At least 6,000 protesters have marched through Haiti’s capital to demand lower fuel prices and the ouster of President Michel Martelly.
The protest in Port-au-Prince on Saturday remained peaceful overall although police threw tear gas and dispersed a crowd that had burned rubbish and tires in the street to block traffic. Continue reading
By Roger Annis, Canada Haiti Action Network, (published on Truthout, Oct. 8, 2014)
Jean-Claude Duvalier, the tyrant who ruled Haiti from 1971 to 1986, has died in Haiti at the age of 63. His death is a huge moment for political reflection on the part of the Haitian people, including the fact that so much of Duvalier’s harsh political legacy remains alive and well in the island country. A foreign, military occupation force of the UN Security Council has entered its 11th year. It serves to bolster much of the authoritarian, Duvalier legacy, which has always, at its heart, been about excluding the Haitian people from governing their own country.
“President for Life”
Duvalier was appointed “president for life” in 1971 by his dying father, Francois Duvalier. Known as ‘Papa Doc’ for the medical education he received in his early years, the elder Duvalier muscled his way into power in 1957 and established one of the most ruthless dictatorships the world had ever known. He was 64 when he died.
It isn’t exactly the towering 20-foot wall that runs like a scar through significant parts of the U.S.-Mexican borderlands. Imagine instead the sort of metal police barricades you see at protests. These are unevenly lined up like so many crooked teeth on the Dominican Republic’s side of the river that acts as its border with Haiti. Like dazed versions of U.S. Border Patrol agents, the armed Dominican border guards sit at their assigned posts, staring at the opposite shore. There, on Haitian territory, children splash in the water and women wash clothes on rocks.
One of those CESFRONT (Specialized Border Security Corps) guards, carrying an assault rifle, is walking six young Haitian men back to the main base in Dajabon, which is painted desert camouflage as if it were in a Middle Eastern war zone.
If the scene looks like a five-and-dime version of what happens on the U.S. southern border, that’s because it is. The enforcement model the Dominican Republic uses to police its boundary with Haiti is an import from the United States. Continue reading
By Judith Scherr, Inter Press Service
OAKLAND, California, Aug 16 2012 (IPS) – Haiti’s brutal army was disbanded in 1995, yet armed and uniformed paramilitaries, with no government affiliation, occupy former army bases today.
President Michel Martelly, who has promised to restore the army, has not called on police or U.N. troops to dislodge these ad-hoc soldiers.
Given the army’s history of violent opposition to democracy, Martelly’s plan to renew the army “can only lead to more suffering”, says Jeb Sprague in his forthcoming book “Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti”, to be released mid August by Monthly Review Press.
The role of Haiti’s military and paramilitary forces has received too little academic and media attention, says Sprague, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He hopes his book will help to fill that gap.
Sprague researched the book over more than six years, traveling numerous times to Haiti, procuring some 11,000 U.S. State Department documents through the Freedom of Information Act, interviewing more than 50 people, reading the Wikileaks’ files on Haiti, and studying secondary sources. Continue reading
By Bill Quigley
07 October, 2011
Broken and collapsed buildings remain in every neighborhood. Men pull oxcarts by hand through the street. Women carry 5 gallon plastic jugs of water on their heads, dipped from manhole covers in the street. Hundreds of thousands remain in grey sheet and tarp covered shelters in big public parks, in between houses and in any small pocket of land. Most of the people are unemployed or selling mangoes or food on the side of every main street. This was Port au Prince during my visit with a human rights delegation of School of Americas Watch – more than a year and a half after the earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands and made two million homeless.
What I did not see this week were bulldozers scooping up the mountains of concrete remaining from last January’s earthquake. No cranes lifting metal beams up to create new buildings. No public works projects. No housing developments. No public food or public water distribution centers. Continue reading
|Port au Prince, Sep 16 (Prensa Latina) The civilian organization that organized the protests to demand the pullout of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) announced that demonstrations will continue as long as those forces remain here.At least one person was wounded in clashes with police on Wednesday, as protestors chanted slogans demanding the withdrawal of the international military body.In a communiqué sent to Prensa Latina, the Group for Compensation of Cholera Victims explained that the objective of the mobilization is to change de stand of senators and of President Michel Martelly, who defend a phased pullout.
“We cannot give more time for MINUSTAH to continue its violations,” says the document.
Protests were triggered by release of footage of five soldiers subduing a young boy in a barrack in southern Port Salut, 174 km from the capital. Continue reading
[Brazil’s role and interest in the occupation of Haiti is given historic background in this article issued at the time of growing protests of MINUSTAH (the UN occupation force funded and largely directed by the US). — Frontlines ed.]
Council on Hemispheric Affairs
by Alex Sanchez
August 29, 2011
Brazil’s leadership in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) may be coming to its end. The newly-appointed defense minister, Celso Amorin (most recently he served as foreign affairs minister from 2003 to 2011) recently declared to the Brazilian media that he “supports the withdrawal of Brazilian troops from Haiti.” Should this happen, it would be a major departure from the status quo, and would greatly affect MINUSTAH’s operations, as well as jolt Brazil’s role as the Caribbean’s major arbiter of security. Furthermore, Brasilia’s quest for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been partially based on its role in MINUSTAH as an example of its readiness for a UN seat, which may now be called into question.
Brazil’s role in Haiti
Brasilia racked up a huge leadership role in MINUSTAH, which had as its mission to aid the transitional government that gained control of Haiti (via the UNSC’s resolution 1542) after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in early 2004. The mission was controversial at the time and drew heavy criticism from its inception as it was regarded as a type of colonial government by the UN in the wake of Aristide’s abrupt forced departure from power, following major national protests and violence. At the time, there were persistent accusations that the U.S., Canada and France had a role in the Haitian head of state’s ouster.
Brazil has provided the military commanders for MINUSTAH along with a significant number of its forces over the past seven years. Continue reading
September 15, 2011
Port-au-Prince (Reuters) – Haitian police on Wednesday clashed with demonstrators who demanded the withdrawal of United Nations peacekeepers in a protest against the alleged rape of a local man by a group of Uruguayan Marines.
Police in the capital Port-au-Prince used teargas to stop about 300 protesters from entering a square in front of the damaged presidential palace where survivors of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake are still sheltering in a tent and tarpaulin camp.
Traffic was disrupted as pedestrians and camp dwellers, many clutching small children, fled to escape the swirling teargas. Some demonstrators hurled stones at police officers.
The UN Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has faced a public outcry since the emergence earlier this month of a video shot by a cellphone camera that shows laughing Uruguayan Marines pinning a young Haitian man face down on a mattress and apparently assaulting him sexually. Continue reading
WikiLeaks Haiti: The Aristide Files
US officials led a far-reaching international campaign aimed at keeping former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide exiled in South Africa, rendering him a virtual prisoner there for the last seven years, according to secret US State Department cables.
The cables show that high-level US and UN officials even discussed a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from “gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti.”
The secret cables, made available to the Haitian weekly newspaper Haïti Liberté by WikiLeaks, show how the political defeat of Aristide and his Lavalas movement has been the central pillar of US policy toward the Caribbean nation over the last two US administrations, even though—or perhaps because—US officials understood that he was the most popular political figure in Haiti.
They also reveal how US officials and their diplomatic counterparts from France, Canada, the UN and the Vatican tried to vilify and ostracize the Haitian political leader. Continue reading
Counterpunch, April 11, 2011
by Robert Roth
On April 4th, Haiti’s electoral council announced that, according to preliminary results, Michel Martelly had been selected Haiti’s new president. A kompa singer and long-time proponent of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Martelly worked with the dreaded FRAPH death squads that killed over 5000 people in Haiti after the first coup against President Jean- Bertrand Aristide in 1991. Martelly supporters had announced they would “burn down the country” if he were not selected. Only a small number of Haitians – around 20% by most estimates – voted in the elections, the smallest percentage in 60 years to participate in any presidential elections in the Americas. Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Aristide and by far the most popular in Haiti, was banned from participation. Why should people vote? It was a “selection,” not an “election,” we were told over and over again. By the second round on March 20th, Haitians had to choose between Martelly or Mirlande Manigat, a right-wing member of Haiti’s tiny elite. One Haitian friend told us, “This is a choice between cholera and typhoid. You cannot make such a choice.”
Yet the bitter taste of the dismal elections could not diminish the joy of “the return.” As the plane carrying President Aristide and his family back from a 7-year forced exile in South Africa approached the Port-au-Prince airport on March 18th, there were about 50 of us in the inner courtyard of his home. A day before, we had watched quietly as dozens of Haitians methodically painted walls, swept the same floors over and over again to make sure they were spotless, and fixed any last remnant of the destruction that took place at this house after the coup on February 29, 2004.
We had heard that President Aristide (called Titid throughout Haiti) would arrive at the airport around noon, but we had gone to the house earlier to avoid the crush. I had come with a dear friend, Pierre Labossiere, representing the work of the Haiti Action Committee. We were both honored and overwhelmed to be there. Continue reading
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – Mar 17 2011
The planned return of Aristide (57) comes just two days ahead of Haiti’s
crucial run-off presidential vote, and risks re-opening old wounds and
reviving deep political grudges related to his being overthrown and
forced out of the country.
“It’s going to be an event. He will arrive on a private plane,” his
spokesperson Maryse Narcisse said.
Members of his Lavalas party, which long has pined for the deposed
president’s return, is planning a huge rally Friday at the international
airport in Port-au-Prince to welcome him home. Continue reading
February 6, 2011
by Stephen Lendman, on OpEd News
With world attention focused on Middle East events, mainly Egypt’s, Haiti’s gotten little attention despite its compelling need for real change. So far, it’s nowhere in sight, nor openly discussed, or demanded like visible millions are doing abroad.
Stay tuned. It may happen if visceral anger spreads globally by enough people knowing that democratic freedoms depend on them – through massive, sustained grassroots pressure, accepting nothing less than ouster of corrupt, repressive regimes for equitable, just ones they choose.
Imperial Washington Suffocates Long Suffering Haitians
Despite sham November presidential and parliamentary elections and growing calls for new ones, a runoff March 20 second round is scheduled, led by two Washington-approved presidential candidates:
— former first lady Mirlande Manigat of the right-wing Rally of Progressive National Democrats (RDNP); and
— “Sweet Micky” Michel Martelly, a right-wing anti-Aristide entertainer.
Representing Haitians: no one, so expect little public opposition against continuing old, destructive, anti-populist harshness. Continue reading
Wed Feb 2, 2011
By Joseph Guyler Delva and Allyn Gaestel
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Supporters in Haiti of exiled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide demonstrated for his return on Wednesday as the country nervously waited to hear who would contest the presidency in a March run-off election.
Several hundred pro-Aristide protesters set tires aflame in front of the Foreign Ministry in Port-au-Prince, demanding that Haiti’s government deliver the diplomatic passport Aristide is requesting to be able to come home from exile in South Africa.
“We’ll die for Aristide,” and “Aristide must come back” chanted some of the protesters, to the sound of drums.
The Aristide followers demonstrated on the day Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) is scheduled to announce definitive first-round results from chaotic Nov. 28 elections that triggered riots and fraud allegations in the poor, earthquake-battered Caribbean state.
The council has to decide who will join former first lady Mirlande Manigat in the March 20 run-off — popular musician Michel Martelly or government-backed Jude Celestin. Continue reading