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One decade since the last round of disinformation about former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide kicked into high gear, Quebec mainstream print media has proven itself impervious to historical fact. According to columnists, editors and political cartoonists in Quebec’s most influential print media, Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a lunatic, a dictator on par with Baby Doc, a last-ditch hope for desperate Haitians, and a danger to Haiti. Here’s some of what the chroniclers of our time have been saying to the majority French population in Quebec. The translations to English are mine.
The principle columnist on Haiti for La Presse in Montreal has been Vincent Marissal, a popular figure on the Quebec media landscape. Reporting from Port-au-Prince, he mused about who should replace Préval (a failed leader who he feels should be replaced with no democratic process) :
« Obviously, several leaders are totally inappropriate, but as long as the opposition doesn’t find someone capable of rallying people and creating a concensus, it will be wasting its energy. It’s not for nothing that we see banners and graffiti demanding the return of Aristide. People are looking for a glimmer of hope, even if it means looking into the darkest corners of their recent past. »(1)
In his February 12th column, Vincent Marissal, chronicler for La Presse in Montreal, called for an imposed tutelage for five years in Haiti. He proposed it should be made up of unnamed well-known Haitian personalities, members of the diaspora and the international community. According to him, the failed relief effort in Haiti is to be blamed entirely on the Préval administration, which has lost all legitimacy in Haiti and should thereby be replaced from the outside. Below is a response I have written to Mr. Marissal. I encourage you to draft your own, in English or French. He can be reached at email@example.com
Here is a link to his original article: (http://www.cyberpresse.ca/opinions/chroniqueurs/vincent-marissal/201002/12/01-948858-le-temps-dagir.php)
Montreal, February 14th, 2010
Dear Mr. Marissal,
By: Wadner Pierre
Since 1983, Dr. Paul Farmer has been working in the Cange locality of the Central department of Haiti. His organization Zanmi Lasante (Partners in Health) has won international recognition for its work. In August, former US President Bill Clinton, currently the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, appointed Farmer as his Deputy Special Envoy.
In early September, Farmer toured Haiti for the first time in his official capacity with the UN. The stated goal of the mission, whose motto is “build back better,” is to explore short and long term solutions to Haiti’s ongoing economic crisis. Haiti’s educational system, environmental problems and agricultural productivity were addressed in discussions with numerous sectors.
“We are not coming to dictate to people who have already been working in Haiti, but we can coordinate their work to make for better results. During my five days I met and listened to everybody, the President, the Prime Minister and other ministers in the government. And I met with the private sector, MINUSTAH, NGOs and the farmers.” Farmer stressed, “When I talk about the private sector, I don’t mean big business people only, but the ‘Madanm Sara’ [street merchants], the peasants who represent an incredible workforce for this country. We need to sustain them. And we also need to make sure that these people find capital to grow their crops and small businesses. And finally, their children should be able to go to school.”
However, Dr. Farmer noted, “This is not a political mission, but a mission to help people build back better Haiti. Haiti has its own potentialities and we can use them to develop Haiti.”
By: Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com
All photos by: Wadner Pierre
It was 7:00 am on the 18th of June. Mourners filled the cathedral of Port-Au-Prince to honor the late priest, Gerard Jean-Juste. Most likely, none foresaw that the UN would bring its violent campaign against the Lavalas movement to the cathedral just after the service ended.
A UN troops arrived outside the church to arrest one of the mourners. As they sped away with their suspect, one of troops shot into the crowd. A man known as Kenel Pascal, of Delmas, was killed. The incident was captured on film.
Jean-Juste was an outspoken critic of the UN presence in Haiti and a prominent supporter of Jean Bertrand Aristide, whose democratic government was ousted in a coup of February 2004. Under the UN backed dictatorship of Gerard Latortue, Jean-Juste became Haiti’s most famous political prisoner.
More than 20 priests along with Bishop Andre Pierre and the Archbishop of Port-Au-Prince, Monsignor Joseph Serge Miot were in attendance. Bishop Andre Pierre spoke glowing of Gerard Jean-Juste at the funeral. However, many of the mourners recalled Jean-Juste’s stormy relationship with the church hierarchy in Haiti. While an international campaign, assisted by Amnesty International, was underway to release Jean-Juste from prison, the Catholic Church opted to deal Jean-Juste another blow by suspending him from church as punishment for his political activism.
By Hervé Jean Michel-www.haitiliberte.com
Hundreds of members of popular organizations marched through Port-au-Prince in a large and spirited but peaceful demonstration on Tuesday, July 28, 2009. They were commemorating the fateful day of July 28, 1915 when the United States Marines invaded Haiti and began a military occupation that lasted 19 years, from 1915-1934.
Today, our nation is under the boots of United Nations soldiers working at the service of the Haitian bourgeoisie and U.S. and French imperialism. Symbolically, the demonstrators began at the statue of Haiti's founding father Jean-Jacques Dessalines at Pont-Rouge and marched to the United Nations headquarters in the Bourdon district to demand the immediate departure of the U.N. Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), as the occupation force is called.
The UN Security Council mandate for the MINUSTAH expires on October 15, 2009.
Among the slogans written on banners and posters carried by the demonstrators were: "We want the departure of MINUSTAH and the immediate return of President Aristide!" and "We demand the vote and the application of the minimum wage of 200 gourdes!" and "Down with neoliberalism!"
It was in an atmosphere of great patriotic fervor that these compatriots marched so that they could make their demands heard by the Haitian leaders and their accomplices who help keep the country occupied.
Préval was denounced during the whole course of the march. The condemnation of the Haitian President illustrates how his policy of promoting neoliberalism has destroyed any credence he had with the Haitian people, who, in the aftermath of the February 7, 2006 vote, struggled with all their might to block electoral tricks aimed at subverting Préval's election.
"Justice. Verite. Independance."
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
July 29 - August 4, 2009
Vol. 3, No. 2
by Kim Ives
The young man who appears to have been gunned down by UN occupation troops after a funeral last month received an all but secret funeral himself on July 14 in Port-au-Prince because the priest and family were fearful of UN and Haitian government reprisals.
The victim has also been finally identified as Kenel Pascal, 22, of Delmas.
On the morning of June 18 outside the Port-au-Prince Cathedral, immediately following the funeral for Father Gérard Jean-Juste, troops of the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) fired at unarmed mourners who shouted angrily at them after they roughly arrested a man in the crowd.
When the fusillade ended, Pascal lay dying on the ground just outside a cathedral door, blood bubbling from his head and mouth. He died minutes later. His body was carried by the mourners a half mile to the National Palace. There they left the body in the driveway, laying blame for the killing on President René Préval (see Haiti Liberté, Vol. 2, No. 49, June 24, 2009).
Pascal was originally misidentified as "Ti Charles," then Charles Désir, then "Roudy."
His death was not certified by the Justice Ministry until almost a month later on July 13.
Lavarice Gaudin of the Miami-based Haitian rights organization Veye Yo, founded by Father Jean-Juste, helped organize Pascal's funeral. Most of the arrangements were made by Ketchine Joseph, a Veye Yo sympathizer in Port-au-Prince.
By: Kim Ives - Haiti Liberte
Thousands of demonstrators marched through Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince on July 15 to mark the 56th birthday of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The demonstration, which was called by and adhered to by two rival factions of the Lavalas Family party (FL), was considered a great display of unity by its organizers.
At 9 a.m. the crowds gathered at the gate in front of Aristide's still gutted home in Tabarre. It was decorated with flowers and large photographs of the party's leader, who remains in exile in South Africa over five years after the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d'état against him.
The multitude then moved, like a great river, towards the capital.
Lavalas leaders said that the demonstration was a birthday present for Aristide. "Long live the return of President Aristide!" read some of the posters in the march. " Down with the MINUSTAH [UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, the military occupation force]! Release of all political prisoners! Reinstatement of all fired State employees! Down with the neo-liberal plan!"
Demonstrators also bitterly denounced President René Préval for betraying their expectations that he would help return Aristide to Haiti and fight neoliberal austerity and privatization. Tens of thousands of Lavalas partisans voted for Préval in 2006, helping him win the presidency.
"Our political organization will defeat all those who are working for its demise," declared Dr. Maryse Narcisse, one of the members of the FL's Executive Committee at the close of the demonstration at the Place of the Constitution on the Champ de Mars, the capital's central square.
by Wadner Pierre
All photos by Wadner Pierre
Haiti is under occupation, what will we do to free it from the occupants? Now it's clear it is back to 1915-1934, if you know your history, you probably understand what it means.
Because it is illegal according the Haitian constitution for foreign soldiers step the soil of Haiti, all MINUSTAH workers(troops, police officers, civil workers) whether they are their against their will or not, they are illegal and have to leave this country. Some soldiers kill,assault, steal,abuse young poor people, farmers,police officers, students, state workers, and no justice has been giving to them.
UN has all power to decide for Haiti. Haiti's president, Mr. Preval is following his boos, Mr. Bill Clinton, he is so happy now as an irresponsible leader that former Pres. Bill Clinton will help him or be his boss, for now eh has nothing to worry about. Oh President Preval, what type of president are you? How do you feel as a chief of state, when you look at yourself in mirror? Now, there is no doubt that Haiti is back to 1915..., but this under cover of a so-called United Nations, why not the backers off imperialist's program in the world, that will be their best name to them.
Therefore, who knows or can tell, when Haiti will be a country, because now it is just a place. They violate the rights of Haiti being an independent country.No one can do anything for Haiti, excepts its children.
by Wadner Pierre - HaitiAnalysis.com
All photos by Wadner Pierre
Gonaives is a port city with an estimated population of 200,000. It is the sixth largest city in Haiti and is located approximately 110 kilometers north of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital. In 2003, it was one of first places to come under the control of armed rebels who helped oust Haiti's democratic government on February 29, 2004. The coup was actually completed by foreign powers - primarily France, Canada and the US. Months after the coup, in September of 2004, Gonaives was hit by Hurricane Jeanne. Three thousand lives were lost. In 2008, with the damage done by Jeanne still unrepaired, fierce storms (Hurricanes Fay, Gustav, Hanna) battered Gonaives yet again. At least 500 were killed, over a hundred thousand made homeless. An astounding 800,000 were victimized by the storms if crop destruction and drinking water contamination are considered.
On my way to Gonaives
It was just after mid day on June 19th, two days prior to another round of senatorial elections boycotted by most Haitians, when my bus left Port-au-Prince with 70 other passengers. Before 2004, it would have taken about 2 hours to reach the city. Now it takes almost 5 hours. The so-called good part of the road is from Port-au-Prince to Montrouis in the northern part of the capital, also the last part of West department. Travelers are usually talkative in Haiti. They often discuss religion or political, economic and social issues. On this trip, they would talk mainly about the destruction visible everywhere in Gonaives. They complained about the state of the road and blamed political leaders in the Artibonite department and at the national level for the lack of reconstruction.
From the Haiti Information Project
Photos: UN arrests unidentified protestor minutes before opening fire on crowd during funeral for Father Gerard Jean-Juste
HIP - Port au Prince, Haiti -One protestor was killed as UN forces opened fire during a funeral for Catholic priest Father Gerard Jean-Juste. A human rights advocate and well-known supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas movement, Jean-Juste died on May 27 in a Miami hospital from complications following a stroke and long respiratory illness.
Eyewitnesses report today's shooting incident involving the UN began after mourners began chanting slogans for the return of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide outside of Haiti's national cathedral.
One of the protestors was seen inadvertently passing through a security barrier erected by UN forces and was detained. As the UN arrested him hundreds more rushed past the barrier and resumed chants for Lavalas and Aristide.
According to witnesses, UN troops on the scene began shooting indiscriminately at the crowd killing a young man identified only as "Junior" from the neighborhood of Solino.
Hundreds more protestors then took the body of the victim to the front of Haiti's National Palace where they began chanting, "Down with Preval" and "Long live Aristide."
by Wadner Pierre
As widely predicted, Haiti's senatorial elections of April 19 were boycotted by the overwhelming majority of the electorate. Two days ago, as if to deliberately invite more ridicule, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced that there were no winners in the first round for 12 vacant senate seats that were contested. Haiti has a 30 seat senate. A second round of the discredited elections will take place on June 7. However, the vote in the Haiti's Central Plateau has been cancelled due to fear of violence.
Government officials have claimed that turnout was 11% but many political organizations say it was 2-3% - consistent with a pre-election survey by the Florida-based advocacy organization Haiti Priorities Project (HPP). Regardless of the exact figure, no one is disputing that turnout was extremely low. U.S. Ambassador Janet Sanderson attempted to dismiss the significance of low turnout by saying
"Historically, off-year elections in the United States as well as in other countries tend not to be as well-attended as presidential elections. We'll have to see."
However, in 2006, turnout was 30%, according to UN officials, for legislative elections held months after Rene Preval won the presidency.
The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Jose Miguel Insulza, gently chastised the Haitian people.
"Indifference is harmful for a democratic process that requires a strong interaction between political actors and governments".
Le photographe Montréalais Darren Ell présente sa nouvelle exposition intitulée Haïti: Rembobiner. M. Ell a créé l'expo en réponse à la politique canadienne, française et américaine en Haïti. L'expo comporte des photos, des extraits de vidéo et des textes ramassés lors de ses voyages en Haïti entre 2006 et 2008. Elle expose le rôle des puissances étrangères dans la déstabilisation et le renversement du gouvernement populaire de Jean-Bertrand Aristide en février 2004. Elle examine aussi les séquelles du renversement du gouvernement élu, un événement avec lequel les Haïtiens vivent encore aujourd'hui. M. Ell remet en question la supposée bienveillance de la présence militaire et policière des Nations-unies qui est la puissance prédominante en Haïti depuis 2004.
Les photographies et les projections de l'expo situent l'intervention étrangère dans l'histoire coloniale d'Haïti. Des photos ont été prises lors des opérations onusiennes et des manifestations contre la vie chère. Elles évoquent les tableaux des peintres français œuvrant au plus fort de la puissance impériale française, et elles rappellent le travail du peintre activiste américain Léon Golub.
La première projection combine un paysage tranquille et abandonné de Cité Soleil avec la voix du Canado-Haïtien Jean St-Vil, qui récite le témoignage de Frantz Gabriel, seul témoin de l'enlèvement de Jean-Bertrand Aristide le 29 février 2004. Gabriel fut responsable de la sécurité d'Aristide et a été lui-même enlevé. La deuxième projection montre des douzaines de noms, accompagnés de données légales, de prisonniers politiques emprisonnés pendant le coup d'état.
A new exhibition by Montreal photographer Darren Ell is set to open on September 18th. Ell's exhibition, Haiti: Rewind, was created as a response to Canadian, French and U.S. policy in Haiti and comprises material drawn from Ell's visits to Haiti between 2006 and 2008. The photo exhibition exposes the role of these three powers in the destabilization and subsequent overthrow of the popular government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.
The photo exhibition looks at the consequences of the overthrow of the elected government, an event with which the Haitian people are living to this day. It questions the purported benevolence of the United Nations force that has been the predominant power in Haiti since 2004.
The photographs and video installations of the exhibition place current foreign meddling in Haiti squarely within colonial history. Photographs taken in Port-au-Prince during UN police raids and popular demonstrations against rising prices harken back to French painters working at the height of French imperial power in Haiti in the late 1700's and to activist American painter Leon Golub.
The first video installation features a serene but abandoned landscape from Cité Soleil with a voice-over by Haitian-Canadian Jean St-Vil reading Frantz Gabriel's eye-witness account of the abduction of Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29th, 2004. Gabriel was responsible for Aristide's security and was abducted himself.
The second video installation is a looping projection of legal data concerning the hundreds of political prisoners still detained in Haiti. The information for this piece was obtained from Haiti's Bureau des avocats internationaux (Office of International Lawyers).
More than two weeks ago, SOPUDEP a non-profit organization fighting among the poor people in the commune of Petion-Ville, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This organization is specialized in education fro the poor students in this commune. Since after the 2004 coup against the constitutional government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the director of SOPUDEP Mrs. Rae Dol has received threats from the authorities of the City Hall of Petion-Ville.
Mrs. Claire Ludy Parent
Claire Ludy Parent a former pro-popular movement in Haiti, she went to turn back against this moment just after the election may 2000 in which she was running for a second mandate as mayor of Petion-Ville, unfortunately, she lost face to Lavalas candidate to this post Mr. Sulley Guerrier who became mayor of Petion-Ville. Nobody can forget the protestations from the international community and the former lavalas opponents to Aristide. Mrs. Parent was one of them, whereas she became mayor for a second time of Petion-ville in the last election for the local authorities in 2006. She now wants to continue the policy of the former defacto mayor, which is the persecution of the people who are pro-popular movement and always stand for the respect of the rights that the poor people have and what they deserve.
From Haiti Liberte, via Haiti Analysis:
Preval was also pressured to choose Ericq Pierre by several visiting foreign officials such as Alain Joyandel, French Secretary of State for Cooperation and Francophonie, Jose Miguel Insulza, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), and Miguel Angel Moratinos, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
...Pierre also eloquently expressed his technocratic vision when he said: "There is no reform of the left or the right, there are only necessary reforms." The greatest outcry against Ericq Pierre's nomination may come from the Haitian people themselves. The uprising that began of April 3 and swept away Alexis was not just against food's high cost but against neoliberal austerity policies in general. In this light, Pierre's nomination is likely to provoke more anger and demonstrations in the weeks ahead.
Canada's Response? Foreign Affairs Minister Maxine Bernier stated that his government "welcomes this first step in forming a new government in Haiti, in keeping with the provisions of the Haitian constitution."
First step? As if the Haitian people had never elected their own governments before. Wasn't the appointment of Jacques Edouard Alexis back in 2006 the "first step in forming a new government?"
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.