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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.

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.

Barrick Gold rules: Horror stories from the frontline

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By David Gray-Donald, NOW Toronto, May 9, 2016

On the heels of its annual general meeting in Toronto, those living near the operations of Barrick Gold, the world’s most powerful gold mining company, share through translators what it’s like having the Toronto-based multinational as their neighbour. The following interviews have been edited and condensed. 
 
 
Lucy Yuki, 49, subsistence farmer in Pandaka village, Papua New Guinea, within the Porgera mine Special Mining Lease area (SML)
 
I belong to Andapo clan, Mamai tribe. I am a mother of six, and my eldest child is 19 years old.
 
Since the mine started, a lot of bad things have happened. Killing of harmless Indigenous people, raping of young girls and women and dumping of mine waste near my village has turned our lives upside down. 

Moving closer to justice for the victims of cholera in Haiti

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By Beatrice Lindstrom, Boston Haitian Reporter, May 12, 2016

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Haitian cholera victims and diaspora leaders abroad are turning up the pressure on powerful governments around the world, asking them to use their influence to press the UN to provide justice and reparations to the hundreds of thousands who have suffered from the cholera that UN peacekeepers brought to Haiti in 2010. This targeted pressure is showing encouraging signs of new progress—in recent months, several governments have for the first time called for a just response, and UN member states are reportedly in conversation with the UN Secretariat about compensation for the victims.

Polyarchy in the Dominican Republic: The elite versus the elite

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By Jeb Sprague-Silgado, The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA), May 6, 2016

In the Dominican Republic, as in many other countries around the Caribbean, the political strategy of leading dominant groups in recent decades has been one of polyarchy – that is to say, the options in democratic elections have been limited to voters selecting between different factions of elites. Since the 1970s, U.S. foreign policymakers, along with an increasingly wide array of UN, EU and other international agency officials have come to promote this approach. If ideological differences can be minimized, with parties differing little on core issues like economic development, then electoral competition is not only unthreatening to dominant interests, but also legitimating to notions of democracy.