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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

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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.

US investigating allegations Honduran military had hitlist of activists to target

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By Ed Pilkington & Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, July 8, 2016

The US government is investigating allegations that a hitlist of activists was circulated to special forces units of the Honduran military with instructions to eliminate the targets, including Berta Cáceres, the celebrated environmental campaigner who was later gunned down in her home.

US officials have been in contact with counterparts in the Honduran government, as well as individuals and groups that monitor human rights in the country, to look into the allegations of a hitlist that were first reported in the Guardian.

The US ambassador to Honduras, James Nealon, told the Guardian: “We take allegations of human rights abuses with the utmost seriousness. We always take immediate action to ensure the security and safety of people where there is a credible threat.”

US withdraws funding for Haiti elections

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By Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), July 8, 2016

Dismayed by the decision to rerun controversial and fraud-plagued presidential elections, the US State Department announced on Thursday a suspension of electoral assistance to Haiti. State Department spokesperson John Kirby said the decision was communicated to Haitian authorities last week, noting that the US “has provided over $30 million in assistance” for elections and that the move would allow the US “to maintain priority assistance” for ongoing projects.

Kirby added that “I don’t have a dollar figure in terms of this because it wasn’t funded, it wasn’t budgeted.” However multiple sources have confirmed that the U.S has withdrawn nearly $2 million already in a United Nations controlled fund for elections. Donor governments, as well as the Haitian state, had contributed to the fund. Prior to the US move, $8.2 million remained for elections.

The pulling of funds indicates the growing displeasure with Haitian authorities’ decision to rerun last year’s presidential elections.

Haitian doctor discusses ongoing strike with John Carroll M.D.

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By John Carroll M.D., Peoria Journal Star, July 4, 2016

I had the opportunity to sit down with a young Haitian resident physician yesterday. He is one of 450 Haitian resident physicians who have been on strike since March 18.  This physician strike has closed down Haiti’s three main public hospitals: General Hospital (University Hospital-HUEH) and Hopital Universitaire de la Paix (HUP) in Port-au-Prince, and Hopital Justinien in Cap Haitien. It is the longest physician strike in Haiti’s recent history.

I told him I would not name him and I would refer to him as RP (Resident Physician).

Why Canadians should care about repression in Mexico

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By Harsha Walia, teleSUR, June 28, 2016

President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Enrique Peña Nieto will meet for their “Three Amigos” Summit Tuesday amid escalating political violence against teachers in Oaxaca.

Teachers in the dissident CNTE union protesting education reform are part of broader movements opposing the tentacles of World Bank-backed neoliberal privatization of the energy, health, telecommunications, education, agrarian and fiscal sectors in Mexico.

Last week’s massacre against teachers led by militarized federal forces—who receive funding from the U.S.’s Merida Initiative—resulted in nine murders and mass arrests. Two years ago, the disappearances of 43 students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College of Ayotzinapa after being attacked by police and gunmen shook the international community. Across the country, families search for their loved ones with over 27,000 forced disappearances. According to the national statistics institute, on average seven women are killed every day and 63 percent of women face gender violence.

The violations of human rights across Mexico under Peña Nieto, however, are not simply an issue for Canadians to be concerned with “over there.” Mexico has been a laboratory for the neoliberal Washington Consensus since the 1980s, and the violence occurring in Mexico is also connected to Canadian policies.