by Marie Laurette Numa and Kim Ives. Originally posted at Haiti Liberté
Since the Feb. 6 agreement reached between outgoing President Joseph Michel Martelly and the presidents of the Parliament, Jocelerme Privert (Senate) and Cholzer Chancy (Chamber of Deputies), there was no doubt that the interim president would be Jocelerme Privert.
Both the 1987 Constitution and the “Group of Eight” (G8) opposition presidential candidates called for a judge of the Supreme Court (Court de Cassation) to fill the presidential vacuum. So the Organization of American States (OAS) – Washington’s “Ministry of Colonial Affairs” – in league with the outgoing Martelly clique and Haiti’s ruling class, had to find a formula with a veneer of legality and compromise. Moreover, they needed an interim president who could act as a fireman to pacify Haiti’s streets while at the same time neutralizing Haiti’s formal and informal opposition groups, particularly the G8.
Since Feb. 7, when Martelly handed the presidential sash to Privert (then President of the National Assembly), the theatre in the halls of power is just to blunt and bluff the revolutionary upsurge that has been boiling across Haiti and assure a smooth transfer of from one neo-colonial regime to another. The majority of parliamentarians came to their seats through the same violent, fraudulent elections of Aug. 9 and Oct. 25, 2015 that have sent the masses into the streets demanding their annulment. So the supposedly democratic “debate” in this rump Parliament is only to fool the naive, silence the recalcitrant, and open the door to haggling for ever-coveted ministerial posts.
What drama they were able to generate with a very tight first vote in the Parliament! In the Senate, Privert got 13 votes and Edgar Leblanc Fils, of the Struggling People’s Organization (OPL), 10. Among the Deputies, Privert got 45 votes and Leblanc got 46. There was one blank ballot and not one vote for Déjean Bélizaire, a former Senate president in 1991 before the coup d’état against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Continue reading Jocelerme Privert replaces Michel Martelly as Haiti’s President
by Jacqueline Charles. Originally posted by The Miami Herald
Amid escalating violent protests and attacks on electoral offices around the country, Haitian elections officials Friday afternoon abruptly canceled Sunday’s planned presidential and partial legislative runoffs.
“Jan. 24 is no longer opportune for having elections considering the threats against the electoral infrastructure and on the population who would have to go vote,” Pierre-Louis Opont, the president of the country’s beleaguered Provisional Electoral Council said in a five-minute 2 p.m. news conference at the council’s headquarters in Petionville.
Minutes earlier, officials had halted the distribution of ballots and other voting materials and began recovery of those that had already gone in day rapidly spiraling out of control as two more elections council member confirmed their pending resignation, and elections offices around the country came under violent attack.
The “violent acts” and the verbal threats against elections officials, left the council known as the CEP, with no choice, Opont said as he listed more than a dozen infrastructure that had either been set on fire, or where attempts were made. Among them, he said, was the communal electoral bureau in the northern city of Limbe. It was torched Friday morning. So was the private residence of the top elections official in the nearby city of Pignon.
Continue reading Haiti cancels presidential election as violence erupts
by Evens Sanon and Trenton Daniel, Associated Press. Originally posted at The Miami Herald
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Two men testified before a three-judge appeals panel Thursday that they were imprisoned in ghastly conditions for months without charge under the government of former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.
Agronomist Alix Fils-Aime described his time at the Fort Dimanche prison in the 1970s, saying most of the people held with him were tortured and killed.
“I was able to hear people being beaten, dragged in the hallway, and I could hear women screaming as they were being forced to have sexual relations with the guards,” he said.
Continue reading In the News: Haitians testify about prisons in ‘Baby Doc’ case
Less than a penny of each dollar the U.S. is spending on earthquake relief in Haiti is going in the form of cash to the Haitian government, according to an Associated Press review of relief efforts.
Two weeks after President Obama announced an initial $100 million for Haiti earthquake relief, U.S. government spending on the disaster has nearly quadrupled to $379 million, the U.S. Agency for International Development announced Wednesday. That’s about $1.25 each from everyone in the United States.
Each American dollar roughly breaks down like this: 42 cents for disaster assistance, 33 cents for U.S. military aid, nine cents for food, nine cents to transport the food, five cents for paying Haitian survivors for recovery efforts, just less than one cent to the Haitian government, and about half a cent to the Dominican Republic.
The U.S. government money is part of close to $2 billion in relief aid flowing into Haiti — almost all of it managed by organizations other than the Haitian government, which has been struggling to re-establish its authority since the quake. On Wednesday, a defensive President Rene Preval acknowledged his country’s reputation, but said aid money isn’t lining the pockets of government officials.
“There’s a perception of corruption, but I would like to tell the Haitian people that the Haitian government has not seen one penny of all the money that has been raised — millions are being made on the right, millions on the left, it’s all going to the NGOs (nongovernmental organizations)” Preval said, speaking in Creole at a news conference.
– Associated Press, emphasis added