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December 22, 2015 Weblog:

Opinion: Haiti’s Electoral Shambles, CEP Officials Can Either Fix the Mess or They Go to Jail


For too long, people paid by Haitian people to do their job have not been held accountable. Now, it’s the time for the Haiti’s electoral officials – the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) – to either fix the electoral mess or go to jail.

It is despicable that a CEP official threatened to shut down the whole electoral process instead of collaborating with a government-backed commission to investigate massive electoral frauds that they fail to avoid. Marie Carmelle Paul Austin, a member of the electoral council, told a radio in Haiti’s capital that the electoral council members are ready to depart in bloc “If this commission’s purpose is to redo or verify the work that the CEP has already done, the council members will resign.” What Madame Austin did not say is that when you betray your people, violate your country’s laws and contribute to social and political destabilization you should be in jail.

For too long, Haitian people have been struggling for participative democracy and social justice. They’ve been ignored by Haitian officials who primarily seek to satisfy the interest of their international backers like the United States, Canada and France by either plotting electoral coups. Although the Martelly administration finally established a commission to address the latest electoral disaster, it is uncertain that anything will come of it.

Martelly himself was a beneficiary of an electoral fiasco. How can one believe he will accept any recommendation asking the removal of his handpicked candidate? This move reminds me of an article by Haiti’s renowned author Edwidge Danticat: Sweet Micky and the Sad Déjà Vu of Haiti’s Presidential Elections.

» continue reading "Opinion: Haiti’s Electoral Shambles, CEP Officials Can Either Fix the Mess or They Go to Jail"

December 19, 2015 Weblog:

Haiti Elections: Catholic Church still Undecided whether to join the Govt.-formed Electoral Commission or Not


Nearly two months since Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisional Council), know as the CEP, announced the final results for the first round residential, second round legislative and local elections that plagued with massive frauds. The controversial results for the presidential elections placed Haiti’s ruling Party candidate, Jovel Moise at the first place with over 34 percent of the popular and the former 2010 presidential candidate Jude Celestin in second place. Since then protest against those tainted results have been widened through the country.

After candidates and their backers, religious leaders (Catholics and Protestants) and national and international human rights and advocacy groups urged the CEP to form an independent commission to investigate the electoral frauds that were no longer mere allegations, the CEP rejected such proposition and proceeded to schedule the presidential runoff on Dec. 27 with the two candidates obtained the majority of the vote. Celestin, a member of group of eight presidential candidates, known as G8, who have been protesting the CEP’s results, declared he would not participate at the runoff unless the CEP satisfied the demand of G8.

The United States, a staunch supporter of the current administration, and spent over $30 millions for the organization of these log-overdue elections, sent Kenneth Merten, the U.S former ambassador to Haiti and State Department’s Special Envoy to Haiti to convince candidates, most importantly Celestin, to accept the CEP’s results. Merten, a close friend of Martelly, and one the controversial figures that engineered Martelly’s election in the 2010 controversial elections, failed to his mission.

» continue reading "Haiti Elections: Catholic Church still Undecided whether to join the Govt.-formed Electoral Commission or Not"

December 18, 2015 Weblog:

Haiti: Govt. Formed an Electoral Commission to End Electoral Deadlock; Will the CEP Reschedule the Runoff?


Since the CEP published its tainted and most controversial results for the presidential, second round legislative and local elections early last November, thousands have been demonstrated in the streets of Haiti’s largest cities to reclaim a recount of their votes. Religious leaders and international human rights and advocacy groups have also urged the CEP to investigate irregularities and massive electoral frauds that are no longer mere allegations.

As protests widening, diplomatic talks failed and G8 candidates remaining steadfast in their position, to remedy the situation, Haiti’s PM Evans Paul in an one-page letter sent to the President Michel J. Martelly, proposed a formation of an electoral commission to ensure the credibility of the already festered electoral process.

The commission according to the Prime Minister’s letter will have three days to produce recommendations to the government and the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisional Council), known as the CEP. The head of the government stated,“ …it is necessary to organize credible, transparent, participative and inclusive elections,” as well as “to do whatever it takes” to create a climate of trust for the actors involving in the process.

The CEP shows no sign that it will abide by the recommendations of the government-formed commission. One of its members Marie Carmelle Paul Austin told a radio in the Haiti’s capital that the electoral council members are ready to depart in bloc should the commission interfere in their work. “If this commission’s purpose is to redo or verify the work that the CEP has already done, the council members will resign,” implied council Austin.

» continue reading "Haiti: Govt. Formed an Electoral Commission to End Electoral Deadlock; Will the CEP Reschedule the Runoff?"

December 18, 2015 Weblog:

Haiti: CEP Failed to its Mission, But an Electoral Miscarriage Can Be Avoided

By Wadner Pierre

This article was originally published by UnlessWeCare.org

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 6.34.24 AM It has been over a month since Haiti’s Conseil Electoral Provisoire (Electoral Provisory Counsel), known as CEP, published its foreknown controversial fraudulent results for the first round presidential and second round legislative elections. The CEP’s preliminary results for the presidential elections placed President Michel Martelly’s hand-picked candidate Jovenel Moise of Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale, or P.H.T.K in the first place with 32.8 percent of the popular votes. Jaccéus Joseph, a member of the electoral council, qualified the results as unacceptable.

Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles reported, Joseph refused to sign “the presidential and legislative preliminary results” because of irregularities and frauds that plagued them. Joseph thought his refusal to endorse the results would prompt the Tabulation Center to verify “the allegations of electoral fraud, including checking the voter registration lists against the ballots cast in the Oct. 25” elections to avert an unnecessary electoral crisis.

Joseph said, “We asked the director of the Tabulation Center did he have enough time to thoroughly verify if there was fraud.” According to Joseph, the director told them, “[H]e didn’t have enough time for that.”

Despite Joseph’s insistence on verifying and correcting the irregularities and frauds threatening the credibility of the results, CEP’s President Pierre-Louis Opont decided to publish the tainted results. The electoral crisis that was avoidable is now becoming an inevitable crisis. This man-made electoral dispute could further derail the political and social stability of the country.

» continue reading "Haiti: CEP Failed to its Mission, But an Electoral Miscarriage Can Be Avoided "

December 11, 2012 Weblog:

SOA Watch: We’re Still there Until the School of Americas Is Closed D

By Wadner Pierre- originally published by The Maroon

For the first time in two years, a group of Loyola students traveled to a US military- sponsored school in Fort Benning, Ga. to protest the 1989 massacre of six Jesuit priests and their two workers.

Hundreds of thousands protesters continue as rally against the U.S.-sponsored military school in the Fort Benning, Ga. Photo by Wadner Pierre

It has been 23 years since six Jesuit priests and their two workers were murdered at the Creighton University in El Salvador. The perpetrators of this crime were alleged to be trained at the School of Americas. For more than two decades the School of Americas Watch, a national organization, has begun a campaign to close the military school. The School Of Americas Watch annual protest coincides with the anniversary of the death of the six Jesuit priests.

Business sophomore, Katie O'Dowd had no idea about the protest until her freshman year at Loyola through her involvement in LUCAP. She said she was struck by the many young people engaged in the movement. “I always want to advocate for the School of Americas Watch. I’ll continue to ask students to go in this protest,” she said.

O’Dowd said she hopes the school will be closed. In 1990, former naval officer and Catholic priest Roy Bourgeois started School Of Americas Watch in a house near the gate of the US military school in Fort Benning, Ga.

Twenty-two years have passed, but the goal has remained the same. Some progress has been made with a half-dozen Latin American countries like Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, which withdrew their troops from this school.

» continue reading "SOA Watch: We’re Still there Until the School of Americas Is Closed D"

March 6, 2012 Weblog:

Clean up Corruption at Home

By Wadner Pierre

When will the U.S. Department go after U.S. officials for the $6.6 billion in “lost” for the reconstruction of Iraq in 2004?

The U.S. Justice Department has failed to investigate. This money is still missing and no one can account for it. American taxpayers deserve to be told about where the $6.6 billion went.

The U.S. government needs to focus more on what is happening in its backyard. It should to give up “investigating” not only on former President Jean-Bertrand Aristidefor corruption, but all foreign political leaders they don't like. Former President Aristide was forced [kidnapped] to get on an air plane on Feb. 29, 2004 by U.S. troops. Why didn't they put him in U.S. prison for all he is being accused of? Now, what are they doing - building a case or making one up against Aristide? And it’s worth noting that the US government has blocked any investigation – international or domestic - into how exactly Aristide came to “depart” Haiti in 2004.

The renewed investigation against Aristide also occurs at a time when one of Haiti's most brutal dictators, Jean-Claude Duvalier, is being let off the hook.

The U.S. has one problem with Aristide. He enjoys too much support from the Haitian people, most importantly the poor majority who want change. After all that has been said to vilify and destroy Aristide's image around the world, the goal of this smear campaign remains unachieved.

In Feb. 29, 2012 several thousand Lavalas supporters demonstrated in the street of Haiti’s capital to renew their passionate support for their leader. This recent demonstration certainly shook the U.S. imposed status quo. That is why they reactivate their slanderous campaign against Aristide.

» continue reading "Clean up Corruption at Home"

November 27, 2011 Weblog:

Chomsky Post-Earthquake: Aid Should Go to Haitian Popular Organizations, Not to Contractors or NGOs

By Keane Bhatt
Photos by Wadner Pierre
For decades, Noam Chomsky has been an analyst and activist working in support of the Haitian people. In addition to his revolutionary linguistics career at MIT, he has written, lectured and protested against injustice for 40 years. He is co-author, along with Paul Farmer and Amy Goodman of Getting Haiti Right This Time: The U.S. and the Coup. His analysis “The Tragedy of Haiti” from his 1993 book Year 501: The Conquest Continues is available for free online. This interview was conducted in late February 2010 by phone and email. It was first published in ¡Reclama! magazine. The interviewer thanks Peter Hallward for his kind assistance.

Keane Bhatt: Recently you signed a letter to the Guardian protesting the militarization of emergency relief. It criticized a prioritization of security and military control to the detriment of rescue and relief.

» continue reading "Chomsky Post-Earthquake: Aid Should Go to Haitian Popular Organizations, Not to Contractors or NGOs"

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October 28, 2011 Weblog:

Haitian Lawmaker Released from Prison

By Wadner Pierre

41-year-old Haitian Lawmaker, Arnel Belizaire arrested at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport Port-Au-Prince on Nov. 27, 2011 upon his return from participating at an even in France where he presented other members of the Haitian Chamber of Deputies. Belizaire accused of escaping prison.

Belizaire's colleagues accused President Michel J. Martelly of being behind of this arrest. They said that the Chief of State is trying to use his executive power to silence his opponents or those who have severely criticized him.

Belizaire released after he spent his night and part of his day at the National Penitentiary, the biggest prison in Haiti. Whether Beliziare was at fault or not, his arrest didi not follow the leggal procedure of how to arrest a an elected member of the Haiti's Parliamentary. The Deputies and Senators said that the process was unconstitutional. the lawmakers could consider to interpellate some of the members of the newly installed government.

Can the President use his executive power to solve his personal quarrel with another elected official or individual? Not sure that the ongoing Haitian gives him this right. What would be the next step and Beliziare-Martelly's fight?

Whatever the next step that Belizaire-Martelly's affair would take, one thing is clear for both elected officials is that the country cannot handle this.

Posted by Wadner Pierre at 5:00 PM 0 comments
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October 16, 2011 Weblog:

Port-Au-Prince, Haiti: Students Praise Education and Voice It for All

By Wadner Pierre
Part I

Left Dorgilles Wichmie, Melissa Jeonnat, and right Nathalie Jonnat and Jean Michelda.

Reverend Gerard Jean-Juste. Rev. Jean-Juste died two years ago from Leukemia because he was jailed for his political views and was not allowed by the 2004-2006 U.S deposed Gerard Latortue to travel to US to receive early treatment. Jean-Juste's legacy endures amongst the young and old in Haiti. He was [is] like an adoptive father for some people and a mentor to others.

Over eleven years ago, Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste and Margaret Trost, founder of the What If? Foundation, partnered in an effort to bring food and education to children in the Petite Place Cazeau neighborhood of Port-au-Prince. Through funds provided by the What If? Foundation, thousands of young people have been supported over the years through the community-based food and education programs that Fr. Jean-Juste created. Today, over two hundred children receive school scholarships, with some going to vocational school, and one thousand meals are served every Monday through Friday. Children are the priority. In the past three years the What If? Foundation has also funded an After-School Program to help students with their homework and provide an opportunity to learn income-producing skills. It has also sponsored a Summer Camp for the past nine years in the area. Five hundred students have attended. Trost said, “All this is only possible because of our wonderful Haitian partners who run the programs with such dedication, courage, and faith.”

» continue reading " Port-Au-Prince, Haiti: Students Praise Education and Voice It for All"

October 10, 2011 Weblog:

Editorial:Nobel Prize Winners from Latin America Demand Withdrawl of all UN Troops in Haiti

Editorial and photo by Wadner Pierre

As calls mount in Haiti to demand that UN troops to leave the country, other prominent Latin Americans have raised their voices in sign of solidarity with Haitian people. Nobel Peace Prize laureates Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Irish Betty Williams, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, and Brazilian theologians Leonardo Boff and Frei Betto are among hundreds of organizations and personalities around the world who signed this letter below. The letter is addressed to government of all countries who have troops in the UN mission in Haiti/MINUSTAH, UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, and the General Secretary of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza.

Many questions need to be answered by United Nations about its troops in Haiti:
1- Why UN sent the troops in Haiti right after the 2004 coup d'etat that overthrew the democratically elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide?
2-Does Haiti need schools, hospitals, universities or UN's occupation troops?
3-Are the troops in Haiti to protect Haitians interests or the neon-liberalism/capitalism interest?
4-Why can UN use the $865,313,200 to help rebuild Haiti's infrastructure in the aftermath of Jan.12?
The letter:
Sign-on in Support of Haiti, MINUSTAH Out!
List of signatures updated as of October 7th.

ADD THE SIGNATURE OF YOUR ORGANIZATION by sending a message to: haiti.no.minustah@gmail.com
More information: http://jubileesouth.blogspot.com/p/haiti-no-minustah.html
To the Secretary General of the UN, Dr. Ban Ki-moon;
To the Governments of States members of the Security Council and the MINUSTAH;
To the Secretary General of the OAS, Dr. José Miguel Insulza
To the international community and public at large

» continue reading "Editorial:Nobel Prize Winners from Latin America Demand Withdrawl of all UN Troops in Haiti"

September 14, 2011 Weblog:

Former Haiti's Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Speak Next Month About Education-But No Confirmed Date

By Wadner Pierre
Haiti's first-twice democratically elected President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide will be speaking about Education next month according to former Sen. Dr. Louis Gerald Gilles. The Senator told Associated Press that the former Head of State's speech will be focusing on Education. The event seems most likely to be taking place at the University Aristide Foundation for Democracy in commune Tabarre.

In one of his letters written and published by the Guardian UK before his return from his 7-years exile, the former head of State stressed his love for education and will be devoted his time in the field he likes as a professor. He said,"As I have not ceased to say since 29 February 2004, from exile in Central Africa, Jamaica and now South Africa, I will return to Haiti to the field I know best and love: education. We can only agree with the words of the great Nelson Mandela, that indeed education is a powerful weapon for changing the world."

When he was forced to leave his office under the pressure of some most powerful countries in the International community like United States, France and Canada Feb. 29, 2004, President Aristide continued his studies upon his arriving in South Africa. In April 2007 he received a Doctoral degree from the University of South Africa in African Languages.

» continue reading "Former Haiti's Pres. Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Speak Next Month About Education-But No Confirmed Date"

September 6, 2011 Weblog:

NUSTAH’s New Chief: Herve Ladsous Haiti’s 21st Century Gen. Rochambeau

By Wadner Pierre

This year Haiti will celebrate its two-hundred-seventh anniversary of Battaille de Vertieres Battle of Vertieres) in which the former slaves and colored people proudly defeated the French army and broke the slavery chain. Battaille of Vertieres was the last battle after which Haiti proclaimed its Independence and –became the world’s first Black republic in January 1, 1804. This war to liberate the country and ban slavery cost the lives of about 160,000 slaves, 60,000 French.

Two of the most powerful countries that lead the United Nations today United States and France were opposed to Haiti’s Independence. For them, the Black Republic represented a threat. Slavery, which continued in the southern USA for over half century after Haiti’s revolution, made black people [Africans] into objects – tools that generated huge profits for the masters. Those who survived the French atrocities in Haiti were the most incredible heroes.

Things were worsened for the newly born Nation when France came back and threatened the Haitian government to pay 150 million francs as a compensation of the goods the French colonizers lost during the Battaille of Vertieres and to recognize Haiti’s Independence. Haiti had to borrow money from the French and US banks. Haiti would therefore not be able to build schools, hospital and University, but instead had to pay the former masters for her independence.

» continue reading "NUSTAH’s New Chief: Herve Ladsous Haiti’s 21st Century Gen. Rochambeau "

August 23, 2011 Weblog:

Martelly Still Unable to Appoint New PM

By Wadner Pierre
Published by IPS

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 22, 2011 (IPS) - Almost three months since he was sworn in as the country’s president, Michel J. Martelly has already attempted to appoint two prime ministers to guide his government. Bernard Gousse, a minister of justice under the Gérard Latortue dictatorship (2004-2006) and businessman Daniel Rouzier, were both rejected by Haitian lawmakers.

Rouzier was rejected by lower chamber over technicalities. Gousse was rejected by a group of 16 legislators in the Senate because of his appalling human rights record. Under Gousse, the jails were filled with political prisoners - mostly people from poor neighbourhoods where there was strong support for ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

The country is now suffering because there is no prime minister to form a new government to apply the programme of the new president. When he campaigned, Martelly promised to send all Haitian children to school for free. The Haitian people are waiting for him to deliver his promise in September when schools reopen theirs doors.

Martelly needs to have a prime minister approved - a huge challenge without a majority in Parliament - if he has any intention of fulfilling this promise. According to the Haitian Constitution, when the president does not have the majority in the Parliament, he has to choose the prime minister by consulting the presidents of the both chambers. Martelly has already missed two occasions to do so. Some people blame his chief of staff, Thierry Mayard Paul, for his failure, while others say Martelly’s advisers are at fault.

» continue reading "Martelly Still Unable to Appoint New PM"

August 16, 2011 Weblog:

Is Haiti's Church Hierarchy Failing in its Mission? Bishop Louis Kébreau’s Immoral Advice to Martelly

Article and photo by Wadner Pierre

Did Bishop Louis Kébreau, President of the Haitian Episcopal Conference, call on Haitian President Martelly to be ruthless and dictatorial?

In an article published on August 11 by the Haitian daily Newspaper Le Nouvelliste, Bishop Kébreau, a close friend of President Martelly urged him to put his "Sweet Micky pants on” as to govern the country. Martelly’s administration has essentially not even begun after Parliament refused to accept two of his selections for Prime Minister.

The upper echelons of the Catholic Church in Haiti and the Vatican have a deplorable history of backing repression. The Vatican, virtually alone in the world, recognized the Cedras military dictatorship of 1991-1994. Recent Wikileaks have exposed the Vatican’s behind the scenes encouragement of US efforts to undermine democracy in Haiti prior to the 2004 coup. After the coup, the Vatican openly applauded it by saying there was “nothing to regret” about Aristide’s ouster.

To defend his remarks, Bishop Kébreau said, on Radio Magik 9, that he was misinterpreted and that there was “no question of repression, no question of dictatorship" but he added that "If we continue to undress the President we will go nowhere.”

» continue reading "Is Haiti's Church Hierarchy Failing in its Mission? Bishop Louis Kébreau’s Immoral Advice to Martelly "

July 10, 2011 Weblog:

Why Bernard Gousse Shouldn't Be Haiti's Next Prime Minister

Article and photos By: Wadner Pierre

First publihsed on San Francisoc Bay View

In 2004, I was in Haiti living under the injustice Bernard Gousse inflicted on his own people while serving the Haitian elite and the "International Community". Like many of Gousse's victims, I was driven into hiding - in my case it came after the arrest of the late Father Gerard Jean-Justice, a prominent Lavalas leader and human rights activist. Under the dictatorship of Gerard Latortue, Gousse ran the Ministry of Justice - an injustice machine that filled Haitian jails with political prisoners, usually targeting the most vulnerable.

Here are seven reasons why Gousse shouldn't be Haiti's next Prime Minister

1) Gousse became the Minister of Justice after the 2004 coup against Haiti's democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Gousse was considered as one of the most powerful men in the U.S-backed regime that ruled from 2004 to 2006. In the 1990s Gousse served in the military dictatorship of Raul Cedras; a regime that used the FRAPH death squads and brutal FAd'H forces to murder people in the slums and countryside.

2) Among the people illegally jailed by Gousse were Fanmi Lavalas officials under Aristide such as former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, the former Minister of Interior Joselene Joceleme Privet and former legislator Amanus Maette. The allegations against all of them were shown to be completely baseless. In the case of Neptune, the illegality was so egregious that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ordered the Haitian government to pay Yvon Neptune reparations.

» continue reading "Why Bernard Gousse Shouldn't Be Haiti's Next Prime Minister"

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June 19, 2011 Weblog:

Ansanm Nou Kapab...Together We can

Summer Trip to Haiti: From July 7th to August 7th, 2010

Dear friends and supporters,

My name is Wadner Pierre. I am a photojournalist and activist from Gonaives, Haiti.

For five years, you have generously supported my work for Haiti both

within Haiti’s borders and outside of her borders with your prayers, words

of support, and generous donations. As a mere freelance photojournalist

for these five years, I now hope to continue this work and more.

However, without your encouragement, financial support, and advice, my

work would not have reached such a wide audience, more importantly, my

people’s voice might not have been heard in different parts of the world.

I am so grateful for everything you have done to help me get this job done

in a more perfect way. I thank you for your commitment in continuing to be

part of Haiti’s endless struggle for social justice and equality.

I have joined many people around the world who are committed to work for

real democracy, social justice, and equality in Haiti. Together with my

colleagues and journalists, Jeb Sprague and Joe Emersberger, we founded www.haitianalsyis.com, a website dedicated to provide news from the voices of Haiti. This website has allowed young English-speaking journalists in Haiti like me to give a voice to our communities. In addition to that website, I started a blog so individuals may also read and comment on issues affecting communities:

During this one-month trip plan to reach as many communities as I can whether farmers, grassroots organizations/or human rights groups etc.

Haiti: Work Plan Summer 2011

1. Investigate and write about social justice works in the aftermath of Jan. 12 post-earthquake.

» continue reading "Ansanm Nou Kapab...Together We can"

April 29, 2011 Weblog:

COLUMN: Church Fails to Act on Time

By Wadner Pierre

Religion at Loyola

It seems from time to time that the Catholic Church has been deliberately late in addressing the real issues that face God's children on this earth.

As we all know, the Catholic Church in particular has been an instrument for powerful European countries in the past, abandoning its mission to be the voice of the voiceless and to make the poor feel that they belong to the kingdom of God as much as the rich do.

In his Easter Sunday address, the pope urged the world to welcome people who are fleeing their countries because of wars or violence. He said, "May help come from all sides to those fleeing conflict and to refugees from various African countries who have been obliged to leave all that is dear to them."

The pope's Easter Sunday message seemed mostly focused on the ongoing Libyan civil war, supported by Western power under the United Nations umbrella. According to Reuters, Pope Benedict also advocated for a diplomatic approach instead of force in the case of Libya.

The pope's Easter Sunday message, however, came too late because political leaders like those from Russia, China, Venezuela, the African Union and other countries already warned against the use of weapons in Libya.

The Vatican has a representative at the United Nations, but it seems that the Vatican failed to take a position against U.N. resolution 1973. This gave the United States and its NATO allies a legitimate mandate to use their sophisticated weapons instead of their sophisticated and smart diplomats to solve the Libyan political and social problems.

» continue reading "COLUMN: Church Fails to Act on Time"

March 13, 2011 Weblog:

Return Home: Twenty-One Religious Leaders Extended their Full Support to Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on His Return.

Article and photos by Wadner Pierre

“My time is over. My God is calling me. I ‘m going to die, but make sure ‘Titid’ and his family do not die in exile in South Africa,”

Thus spoke the late Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Haitian activist and the former pastor of Sainte Claire’s Parish of Ti Plas Kazo, a few weeks before his death. He was a champion of democracy and human rights in his country and amongst the Haitian Diaspora. Father Jean-Juste was twice arrested by the de facto regime of Gerard Latortue (2004-2006). The regime was backed by the International Community [especially United States, France and Canada who led the 2004 coup d’état along with the Haitian elite]. The 2004 coup that ousted democratically elected President Aristide forced him to live in exile in South Africa for seven years.

If Father Jean-Juste was alive he would amongst the signatories of a recent letter signed by intellectuals and activists around the world calling for the return of Aristide to Haiti and for the annulment of the sham presidential election that is about to proceed to a second round. Father Jean-Juste might have said, “In the name of brothers and sisters in Haiti, those in the eleventh department and those who cannot write and sign this letter, but are always in the street demonstrating and constantly praying for your return, I join my voice with them to wish you and your family a good and safe return home. May your return serve as salt and light for Haiti and your Haitian compatriots.” Haiti needs all of its children, and this is a time for Haiti’s children to say what they can do for Haiti, but not what Haiti can do for them.

» continue reading "Return Home: Twenty-One Religious Leaders Extended their Full Support to Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on His Return."

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March 10, 2011 Weblog:

Grand Ravine's Massacre: A Respond to Michael Deibert

Commemoration of the first anniversary of Gran Ravine's Massacre.The parents and friends of victims of July 27 massacre walked with tears, Jul. 27, 2007. Photo by Wadner Pierre.

By: Jeb Sprague
On Martissant, Gran Ravine, and Missing the Proportionality and Chief Cause of Violence

The follow was published on Jeb Sprague's Blog which can be viewed here:http://jebsprague.blogspot.com/

The following are my responses to an anonymously posted criticism (on the Haiti Corbet Listserv) of the work of human rights investigators Evel Fanfan (AUMOHD) and Tom Luce (HURAH) who have been highly active in Haiti's slums of Martissant and Gran Ravine since 2005, and, this post is also in response to some of the misleading journalism done by former Economist Intelligence Unit correspondent Michael Deibert looking at political violence in these communities.

Michael Deibert has made numerous false claims about myself and many others writing about Haiti in recent years. Links to some of the responses to his absurd claims can be found here: http://wadnerpierre.blogspot.com/2009/08/michael-deibert-and-elizabeth-eames.html
I would prefer here to discuss the content of his coverage of political violence.
On the assassination of Jean-Remy Badio, Deibert cites the ACM statement. This statement says nothing about Lame Ti Manchèt-which according to witnesses, family, friends, and several Haitian media outlets at the time were the primary suspects (and the main force propelling violence in the area).
His article for AlterPresse dated Feb 12, 2007 likewise never mentions that the main suspects in Badio’s killing were the members of Lame Ti Manchèt.

» continue reading "Grand Ravine's Massacre: A Respond to Michael Deibert"

March 6, 2011 Weblog:

Aristide’s Return: 70 year-old Presidential Candidate, Mirlande Manigat Gets it Wrong

By Wadner Pierre
On the left, Aristide's supporters asking for his return and the annulment of the last Nov. 28 lections. On the right Presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat's asking that President Aristide return after the March 20th vote.

70 year-old presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat seems to confuse human rights and political ambition. The right to return home is one of the basic rights that the former Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his family have as human beings. This right is an inalienable right. Also, Candidate Manigat seems to forget that her husband Leslie F. Manigat was elected in an election held by the former Haitian military in Jan. 17, 1988 in which less than 10% of the population participated. But that did not deprive Mr. Manigat the right to stay and enjoy life in his country. Why can’t former Haiti’s first-twice democratically elected president return to his home?

Mrs. Manigat declared that it would be better that the former president Aristide to return after the exclusionary march 20 runoff presidential elections in which she will face the Haiti’s popular compas singer Michel Martelly aka “Sweet Micky.” Although candidate Manigat said that her first priority is to try to encourage people to go to vote, she seems to have another priority which may be stopping former President Aristide from returning to Haiti before March 20 elections.

In Miami she said, “We have to convince the population to go back to vote.” Meanwhile the candidate ignores former President Aristide and his family’s right to return to their home. “Personally, as a citizen, I would prefer that he comes after the elections,” she referred to President Aristide.

» continue reading "Aristide’s Return: 70 year-old Presidential Candidate, Mirlande Manigat Gets it Wrong "

January 20, 2011 Weblog:

The Return of Former Haiti's Democratically Elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Is Crucial for his Health

by Wadner Pierre
"The return is indispensable, too, for medical reasons: It is strongly
recommended that I not spend the coming winter in South Africa’s because in 6
years I have undergone 6 eye surgeries. The surgeons are excellent and very
well skilled, but the unbearable pain experienced in the winter must be avoided
in order to reduce any risk of further complications and blindness," from the letter of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide wrote to describe the state of his health

One year-and-eight days already passed since a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the most important part of Haiti. This horrible earthquake took away over 300, 000 lives, left over 1.5 million homeless and several thousands injured. Ten months after this tragedy a Cholera outbreak discovered. UN is accused. This deadly cholera already sent over a thousand people to death and several thousands to hospital.

Seemingly, the Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier took advantage of the terrible and inhumane situation, and chose to return to the country. It was told that Mr. " Baby Dictator" received his diplomatic passport under the defacto regime Boniface Alexandre/Gerard Latortue, a regime fully backed by Washington at that time. Why Mr. Dictator did not make it back in 2005 or whatever the time he received it? Mr. 'Dictator' brutally ruled the country for 15 years after his father 's death.

» continue reading "The Return of Former Haiti's Democratically Elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Is Crucial for his Health"

January 17, 2011 Weblog:

Human Rights Groups Call for Immediate Arrest of Jean-Claude Duvalier Jan­u­ary 17, 2011-Port-au-Prince and Boston- Today

Mario Joseph, Av., Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (Port-au-Prince, Haiti), mario@ijdh.org, 509-3701-9879
Brian Concannon Jr., Esq., Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (Boston, MA), brian@ijdh.org, 541-263-0029
Iran Kurzban, Esq. IJDH Board Chair and attorney in Jean-Juste v. Duvalier, (Miami, FL) ira@kkwtlaw.com, 305-444-0060

Human Rights Groups Call for Immediate Arrest of Jean-Claude Duvalier
Jan­u­ary 17, 2011-Port-au-Prince and Boston- Today, the ­Institute for Jus­tice & Democ­racy in Haiti (IJDH) and the Bureau des Avo­cats Inter­na­tionaux (BAI) call on the Government of the Republic of Haiti to comply with Haitian law and arrest ex-President Jean-Claude Duvalier, who returned to Haiti on a commercial flight yesterday.
IJDH and the BAI note that the extensive legal documentation of Mr. Duvalier’s crimes includes:
· A July 3, 2009 order from the First Court of Public Law, of the Federal Court of Switzerland, which notes that the Haitian government had informed it of current criminal proceedings against Mr. Duvalier as late as June 2008;
· The Decision of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Jean-Juste v. Duvalier, No. 86-0459, dated January 8, 1988, finding Mr. Duvalier liable for over $500,000,000 for his misappropriation of public monies for his personal use; and
· An extensive accounting of Mr. Duvalier’s misappropriation of public funds conducted for the Haitian government by a U.S. accounting firm between 1986 and 1990, establishing the theft of over $300,000,000 U.S.D. of public funds.

» continue reading "Human Rights Groups Call for Immediate Arrest of Jean-Claude Duvalier Jan­u­ary 17, 2011-Port-au-Prince and Boston- Today"

January 3, 2011 Weblog:

Workers, community converge at Southern Human Rights conference

By Dante Strobino
Birmingham, Ala.
Published Dec 22, 2010 11:47 PM

Under the theme “From Exclusion to Power,” hundreds of workers and community members gathered in Birmingham, Ala., from Dec. 10 to 12 for the eighth Bi-Annual Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference.
WW photo: Dante Strobino

March on opening day of Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference, in Birmingham, Ala. Carrying lead banner are Daniel Castellanos; Pamela Brown, Community Voices Heard; and Araceli Herrera Castillo (left to right).

Jaribu Hill, conference founder and executive director of the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights, opened up with a call for human rights and social justice activists from across the country “to retool and rethink, plan and build. In these critical times of unjust wars and economic decline, it is urgent that we forge unity based on common struggles and experiences.”

The gathering opened with a press conference — on International Human Rights Day — that highlighted the work of the Excluded Workers Congress and announced a new report that examines the plight of workers barred from labor protections and the right to organize.

The report said that in 1983, 20.1 percent of the U.S. workforce was unionized, whereas in 2009 that proportion was only 12.3 percent. In so-called right-to-work states, union density now averages 6 percent. (www.excludedworkerscongress.org)

Included in the press conference were the congress’s nine sectors, including domestic workers, farmworkers, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, day laborers, guest workers, workers from right-to-work states, workfare workers and formerly incarcerated workers.

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January 3, 2011 Weblog:

HAITI: Hold New, Open, Fair Elections

Photo by Wadner Pierre

As a special team from the Organization of American States tries to resolve the country's election impasse, the one solution acceptable to most Haitians -- fair, inclusive elections -- is not on the table.

Thousands of Haitians protested, demanding new elections. Several Haitian senators and 12 of the 19 presidential candidates want the same. Yet the United States, Canada, France, the United Nations and OAS, which say they are committed to helping Haitians resolve this crisis, will not support new elections.

Instead there has been a feeble attempt by the international community to quell the protests. The OAS monitored the flawed elections and originally said that ``the irregularities, as serious as they were, [did not] necessarily invalidate the process.'' Amid accusations that the OAS terminated its Special Representative to Haiti, Ricardo Seitenfus, after he was critical of the international community's operations in Haiti, the OAS is heading back to Haiti to negotiate a resolution and monitor a recount of votes from the presidential election.

A recount of votes for the entire House of Deputies and two-thirds of the Senate seats has not been planned, even though those results were undermined by the same irregularities.

The elections that the international community helped organize and pay for were so deeply flawed from beginning to end that the only resolution that would be fair to Haitians and the taxpayers of donor countries is to start all over again.

» continue reading "HAITI: Hold New, Open, Fair Elections "

December 16, 2010 Weblog:

Michel Martelly, Stealth Duvalierist

By Jeb Sprague
Photo by Wadner Pierre
...In the media coverage of Haiti's ongoing electoral crisis, presidential candidate Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, whom ruling Unity party candidate Jude Célestin edged out of Haiti's Jan. 16 run-off by less than 1%, has been portrayed as the victim of voting fraud and the leader of a populist upsurge against Haiti’s crooked Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

Some have questioned his presidential suitability by pointing to his vulgar antics as a konpa musician over the last two decades, where he often made demeaning comments about women and periodically dropped his trousers to bare his backside. The real problem with Martelly, however, is not his perceived immorality, but his heinous political history and close affi liation with the reactionary “forces of darkness," as they are called in Haiti, which have snuffed out each genuine attempt Haitians have made over the past 20 years to elect a democratic government. Far from a champion of democracy, Martelly has been a cheerleader for, and perhaps even a participant in, bloody coups d'état and military rule.

Duvalierist Affi nities

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December 2, 2010 Weblog:

HAITI: Popular Anger Unabated over Chaotic Polls

By Ansel Herz and Wadner Pierre

A ballot box floats in garbage-filled puddles next to the polling station at Building 2004 in the neighbourhood of Delmas. / Credit:Wadner Pierre/IPS
A ballot box floats in garbage-filled puddles next to the polling station at Building 2004 in the neighbourhood of Delmas.

Credit:Wadner Pierre/IPS
Buy this picture

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 2, 2010 (IPS) - Furious demonstrations continued across Haiti on Wednesday following the Nov. 28 highly contested election in which thousands found themselves unable to vote.

Rock-throwing and road-barricading protests were reported in Les Cayes, Hinche, Petit Goave and Archaie. On Tuesday, demonstrators clashed with United Nations peacekeeping troops in St. Marc and Gonaives. The U.N. mission issued several alerts to its personnel restricting movement.

Twelve of 19 presidential candidates called on Sunday for cancellation of the election results. They allege widespread fraud by the government in favour of the ruling party's candidate, Jude Celestin.

Konpa singer Michel Martelly and another leading candidate have since backed away from the allegations.

"He saw all the fraud happening on election day," motorcycle taxi driver Weed Charlot told IPS. "But now he sees he has some votes and power. So he'll accept the election."

Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and the primary international observer mission said despite "irregularities", there is not sufficient reason to invalidate the election.

"If it is requested, I am sure the international community stands ready to assist in the investigation of irregularities reported, said Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States Albert R. Ramdin on Wednesday.

» continue reading "HAITI: Popular Anger Unabated over Chaotic Polls"

November 28, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti:Church Holding Prayer on the Eve of Undemocratic Elections

by Wadner Pierre
A woman praying at Sainte Claire's Parish prior to the flawed Presidential and Legislative Nov. 28 Elections in Haiti.Photo by Wadner Pierre
On top of the hill of Demals 33, Ti Plas Kazo, 15 minutes from the Conseil Electoral Provisoire or CEP (Provisional Electoral Council), formerly headquarter, and 10 minutes from UN compound at the Toussaint International Airport, located Sainte Claire’s Parish. This Parish was the Parish of former Priest and political prisoner of UN backed de facto government 2004-2006, father Gerard Jean-Juste. Father used to pray against the coup d’état –and for the return democratic elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and those who had been murdered, tortured and imprisoned illegally because of their political. On Nov. 26, Sainte Claire’s Parish held a seven-hour prayer to ask God to watch over the upcoming flawed Presidential and Legislatives Elections.
As it always shows in the mainstream, when Haitians refuse to swallow undemocratic elections and demonstrate in the street to demand that democratic elections, the mainstream media in the US, Europe, Haiti, Canada and so, portray them as rioters. The ironic thing is, these media refuse to agree that Haitian people are people of faith…and when the uncertainties come on the way, they use different tools like pacific protestations, religious, including Vodou ceremonies to pray their God to ask for direction. This is what Haitian people are also about. Before the decisive battle to free Haiti from French domination, the former slaves held a Vodou ceremony in North of Haiti, Bois-Caiman to pray and ask their God to assist them.

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November 22, 2010 Weblog:

Haitian Photojournalist Addresses UCSB Audience

Wadner Pierre Speaks About His Experience Covering Manmade and Natural Disasters at Health in Haiti Event
Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wadner Pierre was studying Computer Science in 2004 when Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a coup d’état. Soon after, Pierre’s step-father, a Catholic priest who protested Aristide’s overthrow, was thrown in jail.
At that point Pierre decided he could no longer continue his studies without taking a stake in Haiti’s future. He dropped out of school, bought a camera, and started taking pictures of Haiti’s destitute population, selling them to human rights agencies and foreign press outfits.
One of the foreign correspondents that Pierre met while taking photos was Jeb Sprague, a reporter for the Inter Press Service news agency. Sprague, now a graduate student in sociology at UCSB, brought Pierre to Santa Barbara to speak this week at a presentation hosted by UC Haiti Initiative (UCHI), a system-wide effort to dedicate the University of California’s human resources to provide aid and relief to Haiti.
The event also featured Thomas Oliver, a graduate student who co-founded a nonprofit called Intelligent Mobility International which produces and distributes affordable wheelchairs in Haiti. Due to amputations and spinal injuries, 80,000 people required wheelchairs after the earthquake last January. Other speakers included Kelsey Maloney, an undergraduate who volunteers for Un Techa Para Mi Pais, a nonprofit that helps build shelters in disaster areas, and Brett Williams of Goleta-based Direct Relief International.

» continue reading " Haitian Photojournalist Addresses UCSB Audience"

November 18, 2010 Weblog:

Cholera Epidemic: President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Breaks the Silence

By Wadner Pierre
As the date for Haiti holding its General Elections approaches, more political leaders speak out over the credibility of the upcoming Elections. Many national and international political leaders, especially United States lawmakers, like D-Congresswoman Maxine Waters –other forty-four members of the US Congress –and the Rep-Senator Richard G. Lugar Fanmi Lavalas (FL), Haiti’s largest and most popular political party reiterated its position to boycott the Nov. 28 elections. Coming out on his silence, the FL’s National Representative, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide denounced the electoral process and the exclusion of his party in the race. President Jean-Bertrand- Aristide breaks His Silence
In an exclusive interview conducted by filmmaker, Nicolas Rossier in Johannesburg, South Africa, Fanmi Lavalas National Representative, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide denounced the Nov. 28 Presidential and Legislative Elections. President said, “Last year, we observed them saying that they wanted to have elections, but indeed, they had a selection and not election… today, it’s again like the same.” For the FL leader, the ‘CEP and the Haitian Government’ have do not intend to organize free, fair and democratic elections. “They have no intention to organize free, just and democratic elections… they expect to have a selection. They excluded Fanmi Lavalas which is the party of the majority… it’s like in the United States you could organize elections without Democrats,” said President Aristide.

» continue reading "Cholera Epidemic: President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Breaks the Silence"

November 14, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti: Cholera Killed Over 900 People -Hundreds Deceased Names Remain in the Electoral Lists

By Wadner Pierre

Haiti prepares to hold controversial elections, natural disasters and disease may force the Haitians authorities to reschedule the Presidential and Legislative Elections. On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the western and southern parts of Haiti. Over 300,000 people perished, and more than a million were left homeless. This tragedy brought the world together to help Haiti in our time of need. Ordinary citizens from all over the world sent their US dollars and Euros etc, to aid Haitians.

Unfortunately, as it is always been, the money was mostly used to pay for the UN and major NGOs’ bureaucracies, instead of helping the victims of the earthquake. Haiti’s “allies” met and promised several billions of dollars for the reconstruction of the country. Ten months later, the majority of earthquake’s survivors continue to live under makeshift tents and tarps. In the middle of this tragedy combined with empty promises, Haitians have kept their hope alive, and will be forever united. Haitians continue to support each other in any way they can. The world has praised Haitians’ courage. Though the Haitian government shows its incapacity to govern the country, Haitians remain faithful to Haiti’s noble democratic heritage and are eager to vote to choose their leaders in fair, free, inclusive and democratic Presidential and Legislative Elections.


» continue reading "Haiti: Cholera Killed Over 900 People -Hundreds Deceased Names Remain in the Electoral Lists "