Wednesday, February 22, 2023

New US Immigration Regulations Proposed

The original article is here 

 The Biden administration announced a plan on Tuesday that would prohibit migrants from seeking asylum in the United States if they had not already begun the process during their journey to the southwest border. Biden officials said that the new policy is necessary “in anticipation of a potential surge of migration” once Title 42, a public health measure the Biden and Trump administrations employed to turn away migrants entry from the border during the pandemic, ends as it is expected to in mid-May. The federal government also hopes the rule will reduce human smuggling and overcrowding at border facilities, according to the policy, scheduled to be published Thursday. 

The rule, proposed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, would be a temporary measure to prohibit migrants who come to the U.S-Mexico border from seeking asylum if they have not sought it elsewhere on the way there or pursued a legal avenue of migration to enter the United States. Once Title 42 ends, the new rule would go into effect and last two years. 

The rule would create a “rebuttable presumption of asylum ineligibility” for migrants who do not follow the rule’s conditions, but says it would not include cases where people: 

▪ Are coming to the U.S. under one of the government’s parole processes 

 ▪ Make an appointment with immigration authorities at a port of entry through a mobile application called CBP One or can prove to the federal government that they could not do so, or ▪ Have applied and been rejected for asylum protection elsewhere. Meanwhile, people experiencing serious or life-threatening medical emergencies who cannot get treatment for those conditions elsewhere are exempt if they can prove their cases, as are people whose lives are in danger or who are victims of sex trafficking and human trafficking. Biden administration officials said on Tuesday during a conference call with reporters that the policy was made “out of necessity” because Congress has not passed immigration reform. They also emphasized that it complemented parole processes such as the ones announced last month for Cuba, Haiti, Venezuela, and Nicaragua, which allow people from those countries to live and work in the United States for up to two years. “It is intended to fill the void that Congress has left by taking no action,” the official added. “To be clear, this wasn’t our first preference, or even our second.” 

The new policy would apply to all migrants, regardless of nationality, officials said. a ​tortious interference lawsuit from that?” asked Kevin Guthrie, director of the Division of Emergency Management. 

“What we have seen is, when there is a real consequence to crossing irregularly between ports, we see a dramatic drop,” a senior administration official said, “People avail themselves of the legal pathways. And this has a really positive impact, not only on our resources, CBP, on the ground, but also on border communities. So that is a big part of our policy.” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had mentioned the rule’s creation when the Biden administration announced the parole processes for Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti last month. 

Dozens of Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Biden on Jan. 25, saying that the proposed rule created a “transit ban” like the one the Trump administration had established and that a court had struck down because it was in violation of asylum laws. “As the administration well knows, current conditions in Mexico — the primary transit country — cannot ensure safety for the families seeking refuge in the United States,” the letter said. Following widespread criticisms from immigration advocates and lawmakers, Mayorkas said during a recent interview with MSNBC that the proposed regulation was not a “Trump-era policy.” 

Biden officials also pushed back on comparisons to Trump’s policies on Tuesday, insisting that the new rule is not a categorical ban on migrants seeking asylum.  “This is definitely different, in that we are offering a rebuttable presumption, and not barring access to asylum like the prior administration did,” a second senior administration official told reporters. “Unlike the transit ban, the proposed rule does not require non-citizens to seek asylum in a third country. It allows individuals to seek asylum in the U.S., so long as they enter through a lawful pathway, including scheduling an appointment through the CBP One app, or through one of these established lawful processes.” 

Bilal Askaryar, interim campaign manager for Welcome with Dignity, an asylum advocacy organization, said in a statement on Tuesday that “Trump’s cruel playbook will now be Biden’s legacy.” Immigration advocate Guerline Jozef, executive director at Haitian Bridge Alliance, described the rule as “absurd” and “illegal” and said it would “effectively shut down our asylum system.” “President Biden campaigned on restoring the soul of America, which includes restoring our asylum system. Instead, President Biden has made it a practice of recycling Trump-era policies, like this asylum transit ban,” she said in a statement. Homeland Security and Justice will be taking comments on the proposed rule for the next month. Officials said they would welcome comments and feedback. This story was originally published February 21, 2023, 4:00 PM. SYRA ORTIZ BLANES

Read more at:

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Haitian Immigration Information

Original Article appears HERE 

From The Haitian Times

JAN. 10, 2023

 Thousands of Haitian families and friends across the United States, Haiti and other parts of the Americas spent the weekend excitedly searching for information about becoming a financial supporter, or sponsor, to would-be immigrants. The flurry of inquiries follows the Biden Administration’s Jan. 5 immigration announcement that it would turn back migrants from the land borders and implement a program that could bring as many as 720,000 people into the country over the next two years.

The process, detailed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the White House, allows up to 30,000 Haitians, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and Cubans per month, beginning Jan. 6, to enter the U.S. They will be allowed to enter and work in the U.S. if they have eligible sponsors who pledge support to them financially and pass security vetting. 

DHS has not yet set a limit on the overall number of beneficiaries or length of time this program will continue as it monitors the impact.

The following is based on announcements by DHS and the White House and are subject to change as more details are released. 

Program application basics

To become a financial supporter, an aspiring sponsor must initiate the process by completing Form I-134A. The application process is free and must be completed online, according to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS), a DHS agency. [See below for step-by-step details]

Fluent English speakers should be able to complete the form in less than one hour if they have all necessary documents handy.

How long the government will take to process the influx of applications is not yet known. The government’s website does not say.

Important Note: The person sponsored, also referred to as the beneficiary, must follow a separate process to secure a visa to enter the U.S., if their sponsor is approved.

Haitian asylum seekers
Migrants family heading to the U.S. Southern Border in 2021 through dangerous trips from South and Central America. A new parole program would allow U.S.-based family and friends to apply for entry of those who might otherwise travel by land to the U.S. Illustration by The Haitian Times

Who may become a financial supporter (sponsor)

U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents — people who have been granted a Green Card, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), asylum relief, deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure — may become sponsors. Organizations or multiple individuals for one beneficiary are also eligible. 

A supporter must reside in the U.S. and agree to financially support each potential immigrant — even children under 18 — as an individual beneficiary for the duration of the parole period. The status usually lasts one year, sometimes two. 

The USCIS website for Form I-134A does not indicate a specific income level or financial resources required of a supporter. However, Emanuel Depas, a New York-based immigration attorney, said that in past immigration sponsorship cases, a sponsor’s annual income would need to be at 125% of the federal poverty guidelines. As of March, 2022, if there were two in the sponsor’s household, that would mean $22,887.

Examples of support a sponsor might provide, include:

  • Receiving the immigrant upon arrival and transporting them to initial housing;
  • Ensuring safe and appropriate housing and initial basic necessities.
  • Helping the beneficiary complete paperwork for employment authorization, Social Security card and other services.
  • Ensuring health care and medical needs are met.
  • Assisting with accessing education, learning English, securing employment and enrolling children in school.

More than 200,000 Americans have signed up to sponsor Ukrainians seeking refuge in the U.S. under the Uniting for Ukraine program. Welcome.US, a national nonprofit that was originally started to help resettle Afghan refugees, is helping connect Ukrainians in need of sponsors with U.S. residents looking to help.

“It provides an avenue for Americans who don’t have a direct connection in the place to be able to sponsor someone from that place,” Cecilia Muñoz, co-chair of Welcome.US.

Now, as the U.S. is opening the program to Haitians, Welcome.US is working to get their content in Creole they said. Haitians who may not know someone in the U.S., or know someone with the financial means, might benefit.

And they also want to call forward more sponsors and to look at their website for more info on how to become one.

“It’s a serious commitment,” Muñoz added. “You are [offering] to receive someone and make sure that they are okay, that they have a good spirit, that they have adequate housing and that they have what they need to be successful here.”

Financial requirements for sponsorship

The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) site has not indicated as of this writing what level of support is required to apply to support a family member or friend. 

Completing the correct financial support form

To complete Form I-134A, which must be filed online, follow these steps: 

  1. Create a USCIS account by linking here and scrolling halfway down the page to the blue highlighted box, “File Online.” 
  2. There, enter an email and password, which will be confirmed in a two-step authentication process.
  3. Find Form I-134A on the site.
    1. Do not confuse it with Form I-134, which is the initial paperwork for Venezuelans.
    2. Do not confuse it with Form I-864, which is a contract with the federal government for financial support, but not a pathway towards a permanent residence card, or Green Card.
  4. Complete the form online and attach or upload the appropriate supporting documents such as bank statements, employment and salary verification and recent income tax return. 

What happens after submitting the application 

Once the application is received, the U.S. government vets aspiring supporters to ensure they have the financial means to support the intended immigrant. 

If the application pushes forward, USCIS may require fingerprints, photograph or signature to verify a supporter’s identity and obtain additional information. During the biometrics appointment, supporters will be asked to reaffirm their understanding and commitment to support the immigrant they’re sponsoring. 

A Haitian woman walks along Central Poniente Ave. in Tapachula in 2021. Although the numbers of Haitians in Tapachula has diminished, between 4,000 and 7,000 Haitians live in the city. Most are waiting for immigration documents to travel to other cities.

Tracking the application online

Throughout the process, applicants can track their cases online through their USCIS account, respond to official requests for additional information or learn the federal agency’s final decision. 

Applicants for the supporter role may call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. For TTY (deaf or hard of hearing) 800-767-1833. A secure message can be sent through a person’s USCIS account. The Frequently Asked Questions sectionprovides information. 

Free legal clinics in various communities or licensed, reputable attorneys can also provide guidance. 

CBPOne app is not for potential sponsors

The CBPOne app is not for people applying to become financial supporters, and should not be confused with the online application available on CBPOne comes into play for the traveler only after the federal government approves that person’s financial supporter.

CBPOne serves migrant travelers, such as those en route via land through South or Central America to Mexico, who may need a variety of Customs and Border Protection Services. The app directs each type of user to the services based on their needs. For example, land travelers can use it to submit their traveler information in advance, prior to their border crossing into the United States.

Beware of immigration scams 

As with many immigration processes, people try to take advantage of others, requesting application fees when there are none, providing inaccurate directions or stealing private documents. 

“Beware of any scams or potential exploitation by anyone who asks for money associated with participation in this process,” the official USCIS website warns. 

Only an attorney or accredited representative working for a Department of Justice recognized organization can give legal advice. 

Ashley Miznazi contributed to this article

The word “parole” was removed from the article to avoid confusion with its other uses in immigration.


Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Conversation

The original article appears here 

Please subscribe if you can as this paper has many journalists reporting from the ground in #Haiti where it is becoming more and more dangerous to be a journalist.

(I hope my friends there will forgive me for skirting under the paywall - I did pay for two subscriptions and believe that this article is essential for any foreigner to understand #Haiti)

July 16, 2021

 By Garry Pierre-Pierre | The Conversation

My mother’s side of the family came from Miragoâne, the coastal southern city whose economy was bauxite. We have a range of hues across the skin color spectrum — from my uncle Lionel Duval, who could pass for white, if he wanted, to my dark mocha.  We were close-knit, with Lionel being the patriarch and the family’s counselor. 

My mom always spoke reverently of my uncle because he pushed her to excel. He was very proud of me too. When I became a professional, he would swoon or call for a chat after seeing me on television or reading one of my stories. That’s just the way he was. He embraced his family’s diversity of skin color. 

Strangely, this is not common in Haiti, and I never realized truly how special he was until the events that unfolded in Haiti last week. Our family’s multi-color bond was the exception, not the rule in Haiti. 

The torture and assassination of president Jovenel Moïse by unknown assailants laid bare the reality in Haiti in ways that we can no longer hide. Contrary to popular belief, Haiti is not a Black country. It is a modern-day Apartheid state where a small minority of White people lord over the mass of the population who are Black. 

To try to explain this any other way is intellectual malfeasance. Haiti is presented either as an example of Black rule or, in White supremacist circles, of Black people’s inability to govern. I get asked the question in polite company: “Why is Haiti ungovernable?” 

The answer is that it is by design. It is set up that way. Haiti is ruled not by the Black faces who are elected. It is governed by a small cabal of oligarch families who migrated to Haiti. They are known as BAM BAM, phonetically in Creole “Gimme, Gimme.” The acronym stands for the Brandt, Acra, Madsen, Bigio, Apaid and Mevs families. 

A primer on Haiti’s wealthiest

These families control 90% of Haiti’s wealth and give a veneer that Haiti is a Black-run country when in fact they control virtually every business and entity in Haiti. They allow the political class to exist to protect their narrow personal interests. 

Except for the Arab Haitians, they are reclusive billionaires who hold honorary diplomatic titles to their country of origin. That means they pay no taxes because, after all, they are diplomats. In the rare cases when they have to pay their fair share, they bribe government officials to look the other way. 

They own private ports with little oversight from the government. We wonder how arms and ammunition are plentiful in a country whose arms and ammunition for its police force is stricltly limited.  These people have had their knees on the necks of the Haitian masses for more than a century. 

I’m not fomenting racial animus. These are facts. 

Below these oligarchs are the traditional light-skinned Haitians of French ancestry, whose role is to carry on the racial caste system in Haiti. The “mulaterie” are on a lower rung that controls the arts, entertainment, small businesses and everything else. A dark-skinned Haitian can own a bodega, but not a supermarket. 

Where does the diaspora fit?

The diaspora has no place in this system. I know of no one who has returned to Haiti and has been successful. These families, mulaterie and politicians take pleasure in squeezing investors dry and ripping every dollar out of our pocket. 

A good friend of mine returned to Haiti to open a small boutique hotel in his hometown of Jacmel. He told me how disappointed he was by that move. Nothing functions and his hotel has sat largely vacant. If he depended on the hotel for his livelihood, he would have gone hungry. Fortunately, he lives off his pension and the hotel has become a sort of hobby, not business. 

Then there is the case of Franck Ciné, a former executive at the now defunct communication giant MCI. Ciné returned to Haiti and then went on to launch Haitel, investing $85 million. When he launched the telecommunications company in 2000, it was the largest private investment in Haiti’s history.  

Soon enough, Ciné was arrested on dubious accusations and jailed. The government seized his assets and he returned to New York, an angry and bitter person, as anyone would be. The oligarchs would not accept this dark-skinned successful Haitian because it could set a bad precedent. He had to be eliminated. 

A brother’s plea: Take an honest look in the mirror

Over the years of reporting and writing about Haiti, I have skirted this issue because it can be seen as fomenting class or color divisions. But I can no longer avoid this topic because it is the cancer that’s staring at us, a life-threatening disease we want to avoid treating, thinking that it will cure itself. It won’t.

I know that Moïse was a deeply-flawed messenger and made a Faustian bargain to become president. I believe, however, that at some point he had this revelation and was willing to take on the oligarchs, knowing it would not end well for him. Moïse wanted to upend the system and make Haiti a more equitable place for the wretched masses, who have been desperately trying to leave Haiti, even if they must face withering prejudice and maltreatment abroad. 

I have no doubt that my writing will change these oligarchs’ hearts nor prompt them to spread their wealth anytime soon. They see themselves as one step below God and are immune to criticism. They are soulless. 

This plea is really to my light-skinned brothers and sisters. Haiti needs the same awakening that’s happening in the United States. This is your Black Lives Matter moment. You should question your privilege, the Haitian system that allows you social standing by the virtue of your skin tone. 

Are you smarter, better educated than everybody else? You certainly haven’t proven that outside of Haiti. In fact, you know that you’re not superior. That’s why most of you can’t succeed outside of Haiti, where competition is fierce. Look into the mirror, peer into your soul and ask yourself if this is the Haiti that you want. 

You know you’re not cut out for the New York, Miami or Montreal rat race. But you must admit this new version of Haiti doesn’t work for you, no matter your station in society. 

  • You can’t enjoy your beach house because the gangs have made going there unsafe. 
  • You must drive in the middle of the night to get to the airport because by dawn, the gangs rule the streets. 
  • You can’t drive to Jacmel because Martissant is a no-man’s land. 
  • You charter a plane,  It crashes killing 6 people on board because the planes are not safe. 
  • Even Doctors Without Borders, which works in the world’s dangerous places, has decamped from their Martissant headquarters.

To my middle-class dark-skinned compatriots, you focus too much on the international community being at the root cause of our problems. The International Monetary Fund and the host of alphabet-soup organizations do similar things in other countries and the results, though not necessarily good, are not as dire as they are in Haiti. 

Frame the argument differently. Peel the onion and you’ll get there. You’ve been asking incessantly about the provenance of the PetroCaribe money when it’s in front of you. If you look at the government’s contracts with Sogener, a generator reseller, they charged the government more than 30% higher than what Dominican companies charge the Dominican Republic. 

You’ve watched your quality of life deteriorate consistently over the last 3 decades. Your children have no opportunity, but you don’t have the money to send them to North America to study. Be smart and reach deep down in your empty well to find some water, it’s there.  

Our enlightenment is overdue

System Band, my favorite Konpa band, has a song that captures this situation so aptly. It’s called “Yon sel mwen menm” or “I’m alone.” It muses over a very optimistic Haiti, where a pitit soyet has found education and a better life overall despite the trials and tribulations of life in Haiti . It calls for Haitians to rasanble, or come together, with their conch shells and bamboo to liberate themselves. 

But perhaps the line that ties everything together is this: 

Zot toujou di: Si yo bay yo limyè, ya vin vole tèm.” In English, this means: “Others always say: If they get electricity, they’ll come steal my land.”

Moïse died fighting to get the country electricity 24/7

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Foreign Intervention Again in Haiti

Haiti is calling for international assistance. (Or rather the Acting Prime Minister with no legitimate authority who has been implicated in his predecessor's death is calling)Again. 

It is very true that the entire world has been against Haiti since her founding in 1804. True also that the US was the main force that executed the barricade and extracted the reparations to France via CitiBank. And again true that the UN troops brought cholera with them the last time they came. 

True also that the US still appears deathly afraid of #Cuba and all that it seems to  represent even though Cuba imports 80% of its food.  #Russian flags are flying in the protests in the streets of Port au Prince. The lefty keyboard warriors, safely tucked behind their desks in NYC, San Francisco, London, are happily tweeting and podcasting and filing stories for The Guardian. They could not, of course, do so from #Cuba or #Russia where internet access is denied. 

So we hear cries for "A Haitian Led Solution" - from all sorts of folks - mostly in English, though. 

And by that is meant the group  who organized what is called "The Montana Accord". They did this over a period of years - by going around the country side, listening to groups on the ground, getting their signatures... although... it is not actually known HOW many people were actually IN any group or whether or not ANY of the people in Any group actually understood what they were signing or agreeing to or anything whatsoever. 

Nevertheless - an effort to be applauded. An effort at Forming A Democracy. 

We seem to have fallen into a Very Old Trap. We are AFRAID of the Poor. Afraid of some sort of Slave Revolt. Afraid of the Shining Path.. Afraid of Liberation Theology. with its "preferential option for the poor" 

OMGoddess - spare us from the Jesuits, right?

And the United States was Terrified of Jean Bertrand Aristide. No Wonder they were. 

We are almost FORTY YEARS On from that. Things have changed. 

Is the United States Really STILL so terrified of "Communism?" 
Have we  yet discovered that Free Trade Zones that pay less than $5 a day may not be "Hope for Haiti?" For a good laugh - read this 

Bill Clinton repented on his plan to ship in US subsidized rice but we still ship it, right? 

Are We -- The United States - 
So Committed to Keeping the Developing World
 UN-Developed so that we can EXPLOIT their resources 
    (as is most certainly believed)

Such an Imperial Power?
    (Face it - Americans are not good at Imperialism. Our only real attempt has been Puerto Rico and no one can call that a success, right?) 

So Are We Gonna Just Invade and Install a New Bunch of NeoLiberal Puppets AGAIN??????

The World Bank has just closed its office in Port Au Prince.

The Peace Corps pulled out in 2005.

These things ought to tell us something, right?

But rather than actually sitting down and speaking with the one leader of the most organized gangs, the G9, BBQ, Jimmy Cherizier, the International Community appears to think that sanctions on him will work. 

As if he some bank account in the Cayman Islands?

Although, I am sure that plenty of the folks that have paid him probably do. There is a copy of a list sent to Jovenel #Moise before his death of suspected arms traffickers who most likely DO have foreign assets. 

The newly authorized and sorta-almost-formed Haitian "army" is being trained in groups of 30 in Mexico with the stand-by plan of just a few - say a battalion of 22,000 US troops - as a backup. The Bahamas has offered to send troops. Canada has already sent in tanks. 

Think that will be enough to subdue 8 or 9 million poor people? For how long? 

What is most likely to happen is that BBQ will be shot or extradited to serve out his life in a US prison. Those who actually paid for his protection will pay OTHER gangs, such as the 400 Wazo . There is no shortage of gangs in Haiti. 

The problem... as it always seems to be.... in Haiti as elsewhere -- is that one group does not want to sit down with another. The Montana Group does not want to sit down with the DeFacto PM Henry. 

No one wants to sit down with BBQ. Except there actually is one Canadian official who HAS offered.

And BBQ has a peace plan -  (original here ) one in which all the gangs lay down their arms. An interim government is formed.... elections... etc... 

MAKES  Sense

Just as it did in Northern Ireland
And Vietnam
And South Africa
And throughout Africa 

Sitting and Talking

Before Anyone Is Killed?

There are 10 Million People in Haiti

Almost all of them are Very Poor
None of What is happening now is their fault.

Sit Down with #BBQ and TALK PEACE 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

What should foreigners *Blans" Do to help #Haiti

For years Bob Corbett ran a list serve on #Haiti

This is a post with his wisdom back in 2009


On Thu, 6/18/09, Bob Corbett <> wrote:

From: Bob Corbett <>
Subject: 34584: Corbett (reply) 34583: Durban (reply): re. 34582 Roebling re. Clinton & Haiti (fwd)
To: "Bob Corbett's Haiti list" <>
Date: Thursday, June 18, 2009, 10:39 AM

From Bob Corbett

I think Lance Durban lays out a serious challenge.  Like Roebling and many others, and I would think Lance Durban would be among the group, most of us deplore the wages and life form lived by the bulk of the Haitian poor.

But, to bemoan conditions seems to me to do virtually nothing to improve them.

I'm quite a pessimist.  For more than 20 years I ran a small NGO and I tried to get various economic projects going in quite remote rural areas and in Cite Soleil -- well, it was Cite Simone in the early days.

I was using donated money and my organization had no paid employees at all, nor did we use donated money for our own expenses.  I had a policy to work solely with established community organizations, mainly called
"Ti Legliz" in those days.

Many of the people were willing and worked hard.  But moving from a start-up
project (again with donated money) to SUSTAINABLILTY proved to be next to impossible.  My primary aim was to try to get some business of some sort started, that within 3-5 years could become independent of my group's money and to become self-sustaining.

There were three major sorts of projects I ended up working with:

1.  Groups of market women.
2.  Farm projects.
3.  In the city, artisans.

I never had much success with groups # 2 and 3, and very little success with any whole group of the market women, but some individuals did manage to use the start-up money my group advanced and to move on to sustainability.

There were many reasons -- in farming, as Lance pointed out, there was the problems of land.  Some were the natural problems he point out and some were ownership of land issues.  As soon as a parcel of rented land (seemingly the bulk of land avaialble to peasants) began to produce something, then city land-owners demanded a cut and the projects would begin to wane.

Markets were always a problem and with farming so was transportation of goods.  Water was always an issue.

There were certainly some dishonest folks in the groups and we lost some groups and some money in that manner, but that was very insignificant and to be expected in any human community.  In general it wasn't will and effort that were lacking, rather it was

-- organization
-- know-how
-- natural resources
-- transportation
-- water
-- land ownership or use
-- markets

Now consider, I was coming to Haiti with money on which I was not expecting ANYTHING in return, wanting to use 100% of my money to help already organized groups.  And the success rate was extremely low.  Some benefits would accrue in the few years my organization was pumping money in, but as soon as we would say:  Time's up, this has to become self-sustaining, then they would collapse.

So, if one is talking about INVESTORS coming in to make a profit ......
well, again, it is easy to get angry with people who seem to be taking advantage of folks, but what are the POSITIVE and CONSTRUCTIVE advice to
people looking to invest in Haiti....  And, people who are looking in a competitive manner to invest money at a return that about matches what the market will provide in a world econmy?

I am very pessimistic that such investors would be much attracted to Haiti and attracted to pay living wages.

If that is at all so, then what does one suggest?

Is Haiti just to remain a begging nation forever?  It doesn't seem to be working very well.

Are there alternatives?  I haven't seen many.  I've met and visited with hundreds of folks who, like me, were trying to do things at the level of human service with either no profit or very little, or just trying to keep a few small projects going.  And I have seen a handful of successful ones, but a gigantic mass of those which fail.

The money runs out, a main leader dies or moves on, the group loses interest, the group is more interested in the religious outcomes that the material advancement of the communithy, the group goes to some other country and so on.  Lots of reasons.  And the projects die out and within a year or two there is no sign of their previous existence.

What are the POSITIVE possiblities?  Haiti is what it is governmentally and socially, economically, ecologically.  Those are relatively fixed.

Then what?

I would love to hear some discussion of these questions.

Bob Corbett

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Jovenel Moise - Are the Right Judges in Place?

For the original article in French click here

According to sources in the judicial system fewer than ten investigating judges have been approached. Some qualified judges wanted the case. They told AyiboPost that they had not been contacted.

By Wildore Mérancourt. August 11,2020

Last Thursday, some of the judges of the Port-au-Prince district braved the insecurity to appear at the Bicentennial Court House. Among the forty or so judges in the jurisdiction, only about twenty answered “present” during the first civil chamber for the traditional General Assembly.

The roll call started at nine o’clock, but it was not until 11 that the discussions began. According to the agenda, questions about the resumption of the work in the courts preceeded those on any extraordinary meetings. The murder of the president Jovenel Moise, as spectacular as it was violent, interrupted the proceedings at 11:30.

The judicial police had turned over the file on the inquest to the judiciary on the preceding day. Now the dean of the Court of the First Instance, Mr. Bernard Saint-Vil, had to select a judge to conduct the investigation, a crucial step in the process.

Amidst the confusion of of the incessant debates, one of the judges speaks to make an almost unprecedented proposal. “I demand that the judge add to the agenda a resolution for the creation of a commission of at least three judges to investigate the assassination.”, said Ikenson Edume, president of the National Association of Haitian Magistrates.

The majority of judges in attendance considered this an excellent idea.The dean also seemed to be leaning in this direction. He spoke of his own involvement in a similar panel of three investigating judges in the still unresolved assignation of the journalist Jean Dominique, according to Eumdé. Four days after the assembly of judges, the dean announced the choice of Mathieu Chanlatte for the historic investigation of the murder of the former head of state.

According to experts, a panel of judges would have permitted a concentration of expertise on this sensitive case . This would also have reduced the risk of blackmail and politicalpressure, while taking the focus off of one single judge who would otherwise be much more vulnerable.

Even though not formally expressed in Haitian law, the designation of a panel of judges has been made at the discretion of the dean at least twice in the last twenty years.

Mr. Bernard Gousse is an expert in law, dean of the faculty and from Minister of Justice. He recalls the longevity of the criminal code which goes back the the beginning of the 19th century. If this code does not forbid a panel of investigating judges “it does not forbid a dean from forming one.” Even more so for an affair as complex as the assassination of the president, with more than forty persons from many different countries involved in the case.

There is nothing to indicate whether legal concerns pushed Bernard Saint-Vil to abandon this idea.

A few days before the announcement, the media reported alleged difficulties encountered by the dean in making the selection. Several judges who were approached would have refused to take the case.

According to half a dozen interviews conducted by AyiboPost with high-ranking sources in the judicial system, some of the judges contacted refused to work on the murder. One of the reasons is that at least one of them is overwhelmed by another major matter.

However, the idea that the large majority of judges would refuse the case is “false”, according to Marthel Jean Claude, an investigating judge, also President of the Professional Association of Magistrates, who is well informed of the proceedings.

“I have spoken with several judges who are available and willing.” said Jean Claude, “They have also told the dean that they are available. The rumor in the media has upset many judges.”

Mr. Wilner Morin is one of the rare judges in Haiti who is a specialist in transnational and financial crimes. His mandate as a judge was not renewed by Jovenel Moise last January, despite a positive recommendation from the High Counsel of Judicial Power. If he was not approached, Mr.Morin, who remains a sitting judge despite the information spread in the media, “many more judges have said yes than no.”

Formally, or via intermediaries, fewer than ten examining magistrates were contacted by the dean according to a source close to the proceedings who requested anonymity for fear of negative career repercussions.

At least five judges, praised by their peers for their neutrality and competence, were not considered or even contacted, according to information collected by AyiboPost.

Marthel Jean Claude is on this informal list discussed in judicial circles. He affirms that he would have considered the request, had it been formally issued.

The name of Judge Loubens Elysee was also mentioned many times in interviews. AyiboPost was not able to contact him but one of his colleagues reported that he was approached but then passed over for Mathieu Chanlatte. He had been “open” to the idea of taking the case. If there there were many “competent” judges, why were the media reporting that they were running away from it? “They were circulating the rumor in order to easily impose Mathieu Chanlatte,” another judge concluded.

Political considerations appear to have played a part in the choice made by the Dean. “Chanlatte is reputed to be very close to Jovenel Moise and the Haitian Party Tet Kate, he is a team judge,” declared Mr. Samuel Madistin, in a telephone interview. “With that reputation, it will be difficult for him to handle this case” continued the lawyer who represents two of the individuals held in the assassination of Jovenel Moise. ́

The dean Bernard Saint-Vil did not respond to multiple requests for interviews nor to telephone calls from AyiboPost.

Mathieu Chanlatte enters the public debates thanks to two matters which have been widely publicized.

The first concerns allegations of corruption which go back to 2019 and implicate the former First Lady, Martine Moise. Some observers denounce the the laxity of Chanlatte in the issue of the contract between the Haitian state and a German company after two warnings from theHigh Court for Oversight and Administrative Procedures.

The second concerns a judicial political matter between the former President, Jovenel Moise and the Société Générale d’ ́Enerie SA (Sogener). Some actions taken during that case failed to comply with Haitian law, according to legal experts.

“The dean could have chosen a judge who had a reputation of neutrality, of impartiality, and that would have given the case of being conducted will right until the end.” Continued Mr. Madistin. “I am waiting to see his first acts to see if he will treat the case seriously, with independence.”

The choice of Mathieu Charlotte reopens a bloody wound in the legal establishment in Haiti. In the Court of the First Instance are the deans who legally receive and distribute the cases to the examining judges. With regularity, these deans find themselves among the defendants becausethey do not take into account the intellectual and technical skills of judges in the assignment of cases.

Within the National Association of Haitian Court Officers, Ainé Martin advocates for judges who are specialists in financial crimes or human trafficking for example. This would make the process more professional and allow justice to triumph. “Matthieu Chanlatte has no speciality” complains Martin. “The case of the assassination of Jovenel Moise is complicated. It ought to be presided over by a judge who specializes in transnational crime.”

Two judges interviewed objected to how the distribution of cases are made by at the Court of First Instance in Port-Au-

Prince. Important issues will be divided not on the basis of competence but more on the bases of considerations of proximity to the dean, Mr. Bernard Saint Vil.

Four reputable institutions in France educated Judge Ikenson Edumé in the field of economic and financial crimes. Despite the abundance of cases in his field, he has not been given any case touching on financial or economic crime since 2012.

-Wildore Merancourt

translated by Elizabeth Eames Roebling


Friday, August 6, 2021

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Dominican Republic - The Resorts - The Nation

The news of the assault and the illnesses at the all inclusive resorts on the Dominican Republic that have circulated in headlines around the world. It is an indication of how isolated and far behind the times the Dominican Republic actually is that the local (and Spanish) owned resorts have neither accepted responsibility, offered to reimburse the guests, nor made an effort to counter the devastating international publicity which will negatively affect all the tourism of that nation while only a two of the hotels are involved.

During my 14 year stay there, I was always distressed  that tourists who came down for their one or two week vacations only saw a small patch of beach, isolated from the local culture and breathtaking variety of the landscapes.

Perhaps these incidents will push the nation into developing a more varied sort of tourism in the form of "inclusive" packages which take tourists to the smaller boutique hotel around that beautiful country so they can experience the 11 different ecological zones.

And perhaps have the privilege, as I did, of at least catching a glimpse of the wonderful nature of the Dominican people.

I post, in their defense, a copy of an observation which I posted on which is an English message board where ex-pats, Dominicans, and visitors swap information, questions, and observations.

My reflections -

"I found that friends in the same educational class might ask for a loan - and be very prompt in paying it back by the date that they said that they would so that they could establish the practice of coming back again.

If I had had a meeting at my place (we were all doing non- profit work) the women would all bring something- arepas or a tin of Vienna sausages.

That if you were lucky enough to be invited to for a luncheon, there would be the BEST tablecloth and three courses presented..

But if they came to my place, they were delighted with a bowl of soup and ACTED as if I had served three courses with the best tablecloth.

A few times the folks that worked for me in different capacities (secretary/translator/ assistant/maid/handyman) would come to me with problems - not asking directly for money but explaining the issue.- daughter was raped and needed counseling, started a business and got into credit card debt, ran out of money and needed food, wanted to return to Haiti and needed $200 more for the transport - in each and every case, they were exceedingly grateful when I stepped up and gave help and never again asked for anything.

My cleaning lady once asked for an advance on her salary - and I honestly simply did not have it. She said - well, if you don't have it, you don't. But then I went to the kitchen and pulled out rice and beans and got out a chicken from the freezer and gave them to her. She hugged the bag. 

Later on she would say to anyone who would listen - "Ella vale was que dinero" 
Which is how I absolutely thought of all of all of them.

I could not buy nor would never imagine to receive in the USA the care and devoted attention that I got from the Dominicans that I knew when I was ill - visits to the hospital, sleeping over at my house, rubbing my feet with menthol, making me soup, cleaning the house- just STAYING over. 

I would add to Matilda's list that a Dominican friend will waltz into your house- go into your kitchen and make coffee and do any dishes that might be in the sink while you are there. 

She will say she is hungry if she is - and proceed to help herself to what is in the fridge - setting out a small feast for you both from what you thought was an empty larder. 

She will go through your closets with you, helping you decide what looks good on you, what ought to go to the tailors, what ought to be given away. And tell you HONESTLY.

She will remember when it is the birthday of you sisters, nephews, etc.. and remind you to get a card or a gift. 

She will make sure that you are NOT alone at any holiday that is important. Most particularly YOUR birthday (even if you would rather not notice it)

She will invite you to the hospital to visit her newborn niece with the rest of the family (you must go), and call you to the hospital when her mother is dying (also a command performance), invite you to her wedding (optional). 

I use the feminine pronoun because I was blessed with more women friends but I also had three very fine men friends even though it was explained to me that the belief was that men can not be friends with women. Obviously not true in practice.

I was blessed to have known them. They will always have a piece of my heart."

Sunday, February 3, 2019


I am STUNNED by the "well meaning " organizations from the left in the USA such as #CommonDreams that are spouting propaganda of which #RussiaToday would be proud. Those who know me, such as the 1699 others prisoners of conscience for #Vieques, know that I walk on the side of those who seek both justice and liberty.

What is happening in Venezuela is a fight against a dictator who is trying to secure a further 6 year term after what were widely considered to be a fraudulent election.

The two leading candidates from the opposition were banned from running. One, #LeopoldLopez was imprisoned for 3 years and is still under house arrest. #JuanGuiado is the last duly elected leader of the National Assembly (House of Representatives) and, as such, has the right and obligation under their constitution to declare himself as the rightful president. 

To see the situation/people in Venezuela only through the lens of globalization or capitalism/socialism is to discount the agency of both the people on the ground in Venezuela and the voices of the more than 3 million Venezuelans who have been forced to flee the country.

Per the press conference from the Guiado government is asking for primarily is 1)to open the channels of humanitarian assistance and 2) for the holding of free and fair elections at the earliest possible date 3) support from the international community in restoring democracy in Venezuela. They reject absolutely any sort of negotiation with the government of Maduro. The assumption of the presidency by Guiado is completely in accord with the constitution of #Venezuela. 

Unfortunately there seems to be very little co-ordination between #CNNEspanol and #CNN. If there were, the entire press conference would be translated and posted so that the English speaking public could be informed.

The government of Guiado is supported by the Lima Group which includes the democracies in this hemisphere - excluding the United States. 

Perhaps there are others who value the choice of an economic system over a political one - i.e. socialism/capitalism vs democracy/authoritarianism - but, IMHO, in order to be considered a successful nation one MUST have democracy (even flawed as the US is considered to be now) and then may choose the economic system. 

Let us have a #WOKELEFT. When your position is in lock step with countries such as Russia, Cuba, Iran, Syria, Iran, Turkey and North Korea -which did acknowledge the election of Maduro as legitimate- and Against Canada, Australia, The OAS and the EU - which did not -- 


#Guiado #Venezuela