Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What the New DNI Threat Assessment Says about Haiti

by Dan Beeton (for CEPR)

The Office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) released its “Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community” [PDF] for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today. The assessment’s section on Haiti is longer this year, due to concerns that the DNI apparently has regarding what it sees as a need for an ongoing foreign military presence there, support for which is waning internationally. The assessment cites chronic factors such as poverty and “weak institutions” as reasons why foreign military intervention is still warranted:
Stability in Haiti will remain fragile due to extreme poverty and weak governing institutions.  Meaningful long-term reconstruction and development in Haiti will need to continue for many years.  Haiti remains vulnerable to setbacks in its reconstruction and development goals due to the possibility of natural disasters.  Food insecurity, although improving, also has the potential to be a destabilizing factor.  Periods of political gridlock have resulted due to distrust between President Michel Martelly, in office since May 2011, and opponents in Parliament.  Martelly is generally still popular, but politically organized protests, possibly violent, might occur before the elections, scheduled for 2014.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

New Charges in Dominique Case are meant to Draw Attention Away from Martelly's Narco Controversy


 Like other cases of political violence in Haiti, it is vital that the killers of Haitian journalist Jean Dominique (murdered in 2000) be brought to justice. Over the years though it is clear that the case has been politicized and exploited for political gain on different occasions. 
From what we have gathered the new charges related to the Jean Dominique case became known in December and do not implicate Aristide. The charges also appear to rely solely upon one account from a former security official who was implicated in drug trafficking and previously cut deals with the U.S. justice department to shorten his time in U.S. federal prison.

The story and the inaccurate way in which it has been covered has been pushed by Martelly's press agent Guy Delva. Guy Delva formerly worked for Reuters, but currently is a press agent for the Martelly regime. 

The timing of the court charges and the inaccurate way in which Delva has explained the court charges (picked up by Reuters and repeated uncritically and ad nauseum by groups like reporters sans frontiers and rightwing commentators) are meant to draw attention away from the growing crisis over the Martelly government's connections with the narco trade.  By this, I refer to the arrest in late 2013 of Martelly's close friend Daniel Evinks with two dozen kilos of marijuana. Since then Evinks has gone missing. The Martelly government does not want coverage of the missing narco trafficker/Martelly associate Daniel Evenks (sometimes spelled “Evinx”).

Flashpoints Radio Interviews on the new Charges in the Jean Dominique Case

Listen at 36 minutes & 40 seconds to an interview with Aristide's attorney Ira Kurzban on the new charges in the Jean Dominique case:

Also listen to a discussion with documentarian Kevin Pina and IJDH attorney Brian Concannon about the new charges in the Dominique trial:

Friday, January 24, 2014

Sentinel: Police find car of missing Martelly Narco-Businessman Associate Daniel Evinx

GONAIVES, Haiti ( - The whereabouts of businessman Daniel Evinx has been unknown since January 5. The vehicle of the close friend of President Michel Martelly, who was arrested in late 2013 for being in the possession of two dozen kilos of marijuana, was found at a gas station in Gonaïves over the weekend where he was last seen weeks ago.

Police Spokesman, Inspector Garry Desrosiers, in briefing the press said Daniel had left his vehicle at a gas station in Gonaives, Artibonite and had taken a motorcycle taxi to another destination but hadn't been seen since.
Evinx Daniel was a resident of Les Cayes and participated in the organizing of the first National Carnival outside of Port-au-Prince in 2012. This year the Martelly administration announced the Carnival would be in Gonaives.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Jean Dominique Case: Surrounded by Speculation

By Jacques Pierre Kolo

The double murder on Apr. 3, 2000 of journalist Jean Dominique and his radio station’s guardian Jean-Claude Louissaint resurfaced in the news this week after Joseph C. Guyler Delva, an advisor to the National Palace, announced on Fri., Jan. 17, 2014 the some findings of the investigative report of the case’s examining magistrate Yvikel Dabrézil.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wikileaks Reveals Obama Administration's Role in Stifling Haitian Minimum Wage

American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss prefer to pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes.

by Rod Bastanmehr for Alternet

Strike another one for Wikileaks. The ever-controversial leaker of the world’s best-kept secrets has published a wire on The Nation that reveals the Obama Administration fought to keep the Haitian minimum wage to 31 cents an hour.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Haiti: Lack of political will allows ex-dictator Duvalier to escape justice

Amnesty International

A lack of political will and unacceptable court delays are allowing Haiti’s former “president-for-life,” Jean-Claude Duvalier, to escape justice for human rights violations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today. 

The authorities re-opened a criminal case against the former Haitian dictator three years ago, shortly after he returned to the country on 16 January 2011, following a 25-year exile in France. He faced charges of serious human rights violations such as murder and torture of political opponents, and of corruption. But the case has stalled for almost a year. 
“It appears that the Haitian authorities have no intention of carrying out thorough investigations into Duvalier-era abuses,” said Javier Zúñiga, Amnesty International’s special adviser to regional programmes. 

Outsourcing Haiti: How Disaster Relief Became a Disaster of its Own

Jake Jonston
Boston Review, January 16, 2014
See article on original website

Across the country from Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, miles of decrepit pot-holed streets give way to a smooth roadway leading up to the gates of the Caracol Industrial Park, but no further. The fishing hamlet of Caracol, from which the park gets its name, lies around the bend down a bumpy dirt road. Four years after the earthquake that destroyed the country on January 12, 2010, the Caracol Industrial Park is the flagship reconstruction project of the international community in Haiti. Signs adorn nearby roads, mostly in English, declaring the region “Open for Business.” In a dusty field, hundreds of empty, brightly colored houses are under construction in neat rows. If all goes as hoped for by the enthusiastic backers of the industrial park, this area could be home to as many as 300,000 additional residents over the next decade.

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