Category Archives: Haiti

President Hugo Chavez and race: The shift from avoidance to inclusion

By Janvieve Williams Comrie, for Al Jazeera.com
In the wake of the death of the President of Venezuela, an Afro-descendant view on the meaning of Hugo Chavez.

“Racism is very characteristic of imperialism and capitalism. Hate against me has a lot to do with racism. Because of my big mouth and curly hair. And I’m so proud to have this mouth and this hair, because it is African.” – Hugo Chavez, September 21, 2005

The death of democratically elected President Hugo Chavez Frias (1954-2013) has evoked serious thoughts and reflections on the meaning of his life and the process he led from peoples and communities throughout the Americas and the world. Despite much criticism by many right wing governments and people in the West, Hugo Chavez led a process in Venezuela that symbolised the new assertiveness and self-consciousness of nations in Latin America that saw a future for themselves, liberated from the heavy-handed, oppressive and economically draining policies of their powerful neighbour from the North.

But along with the symbolism connected to the new politics of authentic decolonisation that many of the centre-left states embraced, Chavez was committed to a process of providing real, substantive support to states in the region who were willing to pursue a course that could result in a real shift in power in the region. What that signified for many of us in the Afro-descendant communities in the Americas, was that the rise of Chavez and the Bolivarian process that the people of Venezuela had embarked on would raise the spectrums of a new kind of politic in the region. We hoped that with the new commitment to social inclusion and the ending of all forms of oppression that the issue of race and racial discrimination would become an acceptable and indeed an essential element of the transformation process in the Americas. Continue reading

MINUSTAH’s Upcoming Renewal: A Setback for Democracy in Haiti by Kevin Edmonds

Despite widespread opposition from the Haitian people and many of their political representatives in parliament, the renewal of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)’s  mandate is set to occur on October 15.

Supporters of MINUSTAH, such as the International Crisis Group’s Mark Schneider, argue that “when I recently met with government and business leaders and their adversaries, everyone acknowledged one simple fact: Haiti’s limited police force—in numbers and capacity—cannot protect its citizens without UN backing. Until Haiti builds a stronger, more capable law-enforcement structure—and one hopefully is in the making—the resulting vacuum would almost inevitably lead to spoilers seeking to secure their goals through gun barrels rather than ballot boxes.” Continue reading

Controversy Abounds in Haitian Reconstruction Investigations

NACLA–With the release of two separate investigations this week, it is becoming increasingly clear why the reconstruction has failed the Haitian people on such a massive scale—it is lucrative business opportunity first, with the humanitarian priorities coming in at a distant second.

On March 30, the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research’s (CEPR) Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch (HHRW) released the results of a scathing investigation, which revealed that out of the nearly $400 million spent by USAID in Haiti, only 0.02% of the procurement contracts went to local firms. Continue reading

Haiti PM quits amid political infighting

AL-JEZEERA Garry Conille, the Haitian prime minister, has offered his resignation to President Michel Martelly after days of political tension between the premier and government ministers over issues of dual nationality.

“I feel obliged to present my resignation,” Conille wrote in a letter to Martelly on Friday, according to Louis-Jeune Levaillant, leader of the lower chamber of parliament, who read from a copy of the letter. Continue reading