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Thousands of Haitian workers are on strike against foreign-owned sweatshops

Workers temporarily blocked the road to the Toussaint Louverture International airport in Port-au-Prince on May 19.jpg

By Jeff Abbott, In These Times, June 22, 2017

Thousands of textile workers in Haiti have stopped work in factories and taken to the streets to demand of improved working conditions in the country’s maquiladora export industry. For more than three weeks, workers have mobilized to demand higher wages, an eight-hour workday and protections against increased quotas across the industrial centers of Port-au-Prince, Carrefour, Ounaminthe and Caracol.

The strike follows the annual commemoration of International Workers’ Day.

Currently, workers receive a daily wage of roughly 300 gourdes, or about 4.77 U.S. dollars (USD), for a day’s work. Strikers are demanding that the wage is raised to 800 gourdes, or 12.72 USD—and that the eight-hour day be respected.

Haiti’s one-time fugitive Guy Philippe gets nine years in U.S. prison

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By Jay Weaver & Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, June 21, 2017

Guy Philippe, a former police commander who eluded capture in Haiti for more than a decade even as he won a seat in the Haitian Senate, was sentenced to nine years in prison in Miami federal court Wednesday for accepting bribes to protect cocaine smugglers who used the island to ship drugs to the United States.

Philippe, 49, pleaded guilty in late April to a drug-related, money-laundering conspiracy charge. His plea agreement allowed him to avoid going to trial in May on a more serious trafficking charge that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life. Instead, he faced up to 20 years on the money laundering conviction. Under the federal sentencing guidelines, the punishment amounted to about half that time.

Philippe said nothing to U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga as she affirmed the sentence agreed upon by the defense and prosecutors. His prosecution, which initially attracted a throng of supporters including his wife to the federal courthouse earlier this year, ended on an anti-climactic note: Only one curious spectator who showed up on Wednesday for his sentencing hearing, which lasted ten minutes.

Outside the courthouse, a handful of Haitian activists from an opposition group, Veye-Yo, waved a photo showing Philippe and Haitian President Jovenel Moïse campaigning together, along with the words, “Drug-dealing brothers in crime.”

Closing Jacmel’s commercial port to make a convention center would be disastrous

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By Firson Pierre, Haiti Liberté, June 21, 2017

There would be no social organization without "economic activity". There would be no economic activity without trading infrastructure such as a market and a commercial port. And there would be no trade without implementing a public policy of guaranteeing investment, the population’s participation, and the permanent operation of a port in a city with a commercial tradition: Jacmel.

Since Christopher Columbus’ arrival in 1492, and even before with the Vikings, the Americas have been an integral part of world trade. The Americas satisfied Europe's economic needs in spices, raw materials, and precious metals, since the continent was blocked to the East by the Turks since the fall of the Roman Empire.

Today, the world economy, dominated by the U.S., Europe, and China, is characterized by large-scale trade across the seas using commercial ports and customs as the principal place for the exchange of products. So what could possibly be the rationale of Jacmel’s political, cultural, and economic elites to eliminate the city’s commercial port? What would be the consequences? And how will Jacmel’s population react to such a decision?

Kim Ives opines on Haitian President Jovenel Moïse’s initiatives to rebuild Haitian agriculture and infrastructure

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By CGNT America, June 21, 2017

CGTN's Asieh Namdar spoke to Kim Ives, editor with Haïti Liberté newsweekly, about Haiti’s uncertain future, from the new army to the new government and economic outlook.

Canada leads attacks on Venezuela to push ‘political agenda’

Trudeau meets with right-wing Venezuelan opposition activist Lilian Tintori.jpg

By Urooba Jamal, teleSUR, June 21, 2017

Despite a failed resolution calling for intervention in Venezuela at a meeting of the Organization of American States Monday, there’s still talk that Canada — a backer of the proposal that sought to condemn the Maduro government — may be poised to lead “mediation efforts” on the issue.

A Caracas-based source told The Globe and Mail this week that Canada may facilitate a negotiated settlement in Venezuela, after Peru’s Foreign Minister Ricardo Luna ruminated publicly about the idea, citing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “global power role.”

“There are a few potential advantages: Canada’s constructive influence and relationship with the U.S.; Trudeau’s and Canada’s good relationship with the left in the region, including Cuba; and Canada’s more neutral image generally in Latin America,” the source told the outlet.

For Ontario-based solidarity activist Raul Burbano, from Common Frontiers, Canada’s foreign policy interests in the region is more of a driving force behind its actions against Venezuela, such as its extractivist activities in Colombia, than its “discourse of democracy and human rights.” Speaking of the G-7 country’s alignment with right-wing governments in Latin America — including its ironclad relations with all of Colombia, Mexico and Honduras — Burbano pressed that hypocrisy is “the most important component of Canada’s policy in Latin America.”

UN killed 10 000 in Haiti, after mass arrests in 2004, ICP to return to scene of crime with UNSC

Down with Occupation reads the banner. Haitians are fed up with the UN military occupation, a flagrant violation of the Haitian Constitution Wesley Gédéon_0.jpg

By Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press, June 20, 2017

While in some places the UN system may be doing good work, its killing of more and 10,000 Haitians with cholera, and its years of denial, have been a low point. Now with the UN Security Council slated to visit Haiti from June 22 and 24 -- Inner City Press will cover it -- the strange and some say shameful history of the UN's MINUSTAH mission comes to the fore.

After the UN Security Council on April 30, 2004 approved the deployment of MINUSTAH, by September 30, 2004 protesters were being killed, then further protesters arrested and loaded into UN Armored Personnel Carriers. Particularly given the position of CARICOM and the African Union, this was a low for the UN. But it would go lower still.

On June 20, 2017 the departing MINUSTAH mission will hold a ceremony to close its regional bureau in the south, again bragging of spending $48 million. But given the reneging on much larger sums for bringing cholera, advocates slammed the "statement delivered by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in a briefing to the General Assembly appealing for member state funding and reporting on the UN’s progress in implementing the New Approach.

After canceling with TPS families, Haitian president tells recipients to ‘calm down’

Jovenel Moïse, greets a group of Haitians living in South Florida june 16 17.jpg

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, June 17, 2017

When Evica learned she and 24 others had scored a meeting with Haiti President Jovenel Moïse, the Haitian migrant, who scrapes a living sorting through used clothing, rummaged through her closet and pulled out her Sunday best.

A gray jacket and matching blouse with a hint of glitter, paired with a black skirt and clutch purse, were fitting, she thought. “I was really excited about the possibility of meeting with him,” said Evica.

But the meeting did not happen.

Moïse, who was scheduled to meet with Evica and others who are among the 58,700 Haitians in the Temporary Protected Status or TPS program ahead of a Little Haiti community forum, canceled, said activist Marleine Bastien. By contrast, Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez met with 20 Central American leaders from across the United States in Miami on Wednesday to discuss their TPS fight on behalf of 57,000 Hondurans, said activist Francisco Portillo.