Sunday, November 28, 2010

Haiti:Church Holding Prayer on the Eve of Undemocratic Elections

by Wadner Pierre
A woman praying at Sainte Claire's Parish prior to the flawed Presidential and Legislative Nov. 28 Elections in Haiti.Photo by Wadner Pierre
On top of the hill of Demals 33, Ti Plas Kazo, 15 minutes from the Conseil Electoral Provisoire or CEP (Provisional Electoral Council), formerly headquarter, and 10 minutes from UN compound at the Toussaint International Airport, located Sainte Claire’s Parish. This Parish was the Parish of former Priest and political prisoner of UN backed de facto government 2004-2006, father Gerard Jean-Juste. Father used to pray against the coup d’état –and for the return democratic elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and those who had been murdered, tortured and imprisoned illegally because of their political. On Nov. 26, Sainte Claire’s Parish held a seven-hour prayer to ask God to watch over the upcoming flawed Presidential and Legislatives Elections.
As it always shows in the mainstream, when Haitians refuse to swallow undemocratic elections and demonstrate in the street to demand that democratic elections, the mainstream media in the US, Europe, Haiti, Canada and so, portray them as rioters. The ironic thing is, these media refuse to agree that Haitian people are people of faith…and when the uncertainties come on the way, they use different tools like pacific protestations, religious, including Vodou ceremonies to pray their God to ask for direction. This is what Haitian people are also about. Before the decisive battle to free Haiti from French domination, the former slaves held a Vodou ceremony in North of Haiti, Bois-Caiman to pray and ask their God to assist them.
It must be noticed, churches holding prayers prior to the elections are a new form for people to say “God we don’t know where we are going. We don’t know what to do. Please, help us.” That was why the first time many churches whether Protestant of Catholic holding special prayers for elections. It is obvious that the Nov. 28 elections are bias and fraudulent –if they are not, perhaps, only the CEP, Haitian government and UN can see it. The following statement can only be heard from Edmond Mulet, the representative of the UN-Secretary General in Haiti. “The organization of these elections is is better than the previous years,” said Mullet. Of course, Mr. Mulet used radio Metropole, a right-wring radio in Haiti to make this statement.

In many corners of the Haiti’s capital, Port-Au-Prince many churches holding special prayers prior the controversial elections. “This time things (refer to the elections) are more fragile and uncertain, that’s why we need to pray,” said Mrs. Blan, a parishioner of Sainte Claire when asking why she came to spending her night praying.
The ‘imported ’Cholera outbreak has not killed Haitians, but has also destroyed the Haitian good habits whether at churches or on the streets. People use to embrace each other when wishing peace at the churches, but for the past several Sundays, they forcedly do that to prevent them from infecting by cholera. “Look the person next to you, and said “”Jesus loves you”,” said father Patrick Plaisival who celebrated the mass to close the 7-hour prayer. Father Plaisival also kept reminding people during the mass to be cautious and apply the hygienic rules to avoid catching the cholera. “Brothers and sisters, be careful, watch  your hands after using the bathroom – before  eating and touching your babies… that’s all you need to do… just do it.”
Father Gerson Charles, the pastor of Sainte Claire’s church who claimed to receive a message to hold these seven-hour prayer while celebrating the mass at Sainte Claire’s altar. “ I received this message when celebrating a mass here at the altar,” pointing his finger in direction of the altar…”the message said do a prayer on the Nov. 26 before the elections,” said Fr. Charles. Father Charles acknowledged cautiously that things are more difficult after the earthquake and the ongoing cholera outbreak. “The bishops share my idea. The church can only pray. My hope is to see things change in the country. I hope people do the best choice,” implied fr. Charles.
One thing Fr. Charles failed to say is that the same church refused to offer its support to democratic elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the early 2000 until 2004, needless to say to help him to return to his country. The other things the Fr. Charles may not quietly understand is that, the majority of people have no preferred Presidential and Legislative candidates since the exclusion of Fanmi Lavalas, Haiti’s largest the political party, or the party of the majority.
From the organizational structure to distribution the IDs to people and to journalist to cover the poll; this electoral process has irregularities in its all structural body. Voters do not know exactly where to go to vote. The CEP sent message text in which there is a number that voters can call to figure out their poll station. Still this method does not work because when calling this number it is always busy.
While churches praying for the elections, many people argued that the elections have been done, is the way to say they have been sold. The CEP was appointed by President Preval – and Mr. Preval closest friend, member of his party, Jude Celestin is in the race. Critics said that Mr. Preval use the states resources to back up presidential candidate Celestin’s campaign. After the Nov. 28 Elections/Slections, Haitian will continue to struggle for Social Justice even it may remain fragile with the UN occupying force in Haiti’s soil.
Meanwhile, United States, France Canada or the International Community continue to show its real face which is: sponsored and financed coup d’état and undemocratic, unfair, fraudulent and non-free elections in Haiti like in Honduras and other parts in the World. 

Haitians to Refuse Tomorrow's "Selections"

 Living in tents, dying of cholera, the majority can't vote for their candidate anyway
by Wadner Pierre
Electoral signs in Port-Au-Prince.
The faces of candidates from 15 parties, 
including Haiti's most popular,
Fanmi Lavalas, are missing—
banned from running in elections.
Photo: Wadner Pierre

HAITI—On the eve of presidential and legislative elections in Haiti, skepticism and disenchantment among Haitians is widespread.
"I am not going to vote," said Elause Jacques, a mother of two who runs a cyber cafe with her husband in Port-au-Prince. "I have no candidate."

Jacques' sentiment is shared by many Haitians, who may be turning away from the polls by the millions in an act of silent protest against the exclusion of Haiti’s popular political party, Fanmi Lavalas (FL), and the spending of millions on elections instead of badly needed healthcare and infrastructure.

Friday, November 26, 2010


Experts will be in Haiti for the elections, Sunday, November 28

Washington, D.C. -. A delegation of U.S. and Haitian human rights organizations are in Haiti as unofficial election and human rights observers to monitor the Presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for Sunday November 28.  The delegation is concerned that the rapid spread of a cholera epidemic across the country could gravely affect voter participation and threatens the validity of the election process. The group will be in Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas from Monday, November 22 through Wednesday, December 1.

Over the last several months, organizations represented in the delegation have been monitoring the situation on the ground. Despite overarching concerns about the increasingly desperate situation of Haiti’s homeless Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and about the exclusion of a number of political parties from the electoral process, representatives of the organizations and partners have been preparing in good faith to observe events during Haiti’s elections.  There is a particular concern of insufficient preparation and response on the ground from those responsible for curbing the cholera epidemic, including international NGOs and international donor nations.  With such pressing concerns unresolved, many members of Haitian civil society organizations, as well as numerous Presidential candidates, believe it nearly impossible to hold elections that would meet the most minimal standards of fairness and credibility at this time.

While in Haiti the delegation will monitor the human rights and political situation surrounding the elections, with particular attention to those most affected by the Quake, including police and U.N. response to protests, possible voter boycotts, voter access and participation levels, the cholera epidemic response; and the status of overall relief efforts. The delegation’s members will be in close contact with an array of local and national civil society organizations during their stay.

Available for interviews:

Melinda Miles, English and Haitian Creole
Director, Let Haiti Live, a project of TransAfrica
Haiti Cell +509-3855-8861 US cell 413-923-8345

“Cholera is a game changer in the most fundamental sense. It is an immediate and critical crisis that requires all hands on deck in response. It is not for us to predict when the crisis will level off. What we can say, definitively, is that now is that the time for focus on the human needs first and not politics.”

Etant Dupain, English, Haitian Creole and Spanish
Bri Kouri Nouvèl Gaye, Noise Travels, News Spreads
Haiti Cell +509-3497-1717

“Although the elections are necessary, in the midst of a humanitarian crisis there needs to be more attention to vulnerable populations. The NGOs have not responded adequately to the crisis and everyday there are more people dying, more people becoming infected due to a lack of potable water.  Attention needs to be paid to the people who continue to live under tarps today.  It is sad because these elections will not change anything, you see many people expressing their lack of support for the process.”

Alex Main, English, French and Spanish
Policy Analyst, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Haiti cell +509-3855-8861 US cell 202-531-7585

 "These elections were already highly problematic before the cholera epidemic began to spread.  Haiti's electoral authority - the CEP - suffers from a lack of credibility; legitimate parties have been excluded from participating in the legislative elections; and very few effective measures have been taken to ensure that Haiti's over 1.3 million displaced people would have access to the polls.  As a result of these problems, there was already a high probability that voter turnout would be very low and that the elections would be widely seen as illegitimate.”         

Jacques Etienne Morial, English
Co-Director, The Louisiana Justice Institute
Haiti Cell: +509-3885-9248 US Cell 504-628-5517;

“As respectful, understanding and supportive as we are of the determination of Haiti to assert its independence and stand on its own feet, the growing cholera epidemic imperils the legitimate elections that Haitians so urgently need to achieve this noble goal. Moving forward under the prevailing conditions undermines public confidence in any outcome that the people of Haiti deserve and need to move their recovery forward.”

For more information or to schedule interviews contact members of the delegation directly or contact Joia Nuri, 240-603-7905 or Dan Beeton, 202-239-1460.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Haitian Photojournalist Addresses UCSB Audience

Wadner Pierre Speaks About His Experience Covering Manmade and Natural Disasters at Health in Haiti Event

Sunday, November 21, 2010
Wadner Pierre was studying Computer Science in 2004 when Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was overthrown in a coup d’état. Soon after, Pierre’s step-father, a Catholic priest who protested Aristide’s overthrow, was thrown in jail.
At that point Pierre decided he could no longer continue his studies without taking a stake in Haiti’s future. He dropped out of school, bought a camera, and started taking pictures of Haiti’s destitute population, selling them to human rights agencies and foreign press outfits.
One of the foreign correspondents that Pierre met while taking photos was Jeb Sprague, a reporter for the Inter Press Service news agency. Sprague, now a graduate student in sociology at UCSB, brought Pierre to Santa Barbara to speak this week at a presentation hosted by UC Haiti Initiative (UCHI), a system-wide effort to dedicate the University of California’s human resources to provide aid and relief to Haiti.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Unrest 'must not stop Haiti polls' - Americas - Al Jazeera English

Elections should take place despite outbreak of deadly disease and anger against peacekeepers, UN mission chief says.
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2010 02:12 GMT
Anger over the cholera outbreak has spilled over into protests against the UN presence in Haiti [Reuters]
The head of the UN mission in Haiti has said the November 28 elections will be held despite the cholera outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people and the violence against peacekeepers.
At least 1,186 people have been killed by the disease in recent weeks in the Caribbean nation, prompting many people to question the wisdom of holding the national elections.

But speaking to Al Jazeera on Friday, Edmond Mulet, the head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (Minustah), said: "The issue of cholera is not a reason not to have elections.
"I think that elections are important for the political stability, for the social stability of the country, for the reconstruction of the country.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cholera Epidemic: President Jean-Bertrand Aristide Breaks the Silence

By Wadner Pierre

As the date for Haiti holding its General Elections approaches, more political leaders speak out over the credibility of the upcoming Elections. Many national and international political leaders, especially United States lawmakers, like D-Congresswoman Maxine Waters –other forty-four members of the US Congress –and the Rep-Senator Richard G. Lugar Fanmi Lavalas (FL), Haiti’s largest and most popular political party reiterated its position to boycott the Nov. 28 elections. Coming out on his silence, the FL’s National Representative, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide denounced the electoral process and the exclusion of his party in the race. President Jean-Bertrand- Aristide breaks His Silence .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haiti: Cholera Killed Over 900 People -Hundreds Deceased Names Remain in the Electoral Lists

By Wadner Pierre

Haiti prepares to hold controversial elections, natural disasters and disease may force the Haitians authorities to reschedule the Presidential and Legislative Elections. On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit the western and southern parts of Haiti. Over 300,000 people perished, and more than a million were left homeless. This tragedy brought the world together to help Haiti in our time of need. Ordinary citizens from all over the world sent their US dollars and Euros etc, to aid Haitians.

Unfortunately, as it is always been, the money was mostly used to pay for the UN and major NGOs’ bureaucracies, instead of helping the victims of the earthquake. Haiti’s “allies” met and promised several billions of dollars for the reconstruction of the country. Ten months later, the majority of earthquake’s survivors continue to live under makeshift tents and tarps. In the middle of this tragedy combined with empty promises, Haitians have kept their hope alive, and will be forever united. Haitians continue to support each other in any way they can. The world has praised Haitians’ courage. Though the Haitian government shows its incapacity to govern the country, Haitians remain faithful to Haiti’s noble democratic heritage and are eager to vote to choose their leaders in fair, free, inclusive and democratic Presidential and Legislative Elections.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, "Selections Not Elections"

Exclusive Interview with Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Interview with Nicolas Rossier – November 2010

Currently in forced-exile in South Africa, former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is still the national leader of Fanmi Lavalas – one of Haiti's most popular political parties. A former priest and proponent of liberation theology, he served as Haiti's first democratically elected president in 1990 before he was ousted in a CIA backed coup in September 1991. He returned to power in 1994 with the help of the Clinton administration and finished his term. He was elected again seven years later, only to be ousted in a coup in February 2004. The coup was lead by former Haitian soldiers in tandem with members of the opposition. Aristide has repeatedly claimed since, that he was forced to resign at gunpoint by members of the US Embassy. US officials have claimed that he decided to resign freely following the violent uprising. He now lives in exile in South Africa where he still waits to get his diplomatic passport renewed. He is not allowed to travel outside South Africa.