HAITI’S ELECTION FARCE BACKFIRES

A child in Haiti walks among the election ballots still lying on the ground at a voting station in Port-au-Prince, Nov. 29. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

by Charlie Hinton

Haiti held its $30,000,000 fraudulent demonstration election on November 28, but we still don’t know if or when a run-off will take place, or who will be the candidates. It’s such a mess that Haiti’s international rulers are sending in a commission to try one last time to give a whiff of legitimacy to a totally illegitimate and corrupt process.

The day after a visit by U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Haiti’s Electoral Council ruled that for the 2009 Senatorial elections, Fanmi Lavalas, Haiti’s largest and most popular party, founded by twice overthrown and currently exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, could not run candidates. This decision led to an electoral boycott that saw fewer than 10% vote in the first round, and far fewer in the run-off. Nevertheless, President Preval and the “international community,” (the United States, France, and Canada, with the United Nations acting as surrogate) recognized the results.

In these 2010 presidential elections, the Electoral Council, without giving any explanation, ruled that neither Fanmi Lavalas nor more than a dozen other parties could participate. Preval was reported to have said it would take only 4% of the vote to win, indicating that the suppression of voter turnout might be a campaign tactic. Although Preval has ties to many of the candidates, he favors Jude Celestin, who according to differing reports, is either engaged or married to Preval’s daughter. Continue reading

Haiti: OAS Diplomat Spills the Beans, Rattles Haiti’s Occupation Regime

Print
by Roger Annis
Tuesday, 28 December 2010 23:14
As the one-year anniversary of Haiti’s earthquake approaches, a brutally frank account of the plight of its people has been delivered by a highly placed diplomat. Ricardo Seitenfus, the representative to Haiti of the Organization of American States, delivered a hard-hitting assessment of the foreign role in that country in an interview published in the December 20 edition of the Swiss daily Le Temps. iThe interview also appeared in the right-wing, Haitian daily, Le Nouvelliste

Seitenfus is Brazilian and a graduate of the Institute of Advanced International Studies in Geneva. The truths he pronounced in the now-famous interview are not unique; they have been voiced by many Haitians and their allies abroad. But to hear them uttered by someone of his standing is a sign of the unraveling of a miserably-failed foreign military and political occupation force in Haiti.

The Failings in Haiti
Seitenfus questions the legitimacy and utility of the UN Security Council occupation force known as MINUSTAH. It numbers 13,000 military and police (an increase of 50 per cent since the earthquake) along with several thousand political officers. “Haiti is not an international threat,” he says. “We are not experiencing a civil war.”
He is asked, is it a counter-productive presence?
The answer is, yes. The diplomat traces the 200-year history of foreign subjugation of Haiti. He draws a line of continuity to the present. “The world has never known how to treat Haiti, so it has ignored it.”
He says the country has lived a “low intensity war” since 1986, the year of the overthrow of the Duvalier tyranny. “We want to turn Haiti into a capitalist country, an export platform for the U.S. market, it’s absurd. Haiti must return to what it is, that is to say, a predominantly agricultural country still fundamentally imbued with customary law.” Continue reading

Cancun: underwater protest at climate change talks

TckTckTck partners, Greenpeace and 350.org, have staged a haunting underwater tableau to highlight the need for urgent action as the UN Cancun climate talks go into their second week. Young people dressed in everyday wear, dived amongst the statues at the underwater art installation, Silent Evolution in Cancun.

“These statues were designed and created to live beneath the sea and to form part of the ocean environment. Real people, however, cannot live underwater. Yet, without action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, 100 million people or more could be in danger of losing their homes, their lives, or both to rising seas. Ministers need to make the right choices this week, and set us on a path that will save the climate, and ourselves,” said Brady Bradshaw, from Greenpeace US student network. .

The installation, nine metres below the sea off Isla Mujeres in Mexico, consists of 400 life-sized human statues. Activists from Mexico, China, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the US, Vietnam and the Philippines were dressed in everyday wear, including suits, jeans, dresses and surf gear. The divers were showing that if urgent action is not taken, this is the future that many face.

“Art can convey the urgency of our situation in a different way than the science,” said Vanessa Dalmau of 350.org, a global campaign that organized over a dozen climate-themed public art events, each visible from space, in the lead up to the Cancun meetings. “I dived underwater to try and help stop the rising seas that threaten my home in the Dominican Republic.”

Ministers have one week to make a key set of decisions that will build momentum towards an agreement to prevent dangerous climate change. This agreement must be built on the Kyoto Protocol and will have to tackle the gap between current emission reductions and what the planet needs to survive.

Photo by Jason Taylor for Greenpeace

see BBC News footage of the underwater protest at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11933545


Activists critique US government performance at UN Human Rights Review

November 5, 2010, Geneva

US activists in Geneva observing the government’s first-ever review by the UN’s top human rights body said the government failed to convince the world of its positive human rights record.

“If the US government delegation’s objective was to reclaim the mantel of global human rights leadership, it failed miserably in that effort,” said Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director of the US Human Rights Network (USHRN), immediately after observing the US review. “What we heard instead was an eloquent defense of US ‘exceptionalism’ – its view of itself as somehow having a ‘special status’ that does not require it to conform to internationally recognized human rights norms and standards.”

“On the positive side, it was gratifying to see the constant drumbeat of criticism from the international community over issues US activists have been raising for years – such as the continued use of the death penalty, racial discrimination, the lack of a US national human rights institution to monitor domestic human rights practice, and the lack of treaty ratification.”

“Fortunately, the US will not be able to dismiss these criticisms as mere ‘political rhetoric’ by its ‘enemies’. The criticism came from a host of states, including US allies such as the UK, France, Australia, and Switzerland.” Continue reading

Cholera in Haiti: United Nations Mission covers up the origin of the epidemic in UN troops

November 4, 2010

By Stanley Lucas

Before and after the January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti, the country was cholera-free — it never appeared on the global list of countries contaminated by cholera. That all changed in mid-October this year when a cholera outbreak was registered in the lower Central Plateau immediately giving rise to many theories on the origin of the outbreak. Recent developments pinpoint the source to the Nepalese base of United Nations Mission (MINUSTAH) in Haiti.

New photos and video evidence show a truck from the Nepalese MINUSTAH base dumping sewage into a tributary of the Artibonite River in Mirebalais. Sewage traveled 400m and contaminated the Artibonite — a major source of clean water for the Central Plateau and the Artibonite areas.

Aljazeera, the Middle East news outlet, also discovered that the toilets in the Nepalese base in Mirebalais are connected to a tributary connected to the Artibonite. The video shows UN Nepalese soldiers making a hasty effort to close the drains without notifying Haitian authorities. In the Aljazeera video (see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk-2HyQHUZ0&feature=player_embedded ), the efforts to contain the spill appear to be a cover up.

It is worth mentioning that a cholera outbreak started in Kathmandu a couple weeks before the Nepalese contingency arrived in Haiti (see: http://crofsblogs.typepad.com/h5n1/2010/09/nepal-cholera-outbreak-in-kathmandu.html ) and furthermore, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) determined that the current cholera strain is most similar to a cholera strain from South Asia. See: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101101.html Continue reading

Nepal Today: Maoist fighters left in political limbo; Parties ask UN for 4 month extension

Maoist ex-soldiers hand over equipment at the end of their guard duty at Dahaban Camp in a remote part of western Nepal

[A reader commented on this article: “The imperialist puppet masters in USA and EU and their puppet state regimes in Nepal and India seem to be doing a good job of keeping the fish (the PLA) out of the ocean (the revolutionary masses) in Nepal by peaceful cooptation since 2006.” The mood of the PLA ex-combatants in the camps interviewed in this article reflects their isolation from the masses.  The solution to this difficult situation is not integration into the reactionary Nepal Army (as the UCPN-M is demanding), but the re-establishment of the people’s war with the goal of new democracy and socialism.-ed]

By Subel Bhandari (AFP) – Sep 5, 2010

DAHABAN CAMP, Nepal — As a commander in Nepal’s Maoist army, Ram Lal Roka Magar led his soldiers in more than 50 battles against the state security forces.

But for the past four years, the 38-year-old father of two has been biding his time in a military cantonment in a remote part of western Nepal as he waits for the country’s warring politicians to decide his fate.

Magar is one of thousands of former fighters in the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) still living in UN-monitored cantonments set up across the country after the war ended in 2006.

The arrangement was intended as a temporary solution pending a merger of the PLA and the national army.

But it has dragged on because the Maoists, now the main opposition party, and their political rivals have been unable to reach agreement on the issue.

The former fighters are free to leave whenever they want, and thousands have drifted away in the intervening years, ditching their PLA uniforms to return home to their families. Continue reading

Western imperialists still undermining Haiti


by Yves Engler

Six months ago a devastating earthquake killed more than 230,000 Haitians. About 100,000 homes were completely destroyed, alongside 1,000 schools and many other buildings.

The scenes of devastation filled TV screens around the world. Half a year later the picture is eerily familiar.

Destroyed during the earthquake, the presidential palace remains rubble and a symbol of the vast destruction. Port-au-Prince is still covered in debris. About 1.3 million people live in 1,200 makeshift tent camps in and around the capital.

According to one estimate, less than 5 per cent of the earthquake debris has been removed. Of course, with 20 million cubic metres of rubble in Port-Au-Prince alone, removing the debris is a massive challenge.

If 1,000 trucks were working daily it would take three to five years to remove all this material. Yet, there are fewer than 300 trucks hauling debris.

Political roadblocks

The technical obstacles to reconstruction are immense. But the political roadblocks are larger. Continue reading

MINUSTAH (Brazil-led UN occupation force in Haiti) gases students; Massive protests in Port au Prince

By Kim Ives, Editor Haiti Liberté
May 26 – June 1, 2010

Thousands of Haitians march on May 25 in Port au Prince to protest attacks on democratic rights. Sign in front reads, "Down with occupation." By Haiti Liberté.

The President of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced on May 24 that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held on Nov. 28, 2010, the Constitutionally prescribed date.

“The CEP is up to the task of organizing general elections in the country,” said Gaillot Dorsinvil, who is also the Handicapped Sector’s representative on the nine member council, handpicked by President René Préval.

But tens of thousands of Haitians don’t agree and have been demonstrating in streets around the country in recent weeks to demand, not just a new CEP, but Préval’s resignation.

“Nobody has confidence in Préval or his CEP to organize credible elections,” said Evans Paul, a leader of the Convention for Democratic Unity (KID) party and the political platform Alternative. Both groups, along with a number of other right-wing politicians and parties which supported the 2004 coup d’état against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, have joined in an unlikely alliance with popular organizations at the base of Aristide’s party, the Lavalas Family.

The alliance, called Heads Together of Popular Organizations (Tet Kole Oganizasyon Popile yo), has held three massive demonstrations of many thousands in the capital on May 10, May 17, and May 25, all calling for Préval’s resignation, Aristide’s return from exile in South Africa, and repeal of the “state of emergency law” that puts a foreign-dominated council in charge of Haiti’s reconstruction, among other demands. Continue reading