Where "Freedom" Talk
Rings Hollow: The Attack
on Democracy in Haiti
By Neil Elliott
June 17, 2005
Since his inaugural address in
January 2005, President Bush has been
talking about "freedom" and "liberty" as if he had
words. During March, as popular demonstrations rocked Beirut and
pressed the Syrian government to reconfigure its military footprint
in Lebanon, Newsweek published an encomium by Fareed Zakaria on "what
Bush got right," giving the president a good deal of the credit
"freedom's march" (March 14).
It's what such gushing editorials leave out that worries me. Yes,
protesters thronged the streets of Beirut to demonstrate against
Syrian influence, but an even larger crowd turned out days later in
support of Hezbollah, showing that the Lebanese aren't any happier
with U.S. interference in the region. Meanwhile, neoconservative
crowing about elections in Iraq and (soon, we're told) Afghanistan
conveniently omits the forceful insistence from the U.S. that no
democratically-elected coalition would ever determine the timetable
for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, even though (as Naomi Klein
observed in The Guardian) that's precisely what "a decisive majority"
of Iraqis thought they were voting for.
And now the headlines tell us "Bush pushes democracy" in a
before the Organization of American States (OAS), in which he
contrasted "competing choices" for Latin America and the Caribbean.
One choice, he declared, offered a "vision of hope," founded
"representative government" and participation in the U.S.
"free markets." "The other seeks to roll back the democratic
of the past two decades by playing to fear, pitting neighbor against
neighbor, and blaming others for their own failures to provide for
Those of us still clinging stubbornly to the "reality-based
community" can readily determine to which of those two options
Bush administration is committed by looking to an exemplary "test
case" nearby. As Ben Terrall reports in Democracy's Death,"
article for In These Times, the U.S. embassy in Haiti readily
concedes that "if there were an election held today, Lavalas"
political party of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide -- "would
win." What makes that concession really impressive is that it comes
after a year-long assault on the poor communities that supported
Aristide, by masked National Police and death squads, which has left
hundreds dead in the streets or stacked in the capital
city's morgues. Through it all, the U.S. government has lavished
support on a "de facto" government that a Bush administration
assembled from Aristide's enemies, while heavily armed men (toting
brand-new U.S.-made automatic weapons) go about "systematically
repressing" Aristide supporters.
So much for the "proud march of freedom."
The Coup in Haiti
In February, 2004, the Bush administration pulled off a remarkably
efficient coup d'état in Haiti. Armed U.S. commandos entered
residence of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who had been
democratically elected, as even our own State Department concedes, by
a margin of which President Bush can only dream. They forced him to
board a plane that was bound, unknown to him, for the Central African
For months before the coup, Haiti observers at the Washington,
D.C.-based Council On Hemispheric Affairs and others had been
reporting that administration officials who had once managed Reagan's
illegal "contra" wars in Nicaragua were again working their
magic in Haiti. Shuttling back and forth to the neighboring Dominican
Republic (DR), they'd reportedly met with former officers from the
disbanded Haitian army, including men convicted of notorious murders
and massacres during the previous U.S.-sponsored coup regime (that of
Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, 1991-94). (The curious coincidence that the
guerrillas would emerge, well armed, from the Dominican jungle soon
after the Bush administration promised 20,000 automatic weapons to
the DR has prompted Sen. Christopher Dodd to call for an
investigation into just how the U.S. Agency for International
Development has spent $1.2 million earmarked for "democracy
enhancement," and just what sorts of "training" former
military have received in the DR.) A few observers managed to get the
word out, though not in the "mainstream" media: the courageous
Pina (already in 2003!) in The Black Commentator; Canadian journalist
Anthony Fenton in Z Magazine online; Pomona College political
scientist Heather Williams in Counterpunch; the indefatigable Dr.
Paul Farmer, interviewed by Amy Goodman on "DemocracyNow"
the coup was taking shape, who published an incisive analysis of the
coup in the London Review of Books a few weeks afterward. (I tried to
do my part at The Witness online, two days before the coup.) Last
February, those newly "trained" criminals emerged at the heads
heavily armed and well organized columns, with names like "the
Cannibal Army" and "the Orphans' Army." Their forces
swept from city
to city, systematically torching the offices of the
woefully understaffed and ill-equipped Haitian National Police,
killing police officers and civilians by the score, and marching on
Port-au-Prince. Secretary of State Colin Powell presented Aristide
with a thinly veiled threat: leave office or face the "cannibals."
After U.S. commandos whisked Aristide out of the country, Powell
produced an alleged letter of resignation by the president, which
Aristide denounced as fraudulent as soon as he was able to
communicate with the outside world.
In another disturbing echo of Reagan's contra wars, the man the U.S.
installed in Aristide's place, Florida businessman Gerard Latortue,
hailed the criminals who had helped remove the democratically elected
government as Haiti's "freedom fighters."Getting at the Truth
Though none of the major human rights groups has attempted a
systematic investigation into the coup or its bloody aftermath,
resourceful attorneys and journalists have amassed evidence of a
devastating campaign of assassination, massacre, and false
imprisonment on sites like the San Francisco-based Haiti Action
Network (www.haitiaction.net), and the Institute for Justice and
Democracy in Haiti (www.ijdh.org), run by attorney Brian Concannon,
Jr., who prosecuted some of the most infamous murderers from the
1991-94 coup period. When, on the first anniversary of the coup,
Concannon spoke to a Twin Cities audience of activists gathered by
the Haiti Justice Committee of Minnesota, he and Bruce Nestor of the
National Lawyers' Guild described the widespread violence in poor
sections of Port-au-Prince and the countryside alike as the
"systematic consolidation of the coup." Their observations
out weeks later by journalist Kevin Pina, also brought to the Twin
Cities by the Haiti Justice Committee, who was an eyewitness to
violence perpetrated by the Haiti National Police.
The silence from the international community (with occasional
exceptions like the African National Congress) and from
the mainstream media remains deafening, however. Twice, U.N.
peacekeepers have stood by as Haitian National Police have fired into
nonviolent demonstrations, killing unarmed people, but without
consequence to the police. (A March 2005 report by the Harvard Law
Student Advocates for Human Rights declares the peacekeepers' failure
to intervene when police are committing abuses before their eyes
"simply incomprehensible.") Kevin Pina's "Haiti Information
reports increasing police violence against the poor communities that
provided Aristide much of his popular support.
Meanwhile, true to form, the "respectable" press skew what
attention they give to Haiti, conforming it to the State Department
line (as when the BBC and the Associated Press suppressed elements of
human-rights reports that placed the burden for the violence squarely
on the National Police). Part of the problem is that Western media
rely, overwhelmingly and unjustifiably, on U.S. State Department
releases and the predominant Haiti media outlets, which the elite
have bought up over the last five years using money from the (U.S.)
International Republican Institute.
It's hard to imagine a more efficient propaganda mechanism for what
President Bush might call "disassembling." The word he wanted
sniped at Amnesty International's damning report on Guantanamo Bay)
was "dissembling," of course, but the disassembly of Haitian
in the U.S. press is as evident as the "dismantling" of democracy
Haiti itself (to borrow a phrase from Rep. Maxine Waters). As Brian
Concannon told In These Times, "Latortue can say that Aristide
backing violence in Port-au-Prince" -- surely an impressive reach,
given that Aristide is in exile in South Africa -- "without
presenting any proof, and it's presented as gospel in the newspapers.
But when people talk to our lawyers in Haiti about the interim
government's persecution of dissidents, they have extremely credible,
consistent and corroborated information. That information will not
get into the mainstream media.""Democracy" and the "Culture
In November, another particularly damning report was published by the
Center for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Miami
School of Law. Their report laid responsibility for violence against
the Haitian poor at the feet of "rich businessmen," who "appear
fueling the fire"; the newly reorganized Haitian National Police,
"backed by U.N. forces, routinely carry out indiscriminate and
unprofessional killing operations"; and reconstituted elements
outlawed army, who continue their traditional mission of "protecting
the rich and attacking the poor." In the words of the report's
conclusion, the U.S. government's "investment" has been "in
firepower," and "the observable returns on the investment
left in the street."
So much for attempts to blame the violence on remnants of "Aristide's
While Bush and Republican powerbrokers in the U.S. Senate took the
spotlight to grandstand for a "culture of life" in the case
Schiavo, a woman lying in a "persistent vegetative state"
14 U.S. House representatives wrote a joint letter to the president
and Secretary of State Rice calling for the administration to
intervene on behalf of Yvon Neptune, the prime minister
constitutionally appointed by Aristide, who had languished in a
Haitian prison for 11 months without facing a judge (as the Haitian
Constitution mandates within 48 hours of arrest). Neptune had begun
hunger strike to protest his illegal imprisonment, and his internal
organs had begun to fail; he was in desperate need of medical
attention, and observers feared his imminent death. There was no
direct response from the Bush administration, though one must wonder
whether unrelenting activism from Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and her
colleagues, along with ordinary citizens, might have brought enough
pressure to get Neptune an appearance in court -- though not his
So much for the administration's concern for a "culture of life."
In October 2004, Father Gerard Jean-Juste -- one of the champions of
the nonviolent democratic movement in Haiti -- was arrested by masked
Haitian policemen as he was feeding hungry children at his church. No
one in the Haitian government ever produced an arrest warrant during
the five weeks he was imprisoned. The U.S. State Department accepted
the burden of reassuring the world that Jean-Juste was being
So much for the rule of law.
It would be nice to believe President Bush's earnest talk about
working for freedom and democracy. Unfortunately for the Haitian
poor, the facts don't bear out the rhetoric of good intentions. Haiti
simply cannot be spun as yet another case of noble American efforts
thwarted by the stubborn incapacity of the "natives" to govern
To the contrary, some of the best covert warfare strategists in our
government have carefully planned and executed the catastrophe that
is Haiti today.
For further reading:
Noam Chomsky, Paul Farmer, and Amy Goodman, Getting Haiti Right This
Time: The U.S. and the Coup (Common Courage, 2004)
Alex Dupuy, Haiti in the New World Order: The Limits of the
Democratic Revolution (Westview, 1997)
Paul Farmer, The Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the
New War on the Poor (University of California, 2003)
Paul Farmer, The Uses of Haiti, 3d edition (Common Courage Press,
2005) Robert Fatton, Jr., Haiti's Predatory Republic: The Unending
Transition to Democracy (Rienner, 2002)
C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San
Domingo Revolution, 2d ed. 1963 (Vintage Books Edition, 1989)
Tracy Kidder, Mountains Beyond Mountains: Healing the World: The
Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer (Random House, 2003)--
The Rev. Neil Elliott is chaplain for the University Episcopal
at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn., and a member of
the Haiti Justice Committee of Minnesota. He may be reached by email
at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Letter to the Editor of the New York
Marc Lacey reporting without context or
perspective - Demonizing the poor hurricane victims in Haiti
In "Children in
Servitude, The Poorest of Haiti's Poor" Marc Lacey fails
to mention several pertinent facts, reports without context or perspectives
and ends up demonizing the poor hurricane victims of Haiti. Mr. Lacey
fails to tell his readers that it is against Haitian law for children,
even child laborers, not to go to school in Haiti and that child labor
is a global problem faced by poor countries worldwide and not a particular
unique Haiti "children in servitude" issue. Except the poverty
is so dire in Haiti, and the justice system so unstructured, there's
no one to enforce these laws. Even with 9,000 UN troops in Haiti collecting
over $600 million per year. Troops with tanks and guns and no mission
lessen the suffering of Haiti's poor. Troops whose containers
hit the Mirebalais bridge and brought it down, exacerbating the Gonaives
hurricane victims' sufferings.
The abuse of any child and children not getting an education is reprehensible.
The poor Haitian masses do not have some defective gene that would allow
for its society to find abuse of children permissible. I wondered as
I read Lacey's article, why he didn't mention the UN and Humanitarian
workers’ abuse of Haitian children as reported
by Save the Children. Is it fair and balance reporting to
focus only on restaveks abuse limited to poor Haitian families. How
about also reporting on the richest folks in the Caribbean, living in
the hills of Petionville, Laboule, Kenscoff, et al.., their abuse of
their domestic workers, their fleecing of Haiti, exporting all the money
they make and maintaining their repugnant millions, power and status,
not through elections and democratic participation, but by bringing
coup d'etats, violence, destabilization and selling off the country
to foreigners and a UN protectorate. These folks are the ones that keep
Haiti underdeveloped and unable to rid itself of poverty, child laborers
and to institutionalize systemic justice for all.
This New York Times journalists finds no time to report on the Haitian
oligarchs' lack of accountability, social and civic responsibility to
the Haitian nation and society from which they make all those millions,
even billions of dollars. But in the middle of the worst humanitarian
disaster of the poorest of the poor in Gonaives, finds time to further
demonize the poor in Haiti and talk out of context and without balance
or perspective about child domestic workers so to continue the colonial
Perhaps your paper would consider our website's page on these Haitian
oligarchs - http://www.margueritelaurent.com/law/subcontracted.html#HaitiOligarchs;
perhaps you'd consider this statement regarding the restavek situation
in Haiti "Exploitation and abuse of child labor and child domestics
global problem not a "Haiti slavery" issue."
Thank you for your attention on this.
Marguerite "Exile Danto" Laurent, Esq.
President, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Sept. 14, 2008
203 829 7210
P.O. Box 3573
Stamford, Connecticut 06905
Ezili Danto and HLLN on this matter:
Haitian child restaveks -indentured servants - does not equate to the
European TransAtlantic trade/holocuast | A government that cannot protect
its children from massive abuse is grotesque| Ezili's
counternarrative on the ABC/Nightline report on the abuse of Haitian
Child domestic labor in Haiti is NOT chattel slavery in the way of Western
European-styled slavery wa s. http://matah.com/whatismatah.ihtml
Exploitation of child domestics is a global problem, not a Haitian "slavery"
Ann Pale forum discussion of the restavek issue, 2003)
"...Studies in Indonesia estimate there are around 400,000 child
workers in Jakarta alone and 5 million in Indonesia as a whole. In Venezuela
60 per cent of the girls working between 10 and 14 years of age are
domestic workers. Country surveys showed that the proportion of child
workers under ten years of age was 26 per cent in Venezuela, 24 per
Bangladesh, and 16 per cent in Togo. A survey in Morocco showed that
cent of domestic workers started their working day before 7.00am and
cent went to bed after 11.00pm. (Child Labour: Targeting the intolerable,
1996) Jafrikayiti, from Exploitation of child domestics is a global
not a Haitian "slavery" issue (See a discussion of the restavek
issue, back in
2003 that covers the points to be made at Windowsonhaiti.com.
Haitian child restaveks -indentured
servants - does not equate to the European TransAtlantic trade/holocuast
| A government that cannot protect its children from massive abuse is
counternarrative on the ABC/Nightline report on the abuse of Haitian
Please refer to the three posts below, written back in August of 2003,
before the occupation, by Ezili Danto, for further information. You
will learn from a lawyer and from a Haitian rights advocate perspective
and be provided with a formal look at the restavek legal situation and
the social, educational problems. But know this, we don't need "International
Slavery Remembrance Day" because the ENSLAVED in Haiti chose never
to be slaves and proved it when after the Bwa Kayiman ceremony of Aug.
14, 1791, eight days later on August 22, 1791 they launched the Haitian
liberation struggle. On the 217 anniversary of the beginning of that
struggle we remember Boukman's Prayer and the call at Bwa Kayiman-
e, Mbomba, e, e! Kanga Bafyòti. Kanga Mundele. Kanga Ndòki.
Beloved, know, no matter what you hear
from the Bafyòtis. Mundeles, Ndòkis, Haitians love themselves
and their children and Haitians are pushing to come together to stop
the abuse of poor, unprotected children, as well as to raise awareness
of the plight of the Restavek. These three post give a historical perspective,
some critical observations, and hopefully, will add to the many concerned
Haitian voices clamoring to legally amend Chapter 9 of the Haitian Labor
Code which sanctions child domestic labor, and, for a nationwide educational
campaign on parenting and the rights of Haitian children.
August 23, 2008
Also for further info, see:
"...The latest Save the Children report, which concentrated on
Haiti, found evidence of "significant levels" of abuse in
emergencies, much of
it unreported. It cited cases of children as young as six trading sex
and pitiful amounts of money, and pointed to the filming of child pornography
and sexual slavery. Orphans were particularly at risk, it said."
aid workers and UN peacekeepers raping and abusing children and UN peacekeepers
- Child abuse by aid agency staff
Humanitarian aid workers and UN peacekeepers raping and abusing children
UN peacekeepers 'abusing children'
Video Report: Child Abuse by Humanitarian Workers
membres d'ONG abusent d'enfants dès l'âge de six ans, selon
Save the Children
Video: United Nations and Aid workers raping and abusing children
SRI LANKAN SOLDIERS ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ABUSES IN HAITI
U.N. Massacre on July 6, 2005 in Site Soley
U.N. Massive Attack on Dec. 22, 2006 on Site Soley
"Girls as young as 13 were having
sex with U.N. peacekeepers for as little as $1. Five young Haitian women
who followed soldiers back to Sri Lanka were forced into brothels or
polygamous households. They have been rescued and brought home to warn
others of the dangers of foreign liaisons...
"When the abuses in the Haitian capital’s impoverished Martissant
neighborhood were brought to the mission’s attention in August,
a unit of the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services was deployed
to investigate. Its report to the U.N. Department of Peacekeeping Operations
in New York remains confidential,
but mission commanders repatriated 111 soldiers and three officers on
disciplinary grounds in early November...." (U.N. confronts another
sex scandal By Carol J. Williams, December 15, 2007, LA Times)
dare call it Genocide by John Maxwell, June 29, 2008
Recommended HLLN Links (Energy and Mining in Haiti): The wealthy, powerful
and well-armed are robbing the Haitian people blind
Is the UN military proxy occupation of Haiti masking US securing oil/gas
reserves from Haiti
Media Lies: The Two Most Common Neocolonial storylines About Haiti (May,
Media Lies: The Two Most Common Neocolonial storylines About Haiti,
Watch the Video clip: "When Haiti Was Free"
Veil of blood: Ignorance is No Defense
ideals of Dessalines
Children in Servitude, the Poorest of Haiti’s Poor
by Marc Lacey, New
York Times, Sept. 14, 2008
GONAÏVES, Haiti — Thousands of desperate women pushed and
shoved to get at
the relief food being handed out on the outskirts of this flooded city
week. Off to the side were the restaveks, the really desperate ones.
As woman after woman hauled off a sack of rice, a bag of beans and a
cooking oil, the restaveks, a Creole term used to describe Haiti’s
laborers, dropped to their knees to pick up the bits that were inadvertently
dropped in the dirt.
The hurricanes and tropical storms that have whipped across the western
Hispaniola, the island divided between Haiti and the Dominican Republic,
past month have laid bare the poverty and the deep divisions in Haitian
society, where there are rich, poor and downright destitute.
Nobody illustrates that last group better than the restaveks, the thousands
young Haitian children handed over by their poor parents to better-off
families, most of whom are struggling themselves.
The term restaveks literally means “stay with,” and that
is what the
children do with their hosts, working as domestic servants in exchange
roof over their head, some leftover food and, supposedly, the ability
to go to
school.In practice, though, the restaveks are easy prey for exploitation.
Human rights advocates say they are beaten, sexually abused and frequently
denied access to education, since many host families believe that schooling
will only make them less obedient.Unicef estimates that 300,000 Haitian
children were affected by the recent storms, many of them forced to
relocate to shelters or rooftops.
But young Haitians suffered significantly even before the skies darkened
during Fay, Gustav, Hanna and Ike, and more than 300 lives were lost.
The country has the highest mortality rate for children younger than
5 in the Western
Hemisphere, as well as a high death rate among infants and women giving
Just slightly over half of school-age children are actually enrolled
in school. Attendance among restaveks, of course, is much less than
“Many of them are treated like animals,” said a United Nations
spoke on condition of anonymity because she did not have authority to
the delicate issue.
“They are second-class citizens, little slaves. You feed them
a little and they clean your house for nothing.”
Gonaïves, a city in Haiti’s northwest, was no boomtown when
the storms hit, having been devastated by a hurricane in 2004, from
which it was still recovering. But that did not stop many poor families
from taking in restaveks, the offspring of the poorest of the poor.“
Almost everybody has one,” said one of the women jockeying in
They are children like Widna and Widnise, twin 12-year-old girls who
in the same Gonaïves home for the past two years.
They get up at dawn to fetch water, collect wood, cook, mop and clean.
They watch as their host family’s two children, who are about
the same age, eat breakfast and then go off to school. The twins eat
nothing in the morning and stay home working.
The twins have it better than most, they say. They are hit on their
palms if they are disobedient but do not receive lashings on their head,
as they say many of the restaveks in nearby homes receive.
In the evening, they eat with the two other children and sleep on mats
on the floor, just as those children do. They had shoes, unlike many
of their contemporaries, although they lost those in the flooding.
But the girls said they did not like their situation. There is the teasing
they get from other children, who tell them over and over that they
will never grow up, that they will always be servant girls.
And they miss their mother, who works in the countryside as a domestic
servant and visits the girls when she can. She tells them that she will
bring them home as soon as she can afford to feed them.“
Our mother is too poor to take care of us,” said Widna, the more
talkative of the pair, adding emphatically, “We don’t want
to be restaveks.”
What they wanted most immediately on Thursday afternoon was food. Their
host family had fled its flood-damaged home, leaving the girls alone.
They arrived at a school in the Praville neighborhood where United Nations
relief food was being handed out but were told that only women were
allowed in line.
The pint-size girls sat off to the side until they noticed that some
rice and beans were being dropped amid all the confusion. The girls
looked at each other and then sprang into action with some of the other
restaveks, scooping up the specks of food from the ground one by one.
Dantò on Help for the Victims in Haiti,
Sept. 12, 2008
Why not TPS to Haitians? Because of the rule of might, politics and
the equal application of the rules of law. The AP article observation
below is critical, except that Haiti has nothing to "give"
because the US -
the authoritarian tyrant masked in the clothe of the benevolent patriarch
hard at keeping Haiti contained-in-poverty while taking whatever it
force, caprice and destabilization with impunity.
"....Temporary protected status has to be considered in a geopolitical
context, said Daniel Erikson of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington
think tank. El Salvador still has it after earthquakes in 2001,"and
one thing that's helped them to get it is there are Salvadoran troops
in Iraq," Erikson said. "What other countries have done is
either give the U.S. something it wants or play a shrewd lobbying game,
and Haiti has done neither," he said.." Go to: Haitians
seek temporary halt to deportations By JENNIFER KAY, AP,
Sept. 12, 2008
We ask members, readers and supporters of the Ezili Network to consider
writing to Secretary Chertoff, President Bush and letters to their editors,
asking for a stop to all deportations and that work permits be granted
to these Haitians. Please refer to our Action
Alert for contact information and a suggested sample letter.
Short term crisis help because of natural disaster is, of course, critically
important. But in our view crisis hand-outs also reinforces the colonial
narrative a great deal for Haiti. Hurricanes happen every year in Haiti
and although they have gotten worst, the net results are always the
same. There are drives and pledges of help. We are told USAID is giving
$10 million to the Haitian government right now. No one tells you the
conditions and stipulations.
Be sure to know, there are and it probably has to do with US corporate
neoliberal interests. These are the uses of Haiti’s perpetual
state of crisis and why no Haitian builders will be allowed to build
levies around Gonaives to prevent these sorts of catastrophes.
In 2004 Hurricane Jeanne killed over 3,000 Haitians and flooded the
Gonaives. Like today the media rushed in and published the lines
of folks in
flood waters, receiving aid, the dying stories and USAID and the US
and committed zillions of dollars to “help.” Gonaives was
never rebuilt and
the city remained full of the devastation battered from Hurricane Jeanne
the subsequent hurricanes from 2004 to now. But a lot of USAID subcontractors
and charity workers raised tons of funds and fed their “benevolent
patriarch-white-savoir-image ad nausea, traveled back for more “courageous
work” and posted their stories.
“The U.S. has given nearly $400 million in assistance to Haiti
including $64 million for disaster relief after Jeanne and Hurricane
2005, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services spokeswoman Ana Santiago
said.” (See, Haitians
seek temporary halt to deportations By JENNIFER KAY,
AP, Sept. 12, 2008
Was Gonaives' roads ever rebuilt, its bridges ever reinforced, flood
barriers erected, the environmental devastations ever addressed? No.
So where did the $400 million
go…? But that’s not the point I wish to make. For as the
Maxwell points out in his article, copied below, for people like Ms.
Rice, ideology and neoliberal geopolitics trumps humane concerns. (See,
of Prometheus by John Maxwell
A song for Gonaive in 2004; and, Gonaive,
So, in Haiti, at the end of the day,
when the media and celebrities
out goods have left, no infrastructure is rebuilt to avoid repetition
of the same
pictures of desperately needy and poor Haitians we all are confronting
narrative they manifest. For Haitians, those are pictures of the two
most common Western narratives – dependent and needy Haitians
vs. the generous benevolent colonial saviors - on Haiti that HLLN aims
to wipe away with the manifestation of a more independent and self-sufficient
Haiti. (See, The
two most common neocolonial storylines about Haiti
; and, Media
Campaign - Ezili Dantò's counter-narrative to the media spins
self-serving colonial negatives promoted about Haiti -
TPS and a stop to all deportations to
the US is important because if a
potential Haitian breadwinner is deported, there's no sustenance for
American born or other children and family abroad, and the complete
in the amount that that breadwinner was sending to Haiti for families
in need of food, shelter, medicines and some DIGNITY.
Haitians from abroad send almost $2 billion to their families and friends
Haiti. This, not USAID, not Catholic Relief Services, nor the Red Cross
emergency relief services or an other humanitarian hand outs is what
Haiti's peoples in the long term. That is as it should be.
And that is what should be assisted by the US government, not destroyed
diluted. Deportations hurts Haiti and Haitians in countless and cruel
The same US that promoted famine in Haiti by destroying Haiti’s
sector cannot blithely send Haitians back where they will starve. The
that destroyed Haiti’s grassroots movements for social justice,
preparedness and responsibly with two Bush dynasty coup d’etats
and 10 years
of IRI/NED/USAID destabilization in-between and foisted the UN slaughters,
rapes and molestation of helpless and now parentless Haitian children
cannot send Haitian breadwinners back to a place where there’s
safety or security than before they left. (See, UN/Brazilian
Troops OUT of
Haiti! - http://www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/Brazilout.html
ask the next US president to....end UN occupation, grant
TPS, stop trading for Haiti with USAID - http://www.ma
The same US that created the slums of Site Soley by dangling and promising
wage jobs and pushing through the invasion of cheap Miami rice, forcing
Haitian rural dwellers into the Capital and off their farms, cannot
seen as simply "benevolent and generous” no matter how many
"zillions" of donor
dollars it tells the American public it has pledged towards Haiti’s
“recovery.” (See, US
"Free Trade" Fraud Promotes Famine in Haiti
wealthy, powerful and well-armed are robbing the Haitian people blind
ruling Oligarchy - Category Zero, The Mercenary Haiti families are the
richest in the Caribbean -
In essence, as we’ve written “Haiti's dream of democracy,
development, Haitian-owned tourism, and sovereignty - food and security
sovereignty - were deferred ....by the Bush dynasty's two regime changes
Haiti's democratic governments, free trade that destroyed Haiti's agriculture
and UN slaughtering, raping in order to pacify dissent.”
The human wreckage you now see displayed on every station reporting
Haiti is not just caused by the hurricanes. No. Haiti had little to
before the last four hurricanes because “US dumped, subsidized
American rice and
foods destroyed Haiti's food sovereignty. Then, after destroying Haitian
rights with two coup d'etats, saddling Haiti with a UN protectorate
Haiti's natural resources could be fleeced at the point of a UN gun,
humanitarian NGOs, aid workers rush in bandying about their "generosity
Haitians" to raise funds abroad that mostly go, not to help Haitian
self-sufficiency but to pay for their own children private education
their life as mini monarchs in Haiti.
Behind the media's spins and racist reporting of the "recalcitrant,
unable-to-rule-self and violent Black Haitians," the Haitian people
are contained-in-poverty, stripped of their human rights and democratic
leaders and being abused and raped by said same "benevolent humanitarians."
aid workers and United Nation peacekeepers are raping and sexually abusing
small children -
spins - http://www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/veil.html#spins).
It is “undeniable that whenever Haitians come together as a people
attempt to set up a popularly elected, democratic government and governance,
based on laws, order, Haitian culture, Haitian interests, ways of life
priorities and on an equitable division of the countries assets, ...it
former slave holding US-Euro countries and their tiny Haitian agents
mercenaries who, invariably, step in to destabilize Haiti so that THEY
bring their own sort and brand of self-serving "democracy",
"justice" and "law and order?" (See, Its
Neither Hope Nor Progress
When The International Community is Running Haiti -
We agree with the Robert Maguire’s
article, responding to former Republican
Senator, Mike DeWine on "What Haiti Needs" when he writes:
“Once the victims of recent flooding receive the care they urgently
investment in rural Haiti -- for environmental rehabilitation and increased
food production -- should finally eclipse a focus on the creation of
assembly plant jobs.” (See, For
Haiti, Assembly Jobs Aren't the Whole Answer
by Robert Maguire, September 12, 2008; A14, Washington Post).
One of our primary tenets at Ezili's HLLN is the promotion and bringing
application Haitian self-sufficiency, self reliance and self-determination.
The constructive help the US may provide is to help Haitians help themselves
step out of the way of Haitianist development.
That means allowing Haitians in the Diaspora to help their families
means having IRI/USAID-sorts of “democracy death projects”
step out of the
way of the Haitian grassroots community and civic structures that will
for the process for evacuation and saving lives next year when the storms
hurricanes come. That means investment, not in the militarization of
but the rebuilding of infrastructure, roads, schools and ameliorating
environmental degradation and investment in Haiti's rural areas and
agriculture sector to allow Haiti to rebuild its food sovereignty. That
means the US should trade
with the Haitian government, not USAID and foreign NGO's and charities
name of Haitians. For this habit only undermines Haiti’s sovereignty,
emboldens and empowers NGOs with no public responsibility or accountability
Haitians or Haiti’s long term well-being. Real US help also means
the application of the immigration rules. That means TPS and the stop
deportations and granting of work permits. That means a stop to the
discrimination in all areas of immigration vis-à-vis Haitians.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and/or its equivalent, whatever stops
deportations and grants work permits that's what is needed for Haiti
addition to the crisis help. Whatever it's called, either as Deferred
Departure (DED) which includes also stopping criminal deportations or
administrative ruling with the effect of stopping all deportations and
granting work permits are procedures on the books in the US for situations
Haiti is facing due to continued repercussions of the imposed 2004 insecurity
right now with the four back-to- back-storms and hurricanes of 2008.
TPS to Haitians- Help the storm victims -
Protected Status, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.)
Please help our COMMUNITY ORGANIZING and mobilization efforts right
Ezili's HLLN by writing to President Bush, Secretary Chertoff and your
congress person, urging the issuance of TPS, granting of work permits,
stop to all deportations of Haitians.
September 12, 2008
proposals that make sense for the reality of Haiti - The Western
economic model doesn't fit an independent Black nation
Ezili's counter-narrative on the ABC/Nightline report on the abuse of
Wednesday, July 9, 2008 7:59 AM
From:"zili danto" <erzilidanto@ yahoo.com>
Haitian child restaveks - domestic servants - does not equate to the
TransAtlantic trade/holocuast | Ezili's counternarrative on the ABC/Nightline
report on the abuse of Haitian children
Ezili Danto's Note on the ABC/Nightline
HLLN categorically denounces the epidemic of kidnapping, child molestation
large market for international trafficking in Haitian children that
on Haiti since the landing of Bush 2004 Haiti Regime change and its
international "peacemakers" and NGO humanitarian aid workers.
Human rights and the safety and security
of Haitians and Haitian children has gotten WORSE not
better since Bush regime change in Haiti and the UN/US occupation.
The purchasers of Haitian children are not Haitians, but the Christian
workers, peacekeepers and other such "Rescuers", i.e. the
blan - the
foreigners roaming free and running internationally occupied Haiti.
Child abuse by aid agency staff | Humanitarian aid workers and United
peacekeepers are sexually abusing small children in several war-ravaged
food-poor countries... Video:
United Nations and Aid workers raping and abusing children
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxKYfrSollc&feature=related ; Video
Report: Child Abuse by Humanitarian Workers -
- See, White
sexual abuse of the poor and powerless in Haiti
We urge all interested in a more balance
and truthful reporting of the abuse
of Haitian children and young women in Haiti to examine the Save the
Report and the countless ousting of UN peacekeepers out of Haiti for
child molestation and sexual abuse. It's incredible that this ABC/Nightline
report completely fails to mention how the market for Haitian children
EXPLODED with Bush 2004 regime change in Haiti, or the role of international
humanitarian workers in Haiti's orphanages, as per the Save the Children
other recent sexual abuse reports.
"...The latest Save the Children report, which concentrated on
Haiti, found evidence of "significant levels" of abuse in
emergencies, much of it
unreported. It cited cases of children as young as six trading sex for
and pitiful amounts of money, and pointed to the filming of child pornography
and sexual slavery. Orphans were particularly at risk, it said."
(Humanitarian aid workers and UN peacekeepers raping and abusing children
and UN peacekeepers 'abusing children'-
In addition, this ABC/Nightline report, after first reporting on the
international market now reaching epic proportions in the trafficking
Haitian children in Haiti, equated Haiti's children domestics, known
restavek to slavery. To equate the restavek issue to slavery is to trivialize
the ownership, sanctioned by Euro-American laws, of Africans starting
1503 in Haiti and ending in 1803 in Haiti when the Africans wrestled
from the European enslavers in combat. That human trafficking trade
in the US until the Civil War and bears little resemblance to the phenomenon,
in most poor countries where children are sent as servants to work at
where they may find an education and food. That restaveks are abused
exploited in Haiti, as in the rest of the developing world, is not questioned.
But the exploitation is ILLEGAL in Haiti. The Haiti child restavek indentured
servant issue cannot be equated to the Maafa, to the Euro-American chattel
slavery of the TransAtlantic nor the European Trans-Mediterranean slave
That's a period, no comma. To do so is to trivialize the European sponsored
African holocaust - Maafa.
Nightline Exposes Modern-Day Slavery
by Kim Trobee, digital producer
to Buy a Child in 10 Hours
One Reporter's Journey Reveals An Epidemic of Child Slavery in Haiti
See also Ezili Danto speaks on the Haiti
Restavek issue at the four
windowsonhaiti posts noted below:
The posts below looks at the legal situation and social, educational
But Haitians are pushing to come together to stop the abuse of poor,
unprotected children, as well as to raise awareness of the plight of
Restavek. These three post give a historical perspective, some critical
observations, and hopefully, will add to the many concerned Haitian
clamoring to legally amend Chapter 9 of the Haitian Labor Code which
child domestic labor, and, for a nationwide educational campaign on
and the rights of Haitian children.
to AP Editors on Restavek Issue
to the Editor - On AP story entitled Report says 225,000 Haiti children
work as slaves written by Evens Sanon
Dear AP Editors:
We are writing you today in referenced to the Associated Press' story
by Evens Sanon, entitled "Report
says 225,000 Haiti children work as slaves."
The article, citing the Pan American Development Foundation, explains
that "Poverty has forced at least 225,000 children in Haiti's cities
into slavery as unpaid household servants, far more than previously
thought" and "said some of those children — mostly young
girls — suffer sexual, psychological and physical abuse while
toiling in extreme hardship."
At Ezili's HLLN we find it repugnant when children are forced to work
for food and shelter, not provided with good schooling and a loving
and nurturing childhood is stolen from them. We all must together change
this for the world's poor. But our concern is that in all poor countries
there is some form of child labor. Until very recently child labor was
also prevalent in industrialized countries including the United States.
Today, the media is calling child domestics "slaves" only
in Haiti. This is far too obvious, racist, arbitrary and capricious.
Please consider reporting on the real enslavement in Haiti - that is,
the slavery in Haiti the media won’t expose: eleven to thirteen
mercenary families in Haiti own most of the country's wealth while the
majority starve and live in utter misery and poverty.
There would not be child labor in Haiti without the tyranny of the rich,
the false charity of US/Euro Christian missions, the false orphanages,
false food aid, false Euro/US benevolence administered by USAID that
serves the wealth-off in Haiti not the poorest of the poor and the regime
changes and coup d'etats they sponsor with the backing of US/Euro governments
to keep the majority of Haitians in poverty's bondage. (See, Ezili
Dantò's review of TRAVESTY in Haiti - A true account of Christian
missions, orphanages, fraud, food aid and drug trafficking.)
Euro/US financial colonialism, false charity and fraudulent free trade
destabilizes, causes famine, instability and slums in Haiti. This allows
the wealthy to exploit the poorest of the poor and forces the poor to
send their children to relatives or others supposedly better able to
take care of them. Your media ought to report this and stop the capricious
colonial narrative that only labels Haitian child domestics as "slaves"
but won't report what causes Haiti's impoverishment.
The long term solution for Haiti's future, for Haiti's small children
is equitable distribution of the Haiti's
resources, an end to foreign-sponsored dependence, false
benevolence, occupation/dictatorships/regime change and the monopoly
of the rich, forced scarcity and assimilation, exclusion
of the majority, endless debts, financial colonialism, and
free trade of US foreign policy that causes famine, wage
slavery and containment in perpetual poverty.
(For more, go to: The
Slavery in Haiti the Media Won't Expose, and TRAVESTY
in Haiti - A true account of Christian missions, orphanages, fraud,
food aid and drug trafficking.) Thank you.
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN),
USA and Haiti
December 23, 2009
Letter to the New York Times - Demonizing the Gonaives Hurricane Victims,
Sept. 14, 2008
child restaveks - domestic servants - does not equate to the European
TransAtlantic trade/holocaust | Ezili's counternarrative on the ABC/Nightline
report on the abuse of Haitian children,
July 9, 2008
says 225,000 Haiti children work as slaves
By EVENS SANON (AP)
– December 23, 2009
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Poverty has forced at least 225,000 children
in Haiti's cities into slavery as unpaid household servants, far more
than previously thought, a report said Tuesday.
The Pan American Development Foundation's report also said some of those
children — mostly young girls — suffer sexual, psychological
and physical abuse while toiling in extreme hardship.
The report recommends Haiti's government and international donors focus
efforts on educating the poor and expanding social services such as
shelters for girls, who make up an estimated two-thirds of the child
Young servants are known as "restavek" — Haitian Creole
for "stays with" — and their plight is both widely known
and a source of great shame in the Caribbean nation that was founded
by a slave revolt more than 200 years ago.
Researchers said the practice is so common that almost half of 257 children
interviewed in the sprawling Port-au-Prince shantytown of Cite Soleil
were household slaves.
Most are sent by parents who cannot afford to care for them to families
just slightly better off. Researchers found 11 percent of families that
have a restavek have sent their own children into domestic servitude
Despite growing attention to the problem, researchers said their sources
were unaware of any prosecutions of cases involving trafficking children
or using them as unpaid servants in this deeply poor nation of more
than 9 million people.
Glenn Smucker, one of the report's authors and a cultural anthropologist
known for extensive work on Haiti, said he believes the number of restavek
children is increasing proportionally with the population of Port-au-Prince
as more migrants flee rural poverty to live in the capital.
The researchers surveyed more than 1,400 random households in five Haitian
urban areas in late 2007 and early 2008, with funding help from the
U.S. Agency for International Development.
The most widely used previous number for restaveks came from a 2002
UNICEF survey, which estimated there were 172,000.
The new report used a broader counting system to include children related
to household owners but still living in servitude, such as nieces or
cousins, and as well as "boarders" living temporarily with
another family but are still forced to provide labor.
"Most people working with restavek children ... think that these
numbers, both ours and UNICEF's, are actually underestimating the problem,"
said Herve Razafimbahini, the Pan American Development Foundation's
program director in Haiti.
He called for Haitian officials to conduct a national survey to analyze
the full scope of the problem, including in rural areas.
Officials with the Ministry of Social Affairs could not be reached for
Associated Press writers Evens Sanon reported this story from Port-Au-Prince
and Jonathan M. Katz reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
group in the world
sends more money
than Haitians living
in the Diaspora
Ezili Dantò's master Haitian dance class (Video clip)
Haitian & West African Dance Troop
Much Like Here- Jazzoetry
CD audio clip
group of Haitian migrants arrive in a bus after being
repatriated from the nearby Turks and Caicos Islands,
in Cap-Haitien, northern Haiti, Thursday, May 10, 2007.
They were part of the survivors of a sailing vessel crowded
with Haitian migrants that overturned Friday, May 4 in
moonlit waters a half-mile from shore in shark-infested
waters. Haitian migrants claim a Turks and Caicos naval
vessel rammed their crowded sailboat twice before it capsized.
(AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
in the Yellow
Dlo, Nan Ginen
Workshops - See, Red,
Black & Moonlight series or
of articles written for the
October 17, 2006 bicentennial commemoration of the life and
works of Dessalines, I wrote for HLLN that: "Haiti's
liberator and founding father, General
Jacques Dessalines, said,
"I Want the Assets of the Country
to be Equitably Divided" and
for that he was assassinated by the Mullato sons of France.
was the first coup d'etat, the Haitian holocaust - organized
exclusion of the masses, misery, poverty and the impunity
of the economic elite - continues (with Feb. 29, 2004 marking
the 33rd coup d'etat). Haiti's peoples continue to
resist the return of despots,
tyrants and enslavers who
wage war on the poor majority and Black, contain-them-in poverty
through neocolonialism' debts, "free trade" and
foreign "investments." These neocolonial tyrants
refuse to allow an equitable division of wealth, excluding
the majority in Haiti from sharing in the
country's wealth and assets."
Mundele: Our mission to live free or die trying, Another Haitian
Independence Day under occupation; The
Legacy of Impunity of One Sector-Who killed Dessalines?;
The Legacy of Impunity:The
Neoconlonialist inciting political instability is the problem.
Haiti is underdeveloped in crime, corruption, violence, compared
to other nations,
all, by Marguerite 'Ezili Dantò' Laurent
other national group in the world sends more money than Haitians
living in the Diaspora
Vodun is as old as creation and it's the
Light and Beauty of Haiti
Women: Mother of All the Races
Dantò – Symbols of the Great warrior mother and goddess
Religious Practices Originate from Vodun
Ezili Danto live in Miami w/Sanba Yatande, TiRouj & Manno