Sunday, November 28, 2010

Haiti election preview

Since my promise to “comment further.. on the roman-fleuve sans Clef that the Haitian presidential field represents” there has been a procession of pro-Lavalas voices calling for a boycott of the election, and no shortage of reasons for its boycott, including the exclusion of a party with the overwhelming support of the public and piles of allegations of election corruption including charges by at least two candidates that the party backed by the incumbent is distributing weapons to its gangs for election violence. During that time, support by likely voters inclined to support Lavalas has coalesced behind Jean Henry Céant, a former Lavalas insider and close aid to Aristide that, though not as well-known as Yvon Neptune before the race, has run a much better campaign and has more unambiguously opposed Préval and spoken in support of Lavalas. One of the voices calling for a boycott is Aristide, which may lower turnout for Céant.

You can read the US papers and find out who the small upper class supports: Préval choice Jude Célestin, who supervises Haiti's backhoe equipment; Joseph Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, who like Wyclef Jean is an anti-Aristide hip hop artist with friends in Duvalier's military; Charles Henri Baker, an industrialist that received 8% of the vote against Préval in 2006; and former senator Myrlande Hyppolite Manigat, whose husband, Leslie, received 12% for second in 2006. Célestin will be hurt by Préval's enormous unpopularity but he has name recognition from being on billboards all over the country and is the most likely beneficiary of corruption; Manigat may lead this set of candidates.

No reliable polls have been published, but with the choice of a vast majority of the voters somewhat unified and that of the elites more divided, with a clean election you could easily anticipate a margin for Céant above the 50% needed to avoid a runoff, but I'd expect a runoff of Céant and Manigat. I can't imagine Céant losing a runoff.

This is indeed an ugly election owing to Lavalas' exclusion, displaced voters, a notable percentage of voters without the required ID card, and a cholera epidemic which numerous health experts say is greatly exceeding reported numbers of victims and has led to widespread demonstrations against UN military presence. A victory for Céant offers the possibility of the restoration of Haitian autonomy, rebuilding of civic institutions which were lacking before the earthquake, and promise of legality of elections in which Fanmi Lavalas is allowed to field candidates in the future and Aristide's safety is assured after he's issued a new passport. Céant may betray these goals and I'm not going to offer prescriptions from my safe American home about boycotting or not boycotting, but holding out for justice for a wronged party apparatus may temporarily be less important than uniting behind someone who promises to restore it, even though Préval, not so long ago, made that same promise.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Holloween From WKMA


ce n'est pas une sorcière

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Another coup to write about.

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa was just rescued from the hospital by the leaders of the military. I heard the news first on Eva Golinger's Twitter account (pro-Chavez journalist in Caracas) but the first paper to report it in English is the Wall Street Journal. The American corporate press editors are in a quandary now about how to spin this because all day they've been reporting that the coup was a mere allegation by Correa and Hugo Chavez, that Correa was taken into the police hospital merely for treatment and didn't confirm that he was being held against his will, but for some reason the military decided they needed to shoot their way in and out, perhaps because the nurses were taking too long to fill out the forms. And of course, even if there was a coup, the coup would be, according to the US corporate press, Correa's fault for telling the IMF to shove off.

The day of the Honduras coup Obama and UN Ambassador Susan Rice denounced it, calling it a coup, but afterward they were told to shut up by whomever it is that tells the president to shut up, and there were no further US statements calling it a coup. This time the US State Department, Obama, and the UN staff has been more disciplined about not saying it was a coup and saying they were merely "monitoring the situation closely."

What set this off was Correa's austerity proposal to reduce increases in pay for the police and other government workers, which was announced yesterday. However, Golinger goes on to say that the Ecuadoran government reported in October 2008 that the US was infiltrating the Ecuadoran police and military and that $38 million of US taxpayer money has been allocated to USAID in Ecuador. Most of the military, including its leadership, has remained loyal to Correa today, although it was a faction of the military that closed down the airport for a few hours. There has been a wide range of reports about who and how many are demonstrating for what from different sources, but as we pro-democracy folks know they have these crazy things called elections that Correa keeps winning.

Hey! AP has fussed up to the fact that Correa "has been trapped by police."

There is some footage of Correa being confronted by the police.. supposedly Correa said "Kill me if you are brave enough. There will be more Correas." He was then hit with stones and somehow got into the hospital where he was held by the "rebel police" by force. This narrative is sketchy now because the press has been denying his being held by the police. It will be interesting to hear the story told properly.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

2012 Presidential: Preliminary Analysis

The news in late 2008 that the financial sector required a federal bailout surfaced after the field of presidential candidates had been winnowed to two, Obama and McCain, both of whom could be counted on to support the bailout. During the “debate” over the bailout, all political leaders receiving extensive media coverage supported the bailout, but at the grassroots, the bailout was extraordinarily unpopular on all sides of the political spectrum, causing the passage of the House bill to be stalled as both parties negotiated which representatives in competitive districts would jeopardize their future by voting for it. Representatives from both parties reported that calls and emails were coming in to their office 20-to-1 against the bailout.

While the Democratic party publicly denounced its grassroots opponents of the bailout as reckless radicals, grassroots anti-TARP organization on the Republican side attracted the support of financiers, leading to the Tea Party, which is neither purely grassroots nor Astroturf. Since its formation, it has prompted larger voter participation on the right while Obama's many foot soldiers watched in disappointment as his sweeping rhetoric made way for his Wall Street-friendly policies, which during his campaign were never a secret to those who paid attention (or read Piri' Miri Muli').

Where this could be seen as a boon for the GOP in the mid-term cycle and will lead to legislative gains, Tuesday brought with it structural changes in the party that threaten to alienate it from mainstream opinion, even if it resists the nomination of a Tea Party-endorsed presidential ticket.

Where there is agreement amongst Tea Partiers on TARP, there is disagreement on whether to wage foreign wars, which, absent of a credible provocation, increasingly are justified to the Republican base as religious wars. This divide will be made visible if, say, Mike Huckabee, a promoter of religious war who has declared the TARP issue to be the primary litmus test of 2012, faces off against a rejuvenated anti-war libertarian like Ron Paul or Gary Johnson. It is Huckabee, however, who can promote his militarism on FoxNews with a 20% base of support and a lead in the Iowa Caucus to build on.

Huckabee was out of the race when the financial crash was reported, while Sarah Palin, another pro-war Tea Party standard-bearer, was on McCain's ticket and therefore instructed to support TARP, before losing the race and then “changing her mind.” Newt Gingrich, who came out swinging early against TARP, changed his mind, presumably in deference to McCain. Mitt Romney, not known for consistent opinions based on convictions, seems to summon both consistency and conviction when it comes to his support for insulating the financial industry from risk, a conviction which figures to lose him support during his next round of squandering the family inheritance. Tim Pawlenty, angry that he was passed over for VP, has had the liberty to formulate a well-nuanced position on TARP, palatable to both Tea Partiers and investors that originally gave Hank Paulson the benefit of the doubt, but has the low name recognition that comes with being passed over for VP.

It is likely that the field will be winnowed in the form of a Tea Party sub-primary (between Huckabee and Palin) and a Blue State sub-primary (between Romney and Pawlenty, plus Gingrich, who, despite being from Georgia, came out ahead in a May poll in fiscally conservative, affluent California). Romney is the front runner in New Hampshire and it will be difficult for any other relatively moderate Blue Stater to keep him from undercutting their support as they try to compete against the Tea Party. Palin doesn't benefit from TARP and her name recognition is so high, her levels of approval and disapproval so entrenched, that each percentile increase of support becomes more and more difficult.

If TARP is indeed the primary litmus test two years from now, and the Tea Party continues to have an organizational advantage, Huckabee emerges as the front runner. His numbers have recovered from the November 2009 nose dive after a criminal whose sentence he commuted opened fire on cops in a coffee shop. It is difficult to predict Ron Paul's support if he runs in such a Tea Party-friendly environment – one presumes it would slightly exceed previous levels but it could really be anywhere on the chart.

The general election thus becomes another choice between the status quo and the possibility of expanded religious wars, a menacing possibility that hovers over the picture of benign mayhem painted by the Republicans' predicament this week. Even amid the momentum of the GOP in legislative elections, though, Obama has held a steady lead against candidates with high name recognition. An economic recovery would sweep him into reelection; a slow or absent recovery would benefit an opponent with a viable economic alternative, but no such alternative appears to be forthcoming from the field of likely candidates.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What's more fun for a liberal than watching Mike Castle lose to Christine O'Donnell? Going to high school with her!

Chris (she was Chris then) and I never hung out outside school, lest anyone think that someone would date me and then become an anti-sex crusader. But that is me with the disco hair and the hair on the chest she would joke about. Did she run for school assembly? I don't recall she did. She never said a word about politics. Neither did I. Kidding about the second part.

Very, very bizarre to see her on the cover of everything: first the political pages, then the NY Times cover, then the BBC front page, then Le Monde. Libération, Sartre's old newspaper, has been on the Christine beat for a few days, running the headline yesterday: "Le Delaware, pour ou contre la masturbation?" and even translating her aphorisms (« On ne peut pas se masturber sans désir sexuel »).

Readers of my other blog know that I was following the 2008 Senate elections rather closely, but had no idea that she was also nominated against Biden that year. Who'd think to check whom Biden was running against? I did see her on Politically Incorrect back when I would watch tv, like 10 years ago, outing her sister as a lesbian on the show. Her sister didn't dig me as much but we got along ok. A friend of mine did the egg-as-baby health class exercise with her sister and developed a crush on her. The egg/baby was named Jesus and when he asked about breast-feeding she said “I don't want Jesus drinking me!” That was funny in high school. Despite that and other experiences, he didn't join Chris' anti-sex campaign.

The GOP has been particularly rough on Chris: first the smear campaign, then Castle not acknowledging her or conceding to her, then the news that he wouldn't endorse her, and the national party saying they won't spend a dime on her. At first I thought they wanted to teach the Tea Party that their candidates are futile and they have to vote the slate if they don't want Democrats, then I realized they're funding other Tea Partiers, so it's just her they think is unelectable (and some other words I won't repeat). I suppose that after you accuse someone of misappropriating campaign funds, it's harder to give them your donors' money. And if you were wondering when I would mention Karl Rove on my new blog: it was your idea to play to the base, a_____e. Also, the GOP is getting so much momentum out of aimless anti-incumbency that the Tea Party nominees make for a minor correction.

I'd pick her to be president over Sarah Palin any day. Either way, the world would blow up, but she doesn't have that grating voice.

And however crazy her views sound now, she really was a sweet person through and through. I mean that.

Note: I'm not one to publish correspondence and your emails are safe with me, but some things are too funny. & don't you just love that “For sure the academics of Moorestown are challenging and provide great opportunities for growth”? I wasn't on the yearbook committee, nor was this school in the San Fernando Valley.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I want to be the first person in English, so it seems, to write it: barring a fraudulent Haitian presidential election on November 28, the overwhelming favorite is Senate Speaker and former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune. While imprisoned without trial in 2005, the Los Angeles Times wrote about Neptune's work as Prime Minister: “For months, United Nations officials, U.S. politicians and diplomats from throughout the Americas and Europe have urged Haiti's interim government to release Neptune in recognition of his role in averting large-scale bloodshed last year when he took up the leadership reins after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled [sic] the country.”

A review of past voting trends in Haiti indicates that campaigning for a fair and transparent election under the circumstances will most likely be more important to Senator Neptune than campaigning for his candidacy. I will comment further on Senator Neptune and the roman-fleuve sans Clef that the Haitian presidential field represents, but what I would like to do here is bring together, again for what I believe is the first time, his letters to James B. Foley, United States Ambassador to Haiti, from 2004 and 2005:

Mr. James B. Foley
USA Ambassador
In his office

Mr. Ambassador,

At the time where the de facto Government and anti-Lavalas of all ilk are today giving free course to their most ingenious scheme, in an effort to conceal the true reasons for my country's dilapidation and the vicious circle of infrahuman misery which maintains and perpetuate the flagrant exclusion of the overwhelming majority, I take the opportunity to add, if opportunity there is, my take on the February 29, 2004 events, more specifically on what had been presented to me as President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's resignation and that commanded subsequent actions from me as Prime Minister until March 12, and as citizen from March 12 until today.

On Saturday February 28, 2004, subsequent to information concerning provisions made by the US government, in concert with those of France and Canada, to remove President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti, I invited you to meet me at the Prime Minister's office.

During our conversation, I explained to you that the February 1996 and 2001 peaceful and constitutional transfer of power were democratic assets that ought to be reinforced by a similar transfer of power in February 2006; and that any forceful departure of President Aristide would set democratic processes back ten (10) to fifteen (15) years. I reiterated the position I took publically a few days before, in front of the nation and the world, namely that constitutional President Jean-Bertrand Aristide must finish his five (5) years term and that it was the international community's duty to help the government quash the armed aggression of former members of the FADH (Haitian army) against the Haitian state ; That I would be in opposition to any government issued from a forced interuption of constitutional order. And that if the President chose to resign it would be another story, I would manage routine matters until such a time as my successor's nomination.

During the night of 28th to the 29th of February, under the strangest of circumstances, President Aristide, in a two to three words argumentative telephone message, presented me with the following choices, to leave or to stay. Remembering the gist of our meeting of the day before at the Prime Minister's office, I called you in order to find out exactly what was going on. You informed me that the President had resigned and was about to leave the country; anticipating the possibility of carnage in Port-au-Prince, you advised me to go to the Prime Minister's office.

Shortly after my arrival at the office, you joined me there, accompanied by the President of the Cour the Cassation (Supreme Court) who presented me a "card" that he assured me was a legal document of resignation of the President of the Republic.

This was the apparently convincing piece of evidence that trigered the partial application of the Constitution's article 149 and the UN Security Council's Resolutions 1529 and 1542. And furthermore the agreement between the supervisory foreign powers and the anti-Aristide/anti-Fanmi Lavalas coalition to impose in an unpredictable, adulterated and inappropriate political context, this implementation of the CARICOM plan and the initial Project of Accord that were merely documents waiting to be finalized and agreed upon by all concerned parties.

When, from the Central African Republic, President Aristide let it be known that he had been kidnapped from Haiti, and when in a statement CARICOM proposed an investigation as to the circustances surrounding President Aristide's departure, I asked you to clarify for me the President's affirmation as well as CARICOM's concerns. You tried to convince me that the President left the country willingly. But, an analysis of certain acts, events and/or statements, pre and post February 29 corroborated President Aristide's accusations and justified CARICOM's questions:

Prior to February 29, 2004
- Practically simultaneous statements from Secretary of State Colin Powell, Canada's Prime Minister, Paul Martin and France's Foreign Affairs Minister, Dominique de Villepin indicating to President Aristide to prepare to face the consequences of his actions, at the very moment that the armed opposition was occupying or was threatening many cities in the North, North-East, North-West, Artibonite and Plateau Central.

- The demand, tolerated, if not endorsed by these (countries) so-called friends of Haiti, made by the opposition coalition that Aristide leaves, in spite of his total agreement to CARICOM's Action Plan.

- The extensive broadcasting, in the so-called independent press of Mr. Hérard Abraham's pre-recorded, in-the-US-message, calling for the departure of President Aristide. (Mr. Abraham, though he did not get his desired Prime Minister's position, is the current minister of Interior, Territorial Collectivities and National Defence).

- The silence and/or the inaction of Haiti's so-called "friends" in the face of the assassination of police officers and State workers; the destruction of Precincts and other public buildings, perpetrated by members of the former FADH (Haitian army) and FRAPH.

- The American autorities' decision to disuade the private American security agents, hired to protect President Aristide, from protecting him in the face of an eventual attack announced by the "rebels," for the American forces would not come to their rescue if their lives were in danger.

- The public request you made to the so-called "rebels" to postpone their attack on the capital, followed shortly after by President Aristide's departure into exile, on a plane ordered by the American government.

Post February 29, 2004
- The allegation you made along with other members of the American government that President Aristide had been move from Haiti to save his life and the fact that he took advantage of the opportunity to entrust his resignation "card" to the American Ambassador (or one of his representatives) that gave it to the President of the Cour de Cassation who, according to him, had been waiting at the embassy for reasons unknown to him.

- The fact that according to President Aristide, he was not at liberty to know ahead of time where his "saviors" were taking him for safekeeping.

- The free access allowed to the "rebels'" tracking down and executing Fanmi Lavalas supporters, even though American, French, Canadian and Chilean troops were deployed throughout the country; the situation not changing with the UN Blue Helmets' presence.

- The pressure you exercised on March 12 that forced me to prematurely leave the Prime Minister's office where I was lodging since February 29 with no arrangements made for my lodging, fact being that my residence had been ransacked and destroyed on February 29.

- Your insisting, from March 12 'til today, that I leave the country for security reasons though the marines had been here for more than three (3) months and that the UN forces subsequently arrived.

- Illegal arrests and executions of Fanmi Lavalas members by the National Police, in collaboration with the armed "rebel" assassins and other criminals opposed to Lavalas, in collusion with and/or enjoying the indifference and/or the inaction of the Multinational Force (FIMIH) and MINUSTHA.

- The "rebels" and other demobilized military maneuvers to control, if not to evict the PNH. This, under de facto government's instigation or command, apparently in coalition with interested agencies of the American government and Haitian merchant and businessman groups, along with politicians who supported and financed the September 30, 1991 military coup d'etat.

- The absence of concrete plans and measures for the disarmament of members of the old FADH and of FRAPH who identified themselves as the ones who committed the Pernales assassinations, the attacks on July 28, 2001 on the Police Academy and on December 17, 2001 on the National Palace, of the arson and destruction of Police precincts where they killed police officers and liberated convicted common criminals.

- The de facto regime's and the US, French and Canadian governments' obvious strategy to charge the constitutional majority government and Fanmi Lavalas that voted it in, with all the political, social, economic and environmental disasters generated during two (2) centuries during which alternating and succeeding periods;

i. of racist ostracism of independent Haiti, implemented by some American and European slave-owning states,

ii. of foreign powers impositions by military coercion of fraudulently established indemnities,

iii. of natural resources spoliation;

iv. of foreign occupations with hegemonic objectives of domination and economic exploitation.

v. Of the International's collusion with the Haitian Nation's most ferocious, corrupt and destructive dictators.

The enemies of Aristide and the adversaries of Fanmi Lavalas claim that the President's"departure" on February 29, 2004 is the result of a general uprising by the Haitian people. Mr. Gerard Latortue glorifies the worst torturers of the old FADH and FRAPH as "combatants for freedom";

and the latter require that they be rewarded and/or rehabilitated for services rendered to the "cause of democracy"; and you, Mr. Ambassador, you believe it acceptable to remind these nostalgics of the old corrupted FADH, putschist and detested by the Haitian people, their promise to put down their arms once President Aristide leaves.

Democracy is not a laboratory product or factory product to be consumed with threats, dictates and/or sanctions; it is rather a game of compromise and/or understanding, difficult and certainly hard at times, within a human group in search of harmony, security and peace for the progress of all.

In this context, any disagreement resolved by armed violence or by any other form of violence, to the advantage of an uncompromising minority in its thirst for power, creates a dangerous precedent which risks encouraging the continuous reevaluation, if not destruction of assets, to be ameliorated of course, of the assimilation of democratic processes. "It is democracy only in as much as it is continuously being created."

In effect, having supported three (3) years of pitiless violence of unfair, unjustified and destructive sanctions against Haiti and the poor majority of its children, on February 29th, 2004, in the year of the Bicentenial of Haiti, your socio-Darwinist government, in accord with thoserevanchist of France and suiviste of Canada, used armed violence one more time to strip the majority of the People of one of its fundamental democratic assets, respect of its constitutional choices.

Yours and other governments pretend to care and even to be friends of Haiti and the Haitian People. But the past and present life of my country reveal so much disturbing and even repulsive expressions of what they consider to be concerns and tokens of friendship.

Unfortunately, on one hand, the intellectual elites rise up through texts, while on the other hand, the economic elites adapt to become "partners" and/or dependable and exemplary honorary consuls.Since these elites are always wary of the aspirations and especially of the dynamic organization of the majority determined to enjoy its rights, they instinctively get closer and agree, on the basis of common prejudices, to slow down the advant of the majority. And this while shamelessly ignoring Constitution and law. Their behaviours, their positions and actions during the three (3) years of their opposition to president Aristide and to Fanmi Lavalas are more than convincing proof.

After all is said and done, a variety of elements of different types seems to contradict the version of voluntary resignation of president Aristide. The doubt on the conditions of his departure is so heavy, that CARICOM did not yet resolve to acknowledge the temporarily government; the African union adopted a similar position, while the government of South Africa considers Jean-Bertrand Aristide the constitutional president of Haiti where as the majority which elected him continuously demands his return.

It is also important to take into account the political confusion and uncertainty, the risks of explosion and of social tears created by the suspicious resignation of a president with whom the majority identifies and on whom it lays its hopes of better life in an Haiti of justice, equity and security.

Haiti was experiencing a period of relative stability; from the return of president Aristide on October 15th, 1994, including the five years of Mr René Préval presidency, until January/February, 2004 the beginning of the 4th year of the second term of president Aristide. Armed attack against the Academy of Police on July 28th, 2001 and that of December 17th, 2001 against the National Palace along with reactions translated in popular acts of violence which followed, the armed attacks in Pernales and acts of vandalism against the Power Station of Péligre in the course of the year 2004, all these attempts of the armed opposition to destabilize the State did not affect the course of negotiations regarding the preliminary plan for legislative and local elections. Notice that these armed attacks were carried out by members of the old FADH and FRAPH, artisans of the September 30th, 1991 coup d'etat who had sought refuge in the Dominican Republic; some of them had already been condemned by justice and others sought for traffic of, among other things, drugs and/or international terrorism.

The political climate worsened when, during January and February, 2004, these opposition terrorists, tolerated or supported by your Government and others, launched an assassinations campaign of policemen, destroying police stations and other public buildings and controling certain cities of the country through the rule of arms.

The violence of the three (3) years of economic sanctions speeded up the general deterioration of all forms of life in Haiti and in an irreversible manner in certain essential and fragile circles; however they in no way softened up the opposition's extreme stance and steer that opposition towards the sense of compromise continuously encouraged and supported by president Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas.

As the majority of the people remained faithful to its choice and the opposition's street demonstrations remained the expression of a minority unable to motivate the majority in joining, the governments of the United States, France and Canada, for reasons already pointed out, had no other alternative than the use of armed violence to decapitate and dismantle Fanmi Lavalas,regardless of the human and material damage which had to be inflicted on Haiti and its People.

The «rebels», members of the old FADH and the torturers of the old FRAPH, were the ideal
COVER, in light of their well-known history of murderers without creed nor law and the opportunity offered to them to take revenge on president Aristide. Once the violent destabilization objectives were met, American marines, French, Canadian and Chilean troops would come to hold the «rebels» at bay, long enough to set up a government of «transition », and the UN forces would take charge to manage the rest.

In spite of a propaganda campaign aiming at reassuring the population of the «transition's» progress, this blow of Jarnac (stab in the back) proves to have transformed the social, political and economic environment into a vast field of latent battle where every interest group positions itself while making sure to mine every inch of ground for the others.

Before February 29th, 2004, it was a matter of the majority of the Haitian People linked to Jean-Bertrand Aristide/Lavalas upseting, others of the minority « friends of Haiti ». Today, it is a matter of clans of the disparate minority, some with power, others on the periphery and/or lusting for power, of the « friends of Haiti », and of the majority of the Haitian People always linked to Jean-Bertrand Aristide/Lavalas are underground, but does not cease upsetting.

While there is still time, would it not be necessary that the true friends of Haiti, within the OAS, the UN and of the European Union demand that the genocide triggered off on February 29th, 2004 and which advances under the pretence of a «transition» which tries openly to hide its true name be stopped? The Action Plan of a national compromise for the progress of the democratic process was proposed by CARICOM and ratified by OAS; President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Fanmi Lavalas with the support of the Majority of Haitian people approved it and were ready to implement it.

For more than three (3) months, American marines, French, Canadian and Chilean force of FIMIH operated in a way that opened the possibility of leading Haiti and its People in the grip of undercover militarism.

The MINUSTAH forces took over for the purpose, they pretend, of stabilizing a socio-political environment in which the potency of weapons had overtaken reason and wisdom in the democratic game. The overwhelming majority of Haitian People, deliberately and freely engaged in establishing lasting institutional structures for the sustainable practice of democracy; it should be noted how powers within the OAS, the UN and of the European Union in the course of last three (3) years joined forces in order to render viable, by any anti-democratic politicking subterfuge, or even dishonesty, a marginal and scattered opposition, to the point of keeping silent on, if not supporting or even including in their efforts, the pressure of weapons to reach their objectives.

Resolutions 1529 and 1542 of the UN Security Council authorized FIMIH and Minustah for the promotion of peace and stability, and that of the OAS acknowledging the de facto Alexander Boniface/Latortue government were taken on the basis of documents which would normally be credible, because of the stamp of State authorities who acted; nonetheless, what the UN and the OAS should know, is that these Haitian authorities acted at a time and in circumstances where they could only rely on your guarantee of the truth of the events surrounding President Aristide that morning of February 29, 2004.

In the final analysis, all the OAS resolutions on Haiti relative to the problems of the May 21st, 2000 elections, and the Plan of Action of CARICOM seemed to assert imperious the obligation to guarantee democratic assets and the continuous progress of the process; the membership of the actors and the period when the opposition's armed aggression took the character of a declaredwar against the State, should have triggered off the alarm for the OAS side, for the « friends of Haiti», and even for the UN so that precautionary actions be taken, in order that the requirements of building and protecting democracy be respected and applied by all interested parties.

The originators, the implementor and beneficiaries of the February 29th, 2004 coup d'etat are using all kinds of machinations to incriminate Fanmi Lavalas, as well as all types of promises, in the hope of co-opting, without including it, the majority of a population brutally deprived of the symbol motivating its patience and its efforts and sacrifices to mobilize and participate in the improvement of its living conditions.

The government in power, its international advisers and the national sector organized to draw all possible benefits, they all pretend to ignore the evolution of the majority, relative to its knowledge and to its will to enjoy its rights; or perhaps they would like to believe in the however unpredictable perspective, that the specter of the members of the old FADH/FRAPH, of the UN force, or of the cunningness of the government and of the International will suffice to undo the closeness and the trust developed during more than fifteen years between the great majority of the Haitian People and Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Haiti in the year of the Bicentenary of its Independence still wedged in the bi-secular gears of the original antagonism sclerosing between its socio-economic categories; reinforced antagonism and made complexed in the course of the centuries by their reproduction's internal dynamics and that of the active external elements which grafted themselves on top or became part and parcel.

In the course of the last fifteen (15) years, an important and promising mutation started at the grassroots majority of the Haitian population, in cities and in rural areas. The elites, taught to consider themselves representative of Haiti's values and raison d'être, did not understand or became alarmed when faced with the progressive range of this mutation in social, economic, political and cultural domains in the country. Do the influential powers within the OAS, the European Union and the UN on the Haiti dossier, realize that this mutation is generated by the increase in needs, demands, democratic practices of the population's broad base grassroot onwhich depends the sustainable stability and peace, and that this mutation is irreversible?

I would therefore not be able to imagine that the majority of the OAS Member States, of the EU, of the Security Council of the UN, the majority of the representatives elected by American, Canadian and French people, made a pact with the politico-military plan to destabilize the Haitian State with the objective of causing the banishment of President Aristide at about two (2) years of the end of its 2nd non-renewable, constitutional mandate.

If such is not the case, it is in the best interest of the future of the democratic process, in an environment of peace and stability that OAS, the European Union and the United Nations grab the opportunity of the presence of the Blue Helmets to organize the establishment of a context conducive to the CARICOM Plan and the assets to be supplemented as part of the initially agreed plan partly negotiated under the aegis of OAS.Such correction would put Haiti back on the rails leading, as part of the training and strengthening of democracy, in a third constitutional transfer of power by an elected president to a new also elected president, according to the prescriptions of the Constitution.

M. Ambassador Foley, you and your colleagues must, without a doubt, feel comfortable and content in doing in and to my country whatever the military and economic might of your governments dictate; as far as I am concerned, my source of wisdom, strength, serenity and pride, in the face of the wickedness of certain people in power, is the never-ending will of the poor majority of my compatriots to keep hope for a better alive and active tomorrow.

Slavery and dictatorship had been imposed upon us; we have fought and stopped them. Today, in whatever form they are planned in order to undermine our option for effective participatory democracy, others and us who truly believe in these principles and objectives, should never, under no circumstances, betray them. Democracy is a human concept originated from the experience of life of mankind. Societies the world over are still experimenting it, at one degree or another.

Whenever undemocratic means are condoned and/or used to purportedly protect the gains and/or steady the course of the democratic process, that sends to the people apprenticing democracy a confusing message about the facts, the meaning and the rules of democracy, and that threatens to take us all back to the jungle law of the strongest; in fact, quite often nowadays, what prevails is the will of states with hegemonic economic and military powers, and having the largest and deadliest arsenal.Democracy is said to be a game of compromise; but unfortunately for Haiti and its people, your government and others who claim to be their friends, instead of standing upfor compromise between the Lavalas majority led by President Aristide and the platform of the opposition minority and its armed aggressions against the state and Lavalas; they chose to side with and act in favor of the uncompromising opposing minority; thus breaking dangerously the democratic process and jeopardizing its future.

Between the genuine struggle of the popular majority and the intellectual business «elites» your government and others opted for the disparate politically incoherent «intellectuals» and the corruption prone business "elite", both of which you and your predecessor have publicly qualified as such.

Generations upon generations of Haitians have been wasted, and Haiti has long been on the verge of becoming a totally barren and disaster plagued land, with an exploding and agonizing population. The historical and contemporary facts are available to whoever is truly interested in what should be done urgently and in the short term, so that the long-term future of the country could finally rest on gradually secure political and economic ground.

Caring friends of Haiti, republicans and democrats, liberals and conservatives, socialists, and capitalists would best serve Haiti by always acting in ways to encourage all sectors of Haitian society, political parties and government to operate in all circumstances, with no exception, within the framework of the Constitution and the law.

On march 2, with the probable approval of Secretary of State Colin Powell and Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, you «let me know» that I should leave Haiti (go into exile) as soon as a new, i.e. putchist Prime Minister is appointed, or I would risk being jailed and/or assassinated (while the US marines were and the UN soldiers, are in Haiti supposedly to provide at least a sense of security to all sectors?).On the one hand, you are well aware of article 41 of the democratic Constitution of Haiti, which states that, «no one of Haitian nationality, for no reason whatsoever may be deported or forced to leave the Haitian soil».

On the other hand, I spent three (3) months or so under cover (from March 12 to June 27); since then I have been for months in the jail of the facto government and its allies.

I know this letter may trigger sooner or later, both from the de facto government in Haiti and the US government additional actions or pressures to the ones I have been subjected to so far.

Mr. Ambassador, what next do you know is in store for me?

One of the essential guarantees of durability of Justice, security, stability, peace and progress in the world, must be consistancy and coherence of the international and regional organizations of States, and rights of the People and the person, in their systematic refusal to recognize the existence of any government issued from a coup d'etat, whatever the reasons, the means and form, in a country where democracy is already established.

Yvon NEPTUNE
Former Prime-Minister
Member of Fanmi Lavalas
Political Prisoner

N.B.: Mr. Ambassador Foley, before sending you this correspondence dated August 23rd, 2004, I want to take time to observe the reaction of the OAS, the UN and particularly that of the American, French and Canadian governments, in the following significant events:

I. The public admission not only of members of the old FADH and FRAPH, but also from the Group 184 and from certain political parties, to have been collaborating from the inception:

A. Of the terrorists acts against :

a) The Police Academy on July 28, 2001

b) The National Palace on December 17, 2001

c) Public buildings, such as police Precincts (with police officers' assassinations), court houses, customs offices, the Péligre Electrical Power Plant, etc.

B. Of the armed occupation of cities such as Gonaïves, Hinche, Cap-Haïtien, Fort-Liberté etc.

II. The occupation of police stations by members of the old FADH and FRAPH after they chased the agents of the PNH, and armed parades staged by members of the demobilized army in various cities of the country with the full knowledge of the de facto government, the PNH and the UN forces.

III. Socio-political discrimination at the detriment and stigmatising diabolisation and ostracism of the poor majority of the population, by de facto regime and its associates, because of Lavalas' affinity with this majority.

IV. The continued persecutions, arbitrary and illegal arrests of cadres, members and supporters of Fanmi Lavalas, and also other simple citizens in general from the poor majority.

V. Trials and/or verdicts pre-orchestrated by the political justice machine of de facto regime of which one of the most brazen examples is that of the defendants in the assassinations of Antoine Izméry and of father Jean - Mary Vincent.



To Ambassadors Juan Gabriel Valdes, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN Denneth Modest, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the OAS James B. Foley, United States of America Claude Boucher, Canada Thierry Burkard, France Marcel Young, Chile

Ever since my unjust and unjustified incarceration at the National Penitentiary on June 27th 2004, my life has been directly threatened on three (3) occasions.

On the third occasion, Saturday February 19th of the current year, the Government made the decision to place me in isolation, purportedly for my own safety but the end result of this maneuver has been the application of further and apparently intended punishment. Indicative of this is the fact that after I returned to my initial cell after three (3) days in isolation, I am confronting new restrictions whose sole purpose are to humiliate me and above all to render me to the condition of an animal.

Dear Ambassadors, surely you are all aware of the Machiavellian reasons for which since the 29th of February of 2004 I have been the brunt of all sorts of persecutions to force me into exile. Much better than me, you are also aware of the politically motivated vile and cynical objectives of my arbitrary arrest and illegal detention, a detention which has now lasted 8 months and in dehumanizing and insecure conditions.

Despite irrefutable evidence which you all know some hoodlums in St. Marc in collusion with the NCHR and the Government persist in associating my name with their lies. This is of course being done to achieve shameful, monstrous, and macabre political ends which would at the same time mask their own acts of vandalism and assassination.

The Government, cloaked with a spirit of vengeance and with utter disregard for the most elementary principles and practices of law and justice, proceeds with sheer arrogance, not simply to arrest me without a warrant but furthermore to mount a biased and dictatorial Highest Court of Appeals since the constitutional mandate of many of the judges of this Court have long ago expired. They are conspiring to reenact the role of Pontius Pilate in the shamefully illegal case of incarceration and prolonged detention.

It seems that the Government is so infatuated with its power of "conqueror" that it is drooling over the bountiful returns on its investments in the democide and the destruction of the liberating forces of truth which bring forth justice.

With hopes that strong and sincere voices of moral authority and the partisans of justice will say unequivocally to the Government that it must cease to ally itself with delinquents, vandals, notorious assassins, and discredited organizations which shamelessly persist in trying to make me out to be a murderer so they can justify for the benefit of the Government my eventual lynching.

I am sure that the spectacle of my slow and certain death would be much more palatable to the Government and its cohorts.

To facilitate their purpose I have undertaken a hunger strike so that one day my brothers and sisters who are made to wallow in abject misery will no longer be disdained, starved, scorned and ostracized.

Yvon Neptune, Political Prisoner February 24th, 2005 Central Prison, Port-au-Prince

CC Congress of the United States of America Caricom African Union Amnesty International International Human Rights Organizations United Nations (UN) Organization of American States (OAS) The Press


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

If you follow the statements made by the United States State Department about support for the Honduran government, the beneficiaries of a coup-administered election, you might find it all a bit confusing.

For foreign diplomats, there is no such confusion about Barack Obama's policy.

"Mexico, like many other countries, understands that the US looks on what happened in Honduras with great sympathy” UNAM professor Edmundo Hernández-Vela tells La Jornada, in response to Presidente Calderón's decision to normalize relations with Honduras last month.


American University professor Adrienne Pine wrote last June “Ongoing efforts -- led by Hillary Clinton -- to secure Honduras's reentry to the Organization of American States and other regional bodies like the Central American Integration System, depend on a narrative of stability and reconciliation. ... But opposing narratives come from all sides, and carry the weight of the bloody evidence accumulated in the months since the inauguration of president Pepe Lobo. ...

"Since January, nine journalists, most of them critical of the coup and its beneficiaries, have been killed in targeted assassinations. Death squads have disappeared, tortured and killed dozens of resistance leaders and their family members. Photographic evidence of this circulates among the population, provoking widespread fear and fury -- pictures of the mutilated body of Oscar Geovanny Ramirez, an unarmed 16-year-old land worker killed a week ago in an ongoing land dispute between indigent members of several land cooperatives and multi-millionaire coup financier and large landowner Miguel Facussé, by police and military working on behalf of Facussé, are among those recently making the rounds."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Haiti's new puppet

Ansel Herz, New York Daily News:

Wyclef Jean isn't capable of explaining his plans in French, the language of Haiti's government, because he doesn't speak it. His brother describes Jean's Creole as "rusty." It's spoken with a thick American accent.

“The pre-disaster financial improprieties of Jean's charitable organization, Yele Haiti, have been well documented. To take one example, Jean claims he founded it in 2005 with a personal donation from his multi-million dollar fortune. Records show he didn't contribute a cent.

“(He praised) in interviews.. armed rebels who rampaged through the Haitian countryside in 2004. The rebels were part of a campaign by the elite and foreign governments to oust then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide tried to raise the minimum wage and win reparations from France, the island's former colonial power.

“At the time, this is what Jean said of the men: "I don't consider those people rebels. It's people standing up for their rights. It's not like these people just appeared out of nowhere and said, 'Let's cause some trouble.' I think it's just built up frustration, anger, hunger, depression."

Charlie Hinton, San Francisco Bayview:

To cut to the chase, no election in Haiti, and no candidate in those elections, will be considered legitimate by the majority of Haiti’s population, unless it includes the full and fair participation of the Fanmi Lavalas Party of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

“Wyclef runs the Yele Haiti Foundation, which the Washington Post reported on Jan. 16, 2010, is under fiscal scrutiny because “(i)t seems clear that a significant amount of the monies that this charity raises go for costs other than providing benefits to Haitians in need … In 2006, Yele Haiti had about $1 million in revenue, according to tax documents. More than a third of the money went to payments to related parties, said lawyer James Joseph … (T)he charity recorded a payment of $250,000 to Telemax, a TV station and production company in Haiti in which Jean and Jerry Duplessis, both members of Yele Haiti’s board of directors, had a controlling interest. The charity paid about $31,000 in rent to Platinum Sound, a Manhattan recording studio owned by Jean and Duplessis. And it spent an additional $100,000 for Jean’s performance at a benefit concert in Monaco.

“Fanmi Lavalas has already been banned from the next round of elections, so enter Wyclef Jean. Jean comes from a prominent Haitian family that has virulently opposed Lavalas since the 1990 elections. His uncle is Raymond Joseph – also a rumored presidential candidate – who became Haitian ambassador to the United States under the coup government and remains so today. Kevin Pina writes in “It’s not all about that! Wyclef Jean is fronting in Haiti,” Joseph is “the co-publisher of Haiti Observateur, a right-wing rag that has been an apologist for the killers in the Haitian military going back as far as the brutal coup against Aristide in 1991.

“On Oct. 26 [2004] Haitian police entered the pro-Aristide slum of Fort Nationale and summarily executed 13 young men. Wyclef Jean said nothing. On Oct. 28 the Haitian police executed five young men, babies really, in the pro-Aristide slum of Bel Air. Wyclef said nothing. If Wyclef really wants to be part of Haiti’s political dialogue, he would acknowledge these facts. Unfortunately, Wyclef is fronting.

“Wyclef Jean supported the 2004 coup. When gun-running former army and death squad members trained by the CIA were overrunning Haiti’s north on Feb. 25, 2004, MTV’s Gideon Yago wrote, “Wyclef Jean voiced his support for Haitian rebels on Wednesday, calling on embattled Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to step down and telling his fans in Haiti to ‘keep their head up’ as the country braces itself for possible civil war.”

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Not only did I like the fact that Zapatero, unlike Merkel, didn't attend the World Cup, but his groundbreaking work to promote regional sovereignty takes a lot of the 'enforced Castellano unity' out of the celebration that you'd see in other political climates. A good time for Spain to win it all, then, a country that can match any in Europe for love of the sport.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Congress passed a $1 a gallon tax rebate for biodiesel produced for petroleum blends in 2004 and has been slow to renew the rebate under Obama and a friendly Democratic congress. Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone just did a number on Obama's perpetuation of oil deregulation.

With the political will, petroleum can be phased out as the fuel for automobiles in favor of biodiesel. It's simple:

1. Require gas stations to include a 100% biodiesel pump by a certain year; with a federal commitment to compensation for doing so in the form of paying for the pump, tax credit, etc;
2. Require new automobiles to use 100% biodiesel by a certain year.

That's it! Done. You've just done away with petroleum-burning automobiles at a minor cost based on the magnitude of the change.

Why isn't this happening? Obviously you could point to the enormous power that Big Oil has in Washington, but there's more to that story. Petroleum production is vital to the economy of entire regions of the US, including that of Texas and Louisiana, the areas immediately affected by the BP Oil Spill. The people who make a living fishing or selling vacation properties in those states have less pull than not just the oil business, but all the people who directly or indirectly benefit economically from the oil business.

The candidates in the 2008 election staked out different positions on offshore drilling and the candidate that opposed drilling won. Utilizing Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's only political play, which is to take the opponent's position and demonize the opposition, Obama has reneged on his promise. But what's happened politically since the BP spill is that local economies that have been built using the shoreline for tourism, fishing, and residential enjoyment – Florida and New Jersey – have intensified their opposition to offshore drilling, and Obama has had no option but to accommodate them.

The most expedient thing to do if you're giving a speech from the Oval Office is to say you are in favor of alternative energy but not propose anything concrete that will create any political opposition grounded in shared financial priorities, and, unsurprisingly, that's what Obama did last night. You could say the glass is half full and that he's inspiring a generation to rethink energy, but George W. Bush could have easily given that speech. The science is ready, and we need a president and a congress to expend the political capital to make the changes that will save the planet from this sort of destruction.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The title here references a thesis put forth by Herr Brecht in the 1920's: I shall take care not to try to prove or disprove the thesis in the course of writing this political blog. It is the tendency of all journalism to establish credibility in order to leverage it for some purpose; for those with good intentions, the credibility is leveraged to prove one's view of the world. From the internet, the curious get the right to choose quickly whose credibility goes the furthest when they wish to consider it.