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The UN’s still incomplete apology to Haiti

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By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Dec. 7, 2016

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who will step down at the end of this month, made his most explicit apology yet for the UN’s role and responsibility in Haiti’s cholera epidemic, the world’s worst.

However, in his ballyhooed Dec. 1 address to the UN General Assembly, Ban stopped short of admitting that UN soldiers militarily occupying Haiti since 2004 introduced the deadly bacterial disease into the country in 2010.

“On behalf of the United Nations, I want to say very clearly: we apologize to the Haitian people,” Ban said in the nugget of his long speech in French, English, and Kreyòl. “We simply did not do enough with regard to the cholera outbreak and its spread in Haiti. We are profoundly sorry for our role.”

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, whose scathing report last August put Ban on the hot seat, rightly dubbed it a “half-apology.”

“He apologizes that the UN has not done more to eradicate cholera, but not for causing the disease in the first place," Alston told the Guardian.

Breakdown of preliminary election results in Haiti

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By Jake Johnston, Center for Economic & Policy Research (CEPR), Dec. 6, 2016

More than two weeks after Haitians went to the polls to elect a new president, 16 Senators and 25 Deputies, preliminary results from all races have finally been released. Presidential results have already been contested by the second, third and fourth place finishers while many legislative races will likely be contested as well. However, if the preliminary results are upheld, the November 20 elections will have consolidated nearly unprecedented political power in the hands of PHTK, the party of former president Michel Martelly. While PHTK and its allies appear to have scored electoral victories at both the presidential and legislative level, their political success has occurred in a context of extremely low turnout, raising questions about the significance of their mandate to govern moving forward.

Brian Concannon, executive director of the IJDH, reacts to the Haiti election results


By Brian Concannon, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), Dec. 2, 2016

The Haiti Justice Update sent on Wednesday did not adequately acknowledge the problems with Haiti’s November 20 elections. Although we do believe the voting was an improvement over the October 25, 2015 elections, there were still significant problems with the voting that call the results into question, as we have documented on our blog, twitter feeds and media interviews, including:

- a distressingly low turnout, of 21%. The turnout is evidence of both short-term problems with this year’s registration and voting, and long-term effects of what my colleague Mario Joseph calls “voter exclusion” that we have documented and advocated against in elections in 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2015. For a comparison, this year’s declared winner, Jovenel Moise, won 595,000 votes, while in 2000 the winning candidate, Jean-Bertrand Aristide received 2,600,000 votes (over 2 ½ times the total for the top 4 candidates this year);

To so many Africans, Fidel Castro is a hero. Here’s why

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By Sean Jacobs, The Guardian, Nov. 30, 2016

If Africa is a country, then Fidel Castro is one of our national heroes. This may come as a surprise to many oblivious of Africa’s postcolonial history and Castro’s role in it – especially the fate of white regimes and former Portuguese colonies in southern Africa.

In the west, Castro’s legacy is usually dismissed as an authoritarian, and Cuba as a one-party state with few freedoms. Despite the many achievements of Cuba under Castro (high quality public healthcare, as well as life expectancy, child immunisation and literacy systems parallel to those of first-world nations, and even surpassing the US), at various times the country became renowned for economic crisis, media repression, exiling and imprisoning dissidents, and discriminating against gays and people with AIDS.

Those things were a betrayal of the revolution, and it is important to acknowledge that. But history has absolved Castro when it comes to Cuba’s foreign policy, especially its Africa policy.

Deconstructing another right-wing victory in Haiti

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by Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, Nov. 30, 2016

The largest and most important percentage to emerge from Haiti’s Nov. 20, 2016 election is that 78.31% of the country’s 6.2 million eligible voters did not vote.

Some could not obtain their National Identification Card (CIN) or find their name on the long voter lists posted on the gates of huge voting centers. Others could not get to their assigned center because they live or work too far away, perhaps in another part of the country. In fact, the whole “voting center” system, which is different from that used in the 1990s when participation was much higher, has objectively suppressed the votes of many poor, itinerant Haitians.

Mainstream press cheers rigged elections in Haiti


By Dady Chery, Haiti Chery, Nov. 29, 2016

The members of Haiti’s Interim Electoral Commission (CEP) tentatively showed their faces around 11 p.m. on Monday, November 28 to announce the preliminary results of the November 20 election. They had dodged the press since 3 o’clock in the afternoon. The hiccup was that they had needed more than seven hours to pressure one of their own four refractory members to sign off on the elections. First, CEP Director, Leopold Berlanger, apologized, not for the CEP’s rigged elections, but for his tardiness. Next, as a preliminary sedative, the CEP explained its computation methods before it delivered its cooked results.

More than a week of furious computations on slightly more than a million ballots had produced the result that PHTK’s Jovenel Moise had supposedly won 595,430 votes for 55.67 percent of the total; LAPEH’s Jude Celestin had got 208,837 votes for 19.52 percent of the total; Pitit Desalin’s Moise Jean Charles had got 118,142 votes for 11.04 percent of the total; and Fanmi Lavalas had won 96,121 votes for 8.99 percent of the total.

The Experiences of a Haitian-American Unionist in Trump’s America

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By Marie-Paule Florestal, Haiti Liberté, Nov. 22, 2016

I’ve just returned to the New York metropolitan area after working as a Democratic Party campaigner in rural Michigan for the two months leading up to the Nov. 8 election. This is an account of the deep anger, ignorance, and racism I encountered in the American heartland.

Based in New York City, I am a Haitian-American organizer for the northeastern United States with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The union released me to work with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) of Michigan from September to Nov. 9, 2016 as a part of the AFL-CIO’s Working America Coalition, which sought to encourage voters to vote for Democratic Party candidates.

My job was to target specific groups of voters among Democrats, Republicans, and independents and then reach them via phone banks, mailings, and door-to-door canvassing.