Posts Tagged ‘Haiti’

Haiti: Die Republik der Hilfsorganisationen (Radio-Tipp)

Donnerstag, Juli 3rd, 2014

” HAITI CHÉRIE

Das Geschäft mit der Hilfe

Von Jenny Marrenbach

Hunderte Millionen Dollar werden jedes Jahr an Hilfs- und Spendengeldern in Haiti umgesetzt. Und jedes Erdbeben, jeder Hurrikan, jede weitere Überschwemmung treibt neue Helfer auf die kleine Karibikinsel, sie sind allgegenwärtig.

“Wir nennen unser Land die Republik der Hilfsorganisationen”, sagt der haitianische Schriftsteller Lyonell Trouillot. “Wenn es Haiti noch nicht gäbe, die internationale Hilfe würde uns erfinden. Sie kommen alle, denn wir sind der schönste Albtraum der Welt.” Der internationalen Präsenz verdanken viele Einheimische ihr Leben; sie hat ihren Alltag grundlegend verändert, aber nicht unbedingt verbessert. Zwischen Slums und Zeltstädten ist ein Paralleluniversum der Gutwilligen entstanden, eine Welt mit bewachten Wohnkomplexen, Chauffeuren, Personal und teuren Supermärkten. Diese irreale Welt hat die Lebenshaltungskosten im realen Haiti fast auf Florida-Niveau getrieben und sorgt dafür, dass die Masse der Menschen immer ärmer wird.

Produktion: DLF/RBB/WDR 2013 “

Sender:     Deutschlandfunk

Sendedatum: 04.07.2014

Sendezeit:   19:15 – 20:00 Uhr

 

(Quelle: Deutschlandfunk.)

Haiti: Adieu MINUSTAH?

Samstag, Juni 1st, 2013

“Continental Conference to End MINUSTAH

by Kim Ives (Haiti Liberte)

Delegates from around the world will converge on Port-au-Prince May 31 to take part in a two-day Continental Conference aimed at bringing an end to the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti or MINUSTAH, which marks its ninth anniversary on Jun. 1.

The military occupation force, which now comprises about 9,000 armed soldiers and police officers from some 50 countries and costs some $850 million per year, was deployed by the UN Security Council at the behest of permanent members U.S. and France in 2004 following the Feb. 29, 2004 coup dӎtat (which Washington and Paris fomented) against former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. At the time, the world public was told that the mission would be deployed for only six months, time enough to hold new elections. Instead, MINUSTAH is now entering its 10th year. Its latest one-year mandate ends Oct. 15, 2013.

The Continental Conference, spearheaded by a Brazilian political action committee called ‘To Defend Haiti Is To Defend Ourselves,’ will be attended by activists from the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, France, Spain, the United States, and other countries. Over 150 delegates from all corners of Haiti will also attend the conference, to be held at the Plaza Hotel in downtown Port-au-Prince.

The Haitian organizing committee, composed of unions and popular organizations, is also organizing a public rally from 3 to 6 p.m. on May 31 in the Place Dessalines on the Champs de Mars in conjunction with the conference.

On Jun. 1, dozens of Haitians will testify before the Conference about MINUSTAH”s many alleged crimes, including thievery, rape, murder, and massacres.

From Apr. 15 to 24, outspoken Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles conducted a speaking tour in Brazil and Argentina to build support for the conference, where he will be a leading speaker. “It is an outrage that Brazil and Argentina are doing Washington”s dirty work in Haiti,” Moïse said at a large public meeting held at the Legislative Assembly in Sao Paolo on Apr. 18. “Brazilian and Argentinian troops are not helping Haiti. They are merely defending U.S. imperial interests.”

Brazilian soldiers make up MINUSTAH”s largest contingent, about 2,200 soldiers. There are about 600 Argentinian troops in the force.

During the 10 day trip to the two countries, Moïse met with governement officials, parliamentarians, unionists, students, popular organizations, and the general public, in meetings both large and small.

On Apr. 16, for example, Senator Moïse met with the Foreign Relations Committee of the House of Deputies in Brasilia. Four deputies, Committee president Nelson Pellegrino and Fernando Ferro, both of the ruling Workers Party (PT), and Luiza Erundina and José Stédile, both of the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), held a cordial meeting of over 90 minutes with the senator, who stressed, as he did at other meetings, that the Haitian Senate had unanimously voted a resolution in 2011 calling on MINUSTAH to completely withdraw from Haiti by October 2012. That resolution has been flagrantly ignored by the UN.

Then later that same day, Sen. Moïse met for almost two hours with students at the University of Brasilia, who asked him many questions. “Everybody knows that Brazil is heading up the UN military occupation in Haiti,” he said in response to one question. “But who is making the big money in Haiti? The Americans. Who is giving the orders? The Americans. This game of bluff has to stop.”

Senators, deputies, city councilmen, leaders from large union federations, and prominent activists from Brazil, Argentina, and around Latin America and Europe have pledged to attend the event.

In the build-up to the Continental Conference, meetings have been held in numerous countries. On May 17 in New York, a political and cultural fundraising rally was held at the Riverside Church featuring the renowned musical group Welfare Poets and several other artists. Other speakers included Dr. Fritz Fils-Aimé of the  Haitian American Veterans Association (HAVA), Dr. M. Alexendre Sacha Vington of Humanity Haiti, Nellie Bailey of the Harlem Tenants Council, Ralph Pointer, the husband of jailed human rights lawyer Lynne Stewart, and Kim Ives of Haïti Liberté.

“People around the world are standing with the Haitian people in their call for UN troops to get out of Haiti,” said Colia Clark, a veteran civil rights activist who worked alongside Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King, Jr., and who organized the May 17 event. “The upcoming Continental Conference in Port-au-Prince will be the first time people and organizations from around the world will sit down together to see how we can assist our Haitian brothers and sisters in their struggle to regain their sovereignty and send MINUSTAH packing.” ‘

 

(Quelle: HaitiAnalysis.)

Siehe auch:

Haiti Chérie – Das Geschäft mit der Hilfe (PDF)

Haiti: Gebetsmühle

Dienstag, November 6th, 2012

“Lesenswert: Haiti ist die schlechtere Show

schreibt Alexandra Endres auf ZEIT online

Der Link kursiert im medico-Netzwerk. Ein Kommentar von Alexandra Endres über die zynische Verweigerung von Aufmerksamkeit und Wahrnehmung von Haiti. Wir haben ihn mit großem Gewinn gelesen und möchten ihn deshalb weiterempfehlen:

“… Für Haiti sind die Folgen des Sturms viel, viel schlimmer als sie für die New Yorker je sein könnten. Deshalb ist die Geschichte der Haitianer für uns relevant. Ihnen unsere Aufmerksamkeit zu verweigern ist – trotz aller nachvollziehbaren Gründe – eben doch zynisch.

Nun bringt die Warnung der Vereinten Nationen vor einer Hungersnot in Haiti das Land wieder zurück ins öffentliche Bewusstsein. Doch selbst wenn daraus kurzfristige Hilfe resultiert: Es ist ziemlich unwahrscheinlich, dass das die Lage der Haitianer nachhaltig verbessert. Zwar könnten die Spenden, um die jetzt gebeten wird, dazu beitragen, schnell Nahrungshilfe auf die Insel zu bringen, Saatgut an die Bauern zu verteilen oder die Cholerakranken etwas besser zu versorgen. Aber dann?

Haiti hängt schon viel zu lange von ausländischem Geld ab. Auch nach dem Beben von 2010 war die internationale Hilfsbereitschaft groß. Milliarden Dollar wurden zugesagt – für die Haitianer selbst hat sich dennoch wenig zum Besseren gewendet. Vom Wiederaufbau profitierten allenfalls ausländische Unternehmen und reiche Einheimische, sagen Kritiker. 370.000 Haitianer hingegen leben immer noch in Zelten. Die Landwirtschaft liegt am Boden, Port-au-Prince ist immer noch nicht aufgebaut, die haitianischen Behörden verfügen gar nicht über die Mittel, unabhängig zu entscheiden und zu handeln.

Es ist ein alter Hut, dass gute Hilfe es dem Empfängerland ermöglichen sollte, langfristig auf eigenen Beinen zu stehen. Schnelle Spenden wegen Sandy ändern an den strukturellen Problemen Haitis wenig. Es ist deshalb richtig und gut, wenn jetzt die regional asymmetrische Berichterstattung über Sandy kritisiert wird. Haiti wäre schon vor zwei Wochen ein wichtiges Thema gewesen. Doch es reicht nicht aus, das einzusehen. Damit sich wirklich etwas verändert, müsste die Öffentlichkeit – die Medien und ihr Publikum – viel häufiger nach Haiti schauen. Nicht nur, wenn sich dort gerade wieder einmal eine Katastrophe abspielt.”

Den kompletten Artikel “Haiti ist die schlechtere Show” lesen auf: ZEIT online.”

 

(Quelle: medico international.)

Siehe auch:

Haiti: UN and authorities seek $74 million to help farm sector recover from Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on more than just NYC

Haiti: Rote Karte für Martelly

Montag, Oktober 8th, 2012

“Haiti’s constitutional horror show

October 6, 2012

by Charlie Hinton

Update Sept. 30, 2012: For the past two weeks, massive demonstrations have rocked Haiti, protesting constitutional changes, the corruption of the Martelly government and the outrageous cost of living – a general strike in Les Cayes and demonstrations in Cap Haitien Sept. 21 and 27, in Gonaives Sept. 24 and on Sunday, Sept. 30, to commemorate the anniversary of the 1991 coup that overthrew the first Aristide administration, in Port-au-Prince and in cities large and small throughout Haiti.

 

Text-Text-Textl

Thousands of Haitians marched in Gonaives on Sunday, Sept. 30, in yet another demonstration against Martelly. This march commemorated the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 30, 1991, military coup d’état in Haiti against the Lavalas government of President Aristide. Gonaives, a city of 300,000 in northern Haiti, is known as Haiti’s City of Independence because it was there that Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared Haiti independent from France on Jan. 1, 1804. Haitians had won the world’s only successful slave rebellion, and their descendants demonstrate the same spirit today. Some of the marchers displayed small red cards; those are the language of soccer (called football in most of the world outside the U.S.): A yellow card is a warning, but when the referee hands a player a red card, he’s out of the game. The marchers are giving Martelly a red card.

 

The overthrow of Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier in 1986 led to the creation of a new democratic and liberal Constitution in 1987, ratified in a referendum by an overwhelming majority of Haitians. It recognized Haitian Kreyol as an official language, along with French, and legalized Vodun, the religion of the majority of Haitians. It provided for grassroots participation in national decision-making, decentralized the nation’s finances and political structure, and provided for protection of human rights.

Its goal was to protect the democratic gains of the movement that rose up against Duvalier, to prevent a powerful executive from ever gaining dictatorial control again, and to overturn some of the most repressive Duvalier era laws. Now, however, the democratic and participatory spirit of the 1987 Constitution has been subverted by the illegitimate President Michel Martelly, who announced new amendments on June 12, 2012, which concentrate executive power and herald the return of death squad Duvalierism to Haiti.

Martelly took office on May 14, 2011, in a flagrantly undemocratic (s)election process, in which Haiti’s largest and most popular party, former President Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas, was not allowed to participate. The Provisional Electoral Council announced after the first round of voting that Martelly had finished third, thus not eligible for the run-off, but the OAS (Organization of American States), in a much criticized move, sent a commission to rule that he really finished second.

Hillary Clinton reinforced this decision when she flew to Haiti at the height of the Egyptian revolution to demand that Martelly be in the run-off. An anonymous supporter in Miami paid $6 million to the Spanish public relations firm Sola and Associates – who ran the Calderón campaign in Mexico and worked on John McCain’s – to manage the Martelly campaign, an enormous amount of money in Haiti.

The democratic and participatory spirit of the 1987 Constitution has been subverted by the illegitimate President Michel Martelly, who announced new amendments on June 12, 2012, which concentrate executive power and herald the return of death squad Duvalierism to Haiti.

Martelly won this fraudulent “runoff” with a voter turnout even lower than the first round’s 22.8 percent. The 716,989 votes cast for Martelly constitute only 15 percent of Haiti’s 4.7 million registered voters, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Martelly was a member of the Duvalier family’s death squad, the tonton macoutes, when he was 15 and a cadet in the former Haitian military academy as a youth. He supported both coups against President Aristide in 1991 and 2004 and was rumored to have accompanied the FRAPH death squads on their nightly raids after the first coup. A former musician, Martelly constantly demeaned and insulted Aristide in his stage performances.

Martelly welcomed the return of Duvalier to Haiti in January 2011. He socializes with him and has been openly photographed in his presence. He has not pursued any of the legal charges against Duvalier, and now his administration is beginning to look more and more like the despised Duvalier dictatorship. Martelly has brought many Duvalierists and members of Duvalierist families into his government in a variety of roles, including departmental Délégates (representatives of the president to the departments). Duvalier’s son is a close advisor.

 

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton meets privately with future Haiti President Michel Martelly a month before the March 20, 2011, “runoff” presidential election – a fraudulent election because of the exclusion of Lavalas, Haiti’s largest political party by far, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s insistence on the inclusion of Martelly even though he had placed third in the primary election. – Photo: Allison Shelley, Getty Images South America

 

The new amendments published by Martelly ignore the amendment procedures mandated in 1987. They centralize power in the executive and revive several repressive and undemocratic Duvalierist period laws. Procedurally, to change the 1987 Constitution, the president sends proposals to Haiti’s parliament. After approval, they are published in the government’s official newspaper, Le Moniteur, but they don’t take effect until the next president takes office, to assure none of the amendments can benefit the departing president.

When previous President Preval left office, he and the parliament rushed through amendments, which were published the day before Preval’s term ended. However, both chambers of Parliament immediately protested that the published changes did not correspond to the language they had actually approved, and the distribution of Le Moniteur was suspended.

Martelly took office facing this crisis and after a few weeks published a decree suspending the amendments. He then established a commission to ascertain what had happened and make recommendations. All original written and audio-visual transcripts from the two-day debates in the National Assembly had disappeared – with no investigation and no one held accountable. The commission submitted its report to Martelly at the same time various sectors of Haitian society tried to mobilize against this whole process, warning Martelly of the anti-constitutionality of such a “revised” amendment process.

The new amendments published by Martelly ignore the amendment procedures mandated in 1987. They centralize power in the executive and revive several repressive and undemocratic Duvalierist period laws.

Secretary of State Clinton, the U.N., and the U.S., French and Canadian ambassadors now demand Martelly publish the amendments, as they revise the process for establishing a permanent Electoral Council, which these governments want before funding future elections or providing any more financial aid. When Martelly published the new amendments, for so called “material errors” made during the original publication a year ago, the president of the Senate once again claimed they are not what was voted on in 2011.

Following are some of the changes the Martelly amendments make to the 1987 Constitution:

The method of choosing a Permanent Electoral Council:

The 1987 Constitution allowed for the selection of the Electoral Council at a grassroots level, with nominations coming from equivalents of U.S. county and state level representatives. This grassroots participation has never been put into practice, however, and the selection has come from above, with limited diversity, to create Provisional Electoral Councils. The new Constitution changes this process so that the president (Martelly) the Supreme Court (with many members chosen by Martelly) and the legislature (mostly bought off) select three members each for a Permanent Electoral Council, completely undermining grassroots participation and centralizing control from above.

This top down selection helps guarantee “demonstration elections,” which are a public relations instrument to create the illusion of democracy and provide a civilian face to the U.N. occupation that has been in place since 2004. (See http://sfbayview.com/2010/haitis-election-circus-continues-and-wyclef-jean-wont-take-no-for-an-answer/.) They act as a camouflage for the ongoing quest of the U.S., France and Canada to undermine and defeat Haiti’s grassroots movement.

The method of choosing the prime minister, presidential succession and the budget:

The 1987 Constitution requires Parliament to ratify the president’s choice for prime minister. The new amendments allow the president to appoint the prime minister after merely “consulting” the heads of the two chambers of Parliament.

The 1987 Constitution provides for the president of the Haitian Supreme Court to assume the presidency and organize new elections in all cases of “presidential vacancy.” The new amendments make the prime minister the provisional president, without any need for parliamentary ratification, and require the provisional president to organize new elections within four months.

The 1987 Constitution requires that a retiring president skip four years before running for president again, so there is no immediate succession. The new amendments stipulate that the four months the prime minister serves as interim president count as a full term, thus a president such as Martelly could resign during the fourth year in office, transfer the presidency to the prime minister he or she has appointed, then run again when the term ends without waiting four years, increasing the threat of a tyrant gaining dictatorial power.

The 1987 Constitution requires the president to submit a detailed – line item – annual budget and the previous year’s expenditures report for parliamentary ratification, and gives Parliament the power to refuse to legislate on any matter until these financial requirements are adequately filed by the executive. The new amendments provide that a “general budget” and a “general expenditures report” will suffice, thus limiting parliamentary oversight of the budget.

The return of Duvalier era laws:

The new amendments abrogate Article 297 of the 1987 Constitution, which specifically addressed the most egregious violations of human rights under Duvalier:

“1987 Constitution, Article 297:

“All laws, all decree laws, all decrees arbitrarily limiting the basic rights and liberties of citizens, in particular:

“a. The decree law of Sept. 5, 1935, on superstitious beliefs (thereby banning Vodun once again);

“b. The law of Aug. 2, 1977, establishing the Court of State Security (Tribunal de la Sureté de l’État);

“c. The law of July 28, 1975, placing the lands of the Artibonite Valley in a special status (thereby negating the fledging national efforts at agrarian reform);

“d. The law of April 29, 1969, condemning all imported doctrines (thereby attacking freedom of thought and expression, political association of freedom of association);

“Are and shall remain repealed.”

Violation of these new laws can result in even the DEATH PENALTY. The 1987 Haitian Constitution had eliminated the death penalty.

 

Some of the marchers in Gonaives Sept. 30 displayed small red cards; those are the language of soccer (called football in most of the world outside the U.S.): A yellow card is a warning, but when the referee hands a player a red card, he’s out of the game. The marchers are giving Martelly a red card.

 

These provisions punish the mere expression of certain political beliefs, even in private, by the death penalty. It is not necessary for one to act on their beliefs to make it a crime. There is also no specific legal definition of the ideologies condemned by this law. This article can only serve to restrict free expression and the dissemination of ideas in general.

To confuse matters further, Congress voted and the Martelly government published these amendments only in French. The 1987 Constitution recognized Haitian Kreyol as an official language, and Parliament approved both French and Kreyol versions of the 1987 Constitution. Many Haitians now feel there exist two contradictory constitutions if these amendments were to stand.

There is huge opposition in Haiti to these new amendments, and they are much discussed in the media, although little information has reached the U.S. public. Jean-Sébastien Roy, whose father helped write the 1987 Constitution, says that those who oppose the amendments are asking Martelly again make a decree to suspend the June 12 amendments.

If this is not done during the next 12-18 months they will call for a new constitutional process to amend the 1987 Constitution and reconcile the two different versions. He says leaders of grassroots organizations throughout Haiti are beginning to network on this issue.

The danger of these amendments becomes more clear when understood in the context of Martelly’s campaign promise to restore the hated Haitian army, disbanded by Aristide before he left office in 1995 in one of the most popular actions of his administration. Since Martelly became president, former army personnel have occupied their former bases and are seen wearing new uniforms and armed with new weapons.

Under the command of a president who can control the electoral process, name their successor and administer the death penalty to those who protest, the restoration of the army strikes terror in most Haitians and brings back memories of a past they thought they had buried 26 years ago.

Charlie Hinton is a member of the Haiti Action Committee, P.O. Box 2040, Berkeley CA 94702, www.haitisolidarity.net/. He may be reached at ch_lifewish@yahoo.com. He would like to thank Jean-Sébastien Roy, a Haitian whose father helped write the 1987 Constitution, for much of the information for this story. He was interviewed on KPFA’s Flashpoints.

 

(Quelle: San Francisco Bay View.)

Haiti: Ohne geht’s nicht?

Montag, Juli 2nd, 2012

“Don’t Recreate Haiti’s Army

By W. Alex Sanchez, June 29, 2012

Haitian soldiers

Haitian President Michel Martelly finds himself in an increasingly difficult position on the military question. In mid-May, several former army officers met with Martelly and urged him to uphold his presidential campaign promise that, if elected, he would reintroduce the army.

But this is one pledge the Haitian president should renege on. The Haitian military is notorious for its history of corruption, violence, and disrespect for human rights. If the army is reconstituted — which would be a worst-case scenario for Haiti — Washington should sharply restrict the security assistance it provides Port-au-Prince in the future.

A Brief History of Violence

Any analysis of the historical instability, corruption, and violence in Haiti must touch on the country’s infamous dictator, Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier, who came to power in a 1956 military coup. The Duvalier family depended on the armed forces to remain in power for decades. “Baby Doc” Jean-Claude Duvalier, Francois’ son, became president in 1971 and ruled until 1986, when he fled the country amid protests and under U.S. pressure. A National Council of Government was formed, comprised of military officers, including General Henri Namphy and a number of civilians charged with facilitating the country’s return to democratic rule. 

Haiti’s subsequent experiment with democracy was short-lived. In 1988 General Namphy overthrew the elected president, Leslie Manigat, and installed a civilian government under military control. Government control continued to switch between civilian and military leadership. In 1991, Brigadier General Raoul Cedras overthrew President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been elected the previous year. The country then witnessed a period of unrivaled brutality and the dire consequences of military rule. After several years of violence by the ruling junta, the military was pressured to relinquish control in 1994 amid fears of a U.S. military invasion (though the United States was criticized at the time for offering military leaders bribes, or “golden parachutes,” to resign). Ultimately, the Clinton administration deployed up to 20,000 Marines to oversee the return of pseudo-democracy, whereby Aristide was again nominally in control but hardly in a position to lead.

Nevertheless, even after the army was disbanded, former soldiers continued to sow instability, as exemplified by the 2004 violence that toppled President Aristide during his second presidential term. In March of that year, rebel leader Guy Philippe told journalists that he was the new head of Haiti’s military: “I am the chief…the military chief.” A former police chief from 1995 to 2000, Philippe had links to drug trafficking in the country and was allegedly among the masterminds of an attempted uprising in December 2001.

Why an Army?

Calls for the reconstitution of Haiti’s military have escalated considerably since the country’s devastating 2010 earthquake. The 7.2-magnitude quake struck the island just as Haiti was beginning to establish some kind of internal stability after Aristide’s 2004 overthrow and to prepare for congressional elections. Thousands died in the earthquake. The natural disaster exhausted the capabilities of the Haitian government as well as the capabilities of the UN Mission to Haiti (MINUSTAH). The challenges they faced immediately after the quake included dealing with internal security issues like looting, assembling security units to provide aid to civilians and to protect sensitive areas, and apprehending the 5,000 prisoners that had escaped from the national penitentiary, as well as neutralizing gangs and stemming the tide of street crime.

Even before the quake, Haiti suffered from a number of internal security issues, like drug trafficking and rampant corruption within the Haitian police force. It is unclear how widespread the consumption of cocaine and other illegal drugs is in Haiti, but the island of Hispaniola certainly serves as a major transit point for drugs coming from South America to the United States or Europe. In June 2005, Haiti’s former national police commander, Rudy Therassan, pleaded guilty to offering to protect Colombian cocaine shipments in the country. He was sentenced to almost 15 years in prison. Similarly, in early May 2007, the police in Port-de-Paix arrested nine individuals suspected of involvement in illicit drug trafficking, seizing more than 200 kilograms of cocaine. 

The question remains: why should Haiti reinstitute a military force instead of investing in a better police force or a national constabulary? Countries like Panama and Costa Rica have achieved reasonable success in dealing with internal security issues despite their lack of militaries. Furthermore, considering the generally stable relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic in recent years, where would an external security threat to Haiti originate? Interstate combat between the two countries remains highly implausible. In fact, after the earthquake struck, the Dominican Republic sent up to 150 troops to join MINUSTAH to help with rescue and relief operations. A February 2010 report in The Wall Street Journal noted that less than 48 hours after the earthquake struck, Dominican President Leonel Fernández met with then-Haitian President Rene Préval in the Haitian capital in a demonstration of solidarity.

To be fair, suggestions about reinstating the armed forces in Haiti have come not only from disgruntled former Haitian soldiers. Shortly after the 2010 earthquake struck, a former U.S. diplomat to Haiti, Ambassador William Jones, argued on CNN that disbanding the army “was a mistake because whenever you have a natural disaster such as this, the first thing we do is to call out the national guard. Well, there is no national guard in Haiti. There is no army. There is no force that can be deployed throughout Port-au-Prince to bring order. And without order it [will] be very, very difficult to coordinate the aid program.” Supporters of restoring the Haitian military also argue that it would help bolster the government’s internal control of the country, enforce the rule of law, provide security in the event of another disaster, and offer a source of employment and discipline to young Haitians.

The Need for Security 

Reinstituting the military would be no easy task. Besides the political issues, there are basic logistical and financial components that must be overcome, something that the Canadian International Development Agency learned a decade ago. At the time, the Canadians were trying to train Haitian security forces at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) facilities in Regina, Saskatchewan. Speaking about the initiative in the mid-1990s, Timothy Donais, a Wilfrid Laurier University professor who has studied police reform in Haiti, explained to the Canadian National Post that you cannot simply provide six months of basic training to police officers, send them out into the street, and expect them to be police officers in the vein of the RCMP. He observed, “It’s easy to teach people the technical skills. It’s much harder to change the culture of a police organization.”

Moreover, if a Haitian military is reconstituted, the nation’s youth will be expected to make up its rank and file, but filling senior officer positions presents a greater challenge. One option may be to reinstate former officers who served until 1995 when the military was disbanded, but this would be an extremely risky move considering the former military’s propensity for coups. 

In addition, Haiti remains a poor country, and unfortunately its economic situation is unlikely to improve in the near future. Hence, the government will have to focus its small budget on providing relief, reconstituting state services, and rebuilding infrastructure. A Haitian military — or a bigger police force, coast guard, or border patrol — could most likely come only from international aid, including the donation of equipment.

Haiti’s internal security issues and the possibility of future natural disasters make it a priority for the country to have well-trained and well-prepared security forces. But there is no logical reason to re-establish an army, as the training and weaponry soldiers require are simply not necessary for Haiti’s security needs. It would be much more advantageous for Haiti to devote its limited budget to improving the judiciary, the police, the coast guard, and special units, including border guards and prison security officials. There is reason to believe that the government is somewhat committed to this path. In late May, Reginald Delva, the secretary of state for public security and Mario Andresol, the director of the National Police, visited two specialized units of the National Police, CIMO and SWAT TEAM. The government officials promised new uniforms and vehicles, as well as the construction of new police stations, though it’s unclear when these promises can be fulfilled.

Armies are not trained for internal security, but rather for inter-state warfare. When they are deployed internally, human rights abuses usually occur. To patrol the streets of Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, or Jeremie, Haiti does not need a soldier with a machine gun on every corner, but rather properly trained and equipped police that know the national laws, as well as a detective corps that can carry out investigative work. In addition, Haiti would greatly benefit from a larger coast guard to patrol the country’s territorial waters for drug traffickers and smugglers. 

In addition, these specialized security forces would have the advantage of providing employment to thousands of Haitians, which is particularly important in a country where high unemployment has exacerbated crime levels.

The key challenge to developing an effective security force is not one of training and equipment, but of creating a chain of command that has integrity and is loyal to elected rulers. The last thing Haiti needs is an unreliable security force that could sow future instability and undermine Haiti’s already fragile democratic society.

The U.S. Role

American personnel deployed after the earthquake have long left Haiti and returned to the United States. The question that remains is how MINUSTAH and the Haitian police will work together to keep the country under control in coming years. Ongoing protests near the UN mission after an outbreak of cholera (apparently caused by UN peacekeepers), along with accusations of rape by Uruguayan peacekeepers, have further aggravated popular discontent with MINUSTAH.

It is unclear how long MINUSTAH will remain in Haiti, and there are signs that some donor countries, particularly Brazil, are losing interest in this operation. If MINUSTAH leaves Haiti, it will be up to the government in Port-au-Prince and its security forces to monitor the country, both internally and externally. It is unlikely that Haiti’s police alone can deal with these issues in the near future, which may encourage the Haitian government to yield to the pressure of former soldiers to reconstitute the army. Whatever the country decides, Port-au-Prince will have to rely on international aid.

Haiti is an independent nation and its government can carry out whatever security initiatives it sees fit, free from the intervention of foreign powers. Nevertheless, if the army is reconstituted, Washington should set strict limits on the kind of assistance it is willing to offer Port-au-Prince. For example, instead of military advisors, Washington could offer police advisors or decommissioned cutters and other vessels to improve the capabilities of Haiti’s coast guard. It would then be up to the Haitian government whether to accept or refuse this aid.

The United States has a controversial and problematic history with Haiti. But by limiting the amount of military-related aid it is prepared to give Port-au-Prince for internal stability, Washington would go a long way toward helping avoid future tensions in the troubled Caribbean state.

W. Alejandro Sánchez is a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus and a research fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs where he focuses on international security and geopolitical issues. His personal blog can be found by clicking here.” 

 

(Quelle: FPIF.)

Siehe auch:

No Prosecution for Haitian Rape Cases
Haiti’s “Gold Rush” Promises El Dorado – But for Whom?
Haiti’s Military Monster Makes a Creeping Comeback

Haiti: Seht zu, wo ihr bleibt

Dienstag, Juni 26th, 2012

“Hundreds protest Haiti gov’t plan to destroy homes

By EVENS SANON Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti June 25, 2012 (AP)

 

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Photo credit: AP | A female bystander who was mistakenly hit by a stone aimed at police, is led in search of an ambulance, during a demonstration protesting a government plan to destroy hillside shanties for a flood-control project, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Monday, June 25, 2012. More than 1,000 demonstrators marched, chanting threats to burn down the relatively affluent district if the authorities flatten their homes. Many of the threatened homes are in Jalousie, a cinderblock shantytown that spreads across a mountainside alongside the relatively affluent city of Petionville that makes up the Port-au-Prince metro area. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

 

More than 1,000 Haitians marched through the Caribbean nation’s capital Monday to protest a reported plan to destroy their hillside shanties for a flood-control project before they find better, more permanent dwellings in the wake of a devastating earthquake. Police fired tear gas in an attempt to control the protesters, some of whom threw rocks.

The demonstrators snaked through the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area chanting threats to burn down the relatively affluent district where the shanties sit if the authorities flatten their homes.

The No. 2 official at the Environment Ministry, Pierre Andre Gedeon, said on a local radio broadcast last week that officials want to demolish several hundred homes to build channels and reforest the hillsides in an effort to curb the deadly floods that come with the annual rainy season. Officials have made no other public reference to the plan. Calls to the ministry on Monday were not answered.

Many of the threatened homes are in Jalousie, a cinderblock shantytown that spreads across a mountainside alongside the affluent city of Petionville that makes up the Port-au-Prince metro area.

The protesters said President Michel Martelly fell short on his promise to build homes destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The disaster destroyed tens of thousands of houses in the capital and other cities in the south, and officials said 314,000 people died.

“Martelly didn’t build any houses. How can he destroy our homes?” said 22-year-old Joel Jean-Pierre. “If he comes to destroy our homes we’re going to burn down Petionville.”

The government is building hundreds of homes north of the capital but, but too few to house the more than 400,000 people still living in the precarious settlements that emerged in the aftermath of the quake.

In an effort to move people out of the camps, the Haitian government, foreign aid groups and governments gave displaced people yearlong rental subsidies. Residents of six highly visible camps moved into hillside shanty areas such as Jalouise. Others have moved there because they were evicted by land owners.

Port-au-Prince, a city of some 3 million, has seen concrete houses and hovels sprawl across its hills because governments past and present have failed to provide affordable housing. Many of those homes crash down the hills every year during the country’s rainy seasons and people often die.

The march on Monday began peacefully but some protesters threw rocks at a towering hotel financed in part by the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, a nonprofit set up after the earthquake by former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The demonstrators were angry to see the opulent hotel under construction amid fears that they will lose their homes.

When the protesters reached downtown Port-au-Prince, riot police carrying shields tried to break up the crowds by firing tear gas canisters. Some people threw rocks at the police and also at passing motorists, some of whom had their windows broken.

Associated Press reporters saw one woman injured in the head after being hit in the head with a rock.”

 

(Quelle: ABC News.)