News and opinions on situation in Haiti
THIS is what democracy looks like |Election in Haiti: Interviews on the stree |China punished Haiti by supporting the Coup at the UN Security Council because of diplomatic relations with Taiwan:threatening Preval’s gov.
Date: 1 May 2006
– Election in Haiti: Interviews on the street by Lynn Duff |San Francisco Bay View, April 26, 2006
– China Punished Haiti by supporting the coup at the UN Security Council because of Haiti’s diplomatic relations with Taiwan: Now with another sovereign Haitian President, China Pressures Preval to exclude Taiwan Premier from attending Preval’s inauguration
– Taiwan premier barred from Haiti event |1 May, 2006, AM Doha Time
– Premier lambastes China for blocking his trip to Haiti
ELECTIONS IN PALESTINE & HAITI This Is What Democracy Looks Like! by Nirit Ben-Ari
World War 4 Report www.ww4report.com/node/1900
On February 7 and January 25, Haitians and Palestinians (respectively) went to the polls. Haiti is an independent republic since 1804, and one of the founding members of the United Nations. “Palestine” is a territory that has been occupied by the Turks, then the British, and now the Israelis. It’s not an independent country and not a member in the United Nations. Despite these apparent differences, Haitians and Palestinians share much in common—in particular, their belief in the democratic process. Sadly, their ways of practicing democracy also share something in common; the disdain of most of the “civilized” world.
The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are to this day under Israeli military control. Despite the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, Israel still maintains control over its borders, the flow of goods in and out of the Strip, and occasionally carries out military operations, including extra-judicial assassinations, deep inside the territory. Similarly, in the West Bank, the Palestine Authority (PA) does not have control (or has very minimal control) over borders, movement of Palestinians, or trade. Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza are essentially living in huge prisons, where their movement, their economic activity, and their police force, are mostly under the control of a foreign army.
Despite this reality, the world has told the Palestinians that they must practice democracy. Based on Bush’s “road map” from June 2002, Palestinians were asked to put in place a democratic system, consisting on democratic institutions and periodic elections, to receive the support of the so-called “world.” Which is exactly what they did. The first democratic elections after Arafat’s death took place in January 2005, and were observed by the Carter Center and declared free and fair. Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen by his honorific title) won as president with 62% of the vote.
In the most recent election in January 2006, Palestinians took their despair to the polls. Frustrated with the “security” fence that imprisons them and blocks them from accessing their lands, and with the PA’s corrupted regime which cooperates with Israel, they voted the old ruling party, Fatah, out of office. Hamas won about 45% of the popular vote, which gave them a majority of parliament because of electoral rules. Why Hamas’ As Israel’s military assaults and policing have destroyed all services since 2002, Hamas has filled in the gaps everywhere, setting up and running schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues. “Approximately 90 percent of [Hamas’] work is in social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities,” writes Israeli scholar Reuven Paz. But Hamas is better known for its hard-line military tactics, which have included attacks against Israeli citizens within Israel-proper.
The world watched in dismay as Palestinians counted their ballots. It was only few days after the results were made known that international voices were heard: Hamas is not a legitimate government. In fact, Hamas’ election is Israel’s wet dream. It makes it much easier for Israel to say there is no one to talk to, since Hamas refuses to negotiate. It allows Israel to act unilaterally without anyone complaining.
The Palestinians were told, yet again, democracy is good, as long as you vote for whomever we want you to vote for.
So, what does the state of democracy in the OPT has to do with the above-mentioned Caribbean nation’
Indeed, there is more in common that meets the eye.
Although Haiti has been an independent republic since 1804, it is today the poorest country in the western hemisphere. There are no checkpoints or security fences on Haitian land, and no direct foreign control over the flow of goods in and out of the country. Do Haitians have control over their country’
Consider Haitian rice and poultry production. On condition of restoring President Aristide back to power in 1994, Washington had imposed a neo-liberal economic reform, in which Haitian farmers were denied tariff protection and were hence “free” to compete with U.S. agribusiness—which receives 40% of its profit from government subsidies. As a consequence, cheap American rice and poultry has flooded Haitian markets. By 1998, the chicken industry was virtually shut down, and 10,000 jobs were lost.
This is what Haitian “sovereignty” looks like.
But Haitians have been told by the world that it will only get better if they hold free democratic elections. Which is exactly what they did.
The first free elections in Haiti had taken place only in 1989. After 30 years under the dictatorship of “Papa Doc” Duvalier and his son “Baby Doc,” and few more years under a military junta, Haitians took to the polls in a show of democracy that was as rare in non-western countries as in western. The winning candidate, with 67% of the vote, was the populist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was backed by a vigorous grassroots movement, the Lavalas (”flood” in Creole). Only seven months later, Aristide and his government were overthrown in a coup d’etat that brought to power a murderous, illegal military regime. After three years of terror, the world—that is, the U.S.—intervened, and restored Aristide to power; however, only on condition that his government adopt the neo-liberal economic regime that was designated to it by Washington. A second condition was that after the end of his term (Aristide had seven months left in his term at the time of the coup) he would not run again.
The following elections in Haiti took place in 1996. With Aristide barred from running for office again, his protégé Rene Preval (Ti Rene) won with 64% of the vote.
The following elections took place in 2000. Aristide was back, and his Fanmi Lavalas won 91.81% of the vote. This time, it took Washington four years to organize a coup. In March 2004, the Marine corps invaded Haiti, put Aristide on an airplane, and dispatched him to the Central African Republic. He later sought exile in South Africa.
The country spiraled into chaos. Despite the fact that the income per capita of this country is less then one dollar a day, the Inter-American Bank withheld its loans for Haiti following Aristide’s forced exile. The reason’ Haiti needs to hold democratic elections. But this is exactly what Haiti had done! The problem was, they had not chosen the right candidate.
The story of Haiti is of unending tragedy. What used to be one of the richest colonies in the world (providing a source of a good part of France’s wealth), is today one of the poorest countries in the world, with 80% living in abject poverty. American support of Duvalier’s dictatorial regime and the military juntas who came after him, as well as the imposition of neo-liberal economic adjustments, have generated endemic instability and political violence. And yet in the American mind, “hopeless,” “backward,” “savage” Haiti is in need of more American help.
On February 7, 2006, Haitians showed the world what a real democracy looks like. People trekked for days by foot in order to reach the polls. Some slept outside the polls for days before the elections. Many others stood in long lines under the fierce sun for hours before practicing their democratic right. And when finally—after much delay and attempts to circumvent and steal the elections—the results were known that Ti Rene was chosen, they danced in joy in the streets. So, what do “democracy” and “sovereignty” mean for Haiti and Palestine’
To put it bluntly, nothing. “Democracy is good as long as you choose who we want you to choose” is the message that both Haitians and Palestinians are getting from the world. If it is the wrong candidate, then bye-bye democracy, hello dictatorship, repression, and violence. You play by our rules, or get a hammer on the head. Ironically, Americans can learn the meaning of democracy from Haitians and Palestinians. When was the last time that in the United States Election Day was a day of celebrating democracy’ According to the latest estimates, 46% of Americans don’t even vote. And most days of the year, most Americans think that shopping is a democratic duty. The days when Tocqueville was touring this country, impressed by the rich activities of the American civil society, are long gone. Americans don’t vote, don’t know in what electoral precinct they live in, who are their representatives, and what are their democratic rights.
Haitians, despite abject poverty, the world’s neglect, and the imperial aggression of their powerful neighbor, were able to overthrow a dictatorship, vote into office a truly grassroots party of their own making, and a candidate of their own choice. Against all odds, and despite the world’s disdain toward them, they have persistently continued to believe in democracy, powerfully showcased on February 7. Palestinians, despite almost 40 years of direct foreign occupation, insist on practicing their democratic rights and go to the polls—that is, if they can actually reach them—and protest with their ballots.
THIS is what democracy looks like.
Election in Haiti: Interviews on the street by Lynn Duff
San Francisco Bay View www.sfbayview.com/042606/electioninhaiti042606.shtml
April 26, 2006
Few Haitians went to the polls April 21 for the second round of parliamentary voting, which was to have determined the winner for 30 Senate seats and 97 seats in the House of Deputies. Bay View reporter Lyn Duff spoke with Haitians about whether or not they voted and why.
Denis, 22, unemployed: I don’t know anyone who voted in the elections this week. What’s the point’ None of our candidates, from the Lavalas party, were allowed to register and we have already voted for our man, René Préval. What’s the point of voting for a deputy or senator who isn’t even from your party’
Charlotte, 61, preschool teacher: During the last election, they stuffed the ballot boxes with blank ballots and they threw our votes in the garbage piles. At the last minute, the CEP allowed candidates who weren’t even on the ballot Feb. 7 to be added. Of course, these were not our candidates from Lavalas or Lespwa; they were the candidates of the RNDP, KID or Respé. This was illegal to put them on the ballot for a runoff election when they weren’t even in the first election, but does the U.N. complain’ No, of course not!
Jérôme, 19, high school student: I was not able to vote because I was not registered. I tried for a long time to register. I was sent to five different places, and I waited in line. They told me I had to have a birth certificate, so I got one. Then they said I needed a letter from my school before I could register to vote; but this was not true! I got the letter anyway, but it was never enough, and I never got my voter registration card.
Maryse, 35, market woman: I didn’t vote because none of the people (running) in the election have respect for the people from the popular areas.
Éric, 49, electrician: My wife and I talked about it and decided not to vote. It was a waste of time. Maybe the CEP did not get away with rigging the vote last time, but we figured they would be able to this time, as a concession. Besides, we support Lavalas, and the Lavalas candidates were not on the ballot.
Sylvie, 23, laundress: I did not vote because I had to work, and my boss did not let me leave to vote. I would not have been able to vote anyway because I was never able to register. I tried to, but I didn’t have the proper paperwork and then the voter registration office lost my dossier.
Georges, 30, unemployed welder: Sure I voted – I didn’t have anything else to do. There were so few people voting that you would have thought the lines would not be as bad as they were during the presidential elections, but man, they were awful. I waited two hours. But then when it was time to cast my vote, I was stuck. None of the choices were good choices; all of these men that I was given the option of choosing from were all from the bourgeoisie, and they don’t give a shit about the high cost of living. It was like choosing between a long drought or heavy flooding: both will destroy the crops.
Lyn Duff, LynDuff@aol.com, is a reporter currently based in Port-au-Prince. She first traveled to Haiti in 1995 to help establish a children’s radio station and has since covered Haiti extensively for the Bay View, Pacifica Radio’s Flashpoints, heard on KPFA 94.1 FM weekdays at 5 p.m., and other local and national media.
Taiwan premier barred from Haiti event Published: Monday, 1 May, 2006, AM Doha Time
TAIPEI: Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang yesterday blasted China’s barring from attending Haitian President-elect Rene Preval’s inauguration, saying it proved that Beijing’s pledges to mend ties with Taipei were false.
‘Just last month, Chinese President Hu Jintao was saying that China would give Taiwan some international space. Now we can see that China is using every chance to suppress Taiwan’s international activities and its promises are empty cheques,’ Su told reporters.
Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that Haiti had told Taiwan that Su could not attend the May 14 inauguration of Preval as envoy of President Chen Shui-bian due to China’s pressure.
China had asked Haiti not to invite Su because that would cause China to veto extending the mandate of the UN peace-keeping force in Haiti at the UN Security Council’s session in August.
Taiwan has agreed to send a low-level delegation to Haiti, but protested China’s ‘suppressing Taiwan’s international space’, a term meaning China’s barring Taiwan leaders from visiting foreign countries or attending international events.
According to the original schedule, Su would leave on May 12 to attend Preval’s inauguration on May 14, and visit Belize and Saint Kitts and Nevis – which are also Taiwan’s diplomatic allies – on the same trip.
China and Taiwan split after the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949. Currently only 25 small nations recognise Taiwan, formally called the Republic of China. Two of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies – the Vatican and the Solomon Islands – recently said they are mulling switching diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing, but Taipei claimed that ties with these both countries are stable.
Last month Chinese President Hu Jintao assured a Taiwan opposition camp’s delegation in Beijing that China was keen to seek peace in the Taiwan Strait and would allow Taiwan adequate international space under the ‘one China’ principle.
Premier lambastes China for blocking his trip to Haiti
2006/5/1 The China Post staff
Premier Su Tseng-chang yesterday lambasted China for blocking his Haiti trip, saying Beijing’s promises to give Taiwan more diplomatic space were a “bounced check”.
Su was originally scheduled to visit Haiti to attend the May 14 inauguration of President-elect Rene Preval but pressure from Beijing forced Preval to ask Taiwan to send a lower-level official, a government statement said.
“Chinese national chairman Hu Jintao’s promises to give Taiwan international space have proved to be a fundamentally a bounced check in less than a month,” Su said, referring to promises made by Hu to opposition Kuomintang (KMT) honorary chairman Lien Chan during an April meeting.
It was the first time for one of Taiwan’s allies to directly reject a visit from a Taiwanese leader. The move also comes amid doubts that Washington will allow President Chen Shui-bian to make a transit stop on the U.S. east coast during his state tour of Latin America.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said in a statement on Saturday night that China had “intimidated” Haiti — an ally of Taiwan’s for over half a century — with a threat to vote against a United Nations plan to continue a peace keeping mission in the Caribbean country. Beijing is a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and can veto the council’s decision.
Bowing to pressure from Beijing, Preval asked Taiwan to send a lower level official to the inauguration, the statement said.
“China is viciously suppressing us mercilessly and irrationally,” foreign affairs spokesman Michel Lu said.
MOFA officials said they would select a suitable person to replace Su but added they still had not decided who it would be.
In his message, Preval also gave his assurance that during his tenure, Haiti will maintain its diplomatic ties with Taiwan. Haiti is among 25 countries that maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan instead of China.
Chen is leaving for Latin America this Wednesday, but the U.S. still has not responded to Taiwan’s request for Chen to make a transit stopover on the U.S. east coast , officials said.
Previously Chen has been able to make stopovers in key U.S. towns during state tours.
Unnamed officials were quoted in local media as saying these setbacks were related to Chen’s decision to scrap a government council devoted to managing reunification with the mainland in February, a move that angered Washington. The U.S. side had not directly said its slowness in responding to Taiwan’s request was related to the move but “particularly after a summit between Hu and President George Bush, the Taiwan-China-U.S. relationship has altered subtly,” one official was quoted by local media as saying.
The officials said Taipei will still push for Chen to stopover on U.S. east coast but as the U.S. still has not given Taipei a response, the likelihood is slim.
Beijing was given the China seat at the UN in 1972 and since then Taiwan has been barred from joining the international body.
Taipei and Beijing have been bitter rivals since their split in 1949 and have long engaged in a diplomatic tug of-war, trying to woo allies away from each other with generous economic and financial aid.
The UN force in Haiti has some 6,000 blue-helmeted troops. Its international police component was boosted to 2,000 officers for the February 7 presidential and legislative elections.
The stabilization mission was deployed after president Jean Bertrand Aristide fled on February 29, 2004 as the country plunged into chaos.
With only 5,000 ill equipped officers, Haiti’s police force is struggling to maintain order in the impoverished and often violent country of 8.5 million.
Join HLLN’S MEDIA Campaign to expose the corrupt role of the UN, US, Canada, OAS, France, this international community’s (the “International Community”) culpable role in keeping in office, over the OBJECTIONS of the majority of Haiti’s peoples, at home and abroad, for more than TWO years now, and training and paying a puppet Haitian government with no popular mandate and massive human rights abuses and political repression. Stop UN, US, OAS, Canada, France’s hypocrisy. Their authorities are the ones holding the political prisoners in Haiti. They are coup d’etat countries with the UN as their proxy militarizing Haiti and fleecing it dry with their IMF/World Bank debts and foreign “free trade” multinationals exploiting Haiti’s access to the Windward Passage (Mole St Nicholas); oil (in La Gonave); uranium, iridium and goldmines in the Northeast, gas reserves Near Aquin and our State companies, ports and plentiful and cheap labor force. They are the RESPONDIAT SUPERIORS, not the puppet Latortue government or its corrupt and paid-off judges. Write to media urging them not to let the International Community pass the blame to their very employees – the Latortue death regime and its corrupt justice system. Demand that the mainstream media stop being false witnesses and turning a blind eye to the truth in Haiti: to the WHO holds the keys locking the political prisoners behind bars. It’s this INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY with UN soldiers as henchmen, wielding its defacto protectorate in Haiti, with Latortue regime, its foreign-trained Haitian technocrats as its proxy and “black face” in Haiti
Demand that these coup d’etat implementers, FREE the people before giving back the reigns of government illegally held by the international community’s employees in Haiti. Demand that all contracts entered into under the illegal US regime’s reign must go to a national referendum placed before the people of Haiti and no backdoor structural adjustment economic plan be foisted on the people of Haiti, either through the outgoing coup d’etat regime, the contracts its illegally signed or through US/Euro false benevolence such as “debt forgiveness.” https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00015.html
– 3 Sample Letters for HLLN’s media campaign to protect the Feb 7th mandate, release political prisoners, release Haiti’s children from prison immediately https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00002.html
– HLLN’s Urgent Action Request to the UN/US/France/Canada – RELEASE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS before ceding Haiti back to a duly elected President and government! https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00001.html
Turning Haiti into a Penal Colony: The Systemic Criminalization of Young Black Males in Haiti by Haiti’s US-imposed Miami government parallels US habit of criminalizing Blacks in the US| Haitian Perspectives by Marguerite Laurent, November 3, 2005 www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/damocles.html
See, Urgent Media Alert: Media Disinformation Campaign Against Haiti by New York Times, LA Times, Miami Herald, Associated Press, – the mainstream media – EMBOLDENS the Washington Chimères and Haiti Democracy Project’s coup d’etat plans against Haiti even before Presitent-elect Renè Preval takes office! www.winterludes.net/forum/viewtopic.php’p=14278#14278
HLLN’s Media Letter Writing Campaign: Stop Mainstream Media libelously railroading President Preval and the people of Haiti – Keep writing, denouncing these false accusations. https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-02/msg00027.html
Letter to the New York Times from Hazel Ross-Robinson office https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-02/msg00028.html
Why we cannot forget the past by Harry Comeau, A letter to Washington, Ottowa, Paris and the international media from a Haitian man https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-03/msg00000.html
Letter’s to the Media – It’s the INTERNATIONAL EFFORT that has brought Haiti where it stands today. Stop these international LIES about Haiti, stop stealing and calling it “helping Haiti!” | Pouki sa lapres lang long fin dechennen kont pep Ayisyen an’ | Plans to make Haiti a penal colony and officially placed under UN Protectorate proceeds. https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-03/msg00002.html
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ANSWER THE CALL and support the current 2006 8-point Haiti Resolution
FREE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS: Sample letters for HLLN’S Media Campaign to Free Haitian children in prisons, Free the political prisoners, Protect the Feb. 7th vote| https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00002.html
Men Anpil Chay Pa Lou! – Many Hands Make Light a Heavy Load!
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