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Canadian activists demand PM Justin Trudeau support cholera victims in Haiti, ask Canadians to sign open letter

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By Travis Ross, CHAN co-editor, May 14, 2016

Haiti solidarity activists based in Montreal and Ottawa have written an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau. The ad-hoc committee of community leaders, journalists, activists, lawyers, and other Canadian citizens are demanding that he fulfill the government's pledge to  to “refocus Canada's development assistance on helping the poorest and most vulnerable,” which is part of the Trudeau's government's new mandate

Their main demand is to take the "first step in fulfilling the pledge be to ensure a more principled, accountable response by the UN to the poor and vulnerable victims of the UN cholera in Haiti." The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is the source of the deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti.

Cholera has already killed over 9 200 Haitians and sickened over 770 000 since the UN occupation force introduced it to Haiti in October 2010. Between January and March 2016, more than 6 000 people have been hospitalized, and cholera deaths are up by 43% over the same period in 2015. 

The ad-hoc committee is calling on Canadians to sign their open letter to Prime-Minister Trudeau.

Clinton's long shadow

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By Nikolas Barry-Shaw, Jacobin Magazine, May 27, 2016

Is Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid suffocating democracy in Haiti? A growing number of informed observers, both in Haiti and in the United States, think so. They contend that the former secretary of state’s political ambitions are having a profound effect on the Haitian electoral process.

The island’s deeply flawed elections — held last August and October, backed by over $33 million in US funding — triggered massive political unrest this past January.

Coming on the heels of Michel Martelly’s disastrous presidency, the elections spotlight how badly Clinton’s attempts as secretary of state to direct Haitian politics have backfired. The unrest caused the final round of balloting to be suspended and sent the US State Department into damage-control mode.

The department’s overriding — though unofficial — concern over the past year has been to finish Haiti’s elections before the US general election campaign begins in earnest this summer. It desperately wants to keep the results of Clinton’s involvement in Haiti out of the media glare.

Clinton disaster fundraising: Predatory humanitarianism?

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By Dady Chery, News Junkie Post, May 20, 2016

It is Haiti’s good luck and surely the Clintons’ misfortune, that Charles Ortel, one of the world’s finest financial analysts, has got the Clinton Foundation in his sights. Mr. Ortel is a graduate of the Harvard Business School with decades of Wall Street experience. He is currently a private investor. He began to release on his website and from his Twitter account (@charlesortel), in early May 2016, a series of detailed reports that are damning to the Clintons and their various supposed charitable initiatives.

The Clintons are powerful, and they have squirmed their way out of many tight spots before, but what makes this particular case worthy of our utmost attention is that Ortel is not only outstanding at what he does, but also fearless and dogged in his pursuit of perceived financial malfeasance. If his analysis of General Electric, which is far more complex than the Clinton charities, successfully pegged GE as being overvalued before its stock plummeted in 2008, then we must hear out his case against the Clinton Foundation. I caught up with him earlier this week, and he graciously agreed to an interview.

The Brazilian coup and Washington’s “rollback” in Latin America

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By Mark Weisbrot, Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), May 26, 2016

It is clear that the executive branch of the U.S. government favors the coup underway in Brazil, even though they have been careful to avoid any explicit endorsement of it. Exhibit A was the meeting between Tom Shannon, the 3rd ranking U.S. State Department official and the one who is almost certainly in charge of handling this situation, with Senator Aloysio Nunes, one of the leaders of the impeachment in the Brazilian Senate, on April 20. By holding this meeting just three days after the Brazilian lower house voted to impeach President Dilma Rousseff, Shannon was sending a signal to governments and diplomats throughout the region and the world that Washington is more than ok with the impeachment. Nunes returned the favor this week by leading an effort (he is chair of the Brazilian Senate Foreign Relations Committee) to suspend Venezuela from Mercosur, the South American trade bloc. 

Reclaiming the blue helmet: Canada's role in peacekeeping & UN accountability

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By Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), May 19, 2016

As Canada re-engages with the UN and considers reasserting a leadership role in MINUSTAH's occupation of Haiti, questions of the UN's accountability for cholera, sexual abuse and more are particularly pertinent for the country's leaders. The Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) has organized a panel to discuss these issues. 

Opening remarks were made by Allan Rock, President of University of Ottawa and former Canadian Ambassador to the UN. The panelists were BAI's Mario Joseph, IJDH's Beatrice Lindstrom, former UN Ambassadors Stephen Lewis and Peggy Mason.

Guy Philippe’s paramilitaries launch deadly attack against the Aux Cayes police station

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By Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté, May 18, 2016

In the hours before dawn on Mon., May 16, 2016, heavily armed assailants, dressed in green and camouflage army uniforms, attacked the main police station in Aux Cayes, Haiti’s third largest city. The toll was heavy. One policeman and four attackers were killed, and several were wounded on both sides.

At the station, the attackers killed police officer Tisson Jean Pierre, assigned to the Departmental Unit for the Maintenance of Order (UDMO), police said.

Another policeman, Wendy Dorléan, was seriously wounded and rushed to the hospital. Officer Pierre Jeannot and an agent of the National Penitentiary Administration (APENA) were slightly wounded. Other police officers were handcuffed and brutalized inside the police station. The assailants sacked the office of the station’s chief and hauled off heavy weapons, fleeing towards the town of Pestel, where paramilitary chieftain and Senate candidate Guy Philippe has holed up for years.

Haiti as a “testament to human resistance” A review of Dady Chery’s “We have dared to be free: Haiti’s struggle against occupation”

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By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, May 19, 2016

Every definable chapter of recent Haitian history seems to have one book which becomes the definitive reference for English speakers. Amy Wilentz’s “The Rainy Season” (1986-1989), Peter Hallward’s “Damming the Flood” (2000-2006), and Jonathan Katz’s “The Big Truck That Went By” (years around the 2010 earthquake) come to mind.

All of those examples, however, were written by foreigners. For the period of the rise and fall of President Michel Martelly (roughly 2010 to 2015), the definitive account at this point is surely “We Have Dared to be Free: Haiti’s Struggle Against Occupation” (News Junkie Post Press, 2015), written by Haitian scientist turned journalist Dady Chery.