News-Feb. 18: L’Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP) – Coup Under Cover of Humanitarian Aid? Haiti to Become International Protectorate? and More

Posted on February 24, 2010

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AHP News – Feb. 18, 2010 – Eng. Translation (Unofficial)

Please see the official site of AHP/Radio Solidarité at www.ahphaiti.org

News Topics:  Patrick Elie urges sustained solidarity, warns of a coup under the cover of humanitarian aid , urges government reorganization,  Questions remain about the CEP — Mayors in the Metro area meet with government officials over priorities for aid distribution, safety issues – Haiti’s PM downplays talk of Haiti as international protectorate –

 

 

Port-au-Prince, February 18, 2010 – (AHP) – Human rights activist Patrick Elie appealed to the Haitian people Thursday to sustain the remarkable momentum of solidarity that has been demonstrated since the devastating January 12 earthquake that caused the deaths of more than 200,000 people.

 

Throughout the evening of January 12th and the following days, it was the population’s solidarity that saved the lives of so many who were trapped under the rubble while officers of MINUSTAH and the Haitian police dealt with their own tragedies, he said. This solidarity is vital for the process of Haiti’s reconstruction, said Mr. Elie. He appealed to all sectors to pull themselves together to act as patriots working for the welfare of the population and the nation. ” It is this solidarity,  a far cry from the political instability and social polarization we have known, that must ensure that a few local and international interests do not end up coopting the majority of the funds targeted for Haiti’s reconstruction.

The practice of staging a coup d’Etat, as in 1991 and in 2004 must come to an end for us as a people, insisted the human rights

activist, warning that an attempted coup d’Etat is lurking, disguised under the cover of humanitarian assistance orchestrated by Non-Governmental-Organizations from certain sectors who are trying, he said, to exclude the Haitian government from the coordination of international aid, and even worse, from the process of rebuilding the country. This type of action contrary to democratic principles and respect for Haiti’s sovereignty cannot possibly bring about positive results, said Patrick Elie, recalling that Haiti has already lived under 20 years of U.S. occupation, and that as recently as 2004 a

democratically elected appelanpresident was forced out of office before the end of his term and replaced by an imported Haitian technocrat, with tragic consequences for the country.

Haitians must be vigilant so as to thwart this attempted coup d’Etat, said Patrick Elie, observing that all of the public’s frustrations about humanitarian aid are aimed at the government while “it is the international community working through the NGOs that is controlling everything”. Emergency aid has been poorly coordinated as a result of the weakening of the Haitian state by the major international powers by fueling the political instability and by the invasion of the NGOs. Mr. Elie added that Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive, who is also the Planning Minister, plans to convene a meeting of all NGOs involved in the distribution of humanitarian aid for the purpose of issuing directives in order that the NGOs’ work is in tune with the government’s vision. Those who do not comply, Mr. Elie believes, may lose their authorization to operate in Haiti. We of course do need the international community for the reconstruction of our country, but we also need the solidarity of the Haitian people to confront the challenges we face in the aftermath of the earthquake, he said.

 

 

Port-au-Prince, February 18, 2010 – (AHP) –Human rights activist Patrick Elie commented Thursday that a reorganization of the government was and is still necessary to enable Haiti to manage the extremely urgent situation in which it finds itself since the deadly January 12th earthquake.

Several sectors including members of the Haitian Parliament have called in recent days for the formation of a government of national salvation. Others have even wished for the departure of President Préval, supported by demonstrations against the poor distribution of humanitarian aid, although it is the NGOs which are managing the aid distribution. Patrick Elie defined four overarching themes upon which he believes the government’s reorganization should be based: communication and

mobilization of all sectors of national life, logistical questions (food, tents, reconstruction, etc.), politics and diplomacy, and finally security.

As for the elections, Patrick Elie believes they should not be the priority.

The hurricane season is fast approaching and, he pointed out, it is the regions (such as the Artibonite) that generally are vulnerable  to great damage from these storms that are now helping us deal with the aftermath of the earthquake. Nature is unlikely to do any favors to these regions as compensation for the fact that the capital has been struck so hard by the earthquake, he added. What is most important today is that steps be taken and measures enacted to help the country and the people find a way forward from this catastrophic present situation.

The partial legislative elections that had been scheduled for February 28 were canceled following the earthquake. And President René Preval repeated Wednesday that the current situation is not conducive to holding elections. He said, however, that the political sector, civil society and the international community (as provider of funds) should meet with the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to determine the best date for local, legislative and presidential elections.

However, well before the earthquake, the CEP suffered from a lack of credibility and impartiality that could have compromised the elections.

The decision by the CEP to exclude from the elections a number of political parties and organizations, under pressure from various quarters, including a group of Haitian Senators from the former Espwa Platform and also with the tacit approval of MINUSTAH and other sectors of the international community without providing a valid motive had contributed to a climate of tension in Haiti. 

Many believe that the CEP, after many sectors called for it to be dissolved, should, if it is to remain in place, make a completely fresh start based on an approach that values wisdom, understanding and harmony after the experience of the January 12th tragedy.

 

 

Port-au-Prince, February 18, 2010 – (AHP) – A meeting was held Thursday between between mayors in the Port-au-Prince Metropolitan area  and government officials, notably the Interior Ministry, to convey concerns expressed by the public in anticipation of the hurricane season.

 

The mayors representing the various communal jurisdictions reportedly received assurabnces that over the next four weeks the problem of temporary housing for earthquake victims will begin to be resolved.

During his four hour visit Wednesday to  Port-au-Prince, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that tents and tarps to provide shelter for roughly 200,000 people would be arriving in the next few days. The new head of MINUSTAH, Edmond Mulet on Thursday urged the international community to urgently send tents to Haiti for approximately one million people without shelter who are already faced with the first of the seasonal rains. “We need latrines, field tents and plastic tarps to cover people” said Mr.Mulet at the conclusion of a meeting in Spain. He remarked that the catastrophe in Haiti was exceptional, and that everything to do with humanitarian aid will have to continue for a long time.

 

 

Port-au-Prince, le 18 février 2010 – (AHP) –Carrefour Mayor Yvon Gérôme said Thursday that his administration was not involved in the distribution of food aid and tents at the Carrefour Sports Center, which has been the object of a great deal of criticism.

The NGOs are responsible for the distribution, said the mayor. He announced plans for an important meeting this weekend between these NGOs and city officials to address the problem of how to manage aid distribution. Yvon Gérôme also indicated that the Carrefour bridge at Truittier, not far from the Saint Charles Church, does not pose an imminent threat to the public, contrary to what some residents of this souther suburb of the capital believe. Many Haitians asked the city authorities Wednesday to take action concerning the bridge, which was weakened by the January 12th earthquake, to prevent it from collapsing under the weight of the vehicles that cross it all day long. I have personally verified the condition of the bridge, said the mayor, and the technicians who accompanied me assured me that it does not constitute a true danger to the public, said  Mayor Gérôme. For the time being, he said, the top priority for city hall is the current phase of humanitarian aid.

 

 

Port-au-Prince, February 18, 2010 – (AHP) – Haiti’s Prime Minister downplayed rumors Thursday suggesting that Haiti might soon be placed under the authority of foreign powers.

 

I have heard this sort of rumor for years, just as I have heard for years that Haiti has natural resources that could be developed once the country were under international tutelage, said Mr. Bellerive, adding that the superpowers don’t need to make us a protectorate in order to profit from resources the country might possess. He asserted that to develop these underground resources would require very large investment, and it is foreign corporations that are in a position to make that kind of investment.

The Prime Minister said that Haiti does not have the means on its own to respond to the needs of the population. What we need right now, he added, are not grand nationalistic speeches but rather efficient and relevant ones.