Thursday, April 30, 2009

Foreign Policy Change?

Dear Secretary Clinton,

First let me thank you and your husband for you life long commitment to public service to our nation. I have the deepest respect for both of you and am extremely proud of the example that you have set. As a woman, I am particulary proud of you.

It was wonderful that in your capacity as Secretary of State, you chose to visit Haiti and the Dominican Republic within the first 100 days of the new administration. I take heart that this signals a strong and ongoing commitment on the part of the United States to the continuing development of these two neighboring nations. Since we invaded and occupied them both during the last century, we certainly owe them.

We all took heart in your allusion to the situation of the Haitian immigrants in the United States and await a very quick designation of Temporary Protected Status of all Haitians now in the United States.

As someone who has been on the ground here for four years, studying these two nations, I would suggest that there are some strategic errors in your policy. Two years ago, the President of the Dominican Republic, through his foreign secretary, suggested to the Secretary General of the United Nations that the Dominican Republic wished to become the breadbasket of the Caribbean by upgrading its agricultural sector and asked for the help of the international community. The response from Secretary Ban Ki Mon was that they would welcome that suggestion if it came from both island nations. The government of Haiti quickly responded through its Border Director, Max Antoine.

However, when Paul Collier, a scholar out of Oxford, said that Haiti should upgrade its textile sector, both the Secretary General, your husband and you, supported that suggestion. One wonders why?

It was not well received that you went to visit a textile factory in Haiti, where the business leaders are fighting to keep the daily minimum wage just at the global poverty level. It was noted that your words were only translated into French, not Kreyole. You were perceived to be clearly on the side of the small business elite, not the people.

It was also not well received that you came to the Dominican Republic and said that they had to do more to help Haiti when the Dominican Republic has more than a million Haitian immigrants, all of whom are treated for free in the nation’s public hospitals. The Dominican Republic, while it certainly is an economically advanced nation compared to Haiti, is not in a position to do much more to help Haiti when it has a high proportion of its population at the poverty level.

It is clear that the Obama administration wishes to change the image of the United States and with its southern neighbors but, alas, your visit did not really do that. We are still seen as a nation that wishes to use the low wages of its neighbors while ignoring their basic needs. We flood their markets with our heavily subsidized rice, destroying their local production. We flood the island with our left over used clothing and shoes, destroying the work for their tailors and shoe repair shops. But we ignore the requests of their governments for help in their agricultural sector so that their people can eat.

Alas, no one was cheering or dancing in the streets after you left. Instead, there were calls for the replacement of the current US Ambassador in Haiti and pointed cartoons in the Dominican papers. We can do much better. I trust that we will in the future.

Frankly, I am very disappointed. There was, in fact, absolutely no change whatsoever evident in your policy towards the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Please support the requests of the governments involved. We really need the help of the United States here. If you actually supported the development of these nations, our Coast Guard would not have to do so many heart wrenching patrols, resucing refugees from shark infested waters.

Perhaps if we acted more like a big sister than a bullying big brother, we would be more popular.

Please see my previous blog post at

for a more locally empowering vision of border development than more textile factories under the HOPEII Act.


With Respect,


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The High Mountain Border- Quaker colony?

The area where I want to live is located in the middle of the island, on the high central plateau. It is exceedingly fertile and gorgeous, with mountain ranges on both sides. It is, however, the poorest section of the Dominican Republic. Land prices range from $300 to $1300 an acre.

I invite Friends who are interested in relocation to contact me. There is lots of work to be done.

See my latest story from the border here

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Haitian Dominican Border Development

The Executive Director of the Frontier Development Commission responds to Mrs. Hillary Clinton’s declarations.

Several entities in the Dominican Republic reacted favorably in response to the proposals formulated by the Honorable Hillary Clinton during her visit to Santo Domingo. This April, Mr. Diego de Moya Canaan, of the Constructors Association, Mr. José Torres from the Free Zones Association and Mrs. Haydée Kuret de Rainieri of the Hoteliers Association said they were willing to take the necessary steps and cooperate with their potential partners in Haiti, for the implementation of mechanisms that could help towards “the installation of twin companies in the border zone”. Mr. José Torres declared that Mrs. Clinton’s proposals should not be restricted to the textile sector, but should be extended to other production sectors.
Several months ago, in response to a proposal from a major international institution that suggested that the Dominican Republic should be turned into “the Bread-Basket of the Caribbean”, we have been lobbying for this initiative to be extended to the border region.

And now, the United States Secretary of State has come to invite the island’s economic actors to join forces in order to put job-creating projects into action in this region, with a population of 600,000, in search of a better life, including young people who show their energy and ingenuity each time they are tested.
This 3450km2 frontier strip has enormous potential for developing tourism, agriculture, fishing, and the installation - in the appropriate locations - of manufacturing or assembly industries. The time has come to turn words into action.
With this in mind, certain institutions that have already shown an interest in the development of this region should be approached to implement a Development Investment Fund aimed at funding sustainable project along the border. We mention, for example, the EU, the World Bank, the IDB and CIDA. In this same spirit we are delighted to hear that the IDB has agreed to fund a project for “agricultural development and support for local initiatives” presented by the PADF, and this project was supported by the Commission.

Other activities of this kind need to be supported in several areas, such as fishing, craft making, livestock, etc.

The recently reactivated Haitian-Dominican Chamber of Commerce could also play the role of catalyst aimed at implementing Mrs. Clinton’s proposals, and to work in close collaboration with Haitian business associations with the aim of making a “strategic alliance” aimed at invigorating the development of the frontier region.
As far as we are concerned, we remain determined to keep on working for the people of the region, working in synergy with local communities and their elected representatives.

Max Antoine II
Executive Director

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Against Human Trafficking

Now this would be a good idea! Perhaps it would help stop some of the Yolas which leave the DR in leaky boats across shark intfested waters.

From the Los Angeles Times
Trafficking in humans
The proposed Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act would put some much-needed teeth into laws aimed at stopping those who smuggle people into the U.S.

April 25, 2009

More than 17,000 people were smuggled or trafficked into the United States last year. Some were duped into believing that jobs awaited them and instead were forced into debt peonage, required to work in orchards and fields or as housemaids to reimburse the cost of their transport. Others, mostly women and children, were trafficked into sex slavery, and still others were shipped in by boat or brought across the Mexican border by organized smuggling rings.

Even those who come voluntarily in search of work can find themselves in the hands of sophisticated criminal enterprises, with guides who are just as likely to rob, assault or hold them for ransom if full payment isn't made as they are to lead them north. The tales of smugglers' heartlessness are well known. The worst case occurred in 2003, when a truck driver abandoned 70 immigrants from Mexico, Central America and the Dominican Republic, leaving them sealed inside a trailer in south Texas; 19 died of dehydration, overheating and suffocation.

Although the fatalities in that case led to a life sentence for the truck driver, human smugglers in more routine cases can get off with a year or two behind bars, as the crime, incredibly, is only a misdemeanor. This leaves international networks of transporters, recruiters, guides and boat captains free to move human cargo with only the risk of a judicial slap on the wrist from the United States.

With sentences that do not jibe with the crime, it's no wonder that global smuggling has become a multibillion-dollar market. A bill sponsored by Rep. Baron P. Hill (D-Ind.), the Alien Smuggling and Terrorism Prevention Act, would stiffen the penalties for smuggling, raising it from a misdemeanor to a felony and setting a five-year minimum sentence for many offenses. Longer terms would be imposed on smugglers who expose their victims to risk of death, kidnapping or rape, or whose offense is related to terrorism.

The bill passed the House unanimously last year but lost momentum in the Senate. Hill reintroduced it, and last month it again passed the House unanimously. The Senate Judiciary Committee has it now and must not let it languish. The United States dismantled much of its human smuggling apparatus more than a century ago. But in recent years, with the creation of an anti-slavery office in the Justice Department and tougher anti-trafficking laws, we have recognized the unfortunate need to reassemble that machinery. As a destination for some of the world's least fortunate people, the U.S. must assert itself in the global effort to halt human smuggling, and Hill's legislation would help.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Haiti's elections?

Things aren't going so well for democracy in Haiti, it appears.

Yesterday, a third of the Haitian Senate seats were up for election. The Haitian Electoral council had already disqualified all the candidates from former Presiden Aristide's Lavalas party.

This was just posted on the Corbett listserv from a "usually reliable source" - in Haiti:

"How is someone supposed to vote?

The word on the street is: if you're going to vote, make sure you print your name on the bottom of your feet, so, when they find your body (without the head), you can still be identified.

The word from the radio: If you believe in democracy, don't vote.

The word from the internet: Due to upcoming elections and according to Haitian National Police sources, private vehicles will not be allowed on the streets from midnight Saturday, April 18 to 0400 Monday, April 20.
There will be no sales of alcohol from 1800 Saturday, April 18 to 0400 Monday, April 20.

The streets of Port-au-Prince are deserted today, Sunday, election day.

When the Haitian people voted Rene Preval for President back in 2006, they thought he was going to represent their interests.
Such is not the case. Preval and his entourage have decided that their interests are better represented by the Gang of Eleven (Haiti's economic elite).

Shortly before Prime Minister Alexi was removed from office he had arrested a member of Haiti's economic elite for import tax fraud. With Alexi's removal, the politic became "pro elite".

Drive the roads of the towns of St Mark or Gonaives, then drive in front of the beaches of Montrouis and you'll see who's benefitting from the Preval government.

You can't hate the Haitian masses and expect them to cooperate. When I drive from Port au Prince to Ennery or to Gonaives by way of St Mark, I sense hatred. I sense that the current Haitian government hates the Haitian people and the people of the countryside. The unpaved roads, the dirt, the dust, the mud speak volumes.

The Espoir candidate (Rene Preval's party) had more graffiti on his posters than any other candidate (read the writing on the walls)

The Gang of Eleven has their lobbyist in Washington and their man in the National Palace. Who's going to lobby for the Haitian people ?? Who's going to lobby for the Gang of Eight Million (the People) ?? "

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Thank you, President Obama!

Congratulations! Thanks to your tireless advocacy over the past several years, the Obama Administration pledged $20 million yesterday to cover Haiti's remaining debt payments to the World Bank and Inter American Development Bank.

In a speech yesterday at the Haiti Donors Conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

The $20 million pledge should cover all of Haiti's remaining debt payments for 2009. Before the end of this year, Haiti is expected to achieve permanent cancellation of most of its debts by reaching "completion point" in the Heavily Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) program.

This victory would not have been possible without your activism and advocacy for Haiti. Literally thousands of you have called, written, and met with your members of Congress, filled paper hearts and plates with messages for policymakers, organized and attended public education events, and given money to support Jubilee's work.

Thanks and appreciation are also due to Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA), who working with Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) and more than 70 other Members of Congress, has been a tireless champion for Haiti in the US Congress. We also highlight the leadership by staff at the US Treasury and State Departments for their work to secure yesterday's historic commitment.

As we celebrate and appreciate this victory, a note of caution -- we're not entirely out of the woods yet. The Obama Administration may require approval from Congress in order to obtain the $20 million needed to cover Haiti's debt payments. And Haiti has not yet received permanent debt cancellation. The projected date for this has been pushed back more than once and it could happen again. We'll need your continued support to assure these commitments are met.

Still, yesterday's announcement is a victory for the people of Haiti and demonstrates the power of your solidarity and advocacy. Thank you!

From all of us at Jubilee..

Monday, April 13, 2009

Haiti Donor's Conference

Haiti at the crossroads - Opinion - Haiti at the crossroads
Venecia Lonis, 4, who suffers from malnutrition, is held before being weighed at the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Port-au-Prince. (Nov. 19, 2008)
On eve of aid donors' meeting, nation is poised between optimism and potential for serious unrest
April 13, 2009
Dave Toycen
President and CEO of World Vision Canada

My latest visit to Haiti a few weeks ago left me with conflicting feelings. I returned home both troubled and more hopeful than ever before in my 25 years of visiting the country.

Next to Afghanistan, no country receives as much Canadian assistance as Haiti. And only the United States provides it with more aid than Canada.

Haiti is important to us – and we are important to Haitians, more than 80,000 of whom live among us. Haiti is a place where Canada's voice is heard and has influence. And there is no more critical time than now to ensure that Haiti remains on the path to economic and social recovery.

Tomorrow, the Haiti donor nations will gather in Washington, D.C., to consider what they can do to help at this critical juncture. Joining Canada and the United States for these crucial discussions are France, Spain and representatives from the UN and international agencies such as the World Bank, the IMF and the Inter-American Development Bank, the conference host.

Canada is providing Haiti with $555 million in aid over five years ending in 2011. No other country has made such a long-term commitment, but we may need to give a little more to forestall a crisis that would surely result from any sudden increase in food prices.

Last month, the International Crisis Group warned that Haiti is in a "fragile" state with a potential for "serious trouble" unless the donors' conference takes concrete action to address the dissatisfaction of its poor. A recent UN fact-finding mission reached the same conclusion.

Still, while I fear that a spike in food prices could cause riots among the hungry, I also saw many positives during my six-day stay. I met local government officials and hundreds of ordinary Haitians who are trying to build a stable future. Compared to my last visit five years ago, there is a contagious optimism among the young as well as among local leaders who are learning that they can make a difference.

I was glad to see that people are beginning to take ownership of their communities. In a country where the national government controls the majority of the budget, money will only flow to where it is needed outside the capital in response to local pressure. And it is only when education, sanitation and health care receive appropriate funding that communities can stand on their own feet and build the groundwork for a stable future.

When local communities cannot feed, educate and heal themselves, Haitians will inescapably call upon Canada to provide additional disaster aid. It is a curious irony that we are always one of the first nations to step up to the plate with emergency relief, but that we are not as forthcoming to make the proactive investments that would minimize the impact of disasters or food shortages.

Haiti has great potential. It is not a failed state, although it has been plagued by corruption and violence. There is no ethnic conflict. It is not surrounded by instability. It has a good workforce and once had a viable textile industry that needs to be restored.

At the donors' conference, Canada should back investments that create jobs and measures that allow the country to sustain itself, including achieving self-sufficiency in foodstuffs. As a safety net in the interim, Canada must push for adequate food aid so that the recovery process is not derailed by potential hunger riots. Today, about half the country's food has to be imported, and chronic malnutrition makes Haiti's child mortality rate the worst in our hemisphere.

Canada should also encourage local development and empowerment as a means of building stability. Issues such as land tenure and the incredibly high concentration of wealth in only a few hands need to be addressed.

Without education there will be a future without stability or prosperity. The UN Development Index ranks Haiti 146th out of 177 countries worldwide. About 52 per cent of the population is literate, just half the primary school age children attend school and only 2 per cent graduate from secondary school. The country has among the worst infant and maternal mortality rates in the world. I find it tragic to acknowledge such a sorry state of affairs just a few hours away from our comfortable homes.

Poverty and illiteracy victimize children in other ways. Some parents feel they have no choice but to sell their children into servitude. I encountered a 9-year-old boy who was a virtual house slave, one of an estimated 300,000 in this tragic situation according to UNICEF. With poverty comes sexual exploitation. UNICEF also estimates that as many as 2,000 children are trafficked every year to the Dominican Republic, which shares the island with Haiti.

A few days after I left Haiti, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. president Bill Clinton visited some of the same places I had been. Afterward, they urged nations to continue their financial support despite donor fatigue. Accompanying them was former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna. Addressing the issue of providing aid in the midst of a global economic crisis, McKenna said: "We have to realize that whatever pain we're feeling, it is minuscule compared to the misery of people who are living on less than a dollar a day. It's times like this when we have to dig deep and try to help." I could not agree more.

Haiti's Elections

This is an "informed rumour" from a "usually reliable source"

1) Haiti is preparing for another round of elections on April 19. 12 Senate seats are up for grabs. The UN wants elections. The UN Security Council wants elections. The US wants elections. Bill Clinton wants elections. The Joint Mission Analysis Center of MINUSTAH wants elections.

2) Lavalas is out of the elections. What I'm understanding is that Aristide refused to give over control of the party so he didn't sign off on the list of candidates. On top of that the Lavalas Party split in two (old school v. new school) and gave out two separate lists of candidates. All the Lavalas candidates were disqualified because head of party didn't sign off. If Aristide doesn't want to sign off on the candidates of his own party, then thats his business. It's his party.

3) There are rumors that Lavalas is going to disrupt the elections but the better rumor is that there are those who are going to disrupt the elections and try and make it look like Lavalas (sort of like Group 184 did during the April 2008 demonstrations against the "high price of living")

4) I suspect that people who scheme to disrupt the elections will pay a high price

5) Tracts, or flyers, are being dispersed saying stay home on election day. If you do go out, whatever you get is yours (Sa'w jwenn se pa'w)

6) In an earlier post i mentioned how carnival funds were used in a kickback scheme to finance the Palace's choice for senator. The kickback beneficiary, whose name I won't mention, is running fourth in a poll published by the Boulos newspaper. The poll consisted of 600 people polled. Fourth place equals about 23 votes. First place with about sixty votes (according to the Boulos poll) is Silvio Claude's daughter Marie Denise Claude of the FUSION Party.

7) Word in the "election organizing sector" is that the kickback candidate will win by fraud, even if very few people vote for him. A lot of people won't vote for Mr Kickback simply because Preval wants him to win. The masses feel betrayed by Preval.

8) By the looks of things (posters, billboards, flyers, etc.) Mr Kickback has the biggest advertising budget. He also seems to have the most enemies simply because a lot of his posters, more than any others, are damaged, scraped off or scrawled on.

9) I've heard that the Haitian President and the Haitian Prime Minister will not be in the country for the election.

I call these rumors because i have no way of backing up anything I say.
I just live here...

Aid- what Aid?

Here in the Dominican Republic, some of the evangelical Christians transport medical supplies around the country by helicopter. This is a nation with good paved roads, very good local transport buses and government health care. There is very little need for helicopters. The locals must think that this protestant God is far richer than the old Catholic God that they have been worshipping for the last 500 years.

In Haiti it is much worse. There are missionaries - even (Shudder shudder)nominally "Quaker" missionaries - who teach and preach that the traditional African based form of worship is Satanic.

Alas Haiti is now being "served" by these missionaries and by a large group of international NGOs who appear incapable of accomplishing much.

The lastest report from the ground in Gonaives is that it is still 1/3 covered in mud. The more than 200 NGOs who are in place there, living in the elegant compound under UN protection, do not even have an evacuation plan for this year's upcoming rainy season.

With friends like these....

Friday, April 10, 2009

Clearing the Snakes from Haiti

I am editing this post now six months after I wrote it since I realized that there are many people who might not be clear on my position on these statements. Vodoo is an ancient and powerful religion which worships Bon Dwye. The fact that many of the Evangelical Protestant groups who have missions who paint this religion as Satanic is horrifying. It is this sort of statement which I consider the Serpents, and these sort of people that I wish to have driven out of Haiti for they come to make the people here ashamed of their own heritage.

Haiti is a country that was dedicated to Satan in the 1800’s and prior to his removal as Haiti's President, Aristide had vowed that he would rededicate the country of Haiti to Satan on the 200th anniversary of the event in 2004. However God had another plan and removed him before this could take place.

No one would deny that Haiti has been crippled by the exploitation of colonists. Yet far more devastating have been the fingers of Voodoo, clutching Haiti by the neck over the past two hundred years. In place of the One True God, Haiti serves the god of despair, lies and pride. An island full of God's sun does not know God's Son.

Haiti is a country that was dedicated to Satan in the 1800’s and prior to his removal as Haiti's President, Aristide had vowed that he would rededicate the country of Haiti to Satan on the 200th anniversary of the event in 2004. However God had another plan and removed him before this could take place.

The irony of the location of the rally was not lost on organizers. Dessalines Place was named for the man who dedicated Haiti to Satan after liberating the country from slavery over 200 years ago. A large statue of Dessalines loomed amid the rally's activities.

But victory over one battle does not end a war. Another effort to renew the satanic covenant is reportedly planned for January 1, 2004, Haiti's national day of independence. Let's join the Christians in Haiti in prayer for their nation. Come against satan's plan to reinforce generational strongholds and invite continued deception through the renewal of pacts made by ancestors. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open blinded eyes and that the Haitian people will be released to embrace Jesus Christ. Also intercede earnestly for the president's salvation, and that God will empower the Christians in Haiti to saturate their nation with the Gospel.

Source: MNN, Christian Aid Mission, YWAM
Pray for HAITI
Through Operation Saturation" many are joining in prayer on behalf of Haiti, to wrestle it from Satan's grip. But this is spiritual warfare and none dare enter this battle lightly, or alone. Some, like Joshua, will be called upon to engage the enemy on Haitian soil. Others, like Moses will sense a call to position themselves in direct intercession for Haiti and those in the spiritual baffle. Still others, like Aaron and Hur, will be needed to focus intercession on those who are focused on the baffle.

In 1801, Toussaint Louverture led the slaves in a revolt against the French colonists. After a bloody three-year war, Haiti became the first black republic in the world. The slaves declared their independence on January 1, 1804, sacrificed a pig, and dedicated the country to Satan. From its inception, the nation has been consecrated to worshipping evil and its maker. From the time of its freedom, Haiti has been in chains.

iHaiti was dedicated to SATAN AND VOODO 200 years ago. These precious people have been lied to and told….we’re too poor to worship #1…GOD…so we’ll worship #2…Satan…that is the lie they are told and believe.

Mission work in Haiti faces enemy onslaught as this is a country that is yearly dedicated to Satan in a contractual form. There are voodoo practices and worship of the dark. And the corruption exceeds anything I have ever seen.

we are called to be one of His many servants whom He calls to serve Him in re-claiming a nation that has been dedicated to Satan for two hundred years.

On August 14, 1791, many slave leaders of Haiti held a secret meeting at which they dedicated their country to Satan. Every year since then, witch doctors have met to rededicate the country to Satan, and President Jean-Bertrand Aristide—a Roman Catholic priest—renewed the vow in 2004. When the Haitians won their independence from Napoleon’s armies in 1804, they attributed their victory to voodoo. On

A ceremony was conducted and the country was dedicated to Satan for the second time. The first was in the early 1900’s under the dictatorship of Papa Doc.

And these are just some of the snakes.