Saturday, January 31, 2015
April 2014 – “You Koudey sou Ayiti” Maggie Remy ak Dr Celucien Joseph koumanse you seri de diskisyon sou listwa D’Ayiti. Yo invite tout publik la nan fet drapo Klib Kiltirel Ayisyen an ap oganize dimanch kap 16 Me, 2014 nan Indian State College ki nan Fort Pierce. (“Eye on Haiti” Maggie Remy and Dr. Celucien Joseph, Assistant Professor of English at IRSC, begin a series of discussions on Haitian history. The public is invited to the upcoming Haitian Cultural Club Haitian Flag Day celebration at Indian River State College, Fort Pierce campus. )
Jan 21, 2015 – Dr Celucien Joseph and Paul Sanchez continue a discussion on Haitian History. A review on how the earthquake of 2010 has affected the lives of so many up to today, their recent trip to Haiti. They also discuss the work of the Haitian Cultural Club of Indian River State college and their upcoming community events for 2015. Kreyol/Creole Dr Celucien Joseph ak Paul Sanchez kontinye diskisyon sou Istwa Dâ€™ayiti. yo diskite kijan trenbleman de te 2010 la afekte lavi anpil fanmi jiska jodi a. Yo diskite voyaj yo sot fÃ¨ an Ayiti ak travay klib KiltirÃ¨l Ayisyen an ap kontinye fÃ¨ nan Indian River Sate College , e aktivite kominottÃ¨ yap planifye pou ane 2015 la.
Dr. Joseph on the life and legacy of Joseph Anténor Firmin: Legacy 1804 Talk Show (Alice Backer, Host)
Yesterday, I (Dr. Celucien Joseph) had an opportunity to appear on Legacy 1804 Talk show to discuss the life and legacy of Joseph Anthénor Firmin–Haiti’s reigning intellectual in the nineteenth-century– with Alice Backer, the host.
Click on the link below to listen
Thanks, Alice Baker, for this great interview!
* Alice has also written an informative Wikipedia entry on Firmin. Check it out
Click on the link below to listen
Thanks, Alice Baker, for this great interview!
* Alice has also written an informative Wikipedia entry on Firmin. Check it out
Par Michel-Ange CadetHaiti Chery
L’incertitude est un état normal de l’évolution de l’esprit. Il est tout à fait plausible que dans la vie nous ressentons ce sentiment qui est inné dans la nature humaine. L’inconnu n’est jamais accueilli sans grand intérêt, sans un minimum de prudence. La peur de l’inconnu dirige souvent nos comportements. De la peur émane le doute. Et le doute retient l’action. Ainsi demeure le status quo où personne n’ose affronter son propre démon: la peur. La peur d’agir de manière à ne pas se tromper, à ne pas commettre l’irréparable ou de dire s’aurait été mieux de ne rien faire. C’est que tout simplement l’homme craint tout ce qu’il ne peut entièrement contrôler du début à la fin. L’échec est un mot que nous évitons toujours. Par ailleurs, de toutes les inventions, les progrès qu’a connus l’humanité, cette crainte, cette attitude de la peur du « nouveau » – la peur d’un échec – ne serait-ce à un degré moindre, est toujours présente.
La Révolution, voilà un mot qui fait peur. Un concept qui crée parfois beaucoup de confusions et d’incertitudes face à l’avenir. Si la vie est une lutte comme le disait Victor Hugo, lutter signifierait « agir sur le présent » pour atteindre un résultat dans le futur. Avoir le résultat espéré ou peut-être pas. Mais résultat, il y en aura toujours un. C’est un grand problème de la révolution. Une chose est certaine, c’est le chambardement total, la réorganisation de toute une société. Au profit de qui? Qui, préalablement pourrait le savoir? Les esclaves de St-Domingue ont eu toutes les raisons de vouloir un chambardement dans la colonie. Nulle incertitude n’a eu le même poids que leur détermination. Incertitude, oui il y en a bien eu. De leur sort, de leur avenir, ils ont tout donné pour se défaire du joug des fouets des colons. L’ère d’une autre vie dans un autre système avait ainsi sonné la fin de l’esclavage.
La révolution est d’abord mentale puisqu’elle émane d’une prise de conscience collective. Il faut se rendre compte de sa situation actuelle. Elle fait penser à une autre condition de vie. Elle fait rêver. Ce qui alors nous pousse à sortir de notre indifférence à agir de manière à ne plus continuer de rêver, plutôt à concrétiser, à matérialiser un idéal commun. Certains veulent agir quoiqu’il en soit, quel que soit le résultat pourvu que quelque chose change: ce que voudrait tout peuple éclairé qui aspire à un lendemain meilleur. Ce sont ceux qui disent comme Victor Hugo: « Ceux qui vivent, ce sont ceux qui luttent; ce sont ceux dont un dessein ferme emplit l’âme et le front. Ceux qui d’un haut destin gravissent l’âpre cime. Ceux qui marchent pensifs, épris d’un but sublime ». Le but sublime, la cause de toute révolution disons-nous: ce sont les fils et filles naturels de la nation qui cherchent leur nom. Leur devenir dans une société où ils se sentent marginaliser et abandonner par leur mère-patrie. Et quel que soit le résultat de la révolution ils s’en moquent pourvu qu’ils ne vivent plus comme des rebuts de la société.
D’autres, les fils et filles légitimes de la nation, qui veulent que rien ne change puisque chambouler voudrait tout aussi dire la perte de toute une série de privilèges qu’ils seraient forts difficiles de conserver. La vie, comme elle est, est acceptable. C’est l’œuvre du Tout-Puissant. Il ne faudrait pas changer le status quo de peur que l’ordre divin ne soit perturbé. Ce sont pourtant des situations qui existent partout dans le monde. Ce n’est pas une réalité propre à Haïti. Nous nous rappelons de la fameuse maxime de la Fontaine dans Les animaux malade de la peste: « Selon que vous soyez puissant ou misérable les jugements des courts vous rendront blanc ou noir ». Néanmoins ce sont les écarts qui choquent et qui à la longue engendrent des corrections.
De nos jours, je me demande si nous, Haïtiens et Haïtiennes, jeunes et moins jeunes, avons cette conscience qu’il y a quelque chose, autre que ce que je vois, à changer. Un but sublime à concrétiser. Tant pour nous que pour les générations à venir. Cette prise de conscience collective, quand se manifestera-t-elle? De réaliser qu’il faut que quelque chose change dans cette société. Il est temps de commencer la révolution de l’esprit de sortir de cette indifférence; de briser cette peur qui nous empêche d’agir et de poser concrètement les vrais problèmes de la société haïtienne. « Car le plus lourd fardeau, c’est d’exister sans vivre », comme disait Hugo. Quand, nous la jeunesse briserons cette incertitude d’agir pour affronter l’incertitude de notre avenir. Je ne sais quand? Ou? Et comment? Mais quelque chose doit être fait. Il y va de notre avenir.
Sources: Michel-Ange Cadet est né à Cap-Haitien, où il a effectué ses études primaires et secondaires respectivement chez les frères de l’Ecole Joseph et au Collège Notre Dame du Perpétuel Secours. Très vite il a pris gout au mouvement d’organisation de jeunes où il est actuellement membre du Groupe de Recherche en Développement Economique et Social d’Haïti (GREDESH) après ses études supérieures en Sciences Economiques. | Cet article est également disponible en anglais à News Junkie Post.
Source: Haiti Chery
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Northwestern University, The Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and
The Humanities Without Walls Consortium Present:
“Beyond Coasts: Haiti in the Midwest”
April 24-25, 2015
A Global Midwest Sponsored Symposium
Dr. Patrick Bellegarde-Smith
Professor Emeritus of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Call for Papers, Performances, and Presentations
“Diaspora” often brings to mind several images related to place and home—the places people have left and then traveled to in order to create new homes and communities. In the case of the U.S. Haitian diaspora, traditional discussions of these communities tend to focus on “major” cities such as Miami, New York, Boston, and Newark. While Chicago was purportedly first settled by Haitian Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the Midwest is often excluded from popular and scholarly discussions of the Haitian diaspora. What role has the Mid-Western Haitian Diaspora played in shaping both the history of the Mid-West and the political, social, and regional structure of the U.S. Haitian Diaspora? How does emphasizing the Mid-Western history and present day organizing of Haitian activist, artists, community members and scholars of Haiti change how we view and understand the “global” in the “Mid-West” and vice-versa?
“Beyond Coasts: Haiti in the Mid-West,” to be held April 24-25, 2015 at Northwestern University addresses these questions through a symposium that unites scholars, activists, and artists within the Haitian Diaspora of the Mid-West. This symposium will archive and chronicle the role the Midwestern Haitian Diaspora has played in shaping both the history of the Midwest and the political, social, and regional structure of the U.S. Haitian Diaspora.
We welcome performances, papers, and presentations from scholars, independent researchers, activists, and/or artists that address the following broad topics on the Haitian Midwest Diaspora:
· Haitian migration and settlement history in the Mid-West
· Political and social organizing in the Mid-West
· Transnational mobilizing and Haiti-based disaster relief
· Visual, performance, and cultural art practice in the Mid-West
· Local and transnational organizing in the Mid-West
· Second and third-generation identity retention by Midwest Haitian-Americans
· African American and Haitian-American relations
· Haitian Kreyol language retention and education
· Religion, spirituality, and Vodou in the Mid-West
· Women’s rights, organizing, and history in the Midwest Diaspora
· Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered organizing and history in the Midwest
This conference is organizing by The Beyond Coast Steering Committee a collective of Northwestern Graduate Students and Chicago-based activists and artists. While funds are limited we will provide lodgings and several meals for all selected presenters. Accepted presenters will have the option of sharing their papers on an online platform following the symposium proceedings.
The Beyond Coast Steering Committee:
Kantara Souffrant, PhD Candidate, Performance Studies
Marie Casimir, Consultant, The Consulate General of Haiti in Chicago
Mohwanah Fetus, PhD Candidate, English
Mario LaMothe, PhD Candidate, Performance Studies
Haydee Souffrant, Community member and artist
Applicants should submit a 300-word abstract and a 100-word bio to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com by January 30, 2015. Accepted presenters will be notified by February 9, 2015.
 The top five states with the highest concentration of Haitians diasporans are Florida, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Georgia. For more information see the Center for Latin American Monetary Studies, “Profile of the Population of Haitian Origin in the United States,” http://www.cemla-remesas.org, September 2013.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
"Reflecting on the U.S. Occupation of Haiti, One Hundred Years Later" by Brandon Byrd
In 1915, United States Marines invaded Haiti. U.S. policymakers justified the invasion by pointing to the death of Haitian President Vilbrun Guillaume Sam at the hands of a mob. But this violence was more a convenience than a concern. U.S. officials had spent the previous decades attempting to obtain Haitian territory for use as a coaling station and sanctioning the seizure of Haitian finances by U.S. banks. Now, with the outbreak of World War I portending a German encroachment in the Caribbean, President Woodrow Wilson and his subordinates identified the unrest in Port-au-Prince as the perfect excuse to realize longstanding military and economic aspirations. It allowed them to act on their racism, too. In the estimation of Wilson’s Secretary of State, Haitians had proven their “inherent tendency to revert to savagery.” It never occurred to him that a government committed to Jim Crow had no business acting as an agent of civilization.
An occupation motivated by these prejudices had an unsurprising effect: it crippled Haiti. Occupation administrators revived old labor laws and conscripted Haitians for public works projects. At the same time, they formed the Gendermarie, a law enforcement body that gave Marines full control over Haitian soldiers. The restructuring of the Haitian political system allowed for both excesses. Occupation authorities arrested dissidents, censored the press, enforced racial segregation, installed a puppet president, seized the state treasury, and crafted a new constitution that eliminated an historic ban on foreign landownership in Haiti. These developments convinced Haitians that the Americans had come to re-enslave a people whose ancestors had dared to emancipate themselves.
The attempt to re-forge the bonds of slavery broken during the Haitian Revolution met considerable resistance, though. Peasants mobilized throughout the countryside to repel the Marines. Moreover, Haitian journalists published anti-occupation articles, politicians resigned their posts, musicians penned songs of liberation, professionals established nationalist organizations, workers unionized, and students went on strike. African Americans joined this resistance. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Field Secretary James Weldon Johnson implored his peers to take special interest in restoring the sovereignty of Haiti, “the one best chance that the Negro has . . . to prove that he is capable of the highest self-government.” Many did. Black men and women collaborated with Haitian nationalist groups and formed their own anti-occupation organizations. They reported on conditions in occupied Haiti, inspired white liberals to oppose the occupation, and refused to vote for any politician who did not do likewise. Black activists realized a truth voiced by the NAACP: “it was unquestionably the race prejudice which prevails in the United States that made possible the brutalities practiced . . . upon citizens of the Negro Republic of Haiti.” It was their hope that the restoration of Haitian independence in 1934 would hasten the death of white supremacy in America.
Although the occupation has been remembered (if at all) as a minor episode in U.S. imperialism, it had a profound impact on Americans. As historian Mary A. Renda shows, the polemics of Marines who occupied Haiti entrenched a paternalistic concept of empire and a fantastic idea of “voodoo” in the American consciousness. The occupation also transformed black political culture. Black elites had traditionally embraced Western theories of civilization and asserted their equality by stressing their “Americanness.” But as Haiti groaned under the weight of imperialism, black intellectuals now prioritized race over nation. Alongside Haitian intellectuals, they defended black folk culture and critiqued capitalism as well as imperialism. Their decision to challenge the global structures of racial inequality rather than operate from within them provided the foundations of modern black political protest.
The impact of the occupation was, however, most pronounced in Haiti. Besides killing upwards of 11,500 Haitians, U.S. Marines destabilized Haitian economic and political geographies by ensuring that all roads literally led to Port-au-Prince. Occupation officials also militarized Haiti to an unprecedented extent through the creation of the Gendermarie (later changed to the Garde d’Haiti). Finally, the occupation eroded local governance and solidified the influence of the United States and other outside nations upon Haiti. Indeed, the present proliferation of United Nations troops and foreign non-governmental organizations conjures images of the U.S. occupation to many Haitian activists. The comparisons are not baseless.
Historian Laurent Dubois notes that “a different Haiti is—always, and still—possible.” But only if we grapple with its history and the outsized role that the United States has exerted upon it. The centennial of the occupation offers the ideal opportunity to do so. The invasion of Haiti by U.S. Marines transformed U.S. culture and foreign policy. It changed black thought. It devastated Haiti. Any thought of a “different” Haiti must, then, proceed from the acknowledgment that contemporary Haiti is not ahistorical. Instead, it is a product of imperialist intervention. It is the result of Pan-African solidarity. It is the consequence of past decisions made by outsiders who also envisioned a “different” Haiti, for better or worse. I hope, then, that this series becomes just one part of a larger conversation about the material and intellectual effects of an occupation that is more present than past.
Next month: The “Black Republic:” The Meaning of Haitian Independence before the Occupation
 Laurent Dubois, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2012), 213-215.
 James Weldon Johnson, “The Truth About Haiti: An N.A.A.C.P. Investigation,” Crisis 20, no. 5 (September 1920) 223-224.
 Eleventh Annual Report of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for the Year 1920 (New York: National Association for the Advancement of Colored People National Office, 1921), 7.
 Mary A. Renda, Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001).
 Dubois, 370.
source: African American Intellectual History Society
Sunday, January 11, 2015
"Haiti: Then and Now" (HTN): "Haiti 5 Years Later: Compiled Commentary on the 2...: "Haiti 5 Years Later: Compiled Commentary on the 2010 Earthquake" by Lisa-Marie Pierre January 201...
Evans Paul n’est pas le premier ministre d’Haïti Par Dady Chery
anglais | français
Evans Paul a été designé premier ministre d’Haïti le 25 Décembre, 2014, mais il n’a pas été nommé en respectant la Constitution d’Haïti.
Conformément à l’article 137 de la Constitution de 1987, le président d’Haïti n’a en effet pas le pouvoir de nommer un premier ministre par décret.
« Le Président de la République choisit un Premier Ministre parmi les membres du parti ayant la majorité au Parlement. A défaut de cette majorité, le Président de la République choisit son Premier Ministre en consultation avec le Président du Sénat et celui de la Chambre des députés. Dans les deux (2) cas, le choix doit être ratifié par le Parlement. »La nomination pour un premier ministre est normalement suivie par un processus juridique rigoureux, qui comprend, au minimum, une enquête pour déterminer si le candidat satisfait les qualifications précisées par l’article 157 de la Constitution.
« Pour être nommé Premier Ministre, il faut :Les enquêtes et les consultations prennent généralement plusieurs mois. Au cours des dernières années, l’une des raisons les plus fréquentes pour la disqualification fut la découverte d’une nationalité non-haïtienne. Evans Paul est presumé d’être un citoyen naturalisé des États-Unis, ce qui impliquerait qu’il aurait renonçé à sa nationalité haïtienne.
1) être haïtien d’origine et n’avoir pas renoncé à sa nationalité ;
2) être âgé de trente (30) ans accomplis ;
3) jouir de ses droits civils et politiques et n’avoir jamais été condamné à une peine afflictive et infamante ;
4) être propriétaire en Haïti ou y exercer une profession ;
5) résider dans le pays depuis cinq (5) années consécutives ;
6) avoir reçu décharge de sa gestion si on a été comptable des deniers publics. »
Par ailleurs, il y a d’autres problèmes avec Evans Paul. Premièrement, il est accusé de vivre beaucoup plus luxueusement que ses moyens et ses positions antérieures lui permettent. D’autre part, son dernier poste était en tant que membre du comité consultatif présidentiel en Décembre 2014 qui avait recommandé, entre autres choses, la démission de Laurent Lamothe, le premier ministre précédent, et la nomination d’un remplaçant, qui s’est avéré, et ce n’est pas une coincidence, être Evans Paul, lui-même; il est aussi considéré comme un proche de Martelly.
L’annonce d’Evans Paul comme étant le nouveau premier ministre d’Haïti est erronnée, prématurée, et surtout trompeuse. Les législateurs d’Haïti ont exprimé, presqu’à l’unisson, leur désapprobation de touts les candidats pour la position de premier ministre an amont de la nomination. En outre, les representants du peuple refusent de légitimer le pouvoir exécutif en nommant un premier ministre, après que le président ait laissé le parlement s’amenuiser en étant incapable d’organiser des élections au cours des trois dernières années. Les parlementaires refusent de quitter leurs postes le lundi, 12 Janvier, 2015 quand la plupart de leurs mandats seront expirés, à moins que l’ensemble du gouvernement soit dissous et qu’un gouvernement intérimaire soit désigné en accord commun, entre la législature et l’éxécutif, pour organiser des élections générales, non seulement pour les députés et sénateurs, mais aussi pour le président. La solution alternative serait pour les législateurs de rester en fonction jusqu’à ce que leurs remplaçants soient élus.
Les dirigeants des partis politiques d’Haïti et les membres du parlement sont déjà dans les rues avec ces questions, à la tête du reste de la population. Ils pourraient bientôt être rejoints par le président, généralement modéré, du sénat, Dieuseul Simon Desra. Le sénateur Desra affirme que la ratification d’Evans Paul en tant que Premier ministre n’est pas acceptable en tant que telle à moins qu’elle soit discutée et débattue devant le parlement, et enfin ratifiée.
L’impasse politique en Haïti a été créée, de toutes pièces, par le régime Martelly-Lamothe à son profit, en dépis et au mépris de la Constitution de 1987. Il y a seulement deux façons de s’en sortir: soit Martelly démissionne immédiatement et des élections générales sont organisées, ou cette administration illégitime sera renversée par les citoyens d’Haiti et leurs représentants élus.
Sources: Haïti Chery (English) | Première photo: Evans Paul, par l’AFP.
Colonialism of the Mind by DADY CHERY
“Les intellectuels ont toujours été des courtisans. Ils ont toujours vécu dans le palais.”"Western journalists increasingly assume the voices of subjugated countries’ natives while muzzling them by denying them access to the press. In the United States, the more visible venues of the alternative press, such as online news sites Truthout, Common Dreams, and Huffington Post are essentially closed to native writers. This colonialism of the mind is rampant when it comes to Haiti.
“Intellectuals have always been courtesans. They have always lived in the palace.” – Pier Paolo Pasolini (1922-1975)
Inspect the US alternative press for news of Haiti. You will find articles there by Beverly Bell, Mark Weisbrot, Robert Naiman, Jane Regan, Noam Chomsky, Stephen Lendman and others, but you will be hard put to find a Haitian name. Westerners, whatever their political leaning, do reserve their right to rule the world, and the right to pontificate to the ignorant natives is very much a part of it.
The current war against Haiti is an economic and propaganda war that requires a liberal use of aid money to undermine Haitian culture and agriculture. Such a war would be impossible without a simultaneous disinformation campaign to persuade the US, Canadian, and European public that their funds benefit Haiti. This is the task of the high priests of journalism. They promote the neoliberal agenda and encapsulate their disinformation in reasonable-seeming and progressive-sounding language.
On one issue after another, American speakers for Haiti cleverly echo “talking points” that are meant to enable neo-colonial policies. Their work is more insidious than that of the mainstream press, which is limited in its capacity to editorialize. In the hands of the colonialists of the mind, disinformation becomes a lethal candy: a cyanide pill coated with leftist-sounding sugar, much of it collected from the less visible publications of unacknowledged writers.
Consider for example the Truthout article titled “Disaster Capitalism in New Orleans and Haiti,” in which Beverly Bell, who directs several non-governmental organizations (NGO) and sits on Truthout’s board of trustees, promoted two mainstream talking points about Haiti:
1. Expect a massive resurgence of cholera due to tropical storm Isaac.
2. Expect intense hunger due to Isaac.
Before her article, the same points had been vigorously repeated by Michel Martelly, the United Nations and the US government, with the aim of attracting a new infusion of aid money. The first point is unfounded, and the second is untrue. It is more reasonable to assume that the vast quantities of potable rainwater contributed by the storm should help to prevent, rather than promote, cholera. As for Haiti’s agricultural production: it plummeted by 20 percent in 2011 and was expected to crash in 2012 due to USAID policies, and quite without any help from a natural disaster.
The two talking points — presented early in Bell’s article — are actually the reason for the article. The rest is decoration with history, culture, and politics liberally borrowed from the essay “New-Orleans & Port-au-Prince: Two Tales Of Government Failures,” published two years earlier by Gilbert Mercier in News Junkie Post.
I invite the reader to compare the two articles and learn to recognize the strategy of embedding items of disinformation within a text that appears to be truthful and progressive.
“A disease of the poor”: Haitians as the unhygienic ones
The above predictions from Isaac were not the first campaign to blame cholera on something other than its actual source. When cholera first appeared in Haiti in October 2010, the disease, which was certainly known by US and UN authorities to originate from UN troops, was immediately attributed to the terrible hygiene of the Haitian poor and, by extension, predicted to grow into a massive epidemic, especially in the homeless camps.
On November 18, 2010 CNN wrote:
“A lack of treated drinking water, coupled with poor hand hygiene and food-preparation practices, make the 1.3 million people still living in camps particularly vulnerable, according to a new study published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention….
“The CDC has said the strain of the cholera bacteria responsible is ‘indistinguishable’ from one found in other parts of the world, including south Asia, but researchers are unlikely to be able to pinpoint how it arrived in Haiti.”
About one month later, Beverly Bell enjoined with the statements:
“This past week has… provided the perfect conditions for a spike in cholera, what Partners in Health calls ‘a disease of poverty’ which impacts those without safe drinking water…. Because sanitation workers could not get to the camps, toilets and garbage overflowed to extremes…. The sporadic rains throughout the week, moreover, spread contaminated water and sewage, perfect vectors for the disease.”
This enthusiasm to blame the poor for their misfortune was decorated with passionate language that appeared to defend the poor and decry their living conditions. In fact, the cholera predictions were unfounded. Haiti’s cholera outbreak was most serious, not in the camps in Port-au-Prince – home of the poorest of the poor — but in a pristine rural region that had become contaminated by the wastes of Nepalese soldiers from a UN base.
There was never any basis to the prediction that cholera would become epidemic in Haiti, and there is still no basis to the predictions that it will spike or indefinitely continue. In April 2012, Dr. Renaud Piarroux argued that Haiti’s cholera could be gone in a matter of months, and as Cuba has showed, an outbreak of cholera can be stopped in as few as 60 days with the appropriate education, epidemiological surveillance, care, and provision of clean drinking water."
Dady Chery is the Editor of Haiti Chery and the co-Editor in Chief of News Junkie Post. This article was originally published in News Junkie Post.
The anger had been building for years. Anse-à-Pitres residents, on the Haitian side of the southern Haitian-Dominican border, who go to sell their goods at the bi-national Pedernales market, are routinely excluded for capricious reasons, even sometimes beaten away. Haitian rice, bananas, rum and other drinks are banned. To enter the market, Haitian vendors must pay over 100 pesos ($2.25). If they cannot afford this fee, or their merchandise is deemed to be unauthorized, goods much more valuable than the fee are confiscated.
An increased repatriation of Haitian migrants (more than 15,000 per year) has created a climate that gives license to racist behavior. Long-term residents of Dominican towns like Enriquillo are often packed up, together with infants, into army helicopters and then dumped into Anse-à-Pitres, without even a chance to collect their belongings. These repatriations are principally economic crimes by Dominican employers and officials, who withhold the deportees’ salaries and steal all their savings, including money, jewelry and farm animals, before covering up their theft with arson. Birth certificates, seeds, furniture and clothes alike vanish into flames.
Appeals to the Haitian government to defend the rights of its nationals have fallen on deaf ears. In fact, during a boycott of the Dominican Republic after it denationalized its black citizens of Haitian ancestry in fall 2013, the Haitian Tourism Minister, Stephanie Balmir Villedrouin, visited Santo Domingo for a conference. Similarly, the Haitian Ambassador to Santo Domingo, Fritz Cineas, has shunned international efforts to hold the Dominican government to supranational standards of human rights; instead, Mr. Cineas has repeated the Dominican Republic’s argument that its discriminatory policies represent an exercise of sovereignty. To make matters worse, for several years Anse-à-Pitres, a town of about 20,000 residents, has had no genuine representative to the Haitian government, because its elected mayor has been replaced by Guirlène Daphnis, a Michel Martelly-appointed interim executive.
It is hardly surprising that in this context of an unrepresentative government, hostile to its own nationals, Dominicans have felt yet more emboldened to abuse Haitian farmers: most of them vegetable growers and fishermen. During the second half of 2014, Dominican navy ships have stringently enforced a ban on fishing by Haitians in Dominican waters. Simultaneously Dominican yachts have fished the Haitian coast unsustainably, raising considerable anger in the local fishing community. Contrary to the propaganda that the Dominican Republic is a green paradise, its coastlines have been dredged, overfished, and sold wholesale to foreigners. By contrast, the Haitian coastlines represent some of the last remaining virgin coasts in the Caribbean.
On the 211th Anniversary of Haitian Independence, January 1, 2015, some Dominican navy people must have decided to have their fun by ruining the celebrations of a group of Haitian fishermen, and possibly creating an incident to spoil the holiday for all Haitians, except perhaps Martelly’s cronies. The fishermen, seven in all (Jimmy Fleurimont, Yvon Fleurimont, Nathanaël Lazarre, Jean Toussaint, Jean-Mercy Charles, Erick Casseus, and Dieula Carrier), had been fishing near the area of Recif, Anse-à-Pitres, when they were arrested in their own waters by personnel from a Dominican navy ship. Four fishing boats were confiscated together with their catch and, according to some witnesses, the boats were destroyed. The fishermen were made to kneel on a beach, at gunpoint, with their arms over their heads, photographed, and then taken away.
The response by Haitian citizens was swift and categorical. Anse-à-Pitres residents took two Dominican fishermen (Eddgar Hernández and Wilson Pérez González) hostage and confiscated their yacht, yanked out the gates to the Pedernales market entrance, smashed the glass front of the Dominican customs house and threw stones and insults at the border guards who tried to stop them. These guards, who are hated by Dominicans and Haitians alike, actually belong to the private United States company, Specialized Border Security Corps (Cuerpo Especializado de Seguridad Fronteriza Terrestre or CESFRONT). Witnesses say that CESFRONT retaliated with gunshots.
Another group of residents blockaded the Dominican Consulate in Anse-à-Pitres with burning tires, barricaded all the roads to the area, and took hostage, from the consulate, four Dominican military personnel (Zaida Polanco, Jacobito Espinal, Domingo Solis, and Angel Estevez) and two civilians (Erickson Hernandez and Wilson Pérez).
After many hours of negotiations, all the Haitian fishermen were released, as were the hostages from the Dominican consulate. The Dominican fishermen were the last ones to go, on the morning of Sunday, January 4, 2015. No serious injuries were reported on either side of the skirmish; nevertheless, almost one week later, the market remained closed.
Dominican Senator Dionis Sanchez has announced that a bilateral committee will be formed to settle future disputes, but one may reasonably expect that Haitians will be poorly served by such a group. Dominican aggressions are unlikely to stop unless Anse-à-Pitres residents continue to take the law into their own hands, or the entire Haitian citizenry forces a replacement of the current traitorous occupation regime with a representative government.
Sources: Haiti Chery
"Haiti 5 Years Later: Compiled Commentary on the 2010 Earthquake" by Lisa-Marie Pierre
On January 12, 2010, I was sitting in my den watching television, when my brother said “Lisa, an earthquake hit Haiti!” My heart dropped, I quickly changed the channel to the news and just felt sadness for the country and worry for my grandmother. I have no memory of what I was watching or wearing, all I remember are my feelings. I was frantic, anxious, and obsessive in the hours following the earthquake. My heart pounded and stomach flip flopped, as I kept watching the news and refreshing my news feed on Twitter and Facebook. I had a morbid sense of longing; I wanted to be in Haiti with my grandmother and I imagined myself helping people. After searching and many phone calls, we eventually were able to get in touch with my grandmother. My grandmother luckily was outside when the earthquake hit and her house suffered minimal damage; just a crack along side the house. She was going to be evacuated out the country along with other American citizens. Unfortunately, many in the country were not so lucky to experience minimal damage or have the opportunity to leave the situation. The physical and psychological anguish is one that still lingers to this day.
After my grandmother’s evacuation to the United States, my sisters and I went to visit her at her house. There was so much I wanted to ask her, but I was hesitant. I wanted to know what she did with all the food, clothes, and supplies she brought to Haiti and I wanted a visual of what the country looked like from her perspective. There was much I wanted to ask, but all I really got out of her was a lesson on why children should always listen to their elders (a reaction to me not scheduling my flight for Jan. 12), relief that Ashley and I were not in Haiti, because we could have been hanging out in the neighborhood and gotten hurt, and a brief mention on the destruction. Underneath her commentary, I got a sense of fear and sadness. During that visit, she would randomly say, “Can you feel that?” After hearing her say things like that, I never probed deeper into her experiences; I could only imagine.
The following days and months after the earthquake, I naively thought I would still travel to Haiti and my flight would not be cancelled, just rescheduled. I had this strong desire to go and help. Despite my flight being cancelled, I found a way to help the country, through the Association of Haitian Physicians Abroad. For three months and many sleepless nights, I assisted in sending medication and health professionals to the country. Though I did not travel to Haiti for my soul searching adventure, I was able from afar to realize I wanted to do all in my power as part of the Diaspora to help Haiti reach its full potential. I have kept that promise and spread news of Haiti via social media, classroom presentations, and charitable involvement. I continue to stay connected to the country by my travels to Haiti in October 2010, December 2011, and January 2012. I also am using Haiti as a case study for my dissertation and have hopes to travel to the country in June 2015. With collective and collaborative efforts, the country will improve.
January 12, 2015 at 4:53pm marks five years since the earthquake. I wanted to write something inspiring and thoughtful, put I could not put words to paper. So I decided to compile recent information about the earthquake from around the web. Below you will find general commentary about what happened on January 12, 2010, non-profits and NGO updates, newspaper insights on the recovery process, information on donation questions, and more. Hopefully as you browse through the commentary, you can gain more insight on what happened five years ago and what needs to happen in the future. Feel free to share in the comments any additional link or thoughts.
note: click on the titles to go to the websites
What Happened on 1/12/2010 at 4:53pm?
New York Times: Haiti Earthquake Multimedia
New York Times: Perspectives on Haiti’s Earthquake
New York Times: Surviving the Haiti Earthquake Part I (video)
New York Times: Surviving Haiti’s Earthquake Part II (video)
Commentary from Organizations
Reed Smith Law Firm: Mobile Clinic in Haiti Delivers Hope
Catholic Relief Services: After the Haiti Earthquake, CRS’ Mountains to Market Program supports Haitian Farmers (video)
World Vision Youth: Haiti Earthquake – 5 Year Update (video)
Global Communities: Five Years Later: Haiti’s Progress Before and After the Earthquake
UN World Food Programme: Haiti: 5 years after earthquake, UN warns progress threatened by poverty, inequality
Save The Children: After the Earthquake, Fostering Young Leaders Through Education in Haiti
USAID: Earthquake Overview
Amnesty International: Haiti: Five years after devastating earthquake ten of thousands still homeless and desperate
World Bank: What Haiti Taught us all
World Bank: Infographic: Haiti Five Years after the Earthquake
World Bank: Voices of Haiti (video)
Goal Global: Haiti Five Years On: Empowering Communities (video)
ATD Fourth World: Nonstop, we keep up the struggle (video)
USAID Health Finance and Governance Project: Haiti Takes Steps to Rebuild Its Nursing Workforce
Catholic Relief Services:Haiti Quake: Photo Then and Now
Commentary on the Recovery
Lisa-Marie Pierre (I wrote this last year, but I still have same thoughts): 11 Things to reflect upon on the 4th anniversary of the earthquake in Haiti
Miami Herald: Building permanent housing remains Haiti’s biggest challenge following the 2010 earthquake
Miami Herald: Haiti: Emerging from the rubble
Miami Herald: Haiti: 5 years after the earthquake (video)
NY Daily News: 5 years later: Remember the 2010 Haiti Earthquake
Associated Press: Haiti better off 5 years after quake, though still troubled
Center for Economic and Policy Research: Haiti By the Numbers, Five Years Later
Haiti Then and Now: Haiti: Five Years After
Huffington Post: Lessons Unlearned in Haiti As Memory of the Earthquake Fades
Global Research: Haiti’s Promised Rebuilding is Unfulfilled as Haitians Challenge Authoritarian Rule
US Department of State: Haiti Still Needs our Help
Where Did the Money Go
The Wall Street Journal: Five Years Later: Where Did All the Haiti Aid Go?
The Guardian (this is an old article from 2013): Haiti’s earthquake generated a $9bn response – where did the money go?
Washington Examiner: Former Haiti official: We have no idea where all that recovery money went
New York Times (this is an old article from 2012): Where did the money go?
Where to Donate
Haiti Then and Now: Where to Donate: Haiti Relief Funds
General Information on Haiti
New York Times: Haiti
World Bank: Haiti
Haiti Embassy: Haiti
An urban planning PhD student finding peace in creating a balance between the mind, body, soul, & environment.