Wednesday, March 18, 2015

World Bank Mining Ruling Will Only Bring More Pain to Haiti


By Nathalie Baptiste (Haiti Liberte)

In early February, in yet another blow to Haitian civil society, the World Bank refused to hear a complaint filed by the Justice Mining Collective on the revival of the mining sector in Haiti.
            According to the World Bank, Haiti’s mining sector is constrained by “outdated legal framework, weak institutional capacity and widespread lack of information” about the sector among politicians and the public alike. Meanwhile, activists and community members that live in mining zones have consistently voiced complaints about the effects of mining, ranging from exploitation to environmental degradation.
            The World Bank’s refusal to address these very real concerns about the environmental impacts of mining is a failure to acknowledge that Haiti is on the short list of countries that will be most affected by climate change.
            At Haiti’s first Mining Forum, held in 2013, experts tried to convince Haiti’s government of all the positive developments that would come from developing the country’s mining sector. And they succeeded — at the end of the forum, then-Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was certain that the mining sector was Haiti’s ticket out of abject poverty.
            Mining, of course, can be lucrative for a select few — but the environmental damage would have a profound effect on Haiti’s environment.
            In 2014, risk consultancy firm Maplecroft released its annual Climate Change Vulnerability Risk Index, which ranked Haiti at number 6 and classified the situation facing the country as “extreme.” With its location in the Caribbean making it susceptible to tropical storms, extreme deforestation, overfishing, frequent droughts and other natural disasters, it’s no surprise that Haiti falls near the top of the list. Weak infrastructure, dilapidated hospitals and crumbling roads only exacerbate the problem, and the current political crisis leaves Haiti vulnerable to political unrest.
            Economic benefits aside, mining comes at a great environmental cost. Some of the impacts include water pollution, loss of biodiversity and soil contamination. The chemicals used in the mining process also pose a great public health risk. Anyone with a modicum of knowledge of Haiti knows why the country could not possibly sustain any more public health risks or contaminated water.
            For an understanding of what gold mining does to a country’s water supply, look no further than El Salvador. After a mining company poisoned the San Sebastián River, members of the community that gets its water from the river are now suffering from illnesses like kidney failure.
            Salvadorans are currently fighting to prevent the World Bank from handing over another gold mine to another multinational mining company, in a desperate effort to keep the country’s largest river, the Lempa River, from ending up like the San Sebastián.
            The World Bank’s treatment of Haitians is similar to that of the United Nations and the cholera lawsuit; both have long-term impacts on the livelihoods of Haitians, a fact that appears unimportant to these international entities. Shrugging off the environmental concerns of an extremely climate-vulnerable nation, though, is tantamount to willingly destroying lives.

This article originally appeared on the Latin Correspondent website.


The Back-Story of the Late Oriel Jean, Former Security Chief for Aristide


by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

(The second of two articles)

On Mar. 2, 2015, gunmen killed Oriel Jean, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s former security chief from 2001 to 2003, in Port-au-Prince. After misleading media reports and rumors, he was falsely accused of selling out Aristide when jailed in the U.S. for 30 months on charges of money laundering. After returning to Haiti in September 2013, he led a low-profile life running a construction company.

In 2001, as the George W. Bush administration began targeting Aristide officials like Oriel, a few dozen heavily armed paramilitary “rebels,” led by former army officer and police chief Guy Philippe and former death-squad leader Jodel Chamblain, began launching military raids from the Dominican Republic on the Police Academy on Jul. 28, 2001 and the National Palace on Dec. 17, 2001, both of which the Special Unit for Guarding the National Palace (USGPN), under Oriel’s direction, repulsed.                                                                                          
            In 2002, using one of its usual political pressure tactics, the U.S. issued a list of Haitian government officials, including Oriel, to whom it would deny visas due to their alleged ties to Haitian drug traffickers. On Jun. 27, 2003, conservative Radio Métropole reported that Oriel had been “spotted” two days earlier leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport “incognito... with his entire family” for Canada, insinuating that he was fleeing the country and might be arrested by Canadian authorities. Oriel rebutted the report the same day in a telephone interview with Radio Kiskeya, saying he’d traveled to Montreal for no more than two weeks to seek medical attention for a bad knee, while his family had joined him for a vacation and to see relatives.
            “Before you spread rumors, you should try to confirm the information,” Oriel complained to Kiskeya and the media in general. “There are simple calls you could make. My God, if I am going to leave for a few days, do I have to hold a press conference?”
            Despite the interview, Oriel hastily flew back to Port-au-Prince on Jul. 1, 2003. But, with the U.S. tightening the political screws, it was decided he should resign as USGPN chief a few days later, just as Nesly Lucien had been forced to resign as police chief in March 2003.
            Oriel continued to play a central but background role in Aristide’s security until the coup d’état of Feb. 29, 2004. Eight days later, armed with a visa and having received assurances from an official in the Canadian Embassy that he was welcome, Oriel flew from Punto Cana, Dominican Republic to Toronto, but he was arrested on arrival there. Canadian authorities told him they had cancelled his visa.
            “My lawyer and I asked them how they could revoke someone’s visa without telling them,” Oriel told Haïti Liberté in a 2007 interview. “If someone has no right to enter Canada, you have to tell them that beforehand, not after they’ve taken a flight and arrived there... If they don’t want me to enter, return me to the Dominican Republic or Haiti. I even asked them to return me to Haiti.”
            According to Oriel, he and his lawyer had won this argument when the proceedings were interrupted, and the judge was presented with an extradition request from Washington.
            “My lawyer told me that I could fight the extradition request, but given the close relationship between Canada and the U.S., I had very slim chances of winning,” Oriel said. “The legal fight, the judicial process, in Canada might take two or three years during which time I’d be detained, and if I did lose, the clock would start at zero again when I was extradited to the U.S.. So despite some opposition from my family and supporters in Canada, I decided not to fight the extradition request and to face my accusers in the U.S..”
            Oriel was extradited to the U.S. on Mar. 19, 2004. Prosecutors accused him of helping to offload drugs and demanding a cut of drug profits, charges Oriel vigorously denied. He insisted that he had taken part in no illegal activities or drug-trafficking whatsoever.
            “But my lawyer said to me: ‘Listen son, you’re not in Haiti anymore. Here in the U.S. they have this charge called conspiracy. Even if you personally weren’t involved in anything, if you were at all associated with someone who is charged with a crime, and you even accepted five cents from him, there are ways to accuse you. Going to a trial is very risky given the demonization of [the] Lavalas [government]. I advise you to clear yourself, tell them what is true, what is not true, and make a deal.’”
            Oriel followed the advice and admitted to knowing Haiti’s three principal drug traffickers and having even accepted gifts from them. “Knowing they were drug traffickers, I should have kept my distance from them,” he said. “I admitted my error and agreed to pay the price.”
            “As I did my job, I thought I was just dealing (en affaire avec) with the Haitian government,” he added. “I didn’t realize I was dealing with the U.S. government.”
            He made a deal to plead guilty to the charge of “Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering” and to testify against drug trafficker Serge Edouard, who was convicted for life in 2005.
            “There are some who say I betrayed Aristide and said things about him and gave up other people, and that was why I got so little time,” he said in his 2007 interview. “People can say anything. The truth is that I simply told them what I knew about the drug traffickers.”
            Released from prison in September 2006, with one year probation, Oriel went to work as a parking lot attendant at Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood Airport, working the midnight to 8:00 a.m. shift. The U.S. State Department granted him an S visa, given to “alien witnesses and informants,” which had to be renewed every year following an interview.
            Some years, U.S. officials would delay the renewal. One of those years was 2011. Following Aristide’s Mar. 18, 2011 return to Haiti from a seven-year exile, Oriel told Haïti Liberté that the Justice Department had sent a team of three investigators to ask him questions about Aristide. He said he provided them with no answers and sent a hand-delivered message to Aristide about the visit. In the same note, he gave Aristide some advice and warnings about people in his security team.
            Finally, Oriel decided to leave Florida and return to Haiti in September 2012. Under the terms of his S visa, he would not be allowed back into the U.S., so he knew it was a one-way trip. “He didn’t want to stay in the U.S. any longer,” his wife Bettina told Haïti Liberté. “He was tired of working nights at the parking lot. He felt a lot of stress in the States from work, financial problems, and his immigration status and thought he could contribute more in Haiti. He was like a fish out of water.”
            Back in Haiti, he went to work as Operations Director for Claudy Construction, owned by Claude Guillaume, who also owns Claudy Center Borlette, a popular private lottery in Haiti. “The Martelly government offered him a job, but he refused it,” said Oriel’s childhood friend Alix Sainphor. “He didn’t want to be involved in politics, and he didn’t want anything to do with Martelly.”
            He maintained a low profile, but trouble came looking for him. Investigating Judge Ivickel Dabrézil subpoenaed Oriel, along with many others, including Aristide, to provide him with any information they had concerning the Apr. 3, 2000 murder of radio journalist Jean Dominique and his radio’s guardian Jean-Claude Louissaint.
            Oriel said that he told Dabrézil what he knew about the matter, testimony that might implicate former Lavalas Family Senator and Aristide Foundation director Mirlande Libérus – now living in Florida – in the double killing.
            “You have to understand that I have no power, no money, no team of lawyers to avoid talking to Dabrézil when he subpoenaed me,” Oriel told Haïti Liberté in 2013. “He is taking testimony from many people. I told him exactly what was said to me, what I did, and what I know. First, I don’t want to get in trouble by hiding something or telling a lie, and second, I think we should get to the truth in the Jean Dominique case. It’s gone too long unsolved.”
            “Some people say I accused Aristide, which is not true,” he continued. “I was dealing with Mirlande. I don’t know where it went from there. She will have to give her testimony. But don’t blame me for just telling what I experienced.”
            With this tension between certain former Lavalas Family leaders and Oriel, the stage was set for tragedy.
            “He had received numerous death threats, particularly in February 2014,” said Sainphor. “At that time, he chose to leave Haiti and stay in the Dominican Republic for a month and a half. When he felt the danger had passed, he returned. But shortly before he was killed, he had received more threats.”
            Some Haitian analysts question whether the hidden hand of the “laboratory,” as the U.S. military/intelligence complex is called in Haiti, might be involved. “It could be that the laboratory killed two birds with one stone,” said Henriot Dorcent of the party Dessalines Coordination (KOD). “They eliminate a very connected and experienced guy who was once a militant in and apparently remained sympathetic to the Haitian people’s struggle for justice, democracy, and sovereignty. And at the same time, they lay the crime at Aristide’s doorstep, thereby undermining the people’s mobilization against the regime of President Michel Martelly, their puppet.”
            This hypothesis is given credence by the reaction of Martelly’s former spokesman Guyler C. Delva, secretary general of SOS Journalists, who put out a Mar. 3 statement saying that Oriel had “constantly been the subject of death threats from individuals close to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide whom he had accused of ordering the murder of Jean Dominique.” In truth, even in a long interview with the former security chief which Delva made public on Mar. 10 on Radio Caraïbes, Oriel stopped short of directly accusing anybody of the crime but simply lays out a version of events and circumstances that are very suggestive. As Alix Sainphor said: “Guy Delva is lying, twisting and framing Oriel’s words to further his own agenda.”
            Other pro-Martelly politicians, like Sauveur Pierre-Etienne of the Struggling People’s Organization (OPL), have also charged that Aristide is behind Oriel’s killing.
            “Aristide had asked Mirlande and others to ‘neutralize’ Jean Dominique, whom he saw as a strong challenger for the presidency coming from Préval’s party Kozepèp,” Oriel told Haïti Liberté in 2013. “Did he mean for them to physically eliminate him? Frankly, I don’t think so.”
            Oriel Jean’s funeral is scheduled to be held on Mar. 11 at the Parc de Souvenir cemetery in Port-au-Prince, where he will be buried. He is survived by his wife, Bettina, his father, Odiyel, two sisters, Mamoune and Gladys, and four children, two boys and two girls, ranging in ages from 27 to 12.
            It is perhaps fitting to close with Oriel’s own words from his 2007 interview with Haïti Liberté: “The U.S. government and media has tried to paint me as a corrupt criminal, like Jean-Claude or François Duvalier, Ti Bobo, Bòs Pent, Luc Désir, etc. Those who know my trajectory, who know where I come from in the struggle since 1986, know that’s not me. Those who have worked alongside me know that I’m a militant and an upright citizen (sitwayen de bien). However, I recognize that I’m not perfect, I made errors as everyone does, and I’ve paid for my errors and started anew. I have made my self-criticism (otokritik). But I have never been a trafficker, a drug dealer, a criminal. I cannot spend my whole life fighting against dictatorial power – people who kill others, who beat others – to become one of them today. My relationship with someone I should not have been friendly with, which got me into trouble, I don’t deny that. I accept that. But to make me into something I’m not is not good. I’m very critical because I was in a key post, and I saw how the government finished badly, and I’m critical of many people. I’m critical of Aristide, I’m critical of myself, I’m critical of many people who were in power because I saw what happened in front of me and how in the end it was the people who were the victim. As I always say, I am a child of the people, I was raised among the people, and I will die among the people.”


Saturday, January 10, 2015

AHP: Milliers de manifestants dans les rues de Port-au-Prince ce jeudi dans le cadre de la de la dernière phase de l'opération Burkina-Faso: les manifstants s'estiment tout près du but


Port-au-Prince, le 8 janvier 2015  (AHP) – C’est ce jeudi 8 janvier qu’a été lancée, comme annoncé, la dernière phase de l’opération Burkina Faso qui vise à contraindre le président Michel Martelly à la démission.

Des miliers  de manifestants ont ainsi gagné les rues de la capitale à l’appel de plusieurs organisations politiques et populaires de l’opposition., se déclarant persuadés que le chef de l'Etat ne pourra pas résister à la pression.

La manifestation a  démarré, comme à l’accoutumée, devant les vestiges de l’ancienne église Saint-Jean Bosco à La Saline. 

Après avoir traversé plusieurs  quartier populaires dont le  Bel-air, les manifestants ont fait escale devant le siège du parlement au bicentenaire où ils on critiqué les parlementaires qui flirtent, selon eux,  avec le president Michel Martelly pour des privilèges et  pour obtenir la  prorogation de leur mandat qui, en principe, prend fin ce lundi 12 janvier.

AHP: Crise politique: l'avenir du premier ministre désigné Evans Paul toujours hypothétique: les partis politiques de l'opposition auraient refusé d'endosser sa nomination et l'auraient clairement fait savoir au chef de l'Etat

Agence haitienne de presse 

Port-au-Prince, le 8 janvier 2015- (AHP) – Rien n'est encore joué dans le dossier Evans Paul, premier ministre designé ulilatéralement, selon l'opposition, par le président Michel Martelly.

Divers secteurs exerceraient  des pressions de toutes formes, au parlement et ailleurs, en faveur et contre  M.Paul qui circulent aujourd'hui sous haute sécurité, bénéficiant d'une partie importante du back-up de  l'ancien premier ministre forcé à la démission, Laurent Salvador Lamothe

Selon des informations proches des discussions engagées entre le président Michel Martelly et  les partis politiques de l'opposition, ces derniers ne seraient pas prêts à endosser  la nomination de  l'ancien secrétaire géneral de la Convention Unité Democratique (KID) et l'auraient  clairement fait savoir au chef de l'Etat.

Washington Post: Haiti is broken because of intervention

Washington Post - Letter to the Editor
The Dec. 28 editorial “Haiti’s broken politics” concluded that, absent international intervention, Haiti will crumble into anarchy. In fact, Haiti’s crisis is, in large part, a consequence of U.S. and international intervention.
This country has been occupied by U.N. soldiers for more than a decade. And it was U.S. pressure that led to the 2010 elections, months after the earthquake and weeks after the eruption of a virulent cholera outbreak, introduced by those U.N. troops. Fewer than 23 percent of registered voters cast a ballot.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

AS MARTELLY PREPARES TO JETTISON LAMOTHE: NATIONWIDE UPRISING GAINS STRENGTH IN HAITI

By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

A nationwide uprising against the regime of business partners
President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe continued
to gain steam this week with massive demonstrations in several major
cities, including Port-au-Prince, Léogane, Petit Goâve, Cap-Haïtien,
Fort-Liberté, Ouanaminthe, and Aux Cayes.

Feeling the protests' heat, Martelly made a short televised national
address on Nov. 28 to announce his formation of an "advisory
commission" made up of 11 people whom he called "credible, honest, and
trusted by society" to provide him "in eight days" with "a
recommendation" on what path to take out of Haiti's political
imbroglio, saying that "the nation is divided, the problems are many,
the problems are complicated."

Martelly outlined five categories of recommendation which he had
gleaned from "two months" of "consultations" with Haiti's political
actors: 1) remove Lamothe as Prime Minister; 2) dissolve Parliament on
Jan. 12, 2015 when the terms of most senators and deputies expire; 3)
change the composition of the Electoral Council; 4) form a Constituent
Assembly to overhaul Haiti's 1987 Constitution; and 5) extend
Parliament's life or put in place a council to function in place of
Parliament.

Tellingly, Martelly did not include, or even mention in his address,
the principal demand of the nationwide protests: that he and his prime
minister immediately resign, ceding power to a State Council and
Supreme Court judge, as happened when demonstration-beset-dictator
Gen. Prosper Avril resigned in March 1990. The ensuing Dec. 16, 1990
election, carried out without the supervision of any occupying force
like the current UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), was among
the fairest in Haitian history.

AHP: La commission présidentielle consultative a-t-elle reçu un mandat secret?A-t-elle une surprise pour la constitution?

Agence haitienne de presse (AHP)

La Commission présidentielle consultative formée récemment par le président Michel Martelly pour officiellement lui  faire des propositions de sortie de crise, est déjà au coeur de tous  les questionnements .

Déjà mercredi, le président du Sénat la mettait en garde contre toute recommandation qui ne tiendriat pas compte  du Sénat de la République, soulignant que  le Grand Corps existera  tant que la constitution sera en vigueur.


De son côté, le Directeur exécutif de l'Initiative de la sociéte civile appelait  la commission présidentielle à faire  des recommandations qui favorisent la création d’un climat favorable à la tenue des prochaines élections.

Cependant, plusieurs secteurs soupçonnent cette commission dont la plupart des membres sont presentés comme des proches du pouvoir, d'avoir des ambitions qui ne sont pas de son ressort.

Nouvelle manifestation anti-gouvernementale ce vendredi à Port-au-Prince et dans plusieurs villes de province: Fanmi Lavalas apporte son soutien pour réclamer aussi justice pour les victimes du 5 décembre 1991



Port-au-Prince, le 4 décembre 2014 – (AHP) -  L’Organisation Politique Fanmi Lavalas apporte son plein soutien à la manifestation anti-gouvernementale annoncée pour demain 05 décembre rappelant que cette date marque  le 24eme anniversaire de l’attaque armée survenue au cours d’un meeting du candidat à la presidence, Jean Bertrand Aristide, à Pétion ville.

L’ancien sénateur Lavalas Louis Gérald Gilles a fait savoir que cette manifestation sera l’occasion de réclamer justice pour les victimes de cette attaque, et celles du régime de Martelly, appelant la population à prendre part en grand nombre  à ce mouvement.

Louis Gerald Gilles indique que la manifestation devrait parcourir plusieurs quartiers populaires, passer devant les locaux du parlement, de la primature, de l’ambassade de France pour aboutir devant le palais national.

UNIFA, Four Years of Growth



UNIFA Medical Students in the Laboratory
In the fall of 2014, UNIFA an accredited institution of higher education in Haiti, began its fourth academic year since its rebirth in 2011.  The University was founded by former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.  When he returned to Haiti from forced exile in South Africa in the spring of 2011 he promised to dedicate himself to education in Haiti.    Since then he has done just that, reopening UNIFA just six months after his return.   There are now over 1000 students studying at the UNIFA campus in four degree granting programs: Medicine, Nursing, Law and Political Science, and a brand new program in Physical Therapy.
New School of Physical Therapy Opens
The new School of Physical Therapy, which opened on Oct 6, 2014, is the first Physical Therapy School in Haiti. (There are only a handful of Physical Therapists in Haiti and all were trained elsewhere.)  This program is a partnership between UNIFA and Stony Brook University, State University of New York.  This school answers the acute need for Physical Therapists in Haiti, a need that became particularly clear after the 2010 earthquake when many people suffered devastating injuries that require intensive rehabilitative treatment.  Stony Brook faculty are working with UNIFA faculty to create the curriculum, and they will provide the much of the teaching staff for the courses particular to Physical Therapy.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Largest Demonstration to Date Demands President Martelly’s Resignation

by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)

On Tue., Nov. 25, tens of thousands poured through the streets of Port-Au-Prince to demand the departure of President Michel Martelly. Observers and journalists reported that it was the largest anti-Martelly march yet during October and November, which have seen many outpourings around the country but particularly in the capital.
            As usual, the marchers began in front of the churches St. Jean Bosco in La Saline and Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Belair and converged at Rue Saint-Martin. After marching up the Delmas Road, they took Delmas 32 to Bourdon, and then marched on the National Palace. A week earlier, on Nov. 18, police fired on a similar large march at Delmas 32, killing at least two and dispersing the demonstration.
            Among the many chants of the demonstrators, most noteworthy was “No negotiations with Martelly!” and “Martelly must leave for Haiti to be free!” The marchers also called the Haitian president a corrupt dictator, liar, murderer, drug-dealer, and kidnapper.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Hundreds March to Demand Political Prisoners’ Release

by Thomas Péralte and Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Oct. 30, hundreds of demonstrators marched from downtown Port-au-Prince to Carrefour to demand the release of Haitian grassroots opposition leaders Biron Odigé and Rony Timothée, who were arrested in a massive Oct. 26 demonstration.
            The marchers also called for the release of dozens of other political prisoners languishing in jails throughout Haiti including Aux Cayes, Petit Goâve, Jacmel, Cap Haïtien, and Port-au-Prince.
            Just before the march, authorities announced that Mr. Odigé had been transferred to the new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets while Mr. Rony was sent to the jail in Arcahaie, 20 and 50 kilometers north of the capital respectively.
            The two leaders head the Patriotic Front for Respect of the Constitution (FOPARC), one of the principal grassroots groups organizing demonstrations against the Martelly regime over the past three years.
            Police arrested about 21 other demonstrators in protests on Oct. 17 and 26.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Gas Price Hike Fuels Misery and Anger in Haiti

by Thomas Péralte (Haiti Liberte)

President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe have decided to dramatically raise government-fixed fuel prices in Haiti over the next six months despite the plummeting price of oil on the world market and the Haitian Senate’s refusal to approve their budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. The price hikes, announced by Finance Minister Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, took effect on Oct. 10, 2014 and will rise in three or four increments.
            According to the proposed budget still not approved by the Senate, a gallon of gasoline will rise from its current cost of $4.38 (200 gourdes) to $4.70 (215 gourdes) until December; in January 2015, it would jump to $4.99 (228 gourdes); finally, during February and March 2015, it would be set at $5.32 (243 gourdes) a gallon, a 21.5% increase overall.
            A gallon of diesel over the same time period would increase from $3.54 (162 gourdes) to $3.87 (177 gourdes) to $4.03 (184 gourdes) and finally to $4.20 (192 gourdes) in March 2015, an 18.5% increase.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice.

Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP) Nouvelles du 3 septembre 2014

Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE dénoncent "une campagne de désinformation visant, ont-ils dit, à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Aristide refuserait de se présenter devant la justice. Les avocats de l'ancien chef d'Etat rappellent entre autres, s'être adressés à la  justice, particulièrement à la Cour de cassation pour obtenir le dessaisissement de son  dossier du juge d’instruction, Maître Lamarre BELIZAIRE, pour cause de suspicion légitime.

 Note de presse  du Bureau des Avocats internationaux

"Les avocats de l’ancien Président Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE présentent leurs compliments à la  population et croient opportun de dénoncer une campagne de désinformation visant à  tromper l’opinion publique en faisant croire que Monsieur Jean Bertrand ARISTIDE a refusé de se présenter devant la justice.  Rien n’est plus faux.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Harry Numa: 1961-2014

By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Harry Numa, 52, a long-time leader of the National Popular Assembly (APN) and later the National Popular Party (PPN), died in the early morning hours of Aug. 25 in a tragic car accident in the southwestern Haitian city of Jérémie. His funeral was held and he was buried in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 30.
            Born in Port-au-Prince on Aug. 31, 1961, he spent his early years under the dictatorships of François and Jean-Claude Duvalier. “On Rue Sans Fil where he grew up, Harry revealed himself to be a true leader among the youth both through the positions he took and by his serious attitude,” wrote his wife, Lucienne Houanche Irby, in a funeral tribute. “For those who knew him, Harry didn’t joke often. He took everything seriously. Caught up in the socio-political situation of the country, he saw himself as a defender of the weakest and most marginalized.”       In 1980, Harry traveled to New York, where he went to Rockland Community College and worked various jobs. But in 1987, after the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship, he returned to Haiti like many young people to take part in the burgeoning democracy movement and the newly formed National Popular Assembly (APN), a nationwide popular organization which played a key role in contributing to the political rise of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the turbulent post-Duvalier period. Harry also played an important role in the leading leftist weekly of the day, Haïti Progrès.
            During the coup d’état of 1991 to 1994, Harry largely stayed in Haiti where he set up a clandestine printing press to put out anti-coup flyers and a special version of Haïti Progrès, which for several months in 1994 was unable to enter Haiti from New York, where it was printed, due to an international embargo which stopped airline flights.

U.S. Haitian Puppet Targets Jean-Bertrand Aristide Yet Again

By: Joe Emersbergerfirst published, in a slightly different version, by Telesur.

No evidence of corruption has ever been found to incriminate the former Haitian leader, who was overthrown by a U.S.-led coup.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is once again being hounded with bogus corruption allegations by the government of Michel Martelly – a government that owes its existence to U.S. bullying.
            I don’t dismiss corruption allegations against any politician lightly – even one the U.S. despises. Reasonable, but uniformed, readers may ask why we can be sure the allegations against Aristide are baseless.
            If the facts were widely known about what the U.S. has done in Haiti in recent years, nobody would ask that question. They’d be too busy working for the prosecution of U.S. officials for crimes perpetrated in Haiti. In fact, Canadian, French and United Nations officials would also be struggling to stay out of jail for aiding and abetting those crimes, as I’ve mentioned before.
            On Feb. 29, 2004, the U.S. perpetrated a coup against Haiti’s democratically elected government which was headed by Aristide. That’s worth repeating. The U.S. directly perpetrated the coup. It did not simply provide decisive support for a coup carried out by local allies as it has done so many times in Latin America. In this case, U.S. troops physically removed Aristide from Haiti in the middle of the night and flew him off to the Central African Republic. Canadian troops assisted the U.S. by securing the airport in Port-Au-Prince. The U.S. government claims that Aristide begged rescue from a small group of “rebels” even though his own security team could have led him to safety, if that was his priority, in various countries within the Caribbean.  The U.S. and its allies, after its alleged “rescue” of Aristide, took over Haiti and promptly set up a dictatorship under Gérard Latortue. The rebels – essentially led by the death squad leader Jodel Chamblain – were immediately made completely subordinate to the U.S. and its allies. Rebels who objected too strongly to their subordinate role were simply told to get lost and, in a few very isolated cases, hunted down. Hundreds of the more obedient “rebels” were incorporated into a revamped Haitian police force under the close direction of U.S. and UN officials. Yes, criminals were made police under the direction of even bigger criminals in Washington. That’s how our upside down world functions.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Interviews with IJDH's Brian Concannon and Haiti Action's Pierre Labossiere on the trumped up charges and character assassination targeting of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio's Senior Producer Kevin Pina interviews IJDH's Brian Concannon & Haiti Action Committee's Pierre  Labossiere. Listen to the interviews here: http://www.haitiinformationproject.net/blog.php

Stop the attacks on former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the Lavalas Movement

By: Haiti Action Committee - HaitiSolidarity.Net

      On Aug. 13, the Haitian government summoned former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to court on corruption charges. This summons is part of a chilling pattern of repression aimed at destroying Aristide’s political party, Fanmi Lavalas, as the country approaches new legislative elections. We denounce it in the strongest possible terms.
      On March 18, 2011, tens of thousands of people followed President Aristide’s car as it drove from the airport to his home, following his return from seven years of forced exile. They then climbed over the walls into the courtyard of the Aristides’ residence to continue an emotional and heart-felt greeting for Haiti’s first democratically elected president, overthrown in a U.S.-orchestrated coup in 2004. In his speech at the airport, President Aristide focused on education and the importance of inclusion for all Haitians in the process of restoring democracy.
      Since his return, President Aristide has done exactly what he promised to do – reopen the University of the Aristide Foundation (UNIFA). On Sept. 26, 2011 the Medical School once again opened its doors. Today, there are over 900 students studying medicine, nursing and law at a university whose mission is to provide higher education to all sectors of Haitian society, not just the children of the rich.

Aristide Warrant and Brandt Prison Break Overshadow Election Derailment

By Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Last week, Haitian demonstrators erected barricades of burning tires and car frames in front of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's home in Tabarre to prevent the government of President Michel Martelly from arresting him. On Aug. 12, investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire had issued a court summons for Aristide to come to his offices for
questioning the next day, Aug. 13. Aristide never received the
last-minute summons which was allegedly left at his gate, according to his lawyer Mario Joseph. Having heard about the summons on the radio, Joseph did show up at the 10 a.m. hearing with a letter explaining that the summons had not been correctly served. Ironically, Judge Bélizaire did not show up for his own hearing but nonetheless later that afternoon issued an arrest warrant for Aristide because of his
absence.

Meanwhile, at about 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, two vehicles of armed men shot automatic weapons at the outside of the new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets, just north of the capital, precipitating the escape of 329 prisoners. Among them was Clifford Brandt, 42, the scion of a prominent bourgeois family who was jailed in October 2012 (but to date never tried) for heading a kidnapping ring that held hostage the
son and daughter of Haitian banker Robert Moscoso. On Aug. 12, Dominican authorities recaptured Brandt and three other fugitives across the border in the neighboring Dominican Republic and turned them over to Haitian authorities, who tried to take credit for the capture. (The Dominican Defense Minister had to issue a statement setting the record straight.)

These two unfolding dramas, perhaps by design, have all but eclipsed a much more ominous development last week: the cancellation of parliamentary and municipal elections, already two years overdue, which had been promised for Oct. 26. As a result, it is all but certain that another third of the Haitian Senate and many in the House of Deputies will see their terms expire on Jan. 12, 2015, rendering the Parliament nonfunctional and Martelly ruling by decree.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Death Squads Sow Terror in Port-au-Prince’s Poor Neighborhoods

By: Isabelle L. Papillon - Haiti Liberte

Some popular neighborhoods around the capital were in turmoil over the past week. Heavily armed government thugs, or “legal bandits” as they are commonly called, wearing pink bracelets sowed panic in the areas of Simon Pelé, Cité Soleil, the Croix-des-Bossales market, and the suburbs south of Port-au-Prince.
            This violence comes at a time when the Haitian people are mobilizing against the political persecution which the government of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is waging against partisans of its political opposition. The people are also demanding the release of political prisoners such as Jean Robert Vincent, Louima Louis Juste, Jean Matulnès Lamy, and Joshua and Enold Florestal. Progressive political activists rot in prison without trial for years while gang leaders like the kidnapping kingpin Clifford Brandt, Colombian drug-traffickers, and other notorious criminals are released, as was the case when 327 prisoners “escaped,” with the patent collusion of prison authorities, from the modern new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets. Meanwhile, Haitian diaspora visitors and citizens from the United States continue to be victims when arriving on Haitian soil.

Friday, August 1, 2014

When Will the UN Pay For Its Crimes in Haiti? When Will Anyone?

By: Joe Emersberger - first published by Telesur

A cholera outbreak has killed 8,500 Haitians since 2010 and UN forces are responsible, the author argues. Not only that, but the UN helped consolidate Gérard Latortue’s post-coup regime.

Since 2010 the UN has been dodging responsibility for a cholera outbreak that has killed 8,500 Haitians and sickened more than 700,000. Nepalese soldiers with the UN “peacekeeping” forces caused the outbreak by allowing their sewage to leak into Haiti’s largest river. According to the UN itself, cholera could kill 2,000 more people in 2014.
            The UN now faces a lawsuit in U.S. courts that was brought by some of the victims. The Obama administration is trying to have the suit dismissed but, this May, Amicus Briefs filed by prominent international law experts refuted the U.S. government’s arguments for dismissal. Scientific evidence of the UN’s guilt is so conclusive that Bill Clinton, a UN special envoy to Haiti, acknowledged in 2012 that UN soldiers brought cholera to Haiti, but he made the UN’s demented excuse that “what really caused it is that you don’t have a sanitation system, you don’t have a comprehensive water system.”
            By this logic, if I kill a gravely ill person by knocking them off their hospital bed, my defense should be that a healthy person would have survived the fall. In a civilized legal setting, where the victim cannot be dismissed as irrelevant, making such a repulsive argument might provoke a judge to hand down the harshest sentence allowable. Unfortunately, international law has always been the plaything of the most powerful, and Haitians have long endured the consequences of that fact. Criminal negligence is one of many crimes in Haiti for which UN officials should answer.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Does a Better Haiti Start with Justice or Tourism?

[This is a great story that sheds light on the incredible work (and life story) of BAI Managing Attorney Mario Joseph and makes clear why there is no way around justice for cholera victims. It not only portrays Mario’s struggle to bring justice Haitians but also contrasts it with the current Tourism Minister’s opposing view that attracting tourists will create a better future for Haiti.]

Samiha Shafy - Der Spiegel

July 18, 2014


Human rights attorney Mario Joseph and Tourism Minister Stéphanie Villedrouin are both trying to improve Haiti, but they are following radically different paths. The one wants justice, the other wants tourism.
       The attorney stares at a hut next to the grave. It’s made of wood and mud, and is covered with a plastic tarp. “I used to live like that,” Mario Joseph says quietly, more to himself than to the three women crouching behind him in the shade of a tree.
        The women are keeping watch over a rectangle of freshly dug up earth, surrounded by loose stones. One of them, Itavia Souffrant, says it is the grave of her mother. Two weeks ago, the mother had diarrhea and was vomiting, but because of heavy rains the family was unable to take her to the doctor. The mother died of cholera, the same fate suffered previously by Souffrant’s three-year-old daughter and by so many others in the vicinity of Mirebalais, north of the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

Opposition Parties Denounce Martelly’s Electoral Council


This article explains why elections in Haiti have been delayed so long: After the executive branch stalled for years, President Martelly has appointed an unconstitutional Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), which is biased in his favor.  Opposition parties refuse to accept this CEP. If elections, scheduled for October 26, 2014, don’t occur this year, Martelly will rule by decree.

Opposition sides claim Haiti elections jeopardized

Associated Press, The Washington Post
July 10, 2014

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Leading opposition factions are alleging that Haiti’s presidentially appointed electoral council is stacking the deck in favor of President Michel Martelly, who has scheduled long-delayed legislative and municipal elections for October.
Parties complaining of exclusion and unfair advantages include the Unity party of former President Rene Preval and the Lavalas Family founded by former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. They are among the major opposition groups that boycotted election talks earlier in the year and have refused to register with the Provisional Electoral Council, which they contend is rigged.
An accord setting Oct. 26 as election day has not been authorized by the Senate, where a group of staunch Martelly opponents argue it is unconstitutional.
The electoral council picked by Martelly has only seven of its mandated nine members and its president, Fritzo Canton, is a lawyer who is defending former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier against charges of embezzlement and human rights abuses.

Follow the new blog Haiti: Then and Now

We suggest to all of our readers to follow the excellent new blog "Haiti: Then and Now".
You can view it here: http://haitithenandnow.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

IPS: Harkening Back to Dark Days in Haiti

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.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Martelly Regime Targets KOD’s Oxygène David

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.

Revolution vs. Counter-Revolution

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.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Presidents Martelly and Clinton to Be Honored and Protested in NYC


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 fundraiser at 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.

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


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.

Monday, June 16, 2014

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

URGENT APPEAL FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE LIFE
Atty. 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, 2014
Ladies 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.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Neo-Duvalierist Dictatorship à la Martelly Takes Shape


Justice Minister Sanon plays an important role
by 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.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

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

  
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?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Resistance & the Lavalas Movement

HAITI ACTION COMMITTEE
STUDY GROUP
Join 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 7th
2:00 - 4:00pm
Niebyl Proctor Library
6501 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, 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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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


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.

Scholars, Cholera Victims Tell Court UN Immunity Cannot Be Impunity


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.

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