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Four years after Haiti’s quake: What kind of Regime is the UN-US propping up and Why?
12 January 2014 March:
“4 Yrs After the Catastrophe of 12 January 2010, Nothing has Changed for the Majority of Haitian People”, Photo by Alterpresse
Four Years After the Quake: According to the UN Refugee Agency, almost half a million, of the almost 10 million Haitians, are still displaced in Haiti: 280,000 living in (official) “camps” and 200,000 living in “informal settlements” (unofficial refugee camps) or with “host families”. http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e491766
4 Years After Quake, the Displaced Criticize Govt.
(Radio Kiskeya, 12 Jan 2012) [Good photos of camp]
Four Years After the Quake: On January 11th, there was a fire in one of the camps (population 250). Four died including three girls ages 3 and 4. A 38 year old mother died, leaving behind 3 orphans. The Red Cross reportedly showed up only to collect information and offered no aide. No one from the State has offered help either. Arson cannot be ruled out. http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article15773#.UtM2pH-9KSM
According to Radio Kiskeya, some residents of the camp believe that the printer next door wanted the property and so burned down the shanties:
Refugee Camp Burned Down, 11 Jan. 2014, Photo by Alterpresse
Refugee Camp Burned Down, video by Radio Kiskeya
Four Years After the Quake: Vijaya Ramachandran and Sneha Raghavan, of a development NGO, have pointed out:
“despite the fact that a sum of money almost equivalent to the GDP of Haiti was disbursed to non-governmental organizations, for-profit contractors and other agencies, most Haitians live without a reliable supply of electricity, clean water, or paved roads. Several thousand Haitians still live in (now tattered) tents provided as part of the relief effort… it is impossible to trace how the money was spent, how many Haitians were served, and what kinds of projects succeeded or failed“. “Haiti Quake: Four Years Later, We Still Don’t Know Where the Money Has Gone“, 1/7/14, By Vijaya Ramachandran and Sneha Raghavan. http://www.cgdev.org/blog/haiti-quake-four-years-later-we-still-dont-know-where-money-has-gone
Four years after Haiti’s earthquake: What sort of regime are UN troops, and the presence of a huge US Embassy, propping up? Haitian Senator Benoit made the best summary, last September, to the US Congressional Black Caucus. We reprint it further down. For unknown reasons, like all criticisms of the Martelly-Lamothe regime it went largely ignored, outside lip service about the need to hold long-delayed elections.
Why Does the US Need This HUGE Embassy Compound for Poor Haiti, Population Less Than 10 Million? What are they Protecting? The Windward Passage? See the lovely new earthquake proof homes for Embassy Personnel across from Embassy, in a gated community, while Haitians live in tents and shanties.
As an update to Senator Benoit’s summary, we must point out that, according to Alterpresse (3 Jan. 2014), no new judge has been appointed to investigate the corruption allegations lodged against President Martelly’s wife and son, following the mysterious death of the Investigating Judge, Jean Serge Joseph, last July. http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article15726#.UtJM7Mu9KSM
The complaining party, about the alleged corruption, Enold Florestal, still remains in jail, since last August. He has aptly been characterized, by the opposition, as a Political Prisoner. Enold was reported seriously ill starting on January 5th, by another political prisoner, who was released on January 7th. http://www.radiotelevisioncaraibes.com/nouvelles/haiti/lib_ration_de_louima_louisjuste_chef_de_l_opposition_cit_soleil.html
Furthermore, there has been no follow through on the impeachment (putting on trial) of President Martelly, Prime Minister Lamothe, and the Minister of Justice for lying to the Nation and “High Treason”, regarding a meeting, which multiple witnesses say took place, between them and Judge Joseph, shortly before the judges sudden death.
How come it’s ok to impeach a US president (Clinton) for perjury related to sexual indiscretions, BUT when a Haitian President (Martelly) and Prime Minister (Lamothe) are alleged, by numerous parties, to have met with, and even threatened, a judge investigating allegations of corruption, shortly before the judge’s suspicious death, Martelly and Lamothe remain untouchable and above the law?
It’s not ok for a US President to lie about a sexual indiscretion?
But it’s ok for a Haitian President and Prime Minister to lie about a meeting with a judge who shortly after suddenly dropped dead?
Both Senate and Chamber of Deputies held inquests into the death of Judge Joseph. The Inquest Reports concluded that Martelly and Lamothe should be impeached for lying and treason! The reason is clear – there were ample witnesses for a trial to be held. The Senate approved its report. Martelly supporters seem to have blocked it in the Chamber of Deputies.
It must be added that, although former President Duvalier might be eventually tried for theft of public funds, he and his entourage are NOT being tried for crimes against humanity. If it is amazing enough to see the Duvaliers slither out from where-ever they had been hiding out since 1986, it is absolutely earth-shattering to see Jean Claude Duvalier prance around Haiti as though nothing ever happened, and the son put forward as a possible Duvalier III! The need to punish Duvalier and his entourage is something that everyone in the world used to agree with! Whatever happened?
If we had known earlier, that the same fascists, who the Allies fought in Japan during World War II, and their descendants, have remained in power up until this day in Japan, excepting around 5 years, perhaps we would not so be surprised. The US used a nuclear bomb on Japan to dislodge the fascist regime and then left them in power. All of that suffering for nothing, except a US military base! Prime Minister Abe is the grandson of at least one major war criminal, Nobusuke Kishi, who used slave labour in Japan-occupied China (among other things), which is why China is upset about his visit to the war shrine for ancestor worship.
Impunity lives on. The Impunity of Haitian elites is deadly for Haitians, and for the pocketbooks of taxpayers and donors, but the impunity of the Japanese elites and their failure to address Fukushima, risks killing off the entire world, if they are not disciplined soon.
We are still waiting for someone to tell us not only where the tax money levied on Haiti international phone calls and money transfers went, but what company put the spy-ware on the phones to enable levy of taxes (We have heard that this technology allows wire-tapping too). That’s just the business, which Haitian Prime Minister Lamothe and his tennis buddy, Patrice Baker, are in – helping countries to tax international phone calls. He alleged that it wasn’t his company but no one seems to know whose company installed it! Why is that? That’s one of the two biggest mysteries in Haiti, and one that no one is even asking, let alone answering! It’s flat-out fishy. The answer for this one appears obvious to us. Not obvious is the second mystery of Duvalier et. al. getting off the hook for their crimes.
Senator Benoit’s September 2013 Summary of the State of Haiti to US Congressional Leaders (English original):
“Honorable Senators, Congresswomen and Congressmen
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are taking the opportunity of this visit to brief you on some of the events that have brought Haiti on the verge of a major political crisis. As legislators and believers in the representation of the people through legislative bodies, it is important for us to submit this analytical paper to your attention. We thank you in anticipation for your kind attention.
Foremost, we would like to state that we are looking for ways to move ahead with Mr. Martelly toward the organization of democratic, fair, transparent elections as quickly as possible to fill hundreds of posts at the local level and in the Senate (10 seats). As legislators we would like to maintain a stable political climate and work in harmony with the executive branch to attract new investments, create new jobs, sustainability and keep the hopes of the Haitian people for a better future.
However, since he arrived in power, Mr. Martelly has shown a profound dislike for democracy, legislative Representatives, as well as for the check and balance of the powers granted to him by the constitution. Currently, municipal government is being managed by hand-picked men and women totally dedicated to Martelly. This means that all 420 municipal executive agents replacing the elected mayors whose term has expired, since 2011, are close Martelly political allies. Thousands of elected county officials have also been hand-picked by Martelly to replace those whose term had run out.
President Martelly has also done all he could to have a hand-picked electoral council he hoped could rig the votes in favor of his political friends.
The following is a summary of the citations and recitals of a resolution proposed by thirteen Haitian Congressmen to have President Michel Joseph Martelly tried by a High Court of Justice as prescribed by the Constitution of the country.
Through this, it is possible to get a good, but incomplete, view of all the violations of Haiti’s laws and constitution by the highest members of the executive branch of the country.
Among other things, President Martelly has been accused of violating article 153 of the constitution when he tried to dispose a neighbor of his private residence of his house and surrounding properties by using the equivalent of the IRS to falsely accuse the individual of not paying property taxes.
As early as October 26, 2011, President Martelly ordered or authorized the arrest of a Haitian Congressman as he stepped out of a plane following an official mission abroad, in violation of article 114.2 of the constitution and without any legal ground to act in such a way. He lied and denied that he had anything to do with it while it is well known that his collaborators are terrified by him and would never act without his approval.
Violation of article 218 of the constitution by President Martelly when he unilaterally levied two (2) taxes on international phone calls and money transfers from abroad without any law supporting that decision. No one beside President Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe have control over those funds which surpass US $200 million today. He has been trying to get Parliament to ratify his decision at posteriori …
President Martelly also violated articles 200 and 236 of Haiti’s constitution when he designated (January 24, and June 15, 2012) his wife and his 23-years old son to coordinate and manage millions of US dollars in public funds and run social and sports development programs outside of all legally-established channels. For several months, contracts were granted to companies owned by or connected with friends of the Martelly family among rumors of millions being kicked back to the wife and son (the latter is currently building a million dollar-commercial building in one of Haiti’s most expensive neighborhoods. When two Haitian lawyers filed a legal complaint against the Martellys, the District attorney and the investigating Judge received threats. Finally, the investigative Judge accused the Chief Judge of the Court of 1st Instance of taking him to a meeting with President Martelly, Prime Minister Lamothe and Minister of Justice Jean Renel Sanon. That was a clear violation of the separation of powers under Haiti’s constitution.
But things went even further as the investigative Judge stated that President Martelly addressed him disrespectfully and threatened him and summoned him to stop the investigation of his wife and son. The next day, the Judge told his associates that he would abandon the investigation and leave the country. But he was to die the day after under mysterious circumstances that remain to be explained. Both the Congress and the Senate undertook an investigation of the matter that points to violations of the separation of powers by the leaders of Haiti’s executive branch and their Minister of Justice and conclude by making them liable of a trial by the High Court of Justice.
If all of these illegal and unconstitutional decisions could take place, it is because President Martelly had also previously violated other articles of the constition when he was making the nominations of the Judges of the Cour de Cassation (equivalent of the US Supreme Court). He managed to select at least three Judges (disregarding all protests by the Senate) who did not meet the requirements and to have one of them (whom he has known since his childhood) become Chief Justice and President of the Higher Council on Justice.
Through a number of nominations of District Attorneys, Prosecutors, Judges and Justices of the Peace (by Chief Justice Anel Joseph his childhood friend), etc., President Martelly and his Minister of Justice have been able to turn the Haitian justice system into a political arm at the service of the executive branch (or the Martelly crew: he used to call himself and his close friends ‘legal bandits’ and has a song written on the topic). A very dangerous and scary development.
Two accusers of Mrs. Martelly are currently in jail under trumped-up charges, awaiting a trial that may never come … Two lawyers who were very critical of the Martellys’ ways in running the affairs of Haiti are now in hiding and one of them is forbidden to leave the country/travel abroad. No later than yesterday, one of the most critical journalists of the Martelly government has been ordered to surrender all documents pertaining to an information she had on a contested Judge in office which had been nationally disbarred for ten years by the bar associations (federation) of Haiti.
Last but not least, a close friend of the President came to port with 55 packs of marijuana on his private yatch and called the police and the District attorney to come and get them at his beach hotel. When the Prosecutor had him come to his office for questioning and later sent him to a District Attorney, the police spokesperson and even the Minister of Justice scolded him and the Minister threatened to remove him from office. Only the scandal throughout Haiti’s public opinion and press forced the Minister to back-track.
Being the first person to agree to this. His election was a controversial one as he did not win the first round but was forcefully imposed as a winner. Winning the second round against Mrs. Manigat was easier and he may have won it. Haiti’s political class let Mr. Martelly have his days for two years, despite warning signs that the man was an admirer and follower of former Presidents for Life and well-known dictators François and Jean-Claude Duvalier. Indeed President Martelly had several run-in with members of Congress and of the Senate were he clearly said he would rather run the country without a Parliament.
After two years of hide and seek first to publish the amendments of the constitution, then to form an electoral council, then to send the electoral law to Congress (he kept the document for two months at the palace), President Martelly waited for the lower Chamber to almost end its regular session before depositing the electoral law. The way things look today, there is no way the latest electoral law can be worked on by both Chambers unless the President calls Congress back into session. Last week, Mr. Martelly told a crowd that for the next two years he would ‘ … run Haiti as he saw fit to him since he is the only Chief in the country. Whatever he says will have to be done …’.
Having President Martelly run Haiti without a Congress and without holding elections, with practically all elected and public administration positions filled by his nominations, would be equal to going back to the political instability and turmoil of the years that followed President Aristide’s departure from power in 2004. A perspective of violence that Haiti is incapable of sustaining on top of all its other ills: vulnerability to earthquakes, tropical storms and hurricanes and deforestation and erosion, without mentioning lack of investments and jobs …
As responsible politicians we are counting on the understanding and support of all the hemispheric democracies to assist Haiti in ending its years of political upheavals and confrontations. We are looking forward to having good and peaceful elections, but above all an executive branch respectful of the constitution and of the laws of the land and of its opposition, of the right to demonstrate, speak out and criticize peacefully and in order, rights which thousands of Haitians have died for from 1957 to now …
Long live HAITI, longue vie a notre chere HAITI
Steven I. Benoit
Senator of the proud Republic of Haiti“. http://touthaiti.com/touthaiti-actualites/2665-discours-du-senateur-steven-benoit-devant-le-congres-americain
[Note that Parliament was called back into session and an electoral law was passed. But, an electoral law is not elections. And, an electoral law is certainly not free and fair elections.]
WHY ARE THEY PROPPING UP THIS REGIME?
There is no clear answer of what stakes are so high that the US, Canada and France would remove the democratically elected President, not once, but twice! (NB: US, Canada and France participated in the second coup; the first may have only been the USA.)
Definite: Haitian and non-Haitian companies and other elites sucking off of the largesse of the taxpayer and of donors. Whether for legitimate or illegitimate purposes there was and is money to be made!
Apparent: Haitian elites and non-Haitians sucking off of Haiti’s natural resources and cheap labour.
Like Mining (Morne Bossa Area Haiti)
And, fracking. Many exploration teams found no traditional oil, so if there is drilling for oil, as allegedly shown on a youtube video, then it would have to be fracking. There is or will probably be fracking for natural gas, as well.
Possible: If, according to a Camorra mafia informant, toxic waste from northern Italy and even nuclear sludge from Germany was dumped into shallow pits, sometimes over aquifers, and sometimes across agricultural fields in southern Italy, is it so far fetched to imagine that the same thing has been and/or is being done in Haiti?
BIGGER, TOTALLY INEXPLICABLE, MYSTERY: WHY IS DUVALIER APPARENTLY GETTING OFF THE HOOK FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND POSSIBLY FOR THEFT OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS (i.e. OTHER COUNTRY’S TAXPAYERS’ MONEY WHETHER THROUGH THEFT OF AID OR OF LOANS, VIA POST DUVALIER DEBT “CANCELLATION” …CANCELLATION MOSTLY MEANT OTHER COUNTRIES PAYING THE DEBT AND/OR DEBT SERVICE.)
THIS IS YOUR TAX MONEY AT WORK! AND, IF YOU WERE NAIVE AND GOOD-HEARTED ENOUGH TO DONATE TO HAITI, THIS IS YOUR DONATION AT WORK!
References; Additional Information:
For those who wonder if the German lucky pig, above, is appropriate in a post about Haiti, read about this famous example of German Gun-boat diplomacy in Haiti: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luders_Affair Also, read within our blog, and elsewhere, about the German Helmcke-Helmke family in Haiti, who appear to descend from a German diplomat. Although the Haitian super-elites tend to have near-eastern origins, families with German, Italian, English and even Danish roots are found among them. These families arrived from the mid 1800s to early 1900s and married into the old mulatto elites of French-African origin. Haiti is very much an Apartheid state. Few dare to say it. Nonetheless, as the Haitian proverb says: “Money lightens”. Money matters more than skin tone.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR):
“As a result of the 2011 earthquake in Haiti, almost 280,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) remain in camps and another 200,000 are living with host families or in informal settlements. Many of the IDPs in these informal settlements have been forcibly evicted from camps. This situation is likely to continue in 2014, while the precarious conditions in the existing IDP camps are bound to pose significant protection risks, particularly sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).
Several thousand IDPs in Haiti have lost their documents and face difficulties in obtaining access to services. According to the Haitian National Archives, there are approximately 2 million Haitians who are in need of documentation. Since many undocumented Haitians have left the country, there is a high risk that some of them may become stateless.” http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/page?page=49e491766
From: “2014 UNHCR regional operations profile – North America and the Caribbean”
The Jamaica Observer has pointed out that Haiti is no longer considered an imminent danger area for US military personnel. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Haiti-no-longer-among-US-imminent-danger-areas
Vijaya Ramachandran and Sneha Raghavan, of a development NGO, have pointed out:
“despite the fact that a sum of money almost equivalent to the GDP of Haiti was disbursed to non-governmental organizations, for-profit contractors and other agencies, most Haitians live without a reliable supply of electricity, clean water, or paved roads. Several thousand Haitians still live in (now tattered) tents provided as part of the relief effort… it is impossible to trace how the money was spent, how many Haitians were served, and what kinds of projects succeeded or failed.” “Haiti Quake: Four Years Later, We Still Don’t Know Where the Money Has Gone” Jan/7/14 Vijaya Ramachandran. This is a joint post with Sneha Raghavan. http://www.cgdev.org/blog/haiti-quake-four-years-later-we-still-dont-know-where-money-has-gone
Amnesty information on Haiti Camps: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR36/020/2013/en/30f0f9bb-4d24-4ee7-ad5b-cf80d2378678/amr360202013en.pdf
“Libération de Louima Louisjuste, Chef de l’opposition à Cité Soleil” 08/Jan/2014 Auteur(e) La Redaction http://www.radiotelevisioncaraibes.com/nouvelles/haiti/lib_ration_de_louima_louisjuste_chef_de_l_opposition_cit_soleil.html
“Perspectives: Haïti-Bilan 2013 : Au rythme des scandales politico-judiciaires” vendredi 3 janvier 2014 http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article15726#.UtJM7Mu9KSM
“Quatre personnes tuées dans l’incendie d’un camp de déplacés à la veille des 4 ans du séisme du 12 janvier 2010 en Haïti” samedi 11 janvier 2014 http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article15773#.UtM2pH-9KSM
“Haïti-Séisme/4 ans : Marche pacifique à la capitale” dimanche 12 janvier 2014 http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article15786#.UtN5dX-9KSM