Recent Feature Articles

By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Jan. 5, 2016

UPDATE 1/6/2017: The federal indictment against Philippe has been unsealed. It is available here

Guy Philippe, a paramilitary coup leader and DEA most-wanted fugitive who was elected to Haiti’s Senate late last year, was arrested on Thursday, just days before he would have been sworn into office and obtained immunity. Philippe has been wanted under a sealed drug indictment in the United States for years, but previous attempts at arresting him failed. Last year, the DEA confirmed to me that they maintained “apprehension authority” for Philippe, but would not confirm if any active efforts were underway to do so. He will now be extradited to the United States to face charges, though no indictment has been unsealed as of Thursday night.

By Jacqueline Charles & Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, Jan. 5, 2017

Former Haiti coup leader Guy Philippe, who has been wanted for more than a decade on drug charges in the United States, was arrested Thursday in Haiti and federal agents were bringing him to Miami.

Philippe, 48, was arrested after he left a Haitian radio station, local media reported. Police fired several shots during the 10 minutes it took to take him into custody outside Scoop FM in Petionville. Late Thursday, he was transferred to the custody of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.

By Catherine Charlemagne, Haiti Liberté, Dec. 28, 2016

After polls closed on the evening of Nov. 20, 2016, all the actors involved in Haiti’s presidential and legislative elections that day profusely complimented the authorities who organized them. Later, however, some of the candidates began contesting results that were not favorable to them.

In any case, after all the praises sung for the government and the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and the doubt that arose a few days later, we decided to take a closer look at why so few Haitians actually took part in the vote or were even interested in these elections.

It is not enough to simply trumpet that elections were conducted well and didn’t have massive fraud and irregularities for a polling to be representative. What gives full weight and legitimacy to any election is the electorate’s turnout. In these general elections, the CEP had assessed the Haitian electorate at about 6.2 million potential voters. Unfortunately, Haitian electoral law does not provide for a threshold of participation for an election to be validated or canceled.

By Catherine Charlemagne, Haiti Liberté, Dec. 21, 2016

It is an unmistakable sign. Long before the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and the Haitian government gave their assessment of the Nov. 20, 2016 presidential and legislative elections, all electoral observation organizations (both Haitian and foreign) had made it clear that they felt everything had gone well.

These organizations felt that the electoral results proclaimed by the CEP also reflected the atmosphere that day. These institutions are generally very cautious about recognizing the good conduct of an election in Haiti, especially the results.

Virtually all civil society organizations clearly dubbed the election a success and congratulated the CEP for its achievement. For the Oct. 25, 2015 elections, many had deemed the voting to be acceptable, if tainted by irregularities, but others withheld their assessment,  an attitude that foreshadowed the eel under the rock. We know what happened next. The elections were deemed fraudulent.

By Andrew Kennedy & Tracy Kijewski-Correa , Weather Underground, Dec. 16, 2016

This post is by Dr. Andrew Kennedy and Dr. Tracy Kijewski-Correa, associate professors in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. From November 17 to 25, a reconnaissance team led by Kijewski-Correa visited the most-affected regions and evaluated Matthew’s effects on buildings, infrastructure, and the people of Haiti. Below, Dr. Kennedy and Dr. Kijewski-Correa give us a preliminary account of their trip, which took them to areas seen by relatively few outside observers since the hurricane. 

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall near the town of Les Anglais, Haiti, as a strong Category 4 storm with estimated sustained winds of 145 mph (65 m/s) (Fig. 1). The landfall region in the western Tiburon Peninsula, more than 150 miles west of the capital of Port-au-Prince, sustained extreme damage to buildings and vegetation. The Haitian government reported 546 fatalities from Matthew, while other sources reported at least 1600 unconfirmed deaths. Rainfall in the peninsula was extreme, estimated by NASA to be 10-20 inches over the course of the storm.

By Pierre LaBossiere & Margaret Prescod, CounterPunch, Dec. 9, 2016

Lead Up to Election Day

Friday, November 18th was the last day of campaigning for Haiti’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections which were to be held on Sunday, November 20th.  On Friday we visited Delmas 2 where we met with activists on the ground including women and men.  Preparations were underway for the get-out-the vote campaign.  In Delmas 2 there were banners and other materials for the Lavalas Presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse.  Several people expressed to us the widespread concern that the election maybe stolen, nevertheless the people we spoke to felt it was nevertheless important to vote.

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Dec. 7, 2016

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who will step down at the end of this month, made his most explicit apology yet for the UN’s role and responsibility in Haiti’s cholera epidemic, the world’s worst.

However, in his ballyhooed Dec. 1 address to the UN General Assembly, Ban stopped short of admitting that UN soldiers militarily occupying Haiti since 2004 introduced the deadly bacterial disease into the country in 2010.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologize to the Haitian people,” Ban said in the nugget of his long speech in French, English, and Kreyòl. “We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role.”

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, whose scathing report last August put Ban on the hot seat, rightly dubbed it a “half-apology.”

“He apologizes that the UN has not done more to eradicate cholera, but not for causing the disease in the first place," Alston told the Guardian.

By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Dec. 6, 2016

More than two weeks after Haitians went to the polls to elect a new president, 16 Senators and 25 Deputies, preliminary results from all races have finally been released. Presidential results have already been contested by the second, third and fourth place finishers while many legislative races will likely be contested as well. However, if the preliminary results are upheld, the November 20 elections will have consolidated nearly unprecedented political power in the hands of PHTK, the party of former president Michel Martelly. While PHTK and its allies appear to have scored electoral victories at both the presidential and legislative level, their political success has occurred in a context of extremely low turnout, raising questions about the significance of their mandate to govern moving forward.

By Sean Jacobs, The Guardian, Nov. 30, 2016

If Africa is a country, then Fidel Castro is one of our national heroes. This may come as a surprise to many oblivious of Africa’s postcolonial history and Castro’s role in it – especially the fate of white regimes and former Portuguese colonies in southern Africa.

In the west, Castro’s legacy is usually dismissed as an authoritarian, and Cuba as a one-party state with few freedoms. Despite the many achievements of Cuba under Castro (high quality public healthcare, as well as life expectancy, child immunisation and literacy systems parallel to those of first-world nations, and even surpassing the US), at various times the country became renowned for economic crisis, media repression, exiling and imprisoning dissidents, and discriminating against gays and people with AIDS.

Those things were a betrayal of the revolution, and it is important to acknowledge that. But history has absolved Castro when it comes to Cuba’s foreign policy, especially its Africa policy.

by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Nov. 30, 2016

The largest and most important percentage to emerge from Haiti’s Nov. 20, 2016 election is that 78.31% of the country’s 6.2 million eligible voters did not vote.

Some could not obtain their National Identification Card (CIN) or find their name on the long voter lists posted on the gates of huge voting centers. Others could not get to their assigned center because they live or work too far away, perhaps in another part of the country. In fact, the whole “voting center” system, which is different from that used in the 1990s when participation was much higher, has objectively suppressed the votes of many poor, itinerant Haitians.