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Blue helmets in white uniforms: Cuba’s doctors in Haiti

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By Fernando Ravsberg, Cartos Desde Cuba, March 5, 2015

An epidemic of enormous proportions has broken out a few kilometers away from Cuba and the United States – a tragedy the UN is comparing to the Ebola outbreak in Africa. In Haiti, cholera has already caused 8,813 deaths, and as many as 725,608 people are thought to have been infected since 2010. Last year, 30 thousand new cases were reported.

Haitian leader’s power grows as scandals swirl

By Frances Robles, New York Times, March 16, 2015

With a brisk clap of his hands, Michel Martelly summed up the first steps he would take if he ever left the music business and became the president of Haiti.

“First thing, after I establish my power, which would be very strong and necessary, I would close that congress thing,” Mr. Martelly was quoted as saying in 1997, when he was still a hugely popular singer. “Out of my way.”

His words have proved prophetic. A political crisis almost four years into Mr. Martelly’s presidency gave life to the fantasy he once described: He is now running the country without the checks and balances of a parliament.

With general strikes and marches, Haitians demand government by the people

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By Charlie Hinton, San Francisco Bay Review, March 1, 2015.

The people of Haiti held a two-day general strike on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 9 and 10, as part of ongoing popular mobilizations throughout the country. They also successfully struck the week before on Feb. 2. 

Mario Joseph brings Haiti elections to Capitol Hill

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By Mario Joseph, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), March 6, 2015. 

The following is a statement from Mario Joseph, BAI Managing Attorney, during a Haiti Advocacy Working Group (HAWG) panel. The panel was part of HAWG’s “Haiti Advocacy Week,” a series of events in D.C., aimed at getting Haiti more attention on Capitol Hill.

Bonjour. Good morning. I would like to thank the Haiti Advocacy Working Group for organizing this panel and for inviting me to participate on it. I would like to thank all of you for coming, and I look forward to our discussion about politics and elections in Haiti. 

World Bank mining ruling will only bring more pain to Haiti

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By Nathalie Baptist, Latin Correspondent, March 4, 2015

In early February, in yet another blow to Haitian civil society, the World Bank refused to hear a complaint filed by the Justice Mining Collective on the revival of the mining sector in Haiti.

According to the World Bank, Haiti’s mining sector is constrained by “outdated legal framework, weak institutional capacity and widespread lack of information” about the sector among politicians and the public alike. Meanwhile, activists and community members that live in mining zones have consistently voiced complaints about the effects of mining, ranging from exploitation to environmental degradation.

The back-story of the late Oriel Jean, former security chief for Aristide

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By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, March 11, 2015

(The second of two articles) 

On Mar. 2, 2015, gunmen killed Oriel Jean, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's former security chief from 2001 to 2003, in Port-au-Prince. After misleading media reports and rumors, he was falsely accused of selling out Aristide when jailed in the U.S. for 30 months on charges of money laundering. After returning to Haiti in September 2013, he led a low-profile life running a construction company. 

Glenn Greenwald & Mark Weisbrot on Obama's sanctions on Venezuela (2 articles)

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Obama absurdly declares Venezuela a security threat

By Mark Weisbrot, Al Jazeera America, March 10, 2015. 

Yesterday the White House took a new step toward the theater of the absurd by “declaring a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by the situation in Venezuela,” as President Barack Obama put it in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner.

It remains to be seen whether anyone in the White House press corps will have the courage to ask what in the world the nation’s chief executive could mean by that. Is Venezuela financing a coming terrorist attack on U.S. territory? Planning an invasion? Building a nuclear weapon?