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Livesay Haiti -

This month is very exciting for us.  We are getting closer and closer to having a completed "How To" manual for the Heartline Maternity Center.

Our model is being shared and we are calling it, "The Starting Place".

The manual contains eleven years of learning and the details of the current Prenatal Program, Postpartum Program, Birth Control Program. and Youth/Teen Program. It has taken many years to get here. We are hosting our first  (pilot) class this week with four participants from other organizations also working in Haiti.

**  See this post for more information about The Starting Place.  **


What is it?
It is a technical manual. It describes everything we do, from the beginning to the end. It includes protocols and tons of administrative details. It includes ways to start small as a prenatal education or birth control program and and grow into a full service holistic birth center offering maternal health care from early pregnancy until months after delivery. It shares a few case studies. It is practical. It is step by step. It includes all aspects: education, relationship, medical, spiritual, physical, cultural, etc., etc.  It is incredibly practical. It is a little bit overwhelming.

What is it not?
It is not hundreds of stories or case studies or interesting detailed descriptions of the more than 850 women that have delivered at the Heartline Maternity Center. It is not all and only medical and practice protocols. It is not all statistics and information you can find about Maternal Health by doing a google search.






Each time a new woman starts the Prenatal program, we do a social and obstetric history interview.  
Often women we work with in Haiti have a hard time recalling and easily verbalizing much of their history. It can take a while to gather the information. It is usually important to ask the questions in a unique ways to get the desired (and hopefully accurate) information.

We are realistic enough to guess that at least half the time we still did not get it all completely accurate because it was neither recalled or shared with that sort of precision.
It is best to ask questions in an assumptive tone.  For example, sometimes women assume if we are asking them, "Have you ever had an abortion?" that I will judge them if they say yes.
Instead we ask, "How many times have you ended a pregnancy?"  We can also pose that same question in four or five other ways, changing wording to be assumptive.

If the answer is zero they are fine sharing that but if the answer is 10, it helps that I assumed it was part of her history because it removes their hesitation or concern of being dismissed due to an answer that they fear we won't find pleasing.  
Daily life is so difficult, it makes survival and the immediate present the priority, which in turn means that recalling history is not an easy task. The blanket term "poor historian" fits pretty well.  Having and knowing your own medical history is actually a privilege. Many in the developing world have no idea what happens at medical visits and more often than not nobody takes the time to describe things to them.


* * * 
We interviewed a 37 year old woman. 
We asked, "You've been pregnant many times in your life, yes?"  She said, "No, only seven." 
That's our bad.  That's a cultural difference.  7 is a lot to me.  Not necessarily true here.
We started at the beginning and walked through each pregnancy and delivery.  Her first four children were all born at home in the house she and her husband have always lived. Those four children, two boys and two girls born in 2005, 2007,2009, and 2012 are all alive and well.

In 2010 their home was badly damaged and some injuries happened due to the earthquake but nobody in their home died. In 2013 she had a baby boy born in a hospital that was never well. She described several anomalies and said he died at 21 days of age. She thinks she was under some sort of curse (persecution) during that pregnancy.

In 2017 she described a situation of a breech delivery and her baby's head being entrapped. She said they had to pull and pull to get the baby girl out. The baby was dead upon delivery. She is now in her 11th week of her 7th pregnancy and will be getting prenatal care for the first time ever in her life. 

When I finished the interview I said, "Wow. That is a lot of trauma you have experienced in your life. That is really difficult."  Tears welled up in her eyes.  So often in a culture of non stop challenge and frequent trauma, there is not time for anyone to fully acknowledge the pain of what they have experienced.   Part of the model at Heartline that we are hoping to share with others, is the importance of empathy.  
* * *


From the Starting Place Manual - an excerpt from the Philosophy of care section ... 


EmpathySpend any amount of time at a hospital in the developing world and there is one key component to women’s health consistently missing: empathy.
Being a woman in the developing world requires a tremendous amount of grit, resourcefulness, and resilience. But a woman is almost never as vulnerable as when she is pregnant, giving birth, and post-natal.
Trust matters, relationships matter, and empathy is more valuable than we can express. Empathy is communicating a message of great value, a message that says,  “You are not alone.” It is rare. As Tara says, “Several of the hospitals in the city where I live, as well as the hospitals and clinics where we’ve worked around the world, who serve the materially poor are lacking the most valuable resource: compassion. Nothing sustainable and life-affirming happens without warm, loving relationships and a lot of compassion.”
It might seem odd to start off the technical manual of Heartline’s Model of Care with a seemingly unprofessional words like “kindness,” “empathy,” “compassion,” or “love” but it has been our experience that this is what truly transforms women. It can bring calm to chaos, hope to despair, connection to isolation, faith to fear. And all of those things matter every day in life but particularly so in birth.
Working in the middle of devastating poverty, one quickly learns that not every story has a happy ending. There are areas of frustration, despair, and brokenness all around us. We cannot fix everything. But we have decided to embrace love and compassion as our philosophy, as much for our patients as for our own souls. This is even more important to us in the face of despair, hurt, wounds, and trauma.
As one small outpost of health and wholeness in the worldwide maternal health crisis, we choose empathy and love and we center love and we practice love. We are committed to excellence, to integrity, to thorough training, to steady competence. But even our excellence of care, our integrity, our training, our competence must be grounded in a philosophy of love. Maternal health has for too long been sidelined and de-emphasized in the world: we believe women deserve not only competent and thorough care but they also deserve dignity, respect, and to feel loved in their most vulnerable moments.

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Livesay Haiti -

Why is she talking about this again?


via GIPHY




She is talking about this because it eventually becomes a thing for half the population. By all means, please, don’t read this if it does not apply to you. 
If you will ever, in the history of always and forever, know a female that is age 40 to age 55, it applies to you.  

Those that know zero females that are currently that age and they also think everyone they know will die at age 40, you are free to leave now. Sorry about your loss.
My doctor recently told me perimenopause is a term that pharmaceutical companies made up.  He said there is before menopause and you know, NORMALish life, and then there is menopause - like you are done forever with bleeding and having a cycle. 

Uh.  Okay???  So the years in between are not called anything?

Whatever, I am talking about this thing that apparently is only created by Big Pharma.  It is a thing to me because I am in that middle time where I am unsure of what the heck each day will be because I am more like a yo-yo than any human thing. 
I feel it is my duty to prepare all of my 20 and 30 something friends for what is to come.  I know that you are tempted to read this and think, Ah, she’s just being over the top and silly. No.  No,  Not what I am being.  I am being real with you. Dead.Serious.Real.
Okay, so first, you’re going to gain some weight in the middle section of your body.  You’re going to think, “Am I imagining this?”  You’re going to realize you are not.  It’s not a big deal, because you have shit to do and some extra adipose tissue is not going to stop you from being totally amazing.  It might cause you to leave your top button undone on your jeans.  That’s all.  No big thing. Carry on.
Second, you are going to go from having your periods at an interval you can predict, to having them whenever.  Maybe you’ll have them every 15 days, then take 60 days off, then that will be boring and it will toss you a new and exciting surprise that is not at all a pattern.  

You don’t get to move away from (Big Pharma created) perimenopause until you miss 12 whole months in a row of having your period.  
Everyone says that once you are done with this middle time, it gets easier. Everyone better not be lying.  If I live through the next five years and eventually reach true menopause, I expect life to be glorious non stop.
Third, you are going to do so many embarrassing things and people are going to mock the heck out of you. Those people are your family and maybe you don't even need them. Who's to say?   

If you do not have thick skin, get to work on changing that. Go drag your hands and feet over hot coals. You are going to need the thickest skin to endure your idiocy and the mocking material it will provide your loved ones.
EXAMPLES that Have been said to have happened - 
1.  You might get up one morning early and put your contacts in your eyes.  You might then leave the house and go do a little bit of work or some errand or something of that sort.  You might come back home and jump in the shower.  You might rub your eye wrong and one contact in your eye will twist up funny.  You will maybe call your husband to come take that contact to the case on your dresser.  After you shower and get dressed you might walk over and put the contact back in your eye.  About two minutes later you might go over to the dresser and start to look for your contact, because you think you cannot see and you need it.  You might say to your husband, who might have the name Troy, "Hey, did you put my contact in here when I asked you?"  That husband might say, "Yep. I did."  Then, I have been told, you might tell him he did not.  You might act like a jerk and say, "Well, it is not here."  Then you might really dig yourself in deep and just claim he must have dropped it.  THANKS A LOT you might say.  THAT WAS MY LAST RIGHT EYE contact I had.  Then maybe your friend, who sort of knows you well might say, "I think you put it in your eye again already."  Then, maybe you'll see that the contact is in your damn eye already. Then you will go bake yourself some humble pie while you eat crow.
2.  You might need to use a calculator to do some math on an accounting report and you might repeatedly open up your phone and start using the dialing pad of your phone to add numbers and then after you put in twenty six dollars and you go to find the add button you'll be so confused because the place where you dial your phone does not have that function. You'll switch to your calculator but that will not be something you only do once. You might need someone to tell you to just stop using your phone as a calculator because it is too frustrating for you.
3.  You will write yourself notes.  You will think you are brilliant to be writing it down to help you later.  That's hilarious. You are not brilliant. You are bad at writing reminders that help you remember. Your notes section of your phone will be filled with meaningless incomplete and unhelpful blurbs such as: 
  • Contact Knoxville person, knows Anne and Melissa
  • Umba dra umba tab
  • Cold sore - Valtrex - risk HSV ensephalitis
  • The wart something dot com
  • Crying out for justice
  • Civil engineer design waste water pump station
  • May 19
  • Taco burrito what you got in that speedo?
  • Things I can't handle for 400, Alex
4.  Perhaps you will get a gift certificate for your 46th birthday for a store you love. You will buy your favorite smelling lotion at 8pm on a Friday night.  Maybe after that you will use the lotion on Saturday morning around 10am and then maybe you'll never ever know where it went and you will never see it again.  You are a person that loses $10 of brand new lotion.  If your kid did that, you'd be uber ticky about it.  So don't tell your kid you lost brand new expensive lotion.  Make a call to the hotel you stayed at and listen as the front desk person acts like you are an idiot to want to know if you lost lotion in their hotel room.  LOTION?? Uh. Okay, I'll check lost and found. He doesn't understand so just give him grace after you swear under your breath.


via GIPHY

Buy your ticket to join the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) at Gotham Comedy Club

HaitiAnalysis -

Only 2 hours left to buy your ticket to join the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI)  at Gotham Comedy Club in New York to laugh and learn about our crucial work to advance human rights in Haiti. Headlining the event are Haitian-American comedians J-L Cauvin, Tanael Joachim and Reg Thomas and our host Vladimir Calixte, known as Haitian V.


Buy your ticket today to help us:
• Keep the pressure on the UN until it delivers on its promise to raise $400 million to eliminate cholera in Haiti and compensate the victims;
• Win justice for victims of rape while addressing the systemic issues that make women vulnerable to sexual assault; and
• Stand up for Haitians in the U.S. targeted by President Trump’s racist immigration policies.
All proceeds will benefit BAI/IJDH’s advocacy and legal work in Haiti!
Where: Gotham Comedy Club, 208 West 23rd St. Between 7th and 8th Avenues, New York, NY 10011
When: Wednesday, May 2, 2018 8:00 PM (Doors open at 7:15 PM) Ticket Price: $30.00 (plus two beverages minimum)!
Restrictions: 18 & over
Buy your ticket(s) NOW at Gotham Comedy Club website (use our promo code “jistis” to get $10 off your ticket)! 

Thank you for joining us tonight in support of IJDH and BAI's work in Haiti.

Lettre de Soutien à la Médiation au Venezuela, pas aux Sanctions

HaitiAnalysis -

Cette lettre va être envoyée aux membres du Congrès des États-Unis, au Parlement du Canada et aux médias. Elle sera publiée dans d’autres médias, et au moins 5 de ses signataires se rendront au Venezuela pour la commémoration d’Hugo Chavez en mars, où elle sera présentée.
Lettre de Soutien à la Médiation au Venezuela, pas aux SanctionsNous exhortons les gouvernements des États-Unis et du Canada à retirer immédiatement leurs sanctions illégales* contre le Venezuela et à soutenir les efforts de médiation entre le gouvernement du Venezuela et les segments non violents de l’opposition politique.
Nous, les organisations et individus aux États-Unis et au Canada soussignés, soutenons des relations hémisphériques fondées sur le respect de la souveraineté de tous les peuples des Amériques. Nous sommes profondément préoccupés par l’utilisation de sanctions illégales, dont l’effet se fait le plus sentir dans les secteurs les plus pauvres et les plus marginaux de la société, pour contraindre le changement politique et économique dans une démocratie sœur. Nous constatons depuis les années 1990 que les sanctions ne servent qu’à appauvrir les familles ordinaires et à déstabiliser l’ordre public. Nous sommes incapables de citer un seul cas où les sanctions ont eu un impact positif.
Les sondages au Venezuela montrent que la grande majorité des Vénézuéliens s’oppose aux sanctions, indépendamment de leur opinion sur le gouvernement Maduro. Les sanctions ne font que compliquer les efforts déployés par le Vatican, la République dominicaine et d’autres acteurs internationaux pour négocier une résolution de la polarisation profonde au Venezuela. De plus, les sanctions sapent les efforts du gouvernement démocratiquement élu et de l’Assemblée constituante pour résoudre les problèmes économiques critiques et déterminer leur propre destin politique.

Malgré la rhétorique de haut niveau des fonctionnaires de Washington et d’Ottawa, ce n’est pas un véritable souci de démocratie, de droits de l’homme et de justice sociale qui pousse cette position interventionniste belliqueuse à l’égard de Caracas. Du décret du président Obama qui, de l’aveu général, est faux, sur le Venezuela représentant une menace pour la sécurité nationale aux États-Unis, à la déclaration de l’ambassadeur Nikki Haley disant que le Venezuela est un « narco-état de plus en plus violent » qui menace le monde, l’utilisation de l’hyperbole dans les situations diplomatiques contribue rarement à des solutions pacifiques sur la scène internationale.
Ce n’est un secret pour personne que le Venezuela, contrairement au Mexique, au Honduras, à la Colombie, à l’Egypte ou à l’Arabie Saoudite, est la cible d’une mission de changement de régime par les États-Unis précisément à cause des qualités de leader du Venezuela dans la résistance à l’hégémonie américaine et à l’imposition du modèle néolibéral en Amérique latine. Et bien sûr, le Venezuela détient les plus grandes réserves de pétrole au monde, ce qui attire encore plus l’attention non désirée de Washington.
Les États-Unis et le Canada ont essayé puis échoué à utiliser l’Organisation des États Américains (OEA) pour construire un bloc qui évoque la Charte démocratique contre le Venezuela de façon hypocrite. Récemment, Luis Almagro, le secrétaire général véreux de l’OEA, est allé jusqu’à soutenir publiquement l’assermentation d’une Cour suprême parallèle, nommée de façon inconstitutionnelle par les législateurs de l’opposition et leur a permis d’utiliser le siège de l’OEA à Washington, DC pour leur cérémonie (sans l’approbation de quelconque état membre de l’OEA). Almagro a ainsi délégitimé l’OEA, enhardi les éléments les plus extrêmes et les plus violents de l’opposition vénézuélienne, et mis de côté les efforts de médiation.
Les sanctions canado-américaines sont une utilisation cynique du pouvoir économique coercitif pour attaquer une nation qui fait déjà face à l’hyperinflation et à la pénurie de produits de base. Bien que prétendument faites au nom de la promotion de la démocratie et de la liberté, ces sanctions violent le droit humain fondamental du peuple vénézuélien à la souveraineté, tel que cela est énoncé dans les Chartes des Nations Unies et de l’OEA.
Nous appelons les dirigeants politiques des États-Unis et du Canada à rejeter la rhétorique déchaînée et à contribuer à la recherche de solutions réelles aux problèmes politiques et économiques du Venezuela. Nous exhortons les gouvernements américain et canadien à annuler leurs sanctions et à soutenir les efforts de médiation déployés par le chancelier de la République dominicaine Miguel Vargas, le président de la République dominicaine Danilo Medina, l’ancien premier ministre espagnol Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, le Vatican et soutenus par un nombre croissant de nations latino-américaines.* L’Article 19 du Chapitre 4 de la Charte de l’OEA stipule :Aucun état ou groupe d’états n’a le droit d’intervenir, directement ou indirectement, pour quelque raison que ce soit, dans les affaires intérieures ou extérieures d’un autre état. Le principe précédent interdit non seulement la force armée, mais aussi toute autre forme d’ingérence ou de tentative de menace contre la personnalité de l’état ou contre ses éléments politiques, économiques et culturels.
signataires,
Les États-Unis d'Amérique
Noam Chomsky
Danny Glover, Citizen-Artist
Estela Vazquez, Executive Vice President, 1199 SEIU
Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit
Jill Stein, Green Party
Peter Knowlton, General President, United Electrical Workers
Dr. Frederick B. Mills, Department of Philosophy, Bowie State University
Dr. Alfred de Zayas, former Chief, Petitions Dept, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Medea Benjamin, co-founder, Code Pink
Dan Kovalik, Counsel, United Steelworkers Union
Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local10 (retired)
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, President, National Lawyers Guild
Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator, Alliance for Global Justice
James Early, Articulation of Afro Descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean
Gloria La Riva, coordinator, Cuba and Venezuela Solidarity CommitteeKaren Bernal, Chair, Progressive Caucus, California Democratic Party
Kevin Zeese, Margaret Flowers, co-directors, Popular Resistance
Chris Bender, Administrator, SEIU 1000, retired
Mary Hanson Harrison, President Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, US Section
Alfred L. Marder, President, US Peace CouncilTamie Dramer, Executive Boardmember, California Democratic Party
Greg Wilpert, journalist
School of Americas Watch (SOAW) Coordinating Collective
Gerry Condon, President, Board of Directors, Veterans for Peace
Tiana Ocasio, President, Connecticut Labor Council for Latin American AdvancementLeah Bolger, Coordinator, World Beyond War
Alexander Main, Senior Assoc for Intl Policy, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Kevin Martin, President, Peace Action and Peace Action Education Fund
Dr. Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Berthony Dupont, Director, Haiti Liberté NewspaperMarsha Rummel, Adlerperson, City of Madison Common Council, District 6
Monica Moorehead, Workers World Party
Kim Ives, Journalist, Haiti Liberté
Cindy Sheehan, Cindy’s Soapbox
Claudia Lucero, Executive Director, Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
William Camacaro, Venezuela activist
Baltimore Phil Berrigan Memorial Chapter Veterans For Peace
David W. Campbell, Secretary-Treasurer, USW Local 675 (Carson, CA)
Alice Bush, retired Northwest Indiana Division Director SEIU Local 73
Teresa Gutierrez, Co-Director International Action CenterClaire Deroche, NY Interfaith Campaign Against Torture
Eva Golinger, journalist and writer
The Cross Border Network (Kansas City)
Antonia Domingo, Pittsburgh Labor Council for Latin American Advancement
David Swanson, Director of World Beyond WarMatt Meyer, National Co-chair, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Rev. Daniel Dale, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), CLRN Board of Directors
Daniel Chavez, Transnational Institute
Kathleen Desautels, SP (8th Day Center for Justice*)
Michael Eisenscher, National Coord. Emeritus, U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW)Dr. Paul Dordal, Director, Christian Network for Liberation and Equality
Dr. Douglas Friedman, Director International Studies, College of Charleston
Fr. Charles Dahm, Archdiocesan Director of Domestic Violence Outreach
Blase Bonpane, Director, Office of the Americas
Larry Birns, Director, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Task Force on the Americas
Dr. Sharat G. Lin, former president, San Jose Peace and Justice Center
Stansfield Smith, Chicago ALBA Solidarity
Alicia Jrapko, U.S. coordinator, International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity
National Network on CubaDiana Bohn, Co-coordinator, Nicaragua Center for Community Action
Joe Jamison, Queens NY Peace Council
Jerry Harris, National Secretary, Global Studies Association of North America
MLK Coalition of Greater Los Angeles
Charlie Hardy, author, Cowboy in CaracasDan Shea, National Board, Veterans For Peace
Houston Peace and Justice Center
Dr. Christy Thornton, Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
Code Pink Houston
Workers Solidarity Action Network.orgRochester Committee on Latin America
Patricio Zamorano, Academic and International Affairs Analyst
Cliff Smith, business manager, Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers, Local 36
Michael Bass, Convener, School of the Americas Watch-Oakland/East Bay
Joe Lombardo, Marilyn Levin, Co-Coordinators of United National Antiwar CommitteeDr. Jeb Sprague-Silgado, University of California Santa Barbara
Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC)
Dr. Pamela Palmater, Mi’kmaq lawyer Chair in Indigenous Governance Ryerson University
Lee Gloster, Steward IBT 364, Trustee, N. Central IN Labor Chapter, N. IN Area Labor Federation
Celeste Howard, Secretary, WILPF, Portland Branch (Oregon)Mario Galván, Sacramento Action for Latin America
Hector Gerardo, Executive Director, 1 Freedom for All
Jorge Marin, Venezuela Solidarity Committee
Ricardo Vaz, writer and editor of Investig’Action
Dr. T.M. Scruggs, University of Iowa, Professor Emeritus
Dr. Mike Davis, Dept. of Creative Writing, Univ. of CA, Riverside; editor of the New Left Review
Dr. Lee Artz, Dept of Media Studies; Director, Center for Global Studies, Purdue University Northwest
Dr. Arturo Escobar, Dept. of Anthropology University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Cheri Honkala, Director, Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign
Suren Moodliar, Coordinator, Encuentro5 (Boston)Dr. Jack Rasmus, Economics Dept., St. Mary’s College, Moraga, California
Alice Slater, Nuclear Age Peace Foundation
Rich Whitney, Co-chair, Green Party Peace Action Committee
David Bacon, independent photojournalist
Dr. Kim Scipes, Department of Sociology, Purdue University NorthwestJeff Mackler, National Secretary, Socialist Action
Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)
Henry Lowendorf, Co-chair, Greater New Haven Peace Council
Judith Bello, Ed Kinane (founders), Upstate Drone Action
Dr. Daniel Whitesell, Lecturer in the Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese, UCLADr. William I. Robinson, Sociology and Global and International Studies, UC-Santa Barbara
Emmanuel Rozental, Vilma Almendra, Pueblos en Camino, Abya Yala
Ben Manski, President, Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution
Frank Pratka, Baltimore-Matanzas Association/Maryland-Cuba Friendship Coalition
Dr. Hilbourne Watson, Emeritus, Department of International Relations, Bucknell University
Dr. Minqi Li, Economics Department, University of Utah
Christina Schiavoni, PhD researcher, Boston
Dr. Robert E. Birt, Department of Philosophy, Bowie State University
Topanga Peace Alliance
Judy Somberg, Susan Scott, Esq., Co-chairs, National Lawyers Guild Task Force on the AmericasAudrey Bomse, Esq., Co-chair, National Lawyers Guild Palestine Subcommittee
Daniel Chavez, Transnational Institute
Barby Ulmer, Board President, Our Developing World
Barbara Larcom, Coordinator, Casa Baltimore/Limay; President, Nicaraguan Cultural Alliance
Nick Egnatz, Veterans for PeaceDr. Marc Becker, Latin American Studies, Truman State University
Dr. John H. Sinnigen, Professor Emeritus, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)
Dr. Dale Johnson, Professor Emeritus, Sociology, Rutgers University
Sulutasen Amador, Co-coordinator, Chukson Water Protectors
Mara Cohen, Communications Hub, Trade Justice AllianceDorotea Manuela, Co-Chair Rosa Parks Human Right Committee
Efia Nwangaza, Malcom X Center – WMXP Community Radio
Dr. Chris Chase-Dunn, Sociology, University of California-Riverside
Dr. Nick Nesbitt, Comparative Literature, Princeton
Timeka Drew, coordinator, Global Climate ConvergenceJack Gilroy, Friends of Franz & Ben www.bensalmon.org
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, Social Justice Committee
Victor Wallis, Professor, Liberal Arts, Berkeley College of Music
Canada
Jerry Dias, President, UNIFOR
Mike Palecek, National President, Canadian Union of Postal Workers
Harvey Bischof, President, Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation
Mark Hancock National President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees
Stephanie Smith, President of the British Columbia Government and Service Employees’ UnionLinda McQuaig, journalist and author, Toronto
Raul Burbano, Program Director, Common Frontiers
Miguel Figueroa, President, Canadian Peace Congress
Heide Trampus, Coordinator, Worker to Worker, Canada-Cuba Labour Solidarity Network
Rights Action (U.S. and Canada)Joe Emersberger, writer, UNIFOR member
Nino Pagliccia, Jorge Arancibia, Marta Palominos, Frente para la Defensa de los Pueblos Hugo Chavez
Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice Venezuela Solidarity Campaign – Vancouver
The Hamilton Coalition To Stop The War
Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC)
Maude Barlow, Chairperson, Council of Canadians
Canadian Network on CubaMobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO) – Vancouver
Dr. William Carroll, University of Victoria, Canada
Andrew Dekany, LL.M, LawyerDr. Leo Panitch, Professor Emeritus, York University, Toronto
Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CPSHR)
Alma Weinstein, Bolivarian Circle Louis Riel Toronto
Maria Elena Mesa, Coord, Sunday Poetry and Festival Internacional de Poesia Patria Grande, Toronto
Dr. Radhika Desai, University of Manitoba
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Sergio Romero Cuevas, former Mexican Ambassador to Haiti
Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos, Oaxaca, Mexico



Manne Charlemagne, Haiti's Iconic Troubadour: 1948-2017

HaitiAnalysis -

By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte 

Joseph Emmanuel “Manno” Charlemagne, Haiti’s most beloved and
controversial folk singer, died in a Miami Beach hospital on Dec. 10
at the age of 69, after a struggle of several months with lung cancer
which had spread to his brain.

His rich baritone voice, trenchant lyrics, and graceful melodies
inspired the generation of Haitians which rose up against the
three-decade Duvalier dictatorship in 1986. Sometimes called the
Haitian Bob Marley or Bob Dylan, Manno’s huge popularity won him
Port-au-Prince’s mayor’s office in 1995, but his lyrical idealism soon
dashed against the rocks of Haiti’s difficult political realities, and
he was all but chased from that office. In recent years, he had
withdrawn from Haiti’s political scene, except for some ill-fated
sorties which he regretted.

Born on Apr. 14, 1948, Manno was raised mostly by his aunt in
Port-au-Prince’s Carrefour neighborhood and came of age under the
brutal dictatorship of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who rose to power
in 1957. Both his aunt and mother were singers. His father, whose
identity Manno only learned from his mother in 1985, was also a
musician. When Manno traveled to New York to finally meet him, he
learned his father had died two months earlier.


Manno, who said he was from Haiti’s “lumpen proletariat,”  started
playing guitar and singing at the age of 16, and in 1968, at age 20,
he launched a mini-djaz called Les Remarquables. But he soon moved in
the direction of the traditional twoubadou music, a form of Haitian
folk song, and launched the group Les Trouvères with singer Marco
Jeanty.

After Papa Doc died in 1971, succeeded as “President-for-Life” by his
son, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, a democracy movement began to
grow in Haiti. Manno wrote politically suggestive songs about the poor
and exploited, among whom he’d grown up, and the duo began to sing at
small underground events of students and intellectuals in the late
1970s. In May 1978, the duo played their angaje (politically engaged)
songs on the airwaves of journalist Jean Dominique’s Radio Haiti
Inter, championed by deejay and station manager Richard Brisson, who
in January 1982 would be captured and killed after a failed overthrow
attempt against Duvalier.

The duo became a sensation, and later that year, musicologist Raoul
Dénis recorded their songs which were released in an album entitled
simply “Manno et Marco” by Marc Records in New York. Over the next
eight years, until Baby Doc’s overthrow on Feb. 7, 1986, the album
became the soundtrack for the pro-democracy movement both in Haiti and
its diaspora.

In 1980, the Duvalier regime stepped up its repression of democracy
activists. Manno slipped out of a concert and sought exile in the U.S.
on Jul. 4. While in Boston and New York for most of the next six
years, he became  a fixture at anti-Duvalierist rallies and marches.
Along with composer Nikol Levy, he composed much of the music for
Haiti Films’ 1983 documentary Bitter Cane, which also helped propel
the anti-Duvalierist movement and Manno’s renown.

During this time, he released his first solo albums, Konviksyon (1984)
and Fini les Colonies! (1985) to worldwide acclaim.

After Duvalier’s 1986 fall, Manno returned to Haiti and became one of
the most prominent artistic and political voices of the emerging
pro-democracy lavalas movement, which brought President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide to power in February 1991. In 1990, Manno had released the
album Òganizasyon Mondyal, which cemented his fame as Haiti’s
preeminent anti-imperialist singer.

A Washington-backed coup d’état in September 1991 sent Aristide into
exile, and Haitian police arrested Manno at his home on Oct. 11. After
Hollywood stars and Amnesty International protested, he was released a
week later. Manno eventually sought refuge in Argentina’s Embassy,
where a human rights delegation, headed by former U.S. Attorney
General Ramsey Clark, met him in December 1991 (as depicted in the
1992 documentary Killing the Dream by Crowing Rooster Arts, which
played nationally in the U.S. on PBS). After the delegation raised
$3,000 for his release from the country, Manno was accorded safe
passage to the airport and flew once again into exile in January 1992.

During the next three years of his and Aristide’s exile, Manno
traveled the world playing at demonstrations, fundraisers, and
political rallies. When he returned to Haiti in 1994, he successfully
ran in 1995 for mayor of Port-au-Prince against Evans Paul, a former
ally who had indirectly supported the 1991 coup.

Once in Haiti’s third most important executive office (after President
and Prime Minister), Manno, who had just months earlier publicly
declared himself a Communist, faced many of the intractable problems
of corruption, violence, and chaos that confront any Haitian
politician. Although once allies, he ended up at odds with both
Aristide and President René Préval. When Manno’s gun-toting deputies
brutally evicted illegal vendors (mostly market women) from
Port-au-Prince’s central Champ-de-Mars square, it evoked particular
consternation among even his most loyal supporters. He finally stepped
down from the office in 1999, a few months before the end of his term.

Manno moved to Miami and dropped from view for about two years, but
then in 2002, he began playing twice a week at Tap Tap Restaurant in
South Beach with Richard Laguerre (bass guitar), Damas Jean-François
(electric guitar), and Jocelyn Egourdet (tenor sax). The new band’s
music was released on CD as Manno at Tap Tap (Crowing Rooster Arts,
2004), and the band often played to a packed house over the next 15
years.

Following the 2004 coup d’état against Aristide (then serving a second
term), Manno again spoke out against the coup but also made several
provocatively critical remarks about Aristide (then exiled in South
Africa) on Haitian radio (as was his wont), which earned him the ire
of the anti-coup Lavalas masses.

Manno continued to visit Haiti, mostly to form youth chorales in
remote corners of the Haitian countryside, like Camp Perrin and
Pignon. The sting and humiliation of his political failure and his
naturally provocative style caused him to occasionally make
intemperate declarations on Haitian radios, which added to his
political marginalization.

But it was the rise of neo-Duvalierist politician Michel Martelly
which did the most damage to Manno’s reputation. Although he had been
a member of the Duvalierist paramilitary force, the Tontons Macoute,
Martelly, who also grew up in Carrefour, had known and admired Manno
as a youth. When he became Haiti’s President in 2010, Martelly courted
Manno, giving him an office and a salary as an “advisor” in the
National Palace. Citing outrageous corruption, Manno eventually quit
the job but remained on cordial terms with his “friend” and fellow
musician “Sweet Micky” Martelly, even as popular rage against the
latter grew.

Following controversial October 2015 elections, Manno agreed to serve
on an investigative commission convened by Martelly, although it was
generally viewed as a rubber-stamp body.

Following that final foray into politics, which provoked great dismay
among many, he returned to Miami, where he resumed his biweekly
performances at Tap Tap.

Last year, Manno was diagnosed with and began treatment for a fungal
lung infection, which affects many Haitians who’ve had tuberculosis.
He visited Haiti in the summer, during which time President Jovenel
Moïse’s officials tried to entice him, with money and favors, to
participate in the government’s “Caravan for Change,” a sort of
traveling political circus. Manno refused.

In late July, Manno began to have dizzy spells and speech problems.
Fearing a stroke, he quickly returned to Mt. Sinai Hospital in Miami
Beach, where doctors found a huge malignant tumor in his brain which
had mestastacized from cancer in his lungs. On Jul. 31, he underwent a
successful 10-hour operation to remove most of the tumor, but it was
followed by grueling radiation and chemotherapy sessions, which left
him weak. In early November, Manno suffered several seizures and
strokes, which sent him first back to Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and
then, briefly, the Miami Jewish Health Systems nursing home in Miami’s
Little Haiti. Just after Thanksgiving, he developed a high fever and
was rushed from the nursing home to Mt. Sinai, where they discovered
he had a pulmonary embolism. Doctors were unable to dissolve it, and
the cancer in his lungs and brain continued its inexorable march.

In his final days, surrounded by a half-sister, former wife, two sons,
a daughter, and occasional visitors from Tap Tap, Manno slipped in and
out of consciousness. When a journalist from Haïti Liberté visited his
bedside on the evening of Dec. 6, Manno suffered from tremors and had
difficulty speaking and controlling his movements, but was lucid and
humorous reminiscing about old times. “You wouldn’t understand what
we’re talking about,” he said, turning to his son, Ti Manno, who was
also in the room. “That was before you were born.”

In the final three days of his life, he was mostly unconscious, with
the hospital providing only palliative care: an oxygen mask and heavy
doses of morphine to ease his pain.

He finally died shortly after 4:00 a.m. on Sun., Dec. 10. Although
expected, the news of his death sent a shock-wave through Haitian
communities for which Manno had been a symbol of resistance to the
Duvalier dictatorship, and an authentic voice and representative of
Haitian popular culture, critical of U.S. imperialism and its misdeeds
both in Haiti and around the world.

There are several books about the musician, including Manno
Charlemagne: 30 Years of Songs published by Fondation Connaissance &
Liberté (FOKAL, 2006) , and Nicole Augereau’s graphic comic book Quand
viennent les bêtes sauvages published in 2016. Among the films about
him are Frantz Voltaire’s Konviksyon (2011) and Dans La Gueule du
Crocodile (1998) by Canadians  Catherine Larivain and Lucie Ouimet.
The last album of his music, entitled Les Inédits de Manno Charlemagne
(The Unpublished Songs of Manno Charlemagne), was released in 2006.

After a private viewing for his family, there will be a public viewing
of Manno’s body on Thu., Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. at Notre Dame d’Haïti
Catholic Church on 62nd Street in Miami’s Little Haiti. Although Manno
was a devout atheist, there will then be a funeral mass at 7:30 p.m..
His body will be flown to Haiti on Sat., Dec. 16 and exposed on Tue.,
Dec. 19 at the Museum of the Haitian National Pantheon (MUPANAH) on
Port-au-Prince’s Champ-de-Mars. The funeral is scheduled to take place
on Fri., Dec. 22.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the community group KAKOLA and Haïti Liberté
are organizing a traditional veye patriyotik (patriotic wake) to pay
homage to Manno on Fri., Dec. 15 from 7-11 p.m. at Haïti Liberté, 1583
Albany Avenue, Brooklyn, NY. At the same time in Miami, former
friends, comrades, and associates will be holding a similar tribute at
the Little Haiti Cultural Center on NE 2nd Avenue.

Although his final years were compromised by political missteps,
unseemly associations,  and outbursts, Manno Charlemagne earned a
permanent place in the hearts and memories of the Haitian people for
his revolutionary, anti-imperialist, and pro-democracy songs of the
1970s, 80s, and 90s.

To give a taste of his genius and to what he dedicated his life and
art, it is fitting to close his obituary with his own words, extracted
from two classics, Fini le colonies in French, and Konviksyon in
Kreyòl;

Tu me prends tout, tu me prends tout, pour deux sous,
Toujours faudrait dire merci à genoux,
Tu m’as eu, tu m’as eu, tu m’auras plus,
C’est fini les colonies, fini le temps de mépris.
Ça va changer un jour, ça va changer bientôt, ça va changer un jour!

You take everything me, you take everything me, for two cents,
I must always say thank you on my knees,
You got me, you got me, you’ll get me more,
It’s over, the colonies, no longer the time of contempt.
It will change one day, it will change soon, it will change one day!

----

Se konviksyon w ki pou kenbe w
Sa li ka fè w reyalize kòm malere
Tout vye chimen velekete
Se lite tout bon pou lite pou sa chanje

It’s your conviction that has to sustain you
That can allow you achieve to something as a poor person
On all the old treacherous roads
One must really struggle for things to change.

State Department could be paving way to deport 50,000 Haitians by Thanksgiving

HaitiAnalysis -

Miami Herald - Staff Reports
A letter from the U.S. State Department could pave the way for deporting 50,000 Haitian residents enjoying a reprieve from certain immigration rules that were waived after the 2010 earthquake, the Washington Post reported Friday.

The ruling that conditions have improved enough in Haiti and in Central America to resume normal immigration rules in those regions comes days before the Department of Homeland Security is expected to announce whether to renew the special status. Political leaders in Miami-Dade, home to the largest concentration of Haitians protected by the special status, have urged President Donald Trump to continue the waiver. But the State Department decision could be a prelude to that status being lifted.

More than 300,000 Central Americans and Haitians living in the United States under a form of temporary permission no longer need to be shielded from deportation, the State Department told Homeland Security officials this week, the Post reported.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent a letter to acting DHS secretary Elaine Duke to inform her that conditions in Central America and Haiti that had been used to justify the protection no longer necessitate a reprieve for the migrants, some of whom have been allowed to live and work in the United States for 20 years under a program known as Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

Tillerson’s assessment, required by law, has not been made public, but its recommendations were confirmed by several administration officials familiar with its contents. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity.

DHS has until Monday to announce its plans for roughly 57,000 Hondurans and 2,500 Nicaraguans whose TPS protections will expire in early January. Although most arrived here illegally, they were exempted from deportation after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America in 1998. Their TPS protections have been renewed routinely since then, in some cases following additional natural disasters and resulting insecurity.

DHS must also decide what to do with about 50,000 Haitian TPS recipients by Thanksgiving Day. The Haitians, who are concentrated in South Florida, received TPS after the 2010 earthquake that killed 200,000.

Congress established TPS in 1990 to protect foreign nationals from being returned to their countries amid instability and precarious conditions caused by natural disasters or armed conflict.

Trump administration officials have repeatedly noted that the program was meant to be temporary — not a way for people to become long-term residents of the United States. Officials said that long-ago disasters should not be used to extend provisional immigration status when the initial justification for it no longer exists.

Tillerson’s assessment is consistent with broader administration efforts to reduce immigration to the United States and comply with legal restrictions that it maintains have been loosely enforced in the past.

“It is fair to say that this administration is interpreting the law, exactly as it is, which the previous one did not,” an administration official said.

The official acknowledged that the countries in question continue to suffer from problems of poverty, corruption and violence that, in many cases, have spurred illegal migration. But, the official said, those conditions should be addressed in other ways.

“The solution is going to require working with Congress and these countries,” the official said. “We are equally committed to finding that. There is no lack of empathy here.”

But “with this particular law,” the official said, “it is very clear to this administration what needs to be done.”

Administration officials have also said that the return of tens of thousands of migrants could benefit the Central American nations and Haiti, because their citizens will return with job skills, democratic values and personal savings acquired from living long-term in the United States.

Many of the immigrants have homes, businesses and U.S.-born children, but if the protections expire, they could be subject to arrest and deportation. “We understand this is a very difficult decision,” the administration official said.

DHS officials declined to say Friday what the agency planned to do, or when an announcement would be made.

“The acting secretary has made no decision on TPS,” said Tyler Houlton, a spokesman for the agency.

Tillerson’s letter does not amount to a recommendation. But DHS is required to seek the agency’s input, and officials said the State Department’s position carries significant weight.

The largest group of TPS recipients — about 200,000 — are from El Salvador, and DHS has until early January to announce its plans for them. At least 30,000 of them live in the Washington area, according to immigrant advocacy groups.

When the Obama administration last extended TPS for the Salvadorans, in July 2016, it said that they were eligible because conditions justifying it continued to be met.

“There continues to be a substantial, but temporary, disruption of living conditions in El Salvador resulting from a series of earthquakes in 2001,” Homeland Security officials said at the time, “and El Salvador remains unable, temporarily, to handle adequately the return of its nationals.”

Advocates say removing TPS would be a cruel blow to long-standing, law-abiding immigrants, forcing them to decide between remaining in the country illegally or leaving their homes and families. According to a recent study by the left-leaning Center for American Progress, TPS recipients have nearly 275,000 U.S.-born children.

If recipients lose their protections but defy orders to leave, it would not be difficult for immigration enforcement agents to find them. The provisional nature of their status requires them to maintain current records with DHS; the agency has their addresses, phone numbers and other personal information.

“Terminating TPS at this time would be inhumane and untenable,” a group of Catholic charity leaders wrote to Duke in a recent letter, arguing it would “needlessly add large numbers of Hondurans and Salvadorans to the undocumented population in the U.S., lead to family separation, and unnecessarily cause the Department of Homeland Security to expend resources on individuals who are already registered with our government and whose safe return is forestalled by dire humanitarian circumstances.”

If DHS ends the TPS protections, it is expected to grant recipients a grace period of at least six months or more to give them time to prepare for departure.

In May, then-DHS Secretary John Kelly extended TPS for Haitians for six months, far less than the 18-month waivers granted by the Obama administration.

Kelly, in a statement at the time, called the six-month window a “limited” extension whose purpose was to “allow Haitian TPS recipients living in the United States time to attain travel documents and make other necessary arrangements for their ultimate departure from the United States.”

Haiti is the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country and remains gripped by a cholera epidemic triggered by United Nations troops who were sent after the earthquake.

Advocates of reduced immigration say the Haiti decision will be a key test of the administration’s willingness to follow through on its by-the-books rhetoric.

Immigration experts believe many of the Haitians could attempt to seek refuge in Canada, particularly French-speaking Quebec, to avoid arrest and deportation.

Miami Herald staff writer Douglas Hanks contributed to this report.

Statement of the Network for the Critical Study of Global Capitalism on the U.S. Blockage of Cuba

HaitiAnalysis -

The Network for the Critical Study of Global Capitalism (NCSGC) held its Fourth Biannual Conference in Havana, Cuba on November 1-3 of 2017. The NCSGC wishes to thank our Cuban hosts and our co-sponsors from the Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanos y del Caribe (Association of Historians from Latin America and the Caribbean).

In these times of renewed U.S. aggression towards the Cuban people and their government, the NCSGC wishes to express its friendship and solidarity with the people and the government of Cuba. We demand that the U.S. government immediately lift its illegal economic, financial, and commercial blockage of Cuba. We add our voices to those of the 191 nations that on November 1 voted in the United Nations to condemn the blockage as a violation of international law.

Havana, Cuba
3 November 2017

Declaración de la Network for the Critical Study of Global Capitalism (Red para el Estudio Crítico del Capitalismo Global) Sobre el Bloqueo Norteamericano contra Cuba

La Network for the Critical Study of Global Capitalismo (NCSGC, Red para el Estudio Crítico del Capitalismo Global) realizó su 4ra Conferencia Bianual en La Habana, Cuba, entre el 1 y el 3 de noviembre de 2017. La NCSGC desea agradecer a nuestros anfitriones Cubanos y nuestros co-patronizadores de la Asociación de Historiadores Latinoamericanos y del Caribe.

En estos momentos de renovada agresión norteamericana contra el pueblo y el gobierno de Cuba, la NCSGC desea expresar nuestra amistad y solidaridad con el pueblo y el gobierno de Cuba. Exigimos que el gobierno norteamericano levante de inmediato, el ilegal bloqueo económico, financiero y comercial contra Cuba. Sumamos nuestras voces a las de las 191 naciones que el pasado 1 de noviembre en la Organización de las Naciones Unidas condenaron dicho bloqueo como una violación de la ley internacional.

La Habana, Cuba
3 de noviembre de

How the U.S. Crippled Haiti's Domestic Rice Production

HaitiAnalysis -

By: Leslie Mullin - Haiti Solidarity 
We are all living under a system so corrupt that to ask for a plate of rice and beans every day for every man, woman and child is to preach revolution– Jean Bertrand Aristide, Dignity 1990.
    The basic right to eat is at the very heart of Haiti’s struggle for democracy.  Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the radical voice of Haiti’s poor, aptly characterized slavery when he wrote, “The role of slaves was to harvest coconuts, and the role of colonists was to eat the coconuts.” [i]To Aristide, those who have food and those who don’t marks the vast chasm separating Haiti’s wealthy elite from millions of impoverished citizens:
The rich of my country, a tiny percentage of our population, sit at a vast table covered in white damask and overflowing with good food, while the rest of my countrymen and countrywomen are crowded under that table, hunched over in the dirt and starving. It is a violent situation, and one day the people under that table will rise up in righteousness, and knock the table of privilege over, and take what rightfully belongs to them.[ii]
It’s no wonder that Haiti’s most popular party, Fanmi Lavalas, chose the image of Haitian people seated around a dining table as its emblem, signifying the overthrow of privilege and the right of every Haitian to share the nation’s wealth. This is not mere symbolism. In its 1990 program, the Lavalasparty recognized the right to eat as one of three basic principles, along with the right to work and the right of the impoverished masses to demand what is owed them.[iii]In a very concrete way, Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, illustrated this commitment on the day of his February 7th, 1991 inauguration, when he invited several hundred street children to join him for breakfast in the Palace garden.
Haiti’s hunger crisis is no accident – it is the direct result of US economic policies imposed on rural Haiti beginning in the 1980s. The story of how the US undermined Haiti’s domestic rice industry explains why a nation of farmers can no longer feed itself.

The Story of Rice     The story of Haitian rice begins in Africa, where rice has sustained African peoples for centuries.  Rice was so basic to the West African diet that it was an essential provision on slave ships, accompanying captive Africans to Brazil, the Caribbean and the southern United States.[iv]Today, testament to 10 million souls kidnapped from their homeland, every region touched by the African diaspora has its own unique version of rice and beans. [v]
Rice cultivation in the United States is deeply rooted in slavery. Black Rice author Judith Carney writes, “Few Americans identify slavery with the cultivation of rice, yet rice was a major plantation crop during the first three centuries of settlement in the Americas… By the middle of the eighteenth century, rice plantations in South Carolina and the black slaves who worked them had created one of the most profitable economies in the world.” [vi]European settlers knew nothing about the complexities of growing, harvesting and threshing rice. But enslaved Africans did.A basic staple of the Haitian diet, rice has been cultivated in Haiti since its 1804 independence. Until the 1980s, Haitian farmers produced most of the rice consumed in Haiti. Under the US-backed dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and the brutal military regimes that followed, domestic rice cultivation began to plummet. In the space of a few decades, Haiti became the world’s fourth largest market for American rice. By 2004, the value of US rice exports to Haiti amounted to $80 million. How this colossal tragedy came about is a story of foreign intervention, government corruption, and corporate greed backed by ruthless repression.
1984: Growth of US Food Aid Undercuts Haitian FarmersFood aid played a key role in undermining Haiti’s domestic rice production. President Aristide observed, “What good does it do the peasant when the pastor feeds his children? For one night, he is grateful to the pastor, because that night he does not have to hear the whimpers of his children, starving. But the same free foreign rice the pastor feeds the peasant’s children is being sold on the market for less than the farmer’s own produce. The very food that the pastor feeds the peasant’s children is keeping the peasant in poverty, unable himself to feed his children.” [vii]
Ronald Reagan’s 1984 Caribbean Basin Initiative prompted a major increase in US food aid to Haiti. In 1984, Haiti received $11 million in food aid; from 1985-1988, Haiti received $54 million in food aid.[viii]The Caribbean Basin Initiative called for integrating Haiti into the global market by redirecting 30% of Haiti’s domestic food production towards export crops, a plan that USAID experts systematically carried out. The United States fully recognized that this would lead to widespread hunger in rural Haiti, as peasant land was converted to grow food for foreigners. Food aid was supposed to compensate rural Haitians for this attack on their livelihood.[ix]Food aid benefits the big American companies who grow and transport it, but wrecks local economies. As cheap American food undersold Haitian farmers’ produce, domestic agriculture became even less sustainable. In effect, food aid created a dependence on foreign imports.
How was the United States able to impose its will on rural Haiti? At the time, Jean-Claude Duvalier, the son of Haiti’s infamous dictator, Francois Duvalier, ruled Haiti. Like his father, the younger Duvalier held onto power by controlling Haiti’s repressive security forces. He received millions in US aid intended to maintain US influence in the Caribbean as a bulwark against Cuba. The Reagan administration conditioned US aid on Duvalier’s support for the plan to restructure Haiti’s economy. Thus began the most massive foreign intervention in Haiti since the 1915-1934 American occupation.
1986: The Game is Rigged - Miami Rice Invades Haiti“We cannot sell our rice…rice is coming in from Miami, and now we cannot live," said Emanuel Georges, manning the barricade at L'Estere. LA Times, Dec 21, 1986 In February 1986, a popular uprising forced Baby-Doc Duvalier out of power. After he fled Haiti, raiding the treasury as he left, a military junta headed by General Henri Namphy took power. Predictably, the United States aligned with the junta and intensified measures to restructure Haiti’s economy. In 1987, Namphy received IMF loans valued at $24.6 million in exchange for agreeing to slash rice tariffs from 150% to 50%,[x]the lowest in the Caribbean.[xi]He opened all of Haiti’s ports to commercial activity[xii]and agreed to stop what little support the government had offered Haitian farmers. Meanwhile, Haiti’s military elite saw an opportunity to make a profit smuggling American rice.
In the United States, the passage of the 1985 Farm Bill significantly boosted subsidies to American rice growers. By 1987, 40% of American rice growers’ profits came from the government.[xiii]Heavily subsidized American rice could sell at prices far below the market value of Haitian rice. Haitian farmers never stood a chance against this unfair competition.
In Haiti, imported American rice is called “Miami rice” because it is shipped from Miami in sacks stamped “Miami, FLA.” By December 1987, Haiti’s rice production had shrunk to 75% of Haitian needs.[xiv]Outraged Haitian peasants barricaded highways and ports for three months to protest the cheap American rice that had begun to flood Haitian markets. They attacked truckloads of Miami rice with machetes, picks and clubs, dumping rice onto the earth.
The late Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest and human rights advocate, later recalled this era: "In the 1980s, imported rice poured into Haiti, below the cost of what our farmers could produce it. Farmers lost their businesses. People from the countryside started losing their jobs and moving to the cities. After a few years of cheap imported rice, local production went way down." [xv]
1990: Democracy Brings HopeBy 1990, the year Fr. Jean Bertrand Aristide was elected President in Haiti’s first democratic election, US rice imports outpaced domestic production.[xvi]Aristide was the candidate of Haiti’s popular movement Lavalas. He won with 67% of the vote. His February 1991 inauguration marked a victory for Haiti’s poor majority after decades of Duvalier family dictatorships and military rule, signaling participation of the poor in a new social order. The new administration began to implement programs in adult literacy, health care, and land redistribution; lobbied for a minimum wage hike; and proposed new roads and infrastructure. Aristide enforced taxes on the wealthy, and dissolved the rural section chief infrastructure that empowered the paramilitary force known as Tonton Macoute. He closed Fort Dimanche, the dreaded Duvalier-era torture center.[xvii]The Aristide government met with a large coalition of farmers’ associations and unions and proposed buying all Haitian-grown rice in order to stabilize the price, limiting rice imports during periods between harvests.
1992: American Rice Inc Profits from Haiti’s Bloody CoupJust seven months after his inauguration, President Aristide and the democratic government were overthrown in a bloody military coup led by General Raoul Cedras. Trained in the United States and funded by the CIA, Cedras commanded the Haitian Army. His regime unleashed the collective violence of Haiti’s repressive forces against its own people. From 1991-1994, nearly five thousand Lavalas activists and supporters of the constitutional government were massacred; many others were savagely tortured and imprisoned. Rape as a political weapon was widespread. Three hundred thousand Haitians were driven into hiding, while tens of thousands fled the country.
Around the world and in the United States, there was a massive outcry demanding the restoration of democracy and the return of President Aristide. Aside from the Vatican, few governments recognized the illegal Cedras regime, widely condemned for its sweeping human-rights abuses. This did not stop American Rice Inc from collaborating with the ruthless military regime to turn a profit. In September 1992, barely a year after the coup, American Rice Inc negotiated a nine-year contract with the illegal Haitian government, importing American rice under its newly formed Rice Corporation of Haiti. [xviii]
American Rice Inc is a subsidiary of Erly Industries, a powerful international agribusiness. The company holds an almost monopolistic position in Haiti’s rice market. [xix]In the 1980’s American Rice Inc imported rice under its brand Comet Rice, which constituted much of the Miami rice that ravaged Haitian rice production at the time.[xx]
In the 1990s, American Rice Inc supplemented its profits in “legal” rice imports by smuggling rice to avoid paying import taxes. Lawrence Theriot, the Washington lobbyist for American Rice Inc, was a former director of Reagan’s Caribbean Basin Initiative. He had powerful friends in Washington, DC like Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC). In March 2000, the Haitian government fined the company $1.4 million for evading Haiti’s customs duties. Jesse Helms retaliated by withholding $30 million in US aid, and denying high-ranking Haitian officials visas to enter the United States. The American Securities & Exchange Commission later found Theriot and two other American Rice Inc executives guilty of corrupt foreign practices for smuggling rice into Haiti.
Bill Clinton’s Crocodile Tears“The dilemma is, I believe, the classic dilemma of the poor; a choice between death and death. Either we enter a global economic system, in which we know we cannot survive, or, we refuse, and face death by slow starvation. With choices like these the urgency of finding a third way is clear. We must find some room to maneuver, some open space simply to survive.” – Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Eyes of the Heart, 2000
Bill Clinton’s 1992 election took place during Haiti’s repressive Cedras regime, when President Aristide lived in exile in the United States. After Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, Clinton famously apologized for forcing Haiti to lower its rice tariffs during his administration. He acknowledged that he helped big Arkansas agro-businesses reap profits at the expense of Haiti’s rice farmers. But Clinton left a lot out of the story.
Clinton posed as mediator between the coup leaders and President Aristide to negotiate the return of Haiti’s democratically elected government. He took advantage of this role to use the threat of continued repression as a bargaining chip. While the US stalled, demanding more and more economic concessions - displaying not-so-covert support for Haiti’s military regime - the junta continued murdering supporters of the constitutional government. Within this coerced context, Aristide resisted the US neoliberal plan. He insisted that discussions demanded by the financial institutions for the proposed sales of state-owned enterprises include benefits for the poor – opportunities for co-ownership, funding for health and education, reparations to the victims of the coup.[xxi] Aristide would later refuse to move forward with privatization, disband the Haitian military over strong US objections, raise the minimum wage and bring paramilitary leaders charged with extra-judicial killings to justice.[xxii]
By the time President Aristide returned to Haiti, the collapse of the country’s rice production was a fait accompli, victim of a long and deliberate US campaign waged against Haitian farmers in collusion with successive Haitian dictators and military regimes. Imported Miami rice constituted 80% of Haiti’s domestic consumption.  Rice smuggling was common, enabled by the corrupt Cedras regime, which accepted bribes instead of enforcing tariffs.[xxiii]
Nothing changed after Clinton’s apology either. Haiti’s 2010 earthquake became yet another business opportunity for foreign corporations to overrun Haiti’s economy, while food aid, callously tossed off trucks to desperate Haitians, meant more revenue for US corporations. Nor should we let Clinton off the hook for forcibly repatriating thousands of Haitian “boat people” fleeing tyranny under the junta, and intercepting 12,000 other refugees who were illegally imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.
Democracy and Reparations There are two opposing visions of Haiti’s future – one projected by Fanmi Lavalasbenefits the poor majority; the other imposed by the United States and wealthy foreign nations enriches international corporations and the Haitian elite. What is clear is that Haiti’s people must prevail over foreign profits and the wealthy elite. This means real democracy and respect for Haitian sovereignty.

Democracy asks us to put the needs and rights of people at the center of our endeavors. This means investing in people. In investing in people means first of all food, clean water, education and health care. These are basic human rights. It is the challenge of any real democracy to guarantee them– Jean-Bertrand Aristide

References[i]Aristide, Jean-Bertrand. Haiti-Haitii? Philosophical Reflections for Mental Decolonization. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2011, p37. [ii]Aristide, Jean-Bertrand. Dignity. Charlottesville & London: University Press of Virginia, 1996, p9. [iii]Sprague, Jeb. Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti. New York: Monthly Review Press, 2012, p57. [iv]Harris, Jessica B. Iron Pots & Wooden Spoons: Africa’s Gifts to New World Cooking. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999, p31.
[v]Hess, Karen. The Carolina Rice Kitchen; The African Connection. Columbia, So Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 1992, p. 95
[vi]Carney, Judith A. Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002. [vii]Aristide, Jean-Bertrand. In the Parish of the Poor: Writings from Haiti. New York: Orbis Books, 1990, p67. [viii]DeWind, Josh and Kinley III, David H. Aiding Migration: The Impact of International Development Assistance on Haiti. Boulder and London: Westview Press, 1988, p98. [ix]DeWind, p77, p98
[x]Emersberger, Joe. Kicking Away the Ladder in Haiti. [web page]. Telesur, February 20, 2015. http://www.telesurtv.net/english/opinion/Kicking-Away-the-Ladder-in-Haiti-20150220-0027.html
[xi]Gros, Jean-Germaine. Indigestible Recipe: Rice, Chicken Wings, and International Financial Institutions: Or Hunger Politics in Haiti. SAGE Publications, Inc: Journal of Black Studies, Vol 40, No 5 [May 2010], p981.
[xii]Wilentz, Amy. The Rainy Season: Haiti Since Duvalier. New York: Simon and Schuster,  1989 p279
[xiii]Aristide, Jean-Bertrand. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization.  Laura Flynn, ed. Monroe, ME. Common Courage Press, 2000, p12. [xiv]Chavla, Leah. Council on Hemispheric Affairs [COHA]. Haiti Research File. Bill Clinton’s Heavy Hand on Haiti’s Vulnerable Agricultural Economy: The American Rice Scandal [web page]. April 3, 2010. http://www.coha.org/haiti-research-file-neoliberalism%E2%80%99s-heavy-hand-on-haiti%E2%80%99s-vulnerable-agricultural-economy-the-american-rice-scandal/ [xv]Quigley, Bill. The U.S. Role in Haiti’s Food Riots [web page]. Counterpunch. April 21, 2008. https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/04/21/the-u-s-role-in-haiti-s-food-riots/ [xvi]Georges, Josiane. Trade and the Disappearance of Haitian Rice [web page]. Ted Case Studies Number 725, June 2004. http://archive.is/20130830194250/www1.american.edu/TED/haitirice.htm [xvii]Stotzky, Irwin P. Silencing the Guns in Haiti: The Promise of Deliberative Democracy. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1997, p28.
[xviii]Chavla, Leah. COHA.
[xix]Georges, Josiane. Ted Case Studies.
[xx]Corbett, Bob. Washington Office on Haiti: Special Issue Report. Rice Corporation of Haiti [web page]. November 1, 1995. [xxi]Aristide, Jean-Bertrand. Eyes of the Heart, p31-32.
[xxii]Myths About Haiti, by Haiti Action Committee, October 2001.
[xxiii]Sprague, p77.

After the Hurricane(s)

HaitiAnalysis -

By: Kevin Edmonds - NACLA

Last week, a barrage of hurricanes hit the Caribbean with a frequency unrivaled in modern history. Hurricane Irma was the largest, causing the most damage to the Leeward Islands and Greater Antilles, particularly Antigua, Barbuda, Cuba, Haiti and the Virgin Islands.

After the hurricane, the media—disappointingly but unsurprisingly—crafted hyperbolic, racist headlines contrasting descriptions of the tourists as the real victims of the hurricane with locals characterized as a second life-threatening obstacle that had to be overcome. One British paper reported that “hungry locals on the islands have even started fighting each other for food and there have been reports of looters raiding hotel rooms to profit from the disaster. Tourists have broken down in tears as they have eventually been able to leave the islands devastated by the hurricane.” Several media reports upped the intensity, stating that St. Martin was “on the verge of civil war” after the hurricane passed. The reality was that people were just trying to get their hands on what they needed to survive.
Just as in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, we are seeing is a man-made disaster unfolding along several dimensions. While the media coverage of the hurricanes finally prompted many to admit for the first time that the climate change does exist and is the most visible culprit for explaining them, the seeds of this destruction have been cultivated over the past thirty years.

While it doesn’t make for catchy headlines, the reality is that as the Caribbean has been hit by stronger and stronger storms in recent decades, while state capacity to respond to natural disasters has diminished due to increased levels of debt, reduced government revenue and lower development aid. This has led to skyrocketing rates of food insecurity, poverty, and unemployment. On their own, the Caribbean cannot adapt fast enough to face the relentless destruction brought about when climate change is thrown into the mix.

This multitude of systemic challenges led to one of the region’s leading intellectuals, the late Norman Girvan, to remark in 2010 that the Caribbean faces “existential threats” on a number of fronts. Girvan went on to state that “30 years ago, one expected to deal with major disasters of this kind, say, once every ten years. Nowadays, most islands expect at least one, and possibly two or three, every year. In other words, this now has to be seen as a permanent, recurring phenomenon or integral feature of Caribbean development.”

The increase in natural disasters in both frequency and intensity is evident in Haiti, devastated by Hurricane Matthew in 2010, which left over 1,000 people dead, 55,000 homeless and an estimated 80 percent of food crops destroyed. The storm decimated critical infrastructure, leaving Haiti with no other option than to descend deeper into debt. After international politicians and NGOs collected and fraudulently diverted billions of dollars for relief efforts from their intended use, Haiti took out loans from the International Monetary Fund. To make matters even worse, Hurricane Matthew contaminated water sources across the island, triggering a spike in the cholera epidemic that Haiti has been fighting since its introduction by United Nations troops in 2010.

Beyond the destruction wrought by hurricanes, the region has faced a seemingly contradictory mix of both droughts and extreme hurricanes. These extreme variations in weather have wreaked havoc across the region. It has become increasingly vulnerable to water shortages, making sustaining agricultural and tourism industries nearly impossible.

The Other Side of Paradise: A Tale of “Riches to Rags”

Meanwhile, the region’s dependency on an unsustainable model of tourism is becoming increasingly visible. Tourism has now become the main economic engine of the region, providing much-needed employment and government revenue – and in many instances, but often at the expense of much needed diversification in other sectors. In Antigua and Barbuda, tourism contributed 60 percent to GDP in 2016. Given that tourism is an incredibly vulnerable industry, Caribbean economies have been restructured to balance on a knife’s edge.

Over the past 30 years, the Caribbean has been transformed from an agricultural producer with comparatively healthy domestic economies, to an archipelago of predominately foreign-owned all-inclusive resorts and offshore tax havens, in what has been called a tale of “riches to rags.” Decades of trade liberalization, structural adjustment policies, and the consequent economic crisis have destroyed the agricultural industry that was once the lifeline of so many islands. Alongside low and stagnant growth across the Caribbean, in combination with rising food prices, in 2014 the region now has an annual food import bill of $4.5 billion.

On social media, tourists and reporters covering the aftermath of the storm were alarmed that local people across the affected islands entered hotels for food and water in order to survive. But to those from the region, it was common sense. Water rationing has become commonplace across the Caribbean, as reservoirs are at record lows—and hotels supply bottled water to tourists.

Fueled by a mix of imported food, drinks and cheap, disposable labor where locals serve tourists in resorts as variations of domestic servants, from driver, chef, maid or security guard, the region’s economy has become overly dependent on an industry that is largely disconnected from the majority of the local people, and does not bring meaningful economic development.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the Caribbean leads the world in tourism “leakage”—meaning an estimated 80 percent of money spent by tourists ends up leaving the region via foreign-owned hotels, operators, airlines, imported food and drinks, and the like. A lack of regulation discourages the creation of much needed linkages with the local economy, for example through jobs for farmers, food processors, and artisans.

A 2015 survey of nearly 2,000 visitors to all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean revealed that less than 20 percent had left the resort in order to patronize local restaurants, bars, or attractions. Combined with the fact that multinational corporations force islands into cutthroat competition with each other, resulting in resorts receiving 25-year tax holidays, all-inclusive resorts have had a negative impact on local economies.

The unhealthy dependency on tourism means that heavily damaged islands like Barbuda will take a double hit. Resorts will be closed for peak tourism season, leaving many unemployed and unable to reconstruct their homes. Once tourists have evacuated and the camera crews disappear, the Caribbean will be left alone once again to patch up the damage before the next “storm of the century” rolls up again, all too soon.

A 2008 report from Tufts University on climate change and the Caribbean stated that the combination of increased hurricane damages, loss of tourism revenue, and infrastructure damages will cost the region $22 billion annually by 2050—10 percent of the current Caribbean economy— and $46 billion by 2100—22 percent of the current Caribbean economy. Due to the repeat reconstruction of resorts, it could only be a matter of time before resorts decide that the Caribbean is too unstable and unprofitable due to extreme weather, killing the Caribbean’s largest industry, however problematic, and plunging it further into economic devastation.

It is worth noting that the Caribbean (aside from Trinidad) contributes a disproportionally low proportion of carbon emissions globally, yet exists on the front lines of climate change in a state of paralysis. As always, the poorest and most vulnerable are hit hardest by the actions of the wealthy. Evidence of climate change abounds. As Norman Girvan has said, “Caribbean leaders must take the fight to a higher level.”

The Philippines have filed a legal case against the world’s largest oil companies for violating the human rights of local people: carbon-based climate change was responsible for a 2013 storm that killed thousands and resulted in billions of dollars in damage. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) could follow such an example. Furthermore, states that are major contributors to carbon emissions must be targeted and challenged in a similar manner.

Such a move is not without precedent in the region, as 14 Caribbean nations have launched a lawsuit against European colonial powers for their role in engaging in the enslavement and genocide of African and Indigenous people. This will no doubt have adverse repercussions in terms of economic and political retaliation. But, as the power and persistence of environmental disaster increases in the region, the status quo is killing the people of the Caribbean.

Kevin Edmonds is a PhD candidate and instructor at the University of Toronto, whose research examines the connection between trade liberalization, the decline of the banana trade and the rise of marijuana cultivation/trafficking in the Eastern Caribbean islands of St. Lucia and St. Vincent.

As Police Crackdown: Anti-Government Popular Uprising Continues to Grow

HaitiAnalysis -

Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte

Massive, raucous demonstrations, sometime several times a week, have rocked Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, and other provincial cities over the past two months and show no sign of subsiding, despite a lack of clear or unified leadership.

Police repression of the demonstrators has grown as their calls have morphed from denouncing a tax-laden, fee-hiking, austerity budget proposed in early September to demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse, who came to power in February following controversial, anemic elections in November 2016.

In many ways the demonstrations resemble the Caracazo uprising that erupted in Venezuela in February 1989 after President Carlos Andrés Pérez’s government implemented a package (dubbed in Venezuela “ paquete”) of neoliberal economic reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The measures, featuring privatizations, public employee layoffs, and tariff reductions, included slashing gas subsidies which resulted in a 30% hike in transportation costs overnight. The Caracazo revolt led to the 1992 coup d’état attempt and subsequent 1998 election of Hugo Chavez.

Similarly, Jovenel Moïse’s Washington-influenced budget proposes a host of taxes and fees on everything from drivers licenses, vehicle registrations, and passports to a 10,000 gourdes ($157US) annual tax on expatriate Haitians.
The starting gun for the current uprising was fired on Sep. 5 when Sen. Antonio Cheramy – previously a popular singer known as “Don Kato” – walked up to the podium where Southeast Sen. Ricard Pierre was reading the draft budget to the Senate, grabbed the document as Pierre was in mid-sentence, and began to theatrically tear it up, saying “this is over” (se fini) with every rip.

As the session degenerated into shoving and shouting matches, Cheramy then appropriated the bell used to call the Senate to order and began parading around the chamber ringing it while repeating: “Stop the thieves!” (Bare volè).

Videos of the disrupted session went viral on Haitian social media, and by the Fri. Sep. 8, thousands of protestors, reprising Cheramy’s words, surged into the streets of the capital. They’ve been there, usually several times a week, ever since.

Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas Family party (FL) as well as the breakaway Dessalines Children Platform (PPD) of former Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, have sought to lead the uprising, with Jean-Charles often being carried on the shoulders of demonstrators.

Despite a joint press conference last week, the two parties, which were bitter rivals during the 2015 and 2016 elections, have not yet met to form a coalition between themselves or with other opposition currents or to craft a coherent programme that goes beyond the simple demand, increasingly heard in demonstrations, for Jovenel to resign.

In addition to encouraging the police to fire tear gas, water cannon, and bullets at demonstrators, the government has also tried to mobilize, so far unsuccessfully, counter-demonstrations.

As Jovenel returned on Sep. 22 to Port-au-Prince from speaking at the United Nation’s General Assembly on Sep. 21, he attempted to march with a few hundred supporters – many of them in various military fatigues and brandishing automatic weapons (while the Defense Minister disavowed any actions they might take) from the airport to the National Palace. The occasional rocks and bottles which flew at the presidential cortege from the slums that line the airport road became a veritable hail storm by the time the procession reached the intersection with the Delmas Road (about halfway), and shots began to ring out. Jovenel’s parade quickly scattered as partisans and officials scrambled to their vehicles, speeding off toward the Palace with their sirens wailing.

Opposition politicians are also alarmed because Jovenel, and the Parliament which is dominated by his Haitian Bald-Headed Party (PHTK) and its allies, are preparing to name a Permanent Electoral Council, which will oversee elections for the next decade. Since the Constitution was ratified in March 1987, electoral councils have always been provisional, generally reflecting a political compromise between the contending political currents in any given “conjoncture,” as Haitians call the political situation.

As we go to press this week, the police tried to outlaw a demonstration on Tue. Oct. 24, claiming it had not been notified, as the law demands. Former presidential candidate André Michel, who has become the lead lawyer for the uprising, responded with a public note saying that the demonstration would march through the chic suburb of Pétionville to downtown Port-au-Prince “without any modification to its route,” while declaring that “notification was personally handed to Alain Auguste, the West Departmental director,” as “witnessed by the bailiff.”

Meanwhile, “armed civilians aboard three vehicles attempted to intimidate protesters Tuesday morning in the streets of Pétion-Ville, firing shots at the start of a rally banned by the government,” the Rezonodwes.com website reported. “Witnesses identified a white Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck without a license plate, a white Isuzu pickup [with license plate] SE 01824 owned by the Haitian State Lottery (LEH), [and] a black Nissan Patrol all-terrain vehicle registered IT 04936.” In a video, one of the men from the white Chevrolet pulled out a handgun and fired 24 shots in rapid succession in the air in an attempt to scare off gathering demonstrators.

The police ban and the armed intimidation had the reverse effect, swelling the ranks of protestors, who remained peaceful.

Also in an Oct. 24 press release, the Association of Haitian Journalists (AJH) said that it was “shocked and scandalized” that the Port-au-Prince district attorney (Commissaire du gouvernement) had issued an Oct. 20 note in which he demanded that directors and camera-people of audiovisual media “make available to the prosecutor’s office, on his express and timely request, all relevant images and audio-visual recordings relating to any acts of banditry and violence committed during the street demonstrations held in the capital.”

The AJH objected that the prosecutor was trying to “transform [journalists] into veritable spies” and called on all media and journalists to “fight any attempt to muzzle the press,” stressing their “obligation to perform their mission with professionalism and responsibility.”

Other than some scatter-shot projects like a solar power array in the far western town of Les Irois or improvements on a 19-mile section of road between Camp Coq and Vaudreuil in the North, Pres. Moïse has little to show for almost nine months in office, in large part because millions of dollars and many weeks of precious time have been wasted on a so-called “Caravan for Change,” which is little more than a combination Carnival and political rally held in different towns around Haiti.

As charges of runaway government corruption have multiplied (much of it involving the cash sloshing around Caravan events), Jovenel illegally decapitated the state’s two corruption-monitoring agencies, replacing respected directors with his own cronies.

Jovenel further enraged the Haitian people by embracing neoliberal icon and InterAmerican Development (IDB) president Luis Alberto Moreno, who visited Haiti on Oct. 19 to announce: “The IDB, for the next few years, will give steroids to the Caravan.” In September, Moreno said that the IDB had pumped $10 million into the Caravan, which he urged the Haitian opposition “to get on-board.”

Despite its divided, inchoate leadership, an anti-austerity, anti-neoliberal mass movement appears to have been unleashed. An opposition coalition came together in New York to organize very successful demonstrations against Jovenel during his passage there in late September. A similar coalition may emerge in Haiti in the weeks ahead. Recent Haitian history suggests that, once such a movement gains momentum, Jovenel Moïse’s government will have great difficulty putting the genie back in the bottle.

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