bcholmes: (haiti)

Jean-Claude Duvalier, a former president of Haiti known as Baby Doc who ruled the country with a bloody brutality and then shocked it anew with a sudden return from a 25-year exile in 2011, died on Saturday.

The New York Times

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: shadows moving faster than the eye (magic shadows)

Film # 7 was called Cristo Rey, and it’s kinda made around this premise: what would Romeo and Juliet look like if it was set in the modern-day in a dangerous barrio of the Dominican Republic and the impossible romance was between the sister of a Dominican drug dealer and a Haitian immigrant?

Janvier, often just referred to as “The Haitian,” is the son of an undocumented Haitian mother and a Dominican father — Janvier’s birth was the product of an affair, and he didn’t grow up with his father. But he has a half-brother Rudy who seems to mostly be playing the role of Paris in this show. Jocelyn is the younger sister to a major drug dealer, El Bacá. El Bacá has been living and hiding out in Cristo Rey, a dangerous slum in Santo Domingo, the Domincan Republic. It happens that Jocelyn and Rudy previously dated, and although Rudy wants to resume the relationship, Jocelyn’s not interested because he cheated on her.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (haiti)

Haiti Grassroots Watch has produced an 11-minute video on the gold exploration activities taking place in the north of Haiti by Canadian and U.S. companies.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (haiti)

TROU DU NORD, Haiti — Its capital is blighted with earthquake rubble. Its countryside is shorn of trees, chopped down for fuel. And yet, Haiti's land may hold the key to relieving centuries of poverty, disaster and disease: There is gold hidden in its hills — and silver and copper, too.


Ironically, it was only after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake that investors saw real opportunity. Fifteen days after a seismic jolt brought down much of Port-au- Prince, a Canadian exploration firm acquired all of the shares of the only Haitian firm holding full permits for a promising chunk of land in the northeast.

"Investors want to get in at the bottom," said Dan Hachey, president of Majescor Resources, the Canadian company, "and I figured after that earthquake, Haiti was as low as it could get."

Hachey was also betting that the $10 billion in foreign assistance promised for earthquake recovery would force change and accountability.

"The eyes of the world will not allow the government to fool around," he said.

- "Gold! Haiti eyes potential $20 billion bonanza", MSNBC

Yeah. I'm completely sure that a sizable percentage of the value of Haiti's natural resources will find their way into Haiti's public coffers. Oh no, wait! I mean the opposite of that!


Nov. 16th, 2011 11:56 am
bcholmes: (haiti)

Apparently there's a Haitian Hip-Hop band called "BC" (Barikad Crew). For the last coupl'a trips, I've introduced myself ("M rele BC") and people tell me that that's an easy name to remember because there's a band called that.

bcholmes: (haiti)

Lots of interesting stuff coming out about Haiti at the moment.

First, Jeb Sprague's piece in Haiti Liberté, which talks about how the so-called interim government (installed by the U.S.) sought to populate the Haitian National Police with former members of the disbanded Haitian army:

Throughout 2004 and 2005, Haiti’s unelected de facto authorities, working alongside foreign officials, integrated at least 400 ex-army paramilitaries into the country’s police force, secret U.S. Embassy cables reveal.

For a year and a half following the ouster of Haiti’s elected government on Feb. 29, 2004, UN, OAS, and U.S. officials, in conjunction with post-coup Haitian authorities, vetted the country’s police force – officer by officer – integrating former soldiers with the goal of both strengthening the force and providing an alternative “career path” for paramilitaries. Hundreds of police considered loyal to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's deposed government were purged. Some were jailed and a few killed, according to numerous sources interviewed.

At the same time, former soldiers from the disbanded Haitian Armed Forces (FAdH), who were assembled in a paramilitary “rebel” force which worked with the country’s elite opposition to bring down Aristide, were stationed – officially and unofficially – in many towns across the country.

When Aristide disbanded the army, it was the single most popular thing that he'd done. At that time, the army had a long history of suppressing the citizens, overthrowing the government and "disappearing dissidents". One can only conclude that the U.S. felt that there was a vaccuum in the suppressing citizen/overthrowing the government/disappearing dissident role.

Next, there are some Wikileaks documents showing just how obsessed the U.S. was with keeping Aristide out of Haiti and undermining the Lavalas movement:

The Nation magazine and the Haitian weekly Haïti Liberté that draw from almost 2,000 U.S. diplomatic cables on Haiti released by WikiLeaks. The cables show that high-level U.S. and U.N. officials coordinated a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from "gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti." The United States and its allies allegedly poured tens of millions of dollars into unsuccessful efforts to slander Aristide as a drug trafficker, human rights violator, and heretical practitioner of voodoo. Another recent exposé based on the cables details how Haiti’s unelected de facto authorities worked alongside foreign officials to integrate at least 400 ex-army paramilitaries into the country’s police force throughout 2004 and 2005. The WikiLeaks cables reveal just how closely Washington and the United Nations oversaw the formation of Haiti’s new police force and signed off on the integration of paramilitaries who had previously targeted Haiti’s poor majority and democratically elected governments.

Especially noteworthy is that Canada is completely on board:

AMY GOODMAN: ... "Canada had a clear position in opposition to the return of Aristide." Two Canadian diplomatic officials met with U.S. embassy personnel, saying, "We are on the same sheet [with U.S.]" with regards to Aristide.

KIM IVES: Canada played a support role to the U.S., just as France did trying to block Aristide’s return through third countries, blocking commercial lines so he couldn’t get back. So they all played it.

Ives' article in The Nation is probably an important link, too

bcholmes: (haiti)

The comments aren’t just random, and the program is not unique. It's one of dozens of “Cash for Work” programs, employing thousands of people, going on around the country. An in-depth study of the Ravine Pintade program discovered:

Corruption – Thirty percent (30%) of the beneficiaries say they had to pay a kickback for their job.
Sexual abuse – Ten percent (10%) of women beneficiaries say "their friends" had to give sexual favors to get a position.
Social conflict – Many beneficiaries and neighbors say that the program has caused strife, between inhabitants and foremen.

After students from the Journalism Laboratory at the State University of Haiti heard rumors about corruption and other unhealthy practices in the Cash for Work program being carried out by CHF International (Cooperative Housing Foundation International), they decided to look into the matter. Together with Haiti Grassroots Watch (HGW) – a partnership of the online news agency AlterPresse, the Society for the Animation of Social Communication (SAKS) and community radios – they carried out a two-month research program to answer these questions: How does one get a Cash for Work job and what are the program's impacts?

"Cash for Work – At What Cost"

bcholmes: (haiti)

An interesting Democracy Now blurb about WikiLeaks and Haiti. Apparently, a 2005 leaked U.S. Embassy cable shows that the embassy was angry that Democracy Now accurately reported on a deadly raid on Site Soley. Apparently, the embassy was concerned that there wasn't PR coverage for Democracy Now.

The video includes a brief bit of Kim Ives, whose pieces in Haiti Liberté I've read, but this is the first time I've seen video of him. Ives' point is about Secretary Clinton's actions (discussed in another memo) after the 2010 earthquake: apparently she got a bunch of embassies to penalize journalists who don't "get the narrative right."

More comprehensive video is over here.

bcholmes: (haiti)

Um. First, some pictures.

Those are pictures of what the camp at Kalfou Ayewopo ("Airport Crossroads") looked like after police came and demolished a tent city there. People used to live there. Now they don't.

Here's a blurb:

On May 23 and 25, police in the Delmas district of Port-au-Prince destroyed camps which sheltered people who were otherwise homeless since the earthquake. Police and other municipal workers beat and arrested residents, and physically threatened the lives of a human rights lawyer and an advocate who had come to investigate. The mayor of Delmas announced that this is part of a new campaign to evict internally displaced persons [IDPs] from public spaces.

Those whose lodging was destroyed were amongst the million-plus people who have lived for 16 months under tents, lean-to’s of shredded tarps, or whatever repurposed materials they could scrounge, from blankets to tin. Neither the Haitian government nor the international community has offered any large-scale resettlement options.

"Haitian Mayor's Office Vows to Destroy All Refugee Camps, Launches Violent Campaign"

Here's a new piece of the equation:

Security forces who are tearing down makeshift tent camps inhabited by Haitians displaced in last year’s earthquake were trained by Risks Incorporated, a U.S. private security firm involved in torture trainings in Mexico, a Narco News investigation has found. Three camps in Delmas, a district in central Port-au-Prince, have been destroyed in the past week, sending families fleeing into the street with nowhere to go.

The Delmas Mayor’s Street Control Brigade, also known by the acronym BRICOR, helped carry out the evictions. Risks Incorporated’s Andrew Wilson, who also goes by the names “Orlando” and “Jerry,” confirmed in a telephone interview that he trained them in “use of force.” In 2008, Narco News revealed that Wilson trained Mexican police in torture techniques in videos leaked to the Mexican press.

Videos posted in March 2009 on Risks Inc.’s YouTube page show a man training several dozen Haitian men in the then-partially-constructed city hall of Delmas Mayor Wilson Jeudy. Delmas is the largest municipal commune in Port-au-Prince, with at least 600,000 residents. “Yes, that’s me,” Wilson said by phone from Miami.

The men, wearing T-shirts bearing the Delmas Mayor’s emblem, perform exercises leaping over walls, kicking, and hitting tires on the ground with batons. In one scene, they practice controlling a boisterous demonstration. One group steps forward, jutting out their batons in striking motions, while the other chants in mock protest.

"Torture Firm Risks Incorporated Tied To Destructive Evictions in Haiti"

I can't help but be reminded, now, that Canada has bragged for years that one of the key roles that we've played in Haiti is to help train the police.

bcholmes: (aristide)

Over the next few years, much of Haiti will be rebuilt and much of its economy restructured. In response to last year's earthquake an unprecedented amount of money has been promised for reconstruction. It's more important than ever before that Haiti be governed by an administration that reflects the true will and interests of its people, rather than the concerns of foreign governments and corporations.

In 2004, the US, France and Canada, in alliance with members of Haiti's business community and demobilised soldiers of the Haitian army, overthrew the last Haitian government to enjoy genuine popular support: the party that led this government, Fanmi Lavalas, was elected with around 75% of the vote. This past November, these same powers imposed and funded an illegitimate electoral process in Haiti, one that blocked the participation of Fanmi Lavalas. Only 23% of Haitian voters participated, scarcely a third of the proportion who voted in the last presidential election.

In recent weeks, the US and its proxies have brazenly interfered in the interpretation of this election's first round of results. The flawed November vote was not only inconclusive and unrepresentative, its outcome was also unlawful. If the second round of these elections goes ahead as planned on 20 March, it is now sure to result in the unconstitutional selection of a president with closer ties to the powers that sponsored and manipulated them than to the people meant to participate in them.

At the same time, the powers that dominate Haiti have facilitated the return of the former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier while discouraging the return of the twice-elected president (and Fanmi Lavalas leader) Jean-Bertrand Aristide. These powers, with their allies in the Haitian business community, have made it clear that they seek to delay Aristide's return until after 20 March. They will only allow Aristide to return after a suitably pliant new government has been installed, to preside over the imminent reconstruction process.

We the undersigned call on the Haitian government to make the security arrangements that will enable Aristide's immediate return, and we call on the international community to support rather than undermine these efforts. We call on the Haitian government to cancel the second-round vote scheduled for 20 March and to organise a new round of elections, without exclusions or interference, to take place as soon as possible.

Marie-Célie Agnant, writer
Tariq Ali, writer
Andaiye, Red Thread, Guyana
Roger Annis, Canada Haiti Action Network
Reginald Antoine, PEVEP
Alain Badiou, Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris)
Brian Becker, National Co-ordination, Answer Coalition
Emile Wilnes Brumer, Mas Popilè Site Solèy
Jean-Claude Cajou, community activist
Sara Callaway, Women of Colour/Global Women's Strike, UK
Yves Camille, Haiti Liberté
Noam Chomsky, MIT
Ramsey Clark, former US attorney general
Brian Concannon, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti
Dan Coughlin, executive director, Manhattan Neighborhood Network
Ezili Dantò, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Mike Davis, UC Riverside
Castro Desroches, SUNY
Berthony Dupont, Haiti Liberté
Ben Dupuy, Haiti Progrès & Parti Populaire National
Darren Ell, Montreal-Haiti Solidarity Committee
Joe Emersberger, writer
Yves Engler, writer
Anthony Fenton, journalist
Weiner Kerns Fleurimond, Haiti Liberté
Pierre L Florestal, Fanmi Lavalas - NY
Daniel Florival, Tèt Kole Oganizasyon Popilè yo
Sara Flounders, International Action Center
Laura Flynn, Aristide Foundation for Democracy board
Danny Glover, actor & activist, board chair, TransAfrica Forum
Leah Gordon, photographer and curator
Manu Goswami, NYU
Greg Grandin, NYU
Thomas Griffin, lawyer
Bishop Thomas Gumbleton
Peter Hallward, Kingston University London
Georges Honorat, Haiti Progrès
Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté
Selma James, Global Women's Strike, UK
Dr G Carlo Jean, retired public school teacher
Marlène Jean-Noel, Fanmi Lavalas Baz NY
Tony Jean-Thénor, Veye Yo
Frantz Jerome, Coalition Against Occupation and Sham Elections
Evelt Jeudi, Fanmi Lavalas Miami
Mario Joseph, Office of International Lawyers (BAI)
Farah Juste, representative of Fanmi Lavalas for Florida & the Bahamas
Michelle Karshan, Aristide Foundation for Democracy
Katharine Kean, film-maker
Ira Kurzban, Counsel for the Republic of Haiti from 1991-2004
Pierre Labossière, Haiti Action Committee
Ray Laforest, International Support Haiti Network
Frantz Latour, Haiti Liberté
Andrew Leak, University College London
Didier Leblanc, Haiti Liberté
Jacques Elie Leblanc, Haiti Liberté
Maude Leblanc, Haiti Progrès
Richard Ledes, film director
Nicole Lee, President, TransAfrica Forum
Nina López, Legal Action for Women, UK
Gardy Lumas, PEVEP
Isabel Macdonald, journalist
Albert Maysles, film-maker
Yves Mésidor, Mas Popilè Site Solèy
Johnny Michel, Mas Popilè Site Solèy
Melinda Miles, Let Haiti Live
Georges Mompremier, Fanmi Lavalas Baz NY
Fednel Monchery, Jeunesse pour la République (JPR)
Joia S. Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer, Partners In Health
Nick Nesbitt, Princeton University
Harry Numa, community activist
Vanel Louis Paul, Mas Popilè Site Solèy
Gladys Timmer Phillpotts, Fanmi Lavalas Baz St Francis
Fritzner Pierre, radio host of Dyalog Popilè
Wadner Pierre, Haitianalysis.com
Yves Pierre-Louis, Tèt Kole Oganizasyon Popilè yo
Kevin Pina, Haiti Information Project
Margaret Prescod, Women of Colour/Global Women's Strike, US
Jackson Rateau, Haiti Liberté
Roosevelt René, engineer
Claude Ribbe, author and filmmaker
Corey Robin, Brooklyn College & CUNY
William Robinson, UCSB
Nicolas Rossier, film-maker
Robert Roth, Haiti Action Committee
Jean Saint-Vil, writer
Alina Sixto, Radio Fanmi Lavalas New York
Mark Snyder, International Action Ties
Jeb Sprague, UCSB
Irwin Stotzky, University of Miami Law School
Lucie Tondreau, community activist
Eddy Toussaint "Tontongi", Revi Tanbou
Harold Valentin, Oganizasyon Jen Salomon (OJESA)
Burt Wides, former counsel to Haiti's constitutional government; Special Counsel to President Carter for oversight of all US Intelligence agencies
Cécile Winter, Collectif politique sida en Afrique
Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljana

"Haiti needs the world's support", The Guardian (among other places)

bcholmes: (haiti)

Imagine if the Federal Election Commission in the United States disqualified the Democratic and Republican parties from the 2012 presidential election and declared that only candidates of minor parties could run. No one would consider it a fair election, and certainly the people of the United States would rise up, claiming the election is unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Yet the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Haiti on Nov. 28 are just that -- unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic. The country's Provisional Electoral Council, which itself is not constitutionally composed, is refusing to allow the country's majority party -- Famni Lavalas (Lavalas Family) -- to participate in the election. Thirteen other legitimate political parties are also being excluded from parliamentary elections.

The Famni Lavalas Party, headed by former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, won the last democratic election it was allowed to participate in by overwhelming margins. In May 2000, when President René Préval was in his first term, the party won virtually all the seats in the lower house of Parliament, the state houses and local governments. It won most of the seats in the Haitian Senate and the presidency. Since the February 2004 coup, Famni Lavalas has been banned from participating in Haitian politics.

The current Provisional Electoral Council, hand-picked by President Préval, has fabricated a new eligibility requirement to disqualify Famni Lavalas from the presidential elections. This new rule requires that the head of each party register presidential candidates in person.

President Aristide, however, is exiled in South Africa where a tacit agreement between many governments keeps him there. While the great powers have maintained a code of silence concerning Aristide and his right to return to his own country, they are feverishly working, with the complicity of the South African government, to ensure that he does not return. At the same time, the government of Haiti has refused to renew Aristide's passport to allow him to return to Haiti to register his party.

These political maneuvers are not lost on Haiti's people. While the mainstream media in the United States focuses on whether Wyclef Jean may run for president or what Sean Penn thinks of Jean's candidacy, the Haitian people refuse to play the fool. Indeed, they know the presidential election that will be imposed on them has nothing to do with democracy.

— Ira Kurzban, "Unfair and undemocratic", Miami Herald

I wonder if it's editorial policy at the Miami Herald to misspell Fanmi Lavalas.

bcholmes: (haiti)

Well, I hadn't planned on starting the day being interviewed by reporters...

For the record, no, I don't think that Wyclef Jean will be a good president for Haiti.

bcholmes: (21)

"We still have a lot of work to do, but I think we've successfully generated interest," Fabre said.

"We're hearing about (the hoax) in the New York Times, in the Quebec media, really everywhere."

The CRIME representatives were joined yesterday by two members of the local Haitian community, Serge Bouchereau and Didier Berry, who said they applauded the group's efforts on behalf of the people of Haiti, many of whom still lack adequate food and shelter after a devastating earthquake rocked the impoverished country in January.

"I think the website is fabulous," said Berry. "Young people in the (Haitian) Diaspora are very happy with it, from what I see on blogs and websites. I think they're very happy to see Westerners interested in this issue."

At issue it the huge sum of money Haiti paid the French government following the slave revolt in 1804 that earned Haiti its independence from colonial rule. In 1825, France demanded that Haiti compensate it for its loss of men and slave labour to the tune of 90 million gold francs. It took over 125 years to do it, but Haitians eventually coughed up the cash.

When asked by reporters why CRIME decided to stage the online hoax to draw attention to Haiti's "independence debt" rather than organize a protest or circulate petitions, Fabre responded, "Well, you're all here, aren't you?"

"Online hoaxers fight on despite threats of legal action by France", Montreal Gazette

In other news, the Yes Men are considering legal action.

In response to speculation that the Yes Men, a group that carries out similarly elaborate pranks, might have been involved in this ruse, The Lede received this statement from Mike Bonanno, a member of that group by e-mail on Friday:

In the strongest terms we deplore this stunt and are exploring all of our legal options to locate and punish the perpetrators for theft of creative and intellectual copyright, which was clearly Yes Men derived, yet no due attribution has been forthcoming. These amateurs will be hearing from our lawyers soon.

All the same, I was surprised to learn that France spent many years collecting financial damages as part of Haiti’s independence agreement. Money lost from interruption of the slave trade? Wow... free trade in action.

"Faux French Foreign Ministry Explains Prank", The Lede


Jul. 21st, 2010 09:20 pm
bcholmes: (21)

CRIME's press conference on Thursday comes one week after the French government stated it was considering legal recourse against those behind the spoof announcement that France would repay the 90 million gold francs it had demanded in financial compensation from Haiti after the former French colony's independence.

CRIME took responsibility for the fake announcement last Friday, with the group’s spokesperson Laurence Fabre commenting that "It is most unfortunate that the Quay d'Orsay has been so ungrateful, and frankly, uncooperative, with our bold initiative to improve the French government's reputation in Haiti."

In a public statement explaining their action, CRIME stated, "Is a spoof website such a grave crime, when compared to what the French have done in Haiti? We leave it to the court of world public opinion to decide: Who are the real criminals."

"Haiti Hoaxters Hold Real Press Conference"

Oh... and France? Maybe you should quit complaining and pay.

bcholmes: (haiti)

Chomsky's historical analysis is top-notch. I find his casual dropping of racial slurs in the talk to be a bit anxious-making.

bcholmes: (haiti)

Islanded in a Sea of Tents

There are tents everywhere. There are tent cities everywhere. The whole Champs de Mars is one enormous tent city, with occasional historical statue sticking its head out of the multicoloured peaks and domes. Pétion looks down from his granite perch; stone-faced Bolivar scans the displaced people.

blather, blather, blather )


Jun. 17th, 2010 07:54 pm
bcholmes: (haiti)

By Monday morning, the workers prevailed!


Jun. 12th, 2010 06:40 pm
bcholmes: (haiti)

Two days ago, I arrived at the HODR base station in Leyogàn. And there was drama! Drama! Duck!

Here's a Drama, there's a Drama, and another little Drama )


bcholmes: (Default)
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