Monday, March 17, 2008
lundi 17 mars 2008
par Ronald Colbert
(Read the original article here)
Papaye (Hinche/Haïti), 17 mars 08 [AlterPresse] --- Le Mouvement paysan de Papaye, localité de Hinche (Plateau Central), à plus de 128 kilomètres au nord-est de Port-au-Prin,ce, débute officiellement, ce lundi 17 mars 2008, les travaux du 35 e anniversaire du mouvement autour du thème « 35 ane lit pou on Ayiti granmoun » (35 années de lutte pour une Haïti souveraine).
Plus de 750 personnes, venant des dix départements géographiques d’Haïti, sont arrivées depuis dimanche soir 16 mars au Sant Lakay, lieu de rassemblement du Mouvement Paysan de Papaye (Mpp), selon les informations obtenues sur place par l’agence en ligne AlterPresse.
En plus des délégués, femmes et hommes, du Mpp, de nombreux invités, dont des militantes et militants du pays, ainsi que d’autres de la République dominicaine, des Etats-Unis d’Amérique et de la France, de même que des membres de différentes organisations et des représentants de médias ont fait le déplacement vers Papaye afin de participer au congrès du 35 e anniversaire.
Le dimanche 16 mars, les femmes et hommes délégués paysans, dont une partie se trouve au Sant Lakay depuis le jeudi 13 mars pour prendre part à une rencontre du Mouvement paysan national du congrès de Papaye (Mpnkp), ont pu s’inscrire et recevoir leurs badges d’identification, des cartes leur donnant droit aux repas pendant le congrès, du matériel de travail ainsi que l’agenda du congrès du 35e anniversaire du Mpp.
La souveraineté alimentaire, la problématique de l’environnement, la participation des femmes et des jeunes dans le combat pour une république haïtienne souveraine, feront l’objet de conférences, d’ateliers-débats du 18 au 20 mars.
Entre-temps, ce lundi 17 mars, après les cérémonies officielles d’ouverture par un acte « mystique » spécifique au Mpp, une foire gastronomique (où seront exposés des produits agricoles biologiques du terroir) aura lieu au Sant Lakay, suivie d’une séance portes ouvertes sur les actions mises en oeuvre par le mouvement paysan de Papaye depuis 35 ans, comme : cassaverie, transformation de fruits, activités agrosylvicoles, production de miel, etc.
Le congrès du 35 e anniversaire du Mpp sera clôturé le jeudi 20 mars 2008 par une marche contre la faim, contre la misère, contre l’injustice sociale, contre l’impunité et contre le programme d’agrocarburants envisagé par le gouvernement du Premier ministre Jacques Edouard Alexis.
A cette marche, où les organisateurs attendent environ 5 milliers de personnes de Papaye à la place Charlemagne Péralte [du nom de l’un des révolutionnaires haïtiens qui ont combattu la première occupation étatsunienne de 1915 à 1934] de Hinche, seront rendues publiques les résolutions issues du congrès du 35 e anniversaire, d’après les informations fournies à AlterPresse.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Le responsable du Parc La Visite, Jean Marie Romain, abattu par balle à Pèlerin 3 (Pétion Ville)
Romain faisait face à beaucoup de difficultés dans l’exercice de sa fonction, selon son frère, le sénateur Jean Hector Anacacis
samedi 15 mars 2008,
(Read the original article here)
Le responsable de la protection du Parc National La Visite, Jean Marie Romain (42 ans), a été abattu d’une balle au cou vendredi soir par des individus non identifiés sur la route de Kenscoff, à hauteur de Pèlerin 3 (Est de Port-au-Prince), alors qu’il revenait du Sud-Est, a appris Radio Kiskeya.
Frère du 1er sénateur de l’Ouest, Jean Hector Anacacis, Jean Marie-Romain avait eu à faire face à beaucoup de difficultés dans l’accomplissement de sa mission de protection du Parc La Visite, a confié le parlementaire à un journaliste de Radio Kiskeya. Il a toutefois estimé qu’il revient aux enquêteurs de déterminer les motifs exacts des agresseurs.
En novembre 2007, un garde forestier avait été blessé à coups de pierres par des individus qui abattaient des arbres au parc Deux autres agents qui étaient alors portés disparus, s’étaient en fait enfuis pour échapper à la colère d’une foule d’agresseurs vraisemblablement soudoyés par de puissants entrepreneurs du bois opérant dans la région.
Père de deux enfants et marié à une ressortissante du Royaume-Uni, Jean Marie Romain avait réalisé des études en environnement à Cuba et en Belgique.
Le Parc National La Visite dont il assurait la protection, est l’une des dernières réserves forestières d’Haïti dont la couverture végétale demeure la plus insignifiante de la Caraïbe. A cheval sur les départements du Sud-Est et de l’Ouest, le parc est considéré comme zone protégée depuis 1983. Cependant, de ses 2000 hectares de forêt, il en reste moins de 900. Grande réserve de faune et de plantes médicinales, abritant d’importantes nappes phréatiques, le parc est soumis à une exploitation anarchique à outrance qui menace son existence et celle des gens vivant en amont dans les deux départements.
Ce parc représente, avec le parc Macaya dans le Sud et Marmelade, dans l’Artibonite, l’un des trois principaux châteaux d’eau du pays. Outre son poids hydrographique, le Parc La visite constitue une réserve de plantes médicinales et de faune n’existant nulle part ailleurs en Haïti.
As Mr. Elie, a violent and erratic individual with a history of perjury and other unsavoury activities , is such a marginal figure in Haiti's political landscape (despite his desperate courting of foreign journalists) and as Haiti has such genuinely serious problems facing it, save for two paragraphs in an article I wrote in 2006, I thought it best to just to let the matter lie. However, these years later, at the urging of some friends who continue to be concerned about the words of someone as nefarious as Mr. Elie taking root, I will take a moment here to respond in detail as I have not before.
On December 3, 2002, the first anniversary of the murder of the journalist Brignol Lindor, I attended a mass at Petionville's Église Saint Pierre in his honor and the honor of all the other journalists who had died, been attacked or been forced into exile, including Jean Léopold Dominique, the director of Radio Haiti Inter slain in April 2000. At the receiption that morning were Radio Metropole owner Richard Widmayer, Radio Kiskeya programme director Lilianne Pierre-Paul, U.S. Ambassador Brian Dean Curran, then-Haitian Senate President (and future convinced drug trafficker) Fourel Celestin, Radio Haiti Inter's director (and Dominique widow) Michèle Montas and Patrick Elie himself. I briefly alluded to the presence of all of the above in my 2005 book Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti. On that day, I addressed Mr. Elie - whom I had met several times previously - by name and in English on the steps of the Église Saint Pierre.
In a 2006 article on my book, a Canadian writer named Justin Podur, who had visited Haiti only once and spoke no Kreyol, made the use of an expletive-laden diatribe by Mr. Elie to claim that I had falsely stated that Mr. Elie was at Haiti’s Cathedral National that day when he was not.
Simply put, this was a lie.
Mr. Podur, perhaps understandably given his unfamiliarity with Haiti, had confused the Église Saint Pierre with Haiti's National Cathedral, several miles downtown, claiming that was where I had place Mr. Elie, even though my text clearly and repeatedly specified the Église Saint Pierre. Faced with their error, neither Mr. Podur nor Mr. Elie nor Mr. Albert nor Mr. Ives retreated from their libelous claim, perhaps not surprising given their respective characters and the ease with which Mr. Elie, in far graver matters, had previously veered from the truth.
Though I have not wanted to bother her by bringing her into such trivialities, writing to Michele Montas about the incident in question, she responded simply, in a February 17, 2006 email as follows:
I don’t really remember if Patrick was on the steps but he must have been at the Eglise Saint Pierre that day.
Ms. Montas never went public about the incident, nor did I ever ask her to. However, Mr. Elie still trying to pass himself off as anything but the dangerous prevaricator that he is simply won't do, I'm afraid.
Had I enough money, I might indeed have considered hauling Messrs. Podur, Elie, Albert and Ives to court [these people generally attack those without the means to fight back] but, then again, if I had that kind of money it would not doubt be better spent investing in something that actually improves the lives of Haitians, such as the micro-credit institutions FONKOZE, rather than settling scores with dilettantes and political opportunists who discredited themselves long ago.
Attempting to smear someone’s reputation when they threaten powerful forces - in this case former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his lavishly-funded propaganda machine in the United States - is a very standard trick, one which Mr. Aristide used himself against opponents as diverse as former Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul and peasant leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste. I have watched the endless attacks against journalists whom I much admire in countries where I work such as Haiti and Guatemala and, quite honestly, in an odd way, I feel somewhat honored to be considered important enough to be in their company.
By using Mr. Elie - a man with a documented record for rather creepy and potentially lethal plotting - to attack me, people like Justin Podur, Michael Albert and Kim Ives no doubt believed that they would succeed in intimidating into silence my voice in the debate on the fate of Haiti and it’s long-suffering 9 million people.
In this, as in engaging in a meaningful debate on issues such as how we restore Haiti’s peasant agriculture, fix its school system and provide it with a responsive political culture, they failed.
But, anyway, for the record, there it is, the brief and rather boring story. I think that's about all the mention it deserves going forward.
1. Mr. Elie was arrested outside of Washington, DC in April 1996 and jailed in the United States for, among other offences, apparently threatening the life of Haiti's ambassador to the United States at the time, Jean Casimir. Subsequently convicted for falsely claiming to be a diplomat and for using a false address on a federal firearms transaction, court documents (from the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit) show that US diplomatic security and police inventoried from Mr. Elie's hotel room at the time of his arrest a Colt .223 semi- automatic assault rifle with a round in the chamber and six magazines loaded with armour-piercing ammunition, a Remington .22 calibre bolt action rifle equipped with a telescopic sight, a loaded Steyr 9mm semi-automatic pistol with 264 9mm rounds (including 180 rounds of hollow-point ammunition), night vision equipment, two knives, approximately $4,800 in cash, purchase receipts for three additional firearms and documents relating to the activities of Mr. Casimir. Mr. Elie's connections among Haiti's elite economic and political class saved him on that occasion, but one cannot help but to speculate as to what exactly was being planned.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Posted on Sat, Mar. 08, 2008By LAURA WIDES-MUNOZ
AP Hispanic Affairs Writer
Now filmmaker Amy Serrano believes the family has used that power to block the showing of her documentary critical of their umbrella company, Flo-Sun Inc., at the Miami International Film Festival. And she says her project about the Fanjuls is not the only one to run into trouble in recent months. She points to a film Jodie Foster wanted to make about them that was scrapped and the fight the CBS TV series "Cane" faced before it was aired.
"I feel like my film has been blackballed," said Serrano of her documentary, "The Sugar Babies." It's about the plight of Haitian sugar workers in the Dominican Republic, where the Fanjul family and other companies harvest cane.
Gaston Cantens, a spokesman for the Fanjuls' West Palm Beach-based Florida Crystals Corp., called any accusation that the Fanjuls exerted undue pressure ridiculous.
Serrano's film was rejected from the festival, which runs through Sunday, days before the final lineup was announced. The rejection came despite initial support from the festival's organizers and acclaim at more than a dozen other festivals worldwide.
Serrano said she has no proof the Fanjuls were behind the decision but maintains explanations for her film's rejection and the subsequent response from another Miami festival were suspicious.
"Miami stands at the epicenter of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Florida sugar happenings," said Serrano. She called the decision "a missed opportunity to transform injustice into consumer consciousness."
Films about other sugar families are running into direct opposition from their subjects.
The Dominican Republic's Vicini sugar family recently hired a Washington, D.C., law firm to sue the makers of another documentary, "The Price of Sugar," for defamation.
Cantens said the sugar industry is tired of one-sided portrayals of "big sugar."
"For years we kind of took it on the chin," he said of stories alleging worker mistreatment and environmental pollution. "We're tired of taking it on the chin, and we're fighting back."
The Fanjuls' political influence is no small thing. It was the Cuban-American patriarch Alfie Fanjul's telephone call that interrupted President Clinton during an indiscreet moment with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. The family and its network have already given more than $300,000 so far in the 2008 election cycle to political committees and candidates from both major parties.
Serrano, a Cuban-American and Miami native, said festival officials initially gushed over her film last November. Back then, she told organizers she had already exhibited it elsewhere, including for students at Florida International University in Miami. It was a private showing but made local headlines when media showed up with the Dominican consul, who denounced the portrayal of his country.
Film festival officials originally said the FIU showing was fine, according to e-mail exchanges with Serrano. But, on Jan. 25, Serrano got another letter telling her the showing was a problem because of the media coverage, which disqualified it.
Festival director Patrick de Bokay denied the Fanjuls pressured him, saying "you have to make hard decisions, and you cannot take all the films."
Bokay said he offered to hold a special screening for "The Sugar Babies" at a later date and even hold forums to discuss the plight of sugar workers in the Dominican Republic.
That would mean much less publicity - and less controversy, Serrano said.
Days after the film festival's rejection, the Women's International Film Festival in Miami, which opens March 26, also began to backpedal on its invitation to show the film, Serrano said. Eventually the organizers offered a small theater with a forum to bring in different views on the issue.
Serrano, who has lined up a number of other festivals, plans to decline.
Foster dropped plans last year to produce and star in "Sugarland," based on a 2001 Vanity Fair expose. Robert De Niro was also reported to have signed on to the project, which would have been the actors' first reunion since "Taxi Driver." Foster was in talks with Universal at the time the project was dropped. She and De Niro declined to comment. Universal spokeswoman Stacey Ivers said the company considers many proposals that take years or are never made. She declined to comment specifically on "Sugarland."
Cantens said the Vanity Fair story, which focused on a series of lawsuits by Jamaican sugar workers, is out of date because the Fanjuls successfully appealed the cases.
"You read the Vanity Fair story, and you think, 'We can't believe these people are doing what they're doing.' But we won all the cases. There's no story," he said.
Greg Schell, an attorney who represents 1,500 of the workers, said two of the cases are going forward. A trial date for one of them is set for June in Palm Beach County small claims court.
The Fanjuls dropped their lawsuit against "Cane," a Cuban-flavored mix of "Dynasty" and "Dallas" set among South Florida's sugar fields, only after producers changed details, including morphing the family business from simply harvesting sugar to producing rum.
Cantens was unapologetic.
"We had a pretty good idea of where the series was headed. We were concerned about how close it would be aligned to the Fanjuls, and how it would depict Cubans," he said.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Statement by RNDDH Executive Director Pierre Esperance on the Nomination of Jean Ostrick Hercule as Director of UCREF
(Read the original here)
We at RNDDH consider the nomination of Jean Ostrick Hercule to UCREF (Unité Centrale de Renseignements Financiers, or Central Financial Intelligence Unit) as proof that the Haitian government is not serious when it claims to be fighting corruption and impunity. It is also proof that their efforts to find justice in the Jean Dominique case have been nothing more than cynical political maneuvering. The nomination of Jean Ostrick Hercule is nothing less than a victory for impunity in Haiti.
Why do we believe this?
First of all, as an investigating judge, Ostrick Hercule was the magistrate in charge of the case of Jean Leopold Dominique. According to the law, when a judge is assigned a criminal case, he or she is obligated to investigate that case. However, Judge Ostrick Hercule ignored the demands of the law on this case. He sat on the case for months without undertaking any investigation whatsoever. He returned the case to his supervisor on the pretext that his security had not been assured enough for him to work on this sensitive case. In spite of this, the supervising magistrate, Judge Rock Cadet, demanded that he respect the law of the land and investigate the case. Nevertheless, Ostrick Hercule refused.
Secondly, Judge Ostrick Hercule was assigned the cases of many Lavalas leaders who had been accused of siphoning public funds. In response, he took action and froze the bank accounts of those accused. However, he did not launch any investigations in these cases. Two years later, when President Preval came into office, Judge Ostrick Hercule decided to unfreeze all of these accounts under the pretext that the case lacked merit. Despite the fact that the law requires investigations to take no longer than three months, he let two years pass before rendering a decision that was based on political calculations. Because of his actions, the state lost millions of gourds that had been stolen from it.
In addition to these specific cases, it's a fact that as a judge, Ostrick Hercule was generally negligent toward his duties, and did not investigate cases assigned to him.
In 2007, Ostrick Hercule's mandate as an investigating judge came to an end, and the Ministry of Justice recommended that the executive branch not renew his contract. The ministry's reason for this was Ostrick Hercule's disrespect for the law and the duties of his office, as well as his lack of integrity.
It's clear that Judge Ostrick Hercule is severely lacking in the credibility necessary to direct an agency such as UCREF. Lacking, that is, unless the powers that be are not truly interested in fighting corruption and impunity.
Port-au-Prince, le 4 mars 2008