Recent Feature Articles

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Nov. 2, 2016

A letter from Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to interim President Jocelerme Privert suggests that the first round of do-over presidential elections as well as several legislative run-offs might not take place on Nov. 20 as currently planned.

In the Oct. 27, 2016 letter, which was obtained by the Haitian daily Le Nouvelliste, CEP chief Léopold Berlanger gives Privert’s government ten days to repair 280 voting centers, make passable the roads leading to 161 others, and provide potentially tens of thousands of voter identification cards to people who lost them due to Hurricane Matthew.

About 40 of the would-be voting centers – mostly schools – are being used to temporarily house people made homeless when Hurricane Matthew passed over the tip of Haiti’s southern peninsula on Oct. 4, devastating the geographic departments of the South, Grand-Anse, and Nippes.

By Somini Sengupta & Jonathan M. Katz, New York Times, Oct. 24, 2016

Ever since United Nations peacekeepers introduced a devastating cholera epidemic to Haiti in 2010, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has insisted that the global body is immune from legal claims. In the past few months, he has acknowledged a “moral responsibility” for the epidemic, but he has stopped short of saying sorry.

Now, with barely two months left in his term, Mr. Ban’s administration is scrambling to compensate, for the first time, those who have suffered, with a plan to give them or their communities cash payments from a proposed $400 million cholera response package. He also wants to make good on an unfulfilled promise to eradicate cholera from Haiti as the disease continues to claim lives.

But the United Nations does not have the money it needs for the proposed package, and is facing criticism that it is still avoiding legal culpability for one of the worst calamities to ever befall Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.

Roughly 9,500 Haitians have died from cholera — some researchers say the toll could be far greater — and hundreds of thousands have been sickened. The disease has surged in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

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By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Oct. 24, 2016

On October 10, less than a week after Hurricane Matthew ripped across Haiti, the United Nations launched an emergency appeal for $120 million. Ten days later, donors have failed to fill the need, contributing just over 20 percent of the funds deemed necessary. But whom is the money being raised for? What planning or coordination went in to the $120 million ask? Are donors right to be hesitant?

An analysis of UN Financial Tracking Service data shows that the vast majority of the funds raised are destined for UN agencies or large, international NGOs. Reading press releases, government statements and comments to the press, it would seem that many lessons have been learned after the devastating earthquake of 2010: the importance of coordinating with the government, of working with local institutions and organizations, of purchasing goods locally and of building long-term sustainability in to an emergency response.

But, as one Haitian government official posed it to me, “we all learned the lessons, but have we found a solution?” Based on the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) appeal, the answer is not yet.

By Milo Milford, Haiti Liberté, Oct. 25, 2016

Haiti is one of the nations most vulnerable to climate change on the planet.

This is in large measure due to recent Haitian governments not taking proactive measures to protect the environment. Enlightened members of civil society also must inform, sensitize, and make conscious the larger Haitian public about the dangers of climate change and its impact on their daily lives.

By The Stream, Al Jazeera English, Oct. 19, 2016

After another devastating natural disaster, Haiti once again needs help. With the country still trying to recover from the 2010 earthquake, Hurricane Matthew was its worst storm in half a century.  Hundreds are dead, and more than 120,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed. More than 1.4 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.

But foreign involvement in Haiti, recent and historic, has often done more harm than good. Haiti won its independence in 1804 but was forced to pay billions of dollars in "reparations" to former coloniser France through the mid-20th century. After occupying Haiti in the early 1900s, the US backed two presidential coups in 1990 and 2004, and  played a controversial role in its 2010 presidential election. Food aid to Haiti since the 1990s has hurt Haitian farmers unable to compete with subsidised US rice and corn. Post-earthquake aid from around the world was widely criticised for lining the pockets of contractors and NGOs while failing to reach those in need. A United Nations peacekeeping force brought cholera to Haiti in 2010, but only this year -- after nearly 10,000 deaths -- did the UN finally admit responsibility.

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Oct. 19, 2016

Two days after it said it would, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) finally announced on Oct. 14 Haiti’s new electoral timetable. The presidential and legislative elections that had been scheduled for Oct. 9, with run-offs on Jan. 8, will now be held on Nov. 20 and Jan. 29 respectively. The final results will be announced on Feb. 20, 2017.

Haiti had been hoping to inaugurate a newly elected president on Feb. 7, 2017, a year after one should have been inaugurated constitutionally in 2016. The new 2017 inauguration date, which will be set by President Jocelerme Privert’s interim government,  has not yet been announced.

The Oct. 9 presidential election, which was to be a redo of a fraudulent polling in 2015, had to be rescheduled due to the extensive damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, which passed directly over the cities of Les Cayes and Jérémie on Haiti’s southern peninsula on Oct. 4.

According to an internal Organization of American States report dated Oct. 11, of 157 voting centers in Haiti’s southern department, 112 (71%) were damaged and 29 (18%) were inaccessible. In the Grande-Anse department, investigators were able to visit or verify only 26 of its 106 voting centers. Of those visited, 23 were damaged, and 31 of the total were inaccessible.

By Neil MacDonald, CBC News, Oct. 21, 2016

For the record, Stéphane Dion's office says he has so far been unable to find any evidence that the Saudi military is using lethal Canadian weapons platforms to slaughter civilians. Hence, billions of dollars' worth of weaponized armoured vehicles manufactured in Ontario are flowing as planned to the Saudis, despite Dion's stern warning in April that:

"Should I become aware of credible information of violations related to this equipment, I will suspend or revoke the permits" that he had just signed. "We are watching this closely," he said, "and will continue to do so."

Asked this week how Dion's monitoring has been carried out, his press secretary, Chantal Gagnon, replied: "Several ways. On the ground, you know, we have people. An embassy in Saudi Arabia."

By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Oct. 13, 2016

Under the leadership of an interim government since February, Haiti will now wait a little longer to elect a president after Hurricane Matthew struck the island, with 130 mile-per-hour winds and up to two feet of rain last week. Elections scheduled for October 9 have been put on hold, with Haiti’s provision electoral council (CEP) expected to announce a new date on Friday. 

As the scale of the damage becomes clearer in Haiti’s rural Tiburon peninsula, where entire communities were left destroyed and under water, negotiations are ongoing in the relatively unscathed capital of Port-au-Prince, where political and economic power has long resided. Pressure is building on Haiti’s besieged interim president Jocelerme Privert to hold the elections in the coming weeks, but an internal assessment of electoral infrastructure obtained by Haiti: Relief and Reconstruction Watch reveals massive damage to voting centers throughout the hardest-hit departments.

By Elaine Reyes & Kim Ives, CCTV, Oct 11, 2016

For more on Hurricane Matthew aftermath, CCTV America’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Kim Ives, an editor at the "Haiti Liberte" which is the largest Haitian weekly newspaper, distributed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and Haiti.

By Al Jazeera, Oct. 9, 2016

Al Jazeera interviews Brian Concannon from the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). The interview is available on the Canada Haiti Action Network's Facebook page

 - CHAN Editors