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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

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.

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.

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.


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.


"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:     @HaitiAction1  and on Facebook    510 483 7481

Haiti's "Long March 4 Democracy" Part 1 (Oct. 25-Nov. 25, 2015)


Call to Action 4 Democracy in Haiti

End US complicity in election fraud & violence in Haiti

Outrage over Stolen Election 

Oct. 25 saw massive election fraud in Haiti – ballot stuffing, vote buying, armed coercion, naked vote rigging all the way from polling places to final tabulation. U.N. occupation agencies played a key role in the fraud, which was condemned by voters, most political parties, press, human rights groups, prominent intellectuals and religious leaders. National police and their affiliates fired automatic weapons into working class areas like Arcahaie and Cite Soleil as the election approached, killing many including two pregnant women and a 7-year-old boy. Later, hooded gangs attacked marchers with machetes, pipes, hammers, and guns, killing young election protesters as police turned a blind eye. 

Fraud and violence effectively prevented Haiti’s voters from electing the candidate of their choice. Instead, the ruling party’s handpicked Jovenel Moise, a political neophyte, was made the top-vote-getter. Yet the Haitian people are determined to thwart what they see as an ongoing “electoral coup d’etat” by Haiti’s ruling elite, President Martelly and their U.S., French and Canadian backers – marching in the streets almost daily in their tens of thousands, risking their lives to insist that the fraudulent election be thrown out. Many are comparing today’s non-stop mass demonstrations to the uprisings that led to the 1986 collapse of the dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier. 

 The people are turning the defense of their vote into a focus of mass struggle against the hated neo-Duvalierists in the Haitian government and their foreign backers. Fanmi Lavalas, widely acknowledged as the country’s most popular political party, described the Oct. 25 first round as “… a pre-planned fraudulent enterprise that stripped the elections of all credibility…[in] violation of the rights of the Haitian people who alone can choose their leaders through an electoral process,” in its petition to the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights. “These rigged elections of 2015 constitute … an attack on the national sovereignty…and a violation of the political rights of the Haitian people...” 

We in the Haiti Action Committee are initiating this call to action to support our courageous sisters and brothers in Haiti. We urge you to join us. 

Blast an Action Alert Now to mobilize members of your organization and your network of allies. Ask them to organize a flood of email, phone calls and social media to US officials on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2015, the 25th anniversary of Haiti’s first free election in 1990. Keep up the pressure afterwards to join and support the movement of Haiti's people for democracy and human rights!

-Tweet the Secretary of State @JohnKerry. 
-Call President Obama 202 456 1111 and members of the Congress 202 224 3121. 
-Call Kenneth Merten 202-647-9510 (fax 647 8900) 

Tell them: 

1. Stop supporting fraudulent elections in Haiti. 
2. Stop the US-financed terror campaign against the poor majority who are fighting for democracy in Haiti. 

 Join the International Days in Solidarity with Haiti. Support Haiti’s fight to overturn the stolen election. Organize an action or educational activity in your city or town to support the grassroots movement in Haiti. Please contact us or call 510 848 1656. Tell us the details of any action you are organizing, large or small, so we can publicize it as part of the International Days in Solidarity with Haiti. Let us know your ideas for spreading this movement far and wide. 

The campaign is aimed initially at the week of Dec. 16, the 25 the anniversary of Haiti’s first free election in 1990 which swept a courageous parish priest Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide into the Presidency with two-thirds of the vote. In 2015, after being excluded for 11 years since the 2004 coup, Aristide’s Lavalas party was finally able to run candidates, headed by Presidential standard- bearer Dr. Maryse Narcisse. People in poor neighborhoods all over Haiti welcomed the grassroots campaign of Dr. Narcisse with great joy, and responded angrily to the brazen attempt to steal the elections. 

In solidarity, with thanks for your enduring support for the people of Haiti, Haiti Action Committee @HaitiAction1 and on Facebook.

Some key facts about the 2015 stolen election and state repression: 

-Dr. Narcisse, as part of the official Lavalas legal challenge, visited the Vote Tabulation Center, along with election officials, observers, representatives of another contesting smaller party Meksepa and of the ruling PHTK party. They examined 78 randomly selected vote tally sheets (proces verbaux), and all present agreed that every one of the 78 tally sheets was fraudulent, without exception. The US-backed CEP election commission then abruptly ended the legally-mandated verification process -- invalidating those 78 particular tally sheets, but failing to check the over 13,000 tally sheets remaining to be verified. With that, the CEP inexplicably accepted the fraudulent election “results” as legitimate. 

-Deputy A.R.Bien-Aime and 2 other PHTK candidates made a startling revelation about UNOPS, a U.N. agency assigned to transport ballot boxes to the Tabulation Center. They charged that while in U.N. custody, the ballot boxes were switched en route with boxes of pre-filled-out ballots. In addition, a National Palace official was involved in a vehicle accident in which pre-filled-out ballots, marked for the Presidential candidate of Martelly’s PHTK party, Jovenel Moise, were spilled on the road. 

-15 prominent Haitian intellectuals, outraged by “clear involvement of U.N. agencies in the fraud that marred the elections,” wrote an Open Letter to the U.N. Mission stating, “the whole world is discovering, under pressure from the street…the truth of the biggest electoral fraud operation…for the last 30 years in Haiti.” 

courtesy of
-Kenneth Merten was appointed US Special Haiti Coordinator in August to deal with the election crisis. He was also on the scene for the 2010 elections. Under the direction of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the US favorite Martelly was catapulted from 3rd place into the run-off and ultimately the Presidency. [Election commission chair Pierre Opont admitted last July that the US “rigged the 2010 election.”] Recently Merten said the 2015 election “cannot be decided by the street.” He said the US had committed $31 million to fund the 2015 election, plus $2.8 million to the Haitian National Police for election “security.” 

Some 10,000 police and 2,500 U.N. troops were deployed on election duty. -The so-called Core Group -- which includes the US, France & Canada, whose troops invaded Haiti in the 2004 coup; Brazil, which heads the U.N. military occupation of Haiti; the EU; OAS; and Spain --has also accepted the CEP’s fraudulent election “results” as legitimate. The fix is in.

Congresswoman Waters Urges Secretary Kerry to Support Free, Fair and Democratic Elections in Haiti

For Immediate Release
Contact: Twaun Samuel
Phone: (202) 225-2201
Congresswoman Waters Urges Secretary Kerry to
Support Free, Fair and Democratic Elections in Haiti
Calls for Investigation of Election Violence, Fraud and Voter Intimidation
October 5, 2015
Washington, DC,  – Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, expressing deep concern about Haiti’s 2015 elections and the impact they will have on Haiti’s future if the Haitian people do not perceive them to be credible. According to the State Department, Secretary Kerry will be visiting Haiti tomorrow.
Congresswoman Waters’ letter urges Secretary Kerry to take all necessary and appropriate action to support free, fair and democratic elections in Haiti.  The letter specifically calls on him to make a clear statement that the violence, fraud and voter intimidation witnessed in the first round of the elections should be thoroughly and independently investigated, that the individuals and parties responsible for the violence must be sanctioned, regardless of political party affiliation, and that the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) must make the reforms necessary to establish public trust.  A copy of the letter was sent to Kenneth Merten, the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator. 
During Congresswoman Waters’ thirteen terms in Congress, she has visited Haiti many times, and she has worked with her colleagues in Congress, State Department officials, Haitian political leaders, and Haitian civil society to promote political stability, democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and economic and social development in Haiti.  Following the 2010 earthquake, she introduced the Debt Relief for Earthquake Recovery in Haiti Act (H.R. 4573), which was passed and signed into law by the President.
The text of the Congresswoman’s letter follows (footnotes were included in the original):

Dear Secretary Kerry:
As you know, I am a strong supporter of Haiti, and I care deeply about the well-being of the Haitian people.  I appreciate the ongoing efforts of the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to provide assistance to Haiti to improve health, education, nutrition, and economic development for the Haitian people. 
As a supporter of Haiti, I respect Haiti’s sovereignty.  Nevertheless, I am deeply concerned about Haiti’s 2015 elections and the impact they will have on Haiti’s future if the Haitian people do not perceive them to be credible.  Therefore, as you undertake a trip to Haiti at this critical moment, I urge you to take all necessary and appropriate action to support free, fair and democratic elections in Haiti.
The voting in the August 9 first-round parliamentary elections was marred by massive irregularities, which set a troubling precedent for Haiti’s upcoming October 25 Presidential and second-round parliamentary elections. As you stated in your press conference with Prime Minister Evans Paul, it is “imperative” that these elections be successful. To make these elections successful, I believe it is imperative that the many problems noted in the first round of the elections be addressed, so that Haiti’s next government is legitimate and is perceived as legitimate.

Haiti’s first-round legislative elections on August 9 were characterized by disorder, delays and the closing of many polling stations due to violence and fraud. Turnout was extremely low, with less than 18% of registered voters participating nationwide.
Nearly 25% of the votes cast have not been accounted for and were never counted. Political party representatives – sometimes posing as election observers – frequently attempted to influence or intimidate voters, stuff ballot boxes and violently disrupt voting, according to local observer groups.[1] The European Union Observer Mission’s deputy head concluded that the disruptions and violence were consciously planned to influence the results.[2] The election, in the words of one observer group, was “an affront to democratic principles.”[3]

Despite an outcry from Haitian civil society and political parties, the CEP has not adequately remedied these glaring problems. Final results recently released by the CEP indicate that the vote will be rerun only in 24 of the country’s 119 constituencies. The CEP ruled that they would accept the votes from constituencies where at least 70% of the tally sheets were considered valid, a distressingly low threshold for acceptability, which brings into question the legitimacy of the candidates who will eventually take office.[4]

Despite local observers reporting widespread violence and irregularities, the CEP only excluded 16 out of the nearly 2,000 candidates from the election due to their alleged involvement in election-day violence. These sanctions, however, are little more than a slap on the wrist; candidates found responsible for violence and disruption of the voting process should be prosecuted. The CEP also warned parties that further disruptions of the elections would not be tolerated and notably singled out two political parties allegedly close to President Michel Martelly -- Parti Haïtien Tet Kale (PHTK) and Bouclier -- as those most frequently responsible for irregularities and disruptions.[5] However, the CEP announced no significant sanctions to penalize these parties.  The failure of the CEP to take stronger action for blatant electoral violations that often rose to criminal offenses delivers a disturbing political lesson: in Haitian elections, crime pays.

The inability or unwillingness of the CEP to properly investigate and sanction parties and candidates responsible for election irregularities has seriously damaged the institution’s credibility. I urge you to send a clear message that electoral violence will not be tolerated.

Many political parties and Haitian civil society are now demanding, at a minimum, an impartial and independent investigation into the August 9 election irregularities. Many are calling for the resignation of the current CEP and the annulment of the entire first round.[6] Thus far, United States officials in Haiti have refused to recognize the scale of the fraud and violence that affected the August 9 elections. Disregarding the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, U.S. officials continue to insist that incidents of violence and fraud were isolated and did not affect the overall electoral process.[7]

President John Kennedy famously remarked, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” Running transparently unfair elections, with the support of the international community, will leave many Haitians to once again conclude that they have no choice but to protest the elections and the consequent government through social disruption. Indeed, this is what happened in the political cycle of the past four years that began with controversial elections in 2010 and 2011 that brought President Martelly to power, and led to the current crisis where every elected office in the country is vacant save for ten Senate seats and the Presidency. Such disruption would threaten to severely limit the next government’s ability to govern and imperil United States’ past and future investments in Haiti’s reconstruction.

I call on you to make a clear statement that the violence, fraud and voter intimidation witnessed on August 9 should be thoroughly and independently investigated, that the individuals and parties responsible for the violence must be sanctioned, regardless of political party affiliation, and that the CEP must make the reforms necessary to establish public trust. The United States government should also state unequivocally that it will not provide funding for elections that do not meet these minimum, basic democratic requirements. 

Maxine Waters
Member of Congress
[1] Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains, Conseil National d’Observation des Elections and Conseil Haïtien des Acteurs non Etatiques, “Rapport sur le premier tour des élections législatives partielles,” August 25, 2015; Justice and Peace Commission, “Twazyèm pozisyon Komisyon Jistis ak Lapè sou jounen vòt 9 dawou 2015 lan,” August 12, 2015; Platforme des Organisations Haïtiennes des Droits Humains, “Rapò preliminè sou dewoulman eleksyon 9 dawout 2015 nan peyi a,” August 13, 2015.
2 Louis-Joseph Olivier, “L’Union européenne fait des propositions pour améliorer le processus électoral,” Le Nouvelliste, August 25, 2015.
3 Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains, Conseil National d’Observation des Elections and Conseil Haïtien des Acteurs non Etatiques, “Scrutin du 9 août 2015 : un accroc aux normes démocratiques !” August 10, 2015
4 Jake Johnston, “Fraud, Violence, and Protests Cloud Results of Haitian Election,” Vice News, September 6, 2015.
5 Ibid.; Conseil électoral provisoire, “Communiqué #51: Mise en Garde au Partis et Groupements Politiques,” August 24, 2015.
6 Remixon Guillaume, “Des partis politiques de tendances différentes, pour l’annulation des élections législatives,” Le Nouvelliste, September 7, 2015; Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains, Conseil National d’Observation des Elections and Conseil Haïtien des Acteurs non Etatiques, “Observation du Processus électoral : Le RNDDH, le CNO et le CONHANE exigent l'évaluation du scrutin du 9 août 2015,” September 7, 2015.
7 At her last press conference on August 27, outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela A. White stated: “I am happy to see that the first round of elections occurred, and that the outcome, while not perfect, was acceptable.” On September 9, Ambassador White released a series of Tweets reaffirming this position that the first-round legislative elections did not require major correctives: “We cannot go back, because that would be ‘lave men siye atè’,” (Literally, “to wash one’s hands and then dirty them on the ground.” This Haitian proverb can be translated as “Ending up back where we started.”) The Ambassador stated her opposition to calls for the resignation of the CEP or the creation of a transitional government and accused protestors criticizing the CEP of “causing disorder in the streets.”

Kathleen Sengstock
Senior Legislative Assistant
Rep. Maxine Waters
2221 Rayburn Building
(202) 225-2201

Aristide, Chimeres and the Imperialist Stooges of Haiti

Some recite well-rehearsed lines accusing former president Jean -Bertrand Aristide of drug trafficking while others blithely repeat monstrous tales of how he armed children and killed babies. Yet others now sing that Aristide is a tool in the imperialist arsenal adding an odd syncopated dissonance to the chorus of voices in 2004 that moved from insulting the "rat pa kaka" poor of Haiti to labeling anyone in the streets supporting Lavalas as a "chimere."

Can these people from the streets of Haiti, once again demanding their right to vote in free and fair elections, be dismissed merely as either ignorant chimeres supporting a drug dealing baby killer or the unsuspecting dupes of an imperialist stooge?

Language reflects and refracts power betraying the interests of those invested in its meaning. Let this short video excerpt speak for itself and when you read Aristide's speech on September 30, 2015, the 24th anniversary of the brutal military coup against his democratic government, remember these words:

"Menm si nou foule beton an avè l, bradsou brad sa
Pou egzije anilasyon koudeta elektoral 9 Out la,
M santi nou ta renmen m di nou sa ak vwa pa m.
Mèsi pou konfyans sa a; se pou sa menm m priye,
Mwen reflechi anpil anvan m pran desizyon sa a.
Desizyon sa a pa ka tranpe nan sòs nayivte paske
Menm ti sèvèl wòwòt ki poko janm plonje nan
Dekolonizasyon mantal, deja konsate ke anverite,
Responsab yo chwazi fè seleksyon e non eleksyon."

Here's the full Kreole text of Aristide's speech given in Tabarre on September 30, 2015:

Sè m, Frè m, Ou menm ki bò isit ou k ap viv lòt bò dlo,
M kontan salye w nan lespri Mèm Amou an.
Nan lonbraj Zansèt nou yo, pèmèt mwen
Bay nou chak yon gwo akolad fratènèl e
Anbrase tout ti moun yo ak Jenès Peyi a
Ki gen yon plas espesyal nan fon kè m.
Ak anpil respè, m bese byen ba pou mwen salye

Memwa tout viktim koudeta 30 Septanm 1991 la.
Kò yo tonbe men yap toujou rete vivan nan lespri n.
Swè ak san Ero nou yo pa dwe koule pou granmesi.
Pou leve memwa tout Ayisyen ki sakrifye lavi yo
Pou delivrans Ayiti, ann manyen rasin mo Ayiti a.
Hai vle di non, pa. Tii vle di obeyi nan lang Swaili.
Haitii vle di pa obeyi. Haïti ou Haitii vle di
pa obeyi. Lontan, esklav yo te toujou ap di:
Pa obeyi kolon yo. Jodia, nou di: pa obeyi moun ki
pa respekte dwa moun. Haitii! Pa obeyi esklav
mantal ki nan koudeta elektoral.

Pa obeyi esklav mantal ki refize respekte vòt Pèp la.
Tout moun se moun. Vòt tout moun dwe konte.
Pwen. Sè m, Frè m, Pandan 3 zan silans sa yo, m
toujou koute vwa n. Lè tribilasyon lavi a ba nou
lafyèv, kò mwen cho. Lè nou swaf tande pozisyon m
aklè, m santi sa tou.
Menm si depi 19 Me 2015 Minouche deja fè n wè Ki
kandida m pra l chwazi pou pòs Prezidan Peyi a,
Menm si nou foule beton an avè l, bradsou bradsa
Pou egzije anilasyon koudeta elektoral 9 Out la,
M santi nou ta renmen m di nou sa ak vwa pa m.

Mèsi pou konfyans sa a; se pou sa menm m priye,
Mwen reflechi anpil anvan m pran desizyon sa a.
Desizyon sa a pa ka tranpe nan sòs nayivte paske
Menm ti sèvèl wòwòt ki poko janm plonje nan
Dekolonizasyon mantal, deja konsate ke anverite,
Responsab yo chwazi fè seleksyon e non eleksyon.
Ak espwa verite sa a pap fwase ou ofanse responsab yo
Ki se frè ak sè nou tou, men ki sa mwen obsève toujou:
Radyografi koudeta elektoral 9 Out 2015 la pote tras
Yon maladi ki rele: Négligence spatiale unilatérale.
Sa vle di, kategori malad sa yo wè yon sèl bò realite a.
Egzanp: Lè malad sa yo ap abiye, yo ka mete rad la
Yon bò kò yo e yo pa wè si lòt bò a rete san abiye.
Lè y ap manje nan yon asyèt, yo manje mwatye e
Yo pa wè si yo kite lòt mwatye manje a nan asyèt la.
Maladi sa a parèt biza men se konsa li manifeste paske
Pwoblèm nan chita nan yon zòn sèvo a ki rele lob parietal.
Responsab koudeta elektoral 9 Out 2015 la konpote yo
Menm jan ak malad sa yo ki wè yon sèl bò realite a.
Yon bò yo wè bilten vòt gwo zam fann fwa vle enpoze,
Men yo pa wè ke lòt bò a, se majorite Pèp Ayisyen an
K ap egzije respè dwa li genyen pou l vote nan eleksyon lib.
Tout moun se moun. Donk, vòt tout moun dwe konte. Pwen.
Radyografi koudeta elektoral 9 Out 2015 la montre
Yon 2e tras: li montre tras malad ki anozognozik.
Sa vle di: Malad ki refize aksepte ke yo malad.
Nan ka konsa, solisyon an se dabò mobilizasyon.
Mobilizasyon nou tout ki pa vle Peyi a tonbe
Nan toubiyon goudougoudou politik san parèy.

Ou menm ki depi 11 zan ap monte lesyèl pado,
Nou ki viktim ensekirite, abi, grangou, chomaj,
Jis nap file zegwi san tèt nan blakawout lamizè,
Nou menm kap soufri ak tout Ayisyen ki viktim
Rapatriman sitwayen ki soti Sen Domeng yo,
Ann met ansanm pou evite mal la vin pi mal.
Nou menm pwofesyonèl nan tout branch tankou :
Avoka, enjenyè, agwonòm, enfimyè, doktè,
Komèsan, peyizan, notab, pwofesè lekòl
K ap mare lafimen dezespwa depi 11 lane,
Ann met ansanm pou evite mal la vin pi mal.
Nou menm Jèn ki toupatou, nan pwovens kòm lavil,
Nan inivèsite kòm nan tout baz ak tout katye popilè yo
Ann mobilize pou fè chodyè a sispann bouyi yon sèl bò.
Nou pi plis. Nou se majorite a. Fòk sa bon pou nou tout.
Jan mwen te di nou jou ki te 9 Me 2013 la,
Sonje! Yon sèl machwa pa moulen vyann.
Nou youn bezwen lòt. Respè pou nou tout:
Moun save kòm analfabèt. Analfabèt pa bèt.
Rich kou malere, se antann pou n antann nou.
Aprè 11 lane, fòk nou rekoud drapo inite a.
Men nan men ak tout Ayisyen k ap viv lòt bò dlo
E ki swaf tounen lakay, ann kreye kondisyon pou
Patisipasyon tout moun debyen, tout moun serye,
Tout moun ki pa nan politik men ki konprann ke:
Si n pa sove Diyite n, Diyite n ap sove kite n.
Sè m, Frè m,
Peyi nou an malad grav e pou pi ta pa pi tris,
Fò n mobilize kont koudeta a jis nou rantre
Demokratikman nan Palè Nasyonal avèk
Dr Maryse Narcisse kòm Prezidan Peyi a.
Vote Dr Maryse ak tout kandida Fanmi Lavalas,
Bò Tab la, nimewo 54, se leve yon kokenn defi
Paske konplo a mare ak lajan ki pa rete ak lajan.

Sepandan ! Wi, sepandan !
Bouch an bouch, youn di lòt:
Konplo ki mare ak fòs lajan

Ka demare ak fòs diyite nou.
Bouch an bouch, youn di lòt:

Se pa lajan, se diyite.
Si n pa sove diyite n,
Diyite n ap sove kite n.


Dr Jean-Bertrand Aristide
30 Septanm 2015, Taba

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