quarta-feira, dezembro 28, 2005

Haiti, Brasil, Jordan

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Next, Back, Thread Ahead: Michaëlle Jean and Redemption, Thread Back: None.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Joseph Guyler Delva/Reuters) - Haiti's electoral authorities on Saturday brought forward slightly the date for runoff elections to pick senators and legislators. Originally due to take place on March 19 and then rescheduled for April 23, the second-round vote will now take place on April 21, a Friday, ostensibly to allow officials the weekend to prepare for classes on Monday the schools that will be used as voting centers. "We finally decided to organize the second round on April 21, which is a Friday, for practical reasons," Max Mathurin, president of the Provisional Electoral Council, told Reuters.

None of the contenders in the races held alongside the presidential election on February 7 for 30 Senate seats and 99 seats in the lower house appear to have won the majority -- 50 percent plus one vote -- needed for a first-round victory.

Meanwhile there are demonstrations in Port-au-Prince around release of political prisoners.

Walking with his daughter in the town of Leogan, Haiti March 8; meeting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Santiago March 11; meeting Chile's President Michelle Bachelet at La Moneda presidential palace in Santiago March 12.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spain will pull out of the United Nations peacekeeping mission despite a request that its forces stay until Haiti finishes its stalled electoral process, David Wimhurst, a spokesman for the mission, said, calling the move "an internal political decision" by the Spanish government. He said Spain's 200 troops in northeast Haiti would be replaced by Uruguayan soldiers already in the country. Spain said last year that it would reconsider its participation in the 9,000-member peacekeeping force unless international donors complied with pledges to finance reconstruction. Haiti so far has received only slightly more than half of the $1 billion pledged.

Friday, March 3, 2006

I usually stay right away from news of celebrities. I will make an exception for Wyclef Jean - any relation to our Michaëlle I wonder?

Haiti is my native country, one I know as the first Black nation to gain independence in 1804 ... Wyclef Jean.

Yéle Haiti

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Ousted Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide, speaks during an interview in Pretoria, South Africa, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2006. Aristide is ready to return to Haiti after what he calls an unconstitutional exile, but said when was up to his country's president-elect and other leaders. He has been a 'guest' of the South African government since he was ousted in February 2004. On Wednesday he sent congratulations to the Haitian people and to President elect Rene Preval on the Feb. 7 election. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

If there was any doubt about Aristide this has to clear it up - the guy is a loose cannon! Is there any question that his return to Haiti at this time would be a disaster?

In this Saturday Feb 21, 2004 file picture, then-Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, his wife Mildred, left and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters D-Calif., give a news conference in the National Palace of Government in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He left the country later that month. (AP Photo/Pablo Aneli)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Some carry snakes, more carry branches, on the Saint-Gaudens double eagle (20$ gold coin) Liberty carries a torch in her right hand and a branch in her left.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

This is where I started this post, seeing how the Brasilian peacekeepers ARE with the people of Haiti.

Preval declared the winner by removing some of the blank votes. He will take office on March 29.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

AP: Election Material Found in Haitian Dump

Votes apparently dumped (at the dump? that's crude and stupid) and Preval crying foul. Looks like a plant to me. Were there not Canadian observers watching (and paying for?) this whole process? Ok, the lefties are claiming Canadian complicity in some kind of conspiracy against Aristide, cock in hand with the US - but I find it unbelievable. This votes-in-the-dump thing looks like it is staged. Whoever did it may simply be agitating for continued ructions? Preval setting it up because he really did not win legitimately? The upper crust setting Preval up for a fall? Where is our Canadian Governor General in all this?

Monday, February 13, 2006

Yahoo: Violence Erupts Over Haiti Vote Count

NYT: Tension Increases in Haiti as Front-Runner's Lead Drops

Friday, February 10, 2006

Looking like Preval by a landslide. Final results will not be available for a few days.

Rene Garcia Preval: (this is some of his pre-election bumph)

René Préval, born January 17, 1943, was the President of Haiti from February 7, 1996 to February 7, 2001. René Préval was also prime minister from February 13 to October 11, 1991, but was replaced following the military coup of that year.

René Préval was an ally of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and a leader of the Lavalas Family party. René Garcia Préval was inaugurated President of the Republic of Haiti on February 7, 1996, the second democratically elected head of state in the country's 200-year history.

Prior to that in 1995, he directed the Economic and Social Assistance Fund. He served as Prime Minister in the administration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from February 1991 until the military coup d'état of September 29th forced him to seek refuge at the French and Mexican Embassies in Port-au-Prince before joining the exiled Constitutional Government in Washington, D.C. from 1992-94.

Mr. Préval retained the Premier's portfolio as well as those of Interior and Defense until August 1993 when he was retained by President Aristide as chief adviser.

A reserved and pleasant man, Mr. Préval has taken a pragmatic approach to problem solving and is well known for what is known in Haiti as ce bon sens paysan.

He was born on January 17, 1943 in Port-au-Prince, one of four children. He holds a degree in agronomy from the College of Gembloux in Belgium and has a background in both engineering and geothermics.

As a young man he was forced to leave Haiti with his family in 1963 after they were targeted by dictator François "Papa Doc" Duvalier. Returning to the country in 1975 after also spending five years in Brooklyn, New York, he obtained a position with the National Institute for Mineral Resources. Following the fall of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier in February 1986, Mr. Préval became active in many popular organizations and voluntary agencies.

These included Lafanmi Selavi (The Family is Life), an orphanage and educational facility launched by Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Fred Coriolan Committee, and the Komite Pa Bliye (Always Remember Committee), which sought justice for the innumerable victims of the Duvalier family dictatorship. He also played a primary role in the Initiative Group of Civil Society for the Respect of the Constitution known as Honneur - Réspect (Honor - Respect) which paved the way for a provisional civilian government to hold the historic, democratic elections of December 1990.

Mr. Préval played no small role in the landslide election of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Together with businessman Antoine Izmery, they were the architects of Father Aristide's stunning electoral victory. Often referred to as Titid's "twin," Mr. Préval has sought to continue the work started by his predecessor in widening the aperture for popular, grassroots political participation and the reform and modernization of State institutions.

Mr. Préval, the father of two teenage daughters, one who studies in Paris and another who studies in Canada, was married to Ms. Guerda (Geri) Benoît on July 12, 1997.

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Charcoal sellers, part of the tragedy since deforestation for charcoal-making leaves the hills un-ready to accept moisture when it rains, and contributes to floods. No doubt the living they make with charcoal is tiny. 54 candidates in the list I found, but ony 33 on the ballot pictured - even 33 is far too many it seems to me. How does the election work I wonder with 33 candidates, stages? run-offs? UN troops shooting it out on the streets of Dodge - the women and kids do not seem too impressed, maybe the shots were staged. Garbage fires in the streets and sewage canals behind the houses. A little girl looking friendly enough with the military vehicles, makes me wonder what she might be thinking. Finally, a woman praying in a church.

They will suspend electioneering prior to the election, next Tuesday the 7th.

Paul English, Haiti travels, lots of good photos.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Candidates, 55 of 'em by my count - who can make sense of an election with 55 candidates?:
Armand, Pierre C.
Baker, Charles Henry
Bazile, Francoeur
Bazin, Marc Louis
Belizaire, Dejean
Belot, Jacques Ronald
Boisron, Jn-Michel
Bonivert, Claude
Borgella, Joel
Buteau, Jean Henold
Calixte, Guerrier
Cherestal, Jean-Marie
Delpe, Turneb
Denis, Paul
Deronceray, Hubert
Destin, Marc Antoine
Duplan, Joseph Rigaud
Dupuy, Elie
Fleurinor, Luc
Francisque, Edouard
Gabriel, Nicolas Pierre Philippe
Georges, Reynold
Gilles, Louis Gerald
Gilles, Serge
Gourgue, Gerard
Guillaume, Jean Gilbert
Jacques, Nicolas Jose
Jeune, Jean Chavannes
Joseph, Dominique
Joseph, Lafortune
Julien, Rene
Justima, Emmanuel
Liberus, Raoul
Manigat, Leslie Francois
Martin, Denis Arioste
Mesadieu, Luc
Mourra, Samir Georges
Nicolas, Evans
Paul, Alexandre
Paul, Arcelin
Paul, Evans
Perpignan, Frantz
Phillippe, Guy
Preval, Rene Garcia
Principal, Arnold
Rebu, Himmler
Romain, Charles Poisset
Romain, Franck Francois
Roy, Judie Joe C. Marie
Saint Louis, Yves Marais
Saint Louis, Yves Maret
Saint-Natus, Clotaire
Simeus, Dumarsais
Sylvain, Jean Jacques
Toussaint, Dany

The girls in the sweatshop (making sweatshirts by the seashore) are paid 3-4 dollars per day, that's probably US$. This is apparently twice the minimum wage. When I was in Brasil I heard that 1 US$ per day is the real breakpoint - below that you are not surviving at all. At that time Brasil's minimum wage was 180 R$ per month which at the time worked out to about 2 US$.

And the Haitian entrepreneurs are complaining that all the violence is making it hard to stay in business. No doubt it is.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

ABC: Four Hostages Released Unharmed in Haiti

Friday, January 27, 2006

BBC: Aristide's long shadow over Haiti

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Gwynne Dyer: Haiti - No Easy Way Out

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Jose Elito Carvalho de Siqueira

NYT: Fear and Death Ensnare U.N.'s Soldiers in Haiti

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

BBC: New peacekeeping head for Haiti
Jose Elito Carvalho de Siqueira

Regarding funding for the Group of 184
Yahoo: Two Jordanian U.N. Peacekeepers Killed in Haiti

Friday, January 13, 2006
Street demonstrations in Cite Soleil and some Haitian realities, saving the best for last.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Reuters: Haiti sets new election for February 7

Brasília - Presidente Lula, d. Marisa, o vice-presidente e ministro da Defesa, José Alencar e esposa, e representantes das Forças Armadas, durante cerimônia fúnebre em homenagem ao general Urano Bacellar, morto no Haiti no dia 7 de janeiro. (Foto Domingos Tadeu/PR)

Sunday, January 8, 2006

A Haitian informer stands with a U.N. peacekeeper from Brazil near the volatile neighborhood of Citi-Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti January 8, 2006. U.N. mission head Juan Gabriel Valdes announced on Friday that U.N. troops would occupy the Cite Soleil slum, the capital's most dangerous ghetto, and warned that civilians could be harmed. Reuters/Eduardo Munoz

Brasil has sent a team to investigate: Brasília - Representantes do governo federal (delegado e peritos da Polícia Federal, um médico do Instituto Médico Legal do Distrito Federal, um representante da Agência Brasileira de Inteligência - Abin, um general e um coronel do Exército Brasileiro e um promotor do Ministério Público Militar), embarcam no avião da Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) para o Haiti. O grupo vai acompanhar as investigações da morte do general brasileiro Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar, chefe militar da Missão das Nações Unidas para a Estabilização no Haiti (Minustah). (Foto Lindomar Cruz/ABr)

Saturday, January 7, 2006
Brazilian head of U.N. Haiti mission, Urano Teixeira da Mata Bacellar, found dead in capital after 'firearm accident'

BrGov: Ação da América Latina leva esperança ao devastado Haiti
Defesanet: Haiti - um grande desafio

Defesanet: Entrevista - General-de-divisão Urano Teixeira Bacellar

I am reminded of Roméo Dallaire, who very nearly cracked when he was on the front-line in Rwanda and Uganda. And here is a Brasilian, possibly under similar pressures, who has aparently killed himself.

MINUSTAH Press Statement

MINUSTAH, it turns out, is an acronym for Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haïti aka the United Nations Stabilization Mission In Haiti. The 'official' language of this organization is apparently French. I would have thought it would be English, or, now that I think on it for a minute, Português even since the leadership on the ground has been mostly Brasilian. An oblique look at what is mostly (just, really, only,) a bureaucracy, and very probably a disfunctional one. Will anyone ever know what drove Bacellar over the edge? I noticed that he was wearing a wedding band in one of the pictures I saw. Maybe his wife knows.

Miami Herald: Losing patience, OAS, U.N. prod Haiti on election

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Haiti: Elections delayed again

Port-ao-Prince, Haiti, Jan 5 (UPI) - National Haitian elections -- scheduled for Jan. 8 -- have been postponed for the fourth time, said electoral officials. Elections could be rescheduled for early February following the fourth delay in the voting, Haitian radio reported Thursday. The elections were originally set for November but had to be postponed three other times due to lack of preparation and setbacks in voter registrations. Officials also said there were currently not enough polling centers. Haiti is struggling to hold its first election since the departure of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who left the country in February 2004 amid an armed uprising by rebel groups calling for his ouster.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

CCR: Timeline - The 2004 removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Gwynne Dyer, 19 February 2004: Why Is Haiti Cursed?

Not quite sure what this is? Yves A. Isidor

NCR - National Catholic Reporter, Claire Schaeffer-Duffy: Rights abuses overshadow elections Haiti's government imprisons opposition; voters to go to polls Jan. 8

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Everything gets muddy, but the seminal moment, the inception, of this post was seeing these photographs and finding strength and gentleness so evident in the Brasilian soldiers, particularly in their hands. It made me want to say again: Braço Forte - Mão Amiga, é, verdade!

Look carefully at the hands in all of these pictures, especially the last one. See at the way the two men are holding on to one another, and then look at the way the little kid has his hands on the soldier's arm and the little girl with her hand on the other one's hip.

United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)

Alabama - Neil Young
Oh Alabama
The devil fools with the best laid plan.
Swing low Alabama
You got the spare change
You got to feel strange
And now the moment is all that it meant.

Alabama, you got the weight on your shoulders
That's breaking your back.
Your Cadillac has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track

Oh Alabama
Banjos playing through the broken glass
Windows down in Alabama.
See the old folks tied in white ropes
Hear the banjo.
Don't it take you down home?

Oh Alabama.
Can I see you and shake your hand.
Make friends down in Alabama.
I'm from a new land
I come to you and see all this ruin
What are you doing Alabama?
You got the rest of the union to help you along
What's going wrong?

Of course it is not apt - I put Neil's song here because it operates at a certain level, the same place as the thoughts I have about these photographs. Maybe there are things that people who know what it means to live in a favela understand better than soi-distant bourgeois intellectuals. I included Jordan, although I don't know much about the place, because it was a Jordanian who died today, Capt. Yousef Mubark Muflih Algader.

Toronto Star: Jordanian peacekeeper killed in Haiti. Reuters: Jordanian UN peacekeeper killed in Haiti. And a Canadian was killed recently too, Mark Bourque.