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Water for Profit: Haiti Comes to Flint

NOVANEWS

What happens in Haiti doesn’t stay in Haiti. Sooner or later, it comes to places like Michigan’s Benton Harbor and Flint. Our destinies are linked. Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish aristocrat who long puppeteered United States presidents from behind the curtains, has written: “America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad. This limits the use of America’s power, especially its capacity for military intimidation.” I concur. As long as the US attempts to dominate the world and continues to dispense the violence commensurate with this ambition, it cannot expect to practice democracy at home.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

Mr. Brzezinski reasoned that the main impediment to imperial ambitions is that people will not willingly get killed in wars of conquest, but I believe there are more profound reasons why democracy cannot thrive under such circumstances. For one, the servants of empire develop a comfort with dictatorship that eventually compels them to cross the Rubicon, as they did in Roman times, and come home to continue the practice. Even more important, democracy cannot flourish where the rich are free to justify their money accumulation by rendering everyone and everything salable. A symptom of such pathology is the phenomenon of privatization.

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Triple whammy

The battle has begun to privatize the functions of city governments, which really hold the commons and real wealth of any country. Water is at the center of this battle, and this includes waterfront property as well as drinking water. In Haiti, immediately after the earthquake of January 12, 2010, Bill Clinton pressured the government to declare an 18-month state of emergency, during which he could govern all the reconstruction as the co-chair of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC). There is little to show for more than $6 billion of aid funds to the IHRC besides a massive sweatshop complex, built for less than three percent of that amount, well away from the earthquake damage. Haiti’s mayors, the main impediments to the appropriation of land and water commons, were dismissed and replaced with Interim Agents appointed by a president who, in turn, had been installed by Hillary Clinton in May 2011 in a fraudulent election.

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In Michigan, there was no earthquake as there was in Haiti. Instead, the disaster was slow and cumulative. Though Clinton is credited for most of it, it had the approval of Republicans and Democrats. First came the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) of January 1994, which eliminated tariffs and other trade barriers between the US, Canada, and Mexico. Corporations like Whirlpool and General Motors moved their production to Mexico and abandoned those who had created their fortunes for generations as predominantly unionized laborers. The housing crash in 2008, due to the banking sector’s financial crimes, caused a rash of foreclosures. Finally, as more people fell into poverty, the federal government unraveled most social safety nets, including welfare and food stamps. The old manufacturing cities lost much of their population, together with their tax base. The residents who stayed, however, retained their power to vote despite being poor. Against this, the scions of corporate bosses, big property owners with plans of their own, continued to influence politics at the federal, state, and city levels. A clash between the poor and the rich of these cities became inevitable.

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Ground zero, Benton Harbor

It is in Benton Harbor, a town of about 10,000 people on Lake Michigan, with 70 percent unemployment and a per-capita annual income of about $10,000, that the fight for America’s cities started. Whirlpool Corporation was the major employer and had its corporate offices there, when a plan was hatched to take 530 acres of the city, including a lakefront park, for conversion into a $500 million development called Harbor Shores, with multi-million dollar condos on the beach area and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course. In response, Reverend Edward Pinkney, a pastor and community leader, spearheaded the organization of the local 2008 elections and the recall of a mayor who had borrowed $3.2 million for the city, rather than require Whirlpool to pay its fair share of taxes. Opposition candidates won four commissioners seats and the mayoral seat: the five votes that were needed to control the City Commission.

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Whirlpool got $3.87 million in tax breaks in 2010 and left Benton Harbor for Mexico in March 2011, but the corporate bosses’ influence remained. Soon thereafter, the state of Michigan declared Benton Harbor to be $5 million in debt and then orchestrated a land grab with Public Act 4: a new law that allowed the state government to appoint, for a city, an Emergency Manager (EM) that trumps all elected local officials. According to Reverend Pinkney, Michigan Governor, Rick Snyder, was beholden to Whirlpool, and Benton Harbor’s first EM, Joseph Harris, was a professional accountant close to Cornerstone Alliance, which is part of Whirlpool. The city’s water bills tripled and its jobs were outsourced, but Benton Harbor paid millions of dollars to demolish the houses of its poorer residents and got its golf course and lakefront condos for the rich. Reverend Pinkney was thrown in prison for up to 10 years on a bogus charge of tampering with the mayor-recall petition.

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The fight for Flint

The rich of Michigan realized right away they had good thing in Public Act 4. The state began, almost immediately, to train hundreds of EMs for appointment to other cities. Governor Snyder ordered the city of Flint into receivership, also in 2011, and the state appointed an EM for it. With the departure of much of General Motors, which had begun there in 1908, the city had lost much of its tax base and had a budget deficit. Specifically, Flint went from about 200,000 people in the 1960s to about one half this number by 2011, when the median household income was around $25,000, and about 40 percent of the residents lived below the poverty line.

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On April 25, 2014, by order of its EM, Flint began to get its water from the Flint River using a formerly retired plant, instead of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), which had provided the city with treated water originating from Lake Huron. The reason for this decision is often given as a need to save money, but according to journalist Steve Neavling, in response to the potential loss of a major client, the DWSD made a number of proposals to Flint, including the offer of a deal that would have been 20 percent less expensive than switching. In fact, the DWSD suggested that there was a political aim to the switch. One possible such objective might have been to destabilize Detroit, in a domino effect, for the assignment of its own EM.

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The story of Flint’s water contamination is no less tragic for being told many times. The corrosive water from the Flint River dislodged the protective scales from within the service water pipes and caused so much leaching of lead, that in some instances the water contained lead concentrations that would have been considered high even for toxic wastes! This happened because when residents complained about the brown coloration of the water, and later of infections with pathogenic Escherichia coli, the city hired two water-privatization companies, Veolia, and Lockwood, Andrews & Newman (LAN), to solve the problem. To save money, anticorrosives were not added to the water. The discoloration was treated by Veolia, which then declared the water safe to drink. Chlorination of the water in an attempt to disinfect it led to yet more leaching of lead. In addition the chlorine was removed by reactions with particles of iron in the water, and this led to growth of Legionella bacteria. In the end, thousands of people were poisoned with lead, including 9,000 children under the age of six, and 12 people died from Legionnaire’s Disease. All these facts about Flint’s water became public, not because of government watchdogs, but because of the efforts of citizen scientists who got assistance from scientists to analyze the lead concentrations in water and the blood of Flint’s children.

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Two former Flint EMs, Darnell Earley and Gerald Ambrose, as well as several Flint Department of Public Works employees, face criminal charges for their roles in the Flint debacle. In addition, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a civil lawsuit in which Veolia and LAN are both alleged to have committed professional negligence and public nuisance, and Veolia is also alleged to have committed fraud. The city draws its water again from DWSD, but the damaged pipes continue to leach lead and, like Haitians who have come to depend on tanker-truck water for their food and drink, Flint residents subsist on bottled water.

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Emergency Managers: a rich man’s antidote to local democracy

Michigan voters repealed Public Act 4 in 2012, which had disenfranchised the majority of the Michigan poor, who are overwhelmingly black, but the same year, the state passed Public Act 436, and this has been upheld after a court challenge. A fact sheet from Michigan State University Extension summarizes the law as follows:

“If an EM is appointed, this person is authorized to act for and in place of the local governing body and administrative officer of the community. The governing body only retains any powers authorized by the EM. The EM has broad powers to resolve the financial crisis and insure the fiscal accountability of the community to provide services for the health, safety and welfare of its residents.”

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Like Bill Clinton in the IHRC in Haiti, EMs are appointed for 18 months with a possibility for indefinite renewal. Public Act 436 is a law that extracts all meaning from the word democracy and spits it out like so much trash onto a garbage heap. Nevertheless, many US cities are rearing to try similar laws. In effect, the EM law says that you can only have what you’ve got so long as somebody rich and powerful doesn’t want it. In a context of privatization, where everything can be bought and sold, groundwater, glacier water, rivers, and lakes may be sold, as can roads, bridges, parks, state houses, and museum artifacts. The rich, who would corral the sun and sky and put a meter on them if they could, are not treated as the threat they really are. Much lip service is given to the idea of water being a human right, as if, if this repeated enough times, it will become another platitude. But life is not worth living if there is nothing one would die for, and what is a human right but a right without which one would not be fully human, and life would not be worth living?

This is the third part of a series of articles that examine how water is snatched from cities and privatized.

See Part I and II below.

Water for Profit: Haiti’s Thirsty Season

By Dady Chery, May 12, 2017

Neocolonialism in Haiti, Water for Profit and the Cholera Epidemic

By Dady Chery, May 23, 2017

Sources:

News Junkie Post | Dady Chery is the author of We Have Dared to Be Free. | Photograph one (featured image) from the archive of Joe Brusky; photographs five and eleven from the archive of Michigan Municipal League; cartoon six by Donkey Hotey; and photograph twelve from the archive of the US Department of Agriculture.

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The “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”: Humanist Peacekeeping or…?

On Sussex Drive in Ottawa, just a few steps away from the enormous US embassy, stands the Peacekeeping Monument. The structure titled “Reconciliation” was erected to honour the more than 125,000 Canadians who have served in United Nations peacekeeping forces since 1947. The current article documents one particular instance –the February 2004 intervention in Haiti – where the historical record conflicts with the “good peacekeeper” narrative communicated by the Canadian government, reiterated by the corporate media, and represented by “Reconciliation.”

Seeing themselves as a generous people, most Canadians also consider that their noble ideals are reflected in the foreign policy of their government. The importance of nurturing this positive image both at home and abroad is well ingrained in the national psyche and, every now and again, surveys are conducted to confirm its resilience.[1]

Walter Dorn, Associate Professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, writes that:

For Canadians, peacekeeping is about trying to protect people in mortal danger… about self-sacrifice as well as world service. These notions of courage and service resonate with the public, and politicians across the political spectrum have readily adopted the peacekeeping cause… Canadian support for its peacekeeping role has been so strong for so long that it has become a part of the national identity.[2]

Canada’s intervention in Haiti is represented and legitimized in such terms. On the very first line of the section of its website devoted to Haiti, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) boasts how

“Canada has committed to allocate $555 million over five years (2006-2011) to reconstruction and development efforts in Haiti.” Such “special consideration” is given to Haiti because “[t]he Government of Canada is committed to helping the people of Haiti improve their living conditions.”[3]

Unequivocally endorsing the government’s line as reiterated by its Ambassador to Haiti, Claude Boucher, Maclean’s Magazine answers its own question in an April 2008 feature article:

“it’s easy to forget that what Boucher says is true. Haiti is a less dangerous, more hopeful place than it has been for years, and this is the case, in part, because of the United Nations mission there and Canada’s involvement in it.”[4]

The Ottawa Initiative

In contrast to Maclean’s pronouncement, a growing number of international critics insist that what is happening in Haiti is instead an odious imperialist crime in which Canada is shamefully complicit.[5] These skeptics argue that in January, 2003 the Canadian government organized a meeting to plan the illegal and violent overthrow of the democratically-elected government of the small Caribbean nation for political, ideological and economic reasons.[6] The meeting, called the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti,” was held at the government’s Meech Lake conference centre in Gatineau, Québec, on January 31 and February 1, 2003, one year before the February 29, 2004 coup d’état.

The extraordinary decisions taken at this gathering of non-Haitians were first leaked to the general public in Michel Vastel’s March 2003 article, published in French-language magazine l’Actualité. Under the prophetic title “Haiti put under U.N. Tutelage?,” Vastel described how, in the name of a new Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine, parliamentarians of former colonial powers invited to Meech Lake by Minister Denis Paradis, decided that Haiti’s democratically-elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, had to be overthrown, a Kosovo-like trusteeship of Haiti implemented before January 1, 2004 while the US- subservient Haitian Army, the Forces armées d’Haiti (FAdH), would be reinstated alongside a new police force. The UN trusteeship project itself first surfaced in 2002 as mere rumor (or trial balloon?) in the neighboring Dominican Republic’s press.

Denis Paradis

While Canadian soldiers stood guard over Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince, the president of Haiti and his wife were put on an airplane by US officials before dawn on February 29, 2004. According to world-renowned African-American author and activist Randall Robinson, who interviewed several eye-witnesses, the aircraft was not a commercial plane. No members of the Aristide government and no media were at the airport as Mr. and Mrs. Aristide were effectively abducted and taken to the Central African Republic against their will, following a refueling stop in the Caribbean island of Antigua.

***

In its December 10, 2004 report titled “An Economic Governance Reform Operation,” the World Bank bluntly declared that (thanks to the coup),

The transition period and the Transitional Government provide a window of opportunity for implementing economic governance reforms with the involvement of civil society stakeholders that may be hard for a future government to undo.”[7]

Within the same post-coup period, said transitional government adopted a budget plan baptised “interim cooperation framework” (ICF) which outlined extensive privatization measures, accompanied by massive layoffs of public sector employees. This was done without the benefit of any legal sanction from a Haitian parliament. De facto Prime Minister Gérard Latortue, who was hand-picked by the U.S. to implement the ICF, promptly began the distribution of $29 million dollars to remobilized soldiers and paramilitaries whom the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had recruited and trained for the coup over the previous years in neighboring Dominican Republic and whom Latortue dubbed “freedom fighters”. The announcement of special pay to Latortue’s “freedom fighters” was made within days of a December 6, 2004 announcement of new “aid to Haiti” by the Canadian government.[8]

As of September 2008, most of the objectives attributed to the Ottawa Initiative have come to fruition. Haiti’s democratically–elected government has been overthrown, the country has been put under UN tutelage, new armed forces have been formed, and former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is still in exile. As for Canada’s promised “improvement to living conditions”, such improvements can easily be demonstrated for the over 9000 foreign troops (police and military) whose salaries have in many instances doubled during their tour with the UN force in Haiti (MINUSTAH). However, as far as the overwhelming majority of Haitians are concerned, there are no reasons to rejoice. In the past five years, they have been subjected to an unprecedented wave of kidnappings, rapes and murders, among other forms of urban violence. The Haitian state has been further weakened and destabilized. The trauma and social divisions of the Haitian people have been greatly exacerbated as a consequence of the coup. Understandably, many charge that the R2P doctrine has proven to be “a nightmarish and violent neo-imperialist experiment gone terribly mad” conducted on Haitians in blatant contravention of international law.[9]

At the time of the first leak of the Ottawa Initiative meeting to the public, Canadians of Haitian origin warned Prime Minister Jean Chrétien not to engage in such “a foolish adventure in neocolonialism.”[10] But these warnings were to no avail. After several changes in government in Ottawa, there is no indication of any change in policy. On the contrary, Canadian officials are steadfastly implementing the same ill-fated policy while disingenuously diverting blame for failure onto its victims. Does it not speak volumes that in Haiti, as in foreign-occupied Iraq or Afghanistan, kidnappings and the “brain drain” are two phenomena that have markedly intensified with the arrival of the foreign troops?[11]

Four shaky pillars

The post-coup regime in UN-occupied Haiti rests on four unstable pillars: money, weapons, class solidarity and racism.

Money: Those who call the shots in Haiti today are those who control the bank accounts. Contrast, for example, the $600 million budget of the UN force with that of the Republic of Haiti. The latter grew from $300 million in 2004-05 to $850 million in 2005-06 to 1.8 billion in 2006-07 and finally to $2 billion in 2008-09, with the caveat that above 60% of the budget is dependent on foreign sources and their associated conditions. President Préval’s pleas for MINUSTAH tanks to be replaced by construction equipment remain as futile as they are incessant.[12] The “grants” allocated to Haiti at never-ending donors’ conferences are largely directed towards the donor’s own selected non-governmental organizations.

In response to last year’s food riots, Préval vowed in a speech delivered in Creole that he would no longer subsidize foreign rice imports but would instead stimulate the production and consumption of Haitian rice. This statement was retracted in a matter of hours, and Préval announced instead that he was in fact using the country’s meager resources to subsidize imported (American) rice to reduce the retail price by 16 percent.[13] The balance of power being what it is in these complex relationships, Haiti is expected to accept without a whimper the poisoned gifts “donated” by her generous benefactors in the name of “peace” or “humanitarian aid.” I recall how in 1997, when confronted with the poor quality of a foreign “expert’s” report submitted to the Minister, a junior Canadian NGO staff person, who was supposedly working in support of Haiti’s Ministry of Environment, arrogantly interjected that “beggars cannot be choosers.”

Weapons: MINUSTAH, comprised of some reputedly ruthless forces of repression including those of Brazil, China, Jordan and the U.S. has no rival on the ground in terms of sheer fire power. MINUSTAH’s marching orders are especially clear following the “suicide” of its former military leader, Brazilian General Bacellar, who was found dead on January 7, 2006, following a night of heated exchange with members of Haiti’s business elite who were openly critical of him for being too “soft” with “slum gangs”, “bandits” or “chimères.” MINUSTAH serves the role of place holder for the defunct Haitian army (FAdH), the traditional tool by which Haiti’s elites and their foreign allies have kept the “black masses” under control.

In the context of a country with an estimated 210,000 firearms (the vast majority of which remain securely in the hands of its ruling families and businesses)”, writes Peter Hallward, “it may be that a ‘chimère’ arsenal of around 250 handguns never posed a very worrying threat.”[14]

The dramatic increase of weapons entering Haiti by way of Florida immediately after the 2004 coup suggests that the powers in place aren’t willing to take any chances.

Class solidarity: By caricaturing the base of support for the toppled Lavalas government as a violent underclass of “chimères” (monsters), mainstream media inside and outside of Haiti helped the coup forces to gather much sympathy. The attack on Lavalas was systematic, but the casualties of the coup went far beyond a single political party. Today, there remains not a single political party in Haiti which is independent of the foreign forces. Préval himself declares that he does not belong to a political party.[15] The Lespwa platform under which he was elected is already in shambles. Hallward provides an in-depth analysis of 20 years of efforts deployed by the US and its allies to destroy Haiti’s emerging popular democracy. The devastating impact of the assassinations in the 1990s of key figures of the progressive bourgeoisie linked to Lavalas, such as the Izmery brothers, attorney Guy Malary, agronomist and journalist Jean Dominique, are key to understand the class struggle still unfolding in Haiti. The web of connections between the Port-au-Prince-based ambassadors, NGO directors, food importers and sweatshop owners, all of whom live in the same neighborhoods, send their kids to the same schools and have developed an acute sense of (Apartheid-like) community is an important element that remains to be thoroughly researched, documented and analyzed. Meanwhile, mainstream media continues to propagate the stereotypes which sustain this mentality of a “besieged class” that must be protected from “savage others.”[16]

In order to meet the class-based “responsibility to protect” they have assumed in post-Aristide Haiti, Canada, the US, the UN and the Préval Government are steadfastly enforcing undemocratic and illegal practices such as the maintenance in African exile of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the exclusion of his Fanmi Lavalas party from the Senatorial elections of April 19, 2009[17]. Clearly, rather than contribute to inter-Haitian reconciliation, social appeasement or political stability, such practices further exacerbate political tensions among a people that has heroically struggled for peace but have consistently been denied the benefit of genuine international brotherhood.

Racism: The lingering influence of white supremacist ideology in world affairs is seldom referred to in mainstream publications about Haiti. Yet, it is a key pillar of the Ottawa Initiative and the R2P doctrine on which it was predicated. Indeed, the racial features of the conflict brewing in Haiti are quite visible.

At the international level, the anti-coup and pro-Haitian sovereignty positions adopted by members of the US Congressional Black Caucus, the nations of the Caribbean and Africa, have consistently stood in sharp contrast to those in the US White House, Canada and Europe.

In Haiti, the black majority stands in opposition to a foreign-backed minority represented by the likes of white American sweatshop owner André Apaid, his brother-in-law and unsuccessful presidential candidate Charles Baker, American Rudolph Boulos, his brother Reginald Boulos, Hans Tippenhauer, (uncle and nephew of the same name), Jacques Bernard, etc.[18]

The similarities abound with the 1915 US occupation of Haiti which resulted in the imposition of a string of light-skinned, U.S.-subservient, dictators ruling Haiti: Sudre Dartiguenave, Louis Borno, Elie Lesco, Louis Eugene Roy and Stenio Vincent. As in 1915-1934, members of Haiti’s black majority resisting the humiliating occupation of their land today are deemed to be a horde of “bandits” who endanger “private property.” Back in the 20th century the private property being protected by Yankee troops was mostly American. Today, MINUSTAH’s ‘responsibility to protect’ also extends to important Canadian investments such as Gildan Active Wear’s sweatshops and Ste-Geneviève Resources’ gold exploration concessions.[19]

In a research paper titled Defining Canada’s role in Haiti, Canadian Armed Forces Major J.M. Saint-Yves writes that:

While the solutions may sound colonial in nature it is clear that the endemic corruption of Haitian society will prevent the establishment of a sound economic solution to Haiti’s problems under Haitian control. Rather, foreign investment under foreign control is required to establish a new Haitian economy based on industries that will directly benefit the rural Haitian population”.[20]

As we will see in further detail, the “foreign control” Saint-Yves is calling for is already in place. But, it appears that the results of such racist and imperialist take-over have thus far proven to be the kind of ugly orphan that no one wants to officially claim as their own.

Documenting Canada’s Role

From the early hours of the coup, Haitian-American activist and attorney Marguerite Laurent has been a powerful and relentless voice denouncing the overthrow of the Aristide government and in documenting its consequences for thousands of people worldwide.

“If justice, and not power, prevailed in international affairs,” writes Laurent, “the coup d’état corporatocracy in Haiti, that is, the governments (US/France/Canada), international banks and rich multinational corporations, and their Haitian minions who funded the overthrow of Haiti’s elected government, would be paying reparations to the people of Haiti who lost and continue to lose loved ones, property, and limbs.”[21]

Ten days after the coup, Stockwell Day, then-foreign affairs critic for the Conservative opposition, declared in Parliament that

we have an elected leader Aristide. We may not have wanted to vote for him… But the (Canadian) government makes a decision that there should be a regime change. It is a serious question that we need to address. That decision was based on what criteria?”[22]

At first, the Liberal government attempted to cast doubt on whether the infamous coup-plotting meeting of January 31, 2003 ever took place. Records of a March 19, 2003 Senate hearing titled “Meeting on Regime Change in Haiti” include Senator Consiglio Di Nino inquiring about a “secret initiative referred to as the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” that is being led by the Secretary of State for La Francophonie.” The Senator asked:

“Can the leader of the government in the Senate tell us if this meeting actually took place?” to which Liberal Senator Sharon Carstairs answered: “I cannot honestly say whether this meeting took place. I have no information whatsoever on such a meeting.”[23]

Since this exchange in the House of Commons, successive governments – Liberal and Conservative alike – have steadfastly pursued the agenda developed under “The Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”, the minutes of which have yet to be made available as requested by New Democratic Party MP Svend Robinson. Vancouver-based Journalist Anthony Fenton, who eventually obtained a severely edited set of documents concerning the meeting and its aftermath under Access to Information, wrote to the author as follows:

It remains a reasonable question to ask why these full, uncensored minutes haven’t been tabled in the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs. Since the coup, the same committee has heard Haiti-specific testimony on at least thirteen separate occasions. Between May and June of 2006, the Committee heard from over thirty ‘witnesses,’ in the course of conducting their ‘Study on Haiti.’ This resulted in the December 2006 tabling of the ‘Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, Canada’s International Policy Put to the Test in Haiti.’

Fenton notes that, of course, no reference to a coup or Ottawa Initiative is to be found in the Report or the Government’s response.

In “Canada in Haiti: Waging War on The Poor Majority,” written with colleague Yves Engler, Fenton documents various aspects of Canada’s involvement in the 2004 coup d’état.[24] Of particular note is the role CIDA played in both the destabilization campaign that prepared the way for the coup and the PR campaign which followed. In Damming the Flood, a book published by UK-based Canadian author Peter Hallward, Canada is deemed to have executed “its client functions in rare and exemplary fashion” in the eyes of the US, the ultimate leader of the multinational coup. “Canada’s foreign minister Pierre Pettigrew reportedly met with leading figures in the anti-Aristide opposition and insurgency shortly before the February coup and, as we have seen,” Hallward continues, “CIDA provided significant financial assistance to pro-coup pressure groups like the National Coalition for Haitian Rights-Haiti (NCHR-Haiti) and SOFA.”[25]

Upon analysis, the case of CIDA’s funding to NCHR-Haiti is particularly disturbing in that it provides direct evidence of collusion between the highest level of Canadian government and a pro-coup NGO of much disrepute in the eyes of Haitians and international observers alike. NCHR-Haiti is said to have caused great harm to the cause of peace and justice in Haiti. Chiefly among NCHR-Haiti’s damages, critics often point to the wrongful jailing of Haiti’s Prime Minister Yvon Neptune for over two years on trumped-up charges that were – through the CIDA/NCHR-Haiti connection – essentially financed by Canadian tax-payers. NCHR-Haiti has been so discredited on account of the Yvon Neptune wrongful imprisonment scandal that its US-based parent organization demanded that it change its name, which has since been modified to Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH).

In his well-researched article “Faking Genocide,” Kevin Skerrett writes that:

Within days of the coup, accusations of Prime Minister Neptune’s responsibility for a major massacre, a “genocide” of 50 people, were published by a human rights organization called the National Coalition for Haitian Rights-Haiti (NCHR-Haiti)…The particular episode of violence and political killings for which Neptune was being blamed took place in the city of St. Marc on February 11 2004, during the three-week “death squad rebellion” that began February 5 in Gonaives and was then spreading through the north of Haiti. The attacks launched through this “rebellion” culminated in the coup of February 29.[26]

Documents obtained in 2007 through Anthony Fenton’s Access to Information Request (CIDA A-2005-00039) reveal that, in the name of the victims of coup violence, NCHR-Haiti submitted a $100,000 project to CIDA on Friday March 5, 2004. By Monday March 8, Mr. Yves Petillon, Chief of Canadian Cooperation at the Embassy in Haiti, received a recommendation from his staff to approve the funding and on Thursday, March 11 (within less than 5 working days from the original submission), Mr. Pétillon signed and approved the 10 page grant request. As someone with over 17 years of experience in the federal grant funding world, the author can attest that this is an unusually rapid response time.

In their March 5 funding proposal, the applicants wrote:

“Just as NCHR aided and assisted victims of the Lavalas regime, the organization has the obligation to do the same for Lavalas supporters now coming under attack.”

Yet, the same document confirms NCHR’s deliberate decision to limit the dates covered by the victims’ fund to February 9 through 29, 2004. Thus, they purposely exclude the victims of anti-Lavalas violence which peaked as the death squad “rebellion” hit Gonaives in the first days of February and in the days following Aristide’s removal on February 29, 2004. In addition, NCHR openly refused to enter the Bel Air neighborhood to investigate widespread reports of killings of unarmed Lavalas supporters by foreign occupiers in early March 2004.[27]

Two days after the coup, in an interview given to journalists Kevin Pina and Andrea Nicastro, Prime Minister Yvon Neptune declared:

“The resignation of the President is not constitutional because he did that under duress and threat. The chief of the Supreme Court was brought here into my office by representatives of the international community. I was not invited or present when he was sworn in”.[28]

In sharp contrast to the CIDA-funded reports produced by NCHR-Haiti, the above statement goes a long way to explain the true motivations behind the illegal incarceration and torment suffered by Haiti’s constitutional Prime Minister during the post-coup period when “Haitian” justice and prison systems effectively fell under Canadian control. While Mr. Neptune was being punished in jail for his refusal to condone the coup, Paul Martin went to Haiti in November 2004. This was the first ever official visit of a Canadian Prime Minister to Haiti. During his visit, Martin, who dubs himself a proud champion of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, was quoted by Agence France Press as saying that “there are no political prisoners in Haiti.”[29]

Haiti’s Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune, was eventually freed under René Préval’s presidency. His release occurred after all risk was effectively cleared that dozens of illegally incarcerated top leaders of Fanmi Lavalas would register and win the foreign controlled elections of 2006.

Months after his return to Canada, Prime Minister Martin was publicly denounced by activist Yves Engler with the infamous heckle “Martin lies, Haitians die” for his shameful behavior in Haiti. During another episode of colourful protest, Engler decorated then Foreign Affairs Minister Pierre Pettigrew’s hands in the red of Haitian blood. For his efforts, Engler ended up spending several days in jail.[30]

What is becoming clearer is the hugely embarrassing contradiction between the multi-million dollar contributions which the Canadian government boasts having made to help fix the Haitian police and justice systems and the fact that said systems are deemed by several independent studies to be in much worse shape several years after the coup. The suggestion that this “failure” is solely that of Haitians also falls flat in the face of scrutiny. Consider the bold statements made by Chief Superintendent David Beer, Director General of International Policing at the RCMP at the April 3, 2008 meeting of The Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development:

“Mr. Chair, I think the committee might be interested to know that although our numbers are down to a certain degree in the total number of almost 1,900 serving police officers, in the mission Canada continues to have very key roles. Indeed, Canada holds the position of deputy commissioner of operations, senior mentor and advisor, and senior mentoring unit for the police for the city of Port-au-Prince. We are in charge of the Bureau de la lutte contre le trafic des stupéfiants, the counter-narcotics unit. We’re also in charge of the anti-kidnapping unit. We also contribute to border management, the academy, and la formation de la police nationale. Also, we’re involved in a financial integrity and assets management project within the Haitian National Police. Finally, Mr. Chair, the vetting and registration of the HNP is also a responsibility of a Canadian police officer”. [31]

The conspicuous exchange of funds between CIDA and NCHR-Haiti which financed Mr. Neptune’s ordeal may never make the front pages of Maclean’s Magazine or the Globe and Mail. Generally speaking, Canadians meet with great surprise and disbelief the recurring corruption scandals involving their political elite. One of the cases currently in front of the courts involves former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney who is accused of having accepted bribes in cash, while in office, from German arms dealer Karlheinz Shreiber. Many are shocked by the case. However, that the Mulroney-Shreiber deal in question allegedly involved the purchase of weapons destined to “peacekeeping” has attracted no special attention. If anything, it seems, Brian Mulroney stands to benefit from the “peacekeeping” connection that he volunteered about his dealings with the infamous arms dealer.

Peace Be Unto Them . . . With Tanks and Bullets

In fact, bloody foreign interventions dubbed ‘peacekeeping’ enjoy such a positive aura in Canada that para-governmental bodies such as FOCAL are openly calling for Canada to engage ever deeper in the imperialist adventure that is The Ottawa Initiative.

Source: www.focal.ca

It is this aura which inspires military figures such as Major Michael D. Ward to write that

“strong commitment to the sovereignty [and] independence … of Haiti is a crucial barrier to the international engagement required to rebuild and reform the Haitian state.”[32]

Such crude and condescending statements explain why the North-South Institute cautioned, as early as October 2005, that

“The Canadian government’s justification for the 2004 intervention in Haiti, without open debate from an R2P perspective, has damaged the R2P campaign, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean.”[33]

The CIDA-funded think tank proceeds to lament how ‘peace-building’ in Haiti has been compromised by de facto collaboration with paramilitary leaders responsible for past human rights violations.

In the very document produced by the R2P Commission, it was boldly highlighted how governments engaged in such interventions must prove themselves to be very agile at spinning and controlling information.

“The key to mobilizing international support,” it states, “is to mobilize domestic support, or at least neutralize domestic opposition.”

Further, it highlights the crucial role that government-funded entities (wrongly referred to as ‘non-governmental agencies’ – NGOs) have to play in this regard:

“NGOs have a crucial and ever increasing role, in turn, in contributing information, arguments and energy to influencing the decision-making process, addressing themselves both directly to policy makers and indirectly to those who, in turn, influence them.”[34]

It thus falls to heavily-funded NGOs to ensure that racism is seen as humanism and imperialism as peacekeeping – no matter the native body count. It is hardly surprising, then, that in the eyes of people of African-descent worldwide, Canada’s “good” image has suffered a considerable blow as a result of the 2004 coup and its aftermath.

Commenting on the food riots that rocked Haiti in April 2008, veteran journalist John Maxwell, wrote in the Jamaica Observer:

“Today, and especially for the last few weeks, the starving people in Haiti have been trying to get the world to listen to their anguish and misery…Mr Bush and Mr Colin Powell and a mixed gaggle of French and Canadian politicians had decided that freedom and independence were too good for the black people of Haiti. Lest you think I am being racist, there is abundant evidence that the conspiracy against Haiti was inspired by racial hatred and prejudice…I have gone into this before and I will not return to it today . . . Suffice it to say that the US, Canada and France, acting on behalf of the so-called ‘civilised world’, decided on the basis of lies that, as in the case of Iraq, a free and independent people had no business being free and independent when their freedom and independence was seen to threaten the economic interest of the richest people in Haiti and, by extension, the wealthiest countries in the world”.[35]

Conclusion

According to Walter Dorn, there exist two groups of advocates of the Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

“The idealist or internationalist school often clashes with the realpolitik school, whose members are usually called realists (although not necessarily realistic),” says the military professor. “Canadian realists hold that Canada’s contributions do not arise from the purity of our souls or national benevolence, but because of basic national interest.” Dorn tells us that, for the realists, “Canada’s large contributions to the UN’s successive missions in Haiti are also explained in part by a desire to assist the US in the continental backyard.

Speaking about his own ‘civilized world’s responsibility to protect ‘others’ in early 2003, then-Minister for la Francophonie Denis Paradis was quoted by journalist Michel Vastel as follows:

I do not want to end up like Roméo Dallaire…” “Time is running out because, it is estimated that Haiti’s population could reach 20 million in 2009,” observed Vastel, before proceeding to quote Minister Paradis describing Haiti’s 99 percent African population as “a time bomb which must be stopped immediately! ”[36]

It is frightening for a historically-conscious person, especially one of African descent, to observe how the logic of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘White man’s burden’ emanates so easily from the minds of high-ranking Canadian officials and intellectuals, and then is translated into foreign policy that is implemented with brute force. As Sherene Razack writes in Black Threats, White Knights,

Peacekeeping today is a kind of war, a race war waged by those who constitute themselves as civilized, modern and democratic against those who are constituted as savage, tribal and immoral.”[37]

Luigi Einaudi

A report issued by the International Commission argues that

“there is much direct reciprocal benefit to be gained in an interdependent, globalized world where nobody can solve all their own problems: my country’s assistance for you today in solving your neighbourhood refugee and terrorism problem, might reasonably lead you to be more willing to help solve my environmental or drugs problem tomorrow.”[38]

One is indeed well advised to ask the crucial question: What are they talking about as far as R2P is concerned? This so-called responsibility is to protect who from what? Are soldiers being mobilized to protect vulnerable populations from massive human rights horrors or to protect the interests of world elites from threats such as Haiti’s perceived black “time bomb”, or Europe from the advances of the wretched of the earth arriving by way of Morroco and Spain?

While seeking the answer to that pivotal question, I am mindful of the shocking statement made by the Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, in front of myself as well as several other witnesses at Haiti’s Hotel Montana, on December 31, 2003:

“The real problem with Haiti” said Luigi Enaudi, “is that the ‘International Community’ is so screwed up & divided that they are actually letting Haitians run Haiti.

Less than two months after Einaudi uttered these words, US Marines entered the residence of Haiti’s president, while Canadian RCMP soldiers secured the airport to facilitate the coup and occupation of Haiti. Since that fateful night, Haitians are no longer running Haiti and the bloodbath the foreign invaders claim to have intervened to avoid has reached unprecedented proportions, with full involvement of the UN forces engaged in what can only be defined as class and race warfare. Meanwhile, the world still awaits a serious report on the circumstances surrounding the death of U.N. Commander Urano Teixeira Da Matta Bacellar, at Hotel Montana, on January 7, 2006.

Bill Graham & Colin Powell

“there is a limit to how much we can constantly say no to the political masters in Washington. All we had was Afghanistan to wave. On every other file we were offside. Eventually we came onside on Haiti, so we got another arrow in our quiver.”

Bill Graham, Former Canadian Foreign Minister in January 2007 interview cited in Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang, The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar (Toronto, ON: Viking Canada, 2007), pp. 126-27

What Should Canadian Policy Towards Haiti be? – beyond figurehead politics… making a real paradigm shift!

Contrary to the IMF style of “aid”, the Cuba-Venezuela model is, in essence, what activists for peace with justice have been advocating for several years. Unfortunately, successive Canadian governments have chosen to ignore this message and, instead, have multiplied workshops, conferences, meetings (usually, with little or no Haitian participation) to coordinate even more “aid” to Haiti. This is done in blatant disregard of the evidence that Haiti has, for far too long, been “aided to death” by its self-appointed foreign friends.

The appalling poverty found in Haiti is no recent phenomenon due to “bad governance,” as is often posited by apologists for the violent conquest of this continent. The endemic vulnerability of the African and First Nations populations of the Americas stems from 500 years of inhumane colonial and neo-colonial policies. A strategy consisting in piling up money and weapons, while patching up a brick school, a dispensary and a few prisons in return for shameless waving of countless Canadian flags, is no solution at all.

Commenting the current world hunger crisis, Jeffrey Sachs suggested that the long-term solution involves putting brakes on the U.S. ethanol industry, creating a $5-billon fund for agriculture, and financing better research and development for crop technologies in the developing world.[39] Laudable goals, indeed! However, judging from the Haitian experience, governments of enriched societies who built their wealth on racial slavery, theft of indigenous land and shameful trickery of the world financial system, can hardly be counted upon to make such a radical 180 degree conversion. It will necessitate a mass mobilization of peoples worldwide to force these urgently needed changes. Reversing the situation requires us all to force the enriched states to adopt new policies and approaches, rather than rehashing the same old racist practices, masked or not, with clever and cynical humanitarian rhetoric. Their challenge is to first stop doing harm, and then repair the damage already done. Our challenge is to consistently practice genuine people-to-people solidarity.

NOTES

[1] “World Sees Canada as Tolerant, Generous Nation,” Angus Reid Global Monitor : Polls & Research (November 12, 2006).

[2] Walter Dorn, “Canadian Peacekeeping: Proud Tradition, Strong Future?” Canadian Foreign Policy, Vol. 12, No. 2, (Fall 2005)

[3] Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) website [www.acdi-cida.gc.ca/CIDAWEB/acdicida.nsf/EN/JUD-12912349-NLX]

[4] Michael Petrou, “Haiti: Are we helping?,” Mclean’s (April 7, 2008)

[5] See Marguerite Laurent, “It’s Neither Hope nor Progress when the International Community is Running Haiti,” Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, [www.margueritelaurent.com] and Aaron Lakoff, “The Politics of Brutality in Haiti: Canada, the UN and “collateral damage,” Dominion Paper (January 21, 2006).

[6] Anthony Fenton and Dru Oja Jay, “Declassifying Canada in Haiti” Global Research [www.globalresearch.ca]; and Canada Haiti Action Network website [www.canadahaitiaction.ca]

[7]Report No. 30882-HT, “Program Document of TheInternational Development Association to the Executive Directors for an Economic Governance Reform Operation”, World Bank, (December 10, 2004)

[8] DeWayne Wickham, “Payoffs to Haiti’s renegade soldiers won’t buy peace,” USA Today (January 3, 2005)

[9] Jean Saint-Vil, “Please Fix Canada’s Policy Towards Haiti,” Letter to Minister Peter McKay, (May 29, 2008) [www. archivex-ht.com]

[10] Jean Saint-Vil. “New Canadian Premier Gets Sound Advice on Haiti,” Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, (February 6, 2006) [www. windowsonhaiti.com]

[11] Five LDCs — Haiti, Cape Verde, Samoa, Gambia and Somalia — have lost more than half their university-educated professionals in recent years because these professionals have moved to industrialized countries in search of better working and living conditions. UNCTAD, “Least Developed Countries Report 2007: Knowledge, Technological Learning and Innovation for Development” [www.unctad.org] (July 19, 2007)

[12] President René Préval’s Inaugural Speech, Haiti, (May 14, 2006) [www.margueritelaurent.com]

[13] The New York Times appears to have been better connected to the real powers running the show in Haiti. Because of its precipitous attribution of the price reduction measure to Mr. Préval, the Times issued a correction note dated April 10, 2008, in which one reads “A picture caption last Thursday about rioting in Haiti over high food prices misstated President Rene Préval’s position on the issue. He urged Haitians to become agriculturally self-sufficient; he did not say he would urge Haiti’s congress to cut taxes on imported food.” See “Haiti’s President Tries to Halt Crisis Over Food,” New York Times (April 10, 2008).

[14] Cited in Robert Muggah, “Securing Haiti’s Transition,” Small Arms Survey Occasional Paper no. 14 (October 2005)

[15] In interview with Haitian President René Préval, March 2006, Ottawa.

[16] “An Inside Look at Haiti’s Business Elite, An Interview with Patrick James,” Multinational Monitor (January/February 1995)

[17] HAITI: Fanmi Lavalas Banned, Voter Apprehension Widespread, By Jeb Sprague, IPS (april 17, 2009)

[18] Jean Saint-Vil, “Haiti’s ‘Ambassador’ to Canada” Znet (June 9, 2005) [www.zmag.com]

[19] Reed Lindsay, “Haiti’s future glitters with gold,” Toronto Star (July 21, 2007)

[20] Maj. J.M. Saint-Yves, “Defining Canada’s Role in Haiti”, (Toronto: Canadian Forces College Master of Defence Studies Research Project, 2006), [http://wps.cfc.forces.gc.ca]

[21] Marguerite Laurent, “Debt Breeds Dependency Equals Foreign & Corporate Domination” [www.margueritelaurent.com], (January 4, 2005)

[22] Hansard,House of Commons, 37th Parliament, 3rd Session (March 10, 2004)

[23] Hansard, Debates of the Senate, 2nd Session, 37th Parliament,
 (March 19, 2003)

[24] “Using NGOs to Destroy Democracy and the Canadian Military Connection,” excerpt from: Canada in Haiti Waging War on the Poor Majority by Yves Engler and Anthony Fenton. Fernwood Publishing, 2005

[25] Peter Hallward, “Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment”, Verso Books, 2007

[26] Kevin Skerrett, “Faking Genocide: Canada’s Role in the Persecution of Yvon Neptune,” Znet (June 23, 2005) [www.zmag.org]

[27] Tom Reeves, “Haiti’s Disappeared,” Znet [www.Zmag.org] (May 5, 2004)

[28] Kevin Pina and Andrea Nicastro, “Interview with Prime Minister Yvon Neptune,” Haiti Action (March 2, 2004) [www.haitiaction.net]

[29] “Canada in Haiti for long run, says PM,” Caribbean Net News (November 19, 2004)

[30] Marcella Adey and Jean Saint-Vil, “Human Rights worker arrested for heckling Prime Minister Paul Martin” globalresearch.ca (December 4, 2005)

[31] Hansard, 39th Parliament, 2nd Session, Number 021 “Evidence” Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, (April 3, 2008)

[32] Major Michael T. Ward, “The Case for International Trusteeship in Haiti” Canadian Forces Journal, vol. 7, no. 3 (Autumn 2006)

[33] Stephen Baranyi, “What kind of peace is possible in the post-9/11 era?” North-South Institute , (October 2005)

[34] ICISS (IBID)

[35] John Maxwell, “Is Starvation Contagious?” Jamaica Observer (April 13, 2008)

[36] Michel Vastel, “Haiti mise en tutelle par l’ONU?” L’Actualité, (March 15, 2003)

[37] Sherene H. Razack, “Black Threats & White Knights: The Somalia Affair, Peacekeeing, and the New Imperialism”, University of Toronto Press, (2004)

[38] ICISS, “Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty” (page 71), [www.iciss.ca] (December 2001)

[39] Sinclair Stewart, “Facing a food crisis, optimist finds hope in the dismal science,” The Globe and Mail (Wednesday April 30, 2008)

Posted in Canada, HaitiComments Off on The “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti”: Humanist Peacekeeping or…?

Ex-Haitian Coup Leader Guy Philippe Arrested

NOVANEWS

Guy Philippe participates in a march into the city of Gonaives, Haiti, Feb. 19, 2004.

  • Guy Philippe participates in a march into the city of Gonaives, Haiti, Feb. 19, 2004. | Photo: Reuters.

Philippe, a paramilitary who helped lead the 2004 U.S-backed coup to oust Aristide, was arrested days before taking his elected senate seat.

Former Haitian coup leader Guy Philippe wanted by the U.S. on drug trafficking charges was arrested Thursday night after appearing on a live talk show near the capital of Port au Prince.

RELATED:  Haiti: Moise Officially Declared President

The ex-paramilitary leader turned senator-elect was arrested outside a radio studio where he was giving an interview in which the host of the program interrupted to announce the police had arrived outside the Scoop FM studio to arrest Philippe. Haitian police fired shots into the air to break up the crowd and Philippe was then taken into custody, according to the Associated Press.

After being arrested, Philippe was then transferred into the custody of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration where it is hoped that he will be soon extradited to the U.S. for trial to face drug trafficking charges, the Miami Herald reported.

Philippe, 48, led the 2004 Haitian coup which overthrew the country’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The coup was backed by then-U.S. President George W. Bush.

Philippe was elected in November to the Senate despite being wanted by the DEA for more than a decade on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and money laundering.

Had Philippe been sworn into office he would have enjoyed immunity from arrest or prosecution during his senate term.

The DEA and Office of the U.S. Attorney office are yet to make any comments on the arrest.

ANALYSIS: Haiti: The Price of Liberation  

Haiti issued an arrest warrant for Philippe over his suspected involvement in a 2015 attack on police headquarters in Haiti’s south where at least six people were killed. Philippe’s lawyers say the arrest warrant does not apply because he was a candidate in last year’s election.

Philippe has been accused by human rights groups of overseeing extrajudicial killings in Haiti, and has constantly been able to evade arrest and spend time in exile in the Dominican Republic. He had previously threatened to start a war in Haiti between paramilitaries and the country’s government.

Posted in HaitiComments Off on Ex-Haitian Coup Leader Guy Philippe Arrested

Haitians Seek Help in Chile, Find Tough Immigration Reformists

NOVANEWS
  • Haitians protest the Dominican government
    Haitians protest the Dominican government’s immigration law reform earlier this year. | Photo: Reuters.
Many around the continent are attracted to Chile’s strong economy, but this is also causing housing issues in the Andean country.

Haitians trying to rebuild their lives after recent earthquakes by heading to Chile are being met with calls for tougher controls on migration.

Thousands of Haitians left their country after a 2010 earthquake, and headed mostly for Brazil and Argentina. But since political and economic turmoil have overtaken those countries as right-wing governments have pushed into power, Haitians are now leaving in throngs for Chile, where the minimum wage surpasses Brazil’s by about $100.

RELATED: Venezuela to Internationalize Social Housing Programs

“I can no longer pay for rent, water and electric bills and send some money back to my family in Haiti. Things are not as they were when I first arrived here,”  Haitian Jean Antonie Camille, 42, told Lha De S. Paulo local news about her reasons for leaving Brazil and going to Chile.

In October, Hurricane Matthew destroyed the country yet again, costing the poor nation about $2 billion in damages, roughly a fifth of its GDP, reported Americas Quarterly. According to Chilean National Police figures, almost 4,000 Haitians have been entering Chile monthly over the last year from various places in the continent.

But Conservative and reactionary voices in Chile are meeting this movement with calls for strict controls on the movement of thousands of Haitians.

“Chile must be open to receiving immigrants who contribute to development, but it must completely seal its borders to drug trafficking, crime, smuggling, organized crime and also to illegal immigration,” former President Sebastian Piñera, who’s seeking re-election next year, said, according to the Non-Aligned Movement News Network.

Chile saw a resurgence in the flow of immigrants after Augusto Pinochet’s fascist military dictatorship ended in 1990, and since 2010, has experienced a boom. In 2015, nearly 360,000 South American immigrants moved to Chile, according to the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington, D.C., think tank. And according to the latest reports, a total of 465,300 foreign-born people (out of a total population of 18 million) currently reside there.

RELATED: Over 10,000 Stranded Haitians Could Seek Asylum in Mexico

More than 41,000 are Haitians, with nearly half arriving only in the first half of this year, according to a report by the Investigative Police published earlier and cited by Haiti Libre. Most enter on a 90-day tourist visa, and most of those – nearly 89 percent – remain illegally, according to Haiti Libre, who cited the report. The country’s relative economic stability, job opportunities and already-established, though small, Haitian community is what most attracts them, according to NGO Solidarity America.

Even so, according to various reports this has also caused a housing crisis in Chile, with many Haitians and other migrants having to seek shelter in tents, slums or simply the street.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet’s government has agreed that new legislation is needed, suggesting current laws, which date back to Pinochet’s 1973-1990 dictatorship, are outdated and do “not reflect the complexities of coexistence.”

Posted in HaitiComments Off on Haitians Seek Help in Chile, Find Tough Immigration Reformists

Haiti Mafia families: A failed private sector

The amalgamation of a failed private sector with kidnapping, drug trafficking, and bad government constitutes the most important reason that explains Haiti’s failure in its quest to build a nation-state. Unfortunately, the United States government, symbol of nation building, is often on the wrong side of history in Haiti.

I read on the NBC website about how the private sector in the United States had created 216.000 jobs for the month of November, 2016, the expectation was 165.000. For the last 8 years during the Obama administration 15.6 million jobs have been created by the US private sector. That’s so revealing!

I am not comparing the US economy to Haiti’s considering this country’s long business tradition, and the vast amount of wealth created for the past two centuries. However, I want to stress the responsibility of the private sector in America versus the one operating in Haiti. Sometimes, people straightforwardly ask if there is a private sector in Haiti because there is no evidence that suggests otherwise.

The private sector is “the part of the economy that is not under the government’s control.” It is protected by a bunch of laws that guarantees its growing existence to maturity with only one goal: making profits. In Haiti, there is a concoction of roles. It seems that the private sector, the public sector, and the charities are working together in an evil way to crush the people.
I remember right after the earthquake that destroyed Port-Au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, in January 12th, 2010, I witnessed the rich people intertwining with the poor for a long period of time to benefit from the humanitarian aid. In some other countries, one would see something different. The rich would provide aid to the vulnerable souls. The most disgusting part remains: after a euphoric poor people-rich people interaction, the economic class, at first, monopolized the free international aid distribution. Later, it sold at an expensive price to the poor the same goods that the latter individuals were morally and legally entitled to.

In addition to profit-making, the private sector is morally obligated to create jobs. Without purchasing power, the potential customers won’t be able to consume and pay their bills. Hence, the consequences will be automatically disastrous even for those who own the means of production. Why? Because there is no consummation! — Production will be hurt. No profit. This unbalanced equation is contrary to capitalism whose reality, among others, consists of employers making profits at the expense of employees’ labor. One may thusly summarize this reciprocal relationship:  no jobs, no profits!

I believe that the Haitian private sector doesn’t get it. Right after the Duvalier dynasty’s departure in February 1986, international financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank, IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) …tried to impose their view on how to run Haitian finances. In fact, they expected to develop capitalism in Haiti to definitely put an end to feudalism. The only problem is, and continues to be, that the Haitian economic class has never been ready for such an adventure. Under pressure from the aforementioned institutions, the local government sold the cement and flour companies to the private sector. Just one year after the deal, both businesses closed their doors. Then, there followed a shortage of cement and flour. Subsequently, many hundreds of people lost their jobs. Unemployment was rampant. Social unrest created a chronic instability. Worse yet, there is no unemployment benefit in Haiti which could have alleviated the jobless individuals’ burden.

Haiti is a poor country, among others, with 41% unemployment rate, 48% illiteracy rate, and 60% of people living below the poverty line. At the same time, a handful of 5 families controls the entire wealth. I remember talking to an American professor about how many billionaires we have in Haiti. At the beginning, he started to laugh at me. The paradox is that we have several Haitian billionaires. The US government has seemingly tried, on many occasions, to stimulate the private sector in Haiti through many programs such as the Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act of 2006 (HOPE); the Food Conservation and Energy Act (HOPE II) in 2008; and, in 2010, the Haiti Economic Lift Program (HELP). All of these initiatives have been put in place to stimulate foreign investment in Haiti, and to rally the private sector to redeem itself by profiting from those programs of those open doors via “Eligibility for duty-free treatment under the Caribbean Basin trade partnership Act (CBTPA)”. The main goal was to create jobs; the Haitian private sector didn’t seize the opportunity.

The Haitian Diaspora which is sending more than 2 billion dollars to Haiti each year is not welcome to participate actively in the economic and political process. Those 5 families in command of the economy are hostile to the Diaspora who is trying to invest in Haiti. Yet, “Haitian-Americans are among the most successful immigrant groups in the United States”. Last year, Haiti’s GNP showed a deficit of 2.5 billion dollars because we exported for 1.029 billion dollars, while we imported for 3.445 billion dollars.

Haitian businessmen operate as a mafia organization. They burn businesses, kidnap family members and shoot people like dogs in the streets if you are not one of them…They monopolize all vital aspects of the economy: from tourism, textile, production, government and private institutions. At the same time, they are not taking any serious measures to develop the economy to create jobs for the people. They are fiercely against all sorts of competition. They favor monopoly. Customers are totally screwed up.

Now, let’s talk about the dilemma private sector vs. the public sector.  Everywhere in the world, nations are developing a public/private partnership to better serve the people and themselves. In Haiti, businessmen own the public sector. The rich maintain their grip on governmental institutions. All of them! There is no balance of power, meaning no accountability for any mischief caused by economically powerful individuals. That’s why they have always supported, financed and corrupted presidential candidates in each election.

The last known took place on November 20th, 2016. The big business supported the “statu quo” represented by Jovenel Moïse. He is a businessman who is being investigated for money laundering, racketeering, and drug connection by the country’s highest financial court (Cour Supérieure des Comptes known by its acronym CSC). He was handpicked by Michel Martelly himself, the former Haitian president.

Let me tell a true story that happened last year in Haiti. There is a powerful guy named Jacques Kétant. He was arrested in 2003 because his bodyguard went inside of a school attended by US embassy personnel’s children to murder in broad daylight a government official. Jacqueline Charles, from Miami Herald, delivered her opinion about Mr. Ketant as follow: “Considered the Pablo Escobar of Haiti, Ketant lived a lavish lifestyle in Haiti, where he was an untouchable kingpin until Aristide gave in to U.S. pressure in 2003 and expelled him. He was soon sentenced to 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to smuggling 30 tons of cocaine from Haiti to the United States.

On August 18th, 2015, the US judicial system decided to deport him back to Haiti after serving half of his sentence because the court found him to be cooperative. Many drug dealers have been arrested and sentenced to long prison terms. Upon his return to Haiti, Mr. Kétant was greeted and picked up at the airport by Roro Nelson and Gracia Delva. Mr. Nelson is among former president Michel Martelly’s closest friends for years; some people believe that he was there to welcome Mr. Kétant under Mr. Martelly’s express demand. Similarly, Mr. Gracia Delva, a member of parliament, is a deportee from the United States. Delva is about to be a senator very soon. Among other Martelly allies known for their criminal activities are:  Guy Philippe (pursued by DEA as a fugitive for drug trafficking); Youri Latortue, also senator, has been involved in drug activities, according to Wikileaks; Joseph Lambert, freshly reelected to senate, also has a drug connection; Willot Joseph, newly elected senator, has been implicated in drug trafficking. The Haitian senate is going to be filled up with a bunch of “drug dealers”.

Additionally, it is noteworthy to highlight the case of Clifford Brandt, a well-known businessman. He is also the son of one of the richest families in Haiti. Arrested for kidnapping in 2012, he was sentenced this year to spend 18 years in prison, after a long trial that lasted 4 years. He was identified as the closest friend of Olivier Martelly, former president Joseph Martelly’s son.

Former US ambassador to Haiti, Mr. Brian Dean Curran, in his farewell speech before leaving the country, addressed the chamber of commerce in Haiti by saying: “Yes, well-known drug traffickers. They buy from your stores; you sell houses to them or build new ones. You take their deposits to your banks. You educate their children, and you elect them to positions in chambers of commerce.”
In front of many businessmen of the country, Mr. Dean Curran denounced how they have no respect for themselves by using “dirty money” to make profits. Here is a short prospect about the Haitian bourgeoisie: all deviant actions are welcome to make money including placing corrupted leaders to power.

When Jean B. Aristide got elected to power in 1991, his program was essentially to fight inequality in Haiti. His government published a list of hundreds of businessmen who owed a lot of money to the state. Instead of starting to pay or make payment arrangements, they instead financed a multi-million-dollar military coup against the elected and legitimate president (of course with CIA/State Department’s help). The consequences were catastrophic: 5,000 deaths and 100,000 refugees. Therefore, the private sector in Haiti is against progress and is indirectly fighting social stability. The business sector spent 13 years fighting each attempt to normalize the social and political situation.

The last successful attempt, supported by the Clintons, was to parachute Joseph Martelly into power–a man who admitted that he had been a drug addict/dealer; he was denounced as a spy for “FRAPPH”, a defunct terrorist organization known for its misogyny, brutality, and political assassinations.  While in power, Martelly conceded a contract to Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother, to exploit Haitian gold estimated at 25 billion dollars. That is a typical case of the so-called “Pay to play” game. For five straight years, the former head of state looted public funds, “legalized drug trafficking”, promoted prostitution, domesticated public institutions at the highest level via bribes and huge kickbacks. Here we are enduring Martelly’s dire economic heritage: 3 billion dollars debt, 300 million dollars budget deficit.  Let it be reminded that when Martelly got to the power in 2011, he found 1.9 billion dollars in the public treasure. Furthermore, the country had zero debt. Do the math!

References:

CNBC, Jeff Cox: “US private sector created 216.000 jobs in November…” November 30th

Democratic Policy and Communications Center (DPCC)

www.Investopedia.com

International Trade Administration (ITA) – Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement Act 2006 HOPE I

Food conservation and energy Act of 2008, HOPE II

Haiti Lift Program Act 2010, HELP

Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act CBTPA

Center for Strategic and International Studies “The role of the Haitian Diaspora in building Haiti back better (June 24th, 2011)

Miami Herald “Cocaine Kingpin Jacques Ketant Back in Haiti”, Jacqueline Charles, August 18th, 2015

Haïti Express-News “ Haïti Mogul Drug Dealer, Jacques Ketant, Accueilli par Gracia Delva et Roro Nelson… » April 19th, 2015

Nouvelliste « Petro Caribe, Un Vaste Crime Économique », May 16th, 2016

Posted in HaitiComments Off on Haiti Mafia families: A failed private sector

Tie your shoe laces Haitians, the battle to free Haiti from US imperialism continues

Hougan Sydney

Outgoing President Michel Martelly’s handpicked successor, Jovenel Moïse, won disputed elections setting off protests. If Haitians had a real leader, like Moise Jean Charles, democratically elected, that leader would want to change the economic plundering and looting. This is why the oligarchs pulled out all the stops to put in another Martelly replica. It is going to be another five years of US colonization of Haiti.

After lots of insider objections, the criminals won the day. For now.

Essentially, the Bigio-Boulos-Brandt-Berlanger-Apaid-Clinton crew announced to the Haitian people that their votes were switched by the old 2015 UNOPS-Core Group crew and allocated as follows:

Jovenel Moise – 55.67 percent
Jude Celestin –  19.52 percent
Sen. Jean-Charles Moïse – 11.04 percent
Maryse Narcisse – 8.99 percent
Martelly’s replica, Jovenel Moise, the reason why there was a rigged election in 2015 and the candidate Haitians rejected then, is again being put into the Haiti presidency by the Barack Obama-Clinton international criminals in Haiti.

Indeed, the International Community (UNOPS/USAID/Clinton Foundation) simply switched the people’s real votes for prefabricated ones for Jovenel Moise.

The international mafia went into the tabulation center and had UNOPS and their technicians (a Spanish guy) push a few buttons, give them the results the humiliated Clinton-Kenneth Merten crew wanted and insisted on in Haiti. This was reported yesterday by Haiti attorney Elton Harold Desinor on Radyo Kiskeya.

It’s such an absolute fraud, perhaps I’ll write further details out for you later. For now, this electoral fraud only proves how desperate the imperialists are in Haiti, in the US, all over the globe. The plutocrats are losing traction and their media can’t fool the people any longer. But, before I give you the heads-up on what to expect from the new US-Euro House Kneegrow, Jovenel Moise, put in charge of Haiti, let me share a little story about our Haiti reality.

Recently a friend told me one of the Haiti mulattoes recommended she read Written in Blood to understand Haiti history. Now, you must understand this book provides the quintessential colonial narrative on Haiti and reads like a municipal police blotter of Haitians committing violence on Haitians. You know, like Gerald Latortue did after the removal of Aristide during the bicentennial coup d’etat from 2004 to 2006; like during the second term of Rene Preval when the UN massacred thousands of Haitians along with the newly trained Haiti police; like under the Clinton surrogate, Michel Martelly, and now as it will be under Jovenel Moise. That sort of “Haiti history” focuses on the “choices” the people of Haiti didn’t make.
It’s the white man’s “Haitian history”, filled with the “corrupt, violent, lawless and incompetent Haitians.”

When I was young and reading their colonial narratives, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t recognize the Haiti they were talking about; why I didn’t see the hard working, honest Haiti parents and relatives I knew. The ones who fought against US imperialism, generation after Haitian generations but still lived – stayed innocent, dignified, vibrant, heroic?

But now that I’ve lived through decades upon decades of US imperialism, its human subjugation, exploitation, economic colonialism, regime changes, rigged elections, massacres of unarmed Haitians, occupation and experienced how the US-Euros select the most amoral people from Haiti to put into office; people like the disgraceful former Tonton Makout, Michel Martelly, and now his replica, Jovenel Moise, I understand completely why they must have their lopsided narratives; their fake moral covers.

Unfortunately for them, so many Haitians can detail for the world that’s watching just how vicious that US swamp is and how, for their own sick kicks and bloodsucking pleasure, they install criminals as dictators in Haiti and once deported the one democratically elected Haiti president back to Africa. Corruption, genocide, subjugation, greed, it’s their nature. Fòk li ranni.

You may read the particulars on the CEP November 20th vote results, from the shamestream media’s Jacqueline Charles here.

For those who wish to pay attention to the real deal here, not the theater surrounding the US-Euro auctioning off of Haiti through this fake Jovenel Moise elections, here’s some of the lowdown:

1. Haiti’s Gilbert Bigio is the wealthiest of billionaires in the Caribbean. He owns the multi-billion dollar Haitian metal company, Acierie d’haiti and more recently, Port Lafito, the new Panamax Port for oil transshipment, fanning out all across Haiti. The Bigio Group works hand in hand with the Dominican Republic oligarchy, particularly the Vicini family sugar barons, to use the Ayiti landmass for the business of the globalist one percent;

2. Bigio is Israel’s agent in Haiti. He’s now got his own Tonton Makouts crew, flown in from South Africa and also made up of former Israeli military soldiers. This private military security contractors are known as HLSI and they are active in the resource wars in Angola/South Africa and are big Clinton Foundation donors. Before he left office, Michel Martelly gave HLSI/Bigio the border surveillance contract, land, air and sea.

3. The Mevs group of oligarchs in Haiti formerly controlled the largest Haiti private port (located, of course, in embattled Site Solèy which controls 21 per cent of the Haiti voting public.) This Mevs faction are livid about Bigio’s new power, port monopoly, influence as partner in Digicel and the Bigio border maneuvers. This group of oligarchs do not want Jovenel Moise in power to solidify the Clinton plunders and Bigio’s port Lafito power and influence. Nor do certain factions within the Dominican Republican oligarchy, who are losing billions upon billions now that they have to go through Bigio’s “border surveillance” crew and through Port au Prince to sell their foul sausages, eggs, fuel, sugar, et al, to Haiti.
The Dominican Republic is a US client-state, essentially the Israel of the Caribbean. Our sources indicate that a faction in the Pentagon doesn’t want to see a destabilization of the anemic DR economy if they can’t collect their normal $2 to $3 billion yearly in “trade” from poor, captive Haitians. They make their goods from exploiting Haiti slave-wage labor in the DR and sell it back to Haitians in Haiti! The oligarchs make money on both sides of the island off Haiti labor and the Diaspora remittances that pay for the goods the Haiti oligarchs buy from the DR to resell to Haitians in Haiti. If Haitians had a real leader, like Moise Jean Charles, democratically elected, that leader would want to change the economic plundering and looting. This is why the oligarchs pulled out all the stops to put in another Martelly replica.

4. In my new book, Nou Pap Obeyi, I outline how in 2004, while everyone was reading the shamestream media’s State Department missives and demonization bulletins of President Aristide and the Lavalas “chimeres,” the real fight was for control of the Haiti coastline in Site Soley, St Marc, Gonaives, Fort Liberte, to name a few. That oligarchy madness was between Bigio-Boulos-Brandt-Apaid who were paying Site Solèy’s mercenary, Labanye and others, to fight with Mevs soldiers led by Drèd Wilmè, who truly wanted to liberate Haiti, but was caught up in the geopolitical fight for the Site Solèy coastline filled with Haiti oil. You all know how that story went. The UN foreign soldiers massacred Drèd Wilmè and the Site Soley militants against the US occupation for the Gilbert Bigio crew, who now rule as overseers in Haiti, first through Martelly and now presumably through Jovenel Moise- if this electoral fraud sticks.

5. And behind all the Haiti overseers and repugnant white-Haitian oligarchy, there’s the Western overlords: the US military industrial complex, career foreign service folks, and USAID functionaries, which is a CIA front. Haitians uniformly call them: the “Laboratory”.

6. The Laboratory benefits from the Haiti chaos and I’d guess they are simply salivating right now at their ability to get the Haiti restaveks to put in Jovenel Moise under the thin veil of “elections.” The Laboratory doesn’t see the Haiti population as human beings, just pawns in their geopolitical game of dominance and resource warmongering. This fresh Haiti chaos of rigged 2016 elections, which will be resisted by the majority of peoples in Haiti, simply gives them a cover to keep everyone busy while no one is looking at the US soldiers in UN uniform and their US military bases not just floating in Haiti waters taking Haiti oil but the US military bases long established at Mole St. Nicolas and the newer one being eyed at Fort Liberte’s former Daulphin Plantation. The Northern Haiti gold belt “earthquake relief;” new “University;” Caracol “jobs;” and Paul Farmer’s newest “hospital” are all covers for their false philanthropic/NGO capitalist narrative.

7. President-elect Donald Trump has nominated General Flynn as his National Security advisor and as far as I can tell, the only thing the Laboratory wants to change in Haiti is the resource distribution. Certain oligarchs shut out by the Clinton Foundation monopoly in Haiti are hyperventilating over getting in opportunity for a redistribution of the loot taken by the Clinton-Obama crew. This means a re-distribution amongst the Duopoly colonists in the 1) Digicel cell phone and mobile banking monopoly; 2) a swapping of chairs between the oil, uranium, iridium plunderers for new ones, and 3) a bigger Republican share to be renegotiated on Haiti’s massive oil gold (already being funneled out as DR gold) no matter if open pit mining on the Northern faultlines kills another 310,000 Haitians.

8. The Laboratory also shall probably finally reveal their Northern military bases in Haiti and try to sell it to Haitians as a new source of, yep, that old Caracol trick again, “jobs for Haitians.”

9. The US-Canada-France occupiers in Haiti are at war with the Brazilians ever since Bill and Hillary landed to take their place as “spokespersons” for Haiti “democracy and responsibility to protect.” Lol. You have to laugh truly at these diabolical vampires. So, Bill Clinton was installed at the UN to also control media attention and get his Sean Penn/Wyclef Jean useful idiots out front so no one would see how Caracol Industrial Park was initially supposed to go the Brazilians not the South Koreans. Yep, by 2008 when Brazil found a lot of oil in its subsoil and had refused to kill innocent Haitians at the level of massacres the US and Bigio-Boulos-Brandt-Apaid group wanted them to, that’s when the angry US decided to deny Lula’s brother in-law his reward: Caracol Industrial Park and Haiti slave wage laborers. So they imported over 100,000 Haitians to Brazil and now those workers are kicked out of Brazil and miraculously finding no border guards as the Haitian immigrants virtually WALK unimpeded from Brazil to the US border! Yep, the Westerners are now openly at war with Brazil. Our Black bodies are simply cannon fodder in the white colonists geopolitical game. The US definitely wants Brazil out of Haiti because of its BRIC alliance, but more critically, the globalist/corporatocracy want to put their own greedy hands on that new oil found in Brazil.

10. In addition, to destroy the Haiti resistance to this US occupation behind UN mercenary guns, fake aid and fake elections, the US-Canada-France imperialists have plans to create a new 16,000 local Haiti army. In other words, the Western despots and terrorists expect to pacify 16,000 young Haiti men and some women by giving them the local jobs to bash in the heads of the resisting public wanting democracy. Such foreign-trained Haiti militarized forces shall continue to spray unarmed Haiti with rubber bullets, toxic chemicals, and whatever newer “riot” control US-Israeli weapons the colonists wish to try out for size.

11. There are rumors that some of the more conscientious ones in the Laboratory are pissed at having their hands tied, watching the fugitive Accra executive go free after his drug boat from Columbia was caught in Haiti and a warrant issued for his arrest. Some of these US authorities are very angry at not being able to do anything to grab DEA wanted fugitive Guy Philippe, and other alleged drug kingpins in the Martelly crew – such as his father in-law Charles “Bébé” St. Rémy, Youri Latorture, alleged former hit man for Michel Martelly and  now hiding in the Haiti Senate, Senator Herve Fourcand, many other K-Plume and PHTK unelected criminals pushed into the Haiti Parliament by the Kenneth Merten-Privert agreement of February 2016. Our sources indicate that even former presidential candidate, Jean-Henry Céant is said to be under investigation, like Jovenel Moise, for money laundering and other financial irregularities. So, expect indictments under Trump of PHTK bandits and hundreds of others not named herein but who are well-know lawless Duvalierist thugs, which Haiti lawyers like us have spent years trying to bring to justice, only to have the US-Laboratory and NGOs re-image them as “civil society” and then push for them to enter Parliament and get Parliamentary immunity.

12. The Paul Farmer poverty pimps and so-called Leftist progressives will continue to provide the imperialist with the “white savior,” “philanthropist cover,” while the human trafficking of Haiti children and organs at their various medical centers, along with more cholera vaccines, rake in the Haiti blood monies for big-pharma.

So, tie your shoe laces Haitians. It’s gonna be a heinous five years of US colonization of Haiti with more innocent Haitian bloodshed if this rigged election travesty is not annulled. As usual it is the poor Haiti warrior for liberty who will pay the price for liberty for all of Haiti.

At the Èzili Network, we commit to do our part, jiskobou, by transmitting the information to you ahead of time. Like the information you’ve just read, which the sell-out local Haiti and international media will never tell you.

Know folks, that the shamestream media news you’re getting from Miami Herald’s fraudster, Jacqueline Charles, or Reuters’ Guy Delva, no matter how neutral it seems, they are simply the PHTK-Hillary Clinton communication officers.

Posted in HaitiComments Off on Tie your shoe laces Haitians, the battle to free Haiti from US imperialism continues

The United Nations’ “Incomplete Apology” to Haiti

NOVANEWS
 
cholera haiti

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who will step down at the end of this month, made his most explicit apology yet for the UN’s role and responsibility in Haiti’s cholera epidemic, the world’s worst.

However, in his ballyhooed Dec. 1 address to the UN General Assembly, Ban stopped short of admitting that UN soldiers militarily occupying Haiti since 2004 introduced the deadly bacterial disease into the country in 2010.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologize to the Haitian people,” Ban said in the nugget of his long speech in French, English, and Kreyòl. “We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role.”

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, whose scathing report last August put Ban on the hot seat, rightly dubbed it a “half-apology.”

“He apologizes that the UN has not done more to eradicate cholera, but not for causing the disease in the first place,” Alston told the Guardian.

The epidemic began in October 2010 when cholera-laced sewage from Nepalese UN soldiers’ outhouses leaked into the headwaters of Haiti’s most important river, the Artibonite. Within a year, it had spread throughout the country. To date, cholera has killed about 10,000 Haitians and sickened one million.

Ban’s 11th hour “half-apology” comes after a relentless campaign of legal suits, popular protests, letter writing, condemnation by celebrities, and a withering torrent of critical press reports, books, and films.

The legal crusade began on Nov. 3, 2011 when lawyers with the Boston-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) filed a claim within the UN’s internal grievance system to obtain compensation for Haiti’s cholera victims, as well as a formal apology and the construction of modern water and sanitation systems. They were rebuffed in February 2013, a year and a half later, with a two page letter simply stating that the claims were “not receivable” because the UN enjoys legal immunity.

For the next three years, the IJDH, along with other legal teams, attempted to sue the UN in New York State courts, but in 2015 and 2016 decisions, both district and appeals courts upheld the UN’s legal immunity, as argued by U.S. government attorneys. (The UN never deigned to appear.)

But as lawyer Brian Concannon, Jr., the IJDH’s executive director, noted: “Every time they had a victory in court supporting their supposed legal immunity, it turned into a public relations disaster due to the negative press coverage and its amplification by social media.”

As Special Rapporteur Alston remarked, the UN was employing a “stonewalling” strategy and “double standard” which “undermines both the UN’s overall credibility and the integrity of the Office of the Secretary-General.”

It is true that the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) troops “did not do enough” to stop cholera’s spread from the central Artibonite Valley where it emerged. As a veteran cholera-fighting Cuban doctor told Haïti Liberté when the epidemic began in October 2010: “They are doing exactly the wrong thing” by admitting cholera patients into general hospitals and clinics and not sealing off the outbreak area.

Ban’s carefully worded apology, similar to his 2014 tour of Haiti with statements citing the UN’s “moral duty” to fight cholera, seek to repair the UN’s tattered credibility and Ban’s pock-marked legacy, while avoiding any true legal liability and obligations.

“We now recognize that we had a role in this but to go to the extent of taking full responsibility for all is a step that would not be possible for us to take,” said Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson.

To sweeten the deal, Ban promised (although he won’t be around) that the UN would try to raise “around $400 million over two years” to support efforts like a cholera vaccination campaign (which Haitian biologist/journalist Dady Chery condemns as “useless”) as well as “improvements in people’s access to care and treatment when sick, while also addressing the longer-term issues of water, sanitation, and health systems.” This latter step is the only way to stop the spread of cholera.

The UN’s previous anti-cholera fund drives have been singularly unsuccessful, raising only 18% of a $2.1 billion “Cholera Elimination” plan proposed for 2013-2022. As Concannon told a Dec. 2 conference call, “as hard as we fought to get those promises made, we’re going to have to fight even harder to get those promises fulfilled.”

“For six years, the UN has been saying it doesn’t have the money,” Concannon continued. “We’ve been saying that they’ve been spending between $800 million to $400 million a year for over 12 years for a ‘peacekeeping mission’ in a country which has not had a war in my lifetime… Since the cholera epidemic started, the MINUSTAH has spent over $4 billion, and we think that’s a powerful argument to make when the UN says it doesn’t have money for a cholera epidemic which they started, while they have plenty of money for a ‘grave threat against international peace’ which never existed.”

Indeed, it remains to be seen if the UN will use its new cholera-fighting promises to prolong the mandate of the highly unpopular MINUSTAH, which was originally proposed to deploy only six months in 2004. Its latest six-month extension expires in April 2016, before which the mission will undergo a “strategic assessment,” Ban said in August.

In conjunction with his Dec. 1 address, Ban released a Nov. 25 report to the General Assembly entitled “A new approach to cholera in Haiti.” In it, he referred to a 2013 UN-commissioned medical panel’s report which stated that “the exact source of introduction of cholera into Haiti will never be known with scientific certainty,” however, “the preponderance of the evidence and the weight of the circumstantial evidence does lead to the conclusion that personnel associated with the Mirebalais MINUSTAH facility were the most likely source.” This is the closest Ban ever came to an actual admission of guilt for an epidemic whose source “will never be known with scientific certainty.”

“We’re moving forward but we’re not finished,” said Jean-Charles August, a teacher from Petit-Goâve, who is one of the cholera victims represented by IJDH and its sister International Lawyers Bureau (BAI) in Haiti. “We want eradication and compensation.”

“This is more of a beginning than an end in terms of our fight,” Concannon told the conference call of lawyers, activists, and journalists. In the weeks and months ahead, the IJDH, along with the Haitian government and others, will be in negotiations with the UN for exactly how “eradication and compensation” should come about. The current Haitian UN ambassador, Jean Wesley Cazeau, applauded Ban’s “radical change of attitude” and looked forward to concrete results.

As a Dec. 5 New York Daily News editorial summed up the situation: “Up next, and urgently: a practical reckoning to undo the damage done.”

In short, only time will tell if Ban’s parting gesture reflects a genuine committment within the UN to compensate the Haitian people and eradicate cholera, or was simply a head-feint to continue the UN’s shameful record over the last 70 year, from Korea to Afghanistan to Haiti, of leaving death and destruction in countries it invades (at Washington’s behest) to supposedly help.

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Haiti message to Donald Trump team

Getty Images

If Trump can stop a third Obama term; if Trump pledges to Haitian-Americans that when he becomes President he will stop funding the rapist UN troops in Haiti, Haitians who are undecided would vote for him. Trump will get some more Haitian-American votes if he publicly calls to end the UN presence in Haiti and supports free and fair elections.

Free Haiti’s interest converges with that of Donald Trump. We both do not want a third Obama term with the Clintons back in the White House. We are the independent thinking Haitians who want to put a wrench in the workings of imperialism in Haiti. This year, that wrench is called Donald Trump.

The Clintons and Obama brought Haiti the former crackhead and gross sexist, Michel Martelly, who ceded over 30% of Haiti lands and offshore islands to foreigners. Under Barack Obama with Hillary Clinton at the State Department and Bill Clinton as UN Special Envoy to Haiti, 30,000 Haitians were deported back to an earthquake, cholera-ravaged Haiti, overrun by white people, riding out the world economic recession at Paul Farmer’s charitable industrial complex, living behind high gates and new luxurious compounds paid for from earthquake funds and other so-called “aid to Haiti.”

If the decrees of illegally elected president, Michel Martelly, starting from when the Clintons took over Haiti, and through his presidency from 2011 to 2016, are not reversed by the next Parliament, then Haitians have lost more lands under the Obama Administration than under any other previous US president in history. More than 30% of Haiti territory has been cordoned off and placed in the hands of foreigners, most of whom are big Clinton Foundation donors. This was done when Haitians were at their most vulnerable after the apocalyptic earthquake. The Clintons and their extraction company buddies, like Frank Guistra, VCS and Newmont Mining, might yet give Haiti another terrible earthquake. At least 15% of the lands taken from Haiti are in the Northern mining belt on an earthquake fault line.

If Trump can stop a third Obama term; if Trump pledges to Haitian-Americans that when he becomes President, he will stop funding the rapist UN troops in Haiti, Haitians who are undecided would vote for this. Trump will get some more Haitian-American votes if he publicly calls to end the UN presence in Haiti and supports free and fair elections without the sort of Obama/Hillary Clinton/Cheryl Mills/Susan Rice strong-arm bullying tactics that disrespected the Haitian vote in 2010/2011 and have continued to do so in 2015 to the present.

Trump should pledge his administration would veto and stop funding the UN presence in Haiti because they’ve been there for 12 years and have brought rape, the cholera disease and devastation, not democracy. He could use that wasted imperial US millions that is funding occupation and oppression in Haiti to help suffering Black people in US cities like Baltimore, Flint Michigan, Chicago, NY, Washington D.C., to name just a few.

If Donald Trump uses his platform to say there is no reason for the UN to be in Haiti; that Haiti has one of the least violence rates in the Western Hemisphere; that the Dominican Republic is more violent than Haiti; the Bahamas is more violent than Haiti; Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica have more homicides and violence than Haiti; if Donald Trump told these truths, and stopped the warmongering Clinton-Obama trajectory in Haiti, (in AFRICOM also), than he’ll be doing Haiti and the world of suffering and exploited humans, a good turn.

If Donald Trump pledges that when he is president, he will use US power to convince the UN to pay restitution to the Haiti cholera victims and to pay to detoxify Haiti’s water, not using the same people who fouled it up and then covered up their wrongdoings, but Haitian companies, chosen by Haitians not related to the UN, the Clinton Foundation or USAID’s regular subcontracting thieves, we would ask Haitians to vote for him.

If Donald Trump would help Free Haiti reverse the damage of Obama-Clinton and void all the Martelly decrees, especially the decree that allows for open-pit mining on an earthquake fault line in the North of Haiti, he would be helping to save Haiti lives and lands and we would ask Haitians to vote for him. Free Haiti has been battling to get these issues heard for over a decade. We want the world to know Haiti doesn’t need false charity. Haiti has massive riches, rare and priceless iridium (asteroid remains), more than $8 billion in copper, the most gold in the Western Hemisphere (more than $33 billion), massive, massive oil on its lands, waters and offshore islands.

If Donald Trump is the non-establishment politician who will hear us, work with Haitians, in an environmentally safe manner, using the resources of our lands to make the ten million people in Haiti live well and comfortable in Haiti, from the assets of their own nation, not fake charity, then we are here to talk to him and tell him how we think he can beat Hillary Clinton and her promiscuous, politicians-for-sale, Clintonite team.

If Haiti resources were used for Haitians, then no Haitians would leave Haiti to immigrate to the US to look for a better life and Donald Trump would need no wall. The same is true for the entire global South.

Haitians want a stop to the US meddling in Haiti elections and illegal taking of Haiti resources. Haitians want the US occupation forces, fronted by the UN, immediately removed. The US millions are best used in the United States to help US citizens in great need, not to exploit and oppress defenseless Haitians. Haitians, like all human beings, want free and fair elections, for their votes to count and for the US oligarchs, the EU and OAS to stop manipulating Haiti elections, forcing corruption in Haiti with internationally rigged elections as was done in 2010 and 2015.

Haitian cholera victims are entitled to reparations and compensation from the UN, which admits to bringing in cholera through their troops. But the indecent Obama Administration, the Clintons and their agents have worked, to both, cover up that wrongdoing, project the blame onto Haiti pre-existing conditions that required their better care, while the Obama’s justice department insisted, in court, that the UN has blanket immunity for a civil tort, like dumping its raw feces in Haiti’s drinking water.

Haitian-Americans would more likely vote for Trump if he insisted on the UN paying due compensation to the people it harmed in Haiti and paid for the installation of locally controlled water treatment and purification systems. Haiti also battles to revoke the Free Trade Zone quota swapping the major elites do and call it “giving jobs” to Haitians. Haiti wants a stop to the unfair and plundering trade agreements and land deals, the ending of fracking and a living minimum wage for Haitians from foreign corporations in Haiti. These are small matters to the Trump campaign in the larger scheme but central, we believe, to a Trump victory in the battleground state of Florida.

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Haiti’s Never-Ending Nightmare Grows Longer

NOVANEWS

By Edna Bonhomme

Destruction left by Hurricane Matthew in Jeremie, a small city in western Haiti, Oct. 6, 2016. (Photo: Logan Abassi / MINUSTAH via The New York Times)

Destruction left by Hurricane Matthew in Jeremie, a small city in western Haiti, October 6, 2016. (Photo: Logan Abassi / MINUSTAH via The New York Times)

Haiti is enduring another not-so-natural disaster in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

With winds reaching 145 miles an hour, the storm wrecked homes, communities and lives, particularly along Haiti’s southwestern coast. Estimates of the death toll have reached as high as 900, but most news sources acknowledge that this number is sure to rise.

The storm caused havoc along the Florida and Carolina coast in the U.S., making landfall this Saturday. But the death toll will be nowhere near as high as in Haiti, where the violence of the storm was intensified by man-made factors that are many decades old.

The world’s most powerful governments, especially the U.S., have inflicted suffering on Haitians throughout several centuries and up to the present day — when the Obama administration announced, as the Matthew was battering the Caribbean, that it would increase the number of Haitian refugees deported from the U.S. during the rest of the year.

***

Thousands of homes have been destroyed and food shortages are already being reported along Tiburon Peninsula in the country’s southwest.

Cholera is all but certain to make another appearance in Haiti. According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), “Due to massive flooding and its impact on water and sanitation infrastructure, cholera cases are expected to surge after Hurricane Matthew and through the normal rainy season until the start of 2017.”

But Matthew is only partly to blame for cholera in Haiti. The disease has made a reappearance only since the devastating 2010 earthquake, after almost a century of being effectively eradicated. As Jesse Hagopian wrote on the fifth anniversary of the earthquake:

Prior to October 2010, there had not been a reported incident of cholera in Haiti in nearly a century, according to the UN World Health Organization. An expert panel of epidemiologists and microbiologists appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon concluded UN peacekeeping troops from Nepal imported cholera to Haiti and contaminated the river tributary next to their base through a faulty sanitation system …

Since then, cholera has killed 8,500 people and sickened some 800,000 … Yet the UN has refused to apologize for its negligent actions that led to spread of cholera in Haiti.

And now, a new round of cholera threatens — and health clinics are reported to be unable to accommodate those who are injured as a result of Hurricane Matthews, much less treat new victims of cholera. So one disaster has led to another.

Over the past 10 years, Haiti has been struck by a series of hurricanes. In 2008, Hurricane Gustave killed 77 people. Two years later, the floods and mudslides from Hurricane Tomas took over 20 lives.

Southwestern Haiti is the home to several important Haitian cities, including Chantal, Jérémie, Les Cayes, and Roche-a-Bateau. It is also where the rebellion of former African slaves rebelled against the French slave owners began in the 18th century.

Among these municipalities, Jérémie was one of the hardest hit in the current disaster. Junot Clerveau, a resident of Jérémie, told Aljazeera: “We already didn’t have enough food. Now, we have lost our crops. We have lost trees that have given us mangoes and coconuts. I don’t know how we’re going to deal with this.”

***

In its reporting on conditions like Jérémie is experiencing today, the U.S. media often describe Haiti as a country of “chronic poverty and underdevelopment.” But that fails to acknowledge how Haiti’s economic and political crisis was a drawn-out process, caused by colonial dispossession, exploitation and imperial occupation.

The country that is now Haiti was originally home to the Arawak, a communal society where Indigenous people lived through fishing and farming. The arrival of European settler colonialism brought genocide to this group.

On the western third of the island of Hispaniola, ceded to France by the original Spanish conquerors, French colonists set up a barbaric slave system, importing Africans to serve as labor. The slaves rose up at the end of the 18th century and overthrew their masters in the only successful slave rebellion in history.

But France was successful in demanding reparations — worth $22 billion in today’s terms — for its loss of “property” before it would provide any loans to the newly independent nation. “As a result,” wrote Ashley Smith, writing for Socialist Worker, “Haiti’s economic development was subject to debt manipulation that kept it in desperate poverty for the next two centuries. Its ruling class and their imperial overseers hoarded what money the economy produced.”

This was not the last foreign intervention into “independent” Haiti. Starting at the end of the 19th century, the rising U.S. empire became Haiti’s main international oppressor. U.S. troops occupied Haiti outright several times in the years to follow — including during the Clinton administration in the 1990s.

The occupation that Haiti suffers under today — the one whose military forces introduced cholera back to Haiti — is being carried out under the banner of the United Nations, with countries other than the U.S. contributing military forces.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is in its 12th year, having been established after the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew the democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The supposed mission of the MINUSTAH occupation is to provide peace and security, but its troops are guilty of further repressing grassroots political movements.

***

International military intervention has been tied together with the neoliberal agenda promoted by the U.S. empire — and ordinary Haitians have paid a terrible price.

The U.S. government used its influence with the Duvalier family, Haiti’s dictators for most of the second half of the 20th century, to get shape the Haitian economy to be more beneficial to U.S. corporate interests.

This came in the forms of trade agreements that wrecked Haitian agriculture, structural adjustment programs that allowed U.S. multinationals to prey on Haitian workers, and “coercive legislation and policing tactics (anti-picketing rules, for example) to disperse or repress collective forms of opposition to corporate power,” as Marxist economist David Harvey wrote in A Brief History of Neoliberalism.

For example, Haiti’s elites, backed by the U.S., have gone out of their way to ensure that Haiti’s minimum wage remains abysmally low — with Hillary Clinton, the former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate leading the way.

State Department documents made available by WikiLeaks revealed that subcontractors for clothing giants like Fruit of the Loom and Levi’s “worked in close concert with the U.S. Embassy when they aggressively moved to block a minimum wage increase for Haitian assembly zone workers, the lowest-paid in the hemisphere,” the Haitian Times reported.

How much was too much for the Haitian sweatshop operators and their friends in the U.S. government? The proposal that Corporate America opposed in Haiti would have raised the minimum wage to 62 cents an hour, or $5 a day.

Clinton bears more responsibility for Haiti’s suffering than just her actions during the Obama administration.

The Clinton Foundation, set up after Bill Clinton’s presidency, has been a leading promoter of neoliberal schemes in Haiti, such as the creation of “export processing zones” and luxury tourist hotel developments to take advantage of the low wages that Secretary of State Clinton helped keep in check.

And Bill Clinton’s administration carried out a host of policies to make Haitians’ suffering worse, whether in Haiti itself or in the U.S., among those who fled the economic and social devastation.

For example, Clinton’s 1996 immigration law stepped up the deportation of Haitians, Central Americans and others from Latin America who fled to the U.S. to escape U.S.-backed dictators.

As Daniel Denvir wrote at Salon: “U.S. immigration policy toward Haiti, long shaped by political fears over flotillas of boat people arriving in Florida, has in the past been criticized as harsh and even racist compared with the welcome mat rolled out for Cubans.”

This dark chapter of deportations and detentions has continued under Barack Obama’s administration. On September 22, the Department of Homeland Secretary released a statement indicating that it would continue “to remove Haitian nationals on a more regular basis, consistent with the practice for nationals from other nations”

***

This is the background to the crisis that follows the latest natural disaster to befall Haiti — and given the evidence that man-made climate change is causing hurricanes to be more frequent and more intense, even that “natural” aspect of this catastrophe has to be questioned.

The need is already desperate. But the record of both governmental and non-governmental bodies in contributing humanitarian aid to Haiti is appalling. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, large sums poured into charities like the Red Cross as ordinary people around the world gave what they could to help.

But the money didn’t get where it was needed. In fact, investigators for Propublica exposed the Red Cross’ claims to have built 130,000 homes in Haiti after the earthquake — and revealed that the real number was just six.

Now Haiti faces another nightmare, having not recovered from the last one — thanks to the intertwined roles of U.S. imperialism, Haiti’s ruling elites and international capitalism.

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