Delegation Observation Report of Flood Damage in the Upper Artibonite Valley
When President Aristide left office, the one thing that was clear to all Haiti observers was that if there was any hope for Haiti to return to a truly democratic government, and--dare we dream--to move toward a truly democratic society and economy, one of the first priorities had to be the disarmament of the rebel forces whose threatened besiegement of Port-au-Prince helped drive Aristide from office. (Even Rebel leader Guy Philipe announced in March that his men would hand in their guns.)
In the early stages, U.S., multi-national and U.N. forces announced that they would begin the disarmament process, but the rules of engagement for that military/humanitarian intervention collapsed to the point that the U.S. refused to use its helicopters to help victims of the catastrophic floods of the spring.
In the last couple of weeks there have been reports of increasing activity by members of Haiti's former army and other armed groups in Haiti. At the same time, the Haitian judiciary is taking troubling steps further down the road of impunity and politicization.
This week former soldiers--who were part of the armed uprising that led to Aristide's ouster in February--chased the police out of the southern town of Petit Goave and took the town over in an attempt to force the interim government to re-instate the army, which Aristide dissolved in 1995. (See this Reuters report for details.)
Grassroots was proud to participate in the first Boston Social Forum, which took place July 23-25 2004 at U Mass Boston. It was the first U.S.
The international donor conference on Haiti closed on July 20 with pledges of $1.037 billion from the international community, including $239 million from the United States. As the weeks and months pass, we will watch closely what becomes of these pledges.
The World Bank sounds absolutely giddy in its post-conference press release. One billion dollars sounds great, but it is worth noting that none of these pledges are on paper: They all come from press statements like the one made by Colin Powell. At Grassroots International, our auditor insists that a pledge must be very specific and in writing before it is considered real. The same standard should apply to these donor conferences.
On July 19 and 20, representatives of the world's major donor countries and institutions will gather in Washington to discuss aid to Haiti. Four prestigious and powerful actors-The United Nations, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Commission--will host the meeting and make a pitch for $924 million to help jumpstart an economy that is clearly on life support. One expects the four hosts will come up with something to sweeten the pot for the bilateral donors.
Le Cadre de Coopération Intérimaire (CCI) est devenu un outil essentiel dans le contexte des activités de planification des actions du Gouvernement de transition. Décidés le 23 Mars 2004 au cours d'une réunion tenue à Washington, confirmés au cours de la rencontre du Gouvernement avec les Bailleurs le 23 avril dernier, les travaux ont été mis en route le 6 mai.
Haiti has a new development plan aimed at pulling the country out of its age-old economic, social and political morass with new roads and schools, policy changes and millions upon millions o
While there's no doubt that drought-stricken Haiti needs rain, the water-poor nation did not need the flash floods that struck late in May, killing thousands and leaving thousands more without food, shelter or potable water. There's also no doubt that Haiti could use a helping hand from the international community, but to date, U.S. and French and now U.N. forces have done little to really help Haiti's most vulnerable citizens. Click here to read Grassroots' analysis of the situation.
In the last days of May, torrential rainfall fueled a series of flash floods that killed thousands in the area along the border between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Haitian civil society organisations' declaration on the Interim Cooperation Framework process
14 June 2004
A new country is being born within Haiti.
After months of political turmoil, Haitians now face one more calamity. The Haiti Support Group today reports that hundreds of Haitians have died over the last few days in floods and landslides as torrential rains sweep the country.
This news comes from a country where water shortage is a permanent way of life. The UK-based Center for Ecology and Hydrology places Haiti first on its list of the world's "Water Poor Countries." The list is based on a comparative statistical index of the population's access to clean water. Water is judged to be more scarce in Haiti than in Niger, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Malawi, the countries that follow Haiti on the list.
May 1st - International Workers Day was honored in many locations throughout Haiti. Thousands gathered in Port au Prince at the Champs de Mars, and almost a thousand gathered at the national training center of the Mouvman Peyizan Papay ( MPP) in Papay. All were present to celebrate but also to raise their voices and tell their transitional government, as well as the international community, about their hopes - about their needs - and what they are no longer willing to tolerate.
As activists in the Haiti solidarity movement since 1991, we have been thinking a lot about the troubling situation in Haiti.
Satellite internet on a mountainside in the heart of Haiti's Central Plateau - only one of the achievements, among many, of the Mouvman Peyizan Papay - The Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP). The oldest and best organized of Haiti's peasant organizations, the MPP, is celebrating International Worker's Day tomorrow with a large agricultural fair drawing peasants from various regional associations to celebrate and demonstrate what can be done when peasants put their heads together.
Was the armed rebellion that helped drive President Aristide from office a ragtag group of poorly funded freelancers who couldn't get Washington to return their phone calls?
While many (including some of our partners in Haiti and many of our friends in the U.S.) believe that Aristide's ouster was a carefully planned coup financed by the CIA, David Adams reports in the St. Petersburg Times that the rebel forces that swept the Haitian countryside and toppled the Lavalas government may have been "more Keystone Kops than White House-orchestrated covert operations."
During the brief day and a half since I arrived in Ayiti I have had 9 meetings with representatives of GRI partner organizations, journalists, and allied international development organizations.
My head is spinning, but the richness of these exchanges with these tireless Haitian human rights and development activists is a necessary ingredient for understanding how progressive Haitians are living this difficult period of transition. While at the office of Institute Culturelle Karl Leveque, a member organization of POHDH ( The Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations) I happened to see the quotation that I used to entitle this journal entry - "ni rire, ni pleurer, comprendre" - loosely translated - "we must not celebrate, we must not cry , we must understand".
The roots of impunity in Haiti stretch deep into the nation's past. If anything, the experience of the last ten years has shown just how difficult it is going to be to establish democratic principles and the rule of law there. That experience has clearly established that loosening the grip of impunity is going to take much more than the removal of one leader and the promotion of another.
That said, we read today's news from Haiti with some sense of hope. Louis Jodel Chamblain, a convicted torturer and murderer and leader of the recent armed rebellion against Jean Bertrand Aristide has turned himself in to Haitian authorities. Of course it remains to be seen how long Chamblain will stay in jail for his crimes, but his surrender is a positive sign. Haiti's leading human rights organization has already put out a statement on this important development.