Recent Feature Articles

By Mark Weisbrot, The Nation, Sept. 23, 2016

Human-rights organizations are supposed to defend universal principles such as the rule of law and freedom from state repression. But when they are based in the United States and become close to the US government, they often find themselves aligned with US foreign policy. This damages their credibility and can hurt the cause of human rights.

Recent events in Latin America have highlighted this problem. On August 29, the Brazilian Senate removed the elected president, Dilma Rousseff, from office, even though the federal prosecutor assigned to her case had determined that the accounting procedures for which she was being impeached did not constitute a crime. Moreover, leaked transcripts of phone calls between political leaders of the impeachment showed that they were trying to get rid of Dilma in order to protect themselves from investigations into their own corruption.

By Dady Chery, News Junkie Post, Sept. 19, 2016

From its inception, and well before it made $10 billion of earthquake aid money disappear, Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC) was a vicious joke on Haitians. The original name, Commission Intérimaire pour la Reconstruction d’Haïti, should have been simply translated as Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti. After all, it was the commission that was temporary, not Haiti.

There was also no need to change the word reconstruction to the vague term recovery, unless one deliberately wanted to suggest the collection of something. As the I-HRC, however, the organization not only acquired Hillary Rodham Clinton’s initials but also boasted that it would scoop up Haiti’s reconstruction funds and turn the world’s first black republic into a temporary construct. If Mrs. Clinton has become a zombie and the “I” in I-HRC has faded, this could easily be interpreted as a sign of the Haitian gods’ wicked sense of humor.

By Yves Engler, Ricochet, Sept. 20, 2016

As Justin Trudeau courts the United Nations General Assembly today in a bid to secure a seat on the Security Council, don’t expect him or the media to talk about Canada’s role in Haiti.

Corporate media bias on foreign policy is more pronounced than most critics even imagine. As part of a recent fact check for my book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, I discovered my own misplaced trust searching for information about Canada’s response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

I searched Canadian Newsstand to confirm no media outlet commented on or investigated a 2011 Canadian Press report demonstrating Ottawa militarized its response to control the population. According to an internal file uncovered through an access to information request, Canadian officials worried that “political fragility has increased the risks of a popular uprising, and has fed the rumour that ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power.” The government documents also explain the importance of strengthening the Haitian authorities’ ability “to contain the risks of a popular uprising.”

The suppression of critical information regarding Canada’s role in Haiti over the past decade and a half is particularly stark.
The National Lawyers Guild, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and the Haiti Support Group released a report, entitled Democracy Discouraged: International Observers and Haiti’s 2015 Elections, today on the controversial role played by the OAS and EU observation missions during the 2015 elections. The EU pulled its observers from Haiti in June 2016 in protest over the decision to rerun the presidential elections, but the OAS will be observing the October 9 elections. Below is the Executive Summary of the report; the fulldocument (pdf) is available here.

By Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté, Sept. 14, 2016

On Thu., Sep. 8, at the port of St. Marc, 85 kilometers northwest of Port-au-Prince, a customs search of an off-loaded truck from Miami uncovered a large quantity of weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment.

The investigating judge reported seizing 159 12-gauge shotguns (nine of them double-barreled), five M4 carbines, a Glock pistol, and about 30,000 rounds of 9mm, 5.56mm, 38 caliber, and 12 gauge ammunition. Haitian authorities also impounded 15 pairs of handcuffs, 10 pairs of boots, 12 uniforms (blue pants, black shirts), five bullet-proof vests, and many ammo clips.

Haitian Secretary of State for Public Security Himmler Rébu quickly went to the scene, vowing to trace the shipment’s source, would-be recipients, and accomplices, both in Haiti and abroad. However, Mr. Rébu, a former Haitian Army colonel, is an outspoken Duvalierist and a political ally of former President Michel Martelly. The neo-Duvalierist pro-Martelly sector is the most opposed to the current government and is likely behind the arms shipment.

By Makini Brice, Reuters, Sept. 9, 2016

U.N.-led foreign funding has dried up for Haiti's fight against cholera, thought to have been introduced by Nepali peacekeepers, triggering a surge of deaths this year even as the global body vowed to help overcome the epidemic.

The lack of support is notable because Haiti was free of cholera until 2010, when U.N. peacekeepers dumped infected sewage into a river, according to investigators. Since then, more than 9,000 people have died of the disease that causes uncontrollable diarrhea and 800,000 people have fallen ill, mostly in the first two years of the outbreak.

The United Nations has not legally accepted responsibility for the outbreak. An independent panel appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a 2011 report that did not determine conclusively how the cholera was introduced to Haiti.

However, a new report by the independent U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights that will be presented to the U.N. General Assembly later this year concluded that scientific evidence "now points overwhelmingly to the responsibility of the peacekeeping mission as the source of the outbreak."

In August, Ban said the United Nations has a "moral responsibility" to help Haiti's cholera victims and their families.

By teleSUR, Sept. 12, 2016

Haitian social organizations are planning three mobilizations starting Tuesday in opposition to the possible renewal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, or MINUSTAH.

David Oxygene, leader of the Movement of Liberty, Equality of Haitians for Brotherhood, told the Haiti-based Alterpresse that they oppose any U.N. mission to the island after a report from the organization recommended Haitian authorities renew their presence for a further six months.

The popular Democratic Movement has also joined the calls against the U.N. “The cholera pandemic has been one of the biggest disasters caused by MINUSTAH, not even mentioning the rapes of minors and adults," said the group's leader Guy Numa.

By Mersiha Gadzo,, Sept. 4, 2016

Many celebrated ​Justin ​Trudeau's election, thinking the charismatic leader would turn a new page for Canada, especially for Canadian Muslims who overwhelmingly voted for the Liberals in 2015. Yet the Liberals who presented themselves as open and transparent while in opposition have proven to be anything but in government.

While in opposition, the Liberals advocated for three innocent Canadian Muslims tortured in the Middle East with CSIS complicity. One of them, Ahmad El Maati, spent more than two years languishing in Syrian and Egyptian prisons.

The 2008 Iacobucci report found that CSIS agents travelled secretly to Egypt, shared unfounded allegations that the men were al-Qaeda terrorists and provided questions to interrogators. The "confession" obtained through torture was used in Canadian courts to justify search warrants. The three men demanded an apology and filed a $100-million civil lawsuit, which the Liberals supported while in opposition.

But now that he's prime minister, Trudeau and his federal Liberals are continuing Stephen Harper's legal battle against compensation, filing an appeal against the lawsuit and requesting retroactive blanket anonymity for spies in order to protect government officials complicit in torture.

By Jake Johnston, CEPR (Center for Economic & Policy Research), Sept. 7, 2016

“The situation cannot afford Washington to sit on sidelines. They elected him and they need [sic] pressure him. He can't go unchecked,” Laura Graham, then the Chief Operating Officer of the Clinton Foundation, wrote to Bill Clinton in early 2012. Graham was referring to the increasingly erratic, and potentially dangerous, behavior of Haitian president Michel Martelly. When she said “They elected him,” she was referring to the US government, which intervened through the OAS to change the election results of the first round of Haiti, putting Martelly in to the second round. The e-mail, one of many Graham sent to Bill Clinton’s deputy chief of staff on February 26, 2012, eventually was sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aide, Cheryl Mills. The note is perhaps the clearest evidence to date that key officials, even within the Clinton camp, viewed the US intervention in the 2010 Haitian election as decisive.

Recently, a new petition was posted demanding an investigation into the murder of MOLEGHAF organizer Davidtchen Siméon, and to protect other organizers. The petition is endorsed by several organizations and unions based in Haiti. It is directed at the Minister of Justice & Public Security (MJSP), the Inspector General of the National Police (PNH), and the Office for Protection of Citizens (OPC). 

 - CHAN Editors, Sept. 5, 2016