Recent Feature Articles

By The Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), April 7, 2016

Haitian-American diaspora organizations and 32 political, religious and community leaders wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry today calling on the U.S. to support an inquiry into electoral fraud during the 2015 elections in Haiti. American officials have staunchly opposed the establishment of a verification commission to examine fraud allegations, a stance which has “undermined democracy while harming the United States’ credibility in Haiti,” according to the letter.

Haiti’s electoral process has been stalled since January 22 when massive street protests forced the suspension of the vote. After singer-turned-politician Michel Martelly stepped down as president on February 7, a transitional government was put in place and a new electoral council formed, tasked with restarting the democratic process. The creation of a verification commission is currently under consideration by the interim authorities.

By Kim Ives, Jacobin Magazine, April 11, 2016

Haiti is no stranger to political crises — and it is in the midst of its most severe one in decades.

The latest upheaval, which looks set to last many months, began in January 2016, when massive demonstrations aborted the final round of patently fraudulent, US-sponsored elections. An unelected interim government stepped in to try to reestablish an elected and constitutional regime, but it’s still too early to know if the outcome will be revolutionary or a further tightening of US imperialism’s chokehold on the country.

Although Haitian progressive forces are splintered and weakened after twelve years of foreign military occupation and internal turmoil, the shifting social and economic terrain in Latin America and the United States may offer the Haitian people an opportunity for change.

By Yves Pierre-Louis & Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, April 6, 2016

After installing a new government led by Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles, Haiti’s interim president Jocelerme Privert has now passed a second hurdle: setting up another Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) on Mar. 30, 2016. This is the sixth CEP formed in the past four years.

The new CEP has as its president Léopold Berlanger, formally the representative of the National Association of Haitian Media (ANMH) and the Association of Haiti’s Independent Media (AMIH). Berlanger is also the informal representative of Haiti’s bourgeoisie and the so-called “Core Group,” the ambassadors who follow U.S. leadership in Haiti.

By Joe Sandler Clarke & Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, April 5, 2016

The United Nations uncovered serious sanitation failures in its Haiti peacekeeping mission just a month after a deadly cholera outbreak erupted in the country, killing thousands, a leaked report has revealed.

The UN has consistently refused to accept that it is responsible for compensating victims of the disaster. But the report, which was commissioned a month into the cholera crisis in November 2010, found a series of alarming problems in several UN peacekeeping bases including sewage being dumped in the open as well as a lack of toilets and soap.

The authors of the review alerted the UN leadership that the failure to dispose of sewage safely at a time when the cholera epidemic was raging “will potentially damage the reputation of the mission”.

 
Her husband was away in the fields, she said, when the truckloads of soldiers, police officers and mining security officials arrived. A half-dozen armed men swarmed into her one-room house, blocking her exit and helping themselves to the meal she had made for her children.
 
For a long time, the woman, Margarita Caal Caal, did not talk about what happened next that afternoon. None of the women in this tiny village high in the hills of eastern Guatemala did, not even to each other. But that day, Mrs. Caal said, the men who had come to evict her from land they said belonged to a Canadian mining company also took turns raping her. After that, they dragged her from her home and set it ablaze.
 
“The fear is not over,” she said recently, staring down at her hands while her daughter served coffee to visitors. “I still fear, all the time.”

by Yves Pierre-Louis & Daniel Tercier, Haiti Liberté, March 30, 2016

After over a year of de facto government headed by former Prime Minister Evans Paul and one week after the Chamber of Deputies rejected economist Fritz Alphonse Jean as Prime Minister, a new government was sworn in and installed on Mar. 28.

The new interim government is led by Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles, who received the blessing of Parliament, during an expedited session, on Thu., Mar. 24, 2016. Mr. Jean-Charles is known as a university professor and a functionary in previous Haitian administrations, but he is little known on the Haitian political scene.

As a functionary, he worked in public service for decades in almost every administration, one after another. He was secretary-general of the Prime Minister under Jean-Max Bellerive, President René Préval’s PM, and held the same post early in the government of President Michel Martelly. He was also secretary of the Cabinet under Mr. Martelly, before being appointed Minister of Planning and External Cooperation. After the Chamber of Deputies refused to accept Fritz Jean’s general policy statement, President Jocelerme Privert set is sights on Mr. Jean-Charles for Prime Minister, but the government ministers remain largely unchanged.

By Jake Johnston, Alternet, March 25, 2016

More than a month after his selection as Haiti’s provisional president, Jocelerme Privert finally has a government. His nomination for prime minister, and a 16-member cabinet, was approved by parliament in a marathon session that ended early this morning. It was a necessary first step in getting the delayed electoral process moving again, though no official date has been set. But as the political crisis drags on, international actors are increasing the pressure on the provisional government, reducing aid just as the country needs it most.

Economic growth is stagnant, and millions of Haitians are facing food shortages after a series of droughts in the countryside. With inflation well in the double digits and a local currency that has lost 20 percent of its value in the last six months, many Haitians are scrambling to survive. But, an International Monetary Fund agreement, which could provide funds necessary to stabilize the economy and exchange rate, has stalled. Furthermore, support from the European Union and other donors is contingent upon the IMF agreement, leaving Haiti even worse off.

The Following is an appeal from Mario Joseph, Managing Attorney of the BAI. 

Dear reader,

My country of Haiti has a long history of fighting for justice. We won independence and emancipation in 1804 by beating the strongest military in the world, Napoleon’s army. We threw out the Duvaliers in 1986, and resisted the 1991 and 2004 coup d’état regimes.

But it is hard for us to fight injustice created by decisions made in New York, Washington and other cities far away. We can win those fights, but we need your help. We need solidarity from allies like you who can reach the seats of power, amplify Haitian voices, use the tools of your citizenship and help finance the fight.

By Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), March 21, 2016

On Sunday, in what had increasingly become inevitable, Fritz Jean, the provisional president’s choice for prime minister, was rejected by Haiti’s chamber of deputies. Needing 60 votes to gain approval of his governmental program, only 38 voted in favor; 36 voted against, one abstained and more than a dozen stayed home. 60 votes would be an absolute majority in the Chamber, but more than 20 seats are empty, awaiting reruns of flawed elections.

Appointed by Haiti’s temporary leader, Jocelerme Privert over three weeks ago, Jean’s rejection has all but eliminated any chance that elections can be held next month. Privert, who came to office on February 14 with a mandate of 120 days, has yet to form a new government or a new electoral council.

Why was Jean’s platform rejected and where do things go from here? It’s as much about political control as it is about elections.

 
Senate candidate and former paramilitary leader Guy Philippe has threatened a “civil war” if the Privert government fails to hold elections on April 24. Efforts to restart the electoral process have been stalled by a stand-off between interim President Jocelerme Privert and pro-Martelly legislators, who insist on quick elections without a verification of the vote. Philippe’s threat to resolve Haiti’s electoral crisis through violence would seem very real, given the recent parade of militiamen sympathetic to PHTK on February 5. Despite his bellicose comments and his name appearing on the U.S. government’s Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) wanted list for drug trafficking, the international powers do not appear concerned by Philippe’s political involvement or his repeated threats of violence.