Rule of Law

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The president of the Haitian Bar Association, Carlos Hercule, knows that the rule of law in his country is tenuous, and that people have little faith in the justice system. “We have attorneys who [single-handedly] represent both parties in real-estate deals. We have people representing themselves as attorneys who have not been accredited. And we have judges and officials who accept bribes,” he recently explained to me in French, through a translator.

His French is impeccable, but that’s another problem. French is the official language of the courts in Haiti, but as much as 95 percent of the population speaks only Creole, so most defendants—if they can even afford to hire a lawyer—can’t fully grasp what goes on during the court proceedings. There are no public defenders, and available legal aid is extremely limited. Adding to the disparity, as experts have pointed out, is the fact that many Haitian lawyers are typically invested in their own elite social status and rarely offer direct defense to the poor, which they perceive as debasing the profession. The result is that the vast majority of the country’s 10.3 million-plus people—roughly three-quarters of whom live on less than $2 a day—have no real access to justice.

Read more: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2015/04/establishing-the-rule-of-law-in-a-country-where-justice-hardly-exists/391113/?utm_content=buffera1062&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer

The Clintons and Haitian contracts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Clinton Foundation lists the Brazilian construction firm OAS and the InterAmerican Development Bank (IDB) as donors that have given it between $1 million and $5 million. Those relationships are worth learning more about.

OAS has been in the news because it is caught up in a corruption scandal centered on Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras. In November Brazilian police arrested three top OAS executives for their alleged roles in a bribery scheme involving inflated contracts and kickbacks. OAS denies the allegations. Closer to home the 2013 OAS donation to the Clinton Foundation deserves attention because of the power that Bill Clinton has in Haiti, where OAS has been awarded IDB contracts.

Development banks are the butt of jokes among economists because while they claim to fight poverty they are mostly good at empire building. The same might be said of the Clintons in Haiti. A few months after Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009, Bill Clinton was named the U.N. special envoy to Haiti. That gave the Clintons a lot of power over U.S. foreign-aid decisions in the small country.

Read more: http://www.wsj.com/articles/mary-anastasia-ogrady-the-clinton-foundation-and-haiti-contracts-1425855083

Instruments for Haitian Children

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Novack family of Miami is stepping in to assist Haiti’s youngsters with an area of education that’s often overlooked, even in American schools: music. They opened their first children’s music institution in August of last year, and a second is soon to follow.

Currently, they’re collecting instruments to be used for educational purposes, so start rounding up your flutes and guitars for a good cause.

The Novack family are philanthropists, and major supporters of Haiti. Allison and her brother Jason are co-founders of 1308 Productions, a family-owned non-profit that supports music education.

“I’ve always known that music is a huge part of Haitian culture, but that access to instruments there is limited, making it difficult for any child to find their potential musical talent,” Allison says. “Music is proven to bring people together, advance learning skills, and elevate happiness – it’s the universal language, and the best remedy for hard times.”

Their first children’s music school opened its doors in Tabarre, Haiti, in August of 2014.

Protests gain momentum..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A nationwide uprising against the regime of business partners President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe continued to gain steam this week with massive demonstrations in several major cities, including Port-au-Prince, Léogane, Petit Goâve, Cap-Haïtien, Fort-Liberté, Ouanaminthe, and Aux Cayes.

Feeling the protests’ heat, Martelly made a short televised national address on Nov. 28 to announce his formation of an “advisory commission” made up of 11 people whom he called “credible, honest, and trusted by society” to provide him “in eight days” with “a recommendation” on what path to take out of Haiti’s political imbroglio, saying that “the nation is divided, the problems are many, the problems are complicated.”

Read more:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/nationwide-uprising-gains-strength-in-haiti/5417866

Stronger Haiti National Police has U.N. considering its future presence in the country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UNITED NATIONS — As an increasingly confident and stronger Haitian police force take control of Haiti’s security, major crimes are seeing a double-digit drop and the United Nations is intensifying discussions about its future in the country.

 

The talks of a reconfigured U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, comes as peacekeepers prepare to mark 10 years in June, and as Haiti’s clashing politicians shows signs of compromise. Earlier this month, President Michel Martelly, lawmakers and political opponents signed an agreement creating a road map for long overdue local and legislative elections later this year.

 

“We are encouraged by recent announcements that these elections will take place this fall, but these words must now be turned into action and must translate into voters casting their ballots at the polling stations,” Canada’s U.N. Permanent Representative Guillermo Rishchynski said Monday.

 

Rishchynski, and other U.N. Secretary Council members were asked Monday to consider five broad options for a reconfigured U.N. presence in Haiti post 2016. The options range from a special envoy, special political mission to a new mission — all with no military component. The other two options are a new mission with a small military quick reaction force or a renewal MINUSTAH’s mandate with a continued downsizing of its 5,702 troops.

 

The options are outlined in a report by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. It notes that between 2012 and 2013, Haiti saw a 21 percent drop in homicides, reversing a five year trend, and kidnappings dropped by 53 percent.

Read more:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/24/4016377/stronger-haiti-national-police.html#storylink=cpy

 

 

Ice cream adds sweet taste for farmers in Haiti

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entrepreneurs from one of the grittiest cities in the United States have joined forces with peasant farmers in Haiti to help transform the country’s bitter poverty into delicious and life-sustaining ice cream.

A white former human sexuality professor from Alabama and a black Baltimore gourmet ice cream maker are being recognized for their efforts to help Haitian farmers find a market for their high-value vanilla beans and cacao in a product they like to call “ice cream with a purpose.”

The unusual pair teamed up two years ago to market Haitian vanilla-flavored ice cream to upscale Baltimore area restaurants.

The Vanilla Project, which provides income for some 650 farmers in rural Haiti, on February 1 earned its creators the Citizen Diplomat Award from Global Ties U.S., a non-profit partner of the U.S. State Department.

The vanilla venture owes its origins to a chance encounter 14 years ago when Alabama mother and daughter Anne and Stephanie Reynolds befriended a Haitian street artist.

They decided on a lark to join the artist, Gracia Thelisma, on a bus trip to the north of Haiti to visit the mother he had not seen in years.

The mother-daughter duo was struck by Haiti’s beauty and its people – as well as its poverty.

After they returned to Alabama they collected clothes to send to Haiti and raised money to start a school in Thelisma’s home town of Plaisance.

That soon evolved into seeking a long-term solution to employ the children who graduated from the school.

“Haiti once exported some of the finest vanilla products to Paris. They can do it again,” said Anne Reynolds, 57, a former professor at Auburn University at Montgomery, Alabama.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with a poverty rate of 77 percent and an average per capita income of $760, according to the World Bank.

After testing the plants in Haiti, and planting 70,000 vanilla vines, the project went into full businessmode last year with the creation of the De La Sol Haiti company in Plaisance, a rural farmingcommunity of 65,000.

Stephanie Reynolds, 27, with a graduate degree in Latin American studies, runs the company, which has 8 employees, 5 women and 3 men from Plaisance.

While waiting for the vines to mature, De la Sol Haiti is turning cocoa bought from local producers into chocolate.

The company is training farmers in new techniques to grow the vanilla vines on cacao trees and Thelisma hopes vanilla exports could start next year. It takes up to five years for the vanilla plants, which are related to the orchid family, to reach maturity.

“My dream is for De la Sol to become a leading force for Plaisance development,” said Thelisma. “In the region, people do not have jobs. With the vanilla businessDe la Sol could be able to expand and benefit a larger part of the population,” he added.

Reynolds was looking for culinary partners when she got a call out of the blue from Baltimore ice cream maker Taharka Brothers.

Owned and operated by young, college-aged African-Americans from tough neighborhoods, Taharka, founded in 2010, was introduced to Haiti in 2012 through Global Ties U.S., which hosts international visitors sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.

Taharka’s marketingmanager, Darius Wilmore, a former graphic artist with Def Jam Recordings, the hip hop label, was immediately struck with the idea of helping Haitian producers.

Wilmore Googled “vanilla in Haiti,” and found Reynolds.

She told him her vanilla beans were still two years away from maturity. In passing, Reynolds mentioned growing vanilla bean vines on cacao (chocolate) trees.

“What are you doing with the chocolate?” asked Wilmore.

While vanilla is the No. 1 flavor in the world, chocolate comes in a solid second.

Today, Taharka orders between 20 to 50 pounds of chocolate bi-monthly from De La Sol Haiti for its ice cream, which it delivers to 50 of Baltimore’s fanciest restaurants  grocery stores and ice cream shops. Wilmore hopes to see a profit next year, and start taking delivery of some Haitian vanilla beans.

Taharka Brothers joined Del La Sol Haiti in Washington, DC, this month to receive the Citizen Diplomat Award, adding their names to a list of luminaries such as U.S. Senator William Fulbright and celebrated poet-activist Maya Angelou.

Both Reynolds and Wilmore share a belief that the best way to help those less fortunate is through collaboration, and that giving creates dependency.

While Wilmore disapproves of handouts, he believes he owes the people of Haiti a debt of gratitude, because their bloody, decade-long revolution in the late 18th century began the end of slavery in the western world.

“It is race, class and history wrapped into this. Here we are, young black men, working with white women from Alabama, buying chocolate from poor Haitians. We are shining the light on social injustice through ice cream,” Wilmore said in his award acceptance speech.

He added: “Ice cream tastes better than poverty.”

 

Sorrow over Haiti quake still deep, 4 years later

 

 

Four years ago, Marguerite Berthold was standing in her yard in Port-au-Prince when the earth began to shake. She ran into her house and went up to her porch. Her house collapsed but the porch remained standing and she survived.

 

She spent the next two days searching for her son and fervently praying. Eventually she found him alive but with two broken legs.

 

On Sunday, Berthold and her son, Wongaton Villace, now 15, attended a special church service in Mattapan focused on remembering those who died and offering thanks for those who survived.

 

Four years after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, left roughly 230,000 dead, hundreds of thousands more injured, and more than a million homeless, about 50 people — many of whom were in Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010 — gathered at First Christian Church Source of Grace on Blue Hill Avenue on Sunday morning.

 

Conducted in Haitian Creole, French, and English and infused with ecstatic singing, the service was joyful, but also intertwined with grief.

 

“A lot of our family fell,” said the Rev. Jean Jeune as he began the 2½-hour service.

 

“We have a lot of suffering in our soul, in our spirit, in our heart,” he said in remarks that were translated into English for a reporter who attended.

 

The congregation, packed into two rooms on the second floor of an office building, later joined their voices in a song proclaiming their faithfulness.

 

Backed by keyboard, an electric bass guitar, drums, and an accordion, many of the congregants closed their eyes and raised their hands above their head. Some cried.

 

“Four years ago, if it wasn’t for God, a lot of us would not be here,” Jeune said before another song began. He encouraged celebration of the blessings that had been bestowed but repeatedly recognized the struggle many of his congregants had endured since 2010.

 

“Four years of suffering” from the loss and trauma and memories of the devastating tragedy, he said. Read more here:

 

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/01/13/haiti-quake-resonates/SIR3SE2eziXzZ5B2Cll2EL/story.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haiti and Dominican Republic resume talks on controversial Constitutional Court ruling

 

 

 

 

 

CARACAS, Venezuela (CMC) — Haiti and the Dominican Republic have agreed to establish a joint commission to discuss the migration problem caused by a recent ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic that has the effect of rendering stateless, thousands of people of Haitian descent residing in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean country. Haitian President Michel Martelly and his Dominican counterpart Danilo Medina met on Tuesday on the sidelines of a meeting of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) and of PetorCaribe The meeting was chaired by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

“I announce the creation of a high-level committee with representatives of both sides to address various issues on the bilateral agenda,” Maduro said, adding that the joint commission would comprise five representatives each from the two countries. He said Venezuela, the United Nations, the European Union and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have been invited as observers. Maduro said the proposed commission would address issues regarding trade, migration, environment, security and the border. The purpose of such an initiative is to find a just, proper and balanced solution through which the interests and rights of all parties are protected.

Last month, CARICOM said it would defer consideration of the application by the Dominican Republic to join the regional integration grouping following the Constitutional Court ruling. Leaders of the three-member CARICOM Bureau, comprising host country Trinidad and Tobago, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Haiti, said the 15-member regional grouping would also seek to raise the court ruling with several bodies including the Association of Caribbean States, the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) as well as maintaining “our interest and active participation at the Organization of American States (OAS).

On September 23, the Constitutional Court in Santo Domingo has ruled in favour of stripping citizenship from children of Haitian migrants. Read more:

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latestnews/Haiti-and-Dominican-Republic-resume-talks-on-controversial-Constitutional-Court-ruling