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November 13, 2010 Weblog:

Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide: "Selections Not Elections"

Exclusive Interview with Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Interview with Nicolas Rossier – November 2010

Currently in forced-exile in South Africa, former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is still the national leader of Fanmi Lavalas – one of Haiti's most popular political parties. A former priest and proponent of liberation theology, he served as Haiti's first democratically elected president in 1990 before he was ousted in a CIA backed coup in September 1991. He returned to power in 1994 with the help of the Clinton administration and finished his term. He was elected again seven years later, only to be ousted in a coup in February 2004. The coup was lead by former Haitian soldiers in tandem with members of the opposition. Aristide has repeatedly claimed since, that he was forced to resign at gunpoint by members of the US Embassy. US officials have claimed that he decided to resign freely following the violent uprising. He now lives in exile in South Africa where he still waits to get his diplomatic passport renewed. He is not allowed to travel outside South Africa.

Aristide is still the subject of many controversies. He is reviled by the business elite and feared by the French and American governments, who deem his populism dangerous. But he remains loved by a large portion of the Haitian population.

In a June 10 report to the Committee on Foreign Relations, "Haiti: No Leadership – No Elections”, ranking Republican member Richard Lugar denounced the systemic injustice of excluding his Fanmi Lavalas party.

» continue reading "Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide: "Selections Not Elections""

October 26, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti’s Faithless Elections: Lack of Certainty of the Provisional Electoral Council Pushes National and International Leaders to

By Wadner Pierre
First published by Louisiana Justice Institute

On November 28, Haitian voters are supposedly going to vote to choose a President, 10 Senators and 99 members of parliament. These general elections, as many politicians and experts expressed, are crucial for Haiti’s political future, and for the rebuilding process on the aftermath of the Jan. 12 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The uncertainty that plagues over these elections can comprise the legitimacy of the elected President, Representatives and Senators from these forthcoming elections.

On July 28, supporters of Fanmi Lavalas (FL) demonstrated in front of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti to demand the U.S. Government to not fund the November 28 Presidential and Legislative Elections "We come here today to question the behavior of the U.S. government. We're asking if they will continue to finance the exclusion of Lavalas by the CEP,” said Lionel Etienne, a former Fanmi Lavalas congressman.

The dubious exclusion of 15 political parties, amongst of them Fanmi Lavalas (FL), created concerns regarding the credibility of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council to organize fair, transparent and democratic elections for the country. It must be noticed that FL is widely seen as the Haiti’s largest and most popular political party.

While the United States is preparing to spend millions of dollars in the Haiti’s 2010 Presidential and Legislatives Elections, Congresswoman Maxine Waters along with other 44 U.S. members of U.S. Congress, warned the U.S. Government to push for fair, democratic and transparent elections in Haiti.

» continue reading "Haiti’s Faithless Elections: Lack of Certainty of the Provisional Electoral Council Pushes National and International Leaders to"

October 19, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti’s Flawed Elections: A Set-Back for the Country’s Political Future-and the Post-Earthquake Rebuilding Process

Photo courtesy of Wadner Pierre-
First published on Louisiana Justice Institute

By Wadner Pierre

As Haiti prepares to hold Legislative and Presidential Elections on November 28th this year, more questions are being raised regarding whether unfair and exclusionary elections would be beneficiary for the country. The Conseil Electoral Provisoire of Haiti, or CEP (Provisional Electoral Council) unjustifiably barred 15 political parties from running in the 2010 presidential elections, Fanmi Lavalas or FL, Haiti’s largest and most popular political party. The CEP barred FL from participating in neither presidential nor legislative elections. This decision by the CEP created unrest amongst national and international political leaders regarding the validity and credibility of the November 28th elections.

A similar situation occurred in the April 2009 Senatorial Elections. The CEP banned Fanmi Lavalas, from participation. As a result, less than three percent (3%) of Haitians voted in the election. The CEP’s actions in the current Presidential and Legislative elections will likely cause the November 28th elections to be boycotted by a substantial number of qualified voters once again.

» continue reading "Haiti’s Flawed Elections: A Set-Back for the Country’s Political Future-and the Post-Earthquake Rebuilding Process "

September 28, 2010 Weblog:

Take a Stand against the Occupation of Haiti by Dominican Republic under the UN-Preval’s Leadership

by Wadner Pierre

The Dominican president, Lionel Fernandez offered 800 soldiers to reinforce the U N mission in Haiti after the January 12 earthquake that destroyed the Haiti’s capital and its surroundings. Dominican Today published an article entitled “Reported decision to send Dominican troops to Haiti”on September 27.

According to this article 680 Dominican soldiers will join the UN peacekeeping mission or MINUSTAH in Haiti. the firs group of soldiers already trained and most of them are from the Special Operations Command (COE). Military sources told the El DÍa newspaper, “a move that would draw the rebuke nationwide,” said this article.

The UN mission in Haiti is known as an occupation force since its beginning. People who are against the 29 February coup d’état perceive the UN mission in Haiti as a guardian of international coup d’état carried by the United States, France and Canada against the Haiti’s democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 29, 2004.
The decision of the Dominican government to send troops in Haiti proved the participation of the Dominican government in destabilizing Haiti.

» continue reading "Take a Stand against the Occupation of Haiti by Dominican Republic under the UN-Preval’s Leadership"

September 20, 2010 Weblog:

Haitian Women Struggle to Keep Hope Alive

By Wadner Pierre

GONAIVES, Sep 20, 2010 (IPS) - "I'm going to do everything possible to raise my daughter. My daughter is my future. And I can see my future in her," says Mirlene Saint Juste, a rice merchant in the Opoto market of Gonaives in northern Haiti.

Haitian women like Saint Juste who work as street vendors are widely viewed as one of the country's main economic engines. Their loud sales pitch on busy market days has earned them the affectionate nickname "Madame Sara", after a type of yellow bird in the countryside that loves to sing.

Cetoute Sadila, now middle-aged, has worked since she was 15 at the Lester market in the valley of Artibonite, Haiti's largest department.

"I have been selling rice here since I was little girl," she says. "I used to sell a medium-sized can of rice for 30 gourdes (74 cents). Now, I have to sell it for 105 gourdes (about 2.60 U.S. dollars) because the fertiliser is very expensive." Still, Sadila said she is able to send her children to school and university.

Not all are so lucky. While Artibonite, and its capital, Gonaives, were largely spared by the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake, Port-au-Prince and its surrounds suffered colossal damage.

The slow pace of recovery has pushed women who were already on the brink of destitution over the edge.

Rosemene Mondesir is a single mother of seven children who has lived in a displaced persons camp for the last eight months. "I have always been the mother and father of my children - before and after the earthquake," she says. "I need assistance to feed and send them to school."

» continue reading "Haitian Women Struggle to Keep Hope Alive"

September 13, 2010 Weblog:

Protests Growing as Earthquake Survivors Demand Right to Education and Shelter

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For immediate Release: September 13, 2010
CONTACT: Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Etant Dupain, 509-3497-1717
Washington, DC: Melinda Miles, 413-923-8435

Photos by Wadner Pierre

EIGHT MONTHS AFTER QUAKE, STILL NO SCHOOLS AVAILABLE FOR MAJORITY OF DISPLACED CHILDREN

PORT-AU-PRINCE: On Monday September 13th at 11am EST (10am in Haiti) residents of more than a dozen camps for internally displaced people will demonstrate in front of the National Palace to demand the right to education. They are also calling for decent housing because they are living in fear during this hurricane season.

As children all over the world returned to school this month, the majority of Haitian earthquake survivors are still living under tarps, tents and sheets without access to basic services and have no schools or educational programs for their children to attend. Since food distributions were halted months ago, in many camps the children are beginning to have orange hair, a sign of malnutrition.

Eight months after the earthquake, non-governmental organizations have enormous amounts of money in their accounts and protests are multiplying to demand that funds be used to meet the immediate needs of earthquake victims. Tents distributed months ago have shredded and been destroyed by the searing sun by day and rains that force victims to stand without sleeping under tents, tarps and sheets nearly every night.

» continue reading "Protests Growing as Earthquake Survivors Demand Right to Education and Shelter"

August 27, 2010 Weblog:

Scraping by on Mud Cookies

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By Wadner Pierre

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 27, 2010 (IPS) - At six in the morning in Cite Soleil, the poorest zone of Haiti's capital city, the sun is already up. It's the start of another workday for Lurene Jeanti, making cookies from mud, butter and salt. She's been mixing the ingredients on the side of the road to sell to her neighbours for the past eight years.

"The mud helps me take care of my children," she says matter-of-factly.

Jeanti is a slight, muscled woman, one of millions of Haitians who have migrated from the countryside to Port-au- Prince over the past decade. She left her hometown to find a way to feed her five kids.

"My children have no father. I am the mother and the father of them," Jeanti told IPS. The father is gone and Haiti has no statutes protecting women who are abandoned with their children.

Jeanti grew up in Anse D'Hainault, a remote town in Haiti's southwest near Grand Anse, known as the "city of poets". Ezer Villaire, one of the great Haitian poets, was born and raised there.

Unlike other parts of rural Haiti, trees still populate the mountains and little plateaus where yams and cacao are grown. "Have you visited Anse D'Hainault? It's really nice. You should go," she told IPS. "I used to farm. I am a farmer."

But the income from farming small crops wasn't enough. Unemployment rates rise to 80-90 percent in much of the countryside.

Now Jeanti lives in Cité Saint Georges, a tiny district within Cité Soleil. The concrete canal running through the neighbourhood is full to the brim with plastic bottles.

She sits in a dirty corner near the entrance to a narrow corridor where people come to buy mud cookies or a gallon of water from a neighbour. Most the houses are made with concrete blocks and unfinished.

» continue reading "Scraping by on Mud Cookies"

August 24, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti Gears Up for Polls - Again, Sans Lavalas

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By Wadner Pierre
published by IPS
Photo by Wadner Pierre
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Jul 30, 2010 (IPS) - After weeks of delays, Haitian President René Préval confirmed this month that presidential and legislative elections will take place on Nov. 28. The U.N. and Western donor nations are pledging millions of dollars in support of the polls, but with at least 1.5 million people still homeless from the January earthquake, questions loom over how to ensure voter participation.

In the last round of senatorial elections before the earthquake, less than three percent of the electorate participated. Fanmi Lavalas, widely seen as the most popular political party in the country, was excluded from the election on technical grounds, along with some other parties. Now, the party has again been banned from participating in the November polls.

International donors have expressed disappointment at Haiti's failure to hold inclusive elections, but have continued to fund them.

In recent weeks U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican member on the foreign relations committee, issued two reports recommending candidates from Fanmi Lavalas be allowed to participate. But his calls have been dismissed by Préval and the Provisional Electoral Council, the entity charged with organising elections.

On Wednesday, nearly one hundred Fanmi Lavalas supporters held a sit-in outside the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.

"We come in front of the Embassy to ask President [Barack] Obama to take action because we didn't support him for this," said a woman identifying herself as Madeleine. "President Préval excludes us from the elections. We voted for him, but this isn't what we wanted."

» continue reading "Haiti Gears Up for Polls - Again, Sans Lavalas"

August 24, 2010 Weblog:

Gonaives Girds for Heavy Storm Season

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By Wadner Pierre

GONAIVES, Aug 2, 2010 (IPS) - Gonaives, the third largest city in Haiti, is rushing to prepare for an expected highly active hurricane season. The city was flooded by three hurricanes in the past six years - Hannah and Ike in 2008, and Jeanne, which killed at least 2,500 people in 2004.

While progress has been made in the recovery from those disasters, Gonaives - which was largely spared by the Jan. 12 earthquake - remains extremely vulnerable to new hurricanes.

Reconstruction of parts of the highway crossing the city was only recently completed. When this reporter visited Gonaives last year, the population was upset with the state of the dusty road, although Estrella, a Dominican construction company, has since fixed large portions of it.
Some locations that were routinely inundated with filthy water have been rebuilt. Last year, it might have taken a pedestrian almost 10 minutes to traverse the intersection in front of the Gonaives National Police headquarters after one hour of rain.

Belmour Myriam, a middle-aged woman, is working on drainage of the Biennac canal, which channels water from east of Gonaives to the ocean. Cleaning the canal has been a five- month project of USAID.

"I live in Baby Street," she told IPS. "Six years after the hurricane, my street is still not cleaned up. We have received no aid or attention from either local authorities or NGOs. We are alone in Baby Street."

"There is little change. We have power almost twenty-four- seven, and Avenue des Dattes is almost done. That's all," she added.

Traffic on the highway is bustling. But smaller neighbourhood streets were destroyed by the flooding. Many remain damaged, unpaved and dirty.

» continue reading "Gonaives Girds for Heavy Storm Season"

June 24, 2010 Weblog:

Haitian Culture Versus Non-governmental Organizations Culture

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By Wadner Pierre

Haiti, so called the poorest country in the American hemisphere, sometimes developing country, and even the capital of NGOs. It is amazing to see how Haitian people have been helping each other with the limited means, and sharing the Haitian values with their brothers and sisters in their own way after the earthquake.
However, it is amazingly sad to see the way that the NGOs with unlimited means have been helping the earthquake survivors in Haiti. This situation may be seen as an ironic situation in the eyes of some people, and it may be seen as normal situation in the eyes of others. To understand the ongoing situation in Haiti right after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that hit this country in January 12 this year, it is to understand the Haitian culture, and the imperialism culture, or the NGOs or the dominant culture.
Haitians are a people who have their culture, and their own way to respond in the hardship, or catastrophic situation. On the other words, Haitian people practice what sociologists may call the culture of “togetherness” or in Haitian typical expression is “hand together;” whereas the culture of the NGOs is mainstream culture-based which mostly promote the selfhood, or individual responsibility. The selfhood culture at this point appears to be an embarrassing culture for Haitians to deal with.

» continue reading "Haitian Culture Versus Non-governmental Organizations Culture"

June 24, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti Post-Earthquake: Discrimination and Prejudice

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By Wadner Pierre

The January 12 remains and will remain the darkness day in the history Haitian people. Many reasons make this date important and unforgettable for Haitian people. Even before the earthquake the masses in Haiti had barely received the attention from most of the people saying that they are there to help this desperate population. However, after the quake it seems to become clearer than before that the working-class and poor people in Haiti will continue to live in their extreme poverty, though the millions of dollars and the tons of humanitarian aid that have been pouring to this country since and before the earthquake hit and destroyed the country’s most important part, western department, the capital and its surroundings.

Haitian people have been discriminated and victimized of prejudice for more than two centuries. Until 1990 when Haitian people first elected their democratic government, there were two different birth certificates in the country, one “Paysan” or the peasants for those who live in the countryside, and another one “Citadin” for those who live in the cities. For example, on top of my birth certificate is written the word paysan.

» continue reading "Haiti Post-Earthquake: Discrimination and Prejudice"

June 5, 2010 Weblog:

In Memory of Father Gerard Jean-Juste

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By Wadner Pierre

One year ago, Father Gerard Jean-Juste, who was like an adoptive father to me for many years, passed away after a courageous fight with leukemia. I'm happy anytime I can write down some wise words he used to say to me and other boys who lived in the Sainte Claire’s parish atop a hill in the community of Ti Plas Kazo (Petite Place Cazeau). I am honoured to have been part of this great man’s life, one of the icons of Haiti’s struggle. I lived with him since1997 as his right-hand altar boy until his lovely father, the Almighty God, called him on May 27th, 2009 at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.

To begin the Eucharistic celebration, Father Jean-Juste made the community aware of what was going on nationally and internationally. Some people called him the reporter, and others called him a journalist priest. He liked to talk about school, church, and politics but, as a realist, he knew that the body needs nourishment as well as the mind and soul. He always said, “ Pray, Study and Eat.” At the Sainte Claire’s Rectory feeding program funded by What If? Foundation, he always asked the children who come to eat, “What did Jesus ask?” and the children replied “Food for the kids.”

» continue reading "In Memory of Father Gerard Jean-Juste"

February 18, 2010 Weblog:

One Month After the 7.0 Earthquake, Haitians Ready to Move On

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By Wadner Pierre
first published on:www.haitianalysis.com
The men and women of Haiti are strong and ready to show the world that they can rebuild their country. The US corporate media has broadcast many images of the earthquake that destroyed Port-au-Prince and a great part of southeastern Haiti. Contrary to what many of these images convey, most Haitians have not fallen into desperation or abandoned their dignity. During my recent trip to my country I observed people moving forward valiantly.

Entering the capital from the Dominican Republic, at Croix-Des-Bouquets, I saw residents gathered to discuses solution to their many problems which include dealing with NGO bureaucracy which has proven to be a heavy burden on top of all the others they have carried since the earthquake. Haitians have had to reply on themselves to secure their basic needs.

Haitians have had to rely on themselves to secure their basic needs. They walk for miles on foot to retrieve meager rations of water while USAID employees are seen using up to three SUVs to transport six people. Haitians scrounge up materials to put together makeshift tents while, next to them, in a US military compound, soldiers have more tents than they can use. Haitians, the lucky ones, used candles to light their tents while the US soldiers in the compound cheered the Superbowl that was shown on a big screen TV.

It took three days for a local Haitian leader to register his community for World Food Program (WFP) assistance. This is an incredibly long time considering everything he had going for him. He had access to an SUV. He is fluent in three languages and well connected with foreigners. His community (of three thousand people) is located only ten minutes away from where the WFP is based.

» continue reading "One Month After the 7.0 Earthquake, Haitians Ready to Move On"

February 16, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti One Month after the Earthquake: I Witnessed, And I Want to Tell

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Article photos by
Wadner Pierre

One Month after the Earthquake, bureaucracy worsens the situation in Haiti. Because of a lack of leadership, the Haitian government has no control over the distribution of humanitarian aid. In spite of all the millions of dollars that have been raised and sent to Haiti, the majority of earthquake survivors still do not receive help. However, people do keep moving with dignity and a big hope of restarting a new life and putting their country back to work.

Haitian people always show the world that they are a strong people and can rebuild their country no matter how long it will take them. Haiti's reconstruction should and must be done in the interest of Haitian people. One month since the 7.0 earthquake destroyed Haiti's capital and a great part of the south and southeast of the country, the world has mobilized to help the Haitian people. Millions of dollars and tons of medical supplies have been sent to the country through international organizations and large nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). However, the Haitian people do not know to whom they have to turn for help, and they now are asking the following questions:

What are these millions doing for us survivors?
Who is benefitting from these millions?
Who has access to the UN operations center?
Who decides for the Haitian people?

My recent trip to my beloved country, Haiti, helped me and gave me the answers.

Twenty thousand US troops, several thousand Canadian troops, the NGO sector, armored vehicles, US ships, helicopters, and several hundred SUVs or 4WD vehicles are allowing the NGOs' representatives to continue their bureaucracy while Haitian people have no tents, no water, no food, and children are dying because of lack of care.

» continue reading "Haiti One Month after the Earthquake: I Witnessed, And I Want to Tell"

» view more photos in"Haiti One Month after the Earthquake: I Witnessed, And I Want to Tell"

January 28, 2010 Weblog:

On the Ground in Port-Au-Prince

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By Lawyer, Professor, Bill Quigley
Hundreds of thousands of people are living and sleeping on the ground in Port-Au-Prince. Many have no homes, their homes destroyed by the earthquake. I am sleeping on the ground as well - surrounded by nurses, doctors and humanitarian workers who sleep on the ground every night. The buildings that are not on the ground have big cracks in them and fallen sections so no one should be sleeping inside.

There are sheet cities everywhere. Not tent cities. Sheet cities. Old people and babies and everyone else under sheets held up by ropes hooked onto branches pounded into the ground.
With the rainy
season approaching, one of the emergency needs of Haitians is to get tents. I have seen hundreds of little red topped Coleman pup tents among the sheet shelters. There are tents in every space, from soccer fields and parks to actually in the streets. There is a field with dozens of majestic beige tents from Qatar marked Islamic Relief. But real tents are outnumbered by sheet shelters by a ratio of 100 to 1.
Rescues continue but the real emergency remains food, water, health care and shelter for millions.
Though helicopters thunder through the skies, actual relief of food and water and shelter remains minimal to non-existent in most neighborhoods.
Haitians are helping Haitians. Young men have organized into teams to guard communities of homeless families. Women care for their own children as well as others now orphaned. Tens of thousands are missing and presumed dead.
The scenes of destruction boggle the mind. The scenes of homeless families, overwhelmingly little children, crush the heart.

» continue reading "On the Ground in Port-Au-Prince "

January 21, 2010 Weblog:

Not A Time To Be Pulling Strings

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By Wadner Pierre
This opinion article first published by an Australian website: www.newmatilda.com

Haitian expat blogger Wadner Pierre delivers his preliminary survey of the complex issues of relief and representation arising from the 12 January earthquake
I am overwhelmed, frustrated and even angered by what some journalists have written about Haiti since the 12 January earthquake and I cannot believe some of the images I have seen on news channels such as CNN and MSNBC.

It's true that some journalists are doing their very best to give a real picture of the situation on the ground in Haiti — and some are just doing what their bosses have asked (or ordered) them to do.

But the mainstream media, especially in the United States, has focused the attention of their audiences on the fact that Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and concentrated on the efforts of the US, the richest country in the Americas, to mobilise disaster relief services.

In doing so, they are overlooking many important questions: Why is Haiti so poor? Why did the United States have to wait until a deadly catastrophe like the earthquake to deliver assistance to Haiti, located just 90 minutes by air from the coast of Florida? Why have successive US governments failed to support real democracy in Haiti? Why, in 1991, did the CIA under George Bush senior plot with Haiti's elite class to carry out a coup against Haiti's first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa? And then why in 2000–2004 did George W Bush's administration fail to support the elected Aristide government?

» continue reading "Not A Time To Be Pulling Strings"

January 18, 2010 Weblog:

Ten Things the US Can and Should Do for Haiti

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by Bill Quigley

One. Allow all Haitians in the US to work. The number one source of money for poor people in Haiti is the money sent from family and workers in the US back home. Haitians will continue to help themselves if given a chance. Haitians in the US will continue to help when the world community moves on to other problems.

Two. Do not allow US military in Haiti to point their guns at Haitians. Hungry Haitians are not the enemy. Decisions have already been made which will militarize the humanitarian relief - but do not allow the victims to be cast as criminals. Do not demonize the people.

Three. Give Haiti grants as help, not loans. Haiti does not need any more debt. Make sure that the relief given helps Haiti rebuild its public sector so the country can provide its own citizens with basic public services.

Four. Prioritize humanitarian aid to help women, children and the elderly. They are always moved to the back of the line. If they are moved to the back of the line, start at the back.

Five. President Obama can enact Temporary Protected Status for Haitians with the stroke of a pen. Do it. The US has already done it for El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Sudan and Somalia. President Obama should do it on Martin Luther King Day.

Six. Respect Human Rights from Day One. The UN has enacted Guiding Principles for Internally Displaced People. Make them required reading for every official and non-governmental person and organization. Non governmental organizations like charities and international aid groups are extremely powerful in Haiti - they too must respect the human dignity and human rights of all people.

Seven. Apologize to the Haitian people everywhere for Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh.

» continue reading "Ten Things the US Can and Should Do for Haiti "

January 18, 2010 Weblog:

NOT ONCE have we witnessed a single act of aggression or violence

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Ciné Institute Director David Belle reports from Port-au-Prince:

"I have been told that much US media coverage paints Haiti as a tinderbox ready to explode. I'm told that lead stories in major media are of looting, violence and chaos. There could be nothing further from the truth.

"I have traveled the entire city daily since my arrival. The extent of damages is absolutely staggering. At every step, at every bend is one horrific tragedy after another; homes, businesses, schools and churches leveled to nothing. Inside every mountain of rubble there are people, most dead at this point. The smell is overwhelming. On every street are people -- survivors -- who have lost everything they have: homes, parents, children, friends.

"NOT ONCE have we witnessed a single act of aggression or violence. To the contrary, we have witnessed neighbors helping neighbors and friends helping friends and strangers. We've seen neighbors digging in rubble with their bare hands to find survivors. We've seen traditional healers treating the injured; we've seen dignified ceremonies for mass burials and residents patiently waiting under boiling sun with nothing but their few remaining belongings. A crippled city of two million awaits help, medicine, food and water. Most haven't received any.

"Haiti can be proud of its survivors. Their dignity and decency in the face of this tragedy is itself staggering."
David Belle, January 17th, 2010
Posted by Wadner Pierre at 10:57

January 13, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti: A 7.0 Earthquake Hit the Western Part of Haiti.

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“People cry, and many lives have gone, but Haiti can rebuild.”
by Wadner Pierre

Early this morning, I spoke to some of my friends in Haiti and had a very wonderful conversation with them. A couple of hours later, my friend Guerline, who lives in Montreal, sent me a text message about the earthquake that hit Haiti. My beloved country was hit by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Expects reported on CNN that it was the worst ever recorded in this region of the Caribbean.

I know my country, and I know Carrefour and its surrounding areas. The way that most of houses in Haiti are built is contrary to any safety norm or standard. A major earthquake like this will undoubtedly devastate people’s lives, and make them more vulnerable than ever before. The political instability that has ravaged the country for years will make things worst. What happened in Haiti some fives hours ago is truly catastrophic. Even the President’s office, public buildings received major damages or collapsed.

The President and his wife are safe, but no one knows where they are. The secretary of the President, Fritz Longchamps was in the street when the Earthquake struck. Randomly, Haiti’s Ambassador in the United State, Raymond Joseph, reached him by telephone and told him that he had no contact with the president. Joseph, who served as Haiti’s Ambassador since the de facto government of 2004-2006, is now appealing to the world for help.

» continue reading "Haiti: A 7.0 Earthquake Hit the Western Part of Haiti."

January 6, 2010 Weblog:

Haiti: Upcoming Elections to be a Set Back to Haiti's Democratic Development

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By Wadner Pierre
©Photo Randal White

The U.S. Representative, Californian Congresswoman, a long-time supporter of democracy in Haiti Maxine Waters, qualified the Haiti's upcoming election to be a set back for Haiti's democratic development if these elections will not be fair and credible. Congresswoman Waters expressed her concerns about the upcoming elections in a letter addressing to Haitian President, Mr. Rene Preval.

Representative Waters' letter is one of dozens of letters that have been sent to President Preval, U.N's Secretary General and OAS' Secretary General about the upcoming flawed election in Haiti, scheduled for the months February and March.

Coming soon, more analysis about other letters on Haiti's undemocratic upcoming elections as already qualified by national and international political leaders and human groups.

Below is the Letter of Rep. Waters to President Preval.
December 23, 2009
His Excellency René Préval - President of Haiti
c/o Embassy of Haiti

2311 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
click image below for story

Your Excellency:

I am writing to express my concerns about the decision of Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to exclude more than a dozen political parties from the Parliamentary elections scheduled for February and March 2010. I am concerned that these exclusions would violate the right of Haitian citizens to vote in free and fair elections and that it would be a significant setback to Haiti’s democratic development.

» continue reading "Haiti: Upcoming Elections to be a Set Back to Haiti's Democratic Development"

November 5, 2009 Weblog:

A Tale of Two Churches - One in Haiti, the other in New Orleans

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By Wadner Pierre-www.haitianalysis.com

In 2006 two struggles were going on in two different Catholic churches and in two different countries. At Saint Claire’s Parish, Tiplas Kazo, Delmas 33 (one part of Delmas County), Haitian parishioners, students, and community leaders stood up against the decision of the Archdiocese of Port-Au-Port to remove the late activist priest, Gerard Jean-Juste, who had been serving this parish for ten years. Simultaneously at Saint Augustine Church, in Tremé, New Orleans, a similar struggle was taking place. Students of different beliefs and backgrounds, civil right’s movement leaders and community leaders stood up against the unjustified decision of the New Orleans Archdiocese, to remove the elderly African-American priest, Father Jerome Ledoux, from the oldest African-American Catholic church in the United States. To explain the meaning of the people’s struggle at Saint Augustine Church, it is important to understand the history of this church and why it is so important for the African-American Catholic community to keep this church from closing after Hurricane Katrina.

The History of Saint Augustine Church

» continue reading "A Tale of Two Churches - One in Haiti, the other in New Orleans"

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September 28, 2009 Weblog:

“Build Back Better,” Says Dr. Paul Farmer, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti: Part I

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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.

Farmer explained:

“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.”

» continue reading "“Build Back Better,” Says Dr. Paul Farmer, UN Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti: Part I"

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August 29, 2009 Weblog:

Michael Deibert and Elizabeth Eames Roebling Attack IPS Journalists Writing on Haiti

By: Kim Ives

About a week ago, an IPS story reported that Amnesty International called for the release of Ronald Dauphin and described his continued detention as "politically motivated".

In response, Elizabeth Roebling accused IPS of becoming an "outlet for spin" and directed members of the corbett list to a bitter response on Michael Deibert's blog. Deibert is the author of "Notes from the Last Testament," an account of President Aristide's second term, which was cut short by the February 29, 2004 coup.

Normally, I wouldn't bother responding to a mere political difference. But Deibert makes several personal attacks on the IPS piece's authors Wadner Pierre and Jeb Sprague that warrant correction.

Deibert's allegations are irrelevant to the accuracy of the IPS article. Readers can check the facts reported (most importantly, Amnesty's appeal on Dauphin's behalf ). Good journalism, like good scholarship, relies to the greatest extent possible on sources that readers can check.

Deibert wrote that Sprague "...works as a teaching assistant at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Sociology Department, focusing on crime and delinquency, subjects with which his past behavior [sic] no doubt gives him a close familiarity."

This is a baseless ad hominem attack. Sprague's PhD studies are not focused on crime and delinquency, and, if they were, would not justify Deibert's nasty insinuation.[1] Furthermore, teaching assistant duties are not the same thing as a graduate student's area of study, and, much less, evidence of a criminal background.

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August 20, 2009 Weblog:

HAITI: Calls Mount to Free Lavalas Activist

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By Wadner Pierre and Jeb Sprague

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Aug 20 (IPS) - Government authorities in Haiti face recent criticism over allegations that they continue to jail political dissidents.

On Aug. 7, Amnesty International called for the release of Ronald Dauphin, a Haitian political prisoner. Dauphin is an activist with the Fanmi Lavalas movement of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He was seized by armed paramilitaries on Mar. 1, 2004 - the day after Aristide's government was ousted in a coup d'état.

According to Amnesty, "the delay in bringing Ronald Dauphin to trial is unjustifiable and is politically motivated". The organisation "opposes Ronald Dauphin's continued detention without trial, which is in violation of his rights, and urges the Haitian authorities to release him pending trial."

Amnesty noted that Dauphin's health has deteriorated severely in Haiti's National Penitentiary, which is notorious for the appalling conditions to which it subjects inmates. One of Dauphin's co-defendants, Wantales Lormejuste, died in prison from untreated tuberculosis in April 2007.

In May 2009, doctors examined Dauphin and called on the authorities to immediately transfer him to a hospital. But today, nearly five and half years since his original arrest, he has not seen his day in court and remains locked up.

Demonstrations in downtown Port-au-Prince, with hundreds of supporters, occur here on a weekly basis, calling for the release of political prisoners. They are organised by local grassroots groups such as the Kolektif Fanmiy Prizonye Politk Yo, Fondasyon 30 Septanm, Organizasyon AbaSatan, and the Group Defans Prizonye Politik Yo.

» continue reading "HAITI: Calls Mount to Free Lavalas Activist"

August 20, 2009 Weblog:

Haiti Liberte: Diaspora Unity Congress Ignores Class Struggle

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By Wadner Pierre

From August 6 - 9, 2009, about 300 Haitians from different corners of Haiti's diaspora - often called the 11th Department - gathered in Miami Beach, Florida for the 2009 Haitian Diaspora Unity Congress. The event was organized by the Haitian League, whose Chairman of the Board is Dr. Bernier Lauredan. He is a Haitian pediatrician living in New Jersey, where the first conference was held last year without, apparently, too much success.

The chair of this year's Congress was Dr. Rudolph Moise, a physician and actor well known in Miami for his more or less conventional activism.

Several former Lavalas government officials took part including former Minister for Haitians Living Abroad Leslie Voltaire, former minister without portfolio Marc Bazin, former Justice Minister Camille Leblanc, former Planning Minister Anthony Dessources, and former inspector of the Haitian National Police Luc Eucher Joseph, now Secretary of State of Justice and Public Safety. These officials are considered by Haiti's masses as politically bourgeois and, excepting Voltaire, were never Lavalas Family party members.

Meanwhile, there were also members or associates of President Boniface Alexandre's and Prime Minister Gérard Latortue's de facto government (2004 - 2006). The most prominent of them was Bernard Gousse, the former de facto Justice Minister, whom the Miami-based popular organization Veye Yo brands as a criminal for his role in ordering several deadly crackdowns on rebellious shanty towns and the first arrest of the late Father Gérard Jean-Juste, Veye Yo's founder.

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August 10, 2009 Weblog:

DETENTION WITHOUT TRIAL IN HAITI

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AI Index: AMR 36/003/2009
by:

Amnesty International August 2009
all photos by wadner Pierre

APPEAL CASE: RELEASE RONALD DAUPHIN

Ronald Dauphin, a Lavalas Party activist, has spent four years in prison without trial for his alleged involvement in an armed confrontation between government supporters and opponents where several people were killed. He is the last remaining in prison of
16 Lavalas members and supporters who were arrested in relation to the killings and other crimes that occurred between 9 and 11 February 2004 in St. Marc’s neighbourhood of La Scierie, 100km North of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince.

Amnesty International believes that the delay in bringing Ronald Dauphin to trial is unjustifiable and ispolitically motivated. The organization opposes Ronald Dauphin’s continued detention without trial, which is in violation of his rights and urges the Haitian authorities to release him pending trial. Amnesty International also calls on the Haitian authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the 2004 events in La Scierie and bring to justice all those responsible for the killings and other crimes committed by both groups involved in the confrontation, in trials that adhere to international standards of due process and fairness. Impunity for these crimes must not prevail but justice is not served by depriving Ronald Dauphin of his rights.

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August 5, 2009 Weblog:

COMPARING THE HAITIAN AND HONDURAN COUPS HAITI LIBERTE

"Justice. Verite. Independance."

* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

August 5 - 11, 2009
Vol. 3, No. 3

by Kim Ives

Anyone who has closely watched Washington's mischief and dirty wars around the globe over the past few decades cannot have missed the uncanny similarity between the June 28, 2009 coup d'état against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya and that of February 29, 2004 against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Both men were abducted by an armed commando unit in the dark early morning hours, placed on a waiting plane, and then flown to a destination they had no choice in or foreknowledge of. Both were facing Washington-backed oppositions and pursuing, or at least flirting with, anti-neoliberal policies and anti-imperialist alliances. Both had large followings among their nations' poor majority.

Several journalists and bloggers have compared the coups, but two pieces stand out. The first is entitled "Haiti and Honduras: Considering Two Coups d'État" by David Holmes Morris, first published July 2 on The Rag Blog (http://theragblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/haiti-and-honduras-considering-two.html).

"The same United Nations that now condemns the coup in Honduras and demands Zelaya's return occupied Haiti militarily during the coup government of Gérard Latortue, often attacking Haitians demonstrating for Aristide's return, and occupies it still," Morris notes in his introduction.

Here are a few more excerpts from the piece:

» continue reading "COMPARING THE HAITIAN AND HONDURAN COUPS HAITI LIBERTE"

July 29, 2009 Weblog:

A Look Back at the MINUSTAH Killing of 22 Year Old Haitian Kenel Pascal

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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.

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July 29, 2009 Weblog:

JULY 28, 2009: A MOBILIZATION TO KEEP MEMORY ALIVE!

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.

» continue reading "JULY 28, 2009: A MOBILIZATION TO KEEP MEMORY ALIVE!"

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