The return to Haiti of Father Gerard Jean-Juste

Today, Haiti’s most beloved and respected political rights fighter and religious figure, Father Gerard Jean-Juste, returns to the country after a one and a half year convalescence in Miami. He left on January 29, 2006 after he was diagnosed with leukemia and the coup regime grudgingly allowed him to travel there for treatment.
Prior to his diagnosis, Jean Juste was one of the high-profile political prisoners jailed by the Canada/U.S./France-backed coup regime.

Attached is his announcement of his return to the country. Note the third paragraph in which he makes a sharp critique of the human rights situation prevailing in the country, including a call for the release of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine. His critique amounts to a stinging rebuke of the “democracy” that the UN and the foreign powers have brought to Haiti.

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Trade unions in Haiti

Two months ago, public and commercial transport drivers in Port au Prince went on strike for two days. Much of the city’s commercial and public services were shut down. The strike was a reminder to all that workers and peasants in this country are determined to struggle for better living standards and for a better society. They are also prepared to pressure the elected government harder to make this happen.

The strike shut down most commerce and public services in the city. The issue was the rising price of gasoline. Transport drivers were getting hit with rising gasoline prices. Transport companies as well as drivers, many of whom work on contract to private vehicle owners, tried to raise the price of their services, but the population balked at paying higher fees. Drivers and owner-operators were caught between rising prices, government refusal to stabilize or lower prices, and the people’s refusal to pay higher prices.

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Mayors appeal for urgent aid in northwest Haiti

By Roger Annis

Port de Paix, Haiti—August 8, 2007
“We are one hour of heavy rainfall away from a humanitarian catastrophe here in Port de Paix,” said one of this city’s deputy mayors, Eluscane Elusme to members of a human rights factfinding delegation organized by the U.S.-based Fondayson Mapou and Haiti Priorities Project. The delegation is spending four days touring northern Haiti.

Elusme and another deputy mayor, Wilter Eugene, gave a wide-ranging interview to the delegation yesterday morning. At times, it was difficult to hear each other over the clamour of the street traffic passing by on the adjacent main street.

The two mayors painted a picture a city of 200,000 living on the edge of human survival. They consider the city uninhabitable in its present condition. There is no running water and electricity service is provided at late night only, for four to six hours. The city lies at sea level; heavy rainfall would flood tens of thousands out of their precarious homes and overwhelm any rescue effort. The consequences of a hurricane strike is unthinkable. There would not be enough transport available to get people out of the way.

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Day One in Haiti

Port au Prince! We flew in this afternoon from Miami on one of the several daily flights of American Airlines. A full flight, and I’m guessing that many of the Haitian passengers were arriving for summer visits from the U.S. and Canada.

Port au Prince is on the coast and it lies on a plain surrounded by impressive mountains. We got a good view of much of the Haitian coastline as we flew in.

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