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vendredi 6 mai 2011

UN to set up taskforce in wake of report into source of Haitian cholera outbreak

4 May 2011 – An independent panel set up by the United Nations to investigate the source of the cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 4,500 lives in Haiti since it emerged last October has found that a “confluence of circumstances,” and not the fault of any group or individual, was responsible for the fast-moving outbreak. The report of the four-member panel of experts, released today, includes a series of recommendations for the UN and the Haitian Government so they can help prevent the future introduction and spread of cholera within the impoverished Caribbean country.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced that he plans to convene a task force to study the report’s findings “to ensure prompt and appropriate follow-up.”
Nearly 300,000 Haitians have been sickened since the outbreak started and fresh infections and deaths continue to occur.
The experts’ report states that the evidence “overwhelmingly supports” the conclusion that the source was human activity contaminating a tributary of the Artibonite River with a pathogenic strain of cholera.
Scientific analysis indicate that the bacteria did not originate from the native environment of Haiti, but from a strain “very similar but not identical” to South Asian strains currently circulating within Asia.
The outbreak was able to spread so quickly and widely through the Artibonite River delta and eventually all of Haiti because of a series of factors, including:

•Tens of thousands of Haitians use the river system for washing, bathing, drinking and recreation;
•Thousands of agriculture workers are regularly exposed to the river waters, especially those working in rice paddy fields;
•The local population lacked immunity to cholera;
•The country suffers from poor water and sanitation conditions;
•Infected individuals fled to their home communities after the initial outbreak, thus dispersing the outbreak.
“The introduction of this cholera strain as a result of environmental contamination with faeces could not have been the source of such an outbreak without simultaneous water and sanitation and health-care system deficiencies,” the report concludes.

“These deficiencies, coupled with conducive environmental and epidemiological conditions, allowed the spread of the Vibrio cholerae organism in the environment, from which a large number of people became infected.
“The Independent Panel concludes that the Haiti cholera outbreak was caused by the confluence of circumstances as described above, and was not the fault or, or deliberate action of, a group or individual.”
Mr. Ban set up the panel in early January amid reports that Nepalese peacekeepers serving with the UN force in Haiti (MINUSTAH) may have been the source.
The panel members note that the outbreak highlights the risk of cholera being transmitted in the wake of a major emergency, such as occurred last year in Haiti when a catastrophic earthquake killed more than 200,000 people.
The report recommends that UN personnel and other emergency responders travelling from cholera-endemic areas should either receive a prophylactic dose of appropriate antibiotics before departure or be screened to confirm the absence of the relevant cholera strains.
UN peacekeeping missions operating in areas with cholera outbreaks should ensure that staff be immunized with oral vaccines, receive prophylactic antibiotics, or both, according to the report.
It also calls on UN installations around the world to treat faecal waste using on-site systems that inactivate pathogens before disposal, with the systems operated or supervised by qualified and trained UN staff.
In addition, the report recommends that the Haitian Government and the UN prioritize investing in piped, treated drinking water supplies and better sanitation throughout the country.
Until that can be put in place, the panellists urge the expansion of programmes to treat water at the household or community level with chlorine or other effective method; hand washing with soap; and the safe disposal of faecal waste.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said he would carefully consider the report’s findings and recommendations and stressed that the UN would continue to support the Government and people of Haiti as they battle the cholera epidemic.
“The cholera outbreak has caused significant loss of life and widespread infection throughout the country,” he said. “On behalf of the UN family, the Secretary-General reiterates his deepest sympathies to the victims of the epidemic and their loved ones.”
The panel was chaired by Alejandro Cravioto of Mexico, from the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh. The other three members were Claudio Lanata of the Instituto de Investigacion Nutritional in Peru, Daniele Lantagne of Harvard University in the United States, and Balakrish Nair of the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases in India.
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38277&Cr=haiti&Cr1=

Haiti: UN warns rainy season poses challenge to ongoing anti-cholera efforts

5 May 2011 – The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti will continue supporting all efforts to combat the spread of cholera in the Caribbean country, cautioning today that the forthcoming rainy season could pose fresh challenges because of the risk of contamination of water sources. “The rainy season is coming and this is a great source of concern for us because the more water you have, the more the risk of new propagation of the epidemic,” said Sylvie van den Wildenberg, spokesperson for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
“MINUSTAH is committed to keep supporting all the humanitarian partners – those in the UN family and indeed the Government of Haiti – in order to respond in the most efficient manner to this new challenge,” she told a news conference in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince.
Ms. van den Wildenberg spoke a day after the release of a report by an independent panel set up by the UN to investigate the source of the cholera outbreak that has claimed more than 4,500 lives in Haiti since last October. The report concluded that a “confluence of circumstances,” and not the fault of any group or individual, was responsible for the fast-moving outbreak.
The four-member panel of experts included a series of recommendations for the UN and the Haitian Government so they can help prevent the future introduction and spread of cholera.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that he plans to convene a task force to study the report’s findings “to ensure prompt and appropriate follow-up.”
Nearly 300,000 Haitians have been sickened since the outbreak started and fresh infections and deaths continue to occur.
Ms. van den Wildenberg said tremendous efforts have been made and good results achieved in the fight against cholera, but the country still remains vulnerability to the disease owing to its poor sanitation.
An appeal for $175 million launched by humanitarian agencies last year to respond to the epidemic has received only 48 per cent of the requested funding, and she urged donors who made pledges to make the resources available for continuing efforts to fight the disease.
The spokesperson also noted that the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Haiti, Edmond Mulet, had offered the UN’s deepest sympathies to those affected by the cholera epidemic and the families of those who had died.
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=38291&Cr=haiti&Cr1=

Haiti cholera similar to South Asian strain, says UN

Before this epidemic, cholera had not been present in Haiti for nearly a 100 years, the UN report says Continue reading the main story
The cholera strain that has claimed more than 4,500 lives in Haiti closely resembles strains currently circulating in South Asia, a UN report has found.
The investigation followed accusations that UN peacekeepers from Nepal had introduced the disease into Haiti, prompting violent anti-UN riots.
The accusations had been denied by UN and Nepalese officials.
The UN said the report did "not present any conclusive scientific evidence" of a link to the peacekeepers.
The panel said a "confluence of circumstances" were involved in the outbreak.
The epidemic, which started 10 months after Haiti's devastating earthquake in January 2010, has sickened almost 300,000 people, the report says.
Antibiotics call
UN investigators say the epidemic was caused by bacteria introduced to Haiti as a result of "human activity", pointing specifically to the contamination of the Meye tributary system, near the Mirebalais camp housing Nepalese peacekeepers.
The UN had previously described reports that human faecal waste from the camp had caused the outbreak by leaking into river systems as "rumours", saying sanitary conditions for Nepalese peacekeepers were adequate.
The panel now finds that sanitary conditions at the base, "were not sufficient to prevent contamination" of the river system.
However, Michel Bonnardeaux, a spokesman for the UN peacekeeping department, told Reuters news agency the report "does not present any conclusive scientific evidence linking the outbreak to the Minustah peacekeepers or the Mirebalais camp".
He added: "Anyone carrying the relevant strain of the disease in the area could have introduced the bacteria into the river."
The panel experts called for UN peacekeepers travelling from cholera-endemic countries to be screened for the disease and to receive prophylactic antibiotics before their departure.
The investigators also recommended UN installations worldwide treat faecal waste using on-site systems to "inactivate pathogens before disposal".
The panel concludes the epidemic "was not the fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual".
They say the Artibonite river's canal system and delta "provide optimal environmental conditions for the rapid proliferation" of cholera.
Experts point to deficiencies in the healthcare, water and sanitation systems in Haiti, saying without these factors "environmental contamination with faeces could not have been the source of such an outbreak".
Further, Haitians lack immunity to the disease which has been absent from the country for nearly a century, they say.
The results come as medical aid groups in the country raise concerns of a new surge of the disease as the spring rainy season begins.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13297424

Haiti: Just When You Think It Can't Get Any Worse

by Beverly Bell We may soon look back on this period in Haiti with greater appreciation. Amidst the world-historic levels of death and suffering from last January’s earthquake, citizens have at least been spared the scale of government violence that has marked much of their nation’s past (not-with-standing attacks against internally displaced persons during forced evictions, and occasionally against street protestors.)
This may change under Michel Martelly, the incoming president. For starters, he wants to bring back the army that former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide dismantled in 1995. Since Haiti already has a police force to maintain public order and the country is not expected to go to war, Martelly can have only one aim for reintroducing armed forces: to reclaim the tool that past presidents have used to shore up their power by means of violent repression of dissent and competition.
Forces are already readying for violence, which will likely be exerted both through the army and through gangs. Journalist Isabeau Doucet filed this eyewitness report last month: “For over a year, on a hillside south of Port-au-Prince, around 100 former soldiers and young recruits train three times a week. They claim to have a network of camps all over the country where Haitian men meet and exercise, learn military protocol and martial arts and receive basic training... The black-and-red flag of Jean-Claude Duvalier’s party hangs in their tarpaulin dressing room… Somebody is paying for this, even though they claim that it’s all-volunteer, and the current government is turning a blind eye, if not giving tacit support.”
Just how the forces of violence may ally with various backers - some combination of Martelly and those surrounding the returned former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier - is one question. Another is how much they may tyrannize a citizens’ movement which is demanding solutions to widespread homelessness, unemployment, and extreme poverty. Two U.S.-based groups supporting community organizing in Haiti are already preparing emergency responses in case significant political violence should erupt.
Beyond Martelly’s plans for an army, his past associations raise concerns about what policies he may bring to office. Martelly was public in his support for the death squad-friendly regimes that reigned after coups d’état against Aristide (1991 and 2004). More recently, Martelly has made such public statements as "I would kill Aristide to stick a dick up his ass."
Martelly won in a run-off in which less than one in four registered voters bothered to turn out, meaning he was endorsed by 16.7% of all registered voters. If this sounds abysmally low for a mandate, it is lofty compared to the 4.6% who are believed to have supported Martelly in the first round. No one knows the figure for sure, because that round was so fraudulent that even the government’s Provisional Electoral Council refused to ratify it with a majority vote. While legally, this should have nullified the first round, the Organization of American States and the U.S. government intensively pressured the Haitian government to approve the elections and send Martelly to the run-offs. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even traveled to Haiti to ensure these outcomes.
After Martelly was declared president, Clinton said, “Now he has a chance to lead and we are behind him. He is committed to results. He wants to deliver for the Haitian people. And we are committed to helping him do so.”
Other bad news dogs Haiti. The lives of those left displaced from the earthquake are growing more, not less, precarious, contrary to what one might expect with the passing of time and the many billions of aid dollars circulating.
A primary risk is cholera, which is due to spike once the imminent rainy season hits, because the near-daily storms will leave standing water and mud in most camps. The camps are already the perfect breeding ground for this disease of poverty, with their densely concentrated populations who are frequently weak and ill, often lack water – not just drinking water but often any water at all – and suffer from a dearth of hygiene options and medical care. A recent study in the medical journal The Lancet predicted 779,000 cases and 11,100 deaths from cholera by the end of November.
With all humanitarian and international agencies in Haiti aware of the dire risk of this illness which can result in death only a few hours after infection, 39% of ‘transitional shelters’ still do not receive water or basic sanitation services. Michelle Karshan, an American advocate engaged in anti-cholera efforts, reported: “There is a deadly shortage of available cholera prevention and treatment supplies. And the most important prevention of cholera transmission – creation of a water system infrastructure making treated water widely available – is still not off the ground, while distribution of water continues to reach only a minuscule number of camps. The majority of the resource-poor camps are left to fend for themselves.”# The U.N. Cholera Appeal for Haiti has only received 45% of the funds it needs.
The deeper worry is why, with up to 1.5 million people still homeless after 16 months, water purification tablets and port-o-potties are still being discussed as a solution. The only way to make people safe from this disease is to resettle them into decent housing. Yet still neither the international community nor the Haitian government has any workable plans. The government has yet to invoke its constitutional right to declare eminent domain and claim large plots of unused private land in order to relocate people. International aid has yet to be significantly employed in clearing rubble, 80% of which remains, rendering much of Port-au-Prince uninhabitable.
Another hazard that internally displaced persons (IDPs) face is being forced out of their camps, left in even greater precariousness. According to the International Organization for Migration, 820,000 of the original set of IDPs dwellers – more than half - have left the camps, but not because they have found a better situation. Only 4.7% have gone to new or repaired housing. The remainder, as reported by the International Organization for Migration and substantiated by many community watchdog groups in Haiti, have fled for two reasons. One is an anywhere-but-here response, in which families have escaped to dangerously earthquake-damaged structures, ravines, crowded rooms, or whatever they can find. Others have been evicted in a growing wave of expulsions – some violent, many illegal - by both government institutions and private landowners.
As they have since the earthquake, coalitions of progressive NGOs, community groups, and camp committees are trying to mount pressure to win gains in a broad-based agenda which includes democratic participation and socio-economic rights. Predominant strategies include popular education, legal support for camp residents, policy advocacy, and grassroots mobilization. A snapshot of some of the groups’ activities in the three-week period surrounding this article includes: a three-day May Day mobilization for workers’ rights; a three-day symposium critiquing disaster capitalism, “What Financing for What Reconstruction?”, and a three-day exchange to strengthen efforts to force resettlement of IDPs, “International Forum for the Right to Housing.”
These movements currently lack funding and cohesion. At many points in Haitian history, however, pressure from below has proven to be the critical variable in forcing change. Given the disappointing track record of the international community and development industry, and the ominous prospects of Martelly’s presidency, they may be Haiti’s best hope.
Beverly Bell has worked with Haitian social movements for over 30 years. She is also author of the book Walking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance. She coordinates Other Worlds, www.otherworldsarepossible.org, which promotes social and economic alternatives. She is also associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.

http://thewip.net/talk/2011/05/haiti_just_when_you_think_it_c.html

Martelly: Haiti's second great disaster

No sooner had Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly been confirmed the winner in Haiti's deeply flawed presidential election than he jumped on a plane and headed to Washington, where he met with his country's real power brokers: officials from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the US Chamber of Commerce and the State Department.

There, he committed his desperately poor country - where some 700,000 people are still homeless as a result of last year's earthquake - to fiscal discipline, promising to "give new life to the business sector". In exchange, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave him a strong endorsement. "We are behind him; we have a great deal of enthusiasm," she said. "The people of Haiti may have a long road ahead of them, but as they walk it, the United States will be with you all the way," she added.
Martelly, a well-known kompa singer, is an unusual choice to lead Haiti. With no political experience, he represents a clear break with the country's other democratically elected presidents since the island nation ousted the dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier and ushered in an unprecedented era of democracy.
The US press billed his victory as "overwhelming". But with Haiti's most popular political party, Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas, banned from participating in the election, a vast majority of Haitians didn't vote. Martelly took the presidency with just 16.7 per cent of the electorate.
Compare this dismal turnout with the election of Haiti's last two presidents. Aristide, a popular liberation theologian priest, won the presidency twice in landslides where a majority of the electorate voted, first in 1990 and again in 2000. Aristide's first prime minister, Rene Preval likewise was elected twice by large margins with high turnouts, in 1995 and 2006. In this election, Martelly got two-thirds of the vote - but three-quarters of registered voters didn't turn up.
It bodes ominously for Haiti, but Martelly may have more in common with Gerard Latortue, the head of state imposed on Haiti following the 2004 US-backed coup d'etat against Aristide. A South Florida talk-show host, Latortue, like Martelly, had no background in politics. But, like Martelly, he did have friends in Washington. During Latortue's brief stint in office, 2004 - 2006, Haiti experienced some 4,000 political murders, according to The Lancet - while hundreds of Fanmi Lavalas members, Aristide supporters, and social movement leaders were locked up - usually on bogus charges. Latortue's friends in Washington looked the other way.



Martelly's Washington friends include Damian Merlo, his presidential campaign manager. Merlo's CV should alarm anyone concerned with democracy in Haiti. Merlo has worked for Otto Reich, the Iran-Contra veteran and supporter of coups in Honduras and Venezuela. Merlo has also worked with the International Republican Institute, which - under the banner of "democracy promotion" - funds "civil society" organisations to destabilise governments it deems to be a problem.
During his stint at IRI, Merlo took steps to weaken Brazil's governing Workers' Party. Prior to taking on Sweet Micky's campaign, Merlo beefed up his experience with John McCain's failed 2008 presidential bid. McCain, interestingly, chairs IRI's board, and brought Reich on as a foreign policy adviser during the 2008 campaign.
Many Haiti observers may be familiar with the IRI for the key role it played in overthrowing Aristide's government during his second term. IRI trained and funded various anti-Aristide groups, promoted anti-Aristide propaganda, and, as described in a New York Times feature article in 2006, even worked to undermine political solutions being negotiated with Aristide by the US embassy and the Organisation of American States. Two years earlier, the IRI was also deeply involved in the failed coup against Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Support and campaign
While in Washington, Martelly promised his supporters that he would promote transparency when it came to foreign aid. That openness, however, apparently doesn't apply to his campaign donations, raising the possibility that he is funded by the same groups which drove Aristide from power in 2004. Martelly admits that he received financial support from foreign sources but, in response to questioning by the Miami Herald, he refused to identify them other than saying they are "people who believe in us". When pressed, he deflected, telling the interviewer, "you talk to them".
All told, Martelly reportedly spent some six million dollars on his campaign - the equivalent of $15billion in the US. To put this in perspective, Obama is hoping to spend US$1billion on his upcoming reelection campaign. These deep pockets were probably the deciding factor in his victory.
It was Merlo, along with right wing Spanish PR group Ostos & Sola with close ties to Spain's neo-fascist Popular Party, that successfully made-over Martelly's public persona, putting him in a suit and encouraging him to tone down his rhetoric. These spin doctors counselled him to go from "Sweet Micky" - popular and bawdy entertainer, to the more respectable Michel Martelly - presidential candidate.
Still, some disturbing "Sweet Micky" outbursts bubbled up towards the end of the campaign - troublesome YouTube moments that might have doomed a presidential contender in the United States. In one, apparently recent, video, Martelly was filmed surrounded by a small group of friends at a club. "All those shits were Aristide's faggots," he shouts in kreyol in the candid video, while pulling his T-shirt up and rubbing his belly. "I would kill Aristide and stick a dick up his ass." This was followed by an audio recording - also posted on YouTube, accompanied by a photo of Martelly in a suit - in which the candidate denounced Fanmi Lavalas: "The Lavalas are so ugly. They smell like s**t. F**k you, Lavalas. F**k you, Jean-Bertrand Aristide."
Martelly's ties with coup-supporting Republicans in the US and neo-fascists in Spain are perhaps the least worrisome of the president-elect's relationships. His relationship to Haiti's violent far-right goes way back. It is well known, for instance, that he ran a nightclub frequented by Duvalierists in the late 1980's and early 1990's. He has also admitted to having joined the Tonton Macoutes - the world-infamous, murderous militia of the Duvalier dictatorships - in his younger days. Martelly has also spoken freely about his friendships with convicted murderer Michel François and others involved in the coups against Aristide - which Martelly also admits he supported. His famous song, "I Don't Care" is a rebuff to controversy about such associations.
Obama's push
Despite all these documented troublesome statements and associations, the Obama administration went to great lengths to ensure that Martelly wound up running in the election's second round.
Official results in the disputed first round initially had the government-supported candidate, Jude Celestin, placed second, with Martelly close behind in third. Martelly's campaign alleged widespread fraud and other irregularities. True enough, but it was not clear that the net fraud went against him. When an Organisation of American States "expert" mission was sent in to determine the actual runner-up, they selected Martelly by recounting only a sample of the ballots, without using any statistical inference. The 234 tally sheets that they disqualified turned out to be from areas where Celestin had strong support. Six of the seven members of the OAS mission were from the US, Canada, and France - that is, the countries that supported the 2004 coup against Aristide. When questioned by independent experts from the Centre for Economic and Policy Research (who actually counted all the voter tally sheets in their independent election report), the mission could not explain its methodology.
In fact, the mission's chief statistical expert - US statistician Fritz Scheuren - admitted that the OAS mission had no statistical basis for its recommendation: to replace Celestin with Martelly. Observers noted that it was also highly unusual - perhaps unprecedented - for an election to be overturned without a full recount.
But that is exactly what happened. The Obama administration insisted that Haiti's electoral authorities accept the OAS mission's conclusions and put Martelly on the ballot. Hillary Clinton made a surprise trip to Haiti - in the midst of the Egypt uprising - just for this purpose. Preval was threatened with a cut off of US aid and even with being flown out of the country before his term was up - ala Aristide in 2004 - to pressure him to weigh in with the electoral council - even though the council, by law, is supposed to be independent.
Ultimately, the council never achieved a majority of members to support putting Martelly on the ballot. But the council's spokesperson publicly stated that it had, and the election proceeded - with Martelly running instead of Celestin - with legal experts unsure whether the election would have any legal validity.
In short, the US government got its way. Following the deeply flawed first round of elections, Martelly supporters launched violent protests, sometimes attacking other candidates' partisans. By the time they were over, five people had been killed in the riots. Other disturbing incidents persisted even after Martelly was selected for the runoff ballot. On March 8, for example, three campaign workers for Martelly's opponent, Mirlande Manigat, were found murdered, their bodies mutilated in apparent signs of torture. The killers remain unknown, as does the motive.

Martelly and the army
To many observers, the violence seemed well-orchestrated, and Martelly conspicuously did or said little to attempt to reign in his raging supporters. Journalist Kim Ives has noted that, during the campaign, Martelly began organising something that looked familiar to the old system of Tonton Macoute "volunteers".
"For $30, before the election, potential voters could join the Base Michel Joseph Martelly," writes Ives, "and invest in a pink plastic membership card, with photo, which promises many advantages (such as a job, say) when the Martelly administration comes to power."
As Ives notes, during the Duvalier period, "every Macoute received a card that afforded him many privileges, like free merchandise from any store he entered, entitlement to coerced sex, and fear and respect from people in general". The Macoutes became one of the most notorious death squads to wage terror in the region during the Cold War - no small accomplishment.
Considering this history, one proposal Martelly made on the campaign trail is especially alarming. He has promised to reconstitute the Haitian army, which Aristide disbanded over fifteen years ago.
The modern Haitian army was notoriously bloodthirsty. Established by the US military during its 1915-1934 occupation of Haiti, the army has long been denounced as a prolific human rights abuser. Since its 1995 disbanding - following overwhelming support for the measure in a popular poll - its "veterans" (including suspected narco-trafficker, Guy Philippe, and Louis Jodel Chamblain - head of security for Duvalier since his surprise return in January) have played a prominent role in the country's violent right wing. They were involved in overthrowing Aristide in 2004 and, in the past, have also engaged in occasional attacks on police stations, pro-Fanmi Lavalas communities, and even the presidential palace - sometimes wearing their old uniforms. When the death squad named the Front for the Advancement of the Haitian People terrorised the Lavalas support base following Aristide's 1991 ousting, it too was headed up by former soldiers - who were also funded by the CIA.
The Associated Press visited one would-be "army" camp just weeks before the second round of elections, encountering men there who proudly acknowledged their role in the 2004 coup. Some had served in the military during Aristide's first exile, when the army ruled Haiti, killing and raping thousands. The AP called it "a tableaux of the pro-military fringe right, a looming presence in Haiti".
Some of these "soldiers" and "officers"-in-waiting told freelance journalists just a few weeks later that Martelly had visited their camp during his campaign - certainly an ominous sign of things to come.
In the past, Martelly has made other worrying statements. He has said that, "Haiti needs a Fujimori-style solution" - a reference to Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori's power grab, when he dissolved Congress - and called for the outlawing of "all strikes and demonstrations" - something his backers in Washington would undoubtedly welcome.

Greg Grandin is a professor of history at New York University and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is the author of a number of prize-winning books, including most recently, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan 2009), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History, as well as for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/opinion/2011/05/20115413435816393.html
 
Commentaires:
Un spécialiste d'Haïti perdu dans les méandres des discours désabusés des pro-Aristide. Heureusement que lui il garde profil bas.
Maintenir ce genre de discours est la preuve par neuf qu'il n'est pas donné à tout le monde de bien s'imprégner de la réalité haïtienne!
Haiti President-elect for Suriname

Thursday, May 5, 2011
(De Ware Tijd) PARAMARIBO — President-elect of Haiti Michel ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly and the American-Haitian hip-hop singer Wyclef Jean will arrive in Suriname on Friday to visit President Desi Bouterse. The goal of Martelly’s visit is yet unclear but is probably in line with Haiti’s allies in the region to already strengthen relations with these countries. At the end of next week, President Bouterse will leave for Port-au-Prince, Haiti, at the head of a government delegation for the inauguration of President Martelly on 15 May.

http://www.stabroeknews.com/2011/news/breaking/05/05/haiti-president-elect-for-suriname/

Haitian Mangoes Provide Sweet Relief to Growers in Need

Whole Foods Market® offers Whole Trade™ Mangoes as an exclusive to shoppers, putting money back in Haitian farmer's pockets AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Haiti's king of fruit – the Francis mango – is taking the throne at Whole Foods Market. For a limited time, shoppers will find this exclusive, organic and Fair Trade™ Certified fruit under the grocer's Whole Trade program. The Whole Trade Guarantee – which drives meaningful dollars into the struggling Haitian economy – ensures that these rare, delicious mangoes are ethically grown and sourced.
Whole Foods Market is the sole buyer of certified organic and Fair Trade Certified mangoes from small Haitian growers, sometimes buying from a family with just one tree. Shoppers can find these mangoes in stores nationwide under the grocer's Whole Trade program during the varietal's short six-to-eight week season.
"This variety's juicy, richly-flavored flesh and sweet, aromatic scent excites all the senses for a truly tropical flavor experience our shoppers wait for all year," said Michael Besancon, senior global vice president of purchasing, distribution and marketing. "The bright flavor and low-fiber texture of the Francis mango from Haiti is simply unmatched. Best of all, with the Whole Trade Guarantee, shoppers can buy with confidence, knowing that their purchase help put money back into the pockets of the hard-working farmers who produce this exceptional fruit."
Through Whole Trade products, Whole Foods Market supports positive change in the developing countries where it sources products. The program ensures exceptional quality, a safe and healthy working environment and the peace-of-mind that those foods are produced using environmental practices that promote biodiversity and healthy soils.
"Despite the troubles and poverty gripping Haiti, the population and especially the mango growers still have hope" said Ben Schmerler, producer services manager for Fair Trade USA. "By celebrating this Haitian gem and investing our efforts and faith in the growers, together we can help Haitian people rebuild their future."
Many Haitian mango growers have only one or two trees, and with the season being a short period from late April to early June, equitable pay is crucial to assist these growers year-round. Whole Foods Market's on-the-ground exporter, Perry Exports, is the key driving force organizing the grower groups to achieve and maintain Fair Trade and organic certifications. These certifications increase transparency and market value which drives better returns for growers.
"By offering growers a higher purchasing price for their mangoes, we hope to create incentives for farmers to plant mango trees that will reduce erosion and provide an income stream for impoverished people in Haiti," said Besancon. "While buying Whole Trade mangoes will by no means solve the devastating issues Haiti now faces short term, our shoppers are helping to play a small role in the country's recovery."
The estimated selling period for these "get them while you can" Haitian Whole Trade mangoes is throughout May and into June at all Whole Foods Market stores nationwide.
About Whole Foods Market® Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com, NASDAQ: WFMI), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America's first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named "America's Healthiest Grocery Store" by Health magazine. The company's motto, "Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet"™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company's nearly 60,000 Team Members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For" in America by FORTUNE magazine for 14 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2010, the company had sales of more than $9 billion and currently has more than 300 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Contacts: Liz.Burkhart@wholefoods.com; 512.542.0682
Lindsay.Lehfeld@wholefoods.com; 512.542.3483
SOURCE Whole Foods Market
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/haitian-mangoes-provide-sweet-relief-to-growers-in-need-121307379.html

Help needed packing meals for Haitian kids

Friday, May 6, 2011 PORTSMOUTH — Local businesses, community members, and church leaders are joining together to pack 100,000 meals on May 21 to be shipped in a container to Haitian children. Organized by Help for Haiti, a local non-profit, Bethany Church, and local business leaders this event seeks the community's help for two-hour shifts (9 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m.) to pack bio-engineered high protein meals into sealed plastic bags for local distribution on the ground in Marmalade and other rural villages.
"It's been amazing how many people have pulled together to make this happen," said Mark Rivera, Campus Pastor-Intern of Bethany Church. "Leaders from the business community, Help for Haiti, and church congregants have been meeting since late 2010 with the vision to supply 100,000 meals and now we're making it happen."
The team is partnering with Feed My Starving Children, an organization based in Minnesota chartered with eliminating starvation in children throughout the world by helping to instill compassion in people to hear and respond to the cries of those in need. Their approach is grass roots: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children. They have provided "food packing events" and shipped meals to nearly 70 countries around the world.
"After travelling to Haiti for over seven years to help the poor, my wife Betsy and I decided to found Help for Haiti, a Christian non-profit organization based in Rye, New Hampshire," said Jim Willey, Founder and President for Help for Haiti, and former president of Willey Brothers. "There are children and families starving, the unemployment rate is over 80 percent, people really need our help. It's time to pull together and do something. Getting the community together to pack 100, 000 meals on a Saturday is one way you can make a difference."
Jim Willey and Help for Haiti need your help to pay the $ 30,000 cost for the food and to cover the shipping cost for 100,000 meals to the schools in Haiti. Their goal is to provide a lunch for 500 kids each day they are in school who need food to be alert and to learn. To donate, please visit: www.helpforhaiti.org or send your donation to Help for Haiti PO Box 103 Rye, NH 03870.
The Help for Haiti promise is that 100 percent of your donation will go directly to the cost of the food and the shipping cost.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Forty percent of Haiti's 9 million people are under the age of 14 years old, there is a 23 percent literacy rate and 12 percent of children die before the age of 5 years. Eighty percent of children do NOT receive education past sixth grade.
The Frank Jones Center is at 400 Route One By-Pass (Portsmouth Traffic Circle), Portsmouth. Register: www.helpforhaiti.com/foodpack/, Donate: www.helpforhaiti.org.
http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110506/GJCOMMUNITY_01/705069976/-1/FOSNEWS

Caledonia leave for Haiti today

By Ian Prescott ian.prescott@trinidadexpress.com Story Created: May 5, 2011 at 11:41 PM ECT
WITH new signing Cornell Glen in the ranks, Trinidad and Tobago Pro League runners-up Caledonia AIA leave today for Haiti on a rescue mission to overturn a 1-0 deficit in their Caribbean Football Union (CFU) Club Champions Cup tie against Haitian champions Tempete FC.
The Haitians start favourites to win the two-leg tie, after stealing a 1-0 away win in Trinidad on April 22. The teams meet again on Sunday from 5 p.m. at Parc Levelt in Saint Marc, Haiti, for a place in the CFU semi-finals.
Already qualified are Alpha United (Guyana), who edged Puerto Rico's River Plate 3-2 over two legs, while Defence Force (T&T) outclassed Guyana's Milerock 7-0 on aggregate.
On Saturday, defending champions Puerto Rico Islanders will contest the opening leg of their quarter-final when they travel to Suriname to meet Walking Boys.
The four-team CFU final round will be played from May 25 and has been switched from Trinidad and Tobago to Guyana. The top three Caribbean finishers will qualify for the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Caledonia held their final training session yesterday and were confident of doing something positive in Haiti on Sunday.
"We will be going all out to try and equalise first, and then we will try and win the tie" said Caledonia AIA head coach Jamaal Shabazz. "It will be an uphill challenge for us to rise above because this match can shape the future of our players and the club.
"The situation we are in, where we are playing with our backs against the wall, is not new to us," added Shabazz. "They say that St Marc is in the best part of Haiti. The good thing is that the situation in Haiti is no different to what has been happening with us (Caledonia), so we should be very comfortable there."
Training with Caledonia yesterday was 30-year-old Glen, who represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 World Cup and has played with five Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs in the United States, the last being San Jose Earthquakes
The former San Juan Jabloteh striker has returned home and signed a short contract with Caledonia.
"He is still rounding into form and is not yet the Cornell Glen we have known," said Shabazz. "He still cannot carry all the load, but he will take some of the burden off us in attack."
Captain Stephan David, a defensive midfielder who has played for T&T, believes that Caledonia can do the business.
"At first we were a little down from the defeat, but we saw that we could have come back from the defeat," he said. "So the approach now is to go across (to Haiti) and do what we can do by any means necessary to come back with the right result."
http://www.trinidadexpress.com/sports/Caledonia_leave_for_Haiti_today-121365344.html

Sinise says role of Truman inspired him to humanitarian efforts

Posted on Thu, May. 05, 2011 10:55 PM By BRIAN BURNES
The Kansas City Star
Actor Gary Sinise (from left), Lt. Gen. Ken Keen and
volunteer Tiffany Rumbach of Westwood filled bags
with school supplies for children in Haiti. Keen is the head
 of military relief efforts in Haiti. More:
JILL TOYOSHIBA/Kansas City Star

Budget squeeze hits Independence Sinise says role of Truman inspired him to humanitarian efforts KC Council looking into death of patient in ambulance Missouri lawmakers finish their budget Lawmakers consider changes in annexation law Kansas lawmakers take aim at metal thieves Man gets 15 years for murder of Missouri National Guardsman Two sent to prison for online gambling business Deanna Rose Farmstead is missing one goat named Latte City Council veto revives Plaza office project In brief
Homicide investigation progresses Phoenix the puppy is recovering after someone set him on fire A box of cash, but honesty prevails Tribute
Lester A. McLenon had a penchant for music Jehovah’s Witness can get bloodless liver transplant Lawmakers overide Nixon's veto of redistricting plan Court fines chimp’s handlers, but custody issue unresolved Liberty couple charged with confining five children in filthy bedrooms MoDOT plan would cut staff 19 percent, close facilities Filibuster in Missouri Senate ends with $14 million in budget cuts Gary Sinise’s personal foreign aid policy began in part with Harry Truman.
The actor on Thursday received the Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award in Kansas City. At the award luncheon, he described how his international humanitarian efforts began largely after his appearance as the former president in a 1995 HBO film, much of which was filmed in this area.
“It was one of the great challenges and great acting moments of my life,” said Sinise, adding how he was impressed to learn Truman’s “amazing life story, coming from his simple background to rise to become president of the United States. I truly admire the man.”
Sinise said it wasn’t long after portraying Truman in scenes filmed in the Truman Library’s Oval Office replica that he began to pursue his own international relief initiatives. Those efforts brought him back to Kansas City to work with People to People International.
The nonprofit organization administers Operation International Children, the aid agency co-founded by Sinise. He was honored for his children’s relief efforts and efforts on behalf of veterans and active military members.
Earlier Thursday, Sinise appeared at a North Kansas City warehouse to announce a new initiative that will send school supply kits to more than 2,500 children in Haiti. The program will be part of a larger relief effort coordinated by the U.S. Southern Command after the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Troops will build and renovate schools, clinics, roads and water wells.
Sinise described at the luncheon how enlightening it was to accompany American soldiers in Iraq as they worked on relief projects such as renovating schools.
“I could see the interaction between the troops and the children, and how positive that was,” Sinise said. “And I wanted to reinforce that in some way.”
Sinise then began efforts to send school supplies to Iraqi children. A sequence of contacts led Sinise to People to People International’s president, Mary Jean Eisenhower, whom the actor identified as “another good neighbor.”
“He’s a true patriot,” Eisenhower said of Sinise after the ceremony. “I have seen him take the most wounded of individuals and put happiness into them just by being himself.”
About 380 people attended the event at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. It also honored international students from many countries.
Eisenhower, a granddaughter of former president Dwight Eisenhower, will receive the annual Harry S. Truman Public Service Award from Independence at 7 p.m. tonight at the Truman Library.
Posted on Thu, May. 05, 2011 10:55 PM
Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/05/2853065/sinise-says-role-of-truman-inspired.html#ixzz1LZiAeuyW
http://www.kansascity.com/2011/05/05/2853065/sinise-says-role-of-truman-inspired.html

Cormega Creates Song to Benefit Haiti

Posted May 5th 2011 7:00PM

Johnny Nunez, WireImage
  by Alvin Blanco
Queensbridge rapper Cormega has created a tribute song called 'I Made a Difference,' which is dedicated to the people of Haiti. The original member of the Firm -- with Nas, AZ and Foxy Brown -- was moved to create the song after visiting Haiti last year to help out in the wake of the earthquake that ravaged the island nation.
"The song is something that I wanted to do for a long time, ever since I came back from Haiti," Mega told AntiSellout.com. "Probably since like September 2010, we was trying to get the song done but a lot of rappers [that] said they was gonna get on it ... I've yet to get their verse. So I could only depend on the rappers that was coming through."
The MCs that did come through were Redman, Lil Fame of M.O.P., stic.man of dead prez and Steele of Smif-n-Wessun, as well as singer Maya Azucena. In the video interview, Mega also details that the song's music is provided by the Revelations, with contributions from Jazimoto on keys and Lil Fame with beat programming. 'I Made a Difference' will be available on iTunes May 18 and all proceeds from the song will be donated to Sean Penn's J/P HRO charity.
Mega, who is currently working on his next album, 'Cormega Raw Forever,' is extremely proud of how 'I Made a Difference' manifested, noting that it was "a team effort." The fiery lyricist didn't even feel the need to take to task the MCs that balked at the opportunity to contribute.
"The old me would have probably said something about the rappers that said they was going to participate, but didn't," said Mega. "But the new me, I'm not going to say nothing. Everybody got they reasons for what they do, and what they don't do. I just want to thank everybody that played they part and hope that people feel the song ... I hope Haiti realizes that they ain't alone."
http://www.theboombox.com/2011/05/05/cormega-creates-song-to-benefit-haiti/

Haiti caught cholera from UN peacekeepers

12:30 6 May 2011
HealthScience In Society
Debora MacKenzie, consultant
Where did Haiti's cholera come from? Most Haitians believe the bacteria that have so far sickened 286,000 of them - and killed 4870 - were brought in by United Nations peacekeeping troops from Nepal. And this certainly seemed likely, given where and when the disease broke out, and the fact that regions of Nepal were experiencing cholera outbreaks around the same time that the Nepalese left for Haiti.
Yet the UN mission in the country has consistently denied the allegation. It said natural cholera could have invaded Haiti from the sea, and refused to test its troops.
Now it turns out the Haitians were right. A blue-ribbon panel of scientists nominated by the UN to settle the matter has now reported that "the evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion" that someone contaminated Haiti's Meye river with south Asian cholera.
Other scientists, and New Scientist, had already figured as much. But the new report places the issue beyond reasonable doubt. The team combined data on water flow with hospital records to show an "explosive" outbreak started on the Meye 150 metres downstream from the Nepalese base, on 17 October last year and spread through the Artibonite river system in three days - exactly matching the natural flow of water downstream. Nothing suggested it came in from the sea.
The report concludes that sanitation at the Nepalese base was "not sufficient to prevent contamination", to put it mildly. As the UN has insisted, the Nepalese who arrived in Haiti just before the cholera began were indeed given a clean bill of health before they left Nepal. But, the panel now adds, after the health checks and before the troops flew to Haiti they were given 10 days' leave. There was cholera in Kathmandu at the time. Ah.
Then there's the smoking gun. Previously all we knew was that the cholera in Haiti genetically matched strains from south Asia. But the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea, sent the panel cholera samples from Nepal. The Haitian strain is a "perfect match" for one from 2009.
The scientists say the outbreak was not the "fault of, or deliberate action of, a group or individual". But no one serious thinks this was deliberate. It's arguably more worrying than that: this risk was entirely foreseeable, happened anyway - and the official response was denial.
In future, the panel says UN people from cholera-endemic countries should be screened and given antibiotics or vaccine before deploying, and all UN installations should treat their own faeces. Good idea. And of course, Haiti needs treated drinking water and sanitation, but we knew that.
The fight now, they conclude, is to stop cholera from becoming endemic in Haiti. Signs are not good. The rainy season has just started there. And at last report, cholera cases are starting to rise.
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/05/debora-mackenzie-brussels-corr.html

Evens Apollon : un animateur haïtien en formation à l'Erdurière - Couëron

Mercredi 04 mai 2011
« Gaby Clouet et Janine Bardonet sont mes marraines ! », se ravit Evens Apollon, animateur haïtien en formation Bafa au centre de loisirs primaire de l'Erdurière, à l'instar de l'Amicale laïque de Couëron-centre. Cette dernière est présidée par Gaby Clouet. Mais le voyage d'Evens en France depuis le 20 avril n'a pu se réaliser qu'avec le partenariat des Francas et de Solidarité laïque pour laquelle Janine Bardonet a oeuvré bénévolement à Haïti durant quinze ans.
Evens Apollon, 32 ans, est architecte de métier, habitant de Jérémy, d'un père retraité de l'inspection de l'Éducation haïtienne. « Mon père avait un terrain d'environ six hectares, à Roseaux, à 13 km de Jérémy, et avec l'aide de Solidarité laïque, nous y avons construit un foyer d'accueil il y a quatre ans. Vingt-trois enfants y sont accueillis, non des orphelins, mais plutôt des jeunes un peu négligés par leurs parents pour leurs études ou autres et qui ont besoin d'une famille pour vivre », souligne Evens.
Aujourd'hui une école s'ajoute au foyer et une salle pour une bibliothèque. « Mais nous n'avons pour l'instant ni livres, ni étagères, l'Amicale ayant promis de nous aider. » Depuis plus d'un an, le service culturel de l'ambassade de France à Haïti n'a en effet pas donné suite à ce projet. Mais les jeunes haïtiens y viennent encore chercher des repas chauds. Et si le père d'Evens est fondateur-gestionnaire du foyer, sa mère y assure intendance, couture... Également quelques employés : cuisinière, lessiveuse ou éducateur. « Et quand mon père n'est pas là je prends la responsabilité du centre », ajoute Evens. « C'est ainsi qu'avec le voyage de Gaby Clouet et de collègues des Francas en novembre 2010, et leur proposition d'un stage à des gens de Port-au-Prince, Solidarité laïque y a sollicité ma participation, et Gaby m'a proposé de passer mon Bafa. »
Aussi après huit jours de stage théorique en Vendée, Evens apprend la pratique à l'Erdurière. « Nous n'avons pas de tels centres chez nous ! » Et après une formation avec Georges Dando sur les fours solaires et cuiseurs à bois, Evens montrait ce mardi aux jeunes ce qu'il avait appris, afin de le répéter ensuite dans son pays. Ce système devrait faire baisser la consommation de bois pour la cuisine notamment. Car les aides seraient aussi nécessaires pour la pose de l'électricité au foyer ou la nourriture, autoproduite pour le moment avec les enfants.
http://www.ouest-france.fr/actu/actuLocale_-Evens-Apollon-un-animateur-haitien-en-formation-a-l-Erduriere-_44047-avd-20110504-60410359_actuLocale.Htm

Haïti-Gouvernement : Daniel-Gérard Rouzier désigné Premier ministre ?

Écrit par Radio Scoop Haiti Jeudi, 05 Mai 2011 13:30 Le Président élu haïtien Michel Joseph Martelly aurait désigné l’homme d’Affaire Daniel-Gérard Rouzier au poste de Premier ministre. Et, le concerné l’a accepté, selon ce qu’a confié à radio Scoop FM une source généralement bien informée.
M. Rouzier est Directeur général de la Sun Auto, une maison de vente de voiture, et il est le président de la centrale électrique E-Powe, premier projet de production d’énergie électrique réalisé par le secteur privé en Haïti.
Profondément religieux, Daniel Gérard Rouzier a une forte présence dans le milieu politique et développerait une bonne relation avec la classe politique haïtienne. Sur cette base, il avait reçu cette année un bon de nombre de personnalités politiques, à l’hôtel Le Montsel à Kenscoff dans les hauteurs de Pétion-Ville, dans le cadre d’une séance de prière annuelle.
L’éventuel Premier ministre désigné tiendrait également de solides relations avec la communauté internationale particulièrement Washington. D’ailleurs, il serait apprécié par le congrès américain.
Dans ses réactions autour des rumeurs concernant le choix du prochain chef de gouvernement, le président élu n’a jamais raté l’occasion de dire que son Premier ministre sera qui inspire confiance au peuple haïtien et à la communauté internationale.
Jusque-là, les noms de Jean Max Bellerive, chef du gouvernement sortant, et de Daniel Supplice, conseiller politique de Michel Martelly, étaient les plus cités à ce poste dans la presse locale et étrangère.
Si le président élu n’a toujours pas réagi sur le nom de son conseiller politique, mais il a déclaré que le choix de M. Bellerive n’était qu’une fausse rumeur.
Le potentiel Premier ministre Daniel-Gérard Rouzier est l’auteur de plusieurs ouvrages dont « Vision ou illusion? » publié en 2000 et dans lequel il a abordé des sujets importants comme conditions économiques, politique économique, politique et gouvernement, sociologie politique.
Il est également l’auteur du livre « Croire, Aimer et Espérer » à travers lequel il a expliqué sa relation intime avec le Christ, sa femme et ses enfants, sans oublier son essai intitulé Le Pouvoir des idées.
En 2006, M. Rouzier a été invité à présenter deux conférences-débats sur " La pensée économique d’Anténor Firmin " intellectuel et homme d’Etat haïtien d’envergure dont le rayonnement a dépassé les limites du Cap-Haïtien, sa ville natale.
Daniel Rouzier a fait de brillantes études en gestion et comptabilité. Le DG de la Sun Auto et Président de E-Powe est très actif dans le secteur philanthropique à travers Food for the Poor, une organisation d’aide et de développement international chrétienne et pluriconfessionnelle des Etats-Unis présente en Haiti depuis plus de 23 ans.
http://www.scoopfmhaiti.com/actualites/1703-haiti-gouvernement-daniel-gerard-rouzier-designe-premier-ministre-