Monday, December 27, 2010

Weisbrot: Haiti is a US pawn in a brutal chessgame

Mark Weisbrot (for Guardian)

The polarization of the debate around Wikileaks is pretty simple, really. Of all the governments in the world, the United States government is the greatest threat to world peace and security today. This is obvious to anyone who looks at the facts with a modicum of objectivity. The Iraq war has claimed hundreds of thousands, and most likely more than a million lives. It was completely unnecessary and unjustifiable, and based on lies. Now, Washington is moving toward a military confrontation with Iran.

As Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, pointed out in an interview recently, in the preparation for a war with Iran, we are at about the level of 1998 in the build-up to the Iraq war.
On this basis, even ignoring the tremendous harm that Washington causes to developing countries in such areas as economic development (through such institutions as the International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization), or climate change, it is clear that any information which sheds light on U.S. “diplomacy” is more than useful. It has the potential to help save millions of human lives.

You either get this or you don’t. Brazil’s president Lula da Silva, who earned Washington’s displeasure last May when he tried to help defuse the confrontation with Iran, gets it. That’s why he defended and declared his “solidarity” with embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, even though the leaked cables were not pleasant reading for his own government.

One area of U.S. foreign policy that the Wikileaks cables help illuminate, which the major media has predictably ignored, is the occupation of Haiti. In 2004 the country’s democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was overthrown for the second time, through an effort led by the United States government. Officials of the constitutional government were jailed and thousands of its supporters were killed.
The Haitian coup, besides being a repeat of Aristide’s overthrow in 1991, was also very similar to the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002 – which also had Washington’s fingerprints all over it. Some of the same people in Washington were even involved in both efforts. But the Venezuelan coup failed – partly because Latin American governments immediately and forcefully declared that they would not recognize the coup government.

In the case of Haiti, Washington had learned from its mistakes in the Venezuelan coup and had gathered support for an illegitimate government in advance. A UN resolution was passed just days after the coup, and UN forces, headed by Brazil, were sent to the country. The mission is still headed by Brazil, and has troops from a number of other Latin American governments that are left of center, including Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay. They are also joined by Chile, Peru and Guatemala from Latin America.

Would these governments have sent troops to occupy Venezuela if that coup had succeeded? Clearly they would not have considered such a move, yet the occupation of Haiti is no more justifiable. South America’s progressive governments have strongly challenged U.S. foreign policy in the region and the world, with some of them regularly using words like imperialism and empire as synonyms for Washington. They have built new institutions such as UNASUR to prevent these kinds of abuses from the north. Bolivia expelled the U.S. ambassador in September of 2008 for interfering in its own internal affairs.

Is it because Haitians are poor and black that their most fundamental human and democratic rights can be trampled upon?

The participation of these governments in the occupation of Haiti is a serious political contradiction for them, and it is getting worse. The Wikileaks cables illustrate how important the control of Haiti is to the United States.

A long memo from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince to the U.S. Secretary of State answers detailed questions about Haitian president Rene Preval’s political, personal, and family life, including such vital national security questions as “How many drinks can Preval consume before he shows signs of inebriation?” It also expresses one of Washington’s main concerns:

“his reflexive nationalism, and his disinterest in managing bilateral relations in a broad diplomatic sense, will lead to periodic frictions as we move forward our bilateral agenda. Case in point, we believe that in terms of foreign policy, Preval is most interested in gaining increased assistance from any available resource. He is likely to be tempted to frame his relationship with Venezuela and Chavez-allies in the hemisphere in a way that he hopes will create a competitive atmosphere as far as who can provide the most to Haiti.”

This is why they got rid of Aristide – who was much to the left of Preval -- and won’t let him back in the country. This is why Washington funded the recent “elections” that excluded Haiti’s largest political party, the equivalent of shutting out the Democrats and Republicans in the United States. And this is why MINUSTAH is still occupying the country, more than six years after the coup, without any apparent mission other than replacing the hated Haitian army – which Aristide abolished – as a repressive force.

People who do not understand U.S. foreign policy think that control over Haiti does not matter to Washington, because it is so poor and has no strategic minerals or resources. But that is not how Washington operates, as the Wikileaks cables repeatedly illustrate. For the State Department and its allies, it is all a ruthless chess game, and the pawns matter. Left governments will be removed or prevented from taking power where it is possible to do so; and the poorest countries – like Honduras last year – present the most opportune targets. A democratically elected government in Haiti, due to its history and the consciousness of the population, will inevitably be a left government – and one that will not line up with Washington’s foreign policy priorities for the region. Hence, democracy is not allowed.

Thousands of Haitians have been protesting the sham elections, as well as MINUSTAH’s role in causing the cholera epidemic, which has already taken more than 2,300 lives and can be expected to kill thousands more in the coming months and years. Judging from the rapid spread of the disease, there may have been gross criminal negligence on the part of MINUSTAH – i.e. large-scale dumping of fecal waste into the Artibonite river. This is another huge reason for them to leave Haiti.

This is a mission that costs over $500 million a year, when the UN can’t even raise a third of that to fight the epidemic that the mission caused, or to provide clean water for Haitians. And now the UN is asking for an increase to over $850 million for MINUSTAH.

It is high time that the progressive governments of Latin America quit this occupation, which goes against their own principles and deeply held beliefs, and is against the will of the Haitian people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Michel Martelly, Stealth Duvalierist

By Jeb Sprague
...In the media coverage of Haiti's ongoing electoral crisis, presidential candidate Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, whom ruling Unity party candidate Jude Célestin edged out of Haiti's Jan. 16 run-off by less than 1%, has been portrayed as the victim of voting fraud and the leader of a populist upsurge against Haiti’s crooked Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).

Some have questioned his presidential suitability by pointing to his vulgar antics as a konpa musician over the last two decades, where he often made demeaning comments about women and periodically dropped his trousers to bare his backside. The real problem with Martelly, however, is not his perceived immorality, but his heinous political history and close affi liation with the reactionary “forces of darkness," as they are called in Haiti, which have snuffed out each genuine attempt Haitians have made over the past 20 years to elect a democratic government. Far from a champion of democracy, Martelly has been a cheerleader for, and perhaps even a participant in, bloody coups d'état and military rule.

Duvalierist Affi nities

Under the Duvalier dictatorship, Martelly ran the Garage, a nightclub patronized by army offi cers and members of Haiti’s tiny ruling class. At a recent press conference, Martelly spoke nostalgically of the Duvalierist era, when François "Papa Doc" Duvalier and later his son Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" enforced their iron rule with gun and machete wielding Tonton Macoutes, a sort of Haitian Gestapo. “Today the dog is eating its vomit," lamented Marcus Garcia of Radio Mélodie FM in a Dec. 8 editorial. While "Michel Martelly openly defends the Duvalier regime in a press conference,” the youth who have been duped into supporting him are “without memory of [the infamous political prison] Fort Dimanche-Fort La mort, without memory of the Nov. 29, 1987 electoral massacre,” when neo-Duvalierist thugs killed hundreds of would-be voters.

In a 2002 article, the Washington Post explained how the konpa singer was a long-time “favorite of the thugs who worked on behalf of the hated Duvalier family dictatorship before its 1986 collapse.” But the mainstream media of late has yet to pick up on the singer’s past affi liations. Duvalierist affi nities should not be taken lightly. Human rights groups such as the League of Former Political Prisoners and Families of the Disappeared compiled a partial list of several thousand of the Duvalier regime’s victims, which was published in Haïti Progrès in 1987, but total estimates of those killed under the U.S.-backed 29-year long dictatorship range from 30,000 to 50,000 people. After Baby Doc’s fall in February 1986, a mass democratic movement, long repressed by the Duvaliers, burst forth and became known as the Lavalas, or fl ood. Martelly quickly became a bitter Lavalas opponent, making trenchant attacks against the popular movement in his songs played widely on Haitian radio.

The Rise of Aristide and the 1991 Coup

Following his dramatic election with 67% of the vote in Dec. 16, 1990 elections, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former parish priest and Lavalas movement leader, was inaugurated on Feb. 7, 1991 as Haiti’s democratically elected president, but then deposed by a military coup, for the fi rst time, on Sep. 30, 1991, only eight months into his fi rst term. Martelly “was closely identifi ed with sympathizers of the 1991 military coup that ousted former President Jean- Bertrand Aristide,” the Miami Herald observed in 1996.
The military junta that ruled Haiti between 1991 and 1994 was bloody and brutal. According to Human Rights Watch, some 5,000 people were murdered by the junta’s soldiers and paramilitaries, and thousands more tortured and raped. Hundreds of thousands were driven into hiding and exile. Martelly became the coup’s joker, applauding the junta while it was in power. He was friends with the dreaded Lt. Col. Michel François, who, as Police Chief, was the principal director of the coup's executioners. For instance, according to a fact-fi nding report by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark's Haiti Commission of Inquiry into the Sep. 30 Coup d'Etat, François drove a red Jeep leading several buses full of soldiers into large crowds demonstrating against the coup on the Champ de Mars in front of the National Palace on the night of Sep. 30, 1991. (A January 1991 coup d'état, nine months earlier, had been turned back by such massive demonstrations.) The crowds applauded the soldiers, thinking they had come to put down the coup. Instead, on François' signal, the bus windows opened, then police and soldiers mowed down hundreds of demonstrators with machine- gun fi re.

Martelly claims his moniker “Sweet Micky” (also the name of his band) came from a nightclub performance in 1988, but it's a nickname Col. Michel François also shared. U.S. documentary fi lmmaker and writer Kevin Pina recalls a concert at the El Rancho Hotel in Port-au-Prince in July 1993 where Colonel “Michel François, ... who was also called ‘Sweet Micky’ after the coup of 1991 because people claimed he would have a broad smile on his face as he killed Lavalas partisans, took to the stage” and “held up Martelly’s hand announcing to the crowd, ‘This is the real Sweet Micky.’” Pina adds, “That’s the fi rst time I ever heard Martelly referred to as such.” One concert that Martelly performed at the request of Michel François and military junta leaders was billed as a demonstration against Dante Caputo, the United Nations special representative to Haiti who was attempting to deploy UN human rights observers into the country. At that same time, the Haitian army and the infamous FRAPH death squads were slaughtering members of the anti-coup resistance.

Martelly, known at the time to have many friends throughout the military, explained to the Miami New Times: “I didn’t accept [the request to play] because I was Michel François’s friend, I did not accept because it was the Army. I went because I did not want Aristide back.” Most shockingly, Father Jean- Marie Vincent (who was killed by a coup death-squad on Aug. 28, 1994) accused Martelly of accompanying the Haitian police on deadly night-time raids to track down suspected Lavalas resistance leaders. “We have information that Michel Martelly has been traveling with death squads from the police when they go out at night to hunt and kill Lavalas leaders,” Vincent told fi lmmaker Pina in a videotaped interview.

After Aristide returned to Haiti in October 1994, Martelly spent most of his time living “in a condo on Miami Beach,” where he “had a regular gig at the Promenade on Ocean Drive, where his band Sweet Micky performed compas, rhythmic Haitian dance music,” according to the Miami New Times. In 2000, Aristide was overwhelmingly elected to a second term. But the George W. Bush administration, also coming into power at that time, launched a destabilization campaign to overthrow Aristide, which is detailed in Peter Hallward’s 2007 book Damming the Flood. Martelly became a willing participant in that germinating coup.

In 2002, the noose was tightening around Aristide. Former soldiers had attempted a coup on Dec. 17, 2001, and the U.S. aid embargo was taking its toll. Nonetheless, Aristide’s government had launched several social investment programs including food cooperatives, the building of unprecedented numbers of schools, subsidization of school books, and other literacy promotion. In his 2002 Carnival song, Martelly referred “to recent riots at a dockside warehouse here that were sparked by word that offi cials from Aristide’s party were stealing from a food program for the poor,”wrote the Washington Post. Although corruption under Aristide paled next to that under the 1991 military junta that Martelly supported, his Carnival song hit a nerve. By 2003, Martelly was on average spending $150,000 to $200,000 on his fl oats for Port-au-Prince’s annual Carnival, according to the Miami Herald. During Carnival, in which mockery of the government is a tradition, Martelly aimed extremely sharp and vulgar criticism at Aristide. During that time, “Kolonget manman ou Aristide" was one of Sweet Micky's refrains, perhaps the worst curse one can make in Kreyòl, meaning literally "the slave master fucked your mother.”

The 2004 Coup and its aftermath

In February 2004, Aristide was driven from power yet again. A U.S. Navy Seal team took the president from his home – Aristide called it “a modern kidnapping” – and sent him into exile in Africa, where he remains to this day. In the build-up to that coup, socalled “rebels” composed of former Haitian Army soldiers and former FRAPH death-squad paramilitaries, ran raids into Haiti’s Central Plateau and North, savagely executing dozens of Aristide supporters, government offi cials and some of their family members. Wyclef Jean, a friend of Martelly, described the “rebels” as freedom fi ghters “standing up for their rights.” Following the coup, U.S., French, and Canadian soldiers occupied Haiti and set up an illegal de facto regime. As outcry against the February coup grew, Martelly held a concert in Portau- Prince in April 2004 to counter calls for Aristide’s return. The concert was entitled: “Keep him out!”

In September 2004, Tropical Storm Jeanne fl ooded the northwest city of Gonaïves, killing some 3,000 people. U.S.-installed de facto Prime Minister Gérard Latortue was widely criticized for his ineffective and belated response to the disaster. One of his few initiatives was to hold a fundraiser with business leaders of the Haitian American Chamber of Commerce. Martelly, who had used his music only to undermine Aristide, headlined the Latortue gala, the Miami Herald reported. In 2006, with Lavalas militants driven into hiding, jailed, or murdered, the Latortue regime held an election which brought former-President René Préval back to power. The Lavalas base supported Préval, thinking he would bring Aristide back, free all the coup's political prisoners, and reverse the neoliberal march of the Latortue dictatorship.

But Préval betrayed these expectations, creating a government dominated by coup supporters and working closely with the foreign military occupation which had now been handed off to the UN. He soon became reviled by large swathes of the poor for failing to enable Aristide's return or to restart many of Aristide's popular social investment programs. By 2009, Préval's CEP banned Aristide's party, the Lavalas Family (FL), from partial senatorial elections and later presidential and parliamentary elections. Préval's weak response to the catastrophic January 2010 earthquake accelerated his decline.

The 2010 Selections and Martelly’s Rise

Finally, the CEP fi xed general elections for Nov. 28, 2010. The Associated Press reported Dec. 10 that Martelly’s “political popularity took off in the weeks before the vote and seems to have surged since it appeared he had been narrowly disqualifi ed from the race.” This surge owes a lot to Martelly’s hi-tech campaign, which outgunned and outclassed his 18 rivals by launching tens of thousands of computerized messages asking people to vote for him. Martelly hired a slick Spanish public relations fi rm to manage his campaign and break into the spotlight. “The Madrid-based Sola, who played an indispensable role in getting Mexico's Felipe Calderón into the president's chair in 2006, has been running the Martelly campaign for the past seven weeks, which goes a long way toward explaining how the antic-prone musician suddenly emerged as a leading contender for Haiti's presidency,” reported The Toronto Star on Dec. 6.

Calderón is widely considered to have stolen the 2006 election from leftist candidate López Obrador, a dirty victory which pleased Washington. The fi rm Ostos & Sola has also helped the campaign of Lech Walesa, the transnational elite's darling in Poland. Damian Merlo, Ostos & Sola's executive director and Martelly campaign point-man, worked on the presidential campaign of U.S. Republican John McCain before joining the fi rm. All of these associations raise questions about what "hidden hand” may be behind the Martelly campaign. “Today’s $50 million question: who is the Miami businessman who reached out to Antonia Sola to be Michel Martelly’s campaign fi xer?” wrote the Toronto Star. “Sola smiles at the question, all Spanish charm. He’s not saying. ‘A friend, a businessman, presented Michel to us in the U.S.,’ he says.” The key to Sola’s formula for Martelly was to present him as an “outsider,” even though he had been the ultimate “insider” with the procoup bourgeoisie that overthrew Aristide twice.

On Nov. 28, as it became apparent that Haiti’s election was riddled with fraud and disenfranchisement, Martelly joined with 11 other candidates to call for election’s annulment. But later that day, Edmond Mulet, who heads the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH), personally called Martelly to tell him that he was leading, Al Jazeera reported. Sweet Micky, without even telling the other candidates in the impromptu front, jumped back in the race. The next day, Martelly denied he had ever signed the joint letter read in his nodding presence at the candidates’ joint press conference on Nov. 28 calling for the election’s annulment. He explained “his change of position by saying his candidacy had been leading in polling stations where there had not been fraud,”Chicago’s Daily Herald reported.

“He saw all the fraud happening on election day,” motorcycle taxi driver Weed Charlot told IPS about Martelly. “But now he sees he has some votes and power. So he’ll accept the election.” The same day he spoke to Martelly, Mulet called candidate Mirlande Manigat to also tell her she was leading in the vote. She too pulled out of the candidates’ annulment front. Then, on Dec. 7, the CEP announced that Manigat was leading with Unity's Célestin in second-place, and hence the second-round. Martelly, who apparently came in third with just over 21%, about 6,800 votes short of Célestin, switched back into protest-mode. Popular anger was already high with Préval and the CEP for excluding the Lavalas Family (only 23% of Haiti's 4.7 million voters turned out, according to the CEP). The election mess was the last straw.

Furthermore, there was rage at MINUSTAH for attempting to cover-up that its troops in Mirebalais had accidentally introduced cholera into Haiti, where the disease is now a pandemic. With Wyclef Jean at his side predicting “civil war,’ Martelly channeled the deep popular frustration to attack the government for “robbing” him of a victory he claimed should have been his. The result has been a wave of election-related mayhem. “It is clear that most of the acts of violence in Haiti around the election have been carried out by Martelly’s supporters," said Ricot Dupuy of Radio Soleil d'Haïti, based in Brooklyn. “Thousands of his supporters have paralyzed the capital and other cities in protests that included attacks on public buildings,” Reuters reported. Some people have died in driveby shootings and skirmishes between Martelly's supporters and those of Célestin. In late November, Haitian journalist Wadner Pierre witnessed a group of Martelly supporters at the Building 2004 voting center in Port-au-Prince throw rocks and chant: “If you don’t let us vote, we will burn this building down.” Martelly supporters are responsible for burning a number of government buildings in the capital and in the southern city of Aux Cayes. They have also assaulted some opponents, while Célestin backers have been accused of killing at least one Martelly supporter.

Former Col. Himmler Rébu said on Haiti's Signal FM that he had witnessed the tactics of Martelly's troops in the street. "This is not something simple," he said, a Kreyòl understatement that implies there are hidden forces at work. In short, there are two movements in Haiti today which are being simplifi ed into one. There are the Lavalas masses mobilized against Préval's fraudulent exclusionary elections and the UN occupation, as well as for Aristide's return.

Then there is the bid by Martelly, using his and Wyclef's celebrity and Ostos & Sola's scientifi c techniques, to coopt this movement to bring him to power. To confuse people, he equates Préval with Aristide, pretending they are the twin governments responsible for the "failed policies” of the past two decades. In reality, Haiti's sad state today can be mostly attributed to the 1991 and 2004 coups which Martelly supported. Furthermore, the power behind Préval - Haiti's pro-coup bourgeoisie - is close to Martelly, and imperialism is not threatened by him. We are witnessing a fi erce rivalry between two factions which share the same two backers: Haiti's anti-Lavalas business class and transnational elites with the U.S. as their most powerful state apparatus.

As Martelly explained to the Huffi ngton Post’s Georgianne Nienaber, he is very much in tune with Washington’s prescription for Haiti, supporting “anything that will help exports... anything that will help the private sector.” Secondly, Martelly does not support the people’s call to end the UN occupation of Haiti: “I want to say to the international community, the diplomatic corps, and non-governmental agencies that we need them,” he said in the same interview. Ultimately, Martelly is not a “dark horse” candidate, as Canada’s Globe & Mail suggests, who has come out of nowhere to lead “Haiti’s young and dispossessed.” He is a man with a long history of service to Haiti’s “Morally Repugnant Elite.” During his campaign, Martelly was fond of saying that in Haiti “it’s more about the man than about the plan.” If this is true, Haitians should have grave misgiving about a man who has backed two coup regimes that used death-squads to silence the poor majority and throttle Haiti’s nascent democracy.

Source, Haitliberte:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Popular Anger Unabated over Chaotic Polls

next to the polling station at Building 2004 in the neighbourhood of Delmas.
Credit:Wadner Pierre/IPS

Buy this picture

By Ansel Herz and Wadner Pierre

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 2, 2010 (IPS) - Furious demonstrations continued across Haiti on Wednesday following the Nov. 28 highly contested election in which thousands found themselves unable to vote.

Rock-throwing and road-barricading protests were reported in Les Cayes, Hinche, Petit Goave and Archaie. On Tuesday, demonstrators clashed with United Nations peacekeeping troops in St. Marc and Gonaives. The U.N. mission issued several alerts to its personnel restricting movement.

Twelve of 19 presidential candidates called on Sunday for cancellation of the election results. They allege widespread fraud by the government in favour of the ruling party's candidate, Jude Celestin.

Konpa singer Michel Martelly and another leading candidate have since backed away from the allegations.

"He saw all the fraud happening on election day," motorcycle taxi driver Weed Charlot told IPS. "But now he sees he has some votes and power. So he'll accept the election."

Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and the primary international observer mission said despite "irregularities", there is not sufficient reason to invalidate the election.

"If it is requested, I am sure the international community stands ready to assist in the investigation of irregularities reported, said Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States Albert R. Ramdin on Wednesday.

The U.S. Embassy supports the recommendations of the OAS, a spokesperson told IPS.

IPS witnessed several polling stations in the capital city that opened hours late on election day. Hundreds of Haitian citizens unable to find their names on electoral lists were turned away.

At Building 2004 in central Port-au-Prince, chaos reigned.

"We come to vote this morning and we can't find ballots to vote. A group of Jude Celestin partisans came with their weapons and troubled the poll station. Nobody stopped them," voter Celito Cesard told IPS.

In the afternoon, crowds chanted, "If they prevent us from voting we will set a fire." Some ran into the building, grabbed ballot boxes and threw them into pools of water in the street.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported brazen ballot stuffing at another polling station.

Outside the capital city there were only 39 registered voters at Camp Corail, a planned settlement for at least 6,000 victims of January's earthquake. Camp residents whose registrations had not been updated were so enraged they attacked the polling station with rocks, forcing its closure. U.N. police were overwhelmed and forced to evacuate the camp.

Sources in Hinche, a medium-size city in the Haiti's central countryside, told IPS most people stayed home from the polls.

So did Joel St. Jerome Jacques, still living with his family under a tarp in Petionville. He sat glumly on a concrete step on the outskirts of a makeshift camp on Sunday across from a polling station. A raucous demonstration of outraged voters waving Martelly posters drew closer.

"The election is an element of development, it's a civic right that we're told we should exercise since we're children. But for me this election didn't really happen," St. Jerome Jacques told IPS.

He lost his national identification card and tried, in vain, to get a new one from a nearby government office before election day.

"Many people couldn't find their cards - they lost them and that's a reason they've taken to the streets," he said. "I've been here since Jan. 12! They said they would help us get out of here. But nothing's happened, they don't do anything serious."

Votes are now being counted in tabulation centres and the final results are to be announced on Dec. 20. There will be a short period for candidates to officially contest the outcomes, before a runoff between the top two vote-getters on Jan. 16.

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar blamed Sunday's disorder on outgoing President Rene Préval. Préval's government dismissed his recommendations in a mid-summer report for the appointment of a new CEP and inclusion of parties like Fanmi Lavalas, barred from the ballot, in the election.

"As a result, the elections have been fraught with numerous reports of irregularities and fraud," Lugar said in a Wednesday hearing of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Six Haitian civil society groups also issued a statement condemning Préval and the CEP for organising a highly flawed election and the anger that followed.

Préval is painted as a passive and aloof head of state in two secret State Department cables recently released by Wikileaks. He tolerates little dissent from his cabinet and doesn't read the news, but is prone to micro-management, they say.

The cables constitute an exhaustive profile of Préval, analysing his major relationships and mentioning "special intelligence" on his medical habits. He takes two- to three- hour naps every afternoon and is rumoured to be drinking heavily.

His nationalism and independence are seen as added difficulties. The cables speak of "finding creative ways to work with him, influence him" and "manage" him.

"He remains skeptical about the international community's commitment to his government's goals, for instance telling me that he is suspicious of how the Collier report will be used," says a June 2009 cable by the George W. Bush administration's U.S. ambassador to Haiti.

British economist Paul Collier authored a U.N.-commissioned report on Haiti in January last year. It called for major private investments in the garment-making sector and in agricultural exports to create jobs. Since then, the document has been touted by the international community and Haitian government as a foundation for its long-term development strategy.

There are a further 1,212 cables from the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince still unreleased to the public as of this writing. An embassy spokesperson condemned the leak in a statement to IPS.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Haiti Flawed and Undemocratic Elections Confirmed

 Photos by Wadner Pierre
Hoping the CEP, UN and the Haitian Government have courage to say this is my fault. Haitian people deserve better and much better than the flawed. Massive fraud, irregularities and low-turnout that what marked the Nov. 28 Presidential and Legislative Elections in Haiti. I took these at the Poll Station, Building 2004, Delmas the former 'Haitian military aviation.' It was about 1:30 when a group of protesters came and chanted "if they don't let s vote, we will put fire." They held the photos of Presidential Candidate Michel Martely.

There were Haitian police officers at the building. UN/Israelite and Italian special forces were one  or two minutes from the poll station.

 Even the low participation of Haitian voters in these controversial elections, those who went to vote had difficulties to find their names. But they found the names of their neighbors who died in the Janv. 12 earthquake. In many cases, particularly Cite Soleil, voters were forced or pressured to vote against their will. " They took my ballot and beat me up because I refused to vote for Jude Celestin," said Resume, a voter in Cite Soleil while crying. Mr. Resume's situation was similar to many other voters.