“A Political Coup” – Interview with Youseline Augustin Bell, Cap-Haïtien


Mdm Youseline Augustin Bell is an educator, psychologist, and attorney. In 1995 together with her husband Bell Angelot they opened the College Bell Angelot in Cap-Haïtien  which presently has 1,000 K-12 students. A well known human rights activist and a member of Fanmi Lavalas, Mdm Bell successfully ran for Senator of Haiti Nord in the 2000 elections.

For the past 11 years, Fanmi Lavalas have been prevented from participating in Haiti’s elections, so it was with great hope that Augustin Bell chose once again to run for Senator of Haiti Nord. However as she explains, the legislative elections of 9th August, 2015 were marred by excessive levels of fraud and violence committed in the main, by three parties: President Martelly’s PHTK; presidential candidate, Steeve Khawly’s Bouclier party with close links to Martelly; and  Vérité* which is backed by former President René Préval  In her words, there was a ‘political coup’.

The kinds of fraud which took place were: the physical prevention of party representatives, Mandataires, from doing their job or by handing out their papers too late; the opening of voting stations for shorter than the designated time, opening late and closing early; armed men entering voting stations [in some cases accompanied by the police] leading to voters fleeing; destroying voting equipment including ballots and boxes, removing them and returning later with full boxes; physical violence including the death and injury of civilians and police. All of the above occurred across the country and in some towns only minimal, or no voting was able to take place.

Specifically the following towns in Haiti Nord all witnessed voting fraud and vandalism: Plesance, Limbe, Borgne, Port Margot, Cap-Haïtien, Dondon, Grande Riviere, L’Acul, Plaine du Nord, Saint-Raphael, Bahon, Limonade, Pigeon. MINUSTAH the UN occupying force, who supposedly are in Haiti to protect the population against violence and to act as an additional police force were conspicuously absent in Cap-Haïtien on Sunday 9th August. Augustine Bell asks why were they not patrolling the streets and or stationed outside polling booths in the same way they accompany the Haitian police during evictions, protests and even traffic duty?

Despite their absence the UN along with the OAS ,which presented a weak and clearly partisan statement, determined the election process not only a success but “was a step forward in strengthening Haitian democracy”. The CEP [Provisional Electoral Council] response was equally dismissive with its Chief, Pierre Opont, claiming there was only 4% irregularity and describing the violence and fraud as merely “a feature of elections” and “realities of the vote” in Haiti.
The truth is, this is not Haiti, and this is not what the Haitian people desire. The west including the UN have chosen to side with bandits and political gangsters. They have chosen to ignore the will of the people and their aspirations in favour of a few local elite and corporate interests and in maintaining an occupation force in Haiti.

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Sokari Ekine [SE] Fanmi Lavalas was prevented from participating in the 2006 and 2010 elections, why now?

Youseline Augustin Bell [YAB] There could be many reasons why we were prevented from participating. Jean-Bertrand Aristide [JBA] was in exile in South Africa. Now he is here with us so maybe this is why they let us participate. However anytime Lavalas participate in the elections we win. This time, although they let us participate, they know we will win, and I believe this is why they have tried to prevent us by employing gangs to commit fraud with the ballot boxes.

SE: What was the position of the US and the Haitian government on JBA returning to Haiti in April 2011

YAB: I cannot say specifically but there was a general reluctance on the part of the Haitian administration and international community on his returning to Haiti. Right up to the last minute we were not sure his plane would be able to land in Port-au-Prince.

SE: There have been extensive reports of fraud and violence by political parties and candidates. What was your personal experience with Sunday’s election?

YAB: It is the political parties of the government like PHTK, Bouclier and Vérité  that formed armed commandos who went into voting stations, stole the ballot sheets, returned them later and placed them in the ballot boxes. The armed gangs caused people to flee, and they also prevented all our Mandataire from doing their jobs. They think this is the way they will win the election. They killed people, beat them. In several parts of the north they carried out a lot of violence and though we cannot say what will happen, we can say there was no election in these places and really the whole country.

SE: You mentioned three parties, PHTK, Bouclier and Vérité. Do you think the three parties are working together.

YAB: I think they are working together. Vérité, are Martelly’s friends; PHTK is his party and both him and his wife, Mdm Martelly have close connections to Bouclier so they are the same people. They joined forces to steal the election.

SE: What will be the consequences of this fraudulent election?

YAB: Our request is to cancel the election of 9th August but the OAS have just made a statement that the election was a success. We know they are lying because there is no election. It was fraud all the way. And in some parts of the country the CEP cancelled the election so they should do the same thing for the whole country. I know because of the financial implications they may want to keep the elections, but it is a shame for us to keep this election. It is a selection, not an election.

SE: There are two possibilities in canceling the elections. First to hold new elections despite the financial implications and the CEP and OAS statements; and secondly, Martelly stays in power for a longer period which could be another year or even more, as a de facto dictator.

YAB: Some people, some citizens have asked for an interim government that can organize a new election. Because if Martelly organizes the presidential elections in October we will be the same situation that we are now facing. We will not accept the result of this election. Several parties have already asked for the total annulment of the election. There is a group of 10 parties who have come together to denounce the election including Fanmi Lavalas, Renmen Ayiti and Fusion. Pitit Dessalin has also called for the cancellation of the election, but they are not part of the group with Fanmi Lavalas. It is going to be very difficult for the government to give a result for this election on the 19th.

SE: What will be the next step for Fanmi Lavalas and other parties if the elections are not cancelled?

YAB: We will sue them, Fanmi Lavalas will sue CEP because I spent a lot of money and time and was the front candidate for the Nord region. I don’t know what the other parties will do but they may also sue. There will be manifestations on the street by the different supporters. We also know this government has the support of foreign governments like the US, France, Canada and the UN. The UN did nothing on the election day to protect people on the streets. I did not see them anywhere, so they let the gangsters enter the voting stations. The Haitian law does not permit citizens to carry arms, but we saw people with guns in the polling station and some came with the police who stood around like observers.

Altogether there are 1362 Bureau Vote [polling stations] in Nord region. I cannot say how many were affected by the fraud, but many did not open or opened late and closed early. This was the responsibility of the CEP and the fraud was not even hidden as you can see from the photos. You can see the boxes were ripped open and stuffed with fraudulent ballots.

We were ourselves stopped on our way to Limbe by civilians with guns and rocks from Vérité  and the police were with them. They did not want us to pass but after I showed my identity and with the help of the police we were able to continue our journey to Limbe. This is the first time I have seen anything like this, the whole election is a terrible experience.

SE: Why do you think the government wants to prevent Lavalas from winning.

YAB: Because if Lavalas was to win there would be a change in the power dynamics in the country with policies more supportive of the masses and also the mining contracts would not be so easily given to foreigners. We are poor and we work in the favor of the poor and they do not like or want the emergence of the poor and masses.

SE: Can you comment on the UN occupation force, MINUSTAH and their purpose in Haiti?

YAB: I have evaluated the presence of the UN they don’t do any work of value. They don’t keep the peace. In their presence, anything can happen. They hurt people, kill people, bring cholera. Maybe they come here to protect the bourgeois, I don’t know what their purpose is.

I don’t know if I am naive, but I thought with their presence the election would be better, but it was a mistake to think like that.

SE: What are your thoughts on the situation with Haitians working in the Dominican Republic and Dominicans of Haitian descent. Many have already been forced to leave due to persecution and violence by both civilians and the Dominican police and are now living in refugee camps near the border.

YAB: Yes they are being persecuted, the poor people especially. And the Haitian government does not help. The UN and CARICOM did try to help but nothing happened. In fact many of those who the Dominican Republic claim are illegal gave money to the Haitian government to provide them with birth certificates and travel documents but they never received the papers. The government took the money and did nothing for the people.

The fact is that people are being persecuted illegally and deported illegally. It is racism, and it is discrimination. There is another problem, they do not deport Haitians with money, only poor people. It is an attack on the poor and an attack against Black people. They send poor Black Dominicans to Haiti, so they simply want to get rid of all the Black people in their country.

*Updated 19th August, 2015 to reflect ongoing reports on fraud and violence.

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Guyana second most corrupt country in caribbean, edged out by haiti


ppp crime family inc.

ppp crime family inc.

Country’s corruption rating worsens
July 1, 2014 | By KNews | Filed Under News
…Haiti first, Guyana second

President Ramotar, after nearly three years as President, still cannot pronounce on the NCN report. The Marriott Hotel project still has more questions than answers.
This year, the Finance Minister has spent $4.5B without the approval of the National Assembly.
Then there was the Internal Auditor with the National Drainage and Irrigation Authority who was sent packing, because he unearthed fraud and recommended that the Chief Executive Officer, Lionel Wordsworth, be sanctioned.
These are some of the things that have contributed to the findings by Transparency International which rates Guyana as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
The Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by Transparency International for 2013 has found that Guyana has slipped lower than the previous year giving rise to a perceived increase in corruption under the Donald Ramotar Administration.
Of all the countries of the world: Out of a score of 100 Denmark and New Zealand scored the best in the world with a score 91 each.
Somalia was perceived to be the most corrupt of the 177 countries across the world that was surveyed.
In the Caribbean region Barbados is rated 15th with a score of 75 while Jamaica and Trinidad are tied at 83rd with a score of 38.
Guyana, however is tied with Bangladesh, Kenya, and Ivory Coast at 136th with a score 27. In 2012 Guyana had scored 28 points.
Guyana remains the second most corrupt country in the Caribbean according to the report, just above Haiti which scored 19.
The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be.
A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 – 100, where 0 means that a country is perceived as highly corrupt and 100 means it is perceived as very clean.
A country’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories included in the index.
According to Transparency International no country has a perfect score, and two-thirds of countries score below 50.
“This indicates a serious, worldwide corruption problem…The world urgently needs a renewed effort to crack down on money laundering, clean up political finance, pursue the return of stolen assets and build more transparent public institutions.”

Haiti: Collateral Alibis – NGO Watch 1


By Sokari Ekine @blacklooks

Last year I was alerted to the website Turning World @Turning_world by some friends here in Haiti. The site is run by photojournalist Brad Workman who has an ongoing photo documentary project in Haiti. We took issue with the language, his profitmaking approach, and the fact that there is no acknowledgement let alone giving back to those whose lives he invades under the guise of social documentary. I wrote a post on this that asked the question: Photo Journalism or Poverty Porn?

In a similar vein, many of us are now questioning the website content of the Foundation for International Development Assistance – Productive Cooperatives Haiti (FIDA-PCH), a Canadian NGO operating in Haiti which purports to have set up a number of agricultural cooperatives and literacy projects in rural areas. Below are a set of photographs  and text , defining what they, the colonial missionaries, imagine it means to be Haitian.

There are different ways to tell a story without invading peoples’ lives and assaulting their dignity. The photos chosen by Haiti’s Camp Acra residents on their blog should be a lesson on how Haitians see themselves – see here and here. In the 1805 Constitution written by the first President of the Black Republic, victorious revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines (also called JanJak Desalin), declared that to be Haitian is to be Black (Article 14). In other words, being Haitian and being African are one and the same –inseparable. The Constitutions also states freedom of worship and no religion shall dominate.

With this in mind, consider the Western colonial narrative that writes Haiti as “the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere” composed of suffering, dysfunctional victims, both pathetic and resilient at the same time, lacking autonomy, waiting desperately for “white saviors” to arrive. And so they arrive, with the bible in one hand and stale bread in the other, to live like masters on the plantation in charge of childlike natives whose savage proclivities must be held in check. In their heads, like all previous colonizers, they need justification that goes beyond the practical. In the case of FIDA-PCH, this justification can be found in their photos and text.

This is important as in order for colonialism to function—and let’s be clear, FIDA-PCH and others like them are colonizers—its targets have to be written as passive, incapable, simple and in need of salvation. This pathologizing is necessary to recruit funds and gain acceptance in the home countries of the NGOs and missions. It is also necessary to create this narrative within Haiti to enable domination and recruitment into these fundamentalists groups.

FIDA-PCH and those like them come to Haiti and view the Haitian culture as inferior, and the Haitians as uncivilized. They assume Haitians need to be taught farming and the Western way of life, which of course is not supposed to include Vodou or any African religion that survived the Middle Passage. The country which is the most African of all the Diaspora is, in one slash of the white supremacist machete, disconnected from her ancestral roots. Haiti is presented in the most insidious racist terms, as inherently barbaric, and Haitians as inherently hateful of each other.

Like most NGOs and missionaries, FIDA-PCH’s presentation has no understanding that KREYÒL along with Vodou are the Poto Mitan* (Center Post) of Haitian culture – the latter a permanent historical presence whether practiced or not. The devaluation of Vodou throughout Haiti’s history is the one constant that can be found amongst the vast majority of foreign NGOs, missions and western media that shapes the views of the many who come to “help” Haiti.

Nonetheless, it is important to note that despite all the foreign interventions, the Poto Mitan has never been colonized!  Instead of Haiti written as victims who hate sections of the population such as LGBTIQ people, Vodou writes Haiti as a continuing revolution and one where the core principle is an assumption that I am a living being and it is here that my merit lies.

There is so much violence and destructiveness in the FIDA-PCH text, photos and the actions that must stem from this mindset, and contrary to what they state, it is this which leads to the breakdown of traditions and causes much friction between groups. FIDA-PCH believes that Haitians, and therefore Black people, Africans, have no sense of community or agency.

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Colonialism, imperialism, the ongoing exploitation and genocidal legacy of AmerEuropeans is dismissed. The enslaved and exploited are the ones judged and blamed. But the truth lies elsewhere. At the beginning of the revolution in 1791, the enslaved peoples of Haiti were united in purpose, language and belief systems; overthrowing plantation slavery could not have happened otherwise.

The text accompanying the photo below is particularly vile.

screenshot343-300x181What really happened was quite the contrary.

FIDA-PCH: “She was born into a culture yet to wash its self-esteem of the stains of slavery.”

NO: Haiti “washed” itself clean of the “stains of slavery” when Dessalines led an army of formerly enslaved Africans and beat back the British, French and Spanish to form the first Black Republic – a communal act of courage and bravery referred to as “the first great social revolution in the hemisphere.”

FIDA-PCH: “She remembers that her own tribal chief sold her family into slavery.”

NO: She remember that YOUR ANCESTORS sold her into slavery, transported her chained hand and foot in the bowels of hell, and then proceeded to torture, rape and use her as a beast of burden and dog bait!

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In the above photo, the text claims “he [the Haitian] is acted upon. He turns passive. He resigns. Responsibility seems to him to belong to everybody else.” This is the exact scenario of power and control being created by NGOs, particularly those with Christian agendas and evangelical missions that seek to erase Haitian culture and demonize Vodou. These attacks   have been on the increase since 2003 when President Aristide decreed Vodou as a national religion and “an essential part of national identity.

The first proverb misrepresented on the FIDA-PCH website states, Depi nan Ginen neg pa vle we neg, which they translate as “Back in Guinee and ever since, Africans have no use for Africans.”

The correct spelling is: Depi nan Ginen nèg pa vle wè. It is clear they simply do not understand that the essence of a proverb is in its coded meaning. But we cannot simply dismiss this as an error. We must look at the intent, which is so twisted with toxic consequences. What we see is the inability to imagine that Africans/Haitians use language to express satire, irony, double meanings and a philosophical worldview and existential condition.

The correct translation is: Since Ginen, people don’t want to see people: Since coming from Guinea, the spiritual and ancestral homeland, people don’t want to see people. “Nèg” definitely does NOT stand for Africans; the Kreyol word for African is “Afriken.” The translation of “having no use” is invalid, as wè is to see. “People” and its literal meaning is “Negro,” but in Haiti “Negro” is also used for people that don’t have African ancestry. There is also ti nèg: ti means little and refers to a common person, for example a laborer or peasant;  and gwo nèg, which refers to a rich and influential member of society or a person from the elite class. Not connected to ancestry or ethnicity.

One has to understand that after Haiti’s revolution, Dessalines said that there were only two types of people: blacks, which included all people of non-African ancestry that sided with the freedom fighters against oppression and slavery, and whites, which were all those on the opposing end. This meant, for example, that Polish settlers in Haiti who defected from the colonial troops to side with Dessalines and stay in Haiti were considered as blacks. In so doing, Dessalines made all Haitians equal, and therefore of the three revolutions of the time—French, US and Haitian—Haiti was the only country to live up to the ideal of equality and of freedom. Black for Dessalines was less a racial identifier and more about consciousness and a conscious awareness of justice against the global white supremacist structure of oppression.

The second proverb FIDA-PCH misrepresents is Abitan pa janm konnen, which they translate as, “He pretends he knows nothing even when he knows.” They interpret this revisionist lie as, “a fitting statement of Haiti’s scarred history.” Again agency is removed, history is erased, identity is rendered invisible, and we are presented with a cowering Haitian hiding from their words, life, community.

The correct translation is: The peasants never know. The meaning of which is: the opinion of the poor, the common people, is never sought nor consulted. This is in stark contrast to the meaning given on the website. FIDA-PCH’s Haiti is one full of mistrust, slavish dependency and self-hate whilst they present themselves as the savior in bringing to Haiti a cooperative environment where Haitians are TAUGHT to share and work together.

FIDA-PCH completely undermines indigenous social systems such as the concept of community, helping and trusting others and family in the Lakou system of shared agricultural and living compounds, and the Konbit, a get-together in which everyone donates their labor to help accomplish a common goal for community improvement, or to help out an individual. There are many Haitian proverbs that stress community and mutual help. The often cited Men anpil chaj pa lou, Many hands lighten the load, means things are easier to accomplish when a group works together. So here again you have a proverb that is in stark contrast to the reframing of Haitian cultural identity given on the FIDA-PCH website.

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NGOs, missions and assorted visitors have had free reign in Haiti for too long. There are no visa requirements and no questions asked, no accountability to the public. Their profits are hidden and they can make whatever spurious claims about projects they run, the people they work with or have met. Agricultural projects in particular have a habit of making claims that do not exist in reality. Often they operate using questionable labour practices, in addition to forcing workers and their families to abandon their indigenous belief systems for Christianity in return for food and shelter. This culture of entitlement and ownership of Haiti’s future became entrenched following the January 2010 earthquake when NGOs and so-called humanitarian organisations felt they were beyond accountability, and fundamentalist attacks on the Haitian identity by evangelicals from the United States escalated.

Haiti, Africa and other parts of the African Diaspora are under attack from self-appointed white saviors and religious fundamentalists. The miracle is that the Haitian people have been able to survive at all. The voices of Haitians are no more than what filmmaker Raoul Peck describes in his film “Fatal Assistance” as “collateral alibis.” The outcome of 500 years of the EuroAmerican cultural tradition is one of genocide of indigenous peoples and the genocide of our minds.

We reject this in all its entirety and demand it STOP NOW!

We demand that all the photos and text on the FIDA website are removed and the proverbs replaced with the correct translations.

We are watching!

Written in collaboration with the following organizations and individuals :

Chanjem Leson,

Coalition Pour Humaniser Les Actions Aux Logements (CHAL),

Alyssa  Eisenberg @alyssa011968,

Dominique Esser @dominique_e_,

Stephanie Horton @ducorwriter,

 

* References for the Poto Mitan:

It is the centerpost around which rituals and ceremonies unfold in a Vodou temple.  It represents a great tree which reaches into the heavens, and through it’s roots, it grows deep into Africa, “Vodou Songs in Haitian Creole and English” edited by Benjamin Hebblethwaite]

Resisting  Freedom in “Invisible Powers: Vodou in Haitian Life and Culture” edited by Claudine Michel and Patrick Bellegarde-Smith.

Nigeria & Haiti: An interview with Sokari Ekine


Sokari Ekine is the co-editor along with Hakima Abbas of the “Queer African Reader” published in April 2013.

Queer African Reader

Queer African Reader

The QAR  is a collection of writings, analysis and artistic works that engage with the struggle for LGBTI liberation and inform sexual orientation and gender variance.  Published at a time of increasing draconian anti-homosexuality legislation on the continent, this is an extremely important piece of work from African Queers and allies from the continent.   Only two weeks ago Nigeria with the largest population in Africa passed the Same Sex Marriage Bill which despite it’s name has little to do with Same Sex Marriage.  The Bill punishes same sex relationships with up to 14 years in prison.  Also facing a 10 year prison sentence is anyone failing to report or supporting same sex relationships, anyone seen to be touching someone of the same sex and thereby deemed to be ‘gay’ and any organization that works on behalf of LGBT people.   For more on the Bill see here.

In her interview with the Public Archive Ms Ekine discusses the issue of aid and development in Haiti where she presently lives and also the similarities between the Same-Sex Marriage Bill and the US Patriot Act. Exerts from the interview below

In one of your “occasional musings” on Haiti on Black Looks, you point out that two criticisms of the deliverance of aid and charitable support to countries like Haiti are the introduction of inappropriate technologies without local consultation or participation and the other the long-term sustainability of projects. What have you seen in Haiti over the past couple of years in regards to both? How would you assess the implementation of foreign aid projects as we pass the four-anniversary of the earthquake?

Volumes have been written on the ineffectiveness and lack of sustainability of development aid but the issues   can be broken down according to two factors: waste and dependence.  In addition to the usual governmental and non-governmental aid agencies, there are hundreds of faith based groups and churches in Haiti. With the right connections and a few photos of starving black children, a US based charity or church can raise thousands over a weekend, employ x number of people and arrive in rural Haiti with free food, medicines, clothes and religion. I contend that we don’t know what many religious groups and other charities are really doing in Haiti. There are few regulations, no visas requirements and no monitoring of projects or churches. Every flight I have taken to or from Port-au-Prince, there has been at least one mission and some I have spoken too have been coming for years. They tell you this with pride completely unaware or maybe not, that they are contributing to a culture of dependency which keeps them in jobs and Haitians in poverty.

In many cases the technology might be appropriate but because consultation is minimal — in the sense that insufficient research takes place of local resources available, local needs and local infrastructure — projects fail or soon become unsustainable. Take for example a water purification project of considerable cost, was to provide clean water to a number of internally displaced camps and poor neighborhoods. The project organizers insisted that the water be provided free of charge, which is a laudable but not practical without considerable ongoing funding to pay for a water truck, drivers and maintenance.  I understand wanting to provide free water but even if there was funding for free delivery, how long could this be sustained? The cost would be thousands every year and we need to ask is there another way? Can this money be used to create jobs so people can become financially independent? I don’t know the answer but meanwhile the purifier lies idle and no one gets water free or otherwise which is rather sad.

We can compare this with another project/enterprise for a group of 20 women living on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. The women have received a small amount of funding to build a water storage tank for wash water and a small water purifier for drinking water.  Once completed the women will have low cost water for themselves plus be able to sell the surplus and at the very least they will break even.

There are so many examples like this where the technology sounds great but quite often the actual application is not thought through. Another problem is that NGOs arrive, offer services or technology, make all kinds of promises but fail to follow up with the necessary support.  This has happened to SOPUDEP who were provided with compost toilets but promises of support never materialized. The system became too expensive to maintain and this summer they reverted to traditional ‘deep hole’ latrines.  The school was also offered ‘solar’ cookers but they refused them because they were totally unpractical.  You cannot prepare daily food for 700 children with solar cookers!

But it’s not just with technology that interventions are whimsical.  In a recent article on Restaveks, Nicholas Kristof concludes that “free and accessible birth control” is one way to fight trafficking in Haiti and presumably globally since this is a global problem.  The idea of providing birth control to Haitian women is highly problematic, ending poverty by ending the birth of poor children to poor mothers is not a solution but a depopulation strategy. It does not tackle the structural causes of poverty.

You’ve also written on the environmental costs of “reconstruction.” What have you seen and what are the major issues in Haiti concerning development, sustainability, and eco-system preservation?

The piece you refer to concerns the degradation of the riverbed in Pernier. In the period after the earthquake, particularly in the past two years there has been this massive building boom largely fueled by government projects and Haitian-American monies. In the past year alone parts of Port-au-Prince such as the rich neighbourhood of Petion-Ville have been completely transformed. It’s great that rebuilding is taking place but it’s only in the richer neighborhoods and it comes at a high price to the environment. Haiti is a mountainous and hilly country and right now some of those hills are disappearing.  For example on the outskirts of the Port-au-Prince along Route Nationale 1 huge chunks of hillside are being cut out to provide building materials. The same goes for river beds which are being excavated for the gravel. The photos I took only show the present and I am sorry I didn’t take photos three years ago so people could see the difference. Imagine 24/7 removing the gravel from the riverbed? First the trees were destroyed now the hillsides and the rivers are going the same way. It’s an unregulated paradise for business and the government, which collects taxes for destroying the environment.

In years to come Haitians will again be blamed for destroying their rivers and hills much in the same way they are blamed for destroying the trees. But when you investigate, it is not the people but big business and corrupt governments who are to blame. In her trilogy Love Anger, Madness, first published in 1968, the Haitian novelist Marie Vieux-Chauvet, described how foreigners forced Haitian peasants to cut down their trees for sale or starve. We don’t hear this story. Rather, it is always poor Haitians cutting trees for firewood whereas thousands of trees were cut by corporate greed and government corruption. The farmers knew this would destroy their land and tried to protest, but their lives were worth less than the trees! Then charities arrive with food, clothing, and the bible to save those whose land and livelihood were destroyed.

You introduce your first post in the Haiti – Feminist Series on Black Looks by noting: “One of the stories least reported has been the one about Haitians organizing for themselves, particularly stories presented within a framework of feminist organizing and movement building.” Can you say a little about the different types of feminist organizing and movement building that you’ve encountered in Haiti?

What stands out for me are the everyday acts of solidarity and mutual support.  Support networks are crucial as in Haiti there is always a crisis but just the energy needed to live and work through the week is tremendous and sometimes overwhelming. The violence of poverty is overwhelming – we of the privileged speak about it, write about it, and stare at it through tinted or even open windows but really we don’t know.

This is not to say there are not differences, but one’s religious beliefs or sexual orientation are not determining factors for coming together. I’m not talking about grand campaigns but rather small, focused actions that respond to the practical needs of women and children in poor communities. Secondly, building relationships within and between neighborhoods and communities, between issues and creating support networks where women are at the center. What this means is that the possibility of change becomes real, not a dream – though dreaming is good too.

Most recently I have noticed there is a growing focus and concern over sustainability – how to integrate movement building and organizing with income generation that is viable, possible over the long-term, and that does not force people to have to rely on donors even if the donors themselves are working in solidarity. However these are small pockets of organizing. Overall when I look at Haiti in the present, it is hard to see how the majority of lives have improved. Some people made a lot of money in the aftermath of the earthquake and a small few are still making money but the poor are being erased. I think they are in a fight for their lives.

Continue reading on the Public Archive

Corruption has left Guyana among the poorest countries


thumb_Anti Corruption

DEAR EDITOR,

The impending economic and political crisis in Guyana is not an accident; it was caused by an out of control and corrupt, political Stalinist oligarchy that controls the ruling party.

Since November 2011, the failure of the minority PPP regime to accept that they continue to bleed politically, has led to a series of desperate acts of political bullyism, spiteful actions and the reckless squandering of taxpayers’ money, that have exacerbated the financial hardship of the masses.

The Jagdeo/Ramotar cabal has and continues to close deals, using the resources of the people like if they are running a cake shop. Why is the PPP playing politics with the lives of hard working Guyanese? Why is the PPP offering these workers slave-like wages as if they are plantation workers? We have concluded that the cabal is only concerned with their own well-being.

Each day brings another damaging corrupt scandal from controversial back-room deals that will never stand the scrutiny of any proper procurement process.  If one is to observe all the PPP-led deals they have common traits – no competition, a family member or a friend of the party gets the deal, and a Continue reading

wyclef jean

wyclef jean shot by broken glass in haiti!


looks like negroe entertainer clef man was shot in haiti by broken glass. [champagne bottle? glass?] he’s be performing soon in barbados it looks like. taking his shit to another caribbean island. nowhere on clef site does it mentions that he was shot by fine crystal from tiffanys.

these negroe entertainers really outdo themselves sometimes. now we have clef side kick in the fugees [another silly negroe entertainer name pras] promising that haiti will burn if right wing psychotic candidate sweeet mickey doesn’t get the nod in the selections being stage managed by the imperialists [US & USA]

wyclef jean

wyclef jean shooting – another fraud in Haiti?


wyclef jean

this silly negroe boy thinks he should've been the next president of Haiti cause he can sing & dance. great qualifications by the way

we don’t know what to make of clef and some negroe celebrities sometimes
while he is singing freedom songs for the people of Egypt, clef seems uninterested in the freedom of Haitians. afterall he was one of the cheerleaders for arisitde kidnapping. anyone ever heard clef calling for the unbanning of Lavalas? but he likes to give sunday sermons
ok, not to be so hard on clefman
but now clef says he’s been shot
our info from Haiti says clef has been sporting and cavorting with michelle martelly [a lifelong suckup to duvalier & other criminals in Haiti]
according to reports clef says he was shot or grazed by a bullet. or something to that effect
make of it what you may