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Illegally ousted anti-corruption chief: “The president had to find someone who was more obedient.”

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By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, July 20, 2017

Second of two articles

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse illegally fired former judge Sonel Jean-François as the head of Haiti’s autonomous anti-money-laundering Central Financial Intelligence Unit (UCREF) on Jul. 6 and the next day replaced the head of its cousin agence, the Anti-Corruption Unit (ULCC), supplanting both men with his cronies.

In an interview with Haïti Liberté, Jean-François laid out the various ways in which he sees these developments as a grave threat to Haitian democracy. “ Mr. [Joseph Oldy] Bellegarde is linked to several high-ranking people in Jovenel Moïse’s regime,” said Jean-François, referring to the man who replaced him. “That’s all I feel comfortable saying.”

Nonetheless, he elaborated by explaining that “UCREF is an agency which must work in the greatest secrecy. If you’re doing a money-laundering investigation, you must not tell anyone, especially not the person who is being investigated. That person should only become aware after you’ve finished preparing the report and submitted it to an investigating judge. The subject should learn about the investigation when he’s informed by the judge.”

Obviously, a regime creature like Bellegarde would be unlikely to maintain such discretion, much less carry out investigations of those in power like President Moïse.

The UN’s legacy in Haiti: Stability, but for whom?

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By Jake Johnston, World Politics Review, July 18, 2017

After 13 years and more than $7 billion, the “touristas” — as the United Nations soldiers that currently occupy Haiti are commonly referred to — will finally be heading home. Well, sort of. While thousands of troops are expected to depart in October, the UN has authorized a new, smaller mission composed of police that will focus on justice and strengthening the rule of law. But the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH, is not just thousands of foreign soldiers “keeping the peace.” It is the latest and most visible manifestation of the international community’s habit of intervening in Haiti, a habit that is unlikely to change. 

Charities and voluntourism fuelling 'orphanage crisis' in Haiti, says NGO

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By Naomi Larsson, The Guardian, July 14, 2017

Charitable givers from the US who believe they are helping Haitian orphans are instead funding the abuse and neglect of children at orphanages in the Caribbean country, a report from the NGO Lumos has found.

At least 30,000 children live in privately-run orphanages in Haiti, a country that has suffered multiple natural disasters displacing many families.

More than a third of Haiti’s 752 orphanages are funded by donations from abroad amounting to $70m (£54m), 92% of which comes from philanthropic and charity givers in the US.

But an estimated 80% of the children living in these facilities are not actually orphaned: they have one or more living parent, and almost all have other relatives, according to the Haitian government.

After Hurricane Matthew, many victims in Haiti feel abandoned

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By Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, July 14, 2017

A feisty Vanette Joseph slowly navigates her way through a field of debris, passing broken branches and other reminders of last year’s devastating 145-mph hurricane before spying one of her few surviving plants.

“All of the lime trees were destroyed,” she says as something catches her eye. She moves in for a closer look.

Much like Hurricane Matthew put a choke-hold on her livelihood, an invasive coiling vine has gotten hold of the lone standing lime tree, and Joseph, 91, isn’t happy. So the determined farmer pushes her eyeglasses on top of her forehead, reaches in and starts pulling.

“I had 100 coconut trees,” she said. “They used to give me at least 10 sacks to send to Port-au-Prince. Now, I can’t even find one coconut to put in some rice to eat.”

For most of her life Joseph has been self-sufficient, building a life off of coconut, breadfruit, plantain, mangoes and other crops, which she and her late husband planted in this western breadbasket, 172 miles from Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince.

Then Hurricane Matthew rumbled through in October and uprooted it all, leaving behind $2.8 billion in damage.

The Canadian company mining hills of silver – and the people dying to stop it

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By Nina Lakhani, The Guardian, July 13, 2017

Deep underground, buried in the lush hills of southern Guatemala, lies a veritable treasure trove: silver, tonnes of it, one of the largest deposits in the world.

But it’s above ground where the really dangerous activity goes on. On a dusty highway, about 50 peasant farmers stand praying in a circle, a makeshift roadblock intended to stop trucks reaching the mine. They have already been violently dispersed by police teargas. Now they fear the army might move in.

The contrast couldn’t be greater: the mine extracted more than $350m (£270m) worth of silver last year. The protesters, men, women and children turning out for 12-hour vigils, eke out a living by farming coffee, maize and small herds of cattle.

This is a perennial frontline in a deadly battle fought by land rights activists against corporate interests in Guatemala, a clash of interests that have made the country one of the most perilous places in the world for environmentalists, according to the NGO Global Witness.

Since 2010 at least 41 people have been killed – including eight at the Canadian-owned mine, Escobal.

Trudeau government announces $20 million donation to the Clinton Foundation

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By Canada.ca, July 11, 2017

The Canadian government is donating 20 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation. The money will distributed over four years to assist in sexual and reproductive health programs in Nigeria. 

The Clinton Foundation has been accused of undermining Haitian democracy by meddling in elections and funding prefered candidates. For more read Jonathan Katz's report on slate. 

   -CHAN Editors

The following is copied from the Canadian government's website:

Canada’s announcement of funding of up to $241.5 million at the Family Planning Summit will support projects that will provide critical sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services and information and advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Haiti to reform army after 20 years without

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By BBC News Latin America, July 11, 2017

Haiti's government has launched a campaign to re-establish its army, dissolved more than 20 years ago. It wants to recruit about 500 men and women to help deal with natural disasters and to patrol borders.

The recruitment drive follows the announcement by the United Nations mission that it would be leaving Haiti in October. But critics say the island's small budget should be spent on the national police force of about 15,000 officers.

A Ministry of Defence statement said the recruitment drive is open to both men and women between the ages of 18 and 25, who have passed their secondary education exams. The UN Security Council agreed in April to withdraw their security forces, the blue helmets, and leave only a small police presence to support the Haitian police.

The UN departure has sparked a debate over whether Haiti should or should not form a new army. Many politicians support the idea arguing it would provide jobs for young people.

But the government's critics say a military force could quickly become politicised, becoming a weapon in the hands of whoever is the president or prime minister.

For much of Haiti's history, the army has been used to crack down on political dissent by a series of authoritarian presidents.