelly remained an outspoken critic of the president and his supporters, eventually emerging as a politician in his own right.After a hotly contested and controversial election in 2011, Martelly was elected president of Haiti. Later that year, an anonymous Haitian official leaked a document to the Associated Press outlining a plan for the revival of the Haitian military.Solving the wrong problemsThe document cited several reasons why Haiti supposedly needs to spend 95 million dollars building up a new military force: to provide opportunities for young people, to rebuild Haiti’s infrastructure, to patrol its border with the Dominican Republic, and – perhaps most ominously – to “keep order” during times of chaos.Although Haiti is well within its rights to establish an army, the purpose of a military is not to provide internal security, but to combat external threats. A Haitian official claims that it’s embarrassing to have the United Nations providing security in Haiti.But although its mission in Haiti has been marred by scandal, the U.N. is training a national police force to provide security and keep order once the peacekeepers finally leave. It’s unclear why a military would be preferable in this regard to a civilian security force.And it’s similarly unclear why Martelly thinks he needs to build a military to create jobs or invest in infrastructure. Haiti is in desperate need of construction workers – even before the 2010 earthquake leveled buildings and destroyed homes, Haiti’s infrastructure was already in a precarious position.If Martelly truly wanted to provide opportunities for the young people of Haiti, he could initiate a programme that would train men and women in construction and create jobs for the multitudes of unemployed Haitians. Instead, the new military will supposedly be rebuilding the country while millions of Haitians continue to languish in poverty.In a country with a sparse amount of cash and a government unable to provide even the most basic necessities to its own population, it seems fiscally irresponsible and morally bankrupt to spend 95 million dollars on rebuilding an army that has such an atrocious record of human rights abuses.The cholera outbreak, food insecurity, and the 500,000 squatters lacking permanent homes are just a few of the litany of problems facing Haiti today. The lack of a military force is not high on that list of priorities.Although Haiti’s elite and powerful seem to support the new military, a poll conducted over five years found that fully 96 percent of Haitians oppose its recreation. Defying the widespread opposition and pressing need for other development projects, Michel Martelly’s plan has finally come to fruition.Despite assurances from officials that this military force will not have the means to imitate its predecessors, the horrors from the recent past still linger in the minds of those who remember. If history repeats itself like it is prone to do, Haiti could revert back to the days where standing on the wrong side of the ideological fence means certain death.Nathalie Baptiste is a Haitian-American contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus who lives in the Washington, D.C. area. She holds a BA and MA in International Studies and writes about Latin America and the Caribbean. You can follow her on Twitter at @nhbaptiste. This article originally appeared on Foreign Policy in Focus.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Martelly Regime Targets KOD’s Oxygène David

Jul. 7, 2014 - 10:25 pm
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
According to several radio stations in Haiti, there is a warrant for the arrest of Oxygène David, a prominent leader of the party Dessalines Coordination (KOD) and the popular organization Movement for Liberty and Equality of Haitians for Fraternity (MOLEGHAF).            While Oxygène’s lawyer, Mario Joseph, is trying to verify at the courthouse if there is indeed a complaint against Oxygène or if an investigating judge may have issued an arrest warrant, KOD put out a statement on Jun. 25 informing human rights groups and the public that “Oxygène David has had to go into hiding because the Martelly-Lamothe government wants to intimidate him” because of his political mobilization “calling for the resignation of Martelly and Lamothe and the departure of MINUSTAH,” the UN’s 6,600-soldier military occupation force.
            Many speculate that talk of an arrest warrant for Oxygène may well be targeted to the fact that “on Sunday Jun. 8, KOD and MOLEGHAF members in Fort National prevented, through their mobilization, the Martelly cortege from distributing Brazil and Argentina T-shirts in this poor neighborhood [of the capital] which was heavily damaged by the 2010 earthquake and whose earmarked reconstruction funds have been plundered by the gangs in power,” said the KOD statement.            The statement goes on to specify that large SUVs, some marked “Police” but without license plates, were slowly cruising through Fort National, where Oxygène David lives, all during the night of Jun. 23. “Since the opening of the World Cup in Brazil, one has seen each evening an increase in fixed posts and mobile patrols of masked men driving in vehicles with blackened glass and without license plates,” the KOD statement says.            Lawyer Newton St. Juste also put out a similar statement warning about the targeting of Oxygène David. Both St. Juste and KOD said that other targeted militants include James Samuel Jean, Fritz Robert, and Adelson Voyard.            In the summer of 2012, the Martelly government imprisoned Oxygène for over two months. “Oxygène was charged with vandalism of a white Nissan SUV belonging to the executive of Haiti's telecommunications bureau, CONATEL,” reported Meena Jagannath of the Dissident Voice. “However, while the charges indicated Oxygene smashed a window of the car with a rock during the protest, Oxygene maintained that he never saw the car described in the complaint. The police simply arrived and singled him out without reason,” but “it became evident that there was no evidence to support the charges against Oxygène,” who was released on Aug. 30, 2012.            Jagannath also reports that “in an interview after his release, Oxygène said that he had received a warning before his arrest from a Martelly supporter who urged Oxygène to be prudent because he would be imprisoned if he did not stop protesting against the Martelly government's policies. Oxygène mentioned that while in prison, he was offered his release if he accepted a position in the Martelly government.” Oxygène refused the deal, preferring to stay in prison “a long, long time” if necessary.            “As the people’s mobilization grows, we are seeing the teeth and claws of the Martelly regime coming out more and more,” Oxgène David told Haïti Liberté. “From Cap Haïtien to Ile à Vache, people are protesting against the regime. That is why it is important to build a fighting organization like KOD. A structured organization is essential to not only lead the masses in struggle, but to withstand the counterattack and repression that we know will inevitably come.”

Categories: Haitian blogs

Revolution vs. Counter-Revolution

Jul. 7, 2014 - 10:23 pm
by Berthony Dupont (Haiti Liberte)
This week, the United States of America will celebrate the 238th anniversary of its Declaration of Independence. “On July 4th, 1776, a small band of patriots declared that we were a people created equal, free to think and worship and live as we please, that our destiny would not be determined for us, it would be determined by us,” said U.S. President Barack Obama at a White House ceremony last year. “At that time in human history, it was kings and princes and emperors who made decisions. But those patriots knew there was a better way of doing things, that freedom was possible, and that to achieve their freedom, they’d be willing to lay down their lives, their fortune and their honor. And so they fought a revolution.”            This is the misleading version of United States history that every American school-child learns. But this myth has been exploded by historian Gerald Horne with his new book “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America,” published two months ago by New York University Press.
            “We should understand that July 4th, 1776, in many ways, represents a counterrevolution,” Dr. Horne explained in an interview about the book on Jun. 27 with the program Democracy Now. “That is to say that what helped to prompt July 4th, 1776, was the perception amongst European settlers on the North American mainland that London was moving rapidly towards abolition. This perception was prompted by the ‘Somerset’s case,’ a case decided in London in June 1772 which seemed to suggest that abolition, which was going to be ratified in London itself, was going to cross the Atlantic and basically sweep through the [North American] mainland, thereby jeopardizing numerous fortunes, not only based upon slavery, but the slave trade.”            It has often been noted that the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” demanded by the slave-owner and principal Declaration of Independence drafter Thomas Jefferson did not extend to the 500,000 African slaves who made up about 20% of the 2.5 million people inhabiting the 13 break-away colonies. It did not apply to women either.            But Dr. Horne’s book  illustrates how this exclusion was not the result of simple oversight or opportunist hypocrisy. “1776 can fairly be said to have eventuated as a counter-revolution of slavery,” Dr. Horne writes in his book. “ Defenders of the so-called Confederate States of America [during the U.S. Civil War] were far from bonkers when they argued passionately that their revolt was consistent with the animating and driving spirit of 1776.”            Indeed, one understands better the reproach that the American founding fathers made “to our British brethren” in their Declaration of Independence. “We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us.” Their principal concern: that slavery and the slave trade would be outlawed.            The birth of Haiti, the second independent nation of the Western Hemisphere, stands in stark counterpoint to that of its northern neighbor. It was a true revolution, aimed at forever ending slavery, not preserving it.            Consider the words pronounced by General Jean-Jacques Dessalines on Jan. 1, 1804 in the city of Gonaïves: “It is not enough to have expelled the [French] barbarians who have bloodied our land for two centuries; it is not enough to have restrained those ever-evolving factions that one after another mocked the specter of liberty that France dangled before you. We must, with one last act of national authority, forever assure the empire of liberty in the country of our birth. We must take any hope of re-enslaving us away from the inhuman government that for so long kept us in the most humiliating torpor. In the end we must live independent or die.”            Unfortunately, the primitive accumulation of capital by the newly emerged United States bourgeoisie through its inhuman crimes helped make it the super-power it is today. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observed: “We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.”            Furthermore, Dr. King observed that the U.S. “was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race... We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe out its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade.”            In contrast to the American founding fathers, who denounced the “merciless Indian Savages” in their Declaration, the victorious slaves of the former French colony of St. Domingue renamed their new nation “Haiti,” the original Arawak name for the entire island, meaning “mountainous land.”             Haiti is, in fact, the world’s first nation to truly defend “liberty, equality, and fraternity” – the French Revolution’s watchwords – by opposing slavery and the extermination of the Native Americans.            These founding Haitian principles have deprived the nation of the great capital that can be extracted from exploitation, theft of land, and imperialist aggression. Haiti’s poverty also was contributed to when the U.S. refused to recognize Haiti for six decades (much as it embargoes revolutionary Cuba today) and militarily occupied our country for 36 years out of the past century, most recently though the United Nations proxy force, MINUSTAH.            Indeed, today, just as in time of Thomas Jefferson, the U.S. seeks to destroy our 1804 revolution by making us again a slave colony. In the past decade, their two principal thrusts have been 1) to land an occupation army in 2004 and 2) to intervene in our sovereign 2010/2011 elections to put in place a neo-colonial puppet regime, that of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe. Their goal is to re-enslave us in the sweatshop free trade zones of of SONAPI, CODEVI, and Caracol, and to steal the wealth from our “mountainous land,” in particular the $20 billion worth of gold dust left behind by the Spanish conquistadors who annihilated the Arawaks.
            So, on this July 4, therefore, let us renew our allegiance to the call that General Dessalines made to all Haitians – both our ancestors and those of us living today – at the end of his January 1, 1804 declaration: “Vow before me to live free and independent, and to prefer death to anything that will try to place you back in chains.”
Categories: Haitian blogs

Presidents Martelly and Clinton to Be Honored and Protested in NYC

Jun. 20, 2014 - 7:01 pm

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)On Jun. 19, model Petra Nemacova’s Happy Hearts Fund will honor Haitian President Michel Martelly and former U.S. President Bill Clinton at a star-studded fundraiserat a Cipriani chain restaurant on 42nd Street in Manhattan.            But Haitian community groups and their supporters in New York are planning to demonstrate outside the event to call attention to Mr. Martelly’s corruption and repression, and Mr. Clinton’s responsibility for the largely bungled international relief effort which he headed after Haiti’s Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.            The Happy Hearts Fund, which was created 10 years ago by Ms. Nemacova after she survived the Indian Ocean tsunami, will give Martelly a “Leadership in Education Award” for “his transformational leadership after the devastating earthquake and commitment to uplifting the country’s future through education,” the HHR explains on its website.
            Mr. Clinton will receive a “Lifetime Achievement Award” for “his leadership and life-saving work ensuring that children and communities are not forgotten after disasters strike.”            Ms. Nemacova is the girlfriend of Martelly’s Prime Minister and longtime business partner Laurent Lamothe, who will also reportedly attend the event.            “Already this month, there have been two massive demonstrations in Port-au-Prince demanding that Martelly and Lamothe resign for looting state coffers and jailing critics,” said Ray Laforest of the International Support Haiti Network (ISHN), one of the groups sponsoring the protest outside Cipriani. “Teachers are striking and students are marching to denounce how the Martelly government is strangling education in Haiti. Now the clueless glitterati are going to toast him for supposedly promoting education. It’s an outrage and a disgrace.”            This is not the first time that Ms. Nemacova’s charity has been criticized. “After surviving the 2004 tsunami in Thailand by clinging to the top of a palm tree, the supermodel wanted to pay it forward by founding a charity to build schools in Latin America and Indonesia,” reported the New York Post on Nov. 9, 2008. “Instead, it seems an outrageous portion of the donations have gone for lavish parties at Cipriani. Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman and Eva Mendes have attended the black-tie affairs. According to the most recent tax filing, for 2006, the organization spent more than half of its funds on administration and fund raising, including its annual star-studded Heart of Gold ball, and gave nothing in aid. Glen Nordlinger, a director of Happy Hearts Fund, said the group raised $4.5 million in 2007 and spent $2.1 million on programs, including building schools... But even those figures raise red flags with charity watchdog groups, which use the almost universal standard that a well-run charity should spend 65 to 75 percent of its donations helping people.”            Mr. Clinton has been roundly criticized for his leadership as co-chairman of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), which coordinated disbursement of billions of dollars contributed to Haiti after the earthquake.            “Four years after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake toppled the capital city of Port-au-Prince and heavily damaged other parts of the country, hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department's U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), allocated to the IHRC, are gone,” wrote Mary O’Grady in a May 18 column in the Wall Street Journal. “Hundreds of millions more to the IHRC from international donors have also been spent. Left behind is a mishmash of low quality, poorly thought-out development experiments and half-finished projects.”            As a result, “Haitians are angry, frustrated and increasingly suspicious of the motives of the IHRC and of its top official, Mr. Clinton. Americans might feel the same way if they knew more about this colossal failure. One former Haitian official puts it this way: ‘I really cannot understand how you could raise so much money, put a former U.S. president in charge, and get this outcome.’”            Four years after the quake, “more than 170,000 people are estimated to still be living in more than 300 displacement camps, in the majority of cases in appalling conditions with no access to essential basic services such as clean water, toilets and waste disposal,” wrote Amnesty International in a Jan. 9, 2014 statement.            Demonstrators will gather on Thursday at 5 p.m. in front of Cipriani, which is at 110 East 42nd Street in Manhattan, between Lexington and Park Avenues.            Also being honored at the event are United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek and philanthropist John Caudwell.
            “Under Martelly, demonstrations in Haiti are almost always broken up with the police firing teargas into the crowd and beating people,” said Henriot Dorcent, a leader of the Dessalines Coordination (KOD), a new Haitian party which is also supporting the demonstration outside Cipriani. “Martelly won’t be able to do that in New York. He has enriched himself and his cronies from the Haitian treasury and PetroCaribe account, while Clinton has monopolized, squandered, and misdirected Haiti’s precious earthquake funds. Haitians in New York won’t allow those two men who have so damaged Haiti’s present and future to be honored without people knowing the truth.”
Categories: Haitian blogs

Head of OAS Electoral Mission in Haiti: International Community Tried to Remove Préval on Election Day

Jun. 20, 2014 - 6:56 pm

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research
Speaking in early May at the “Who ‘Owns’ Haiti?” symposium at George Washington’s Elliot School of International Affairs, Colin Granderson, the head of the CARICOM-OAS Electoral Mission in Haiti in 2010-2011 confirmed previous accounts that the international community tried to force then-president Réné Préval from power on election day.            That the international community had “offered” President Préval a plane out of the country during Haiti’s chaotic first-round election in November 2010 was first revealed by Ricardo Seitenfus, the former OAS Special Representative to Haiti. Seitenfus subsequently lost his position with the OAS, but Préval himself soon confirmed the story, telling author Amy Wilentz: “‘At around noon, they called me,’ he said in an interview at the palace recently. ‘It’s no longer an election,’ they told me. ‘It’s a political problem. Do you want a plane to leave?’ I don’t know how they were going to explain my departure, but I got rid of that problem for them by refusing to go. I want to serve out my mandate and give the presidency over to an elected president.”            Despite accounts of the story from three different high-level sources who were there, the story has gained little international traction in the media.
            In filmmaker Raoul Peck’s documentary “Fatal Assistance,” Préval revealed that it was the head of the UN mission in Haiti at the time, Edmond Mulet, who made the threat. (Seitenfus recently offered his recollection of discussions with Mulet and other high-level officials that day in an exclusive interview with CEPR and freelance Georgianne Nienaber.) For his part, Mulet categorically denied the event, telling Catherine Porter of the Toronto Star: “I never said that, he never answered that,” Mulet told the Star when asked about Préval’s allegation. “I was worried if he didn’t stop the fraud and rioting, a revolution would force him to leave. I didn’t have the capability, the power or the interest of putting him on a plane.”            The election, plagued by record-low turnout, problems with voter registration and massive irregularities, was in doubt on election day when, around noon, 12 of 18 presidential candidates held a press conference calling for the election to be cancelled. Speaking at last month’s symposium, Granderson discussed what happened next:            “The international community intervened, working with representatives of the private sector, and managed to get two of the candidates to reverse themselves, to renege on their commitment, and this rescued the electoral process. But what I think was most unsettling, was that following this attempt to have these elections cancelled, was the intervention of certain members of the international community basically calling on President Préval to step down.”            This wouldn’t be the end of the international community’s intervention in the electoral process. After first-round results were announced showing Mirlande Manigat and Préval’s successor Jude Célestin moving on to the second round, a team from the OAS was brought in to analyze the results. Despite having no statistical evidence, and instead of cancelling the elections, the OAS team overturned the first round results, replacing Célestin in the second round with Michel Martelly. Seitenfus has described in detail how this intervention was carried out, in his recent interview with CEPR and in his forthcoming book, International Crossroads and Failures in Haiti.

Categories: Haitian blogs

Urgent Appeal for the Protection of Haitian Human Rights Lawyer Evel Fanfan

Jun. 16, 2014 - 5:29 pm
URGENT APPEAL FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE LIFEAtty. Evel Fanfan, Activist Lawyer, Defender of Human Rights, Director of the Executive Council of  AUMOHD (Action Units Motivated for a Haiti With Rights)________________________________________________________________________
Haiti, June 12, 2014Ladies and Gentlemen,
Atty. Evel Fanfan is an Activist,Lawyer, Defender of Human Rights, Executive Director of the Executive Council of AUMOHD (Action Units Motivated for a Haiti With Rights), an Organization for Human Rights which has as its main mission to promote the personal rights and dignity of Haitians.
Since 2005 because of his involvement in the battle for the establishment of a rule of law in Haiti, his family and his office staff continue to be the constant target of threats and intimidation to the point where in July 2006, following requests for protection by Amnesty International, OAS and Front Line, International the Director General of the National Police of Haiti then saw it was obliged to detach a policeman to his office for protection.
Despite this decision, his life, his family and the staff of his office have become increasingly prey to death threats, intimidation by anonymous phone calls, texts and voice messages from unknown individuals.

Worse, on the night of Sunday, June 1, 2014, unknown individuals climbed onto the building housing the Central Headquarters of the organization, to set fire in the rear of the building burning all materials and objects that were there as they tried in vain to get into the main office.
That same day they took all the materials, the power supply (solar energy);  two mixers; two microphones; one equalizer; four speakers; two CD decks; two CDs with recording spots for awareness and civic education; all making up the Mobile Civic Education unit for worker mobilization and the struggle for social justice.
Worse, Sunday, June 8, 2014, eight (8) days after the sabotage of the Central Headquarters of the Organization AUMOHD, three (3) armed individuals on motorcycle came to ambush and murder Atty. Fanfan in front of his residence.
When Atty FANFAN headed for his car, one of the three men told the two others, “look, Atty. FANFAN is coming out”, and then the other two came up to put their plan into action.
Thanks to the solidarity and sudden intervention by residents and neighborhood friends, Atty.FANFAN was spared, but the offenders were lucky to get away.  However they left their motorcycle registration plate: MTTB. 4544, gray.
 It is important to note that these threats are increasing at a time when Atty. Evel FANFAN and his team are involved in key issues such as the case of the workers of Haitel SA, the reparation to victims of the government involved Grand Ravine massacres, and the defense of poor citizens arrested and kept in prison for having participated in protest movements against the current Haitian government in defense of media persecuted by the government.
Faced with these repeated and blatant attacks, it is urgent and imperative to appeal to the Haitian authorities to take adequate measures for the protection of Atty Evel FANFAN, his family and the staff of his office.
NOTE FROM TOM LUCE
In order to help a variety of needs are now urgent.  At the moment we have no place to send money or addresses of government officials to lobby.  That will be forthcoming on my old website: <hurrah.org>.  Please check there.
1.) Replacement of mobile public education materials; 2) travel money for the 3 children of Atty. Fanfan.
          

Categories: Haitian blogs

A Neo-Duvalierist Dictatorship à la Martelly Takes Shape

Jun. 12, 2014 - 3:57 pm

Justice Minister Sanon plays an important roleby Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)
The regime of President Michel Martelly, which came to power through the electoral meddling of the United States and its "Ministry of Colonial Affairs" the Organization of American States (OAS), is currently planning to replace the current 6,600 UN occupation troops of MINUSTAH with a new Haitian military force trained by the U.S. and Brazil over the next two years.            In May 2013, Nigel Fisher, then head of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), said that there would be about 3,000 UN troops in Haiti in 2017. Currently, UN officials are talking with Haitian officials about speeding up troop withdrawal and “five options [for the UN] to perform the political and peacekeeping functions that are likely to remain relevant beyond 2016," said Sophie Boutaud de la Combe, MINUSTAH’s spokesperson.
            MINUSTAH was deployed on Jun. 1, 2004 [some months following the U.S. orchestrated coup of Haiti's elected government], and Brazil has always provided its commanders and the majority of its troops.            Now, Brazil will begin training 200 Haitian soldiers for a so-called "corps of military engineers." That agreement was signed between Brazil’s Defense Minister Celso Amorim and Haiti’s Foreign Minister Duly Brutus in Port-au-Prince on May 29.            Beginning in July, the U.S. will train 20 Haitian officers at the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, DC. The military school is similar to the infamous "School of the Americas" at Ft. Benning in the state of Georgia and is run by the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB).             These soldiers will all be part of a projected "National Guard" (Garde nationale), which is similar in name and proxy nature to "the Guard of Haiti" (Garde d’Haïti), conceived, trained, equipped, and set in place by U.S. Marines in 1934 at the end of their 19-year military occupation. Haiti’s “National Guard” will begin with 3,500 soldiers.            Furthermore, according to Radio Zenith, Reginald Delva, the Minister of Interior and National Defense, has resurrected Haiti’s National Intelligence Service (SIN), which was dissolved 20 years ago. The new SIN will deploy 10 informers in each of Haiti’s 565 communal sections for a total of 5,650 spies.            Meanwhile, Justice Minister Jean Renel Sanon, a former officer of the demobilized Armed Forces of Haiti (FAdH), is restoring the infamous section chiefs (chefs de section), again according to Radio Zenith. Each of the 565 section chiefs will have 10 deputies, who were called during the Duvalier era, "chouket lawoze" (dew breakers).            So, "official" networks for spying and repression, similar to the Tonton Macoute legions of the Duvalier regimes, are already being set up by the Interior Ministry, Justice Ministry, and the Communications Ministry, headed by Rudy Hériveaux, a former leader in the Lavalas Family party who has opportunistically joined the government of President Martelly and his Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe.            Alongside are “informal” networks of so-called "legal bandits" directed by regime strongmen like Calixte Valentin, Youri Latortue, Joseph Lambert, and Ronald "Roro" Nelson, who just last week arrested six students who dared to pass his vehicle on the Ruelle Nazon in the capital.            Meanwhile, progressive grassroots activists and organizations have been targeted in recent weeks. Lucien Anerville, an inspector of the Haitian National Police (PNH), led a commando unit which tried to search and, some say, assassinate Sen. Moïse Jean Charles in Gressier on May 8. On May 24, Officer Anerville illegally arrested (many say kidnapped) Rony Timothée, spokesman for the Patriotic Force for the Respect of the Constitution (FOPARC), a mass organization. Prison guard Frantzy Julien attacked Sen. Moïse Jean Charles in Arcahaie on May 30.            On May 29 in Delmas 49, as Lavalas grassroots groups met at the offices of the Association of University Students Committed to a Haiti with Rights (AUMOHD), they were surrounded by armed, masked men. A few days earlier, the office had been robbed and burned by regime thugs, according to AUMOHD’s president, lawyer Evel Fanfan. Mr. Fanfan, who defends political prisoners including protestors arrested in a demonstration on May 1, also says he was threatened on Jun. 4 at the courthouse by government prosecutor Kerson Charles who said: "You are among those who are creating disorder in the country. You defend troublemakers." Mr. Fanfan was also attacked by three gunmen on a motorcycle in Delmas 65 on Jun. 8 at around 9:00 a.m..            Volcy Assad, an activist with the Heads Together Organization (OTAN), was also threatened with arrest by the shadowy agents who threatened Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles in Gressier on May 8. In an open letter to President Martelly published last week in Haiti Liberté, Mr. Volcy described the threats and intimidation endured by many progressive activists in recent months.            "On Monday, May 19, four armed individuals in a pickup without license plates forced my driver to stop after he had just dropped off my children at school," Mr. Volcy wrote. "Even my family’s lives are in danger."            Unfortunately, some political organizations, through anarchic practices and a lack of security and organizational discipline, allow anyone to participate in their meetings, thereby facilitating the task of regime spies. These organizations function more like a church and often do not know who are members and who are not. This is how, on May 25, Jocelyn Dorval, a liaison officer working for the Justice Ministry and the State Secretary for Public Security was easily able to infiltrate and spy on a regular meeting of FOPARC.            Similarly, on May 23, the regime managed to penetrate a weekly meeting at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, commonly called "Lavalas Family Fridays." The regime-linked individuals videotaped and recorded everything said at that meeting. Ten days later, on Jun. 2, their tape was broadcast on some of the capital’s media, including Radio Zenith and Scoop FM. Journalist Garry Pierre-Paul Charles, owner of the latter station, not only broadcast what was said in a private space but also accused two Lavalas Family leaders – Coordinator, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, and executive committee member, Joel Edouard “Pasha” Vorbe – of "preaching violence." However, it was meeting participants who, at the end of the meeting, loudly chanted: "Grenadiers, to the assault, for those who die, we’ll avenge them.”            Twenty-four hours after the radio broadcasts, on Jun. 3, the Justice Ministry released a long press release signed by Minister Jean Renel Sanon. It reads: "The Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP) is surprised and very concerned about the recent violent and incendiary statements by two senior officials of the executive board of the Fanmi Lavalas party. In order to maintain public order and prevent at all costs the return to a chaotic period of which the nation still has painful memories, the MJSP feels obliged to alert the public and deter any potential troublemakers. The Ministry reminds people that the mission of political parties is, among other things, to maintain the health of democracy while using peaceful and legal strategies for taking state power. When the most senior leaders of a party use media microphones to chant slogans like ‘Mache pran yo’ (Go get them), the Ministry believes that it is all of society, and especially the other political parties themselves, which need to be concerned. The MJSP is the guarantor of national security, and these thinly veiled slogans were used to inflame the country in the darkest moments of violence and killings in the past two decades. Under no circumstances nor for any reason should such periods reappear in Haiti today, and we should devote ourselves to the restoration of the rule of law and stability, the sine qua non for attracting foreign investment. Recalling that the Haitian Penal Code punishes inflammatory statements and incitements to violence, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security, invites everyone, especially politicians, to show a sense of responsibility, tolerance, and moderation, to assist in the conservation of peace and stability which are key to development in any country."            In response, Ms. Narcisse, accompanied by Mr. Vorbe and Lionel Etienne, another Lavalas Family Executive Committee member, gave a press conference on Jun. 6 in which they denounced government intimidation of their party. "The Lavalas Family will not allow itself to be intimidated by the regime,” said Ms. Narcisse. “We will not let the image of the Lavalas Family be tarnished. We speak the truth, and we will continue to speak the truth, and the people must continue to mobilize to defend the truth. We denounce the base intimidation and threats carried out by the Lamothe government against honest citizens, the leaders of the Lavalas Family. This is further evidence that demonstrates that they are afraid and panicked."            Ironically, on May 30 in Kenscoff, Prime Minister Lamothe, reportedly sang with the former Macoute leader of that town, Father Jeanty Oxide alias Pè Siko. "Go get them, Martelly. Go get them, Pè Siko. Go get them, Lamothe, go get them."            These songs harken back to the terror during the Duvalier regimes (1957-1986) when dictatorship supporters used to sing: "Go get them, Duvalier, go get them."            There are many disturbing things in the record of Minister Sanon, who today would like to give democracy lessons to others.             ● In October 2013, he reported that there was a subversive meeting, organized by people hostile to elections, on Avenue Pouplard in the capital, in which the murder of journalist Jean Monard Metellus of Radio Caraïbes FM was discussed. Despite this detailed disclosure, Minister Sanon has never managed to name the would-be killers or bring them to justice.            ● Also in October 2013, on Minister Sanon’s orders, Government Prosecutor René Francisco ordered the arrest of opposition lawyer André Michel. A note from the Justice Ministry said the arrest was carried out before the arrest deadline specified by the Constitution, 6:00 p.m. But Mr. Michel was arrested at 7:30 p.m. Nonetheless, Sanon disingenuously said the arrest was carried out in strict compliance with the law.            ● In September 2012, Sen. Edwin "Edo" Zenny, a regime ally, spat in a judge’s face in Jacmel. Rather than denounce Sen. Zenny, Minister Sanon fired the judge, Bob Simonise. The incident occurred in front of witnesses at a Jacmel radio station.            ● In late 2013, Government Prosecutor Jean-Marie Salomon was fired after he arrested in flagrante delicto a suspected drug trafficker, hotelier Evinx Daniel. Minister Sanon dispatched his lawyers to release Mr. Daniel. Mr. Salomon was then fired and forced to seek refuge overseas. Mr. Daniel has been missing since January.            ● Minister Sanon took part in an infamous Jul. 11, 2013 meeting in which President Martelly and Prime Minister Lamothe reportedly threatened Judge Jean Serge Joseph for investigating a corruption case involving Sophia and Olivier Martelly, respectively the president’s wife and son. Judge Joseph died two days later under very suspicious circumstances.            ● On Mar. 29, 2014, Minister Sanon, accompanied by Government Prosecutor Gerald Norgaisse, personally went to the women's prison in Petion-ville in order to illegally release the wife of Woodly Ethéard aka Sonson La Familia, who was accused of involvement in money laundering, drug trafficking, and conspiracy. Since then, Marie Taïssa Mazile Ethéard has disappeared while the examining magistrate Jean François Sonel, who is the only person who can legally release her, has called for her to return to prison.            ● Former Government Prosecutor Jean Renel Sénatus accused Jean Renel Sanon, a former FAdH officer, of being involved in sexual encounters and parties (zokiki) with minors.            The regime’s emerging repression and threats have brought about a change in the political position of some organizations, particularly the Lavalas Family. Party leader Maryse Narcisse used to say that President Martelly should complete his mandate despite widespread calls for his resignation. The party even expelled Sen. Moise Jean-Charles for his clear and consistent denunciations of the budding dictatorship. Now, the Lavalas Family is being targeted, and recent declarations by some of its leaders suggest it may soon publicly join the call of the vast majority of the Haitian people that President Martelly and Prime Minister Lamothe step down so that a provisional government can conduct free, fair, and sovereign elections.

Categories: Haitian blogs

MUST WATCH Debate: Is Human Rights Watch Too Close to U.S. Gov’t to Criticize Its Foreign Policy?

Jun. 11, 2014 - 3:12 pm
   Why did Human Rights Watch (HRW) not call for evoking the OAS charter following the US carried out coup d'etat of Haiti's constitutional government? Why was HRW silent over the thousands of people killed in the wake of the coup?
Categories: Haitian blogs

Resistance & the Lavalas Movement

Jun. 2, 2014 - 11:54 am
HAITI ACTION COMMITTEESTUDY GROUPJoin HAC as we explore Haiti’s history, current political situation, and the connections to parallel struggles throughout the U.S. and around the world. We will be meeting regularly to examine texts and films, analyze the latest resources, and utilize discussion and reflection.
Come to our first meeting!
Resistance & the Lavalas Movement
What is Lavalas? Do people in Haiti support the current government? Who is involved in Haiti’s fight for democracy? Why do the world’s superpowers fear the people’s movement? Who is really in power in Haiti? What does activism look like in Haiti?
Saturday, June 7th2:00 - 4:00pmNiebyl Proctor Library6501 Telegraph AveOakland, CA
Future Topics include:The return to dictatorship; mass incarceration and political prisoners; sweatshops and privatization; the ongoing pillaging of Haiti’s resources; labor activism; COINTELPRO tactics in Haiti and the U.S.; racism; parallel struggles in Latin America; and many more!
For more see:
www.haitisolidarity.net and on FACEBOOK
Categories: Haitian blogs

While on Trip to Demand MINUSTAH’s Withdrawal: Senator Moïse Jean-Charles Meets with Haitian Refugees in Brazil

May. 27, 2014 - 7:13 pm

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles held several meetings with disgruntled Haitian immigrants in Sao Paolo this week as part of a six-day visit to Brazil. On May 21, he will address both houses of the Parliament, and on May 22, the Sao Paolo City Council will recognize him as an honorary citizen of that city, the Western Hemisphere’s largest.            Sen. Jean-Charles’ current visit to Brazil, like his two previous ones in 2013, is part of a campaign to push for the withdrawal of the 9,000-soldier UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), which will mark its 10th anniversary on Jun. 1. Some 2,200 Brazilian troops make up MINUSTAH’s largest contingent, and Brazilian generals command the force.
            Joining the senator on his visit to Brazil is Oxygène David, a leader of the new party Dessalines Coordination (KOD), which is one of eight groups in the Haitian Coordination for the Withdrawal of UN Troops from Haiti. The Haitian Coordination, whose April declaration Sen. Jean-Charles also signed, is planning events to denounce MINUSTAH’s 10th anniversary in Haiti. There will also be demonstrations against MINUSTAH in nations around the world including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Trinidad-Tobago, Uruguay, and the United States.            A Haitian Senate resolution, drafted by Sen. Jean-Charles one year ago and passed unanimously, called for all UN troops to be out of Haiti by May 28, 2014. UN authorities have pointedly ignored the resolution and have fixed no deadline for their open-ended military occupation to leave Haiti.            Every Monday morning, KOD holds a demonstration of about 50 people in front of the UN base at the Port-au-Prince airport calling for MINUSTAH to pack up and go. UN troops and Haitian police have been increasingly disturbed by and aggressive against the weekly action, threatening demonstrators with tear-gas and arrest.            On May 18, Sen. Jean-Charles met with Haitians at the Church of the Immigrants in downtown Sao Paolo, about a block from a city-run emergency housing center which currently holds over 100 Haitian immigrants. On May 19, Sen. Jean-Charles, along with Oxygène David and a journalist from Haïti Liberté, returned to the “Auberge Emergenciel,” and later to a squatter-run commercial building, to hear the grievances of Haitian expatriates.            “I make only 1000 reals (US$450) per month in a terribly hard job cleaning chemicals from barrels,” said a 27-year-old Haitian man at the housing center who would identify himself only as Hector. “We are given dangerous work and don’t make enough to send home money or even to live. We are virtually slaves here!”            The Haitians at the center, managed by the mayor’s office, sleep in a giant fluorescent-lit hall on metal bunk beds and use communal bathrooms. The yard has lots of laundry hanging in it.            There are an estimated 50,000 Haitians now living in Brazil, but only 20,000 are legal and have work papers. Almost all have come to Brazil over the past decade that Brazilian troops have been in Haiti. As in many countries, the Haitian immigrants work in menial jobs as construction workers, maids, or janitors, although many are trained as nurses, doctors, accountants, or engineers.            “In talking with people, we’ve identified three main problems,” Sen. Jean-Charles said speaking later on May 19 at the Movement for Housing for All (MMPT), which has occupied a vacant commercial building in downtown Sao Paolo to provide shelter for homeless people, including dozens of Haitians. “There is the problem of sanitation, of education, and of salaries. Add to those, there may have been some human rights violations, for which Haitians need a lawyer. We are going to raise all these issues when we meet with local authorities to see what kind of relief our Haitian brothers and sisters can receive.”            Meanwhile, Oxygène David pointed out to the Haitians that ending the UN occupation of Haiti is in their interests. “Every year, Brazil spends millions of reals to support soldiers who are repressing and killing our brothers and sisters in Haiti,” he said to Haitians at the housing center. “That money could be going to hospitals, schools, agriculture, and better jobs and housing for immigrants like you here in Brazil. So you have a double interest in seeing Brazilian soldiers leave Haiti. One, to end the repression of your fellow Haitians. Two, to allow more money to be available for jobs and services here.”            The Brazilian committee sponsoring Sen. Jean-Charles’s trip to Brazil, “To Defend Haiti is to Defend Ourselves,” organized the meetings with Haitian immigrants as well as the trip to Brasilia to address both the Brazilian Senate and House of Deputies on May 21. Sen. Jean-Charles is also speaking to many radio and television stations in both Sao Paolo and Brasilia.            On May 22, Sao Paolo’s City Council will name Sen. Jean-Charles as a “Citizen of Sao Paolo.” The ceremony, which will be open to the public, was initiated by Councilwoman Juliana Cardoso of the ruling Workers Party (PT) and State Deputy Adriano Diogo, also of the PT. “It is a very great honor in Brazil to receive this recognition,” said Barbara Corrales, the coordinator of the “To Defend Haiti is to Defend Ourselves” committee.            Last December, Sen. Jean-Charles visited Brasil to attend the PT’s National Congress, in which he succeeded in convincing delegates to pass a resolution calling for the withdrawal of Brazilian troops from Haiti. In May 2013, the senator also visited several Brazilian cities to push for troop withdrawal.            On Jun. 10, Sen. Jean-Charles will meet for the second time with Uruguayan President José Mujica in Montevideo. “I will ask him to respect the promise that he made to me during our meeting last November,” Sen. Jean-Charles told Haïti Liberté. “He said he was going to withdraw Uruguayan troops from Haiti. I want to find out how that is progressing.”
            Uruguay has historically had about 1,100 troops in MINUSTAH, the second largest contingent after Brazil.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Scholars, Cholera Victims Tell Court UN Immunity Cannot Be Impunity

May. 27, 2014 - 7:12 pm

by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
International law scholars and practitioners from Europe and North America, many with United Nations (UN) connections, filed two amicus curiae briefs on May 15 in support of a federal class action lawsuit against the UN for bringing cholera to Haiti. The briefs demonstrate a consensus among scholars that the UN has an obligation to provide the cholera victims a hearing for their claims, and that its refusal to do so imperils the organization’s immunity.            The amicus briefs buttress another brief filed May 15 by the cholera victims. It explains why immunity cannot shield the UN from having to respond to the victims’ suit. All three briefs respond to a March 2014 filing by the U.S. Government urging dismissal of the case on the grounds that the UN is immune from suit.
            In one amicus brief, well-known international law scholars note that several international treaties, as well as the UN’s own General Assembly resolutions, legal opinions, and practices establish an obligation for the organization to compensate people harmed by UN operations – an obligation which has not been fulfilled in the cholera case.            One of the signers of this brief, José Alvarez, professor of international law at New York University School of Law, noted that “the UN has committed itself at the highest levels to the promotion and fulfillment of the rule of law, but apparently sees no contradiction in promoting accountability — including legal accountability — in others while refusing to address how the national or international law applies to itself in this case."            European legal experts point out in the second amicus brief that courts outside of the United States balance an international organization’s immunity protection with victims’ right of access to court. They describe how those courts have required that in return for immunity in court, international organizations must provide harmed individuals with a reasonable alternative procedure.            Manfred Nowak, Professor of International Law and Human Rights at Vienna and Stanford University and former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, added that “the UN needs to understand that immunity cannot mean impunity. If it refuses to provide people alleging harm with a path to justice, courts will refuse to uphold its immunity.”            The amicus briefs underscore the growing international consensus that the UN cannot be absolutely immune for its actions in Haiti. The international law authorities signing the briefs include current and former UN mandate holders such as Nico Schrijver and Krister Thelin. Last month, the New York City Bar Association sent a letter to the State Department expressing its concern that the U.S. Government should not support the UN’s violations of the law.            The plaintiffs’ brief is the first opportunity that the cholera victims have had to tell the court why UN immunity does not apply in this case, which was filed in October 2013. The plaintiffs argue that the UN’s promises to provide an out-of-court procedure for the settlement of claims against it are a fundamental part of the treaties that grant it immunity, and that the organization cannot invoke its immunity under those treaties when it has failed to fulfill those promises.
            Cholera continues to affect Haiti’s vulnerable population. The UN itself has warned that the disease may kill up to 2,000 more people in 2014. To date, the epidemic has killed more than 8,500 and sickened more than 700,000.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Jacmel Businessman Claims Joseph Lambert, a Presidential Advisor, Tried to Have Him Killed

May. 14, 2014 - 11:24 pm
by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)
Jean Rony Philippe, a 44-year-old businessman and political activist from Haiti’s southeastern city of Jacmel, was driving home from Port-au-Prince on Apr. 3, 2014 when he was ambushed, robbed, shot, and left for dead by a eight heavily armed men. The crime, he believes, was ordered by former Sen. Joseph Lambert, who is today one of President Michel Martelly’s closest advisors.            “My family and I have become a problem for [Joseph ] Lambert,” Mr. Philippe said in a long interview with Haïti Liberté, in which he detailed the ambush and his long history of “political rivalry” with Mr. Lambert. “We are preventing him from controlling the [Southeast] department in its entirety, and I have been working hard to keep him from reigning as lord and master there. That is his problem with me.”
            Despite much talk, especially in the Southeast department, that he was behind the attempted assassination, Mr. Lambert has offered no comment on the attack, nor have his political allies, Sen. Edwin “Edo” Zenny and Sen. Wenceslas Lambert, his brother.            Mr. Philippe’s charges come as restauranteur Woodly “Sonson Lafamilia” Ethéard, another close Martelly associate, turned himself into the Haitian police on May 8 on charges of involvement in a kidnapping ring known as the “Galil Gang.” Mr. Ethéard, who was on the run and in headlines for the past two months, is currently being held in a Croix-de-Bouquets jail alongside Clifford Brandt, another close Martelly associate who was arrested two years ago for heading another kidnapping ring but who has never been brought to trial.            Trained in Haitian universities as an agronomist, Mr. Philippe owns a supermarket and an electronics store in Jacmel and is the assistant treasurer of the Southeast department’s Chamber of Commerce. He is also a political activist in the grassroots Organization of 22 (OG-22), which is close to the Lavalas Family party, and was the vice president of the Southeast’s Departmental Election Office (BED) for the 2009 Senate elections and the first round of the 2010 Presidential elections.             Well-regarded in Jacmel, Mr. Philippe is local success story, having been born a peasant in nearby Belle Anse, where his family is still influential.            As he drove home from the capital on the day of the attack, Mr. Philippe noticed a grey Toyota Rav4 SUV following him. Just before he reached the Port-au-Prince suburb of Mariani, the Rav4 blocked him. Almost immediately his car was surrounded “by eight men, all armed with brand-new 9mm guns.”            After shooting him once, the assailants took 40,000 gourdes (US$886), his phone, two rings, and a bracelet, but he was still negotiating for his life.            “At last I realized that they wanted to kill me no matter what,” Mr. Philippe said. “Still very calmly, I told them, ‘if you want other things, just ask me. But let me live! Here is the key to my car. Take it with everything in it.’”            The men mocked him and shot him again. “I was hit by many bullets and finally, I fell down on the car seat, pretending to be dead,” the victim said.            After the men fled the scene, Mr. Philippe, bleeding profusely, drove himself to a nearby Haitian police station, and the police took him to the nearby hospital of Doctors Without Borders. He was transferred to and operated on at the Canapé Vert hospital. He then traveled to Brooklyn, NY where he underwent more surgery at Kings County Hospital. He is now recuperating in New York City.            Joseph Lambert has long been accused and suspected of involvement in drug trafficking and other criminal activities in the Jacmel region.            In a May 12, 2006 secret diplomatic cable provided to Haïti Liberté by WikiLeaks in 2011, then U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Janet Sanderson wrote that Mr. Lambert was reported to be one “of the best-known narco-traffickers in [Jacmel], distributing money for favors and engaging in vote buying... SIMO [U.S. Army’s Systems Integration and Management Office] and DEA [Drug Enforcement Agency] Port-au-Prince report that information on file reflects that he is suspected of association with known drug traffickers in Jacmel.”            In another secret Aug. 2, 2006 cable, Ms. Sanderson reported that Edmund Mulet, then the head of the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), complained that “drug trafficking has become an increasingly alarming problem, which is difficult to combat, in part because of the drug ties within the Haitian Government. In this connection, he mentioned Senate leader Joseph Lambert and Security Commission Chair Youri Latortue,” another former senator who is today another close Martelly advisor.            In 2013, a young Jacmel man, Sherlson Sanon, claimed to have worked for Mr. Lambert as a hired gunman for over 10 years and to have been instructed by him to kill Deputies Sorel Jacinthe and Levaillant Louis-Jeune. In his confession to police, Mr. Sanon claimed to have engaged in drug trafficking and murder for Mr. Lambert as well as Sen. Zenny.            Asked by Haïti Liberté what he knew about Mr. Sanon’s charges, Mr. Philippe replied that he had “no elements to verify” the accusations but said that “one day the Haitian judicial system has to free itself from the claws of Joseph Lambert and of the government he belongs to if we want to shed light on certain cases in which he is implicated.”            This may be difficult because, according to Mr. Philippe, “in Jacmel, for example, Lambert named the state prosecutor, the justice of the peace (juge de paix), and the investigating judge also. The local chief justice (doyen) is under his control. If Lambert controls the justice system to this extent, who is going to arrest him, even if he is accused or found guilty of whatever? He will be declared not guilty, and that’s it.”            Mr. Philippe explained he had once reluctantly visited Mr. Lambert, on his invitation, because his brother had been falsely arrested. One phone call from Mr. Lambert to the local judge resulted in his brother’s immediate release from jail, he said.
            “We need another governance, another Haiti,” Mr. Philippe concluded. “We need men and women who choose to go to universities to learn and to create jobs in the country, not choose to become criminals, kidnappers, or drug traffickers.”
Categories: Haitian blogs

Stateless in the Dominican Republic: Residents stripped of citizenship

May. 8, 2014 - 12:01 pm
Tens of thousands born to Haitian parents cope with the fallout from a court decision rescinding their citizenshipMay 4, 2014 5:00AM ETby  - Al JazeeraLOS JOVILLOS DE YAMASA, Dominican Republic — When Jenny Sarita Emanier Previlma finished high school, she was the pride of this small rural town, one of only a handful of high school graduates. She dreams of continuing her studies and becoming a doctor. But because Emanier, 24, lacks a national identification document, she cannot enroll in a public university. “I feel sad," she says. “My friends who I finished school with, they’re already finishing university.”Emanier is one of an estimated 210,000 people who have been stripped of their Dominican citizenship because of their parents’ immigration status. She was born in the Dominican Republic, but her mother emigrated from neighboring Haiti in 1982 with a government-issued work permit.In September, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that another resident of Emanier’s town, Juliana Deguis Pierre, 30, did not have the right to Dominican citizenship because her parents were “irregular” migrants. It also ruled that the findings in the case should be applied not only to Deguis but to all descendants of irregular migrants — with or without proper documents — born in the country since 1929.
The court specified that Deguis’ parents — Haitians who crossed the border with government permits to work in the sugarcane fields and have lived here for decades — were “in transit.” Under the constitution in place at the time, children born in the Dominican Republic were granted citizenship unless they were born to diplomats or people in transit, a term generally applied to people passing through the country for fewer than 10 days. But the September ruling broadened it to mean those without legal permanent residence.Los Jovillos, where Emanier was born and raised, is a batey, a town built for sugarcane workers. The sugarcane is now gone, but the community remains, a sleepy collection of small colorful homes sitting off a potholed dirt road. Three hundred and sixteen families live here. Some residents travel to work in construction in Santo Domingo, 28 miles away; others grow corn, beans and fruit in converted sugarcane fields.Many from younger generations have been caught up in the legal battle. While the ruling, which cannot be appealed, has shocked many Dominicans, it legalized actions the state has been carrying out for many years. Since the 1990s, thousands of people have been refused national ID cards, necessary to work, register children, get married, open bank accounts, attend public universities and participate in many other civil activities.Emanier made it halfway through the application process. When she was 18, she filled out the necessary paperwork. But when she went to pick up her plastic ID card, the office staff refused to give it to her, saying she was ineligible because of her parents’ nationality. Denationalization?Juliana Deguis Pierre, was denied an ID in 2008. Her appeal eventually made it to the Dominican Constitutional Court, which not only ruled against her but extended the ruling to tens of thousands of people born to Haitian parents. Alessandro Vecchi for Al Jazeera AmericaOpponents describe the impact of the ruling as widespread denationalization. The government disagrees. “The Dominican government did not denationalize anybody,” says Ambiorix Rosario, a representative for the country’s migration office.To the government, people like Deguis and Emanier, born to foreign parents, should never have received a birth certificate. The fact that they did was a bureaucratic mistake the court decision attempts to rectify.The ruling was also meant to deal with the large population of immigrants — mostly Haitian — in the country, whose presence the government sees as a problem. For decades, tens of thousands of people from impoverished Haiti have crossed into the comparatively wealthy Dominican Republic, some illegally and others under a confusing array of binational treaties. Tensions have mounted in the last 15 years.Now the ruling has spurred an international backlash from prominent human rights organizations, including the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR). The United States, Venezuela and other countries, as well as international organizations like the Caribbean Community, are pressuring the Dominican government to find a solution.Human rights lawyers included Emanier’s case in an appeal to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, which then ordered the Dominican government to protect her and the other appellants from deportation and to give them temporary documents guaranteeing their rights. The government has not provided the papers, though deportations are down.Dominican President Danilo Medina has promised for months to present a plan in response to the verdict; the court ordered that a “regularization” plan be presented within 90 days. There are rumors that the plan will have a naturalization option for people affected by the ruling, but advocates for the denationalized strongly resist that idea, saying it will relegate people like Emanier to second-class citizenship. Another option would be to immediately reinstate people’s citizenship, which would undermine the court decision and alleviate international pressure but anger Dominican nationalists. Seven months after the ruling, a plan has yet to materialize. Years of appealsAntonio Pol Emil — a lawyer, the director of the Dominico-Haitian Cultural Center and an elected representative in San Pedro de Macoris — was born to Haitian parents and was recently unable to renew his Dominican passport.Alessandro Vecchi for Al Jazeera AmericaWithout the sugarcane fields that lured thousands of Haitian migrants and fueled the Dominican Republic’s economic growth during the last century, Los Jovillos has a dilapidated feel. Wood homes tilt precariously, as though they could collapse in a heavy downpour. Peeling painted shutters are clear signs of the passage of time since the sugar industry’s heyday in the late 1970s, before it was privatized.“This society has a minimum of development. It entered the capitalist world through sugarcane. The ones who allowed the Dominican Republic to enter the market with sugarcane are the workers. Our parents had a huge impact on that,” says Antonio Pol Emil, director of the Dominican Haitian Cultural Center in Santo Domingo and the son of Haitian parents. “How do they treat the children of them as not worthy? They do this on discrimination.”Like Emanier and Deguis, Pol, 63, a member of the San Pedro de Macoris city council, has been affected by the ruling. He has held a Dominican passport for more than 30 years, he says, but was sent to the passport office’s legal department when he tried to renew it this year. He says he was ordered, against protocol, to present his birth certificate: “People in front of me didn’t have to. People behind me didn’t have to. Only me.”Pol says he could have obtained his passport “through friends,” but he chose not to, missing three scheduled trips abroad as a result and instead speaking out publicly on the issue.In her home in Los Jovillos, Emanier speaks Spanish to her 3-year-old daughter, Miledy. They live with Emanier’s boyfriend, who is Dominican. Her high school graduation portrait is proudly displayed on a wall in the front room. Miledy should be eligible for Dominican citizenship because of her father’s status. But Emanier says she cannot register her daughter until she gets her own papers. She says that she worries about what will happen when Miledy reaches school age and that she doesn’t want to have any more children because of her legal limbo.Deguis, whose landmark case brought her out of a quiet life with her four children in the batey, is a reluctant icon. She applied for an ID card in 2008; the electoral board’s denial set off years of legal wrangling.Shortly after the September ruling, she was fired from her job as a maid when her new employer belatedly asked to see her ID. Deguis has been unable to find another job, in part because of her lack of papers but also because of her celebrity.She is furious at her situation, but she is also exhausted. At a court hearing in April, Deguis sat, diminutive and silent, behind five human rights lawyers who were fighting the electoral board’s attempt to annul her birth certificate. When the judge ordered a 10-day recess, the entourage trooped out, and Deguis found a bench beneath the staircase in the bustling court building, kicked off her white pumps and lay down, rubbing her aching head. Deguis even had a court hearing on her birthday this year.“She’s tired. That’s what they want, to make us tired,” says Juana Leison Garcia, one of Deguis’ lawyers.NationalismCitizenship cases have been piling up since the 1990s, when the country’s central electoral board started withholding documents, for seemingly arbitrary reasons, from some Dominicans of Haitian descent. At the time, those actions were for the most part illegal.In 1998, in the first legal challenge to these practices, lawyers from the Movement of Dominican Haitian Women brought before the national court and, later, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the case of Dilcia Yean and Violeta Bosico. The two were born in the Dominican Republic to Haitian parents who had been refused copies of the girls’ birth certificates, preventing them from enrolling in school.In what would become a pattern, the national courts ruled against the children, while the international human rights court ruled that the state violated their right to nationality.A 2004 migration law legalized some of the electoral board’s practices, and updates to the constitution in 2010 specified that children born to illegal residents from that time forward were not Dominican nationals. September’s court ruling made that policy retroactive, rendering stateless people born and raised in the country.The rulings are driven by nationalism, racism and fears of a Haitian invasion, advocates say. In its decision, the Constitutional Court pointed to a 2012 survey that counted 668,145 Haitians and their descendants living in the country — 6.87 percent of the Dominican Republic’s population.But strong nationalist views are limited to a tiny elite, many analysts say. Observers accuse the press of aggravating tensions between Haitians and Dominicans by highlighting conflicts and frequently quoting prominent supporters of the verdict, such as the archbishop of Santo Domingo, Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, and conservative political leaders such as Marino Vinicio Castillo Rodríguez and Roberto Rosario Márquez, head of the electoral board.“The great problem here is this unholy alliance between the conservative press, the conservative church, the political sphere and the economic sphere,” says Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, who leads the UNHCR’s Dominican Republic office. He says the hard-line supporters are few (“You can count them on two hands”) but they are people with political pull.You can’t do anything without identification. You can’t study, work, travel, access the health system. It’s a social death. This situation creates a lot of civil deaths.Antonio Pol Emiledirector, the Dominico-Haitian Cultural CenterThat said, many Dominicans believe there are too many Haitians in the Dominican Republic. In a January poll, 83 percent of Dominicans said they supported a ban on Haitian immigration. But resentment is directed mostly toward new immigrants: In the poll, 58 percent of respondents said children born in the D.R. to undocumented immigrants should be considered Dominican.Deguis is adamant about the issue. “It’s not that I feel Dominican. I am Dominican,” she says. “I was born here in the Dominican Republic, and all my documents are from here … I have never been in another country.”She says the worst part of her legal limbo is the impact on her children. She cannot register them as Dominican, and she worries about their prospects.If the Dominican government does not grant citizenship to those affected, Vargas Llosa warns, “the problem will continue to grow year after year, and in 10, 20, 30 years, you may have an absolutely huge number of stateless persons in this country.”Pol says the situation has already created a “paralyzed” generation and worries about the psychological impact on people like Deguis. She barely speaks Haitian Creole, stumbling over her words and mixing in phrases in her native Spanish. “What would I do in Haiti?” she asks.“It’s an extremely serious situation,” says Pol. “You can’t do anything without identification. You can’t study, work, travel, access the health system. It’s a social death. This situation creates a lot of civil deaths.”
Categories: Haitian blogs

Martelly Appoints Duvalier Lawyer to Oversee Elections

May. 7, 2014 - 9:02 pm

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research
Two weeks after the Associated Press reported that the “old political party founded under the Duvalier dictatorship says it plans to enter candidates in Haitian elections,” President Martelly issued an executive decree naming one of Duvalier’s lawyers, Frizto Canton, as a member on the body overseeing said elections.            The holding of local and legislative elections, now more than two years overdue, continues to cause controversy and political gridlock in Haiti and consternation for the international community.            The Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and head of MINUSTAH, Sandra Honore, recently warned in a press release, co-signed by the so-called “Friends of Haiti” group of countries, “that certain important decisions to advance toward the holding of the elections have yet to be made” and that the “inability to hold elections in 2014 could lead to the dissolution of Parliament in January 2015 which would engender yet another political crisis, with unpredictable consequences for the future of Haitian democracy.” This followed visits by members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. State Department representatives and the Club de Madrid, ostensibly to push elections forward.            The gridlock between the senate and the president stems from the composition of Haiti’s electoral body, tasked with organizing and overseeing the electoral process. The international community and President Martelly have continually referred to the “El Rancho Accord,” which was the result of negotiations brokered by the Catholic Church, as outlining the composition of the electoral council. However, the president of the Senate, Simon Dieuseul Desras recently stated, as reported by Haiti Liberté, that, “the El Rancho Accord has no binding force and cannot override either the Constitution or the Electoral Law.” Desras added that a “trusted electoral council of consensus would not take one week to set up.”            Martelly, apparently frustrated by the Senate’s position, decided to move unilaterally today. The AP reports: “Haitian President Michel Martelly announced Tuesday [May 6] he has appointed a new council to oversee legislative and local elections that are two years overdue, an important step to organizing a vote whose tardiness has frustrated many. In a posting on his Facebook page and in a separate email, the leader said that the newest member of the council is Frizto Canton, a high-profile attorney who is defending former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier against human rights abuse and embezzlement charges.”            Although the international community and U.S. State Department have largely blamed the electoral delays on the Haitian parliament rather than on Martelly, the press release from the “Friends of Haiti” also urged “all actors involved to make the concessions required to create a climate of mutual trust and serenity to facilitate the work of an Electoral Council which can provide the necessary guarantees for transparent and inclusive elections.”
            It’s hard to believe the appointment of Canton will help “create a climate of mutual trust” between all parties, especially given the prominent role many officials during the Duvalier era have been given in the current administration. Martelly announced he would address the nation at 8 p.m. on May 6, with elections expected to be the topic.
Categories: Haitian blogs

The Question This Earth Day: Will Humanity Survive?

Apr. 23, 2014 - 9:47 pm
by Berthony Dupont (Haiti Liberte)
The life systems of the planet are in crisis. The climate is warming. Oceans are rising. Deserts are spreading. Wars for dwindling supplies of oil and water are flaring. Some 90% of the ocean’s large fish – tuna, sharks, swordfish and cod -- have disappeared in the past 50 years. According to some expert estimates, about 10,000 species of plants and animals are becoming extinct every year – an average of 27 a day.            In Haiti alone, biodiversity is under huge assault as we are rapidly losing many species of frogs, bees, fish, flowers, and trees every year.            For example, of the 50 frog species on our island, two-thirds -- 30 species -- live only in Haiti and do not occur in the neighboring Dominican Republic, according to Dr. Blair Hedges, a biology professor at Penn State University and a leader of “species rescue missions” in Haiti and other countries in the Caribbean.            “Haiti is on the brink of an era of mass extinctions similar to the time when dinosaurs and many other species suddenly disappeared from the Earth,” wrote Barbara Kennedy on Penn State’s science website in 2010 about Dr. Hedges’ work.            This week, in the midst of this bleak tableau, comes Earth Day, which has been celebrated worldwide since April 22, 1970.            “Happy #EarthDay!” tweeted the US Embassy in Haiti, in both English and Kreyòl, on Apr. 22. “ Today we're celebrating greener cities & cleaner energy.”            The irony of this Tweet, which treats the day as a celebration rather than an alarm, could not be greater. This same embassy, hand in hand with the Martelly regime, is championing investment priorities and policies which devastate Haiti’s natural environment, and promise to devastate it even more, all while wrapping themselves in the words and images of being “green” and “pro-environment.”            If ever there was an example of how capitalism has savaged the natural environment, it is Haiti. When Christopher Columbus landed on our island in 1492, he saw mountains covered with beautiful forests of pine, oak, and mahogany, that reminded him of verdant Spain, and hence he renamed the island Hispaniola in honor of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, the Spanish sponsors of his voyage.            However, the European colonists immediately began to rape this paradise. After killing through massacres, disease, and slave labor in gold mines the Arawak population of over three million in a mere 15 years, the Europeans, particularly the French, began to clear-cut the forests to fuel the first great capitalist enterprise on the island: sugar mills.            Two centuries later, capitalism continues to stoke this deforestation by punishing the descendants of the slaves who worked in the sugar mills. Haiti’s peasantry has been pushed off the land by capitalist-imposed neoliberal policies – agricultural dumping and lowering of tariff walls – and forced to flee to the cities. The ruling groups provide no infrastructure for this influx – housing, water systems, sanitation systems, roads  – not even electricity or gas. So the millions of uprooted peasants who have fled to Haiti’s cities over the past 40 years must rely on charbon, which requires twice as much wood per energy unit output as fresh wood used in the countryside.            The deforestation caused by this IMF-dictated urbanization, which is also killing our frogs, is then blamed on the peasants. About 98% of the forests Columbus saw are now gone.            And what is the Martelly regime doing? Accelerating this rape of the land. On the southern island of Ile à Vache, for example, the government unilaterally cut down the island’s one forest, which used to provide the population with livelihoods harvesting crabs and honey, to put in an airport. They are now going to uproot peasants from food producing land in order to put in hotels, golf courses, and casinos, all without the population’s input or participation.            In Haiti’s North, we see a similar crime with the Caracol Industrial Park, for which authorities bulldozed some of Haiti’s most fertile farmland, destroyed a virgin mangrove forest, and destroyed precious coral reefs. A 2009 study for the Organization of American States and the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN)  put the “value of ecosystem services” of the mangroves and coral reefs in Caracol bay at US$ 109 million per year.            Now the Caracol Park, which pays its workers pennies an hour, is sure to spawn another Cité Soleil, complete with canals of open sewage, mountains of smoking garbage, and dirty oil and smoke from nearby power plants fouling the slum next door.            Finally, there is gold-mining, which both President Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe are enthusiastically encouraging (and investing in?), despite the Senate’s attempts to block their moves. The Spanish removed most of the big veins of gold five centuries ago. What remains is mostly gold dust, whose extraction requires an extremely destructive and toxic process. Mountain-tops, already denuded of trees, are removed and millions of tons of rocks are “washed” with the deadly agent cyanide, which then poisons streams and groundwater, rendering agriculture and even life nearby unviable.            As we have detailed in past issues of Haïti Liberté, multinational companies like Newmont Mining, after causing massive ecological damage in countries like Peru and Ghana, have been practically chased out of those nations and are now alighting in Haiti. With gold prices at about $1,600 an ounce, they estimate that Haiti has some $20 billion in gold dust in its mountains. They pretend, as they did elsewhere, that they will generate revenue and jobs for Haiti. But in reality, after taking out the precious minerals, they will leave the land defiled and polluted, and the population just as poor but now unable even to practice agriculture due to the poisons they have left behind. Only a handful of local cronies, like Martelly and Lamothe, will get a cut of the riches extracted.            So on this Earth Day, let us remember that we, the Haitian people, are not just fighting against exploitation, oppression, and injustice and for self-determination, equality, and human dignity. We are fighting for the survival of the human species on this planet, starting in Haiti.            “The economic order imposed on the world after World War II has led humanity to an unsustainable situation,” declared Fidel Castro in a Sep. 21, 2009 speech entitled “Humanity is an Endangered Species.” Humanity is facing “a really imminent danger and its effects are already visible.” Fidel gives us a mere 60 to 80 years to avoid mass extinction.
            So don’t be fooled by the happy face the U.S. Embassy and the Martelly regime are putting on Haiti’s environmental destruction. Let us all join in the struggle against the forces of unbridled and destructive capitalism in Haiti today – principally Martelly and MINUSTAH – to build a new sustainable future, where our children will have unpoisoned land, water, and air in this little corner of the world which our ancestors bequeathed to us.
Categories: Haitian blogs

New Report Details Persecution of Public and Private Sector Union Activists in Haiti

Apr. 18, 2014 - 12:43 pm
by CEPR's Relief and Reconstruction Blog

The Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and its Haiti-based partner Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) have released a report outlining recent cases of persecution of organized workers in Haiti as well as Haitian government complicity in allowing illegal attacks against, and terminations of labor activists to occur without judicial consequences.  The report, titled “Haitian labor movement struggles as workers face increased anti-union persecution and wage suppression,” documents attacks and firings of union organizers by both public and private sector companies. In mid-December of 2013, garment workers staged a walkout and demonstrations to protest the low wages and subpar working conditions in Haiti’s garment factories.  As Better Work Haiti revealed in its 2013 Biannual Review of Haitian garment companies’ compliance with labor standards, only 25 percent of workers receive the minimum daily wage of 300 Haitian gourdes (equivalent to $6.81). They also found a 91 percent non-compliance rate with basic worker protection norms.  The BAI/IJDH report explains that on the third day of the December protests, “the Association of Haitian Industries locked out the workers, claiming they had to shut the factories for the security of their employees.”  In late December and January, IJDH/BAI documented “at least 36 terminations in seven factories throughout December and January in retaliation for the two-day protest, mostly of union representatives. The terminations continue.”The report notes that union leaders at Electricity of Haiti (EDH) - Haiti’s biggest state-run enterprise – have also been illegally terminated and even physically attacked.   As BAI/IJDH describe,On January 10, 2014, the leaders of SECEdH [Union of Employees of l’EDH] held a press conference at EDH, as they had countless times over the last several years. The purpose of the January 10 press conference was to allege mismanagement and corruption at EDH. At the last minute, EDH management refused to let journalists in the building, although they had given permission for the press conference the day before. SECEdH’s leaders joined journalists on the street outside EDH’s parking lot gate to convene the press conference. EDH security guards pushed down the metal gate onto the crowd, hitting SECEdH’s treasurer in the head and knocking him unconscious. The security guards stood by while the employee lay on the ground bleeding and witnesses urged them to help. Some journalists took the injured employee to the hospital in one of their vehicles. He was released from the hospital but suffers constant pain in his head, shoulders, arms, and back from the heavy gate falling on him.
The following week, SECEdH’s executive committee, including the injured officer, received letters of termination dated January 10, 2014.The report goes on to describe government complicity with employer infractions of labor laws at the level of the judicial system, where “public and private employers enjoy impunity” and where workers continue to have extremely limited access to the justice system as “court fees and lawyers are too expensive for the poor to afford” and “proceedings are conducted in French, which most Haitians do not speak.”  Moreover, the Ministry of Labor as well as the Tripartite Commission for the Implementation of the HOPE agreement (which mandates garment factory compliance with international labor standards and Haitian labor law) have “backpedalled on the 2009 minimum wage law and issued public statements that support factory owners’ interpretations and non-compliance with the piece rate wage.”  The reports suggests that part of this backpedalling may be caused by President Michel Martelly’s efforts to promote increased international investment in Haitian sweatshops:Making Haiti “open for business” was a core piece of President Michel Martelly’s election platform that has won him political and economic support from the U.S. government, despite low voter turnout and flawed elections in 2010 and 2011. Part of the Martelly administration’s strategy to attract foreign investment has been to keep wages low so that Haiti can be competitive with the global low-wage market. Haiti has the third lowest monthly wages in the apparel industry, surpassing only Cambodia and Bangladesh. This U.S.-backed “sweat shop” economic model is similar to the model in the 1970s and 1980s under former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
Categories: Haitian blogs