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Update: Canada Haiti Action Network website fundraising campaign

Protesters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, chant anti-government slogans during a protest Monday against President Michele Martelly’s government to demand the cancellation of the Jan. 24 elections. Dieu Nalio Chery AP.jpg

CHAN readers & supporters,

(Version Francaise ci-dessous) 

The website of the Canada-Haiti Action Network is undergoing an upgrade and needs your support.

The website mandate will continue to focus on providing news and analysis of the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Haiti. Accordingly, the name is being changed to The Canada-Haiti Information Project.

In addition, the website needs technical upgrades, including crucial security and formatting upgrades. 

Canada's corporate elite breath a sigh of relief following PM Trudeau's official visit to Washington

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Introduction by Roger Annis, A Socialist in Canada, Feb. 15, 2017

Canada is dispatching 200 soldiers to Ukraine in the latest rotation of troops who are training the Ukrainian military and paramilitary extremists to wage civil war in the east of that country. The training is conducted jointly with the U.S. and British militaries.

Canada is simultaneously taken on the role of leading one of the four, permanent ‘combat’ brigades that NATO is establishing at or near Russia’s borders with eastern Europe. It is stepping up its military intervention in northern Iraq, conducted jointly with the U.S. Canada’s government and military are also consulting with the United States as to where, exactly, they could station a desired expeditionary brigade of 600 soldiers to Africa.

Ex-Haiti rebel leader argues his case from a U.S. jail cell - on WhatsApp

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By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, Feb. 17, 2017

Ex-Haiti rebel leader and accused drug trafficker Guy Philippe is on the defense — from inside a Miami federal lockup.

Philippe, who was arrested Jan. 5 by the anti-drug trafficking unit of the Haiti National Police in Port-au-Prince and transferred to Miami within hours where he’ll face trial on drug-trafficking and money laundering charges, broke his silence over the weekend.

In a highly unusual move, he pleaded his innocence, called on supporters to continue demonstrating for his immediate return to Haiti and accused former classmate and Haitian Senate President Youri Latortue of heading the conspiracy leading to his unexpected arrest.

And he did it all in a three-minute recording that went viral on the WhatsApp messaging service.

Haiti's eroding democracy

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By Jake Johnston, Jacobin, Feb. 13, 2017

After more than a year of delays, Haiti finally elected a new president this past November. Jovenel Moïse — nicknamed the Banana Man — scored a first-round victory in a sprawling field of twenty-seven candidates, taking over 55 percent of the vote. The banana exporter, who has never held public office, was inaugurated on February 7.

The previous president, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, seemingly plucked Moïse out of nowhere last year, making him the new face of the Haitian Bald-Headed Party (PHTK). Moïse’s win is an extraordinary achievement for a political neophyte, but it has one glaring problem: only 20 percent of Haiti’s voters showed up on election day. Moïse became president with less than 10 percent of registered voters ― only about 600,000 votes — supporting him.

Haiti stands as a stark reminder of the fragility of electoral democracy amid rising inequality and exclusion. After the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1986, Haiti’s poor majority turned out en masse for general elections, but that cycle appears to be broken. Today, Haiti ranks among the lowest worldwide in terms of voter participation.

Election observers slam “Haiti’s unrepresentative democracy" as president Jovenel Moïse is sworn in

Jovenel Moise with wife Martine left & Jocelerme Privert right.jpg

by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Feb. 8, 2017

Former auto parts salesman and banana exporter Jovenel Moïse, 48, became Haiti’s 58th president on Feb. 7, 2017, in ceremonies at the Parliament and a miniature model of the former National Palace, which was destroyed in the Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.

The President of Haiti’s Senate and Parliament’s National Assembly, Sen. Youri Latortue, whom the U.S. Embassy has described as a “Mafia boss,” “drug dealer,” and “poster-boy for political corruption,” draped the ceremonial Presidential sash on his close political confederate, who takes over from interim president Jocelerme Privert.

Indeed, the Parliament is dominated by senators and deputies from Moïse’s Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK) and other allied right-wing parties, making the Haitian government look very similar to that of the U.S. where another politically inexperienced businessman promising jobs, Donald Trump,  won power and has a Republican majority in Congress.

A number of the parliamentarians, including Latortue and Chamber of Deputies President Cholzer Chancy, have well-known criminal backgrounds, including some indictments and convictions. Indeed, one senator-elect – former soldier, police chief, and “rebel” leader Guy Philippe – could not make the ceremonies because he is being held on drug trafficking charges in a Miami jail cell, after having been arrested by Haitian police and turned over to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) on Jan. 5.

Haiti inaugurates a new president dogged by money laundering probe, low voter turnout

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By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Feb. 7, 2017

Jovenel Moïse will be inaugurated as Haiti’s new president today as the country returns to constitutional order after a one-year extra-constitutional period of interim rule due to electoral delays.  Moïse had previously come in first in an October 2015 election, only to have the results thrown out due to fraud. Rerun in November 2016 under the interim government that replaced former president Michel Martelly, the elections had Moïse securing more than 50 percent of the vote, winning in the first round.

Report: Troubling Weaknesses in Electoral System Overshadow Return of Constitutional Rule in Haiti [Français Inclus]

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By Nicole Philips, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Feb. 6, 2017

On the eve of President-elect Jovenel Moïse’s inauguration, a new report by international legal observers argues that Haiti’s democratic institutions are suffering a profound crisis of confidence. Low turnout, voter disenfranchisement and lingering concerns about fraud raise troubling questions about the breadth of the incoming president’s mandate, according to the report, entitled Haiti’s Unrepresentative Democracy: Disenfranchisement and Disillusionment in the November 20 Elections.

The report notes that despite many improvements in security and electoral administration over the 2015 elections, the 21 percent voter turnout represents the lowest participation rate for a national election in the Western Hemisphere since 1945. “Many Haitians did not vote, not because they did not want to, but because they were unable due to difficulties in obtaining electoral cards, registering to vote and finding their names on outdated electoral lists,” said attorney Nicole Phillips, delegation leader and co-author of the report.