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Related Categories: Haiti | International
Haiti: CIDA funded Camille Chambers (PAPDA) confronted at World Social Forum- Caracas, Ven
by CHAN
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2006 7:11 AM
Excerpts from CHAN posts
cida.jpg
Discussion, debate on Haiti on 5th day of World Social Forum
CHAN Delegation Dispatch excerpts from #2 and all of #4
Sunday, January 29, 2006



.....Another forum on Haiti ran parallel with the CHAN forum. It was organized by Plateforme Haitienne de Plaidoyer pour un Developpement Alternatif (PAPDA), one of the generously-funded NGO's in Haiti. That meeting featured PAPDA leader Camille Chambers. PAPDA is an organization that has a partnership with Alternatives and several other Canadian funded "progressive" Haitian NGOs.

Chambers was a guest speaker at the rally of tens of thousands that opened the World Social Forum on January 24. He told that rally, "The countries present in Haiti are merely performing a service for the United States." Agencia Brasil reported that "Chalmers called the mission "shameful" and called on the "solidarity of the Latin American nations to denounce it."

The PAPDA forum, which was presented as a dicsussion about the "imperialist intervention in Haiti" was attended by approximately 20 people including two CHAN activists. Chalmers made a lengthy presentation during which he criticized Aristide as well as providing a general but vague criticism of neoliberalism. Chalmers made no mention of the human rights situation, the political prisoners, or the actual nature of the military occupation. CHAN activists pointed out Chalmers omissions and challenged him to speak out against the repression and situation that finds an estimated 1,000 political prisoners. Chalmers could not bring himself to denounce the repression or affirm the high number of Lavalas political prisoners.

Chalmers was further pressed about the existing funding relationship between his and partner organizations with Canadian government-funded NGOs. He claimed that PAPDA doed not receive any funding from any foreign governments. CHAN activists reiterated the connection between CIDA funds that go to Canadian NGOs that are specifically earmarked for organizations like his. He would not concede the point, even though, as it was pointed out, he was flown to Canada by one of these organizations to legitimize Canada's role in the occupation which he claims to be opposed to.

During his presentation, Chalmers mentioned the role played by such organizations as the National Endowment for Democracy in playing a subversive anti-democratic role in Haiti. On this point, CHAN activists pointed out that a NED program officer said that the "problem" with Aristide and Lavalas was similar to the "problem" with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, that Aristide had to go because he enjoyed so much popular support and that the opposition was small and fractured. He also denied that Batay Ouvriye (which has admitted to receiving NED funds) had received any funding from the NED (National Endowement for Democracy).

Since he had earlier claimed that the U.S. led intervention in 2004 came at a time when there was a "popular movement" to remove Aristide (which he, presumably, was a part of), Chalmers appeared disturbed to hear the NED's on-the-record clarification of their pre-coup activities in Haiti. All told, the CHAN activists made a useful intervention in the PAPDA panel, and they were not alone in denouncing the true nature of the occupation. A Uruguayan speaker denounced the role that her government and military are playing in Haiti, and several other speakers challenged Chalmers' contradictory position............



The third forum of the Haiti solidarity movement at the World Social Forum was held yesterday. It was the second event organized by the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN). More than 90 people attended. They heard a panel of speakers from Haiti, North America and South America who, together, are among the foremost proponents of Haitian
solidarity.

Two women from Haiti, one from the young generation, gave moving accounts of the struggle for survival in the poor neighbourhoods of Haiti's towns and cities. Women are playing a central role in the protest movements demanding a return of constitutional rule and of the elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Members of Global Women's Strike attended the forum, and two of its leaders spoke. They both made sharp condemnations of the decision of the World Social Forum organizing committee to facilitate the participation of non-governmental organizations that are complicit in the 2004 coup. Andaiye of Guyana told the meeting, "Solidarity in the fight for social justice must be international. It's not acceptable to be in solidarity with the Venezuelan people, but not in solidarity with the Haitian people; it's not acceptable to be for Iraq, but against Haiti."

Andaiye was particularly referring to those groups and individuals participating at the World Social Forum who paid lip service to the Bolivarian process, but had little to say, or had a reactionary position against, the peoples' struggle in Haiti.

"Last night," she said, referring to the rally of some 20,000 people where President Hugo Chavez spoke, "through no fault of President Chavez, we saw the World Social Forum place a representative on the table of dignitaries,
Camille Chalmers, who is opposed to the struggles of the Haitian people for sovereignty. This is not acceptable."

Margaret Prescod, also of Global Women's Strike, followed next on the speakers list. "Andaiye's comments on Camille Chalmers," she said, "speak to a deep problem in the World Social Forum--that racism and sexism is deeply embedded in its structures."

"I am originally from Barbados," she continued. "The Caribbean people have a deep stake in what is taking place in Haiti. Our lives depend on stopping the slaughter in Haiti, because if we don't, the other islands will become
killing fields too. So our lives depend on cleaning up the problem in the World Social Forum."

Prescod continued, "The challenge in solidarity work is to make the connection between Haiti and other causes. The problems we face are international in scope, and if we don't make the connections, Haiti will lose out."

Prescod also highlighted the need for accountability between the solidarity movement outside of Haiti and the Haitians directly engaged in the struggle. "Too often power relations develop between solidarity movements and people
on the ground. In my view, we need not just solidarity in the movement, but also accountability. There are people who claim to want to do something for Haiti, but they aren't willing to take leadership from Haitians. This must
end.

Prescod added that women must not be bypassed in this process.

Euvonie Georges Auguste, Haitian exile and women's´ rights activist now living in St. Lucia, tied together Prescod´s points on lack of accountability and the work of organizations like that of Camille Chalmers´ when she spoke on the "absolute lack of connection between NGOs and grassroots organizers in Haiti".

Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine spoke on the same subject. He cited the work of other pro-coup groups that receive imperialist funding, such as Batay ouvriye. "These groups have significant support internationally. They know how to speak well, and they receive significant funding from such agencies
as NED."

An elected municipal official from Haiti gave a fiery talk at the meeting. He was one of thousands of elected and popular leaders who were also victims of the 2004 coup. He faces threats and intimidation today. "My biggest
problem today is not with Gerard Latortue or with George Bush," he said. "I know they will never help us. My problem is with those who speak in my name but who work against our movement for freedom."

Mario Joseph, the foremost human rights lawyer in Haiti and the only one dealing with the country's more than 700 political prisoners, explained the living conditions of those prisoners today.

Two North-American researchers, Anthony Fenton, CHAN activist from Vancouver, and Jeb Sprague, from Long Beach, California, spoke about the unfolding connections between "democracy promotion" and the opposition to
Lavalas in Haiti.

Fenton spoke about the National Endowment for Democracy's increased budget in Haiti for FYI 2005 and the duplicity of the international powers in creating the situation in Haiti. Tens of millions of dollars have been poured into the elite opposition to Lavalas.

Jeb Sprague held a short moment of silence for imprisoned Father Gerard Jean-Juste. Citing Freedom of Information Act Request files, he detailed the role of the International Republican Institute (IRI) in forming a "socialist
coalition" between the OPL and other anti-Lavalas "left" organizations. The IRI is taking a lead role in co-opting Haiti's political elites and engaging in what Sprague calls a policy of "political encirclement" around the popular movement.

The day before, January 27, a few CHAN members engaged in a discussion with fellow Canadian activists on the topic of the recent Canadian federal election. The forum was organized by the International Socialists and
attended by 60 delegates to the WSF. Steve Da Silva of Toronto Haiti Action Committee told the meeting, "I don't agree with an earlier speaker that Canada is a more left-wing country than the United States. While Canadians
may be more wedded to the values of healthcare and social spending, the Canadian state is just as imperialistic and right-wing as the United States. The difference being that Canada is one-tenth the size."

Roger Annis of Haiti Solidarity BC told the meeting, "We have a problem in the labour movement in Canada today. We in the Canada Haiti Action Network have not been able to convince our NDP Members of Parliament that they should speak out against the coup in Haiti. This must change."

The fifth and final dispatch of the CHAN delegation to the World Social Forum 2006 in Caracas is forthcoming.





CHAN Delegation
Caracas, Venezuela

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Jean Max
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2006 5:43 AM
Nothing like a group of wealthy, white activists attacking a black developing world activist with a long history of grassroots work. A shame CHAN, IJDH, HLLN, Haiti Progres at al won't reveal the sources of their own funding. Keep on attacking the Haitian popular movement, guys. Somewhere Papa Doc is smiling.
by CHAN activist
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2006 9:01 AM
The previous comment obviously did not get far beyond the photopgraph. Camille Chalmers is on the board of directors of Alternatives, a Canadian NGO that received the majority of its funding from the Canadian government. Alternatives financed the participation of many WSF-attendees, possibly including Chalmers himself. On the other hand, the CHAN activists delegation was self-financed. Any "funding" that they received would have come from the growing grassroots community that is opposed to Canadian intervention in Haiti. There is no evidence of Chalmers having any respect for popular movements in Haiti. To the contrary, the large Haitian delegation that CHAN activists worked with is demonstrably much more connected to the grassroots base in Haiti than Chalmers could ever hope to be.

The comment was correct on one account though, Papa Doc probably is smiling, for he was close friends with Camille Chalmers father, Rene, who, as Haiti's foreign minister under Papa Doc, cast the decisive vote which excluded Cuba from the Organization of American States in the 1960's during Duvalier's totalitarian dictatorship. If Papa Doc could have seen Camille on stage with President Chavez, he might indeed smile at the irony.
by Ralph
(ralph3892 [at] yahoo.com) Monday Feb 6th, 2006 5:07 AM
I just read the message on the CHAN delegation to the Caracas Social Forum. It reminds me of Kim Ives’ posts that I’ve read on other lists.
The problem I have with these people is that they seek to pass the Lavalas government as a “popular” administration, even comparing it with those of Castro or Chavez. This is a humungous mystification, in fact one that is exactly the same as those of the Aristide administration: fooling the people while serving the bourgeois. Because in fact there are important questions, fundamental ones, people should be asking:
1 – Who came for the first time to Haiti with 20,000 soldier occupation troops in 1994-1995? Who? Who, in 2003, signed his agreement for the 822 UN Resolution asking for the present occupation? Who? It’s simply Aristide himself. What happened is that, with the imperialists, it turned out wrong for him.
Both Castro and Chavez would never commit such actions. It is a dishonor for them, it is marring their names to compare such a traitor, such an imposter, with such integrate persons who always not only fight the imperialists but also denounce it each time they can.
2 – The 1994-1995 invasion cost the US administration millions and millions of dollars to come reinstall their puppet in power. Who is talking of financing??! Furthermore, the Lavalas government turned the training of the new police force over to the US, French and Canadian imperialist governments: what could be more submissive, subservient, lackey? And the truth is that since then the Haitian people never heard again of “malfini” –falcons nor any other anti-imperialist criticism.
3 – The World Bank and IMF programs were executed without the slightest hesitation under Aristide: what a brilliant application of the Haitian adage Aristide loved to repeat in electoral meetings, that, for him, the new economy would be self-sufficient, based on the nation’s own means, that the “pork’s lard would cook its own meat”!!!
4- And what about Aristide’s famous “I love you, bourgeois”! he said in Miami, while hugging the most corrupt, nefarious elements of the Haitian bourgeoisie. After having surrendered himself, all the Haitian people, all the history of this so proud country to the imperialists, he now surrendered them all to the Haitian bourgeoisie, one of the most archaic in the world, one of the most “repugnant” in the world. .
5 - “I love you, bourgeois”, a huge leap towards reconciliation. Who asked himself where all the FRAPH “attachés” (criminal militia of the macoute-bourgeois reaction during the 1991-1994 coup) went? Who asked himself how this reintegration happened? The answer is simple. Under the regime of reconciliation with the biggest bourgeois and macoutes, under the control and complete surrender to the imperialists, in military, political and economic terms, the FRAPH attachés changed into the Lavalas gangs. That’s what reconciliation was in the popular neighborhoods. And that was one of the most cowardly decisions Aristide took, since, while he refused to return in the presence of his foremost military and paramilitary enemies (General Cedras and the major FRAPH leaders), he submitted his partisans in the popular neighborhoods to this very demand, he submitted these partisans who nearly died for him to living with these ferocious enemies.
6 - “I love you, bourgeois” and the surrender of the Haitian people to the attaches transformed into Lavalas, for them, all of them, to come make money in the government and, as the climbers they were, to change into bourgeois, just as the Duvalierists had done so. Yes, indeed, who would, then, become the President of the Commission for the Economy’s Relaunching? Jean-Edouard BAKER, a foremost sweatshop owner, president of the private business sector’s association (ADIH) and, above all, who had sold the blood of Haitians abroad, in a partnership he held with Luckner Cambronne, one of the most prominent figures of Duvalierism. Jean-Edouard Baker, the brother of the present electoral candidate, Charles Henry Baker.
7- Jean-Edouard Baker, like Lilas Desquiron (Aristide’s Minister of Culture who just recently again wrote in his defense - and her own!), like Mathilde Flambert, one of the most reactionary factory owners who was named Aristide’s Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, in charge of class conflicts, and even Marc Bazin, the “Chicago Boy” who is right now the Lavalas “Table’s” candidate! Even Bayard Vincent, since the early Lavalas days, a “macoute gwo ble” (meaning one of the most active Duvalierists) who was named Minister of JUSTICE!
8 – Without counting the permanent stealing of these “grand mangeurs” (big-eaters), the scandals (rice, aluminum roofing, ‘pyramid’ cooperatives…).
9 – When the imperialists finish using a puppet, when social problems become overwhelming, when the inability to resolve the situations goes overboard… they simply take it out. That’s exactly what happened to Jean-Claude Duvalier who wished to remain as well, “rèd tankou ke makak” (stiff as a monkey’s tail). That’s all.
10 – The question now is what Haiti Progres, the Canadian reporters and this whole group who say they’re in defense of the Haitian people are really looking after, in their attempts to confuse everybody in mixing up the peoples’ real struggles with those of the Lavalas socially upwards ? These are all now participating in the slated elections (under occupation). And those who aren’t, like Jean-Juste who represents a last branch of them, if he isn’t, it isn’t because they didn’t wish so.


Ralph
by Spreb Jague
Wednesday Feb 15th, 2006 3:10 AM
'Steaming Dung' - Haiti: Propaganda and the Fake Left
by Spreb Jague
Friday, Jan. 27, 2006 at 5:54 AM
spreb [at] hotmail.com


by Spreb Jague - independent researcher

The first public forums on Haiti have taken place at the World Social Forum in Caracas, Venezuela.

One was organized by the Plateforme Haitienne de Plaidoyer pour un Developpement Alternatif (PAPDA), a group of peasant organizations, unions and non-governmental organizations, that has spearheaded Haitian opposition to the neo-liberal plans of the international finance institutions for over ten years. That meeting featured PAPDA leader, Camille Chambers, a principled and determined activist who resigned his post as chef de cabinet for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1994 in protest at Aristide's compliance with the IFI's structural adjustment policies in Haiti.

Chambers was a guest speaker at the rally of tens of thousands that opened the World Social Forum on January 24. He told that rally, "The countries present in Haiti are merely performing a service for the United States." Agencia Brasil reported that Chalmers called the mission "shameful" and called on the "solidarity of the Latin American nations to denounce it."

The PAPDA forum, which was presented as a discussion about the "imperialist intervention in Haiti" was attended by approximately 20 people including two Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN) activists. Chalmers made a lengthy presentation during which he criticized Aristide as well as providing a general criticism of neo-liberalism. The CHAN activists criticized Chalmers for making no mention of the human rights situation, the political prisoners, or the actual nature of the military occupation, but could not bring themselves to denounce the extortion, robbery, kidnappings and rapes carried out by Lavalas Family-affiliated gangs in Port-au-Prince slums over the last two years.

Chalmers was further pressed about the existing funding relationship between his and partner organizations with Canadian government-funded NGOs. He claimed that PAPDA does not receive any funding from any foreign governments. CHAN activists persisted with this point, apparently oblivious to the fact that the Lavalas Family government 2000-2004 had imposed harsh austerity measures in Haiti in order to comply with IMF, World Bank and Interamerican Development Bank demands. The Aristide government's austerity programme included the removal of the fuel subsidy - a move that sent living costs spiralling in the first months of 2003, and moves to reduce the public sector deficit by cutting expenditure on education and the public administration. The IFIs were so pleased with the Lavalas Family government's performance that suspended aid was on the point of being released in early 2004 when the government collapsed in the face of an armed rebellion led by 200 right-wing paramilitaries.

During his presentation, Chalmers mentioned the role played by such organizations as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in playing a subversive anti-democratic role in Haiti. On this point, CHAN activists pointed out that a NED program officer had said there were similar problems with Aristide and Chavez, and that the problem was they had a lot of popular support. The CHAN activists apparently prefer to leave the interpretation of the fall of Aristide to the NED, and ignore the question of how, if Aristide was so popular, a force of just 200 paramilitaries could overthrow his regime.

The CHAN activists seem unaware of the fact that, back in January 1991, a coup attempt by the Tonton Macoute leader, Roger Lafontant, was folied by tens of thousands of people taking to the streets of Port-au-Prince to defend their elected leader. This was a time when Aristide truly was popular with the Haitian masses. In February 2004, this popularity had bled away, and Aristide was left dependent on the protection of US security guards. Once the US State Department withdraw these guards, Aristide left the country - a far cry from the events of January 1991! The events at the end of February, 2004, in Haiti, bear no similarity whatsoever with the attempted coup against Chavez in April 2002 when Chavez supporters turned out in their hundreds and thousands, marching down from the hills into the streets of Caracas to face down the anti-Chavez troops at their barracks, and confront the enemy marchers in the street.

Chalmers claimed that the U.S. led intervention in 2004 came at a time when there was a "popular movement" to remove Aristide, but the CHAN activists appeared to believe that all the opposition to Aristide was a NED-funded conspiracy. The CHAN activists were very pleased with their intervention in the PAPDA panel, and felt they had some success in convincing other praticipants that the popular movement in Haiti is a top-down movement totally dependent on its leader, Aristide, and united around the single concept of loyalty to this one leader. The CHAN analysis suggests that the only way to explain any other political initiatives that do not subscribe to this concept is that they are funded and created by the United States.

Interestingly, my research has revealed that Chalmers' career path has taken a radically different direction from that of his former ally, Aristide. In 1995, Chalmers returned to Haiti to teach at the State University and devote his energies to remobilizing the popular movement for change. Aristide, meanwhile, who had spent three years in exile in Washington, DC, where he had developed close links with the US political elite, and especially with Democractic Party leaders, continued these contacts on his return to Haiti. My research has revealed that Anthony Lake, President Clinton's failed nominee for the post of head of the CIA, became a close friend of Aristide, to the extent that he stood as Aristide's 'best man' when the latter married in 1996, and is the godfather of one of the Aristides' two daughters

At the other forum on Haiti, organized by CHAN itself, presentations were made by a number of Aristide loyalists including: Euvonie Georges-Auguste of the Bureau de Ralliement et d'Appui aux Vaudouisants (BRAV), Paul Loulou Chery, Secretary-General of the Confédération des Travailleurs Haitiens, (CTH); Mario Joseph, lawyer from the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI); and Lovinsky Pierrre Antoine, leader of the political rights organization September 30 Foundation. Chairperson of the forum was Jean St-Vil of the Ottawa Haiti Solidarity Committee.

Chery's CTH is affiliated to the Christian Democrat regional union body, the CLAT (Centrale Latino Américaine des Travailleurs), and received funding from Belgium-based international, the Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens. In 2003, the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center engaged in a NED-funded study of labor conditions in Haiti; analyzing the history of the domestic labor movement, women in the work force, rural labor codes, and the debate over reforming the aging labor codes. The study utilized Solidarity Center interviews with the CTH. Interestingly, my research reveals that the CTH was listed as a member of the Group of 184, the private sector platform put together in 2003 to co-opt non-governmental organizations and to steal the leadership of the anti-Aristide movement away from radical elements.

Joseph's BAI was set up by President Aristide in 1995 to make it look like he was doing something in response to the recently published Reconciliation and Truth Commission Report (Si'M Pa Rele) on human rights violations and impunity during the 1991-94 coup regime. The BAI employed American lawyes to investigate some high profile cases, and its major claim to fame was the 2002 trial of the Raboteau massacre, which led to the convictions of fifty-three men, including the top military and paramilitary leaders of the 1991-94 dictatorship. Sadly its role in cases that really challenged the conspiracy between the judiciary and the economic elite was pretty much non-existent. No progress was made at all with cases such as the Jean Rabel peasant massacre, the Piatre peasant massacre, or the death of 62 children poisoned by medicines marketed by the Boulos family's Pharval laboratories. As for the murder of investigative journalist and democracy activist, Jean Dominique, who had dared to challenge the political direction taken by Aristide, the BAI shamefully restricted itself to defending main suspect Senator Dany Touusaint 's right to parliamentary immunity.

The BAI has recently morphed into the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti (IJDH). It is unclear where this Oregon-based outfit gets its funding but a look at its board of directors reveals the presence of Paul Farmer, M.D. PhD, Founder, Partners in Health and Professor, Harvard Medical School. Farmer, a close friend of the Aristides, receives much of his funding for Partners in Health from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Jean St-Vil is a former employee of the Haitian Ministry of the Environment. When St-Vil worked there in the late 1990s, the
Environment Ministry, like the government as a whole, was bankrolled by the IMF and World Bank, in return for which the
government imposed policies such as the removal of import tariffs and privatization of state-owned industries.

Presentations by the panelists at the CHAN forum covered the range of political and social issues facing the Haitian people--the foreign occupation, prospects for a truly free election, the ongoing repression and situation of the hundreds of political prisoners, social conditions among the population, and the situation of Haitian workers.

During the discussion period, one representative of the dissident sector that refuses to submit to the authority of Jean-Bertrand Aristide spoke out, to state that the 2004 coup against Aristide and his government is of no consequence to the Haitian people, because, she said, "We are in solidarity with the Haitian people, not with one man. He does not represent the people."

Further research into this fascinating subject had to be cut short after Aristide called collect from South Africa and when my ma answered, he told her to spank my butt if I continued with such silliness.




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