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A Neo-Duvalierist Dictatorship à la Martelly Takes Shape

HaitiAnalysis - 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?

HaitiAnalysis - 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

...on fear and parenting

Livesay Haiti - Jun. 11, 2014 - 8:45 am
Written by Kim Brooks

Later on in the conversation, Skenazy boils it down to this. “There’s been this huge cultural shift. We now live in a society where most people believe a child can not be out of your sight for one second, where people think children need constant, total adult supervision. This shift is not rooted in fact. It’s not rooted in any true change. It’s imaginary. It’s rooted in irrational fear.”The problem is, I understand irrational fear. In fact, irrational fear and I are old friends. Some things seem dangerous and others don’t, and often, it has little to do with statistics or data. No matter how many people reassure me that flying is the safest form of travel, so much safer than driving, I will always be more nervous at 30,000 feet than en route to the airport. Likewise, it won’t matter how many statistics or how much analysis on low crime rates or the importance of fostering independence Skenazy or people like her spout; for many parents at this moment in our culture, leaving kids unsupervised just doesn’t feel safe. Anything could happen, is a common refrain voiced by such parents. And I know what they mean. We’ve seen the television movies about abducted children. We’ve heard the heart-rending stories of kids injured in carjackings, or forgotten in sweltering cars. And once you imagine something, imagine what it must have been like for that parent or child who suffered it, it’s not a great leap to imagine it happening to you or your child, and then, if you’re like most parents, you will do anything in your power to prevent it. It’s not a matter of likelihood or statistical significance, but the terrible power of our imagination.See entire post here: The day I left my son in the car
Categories: Haitian blogs


Livesay Haiti - Jun. 10, 2014 - 8:38 pm

Today I read these words, 

"Fear does not prevent death. It prevents life."  (Naguib Mahfouz)I don't know why such simple words (obvious words?) spoke (screamed?) so loudly to my heart and soul, but they did.

I have been afraid of a handful of things the last couple of months. Among other stuff, there has been fear of my fast-approaching final test, and fear over our kids and the various things going on in their lives. Lately, much (like way too much) fear energy has been expended on this dang illness in Haiti. I have been holding my breath for weeks hoping and praying that my little ones and the brand new babies at Heartline and the momma on bed rest would somehow be spared. 

When my kids get ill here, there is so much condemnation spinning in my head. I know it is meant to discourage me. The messages and accusations say, "If you didn't bring them here, they wouldn't have this." My rational side knows that car crashes and illness and freak accidents happen to people that never leave the safest house in the safest city in the safest place in the world. 

Troy did enough counseling when we were in the USA to get super duper wicked smart. I have seen him forget some of what he learned on certain days, so don't hear me elevating him to the very highest pinnacle. He is like three steps down from the highest spot. Recently when I was angry at a situation I asked him if he was upset by someone's unkind and disappointing response to him, he said, "I am only responsible for my actions, my words and my responses. She is responsible for hers, and I cannot change that and I shouldn't try." 

Maybe my issue is that I am wanting to control more than just me. By holding onto my fear so tightly, I am taking false control. That would explain the exhaustion of late.

Fear prevents life.

Here is a simple reminder for me (mainly me) and you - if you were looking for a reminder that is: We don't have control over anything but our own responses to the things, situations, people, and stressors around us.  

and ...

Sometimes we are going to want to give up.


(Photo taken by Esther Havens of our friend, Marjorie, who has not given up.) 
Categories: Haitian blogs

Haiti peasants rally against industrial agriculture, especially Monsanto, and in favor of peasant agriculture

Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog - Jun. 9, 2014 - 9:43 am
Haïti : La détermination paysanne à lutter contre l’agriculture industrielle et en faveur de l’agriculture familiale 

samedi 7 juin 2014

(Read the original article here)

P-au-P, 6 juin 2014 [AlterPresse] --- Les paysans ont affiché leur ferme détermination à lutter contre l’agriculture industrielle et en faveur de l’agriculture paysanne lors d’une série d’activités organisées les 4 et 5 juin par le Mouvement paysan Papaye (Mpp), dans la localité du même nom près de Hinche, (128 kilomètres à l’est de la capitale).

Réalisées à l’occasion de la journée internationale de l’environnement (5 juin), les activités se sont déroulées sous le thème « Tè, semans natif natal, anviwonman se chemin lavi » (en français : « Terres, semences natives, environnement : tel est le chemin de la vie »).

L’idée pour le Mpp, qui a reçu plusieurs dizaines d’invités, était de sensibiliser la communauté paysanne sur les mécanismes à mettre en place pour la sauvegarde de la production nationale face aux assauts de grandes compagnies transnationales, plus intéressées, selon l’organisation, à détruire la planète.

« Aba Monsanto, non aux semences hybrides, vive l’agriculture paysanne, vive l’agro-écologie, non à la production de l’agrocarburant, vive une Haïti souveraine » sont quelques-uns des slogans qui ont été inscrits sur des pancartes dans le cadre d’un sketch.

Les organisateurs ont voulu faire part des actions que les organisations paysannes comptent mettre en œuvre pour libérer le pays des produits de consommation importés souvent dangereux pour la santé, tels les cubes de bouillon de poulet ou encore les semences hybrides.

Ils ont profité pour critiquer les grandes organisations internationales comme le Fonds monétaire internationale (Fmi), la Banque Mondiale, la Mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation d’Haïti (Minustha) et l’Organisation mondiale du commerce (Omc).

Les bienfaits de l’agriculture paysanne ont été soulignés à travers une foire axée sur la biodiversité, où ont été exposées des plantules, des plantes médicinales, des semences locales. L’agriculture paysanne est considérée comme le véritable moteur pour sauver l’environnement.

Le leader du Mpp, Chavannes Jean Baptiste, a indiqué que l’initiative de son organisation s’insère dans une campagne de la Via Campesina, un mouvement paysan international qui regroupe près de 185 organisations dans près de 80 pays.

Trois organisations locales sont membres de la plateforme Via Campesina : le Mpp, , l’organisation « Tèt kole ti peyizan » (Union des petits paysans) et le Mouvement paysan nationale du congrès de Papaye (Mpnkp).

Des engagements pour l’avenir

Les trois organisations ont signé une déclaration conjointe dans laquelle elles s’engagent à « travailler ensemble pour créer plus d’unité entre les organisations paysannes du pays, ainsi que toutes les organisations qui veulent la souveraineté alimentaire, pour défendre les terres qui se trouvent entre les mains des paysans et lutter en faveur d’une réforme agraire intégrale le plus vite possible ».

« Les semences ne doivent pas être des marchandises, parce que les semences portent les germes de la vie. La vie n’est pas à vendre », lit-on dans cette déclaration conjointe.

Elles demandent au gouvernement haïtien, dirigé par Laurent Salvador Lamothe, « de stopper tout projet visant l’accaparement des terres du pays, d’arrêter de faire de la démagogie avec l’environnement du pays (...), d’arrêter de se moquer de la production agricole et la protection de l’environnement, alors que le budget de ces secteurs diminue ».

Elles exigent que l’Etat haïtien mette 20% des ressources dans la production agricole familiale agro-écologique prenne des dispositions pour la protection de l’environnement. [jep kft gp apr 07/06/2014 21:00]

Categories: Haitian blogs

Haiti Elections in Doubt as Ex-Presidents Stir Pot

New York Times on Haiti - Jun. 8, 2014 - 12:00 am
Political uncertainty reigns as the current president jousts with opponents over the staging of an overdue election, which has brought waves of foreign dignitaries to attempt to defuse the crisis.
Categories: Haitian blogs

a link, a cruddy illness, and a baby BOY

Livesay Haiti - Jun. 7, 2014 - 10:50 am
you MUST read this .... if you want to

My friend, G., wrote about a recent airplane ride.  I loved this story. 

~          ~           ~

When he started back in on non-profits and how they were all money grubbing thieves, I said, You know, I run a group like a non-profit, and we give back 100 percent of what we raise. No overhead. We all work for free.He raised his eyebrow and didn’t respond for a minute.He looked out the airplane window. He was remembering something. His tirade stopped. His voice changed a little.Then he turned back and said, “I haven’t given a penny away for fifteen years. I used to. Every Christmas I used to buy ten turkeys and deliver them to the homeless shelter myself.  But I don’t do that anymore. I don’t give anything away anymore.”What changed? I said.He looked out the window again and I thought- HERE we go. HERE we go- here comes the real stuff. Here politics die and the person behind them introduces himself.Scruffy angry man said, “When my daughter was little, we left a candle burning in our house and the whole house burned down. With all of our things. We had nothing. We lived in our car for seven months with our daughter and no one reached out to help us. Not our neighbors, not our families, friends. Not even our church. No one.”Read the post in its entirety HERE.

~          ~            ~

The happenings in Haiti are somewhat bleak feeling this week.  

Chikungunya is an utter jerk and we flip in and out of fighting it with courage and feeling like it may never end. It is not linear in any way. Starting and finishing is how we like our illnesses, but this seems to be start, finish, start again. Two steps forward, one step back. It is frustrating to say the least. 

Our Noah currently has a worse case of it than his little sisters had earlier in the week. He loves to win, but maybe not at this competition.His fever beats the others, he cannot move, he has been throwing up. It is hard to throw up without moving, but he is even perfecting this. Some (not all) others that had it a week or more ago are facing night fevers and restlessness and sore joints. As if Haiti doesn't make you feel old and tired enough already. 

Yesterday Beth asked for a show of hands of those women that had already had "the fever". 80% of the women gathered raised their hands. Maybe Port au Prince will be saturated and finished with (the first finish of)this nonsense soon?

The Maternity Center had a rough Monday with a baby that aspirated meconium, but the rest of the week went by without huge dramas; we all really needed that.(For those that don't know, meconium is shit. Welcome to the world, you inhaled your own poop.Things can only improve from here.

We have three women due and overdue. We are all hanging out nearby in anticipation of their labors/deliveries. 

My niece, Whitney, is in Haiti. She is preparing for her MCAT and is studying when we are not at work at the Maternity Center. She is supposed to motivate me to study for my next test. That's sort of happening. I cannot even explain how fun it is to have her here. 

Paige is coming to Haiti next week.  There are a handful of folks that are super stressed out by her decision to come.  She and I talked at length in Texas when I went to take my skills test (I passed!) and I assured her that she did not need to come to Haiti this summer.  

Because this is her home, she was unwilling to to cancel and said it is important to her to come. Her boyfriend (Michael) is coming later in the month to do a five week volunteer job as a driver with Heartline Ministries. She so wants him to see her home and learn about her life here. They are starting to talk marriage and this visit is important to her heart.  I don't want her sick of course and realize there is a decent chance she could be ill while she is here.  

Thankfully she is second trimester and at a safe place in her pregnancy. I will be slathering her in bug spray and fumigating her room daily. The biggest danger with Chik V. is in very early pregnancy and right at delivery. 

If you are one that is wrapped up in concern for Paige, I want to say - THANK YOU for loving her.  At its core, your worry is kindness, I know that. Please use your concern to fuel your prayers. She wants to come. 

This Mojo (granny)and Tito (grandpapa) will be doing Paige's prenatal care and enjoying the rare chance to get to spend a bunch of weeks with her and our future son-in-law.  

(If you missed the news of our first grandbaby, you can go back to this post. It is a boy!) 

Categories: Haitian blogs

Short-Term Missions Article (source: Relevant)

Livesay Haiti - Jun. 4, 2014 - 9:34 am
Full Article found here, at Relevant  By Michelle PerezExcerpt:We have learned that perhaps how we go might matter more that what we do. Here are a few things you may not have heard about being more effective on short-term mission trips:You're Not a Hero.First of all, before you go and when you get there, your team must commit to getting rid of the hero complex. Developing countries do not need short-term heroes. They need long-term partners. And if your group just wants to be a hero for a week, then you may be doing more harm than good.DEVELOPING COUNTRIES DO NOT NEED SHORT-TERM HEROES. THEY NEED LONG-TERM PARTNERS.Poverty Can Look Different Than You Expect.If at the end of your trip you say, “I am so thankful for what I have, because they have so little.” You have missed the whole point.You’re poor, too. But maybe you’re hiding behind all your stuff. There is material poverty, physical poverty, spiritual poverty and systemic poverty. We all have to acknowledge our own brokenness and deep need for God before we can expect to serve others.
Read more at:  
Categories: Haitian blogs

On One-Upping and My Niece

Livesay Haiti - Jun. 3, 2014 - 9:57 am

Have you seen the Penelope skit on SNL?  We are all a little bit Penelope at times. But I am more like her than you, sooooooo ...  Read more about it here, my June post at A Life Overseas.

Today our niece comes to Haiti for ten days.  We are giddy to have her to ourselves. For those that love  adoption and a good reunion story, read about her here. 

Chikungunya is probably a word you are incredibly tired of trying to pronounce and read.  We are finding that it is a word that has meant a heaviness hanging over us all. Day after day new women and children are showing up in pain, with high fevers.  We need to find some brightness in all the clouds this virus is bringing to our friends and families.  
Categories: Haitian blogs

Resistance & the Lavalas Movement

HaitiAnalysis - 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

An Artist’s Priorities Are Shaken From the Abstract to the Concrete

New York Times on Haiti - May. 31, 2014 - 12:00 am
Philippe Dodard, often called the Picasso of Haiti, has turned his focus to rebuilding a neglected art school after the 2010 earthquake.
Categories: Haitian blogs

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

HaitiAnalysis - 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

HaitiAnalysis - 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

A Life Less Ordinary : A Call to Prayer

Livesay Haiti - May. 27, 2014 - 12:16 am
Please read my friend and co-workers post about the way Chikungunya has affected a few of the newborn babes...

A Life Less Ordinary : A Call to Prayer:
Categories: Haitian blogs

Morning Bells are Ringing

Livesay Haiti - May. 26, 2014 - 9:08 am
Written By Dr. John CarrollPrincess–May 8, 2014 (Photo by John Carroll)Dear Princess,I can now talk to you as an adult. You are not a precious little baby any longer.This is Mother’s Day in Haiti and your mother Fabiola is grieving greatly for you. She just texted me that she wants to play with you…but she knows that she cannot.As you remember you were born with complex congenital heart disease and were hospitalized four times in Port-au-Prince during the first three months of your life for congestive heart failure and pneumonia. You somehow recovered each time and were discharged to the care of your mom and grandma. And they both fed you all day long one to two ounces of Enfamil at a time with a syringe because you were too weak to take milk like “normal” babies do.After many attempts we finally found a medical center to accept you and you charmed the people there just as much as you charmed your family and neighborhood friends in Port. People were fascinated with your face and your intelligence and your beauty. During our trip to the States people in the airports would just stare at all 10 pounds of you and marvel and wonder about you. And your nurses in the medical center fell in love with you quickly.Princess, you went to heart surgery last Wednesday morning with Fabiola carrying you while we walked to the hospital at 6 AM just before the sun came up. Many people in three countries were praying for you that morning. You were indeed a little rock star and you seemed to know that.And you came through surgery well and went to pediatric CVICU in stable condition. You were monitored with every known baby monitor and given the best care in the world. Your doctor teams that rounded on you and your nurses literally watched every heart beat and breath you took. And your mom was given a slow and in-depth explanation of every monitor and lead and tube placed on or in your tiny body so she could understand what it was all about. All of your medications that you were receiving in the vein were also explained to your mom.I was asleep when your dad Lolo called me from Haiti at 1:30 AM on Thursday morning. He told me that you were not doing well. I wondered if I was dreaming. I tried to read my cell phone texts from your mom who had sent them to me before your father called. The texts said that they were pumping on your chest and that she needed to be strong but that she could not stay at your crib-side any longer. I wondered if this could really be happening.I got to your ICU bed as quickly as I could but it was too late. The code was called. The doctors and nurses had done everything humanly possible to “reanime” you. Your chest was being closed. All that could be done to bring you back had already happened. Your life here was over.Princess, you felt no pain and gave us no warning as your pulmonary blood vessels clamped down all of a sudden and deprived your heart muscle of oxygen and your heart simply slowed down and stopped. The great medical team caring for you could not win the battle against your resistant pulmonary blood vessels that had too much muscle in their walls for the team to overcome. We simply did not get to you soon enough in Haiti to operate your heart and win this war.I walked down the hall and found Fabiola on the phone. I didn’t want to look at her. But she looked at me and asked me how you were and I said not good. She asked me if you were breathing and I said no. She asked me if you had died and I said yes. Your 23-year-old mom didn’t blink and showed no emotion whatsoever. She simply spoke into the phone and told your dad Lolo “she’s dead” and hung up. However, when your dad called back he was hysterical and I could hear your grandmas wailing in the back ground. I could see and hear and feel the misery and anguish during this dark night in your little home in Haiti.The attending doctors came and explained things clearly to your mom in soft voices. Fabiola had no questions for them and thanked them for all they had done to try to save you.During the next hour in the waiting room your mom and dad continued to Facebook Message each other. I don’t think Message was created to hold this amount of sorrow contained in these texts.At 4 AM your mom told me she was tired and wanted to sleep. So I led her back across the quiet and vacant medical center campus to her room across the street from the hospital. After this I returned to see you one last time, pick up the plaster cast mementos of your hands and feet, your pink blanket, and a little doll the nurses had given you.At 5 AM I left the hospital. The morning air was clean, all was still, and the eastern sky was becoming a little brighter. As I walked alone I felt hollow…like I had nothing inside of me.I had your doll in my right hand and I must have accidentally hit a button on it somehow and it started playing music that sounded like choir music. (I didn’t know it played any type of music.) I stopped and tried to turn it off but I couldn’t. So I put in my black knapsack on my back but it continued to play. The second song was “Frere Jacques”, the song we all know from childhood.Frère Jacques, Frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Ding, daing, dong. Ding, daing, dong.The song is traditionally translated into English as:Brother John, Brother John,
Are you sleeping? Are you sleeping?
Morning bells are ringing! Morning bells are ringing!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong.I have to say that I was not surprised. Princess, I knew it was you, no longer as a little baby with your knowing grin, but as someone with infinite wisdom in a real good place, and you were assuring me that you were fine. And you were also telling me that you understood that we are humans and forgave us for our very slow and bumbling pace in Haiti trying to save your life. The morning bells are ringing indeed and we need to do better.Princess, you touched many of us while you were here. Don’t forget your mom and dad and grandmas and your three-year-old adopted brother Prince and any other brothers and sisters who decide to come. They and all the rest of us will always need your help.Bye for now.Dr. Johnwww.haitianhearts.org
Categories: Haitian blogs

The MacGyver Cure for Cancer

New York Times on Haiti - May. 25, 2014 - 12:00 am
To prevent a disease that kills a woman every two minutes in the developing world, start with a headlamp.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Welcome. (I loathe you.)

Livesay Haiti - May. 24, 2014 - 12:55 pm

I am on a quick trip to 'Merica take a (1 of 2) midwifery test and see my big girls and pick up Hope to bring back to Ayiti. I've been here very few hours and have enjoyed two hot water events.  I'm nervous and anxious and happy and also a bit sad to be here while the Maternity Center is facing big hurts. (See Chikungunya posts.)
Pretty much the usual amplified feels tortured soul routine. I don't often stray from it. 
Six minutes in the USA and I managed to annoy an American.  
Why why WHY do those U.S. Customs/Border Patrol people hate everyone so terribly much? 
Their training MUST include something about growing an impassioned disdain for the human race. Here is what happened: I went to that automated passport machine, a newish thing, it flags me to go see a live customs person because I have a hyphenated last name and they tell me that anyone with that, or who is a Jr. or a the third will always get stopped because your airline ticket rarely exactly matches your passport name. If the two last names are there with no hyphen you are flagged as a different person than the passport.  
I stood in line like any good American can (sometimes) do. The counter in front of me cleared, the person left. It was straight ahead, only a distance of about six feet. The overhead speaker announces what station is open.  However, my adept little eyes saw it was open faster than the lady at the speaker was notified and my foot fell across the yellow line right BEFORE the speaker said, "Agent Four is now available".  By the time I took three steps and got to agent four, the whole announcement was out.  
Agent four said, "You have to wait until the speaker says to come."  I don't know what my face did, but it was probably a mixture of confused and witchy.  I said, "Yeah, the speaker said it." He said, "You came before it said it." I said, "Are you serious right now? What's your deal?" He waved his hand at me to go back to the line.  
I muttered under my breath, "America, the land of the free to be rude..." He didn't hear me. He sat there in his elevated booth in his swivel chair all smug in his victory over me. I realize that in actuality, this phenomenon crosses international borders, so probably their training program has been translated into all languages.   Had Troy been with me, he would tell me to simmer and say, "It isn't worth it, Tara."  So, I pretended Troy was with me and stepped back to line. 
The overhead speaker said, "Agent eight is now available".  With absolute gratitude to the speaker voice, I went to line eight where I met a person not as far along in their abhorrence training. 

Categories: Haitian blogs

An Illustration

Livesay Haiti - May. 23, 2014 - 11:28 pm
Doing for someone, what they have the ability to do for themselves, steals their dignity.

Categories: Haitian blogs

Chikungunya in Haiti - Part II

Livesay Haiti - May. 23, 2014 - 3:11 am
Emma and FritzleneEdit:  To read a great article that explains in detail how the virus is spread and is likely in the USA at some point, see this article.  This also explains why it is impossible to tell you if visiting Haiti is "safe" or if you'll get this virus. 

 ~     ~      ~       ~

The NPR story on the Chikungunya virus in Haiti can be heard here. Emma is interviewed in the story. She is quite pleased to be the voice for Haitian Moms on this report. (Sunday she asked me if the white guy with the microphone put her on the radio yet. At the time it hadn't been published yet.)

Since 8 days ago when I first wrote about this nasty new (to Haiti) virus, we have seen more pregnant women and more babies with the virus.  Thinking back on things we believe we saw our first case on May 6th. Since that time many more have come with the exact same symptoms. Each new day has turned up new cases.

For newborn babies it seems much more difficult to tolerate.  Emma's baby had it at two weeks of age, but we now have two five day old babies with it. New babies that have not established a solid nursing pattern are at a higher risk. Tonight the Maternity Center transported a baby girl (born early morning last Saturday) to three hospitals.  Thankfully, the third hospital was able to take baby Anna.  At least three of the Maternity Center staff-members have had it and there is a collective holding of our breath as those of us still doing fine all hope to be the ones that don't get it. 

It is rainy season, our area is low lying and we frequently have standing water and thicker mosquito population. We don't know what to expect long term, but in the short term we are so sad to see pregnant women and babies suffering from this disease and we feel a lot bit helpless as we watch it spread so quickly. 

Today multiple people wrote to ask about bringing their group to Haiti (specifically asked about certain areas of the country) and asked, should they still do that.  I am notoriously two weeks behind on email, I want to publish my thoughts about that question here in case I don't get to emails in time.

If you are wondering if you can avoid getting Chikungunya in Haiti this spring/summer, I would answer you the same way I would about Malaria or Dengue Fever or even diarrhea caused by contaminated water or food.  Many people will likely come visit and be fine, they will leave Haiti without a rash or fever or pain. Some people are going to get sick.  There is no way to avoid it. There are precautions you can take, but I saw some of the most cautious and careful people I know with Chikungunya, so I don't think bug spray and hyper vigilance alone is a guarantee of staying free of the virus. 

The only difference between the other things I mentioned and Chikungunya - is that Chikungunya is spreading quickly and many, many people are getting it right now. We are hopeful that it will slow down but right now it is only ramping up.  

I don't have a deep well of knowledge to draw from to bust out any statistics for you, but when asked "Do you think I will get sick if I come next month?"  I can honestly only say, "possibly, yes/no."  It is similar to me asking you to tell me if I will get the flu or a bad cold if I visit you in your state/country during the high season of viral illness in your land. People get sick sometimes - and other times they don't. 

Many here live in conditions that are difficult and at times deplorable.  As DokteJen struggled with pain last week, she and I both thought about how miserable sparse electricity, no running water, and very few options for pain relief must be.  

While we that visit this island or call it our adopted home have reason to be careful and concerned for ourselves, we aren't the ones with the huge challenge of facing this virus without basic conveniences or adequate resources.  

Categories: Haitian blogs

Dominican Republic Passes Law for Migrants’ Children

New York Times on Haiti - May. 23, 2014 - 12:00 am
The law would create a path to citizenship for people who were born to illegal migrants, many of them Haitian, but who have Dominican identification papers.
Categories: Haitian blogs