Recent Feature Articles

By Nikolas Barry-Shaw, Boston Haitian Reporter, Jan. 20, 2016

As this Sunday’s elections approach, Haiti is in the throes of a full-blown political crisis. Many Haitians are in open revolt against the electoral process, while the credibility of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) is in shambles and the legitimacy of the new parliament is in doubt. Second-place presidential candidate Jude Célestin has refused to campaign and is boycotting the runoff vote set for January 24, leaving government-backed candidate Jovenel Moise without an opponent going into the second round. The Martelly government and the CEP, however, have declared that the final round of elections will go forward, with or without Célestin.

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, Jan. 18, 2016

As the Haitian Senate prepared to induct its newest lawmakers last week, outgoing Senate President Andris Riché couldn’t help but notice a disturbing trend inside the chamber’s wooden walls.

Not one female sat among the 14 newly elected black-suited senators or among the 10 existing ones.

“Despite all of the years of existence of our nation,” Riché said, “we are incapable of electing women in the Senate. We will be 30 guys deciding on the future of this country, while 53 percent of the population are women and they assume all of the economic responsibilities.”

by Yves Pierre-Louis & Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Jan. 20, 2016

According to Haiti’s Constitution, President Michel Martelly should pass power to his successor on Feb. 7, 2016. However, due to his foot-dragging in holding elections during his five years in power and widespread fraud in the first two rounds of on-going elections, Haiti is in a full-blown political crisis, and the scheduled Feb. 7 transfer of power from one president to the next is not going to be smooth, peaceful, or democratic.

What will happen next is anybody’s guess, but, at this writing (Jan. 19), there are two likely scenarios.

By Beverly Bell, Other Worlds, Jan. 13, 2016

Yesterday, January 12, on the sixth anniversary of the 7.0 earthquake, Haitians mourned the countless lives lost. Among the many aftershocks they face is disaster capitalism, in which the Haitian elite and foreign corporations - backed by the US  government, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank - are grabbing lands for extraction and mega-development projects. Ricot Jean-Pierre, social worker and program director of the Platform to Advocate Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA), tells how inequitable control of land has devastated the vast majority throughout Haitian history, from enslavement to today.

By Counterpoint Radio, Jan. 4, 2016

Kim Ives, journalist and co-founder of the weekly newspaper Haiti Liberté, discusses the "slow-motion electoral coup d'état" in Haiti with Counterpoint radio. 

By Christopher Woolf, Public Radio International (PRI), Jan. 12, 2016

In the immediate aftermath, the world rallied and pledged enormous amounts of assistance and development aid. But in Haiti today there is anger about the promises that have fallen short. The UN estimates that about $10 billion was pledged, and about half of that has been spent.

Much was well-spent, especially in the beginning, according to Brian Concannon, executive director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti. Concannon has worked in and for Haiti for more than 20 years.

“I think where the money worked was mostly in the emergency response,” says Concannon. “There was a lot of very good medical treatment; the rubble was cleared; there were some food programs and other things that just kept people alive. It probably saved thousands of lives; perhaps tens of thousands and was very effective. And clearing the rubble allowed the city to move forward. So that part was fairly effective.”

By Ellie Happel & Mark Schuller, The World Post, Jan. 12, 2016

The earthquake that rocked Port-au-Prince and killed hundreds of thousands of people six years ago today is often misrepresented as a principal cause of poverty in Haiti. Rather, the Goudougoudou, as the massive tremor is known to Haitians, unveiled and intensified the human suffering created by centuries of debtoccupation, grinding inequality, and state failure.

International attention to periodic, cataclysmic shocks--hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, political coups--too often overlooks the root causes of Haiti's instability. Haiti will remain unable to avoid disasters until it addresses its intractable, underlying problems, among them environmental degradation, and ineffective and corrupt government institutions.

By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, Jan. 10, 2016

As a paralyzing political crisis pushed Haiti into an uncertain phase a year ago this month, a stoic President Michel Martelly assured the Haitian people and the international community that he had no interest in governing without the checks and balances of a parliament.

“The only decree that I would take is one to organize elections,” Martelly said on the fifth anniversary of the devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake as the terms of the entire lower house and a second tier of the 30-member Senate expired because of overdue legislative elections.

Now as Haiti prepares to mark another quake anniversary, it is also preparing to welcome back a functioning Senate and lower house after 14 new Senators and 92 Deputies were elected in the much-criticized Aug. 9 and Oct. 25 elections.

By Joe Emersberger, teleSUR, Jan. 6, 2016

The now rightwing-controlled National Assembly in Venezuela will try to pass an “amnesty law” aimed at freeing politician Leopoldo Lopez and others it views as “political prisoners.” Many people are likely to rely on Amnesty International to judge if this law is something that should be applauded. That’s unfortunate because well-funded NGOs like Amnesty have shown that they are all too willing to serve Washington’s foreign policy objectives at the expense of human rights. A few days ago a statement by Amnesty essentially called on the new National Assembly to pass an amnesty law.

By Jake Johnston, teleSUR, Dec. 31, 2016

As Haitians prepared to go to the polls in 2010, 45 members of the U.S. Congress wrote to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, warning that supporting such a flawed process “will come back to haunt the international community.” Five years later, as Haiti finds itself embroiled in another electoral crisis, the lasting impact of the 2010 election is clear for all to see. Unfortunately, these powerful actors, who have interfered in Haiti’s politics throughout its brief democratic history, do not seem to have learned their lesson.