Posts Tagged ‘MINUSTAH’

Haitian organizations demand that money spent on MINUSTAH be used instead to compensate victims of cholera

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

[Translation of an article from Agence Haïtienne de Presse for June 30. See original here.]

Port-au-Prince, June 30 – Several social organizations, including the Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (Papda – Haitian Platform to Plead for Alternative Development) and Solidarité des Femmes Haïtiennes (Sofa – Haitian Women’s Solidarity), on Wednesday appealed to the United Nations to compensate the Haitian people, and in particular victims of cholera, because the virus (sic) causing it was introduced into Haiti by soldiers of the UN Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH).

The organizations hold that the more than 850 million dollars allocated every year to the UN mission in the country should be used to compensate the victims and to launch an intense mobilization against the epidemic with the aim of eradicating it.

Conservative Senator Coloma calls for review of Chilean military’s participation in Haiti

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

[Translation of an article from La Tercera of Santiago, Chile, for January 30, 2011. See original here. Senator Juan Antonio Coloma and the party he leads, the Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI), are politically rightist, both having supported the Pinochet regime. The UDI is the largest party in Congress, holding eight of 38 seats in the Senate and 38 of 120 in the Chamber of Deputies.]

Senator and president of the UDI [Unión Demócrata Independiente] Juan Antonio Coloma today called for the government to “review the participation” of Chilean troops in Haiti.

The senator based his request on the fact that, in his judgement, the UN forces in which Chile participates are seen lately “as forces of occupation” more than as forces for aid and order.

Coloma holds that the aid the country should be offered, especially since the earthquake, should be “more on the institutional level than on the military level.” Specifically, he said, this should be the case in the tasks of reconstruction and overcoming poverty.

The gremialista [right-wing] senator explained as well that the purpose of having Chilean troops in the country was, at the beginning, “to avoid a genocide” and that they remained there “to assure the election of René Préval.” Later, Coloma added, the people of Haiti began to see them as “forces of occupation.”

He thus requested a review of the renovation of the Chilean contingent in the next few months.

The UDI president’s stance comes days after the Senate defense committee, of which he is a member, asked the government to redefine and expand the role of Chilean troops in Haiti, placing an emphasis on reconstruction.

On that occasion, the president of the institution, Patricio Walker (Demócrata Cristiano) said that “we need to expand our efforts after the earthquake in that country. We have to support more forcefully the reconstruction and aid in the creation of a new institutionality so the state can have a greater participation.”

Brazilian general says withdrawal of troops from Haiti is not predictable

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Agencia Brasil photo

[Translation of an article from A Gazeta of Vitória, Brazil, for January 12, 2011. See original here.]

In charge of troops from the 19 countries making up the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH), including Brazil, General Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz declared in an interview that at this time it is not possible to predict when the reduction of the international military presence in Haiti will begin.

Last year, Brazil increased its military contingent in the country from 1,300 to 2,600. Expectations that a gradual withdrawal of military forces would begin in 2011, as planned before the earthquake, will not be fulfilled, according to Paul Cruz.

“The (UN) Security Council resolution requires me to make an evaluation on the question of security and stability in order to propose a possible reduction of troops here.” (more…)

Diplomat in Haiti to be dismissed for criticizing OAS, NGOs

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Ricardo Seitenfus claims coup against Préval was suggested

[Abridged translation of an interview by BBC Brazil as published in Folha for December 29, 2010. See original here and related article here.]

By Fabrícia Peixoto

The representative of the Organization of American States in Haiti for two years, Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus is due to be fired from his position soon, a development he himself interprets as a response to his “critical position” on the role of the international community in the Caribbean nation’s recovery…

BBC Brazil – Have you been notified officially of your dismissal from your position?

Ricardo Seitenfus – No, not yet. I had decided not to take a vacation in December so I could be in Haiti during this delicate phase of the election. But the secretary general (José Miguel Insulza) asked me to take a vacation. I conclude that for the two months, February and March, that I was supposed to remain in Haiti I would no longer be there. But that is not the problem. The most serious thing is what is happening now: the OAS representative is not in Haiti during an electoral crisis. And I have an ability for dialogue with the Haitian government that no one else in the OAS has and that few in the international community have. (more…)

OAS representative in Haiti sharply critical of foreign aid and occupation

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Ricardo Seitenfus – Le Temps photo

Ricardo Seitenfus: “Haiti is proof of the failure of international aid”

[Translation of an interview from Le Temps of Geneva, Switzerland, for December 20, 2010. See original here and related articles here and here. Several sources reported immediately after the Le Temps interview that Seitenfus had been fired but in an interview in the December 29 Folha of Brazil (here) Seitenfus said he had received no official word on his status.]

By Arnaud Robert

A graduate of the Institut de Hautes Études Internationales (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies) of Geneva, Brazilian Ricardo Seitenfus is 62 years old. He has represented the Organization of American States in Haiti since 2008. He makes a genuine indictiment of international presence in the country.

–Le Temps: Ten thousand Blue Helmets in Haiti. In your opinion, a counterproductive presence…

–Ricardo Seitenfus: The system of dispute prevention within the framework of the UN system is not suitable for the Haitian context. Haiti is not an international threat. We are not in a state of civil war. Haiti is neither Iraq nor Afghanistan. And nevertheless the Security Council, lacking any alternative, has imposed the Blue Helmets since 2004, since the departure of President Aristide. We are here on our eighth UN mission since 1990. Since 1986 and the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier, Haiti has been in what I call a low-intensity conflict. We are faced with power struggles by political actors who do not respect the democratic process. But it seems to me that essentially, on the international scene, Haiti is paying for its close proximity to the United States. Haiti has been the object of negative attention on the part of the international system. For the UN it was a question of blocking power and turning Haitians into prisoners on their own island. For many, the anxiety of the boat people explains the international community’s decisions concerning Haiti. One wants them, at all costs, to stay home. (more…)

Chilean soldiers in Haiti: A subject of debate

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

La Nación photo

[Two articles on Chilean participation in MINUSTAH, the United Nations mission in Haiti.  See related articles here, here, here, and here.]

Time to withdraw Chilean troops from Haiti

[Translation of a commentary from La Nación of Santiago, Chile, for November 28, 2010. See original here.]

by Raúl Sohr

The death of a Haitian citizen at the hands of a Chilean soldier last week in Cap Haïtien was the last straw. The soldiers had found themselves surrounded by a rock-throwing crowd.

In fact, several soldiers were injured by rocks. The agitation was a reaction to the people’s distress and helplessness in the face of the cholera epidemic that had already killed more than 1,400 people and infected almost 25,000. (more…)

Dominicans react to cholera outbreak in Haiti

Monday, October 25th, 2010

[Translations of two articles, the first from La Jornada of Mexico City, the second from Listín Diario of Santo Domingo, both from October 25. See original articles here and here.]

Dominican Republic closes border with Haiti

Santo Domingo – Thousands of Haitians who had planned to participate today in a binational market in the Dominican city of Dajabón were prevented from crossing the border by members of the armed forces of the Dominican Republic out of fear of the spread of cholera, official sources have confirmed.

The Dominican ministry of health ordered that Haitians be blocked from entering the coutry as part of an effort to avoid the spread of the cholera epidemic in the country.

An unkown number of Haitians nevertheless entered Dominican territory by way of the Masacre river, which divides the two countries. Members of the Cuerpo Especializado de Seguridad Fronteriza (CESFRONT – Specialized Border Security Corps) were searching the streets of Dajabón today for those who had flaunted the measure, while thousands of persons were left stranded at the Haitian border, according to accounts by local media. (more…)

Haiti: Voices from the mountain

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

Despite problems, community radio is struggling to break through the isolation imposed on the peasants.

World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters photo

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo, Brazil, for September 27, 2010. See original article here.]

by Thalles Gomes

It takes three hours of walking along a steep path to reach the community of Magò, a rural area in the minicipality of Pòdepè, in northeastern Haiti. It’s from there, on the top of the highest mountain in the region, with an infrastructure consisting of an antenna and a mud-walled house, that community Radio Zèbtènite carries on the struggle to break through the isolation of the Haitian peasants. (more…)

Death of Haitian youth sparks new protests against MINUSTAH

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Sixteen-year-old Gerald Jean Gilles suffocated to death at Formed Police Units base

[Translation of an article from Brasil de Fato of São Paulo for September 14. See original article here.]

by Thalles Gomes

“They are suffocating me,” was the cry heard on August 17 by employees of the Henri Cristophe Hotel, in Cap-Haïtien, capital of the Nord department of Haiti. The call for help came from the Formed Police Units base belonging to MINUSTAH, the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti. On that same day, Nepalese United Nations soldiers reported that Haitian Gerald Jean Gilles had entered their military base and had hanged himself.

The report issued by the UN did not explain how the young Gerald had managed to get into the military base, tie a rope on the patio and hang himself without any soldiers noticing.

Their version is contested vehemently by Gerald’s family and friends. According to them, the young man had been doing odd jobs for the Nepalese soldiers for some time in exchange for money or food. And the suspicion that Gerald had stolen 200 dollars from one of the soldiers was the reason the Nepalese soldiers tortured and suffocated him to death. (more…)

Haiti: Occupations that dehumanize and that kill

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

[Translation of an article from Haïti Liberté for July 28, 2010.]

By Hervé Jean Michel

A bust of Charlemagne Peralte on a monument in Hinche, where he was born.

July 28, 1915 to July 28, 2010 — 95 years have passed since the military forces of the United States of America first landed in Haiti. They trampled and crushed this land and its sovereignty, won at the high cost of suffering, struggles and death on the battlefields of Ravine-à-Couleuvre, Crête-à-Pierrot, Vertière, etc.

United States capitalists, who saw in the attainment of Haitian independence nothing but a bad example for the millions of Blacks, their countrymen (historically, Haitian independence was recognized by the United States government during the second decade of the second half of the nineteenth century), wanted to apply the brakes to that rising up of the former slaves by means of their Monroe Doctrine, which opened up for them prospects of the pillage of the continent. They swore to reduce the sovereignty of that country to nothing. (more…)

Prison massacre in Les Cayes, Haiti

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

New York Times photo by Angel Franco

[Translation of an article from Agence Haïtienne de Presse for May 31.]

A little more than 11 years ago today,  a national police patrol systematically executed 11 youths in the poor area of Carrefour-Feuilles in Port-au-Prince.  More precisely, it was on May 28, 1999.  That was during the first administration of President René Préval.  At that time the prime minister was Jacques Edouard Alexis.

That massacre aroused general condemnation and protests locally and internationally.  But the head of state made the correct decision to conduct an investigation, which  led to trials for those accused and to their conviction. (more…)

Haitian demonstrators oppose Préval and Mulet

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

“The People Demand that Préval leave” — AlterPresse photo

[Translation of an article from AlterPresse Haïti for May 26 on demonstrations in Port-au-Prince demanding the resignation of President René Préval and the departure of Edmond Mulet, head of the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH). Mulet, a Guatemalan diplomat, was reappointed as MINUSTAH head two months ago after the former head, Tunisian Hedi Annabi, was killed in the January 12 earthquake. Mulet, known for his arrogance, had angered many Haitians during his previous tenure as MINUSTAH head, a period in which many Haitians died at the hands of UN soldiers. Concerning a particularly brutal MINUSTAH attack on Cité Soleil on July 6, 2005, in which as many as 70 Haitians were killed, the vast majority of them unarmed civilians, Mulet claimed when he assumed the MINUSTAH leadership a year later that criminal gangs had attacked UN troops, firing some 20,000 rounds at them. The UN later admitted MINUSTAH soldiers had fired 22,000 rounds at the civilians.]

Port-au-Prince, May 26 –Several groups of demonstators took to the streets of the capital on May 25 to demand the resignation of President René Préval and the departure of Edmond Mulet, head of the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti.

Demonstrators affiliated with the Lavalas party overran metal barriers set up in front of the presidential palace by the police, who used tear-gas to disperse the crowd. (more…)