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Haiti anti-corruption commission to hear Dominican Sen. Felix Bautista

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By Milo Milford, Haiti Liberté, July 20, 2016

On Jul. 25, Dominican Sen. Felix Bautista will testify before the Haitian Senate’s Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission in the context of its investigation of the management of Haiti’s Petrocaribe program. The Commission’s controversial President, Sen. Youri Latortue, of the Artibonite, a former advisor to former President Michel Martelly, announced the hearing on Jul. 18.

"We wrote different people, including Sen. Bautista, who is the CEO of the Dominican [construction] firms Hadom and ROFI,” Latortue said. “We received a response from Bautista, who requested a postponement of eight days. He replied and assured us that he will come."

Dominican firms and construction companies have received contracts for many projects financed by the Petrocaribe fund, which is a multi-billion-dollar, low-interest, long-term loan account made possible by the sale of Venezuelan oil products. The Senate Commission is investigating why and how many contracts signed with Dominican companies were breached or canceled by the Haitian government because the projects were abandoned or the companies were unable to complete the projects.

The Fight Against Cholera Is Far from over in Haiti

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By Milo Milford, Haiti Liberté, July 20, 2016

Haiti’s cholera epidemic is still raging.

From Oct. 20, 2010 to Jul. 16, 2016, cholera has killed 9,361 people and sickened 786,530 others, according to the latest report by the Haitian Ministry of Health and Population (MSPP) released at a press briefing on Jul. 18, 2016.

"Cholera is still here,” said Dr. Jean Donald François, the national coordinator of the fight against cholera, aiming to raise awareness about the cholera’s persistence. “It is in all ten departments of the country."

At OAS meeting, friends of Haiti pin hopes on Oct. 9 election

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By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, July 19, 2016

Buoyed by the desire to get a democratically elected government in Haiti, diplomats at the Organization of American States on Wednesday said they welcomed interim Haitian President Jocelerme Privert’s executive order for the country’s 5.8 million voters to report to the polls on Oct. 9 to vote on a new president.

But while many, led by representatives of the 15-member Caribbean Community (Caricom), spoke in support of the process underway, all called on Haiti’s parliament to swiftly decide whether to keep or replace Privert, whose 120-day term expired June 14. Left unresolved, the OAS permanent council warned, Haiti’s worsening political crisis could ultimately jeopardize the presidential vote.

“It is time to make a decision that should have been made a long time ago,” Antigua Ambassador Ronald Sanders said, echoing OAS-Secretary General Luis Almagro’s recent statements.

Don't be fooled, Justin Trudeau is an old-boy at heart

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By Andrew Mitrovica, Al Jazeera International, July 18, 2016

If much of the international press is to be believed, Canada's new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a walking, talking mixture of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King, with a dose of Brad Pitt for good measure.

Trudeau is the attractive, telegenic eldest son of Pierre Trudeau, the long deceased former Canadian prime minister, who also cut a swashbuckling image on the global stage.

Like his father, Justin Trudeau is adept at satisfying the thirst of the establishment media for pretty pictures and exploiting, these days, social media to cultivate an image of a vibrant, progressive, open-minded leader who is intent on breaking from the destructive, reactionary past.

 

Guy Philippe dares President Privert to arrest him as gunmen step up killings

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By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, July 13, 2016

Guy Philippe, the leader of the so-called “rebels” who helped overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, challenged Haiti’s interim President Jocelerme Privert to have his police force try to capture him.

“Everybody knows where I am,” Philippe taunted Privert in a nine-minute recorded audio statement distributed last weekend to radio stations and on the Internet. “Everyone knows that as I’m speaking to you, I’m at the Carib Hotel in Pestel. And if Privert doesn’t know the address, let me give the address. It’s across from the hospital in Pestel, by the National Highschool.... If Privert wants me, he can come get me.”

Murder of three deaf women in Haiti must be a starting point for change

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By Anna Leach, The Guardian, July 18, 2016 

On Saturday 11 June government ministers and campaigners attended the funeral of three female street vendors, laid to rest in sturdy white coffins laden with flowers, with more than 2,000 people in attendance. Their brutal murders had shocked a country.

Jesula Gelin, a mother of six, Vanessa Previl and Monique Vincent were all deaf and worked in Haiti’s capital. That is itself was notable – they were economically independent and lived away from their families in a deaf community in Leveque, a village about an hour from the city.

How your choice of chocolate can help reforest Haiti

Cocoa grows in Creole Gardens, rare forested areas in Haiti. Pictured are Nocelyn Preval  a worker at a cocoa processing facility and cocoa farmer Merviel Chilmise..jpg

By Meg Wilcox, EcoWatch, July 12, 2016

Read any article about Haiti's environment and you'll encounter the same grim statistic, that 98 percent of the country is deforested. That's hard to fathom. How could a country possibly have only two percent tree cover?

Death by a Thousand Cuts, a 2012 film that tells the tale of a brutal murder related to Haiti's charcoal trade, shines a light on the forces behind the nation's dismal environmental state. Beyond the legacy left by the French, grinding poverty is a root cause, with per capita income in Haiti just $828 in 2014. Two-thirds of Haitians are subsistence farmers and the vast majority cook their food with wood charcoal. Charcoal production fuels deforestation, which leads to soil erosion, loss of productive agricultural land and a vicious cycle of poverty.

An estimated 50 percent of Haitian topsoil in fact has been washed away, irreparably damaging farmland and contributing to crop losses of up to 70 percent in recent years. But, wait, what does this have to do with your chocolate bar?

Chocolate, of course, comes from cocoa, which grows on trees. It needs shade and that means cocoa farms are often found in forests, at the base of mountains. Cocoa is, surprisingly, Haiti's third largest export crop. In fact, if you visit Haiti's verdant cocoa region in the north, near Cap-Haïtien, that 98 percent deforestation statistic belies what you'll see.