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
In Haiti, a 9-year-old girl leaves her poor village to work as a domestic worker for a family in Port-au-Prince, the island’s capital. She will not earn money, but the family will pay for her to go to school. She cooks, cleans and performs whatever domestic responsibilities are required in exchange for a promise of safety and and a better quality of life.
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.
Join us for Haiti Optimiste at FIAF in NYC: a night of film, music, drinks, food, and fun in support of Haiti’s creative industries. 100% of ticket sales support Cine Institute, Haiti’s only film school. Hope to see you there! Buy your ticket today: www.haitioptimistenyc.splashthat.com
Thousands of people streamed into Haiti’s main public park on Saturday to honor the 17 victims who died in an accident involving a Carnival float.
Many mourners wore white T-shirts with a phrase in Creole that read, “In good times, in bad times, we’re all Haitians.”
White caskets draped with the Haitian flag were lined up in front of a stage where government officials including President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Evans Paul greeted the victims’ relatives and friends.
Some mourners were led away from the caskets as they cried and collapsed to the ground at the Champ de Mars park in Port-au-Prince.
A Haitian singer who was shocked by a high-voltage wire during Carnival is giving his account of what may have caused an accident that resulted in 16 deaths.
The hip-hop performer known as Fantom from the group Barikad Crew says a man on their Carnival float responsible for moving power lines moved two of three wires when their float abruptly moved forward.
The singer whose real name is Daniel Darinus was standing atop a speaker. He instantly lost consciousness when he was shocked and the sparks set off a deadly stampede.
Darinus spoke to journalists Wednesday in the hospital where doctors say he is in good condition despite his burns.
The accident occurred as thousands of people filled the streets of downtown Port-au-Prince for the raucous annual celebration.
Prime Minister Evans Paul said 16 people were confirmed dead and 78 were injured. He declared three official days of mourning for the impoverished Caribbean country. Haitian officials canceled Tuesday’s third and final day of Carnival events and announced a state funeral and vigil on Saturday for the victims.
Dr. Joel Desire, a doctor at General Hospital, said most of those killed appeared to have been trampled to death as the crowd surged away from the Carnival float, one of 16 in the downtown parade.
Witnesses said panic ensued when people jumped off the float to avoid being electrocuted.
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.
A celebration of Haiti’s unique beauty and culture through film, photography, music, dance and cuisine.
Join us February 26, 2015 at FIAF / French Institute Alliance Française for a tour de force evening featuring a screening of new films from Haiti and musical performance followed by a reception, exhibition, drumming and dance.
Purchase your ticket today! bit.ly/haitioptimiste
All proceeds benefit Artists Institute, Haiti’s only free college for art and technology. To learn more visit us at www.artistsinstitute.org.
Tickets can be purchased here: http://haitioptimistenyc.splashthat.com/ We hope to see you there!