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Anti-government protesters clash with police in Haiti

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By Danica Coto | Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Thousands of protesters clashed with police as they looted stores and tried to break through a barricade leading toward the residence of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse Friday in one of the biggest demonstrations in weeks to demand his resignation. The violence came a day after a journalist covering the demonstrations was fatally shot in his car.

A group of motorcycle drivers gunned their engines in front of the police barricade blocking the sole street leading to the upscale Port-au-Prince neighborhood, with one person holding up a dead dog that had been dragged through the streets by a rope. A small group yelled: “Here’s Jovenel!”

Police fired tear gas and bullets into the air. Protesters burned tires and spilled oil on streets in parts of Haiti’s capital, warning the demonstrations could get even more violent as anger over corruption, rising inflation and a lack of basic goods continued to roil the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.

“We’re going to break and destroy everything” if Moïse doesn’t resign, said Reynald Brutus, a 28-year-old unemployed protester.

Friday’s protest came after reporter Néhémie Joseph of Radio Méga, who had been covering the protests, was found dead in his car late Thursday in the town of Mirebalais, northeast of Port-au-Prince, according to Radio Vision 2000.

In a Facebook post in late September, Joseph said that a couple of politicians had threatened him after one of his shows and accused him of inciting protests. It was unclear, however, if this was the motive for his killing.

“The press should not have to claim victims and bodies as their own,” the Association of Professional Journalists of Artibonite said, calling on justice officials to investigate the killing.

Joseph is the third Haitian journalist killed in less than two years. Radio Sans Fin reporter Pétion Rospide was fatally shot in June as he drove home, while freelance journalist Vladjimir Legagneur disappeared in March 2018 while working on a story.

The most recent killing comes amid a spike in violence in Haiti’s capital and surrounding communities as protests that have caused nearly 20 deaths and almost 200 injuries paralyze the country for nearly a month. Businesses remain shuttered and an estimated 2 million children have not been able to go to school, according to the United Nations.

“It’s a very, very serious situation,” said Michèle Pierre-Louis, a former prime minister with the non-governmental organization FOKAL. “No one is really talking about the suffering of the people. The consequences are terrible.”

On Friday, some normally clogged streets of Port-au-Prince were largely empty as people stayed indoors out of fear.

A crowd gathered in Pétionville yelled and pushed on the occasional car that tried to drive through.

Among those watching was 33-year-old Naomi Pierre, who works at the police academy.

“I like what’s going on,” she said. “It’s for the best of the country.”

Pierre has two children who haven’t been able to go to school for a month, and she lamented the lack of food, medical care, electricity and security.

“Everyone’s walking up and down with their heart beating scared,” she said.

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A Change is Needed in Canada’s Haiti Policy – The Haitian Times

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By Marie Dimanche, Frantz André and Yves Engler

Protesters recently threw a Molotov cocktail and burnt tires in front of the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince.  At another rally demonstrators hurled rocks at the embassy and a protester was filmed holding a sign saying: “Fuck USA. Merde la France. Fuck Canada.”

While jarring for most Canadians, these acts reflect the anger of an impoverished people fed up with foreign governments dictating their affairs. 

For more than a year Haitians have been engaged in a remarkable popular uprising against a corrupt and repressive foreign-backed president. Since September schools and businesses in Port-au-Prince have for the most part  been shut due to protests challenging the president, racism and economic inequality. However, Haitians are also rejecting Canadian foreign policy.

Jovenel Moïse remains president because he has the backing of Canada, France, the United States and other members of the so-called “Core Group.”  Canada provides the unpopular president with important  financial, policing and diplomatic support.

During the past decade and a half, Haitians have increasingly identified Canada with the country’s historic influencers. Michel Vastel, a prominent Québec journalist, reported that a secret meeting took place on Jan. 31, 2003 in Ottawa, where officials discussed Haiti’s future. No Haitian representative was invited to the summit where high level officials from the U.S., Canada, France and the Organization of American States discussed overthrowing elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, putting the country under international trusteeship and resurrecting Haiti’s dreaded military.

Thirteen months after that meeting, the U.S., France and Canada ousted Aristide. For the next two years they imposed a government responsible for thousands of deaths. The coup also ushered in a UN military force whose reckless sewage disposal caused a cholera epidemic that took 10,000 lives.

After the country was struck by a deadly earthquake in 2010, Canadian officials continued their inhumane and antidemocratic course. According to internal government documents the Canadian Press examined a year after the disaster, officials in Ottawa feared a post-earthquake power vacuum could lead to a “popular uprising.” One briefing note marked “secret” explained: “Political fragility has increased, the risks of a popular uprising, and has fed the rumour that ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power.” The documents also explained the importance of strengthening the Haitian authorities’ ability “to contain the risks of a popular uprising.” To police Haiti’s traumatized and suffering population 2,050 Canadian troops were deployed alongside 12,000 US soldiers and 1,500 UN troops (8,000 UN soldiers were already there).

A year after the earthquake the U.S. and Canada forced third place presidential candidate, Michel Martelly, into the runoff of an election that barred Aristide’s party. The central figure in the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal that has spurred recent protests, Martelly is Moïse’s mentor.

It’s no wonder Haitians are angry with the Canadian government. But, an alternative Canadian position is also being put forward. On Oct. 31, Québec’s National Assembly unanimously endorsed a motion declaring “our unreserved solidarity with the Haitian people and their desire to find a stable and secure society. ” It urges “support for any peaceful and democratic exit from the crisis coming from Haitian civil society actors.” A week earlier the Concertation pour Haïti, a collection of Québec NGOs and unions, called for “Canada to make the right choice and use its influence in the international community to support” a presidential transition.Last week David Suzuki, Amir Khadir, Roger Waters, Maude Barlow, Yann Martel and more than 100 other writers, musicians, activists and professors signed an open letter requesting that  “the Canadian government stop backing a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president.”

It is time for a change in Canadian policy in Haiti.Marie Dimanche is founder of Solidarité Québec-Haiti #Petrochallenge 2019. Frantz André is with Comité d’action des personnes sans statut and Solidarité Québec-Haiti. Yves Engler is a member of Solidarité Québec-Haiti and author of 10 books.

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.

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The Haiti Sentinel | Haitian Chocolate, Coffee, Teas and Liquers See Demand for Outlets in Taiwan

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Rebo S.A., for its deluxe coffees, Askanya S.A., with its premier bean-to-bar chocolates, Belzeb S.A., the producers of holistic massage oils and organic teas, and Berling S.A., the authentic premium rum and cream liquers distillery, made up the delegation of Haitian businesses that presented their products at the 2019 Taiwan International Tea, Coffee and Wine Expo.

The expo which was held from November 15 to 18 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Hall brought together exhibitors from more than 53 countries and hosted nearly 200,000 visitors. They were four days of awe, with tasting and exhibition sessions for the Asian public and each of the Haitian entrepreneurs left with hopeful eyes.

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Haitian Protesters Demand Ouster of President Jovenel Moïse

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In Haiti, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Port-au-Prince Wednesday, in the latest demonstration to call for the ouster of President Jovenel Moïse.

Protester: “We can’t suffer any longer. We live in a place where there are no roads, no water, no hospitals. There’s nothing. Everything is blocked in this country. We’re saying this isn’t possible. That’s why we’re in the street. We’re going to stay in the streets every day.”

More than 40 people have been killed in two months of the anti-government protests.

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