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Why Aristide Allegations Always Resurface Before Elections

August 31, 2014 - 04:58

This article does a great job outlining the current case against Aristide and how the Haitian and other foreign governments could use it to undermine elections. Bringing widespread media attention to Aristide’s arrest warrant is a tactic his opponents have used many times in the past, to lower public opinion of Aristide and his party (Fanmi Lavalas) before elections.

Haiti’s Fragile Democracy

Lauren Carasik, Jurist
August 31, 2014

The latest chapter in a long series of preliminary legal actions against Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has generated a series of standoffs. Outside Aristide’s house in the suburb of Tabarre, his supporters have gathered several times in the past weeks to protest announced efforts to arrest him and have usually been dispersed with tear gas by Haitian police and UN soldiers. Inside the Courthouse Judge Lamarre Belizaire insists that the police execute an arrest warrant he issued on August 14, while his chief judge issues contradictory statements about whether the effort to have him recused—now before Haiti’s Cour de Cassation (Supreme Court)—affects the warrant’s validity. In the court of public opinion, Aristide’s lawyers—who have not been allowed any hearings or access to the case file—argue that the Judge Belizaire is an illegally-appointed judge following a deeply flawed process to harass an opponent of the government that named him.

Judge Lamarre Belizaire issued the August 14 arrest warrant after Aristide failed to appear to answer a summons issued the day before, on what Aristide’s lawyers contend are politically-motivated, time-barred charges. Mario Joseph, head of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux, claims the summons was neverproperly served and that Aristide never received it. The criminal investigation centers on allegations of corruption, criminal conspiracy, money laundering and misappropriation of funds during Aristide’s presidency that ended with a US-backed coup more than a decade ago.

This is not the first time that Aristide has been the target of charges that are brought with public fanfare and then dropped before Aristide has an opportunity to challenge the allegations. Aristide’s supporters claim the repeated legal actions are aimed at discrediting him and Fanmi Lavalas, the country’s most popular political party, that he founded, and intended to undermine a free and fair electoral process in Haiti.

Aristide’s lawyers Mario Joseph and Ira Kurzban claim the charges are wholly fabricated and reflect Belizaire’s bias. Belizaire, who was appointed by President Michel Martelly, has a history of using his judicial role to pursue Martelly’s political enemies. This practice led the country’s Bar Association to suspend him for ten years, starting when he steps down from the bench. Joseph and Kurzban echo the concerns of others who suggest that the meritless charges were manufactured to hinder elections scheduled that have been overdue since 2011, when Martelly became president. Joseph also believes the reports were calculated to distract the public from the jailbreak of over 300 prisoners, including Clifford Brandt—a member of one of Haiti’s wealthiest families with ties to the government, who is suspected in a number of high profile kidnappings—from a maximum security facility outside of Port-au-Prince on August 10; he has since been recaptured. Others have suggested that sullying Aristide’s reputation diverts attention from the prosecution of former dictator Jean Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier for financial malfeasance and crimes against humanity. Aristide’s lawyers have also filed a precautionary measures (injunctive relief) petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, seeking to protect Aristide from the abuse of state power.

Aristide, the country’s first democratically-elected president, has maintained a low profile since returning to Haiti from forced exile in 2011, focusing on education and health care for the country’s impoverished masses. Yet he symbolizes a popular grassroots mobilization that those with a tight grip on the reins of power appear to find threatening.

Haiti has seen more than its share of hardship and deprivation. The 2010 earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people and the cholera epidemic that followed on its heels continue to ravage the country, compounding endemic poverty and corruption. The 2011 election that brought Martelly into power was held less than a year after the catastrophic quake, in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. The voting process was widely contested: Martelly, who has ties to Duvalier, only triumphed after an unprecedented intervention by the Organization of American States (OAS) (more specifically, by the US, France and Canada) and with Fanmi Lavalas barred from participating, in an election that was widely boycotted by political parties and voters.

Legislative elections had been scheduled for October 26 of this year, but Haiti’s electoral authority announced on August 11—two days before the Arsitide summons—that they will now need to be delayed yet again. Since the 2011 elections, the terms for elected local officials and one-third of senators’ seats have alreadyexpired. The shortage of seated senators has paralyzed the legislative process since the open seats allow a small number of senators to defeat a quorum. Martelly has appointed “municipal agents” to fill the vacant mayoral seats.

Another third of the Senate seats and the 99-member House of Deputies will be vacant next year if elections are not held this fall. The process of implementing the constitutionally-mandated Permanent Electoral Council tasked with overseeing elections has been fraught with delays and controversy. Various civic groups point out that Martelly has benefitted from missteps in setting up the council. Without elections this year, Martelly will further consolidate his grip on power, and with only a third of the senate remaining, the legislative process would grind to a standstill.

The investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Aristide follows an all-too familiar pattern. The Haitian government first filed a civil suit against Aristide and several co-defendants in the US District Court of the Southern District of Florida in November 2005. The Haitian government, which had come into power following the 2004 coup, and the US government held a series of press conferences and briefings about the case, generating extensive media attention. Yet despite the apparent enthusiasm for, and investment in, the case, Haitian authorities never served the complaint on Aristide or any of the other defendants. Aristide was in South Africa at the time, complicating the process of serving him with the complaint, but other defendants were living openly in Florida. The Haitian government sought one extension to serve the defendants, but declined to seek another, eventually requesting that the case be dismissed just before the service deadline. This was more than six months after the initial filing and the Haitian government retained the right to re-file the complaint. After the enthusiastic media campaign to publicize the suit, critics questioned the government’s motivation in bringing and then dismissing the case. Charges brought in Haiti against Aristide in 2005 on the same charges were dismissed in April 2006, after a judge found that the government failed to submit the case to the appropriate court.

The current investigation is the third time the Haitian government has pursued a criminal complaint against Aristide in 20 months. Each time, the warrant was leaked to the press before being served on the former president. The first time, in January 2013, the charges were so patently unjustified that when Aristide’s lawyers pushed back, the prosecutor dropped the case after trying to save face by canceling the formal hearing and conducting an informal interview at Aristide’s house. The case backfired politically, as the informal interview was seen as an embarrassing capitulation. Aristide was targeted a second time for investigation, in May 2013, in the investigation of the April 2000 murder of journalist Jean-Dominique. Aristide was properly summoned, and attended the hearing, as 10,000 of his supporters protested outside. Lacking any merit to the allegations, the prosecutor let that case drop as well.

Mention of Aristide’s imminent arrest engenders widespread media attention. Yet the press reports on these events uncritically: the stories neglect to mention the past initiatives that were summarily abandoned, give scant attention to the procedural irregularities that taint the charges and fail to contextualize the judge’s documented history of partisan behavior. This is not a new tactic for the Haitian government. US State Department cables released by Wikileaks suggest that previous arrest warrants for Aristide were also politically motivated—and supported by top UN officials—aimed at dampening support for the deposed leader. International meddling in Haitian politics reinforces the entrenched power structure. A statistical analysis of the 2011 election by the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrated that the OASintervention on behalf of Michel Martelly was unwarranted.

Given the Haitian government’s pattern of charging Aristide when it is politically expedient to do so, the decade old allegations are likely to resurface even if the current investigation is not pursued. Until Haiti’s government fosters the conditions for a free and fair democracy, the descendants of the first country to throw off the shackles of slavery will continue to face bleak conditions.

 

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UN Peacekeepers Leave Babies in Haiti

August 29, 2014 - 11:00

Despite rules against forming relationships with locals, United Nations peacekeepers have left many babies behind in Haiti. The mothers are left to provide for the children with no support from the children’s fathers. Some of these mothers are now seeking support from the UN, which does have a system for these types of claims, but needs to do a better job of making it known.

Haitian moms demand UN help for the babies their peacekeepers left behind

Amy Bracken, PRI
August 29, 2014

When the US military pulled out of Vietnam in 1973, it left something of a living legacy: Tens of thousands of pregnant Vietnamese women. But this issue is not confined to Americans in Vietnam, or even to wartime. It’s also an often overlooked side effect of United Nations peacekeeping operations.

Now, the babies of UN peacekeepers are becoming an issue in Haiti.

In the seaside town of Port Salut, 5-year-old Sasha Francesca Barrios basks in the attention of her mother and a couple of visitors. Barrios lives in a small house with her mother, grandmother and aunt. She talks about school and sings the popular Haitian children’s song “Ti Zwazo,” or Little Bird.

And when Sasha’s mother asks her to identify the young, pale man in a photo, she knows right away — “Papa.” Roselaine Duperval, her mother, says Sasha’s father was a Uruguayan marine in the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti — known as MINUSTAH, its French acronym.

“They came here, and there was one who was friends with me,” Duperval says. “He said he loved me, and we were together. I never thought if I stayed with him and had a child with him, that he would leave and not support the child.” But he did. Sasha has never met him.

Duperval says the marine gave her $200 early in her pregnancy, but he left Haiti before Sasha was born and she never heard from him again. Now she’s scraping by giving manicures and pedicures in people’s homes. And she knows other women in similar situations.

“They come in our country to help us and they don’t help us; they have kids with us and leave,” she says. “I need aid for my child, to pay for school. It’s MINUSTAH’s responsibility. We’re in a country without work. We need the UN’s help. They know MINUSTAH troops leave babies here, children without dads.”

The UN does have a policy of helping facilitate paternity claims and child support in these kinds of cases. In February, the UN brought seven mothers — including Duperval — to the capital with their children for DNA tests. The mothers are still waiting for results.

 

Credit: Amy Bracken

Sasha Barrios holds up a picture of the Uruguayan marine her mother says is Sasha’s father. The man was a member of MINUSTAH, the UN peacekeeping for in Haiti.

And while the UN plays a role, it’s ultimately up to the country where the peacekeeper is from to determine follow-up. In the case of Duperval and her six fellow mothers, a Uruguayan military official said the alleged fathers have been asked to submit DNA samples. If paternity is established, it will be up to the Uruguayan courts to determine what should be done about it.

Of course, establishing paternity and getting child support are a challenge when the dad is a local Haitian, says community activist Miriame Duclair, let alone when the father is a foreign peacekeeper.

“The difference is if it’s [a Haitian] dad, often his family will help the mom,” Duclair says. “But when a foreigner leaves a child, there’s no one to help. When the UN talks about coming to Haiti to stabilize, it’s not true. They come to destabilize.”

Both the UN and the Uruguayan army say they strictly forbid such relationships. Uruguayan Col. Girardo Frigossi says no matter what the circumstances, relationships between UN peacekeepers and locals are never acceptable.

“There’s no possibility of any relation, consensual or not,” he says. “Because the power is in the UN soldier — because they have food, they have water, they can provide security, they have money.”

Sylvain Roy of the UN’s Conduct and Discipline Unit, or CDU, makes it even clearer. “Regardless of whether the mother might have been consenting,” he says, “the relationship is exploitative.”

Yet the chances for mothers receiving restitution are slim. The UN only started pulling together paternity claim statistics last year, and they show only 19 substantiated paternity claims against peacekeepers across the entire globe from 2010 through 2012. An independent report suggests there were many more claims before the UN began recording cases.

And in Haiti, many mothers aren’t making claims because there isn’t a known system for doing that. The Port Salut women were only brought to the attention of the UN when an American journalist reported on them in 2011.

The CDU’s Roy says this is an area that needs improvement. “You cannot expect a woman living in the middle of Congo, for example, to be able to file a claim for recognition of paternity, and then child support, in a court on another continent,” he says, “but it’s a situation with which we’ve got to deal.”

In the meantime, mothers left behind have a simple request. Rose Mina Joseph was 16 when she became pregnant, she says, by a 35-year-old Uruguayan peacekeeper. “I want MINUSTAH to get me out of poverty,” Joseph says, “to put me and my child in a better place.”

 

Click HERE for the original.

Dominican Citizenship Process Excludes Migrant Workers

August 28, 2014 - 16:00

Though the Dominican Republic has begun a program of documenting migrants so they can eventually gain citizenship, many are excluded from this program because of the requirements: Thousands don’t have the work documentation, passports,  or other documents required and the fees to obtain them are prohibitive. Human rights advocates continue to fight for those who remain stateless.

Dominican legal status still elusive for migrants

Ezequiel Abiu Lopez, Yahoo News
August 28, 2014

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) — The Dominican Republic will soon issue the first residency and work permits for migrants under a new program that will enable them to avoid the risk of deportation, officials said Thursday, conceding that so far few have managed to qualify.

Since the year-long application period opened on June 2, more than 115,000 people have applied for legal status in the country, according to Deputy Interior Minister Washington Gonzalez.

So far, however, only 275 have met the criteria, Gonzalez said. The first 80 will be receiving their permits in the coming days.

Gonzalez said that only about half of all applicants have submitted any of the required proof.

“This tells us where the problem is,” he said. “The foreigners can’t obtain the documents.”

The difficulty has worried advocates for migrants and frustrated many of the applicants, who have been waiting in long lines this summer to submit the piles of documents to show they meet the eligibility requirements, which include having come to the country before October 2011.

“These statistics are certainly worrisome, and you might even say alarming,” said Horacio Rodriguez, head of migration policy at Centro Bono, a Jesuit organization that has assisted migrants, mostly from neighboring Haiti, to apply for legal status.

Interior Minister Ramon Fadul has warned that migrants who don’t secure legal status under this program may face deportation as the country seeks to gain greater control over its border.

The program to allow migrants to seek legal status was approved in 2004 but stalled until the Supreme Court ordered the government to implement it in a ruling last September. The deadline for applying is May 31.

In a separate part of the September ruling, the court also said people born to non-citizens do not automatically qualify for Dominican citizenship, retroactively stripping thousands of people of what they believed to be their nationality, and it directed the government to enact a plan to resolve their status as well. The government yet done to do so.

The Dominican Republic, which has a population of about 9 million, has long drawn large numbers of migrants from neighboring Haiti, many of whom come to work in the sugar field or in other low-wage jobs. A U.N. study has estimated the population of undocumented migrants in the country at about 500,000, nearly 90 percent of Haitian descent.

Migrants seeking to establish their legal status have to produce proof that they have been in the country since before Oct. 19, 2011, as well as documentation of their work and other proof that they have established themselves, which may not be easy to obtain for those who work in construction or agricultural and other informal sectors.

Cost is also apparently a factor, even after the Haitian government dropped the price for basic identity documents such as a passport and birth certificate to help the migrants apply for legal status. Joseph Cherubin, director of an organization of Haitian workers in the country, said if you add up the price of all the documents, the services of a notary and add in transportation, it comes to about $150, more than most farmworkers earn in a month.

 

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L’OEA exhorte Haïti à tenir des élections

August 28, 2014 - 05:23

L’Organisation des États américains fait pression sur le gouvernement haïtien pour la tenue des élections, mettant l’accent sur l’accord d’El Rancho. Le problème, c’est la méthode de l’Accord de la nomination d’un Conseil électoral provisoire en contradiction avec la Constitution. D’ailleurs, le Sénat n’a pas approuvé l’accord.

Pour plus d’informations sur les elections, cliquez ICI (texte en anglais).

L’OEA appelle à l’organisation d’élections en Haïti

Haiti Press Network
28 août 2014

Le Conseil permanent de l’OEA plaide en faveur de l’organisation d’élections en Haïti en vue de renforcer le processus démocratique. Tout en renouvelant sa volonté d’apporter son soutien et son appui technique au processus, l’OEA appelle les acteurs au respect de la Constitution et de l’accord d’El Rancho pour faciliter la tenue des scrutins.

Voici le texte de la résolution adoptée par le conseil permanent de l’Organisation des États américains:

 

CP/DEC. 55 (1985/14)

 

SOUTIEN À L’ORGANISATION ET À LA TENUE

DES ÉLECTIONS EN HAÏTI CONFORMÉMENT À L’ACCORD D’EL RANCHO

(Déclaration adoptée par le Conseil permanent la séance tenue le 27 août 2014)

LE CONSEIL PERMANENT DE L’ORGANISATION DES ÉTATS AMÉRICAINS,

PRENANT EN COMPTE la déclaration CP/DEC. 53 (1965/14) du Conseil permanent en date du 30 avril 2014 sur le processus électoral en Haïti et le soutien continu de l’Organisation des États Américains au dit processus par son appui technique et ses missions d’observation électorale,

AYANT À L’ESPRIT les efforts du Gouvernement haïtien et la signature de l’accord d’El Rancho par les trois pouvoirs de l’État, à savoir, l’exécutif, le législatif et le judiciaire, et les représentants de la société civile, ouvrant ainsi la voie à l’organisation d’élections périodiques, libres, justes et transparentes,

RECONNAISSANT que les parties se sont mises d’accord sur les bases politiques et constitutionnelles pour l’organisation de ces élections lors de la signature de l’accord d’El Rancho le 19 mars 2014,

CONSIDÉRANT:

Qu’il importe que toutes les parties, à savoir, l’exécutif, le judiciaire et le législatif, respectent pleinement leurs engagements politiques ainsi que leurs obligations juridiques et constitutionnelles visant à faciliter l’organisation rapide des élections nécessaires pour le renouvellement des mandats des autorités législatives et municipales;

Les progrès réalisés depuis la signature de l’accord d’El Rancho en Haïti, en particulier la mise en œuvre des engagements par l’exécutif et le judiciaire, ainsi que l’établissement d’un Conseil électoral qui est maintenant en place et œuvre à la tenue de ces élections,

NOTANT:

Que le projet de loi électorale, outil essentiel à l’organisation de ces élections, a été voté le

1er avril 2014 par la Chambre des députés d’Haïti et immédiatement transmis au Sénat pour examen et approbation;

Notant par ailleurs qu’à ce jour, aucune mesure n’a été prise par le Sénat à cet égard,

DÉCLARE:

1. Son soutien continu au processus électoral et à la tenue sans délai des élections qui auraient déjà dû avoir lieu.

2. Sa profonde préoccupation face au manque de progrès dans le processus électoral.

3. Qu’il invite instamment toutes les branches du Gouvernement et toutes les parties prenantes à poursuivre le dialogue pour remplir, de toute urgence, leurs obligations conformément à la Constitution et à l’accord d’El Rancho afin d’assurer la tenue d’élections en 2014.

4. Sa solidarité avec les autorités et le peuple haïtien dans leurs efforts pour le renforcement de l’état de droit par le renouvellement des institutions démocratiques au moyen de la tenue d’élections libres, justes et transparentes.

5. Qu’il demeure saisi des événements survenant à cet égard.

 

Cliquez ICI pour l’original.

Cholera: From the Origin to Legal Developments

August 27, 2014 - 15:46

This article details both the theory that cholera in Haiti was triggered by environmental factors, as well as the evidence showing that United Nations peacekeepers triggered the epidemic through negligent sanitary practices. The author then describes the actions BAI and IJDH took to seek justice for cholera victims, from the 2011 petition demanding UN accountability through the 2013 complaint filed in the Southern District of New York. He also outlines some of the legal arguments against the UN’s response, as well as outside reactions to the case (including former UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay’s).

The introductory paragraph is below. Click HERE for a pdf of the full article.

Cholera in Haiti: A Perfect Storm of Scientific and Legal Uncertainty

Guy R. Knudsen, Natural Resources & Environment
Summer 2014

To date, the Haitian cholera epidemic that broke out
in 2010 has killed more than 8,500 people, and sickened
another 600,000. Although United Nations
(UN) peacekeeping forces have been widely blamed
for introducing the bacterial pathogen into Haiti, the UN
continues to deny responsibility and rejects demands for victim
compensation. Recently, two human rights groups filed a
class action lawsuit against the UN in federal court, seeking
compensation for cholera victims. The suit, which ventures
into largely uncharted waters of international law, takes place
against a backdrop of intense and sometimes rancorous scientific
debate about the human and environmental determinants
of the epidemic. The UN is relying on a two-pronged defensive
strategy: first, a defense based on immunity derived from
its traditional diplomatic privileges and immunities, which
dates back to the organization’s founding in 1946. Second, a
defense based on a lack of proximate cause, which is bolstered
by several prominent scientists’ theory that the pathogen
may have been endemic to Haiti and only was unleashed by
the combined effects of climate change, a devastating earthquake,
and unusually violent weather episodes. In this article,
I will discuss this evolving dimension of international law,
particularly as it is intertwined with ongoing scientific and
environmental controversy.

Click HERE for the full article.

OAS Pressures Haiti to Hold Long-Overdue Elections

August 27, 2014 - 07:51

The Organization of American States is pressing the Haitian government to hold elections, emphasizing the agreement made in the El Rancho Accord. The problem is, the El Rancho Accord’s method of appointing a Provisional Electoral Council contradicts the Constitution and the Senate has not approved the Accord.

Learn more about the delayed elections in our FAQ, here.

OAS Permanent Council Urged Haiti to Hold Overdue Elections and Convened a Special General Assembly on Strategic Vision

Reliefweb
August 27, 2014

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today adopted a Declaration calling on the three branches of government of Haiti to comply with the agreement knows as El Rancho and to call legislative and municipal elections by the end of 2014, and also convened a Special General Assembly on the Strategic Vision for the Organization to be held on Friday, September 12.

The Chair of the Permanent Council and Representative of Saint Lucia, Ambassador Sonia Johnny, said theDeclaration on Haiti supports “the efforts of a member state to be able to hold elections in accordance with the terms of its constitution and with other agreements.”

Introducing the resolution, the Permanent Representative of Haiti, Edmond Bocchit, recalled the support given by the Council to the El Rancho Accord which provided for the holding of elections on October 26 and which he described as “a step in the right direction.” “Unfortunately this agreement is now facing great difficulties; you supported us, encouraged all actors to respect their commitments, and today I come to seek the solidarity of the OAS and its member states regarding a situation facing our nation, because we know that the well-being of Haiti’s democracy must be a priority for the region,” said Ambassador Bocchit.

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, explained the scope and impact of the situation in Haiti and said that if the elections are held as scheduled in the agreement, “on the first of January if there are no elections Haiti will be left without a Senate, therefore we’ll be left without a constitutional institution. “ He said that the OAS “is prepared to support the democratic process in Haiti, especially the elections, in accordance to the Constitution and the laws of the country,” and assured the Council that the OAS will continue to accompany the political process through high level visits, the presence of an office in Haiti, and the work of the Group of Friends of Haiti in Washington DC.

The leader of the hemispheric Organization added that “the international community, including the OAS, can only assist in this process of democratic consolidation and then only upon the request of the legitimately elected Government of Haiti. From this perspective we hope that all stakeholders in the political process continue to work together to create the best circumstances for stability and growth and security.” He insisted that the Organization “hopes that the dialogue that started at the beginning of the year will continue and that all those who are not part of this process should be encouraged to take part,” as this is the best channel to voice all their concerns and needs.

The adopted resolution states that all parties fully honor “their political commitments as well as the legal and constitutional obligations to facilitate the speedy organization of elections necessary for the renewal of the mandates of legislative and municipal authorities”; and urges all state powers “to continue the dialogue in order to fulfill, as a matter of urgency, their obligations under the Constitution and the El Rancho Accord for the purpose of ensuring the holding of elections in 2014.”

On this, the Secretary General Insulza noted that Article 3 to the El Rancho clearly speaks of the Constitution, “and this is a wider approach that takes us in the direction of Article 156 of the Constitution which relates to the responsibility of the President regarding governance and the functioning of the democratic institutions.”

(The “Strategic Vision” part of this article has been cut off because it’s not relevant to this site.)

 

Click HERE for the original.

Learn more about the delayed elections in our FAQ, here.

Opposing Parties Unite for Justice for Aristide

August 26, 2014 - 12:28

This update focuses mostly on the current case against former Haitian President Aristide, with a brief mention of the August 10th prison break at the end. One key point is that people who usually oppose Aristide are joining Aristide supporters in denouncing the judge heading the case him. Realizing the importance of the rule of law, these opponents are putting aside their political differences in the name of justice.

Haiti: Aristide’s lawyers question inquiry

Weekly News Update on the Americas blog, World War 4 Report
August 26, 2014

Former Haitian prime minister Yvon Neptune (2002-2004) appeared before investigative judge Lamarre Bélizaire at the judge’s Port-au-Prince office on Aug. 22 to answer questions in an inquiry into allegations of corruption and drug trafficking during the second administration of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991-1996, 2001-2004). Bélizaire has notified the authorities that 33 people, most of them connected with Aristide’s Lavalas Family (FL) party, are not permitted to leave the country because of their connection with the investigation. After the Aug. 22 session, Neptune, who has broken with Aristide, told reporters that he had no problem answering Bélizaire’s summons. (Radio Kiskeya, Haiti, Aug. 23)

Lawyers for Aristide, on the other hand, have challenged Bélizaire’s entire inquiry and his qualifications to head it. Aristide was reportedly ordered to appear before Bélizaire on Aug. 13, but human rights advocate Mario Joseph, Aristide’s lead attorney, said the former president never received the summons. Joseph himself went to Bélizaire’s office to deliver a letter on the subject, but the judge wasn’t present. Aristide’s legal team is demanding that Bélizaire be removed from the case on the grounds that there were irregularities in his appointment as judge and that he is a member of the center-right Tèt Kale Haitian Party (PHTK) of President Michel Martelly (tèt kale is Creole for “Bald Head,” a nickname for the president). Lavalas supporters have maintained barricades around Aristide’s house in the northeastern suburb of Tabarre since mid-August in case Judge Bélizaire issues an arrest warrant for the former president.

Aristide’s backers aren’t the only ones questioning Bélizaire’s investigation. “This case should be handled by another judge, one who understands respecting the law,” Pierre Espérance, the director of the National Human Rights Defense Network (RNDDH) and a longtime Aristide opponent, told the online Haitian news service AlterPresse. “Judge Lamarre lacks character and temperament. He kneels before the executive.” According to Espérance, Bélizaire hasn’t had training to investigate financial crimes. “If he stays on the case, it’s because he has a personal interest.” (AlterPresse Aug. 13, Aug. 13Radio Kiskeya Aug. 17, Aug. 17)

The Haitian court system is often accused of being influenced by political interests. On Aug. 11 a court in the northwestern city of Gonaïves sentenced Wilford Ferdinand (“Ti Wil”) and his cousin Alix Suffrant (“Bout Zòrèy”) to nine years at hard labor for the April 2007 murder of Johnson Edouard, a former correspondent for the weekly Haïti Progrès and a regional coordinator for FL. Ferdinand was a leader in the so-called “Cannibal Army,” a local group that initially supported Aristide but later joined right-wing paramilitary groups seeking his overthrow. Ferdinand charged that the sentence against him was politically motivated. “Investigative judge Pierre Michel Denis is a member of the Lavalas Family party,” Ferdinand said. But he thanked the public ministry’s representative, Enock Géné Génélus, for his help. Normally the public ministry, responsible to the Martelly government, would be expected to lead the prosecution; in this case, it supported the defendant. (AlterPresse, Aug. 14)

In a major embarrassment for the criminal justice system, 329 prisoners broke out of the prison in Croix-des-Bouquets, northeast of Port-au-Prince, on Aug. 10. One of the escapees was Clifford Brandt, a wealthy business leader’s son who is charged with masterminding the October 2012 kidnapping of other members of the elite. There was speculation that Brandt’s backers were behind the massive jailbreak. Brandt was captured two days later by Dominican soldiers in Hondo Valle, just across the border from Haiti. As of Aug. 13 only some 20 of the escaped prisoners had been recaptured. (AlterPresse Aug. 13, Aug. 13)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, August 24.

 

Click HERE for the original.

Earthquakes Disproportionately Impact Developing Countries

August 25, 2014 - 06:13

Although we often hear about the large financial costs of earthquakes in the US and other developed countries, the human costs are never as high as in less-developed or developing countries. Even if the gross financial costs are less in developing countries, they represent a higher proportion of those countries’ GDP. Lack of building code enforcement in developing countries also results in a higher death toll from natural disasters. The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a prime example of that fact, with the death toll in the hundreds of thousands. This is one of the many reasons Haiti needs systemic change for a better future.

Earthquakes Cost More in Rich Countries but Devastate Poor Ones

Charles Kenny, Bloomberg Businessweek
August 25, 2014

Northern California suffered its strongest earthquake in 25 years on Sunday, and although 120 people were injured, not a single fatality was reported. Meanwhile, the U.S. Geological Survey put initial estimates of economic losses at $1 billion. Both the low human cost and high economic cost illustrate constants in natural disasters: They are far more expensive—and far less deadly—in rich countries.

Earthquakes are more expensive in rich areas because there’s more to break. A barrel containing $16,000 worth of pinot noir, for example, fell and smashed at Dahl Vineyards on Sunday. North America accounted for one out of six global catastrophes in 2013, according to an analysis by insurance firm Swiss Re. But it accounted for only 1 percent of the victims, compared with as much as 23 percent of the economic loss. (Perhaps of most interest to an insurance company: It accounted for 42 percent of the insured losses worldwide.)

The CATDAT database of damaging earthquakes lists more than 7,000 since 1900 with estimates of their economic and human cost. Again, in absolute terms, by far the most expensive quakes are in rich countries: The 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, cost over $123 billion, compared with a mere $7 billion for the 2010 Haiti earthquake.

These impressive damage totals can obscure the fact that, in relative terms, economic costs of disasters are actually higher in the developing world. While there’s more to break in wealthy countries, construction is far better—buildings have to meet earthquake—safety regulations, for example. In poor countries, a greater proportion of the existing infrastructure collapses in a quake. The CATDAT database suggests that in terms of economic loss as a percentage of gross domestic product, the vast majority of the top 35 earthquakes have been in developing, not developed, countries. Kobe’s destruction was worth about 2.3 percent of Japan’s GDP. The Haitian earthquake’s devastation was worth more than that country’s entire annual output.

Related to the greater risk of infrastructure collapse, quakes are yet another deadly condition that disproportionately impact the poor. Fatalities after the Haiti quake were 20 times the Japanese fatalities from Kobe. The CATDAT database suggests that all of the top 10 most deadly earthquake-related events in the last 100 years, which killed between 52,000 and 283,000 each, happened in developing countries. Four of those top 10 have happened since 2000: the Indian Ocean tsunami, plus the earthquakes in Haiti; Sichuan, China; and Kashmir, Pakistan. The creators of the database estimate that the average number of deaths per earthquake in the most developed countries in their sample is less than 50—compared with more than 450 in the countries with the lowest income, education, and life expectancy. Don’t let the damage estimates fool you: To survive an earthquake with most of your loved ones and resources intact, it is far better to be in Napa Valley than Nicaragua or Haiti.

 

Click HERE for the original.

Haiti and Brazil Hit the ‘Ville

August 24, 2014 - 11:00

Don’t miss this Somerville, MA Haitian/Brazilian festival!

Kreyol isi.

Portugues aqui.

WHAT:

A cultural festival featuring music, dance, food, and more.

WHERE:

Union Square

Somerville, MA

WHEN:

Sunday August 24, 2pm-7pm

 

Click HERE for the City of Somerville event posting.

Aristide Warrant a Distraction from Delayed Elections?

August 23, 2014 - 06:24

This article explains the background to the Aristide case, as well as the speculation that the case is a tactic to distract from long-overdue elections being delayed again. Without elections in 2014, Parliament will become nonfunctional and President Martelly will rule by decree. There are also other serious repercussions of not having fair and democratic elections in Haiti. Learn more about elections in our FAQ.

Aristide Warrant and Brandt Prison Break Overshadow Election Derailment

Kim Ives, Haiti Liberte
August 20-26, 2014

Last week, Haitian demonstrators erected barricades of burning tires and car
frames in front of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s home in Tabarre
to prevent the government of President Michel Martelly from arresting him.
On Aug. 12, investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire had issued a court summons
for Aristide to come to his offices for questioning the next day, Aug. 13.
Aristide never received the last-minute summons which was allegedly left at
his gate, according to his lawyer Mario Joseph. Having heard about the
summons on the radio, Joseph did show up at the 10 a.m. hearing with a
letter explaining that the summons had not been correctly served.
Ironically, Judge Bélizaire did not show up for his own hearing but
nonetheless later that afternoon issued an arrest warrant for Aristide
because of his absence.

Meanwhile, at about 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 10, two vehicles of armed men shot
automatic weapons at the outside of the new prison in Croix-des-Bouquets,
just north of the capital, precipitating the escape of 329 prisoners. Among
them was Clifford Brandt, 42, the scion of a prominent bourgeois family who
was jailed in October 2012 (but to date never tried) for heading a
kidnapping ring that held hostage the son and daughter of Haitian banker
Robert Moscoso. On Aug. 12, Dominican authorities recaptured Brandt and
three other fugitives across the border in the neighboring Dominican
Republic and turned them over to Haitian authorities, who tried to take
credit for the capture. (The Dominican Defense Minister had to issue a
statement setting the record straight.)

These two unfolding dramas, perhaps by design, have all but eclipsed a much
more ominous development last week: the cancellation of parliamentary and
municipal elections, already two years overdue, which had been promised for
Oct. 26. As a result, it is all but certain that another third of the
Haitian Senate and many in the House of Deputies will see their terms expire
on Jan. 12, 2015, rendering the Parliament nonfunctional and Martelly ruling
by decree.

This is exactly where the konpa-singer-turned-president wanted to arrive.
“First thing, after I establish my power, which would be very strong and
necessary, I would close that congress thing,” Martelly told the Miami New
Times in a 1997 feature article. “”La chambre des députés. Le sénat.” He
claps his hands. “Out of my way.”"

These were not jokes. The article made clear that even back then Martelly
was planning a run for president and was “not afraid to reveal that he has
given serious thought to his philosophy of government,” which was
essentially a “Fujimori-style solution.” Former Peruvian dictatorial
president Alberto Fujimori is presently in prison, having been convicted of
committing major human rights and corruption crimes during his
administration in the 1990s.

Martelly’s looming one-man rule marks a sharp political reversal. Last
autumn, massive popular demonstrations, led largely by outspoken Sen.
Moïse Jean-Charles and radical Lavalas base organizations, were marching
almost weekly to demand the resignation of Martelly and his Prime Minister
and business partner Laurent Lamothe and the departure of the 6,600-soldier
United Nations force, acronymed MINUSTAH, which has militarily occupied
Haiti since Jun. 1, 2004.

But in December 2013, Aristide’s Lavalas Family party (FL) expelled Sen.
Jean-Charles for criticizing and outshining the party’s Executive Committee,
and from January to March 2014, Washington and the Catholic Church connived
with the Martelly government to carry out a charade conference of national
reconciliation, resulting in the “El Rancho Accord” supposedly putting the
country on the road to the Oct. 26 elections. As a result, despite a few
sizable marches on symbolic dates, last year’s mobilization began to weaken.

Now from being on the defensive, Martelly is back on the offensive.
“It is not without reason that the puppet judge Lamarre Bélizaire published
a list with the names of [31] people who can’t leave the country a few days
before the Martelly-Lamothe-MINUSTAH government allowed its associate
Clifford Brandt to escape from jail,” said the Dessalines Coordination party
(KOD) in an Aug. 19 declaration. “They knew what kind of scandal that would
provoke… That may be why they decided to hatch a plot to issue a warrant
for former President Aristide, as a way to distract the population… That
may be why they created the crisis of Aristide’s so-called arrest to cover
not only the illegal liberation of more than 300 bandits, but the CEP
[Provisional Electoral Council] now saying that elections are not possible
this year.”

“Instead of the people being mobilized 24/7 to demand the departure of
Martelly, Lamothe, and MINUSTAH, [the regime] is now giving us our work,
making us stand out in Tabarre day and night making sure they don’t arrest
Aristide,” KOD concluded. “They have now put us on the defensive so we don’t
attack them for the crimes they are carrying out in the country.”

On Aug. 18, Dr. Maryse Narcisse, the FL’s national coordinator and now
formal presidential candidate, held a press conference at the Aristide
Foundation where she called the attacks against Aristide “maneuvers and
diversions to distract Haitians from the real problems they face daily.”
Among these, she included the ever-escalating cost of living, the eviction
of hundreds of families in downtown Port-au-Prince, the uprooting of farmers
on Ile-à-Vache, the disaster in the state exam results this year, the
withholding of elections for 4 years, the failure of the El Rancho Accord,
and the spectacular release of Clifford Brandt. She said that the latest
charges of embezzlement and drug-trafficking against Aristide, which are
drawn from a long-discredited politically-motivated report by the
Washington-installed de facto government which took power on the heels of
the Feb. 29, 2004 coup against Aristide, were “fabricated in a laboratory
with the participation of a small group of enemies of democracy.”

“The Lavalas Family continues to demand free, fair, and democratic
elections,” Dr. Narcisse concluded, from which the party “will not allow
itself to be excluded,” as it has been in all elections over the past
decade.

“The Haitian people do not accept and will never accept a retrograde,
reactionary power, which has issued from the Macoute Duvalierist ideology,
to use the justice system to persecute an honest citizen who has faithfully
put himself at the service of his people,” said Lionel Etienne, an FL
Executive Committee member and former deputy. FL leaders also called for the
release of the Martelly regime’s political prisoners like Jean Robert
Vincent, Joshua and Enold Florestal, and Louima Louijuste.

Meanwhile, on Aug. 15, Aristide along with several of his lawyers sent a
long letter to the Organization of American States’ Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to lay out numerous reasons why the
legitimacy and “impartiality of Judge Lamarre Bélizaire is far from
established, and the credibility of the judicial system is quite flawed.”
The letter called on the IACHR to “urgently adopt precautionary measures to
safeguard the freedom and rights of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide whose
freedom is seriously threatened by the reckless and arbitrary actions of
Judge Lamarre Bélizaire.”

In Haiti, Aristide’s lawyers have formally asked that Judge Bélizaire be
recused from the case for which he has summoned the former president.

(PLEASE consider subscribing or making a contribution to Haiti Liberte on
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now be automatically deducted. Support independent progressive Haitian
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All articles copyrighted Haiti Liberte. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED.
Please credit Haiti Liberte.

 

Click HERE for the original.

Delayed Elections Leave Haiti’s Future in Limbo

August 22, 2014 - 13:02

Amid the recent news of a massive prison break and renewed charges against former President Aristide, the Provisional Electoral Council has announced that Haiti’s elections will no longer happen October 26. If elections don’t happen by the end of 2014, President Martelly may rule by decree. This is a scary prospect given Haiti’s history of dictators and political unrest. The Martelly government needs to compromise with the opposition leaders to make sure that Haiti has fair and democratic elections this year.

For more on the importance of elections, read our FAQ.

Once again, Haiti government could be in danger of collapse

Nathalie Baptiste, Latin Correspondent
August 22, 2014

In April, the United Nations warned that if Haiti did not hold parliamentary elections this year, the entire country would be set on a dangerous path towards political chaos.

Sadly, the kind of upheaval that political strife brings is nothing new to Haiti. The last coup, backed by the United States and France, was only a decade ago and is still fresh in the minds of the Haitian people. Riots, protests and violence erupted in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, as democratically elected Jean Bertrand-Aristide was whisked away on an airplane to live in exile in South Africa.

Today, as Haiti struggles to get its economy moving after decades of mismanagement, failed interventions, deadly hurricanes in 2008, a catastrophic earthquake in 2010 and a subsequent cholera outbreak, the political landscape looks as bleak as ever.

The United States has been calling on President Michel Martelly to hold fair and free elections, now three years overdue. The El Rancho Accord — talks between Martelly and the opposition, brokered by the Catholic church — stated that the first round of elections would be held on October 26, 2014. But the two sides have been at odds for years over the composition of the electoral council, placing leaders at a gridlock and leaving the political future of the country unknown.

Last week, two major stories came out of Haiti. Three hundred and twenty-nine prisoners escaped from the country’s main prison after gunmen attacked it in an attempt to free an inmate held on kidnapping charges. Around the same time, former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who returned to Haiti in 2011, was served a warrant for his arrest.

Amidst the frenzy of searching for the prisoners and U.N. clashes with Aristide supporters, many may not have noticed the announcement from the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP): elections will not be held on October 26. This announcement has brought the Haiti government perilously close to the edge.

The initial warning from the United Nations stated that not holding elections early enough could lead to a dissolution of parliament in January 2015, leaving Martelly to rule by decree. For a country with a long and troubled history of dictators and sham presidents, the prospect of having a president rule by decree is unnerving at best and horrifying at worst.

Compounding the issue is the possible problem with aid. Donors floated the idea of cutting off desperately-needed aid if Martelly is left to rule by decree in 2015.

So, what needs to happen? There’s a small chance that the first round of elections could be held in December so it’s vital that the two opposing sides come to an agreement. President Martelly would benefit by taking into account the complaints of the opposition party, which include claims of exclusivity of the provisional council and favoritism from the Martelly regime.

Ensuring that their voices are heard will lead to productive and peaceful talks that will hopefully transform into a speedy resolution. Without a solution, Haiti’s already fragile democracy will fall apart leading to another round of political unrest that the Haitian people simply cannot stomach.

 

Click HERE for the original.

For more on the importance of elections, read our FAQ.

Is arrest warrant for Aristide waived?

August 21, 2014 - 11:00

Some say that the arrest warrent against former President Aristide has been waived due to the investigation into the judge who issued the warrant, Lamarre Bélizaire. Bélizaire, on the other hand, insists that the charges were never waived and he doesn’t know why the arrest hasn’t yet been made. Aristide’s lawyers, including Mario Joseph, are seeking recusal of Bélizaire for bias and maintain that the investigation must be stopped while authorities handle the recusal. Keep an eye on our site for more information.

Haiti judge orders arrest of former president Aristide

Jamaica Observer
August 21, 2014

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) – A judge who has issued an arrest warrant for former president Jean Bertrand Aristide says he expects the police to bring the former head of state before him by force if necessary.

Lawyers representing Aristide have filed a motion seeking to have investigating judge Lamarre Bélizaire removed on the grounds of bias.

But the judge told the Port au Prince based news website, Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN) that he had not revoked the warrant in light of the motion filed the former president.

“I issued an arrest warrant for Mr Aristide and I don’t know what takes the police so long to bring him before me, because they know where he is,” Belizaire said, adding “I heard rumours that I had waived the arrest warrant.

“I want to say that it is absolutely false. The warrant still holds and I am still the judge in charge of the inquiry and nothing has changed in that regard,” he said, that he would continue his work in conformity with existing laws, without any form of abuse.

“I don’t have any particular problem with anybody. I am a judge and I am only doing what the law requires me to do and that is all I can say for now,” Belizaire added.

Aristide and several of his former colleagues have been accused of embezzling hundreds of millions of dollars from the State through his organisation, Aristide for Democracy Foundation and other organisations during the period 2001-04.

Aristide, a former Roman Catholic priest, and his colleagues including Mirlande Liberus, Yvon Neptune, Jean Nesty Lucien and Gustave Faubert, have also been banned from leaving the country.

The Dean of Port Au Prince first instance court, Raymond Jean-Michel, confirmed Tuesday that he had received a copy of a motion seeking recusal and disqualification of Justice Bélizaire on the grounds of bias.

Aristide’s lawyers said their client did not receive the summons which was sent to his residence, but the judge believed he deliberately chose not to appear.

Aristide’s lawyers argue that the judge is now obligated to stop all proceedings in the case regarding serious acts of corruption blamed on the former leader, but legal observers say the arrest warrant against Aristide is still valid and that the judge may proceed with the criminal inquiry while relevant judicial authorities examine the request for recusal.

Supporters of the former president have been gathering near his home in the Tabarre district, in a show of support for the former leader, who spent seven years in exile in South Africa before returning to the country in 2011.

Last week, a spokesman for Aristide’s Lavalas Family party, Ansyto Felix, said efforts to prosecute the former leader were part of a plan by the Michel Martelly administration to persecute political opponents, on the eve of crucial elections and in the face of popular discontent,

“The government of President Martelly and Prime Minister (Laurent) Lamothe is doing nothing to solve the problems and meet the needs of the population,” he said.

 

Click HERE for the original.

Qu’est-ce qui se passe avec le mandat contre Aristide?

August 20, 2014 - 09:28

Il y a beaucoup de rumeurs sur ce qui se passe au mandat contre l’ex-président Aristide. Certains disent qu’il est suspendu en raison de l’enquête sur juge Lamarre Bélizaire mais le juge insiste que rien n’a changé. Me Mario Joseph, l’un des avocats d’Aristide, soutient que c’est la persécution politique contre Aristide, en vue des élections en Haïti.

Aristide : le mandat d’amener suspendu ou encore debout ?

Roberson Alphonse, Le Nouvelliste
20 août 2014

C’est comme au rodéo. En vingt-quatre heures, le mandat d’amener contre l’ex-président Jean-Bertrand Aristide est tombé, avant d’être remis en selle par le juge d’instruction Lamarre Bélizaire, une véritable plaie pour les lavalassiens, supporteurs de Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Ses scoops, le juge d’instruction les donne à Guyler C. Delva, ex-secrétaire d’Etat à la Communication du pouvoir Tèt Kale et propriétaire d’une agence d’information en ligne.

Pour joindre le juge Lamarre Bélizaire au téléphone, il faut prendre son mal en
patience. Rien ne garantit, au bout du compte, qu’on obtiendra une interview.
Pour confirmer, pour infirmer des dits, dédits et non dits quant au gel du mandat
d’amener contre l’ex-président Jean-Bertrand Aristide à cause de la requête en
dessaisissement ou récusation du juge d’instruction Lamarre Bélizaire. Après une
dizaine de tentatives, un peu avant 9 heures du soir, mercredi 20 août, Lamarre
Bélizaire décroche son portable. Il n’est pas seul. Le bruit de fond permet de
distinguer d’autres voix. Affable, le juge d’instruction, avec courtoisie, demande
qu’on le rappelle. « Je participe à une petite réunion en ce moment », indique-t-il.

Deux heures après, plus d’une vingtaine de tentatives de le rejoindre sont
infructueuses. L’oiseau bleu a éteint son portable. Le journal tombe sur sa boîte
vocale. D’autres confrères, dont au moins un d’un média étranger, se sont
retrouvés face à ce mur. Ce silence. En revanche, tout le monde se fait coiffer au
poteau par l’ex-secrétaire d’Etat à la Communication du pouvoir Tèt Kale, Guyler
C. Delva, propriétaire d’une toute nouvelle agence d’information en ligne. Il a un
accès pour le moins privilégié aux informations concernant l’instruction de l’exprésident
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, inculpé pour trafic de drogue, soustraction de
deniers publics, forfaiture, concussion et blanchiment des avoirs. L’agence de
Guyler C. Delva révèle mardi que « le juge Lamarre Bélizaire a rejeté les allégations
selon lesquelles le mandat d’amener émis à l’encontre d’Aristide ne tiendrait plus,
étant donné qu’une requête en récusation du juge d’instruction a été déposée par
les avocats de l’ex-président ».

La dépêche cite le juge d’instruction : « J’ai émis un mandat d’amener contre M.
Aristide et je ne sais pas pourquoi la police tarde autant à l’amener devant moi,
puisqu’ils (les policiers) savent où le trouver ». « J’ai entendu des rumeurs que
j’aurais accordé un sursis sur le mandat d’amener. Je veux dire, ajoute le juge
Lamarre Bélizaire, que c’est absolument faux ». « Le mandat tient toujours et je
suis toujours le juge chargé de l’enquête et rien n’a changé à cet égard », affirme
Lamarre Bélizaire à Guyler C. Delva.

«Le juge d’instruction, qui dit attendre plusieurs autres individus objet de mandats
d’amener, indiqué qu’il continuera à s’acquitter de sa tâche en conformité avec les
lois en vigueur, sans aucune forme d’abus », d’après l’agence de Delva. « Je n’ai de
problème particulier avec personne. Je suis un juge et je ne fais que ce que la loi
m’oblige à faire et c’est tout ce que je peux dire pour le moment », confie le juge
d’instruction, qui reprend la main après un petit flou d’au moins 24 heures dans
l’opinion autour du mandat d’amener contre Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Tomber, pas tomber ?

Petit coup de théâtre. Le mandat d’amener émis par le juge d’instruction Lamarre
Bélizaire contre l’ex-président Jean-Bertrand Aristide n’est pas « tombé ». Le
doyen du tribunal civil de Port-au-Prince Me Raymond Jean Michel s’est ravisé
après avoir affirmé la veille sur Radio Solidarité que « le juge doit cesser les actes
d’instruction en attendant que la Cour de cassation se prononce sur la demande
de récusation. En un mot, le mandat émis tombe ».

Ce mercredi, sur Radio Kiskeya, Me Raymond Jean Michel soutient que son «
opinion, émise en tant que doyen, a, paraît-il, été prise à défaut ». « C’est le juge
d’instruction qui a le secret de son instruction. C’est lui qui saura ce qu’il décidera
en ce qui a trait au mandat qu’il a émis. Le juge d’instruction, détenteur d’un
pouvoir « largement large », a le dossier. C’est à lui de décider de l’orientation dans
le traitement », dit-t-il avec un calme olympien.

« Il y a une récusation du juge Lamarre Bélizaire dan le dossier concernant l’exprésident
Jean-Bertrand Aristide. C’est le juge d’instruction qui est le coffre-fort
de son cabinet d’instruction. C’est lui qui sait ce qu’il fait », souligne Me Raymond
Jean Michel, ajoutant qu’ « en principe, c’est la Cour de cassation qui doit se
prononcer sur la récusation conformément à la loi ».
Le doyen Raymond Jean Michel confirme avoir été signifié. La procédure telle que
tracée par le code n’est pas complétée. « L’avocat doit déposer le dossier au greffe
et doit accompagner le greffier pour me le communiquer », explique le doyen,
chargé d’acheminer la récusation à la Cour de cassation.

Pour Me Mario Joseph, l’un des avocats de l’ex-président Jean-Bertrand Aristide,
le doyen Raymond Jean Michel « s’est fait tirer les oreilles pour avoir donné le mot
du droit » en affirmant hier que la récusation freine temporairement tout acte
d’instruction en attendant la décision de la Cour de cassation. « Pour moi, on a
tiré les oreilles du doyen afin de permettre à Lamarre Bélizaire d’avancer », gage
Mario Joseph. L’avocat de JBA affirme avoir signifié, outre le doyen, le greffe, le
juge d’instruction Lamarre Bélizaire, le commissaire du gouvernement, chef de la
poursuite; indiquant plus loin avoir confié à l’huissier Réginald St Jean de la Cour
de cassation la signification de la récusation du juge Lamarre Bélizaire au directeur
général de la PNH, à la DCPJ. Mario Joseph persiste et signe : les accusations
contre JBA sont infondées. Le juge Bélizaire est le bras du pouvoir, engagé dans
une vaste persécution politique contre l’ex-président Aristide, affirme Me Mario
Joseph.

Entre-temps, le débat fait rage. Certains avocats disent que la requête en
dessaisissement ne freine en rien l’instruction, l’enquête sur des faits délictueux
reprochés à un justiciable. Cela ouvrira la voie à d’innombrables demandes de
récusation afin de nuire à l’instruction. D’autres juristes affirment au contraire
que cette procédure est comme un appel entraînant la suspension de la procédure
en attendant la décision de l’entité saisie, en l’occurrence la Cour de cassation. Le
mandat d’amener, entre ciel et terre, se cherche peut-être un point d’appui ou de
chute…

Cliquez ICI pour l’original.

August 2014 Update

August 20, 2014 - 07:50

Adapting to Changes in Social Justice Advocacy Trends

August 19, 2014 - 09:00

WHAT:

This Tuesday, human rights lawyer and activist Brian Concannon will discuss the work of the Boston-based Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). IJDH helps Haitians enforce the human rights they need to enforce to escape poverty and vulnerability. Along with its partner, the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), IJDH litigates cases in Haitian, U.S. and international courts, trains progressive Haitian lawyers, documents human rights violations and works with grassroots activists in Haiti, North America and throughout the world. Brian will explain how IJDH was established to bring the fight of BAI to the international community. Brian will also explore IJDH’s support for the Cholera Justice Network– a flexible network of advocates for the victims of the cholera brought to Haiti by UN troops–as a model for 21st Century social justice advocacy. Through his experience adapting to the emerging networked model of social justice advocacy, Brian offers a unique insight into adapting an organization.

WHERE:

The Next Mile Project
2 Atlantic Ave, 4th Floor
Boston, MA 02110

WHEN:

08/19/14, 12:00-1:00pm

 

Please RSVP to info@nextmileproject.org!

Click HERE for the original event post.

Contestation judiciaire s’arrête accusations contre Aristide

August 19, 2014 - 07:53

Raymond Jean Michel, le doyen du tribunal civil du Port-au-Prince, insiste que le dossier d’Aristide a été distribué au hasard. Mais le juge pour ce cas, Lamarre Bélizaire, est connu pour le traitement des affaires politiques et ce cas semble une excellente occasion d’intervenir dans les élections à venir. Maintenant, l’action en récusation contre le juge a interrompu la procédure engagée contre Aristide.

Aristide : le mandat d’amener « tombe »

Roberson Alphonse, Le Nouvelliste
19 août 2014

Le mandat d’amener contre l’ex-président Jean- Bertrand Aristide « tombe » en
attendant la décision de la Cour de cassation sur la requête en récusation du juge
d’instruction Lamarre Bélizaire, a confié ce mardi 19 août 2014 Me Raymond Jean
Michel, doyen du tribunal civil de Port-au-Prince. « Le juge doit cesser les actes
d’instruction en attendant que la Cour de cassation se prononce sur la demande
de récusation. En un mot, le mandat émis tombe », a expliqué Raymond Jean
Michel, administrateur du tribunal, rappelant la procédure, de la signification de la
récusation au greffe du tribunal jusqu’à lui, le doyen, chargé d’acheminer la
demande à la Cour de cassation.

Le doyen Raymond Jean Michel a déclaré « n’avoir aucun état d’âme dans la
distribution des dossiers ». Les dossiers, a-t-il insisté, sont distribués de manière
aléatoire. Sur la liste de ses 25 juges d’instruction, il affirme distribuer les dossiers
de un à vingt cinq. « Si j’ai 60 dossiers, je commence de un jusqu’à vingt- cinq.
Ensuite, je recommence dans le même ordre », a assuré le doyen. Contrairement à
ce qu’avancent des proches d’Aristide et d’autres personnalités, Raymond Jean
Michel a affirmé qu’il n’y a aucune motivation politique du fait que le dossier de
crime financier, de trafic illicite de drogue contre l’ex-président Jean Bertrand
Aristide est confié au juge d’instruction Lamarre Bélizaire.

Le juge chargé de ce dossier, pour une raison ou pour une autre, avait laissé le
pays. Il a fallu redistribuer le dossier après inventaire, a dit Raymond Jean Michel,
démentant dans la foulée que le dossier ait été confié au juge Sonel Jean François.
Le dossier n’a jamais été confié, ni retiré à Sonel Jean François. Ce magistrat, en
revanche, est chargé d’instruire la plainte déposée par Ti Sony contre l’exprésident
Jean Bertrand Aristide et celle concernant la « vaste escroquerie des
coopératives », a détaillé le doyen Raymond Jean Michel qui invite les
personnalités ayant communiqué de fausses informations à aller se dédire face
aux caméras. Sur la question de compétence juridictionnelle, le doyen a indiqué
que les dispositions transitoires de la loi créant le tribunal civil de Croix-des-
Bouquets stipule que toute affaire en cours d’instruction doit être achevée. Celleci
remonte à 2006, après le rapport en 2005 de la Commission d’enquête
administrative dirigée par Paul Denis.

Me Mario Joseph, avocat de l’ex-président Jean- Bertrand Aristide, a maintenu ce
mardi que le juge Lamarre Bélizaire est « dans la poche du pouvoir ». « Les
accusations contre l’ex-président Aristide sont sans fondement », a-t-il déclaré en
revenant sur la violation du secret de l’instruction dans ce dossier. C’est dans la
presse qu’il a été informé de l’existence du mandat de comparution. Le
lendemain, après avoir apporté une lettre invitant le juge à confirmer l’existence
du mandat de comparution, c’est aussi à travers la presse qu’il a su qu’un mandat
d’amener a été décerné contre son client, a détaillé Me Mario Joseph affirmant
fondée l’action en récusation contre le juge Lamarre Bélizaire.

Dans la foulée, Mario Joseph et Me Gervais Charles qui a rejoint l’équipe de JBA
ont annoncé avoir envoyé une pétition à la Commission interaméricaine des
droits de l’homme dénonçant l’acharnement judiciaire dont est l’objet l’exprésident
Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Me Gervais Charles a imputé ce nouvel épisode
à une tentative de détourner l’attention de l’opinion publique après l’évasion de
Clifford Brandt et des centaines de détenus à Croix-des-Bouquets, qu’il qualifie de
scandale et de comédie.

La semaine dernière et lundi, des barricades enflammées étaient remarquées dans
plusieurs artères de Delmas, Tabarre et Port-au-Prince. Des partisans zélés de
Jean-Bertrand Aristide ont passé la nuit devant sa résidence à Tabarre et menacé
de tout faire pour protéger leur leader.
Cliquez ICI pour l’original.

Post-Quake IDP Camps Continue, Nearly 5 Years Later

August 19, 2014 - 04:43

Although the government has stopped talking about it and NGOs have stopped funding it, housing remains a big problem in Haiti. The Martelly-Lamothe government successfully emptied the most visible camps but less-visible ones have become permanent settlements. Building codes still have yet to be enforced, though building violations were a major cause of the destruction of the quake. Haiti needs sustainable housing solutions to respect the human rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and close IDP camps once and for all.

Failure to Aid Haiti’s Earthquake Homeless

Etant Dupain, Let Haiti Live
August 19, 2014

Nearly 5 years after the quake, IDPs continue to be evicted from camps despite no sustainable housing solutions or meaningful construction reforms

Port-au-Prince, Haiti: More than 20,000 victims of the earthquake on January 12, 2010 are living under the threat of forced evictions from the camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) where they live, according to the August 14 bulletin from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). As we are approaching the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, the situation for thousands of victims has never been ameliorated. Of the 172 camps that are officially recognized that house 104,000 IDPs, thirty-nine are facing the threat of immediate eviction.

The Martelly-Lamothe government has been very successful in dealing with the most visible of the IDP camps, and this has made the question of homeless earthquake victims still living in camps a less important subject in the national dialogue as well as for the international community.

Not offering a sustainable solution for IDPs wasn’t a problem in forcing them to leave camps, on the contrary, it created another problem: many places that should have been temporary have become permanent. Areas like Corail and Kanaran, which received the great majority of IDPs who were evicted as well as those who received a small stipend to leave the camps, have turned into large bidonville, or shantytowns, and no one even knows the true number of people who are living there.

The Haitian government has treated the internally displaced population in a discriminatory way, even more so considering the very serious dangers that families living in camps face in terms of the cholera and Chikungunya epidemics and the hurricane season.

Many people think the challenge of displaced people living in camps is in the past, but in reality this isn’t true at all – it isn’t an issue people are talking about because there is no money to help IDPs anymore. It is no longer a good way for NGOs to raise money, and the government has ceased creating propaganda about the positive outcomes of their efforts. Many NGOs have left Haiti along with funds they raised to help victims of the earthquake, and there are NGOs that up until now are still sitting on funds they raised to help the survivors, yet up until now they haven’t done anything with the money.

The failure of NGOs and the Haitian government to create a sustainable solution to Haiti’s housing crisis can be interpreted in many ways, one is that the disaster was a good way to raise funds and play politics, creating a market for NGOs and politicians.

Construction in Haiti continues to be a disaster, and despite the catastrophe of January 12, 2010, there have not been any major reforms put in place to prevent people from losing their lives when another major earthquake happens.

Nearly five years after the terrible events in 2010, the Haitian government has missed a huge opportunity to bring about positive and meaningful reforms for housing construction, and has also missed the chance to show the world that Haiti can treat its most vulnerable families with respect and dignity.

 

Click HERE for the original.

Haitian Diaspora Leaders Urge Haitian Family Reunification Program

August 18, 2014 - 07:50

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Steve Forester, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, steveforester@aol.com, 786-877-6999 (English, Haitian Creole)

73 Haitian American Diaspora Groups and Leaders Urge President Obama to Create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program

(Miami, August 18, 2014)—In an unprecedented demonstration of unity and urgency, Haitian American organizations and leaders from across the nation and political spectrum urged President Obama “to instruct the Department of Homeland Security to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP) now to save lives and speed Haiti’s recovery.”  Forty-three (43) diaspora groups and 30 other diaspora political, religious, professional and social leaders wrote urging the President to finally implement this long-proposed and “easy-to-implement humanitarian and recovery measure.”

“DHS as of November 1, 2013 had approved family-based immigrant visa petitions for 109,489 Haitians who remain on wait lists of up to more than 12 years in Haiti, where many may have died and all are at risk given cholera and other conditions,” they write.   Citing broad, bipartisan and national support among U.S. political, editorial and other leaders for creating a Haitian FRPP to expedite their entry, the precedent for doing so, horrifying migrant deaths at sea, and “the inability of Congress to pass immigration legislation [which] makes this long-urged and imperative action clearly appropriate,” they note the proposed program’s significant foreign policy and other merits:

“Reuniting our families would also speed Haiti’s recovery: after paying the U.S. Treasury significant fees applying for work permits, employed parolees would begin and continue into the indefinite future sending to loved ones in Haiti crucially-needed remittances, which as you know are the most effective form of personal support; Haitians remit about $2 billion annually, mostly from the diaspora in the United States.

“Both Cubans and Haitians risk their lives in Caribbean waters, and Haiti’s recovery is in our national and border security interests given its proximity to our shores and our nation’s significant Haitian American population.  Right in terms of foreign policy, humanity and fairness, an HFRPP would also relieve at least some of the despair which leads people to put their lives into the hands of smugglers.  Nor would anyone get a “green card” any sooner – there would be no “line jumping” – but they could wait for them in safety, like their Cuban counterparts, not in still-suffering Haiti.”

Recently 63 members of the U.S. House of Representatives wrote President Obama urging creation of this program, as did five leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus including U.S. Representatives Frederica Wilson and Yvette Clarke.  Replying to the latter letter on July 28, Deputy DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas wrote, “We have taken your request for the creation of a family reunification parole program for Haitians under advisement and are actively reviewing this proposal.”  Nearly five years after Haiti’s earthquake, the community urges the President to have DHS implement this program now.

The letter concludes, “Mr. President, for the excellent reasons urged in broad and bipartisan fashion since the 2010 earthquake, underscored by the increasing loss of life at sea and your appropriate pledge to act administratively if necessary given congressional inaction, we strongly and most respectfully urge you to instruct DHS to save lives and help Haiti recover by finally now creating a Haitian FRPP.”

Among the letter’s 43 endorsing organizations are the National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON), the National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH), the Haitian Diaspora Federation (HDF), the National Association of Haitian Professionals (NAHP), the Haitian American Professionals Coalition (HAPC), the Chicago-based Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti; the New Jersey-based organizations Haitian American Leadership Council, Haiti Solidarity Network of the Northeast, and the International Coalition for Haiti; three Haitian American Lawyers Associations (Florida, New York, and New Jersey); the Haitian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida (HACCOF), the Center for Haitian Studies (CHS), Haitian Women of Miami (FANM), the Haitian American Grassroots Coalition (HAGC), and Sant-la, all based in South Florida, the Boston-based Association of Haitian Women, Inc. (AFAB) and many other groups nationwide.

Endorsing political leaders include Massachusetts State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, New York City Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Florida State Representative Daphne Campbell, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime, City of North Miami Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime, and South Toms River (NJ) Mayor Joseph Makhandal Champagne, among many other current and former officials.

Endorsing religious leaders include Brooklyn’s Bishop Guy Sansaricq and Pastor Mullery Jean-Pierre; Miami’s Father Reginald Jean-Mary, Venerable Canon Reverend Fritz Bazin, and Monsignor Jean Pierre; and Boston’s Rev. Dieufort Jean Fleurissaint, Rev. Pierre-Louis Zephir, and Pastor Raphael Germain, Director of the Missionary Association of Haitian Christians.  Other prominent endorsers include renowned author Edwidge Danticat, Chicago-based Judge Lionel Jean Baptiste, two Florida SEIU labor union entities, the Brooklyn-based Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), and Miami-based Americans for Immigrant Justice (AIJ) and Catholic Charities Legal Services (CCLS).

The letter is being released by endorsers in various parts of the United States, including but not limited to NOAH, NHAEON, the Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, FANM and others.

Visit IJDH’s site to learn more about Haitian Family Reunification.

 

###

DR Citizenship Plan Still Leaves Thousands Stateless

August 16, 2014 - 11:33

Although the Dominican Republic now has a plan to counteract the problems caused by their September 2013 Constitutional Court ruling, hundreds of thousands will still have an uncertain future in DR. The plan for eventual citizenship includes many steps that simply aren’t feasible for informal workers. Human rights advocates continue to fight for a more just handling of immigrants and their descendants in DR.

Who’s A Citizen? The Question Dividing The Island Of Hispaniola

Sarah Tilotta, WGBH News
August 16, 2014

Anderson Desir, 9, shares a dream with many boys his age in the Dominican Republic: He wants to grow up and play baseball in la liga grande, otherwise known as American Major League Baseball.

But there’s an important difference between Anderson and the 80 Dominican kids from his summer baseball league in San Pedro de Macoris: Anderson is Haitian.

In a controversial decision last year, the Dominican Constitutional Court ruled that those born in the country are not citizens unless at least one parent is a legal resident.

The decision could cause problems for Haitians living in the Dominican Republic, like Anderson, whose parents brought him here from Haiti shortly after he was born. However, the ruling especially affects an estimated 250,000 Haitian descendants born in the Dominican Republic, including Anderson’s two siblings — his sister Rosaura, 6, and his brother Mickael, 2.

The court’s judgment was criticized by the United States, other Latin countries and international human rights advocates, who said the move could create a significant stateless population in the Dominican Republic.

In response, Dominican President Danilo Medina signed a law in May that essentially creates two categories of people born in the Dominican Republic to foreign parents: those births that were officially entered into the Civil Registry, and those that were not.

The first of the two groups represents a minority of approximately 20,000, who in theory should become “regularized” automatically. However, the vast majority, 200,000 or more in the second group, will be subject to a discretionary application, and would have an uncertain future in the Dominican Republic.

“For many years, there was a tacit acceptance of Haitian migration, and also the right of descendants to have Dominican nationality,” said Bridget Wooding, director of the Observatory of Caribbean Migrants, a think tank in Santo Domingo.

“In practice, there’s never been a very clear migration legislation, on the one hand. And on the other hand, the rights of descendants born in the Dominican Republic have been shrinking over the years,” she added.

Haitians traditionally moved to the eastern part of the shared island of Hispaniola to work in the sugar cane fields of the Dominican Republic.

But as that industry has waned, Haitians have become ever more visible as they seek other jobs and opportunities. “This tends to inflame passions,” said Wooding.

Haitians born in the Dominican Republic have until late October to apply for citizenship under the government’s new plan. The first step for someone born in the Dominican Republic is to declare oneself as a foreigner.

“The irony here is that these people who are and should be Dominicans by right, due to their birth on the territory (but were not registered, often due to the discrimination of local authorities), will have to claim to be foreigners in the only country they’ve known,” writes Cassandre Theano, an associate legal officer with Open Society Justice Initiative in New York.

Applicants must then submit supporting documents of all kinds: pay stubs, letters of employment, rental agreements, proof of homeownership, bank statements, etc.

But, says Wooding, “we’re talking about people who have been undocumented, or have not had regular migration status; people who are in informal work, so they don’t have regular work receipts. They don’t have the right to own property or open bank accounts, so those kind of criteria are out. People are finding it very difficult.”

Those who make it this far through the process will be given a two-year temporary visa, after which period they will either be granted or denied regularization status.

Theano says the worry is that “once the process is finished and people either don’t complete their file or have completed their file and are rejected, then that could pave the way for mass deportation, which, politically is going to be difficult to carry out, but theoretically could happen.”

The Dominican ambassador to the United States, Aníbal de Castro, draws comparisons between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic in “grappling with the challenges of immigration reform and the complexities of addressing undocumented people living within its borders.”

He even suggests that the Dominican Regularization plan “could serve as a road map for the United States and other countries that are facing similar issues.”

The United States is one of about 30 countries, many of them in the Americas and the Caribbean, that automatically grant citizenship to those born in the country, even if the parents are not legal residents.

However, the Dominican constitution of 2010 does not grant that right.

Back on the baseball diamond, Anderson’s team competes in a tournament on the dusty fields that spawned Sammy Sosa and Robinson Cano, to name only a couple of baseball greats from San Pedro de Macoris.

If his parents had never come to the Dominican Republic, he would most likely be speaking Haitian Creole and playing soccer somewhere in Haiti. Instead, Anderson’s coach calls out the batter’s count in quick Dominican Spanish, and the pitcher lobs the ball toward the plate. Anderson swings and makes contact good enough for a solid double, as if he’s been doing it his whole life.

And, in fact, he has. Although it’s only his second week on a team, he’s been playing street ball with Dominican neighborhood kids since he could walk. At this point in his baseball career, it’s safe to say that, as long as all the paperwork goes through, Anderson is just as likely as any other 9-year-old from San Pedro de Macoris to make it to la liga grande.

Click HERE for the original.

Diaspora Haitian Family Reunification Letter to President Obama

August 15, 2014 - 09:27

August 15, 2014

President Barack Obama, The White House

Dear Mr. President:

We write as Haitian-American diaspora leaders and organizations to urge you to instruct the Department of Homeland Security to create a Haitian Family Reunification Parole Program (HFRPP) now to save lives and speed Haiti’s recovery.  We believe this needed and easy-to-implement humanitarian and recovery measure would be an excellent way to fulfill your State of the Union pledge to act administratively when appropriate.

DHS as of November 1, 2013 had approved family-based immigrant visa petitions for 109,489 Haitians who remain on wait lists of up to more than 12 years in Haiti, where many may have died and all are at risk given cholera and other conditions.  Since Haiti’s January 2010 earthquake, a broad array of support has urged you to create an HFRPP, like the ongoing Cuban FRPP created administratively by DHS in 2007 under which tens of thousands of approved Cuban beneficiaries have been paroled into the United States.

Supporters include 100 congresspersons of both parties, 10 major editorial boards in at least 17 editorials, the Miami-Dade County Commission, the New York and Philadelphia city councils, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, American Bar Association, Congressional Black Caucus, NAACP, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, 6,000 petitioners, etc.

Two new, exacerbating factors compel this letter now.  Many mainstream news reports document what the U.S. Coast Guard knows and confirms all too well: desperate Haitian migrants are dying at sea in ever-increasing numbers as smugglers cause them to brave perilous routes, including the notoriously treacherous 80-mile-wide Mona Passage strait toward Puerto Rico, often abandoning them to die.  The smugglers “are ruthless,” Chief of Enforcement Captain Mark Fedor of the Coast Guard’s Seventh District in Miami recently told the Wall Street Journal:  “They want to get the run done and collect their money… there’s probably a lot of death we don’t know about.”

Secondly, the inability of Congress to pass immigration legislation makes this long-urged and imperative action clearly appropriate.

It makes no sense for Haitians long since approved by DHS to join their families in the United States to remain on years-long wait lists in Haiti.

Creating a Haitian FRPP would save lives: the 109,000 Haitians at risk in our hemisphere’s poorest nation — now enduring an unchecked cholera epidemic which has killed thousands and sickened hundreds of thousands — would be safer with their petitioning U.S. family members in our communities.

Reuniting our families would also speed Haiti’s recovery: after paying the U.S. Treasury significant fees applying for work permits, employed parolees would begin and continue into the indefinite future sending to loved ones in Haiti crucially-needed remittances, which as you know are the most important form of personal support; Haitians remit about $2 billion annually, mostly from the diaspora in the United States.

Both Cubans and Haitians risk their lives in Caribbean waters, and Haiti’s recovery is in our national and border security interests given its proximity to our shores and our nation’s significant Haitian American population.  Right in terms of foreign policy, humanity and fairness, an HFRPP would also relieve at least some of the despair which leads people to put their lives into the hands of smugglers.  Nor would anyone get a “green card” any sooner – there would be no “line jumping” – but they could wait for them in safety, like their Cuban counterparts, not in still-suffering Haiti.

Mr. President, for the excellent reasons urged in broad and bipartisan fashion since the 2010 earthquake, underscored by the increasing loss of life at sea and your appropriate pledge to act administratively if necessary given congressional inaction, we strongly and most respectfully urge you to instruct DHS to save lives and help Haiti recover by finally now creating a Haitian FRPP.

Very sincerely yours,

National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON), Mayor Joseph Makhandal Champagne Jr., Chairman

National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians (NOAH), Washington, D.C., Dr. Joseph Baptiste, Chairman and former President, The Haitian Diaspora Federation (HDF)

1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, Monica Russo, Executive Vice President, Miami Lakes, FL

Center for Haitian Studies, Health, and Human Services (CHS), Miami, FL, Dr. Larry Pierre, M.D., M.P.H., Executive Director

The Haitian Diaspora Federation (HDF), Toms River, NJ, Katleen Felix, Interim President

Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, North Miami Beach, FL, Raoul Siclait, Treasurer, on behalf of the Board of Directors

National Association of Haitian Professionals (NAHP), Hillside, NJ, Serge Renaud, Chairperson

Haitian American Professionals Coalition (HAPC), South Florida (comprising the Haitian Lawyers Association, Haitian American Nurses Association, Association of Haitian Educators of Dade, Haitian American Chamber of Commerce of Florida, Caribbean-American Visual Cultural Preservation, Harmony of the Divine Light, and Community Access Center), Sevigne Castor, MBA, BEE, BE, Chairperson

Haitian Congress to Fortify Haiti, Evanston, IL, Marie Lynn Toussaint, Chair

Association of Haitian Women, Inc. (AFAB), Boston, MA, Carline Desire, Executive Director

Haitian Lawyers Association, South Florida, Fritznie Jarbath, Esq., President

Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York, Emmanuel Depas, Esq., President

Haitian American Lawyers Association of New Jersey, Wilson Antoine, Esq., President

Haitian American Leadership Council (HALEC), Freehold, New Jersey, Emmanuel Coffy, Esq., Chairman

Diaspora Community Services, Brooklyn, New York, Carine Jocelyn, Executive Director

Fanm Ayisyen nan Miyami/Haitian Women of Miami, Inc. (FANM), Marleine Bastien, Executive Director

Haiti Renewal Alliance, Washington, D.C., Firmin Backer, President

Americans for Immigrant Justice (AIJ), Cheryl Little, Executive Director

Haitian American Leadership Coalition, Jacques Despinosse, Chairperson and former Councilman, City of North Miami, FL

Irish International Immigrant Center (IIIC), Boston, MA

Haiti Environmental Rescue Organization (HERO), Chicago, IL, Serge Fontaine, Founder and President

Haitians Unified for Development and Education (HUDE), Jersey City, N.J., France Casseus, Chair/Executive Director

Catholic Charities Legal Services of the Archdiocese of Miami (CCLS), Randolph P. McGrorty, Executive Director

International Coalition for Haiti, Inc., East Orange, N.J., Vanessa B. Vincent, FRM, Board Chairman and G. Charles Bouchereau, Ph.D, Program Director

Haitian American Grassroots Coalition, South Florida, Jean Robert Lafortune, Chairperson

Somerville Haitian Coalition, Somerville, MA, Franklin Dalembert, Director

Sant La, Haitian Neighborhood Center, Inc., Miami, FL Gepsie M. Metellus, Executive Director

Association of Exchange and Development of Activities and Partnership (AEDAP), Miami, FL, Flore Lindor Latortue, Executive Director

Friends of Haiti 2010, Brooklyn, N.Y., Edens Debas, Secretary General

Unique Coalition of Minority Businesses of South Dade, Inc. (UCOMB), Jacques R. Laroche, President and former FL field ambassador for President Obama’s re-election

Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East (HSNNE), Jersey City, NJ

Federation des Associations Regionales Haitiennes de la Diaspora (Haitian Regional Associations Federation of the Diaspora, FAREHD), Hollywood, FL, Kenol Aris, MS, President

Haitian Empowerment Foundation, Inc. (HEF), Lake Worth, FL, Ralph Cheriza, President and CEO

Harvard Haitian Alliance, Cambridge, MA, Ketsia Saint-Armand, President; Shunella Lumas, Co-President; Josie François, Secretary; Stephanie Charles, Public Service Chair; Chelsea Cherenfant, Outreach Chair; Sinclaire Hamilton, Publicity Chair

Center for Self-Sufficiency, Miami, FL, Edeline B. Mondestin, RN, BSN, Executive Director

Operation S O S, Chicago, IL, Colette M. Jeffries, Executive Director

Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI), Brooklyn, NY, Opal Tometi, Executive Director

United Networks in Collective Solidarity (UNICSO), Miami, FL, Marcus Sansaricq, President

Haitian Hometown Associations Resource Group (HHTARG), Freeport, NY, Maybelle Jadotte, Acting Executive Director

Sosyete Koukouy, Miami, FL, Jean-Marie Denis (“Jan Mapou”), President

Haitian Cultural Association, Boston University, Boston, MA, Shaita Picard, President

Alternative Chance/Chans Altenativ, New York, NY, Michelle Karshan, Executive Director

Greater Boston Nazarene Compassionate Center, Inc., Boston, MA, Rev. Pierre-Louis Zephir, Executive Director

Myrtha Desulme, Assistant Vice-President for Advocacy and Public Policy, The Haitian Diaspora Federation (HDF) and President, Haiti-Jamaica Society

Father Reginald Jean-Mary, Pastor, Notre Dame D’Haiti Catholic Church, Miami, FL

Auxiliary Bishop Guy Sansaricq, Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, N.Y

Rev. Mullery Jean-Pierre, Pastor, Beraca Baptist Church, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Rev. Dieufort Jean Fleurissaint, Executive Pastor, Voice of the Gospel Tabernacle Church, Mattapan, MA and Strategy Team Member, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Boston, MA

Venerable Canon J. Fritz Bazin, D. Min, Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida

Pastor Raphael Germain, Director, Missionary Association of Haitian Christians, Inc. (MAHC), Boston, MA

Judge Lionel Jean Baptiste, Chicago, Illinois

Edwidge Danticat, author

Mayor Joseph Makhandal Champagne Jr., Borough of South Toms River, New Jersey and Chairman, National Haitian American Elected Officials Network (NHAEON)

State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Massachusetts Legislature, Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1st Suffolk District)

Council Member Mathieu Eugene, New York City Council, District 40, New York, N.Y.

Commissioner Jean Monestime, Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners (District 2)

State Representative Daphne D. Campbell, Florida House of Representatives (District 108), State of Florida

Acting Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime, City of North Miami, FL

Vice-Mayor and Councilwoman Marie Erlande Steril, City of North Miami, FL

City Councilman Dabouze Antoine, Forest Park, GA

West Ward Council Member Charnette Frederic, MHA, LNHA, Irvington, New Jersey

Vice President Archange Antoine, Board of Education, Roselle Public Schools, Roselle, New Jersey

Andre Pierre, Esq., Adjunct Professor, Barry University, Miami Shores, and former Mayor, City of North Miami, FL

Philippe Derose, former Mayor, City of El Portal, FL and Councilman, City of North Miami Beach, FL

Monsignor Jean Pierre, St. James Catholic Church, North Miami, FL

Patrick Richard, PhD; Health Economist; Assistant Professor and Professional Lecturer in Health Economics, George Washington University

Ludovic Comeau Jr, Ph.D., Economist and Associate Professor, DePaul University, Chicago; Professor and Trustee, Institute of Science, Technology and Advanced Studies of Haiti (ISTEAH); President, Group for Reflection and Action for a New Haiti (GRAHN)-USA; Vice-President, GRAHN-World

Kysseline Jean-Mary Cherestal, Esq., International Development, Washington, D.C.

Luckner Bayas, PE, Haitian Diaspora Working Group

Lucie Tondreau, former Mayor, City of North Miami, FL

Raynald Louis, CEO/GM, Radio Kajou (“The #1 Internet Radio Serving the Haitian Diaspora”), South Florida

Sergo Graham, Co-Host – Voices & Perspectives, Radio Kajou, South Florida

Rico Dupuy, radio host and Director, Radio Soleil, New York City

 

Cc: Secretary Jeh Johnson, Department of Homeland Security

Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Department of Homeland Security

Leon Rodriguez, Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Secretary John Kerry, Department of State

 

Click HERE for pdf version.