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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. 

The next few years look bleak

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By Marc-Arthur Fils-Aimé, Haiti Liberté, Feb. 22, 2017

Haiti’s Nov. 20, 2016 elections did not live up to expectations. There was great hope that they would enable the country would emerge from its ever-deepening crisis. Instead, the elections were fraught with fraud and irregularities, sometimes similar but often different from that seen in 2015.

Electoral participation was only about 20%, enabling neo-liberal political parties without a proven program to seize power. Many of those elected are rumored to be drug traffickers, smugglers, and perpetrators of other heinous acts, thus depriving them of legitimacy and respect. The nation will suffer for at least the next four or five years.

Canada’s role in the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah

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By Yves Engler, Pambazuka News, Feb. 23, 2017

Friday, February 24 is the anniversary of the 1966 coup against leading Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah. Canada played a key role. Following the coup, the Canadian High Commissioner in Accra C.E. McGaughey, wrote that “a wonderful thing has happened for the West in Ghana and Canada has played a worthy part.”

A half-century and one year ago this Friday, Canada helped overthrow a leading Pan-Africanist president. Ghana’s Canadian-trained army overthrew Kwame Nkrumah, a leader dubbed “Man of the Millennium” in a 2000 poll by BBC listeners in Africa.

Washington, together with London, backed the coup. Lester Pearson’s government also gave its blessing to Nkrumah’s ouster. In The Deceptive Ash: Bilingualism and Canadian Policy in Africa: 1957-1971, John P. Schlegel writes: “the Western orientation and the more liberal approach of the new military government was welcomed by Canada.”

Malnutrition killing inmates in Haiti jails

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By David Mcfadden, Associated Press, Feb. 20, 2017

Dozens of emaciated men with sunken cheeks and protruding ribs lie silently in an infirmary at Haiti’s largest prison, most too weak to stand. The corpse of an inmate who died miserably of malnutrition is shrouded beneath a plastic tarp.
 
Elsewhere, prisoners are crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in cellblocks so overcrowded they have to sleep in makeshift hammocks suspended from the ceiling or squeeze four to a bunk. New arrivals at Haiti’s National Penitentiary jostle for space on filthy floors where inmates on lockdown 22 hours a day are forced to defecate into plastic bags in the absence of latrines.
 
“Straight up: This is hell. Getting locked up in Haiti will drive you crazy if it doesn’t kill you first,” said Vangeliste Bazile, a homicide suspect who is among the about 80 percent of those incarcerated who have not been convicted of a crime but are held in prolonged pretrial detention waiting for their chance to see a judge.

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.