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Haitians don’t realize how vulnerable they are to climate change

By Milo Milford, Haiti Liberté, Oct. 25, 2016

Haiti is one of the nations most vulnerable to climate change on the planet.

This is in large measure due to recent Haitian governments not taking proactive measures to protect the environment. Enlightened members of civil society also must inform, sensitize, and make conscious the larger Haitian public about the dangers of climate change and its impact on their daily lives.

Eyes on Haiti: After Hurricane Matthew, rethinking the global response to Haiti's challenges

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By The Stream, Al Jazeera English, Oct. 19, 2016

After another devastating natural disaster, Haiti once again needs help. With the country still trying to recover from the 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew was its worst storm in half a century.  Hundreds are dead, and more than 120,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. More than 1.4 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.

But foreign involvement in Haiti, recent and historic, has often done more harm than good. Haiti won its independence in 1804 but was forced to pay billions of dollars in "reparations" to former coloniser France through the mid-20th century. After occupying Haiti in the early 1900s, the US backed two presidential coups in 1990 and 2004, and  played a controversial role in its 2010 presidential election. Food aid to Haiti since the 1990s has hurt Haitian farmers unable to compete with subsidised US rice and corn. Post-earthquake aid from around the world was widely criticised for lining the pockets of contractors and NGOs while failing to reach those in need. A United Nations peacekeeping force brought cholera to Haiti in 2010, but only this year -- after nearly 10,000 deaths -- did the UN finally admit responsibility.

Haiti's Clinton problem


By Nathan J. Robinson, Jacobin, Oct. 22, 2016

The following is adapted from the new book Superpredator: Bill Clinton’s Use and Abuse of Black America. Each week, Jacobin will be publishing new excerpts. Read the last installment here.

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s election in 1990 had been seen as an encouraging harbinger of a new relatively more peaceful and democratic era in Haitian politics. Aristide was a liberation theologian and orphanage proprietor who had spent years preaching about the wellbeing of the poor, sick, and hungry.

After the country had survived multiple decades ruled by the Duvaliers père and fils (a pair of murderous grifters who financed their upscale dictator-chic lifestyles by trafficking in the body parts of dead Haitians), the frugal curate Aristide was a welcome relief.

The peace did not last. Aristide was overthrown in a military coup d’etat the next year, and the country collapsed into disarray. The new military government swiftly introduced the usual program of arrests, tortures, and mysterious disappearances, with all opposition subject to terror and suppression. Faced with violence and economic collapse, hundreds of refugees began to flee the country in tiny boats, bound for US shores.

Honduran opposition leaders being murdered while US pours in money to repressive government and military


By Mark Weisbrot, Common Dreams, Oct. 25, 2016

Since a 2009 military coup against the democratic government of President Mel Zelaya, Honduras has become the most dangerous country in the world for environmental and human rights activists.

On Oct. 17, two more prominent rural organizers, José Ángel Flores and Silmer Dionisio George, were assassinated in Colón. Flores was the president of the Unified Campesinos Movement of the Aguán Valley (MUCA), and George was a well-known leader from the same organization. This follows the Oct. 9 assassination attempts against Tomás Gómez Membreño, the general coordinator of the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), and COPINH community leader Alexander García Sorto.

Unfortunately, this continuing wave of political violence has a lot to do not only with the corrupt, repressive government that rules Honduras, but also with the U.S. government. Washington played a major role in consolidating the 2009 military coup and continues to supply tens of millions of dollars of military and security aid annually to the government.

New election scheduled: The post-hurricane interventions, health crisis, gold rush, and campaigning begin

2016 10 15 Ban Ki-moon surveying hurricane damage over Camp Perrin credit Eskinder Debebe.jpg

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Oct. 19, 2016

Two days after it said it would, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) finally announced on Oct. 14 Haiti’s new electoral timetable. The presidential and legislative elections that had been scheduled for Oct. 9, with run-offs on Jan. 8, will now be held on Nov. 20 and Jan. 29 respectively. The final results will be announced on Feb. 20, 2017.

Haiti had been hoping to inaugurate a newly elected president on Feb. 7, 2017, a year after one should have been inaugurated constitutionally in 2016. The new 2017 inauguration date, which will be set by President Jocelerme Privert’s interim government,  has not yet been announced.

The Oct. 9 presidential election, which was to be a redo of a fraudulent polling in 2015, had to be rescheduled due to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, which passed directly over the cities of Les Cayes and Jérémie on Haiti’s southern peninsula on Oct. 4.

According to an internal Organization of American States report dated Oct. 11, of 157 voting centers in Haiti’s southern department, 112 (71%) were damaged and 29 (18%) were inaccessible. In the Grande-Anse department, investigators were able to visit or verify only 26 of its 106 voting centers. Of those visited, 23 were damaged, and 31 of the total were inaccessible.

Haitians, battered by hurricane, huddle in caves: ‘This is the only shelter we have’

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By Azam Ahmed, New York Times, Oct. 17, 2016

When the rain comes at night in these distant mountains, the people flee what homes they have left. They race down hills threaded with stones and ragged palm branches, the earth the color of rust.

Continue reading the main story

They arrive at a cave carved into the hillside, the only sanctuary left after the storm. It is a holy place now, having saved hundreds of villagers duringthe worst of Hurricane Matthew, when nature tore their homes to the ground. It is still the only thing to protect them.

For four days and nights, they huddled in its womb before emerging, frightened the hurricane might return. They slept on a floor of stacked boulders near the cave’s mouth, lighting small fires for warmth and light.

Let's not kid ourselves, Canada is in the war business

A girl lies on a hospital bed in Saada after she survived a Saudi-led airstrike last week, which medical sources said killed six of her family members Naif Rahma.jpg

By Neil MacDonald, CBC News, Oct. 21, 2016

For the record, Stéphane Dion's office says he has so far been unable to find any evidence that the Saudi military is using lethal Canadian weapons platforms to slaughter civilians. Hence, billions of dollars' worth of weaponized armoured vehicles manufactured in Ontario are flowing as planned to the Saudis, despite Dion's stern warning in April that:

"Should I become aware of credible information of violations related to this equipment, I will suspend or revoke the permits" that he had just signed. "We are watching this closely," he said, "and will continue to do so."

Asked this week how Dion's monitoring has been carried out, his press secretary, Chantal Gagnon, replied: "Several ways. On the ground, you know, we have people. An embassy in Saudi Arabia."