Recent Feature Articles

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, April 24, 2017

Former Haitian paramilitary leader and Senator-elect Guy Philippe sealed a plea bargain today with the U.S. Attorney’s office to get a lighter sentence in return for pleading guilty to just one count of money laundering.

In return, the U.S. government dropped its other two charges of “Conspiracy to Import Cocaine into the United States,” which carries a sentence of 30 years to life in prison, and “Engaging in Transactions Derived from Unlawful Activity,” which carries a 10 year sentence.

The charge to which Philippe, 49, pleaded guilty – “Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments” – carries a 20 year maximum sentence, but as part of the deal, prosecutors recommended Philippe be sentenced to only nine years. Judge Cecilia Altonaga will set Philippe’s sentence in Miami on Jul. 5, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.. As in most plea deals, she will likely follow the U.S. Attorney’s recommendation.

Parole cannot be granted in federal cases, but the government can give Philippe a 15% reduction in his prison term for “good conduct,” meaning he could be out in seven and a half years or 2024.                                                                                                                     

The hearing to change Philippe’s Jan. 13 plea of “not guilty” took place in Miami on Mon., Apr. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and took all of 21 minutes. In addition to the defendant, in attendance were lawyers Mark A. Irish, Lynn M. Kirkpatrick, and Andy Camacho for the U.S. Attorney’s office, and Alan Shelley Ross and Zeljka Bozanic representing Philippe.

“We were contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s office quite recently, proposing a plea bargain,” said Ross. “We were prepared to go to trial, but if you go to trial and you…

By: Sputnik News interviews Camille Chalmers, April 19, 2017

The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) can be described as 13 years of suffering and violations of fundamental human rights, Haitian political analyst Camille Chalmers told Sputnik Brazil.

In an interview with Sputnik Brazil, Haitian political analyst Camille Chalmers commented on the upcoming completion of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), which she bitterly described as 13 years of suffering and the violation of fundamental human rights.

Last week, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to wrap up its 13-year-long peacekeeping mission in Haiti by October 15 and replace it with a smaller police-only force. Led by Brazil, the mission was launched in 2004 when a rebellion led to the ouster and exile of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"These were 13 years of pain, suffering and occupation which failed to reach its stated goals… Also, these were 13 years of fundamental human rights abuse in Haiti. The most important thing is that the UN admitted its guilt for the damage done and started the reconstruction process in order to pay its debts to the Haitians," Camille Chalmers said.

"This is why we welcome this [UN's] decision," he added, stressing the necessity of overcoming the negative impact of the UN mission now that a full review of relations with Haiti has begun.

Chalmers slammed MINUSTAH as "a constant interference" in Haiti's recent elections, during which "attempts were made to take control of the election campaign and its results as well as influence the appointment of authorities."

 

According to him, "the Haitians went through it with great disappointment, anger and irritation," something that he said was reflected in the "very…

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, April 24, 2017

Former Haitian paramilitary leader and Senator-elect Guy Philippe sealed a plea bargain today with the U.S. Attorney’s office to get a lighter sentence in return for pleading guilty to just one count of money laundering.

In return, the U.S. government dropped its other two charges of “Conspiracy to Import Cocaine into the United States,” which carries a sentence of 30 years to life in prison, and “Engaging in Transactions Derived from Unlawful Activity,” which carries a 10 year sentence.

The charge to which Philippe, 49, pleaded guilty – “Conspiracy to Launder Monetary Instruments” – carries a 20 year maximum sentence, but as part of the deal, prosecutors recommended Philippe be sentenced to only nine years.

Judge Cecilia Altonaga will set Philippe’s sentence in Miami on Jul. 5, 2017 at 8:30 a.m.. As in most plea deals, she will likely follow the U.S. Attorney’s recommendation.

Parole cannot be granted in federal cases, but the government can give Philippe a 15% reduction in his prison term for “good conduct,” meaning he could be out in seven and a half years or 2024.

The hearing to change Philippe’s Jan. 13 plea of “not guilty” took place in Miami on Mon., Apr. 24 at 2:30 p.m. and took all of 21 minutes. In addition to the defendant, in attendance were lawyers Mark A. Irish, Lynn M. Kirkpatrick, and Andy Camacho for the U.S. Attorney’s office, and Alan Shelley Ross and Zeljka Bozanic representing Philippe.

“We were contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s office quite recently, proposing a plea bargain,” said Ross. “We were prepared to go to trial, but if you go to trial and you lose, you get whacked.”

Judge Cecilia Altonaga will set Philippe’s sentence in Miami on Jul. 5, 2017…

By Dady Chery, News Junkie Post, April 18, 2017

For news of the world, peel away from those who follow the daily offerings of bombings and supposed terror attacks, as bulls in the ring chase a red cape to their ritualistic slaughter. Look instead in places like Haiti, where it is easy to discern the lies from the truth. In such places, where no one appears to be watching, the sanctimonious missionaries do not hide their faces as they morph into kidnappers and pedophiles. The bribes are publicly offered and accepted.

The unorthodox affairs between supposed adversaries, or between politicians and foreign agencies, are consummated in broad daylight. It is easy to tell, in other people’s countries, which statements to the press and international bodies are made with tongue in cheek. In other people’s countries, like Haiti, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, anything can be bought and degraded. The corruption is so casual, it seems almost innocent.

 

Rivers of aid

It is to other people’s countries that the sins of the so-called developed world are outsourced. I don’t mean the usual stuff involving sexual degenerates who are given license to practice their fantasies on brown bodies and leave a trail of bastards, though that is there too. I mean instead the cholera introduction and the dirty industries, like the egg farms and hog farms that abuse animals and dump into rivers massive volumes of their wastes full of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. There are also the tanneries…

By Yves Engler, Huffington Post, April 18, 2017

Last week the UN Security Council finally voted to end its military occupation of Haiti. Instigated by the U.S., France and Canada, MINUSTAH has been responsible for countless abuses during the past 13 years.

At the same time as the Security Council voted to draw down its military force (a police contingent will remain), the Associated Press published an in depth investigation confirming widespread sexual abuse by UN troops in Haiti. The foreign soldiers had sex with minors, sodomized boys and raped young girls. An internal UN report uncovered by AP implicated 134 Sri Lankan troops in a sex ring that exploited nine children from 2004 to 2007. None of the MINUSTAH soldiers were imprisoned.

In early 2012 video footage came to light of five Uruguayan soldiers sexually assaulting an 18-year-old Haitian. In that case as well the soldiers were sent home, but no one was punished.

At the time Haïti Liberté…

By Jesse Brown, slate.com, April 17, 2017

My prime minister, Justin Trudeau, enjoys a public image as the anti–Donald Trump. A young, sensitive, feminist, environmentalist with a progressive stance on marijuana; a welcoming attitude toward foreigners; and a glorious head of natural hair, he seems in every way the opposite of the U.S. president.

Trudeau’s golden personal brand dovetails beautifully with the ascendant brand of his country, and together they tell a winning story of Canada as a progressive haven, singularly evolved past the populist forces of petty nationalism and xenophobia. 

Each week brings a new version of this story. It’s a tale we Canadians have been telling ourselves for decades, but now Americans are telling it to one another. For a recent cover illustration, the Economist put a maple leaf tiara on the statue of liberty. CNN contemplated whether the American dream is now in fact the Canadian dream. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times anointed Canada the new leader of the free world. Brand Canada has now made it to Broadway, with Come From Away telling a heartwarming story of Canadian…

By Kim Ives, Haiti Liberté, April 12, 2017

The main thing you need to know about the Apr. 11 speech to the UN Security Council of Sandra Honoré, the head of the United Nations military occupation force in Haiti, is that she is not talking about a complete pull-out but a “transition.”

MINUSTAH, or the UN Mission to Stabilize Haiti, is currently composed of about 3,200 soldiers and police officers, who cost $346 million this past year. First deployed in June 2004 (supposedly for only six months), the force’s current mandate ends on Apr. 15.

In a Mar. 16 report, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres proposed that MINUSTAH be renewed for a final six-month mandate, ending Oct. 15. However, this force would be replaced by “a smaller peacekeeping operation with concentrated focus on the rule of law and police development,...[and] human rights monitoring,” Honoré said.

The new armed force would be comprised of close to 300 UN police officers to “support political stability, [and] good governance, including electoral oversight and reform,” Guterres wrote.

Thus Honoré called on the Security Council to set in place “the transition from MINUSTAH to a new and smaller Mission,” which will have a new name.

There is only one problem. Other than the Haitian Army and Police, the Haitian Constitution explicitly forbids any “other armed corps [to] exist in the national territory.”

But Honoré ignored this illegality and spoke as if she were Haiti’s head of state, brazenly dictating Haiti’s direction. “The United Nations in Haiti…

By Paisley Dodds, Associated Press, April 11, 2017

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker agrees. The Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been calling for reforms in the United Nations. He may well get them under President Donald Trump, whose administration has proposed a 31 percent reduction to the U.S. foreign aid and diplomacy budget. Corker and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley want a review of all missions.

Corker recalled his disgust at hearing of the U.N. sexual abuse cases uncovered last year in Central African Republic.

"If I heard that a U.N. peacekeeping mission was coming near my home in Chattanooga," he told AP, "I'd be on the first plane out of here to go back and protect my family."

___

The Habitation Leclerc resort was once well known throughout Port-au-Prince as a lush refuge amid the capital's grimy alleyways. During its heyday in the 1980s, celebrities like Mick Jagger and Jackie Onassis would perch by the pool or stroll past the property's Voodoo temple.

By 2004, the resort was a decrepit clutch of buildings, and several children, either orphaned or abandoned by their parents, were living in its ruins.

It was there that V01 met other victims, two girls referred to in the U.N. report as "V02" and "V03" and a young boy, "V08." The boy initially supported them by occasionally bringing food from his aunt, but they were often hungry.

The peacekeepers had arrived that year as part of a new mission to help stabilize Haiti in the wake of President Jean-Bertrande Aristide's ouster. The Sri Lankans, numbering about 900 troops, landed in a historically unstable country in the grip of scattered violence and kidnappings — and a broken government ill-suited to confront the chaos.

Some of the peacekeepers in the Sri Lankan contingent were based near the former resort…

By teleSUR, April 11, 2017

Bolivia's representative to the United Nations said Tuesday that the international community owed Haiti a debt and should do whatever it took to guarantee the Caribbean country all necessary support.

“As for Bolivia, support to Haiti is a priority, we owe this people a lot, not only because of the environmental disasters but also because of years of foreign intervention,” said Sacha Llorenti after a meeting of the U.N. Security Council debating the presence of U.N. troops in the country.

He also reiterated the responsibility of U.N. troops after the recent pandemic of cholera, saying “apologies are not enough, material compensation is necessary.”

The head of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti Sandra Honore announced Tuesday that the mission will complete its work in the country in six months, on October 15, after 13 years of deployment. The mission will reportedly be replaced with a smaller police operation, which would be drawn down over two years as the country boosts its own force.

The closure of the US$346-million mission, recommended by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres, comes as the U.S. looks to cut its funding to U.N. peacekeeping. Washington is the largest contributor, paying 28.5 percent of the total budget.

Uruguay supported the motion, yet warned, like Bolivia, that the country will need international support more than ever, while China's U.N. Ambassador Liu Jieyi said he supported Guterres' recommendations.

"We regard the transformation of the Haiti mission, including the withdrawal of the military, as a strong example for how peacekeeping missions can and should change as a country's political situation changes," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the council.

Meanwhile, Deputy Russian U.N.…

By Levon Sevunts, Radio Canada International, April 5, 2017

Ukraine’s quest to get access to sophisticated Western weapons and defence technologies to fight Russian-backed rebels in the eastern part of the country got a step closer with a defence co-operation agreement signed in Ottawa earlier this week.

The bilateral deal, signed by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak on Monday, aims to identify “areas of mutual cooperation such as defence policy; defence research, development, and production; and military education.”

“Today’s signing of the Defence Cooperation Arrangement shows Canada’s steadfast commitment to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people,” Sajjan said in a statement. “It strengthens the ties between our two nations and helps us continue to develop our rich, mutually beneficial relationships.”

The agreement is “a great sign of support for Ukraine,” said Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko in an interview with Radio Canada International. (click to listen to the full interview with Andriy Shevchenko)Listen

But it’s also a two-way street that would allow Canada to benefit from the cooperation with Ukraine, he said.

“One of the avenues of cooperation is to make sure that Ukraine shares the lessons that we learned fighting the war against Russia in the east of the country,” Shevchenko said. “We pay a very high price for this experience and we want to make sure that our partners, our friends do get these lessons.”

The deal was also welcomed by the…