Recent Feature Articles

By Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté, June 29, 2016

A climate of terror descended on the Haitian capital last week after a spate of armed robberies, pot-shots at corporate buildings, and attacks against foreigners. In recent weeks, heavily armed commandos have carried out many assaults with the clear objective of politically destabilizing the interim government of President Jocelerme Privert.

The violence comes after several provocative public statements by partisans and allies of former President Michel Martelly’s Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK) such as former departmental delegate and Martelly representative in the Southern Department Gabriel Fortuné, , Martelly’s former de facto Prime Minister Evans Paul, Senate candidate and paramilitary leader who led “rebels” in the 2004 coup Guy Philippe, indicted-for-fraud pro-Martelly activist and Viktwa party leader Odo Lajoie, and Peasant Response party coordinator Fednel Monchery.

After Guy Philippe’s paramilitaries carried out a deadly May 16 attack on the Aux Cayes police station,  Gabriel Fortuné declared that the commandos had the wrong target. They should have attacked the National Palace, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Parliament, he said.

Evans Paul used wordplay (composer ou décomposer pour ne pas être déposé) to tell Privert to make a deal with Martelly’s allies or be deposed. Since then, the Haitian people have endured nights of terror.

Cholera in Haiti: A True-Crime Medical Thriller
 
By Crawford Kilian, The Tyee, June 22, 2016
 
In October 2010, Dr. Renaud Piarroux, a French epidemiologist, was invited by the government of Haiti to investigate the unexpected appearance of cholera in towns and villages along the Artibonite River, the country's largest. Piarroux had extensive cholera experience, notably with a serious outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The outbreak had startled everyone: cholera had never been known in Haiti before, and within days of its first known case on Oct. 14, it had infected thousands and killed scores.

Like any good epidemiologist, Piarroux knew that finding the source of an epidemic is critical -- especially in a country as poor as Haiti, which had scarcely recovered from the earthquake of January 2010 that had killed a couple hundred thousand people. (The death toll has been a subject of controversy.)

His search -- and shocking discoveries -- are at the centre of Deadly River: Cholera and Cover-Up in Post-Earthquake Haiti by Ralph R. Frerichs.

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, June 22, 2016

Haiti’s Chamber of Deputies President Cholzer Chancy and Senate Vice President Ronald Larèche had summoned Haiti’s deputies and senators for a Jun. 21, 2016 joint session, known as a National Assembly, to decide on the fate of Provisional President Jocelerme Privert, who became head of state through a political accord signed Feb. 5, 2016.

The accord says that the "mandate of the Provisional President is up to 120 days from the date of installation,” which was Feb. 14 until Jun. 14. “Where appropriate the National Assembly will take the necessary measures."

As the legislators gathered for the vote, thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the Parliament voicing their support for Privert. Ultimately, the National Assembly was not held because the parliamentarians were frightened by the anger and size of the street protests, saying their “security was not guaranteed because of demonstrators throwing rocks at the Legislative Palace.”

By The Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), June 23, 2016

Days before the June 14 end of provisional president Jocelerme Privert’s mandate, a coalition of political parties close to former president Michel Martelly formalized an alliance and began advocating for Privert’s removal. Led by former de facto prime minister under Marelly, Evans Paul, the “Entente Democratique” (ED) or “democratic agreement” as they have called themselves, have denounced the “totalitarian tendencies” of Privert and categorized the possible extension of his mandate as an illegal power grab.

Haitian parliamentarians were expected to vote earlier this week on extending or replacing Privert, who was appointed provisional president in early February after Martelly’s term ended with no elected replacement. The vote was delayed, as it has been previously.  

By Marie Laurette Numa & Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté, June 14, 2016

The Feb. 5, 2016 Accord made between then President Michel Martelly and Senate president Jocelerme Privert went into effect on Feb. 14 and was due to expire on Jun. 14, 2016.

The agreement had foreseen that "the mandate of the temporary President is up to 120 days from the date of installation. Where appropriate, the National Assembly shall take any necessary measures." In other words, a joint session of Haiti’s upper and lower houses (i.e. National Assembly) could extend the term of the president or oust him.

Already, Privert had offered his interpretation of the agreement, saying: "As long as the elections are not conducted, the Feb. 5 Accord retains all its validity." New elections are scheduled to start in October 2016 and finish in January 2017.

By Joe Emersberger, teleSUR, June 6, 2016

Despite the resurgence of the U.S.-backed right wing in Latin America, Luis Almagro’s attempt to have the OAS Democratic Charter applied against Venezuela’s government was a complete flop. The OAS bureaucracy is heavily funded and in other ways influenced by Washington and has long been used as a weapon against governments it doesn’t like. In the twenty first century, OAS member states have become independent enough to make that bureaucracy less dangerous, but it has still done considerable damage.

The role that OAS officials have played in Haiti is especially ugly. Almagro has not uttered a word of outrage against recent U.S. efforts to force Haitians to accept fraud ridden elections that the OAS helped run – quite a contrast with the way he belligerently and absurdly impugned Venezuela’s electoral process last year before legislative elections which were won by the opposition. Perhaps the most outrageous thing Almagro has ever done was demand OAS monitoring of Venezuela’s elections. It was like demanding that the Mafia supervise police.

By Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté, June 8, 2016

On Mon. Jun. 6, Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) announced an electoral schedule for the next eight months, culminating in the inauguration of a new president on Feb. 7, 2017.

Despite opposition from Washington and former President Michel Martelly’s Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK), the CEP fully recognized and implemented the findings and recommendations announced on May 30 by Haiti’s Independent Commission of Electoral Evaluation and Verification (CIEVE).

By The Lancet, June 11, 2016

Dear Mr. Ban Ki-moon,

We have greatly admired your leadership as Secretary-General of the UN. Over your 10 years heading the world's most important international organisation, you have played an exemplary part in strengthening the global health agenda—championing awareness of women's and children's health, global warming, and humanitarianism. But there is one issue that concerns us deeply.

In 2010, UN soldiers from Nepal were deployed to help after Haiti's devastating earthquake and cholera contaminated sewage was discarded from their camp into the country's major river. This triggered the largest cholera outbreak in the world, leaving more than 30 000 Haitians dead and more than 2 million affected.

6 years later a cholera epidemic still rages—14 000 new cases and 150 deaths are reported this year alone. The UN has yet to accept responsibility for introducing cholera into Haiti, despite two investigations establishing these facts.

By Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), June 7, 2016

Haiti’s electoral council announced yesterday that new first-round presidential elections would be held in October after a commission found widespread fraud and irregularities in the previous vote. The prospect of the new vote — to be held alongside dozens of parliamentary seats still up for grabs, has raised questions about how it could be funded. The previous elections — determined to be too marred by fraud and violence to count — cost upward of $100 million, with the bulk of the funding coming from international donors.

But now, donors are balking. Last week the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator Ken Merten said that if elections are redone “from scratch” than it would put U.S. assistance in jeopardy. It “could also call into question whether the U.S. will be able to continue to support financially Haiti’s electoral process,” Merten added.

Nadia Kanji interviews Nikolas Barry-Shaw, REAL News, JUne 3, 2016

Hillary Clinton's responsibility for creating the ongoing political crisis in Haiti has not received sufficient attention during the 2016 presidential campaign, says Nikolas Barry-Shaw of the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti. Clinton's involvement in Haiti began before the 2010 earthquake, and the country soon became the "centerpiece" of State Department policy under her leadership.