Saturday, August 20, 2016

UN Admits Role in Haiti's Cholera Outbreak After Years of Denial

KIM BROWN, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News.
As Haiti was struggling to rebuild after the devastating earthquake that crumbled the country in 2010, they were struck again by another disaster, a cholera outbreak that ended up killing about 10,000 people and sickened hundreds of thousands. Many Haitians immediately pointed the finger at United Nations troops for causing the outbreak, claims that the UN long denied until now. A spokesperson for UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon said in a statement to the New York Times that “The UN has become convinced that it needs to do much more regarding its involvement in the initial outbreak and the suffering of those affected by cholera.
We’re joined today with Brian Concannon. He’s the executive director at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. He’s also an attorney representing some of the families of the victims of the cholera outbreak. Brian thank you so much for joining us.
BRIAN CONCANNON: Well thank you for having me Kim. It’s great to be with you.
BROWN: Brian, this recent statement is certainly an about face from the United Nations actually admitting in part their role in this terrible outbreak. Has this admission come as a surprise for you?
CONCANNON: It does come as a surprise. But I think it’s also important to note as you did that they’re admitting in part. And here we are 6 years after the epidemic broke out when for at least 5 years there was debate about whether the UN was responsible. And it still doesn’t exactly admit what everybody else knows, that it’s responsible. So we are optimistic but cautious as well.
BROWN: Brian, you represent the families of the cholera victims in a lawsuit against the UN. In 2013 the United Nations said that affected Haitians had no claims for compensation because a the UN asserted that it has immunity from such claims. What is the status of this case and how does the UN’s admissions change things?
CONCANNON: Well I think the UN’s admissions were very carefully crafted to not change anything. It allows the UN to continue to deny in the lawsuit that it had anything to do with it and to evade responsibility. The lawsuit is up on appeal before the US court of appeals for the second circuit. We’re waiting for the decision. We don’t think that this case, that the UN statement will formally effect the case in any way.
What will affect the case is that if the UN actually comes through on its promises to take significant action. If the UN actually puts in the water and sanitation that it’s promised to do before and if it compensates the victims, we’ll have nothing to fight and go to court. But until the UN does that, we’re committed to using every possible avenue to enforce the respect of our clients’ rights.
BROWN: Now the outbreak was reportedly caused by UN troops from Nepal who was experiencing a cholera outbreak itself. Nepal was in the year 2010. But plus even before that the appearance of cholera in Haiti was so unusual because the disease had largely been wiped away from the western hemisphere. And what I remember about that coverage of Haitians in 2010 during the cholera outbreak, I recall them so clearly, definitively saying that yes it was UN troops who caused this. Their certainty really stuck me. Did you, were you also struck by how convinced people were at the time when the outbreak was immediately happening that they knew exactly where the cause was coming from?
CONCANNON: It was striking at how quickly Haitians pointed the finger and every serious bit of evidence since then has proven that they were right. It started with epidemiological evidence. The fact that the cholera outbreak started a few hundred yards below the UN Peacekeepers Camp. Plus old factory evidence. It just smelled bad.
When journalists went to the camp, they could smell the sewage leaking onto it. And that was confirmed by [monstruction] of the cholera molecules in Haitians bodies was like that of the cholera molecule in Nepal. And finally confirmed by genetic studies which showed a near exact match between the cholera strain in Nepal and the cholera strain in Haiti. So it’s been – the Haitians conclusion that it was the UN at fault was very quick and hasty but it turned out to be 100% accurate.
BROWN: And to your knowledge has the United Nations changed the way that their troops deal with sanitation issues when they are going to impacted areas of either for natural disaster or for you know warzones, etc. Has the United Nations learned from the devastating outbreak that happened in Haiti?
CONCANNON: That’s a very good question. Immediately after the cholera epidemic, the United Nations said it had learned the lessons and talked about changing its treatment of waste. But a UN report, its own internal investigation report that was leaked last week or released last week – it concluded that the UN even in Haiti was continuing to release untreated sewage directly into Haiti’s environment as recently as last year. So I think it’s safe to say the UN hasn’t really learned a lesson. I think there needs to be continued pressure on the organization to really take it seriously, the safety of the host communities where its missions are deployed.
BROWN: And lastly Brian, as you said it’s been 6 years since this outbreak occurred. Can you give us an idea about how are your clients doing. How are the families of people who passed away as a result of being exposed to cholera or those who even were able to recover. What has life been like for them in these past several years?
CONCANNON: Life’s been increasingly difficult. For many families, wives, parents, obviously losing a child or any relative is emotionally very difficult. Losing a parent in particular is economically difficult. Families have been relegated to generational poverty because they had to withdraw their children from school when they lost a salary and couldn’t pay school fees. [inaud.] In 2016 the first 6 months were worse than any similar period since 2013. 21,000 Haitians have been sick officially, just so far in 2016. So people are continuing to suffer. They’re continuing to die and the people who aren’t suffering and dying are deeply afraid that they or their family members will be struck by the disease.
BROWN: Well we are all, I guess, encouraged by the announcement from the United Nations at least admitting their partial role or some complicity in the cholera outbreak that happened in Haiti in the year 2010. We have been speaking with Brian Concannon. He is the executive director at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Brian we really appreciate your time.
CONCANNON: Well thank you Kim [inaud.] story.
BROWN: And I’m Kim Brown, and you’ve been watching the Real News Network.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Finding Only 9% of Votes Valid: Haiti Verification Commission Says Presidential Election Should be Scrapped


by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

The moment of truth had arrived. At least, some of the truth.
            On the evening of May 30, Haiti’s Independent Commission of Electoral Evaluation and Verification (CIEVE) released its long-awaited report on the controversial Washington-supported elections of Aug. 9 and Oct. 25, 2015.
            The bombshell report found that “the electoral process was marred by serious irregularities, grave inconsistencies, and massive fraud.” Only 9% of the votes in its sampling were found to be valid.
            The five-member CIEVE, which reviewed 3,235 voter tallies (procès verbal) or 25% of the 12,939 total, recommended that October’s presidential first-round “restart from zero.”
            “The number of untraceable votes [also called zombie votes] exceeded the legitimate votes acquired by politicians,” said CIEVE president François Benoit. As another CIEVE employee summed it up: “More dead people voted than living.”
            The problems were not the result of incompetence, the CIEVE determined. “Many acts committed in violation of the law or regulations (including the electoral decree) were systematic (well-organized), and there was intent to deceive (fraud),” the report says. “It is directly related to the electoral machine itself. The CEP [of Opont Pierre-Louis] had sometimes violated its own standards that were not necessarily consistent with the Constitution and the principles of democratic governance.”
            The CIEVE also reviewed legislative races, which were equally plagued by fraud and violence. However, it did not recommend annulling those elections, as it did the presidential. It instead proposed that wronged candidates return to the National Electoral Complaints and Challenges Bureau (BCEN), which most had already tried and charge is a kangaroo court. It is run by the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), which organizes the election.
            Herein lies the supreme irony. As a result of electoral fraud and violence (and consequent voter abstention), most of the Parliament is composed of senators and deputies allied to former President Michel Martelly, who, at the very least, oversaw the disastrous 2015 elections. Martelly’s Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK) has scoffed at the CIEVE and dismissed its findings, arguing that it’s just a maneuver for Provisional President Jocelerme Privert to remain in power. Therefore, the Martelly-leaning Parliament, which Privert was reluctant to call “contested” in an interview with Haïti Liberté last month, may well vote him out of office when his 120-day mandate ends on Jun. 14 precisely because of the CIEVE’s findings, which Privert endorses.
            Furthermore, the CIEVE’s findings are just a recommendation for the new CEP, which is headed by long-time Washington ally Léopold Berlanger. The new CEP may find some way to brush aside the CIEVE’s recommendations. However, that would surely ignite Haiti’s streets.
            Washington has made known its displeasure with the CIEVE and any delay in rushing to a run-off between the PHTK’s presidential candidate Jovenel Moïse, who supposedly placed first with 33% of the vote, and Jude Célestin of the Alternative League for Progress and Haitian Emancipation (LAPEH), who supposedly placed second with 25%.
            Asked in a May 31 briefing if Washington’s position had changed since the Verification Commission’s report, State Department spokesman John Kirby eschewed any opinion on the CIEVE’s findings and instead threatened the beleaguered nation, battered by rain, flooding, cholera, and famine.
            “Although this is a Haitian-led process, the longer it takes for Haiti to have a democratically elected president, the longer it’s going to take for the United States to consider new elements of partnership in helping Haiti confront the mounting economic, climate, and health challenges that they continue to face today,” Kirby said.
            Washington provided $33 million for the 2015 elections, which cost about $100 million, according to former Prime Minister Evans Paul.
            Meanwhile, pro-Martelly paramilitaries continue to sow terror by killing policemen around the country. After a deadly attack on police headquarters in the southern city of Aux Cayes two weeks ago, paramilitary gunmen cut down off-duty policeman Loubens Desrameaux on the capital’s Champ de Mars on May 27.
            Below is the Haiti Election Blog’s English translation (and annotation) of the “Executive Summary” of the CIEVE’s 105-page report in French:

The expected number of completed dossiers (3,235) versus those found at the Tabulation Center (294) demonstrates the weakness of the chain of documentary supervision, of which the mission is to protect the chronological documentation or every documentary trace related to the reception, retention, control, transfer, analysis and storage of the physical or electronic evidence.
            The proportion of untraceable votes (29%) among the total number of valid votes (1,560,631) means that polling stations allowed 448,000 citizens to vote without filling out a procès-verbal de carence*, as stipulated in the electoral decree. The second critical element is the proportion of correct National Identification Card (CIN) numbers compared to the signatures or fingerprints. The percentage of fake CIN numbers found is 16.2%. For the 1,112,600 traceable votes (valid votes reported on the tally sheets minus the number of CINs written in by hand) 180,250 were fake CIN, making a total of 628,000 untraceable votes.
            The number of untraceable votes (628,000 votes, or 40% of valid votes) is higher than the number of votes received by the first-place candidate according to the results of the CEP, higher than the total number of votes received by the second- and third-place candidates, and higher than the difference between the first- and fifth-place candidates. Moreover, by applying certain criteria defined by the Commission based on article 171.1 of the electoral decree**, the situation is even more grave, since the percentage of valid votes falls to 9% of total votes.
            In conformity with the mandate of the Commission, which consists, principally, of correcting the process in order to re-establish the trust of the political actors, it recommends the rerunning of the process, while taking the steps necessary to guarantee the right to vote of citizens and those of candidates (the right to be elected).

* A separate list for political party representatives and national observers who cast votes at polling stations other than where they are registered to vote, as called for in articles 156 and 222.1 of the electoral decree.


** The list of criteria for determining whether a tally sheet from a polling station can be included in the total.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Polyarchy in the Dominican Republic: The Elite versus the Elite

The two leading candidates in the upcoming Dominican Republic presidential elections differ little when it comes to economic policy and the targeting of migrant and migrant-descendant communities.

By: Jeb Sprague-Silgado - NACLA 

In the Dominican Republic, as in many other countries around the Caribbean, the political strategy of leading dominant groups in recent decades has been one of polyarchy – that is to say, the options in democratic elections have been limited to voters selecting between different factions of elites. Since the 1970s, U.S. foreign policymakers, along with an increasingly wide array of UN, EU and other international agency officials have come to promote this approach. If ideological differences can be minimized, with parties differing little on core issues like economic development, then electoral competition is not only unthreatening to dominant interests, but also legitimating to notions of democracy.
This scenario is on clear display in the Dominican Republic, where the country’s mainstream political establishment, while squabbling amongst themselves, has sought to further facilitate and benefit from this “new normal.” The upcoming May 15th general election pits the country’s two mainstream parties, the Dominican Liberation Party (Partido de la Liberación Dominicana, PLD) and the Modern Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolucionario Moderno or PRM), amidst a variety of other parties. 
The incumbent candidate and leader in the polls is Danilo Medina, of the PLD, and his main opponent is Luis Abinader of the PRM. Medina’s tenure in office has been marked by a deepening of the country’s integration with the global economy and a controversial “denationalization” program targeting Haitian migrant families and laborers and the descendants of Haitian migrants.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

As Demonstrators Demand Audits: Haiti Sees Sixth CEP in Four Years

by Yves Pierre-Louis and Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

After installing a new government led by Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles, Haiti’s interim president Jocelerme Privert has now passed a second hurdle: setting up another Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) on Mar. 30, 2016. This is the sixth CEP formed in the past four years.
            The new CEP has as its president Léopold Berlanger, formally the representative of the National Association of Haitian Media (ANMH) and the Association of Haiti’s Independent Media (AMIH). Berlanger is also the informal representative of Haiti’s bourgeoisie and the so-called “Core Group,” the ambassadors who follow U.S. leadership in Haiti.
            The CEP’s vice-president is lawyer Carlos Hercule, who represents the Catholic Church of Cardinal Chibly Langlois and Bishop Patrice Aris.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Women Farmers and Land Grabs in Haiti: An interview with Iderle Brénus

From an interview by Beverly Bell

PAPDA, a coalition of nine Haitian organizations, supports rice cooperatives like this one in Northern Haiti as part of its commitment to women's leadership in local agricultural production against the backdrop of increasing land and resource grabs throughout the Caribbean nation. Image courtesy of Salena Tramel, for Grassroots International.

In Haiti, the majority of the people working the land are women. Not only are they there during planting, weeding and harvesting, but they also play a role in transforming and marketing food products. They’re involved in the entire agricultural production process. This is why we call women the poto mitan, central pillar, of the country.

When a family is dispossessed of its land, women are victims. Rural women are the first to feel the pain. Ways that land theft and expulsions are affecting them need to be put on the table so the impacted women can be made a priority. There needs to be social, educational, technical, and economic support, and a lot of community organizing. The world needs to see what women suffer under land grabs and the neoliberal policies behind them.

No Land Rights for Women

Our constitution very clearly says that those who work the land have the rights to the land, but this has never been the reality. Haiti’s poor continue to be victims of land expropriation for the profit of others, which give a tiny minority rights over the riches of this country.  

Today multinational corporations and other interests are taking cultivable land that used to produce food, and giving it to industries to make textile factories or other businesses that have nothing to do with food production - and in a country that is experiencing so much hunger. Those who are running the country profit, too. Elite landowners, who don’t even live in the country, own many thousands of hectares of land. The [Catholic] church, too is one of the institutions that owns a lot of land historically, and [rarely] does anything with it.

The problems around land ownership, occupation, and expropriation of land for the profit of multinational corporations - with the complicity of the government of Haiti - are especially grave for women. This isn’t anything new. These issues have always existed for peasant families, but it is taking on new dimensions. We see women – who already lacked access to and control of land, and who didn’t have control over production in economic terms – suffering even more.

Consequences of Land Grabs on Women

Even though a woman doesn’t hold the title to property - it’s rare to find one who has a title - she will work the land that her husband owns. She lives with, supports, and collaborates with the [husband or father’s] family to make sure that she and her children can eat, that her children can go to school, that she can pay for their health needs, for everything. All this is because in Haiti the population is mainly on its own; the state doesn’t provide any basic social services. The social services that had been there, even though they were minimal, have disappeared for the profit of neoliberal politics that have been applied in the country over the last 20 to 25 years.

Haiti Rises: A Time for Solidarity


by Nia Imara and Robert Roth*

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.” 
From a Statement Issued by 68 Haitian Grassroots Organizations on January 22, 2016

The voice of Haiti’s popular movement at this critical period in the country’s history has never been clearer.  For the past several months, since the discredited legislative and presidential elections of last August and October, mass, vibrant protests for the right to a free and fair vote and against foreign intervention have been a relentless force, in the face of heavily-armed and well-financed adversaries and mounting repression.  The influx of articles and editorials in recent weeks by leading U.S. media outlets depicts the situation in Haiti as a confused, incomprehensible, morass of violence and dysfunction, with all sides being equally unreasonable in their demands.  This misleading portrayal of Haitian politics and culture—indeed, of Haitian people—by American mainstream media is not new. Rather, it is a continuation of a historical pattern of obfuscating the underlying reasons for the grievances of Haiti’s mass movement, which has consistently denounced foreign intervention and the suppression of Haiti’s sovereignty.  

The popular revolt in Haiti has forced the postponement of the January 24 presidential run-off election, to the dismay of the U.S. State Department and the current Haitian government of Michel Martelly, whose handpicked candidate had been declared the frontrunner.  And now, on February 7, it has forced the end of the rule of Martelly himself, who has had to step down rather than oversee the next stage of the electoral process.

These are major victories for the people’s movement in Haiti. But already there are signs that the next round will be just as difficult as the fight has been already.  The popular movement has made it clear that they have no interest in a top-down solution that excludes the participation and voices of the tens of thousands of Haitians who have risked their lives nearly every day in the fight for democracy.  They have raised the fundamental question: How can elections proceed to a second round if the first round was hopelessly illegitimate? How can elections move forward without a thorough investigation and repair of the fraud that already took place?  These are the critical issues being fought over today as Haitians celebrate the end of the Martelly dictatorship.

Background to the Revolt: 
Twelve Years Since the Coup, Twelve Years of Occupation

The revolt in Haiti has not emerged overnight. It is now almost twelve years since the U.S.-orchestrated coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and removed over 8,000 elected officials, and exiled, jailed, raped and murdered thousands of supporters of the Fanmi Lavalas Party.  The coup was enforced by a United Nations military occupation that still exists today.  It has been five years since Michel Martelly, a supporter of the brutal Duvalier dictatorships and their death squads, was selected as president; only 17% of eligible Haitian voters turned out in an election that excluded the most popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas. Hillary Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, flew to Haiti to dictate to Haitian officials that Martelly be placed in the election runoff after initial results had left him only in third place. His U.S.-backed reign has featured one corruption scandal after another, intimidation of the judicial system, the return of death squads, torture of political prisoners, selling off of oil and mineral rights to foreign corporations, and rule by decree.  

Haitians have had enough of this.  As they watched this latest election being stolen and a Martelly minion emerge as the leading vote getter, they took to the streets by the tens of thousands. As they saw ballot boxes burned and “observers” with 900,000 government-issued credentials vote over and over again, they declared the election an “electoral coup.” As they were turned away from one polling place after another, and told that they were not eligible to vote, they declared fraud.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

As Martelly Steps Down: Parliament, With OAS Coaches, Forms Provisional Government Denounced by Demonstrators and Opposition

by the Haiti Elections Blog

This Sun., Feb. 7 marked the 30th anniversary of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s departure and the end of President’s Michel Martelly’s term. A last-minute negotiated deal secured Martelly’s departure, but it may not succeed in producing a long-term solution. Tensions leading up to Feb. 7 provoked violent confrontations between pro-government paramilitaries and opposition protestors in Port-au-Prince, resulting in one dead, as well as the cancellation of the first day of Carnaval. And while foreign diplomats welcomed the accord, a number of opposition parties raised objections to the agreement.
            On Feb. 6, Martelly publicly signed a political accord with Chancy Cholzer and Jocelerme Privert, the presidents of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, respectively. The agreement confirmed that Martelly would leave office and laid out a process for establishing a transitional government to take over. As de facto Prime Minister Evans Paul stays on, the Parliament will supposedly select a new provisional president within five days following the end of Martelly’s term. The new president will then engage in consultations to appoint a consensus prime minister and “redynamize” the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP). Once a new government is in place, the accord stipulates, it is responsible for implementing the “technical recommendations” of the Evaluation Commission and “restarting” the electoral process begun in 2015. The interrupted elections are to resume on Apr. 24, definitive results to be announced on May 6, and a new President sworn in on May 14. [However, all of these dates would have to be established by the new CEP, the independent institution which governs all electoral matters. - HL]
            In his final speech as President on Sunday, Martelly expressed satisfaction with the political accord, saying lawmakers “gave me a guarantee that the country is going to be stable.” Martelly also directly referred to the electoral impasse, admitting that although he had the sense of “a job well done,” there was also “a mission that is not yet completed.” A small group of Haitian Bald-Headed Party (PHTK) supporters greeted the outgoing president outside the parliament, wearing pink shirts with the words “Je Suis Martelly” (I Am Martelly). Thousands of anti-Martelly protesters also took to the streets in the capital, the mood a mix of defiant celebration and uncertainty as to what comes next.
            The international community were unanimously favorable toward the accord, emphasizing the need to complete the elections as quickly as possible. The Core Group welcomed the signing of the accord, seeing it as “a crucial step towards overcoming the political challenges Haiti faces.” The Core Group statement described the agreement as “a solution in keeping with the Constitution” and invited “the actors concerned to implement all the commitments entered into,” especially “the continuation of the electoral process within the timeframes indicated.” The U.S. State Department also hailed the accord for ensuring “the continuity of governance and the completion of the ongoing electoral process.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon likewise celebrated the accord for “providing a roadmap to the swift conclusion of the electoral cycle underway.”
            The opposition’s Group of Eight (G-8), on the other hand, immediately condemned the accord as anti-democratic and unconstitutional. The G-8 denounced the large role given to parliament in the accord, given the questionable legitimacy of many members of parliament. Instead, the G-8 suggested an alternative solution by handing the power to a judge of the Supreme Court and called for the establishment of an electoral verification commission that would examine both the Oct. 25 and Aug. 9 elections. Fanmi Lavalas made a similar call for an investigation of both the presidential and legislative elections, as did other parties such as FUSION, Kontrapèpla, and OPL. The G-8 statement, however, was only signed by Samuel Madistin; although officially still part of the G-8, Jude Célestin and his party LAPEH have not yet made any statements regarding the accord.
            The accord was concluded on the heels of a tense day in the capital and other cities. On Fri., Feb. 5, groups of armed militia men claiming to be ex-soldiers from Haiti’s disbanded military patrolled menacingly through Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, and other cities. In Port-au-Prince, the appearance of pro-government paramilitaries coincided with a demonstration calling for Martelly’s resignation. Paramilitaries fired shots at the demonstrators near Champs de Mars, who responded by attacking the ex-soldiers with stones, resulting in the death of one paramilitary. After Feb. 7, one paramilitary member warned, “all illegal arms will become legal!” Neither UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) troops nor Haitian National Police (PNH) officers made any attempt to control the paramilitaries.
            MINUSTAH condemned the violence in a statement issued the following day and “noted with concern the organized presence of several dozen people in green uniforms, some of whom were armed.” Although it was unclear who was in charge of the armed men, former paramilitary leader and Senate candidate Guy Philippe had recently threatened to have his supporters march on Port-au-Prince. “We are ready for war,” Philippe said in a radio interview on Jan. 24. The G-8 pointed out the coincidence of the political accord and the deployment of paramilitaries, criticizing the signatories for ignoring this “serious event” and the threat it represents for democracy.
            Earlier in the week, protests against the controversial arrival of an Organization of American States (OAS) Special Mission had continued, with a sit-in held outside the U.S. Embassy on Feb. 4. In a statement released on Thursday, the Coordination Europe-Haiti (CoEH), for their part, urged the European Union to support Haitian democracy, strongly criticizing the EU’s Electoral Observation Mission for taking “the position of defending the legitimacy of the Oct. 25 election outcome, even  after  the  Government  of  Haiti’s  decision  to  postpone  the  second  round indefinitely.” The EU Observation Mission was the only international mission to explicitly take this stance. CoEH urged the Mission to “prove its independence and professionalism” and “stop minimizing the ‘serious’ irregularities, verging on fraud, as observed by the BCEN and the  CEEI  during  their  verifications, and  denounced  by  a  large  majority  of  civil society and the political opposition.”
            Despite strong opposition among Haitians to foreign intervention, some foreign commentators claimed prior to the accord that a Haitian-led solution was impossible. The Washington Post insisted in a Feb. 3 editorial that “a strong international hand is required, one that can encourage or, if necessary, coerce the country’s political, civic and business leaders to come to terms on a Haitian resolution.” The OAS Special Mission, which was present during both the negotiations leading to the accord and the signing ceremony on Feb. 6, judged that its presence had “a favorable impact on the search for a consensus formula among the various groups.” The State Department also highlighted the “constructive role” played by OAS Special Mission in fostering a “spirit of consensus.”
            Following, Martelly’s verbal harassment of Liliane Pierre-Paul, a journalist from Radio Kiskeya, women’s organizations and civil groups organized a gathering in support of Ms. Pierre-Paul, Jean Monard Métellus, from Radio Television Caraïbes, and the country’s independent media.

            While Martelly may be gone, the resolution of Haiti’s electoral crisis is far from guaranteed. Martelly departed as he came, as one headline put it (in reference to his contested 2010 electoral victory): amid uncertainty and disorder.

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?

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