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HaitiFlashback: The Theater of Coup Dramatis Personae: Who is Guy Philippe?




The Theater of Coup
Dramatis Personae: Who is Guy Philippe?

by Gibert Wesley Purdy

Thanks to CatalyzerJournal.com for this article

Ever since a small rebel force appeared from across the Haitian border with the Dominican Republic and took the city of Gonaives, the members of the various American media have been asking the question "Who is Guy Philippe?" Philippe is presented as the leader of the rebels. As they have taken one town after another, and turned their attention toward Port Au Prince, the capitol city of Haiti, he has held press conferences, acting as the porte-parole (spokesperson) for the group. He has proved surprisingly deft at both aspects of his dual role.

Like so many adventurers on the Haitian political scene he has become known, to Haiti insiders, for a patchwork of activities - the most recent being the present coup. Like so many, his allegiances are unclear from one day to the next. Having begun in the ranks of the Haitian army (the FAD'H), his work has been mostly for the right-wing of the political spectrum. The FAD'H's raison d'être was to enforce the will of the tiny elite of wealthy Haitians who ruled the country.

To his credit, it does not appear that he was ever a member of the infamous Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH). In an attempt to prevent any return to a popular government, after the first successful coup of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, in 1991, FRAPH was formed. During the presidency of Rauol Cedras, from 1991 to 1994, thousands were murdered by the organization. Sadly, the leadership of FRAPH had a particularly close relationship with U. S. Intelligence, which had infiltrated it, in its early stages, at the cost of facilitating the efforts of an organization it knew to be a right-wing death squad.

When the army was disbanded, upon the return of Aristide to office, in 1994, Philippe was made the chief-of-police of the Delmas section of Port-Au-Prince. It is unclear, by whose influence the appointment was accomplished. It is widely reported that he had been flown to Ecuador, after the first Aristide coup, in 1991, where he was trained by U. S. Intelligence Special Forces, and that U. S. officials recommended him for the position. During the period of time that he is alleged to have received the training, he met and married Nathalie Philippe, a United States citizen, in Ecuador.

He is alleged to have been brutal in his effort to police the Delmas slums. The claim does not come to much by itself. Haiti is a violent country. The good guys only tend to be less brutal than the bad. He was later made assistant-chief of Cap Hatien: a key port city in the north of the country.

It was late in the year 2000 that Guy Philippe embarked upon the path that would make him a well-known figure on the Haitian political scene. Haitian authorities discovered a group of ex-military officers in the midst of planning a coup. Many among the group were arrested. Among the members of the coup that managed to escape was the assistant chief of police Guy Philippe. He probably escaped over the border into the Dominican Republic where he has a brother and where the Haitian opposition group Democratic Convergence maintains a Dominican branch office.

Philippe was back in the news late the next year. On December 17th, 2001, shots were fired into the presidential palace of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Security forces fired back and the perpetrators scattered. Neither President Aristide nor his family were harmed.

One of the perpetrators, Pierre Richardson, an ex-sergeant in the Haitian army, was captured as he tried to escape by car into the Dominican Republic. Under interrogation, he named his co-conspirators in what he himself admitted had been an attempted coup. Among the names he mentioned was that of Philippe. Also implicated, by Richardson, were: Antoine Saati, a millionaire U. S. citizen of Haitian descent; Albert Dorelien, at whose house the conspirators had allegedly gathered before the incident, and whose brother, Carl, a particularly virulent ex-member of FRAPH, was in hiding in the United States; a number of recently fired Haitian police chiefs; the U. S. military attaché in Haiti, Major Douyon; and the U. S. Chargé d'Affaires, Leslie Alexander. Richardson, Saati and a Col. Guy Francois were imprisoned awaiting trial. Warrants were issued for the other alleged participants not associated with the U. S. Embassy.

Antoine "Tony" Saati owns a candy manufacturing business headquartered in Miami, Florida. The U. S. Embassy, in Haiti, replied to his sister, Gina's, frantic calls with assurances that they would quietly work to have him released. They advised her not to speak with the media. After three weeks without results, she went public saying that Saati had been beaten and given cleaning fluid to drink. He was innocent, she asserted, and sure to die soon if not released to the U. S. authorities. Saati was free and back in Miami in a matter of days but Gina's impatience meant the story had made the transition from Haitian French to American English.

What didn't make it into the American press was the fact that Antoine is the brother of George Saati, the co-founder of the extreme right-wing Haitian party Movement for National Unity , known by its acronym MOUN, which is closely allied with the Democratic Convergence and the Group of 184 . George Saati also owns the Haitian manufacturing concern Simi Global Corporation and is wealthy in his own right. Antoine explained his arrest as a vendetta instigated by one Eddy Deeb against whom his brother was then taking civil action in the Haitian courts. It turns out that getting to know Guy Philippe will properly involve cameo appearances by many such figures as Antoine and George Saati.

The Democratic Convergence , the Group of 184 , and MOUN, for all intents and purposes, make up the opposition to popular government in Haiti. Their respective leaders - Evans Paul, Andre Apaid and George Saati - are the leadership of the opposition, with Apaid, an American citizen of Haitian descent, clearly having gained precedence over the others. These are each umbrella organizations which claim the membership of scores of Haitian non-government organizations (NGOs).

While some of the organizations under their umbrellas legitimately exist most are little more than registered names under which the opposition in the country can do business. The lists of such organizations under these umbrellas are intended to impress the uninitiated with the upswell of opposition, while, in fact, all of them taken together represent only a tiny minority of the population: the wealthy elites and their paid retinues, members of the leadership of the disbanded army, some few legitimate groups disaffected from Aristides Fanmil Lavalas party. Perhaps more to the point, they serve as entities by which U. S. taxpayers' money can be funneled to the political machine of the wealthy elite of Haiti via the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy and the International Republican Institute.

"The Opposition" as they have recently been called in the American press, is closely advised by the International Republican Institute, in the United States. The IRI is chaired by Senator John McKain and is largely managed by high-level neo-conservative Republicans, many actively serving in the Congress of the United States. It is a private think tank that receives its funding from the U. S. taxpayer via the National Endowment for Democracy. The de facto executive committee of "The Opposition" is the Haiti Democracy Project, also an American NGO largely managed by high-level neo-conservative Republicans

Albert Dorelien's brother, Carl, was living in Port St. Lucie, Florida, at the time of the December 17th coup attempt. Carl, a colonel in the Haitian military, had been a participant in the first coup against Aristide in 1991, and a member of the Haitian team that negotiated the agreement, with Jimmy Carter and General Colin Powell, during the Clinton Administration, to restore Aristide to the presidency. In between, he was a member of the senior leadership of FRAPH. In 1995 he was exiled, by Aristide, to Spain. Shortly thereafter, he was openly living the United States by virtue of a visa he claimed, in an interview with the Boston Globe, to have received, before departing Haiti, from a Lt. Col. Steven Lovasz of the U. S. Army.

In June of 1997, while living in Port St. Lucie, Carl Dorelien was convicted, in absentia, of crimes against humanity perpetrated under his FRAPH command. He was sentenced to life in prison at hard labor. On June 28, 1997, he held one of two winning tickets for the Florida Lottery drawing, at which time he began to receive installments of $159,000 per year for 20 years. Florida's Haitian community objected to a convicted violator of human rights in Haiti receiving the lottery prize. The Florida Lottery Commission replied that it was simply its job to disburse the money to the winners. The U. S. Government was silent on the matter.

Not long after the December 17 coup attempt, he was arrested for having overstayed his visa, and became an inmate at the Krome Detention Center, in Miami. On January 28, 2003, after an extended court process, during which he sent letters to John Ashcroft, and other key government officials, claiming, among other things, that he had done work for U. S. Intelligence, he was repatriated to Haiti, and incarcerated in the National Prison, in Port Au Prince. Dorelien had gone public, in an attempt to leverage his release from Krome, posting the letters and other "supporting documents" on an Internet site. The site has since been stripped, along with its cache pages.

The day after Guy Philippe's rebels released the "political prisoners" from the National Prison, American reporter Kevin Pina reported, to the Radio Pacifica program Flashpoints, that he had observed Carl Dorelien "eating a cheese and ham omelet [on the patio of] the Hotel Montana" in Port Au Prince.

As for Philippe himself, he arrived by commercial airline in Quito, Ecuador, on December 18th, after a stopover in Panama. At 2:40 p.m., on December 25, he and his wife arrived by commercial airline in Santo Domingo, capitol city of the Dominican Republic. He was immediately recognized and his presence reported to the authorities. In a highly unusual move, General Fernando Cruz Mendez, director of the Dominican Republic's National Investigative unit, chose to proceed to the airport to arrest Philippe personally. The prisoner mysteriously escaped immediately after being taken into custody by Mendez.

President Hipolito Mejias, of the Dominican Republic, declared that the country would be a laughing stock if it did not recover Philippe. A manhunt was launched. He was captured, again, on the 27th, "at the house of a friend," in the town of Bonao, about 40 miles north of the capitol. There being no extradition treaty between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, he was allowed to remain at large until arrangements could be made to extradite him to Ecuador or Panama. In the end, he remained free inside the Dominican Republic, reportedly living in posh hotels and eating in the finest restaurants although he had no ascertainable means of support.

On January 12, 2002, President Aristide granted an interview to the Listin Diario, a Dominican newspaper. In it he confirmed a list of the persons then in the Dominican Republic that Haiti wished extradited for trial in the matter of the December 17 coup attempt. The list includes: Guy Philippe; Joseph Bagidi, an ex-police chief; Erar Abraham Goulos; George Saati, the brother of Antoine Saati; Guy Francois, now referred to as a Haitian businessman living in Santiago, Chile; and Paul Arcelen, the representative of the Democratic Convergence in the Dominican Republic.

Throughout 2002 there seems to have been little opportunity for adventurers of the armed sort and little is known about the activities of Philippe. The Opposition had created several new front groups to be self-appointed "official observers" of the 2000 election and had all too predictably discovered a range of irregularities. Through their American handlers they had managed to have their "findings" put before the Organization of American States (OAS). The matter was being hashed out during 2002 and a strategy being unfolded.

The Opposition had been assisted by their American handlers in assembling a media machine, as well. Talk radio hosts, newspapers and web-sites had emblazoned the news that "official observers" had declared the elections corrupt and would continue to repeat the story until the coup of February 2004. Members of the IRI and the HDP, and unaffiliated journalists simply too lazy to ascertain the truth of the matter, transferred the claims into the U. S. media as established fact. The Rush Limbaugh school of journalism was actively molding American public opinion in preparation for the time it would be called upon to welcome the ouster of the thug and tyrant Aristide.

The OAS sought to mediate - its point man being U.S. Assistant Secretary General, Luigi Einaudi - and adopted a resolution in which a Provisional Electoral Council was established, upon which both the massively popular government and the tiny combined opposition would serve. Both would have to sign-off in order for elections to proceed. From that point forward, The Opposition refused to sign-off on any election so long as Aristide remained president. At the time of the February 2004 coup, there were many elective offices vacant in the country. Aristide was blamed personally for the resulting failures of government services, for the failure to hold elections and for trying to rule as a dictator. The U.S. media dutifully reported the allegations without providing context.

On May 7, 2003, the hydro-power plant at Peligre, in Haiti's Central Plateau region, was attacked. Two power plant operators were killed and the plant set on fire. The city of Port Au Prince and much of the rest of the country lost power. The perpetrators escaped across the plateau and the Dominican border, wounding two police officers during the ensuing chase. The plateau had recently become a violent place. The attacks always ended in a race to the Dominican border.

As it turns out, the day before, on May 6, Guy Philippe and a group of Haitians, were arrested in the Dominican town of Dajabon, just over the border from the Central Plateau region. The group included: Paul Arcelin, the representative of the Democratic Convergence in the Dominican Republic; Bonivel Alcegard, a Port Au Prince banker; Presler Toussaint, an ex-inspecteur at the Haitian police academy; and Hans Jermain, an ex-member of the Haitian military. The group was reportedly arrested on suspicion of plotting against the Haitian government. They were reportedly held overnight, while the Peligre incident occurred, and were released the next morning for lack of evidence. Philippe told the press that they had merely met for an innocent reunion of old friends.

On May 9, 2003, an American missionary, James Glenn White, was arrested in Gonaives. According to the Haitian spokesman, Mario Dupuy, he was charged with receiving a shipment of assault rifles, grenade launchers, ammunition and other military equipment. According to White, he was arrested for receiving shipment of an AR-15 sport rifle, and a set of fatigues reading "God's Army," as a favor to a friend. According to everyone, the items arrived packaged inside a refrigerator. American Christians of every persuasion prayed for White's liberation from the horrifying conditions of the prison of that tyrant Aristide. White was fined $1000 and deported.

Throughout the summer, some 25 to 50 people would be killed in attacks in the Central Plateau region. On July 25, a delegation from the Haitian Interior Ministry attended a ceremony near the Dominican border. The delegation was ambushed as it left to return to Port Au Prince. Four were killed and one seriously wounded, according to the Associated Press. On July 31, Victor Beniot and Paul Denis, spokesman, and leaders, of the Democratic Convergence , announced that "All Convergence members and supporters must rally to overthrow the constitutional authorities."

In the months that followed, The Opposition organized protest marches in every corner of the country. The marches were designed to be a provocative as possible. Counter marchers and/or bystanders were taunted - often by acts of violence. When the police arrived to intervene, the Opposition media machine announced that Aristide had brutally put down demonstrations against his government. It was yet another indication that he had become a dictator. For all of its efforts, however, The Opposition still could not begin to approach Aristide's popularity with the electorate.

In early February, another demonstration was organized in Gonaives. It was quite small and led by a former FRAPH enforcer. A battle ensued. Blood was shed. On February 5, Guy Philippe arrived with a band of some 300 "patriots," armed with M-16s and grenade launchers, to restore the peace. By some reports, they arrived in light-armored personnel carriers and wearing spiffy new fatigues. Some wore body armor. After "liberating" Gonaives from that tyrant Aristide, they went on to "liberate" the north of the country.

President Aristide appealed to the U.S. government and the international community to come to the rescue of the constitutional government of Haiti. Aristide having, by all accounts, descended to a thug and a tyrant, the Bush administration could find no enthusiasm for dispatching military aid. They did, however, provide a flight out of the country and the hemisphere. Once Aristide was gone, U.S. troops were sent to keep the peace and to protect American interests. Philippe and his men proceeded to Port Au Prince where they spent several "free days" terrorizing and killing members and supporters of Aristides Fanmil Lavalas party and destroying their resources.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gilbert Wesley Purdy's work in poetry, prose and translation, has appeared in many journals, paper and electronic, including: Jacket Magazine (Australia); Poetry International (San Diego State University); Grand Street; SLANT (University of Central Arkansas); Orbis (UK); XS; Eclectica; and The Danforth Review (Can.). His work in journalism has appeared in The Schenectady Gazette, The Source (Albany, N.Y.) and the Eye on Saratoga. Query to gwpurdy@yahoo.com.
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Another fraudulent election in Haiti




Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio Executive Producer Dennis Bernstein discusses Haiti's November 20, 2016 elections and allegations of election fraud with Senior Producer Kevin Pina and Radio Soleil Director Rico Dupuy.

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FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN HAITI!




PRESS RELEASE…PRESS RELEASE…PRESS RELEASE…PRESS RELEASE…

From: Haiti Action Committee

Contact: David Welsh, (510) 847-8657


FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS IN HAITI!   ONE PERSON ONE VOTE.
NO TO STOLEN ELECTIONS IN HAITI.

Haiti’s Presidential election, postponed from the scheduled date of Oct. 9th due to Hurricane Mathew, is now scheduled for November 20th, 2016.  There can be no recovery unless there is a government in place that truly represents the people.  The lack of such a government is why there was no recovery from the 2010 earthquake and why there must now be free and fair elections in which the people's voice is heard. If hurricane relief is separated from that, recovery will fail.

The Haitian grassroots have worked very hard for over a year, risking their lives to demand free and fair elections. As a result of their pressure, the 2015 electoral results were declared fraudulent. But  there is concern that those who do not want to see free and fair elections are putting in place an apparatus of violence and intimidation, denying voters their electoral cards, and instituting sudden changes of polling stations to suppress the popular vote, steal ballots, change the vote count, and influence “election observers”.

The grassroots majority is demanding:

1) Free and fair elections.

2) No US/Canada/France/UN interference in the right of           Haitians – one person one vote

3) Stop US financing and other support for the terror campaign by a minority elite against the impoverished majority who are fighting for democracy in Haiti.
     
4) The new Haitian President must be installed by Feb 7th, 2017, in keeping with the Haitian Constitution.
     
5) Fair and unbiased reporting by the international press.

Fanmi Lavalas, the political party and movement headed by Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is running a presidential candidate for the first time since the US-backed coup removed President Aristide from power in 2004 and excluded Lavalas from elections. Dr. Maryse Narcisse has been endorsed by President Aristide and they are campaigning together across the country, meeting huge enthusiastic crowds.  Dr. Narcisse could become the first woman elected president of Haiti and the first since President Aristide to be chosen by and speak for the impoverished majority.  She has traveled as part of Karavan Solidarite Fanmi Lavalas to areas hardest hit  by the hurricane, assessing damage and bringing food, medical care, building supplies, drinking water and water treatment to prevent cholera, which was brought to Haiti by UN forces and has been spread by flood waters.

The Haitian people, who mobilized for months last year, risking their lives to overturn rigged election results, succeeded in winning this new election round.  They are determined that their votes will count this time and that every vote will be counted.  After the vote, they will mobilize again to defend their ballot from interference.

With the election rescheduled, people are protesting the end-of-January date for a run-off election.  They say it would not allow sufficient time to install the new President by the Feb 7th date set by the Haitian Constitution, and they are demanding that the Feb 7th Constitutional deadline be met. The electoral council (CEP) is charged with organizing the elections, but they have a history of overseeing the massive fraud that has marred recent elections.  There is also concern that if the CEP results are, once again, fraudulent, teams of “observers” headed by the OAS and other international bodies and their local counterparts will declare the results “legitimate” despite evidence pointing to the opposite.

The information below is gathered from people on the ground in Haiti:

1) The CEP is headed by Leopold Berlanger, a leading figure of the 2004 US-backed coup against democratically elected President Jean Bertrand Aristide.

2) The main 2004 coup leader and wealthy sweatshop owner, Andy Apaid, plays a central role as lead consultant in the CEP tabulation center where the votes will be counted and the results published.

3) The CEP under Berlanger's leadership has not implemented a number of recommendations of the Electoral Verification Commission, which was established in response to the massive fraud in last year’s elections. The CEP has allowed fraudulent parliamentary results to stand, favoring supporters of outgoing President Michel Martelly who was imposed by the US.

4) The CEP insists on quarantining a candidate's votes from a precinct where this candidate obtains 200+ out of a total of 550 ballots. Under the pretext of preventing fraud, perfectly valid ballots are eliminated from the count because a popular candidate is receiving “too many” votes. Officials of Fanmi Lavalas have been protesting this measure as it arbitrarily discards valid ballots in precincts that have large turnouts in favor of their candidates.  Quarantined or provisional ballots end up not being counted and are likely to be destroyed.

5) A leading figure of the 2004 coup, Rosny Desroches, is in charge of the officially-designated election observer teams of 1,500 individuals.  The media reports that funding for the observer teams came through the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with International Foundation for Electoral Services (IFES).  While the International Republican Institute (IRI) does not have offices in Haiti, it operates from the Dominican Republic through a number of existing organizations in Haiti.  Both NDI and IRI are part of the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy; the IRI was implicated in the 2004 coup and are known for funding interference, destabilization and other efforts to influence elections to impose US foreign and economic policies, including regime change.

6) It has been reported that the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH) is organizing an election observer team of 200 people.  NOAH has worked closely with the Organization of American States (OAS) and the US State Department, both of which have been ardent supporters of fraudulent elections in Haiti.

7) The OAS, which is sending a team of observers for the November 20th election, has been thoroughly discredited in Haiti for its recent support of the massive fraud orchestrated by the CEP in 2015.   The OAS record of support for fraudulent elections in Haiti includes its intrusive role in the 2010-11 elections that resulted in Martelly being imposed as president.

The people of Haiti continue to mobilize for elections that are truly free and fair, free from ballot dumping and other blatant fraud which characterized the 2015 elections. The Haitian people are demanding:  One person, one vote.  Tout moun se moun.  Every person counts.

sent by Haiti Action Committee
www.haitisolidarity.net and on FACEBOOK
@HaitiAction1
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HIP Flashback: Mud Cookie Economics in Haiti

A girl eats a mud cookie in Cite Soleil to stave off hunger. The recipe on the ground is one part dirt, one part shortening and half a cup of water. The recipe internationally is one part charity, one part neo-liberal Reaganomics and one part dependence. all photos: ©2008 Jean Ristil

Originally published February 2008

By Kevin Pina

Poor Haiti, the nation they would have us believe is close to a failed state, needs our help once again.

A recent AP article shook charitable institutions to their core by revealing that Haitians are eating cookies made of mud to fill their bellies. After more than an estimated 2 billion dollars of international aid to date, not including all the spiritually challenged Jesus folk who invested a lot more, Haitians still have to live off mud cookies made of dirt to survive. What a realization!

Now comes the deluge of charities trying to do for the Haitian people what they presumably cannot do for themselves while never asking what happened to all that aid money. Some do it for humanity while others do it for Jesus and all the while it builds more dependency not less in Haiti.

Helping Haitians for the Christians is a helpless exercise as they use the poor to reassure themselves of their own relationship to HIM. For the humanitarians it’s to stave off a sense of helplessness as children with bloated bellies and blondish hair go to bed hungry for more than food each night. Their parents need work for real wages and yet their benefactors just don’t seem to get it.

I suppose knowing that Haitians are dependent on you is reassuring and adds purpose to otherwise dull lives in the first world. It certainly seems preferable to accepting that only political independence that allows resistance to Haiti’s wealthy few and forces them to share the spoils is the only answer to poverty. What a terrifying thought. And Jesus was killed for less.


Two Haitian women sifting the clay for té

Haitians have always been told that the reason they go to bed hungry is their own fault. No matter how many embargoes have been imposed, since 1804 and continuing through to 2001, it remains THEIR fault. Despite all the poverty and blame they still manage to cling to an indomitable faith that tomorrow will be better for their children. Resiliency is a fundamental part of the Haitian character to be admired.

Should we expect less from a proud nation of former slaves that defeated Napoleon’s armies only to be forced backward by their slave-holding neighbor to the north? Remember that when Haiti won its independence, as the world’s first black republic, the US was still a country whose development depended upon human chattel kidnapped from Africa.

Té drying on the rooftop of Haiti's old prison for political prisoners during the Duvalier regime

Haitians wear their history on their chests like many of their would-be saviors wear bleeding hearts on their sleeves. The real irony is that while Haitians suffer from the malady of having had their house turned upside down by a coup financed by foreigners in 2004, those same foreigners blame them for not being able to manage their own affairs. It is the perfect self-fulfilling prophecy and a boon to the fundraisers of charitable institutions all over the world.

Haiti has become the holy grail of fundraising for fashionable charitable causes in the so-called third world. Yet Haiti has shown that you can throw as many fundraisers with dog food, marathons and bake sales as possible and nothing will change if the root causes of poverty remain untouched.

Just ask Wyclef Jean and his Yele Haiti Foundation what happened to all the US government funding they received and whether it has stemmed the onslaught of poverty in Haiti. The latter got millions from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to create jobs for Haitians sweeping streets and performing menial jobs throughout the capital. It was the perfect US government-financed charity despite the cover of Wyclef’s high profile Hollywood friends who kicked in a little here and there to make it look good. And yet those pesky poor in Cite Soleil are still eating mud cookies. Has anyone, especially Wyclef, really bothered to ask why? I wonder when was the last time Wyclef or someone like George Clooney ate a mud cookie to keep their belly from grumbling?

Haitian boy watches baby sister while mom works

The truth is that misery and poverty outpace official aid and charitable giving in Haiti. The non-governmental agencies invited to help by the UN continue to toil despite statistics that show they receive 45% of foreign aid to Haiti and 15% of that returns to their respective donor countries. To top it off add the ‘hazard pay’ and expense accounts that make the average salary of the head of an NGO in Haiti $60,000 per year compared to the average citizen who earns less than $250 annually. Nothing like setting the right example for people forced to eat dirt as you drive to your office in an air-conditioned SUV.

I know of a small progressive NGO in Haiti that promises to recycle human waste from the poor to use as agricultural fertilizer. What a great idea except that if Haitians aren’t eating anything more than dirt there can’t be much value to the end product. I don’t want to pick on them but the project serves as a metaphor for how the ‘international community’ is more concerned with what exits Haitian extremities than what enters their bodies for sustenance.

The truth is that while the poor suffer through the current nation building exercise by the UN that forces them to resort to eating dirt, Haiti’s rich are getting richer. Ask the wealthy families like Bigio, Mev, Brandt and the rest of Haiti’s wealthy elite whether they have enough to eat. They were already fantastically wealthy by Haitian standards and have grown more so since Aristide’s ouster in 2004.

All of this has been imposed by the UN who have served as a proxy for the Bush administration’s concept of working with the private sector as the only avenue for helping the poor in Haiti. UN development experts ask us to believe that creating more business opportunities for Haiti’s wealthiest families will result in a demonstrable windfall for the poor. It’s the new neo-liberal agenda that incorporates the old Reaganomics trickle-down theory being instituted by the UN in Haiti. A new name for it might be appropriate in the Haitian context, Mud Cookie economics.

It’s becoming more than obvious by now that this approach isn’t working and what Haiti really needs is a level economic playing field to challenge the disparity between the haves and have-nots. The aforementioned wealthy families have proven over time to be unreliable providers and partners to Haiti’s poor majority. They are in fact predatory monopolists controlling markets and not free market capitalists competing on a level playing field in Haiti. No amount of investment by the international community or charity will alter that fact. This is the real message behind the recipe for mud cookies the poor are forced to eat in Cite Soleil today.

Behind the wall workers prepare té

In today’s Haiti it’s all about supporting business and the private sector while abandoning the rest of the population to be cared for by charities. That’s what Bush, the UN and the cadres of economic experts have left Haitians with after all is said and done. It clearly favors those who already have the capital to invest while increasing dependency on foreign largess for the rest. It seems clear enough that until the monopolist hold by a few families on the Haitian economy is addressed, we can expect to hear more about mud cookies in the future.

I wouldn’t hold my breath though; the last president to even dare to raise this question remains in exile. Aristide was ousted in 2004 and his movement that gave the poor a sense of controlling their own destiny was brutally savaged. Poverty without real sovereignty and the ability of Haitians to change this reality seems preferable to poverty with dignity for those who continue to benefit from it.








Kevin Pina is the founding editor of the Haiti Information Project (HIP)
The Haiti Information Project (HIP) is a non-profit alternative news service providing coverage and analysis of breaking developments in Haiti. Winner of the CENSORED 2008 REAL NEWS AWARD for Outstanding Investigative Journalism
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HIP Flashback - Remembering Haiti's Father Jean-Marie Vincent

Remembering a Champion of the Poor in Haiti

Father Jean-Marie Vincent.
Photograph courtesy of the Fondation Jean-Marie Vincent

by Kevin Pina

Originally published  September 16th, 2009

The international community and the Rene Preval administration recently ignored the anniversary of the brutal assassination of Father Jean-Marie Vincent in Haiti once again contributing to the perception of two distinct Haitian realities. On one hand there exists the Haiti of the wealthy elite, the UN, foreign profiteers, NGOs, diplomats, and their clients in the Preval government. On the other hand there is the Haiti of the majority of the poor who are trapped in the grind of constant poverty with an experience, history and memory uniquely their own.

Haiti’s poor remembered the anniversary of the assassination of Father Jean-Marie Vincent on August 28, 1994 in small solemn ceremonies at his grave site in Port au Prince and the small town of Jean Rabel in northwest Haiti where he founded a peasant rights organization Tet Kole Ti Peyizan. They remembered him for challenging Haiti’s wealthy elite by starting literacy projects and planning an alternative bank dedicated to the poor. They remembered his courage and the beatings he took at the hands of dictators for his incessant call that Haiti’s dispossessed had every right to take control of the destiny of the nation. While members of Haiti’s moneyed class looked down upon the poor illiterate souls they ruled through corruption and violence, Vincent made it clear that the poor were not victims and they harbored a strength and wisdom that the rich would never allow themselves to understand. Vincent once said, “While the rich are concerned with going to heaven the poor are concerned with feeding themselves. We must tend to the needs of the poor to feed themselves before we can talk about the spiritual salvation of those who can already eat.”

In the other Haiti, the anniversary of Vincent’s assassination was overshadowed by all the hoopla of rehabilitating Reagan’s trickle-down economic theory in the form of bringing Haiti back into the camp of the neoliberal-sweatshop development model. The media-hype of a “new Haiti” being born from the promise of new sweatshops and a recent attempt to raise the minimum wage to a paltry $3.73 per day from a scandalous $1.75 per day, once again served to hide the simmering reality of the poor lurking beneath the surface in this island nation of 9 million inhabitants.

Father Jean-Marie Vincent fought against what has now become the reality of the US/UN sweatshop development model being imposed upon Haiti today. This solution to Haiti’s economic woes rewards the predatory and monopolistic wealthy elite at the expense of the masses of the poor in Haiti and has long been referred to as the “Plan Lanmò” or the Death Plan. Father Jean-Marie Vincent opposed this development model when Ronald Reagan first foisted it upon the Haitian masses in the 80s when it was called the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) and he would have certainly been vocal in opposing its recycling today. Pretending that 70% of Haiti’s population are not still considered peasants who live in the countryside and that attracting them to low paid jobs in the capital would not exacerbate the already meager human resources in Port au Prince was a major factor of his opposition to the sweatshop development model.

Fifteen years ago, Father Jean-Marie Vincent was felled in a hail of bullets in front of his rectory at Montfortain in the Port au Prince neighborhood of Christ-Roi. Witnesses described two vehicles carrying members of Haiti’s dreaded Anti-Gang Unit of the Haitian army who opened fire on his vehicle. He was reportedly still alive as the Haitian army purposely led the ambulance slowly to the hospital allowing him to bleed to death before he could reach doctors. His death was slow and torturous only fitting to the profile of the accused such as Capt. Jackson Joanis, Lt. Youri Latortue, and Sgt. Jodel Chamblain all leading members of the Anti-Gang Unit of the Haitian army at the time of his assassination in 1994.

Joanis and Chamblain were judged guilty in absentia in 1995 for the assassination of Antoine Izmery, an Aristide supporter and businessman condemned by his own class as a traitor. Izmery and Vincent were counted among the victims of the Cedras regime that the US State Department once described as “one of the world’s worst human rights violators.” Joanis and Chamblain were ultimately released under the Latortue regime installed by the Bush administration in 2004 after a sham trial that Amnesty International called an “insult to justice.” They were also absolved in the murder of Father Jean-Marie Vincent.

Youri Latortue, a blood relative and security chief for the US-installed Prime Minister Gerard Latortue in 2004, is now the powerful head of the Haitian parliament’s Justice and Security Commission. He was also accused of complicity in Vincent’s assassination. According to a report released by a delegation of the Center for the Study of Human Rights in 2004, “A former high-ranking police official from the USGPN (palace security), Edouard Guerriere…claims that Youri Latortue participated in the 1994 murder of catholic priest Jean-Marie Vincent (as did eyewitnesses in 1995), and that he assisted in the 1993 murder of democracy activist Antoine Izmery. From 1991 to 1993, Latortue was an officer in FADH’s [Haitian army] Anti-Gang Unit, the army’s most notorious unit for human rights violations.”

The administration of former president Bill Clinton, who current serves as UN Special Envoy to Haiti while former First Lady Hillary Clinton is Secretary of State for the Obama administration, instructed the CIA and the State Department to conduct an independent investigation into the assassination of Father Jean-Marie Vincent and supporters of president Aristide in 1994. Leon Panetta, who currently heads the CIA was Clinton’s Chief of Staff at the time the investigation was commissioned by the Office of the President. Their spokesman at the time, Roger Shattuck, assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs referred to their conclusions in a press conference on Sept. 13, 1994 when he stated unequivocally, “The gunman who killed Father Jean-Marie Vincent, an Aristide ally, on August 28 was connected to the [Cedras] regime.” Yet none of the details of the investigation have ever been made public to this day.

In the end, what is clear is that UN Special Envoy to Haiti Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and CIA chief Leon Panetta now hold the power under the Obama administration to provide the truth behind the assassination of Father Jean-Marie Vincent. They are now in a position to demand that the files of the CIA and the State Department be re-opened. Unfortunately, whether they have the political will to do so may be like much everything else going on in Haiti today. Justice is inconvenient in their “new Haiti” if it gets in the way of “the country moving forward.” Unfortunately for them, history has proven that it is a foundation of sand to build a new future based on lies and impunity in a country like Haiti whose people have shown time and time again they have a long memory.

While providing the truth about Vincent’s assassination may be inconvenient for those who believe they currently hold the destiny of Haiti in their hands, they should understand more than others that the poor will never forget the legacy of Father Jean-Marie Vincent. They will always remember his selfless example of courage and expressions of love for them because he lived, worked and died in their Haiti.
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Eleventh Anniversary of Cite Soleil Massacre by UN forces in Haiti




Eleven years ago on July 6, 2005 United Nations "peacekeeping" forces in Haiti (MINUSTAH, the United Nations Stabilization Mission for Haiti) raided the slum of Cite Soleil. What happened during the raid was disputed, until the following documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

The State Department's reviewers searched the Central Foreign Policy Records, uncovering ten documents. One document was released in full, six documents were released with excisions, and three documents were withheld in their entirety. The released documents appear below.

The Document Collection
"Haiti: Dread Wilme Killed; HNP More Active." Cable from US Embassy Port au Prince to State Department Headquarters. July 6, 2005. Cable Number: Port au Prince 001796. Confidential. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-081) to Keith Yearman.
Douglas M. Griffiths, the number two in the Embassy, provided one of the earliest reports on the raid. "MINUSTAH launched an operation into the Bois Neuf area of Cite Soleil, reportedly killing gang leader Dread Wilme and an unspecified number of his associates. [EXCISED]. This will temporary knock the gangs off their feet, but any number of gang leaders can rise to fill the vacuum left by Wilme's death."
Perhaps not knowing the severity of the raid, Griffiths encouraged further activity. "MINUSTAH needs to keep up the pressure with continuous small and medium sized operations."
"Haiti Post-Dread Wilme: MINUSTAH Takes off the Pressure." Cable from US Embassy Port au Prince to State Department Headquarters. July 12, 2005. Cable Number: Port au Prince 001829. Confidential. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-081) to Keith Yearman.
Terming the attack on Wilme a "surgical strike," Griffiths is apparently reporting on a conversation with MINUSTAH commanders. "MINUSTAH has effectively abandoned the long-delayed assault of Cite Soleil...the surgical strike on Dread Wilme and his headquarters has put the gangs on the defensive and brought them to the negotiating table."
"MINUSTAH's passivity is frustrating," noted Griffiths. Yet he also admitted "MINUSTAH was being accused of killing more than twenty women and children." His source found the statistics "credible."
"Haiti: MINUSTAH/DPKO on Reports on Excessive Civilian Casualties." Cable from the US Permanent Mission to the United Nations to State Department Headquarters. July 20, 2005. Cable Number: USUN 001642. Confidential. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-081) to Keith Yearman.
The State Department's mission to the United Nations was meeting with representatives of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) to discuss the situation in Cite Soleil. "In a conversation with USUN [political officer] on July 18, [the source] described the situation in Cite Soleil as very dangerous, and that MINUSTAH's soldiers went into the area on July 6 for only 5 to 6 minutes to complete the operation...[the source] lamented press reports citing 50-60 deaths following the raid, saying that neither MINUSTAH nor DPKO has information that supports the press reports."
Also, "the July 6 MINUSTAH operation that killed gang leader Dread Wilme was meant to be a surgical operation to detain him...the aim was not to kill Wilme or his supporters."
"Human Rights Groups Dispute Civilian Casualty Numbers from July 6 MINUSTAH Raid."Cable from US Embassy Port au Prince to State Department Headquarters. July 26, 2005. Cable Number: Port au Prince 001919. Confidential. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-081) to Keith Yearman.
MINUSTAH's After Action Report offered a sharp contradiction to what the Department of Peacekeeping Operations had been reporting. In this cable from Ambassador James Foley, "MINUSTAH's after action report stated that the firefight lasted over seven hours during which time their forces expended over 22,000 rounds of ammunition and received heavy fire in return." A [source within] MINUSTAH "acknowledged that, given the flimsy construction of homes in Cite Soleil and the large quantity of ammunition expended, it is likely that rounds penetrated many buildings, striking unintended targets. As the operation was a raid, MINUSTAH did not remain in the area to do an assessment of civilian or gang member casualties..."
It is also noteworthy the Brazilian commander of MINUSTAH, General Heleno, told a San Francsico-based labor and human rights delegation that a Jordanian battalion led the operation. "MINUSTAH's after action report states that the Jordanians played only a minor role, providing perimeter security and firing approximately five percent of the rounds. It remains unclear how aggressive MINUSTAH was, though 22,000 rounds is a large amount of ammunition to have killed only six people."
"Haiti: Update in Security Council on Haiti." Cable from the US Permanent Mission to the United Nations to State Department Headquarters. July 28, 2005. Cable Number: USUN 001716. Unclassified. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-081) to Keith Yearman.
The State Department's number two in New York, Anne Patterson, reports on a briefing by the Undersecretary of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. "440 troops were directly involved in the July 6 raid that killed Dread Wilme, and an additional 1000 secured the perimeter area.
"Brazil Shows Backbone in Bel Air." Cable from US Embassy Port au Prince to State Department Headquarters. August 1, 2005. Cable Number: Port au Prince 001964. Confidential. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-081) to Keith Yearman.
Ambassador James Foley praises Brazilian soldiers, writing "The security situation in the capital has clearly improved thanks to agressive incursions in Bel Air [a Port au Prince neighborhood] and the July 6 raid against Dread Wilme in Cite Soleil."
"Post has congratulated MINUSTAH and the Brazilian Battalion for the remarkable success achieved in Bel Air in recent weeks."
"UN Shifts Focus From Disarmament to Violence Reduction." Cable from US Embassy Port au Prince to State Department Headquarters. August 10, 2005. Cable Number: Port au Prince 002032. Confidential. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-081) to Keith Yearman.
A source meeting with Embassy personnel suggested "the death of Dread Wilme July 6 and the pacification of Bel Air in this summer opened a door of opportunity into the slums.
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Murder charges dropped against Haitian man following "absurd" trial in France


Flashpoints Special report by Kevin Pina.

In an exclusive interview Pina speaks with Thomas Heinz in Paris, France, the attorney for Haitian citizen Berthony Jolicouer aka Amaral Dulona.


PLAY AUDIO

Duclona was extradited to France for trial after being accused of killing a French citizen. many saw the trial as politicized after the French government accused him of being a gang leader carrying out a series of murders on the orders of former president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Duclona was found not guilty of all charges after his lawyers proved the evidence against him in the case was false.






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Haiti on Martin Luther King Day





 "We will not obey"



HIP Editorial: Haiti on Martin Luther King Day

By Nathan Acaau

In 2010, three days before Martin Luther King Day, a day commemorating a man who symbolizes struggles for economic and social justice in the US, Haitians experienced a violent earthquake. Reflexes of empathy and compassion prompted people the world over to open their heart in spontaneous gestures of solidarity. This well intentioned momentum was quickly harnessed by political forces intent on controlling the country. These forces took advantage of a temporary state of helplessness and impaired logic to hijack both the political process and the reconstruction funds. In the name of the hundreds of thousands who died that day; in the name of the thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice in struggles for social and economic justice in the US, South Africa... and throughout the world, we respectfully bow our heads and reflect on one of the struggles’ common threads: voter suppression.

One of the tools used to subvert the political system in Haiti, voter suppression, strikes a note in African-American populations especially, but also in the overall population. Voter suppression by any means necessary: violence, legal technicalities, or theft, anything that will yield the desired results. Hot war or low intensity warfare, what ever is needed to keep the population in fear. Magical distractions or blatant lies repeated loud and often, identifying the fascist genesis of its practitioners, is another technique. All becomes transparent in a land of contrast such as Haiti. So Haiti is the perfect scene to expose the obscene. Hallowed ground to some, desecrated land to others, but the difference is in the conclusion, not in a confusion of the spectacle.

If in the 1860’s the KKK was allowed to define a system of exclusion rooted at first in sheer violence and later in laws, it was thanks to the US government’s refusal to see. If in Haiti a local mafia is allowed to define a system of exclusion rooted in violence and later in laws, it is thanks to US government’s active participation. It is ironic that a US president, son of an African, sends modern day Grand Wizards in lieu of diplomats to represent his government. They wear suits or fashionable dresses instead of the white robe, but the apparent intent is the same: terrorize the Haitian population into submission!

As we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday, the US President, son of an African, will tell us stories about Selma. He will glorify the character of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for the right to vote, while his special envoys park plane loads of Marines on the Port-au-Prince airport tarmac and distribute bribes to sacrifice the vote. In Selma, police dogs would chew on limbs causing two kinds of pain: physical and mental. Today in Haiti, Martelly’s goons, the BOID Corp, in French and Kreyol pronounced Corp Boy or cowboy, inflicted the same two kinds of pain, mental and physical, while the people chanted: “We’ll get even come election day.”

The world knows what happened on election days, August 9 and October 25, 2015, in Haiti. Armed individuals terrorized people, keeping them away while stuffing the ballot box. The UN forces, the police, and the electoral authorities stood by, watched and reportedly participated in the disorder. Worse, they claimed, along with some foreign observers, that these were acceptable irregularities, based on the rationale that a lot of money was spent on these elections. The injustice is blatant and repulsive, yet it is not as shocking as the deeper implications. What happens to the rule of law when laws are ignored? What happens to populations denied the opportunity to choose their political representatives? What happens to young people when they have no hope to change the system through peaceful means?

One must conclude that if it does not yet exist, the international community is fomenting a war in Haiti. When we look at the OAS sponsored reconstruction of the oppressive army; when we witness the orchestrated prison escapes of criminals, as part of a denounced plan to create an insecure environment not conducive to electoral campaigns; when we consider that kidnappers caught red-handed have been released to inflict pain on the population, we can only conclude that he who supports such deeds is an accomplice. There still remains the question of the why, but Haiti’s immeasurable subterranean wealth will have to be discussed in another context. Sadly though, the so-called peace promoting organizations of this world are proving to be unable to promote peace. Instead, at least in Haiti, they seem to be very effective at promoting wars.

The Mafia state must be stopped in Haiti, and Haitians will stop it. The question which remains to be answered: which side of the war to uproot the Mafia will the US and the rest of the international community take?

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is revered today, because his movement for economic and social justice was nurtured by the many who stood in solidarity. In spite of countless acts of barbarism perpetrated by a state apparatus hijacked by an international Mafia, the young people of Haiti offer themselves in holocaust. As historically shown, the sacrifices of the few yield democracy and justice only when nurtured by the solidarity of the many.



Nathan Acaau is a Haitian community activist living in exile in the Caribbean.


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"Nou pap obeyi" 
 We will not obey!! 

On MLK Day 2016, do you have the courage to support civil 
disobedience in Haiti and stand in solidarity with her people as they 
fight for voting rights, democracy and social justice?
 
Black Lives Matter – From Haiti to the Bay

Pre-March protest in solidarity with the fighting people of Haiti


Monday, Jan. 18 – 10:00 a.m. - Join Haiti Action Committee March Contingent
Federal Building – 1301 Clay Street, Oakland (12th St. BART)
Drummers …. Report from Haiti – Pierre Labossiere
Join Martin Luther King March – 11:00 a.m.-Oscar Grant Plaza
 



Haiti is in the streets almost every day – as tens of thousands turn out to demand that the stolen 2015 election be thrown out. The mass movement is telling the U.S./U.N. occupiers: “Don’t Steal Our Votes!” The people are demanding: “Reclaim Haiti’s sovereignty! No more foreign occupation and control!”

Haiti’s struggle is our struggle. It’s now 50 years since the U.S. Voting Rights Act, but it’s been rolled back to systematically deny Black people the right to vote – again. In Haiti the 2015 elections were plagued by endless and well-documented ballot stuffing, vote buying, armed coercion, naked vote rigging – yet the U.S. ambassador gave his “OK” to the faked election results. In effect, whether it’s here or in Haiti, the U.S. rulers are deliberately interfering with the people’s right to freely choose the representatives that they want.

Haiti’s fight is our fight. Just as we in the Bay Area are fighting against police murder of Black people, so it is in Haiti. The State Dep’t wants to suppress the surging popular movement – using police terror against the people. During the 2015 elections, special US-financed police units sprayed machine gun fire into working-class neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince and Arcahaie to suppress the vote, killing scores of people.

The U.S. State Department is the main actor trying to push through the fraudulent elections – maneuvering to exclude Haiti’s most popular political party – Lavalas – from any role in the next government. The U.S. wants to keep in power corrupt puppets who are willing to give away Haiti’s abundant mineral resources … privatize the mines and the electric company … and keep factory wages at US$3/day – continuing a long tradition of the U.S. and France stealing the wealth and the labor of the Haitian people.

Lighting the fires of struggle – Many have commented that the Haitian people, in their vast majority, are very aware of their history – proud inheritors of the Revolution of 1791-1804, when Haiti defeated the army of Napoleon, ended plantation slavery and declared independence from France. “It’s on every lip,” said one Lavalas activist. “People are saying that in rejecting this stolen election, we are lighting the fires of struggle, continuing the fight for equality and sovereignty that our ancestors fought for 200 years ago.”
                 
For more information, connect with Haiti Action Committee: www.haitisolidarity.net     @HaitiAction1  and on Facebook    510 483 7481
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Haiti's "Long March 4 Democracy" Part 1 (Oct. 25-Nov. 25, 2015)



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