“What is wrong with Haiti?” is provocatively offered as a question, along with apologies to the great essayist, G.K. Chesterton. The answer to what is wrong with Haiti is that the hand wringers, meaning those of goodwill who profess undying love for the tiny island nation never seem to ask what is right. Nor do they attempt to discern the source of wrongdoing. For over two centuries, Haiti has balanced on a fulcrum. Heaven and hell hang in the balance and only God knows the outcome.
Five hundred people packed an Oakland church to welcome Dr. Maryse Narcisse, presidential candidate of Fanmi Lavalas, the party of Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The event kicked off a week-long speaking tour of California that took her to Scripps College in Los Angeles County, the UCLA School of Public Health and the National Lawyers Guild annual dinner in San Francisco.
At Merritt College, the birthplace of the Black Panther Party, on the 74th birthday of its co-founder, Huey P. Newton, the African American Studies Program fittingly hosted a talk by the recently opened Cuban Embassy’s First Secretary Miguel Fraga, where he spoke on Cuban-U.S. relations. Afterwards, he and I continued to talk about the embargo, U.S. relations with Haiti, Venezuela and Bolivia, funding of Radio Marti, and the dissipation of the radical Latin American bloc of nations opposed to U.S. aggression and hegemony in the region and in the world.
The Haitian people are determined to thwart what they see as an ongoing “electoral coup d’etat” by Haiti’s ruling elite, President Martelly and their U.S., French and Canadian backers – marching in the streets almost daily in their tens of thousands, risking their lives to insist that the fraudulent election be thrown out. On Dec. 16, the 25th anniversary of Haiti’s first free election in 1990, large-scale demonstrations will take place again throughout Haiti. We are echoing and amplifying their demands with a day of action and solidarity with the people of Haiti.
Hooded gangs attacked a large demonstration against election fraud today in the Haitian capital. Haitians, determined to thwart what they see as an ongoing “electoral coup d’état,” have been in the streets almost daily in their tens of thousands since the Oct. 25 first round presidential elections. There were huge demonstrations, punctuated by police firing into the crowd, wounding several, on Nov. 18. On Nov. 1, a big election protest in the Bel Air popular district, led by a Rara band, was attacked and two marchers shot dead; later that day a third protester was ambushed and killed on the way home.
Following Haiti’s controversial presidential and legislative elections held on Sunday, Oct. 25, alarm is growing about irregularities in the counting of the votes at voting centers and in the transportation of votes to the tabulation center. There is widespread mistrust of the process. Most international observers of the election and subsequent press reports have focused on the day of the election but not on the counting and tabulation of the votes.
On Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in the Dominican Republic, supposedly a paradise of European development, a Haitian man named Henry Claude Jean, known as “Tulile,” a humble shoe shine worker, was found hanging in a park in Santiago, his hands and feet bound. In Haiti, the U.S.-installed Martelly dictatorship and its controlled opposition remain silent about this atrocious lynching.
An urgent call from Haiti Action Committee - On Aug. 13, the Haitian government summoned former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to court on corruption charges. This summons is part of a chilling pattern of repression aimed at destroying Aristide’s political party, Fanmi Lavalas, as the country approaches new legislative elections. We denounce it in the strongest possible terms.
TheatreWorks’ production of “Once on This Island” is a beautifully choreographed story about love and loss, faith and selflessness. A musical based on the Caribbean writer and Black arts movement pioneer Rosa Guy’s adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s “Little Mermaid” set in a mysterious tropical island, when Napoleon appears defeated, we know it is Ayiti (Haiti).
The strain of cholera brought to Haiti by Nepalese U.N. soldiers in 2010 has spread to the Dominican Republic, Cuba and now Mexico. In the past few months, Mexico has reported 176 confirmed cases of the disease, with one death. The Pan American Health Organization reported that the genetic profile of the strain in Mexico presents a greater than 95 percent match with the Haitian strain.
Six term congresswoman, ‘08 Green Party presidential candidate and international peace activist Cynthia McKinney has been willing to risk her life to represent for Black people, fearlessly investigating such hot issues as Katrina, Haiti, the Congo, Libya and more. Currently she is writing her Ph.D. dissertation on President Hugo Chavez and attended his recent funeral in Caracas. Meet this warm and courageous woman at Bay View fundraisers Wednesday, April 24, at the Laney College Forum, 900 Fallon St., Oakland, at 6:30 p.m., and on Thursday, April 25, at the Arlene Francis Center, 99 Sixth St., Santa Rosa, at 7 p.m.
The award winning play, “The Mountaintop,” looks at the everyday divinity of ordinary folks and places Martin King right there with them. His greatness is not a greatness which is inaccessible or isolated. In the Lorraine Motel that night, King listens and even agrees at some point with the young maid, Camae, a Malcolm X radical in an apron.
On Jan. 9, MASSIVE demonstrations throughout Haiti supported former President Aristide after he was summoned to court on frivolous charges seen as political persecution. People say that putting Aristide on trial is the same as putting the Haitian masses on trial and that the charges are meant to divert attention from the third earthquake anniversary and the theft of billions in aid. Speak out against the Red Cross for building a luxury hotel with aid funds. Rally Friday, Jan. 11, 4:30-5:30 p.m., outside Red Cross headquarters, 3901 Broadway, near MacArthur BART, Oakland.
“Haiti may have many problems but until 2010 cholera was not one of them. In fact, the country had no known history of the disease at all,” the Al Jazeera host explains. In October 2010, the first of now 8,000 Haitians died of cholera introduced to Haiti by U.N. peacekeeping troops from Nepal and the U.N.’s negligence in allowing their untreated waste to poison a major river.
Terry Collins, co-founder of KPOO 89.5FM, and Willie Ratcliff, publisher of the San Francisco Bay View, blessed the airwaves last Tuesday afternoon with a warm and revealing discussion of life and resistance and the upcoming Black Media Appreciation Night, honoring the champions of independent Black media. Black Media Appreciation Night is this Monday, Nov. 26, 8 p.m., at Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland. For tickets and more information, go to http://www.yoshis.com/oakland/jazzclub/artist/show/3104.
Sandy wreaked havoc in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean. More than 60 people have been killed in those neighboring countries. Haiti has lost her crops. Over 200,000 are left homeless with far fewer resources than New York City to rescue and restore what was lost.