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Grease the Wheels and Keep Hoping

Livesay Haiti - Nov. 17, 2018 - 11:48 am
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice. 

Also, it is often said, mainly by women we work with at the Maternity Center, "Haiti has no justice". As you read that you might think, well - that's hyperbole - certainly there is SOME justice.  
There cannot be zero justice, right?!?
We first came to Haiti in early 2002. I came one week per month for seven months while I waited for Isaac and Hope to legally be free to come to the USA. After all of these years of meeting and working with average Haitians and hearing their experiences and stories, I am here to tell you that it is no exaggeration.
Justice is a commodity - as in you can buy it if you have the means to do so
Because the average Haitian citizen does not always have the means to eat three square meals a day and purchase a sufficient amount of potable water and keep their kids in school. For them there is definitely no expendable income to grease the seized-up wheels of justice.
Earlier this year we helped a young woman file a police report for sexual assault. She described what had taken place in detail over and over many times to interview rooms full of men. The manager of that department of the police was very enamored with my friend, KJ.  He was less interested in helping the young woman filing the report than he was in finding a way to get KJ to flirt with him.  He claimed we could pick up a copy of the report if we returned a few days later. We returned no less than four times, but were  given another (always new and creative) excuse why we could not have a copy of the report we had filed. 
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.
Last week in postpartum class we talked about abuse in Haiti, specifically sexual abuse and children. I shared a few personal stories and posed a question to the women seated in the room. "If we never talk about it or acknowledge it is happening at an alarming rate, how will it ever change? Can we change what we don't address?"  The next 45 minutes were spent with different new mothers sharing horrific stories of abuse. It was hard to hear what had happened in their neighborhoods. Not one had ever been able to report it to authorities. Not one had seen the abuser face consequences. 
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.  
On Monday, November 5th a little girl named Love was born with probable (not yet diagnosed) VACTERL association at the Heartline Maternity Center. Due to a connection with a long-time volunteer at a local hospital we were able to go directly to a hospital that would see the baby. Typically, Haitian mothers will visit several if not dozens of clinics and hospitals before there is one that takes on the responsibility of diagnosis and care. 
Our experience of being seen the day we walked into that hospital is atypical. Justice in that way came due to connections, which we are INCREDIBLY grateful for and also no more deserving of than any other person. The hospital sent baby Love for several tests, most of which took 8 days to complete. On Monday the 19th we hope to return to the hospital with all of the results of the tests and lab work they ordered to learn what happens next. Returning to the hospital will depend upon the ability to arrive there.  There are rumors of blockades and protests in the coming days which can easily lock up the entire city and render us helpless to arrive at the hospital. 
Mercifully, baby Love has been peeing, pooping, and eating without trouble or these 8 days would have been entirely different.  Love's mother keeps long socks on her to keep her neighbors from seeing her malformed legs and feet.
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.
Last night a baby boy named Wisler was born at 6:01pm. His one minute APGAR was 1 and his 5 minute APGAR was 2 and his 10 minute APGAR was 3.  At minute eleven he and his mom were in an ambulance heading toward the closest hospital.  At the closest hospital two female medical professionals began asking good questions, at that point Wisler was 30 minutes old. A male doctor walked up and barked, "Can't you see how many malformations and abnormalities this baby has? You need to go to _____ right now!" (He named another hospital.)
Wisler born 11/16 at 6:01pm

I assured him I did see but that we had always been told they were an excellent pediatric hospital. He dismissed us with a flippant wave and told us to get going. Trying to lighten the mood I asked, "What if the next hospital doesn't like my face, we won't get this baby accepted."  As we turned to walk out of the triage room he said, "There are foreigners there, they will like your face." 
We arrived at the second hospital before baby Wisler was an hour old.  The first medical employee to greet us was annoyed we did not have a NICU at our Maternity Center or a referral letter and she did not especially enjoy the fact that the first hospital had sent us on to her. I explained that breathing for the baby and driving to the hospital seemed like a better use of time and resources than sitting down to write a referral letter.  
Wisler was admitted, for which we are grateful.  The reason he was admitted was because we assured the hospital staff that we can pay for his care.  The average Haitian could not afford the small amount (only $57 USD) we spent last night to get things started. The average Haitian would not have arrived at the hospital in an hour. Public transport takes about two and a half times as long as private. 
It is said that hopelessness is the enemy of justice.
Last night, we returned to the Maternity Center at 9pm with Wisler's mom. In just three hours her entire world turned upside down - technically, she is one of the "lucky" ones, she had the connections needed to help grease the wheels.

** ** **
It occurs to me regularly that those of you that read these social media updates and pray specifically for situations we share and financially support the work of Heartline Ministries are the reason we keep hoping.  Your sacrificial love and concern is hopeful and it trickles down. 
You might imagine we don't read messages or see your donations in the busyness of day to day work in Haiti.  
I want you to know today that we do see you. 
We feel the power of your prayers. 
We are lifted from discouragement by your generous words of love sent via several social media outlets. 
We know we can support the costs of the rare sick baby that needs hospitalization because of your generous giving.
You are the grease to the wheels, you are stubborn in hopefulness  - and we thank you this Thanksgiving. 




To learn more about the work of Heartline Ministries, please visit:www.HeartlineMinistries.org 


Lastly, meet two beautiful little ladies born in the last 24 hours ...
Nadia and MarieLiah - born 11/16 at 5:24pm
MarieAnoute and yet to be named baby girl - born 11/17 at 12:05 am


Categories: Haitian blogs

Cervical cancer is treatable. Why are women in Haiti still dying from it?

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 15, 2018 - 7:00 am
Haiti’s cancer dilemma Cervical cancer is treatable. Why are women in Haiti still dying from it? Cancer in Haiti byline & support box embed MIREBALAIS, Haiti (En français | En … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

How vinegar, smartphones and factory clinics are tackling cervical cancer in Haiti

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 15, 2018 - 7:00 am
Cervical cancer screenings in factories stem the tide of needless death for Haitian women. How vinegar, smartphones and factory clinics are tackling cervical cancer in Haiti Cancer in Haiti byline … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

Two Haitian boys are battling cancer. 700 miles may make all the difference

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 15, 2018 - 7:00 am
Praying for a miracle Two Haitian boys are battling cancer. 700 miles may make all the difference Cancer in Haiti byline & support box embed PORT-AU-PRINCE — Two teenage boys … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

How UM’s Little Haiti cervical-cancer research overcomes Haitian cultural barriers

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 15, 2018 - 7:00 am
How UM’s Little Haiti cervical cancer research overcomes Haitian cultural barriers Cancer in Haiti byline & support box embed In South Florida’s Haitian-American community, a simple, self-testing kit for cervical … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

Curable, pourquoi les femmes en Haïti meurent-elles encore du cancer du col?

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 15, 2018 - 7:00 am
Click here to read in English. Le cancer du col de l’utérus est une maladie que les Haïtiens ne peuvent se payer le luxe d’avoir, et dans la plupart des … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

Miami Herald correspondent Jacqueline Charles discusses her reporting in Haiti

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 14, 2018 - 10:58 am
"if people don't know that the problem exists, then how can you even begin to find a solution?" Miami Herald Caribbean correspondent Jacqueline Charles discusses the Cancer in Haiti series. … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

Cervical cancer in Haiti: A public health failure

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 14, 2018 - 10:57 am
In Haiti, where there is no radiation therapy or access to the HPV vaccine, women are dying from cervical cancer, a disease that’s both preventable and treatable. … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

Two Haitian boys battle childhood cancer 700 miles apart

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 14, 2018 - 10:56 am
Two teenage boys in Haiti have advanced forms of cancers with high survival rates. One of them has treatment in Miami and the other is struggling to get treatment in a broken healthcare system in Haiti. … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

In Haiti, nonprofits are screening for cervical cancer in factories

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 14, 2018 - 10:55 am
Health organizations have been offering cervical cancer screenings to female factory workers in Haiti as a way to reduce deaths from the preventable disease. … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

U.S. Coast Guard sends 86 Haitians back after intercepting boat north of Cuba

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 10, 2018 - 3:36 pm
A group of 86 Haitians were returned to Haiti Saturday by the U.S. Coast Guard, the agency said, after a helicopter crew spotted an overloaded freighter 26 nautical miles north … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

Gérald Bloncourt, Haitian Photographer and Activist, Dies at 91

New York Times on Haiti - Nov. 9, 2018 - 7:13 pm
“I am protesting against poverty,” Mr. Bloncourt said of his pictures of Portuguese immigrants who lived in squalor in France.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Waiting on Love to Arrive

Livesay Haiti - Nov. 5, 2018 - 11:31 am
New life has always been a symbol of hope. Birth is a new start. On the wall of our prenatal consultation room a sign reads, "Where there is life, there is hope."  
Midwives have the high and holy honor of being with women as they usher in new life and new hope. 
Last night at 10pm Lovely arrived in active labor. She seemed shocked by the pain. I lost track of the count, but she said, 'Miss Tara, this hurts' approximately 73 times in the five hours she labored before her little girl arrived.  
The only thing to respond, 70 times over, is, "Yes, it hurts. It really does."
Motherhood hurts. 
Whether you have an easy life and all the material blessings or a very difficult life with a focus of just surviving day-to-day, giving birth is only the first painful thing in a sequence of events that has literally just begun. 
It is often said, watching your child grow-up and struggle and develop and become their own person is a bit like living with a piece of your heart outside of the protective wall of your own chest. 
Lovely talked a lot during second stage. In between pushes she told us she wasn't sure she could do it.  Once after a particularly long contraction with focused pushing she said, "Am I done?"  
We said, "The baby is still not out, you're not done but you are getting so close."  Lovely told us that KJ had said that it was a little girl during the ultrasound and that she chose the name Chrislove for her daughter but that she would simply call her, Love.
Lovely pushed Love out at 3:13 and ten sconds on Monday the fifth of November. 


Her labor had started at home on Saturday night and  included the extra hour of "falling back", which hardly seems fair.  
In total she worked 34 hours straight. Her labor took her from evening Saturday, through Sunday and into the early hours of Monday before it was finished with a screaming baby girl called Love.
Lovely watched her heart leave her chest last night. 
As we dried off little baby Love I noticed her left foot was formed abnormally. I quickly covered her with a warm blanket to wait and get a better look later.  Love was placed on her Mother's chest and began to nurse.
When it came time to take Love for her newborn exam and allow Lovely to take a bath and clean up, I lifted Love off her Mom's warm chest and saw that both of her feet had not developed normally. Upon further examination we realized her rectum is abnormal as well.
In those moments the very first irrational thought is, "How can we keep this from upsetting her Mother."  As if that is a thing. Midwife Guerline and I whispered about how to tell her.  My brain was busy trying to tell me maybe I could wait and tell her until after she had a few hours to sleep. 
Moms examine their children, and we knew Lovely would come out of the bathroom to really see her daughter for the first time.We showed Lovely her daughter's gorgeous face and perfect hands, we ooohed and aaahhhed over her. We opened up the blanket and talked about her feet and legs.  Lovely shut down fairly quickly.  The words of reassurance and hope fell on deaf ears, she needed time to integrate what she had just seen.
After we had Lovely and Love moved out of the birth room and settled in her postpartum bed, Lovely's Mother in Law came to me. She motioned that we go outside. Then she asked me how we could hide the baby's legs from visitors. I didn't understand. I began to tell the Mother in Law that the main focus for now was to encourage Lovely to bond with her baby and to begin breastfeeding, with our without her eager willingness we need Lovely to hope for Love. I said, we don't have to hide her legs, she's beautiful.
Midwife Guerline saw that I was not understanding what was being communicated. Guerline explained that Lovely's Mother in Law was concerned people that came to visit the baby would say inconsiderate things and believe the baby had a demon or a curse upon her, but if we hid her legs, they would not see it and therefore would not hurt Lovely's chance of bonding. 
We asked Lovely to let us hope for her until she can hope again. 
Will you please pray that supernatural connection is formed today and that by some miracle we can head directly to the correct people that can help address Love's medical needs in a timely manner. 
I read this last night while we waited on Love to arrive .... 
The deepest darkness is the place where God comes to us.
In the womb, in the night, in the dreaming; when we are lost, when our world has come undone, when we cannot see the next step on the path; in all the darkness that attends our life, whether hopeful darkness or horrendous, God meets us. God’s first priority is not to do away with the dark but to be present to us in it. -Jan RichardsonI pray God comes to Love and Lovely and is present to them now.
Categories: Haitian blogs

Trump Accelerates Global Disintegration of Once Sacrosanct Asylum Rights

New York Times on Haiti - Nov. 2, 2018 - 1:08 pm
He may not be the first to flout the rules — even the E.U. has. But he is risking damage that could become permanent.
Categories: Haitian blogs

I Find It Hard Enough To Just Be Faithful

Livesay Haiti - Nov. 1, 2018 - 8:35 pm
Everything in the grey smaller font print below is what I wrote in 2011 about measuring success. I am reposting it for a specific reason.

This year I have begun to struggle more than ever with the stress of this work we do. Instead of easily remaining mainly hopeful and joyful I have had to fight hard to try to be that way.

I just got back from 16 days away from Haiti. It was a perfect trip and Troy and I truly rested and forgot about work. During our time away I never ever felt a physical desire to drink alcohol.  We had an occasional glass of wine and beers many nights but it was not the slightest bit driven by stress or compulsion.

Today around 4pm I started thinking about having a drink. My desire was not simply because I wanted some down time with Troy. 

For the last year due to stress and some specific situations we are facing I have been medicating my pain, anger, and stress with vodka and wine.  I rarely ever drink one drink only and I went from drinking a couple times a week to almost every single day in 2018. 

I decided about a week ago that I have to do better. I decided not to drink anything for at least two months and re-train my habits of using two Vodka sodas or Moscow Mules to make myself feel less angry and anxious.  I decided to begin November 1, 2018.

Tonight I am staying in my bedroom because the temptation to pour my nightly stress-reliever is too great. 



* ** * ** *In this work we often find ourselves wanting and needing to provide progress reports to the kind and generous souls praying for or financially supporting it.

While we understand and desire that accountability and honesty with anyone investing in us or in Haiti, it can sometimes feel quite discouraging and uncomfortable trying to quantify progress or label success.

We (Troy and I) spend many nights sitting together asking ourselves what is being accomplished. Is it good? Do we believe in it? Do we feel good about it? We never want to get in a rut or get so comfortable with ourselves or our routines that we don't examine both our motivation and our trajectory.  We need to be asking ourselves difficult questions.

We have no desire to take donations from our church, family, and friends to live here if we cannot say at the end of the day that we are walking this path with God, being faithful to Him and doing things we feel honor Him and exhibit His love. Some days are really confusing because the things that happen in the course of a day aren't necessarily quantifiable. Some days we fall into bed asking each other "Is it right? Does this matter? Should we stay? Is God in this?" 

American culture likes numbers, efficiency, and strict time-tables.  You've got to be able to prove yourself with stats and spreadsheets. In the sports world a new coach has just a few years to produce a championship team or he's out of a job. Even the American church wants to count how many butts are in the seats and how many people signed on a dotted line marked "follow Jesus" or how many will commit to come to the quarterly membership class.  In theory those are good things to value. Who doesn't want tangible outcomes? I'm not up for debating the rightness or wrongness of any of that today, I'm only saying that those sorts of western pushes for big numbers drive ministries working in other cultures abroad to produce reports that don't necessarily represent total truth.

Whenever I read reports out of Haiti spewing numbers, I read between the lines and wonder if the numbers are less about actual provable outcomes and more to please a culture that demands numbers. Accountability is good. We want it. More than that, we need it.  The question becomes, how do the expectations of one culture fit into the reality of working in another? 

If we actually believed like Jesus did that touching one hurting person truly matters, that going the extra mile for one lost sheep is worth it, we wouldn't need to spend so much time counting and proving and counting and proving. 

I'm thankful to be able to honestly share the struggles and not fold to that pressure of reporting big fancy numbers. The frustration lies mainly in the self-imposed pressures to chart it and prove it matters. 

Troy can spend entire day(s) with one timid and afraid 20 year old recently diagnosed and already ill with HIV helping to advocate for her medical care.  He can be at ease as one day turns into three while waiting to get her the tests she needs and fighting a broken, inadequate, and unfair medical system - knowing that he is not expected to quantify the outcome of those hours  ....  time with one person isn't usually looked at as success nor is it at all impressive when plotted on a spreadsheet  - but it matters and it's Kingdom work.  

Last night I read this in Gregory Boyle's memoir titled "Tattoos on the Heart" - it jumped off the pages and deeply resonated with me:


  
"People want me to tell them success stories. I understand this. They are the stories you want to tell, after all. So why does my scalp tighten whenever I am asked this?
Twenty years of this work has taught me that God has greater comfort with inverting categories than I do. What is success and what is failure? What is good and what is bad? Setback or progress? Great stock these days, especially in nonprofits (and who can blame them), is placed in evidence-based outcomes. People, funders in particular, want to know if what you do "works".
Are you in the end, successful? Naturally, I find myself heartened by Mother Teresa's take: 'We are not called to be successful, but faithful.' This distinction is helpful for me as I barricade myself against the daily dread of setback. You need protection from the ebb and flow of three steps forward, five steps backward. You trip over disappointment and recalcitrance every day, and it all becomes a muddle. God intends it to be, I think. For once you choose to hang out with folks who carry more burden than they can bear, all bets seem to be off. Salivating for success keeps you from being faithful, keeps you from truly seeing whoever is sitting in front of you. Embracing a strategy and an approach you can believe in is sometimes the best you can do on any given day. If you surrender your need for results and outcomes, success becomes God's business. I find it hard enough to just be faithful."



Success, I find it hard enough to just be faithful.


* ** * ** *


I feel the same way I did when I wrote this in 2011.  Success cannot be easily measured and some setbacks are actually necessary to correct a ship that is heading off course.  

The only thing that is different is that now I feel more afraid of my anger and grief than I did then.  

I also feel pretty afraid of choosing unhealthy things to help me with stress.  

I hope if you are a praying person or someone with similar struggles that you could toss up a prayer for me to be healthy and take care of this concern now, before I have an even bigger problem.

I would like to be faithful, but I know numbing myself is not the answer to the pressure of it all. 

Categories: Haitian blogs

U.S National Security Advisor talks Venezuela, Russia and Cuba relations, and the alleged attacks on U.S personal in Cuba

Miami Herald Haiti news - Nov. 1, 2018 - 1:12 pm
The National Security Advisor of the United States, John Bolton talks el Nuevo Herald's Nora Gámez Torres on Latin American policy at the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower on November 1, 2018. … Click to Continue »
Categories: Haitian blogs

On Facebook's Removal of the HaitiAnalysis Page

HaitiAnalysis - Aug. 14, 2018 - 12:36 pm
We are currently preparing a response to the recent removal of our page from Facebook. It is important to note that many other independent media and information outlets have faced a similar crackdown over the internet, including Venezuelanalysis.


Categories: Haitian blogs

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 - May. 2, 2018 - 10:28 pm
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.
Categories: Haitian blogs

A U.N.-backed police force carried out a massacre in Haiti. The killings have been almost entirely ignored.

HaitiAnalysis - Mar. 15, 2018 - 4:38 pm
Jake Johnston - The Intercept
AT 5 O’CLOCK on the morning of November 13, more than 200 Haitian police officers raided the Grand Ravine area of Port-au-Prince. There was a series of loud explosions, followed by gunfire. For the next six hours, the commotion didn’t stop. The neighborhood was under siege.What had started as an anti-gang operation in a poor and largely forgotten neighborhood — in a poor and largely forgotten country — ended in the summary execution of innocent civilians on a school campus.


The police officers were working with the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti. It was launched in October, a reboot of a previous mission that had begun in 2004, when thousands of U.N. troops were sent to Haiti following a coup d’etat, tasked in part with restoring stability and reinforcing national police capacities.

And though the U.N. mission issued a statement days after the raid calling for a prompt investigation by Haitian authorities, it did not publicly acknowledge its own role in the operation. But in late December, a U.N. spokesperson confirmed to The Intercept for the first time that the mission had helped plan the raid, though it distanced itself from the civilian deaths.

“The reported civilian death[s] were not part of the planned operation but of a unilateral action conducted by some [Haitian police] officers after the conclusion of the operation,” the spokesperson, Sophie Boutaud de la Combe, wrote in an email. The raid of the school, according to the U.N. statement, was done without authorization, without alerting the police hierarchy, and outside of the operational plan.

Boutaud de la Combe said that, a day after the raid, the U.N. “conducted an internal enquiry with all the unit commanders who participated in the operation.” The U.N. inquiry, not previously reported, absolved the U.N., finding that U.N. police did not fire their weapons and only “secured the perimeter” of the school, she said.

“None of the [U.N. police] unit proceeded to the location at Maranatha College where the alleged killings took place,” the spokesperson wrote. “The planned portion of the operation went relatively well. The post-operation unilateral initiative of some HNP members to conduct a high risk search, proceeding outside of the operational cadre, without advising the hierarchy, without authorization and contravening the operation plan was not part of the planned operation.”





Main school logo inside the front gate and near entrance to courtyard on Maranatha campus in Port-au-Prince, on Nov. 17, 2017.

Photo: Jake Johnston



WHEN I ARRIVED at the Maranatha Evangelical College campus, traveling with a broadcast team from Al Jazeera four days after the raid, it was immediately obvious something heinous had transpired.

The blood that stained the concrete was still wet, unable to dry in the blanket of fog and mist that kept the capital unusually cool that particular week. Water pooled in the courtyard’s clogged drain had turned a dark red, partially obscuring an empty tear gas canister. The smell of the violence still hung in the heavy air.

Classrooms and offices had been ransacked, the contents of closets, drawers, and bookcases spilled across the floors and through the doorways. Light crept in through holes left by bullets that had pierced through the thick concrete. Sometime since the raid, someone had swept another five empty tear gas canisters and close to 100 heavy artillery shells into a pile.

The morning we arrived, faculty and students were meeting to mourn those who had been killed. The school was still closed. They gathered in one of the small classrooms, closed the door to us outsiders, and began to sing. The religious hymns — deep, soulful melodies — echoed throughout the courtyard where they mixed with cries of grieving victims and family members anxious to tell their stories.

“I must kill myself,” Monique Larosse, whose nephew was shot in this courtyard days earlier, told us. “Why did they kill him when they know he was not one of the bad men? He was someone who went to church, studied, and had principles.”

The stories Larosse, along with other survivors and family members, told me make clear something went horribly wrong on that mid-November day. While there’s a lot still unclear, one thing is for certain — the official narrative is at odds with what the people of Grand Ravine say they witnessed and experienced. And they are a far way off from finding justice.




Tear gas canisters and ammunition swept into a pile at Maranatha campus in Port-au-Prince, on Nov. 17, 2017.

Photo: Jake Johnston

LOCATED NEAR THE southern entrance to Haiti’s sprawling capital, Grand Ravine is built on a hillside with picturesque views of the Caribbean Sea. And yet, it’s a downtrodden neighborhood.

Haphazard construction with paltry regulation has left neighborhoods, including Grand Ravine, with little to no infrastructure or government services. Many areas are only accessible by foot.

Narrow, misshapen alleys ascend through the concrete homes secured with rusted sheet metal.

Amid all this is the Maranatha Evangelical College, which has operated here since the 1940s. Despite the name, it offers classes for neighborhood kids beginning in preschool. The campus is a mashup of school buildings, houses and a healthy number of full-size trees, a dissonant image in a city overwhelmed by concrete. A low wall marks it off from the surrounding area.

The only entrance to the elevated campus is a sloping, winding road that sits behind a large metal gate. The campus is a refuge, an oasis of calm in a section of Haiti rife with gang activity.

Grand Ravine is a “red zone,” the label international forces give to the country’s most violence-prone areas. In December 2016, Grand Ravine’s most powerful gang leader, Junior Decimus, was arrested at the airport when he attempted to travel abroad. Soon after, according to a report by local rights organization Justice and Peace, an armed conflict began as others sought to consolidate control of the neighborhood. “Bursts of automatic weapons sang during the day, while police officers from the nearby station watched helplessly,” according to a hard copy of the organization’s report.

In October, the month before the police raid, groups of armed youth set up roadblocks, robbing cars in plain sight as they passed.

The same month, thousands of U.N. soldiers stationed in the country since the 2004 coup d’etat withdrew. Brought to Haiti to restore “stability,” the foreign troops have been involved in multiple deadly raids into neighborhoods similar to Grand Ravine. The international community has spent hundreds of millions training the Haitian police for the U.N.’s eventual departure.

The U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti ended its mandate in October, but the U.N. is by no means gone. In place of troops, the U.N. created a smaller successor mission composed of a few thousand police officers. In early November, together with the local police force responsible for the capital, that new U.N. mission helped plan the anti-gang raid into Grand Ravine.

The November 13 raid was one of the first major acts involving the new mission, and the response will define the future of the U.N.’s relationship with the people of Grand Ravine — and the success of the newly empowered local police force.




View of houses on a mountain in Juvenat, in the commune of Petion-Ville, in Port-au-Prince, on Dec. 12, 2017.

Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

AT 6:30 ON that mid-November morning, Armand Louis received a phone call from Maranatha College, the school he has directed for the last 30 years. Something was wrong. The police raid had spilled onto the school’s campus.

When he arrived nearly two hours later, tear gas was already being employed by police, according to an investigation by the National Network of Human Rights Defenders, a local human rights organization known by its French acronym, RNDDH, and confirmed in an interview with Louis. The following account is based on Intercept interviews with multiple witnesses, whose recollections mirror those included in RNDDH’s subsequent report on the massacre.

Police opened and searched classrooms, ransacking them in an apparent attempt to locate gang members hiding on campus. They didn’t find any.

There was a brief period of calm. People still on campus gave water to police. The burning in their eyes from the tear gas subsided.

An hour later, Louis said, the school’s guard, Julio Fongene, approached him and said that a number of gang members had threatened him and were hiding in a storage facility on campus. Louis informed the police.
“A hundred or even 200 could die there and nobody would know.” — Rovelsond Apollon, Justice and Peace

When officers attempted to dislodge the hiding gang members, two police officers were shot. The gang members fled. It does not appear that any were apprehended, as the police have not made public any arrests of those responsible for shooting the officers.

U.N. units composed of police from Jordan and Senegal responded to reports of shots fired and arrived at the school. According to the U.N., they administered first aid to the injured police officers and secured the perimeter.

But on campus grounds, Haitian police proceeded to punish the bystanders caught up in the violence.

First, they shot and killed Fongene, the guard, witnesses said.

Police then accused Louis of setting them up. They dragged him into the central courtyard, where some faculty members and people who live on campus were present. The officers beat him with a chair, causing significant injuries to his head and torso. The Protestant Evangelical Baptist Mission of Haiti, affiliated with the school, included an account of the beating in its statement describing the events, and it was confirmed in an interview with Louis and in the RNDDH report.

Faculty tried to intervene. David Jean Baptiste, a professor, was beaten and then shot five times, including a bullet to the head. The courtyard grounds where he died remained bloodstained for days after.

Vanel Danger lives on the school’s campus and is responsible for the cafeteria. He told The Intercept that an officer put a gun to his head and threatened to pull out his teeth if he didn’t cooperate. Danger dropped to his knees and begged for his life. Danger told the officer he had given him water just an hour earlier, RNDDH reported. Danger was spared. But many more weren’t so lucky.

Louis told The Intercept he was handcuffed by an officer in a U.N. uniform and hauled off, bloody and beaten, to jail.

When the police finally left the campus, around 11 a.m., nine civilians lay dead in the courtyard — five of whom had been shot in the head. Not a single firearm was recovered, suggesting that the killings were “summary executions,” RNDDH reported.

The bodies were not removed until the next afternoon.




Ransacked school room at Maranatha campus in Port-au-Prince, on Nov. 17, 2017.

Photo: Jake Johnston

FOUR DAYS AFTER the raid, the alleys that weave around the campus and through the neighborhood’s hilly landscape were largely deserted. Groups of young kids watched us from rooftops. Darting eyes peering from behind small openings in concrete homes followed us throughout the neighborhood.

Very few of them wanted to speak.

“There are many more” victims of this and other shootings, a local resident and student at the school explained. “They are afraid,” added the student, whose name The Intercept is withholding out of concern for their safety.

Though the anti-gang raid ended with a schoolyard massacre, questions linger about what happened outside the campus, where the raid began. At first, the police acknowledged seven civilian deaths — all of which occurred at the school. Overall, the police made 32 arrests, but haven’t acknowledged any deaths outside of the school.

But in its investigation, RNDDH concluded that one of the people found dead on campus had been pulled out of his house in the surrounding neighborhood that morning and brought to the school only after his death.

The total death toll remains unknown.

Doresne Jean, director of the Saint Claire morgue in downtown Port-au-Prince, said that eight bodies had arrived from Grand Ravine on Tuesday, the day after the raid — more than the police originally acknowledged. But Jean said there were surely more.

“Maybe the police moved some bodies,” Jean said, “because we had five or six people come here to ask if we had their relatives.” They were not on the list of bodies already received.

Justice and Peace, the local human rights organization that has been monitoring violence in neighborhoods such as Grand Ravine, was one of the first to investigate the massacre. Rovelsond Apollon, an observer there, said his organization had confirmed 12 dead, but that the real total would likely never be known.

Not that many people, even in Haiti, are paying attention to what happens in Grand Ravine. “A hundred or even 200 could die there and nobody would know,” Apollon said.




Four days after the raid, a single shoe sits in the middle of the soccer field behind Maranatha College in Port-au-Prince, on Nov. 17, 2017.

“I DON’T KNOW how I am going to live without my son,” Gina Napoleantold us from the school’s courtyard, the grief visible on her face just four days after the massacre. Her only son, 22-year-old Kens Napoleon, had been the family’s breadwinner. He was killed by a shot to the head. She put the blame squarely on the government, who she accused of “sending the police to kill our children.”

It’s not just that politicians exert control over the police, Apollon said — they are involved with the gangs themselves. His organization has interviewed young people with heavy weaponry that is not easy to acquire, he explained, and they said the weapons had been provided by politicians. “Politicians and authorities are not innocent in what happened, because they, too, play their part in the violence,” he said. The politicians, for their part, have not publicly addressed these accusations.

But since the raid, nearly every government official or institution has avoided taking responsibility.

Asked about the raid, the police chief simply said it was planned by the local captain and the new U.N. mission. Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant told the press that the specifics of field operations were outside his purview. Both blamed poor planning for the bloodshed.

The operation was compromised from the beginning. Police officers told local human rights investigators that confidential information about the operation was circulating even before it took place.

A former Haitian military official later told me that he found out about the raid when he heard it being discussed on an open radio channel on November 12, the day before it was launched. A gang leader later called in to a local radio show, alleging that a rival gang from a different neighborhood had participated with police in the raid itself. Others have suggested the raid was an attempt to recover a cache of guns that authorities had distributed in the neighborhood weeks earlier. And so the rumor mill in Haiti churns.

The U.N.’s statement — that its officers were stationed only at the perimeter of the school — contradicts the statements made by Louis, who told me he was handcuffed by a U.N. agent on campus. The U.N. insists that it was uninvolved because its officers were not in the courtyard, but the entrance where they say they were stationed is set just below the scene of the massacre.

The new U.N. mission is ostensibly focused on justice, but Apollon noted that Haiti has seen many international missions throughout its history. “They all failed,” he said, because they do not understand the Haitian reality.

In Haiti, he said, impunity reigns.




Boys play in the ruins of a building on the site of the Fort Dimanche prison, where many were held in inhumane conditions under the regime of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier Jan. 27, 2011 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Photo: Allison Shelley/Getty Images

NEARLY TWO MONTHS after the massacre, no one has been publicly held responsible. The police inspector general has completed an investigation and passed it on to a judge, who could order the arrest or dismissal of officers involved. One police officer accused of involvement is already missing, according to the inspector general. Families of nine victims, including those of the two police officers, received a one-time payment of about $1,500 for funeral expenses. But none of the intellectual authors of the botched raid appear to have been identified or questioned.

Instead, it was Louis, the school’s director, who was arrested for complicity in the death of the two police officers. After being publicly beaten with a chair at the school he had overseen for 30 years, Louis was held in a Port-au-Prince jail for more than a week.

Under pressure from religious organizations and the school’s faculty, Louis was eventually released for health reasons. But he still has not returned to the school.

“In a country like mine,” Louis wrote to me weeks later, “it is hard to take our leaders at their word.” That, he continued, was “why we need to know what the real motive [of the raid] was.” The public authorities have not yet interviewed him. Do “they really want everything to be investigated properly?” he said, “or was this all planned?”

Apollon said continued raids would do little to address the fundamental problems afflicting neighborhoods such as Grand Ravine. Rather, violence stems from the total absence of the state in such areas, and it will continue so long as the population’s needs are not met. What residents need, he said, “is education.”

After the raid, the school was closed for two weeks.

“We need school,” a student at Maranatha told me that day in the courtyard. “Without education, what hope do we have?”

Top photo: Police watch as demonstrators march to protest against the government of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse in Port-au-Prince on Oct. 24, 2017.
Categories: Haitian blogs

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

HaitiAnalysis - Mar. 10, 2018 - 4:49 pm
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



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