Haitian Socialist Opposition Senator Attacks Clinton
Our World Correspondent, Brian Mier, sends us this interview:
In recent weeks, the international media has revisited Haiti due to the countries first cholera outbreak in 100 years, that locals are blaming on a Nepalese UN Military base that was allegedly dumping its sewage into the Artibonite River. What they are discovering, and what I discovered during my recent visit to the country, is that nothing seems to have changed since the early days after the quake. Despite the $10 billion in aid pledged to the reconstruction effort, nearly 2 million people are still living in tents. As the country braces for its first round of elections after the eartquake that killed as many as 400,000 a backlash is occuring against the UN with Haitians throwing rocks at UN personel and charity workers. During my recent visit to Haiti I sat down and spoke with one of the few widely respected Haitian elected officials, opposition Senator Jean William Jeanty, about the current political context in his country. He started off by pointing out that many of the countries problems have to do with the fact that the country has been invaded by the US 5 times since the initial occupation (from 1915-1934) and that the UN has been actively involved in the governance of the country since since 1994.
Why has so little been done to rebuild Port Au Prince since the earthquake?
In the early days after the quake President Preval didn’t say a word for two weeks. When he finally started to move everything had already been taken over and there were 60,000 US marines in the country. The president and his team decided to legalize this invasion without making any kind of appeal for Haitian solidarity. He passed an Emergency law creating the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti and gave it unlimited power over all the initiatives related to the Haitian reconstruction. The way that the law is written the Commission will have as many foreigners in control as there are countries that give at least $100 million. Nobody knows who exactly is in it but one with all the power is Bill Clinton. One month after it was created President Preval issued decree articles 12, 13, and 14 that grant the Commission the power to reclaim any land in the country no matter where and for whatever reason. In the constitution of 1987 Haitians took great precaution to guarantee that no foreigners could own land in this country but today the President has given the power over to the foreigners instead of protecting the sovereignty of our nation. Technically speaking, this was an act of treason against the constitution.”
Has the Reconstruction Commision done anything positive yet?
One of the first things that they did was remove all laws related to the bidding process for public contracts, actually making the country more corrupt than it was before the earthquake. There is a foreign company that was given $400 million through a no-bid contract to remove all of the rubble from Port Au Prince. The contract was signed and the money was transferred but nobody is removing the rubble.The international community and the Hatian government have ousted us from this country and we no longer know what is even happening. They are saying that 30% of the money that was pledged has come in but the recontstruction doesn’t appear to have started yet.
Senator Jean William Jeanty
What do you think about the elections this Sunday?
There is no possible way that they can be democratic. Not only does nobody know how many people died in the eartquake yet, he says, but nobody has removed their names from the voting registers so there are hundreds of thousands of dead people who are still officially eligable to vote. Everybody is saying that the elections should be postponed because of the cholera epidemic and the earthquake but Preval and the international community are rushing through because they want to be able to garuntee that they stay in power to keep running humantiarian aid as a for-profit business with contracts outsourced to foreign companies.
What can Haitian people do about all of this?
We have to organize ourselves to see how, little by little, we can rebuild our nation but this cannot happen without the participation of the population. We are the ones who need to impose this because freedom is never given as a gift.