Monday, January 25, 2016

Statement from Haiti's popular movement


In this statement, written right before the postponement of the January 24th presidential “run-off” election, 68 grassroots organizations in Haiti issue an urgent call for solidarity with their struggle for free and fair elections, dignity and justice.
The statement was written as tens of thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets—braving assassination, tear gas, beatings, and police torture—demanding the annulment of the fraudulent elections that gave the lead positions in the legislative and presidential races to the hand-picked candidates of President Michel Martelly.
The postponement of the presidential election was a dramatic and hard-won victory for the people’s movement, which had insisted that no election take place until it could be free and fair and democratic.
The struggle for the right to vote and for all Haitians to participate in the political process continues.
WE ArE hONOrEd TO cIrcULATE ThIs POWErfUL mEssAgE
Haiti Action Committee

A Call for Solidarity from Haiti’s Popular Movement
Reflecting on the voting rights struggle led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and so many other courageous fighters for justice fifty years ago in the US; on the one person one vote struggle led by Mandela’s comrades in South Africa; reflecting on struggles everywhere, we came to the conclusion that a people can’t be sovereign if they don’t have the right to vote. No people can retain their dignity if their vote does not count. As clearly stated by President Aristide: “If we don’t protect our dignity, our dignity will escape us!” That is why we struggle and ask that people the world over with a history of struggle stand in solidarity with us.

Six years after the earthquake that jolted the country, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Haitians, we, Haitian organizations, in the context of reflection, take our hats off and humbly say to the people all over the planet who opened their hearts to us, “We have not forgotten your acts of solidarity”. The sharing impulse manifested by people the world over, should have helped the Haitian people to rebuild their environment, rebuild their lives. Pity! To this day, the people’s lot has not changed. Adding insult to injury, shameless characters, local slave owners, empowered by various international organizations, hijacked the reconstruction funds.

Right after the earthquake, the internationals took advantage of our momentary state of helplessness to occupy the political space. Today, the Haitian people are engaged in an all out struggle to reclaim that space and to exercise their right to vote. The very ones who hijacked the reconstruction money want to prevent the people from choosing their government, in a wide scale conspiracy to continue the looting of the country’s resources. Subsequent to many schemes designed to remove the people from the political equation, local colonialists joined forces with international colonialists to force the people to accept choices against their best interests. Illegitimate officials implemented urban removal plans and land grabs, assaulting both the middle-class, as well as the poorer classes, putting the country on the brink of collapse. The people’s resistance slowed down the “terror apparatus,” prevent- ing it from completing this program. Now they want to put more false officials at the helm of the government to continue their assault.

The blatant violence perpetrated in Ile-a-Vache, the hideous massacres perpetrated on the people of Arcahaie, the continuous massacre of the people of Cité Soleil because they manifest a will to vote, various acts of aggression perpetrated throughout the country, in the context of land-grab or voter suppression, convince the Haitian people that they are in a fight for their very existence. We say NO, WE WILL NOT OBEY ILLEGITIMATE OFFICIALS. Self-defense is a legitimate universal law. Civil-Disobedience is an accepted universal right when a people confronts an illegal regime. The right to elect a government is uni- versally accepted as a way for people to protect its existence. Today, confronted by the danger presented by local and international colo- nialists, the Haitian people have started a RESISTANCE FOR EXISTENCE movement. They ask for people to people solidarity from everywhere on the planet. The local and international colonialists plan is not an earthquake, yet it has caused far more damage to the country.

Our experience of the six years since the earthquake is no different than the experience of other small countries with natural and human resourc- es. The internationals loot, have an orgy, while the international media turns a blind eye to lies spread by “their” ambassadors in their country’s name. The Haitian army, now being rebuilt to oppress the people, is a gift to the Haitian people by the Organization of American States (OAS). The Cholera epidemic and the blood thirsty and corrupt Haitian Police, were United Nations (UN) gifts to the Haitian people. The Media is mute, as the country nears total collapse. We say NO, WE WILL NOT OBEY. We will not dig our own graves. We’d rather tell the truth and expose the conspiracy. n

List of Signers
Action Nationale des Chauffeurs (ANC)
Aide Humanitaire
Alternative Syndicale pour le Transport Moderne (ASTM)
APMS: Action des Paysans de Masson Sion
APTN: Association pour le Développement Terre Noire
Association Professionelle des Enseignants Haitiens pour l’Avancement de l’Education (APEAE)
APSAB: Association Planteur Savane Dubois Asosiyasyon Fanm Senlwidisid (AFS) Asosiyasyon Fanm Vanyan Okay (AFVO) Asosiyasyon Machann Aken (AMA) Asosiyasyon Peyizan Gwomaren (APG)
BPN (Baz Popile Nord)
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Aken
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Anike
CEGBD
CHANJE LESON
CURO: Comité Usager Rodaille
COSCOB
CRCSPFL (Cellule de Reflexions des Cadres Socio Professionnels de Fanmi Lavalas)
CUREH (Cercle Universitaire pour le Renouveau d’Haiti)
DEMELE FANM
G.R. (Gwoup Refleksyon)
FAJEP (Fanm an Aksyon pou Jistis ak Pwogre)
FANM LENTO
FANM WOZO
FASA
Groupe Alternative pour Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (GRAPME)
Gwoupman Plante Senlwidisid (GPS) JOFAP
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Kanperen
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Kavayon Kodinasyon Peyizan Sid (KPS)

KPDS (Konbit Planteur pou Devlopman Sanyago) KORE MAP KORE W
Le PHARE
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Maniche

MOFUP
MOJIDMA: Mouvement des Jeunes Intègres pour le Développement de Marigot
Mouvement d’Opposition Citoyenne (MOC) Mouvman Tet Kole Kavayon (MTKK)
OBMP
Oganizasyon Devlopman Solon (ODS) Oganizasyon Fanm Vanyan (OFAV) OGANIZASYON LEVE KANPE

OJFS
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Okay
Organisation 30 Septembre
OPG: Organisation Paysan de Grande Rivière Organisation Sans Bloff (OSB)

OPDPS: Òganizasyon Pou Devlopman Peyizan Sarazin
OPPB: Organisation Paysan Platon Blan
Plateforme Nationale des Syndicats de Transports Fidele (PNSTF)
POGRES (Oganizasyon Planteur pou Devlopman Sanyago)
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Port Salut
Pou Solèy Leve
Regroupement des Enseignants Normalien Haitien (RENOH)
RFDP (Rasanbleman Fanm pou Devlopman Petitans)
Rasanbleman Militan Pwogresis (RMP)
RASSINE (Rasanbleman Sitwayen NORD AK NORD EST)
SDDC (Societe d’Encadrement pour le Developpement Communautaire)
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Senlwidisid Solidarite Jenn Kavayon (SJK) SOPU- FANM pou FANM
S.O.S Transport Federee

Baz Fanmi Lavalas Tibiron
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Torbec
Union du Mouvement Syndical de Transport Public (UMSTP)
UJDSB:Union des Jeunes pour le Developpement Savane du Bois. 

“NOU PAP OBEYI”


Vwa oganizasyon anndan Ayiti 
Nan refleksyon n fè sou lit pou vòt Dr. Martin Luther King te fè ozetazini sa gen 50 lane; nan lit “one man one vote” kanmarad Mandela yo te mennen an Afrikdisid; nan refleksyon sou lit divès lòt pèp, nou wè pa gen pèp ki souvren si yo pa gen dwa vòt yo. Pa gen pèp ki gen diyite si vòt yo pa konte. Jan Prezidan Aristide di: “Sinoupasovediyiten,diyitenapsovekiten!”Sesakfènaplite e nou mande solidarite tout pèp ki konn lite pou dwa vòt yo.
Sis lane apre goudougoudou ki te sakaje peyi an, kote plizyè santèn milye Ayisyen mouri, noumenm, òganizasyon Ayisien, nan kad refleksyon
nou, n ap mete chapo n byen ba pou n di pèp toupatou sou planèt lan
ki te louvri kè yo ban nou, nou pa bilye zak solidarite yo. Elan pataj pèp tout kote te manifeste, te dwe ide pèp Ayisyen rekonstwi anvironman

yo, rekonstwi lavi yo. Domaj! Jouk jounen jodi a, kondisyon pèp lan pa chanje. Ki di plis, zago loray yo, kolon lokal yo, met tèt ansanm ak divès òganizasyon entènasyonal pou fè dappiyanp sou kòb rekonstriksyon an.
Entènasyonal lan pwofite moman Pèp lan dezanpare an pou l okipe espas politik lan. Jounen jodi a, se gwo batay pou pèp Ayisyen ka ekzèse dwa vòt li. Sila yo ki fè dappiyanp sou èd lan vle anpeche pèp lan chwazi moun li vle pou dirije peyi an, nan kad yon gwo konplo pou yo kontinye koupe rache resous peyi a. Apre divès magouy ki wete pèp lan nan ekwasyon politik lan, kolon lokal mete ak kolon entènasyonal pou foure yon remèd chwal nan gòjèt pèp lan. Fo reprezan ak dirijan, vini ak yon plan deposesyon ki agrese klas mwayèn ak sa k pi pòv
yo, jouk peyi an vanse depafini. Rezistans pèp lan ralanti avansman machin laterè a, anpeche l deposede popilasyon an nèt ale, sa ki fòse yo setoblije rapouswiv ak you lòt fo gouvèlman remèd chwal ankò.
Ekzanp maspinay gouvèlman an fè nan kad deposesyon ilavach, zak maspinay sou moun Akayè, zak maspinay ki pa janm sispan pou pini moun Site Solèy pase yo vle vote, divès zak maspinay ki fèt toupatou nan peyi an nan kad vòlò tè oubyen vòlò vòt, pèp Ayisyen sèten li nan yon lit inevitab pou ekzistans li. Nou di NON, NOU PAP OBEYI FO DIRIJAN. Dwa lejitim defans, se dwa tout moun genyen pou pwoteje tèt yo. Dwa reziste lòd ilegal, se dwa tout pèp genyen pou pwoteje
tèt li. Dwa chazi dirijan l, se dwa tout pèp genyen pou pwoteje tèt li. Jounen jodi a, anfas danje kolon lokal ak kolon entènasyonal yo, pèp Ayisyen antame yon REZISTANS POU EKZISTANS. Yo mande solidar- ite tout pèp sou la tè. Plan malfektè kolon lokal ak kolon blan yo se pa goudougoudou, men l kraze peyi an pi mal pase goudougoudou.
Eksperyans n ap fè depi si zan goudougoudou an pa diferan ak sa pèp ti peyi ki gen resous fè. Entènasyonal ap piye, ap banbile, pandan medya yo fèmen je yo, sou manti anbasadè ap fè sou non pèp. Lame k pare pou kraze zo pèp lan, se òganizasyon eta Ameriken ki bannou l. Kolera ak lapolis sanginè kowonpi an, se loni k bannou l. Medya bèbè, pan- dan peyi a ap depafini. Nou di NON, NOU PAP OBEYI. Nou pap fouye pwòp twou tonb nou. N ap di laverite, met kaka chat lan deyò. 


Oganizasyon ki siyen mesaj sa a
Action Nationale des Chauffeurs (ANC)
Aide Humanitaire
Alternative Syndicale pour le Transport Moderne (ASTM)
APMS: Action des Paysans de Masson Sion
APTN: Association pour le Développement Terre Noire
Association Professionelle des Enseignants Haitiens pour l’Avancement de l’Education (APEAE)
APSAB: Association Planteur Savane Dubois Asosiyasyon Fanm Senlwidisid (AFS) Asosiyasyon Fanm Vanyan Okay (AFVO) Asosiyasyon Machann Aken (AMA) Asosiyasyon Peyizan Gwomaren (APG)
BPN (Baz Popile Nord)
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Aken
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Anike
CEGBD
CHANJE LESON
CURO: Comité Usager Rodaille
COSCOB
CRCSPFL (Cellule de Reflexions des Cadres Socio Professionnels de Fanmi Lavalas)
CUREH (Cercle Universitaire pour le Renouveau d’Haiti)
DEMELE FANM
G.R. (Gwoup Refleksyon)
FAJEP (Fanm an Aksyon pou Jistis ak Pwogre)
FANM LENTO
FANM WOZO
FASA
Groupe Alternative pour Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (GRAPME)
Gwoupman Plante Senlwidisid (GPS) JOFAP
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Kanperen
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Kavayon Kodinasyon Peyizan Sid (KPS)

KPDS (Konbit Planteur pou Devlopman Sanyago) KORE MAP KORE W
Le PHARE
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Maniche

MOFUP
MOJIDMA: Mouvement des Jeunes Intègres pour le Développement de Marigot
Mouvement d’Opposition Citoyenne (MOC) Mouvman Tet Kole Kavayon (MTKK)
OBMP
Oganizasyon Devlopman Solon (ODS) Oganizasyon Fanm Vanyan (OFAV) OGANIZASYON LEVE KANPE

OJFS
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Okay
Organisation 30 Septembre
OPG: Organisation Paysan de Grande Rivière Organisation Sans Bloff (OSB)

OPDPS: Òganizasyon Pou Devlopman Peyizan Sarazin
OPPB: Organisation Paysan Platon Blan
Plateforme Nationale des Syndicats de Transports Fidele (PNSTF)
POGRES (Oganizasyon Planteur pou Devlopman Sanyago)
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Port Salut
Pou Solèy Leve
Regroupement des Enseignants Normalien Haitien (RENOH)
RFDP (Rasanbleman Fanm pou Devlopman Petitans)
Rasanbleman Militan Pwogresis (RMP)
RASSINE (Rasanbleman Sitwayen NORD AK NORD EST)
SDDC (Societe d’Encadrement pour le Developpement Communautaire)
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Senlwidisid Solidarite Jenn Kavayon (SJK) SOPU- FANM pou FANM
S.O.S Transport Federee

Baz Fanmi Lavalas Tibiron
Baz Fanmi Lavalas Torbec
Union du Mouvement Syndical de Transport Public (UMSTP)
UJDSB:Union des Jeunes pour le Developpement Savane du Bois. 

FANMI LAVALAS STATEMENT ABOUT JANUARY 19 POLICE TORTURE OF YOUNG PROTESTERS

Fanmi Lavalas Statement on Police Atrocities - English translation
Port-au-Prince, 20 January 2016


The word DIGNITY is written in large letters in the everyday vocabulary of the Fanmi LavalasPolitical Organization. Respect for human dignity is one of the guiding lights of Lavalas, and when dignity is under assault we cannot remain silent.

During the day on 19 January, in a national police station in Port-au-Prince, officers whose motto is “Protect and Serve” were allowed to commit odious acts on young people who had been arbitrarily arrested during demonstrations earlier that day demanding that their votes be respected.

Images from a video that has been circulating both in Haiti and overseas, show young men tied up and defenseless, being abused and mistreated by officers of a well-identified police unit. These shocking images show abuse and degrading acts being inflicted by the police on our young compatriots.

The right to humane treatment is an absolute and fundamental right that does not permit any infringement. Neither the law nor the authorities can abridge or limit this right in any way. Moreover, Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is incorporated into the Constitution of 1987, states as follows: No one will be subjected to torture, nor treatment or punishment that is cruel, inhumane or degrading.

Fanmi Lavalas forcefully condemns the repressive and inhuman comportment of these police officers and demands that the guilty ones be identified, brought to justice and punished.

Fanmi Lavalas invites human rights organizations to render assistance to these young people who have been assaulted in their flesh but especially in their dignity.

Fanmi Lavalas, while supporting the demands of these young people and of the population as a whole against this electoral coup d’etat being perpetrated by the “Tet Kale” (Skinhead) authorities, empathize with the suffering of these young people and extend to them our deepest sympathies.

LINK TO VIDEO HERE - GRAPHIC CONTENT
LINK TO FLASHPOINTS REPORT ON INCIDENT WITH DENNIS BERNSTEIN AND KEVIN PINA HERE.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Haiti’s Fraudulent Presidential Frontrunner, Jovel Moïse Seizes Land for His Own Banana Republic

By Joshua Steckley and Beverly Bell

This report is based on extensive interviews, on-site and via phone, with more than 20 government officials, economic development professionals, peasant farmers, and community organizers, between July 2015 and January 2016. We reached out to Agritrans for comment, but they did not respond.
Agritrans Bananas
The frontrunner in Haiti’s rigged election grabbed land from peasant farmers to grow bananas for export. Photo: Joshua Steckley.
The only man running in Haiti’s fraudulent presidential election run-offs on January 24, 2016, Jovenel Moïse, dispossessed as many as 800 peasants – who were legally farming – and destroyed houses and crops two years ago, say leaders of farmers’ associations in the Trou-du-Nord area. Farmers remain homeless and out of work. The land grabbed by the company Moïse founded, Agritrans, now hosts a private banana plantation.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#ESSAY, Haiti and the UN’s Endless Peacekeeping Mission: Is UN a Curse for Haiti’s Democracy?

BY WADNER PIERRE

IMG_0720Introduction
Three presidential elections have been organized under the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission watch; all of them had been either marred with irregularities or massive frauds. In 2006, Haitian people had to gain the streets for several weeks to abort an electoral coup pre-engineered by United States-backed de facto government Gerard Latorture. In 2010, right after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake ravaged the country’s western part, Haiti’s then President Rene Preval was forced to abide by a U.S.-backed Organization of American States’ electoral commission result asking him to remove his handpicked candidate Jude Celestin to replace him with U.S.-preferred candidate, Michelle Joseph Martelly.
In 2010, Haitians reject CEP’s contentious and tainted preliminary results for the presidential elections. Nearly two months since Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisional Council), know as the CEP, announced the final results for the first round presidential elections, second round legislative and local elections that plagued with massive frauds. The controversial results for the presidential elections placed Haiti’s ruling Party candidate, Jovel Moïse at the first place with over 34 percent of the popular and the former 2010 presidential candidate Jude Celestin in second place. Since then protest against those tainted results have been widened throughout the country. The question one may ask is, is UN a curse for Haiti’s democracy?

“The Struggle for Land Justice Knows No Borders”: Corporate Pillaging in Haiti

An interview with Nixon Boumba, Democratic Popular Movement (MODEP) and American Jewish World Service

Edited by Natalie Miller, Other Worlds
Since the earthquake of January, 2010, Haiti has increasingly become a target of extraction and private business development by Haitian and foreign investors. Income and trade – if the wages are livable and the trade is fair – would, of course, be helpful for the poverty statistics-topping nation. This would be especially important for the majority of the population who survive on agriculture. However, much of the new business is being planned or executed on lands those farmers’ families have lived on since they were enslaved, leaving them landless and without livelihood.
This article debuts a new series, “Land Rights and Food Sovereignty in Haiti,” to run every other week. The series will feature interviews with those directly impacted, investigation by scholars and other experts, and analysis from Haitian activists. The pieces will examine the problems; the role of the US and UN; and solutions, spotlighting food sovereignty.
Members of a peasant organization heading to community meeting to discuss their rights. Photo: Roberto (Bear) Guerra.
Members of a peasant organization heading to community meeting to discuss their rights. Photo: Roberto (Bear) Guerra.
The January 2010 earthquake provided a perfect opportunity for many to come and do business in Haiti. Even prior to the earthquake, Bill Clinton led the discussion on developing Haiti through corporate investment. President Martelly turned that approach into a credo: “Haiti is open for business.”

Monday, December 21, 2015

Opinion: Haiti’s Electoral Shambles, CEP Officials Can Either Fix the Mess or They Go to Jail

By WADNER PIERRE

This opinion article was originally published by UnlessWeCare
Fanmi Lavas supporters protest in the streets of the Port-Au-Prince in support to their candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse. Photo from Fanmi Lavalas presidential  Dr. Maryse Narcisse Facebook page.
Fanmi Lavas supporters protest in the streets of the Port-Au-Prince in support to their candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse. Photo from Fanmi Lavalas presidential Dr. Maryse Narcisse Facebook page.
For too long, people paid by Haitian people to do their job have not been held accountable. Now, it’s the time for the Haiti’s electoral officials – the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) – to either fix the electoral mess or go to jail.
It is despicable that a CEP official threatened to shut down the whole electoral process instead of collaborating with a government-backed commission to investigate massive electoral frauds that they fail to avoid. Marie Carmelle Paul Austin, a member of the electoral council, told a radio in Haiti’s capital that the electoral council members are ready to depart in bloc “If this commission’s purpose is to redo or verify the work that the CEP has already done, the council members will resign.” What Madame Austin did not say is that when you betray your people, violate your country’s laws and contribute to social and political destabilization you should be in jail.
For too long, Haitian people have been struggling for participative democracy and social justice. They’ve been ignored by Haitian officials who primarily seek to satisfy the interest of their international backers like the United States, Canada and France by either plotting electoral coups. Although the Martelly administration finally established a commission to address the latest electoral disaster, it is uncertain that anything will come of it.
Martelly himself was a beneficiary of an electoral fiasco. How can one believe he will accept any recommendation asking the removal of his handpicked candidate? This move reminds me of an article by Haiti’s renowned author Edwidge Danticat: Sweet Micky and the Sad Déjà Vu of Haiti’s Presidential Elections.
For too long, the business elites have been exploiting Haiti’s masses for the sake of becoming wealthier than they had ever before. They have involved in concocting the invasion of Haiti by the U.S. in 1915, as well as the occupation of Haiti by powerful international players under the banner of United Nations (U.N.). Thanks to their loyalty to the U.S. transnational corporate class, they have been able to succeed in imposing their free-market-based economic plan, and their neoliberal-style democracy on Haitian people through different electoral masquerades. Together with U.S. States Dept., in 2010, they orchestrated an electoral coup by threatening to depose Haiti’s then President Rene Preval should he refuse to swallow U.S.-backed Organization of American States’ electoral de facto results.
For too long, the United States has been undermined democracy in Haiti by either supporting dictatorship or electoral coups. Now, it’s the time for American taxpayers to hold U.S. officials accountable for using their dollars to fund coups and flawed elections. In a first ever democratically organized election on Dec. 16, 1990, Haitian people elected a former priest and liberation theologian, Jean-Bertrand Aristide as the country’s first democratically elected president just to see him overthrowing in bloody military coup supported by the U.S. and financed by the Haitian business elite seven months after he took office on Sept. 30, 1991. Some the coup leaders were trained at U.S. military school and were under Central Intelligence Agency ‘s (C.I.A) payroll. In Nov. 2000, in another presidential elections marked by high turnout, Aristide won a second term and his Fanmi Lavalas party won the majority of the seat in both Haiti's higher and lower chambers. On Feb. 29, 2009, he was forced to leave the country aboard a U.S. military plane to Central African Republic then South Africa where he and his family spent 7 years in exile. His party was also banned from participating at the electoral process during those years.
As Brian Concannon wrote, the U.S. has been religiously supported Martelly since he ascended to power using its diplomatic and financial leverage to legalize the president’s unconstitutional decisions. The U.S. spent over $30 million for the organization of long overdue elections, now it’s the time for Obama administration to use its diplomatic and financial leverage to make his man in Port-Au-Prince do the right thing.
The clock is ticking; Haitian people have been patient, resilient and vigilant throughout the democratic process, and they have showed no sign that they will validate a 2010-style electoral coup. Now, it’s time for the CEP officials to do their job or go to jail.
Wadner Pierre is a Haitian award-winning Photojournalist based in Shanghai, China. He is the founder of UnWelessWeCare.org and co-founder of Haiti Analysis blog. He completed a Master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, with a focus on International Security and Human Development.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Haiti: Govt. Formed an Electoral Commission to End Electoral Deadlock; Will the CEP Reschedule the Runoff?

BY WADNER PIERRE
This article was originally published by UnlessWecare.org
Since the CEP published its tainted and most controversial results for the presidential, second round legislative and local elections early last November, thousands have been demonstrated in the streets of Haiti’s largest cities to reclaim a recount of their votes. Religious leaders and international human rights and advocacy groups have also urged the CEP to investigate irregularities and massive electoral frauds that are no longer mere allegations.
Photo Credit: CEP_Haiti Twitter Account.
Photo Credit: CEP_Haiti Twitter Account.

As protests widening, diplomatic talks failed and G8 candidates remaining steadfast in their position, to remedy the situation, Haiti’s PM Evans Paul in an one-page letter sent to the President Michel J. Martelly, proposed a formation of an electoral commission to ensure the credibility of the already festered electoral process.
The commission according to the Prime Minister’s letter will have three days to produce recommendations to the government and the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisional Council), known as the CEP. The head of the government stated,“ …it is necessary to organize credible, transparent, participative and inclusive elections,” as well as “to do whatever it takes” to create a climate of trust for the actors involving in the process.
The CEP shows no sign that it will abide by the recommendations of the government-formed commission. One of its members Marie Carmelle Paul Austin told a radio in the Haiti’s capital that the electoral council members are ready to depart in bloc should the commission interfere in their work. “If this commission’s purpose is to redo or verify the work that the CEP has already done, the council members will resign,” implied council Austin.
One thing Council Austin failed to admit is that the CEP could have avoided this electoral crisis and save the country from the upcoming political quagmire had it verified the alleged electoral frauds when one of its members brought it to the council’s attention. Instead of taking time to verify the alleged massive electoral frauds, the CEP’s negligent President Pierre-Louis Opont proceeded to the already contentious results. Now, it is the time to fix this mess.
In 2010, the U.S. State Department and Haiti’s private sector elected Martelly in highly flawed presidential runoff with less than one million votes. When then President Rene Preval refused to accept the U.S.-OAS’s fabricated electoral results that demanded the removal of his handpicked candidate Jude Celestin. It was later reported that the U.S. and the rest of the international community threatened to depose him should he resist the OAS’s electoral commission’s recommendation.
Today, nearly all the polarized figures, notably U.S. former ambassador to Haiti and current State Dep. Special Envoy to Haiti Kenneth Merten, who were involved in imposing a president to Haitian people, are part of the diplomatic negotiating team aiming at constraining the same Jude Celestin and other candidates to validate the CEP’s Opont infected results.
It is important to point out that Merten is a closed friend to Martelly and one of the foreign diplomats who plotted the 2010-style electoral coup. By choosing Merten as his Haiti’s go-to person, President Barack Obama, once again, signals that there is no shift in U.S. policy towards Haiti.
Meanwhile, Haitians have continued to remain vigilant against any possible flawed elections, and are ready to thwart another 2010-style electoral debacle. Within less than two months the CEP has to organize credible, fair and democratic elections for Haitian people to elect a new president to succeed Martelly. Under Haiti’s constitution, Martelly’s term ends on Feb. 7, 2016 and forbid to run for a consecutive term.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Haiti: CEP Failed to its Mission, But an Electoral Miscarriage Can Be Avoided

By Wadner Pierre

This Article was originally published by UnlessWeCare
Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 6.34.24 AMIt has been over a month since Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisory Counsel), known as CEP, published its foreknown controversial fraudulent results for the first round presidential and second round legislative elections. The CEP’s preliminary results for the presidential elections placed President Michel Martelly’s hand-picked candidate Jovenel Moise of Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale, or P.H.T.K in the first place with 32.8 percent of the popular votes. Jaccéus Joseph, a member of the electoral council, qualified the results as unacceptable.
 Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles reported, Joseph refused to sign “the presidential and legislative preliminary results” because of irregularities and frauds that plagued them. Joseph thought his refusal to endorse the results would prompt the Tabulation Center to verify “the allegations of electoral fraud, including checking the voter registration lists against the ballots cast in the Oct. 25” elections to avert an unnecessary electoral crisis.
Joseph said, “We asked the director of the Tabulation Center did he have enough time to thoroughly verify if there was fraud.” According to Joseph, the director told them, “[H]e didn’t have enough time for that.”
Despite Joseph’s insistence on verifying and correcting the irregularities and frauds  threatening the credibility of the results, CEP’s President Pierre-Louis Opont decided to publish the tainted results.  The electoral crisis that was avoidable is now becoming an inevitable crisis. This man-made electoral dispute could further derail the political and social stability of the country.
Following the electoral process, eight presidential candidates known as G8 filed  complaints before the electoral court. The court confirmed that there have been frauds, and the CEP agreed. To address the electoral frauds, the CEP proposed to meet with the G8 to listen to them and address their concerns. During the meeting, the candidates denounced the irregularities and massive frauds that tarnished the credibility of the preliminary results; they demanded that an independent commission be formed to investigate the alleged frauds before scheduling the presidential runoff. Opont declined the request, concluding that the electoral result is final and the runoff is straight.
Fanmi Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse whose CEP’s result put in fourth place, argued that the results were marred with frauds and demanded that the CEP investigate them. The Le Bureau du Contentieux Electoral National (National Electoral Complaints Bureau) (BCEN) allowed her to go to the Tabulation Center and randomly pick 78 tally sheets from more than 13,000 sheets. The candidate discovered irregularities in some of the sheets, and others were completely fraudulent. The frauds and irregularities were in favor of the ruling party candidate. The CEP jettisoned the 78 tally sheets. Dr. Narcisse insisted that Moise be removed from the process according the electoral laws. But the CEP has rejected her call.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Can Haiti’s Corrupt President Hold On to Power?

Michel Martelly is trying to impose a successor amid widespread public anger at government repression and failure to rebuild after the earthquake.

By James North (The Nation)

In another week or so, Haiti could explode, and the disastrous American policy of supporting the country’s violent and corrupt president will be a big part of the reason. Michel Martelly, prevented from continuing in office by term limits, is trying to impose a successor, and the United States has not spoken out against his ruthless, undemocratic strategy. On or after November 3, Haiti will announce the top two finishers in the first election round, held on October 25, and if Martelly’s man is one of them, thousands of enraged citizens will surge into the streets.

The United States is already widely blamed here for supporting Martelly, and the ambassador until recently, Pamela White, is singled out bitterly and publicly for her alleged closeness to him.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Other Refugee Crisis

By France François (originally for Ebony)

Yanique’s Dominican neighbors, the same people she had lived and worked side by side with for decades, pounded on her door in the middle of the night chanting violent demands for her to leave the country. Pregnant and terrified, Yanique grabbed all that she could carry as she ran out of the back door. She left town in the dead of the night, hidden in the back of a pickup truck. The following morning, she found herself standing amidst a dusty camp made up of makeshift tents cobbled together with tarp, plastic and tin. When all that she had lost suddenly hit her, she dissolved into a panic attack. Her twins were delivered stillborn three days later.

Militarized police & new army trained as protests grow in Haiti

Mounting protests against sham elections and corruption, newly trained paramilitary police units and the upcoming deployment of a new military force trained in Ecuador. Listen to the recent radio interview with Haiti Information Project's Kevin Pina.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Op-Ed: Thoughts on the Refugee Crisis on the Dominican-Haitian Border

John A. Carroll, MD --  HaitiHearts

As most of us know nothing is as simple as it seems. Everything is not
usually black or white. There is some gray and maybe even some blue.

But I want to be clear.  There is a huge “human rights violation” occurring
on the Haitian-Dominican border right now. People I have visited in the
camps just outside of Anse-a-Pitres are being treated like animals.  Many
of these folks have told me that no one cares about them. And they are
right. They are being treated like animals.

Their essential rights to protection, food, water, and medical care are not
being upheld. They are held captive to their daily need to survive and they
are not viable members of any society except their camp society where they
exist day-to-day.

This is all a man-made disaster and has been created on both sides of the
Haitian-Dominican border. Both Dominican and Haitian authorities are guilty
of these human rights violations.  And the deaths and the misery of the
people imprisoned in these camps are on their shoulders.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Anatomy of an Electoral Coup

Marred by outright fraud, massive voter suppression in the form of intimidation, and violence, the August 9th Haitian legislative election was rejected by the people of Haiti. Yet, in a cynical re-write of history, the OAS, United States, and European Union put their stamp of approval on the election as a “step forward” for democracy.
As usual, the Haitian people resist. They insist on their right to fair elections. Angry protests across Haiti demand that the August 9th election be annulled.  Haiti Action Committee fully supports this demand.
Fanmi Lavalas, the party of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, immediately declared the sham election “an electoral coup,” calling for its annulment, and demanded that a commission be convened to investigate. Other political parties soon joined this call. Many candidates throughout the country have formed “candidates’ collectives” to defend the Haitian people’s right to free and fair elections. 
Below are some examples of the nation-wide pattern of disruption, voter suppression and terror that occurred during this sham election. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fraud, Violence, and Protests Cloud Results of Haitian Election


by Jake Johnston - source: CEPR  

On August 9, in the impoverished Cité Soleil neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, a man in plainclothes carrying an automatic weapon casually got into a crowded SUV and left the premises one of Haiti's largest voting centers. It wasn't yet noon on election day. Inside the center's gate, three Haitian National Police officers sat in the shade. All 51 voting booths had been destroyed. Thousands of ballots littered the courtyard. 

All across the country, the vote was held amid a climate of chaos and tension. In Chansolme, in Haiti's rural northwest, a polling place supervisor was forced to hide under a bed for hours after being threatened by armed bandits who needed his signature to officially endorse completed ballots that they had provided. In Nippes, another supervisor was held at gunpoint and forced to sign a document canceling the election for an entire voting center. In the commune of Desdunes in the Artibonite, all five voting centers were shut down by midday. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

“A Political Coup” – Interview with Youseline Augustin Bell, Cap-Haïtien

By: Sokari Ekine - http://propagandapress.org
Mdm Youseline Augustin Bell is an educator, psychologist, and attorney. In 1995 together with her husband Bell Angelot they opened the College Bell Angelot in Cap-Haïtien  which presently has 1,000 K-12 students. A well known human rights activist and a member of Fanmi Lavalas, Mdm Bell successfully ran for Senator of Haiti Nord in the 2000 elections.
For the past 11 years, Fanmi Lavalas have been prevented from participating in Haiti’s elections, so it was with great hope that Augustin Bell chose once again to run for Senator of Haiti Nord. However as she explains, the legislative elections of 9th August, 2015 were marred by excessive levels of fraud and violence committed in the main, by three parties: President Martelly’s PHTK; presidential candidate, Steeve Khawly’s Bouclier party with close links to Martelly; and  Vérité* which is backed by former President René Préval  In her words, there was a ‘political coup’.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Haiti for Whom?: Aid Accountability in Haiti

Following Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, the international community announced around $10 billion in relief and reconstruction assistance. With limited tangible results on the ground, Haitian and U.S. civil society groups have been asking "where has the money gone?", prompting the U.S. Congress to pass the 2014 Assessing Progress in Haiti Act last year. This panel will look at how U.S. and other foreign assistance funding has been spent over the last five years and discuss improving transparency and accountability around the aid efforts of both Haitian and international entities.

 Prospery Raymond, Country Manager for Haiti and the Dominican Republic,

Christian Aid Prospere Charles, Social Scientist, former Haiti Representative for Project HOPE

 Jake Johnston, Research Associate, Center for Economic and Policy Research

 Moderator: Jasmine Huggins, Snr. Policy and Advocacy Officer for Haiti, Church World Service

Monday, July 13, 2015

Haiti Action Committee: Interview with Mildred Aristide, former First Lady of Haiti

Click here to read the latest issue of the Haiti Action Committee Newsletter which contains an interview with Mildred Aristide




Friday, June 26, 2015

How History Has Been Distorted to Justify the Dominican Deportations

by Anne Eller (Haiti Liberte)

Over the past two years, a legal nightmare has grown in the Dominican Republic. Taking aim at Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent, the Dominican Constitutional Tribunal issued a ruling in September 2013, made retroactive more than eighty years, stripping citizenship from anyone who cannot prove “regular” residency for at least one parent. Legislation passed in May 2014 allows for a limited and incomplete path to naturalization for some; it amounts to “citizenship by fiat.” The rulings mark a drastic setback for as many as several hundred thousand residents of the Dominican Republic, threatening them with expulsion, statelessness, detention, and abuse. Individuals have already suffered the impact of the new laws. With the rulings, larger-scale detentions might begin, overseen by the Dominican armed forces and the UN, among other groups.

Lil Wayne and Chris Brown in Haiti: Another Expensive Martelly Spectacle Sparks Outrage

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Around 100 A.D., the Roman poet Juvenal remarked that Rome, its empire rapidly declining, was suppressing revolt through “bread and circuses.” President Michel Martelly, during his four years in office, has borrowed the Roman tactic, except without the bread.
            Martelly, who as the musician “Sweet Micky” often dubbed himself the “President of Konpa” in Haiti’s famous Lenten Carnival, has organized three carnivals a year during his time in office. But with Haiti now in a full-blown electoral crisis and bracing to receive thousands of deportees from the Dominican Republic, this year, his son Olivier has taken over, or at least that’s how it appears.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Opinions Differ on Changing the Electoral Schedule

by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Last week, in a conversation with Haitian journalists in Washington, D.C., Thomas Adams, the Haiti special coordinator at the State Department, said the U.S. would be in favor of Haiti holding two elections this year instead of the planned three. The electoral timetable announced in March by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) called for the first round of legislative elections to be held Aug. 9, followed by a first-round presidential election and second round of legislative elections on Oct. 25. Finally, the second round of the presidential election and local elections would be held in late December.
            In an interview this past weekend with Jacqueline Charles of the Miami Herald, Adams explained: “there’s some discussion about going to two rounds of elections instead of three. The pros and cons of that, I think they’ll decide fairly soon whether they want to do that. That would give a little more time to the CEP and it would also save some money if they want to go that route. That is an option.”

Haiti Cholera Plaintiffs Appeal Ruling


by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On May 27, lawyers representing thousands of Haitian cholera victims filed an appeal against Federal Judge J. Paul Oetken’s Jan. 9, 2015 decision that the United Nations is legally immune from prosecution for importing cholera into Haiti and unleashing an epidemic which has killed about 9,000.
            Lawyers from the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), the San Francisco-based Center for Law and Global Justice, and the Miami-based firm of famed immigration lawyer Ira Kurzban filed a 62-page brief which argued that Judge Oetken erred in ruling that the UN and its military force, the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), were immune “despite having violated their treaty obligation to provide a mode to settle private law claims,” and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and former MINUSTAH chief Edmond Mulet “are entitled to immunity in this case simply because they ‘hold diplomatic positions.’” The lawyers also argued that, by granting these immunities, Judge Oetken was violating the plaintiffs’ “constitutional rights to access the federal courts.”

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

CEP Releases Final List of Candidates for Legislative Elections


by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Early on the morning of May 15, Haiti’s electoral authority posted online the final list of approved candidates for legislative elections scheduled to be held in August. Over 2,000 candidates registered, representing some 98 different political parties. The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) rejected 522 candidates – 76 for the Senate and 446 for the lower house – leaving 1,515 candidates to compete for 138 open seats.

Candidate senate deputy

The CEP, in announcing the rejection of over one-quarter of registered candidates, provided no rationale for individual cases. CEP member Lucie Marie Carmelle Paul Austin told Le Nouvelliste that the list is final: “The CEP did its work in a completely equitable manner and in compliance with the law.” She added that in many cases candidates were rejected because they did not have proper paper work proving their Haitian nationality.
            All the leading parties saw a significant number of candidates rejected, with Martelly’s Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale (PHTK) having the most rejected: 31. Still, PHTK had registered the most candidates, and other parties had a higher percentage of their candidates rejected, such as Platfòm Pitit Dessalines and Renmen Ayiti. After the CEP’s rejections, VERITE, the new party created by former president René Préval and former prime minister Jean-Max Bellerive, has the most candidates in the upcoming election, with 97 followed by PHTK with 94.

candidates byparty

Although the CEP has said the decisions are final, political parties have expressed their frustration with the lack of transparency in the process. The coordinator of Fanmi Lavalas, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, told the press that the party had requested an explanation from the CEP, adding, “I think the right of all has to be respected and if there are people who have been unfairly rejected, we will present ourselves to the CEP, we will begin a legal process so that they do justice to those they unjustly rejected,” according to Haiti Libre.

Maryse Narcisse Registers as the Presidential Candidate of the Lavalas Family Party


by Daniel Tercier (Haiti Liberte)

With great fanfare, on May 19, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the coordinator of the Lavalas Family Political Organization (FL), registered as that party’s candidate for presidential elections scheduled for October and December.
            With over 150 motorcycles, 10 school buses, and 40 private cars, thousands of FL partisans clogged the streets of Tabarre in anticipation of the event. Dr. Narcisse arrived at the Aristide Foundation for Democracy around 9:30 a.m.. After a rally there, she drove through the multitude to the home of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, about a half mile away. After about 15 minutes, two vehicles with tinted windows emerged. The crowd went wild, thinking that Dr. Aristide was in one of the vehicles. But when the cars arrived at the West Department’s Electoral Bureau (BED), it turned out Dr. Narcisse was accompanied by Mildred Trouillot Aristide, the former president’s wife.

            The FL has been excluded from all Haitian elections for over a decade, since the U.S.-backed coup d’état against Aristide in February 2004.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Presidents Hollande and Martelly Obfuscate France’s Debt to Haiti


by Isabelle L. Papillon (Haiti Liberte)
           
It was to cries of "Long Live Dessalines, Down with Hollande!" that Haitian protesters welcomed French President François Hollande during his visit to Haiti on May 12, the last stop of several he made in the Caribbean over the past week.
            Haitian President Michel Martelly and his de facto Prime Minister Evans Paul greeted President Hollande with a red carpet at the Port-au-Prince airport. The French delegation was made up of some 300 people: members of the government and Parliament, representatives of five French overseas territories, university officials, cultural figures, businessmen, and 60 journalists.
            Hollande’s visit to Haiti of less than 24 hours was his first and reflected the domination which France still exerts over its former colony. The visit comes five years after former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to Haiti shortly after the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Martelly Thugs Attack KOD Militants at May Day Demonstration

by Berthony Dupont (Haiti Liberte)

Hooligans attached to the regime of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Evans Paul attacked about 30 militants from the Dessalines Coordination (KOD) party as they loudly demonstrated at an official event for International Workers Day in front of Haiti’s National Palace.
            The KOD militants had marched about three miles from the Industrial Park with hundreds representing unions, popular organizations, and student groups. The demonstrators loudly shouted their demands for a 500 gourdes ($10.57) a day minimum wage. Many marchers affiliated with KOD also called for an end to the United Nations military occupation of Haiti and the resignation of President Martelly before the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections, now scheduled for August, October, and December 2015.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

HBO’s Vice Follows the Money in Haiti


by Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

Vikram Gandhi, VICE on HBO correspondent traveled to Haiti to see just what happened with the $10 billion in aid pledged after the earthquake that occurred more than five years ago. The episode aired at 11 PM EST on Apr. 24.
            In a sneak peek, Gandhi goes to the site of a housing expo held in 2011. Organized by the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission led by Bill Clinton, the expo was meant to showcase model homes that could be built across the country. With more than a million made homeless, and hundreds of thousands of homes damaged or destroyed, providing new housing was seen as key to “building back better.”
            “If we do this housing properly, it will lead to whole new industries being started in Haiti, creating thousands and thousands of new jobs and permanent housing,” Clinton stated after the earthquake.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

25 Years After April 20, 1990: As the Empire Adapts, So Must We

by Berthony Dupont (Haiti Liberte)

This week marked the 25th anniversary of the historic Apr. 20, 1990 march by over 150,000 Haitians across the Brooklyn Bridge (literally shaking it) into downtown Manhattan.  The demonstration, which surrounded the Federal Building on lower Broadway, completely overwhelmed the New York City police, shutting down Wall Street and most other businesses in lower Manhattan. The size, militancy, and unexpectedness of the massive outpouring sent shockwaves through the U.S. political establishment.
            The march was a protest against the Federal Drug Administration’s February 1990 recommendation that Haitians be restricted from donating blood because they were supposedly a high-risk group for AIDS. In 1983, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) unscientifically grouped Haitians with homosexuals, hemophiliacs, and hypodermic-needle users to create the infamous “4H” risk group. Backed by many doctors and scientists, the Haitian community, already politically active from anti-Duvalierist mobilizations, rose up to demand that the CDC rescind the designation. Thousands marched throughout 1983 and 1984, and in April 1985, the CDC removed Haitians from the AIDS high-risk list.

Monday, April 20, 2015

HAITI SOLIDARITY, newsletter of Haiti Action Committee

See the new issue of HAITI SOLIDARITY here.


This new issue of Haiti Solidarity features: 
Cover Art - "Dechoukaj" - Nia Imara
Evolution of a Revolution - Charlie Hinton
Interview with Pierre Labossiere on the Tavis Smiley show
Combat Genocide - Akinyele Omowale Umoja
Interview with Mildred Aristide, former First Lady of Haiti


Dechoukaj - poem by Carolyn Scarr

Haiti Solidarity Interview: MILDRED ARISTIDE, FORMER FIRST LADY OF HAITI

Mildred Aristide is an attorney, who as former First Lady of Haiti, headed the country’s National AIDS Commission and authored a book on the root causes of child domestic service.  Since her family’s return home from forced exile in 2011, Ms. Aristide and her husband, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide (known throughout Haiti as Titide) have focused their efforts on developing the University of the Aristide Foundation.

The work to build UNIFA, has taken place in the midst of growing repression within the country. Long overdue elections have not taken place. Police and UN troops using live ammunition, chemical agents and clubs have attacked demonstrators protesting against the Martelly government. President Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, has been threatened repeatedly with arrest, with heavily armed police surrounding the Aristides’ home.

Yet UNIFA has persevered.  In this new interview, Ms. Aristide details progress made by this groundbreaking university over the last few years. Forged in the fight for democracy and inclusion, UNIFA is a true example of popular education in action.

Haiti Solidarity: First of all, thank you so much for your time. It is an honor for us at Haiti Solidarity to be conducting this interview. Looking back four years ago, to March 18, 2011, the date of your family’s return from exile in South Africa, what do you remember about that moment?

Ms. Aristide: Without a doubt, our accompaniment home from the airport to the front door of the house – where we sat in the car for 15 minutes until a passage could be cleared through the crowd to get inside!  It is a moment and a feeling that I’ll never forget.  The four of us like to refer to it as a "tsunami of love."

Dominican Campesinos Accuse Military Brass of Land Grab

teleSUR

Top military officials have been accused of seizing land from some of the Dominican Republic's poorest people. A campesino advocacy organization in the Dominican Republic accused the military on Friday of carrying out forced land dispossessions. 

The Campesino Movement of United Communities (MCCU) alleged top military officials have ordered troops to force small farmers off their land in eastern provinces including Monte Plata. The MCCU claimed “generals and colonels” have seized swathes of land for their own personal use. 

The campesino group argued much of the land taken was used by subsistence farmers. Around half of the Dominican Republic's rural population live in poverty, and many families survive by growing food crops on small plots of land. 

The allegations of illicit land expropriations are the latest in a series of high profile corruption accusations leveled at the military in recent years. Between 2009 and 2011 over 5,000 soldiers and police officers were fired amid allegations of widespread corruption, mostly in relation to links to drug cartels. 

The government has vowed to crack down on corruption, though in March Santo Domingo's prosecutor Yeni Berenice said state security forces are still complicit in more than 90 percent of crimes. “It's alarming and very concerning that the people taking part in crimes are the same people called to investigate (these same crimes),” she stated.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Eduardo Galeano on Haiti

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

On Apr. 13, 2015, the influential Uruguayan writer and journalist Eduardo Galeano, 74, died of lung cancer in Montevideo. He wrote over 30 books, including the seminal “Open Veins of Latin America” (1971) and the“Memory of Fire” trilogy, composed of “Genesis” (1982), “Faces and Masks” (1984), and “Century of the Wind” (1986).
            Haiti was a regular theme in Galeano’s work, and he wrote an exceptional speech, Haiti, Occupied Country, which he delivered at Uruguay’s National Library in Montevideo on Sep. 27, 2011.
            This week, we present a few excerpts of Galeano’s writings on Haiti.
           
From “The Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent.

Three years after the discovery, Columbus personally directed the military campaign against the natives of Haiti, which he called Española.
            A handful of cavalry, 200 foot soldiers, and a few specially trained dogs decimated the Indians. More than 500, shipped to Spain, were sold as slaves in Seville and died miserably. Some theologians protested and the enslavement of Indians was formally banned at the beginning of the 16th century.
            Actually it was not banned but blessed: before each military action the captains of the conquest were required to read to the Indians, without an interpreter but before a notary public, a long and rhetorical Requerimiento exhorting them to adopt the holy Catholic faith: “If you do not, or if you maliciously delay in so doing, I certify that with God's help I will advance powerfully against you and make war on you wherever and however I am able, and will subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their majesties and take your women and children to be slaves, and as such I will sell and dispose of them as their majesties may order, and I will take your possessions and do you all the harm and damage that I can.”
...
In the second half of the [18th] century the world's best sugar was being raised on the spongy coastal plains of Haiti, a French colony then known as Saint Domingue. Northern and western Haiti became a human antheap: sugar needed hands and more hands. In 1786 the colony brought in 27,000 slaves; in the following year, 40,000. Revolution broke out in the fall of 1791 and in one month, September, 200 sugar plantations went up in flames; fires and battles were continuous as the rebel slaves pushed France's armies to the sea. Ships sailed containing ever more Frenchmen and ever less sugar. The war spilt rivers of blood, wrecked the plantations, and paralyzed the country, and by the end of the century production had fallen to almost nothing. By
November 1803, almost all of the once flourishing colony was in ashes and ruins. The Haitian revolution had coincided – and not only in time – with the French Revolution, and Haiti bore its share of the international coalition's blockade against France: England controlled the seas. Later, as its independence became inevitable, Haiti also had to suffer blockade by France.
            The U.S. Congress, yielding to French pressure, banned trade with Haiti in 1806. In 1825 France recognized its former colony's independence, but only in exchange for a huge cash indemnity. General Leclerc had written to his brother-in-law Napoleon in 1802, soon after taking prisoner the slave armies' leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, "Here is my opinion about this country: all the blacks in the mountains, men and women, must be suppressed, keeping only the children under twelve; half the blacks in the plains must be exterminated, and not a single mulatto with epaulets must be left in the colony." 
            The tropics took their revenge on Leclerc: "Gripped by the black vomit," and despite the magical incantations of [Napoleon’s sister] Pauline Bonaparte, he died without carrying out his plan.... But the cash indemnity was a millstone around the necks of those independent Haitians who survived the bloodbaths of the successive military expeditions against them. The country was born in ruins and never recovered: today it is the poorest in Latin America.
...
In the first years of our [20th] century the philosopher William James passed the little-known judgment that the country had finally vomited the Declaration of Independence. To cite but one example: the United States occupied Haiti for twenty years and, in that black country that had been the scene of the first victorious slave revolt, introduced racial segregation and forced labor, killed 1,500 workers in one of its repressive operations (according to a U.S. Senate investigation in 1922), and when the local government refused to turn the Banque Nationale into a branch of New York's National City Bank, suspended the salaries of the president and his ministers so that they might think again. Alternating the "big stick" with "dollar diplomacy," similar actions were
carried out in the other Caribbean islands and in all of Central America, the geopolitical space of the imperial mare nostrum.

From Memory of Fire: Genesis

1459: La Isabela
Caonabó

Detached, aloof, the prisoner sits at the entrance of Christopher Columbus's house. He has iron shackles on his ankles, and handcuffs trap his wrists.
            Caonabó was the one who burned to ashes the Navidad fort that the admiral had built when he discovered this island of Haiti. He burned the fort and killed its occupants. And not only them: In these two long years he has castigated with arrows any Spaniards he came across in Cibao, his mountain territory, for their hunting of gold and people.
            Alonso de Ojeda, veteran of the wars against the Moors, paid him a visit on the pretext of peace. He invited him to mount his horse, and put on him these handcuffs of burnished metal that tie his hands, saying that they were jewels worn by the monarchs of Castile in their balls and festivities.
            Now Chief Caonabó spends the days sitting beside the door, his eyes fixed on the tongue of light that invades the earth floor at dawn and slowly retreats in the evening. He doesn't move an eyelash when Columbus comes around. On the other hand, when Ojeda appears, he manages to stand up and salute with a bow the only man who has defeated him.

1496: La Concepcion
Sacrilege

Bartholomew Columbus, Christopher's brother and lieutenant, attends an incineration of human flesh.
            Six men play the leads in the grand opening of Haiti's incinerator. The smoke makes everyone cough. The six are burning as a punishment and as a lesson: They have buried the images of Christ and the Virgin that Fray Ramon Pane left with them for protection and consolation. Fray Ramon taught them to pray on their knees, to say the Ave Maria and Paternoster and to invoke the name of Jesus in the face of temptation, injury, and death.
            No one has asked them why they buried the images. They were hoping that the new gods would fertilize their fields of corn, cassava, boniato, and beans.
            The fire adds warmth to the humid, sticky heat that foreshadows heavy rain.

From “Memory of Fire: Faces and Masks

1758: The Plains of Northern Haiti
Makandal

Before a large assembly of runaway slaves, François Makandal pulls a yellow handkerchief out of a glass of water.
            "First it was the Indians."
            Then a white handkerchief.
            "Now, whites are the masters."
            He shakes a black handkerchief before the maroons' eyes. The hour of those who came from Africa has arrived, he announces. He shakes the handkerchief with his only hand, because he has left the other between the iron teeth of the sugar mill.
            On the plains of Northern Haiti, one-handed Makandal is the master of fire and poison. At his order cane fields burn, and by his spells the lords of sugar collapse in the middle of supper, drooling spit and blood.
            He knows how to turn himself into an iguana, an ant, or a fly, equipped with gills, antennae, or wings; but they catch him anyway, and condemn him; and now they are burning him alive. Through the flames the multitude see his body twist and shake. All of a sudden, a shriek splits the ground, a fierce cry of pain and exultation, and Makandal breaks free of the stake and of death: howling, flaming, he pierces the smoke and is lost in the air.
            For the slaves, it is no cause for wonder. They knew he would remain in Haiti, the color of all shadows, the prowler of the night.

1772: Léogane
Zabeth

Ever since she learned to walk she was in flight. They tied a heavy chain to her ankles, and chained, she grew up; but a thousand times she jumped over the fence and a thousand times the dogs caught her in the mountains of Haiti.
            They stamped the fleur-de-lis on her cheek with a hot iron. They put an iron collar and iron shackles on her and shut her up in the sugar mill, where she stuck her fingers into the grinder and later bit off the bandages. So that she might die of iron they tied her up again, and now she expires, chanting curses.
            Zabeth, this woman of iron, belongs to Madame Galbeaud du Fort, who lives in Nantes.

1791: Bois Caïman
The Conspirators of Haiti

The old slave woman, intimate of the gods, buries her machete in the throat of a black wild boar. The earth of Haiti drinks the blood. Under the protection of the gods of war and of fire, 200 blacks sing and dance the oath of freedom. In the prohibited Voodoo ceremony aglow with lightning bolts, 200 slaves decide to turn this land of punishment into a fatherland.
            Haiti is based on the Creole language. Like the drum, Creole is the common speech of those torn out of Africa into various Antillean islands. It blossomed inside the plantations, when the condemned needed to recognize one another and resist. It came from African languages, with African melody, and fed on the sayings of Normans and Bretons. It picked up words from Caribbean Indians and from English pirates and also from the Spanish colonists of eastern Haiti. Thanks to Creole, when Haitians talk they feel that they touch each other.
            Creole gathers words and Voodoo gathers gods. Those gods are not masters but lovers, very fond of dancing, who convert each body they penetrate into music and light, pure light of undulating and sacred movement.

1794: Paris
"The Remedy for Man is Man,"

say the black sages, and the gods always knew it. The slaves of Haiti are no longer slaves.
For five years the French Revolution turned a deaf ear. Marat and Robespierre protested in vain. Slavery continued in the colonies. Despite the Declaration of the Rights of Man, the men who were the property of other men on the far plantations of the Antilles were born neither free nor equal. After all, the sale of blacks from Guinea was the chief business of the revolutionary merchants of Nantes, Bordeaux, and Marseilles; and French refineries lived on Antillean sugar.
Harassed by the black insurrection headed by Toussaint L'Ouverture, the Paris government finally decrees the liquidation of slavery.

1794: Mountains of Haiti
Toussaint Louverture

He came on the scene two years ago. In Paris they called him the Black Spartacus.
            He was a coachman on a plantation. An old black man taught him to read and write, to cure sick horses, and to talk to men; but he learned on his own how to look not only with his eyes, and he knows how to see flight in every bird that sleeps.

1802: The Caribbean Sea
Napoleon Restores Slavery

Squadrons of wild ducks escort the French army. The fish take flight. Through a turquoise sea, bristling with coral, the ships head for the blue mountains of Haiti. Soon the land of victorious slaves will appear on the horizon. General Leclerc stands tall at the head of the fleet. Like a ship's figurehead, his shadow is first to part the waves. Astern, other islands disappear, castles of rock, splendors of deepest green, sentinels of the new world found three centuries ago by people who were not looking for it.
            "Which has been the most prosperous regime for the colonies?"
            "The previous one."
            "Well, then, put it back," Napoleon decided.
            No man, born red, black, or white can be his neighbor's property, Toussaint L'Ouverture had said. Now the French fleet returns slavery to the Caribbean. More than 50 ships, more than 20,000 soldiers, come from France to bring back the past with guns.
            In the cabin of the flagship, a female slave fans Pauline Bonaparte and another gently scratches her head.

1803: Fort Dauphin
The Island Burned Again

Toussaint L'Ouverture, chief of the free blacks, died a prisoner in a castle in France. When the jailer opened the padlock at dawn and slid back the bolt, he found Toussaint frozen in his chair.
            But life in Haiti moved on, and without Toussaint the black army has beaten Napoleon Bonaparte. Twenty thousand French soldiers have been slaughtered or died of fevers. Vomiting black blood, dead blood, General Leclerc has collapsed. The land he sought to enslave proves his shroud.
            Haiti has lost half its population. Shots are still heard, and hammers nailing down coffins, and funeral drums, in the vast ash-heap carpeted with corpses that the vultures spurn. This island, burned two centuries ago by an exterminating angel, has been newly eaten by the fire of men at war.
            Over the smoking earth those who were slaves proclaim independence. France will not forgive the humiliation.
            On the coast, palms, bent over against the winds, form ranks of spears.

1816: Port-au-Prince
Pétion

Haiti lies in ruins, blockaded by the French and isolated by everyone else. No country has recognized the independence of the slaves who defeated Napoléon.
            The island is divided in two.
            In the north, Henri Christophe has proclaimed himself emperor. In the castle of Sans-Souci, the new black nobility dance the minuet – the Duke of Marmalade, the Count of Limonade – while black lackeys in snowy wigs bow and scrape, and blacks hussards parade their plumed bonnets through gardens copied from Versailles.
            To the south, Alexandre Pétion presides over the republic. Distributing lands among the former slaves, Pétion aims to create a nation of peasants, very poor but free and armed, on the ashes of plantations destroyed by the war.
            On Haiti's southern coast Simón Bolívar lands, in search of refuge and aid. He comes from Jamaica, where he has sold everything down to his watch. No one believes in his cause. His brilliant military campaigns have been no more than a mirage. Francisco Miranda is dying in chains in the Cadiz arsenal, and the Spaniards have reconquered Venezuela and Colombia, which prefer the past or still do not believe in the future promised by the patriots.
            Pétion receives Bolívar as soon as he arrives, on New Year's Day. He gives him seven ships, 250 men, muskets, powder, provisions, and money. He makes only one condition. Pétion, born a slave, son of a black woman and a Frenchman, demands of Bolívar the freedom of slaves in the lands he is going to liberate.
            Bolívar shakes his hands. The war will change its course. Perhaps America will too.

From “Memory of Fire: Century of the Wind

1937: Dajabón
Procedure Against the Black Menace

The condemned are Haitian blacks who work in the Dominican Republic. This military exorcism, planned to the last detail by General Trujillo, lasts a day and a half. In the sugar region, the soldiers shut up Haitian day-laborers in corrals--herds of men, women, and children--and finish them off then and there with machetes; or bind their hands and feet and drive them at bayonet point into the sea.
            Trujillo, who powders his face several times a day, wants the Dominican Republic white.

1937: Washington
Newsreel

Two weeks later, the government of Haiti conveys to the government of the Dominican Republic its concern about the recent events at the border. The government of the Dominican Republic promises an exhaustive investigation.
            In the name of continental security, the government of the United States proposes to President Trujillo that he pay an indemnity to avoid possible friction in the zone. After prolonged negotiation Trujillo recognizes the death of 18,000 Haitians on Dominican territory. According to him, the figure of 25,000 victims, put forward by some sources, reflects the intention to manipulate the events dishonestly. Trujillo agrees to pay the government of Haiti, by way of indemnity, $522,000, or $29 for every officially recognized death.
            The White House congratulates itself on an agreement reached within the framework of established inter-American treaties and procedures. Secretary of State Cordell Hull declares in Washington that President Trujillo is one of the greatest men in Central America and in most of South America.
            The indemnity duly paid in cash, the presidents of the Dominican Republic and Haiti embrace each other at the border.

1943: Milot
Ruins of Sans-Souci

Alejandro Carpentier discovers the kingdom of Henri Christophe. The Cuban writer roams these majestic ruins, this memorial to the delirium of a slave cook who became monarch of Haiti and killed himself with the gold bullet that always hung around his neck. Ceremonial hymns and magic drums of invocation rise up to meet Carpentier as he visits the palace that King Christophe copied from Versailles, and walks around his invulnerable fortress, an immense bulk whose stones, cemented by the blood of bulls sacrificed to the gods, have resisted lightning and earthquakes.
            In Haiti, Carpentier learns that there is no magic more prodigious and delightful than the voyage that leads through experience, through the body, to the depths of America. In Europe, magicians have become bureaucrats, and wonder, exhausted, has dwindled to a conjuring trick. But in America, surrealism is as natural as rain or madness.

1969: Port-au-Prince
A Law Condemns to Death Anyone Who Says or Writes Red Words in Haiti

Article One: Communist activities are declared to be crimes against the security of the state, in whatsoever form: any profession of Communist faith, verbal or written, public or private, any propagation of Communist or anarchist doctrines through lectures, speeches, conversations, readings, public or private meetings, by way of pamphlets, posters, newspapers, magazines, books, and pictures; any oral or written correspondence with local or foreign associations, or with persons dedicated to the diffusion of Communist or anarchist ideas; and furthermore, the act of receiving, collecting, or giving funds directly or indirectly destined for the propagation of said ideas.
            Article Two: The authors and accomplices of these crimes shall be sentenced to death. Their movable and immovable property shall be confiscated and sold for the benefit of the state.
Dr. François Duvalier
President-for-Life
of the Republic of Haiti

From “Haiti, Despised by All,” an article for the Inter Press Service in September 1996

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere. It has more foot-washers than shoe-shiners: little boys who, for a penny, will wash the feet of customers lacking shoes to shine. Haitians, on the average, live a bit more than thirty years. Nine out of every ten can't read or write. For internal consumption the barren mountain sides are cultivated. For export, the fertile valleys: the best lands are given to coffee, sugar, cacao, and other products needed by the U.S. market. No one plays baseball in Haiti, but Haiti is the world's chief producer of baseballs. There is no shortage of workshops where children assemble cassettes and electronic parts for a dollar a day. These are naturally for export; and naturally the profits are also exported, after the administrators of the terror have duly got theirs. The slightest breath of protest in Haiti means prison or death. Incredible as it sounds, Haitian workers' wages lost 25 percent of their wretched real value between 1971 and 1975. Significantly, in that period a new flow of U.S. capital into the country began.
            Haiti is the country that is treated the worst by the world's powerful. Bankers humiliate it. Merchants ignore it. And politicians slam their doors in its face.
            Democracy arrived only recently in Haiti. During its short life, this frail, hungry creature received nothing but abuse. It was murdered in its infancy in 1991 in a coup led by General Raoul Cédras.
            Three years later, democracy returned. After having installed and deposed countless military dictators, the U.S. backed President Jean Bertrand Aristide – the first leader elected by popular vote in Haiti's history – and a man foolish enough to want a country with less injustice.
            In order to erase every trace of American participation in the bloody Cédras dictatorship, U.S. soldiers removed 160,000 pages of records from the secret archives. Aristide returned to Haiti with his hands tied. He was permitted to take office as president, but not power. His successor, René Préval, who became president in February, received nearly 90 percent of the vote.
            Any minor bureaucrat at the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund has more power than Préval does. Every time he asks for a credit line to feed the hungry, educate the illiterate, or provide land to the peasants, he gets no response. Or he may be told to go back and learn his lessons. And because the Haitian government cannot seem to grasp that it must dismantle its few remaining public services, the last shred of a safety net for the most defenseless people on Earth, its masters give up on it.
            The U.S. invaded Haiti in 1915 and ran the country until 1934. It withdrew when it had accomplished its two objectives: seeing that Haiti had paid its debts to U.S. banks and that the constitution was amended to allow for the sale of plantations to foreigners. Robert Lansing, then secretary of state, justified the long and harsh military occupation by saying that blacks were incapable of self-government, that they had "an inherent tendency toward savagery and a physical inability to live a civilized life."
            Haiti had been the jewel in the crown, France's richest colony: one big sugar plantation, harvested by slave labor. The French philosopher Montesquieu explained it bluntly: "Sugar would be too expensive if it were not produced by slaves. These slaves are blacks .... it is not possible that God, who is a very wise being, would have put a soul . .., in such an utterly black body." Instead, God had put a whip in the overseer's hand.
            In l803, the black citizens of Haiti gave Napoleon Bonaparte's troops a tremendous beating, and Europe has never for given them for this humiliation inflicted upon the white race. Haiti was the first free country in South America or the Caribbean. The free people raised their flag over a country in ruins. The land of Haiti had been devastated by the sugar monoculture and then laid waste by the war against France. One third of the population had fallen in combat. Then Europe began its blockade. The newborn nation was condemned to solitude. No one would buy from it, no one would sell to it, nor would any nation recognize it.
            Not even Simon Bolivar had the courage to establish diplomatic relations with the black nation. Bolivar was able to reopen his campaign for the liberation of the Americas, after being defeated by Spain, thanks to help from Haiti. The Haitian government supplied him with seven ships, arms, and soldiers, setting only one condition: that he free the slaves – something that had not occurred to him. Bolivar kept his promise, but after his victory, he turned his back on the nation that had saved him. When he convened a meeting in Panama of the American nations, he invited England, but not Haiti.
            The U.S. did not recognize Haiti until 60 years later. By then, Haiti was already in the bloody hands of the military dictators, who devoted the meager resources of this starving nation toward relieving its debt to France. Europe demanded that Haiti pay France a huge indemnity to atone for its crime against French dignity.

            The history of the abuse of Haiti, which in our lifetime has become a tragedy, is also the story of Western civilization's racism.

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