Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Haiti’s Eroding Democracy: Haiti has a new president. But Jovenel Moïse’s right-wing coalition is far from stable.

by Jake Johnston (source: Jacobin)

After more than a year of delays, Haiti finally elected a new president this past November. Jovenel Moïse — nicknamed the Banana Man — scored a first-round victory in a sprawling field of 27 candidates, taking over 55% of the vote. The banana exporter, who has never held public office, was inaugurated on Feb. 7.

            The previous president, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, seemingly plucked Moïse out of nowhere last year, making him the new face of the Haitian Bald-Headed Party (PHTK). Moïse’s win is an extraordinary achievement for a political neophyte, but it has one glaring problem: only 20% of Haiti’s voters showed up on election day. Moïse became president with less than 10% of registered voters – only about 600,000 votes — supporting him.

            Haiti stands as a stark reminder of the fragility of electoral democracy amid rising inequality and exclusion. After the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, Haiti’s poor majority turned out en masse for general elections, but that cycle appears to be broken. Today, Haiti ranks among the lowest worldwide in terms of voter participation.

            Why have Haitians lost faith in electoral democracy? Certainly, the impact of foreign intervention, the crushing constraints of neoliberalism, and the prioritization of economic stability over democracy all played a part. The disappointments and betrayals of left-leaning political leaders, put into office by Haiti’s once-powerful popular movements, only add to this sense of apathy.

            Meanwhile, the ruling elite have allied with the last vestiges of Duvalierism to accomplish what they never before could: consolidation of power through elections. After two decades of failed runs and successful antidemocratic subversion, the dominant classes have finally retaken the political upper hand.

            But how long can they hold on? The recent arrest and prompt extradition of senator-elect and former paramilitary coup leader Guy Philippe, indicted for drug trafficking and money laundering, has revealed the incoming administration’s darker side. Moïse openly campaigned with Philippe, and his party’s power stems from the electoral success of other unsavory characters.

            Whether Moïse’s election presages the dawning of a stable neo-Duvalierist order or simply marks another cycle in Haiti’s political spiral remains to be seen. But Moïse’s rule is inherently precarious.

Growing Apathy

A few days after the November election, residents of Port-au-Prince’s Cité Soleil community took turns expressing their frustration with the country’s politicians. A young man explained, “I don’t care who wins, they are all the same.” An English teacher named Fritz interjected, “People ask, what’s the point? They see nobody has done anything to change our situation, so they lose faith in voting.” While Cité Soleil has long supported Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party, only about 10 percent of the neighborhood voted in November. This time, many of them chose Moïse.

            “There are obvious weaknesses and limitations within Fanmi Lavalas,” Brian Concannon, the director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, told me after the election. “But much of that can be explained by the undermining and overthrowing of the Lavalas governments, which prevented them from demonstrating how democracy can work, and the killing, jailing, and exiling of important leaders.”

            When Fanmi Lavalas emerged, it promised to restore Haitian democracy following the years of dictatorship. Its leader, liberation theology priest Aristide, had openly opposed Duvalier and easily won Haiti’s first democratic elections in 1990. But just months into his term the old order ousted the popular president, who was forced into exile. Members of the military and the dictatorship created death squads to repress the population and stamp out the popular movement that threatened its rule, killing thousands. In 1995, Haiti disbanded its military, hoping to prevent further coups.

            After returning under the protection of American troops in 1994, Aristide became president again in 2000. With no military structure, former soldiers instead allied with elites to lead a years-long destabilization effort.

            Philippe — the now extradited senator-elect — played an important role in this campaign. His paramilitary force attacked government institutions and supporters throughout the country, contributing to Aristide’s second ouster in 2004. In both cases, it was later revealed that at least certain segments of the American government had supported the coups.

            Meanwhile, international development banks and foreign governments were imposing neoliberal economic policies on Haiti. They privatized state-run enterprises, cutting off the government’s much-needed financing, and slashed tariffs, seriously harming Haiti’s national agricultural production. In 2010, former president Bill Clinton apologized for the impact of some of these policies, though little has been done to reverse the damage.

            Fault lies with some of Haiti’s own leaders as well. René Préval, president under the Lavalas banner from 1995–2000, was reelected 2006. By then, however, he had built his own political movement and distanced himself from his former ally, who had become enmeshed in allegations of human rights abuses. Unwilling to cede power to a new generation of leaders, Aristide watched from exile in South Africa as the movement that had broken the shackles of Duvalierism splintered apart. In 2015, former Lavalas members were running under the banner of just about every major party – even the PHTK.

            Twenty years after Duvalier’s fall, living standards had declined, and people began to doubt that elections would produce social transformation. Only two million participated in the 2006 elections, compared to the almost three million who voted six years prior. The decline has only continued. Since then, the number of eligible voters has grown by 2.5 million, but barely more than a million turned out last year.

            Haitians’ trust in politicians and their faith in democracy has evaporated as foreign donors have poured billions of dollars into “democracy promotion” programs and a UN military “stabilization” mission that arrived after the 2004 coup to enforce order. Donors fund elections; observers sanctify them; and Haitian elites reap the benefits.


Stability has been a buzzword in Haiti for years, justifying both international interventions and the Haitian elite’s decisions. But prioritizing economic stability over democracy hasn’t improved lives for the poor; rather, it’s ensured that the status quo continues. “[The elites] want stability for themselves, not to improve people’s lives,” Pierre Espérance, the leader of one of Haiti’s largest human rights organizations, told me.

            Indeed, creating a stable environment for business doesn’t have anything to do with creating stability nationwide. A former U.S. Ambassador to Haiti explained that, for the private sector, “prosperity works, chaos works, and disaster, ooh! They never get richer than during a disaster.”

            Elections are held to create a veneer of democracy that masks the country’s inequality. The former ambassador said, “There’s no doubt in my mind that money runs Haiti” and now questions who really wants elections: the Haitian people or the international community. “Frankly, I’d say the international community does.”

            These contradictions came to a head with the 2010 earthquake and the elections held later that same year.

            After the quake, the Haitian government was barely functioning, bogged down trying to assist the millions of victims. The billions of dollars in international aid that poured into the country did not go to the struggling government. Instead, it was channeled to foreign NGOs and development agencies — most of which rely on the country’s elite to carry out their work. In a country often called the “republic of NGOs,” the government’s role in citizens’ lives eroded even further.

            President René Préval, who was harshly criticized for the government’s ineffectiveness during the crisis, refused to cede greater control to international donors. When he rejected a Clinton-led reconstruction commission’s request to seize and allocate land, he isolated himself even further. This, he believes, led donors — and the United States specifically — to turn on his chosen successor in the 2010 elections.

            That November, more than a million people remained displaced from the earthquake. The elections were, predictably, a complete failure. Turnout was depressed, the Lavalas party was excluded, and violence disrupted the process throughout the country.

            In the aftermath, a majority of candidates called for a new vote. Behind the scenes, the Préval government, whose chosen successor, Jude Célestin, had advanced to the runoff in second place, agreed to a do-over. But, from the international community’s perspective, stability meant moving forward, no matter the resulting blow to democracy.

            Préval asked, the Organization of American States (OAS), which had observed the elections, to analyze the results. Without any statistical analysis or recount, they determined that Célestin should be replaced by Martelly in the second round.

            According to multiple sources, a small team from the American embassy had made the decision before the OAS experts ever set foot in the country. In the midst of historic upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa, Hillary Clinton, then serving as secretary of state, took time to personally go to Haiti to make sure everything moved forward smoothly.

            E-mails from Clinton’s private server, released thanks to Freedom of Information Act requests, show how the American government collaborated with the Haitian elite to place Martelly in the second round. Reginald Boulos, an influential businessman, wrote to Clinton’s top aide, Cheryl Mills: “On behalf of the Haitian private sector, I want to thank you for the commitment you have shown to Haiti.”

            After the United States used the OAS to overturn the results of the 2010 elections, the perception that Haiti’s leaders were chosen by foreign embassies and their local allies was confirmed, rendering voting virtually meaningless. Meanwhile, international donors, having put Martelly in office, stood by the charismatic new president, who announced that Haiti was “open for business.”

            The 2010 election would have another long-term consequence: the consolidation of a neo-Duvalierist political movement.

Lord Logic

A month before this year’s election, a diplomatic source told me that “there are three kings in Haiti: Préval, Aristide, and the Duvalierists.” If the vast majority of the political class originates from the first two, the latter has empowered the PHTK. Indeed, Martelly has long-standing ties to the Duvalier dictatorship.

            As the “bad boy” of Haitian konpa music, he played late-night shows for military friends through the late 1980s and early 1990s. He’s also admitted to belonging to Duvalier’s dreaded Tonton Macoute militia in his youth.

            Martelly campaigned around “ousting the political class,” as former prime minister and the then-president’s cousin Jean-Max Bellerive told me in 2015. He explained, however, that Haitian politics have always depended on personal connections: “Inside, everything is possible.” Indeed, once Martelly became president, he repaid his sponsors, making Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier’s son his adviser. Other dictatorship-era officials spread throughout the administration. Martelly also put the restoration of the military at the heart of this new movement.

            In January 2015, parliamentary terms lapsed, rendering the legislative branch dysfunctional and allowing Martelly to rule by decree. For four years, the Haitian government didn’t hold a single election; the constitution required three. Martelly single-handedly appointed mayors and other local officials.

            According to Damian Merlo, an American political consultant who worked for Martelly’s campaign and stayed on after his victory, a “Duvalierist clique” tried to convince Martelly to continue to delay elections. But the plan to consolidate power unconstitutionally was prevented. The long-splintered opposition came together, taking to the streets and demanding elections. The old guard – which had helped overthrow democratically elected governments twice in two decades – would have to hold onto its power through the ballot box.

            They overreached. Across the country, armed men disrupted the vote during the legislative elections. Even the electoral council, widely perceived to be under Martelly’s influence, acknowledged that the PHTK and its allies were largely responsible for this electoral intimidation.

            These tactics paid off during the presidential elections a few months later as the vast majority of Haitians stayed home. With turnout depressed, those with the most money stood to benefit, as any advantage they had would be magnified.

            At the time, Jovenel Moïse was relatively unknown. He had been a businessman in Haiti’s Nord-Est department and served as president of the local chamber of commerce. In 2014, the Martelly government invested millions in his company, Agritrans S.A., to develop an agricultural “free trade” zone. Despite his lack of political experience, the PHTK’s strategy launched him into the lead.

            Pascale Roussy, a political analyst with the European Union election observation mission, explained that “whereas other parties are built from the bottom up, PHTK represents the oligarchy, the elite.” By keeping turnout low, they intensified local power brokers’ influence.

            “It’s lord logic,” she continued. “They may not be part of PHTK, but the local leader wants to maintain control of his area for himself, not just for the party.” Roudy Choute, a PHTK representative, put it more succinctly, noting that elections in Haiti are a “science”: “We get local candidates, they bring their voters, and they’ll also vote for president.”

            In 2015, this almost worked: Moïse officially received the most votes but failed to win outright. The next three candidates — all from the center-left — received 200,000 more votes combined then he did.

            Tens of thousands took to the streets, alleging that Martelly had stacked the deck to ensure his party’s hold on power. They called for an investigation into electoral violence and fraud. The administration and its international allies adamantly forged ahead to a runoff based on the contested results, but they underestimated the united opposition’s power. As the movement grew, the second-round election was indefinitely postponed.

            When Martelly’s term officially ended in February 2016, he reluctantly transferred power to former minister-turned-senator Jocelerme Privert. The interim president immediately called for a commission to investigate the elections, which revealed “massive fraud” and recommended that the results be thrown out.

            The report represented a serious blow to foreign embassies used to getting their way. But investigating the election was the only way faith in Haiti’s democracy could be restored, Privert told me at the time. “[Elections] have one objective: to save the country, to spare the country from political catastrophe. . . . It is anarchy, or [a] future,” he said about the new electoral process.

            The United States responded by withholding funding, but the Haitian government found the resources to fund the elections itself — a first in recent history and a major step toward sovereignty.

            There’s a saying in Haiti that Haitians will come together to oust a president but not to elect one. Espérance, the human rights leader who led the 2015 antifraud movement, recognizes this as a main factor in the 2016 election outcome. “Political parties don’t want to work together. . . . There are too many, and they are very weak.”

            The leading opposition candidates could not unite around a common platform, so they all stayed in the race, dividing the Left. Meanwhile, on the Right, key private-sector actors lined up behind Moïse. Thanks to a year-long election process, campaign funding soon dried up. In November, the still disenchanted majority stayed home again. In the end, the pro-democracy mobilizations had proved no more than a speed bump in the way of Haiti’s new political machine.

Legal Bandits


The losing parties contested the results, once again raising allegations of fraud, but most international observers praised November’s electoral process. Espérance, who led the largest domestic observer network, agreed that the elections were largely “acceptable.” He quickly added, however, “We can’t have free elections under the current electoral system.” And that makes Espérance pessimistic: “We have a newly elected president, but you can’t expect anything.” Since the election, he has received multiple death threats.

            Granted, Haitian ownership of the electoral process had increased, and technical improvements were made. But November’s elections made it even more clear that a deeper threat had been simmering for some time: Haiti’s elections no longer serve as a means of representative democracy but have become a theatrical performance to ensure international legitimacy and a steady flow of profit and power to the country’s corrupted elite and their local allies.

            With Jovenel Moïse’s election, which came with a working majority in parliament, these criminal elements have consolidated their power and ensured the continuance, however fragile, of Martelly’s neo-Duvalierist legacy.

            Martelly was a controversial provocateur notorious for bawdy stage performances, but Moïse has become, at least on the surface, a more polished figure. One diplomatic source said that when the candidate first came to his embassy in 2015, he was wearing a suit several sizes too big, awkwardly draped over his tall, lanky frame. By the 2016 election, Moïse regularly attended embassy parties, events, and even visited the U.S. Congress, now sporting neatly tailored suits.

            Moïse has pledged to revitalize the agricultural sector and to prioritize national production. These promises seem ironic, given that his firm must export at least 70% of its output to benefit from its special tax status. He has given his word that he’ll better manage the millions of dollars in foreign assistance and work to strengthen the government. He has also pledged to reinstate the military, raising fears of a new wave of political repression.

            Although Guy Philippe, perhaps the best known Haitian leader linked to political violence, made a dramatic exit from the political sphere, others remain. Youri Latortue, who backed the 1991 coup as a lieutenant and then allied with Philippe during the 2004 coup, now serves as president of the Senate. A decade ago, a former U.S. ambassador referred to him as the “poster-boy for political corruption in Haiti.” In 2015, the Miami Herald used a popular 2008 Martelly song, “Bandi Legal” or “Legal Bandits,” to refer to the incoming parliament.

            Moïse himself was embroiled in controversy before ever taking office. An investigation launched in 2013 by Haiti’s anticorruption body revealed dozens of questionable bank transactions involving his businesses. A government prosecutor is currently reviewing the file to determine if money-laundering charges are warranted.

            Will this strategy of elite alliances and local influence maintain right-wing rule in Haiti? Three decades of near-constant foreign intervention and the failures of Haiti’s traditional political class have weakened and divided the country’s once strong and united democracy movement. Elite control, at least in the short term, is now all but ensured.

            But the foundation for this “stability” has been built with kindling. With so many excluded from their country’s politics, the viability of Haiti’s electoral democracy as a path toward constitutional order and stability has been diminished.  More than 200 years since Haitian independence, the struggle for freedom will find other expressions.

As President Jovenel Moïse is Sworn In: Election Observers Slam “Haiti’s Unrepresentative Democracy”

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Former auto parts salesman and banana exporter Jovenel Moïse, 48, became Haiti’s 58th president on Feb. 7, 2017, in ceremonies at the Parliament and a miniature model of the former National Palace, which was destroyed in the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.

            The President of Haiti’s Senate and Parliament’s National Assembly, Sen. Youri Latortue, whom the U.S. Embassy has described as a “Mafia boss,” “drug dealer,” and “poster-boy for political corruption,” draped the ceremonial Presidential sash on his close political confederate, who takes over from interim president Jocelerme Privert.

            Indeed, the Parliament is dominated by senators and deputies from Moïse’s Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK) and other allied right-wing parties, making the Haitian government look very similar to that of the U.S. where another politically inexperienced businessman promising jobs, Donald Trump,  won power and has a Republican majority in Congress.

            A number of the parliamentarians, including Latortue and Chamber of Deputies President Cholzer Chancy, have well-known criminal backgrounds, including some indictments and convictions. Indeed, one senator-elect – former soldier, police chief, and “rebel” leader Guy Philippe – could not make the ceremonies because he is being held on drug trafficking charges in a Miami jail cell, after having been arrested by Haitian police and turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on Jan. 5.

            Moïse’s inaugural speech was tightly and professionally written (as one would expect from a candidate who spent $4 million for the expertise of the Madrid-based election-engineering firm Ostos & Sola), hitting all the usual notes.

            Saying he wants to “build a country which makes us all proud,” Moïse, like his elected predecessor Michel Martelly, pledged to “reform schools.” But perhaps due to the ribald Martelly’s corruption-tarnished reputation, he also pledged to “engage myself to work for Haiti to regain its dignity.”

            He said that “people in the diaspora can return home,” which many are still scared to do. “Haiti has returned to the road of democracy,” he assured, and is “a mine of riches... but the people are in poverty because we don’t work together... We can if we want. It’s our mentality which has to change.”

            Using the concrete imagery that helped his campaign especially in the countryside, Moïse declared: “The day has come for us to put the land, rivers, sun, and people together for us to develop our country.”

            He also put out a call for unity saying “I will need everyone, all the former candidates, all the people that voted for me, all those who didn’t vote for me, and all those who didn’t vote at all. I need everyone. I need you all so Haiti can rise to meet this great challenge.”

            Saying that “I feel a great pride to be Haitian,” he announced that “it is time to put to work what the people voted for last Nov. 20.” But about 80% of Haiti’s 6.2 million electorate did not cast ballots in that election, meaning that Moïse won with only 9.55% of eligible voters, hardly a mandate.

            While saying that “the time has come to combine integrity, morality, merit, order, and discipline,” he also declared, with great vehemence, that “never, never, will the justice system and Haitian institutions be used as instruments for political persecution.” This latter declaration may be aimed at the multi-million-dollar money-laundering indictment that still hangs over his head. He claims it is the work of political opponents.

            He gave the usual presidential inauguration laundry list saying “we will invest in and cultivate available lands, build roads, bridges, and electricity networks... build schools, dispensaries, and hospitals, facilitate great tourist projects, take all the advantage we can from the HELP and HOPE acts [of the U.S. Congress] by promoting investment in the assembly sector.”

            In short, the cornerstones of Moïse’s economic program appear to be the same as that of Michel Martelly and former late dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier three decades ago: tourism and sweatshops.

            All three presidential runners-up – Jude Célestin, Moïse Jean-Charles, and Maryse Narcisse – refuse to recognize Moïse’s victory, calling it an “electoral coup d’état.” With the record-breaking low turnout, it’s not surprising that Moïse wanted to “give hope to all in a spirit of unity and national concord,” asserting that “I will be the guarantor of a Haiti which is just, equitable, and stable.”

            But a 22-page report released a day before the inauguration by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), both election observers, suggest that the road ahead may be rocky for the new president.

            Haiti's Unrepresentative Democracy: Exclusion and Discouragement in the Nov. 20, 2016, Elections” lays out the problems surrounding the rise to power of Moïse and Haiti’s right-wing parliament.

            “A large (but hard-to-quantify) number of Haitians did not vote on Nov. 20, not because they did not want to, but because they were unable due to difficulties in obtaining electoral cards, registering to vote and finding their names on electoral lists,” the report notes. “Enduring problems with Haiti’s civil registry and the organization responsible for managing it disenfranchised many would-be voters, particularly among the poor and in rural communities. Deficiencies with the civil registry also opened the door to fraud via trafficked identity cards.”

            The report also notes how Washington and its allies seem to have contributed to the critical state of Haitian democracy today. “Paradoxically, falling participation rates have occurred alongside massive investments by the international community in Haiti’s electoral apparatus,” the report says. “The millions spent by the U.S. and other Core Group countries [U.S. allies] on democracy promotion programs in the post-Aristide era have produced an electoral system that is weaker, less trusted and more exclusionary than what came before.”

            As a result, “[w]hile Haiti may obtain some much-needed political stability in the short term, a president elected by less than 10% of eligible voters faces serious limits to his popular mandate,” the executive summary concludes. “Even more serious questions remain about the democratic credentials of many senators and deputies, who owe their seats more to the violence, disruptions and fraud of the 2015 elections that put them into office than to the will of Haitian voters.”                                               

            Overall, the neo-Duvalierist forces which were routed from power by a popular uprising three decades ago have now regained full control of Haiti’s government through controversial elections, which the vast majority of Haitians took no part in and are skeptical of. It is likely that Jovenel Moïse’s honeymoon will be short indeed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

We Say No! To Stolen Elections!!

National Lawyers Guild of San Francisco 

Stands in Solidarity With Haitian Grassroots Movement

For well over a month, tens of thousands of Haitians have been demonstrating daily to protest yet another stolen election and another denial of their right to determine their own destinies. Despite this popular outcry and numerous reports of large-scale fraud and voter suppression the Electoral Council in Haiti, backed by the U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States, and the United Nations occupying forces (MINUSTAH), has just officially anointed Jovenel Moise as the next president of Haiti. Moise is a protégé of right-wing former President Michel Martelly, whose regime was marked by corruption, wholesale repression of political opposition, and the selling of Haiti’s land and resources to foreign corporations.
As Haitians demonstrate courageously to resist the imposition of an undemocratically selected regime, they have been met with repression from Haitian police and UN soldiers. In one incident, police attacked the community of La Saline, a stronghold of Fanmi Lavalas, for decades the party of the poor majority in Haiti. The police fired round upon round of tear gas and killed three infants. In another instance, police attacked a non-violent march using water hoses, tear gas, and a skin irritant that caused severe burns.
On Dec. 24, police attacked a peaceful Christmas Eve demonstration on Martin Luther King Avenue in Port-au-Prince – beating and shooting journalists and people protesting the stolen election. Police shot up and smashed windows of cars belonging to Fanmi Lavalas parliamentarian Printemps Belizaire and Fanmi Lavalas senatorial candidate Dr. Louis Gerald Gilles. Journalist Thomas Jean Dufait, from Radio-Tele Timoun (a grassroots media outlet) sustained bullet wounds. In recent days, police have used massive force to block demonstrators from even marching.
These tactics are all reminiscent of those used by police forces in the Jim Crow South or in South Africa, who were equally determined to prevent Black people from exercising their right to vote.
We in the San Francisco Lawyers Guild condemn these attacks on Haitian’s right to assemble and their right to speak out and protest. We denounce the blatant subversion of the electoral process in Haiti. We call on the U.S. government, the UN and the OAS to end their support for dictatorial rule in Haiti. And we stand in solidarity with the grassroots movement in Haiti as they continue their steadfast fight for democratic governance and true self-determination.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Michael Deibert , Haiti , and Right Wing Journalism

We here at the HaitiAnalysis kolektif feel it is important to remind our brothers and sisters of the manipulative media reports that have targeted Haiti over the years. One of the most dishonest corporate media journalists to write on Haiti has been former Reuters correspondent Michael Deibert. [1]

Whitewashing the Bush regime orchestrated 2004 coup d'état in Haiti and the preceding U.S. backed-destabilization campaign, Michael Deibert's writings often have functioned to demonize grassroots movements in the country while passing over the crimes of U.S. (and local rightwing) backed groups. In the wake of the coup, Deibert, in his reporting, ignored the mass state violence unleashed on poor communities in Port-au-Prince. The coup d'état and its aftermath resulted in many thousands of deaths and a long period of repression under the unelected Latortue dictatorship. The years that followed resulted in large-scale voter suppression, a major decline in voter participation, and the re-emergence of the nation's rightwing as a political force in the country.

Below are links to a number of articles criticizing his work over the years. Also included below is a criticism of Michael Deibert's 2005 book by the late Haitian pro-democracy activist Patrick Elie.

Justin Podur, Ph.D. 2006. "Kofi Annan's Haiti". New Left Review. https://newleftreview.org/II/37/justin-podur-kofi-annan-s-haiti

Justin Podur, Ph.D. 2006. "A Dishonest Case for a Coup". Znet.

Patrick Elie. 2006. "A Few Notes about 'Notes from the Last Testament'". Indy Bay. https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2006/03/23/18101941.php?show_comments=1 

Mark Weisbrot, Ph.D. CEPR. 2006. “Weisbrot replies” The Nation. 

Diana Barahona. 2007. "U.S. Reporting on the Coup in Haiti: How to Turn a Priest into a Cannibal". Counterpunch. http://www.counterpunch.org/2007/02/03/how-to-turn-a-priest-into-a-cannibal/ 

Jeb Sprague-Silgado, Ph.D. 2007. Discusses Deibert's manipulative reporting on Martissant and Gran Ravine in Port-au-Prince: "Chief of Lame Ti Manchet Reportedly Escapes to Dominican Republic" Narco News

Peter Hallward, Ph.D. 2008. "Response to Michael Deibert's Review of Damming the Flood". Monthly Review Zine.

Kim Ives. 2009. “Michael Deibert and Elizabeth Eames Roebling Attack IPS Journalists Writing on Haiti”. http://wadnerpierre.blogspot.com/2009/08/michael-deibert-and-elizabeth-eames.html 

Jeb Sprague-Silgado, Ph.D. 2011. “On Martissant, Gran Ravine, and Missing the Proportionality and Chief Sources of Political Violence”

Joe Emersberger. 2011. "Exchange between Michael Deibert and Joe Emersberger Regarding Haiti" Haiti Analysis. http://haitianalysis.blogspot.com/2011/09/2011-exchange-between-michael-deibert.html

Dominique Esser. 2012 “Haiti and the Media - The Gangs of the Fourth Estate” HaitiAnalysis. https://haitianalysis.blogspot.com/2012/03/media-and-haiti-or-why-you-cant-always.html

Joe Emersberger. 2013. “How Fitting That Michael Deibert Lauds Rory Carroll’s book about Hugo Chavez” HaitiAnalysis.   http://haitianalysis.blogspot.com/2013/03/how-fitting-that-michael-deibert-lauds.html

[1] Michael Deibert also served formerly as a writer for IPS (Inter Press Service), but was removed from the IPS team covering Haiti in late 2009 after he launched verbal tirades on the internet insulting the English language skills of Haitian grassroots author and photographer  (and IPS contributor) Wadner Pierre.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Reflections on the Past and Possible Future of Haiti's Foreign Policy

by Jacques Nési (Haiti Liberte)

The influence of what is called, with deceptive ease, the "international community" determines Haitians’ present and future, largely due to the deficit of national sovereignty and legitimacy that taints the Haitian authorities which act as intermediaries. This “international community” supposedly accompanies Haiti on its quest for democracy, sharing her concerns and uncertainties. But its overbearing influence is troubling. Is it not a little contradictory for Haiti, supposedly under the control of United Nations troops, to think about defining its own foreign policy? Is it not a phony posture, in this context of moral decay, to talk about formulating a foreign policy that takes into account Haiti’s interests and aspirations?

            Could this be nationalism? For a country which is completely financially dependent on the “international community,” wouldn’t it be utopian obstinacy for Haiti to think of forging new relations with it? Would Haitian authorities be ungrateful to think of solving their people’s  problems by insisting on a sovereign and autonomous approach?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Charcoal Is Not the Cause of Haiti’s Deforestation

by John Dale Zach Lea, Ph. D. (Haiti Liberte)

There is a widespread misconception that the use of charcoal (charbon in Kreyòl) is responsible for Haiti’s massive deforestation. Charcoal supplies 75% of energy used in Haiti. Without it, Haiti would be much more dependent on international energy suppliers and aid.

          Deforestation is caused by farmers clearing land for farming, often planting erosive crops such as corn and beans on mountainsides inappropriate for such crops. When trees are cut for charcoal, the roots are left, and the land is not plowed. Mesquite forests, Kasya, and Neem are repeatedly cut for charcoal because the trees coppice (re-sprout) and can be cut again in several years.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Legislative Elections Also Go to the PHTK and its Allies

by Catherine Charlemagne (Haiti Liberte)

Humans, unlike other animals, possess what philosophers call reason. Without entering into philosophical analysis - that is not the purpose of this chronicle at this point in the Haitian electoral process - it is now urgent that all people endowed with this faculty use their common sense.

            Using reason, let’s examine the final results of the Nov. 20, 2016 general elections, results which were challenged by the three main presidential candidates and some candidates for seats in the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.

            The presidential candidates – Dr. Maryse Narcisse of Fanmi Lavalas, Jude Célestin of LAPEH, and Moïse Jean-Charles of the Pitit Dessalines Platform – began protesting even before the results were published, giving a first round victory to their competitor, Jovenel Moïse of the Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK). But there was not just one election that day. There were also partial legislative elections (senators and deputies) and municipal races.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Remembering the violence of Guy Philippe and his FLRN paramilitary death squads

Eyewitness reports of: • harassment • false arrest • house burnings • death threats • rapes • assassinations • etc. 

This violence targeted members of the party of President Aristide immediately before and after February 29, 2004. 

Read here for testimonies of Lavalas Victims of the 2004 coup. 

Compiled by Kevin Pina for the Haiti Information Project (HIP) for the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund (HERF)

See entire report "Crushing President Aristide's Party [Lavalas] Through Violence"  Here.

Violent reprisals by Guy Philippe's Neo-Macoute supporters

Published on HAITI LIBRE

Since Friday, the day after the arrest and extradition to the United States of Senator Guy Philippe http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-19721-haiti-flash-senator-guy-philippe-extradited-to-the-usa.html the Haitian National Police (PNH) had to evacuate more than 50 US citizens to secure them to safer places in Haiti, confirmed the Police Commissioner in Grand'Anse Berson Soljour.

It should be recalled that more Americans are in the region to help the population following the passage of Hurricane Matthew, so the Commissioner advised American citizens who chose to stay, not to leave their residences. He explained that US citizens were evacuated to a police station before being transferred to a United Nations base, where they waited to be transported to Port-au-Prince, others are still waiting.

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