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Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 9:18 am
by admin
[quote]Fanmi Lavalas , s'il va aux élections sera piégé, piégé s'il n'y va pas.[/quote]

[quote]In our case, we aren't on dead row, and we could still turn this around into our advantage. Otherwise, we are going to spend 5 years blaming each other for not taking the right decision.[/quote]

Michel, you have highlighted in this post the biggest dilemma for Haitians voters today. I am glad you did.

I am a Haitian-American voter, that is an American citizen who dutifully votes in the presidentials every four years, though the people I vote for rarely win. But most often, I do not think that it has been a waste of my time. Most often, I get the satisfaction that I have done my civic duty, and I have the satisfaction of not having voted on the wrong side of my values. I can live with my losing vote, knowing that I have not voted f
or more Iraqis and Americans getting their lives wasted unnecessarily in the killing fields of the Middle East. I can live with my losing vote, knowing that I have not voted for the biggest transfer of wealth from the middle class and the poorest in the United States to the richest 1% of Americans, that is the largest transfer of wealth that has happened in my half a century's existence, and it happened in just the last four years while Americans were too traumatized to react and prevent that from happening. I can live with my losing vote, as long as I know that it was not stolen (and I am so glad for that reason alone that I did not live in Florida in 2000 or Ohio in 2004). I can live with my losing vote, as long as I know that my vote will not be snatched away from me and annulled, simply because some elite in this country or a foreign power did not like the way I voted. I don't know that it will always be that way in the United States, because the cheating trend in presidential elections that we have
witnessed in the past two presidential elections is not hopeful. I do have the feeling that the United States is becoming more and more an autocracy and less and less of what the Voice of America used to sell (and still sells unconvincingly) to the World as a Western Democracy. I can live with my losing vote, as long as I don't have to face up to its being arbitrarily reversed by some jackass in Washington DC (see http://www.oldamericancentury.org/House ... n24-01.mp3). I will vote till it hurts (and it does), but if and when voting no longer matters because of election results being decided in private chambers away from the polls, then I will have lost my purpose for being a citizen of the United States of America.

I know how I feel deep in my soul. Then I look to the people of Haiti, to whom I still belong unreservedly with my heart and my brains and my blood, because my emotional connection to them has never been severed, while I cannot vote alo
ng with them in any election, since I am no longer a Haitian citizen. Double nationalité n'est pas permise. But I feel for the Haitian people, and I understand their hurt and their mistrust. I try to put myself in their shoes. What sort of elections are we talking about, when so recently they have been twice disenfranchised? What guarantee do they have this time around? Some time ago, Michel, you have expressed the idea that the Haitian people should vote and keep on voting until the International Community has deemed that they have voted right. That is, they will be taught to vote "the right way". Like schoolchildren in some corners of Haiti, they will be spanked and spanked again, their homeworks torn and thrown back in their faces, until they learn to vote in a manner deemed acceptable to the elites of Haiti and their powerful friends in the International Community. I am sorry, but I think that if I were a Haitian citizen, I would think "what's the point?"

If you want to make me the star o
f a dark comedy, I don't have to slip on a banana peel in addition, just so you can justify your penchant to laugh at my expense.

That's how I see the problem.

Yet, I would like to think of an alternative. I wish that a political party in Haiti could formulate one. So far none has, to any degree of satisfaction. Perhaps, they simply cannot.

Fanmi Lavalas has not done it. Not one fresh idea out there, aside from their rightful denunciation of the coup d'état. And no other political party in Haiti that I know about has done it either.

The big question is: what can Haitians do to have a say in their own future for the next five years, without having their political will preempted by the powers that be?

When will they see an end to that unbearable tragicomedy?

Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:05 pm
by Hyppolite
I think that Guy's point is the correct one. The problem is not just organizing to win elections. The problem is, whether we can get a political party in Haiti that's first not the ownership of a single individual, but one with diverse points of view, debating the future of Haiti around the same ideological viewpoints. From that perspective, Guy's more than correct.

The other point I think, is the matter of organizing society, organizing civic organizations so that the voices of individuals and communities can be heard and influence the system.

Let's face it. The reason why the traditionalists in Haiti have always succeeded is very simple: they've always organized -informally until recently- so they can influence government in ways we could never imagine. It is in that sense that they have overwhelming power. Just think of how the Groupe des 184 managed to influence the process by the end, and help force Aristide out through lo
bbying effort and all.

Now, if we have civic organizations with specific goals that represent the poor and can lobby the three branches of government (just like G-184 does), then we are ahead of the game. For these civic organizations to have an effective voice in the system, they have to have their representatives in the primary branches of government, especially the legislative branch . So in that sense alone, it becomes imperative for political parties of the left, or left-of-center, to participate in the next parliamentary elections . If these civic organizations help elect responsible leadership in Parliament, then it becomes easier to influence the system and curtail the overwhelming and negative influence of other civic organizations like the G-184.

The G-184 is a special interest group. They understand that quite well, and will do all they can to ensure that they have their representatives in Parliam
ent, in the Judiciary, and in the Executive branches of government. So why not do the same and start influence the system more positively to benefit the disinherited?

I hope that makes sense.

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:14 pm
by Hyppolite
Michel,

I wouldn't put it as bluntly as you have. The way I see it, it's in no one's interest for the responsible left, and for Lavalas in general not to participate in the next elections. Presidential? It's a waste of time and money at this point. It is politically unwise too. The right has been itching, now for 20 years by next February (2006) to return to power.

The problem in Haiti, and many other places for that matter, is that the executive branch by its very nature is a bull. It's a bull that you have to hold by the horn. Otherwise, it'll plow you, walk upon you and all else. The legislative branch on the other hand, is like the buffer between the executive and all other branches. This is where the true battle will be over the next few years. Any smart politician who's interested in democracy and a stable and prosperous Haiti can see it. This is where the greatest effort must be made in o
rder to regulate the system, to come up with new energy, new rules, new programs and all else in order to:
-curtail the negative power of the presidency;
-reform the political system for the better;
-help strengthen state and local institutions and agencies; and
-help to even create a mdern agency that regulate (from a professional standpoint) interest groups of all sorts.

The last point is to me at least, absolutely crucial for a developing Haiti. One of the key reasons why we've been trapped for so long in thse vicious cycles is by either staying on the sidelines, or by focusing too much on the presidency. Meanwhile, those in-the-know among the traditionalists have always managed to make a great difference by acting as a powerful interest group that make government do what they can.

They must have the right to influence government, but so do as well grassroots organizations, advocacy group
s, watchdog organizations, etc. This is where the real game may be. If you think it's not true, just click on this link from Metropole today (article in French) http://www.metropolehaiti.com/metropole ... l?id=10228. What it says basically is, that they are upset over the choices for cabinet by Latortue. Well, they are and are trying to force Latortue to accept their candidate in the Justice Ministry and other places (the G-184 that is), so they can control those branches of security, justice, and some key others.

This is how the traditionalists are functionning nowadays. So if you let them have it all, they'll take it all, as they always have. If only in that sense and from this perspective, the sensible left and the worthy and reasonable right-wingers must participate in the next elections.

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 6:32 pm
by Jonas
[quote]Could the Lavalas Party have enough enthusiasm ,aspiration and strength this time to put up a good fight ...and win [/quote]

Why couldn't the Lavalas win?

The Lavalas could win, just because it's not the other parties.
The masses have a taste of what the anti-Lavalas parties are.

Lavalas could become like the party Peronist of Argentina.
It's not that the argentinian people are enamored of that party, but it always seemed that the anti-peronist parties were always worse.

This is not an endorsement of Lavalas, it's just a reflexion.

Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2005 12:43 pm
by Hyppolite
Lots of reply and discussion, which makes it interesting. Overall, there is it seems, some kind of perplexity over these suggestions. Nevertheless, there are issues that when looked at closely, we'll see that we can make things happen in Haiti and make it a stable and even thriving country. But for that to happen, we must first resolve the political issue.

Haiti is a failed but not lost state. That, we must first of all agree on. We should also agree, if we look at closely Haiti's history and try to analyze our faux-pas, from Christophe through Salomon, through Estimé and others, we'll realize that the same mistakes keep on getting repeated:
1- The obsession with getting it all, all at once.
2- The great focus on the presidency as the sole engine for change.
3- The autocratic tendency of our political leaders.


These are just some of the few patterns. But something else is also very, very important to notice: the trad
itionalists began to do their dirty work from the time of the Boyer's presidency.

Don't get me wrong. There are two kinds of traditionalists who by the end, come up with the same result: the kind that is only interested in their own particular interest (the economically affluent); and those who use a populist discourse to amass power but by the end, rely on the very same traditionalists that they had decried earlier.

The rich traditionalists have what Marilyn calls here and rightfully, "the kitchen cabinet". They are the ones with even more power than one could ever imagine. They work informally, make the right contact with government, and even use sex as a weapon to attract the middle or lower income intellectual, desperate to get his name out there on the political field.

In order to curb, or at least greatly reduce the power of the traditionalists, there is first the need to not weaken the presidency but instead, to have a better distribution of powers
in Haiti's political system. To that effect, we need to accept the traditionalists as members of an interest group, call it special interest correctly, but make sure that they are forced to organize transparently as an interest group, the same way as all others. Then allow other kinds of interest groups to have the same kind of codified, structured access to the political system, the three primary branches of government in a transparent manner.

We need for such a system to work, to shift some of the traditional power attributed to the presidency, to other branches of government. If for instance Michel, the legislative branch wasn't so important, then Duvalier would not have shut down parliament. So we must find ways to encourage and even foster the strenthening of parliamentary power so they can institute reforms that are worthy and viable. (That's why I find the experience of the National party and the Libéral p
arty in Haitian politics so fascinating, with the Libérals like Boyer-Bazelais and Firmin, arguing for greater parliamentary power in our system of government). Fascinating history to me, those two parties represent in our common psyche.

The moment the traditionalists are forced to perform legally as a structured and regulated group, you start out by curbing some of their powers. That means you want and need to have in such a system, watchdog organizations, local groups, grassroots organizations, advocacy groups again with equal voice in such a system of government. The real issue is with the matter of money, the influence of money on our politics. There are ways to resolve the corruptible effect of money on our system of government in Haiti. I lightly discussed this issue in my forthcoming book, but there are plenty of ways to resolve that issue. This is quite doable, even in as poor a country as Haiti.

By empowering not just the presidency but Parliament (the legi
slature), by giving greater power to the judicial branch and by strengthening a more independent State institutional system, you're starting to win. Moreover, now that everyone has had a taste of elections in Haiti, the vast majority of the Haitian people have had a taste of power. Now, if you allow them to structure as well in an open, legal, and equitable environment, you're really starting to develop a civil society, not the G-184 kind but one where real people at the local, departmental, and national level are beginning to realize that they can actually influence the system for the better and also in their own interest, without having to overthrow elected governments of any kind, right or left. That, in the final analysis, is as important as elections.

Once civil society is organized in a fair and equitable way, so many people and organizations have power that they will actually begin to be able to challenge, and challenge effectively those traditionalists.

Th
is does not mean that the traditionalists will stay away or keep quiet. To the contrary. They will try their last coup and believe me, it shall be their last because by then, everyone will realize who they really are and what they really stand for.

It is when, not just the presidency has power, not just the executive branch has power but also the legislature, the judiciary (primary powers), the state institutions, all kinds of grassroots, advocacy and all other organizations ( secondary powers) feel like they have real power in the system that we will begin to have a free, stable, evolving Haiti. Other than that, if we keep on focusing on the presidency first and foremost, we will continue on losing.

The traditionalists have the right to exist in the system. It is just that their overwhelming power and influence in the system can be effectively curbed without bloodshed that we will begin to see the light at th
e end of the tunnel. Right now, the only people who are serving as a roadblock to their nasty interest are (weird but true), in a very strange twist, the international community. That's why they despise Latortue because Latortue is with the international community, accomplishing their desiderata while the traditionalists are feeling less powerful because they can't even keep their Minister of (In) Justice in power.

The reality is very, very complex. At the same time, I think that in the long run, the vast majority of the Haitian people and even those who stand against change can and will win for the better.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 8:31 am
by Gelin_
[quote]...This does not mean that the traditionalists will stay away or keep quiet. To the contrary. They will try their last coup and believe me, it shall be their last because by then, everyone will realize who they really are and what they really stand for.[/quote]

Three points:

1- <I>Believe me</I>? Why should anybody believe your statement?

2 - <I>It shall be their last coup</I>? How do you know that? Abitid se vis.

3 - Now, your reason to say that it shall be their last coup is <I>...because everyone will realize who they really are and what they really stand for.</I>. Well, they don't care one bit whether or not everyone sees them. They have the motives and the power to quench their unquenchable thirst. Ki mele yo ak moun!

gelin

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 1:02 pm
by Hyppolite
Michel,

I sure hope you buy a copy regardless of how in depth you consider my analysis and viewpoints on the legislature. But right now, that's besides the point. Read what you wrote carefully. That's a very, very, very important post here that's shedding light on lots of issues.

There is a lot of anger from hard-line Lavalassiens but they refused to admit to some fundamentals. As you said, intellectuals and technocrats and also, regular Haitians with no degree who wanted a change helped propel Aristide to power. What did he do? That's the hard truth most of us are unwilling to swallow. I know it's hard to admit but he reverted to tradition. By doing what?
-Make them powerless;
-Isolate those who disagree with him;
-Concentrate power in his own hands;
-Use popoular organizations to coerce;
-Make deal anba-anba with traditionalists from the elite who were willing to put up with him;
r
-Allow corruption to thrive under his watch.

This may sound crude but it's true. Still, we were all willing to support him so he could finish his term, if only for the sake of process. But to add salt to wounds, he threw himself into the arms of a class of people from the international community (Black Caucus and all), without ever reaching out to the Diaspora during his second term. To the Diaspora, he only paid lip service. Yet, it is thanks to the Diaspora that he largely was able to return to power in 1994. He forgot, didn't he? So why all the fuss from the hard-line Titidists, when they realize that very few in the Diaspora showed very little concern the second time he was overthrown? He ignored the Diaspora and so, they ignored him too.

That alone shows, that power if not distributed especially in Haiti, will not hold. It will not. The vast majority of us wanted for him to succeed but he became so entrenched into pleasing first the international community that he never really bothere
d with the Diaspora. That's the hard truth!!

It is one thing to work with people from the international community; it is quite another to make sure that you get or maintain the support of your core constituency. He did not reach out. Worse, he began to behave like a classic traditionalist.

I am sure many among you will disagree but when all dusts are settled, you'll realize that I am correct in this assessment.

Let's face it, even and perhaps especially back in '91-'94, the best lobbyists that Titid and Lavalas had were the Diaspora Typical, he forgot.

Michel, Haiti will not be stable unless and until we have a strong, smart, and determined legislature that works towards revamping the political system for the better. The best that could happen would be for the legislature and the executive to be from different parties, with the legislature having reasonable politicians from both sides who do not try to obstruct (like the OPL 46th legislature), or
overthrow but instead, tries to construct a system of checks and balances which will protect the other branches of government as well as civil society organizations and the overall population. That's how I see it.

Re; coup d'état, I get your point there but, the blood that's spilled in Haitian politics has never benefited its majority children and perhaps never will. We might as well try something different. Papa Doc killed like hell but by the end, those who benefited from his revengeful, vindictive, and backward policies were the very people he disliked so much: the traditionalists. So why try the same route? Why not try a diferent approach?

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:08 pm
by Hyppolite
Marylin, at least you acknowledge those facts. In both cases, you're correct. I havd never EVER ever suggested that Aristide was a tyrant. If anything, when push came to shelves, Aristide's hard-core partisans on the streets (OP) used rigwaz against members of the opposition. They didn't try to kill the anti-Aristide's demonstrators. That's in a sense, progress. But there's also a fundamental difference here between the same set of facts.

If the Aristide's gov't was so violent as the opposition claimed, the international community would have had no mercy for Neptune for instance. That in itself shows how complex the reality was/is, and how much actual progress we have made, despite the fact that it seems as though we haven't made any.

In GW's case, there's a well-established political system that he has for sure damaged, but which can be repaired if the democrats
have the guts to denounce him, things get so bad that the media pinpoint to his flaws; and there's another congressional and/or presidential witin the next couple of years and the democrats win.

If that doesn't happen, the US political system will stay weakened for a while but all and all, in American political tradition, you have better recourse than in Haiti. You have different groups with different agenda and still, despite the flaws, the system is still holding and may, and probably will survive. In fact, after his presidency, should the democrats get back to power in Congress and/or the executive branch, they will be able to make the necessary amendments. We don't have that kind of luxury.

In Haiti's case, it is not because I may have agreed with, or agree with the basic principle of Lavalas that I should agree with everything a leader does. It is not because I agree with many of the causes of the party, that I should not denounce as wrong-headed the direction taken by a particular lea
der.

It is not because I disagreed with many of the things that were happening under the watch of Aristide II, that I thought it okay for him to be overthrown. I did not help the opposition in any way, shape, or form to overthrow Aristide. That's a fact that you and I and everyone else knows.

Having said that, if we don't have the courage to pinpoint the past weaknesses of his government, we're not doing anything good for the country. We're not helping Haiti in any way, shape, or form to get out of those vicious cycles. He wasn't the first to do many of these things. So the pattern is there and can be corrected.

It angers many people when I say these things but I feel obligated to tell it as I see it. Had Aristide made sure that he shared power; had he agreed not to overstep his constitutional boundaries (which he did in many instances), it would have been much, much, much harder for the opposition to force him out of power. By the end, he stood alone.

Remember Marylin, Arist
ide was warned at least a year earlier, that he was in a circle where many would tell him that everything's fine when they know there was a serious problem. In that case, all they'd do is enrich themselves until such time would come when he would be overthorwn. That's exactly what had happened.

The difference between Haiti and the US is, that in the US, there's a tradition of democracy, of respect for and of the process. So, unless Bush plays a Nixon that is revealed by the political class and the media, he will not be constitutionally removed from power. Either way, he wil not be overthrown because everyone agrees that he will have to give up power in 2008.

In Haiti's case, the tradition is different. We're accustomed to overthrow regime. That's what we're good at. So, when things don't work (at least according to whichever opposition), they use the classic, perennial method of overthrow a regime by violently removing him.

That's the real differenc
e.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 2:14 pm
by Gelin_
[quote]...we were all willing to support him so he could finish his term, if only for the sake of process.[/quote]
A noble position.

[quote]But to add salt to wounds, he threw himself into the arms of a class of people from the international community (Black Caucus and all), without ever reaching out to the Diaspora during his second term. To the Diaspora, he only paid lip service. Yet, it is thanks to the Diaspora that he largely was able to return to power in 1994. He forgot, didn't he? So why all the fuss from the hard-line Titidists, when they realize that very few in the Diaspora showed very little concern the second time he was overthrown? He ignored the Diaspora and so, they ignored him too.[/quote]
What exactly was Leslie Voltaire's job? He was in charge of the 10th department, wasn't he? Yet, apart from a website and a few meetings, what else did he do to embrace or
serve the diaspora?

gelin

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:12 pm
by Hyppolite
Okay. I am not going to criticize Voltaire here. I am neither willing, nor able to do so. You have to realize that no matter what, in Haiti's political structure, one can be a good potential technocrat, politician or whatever else. But if the right leadership is not there, you are at best limited.

I will therefore not attack anyone in particular who had worked for Aristide, and whose record is not thoroughly or even partially tainted. After all, wasn't it Voltaire who helped under Préval, redesign many of the public parks we do have now in Haiti (which by the way, have been decrepit since then: filthy and all with this new government of Latortue; the stories are in the news).

It may sound cruel to be so harsh on Aristide but that's not what I am trying to do here. Not at all. I think the poor guy had enough bad wrap if one looks at the totality of the circumstances. At the same time, we cannot deny that there were serious flaws
in his government which he refused to correct, even when partisans suggested to him that he should. Like Jean Do used to tell him, he was way too stubborn as a politician.

I do believe however, that it is essential, imperative for Lavalas to do its mea culpa. This is about Haiti. I don't hate Aristide. Way, way far from that. I think that by the end, history may be kinder to him than we all are but at the same time, there's something important to realize. Again, that's why I believe history is a very important guy in our approach to politics.

Previous progressive leaders have fallen, have lost power the same way in Haiti. The most traumatic it seems, for the previous genetarions (my now dead grand-parents and my, and our parents), was the removal from power of Estimé.

Estimé was a moderate from the get-go. He really, truly was. But he was still overthrown by Magloire, whom the traditionalists used to commit their misdeeds. So what were the erros of Estimé?
At least two of them that at the time, many good and potentially good and decent Haitian politicans did not care to look at very, very closely:
1- Estimé dared to suggest that Vodou was part of the Haitian soul and a very important one (remember that Price-Mars was a member of his cabinet);
2- Estimé in 1949, tried to amend the Haitian Constitution under which he was chosen so he could renew his expiring term.

These two events may seem disparate at first but let's look at them closely. The Haitian elite, and the Haitian middle-class as we know them, despise to even hear about the word Vodou, even though they don't even know exactly what it entails from an intellectual, cultural, spiritual, and even socio economic standpoint. By raising the specter of Vodou as viable to the more conservative (and even not so conservative) elements in society, he became a threat to the traditional tenants of power. They were therefore unhappy with Estimé but didn't have yet a pretex
t to overthrow him. (Estimé debated by the way, this issue in the wrong format; you're not going to get Vodou the recognition it deserves by going through those routes).

Thinking that he needed another term, rather than choosing someone else from his inner circle to continue on with the job, Estimé chose to present to Parliament in 1949, the draft of a newly amended constitution that would have authorized him to try and get reelected. He failed in that attempt, proof that Parliament in Haiti is not really simply a ruber stamp.

Estimé by that time was quite popular. He started out by being quite moderate, with very little popular support, but gained overtime the confidence of large portions of the population from all classes because of progress made during his term. But this attempt at renewing his ending term emboldened the traditionalists. They knew that Estimé could still manage to get what he wanted: get
reelected. They didn't want that to happen for many reasons, including most importantly the issue of Vodou!! So they got rid of him through Magloire. It's that simple!!

This was a shock to many, many, many people and politicians. Rather than analyzing the flaws in Estimé (who was a moderate), honestly and accurately, they worshipped his memory. Wrong tactic or strategy!!! Thus, they made it easier and justifiable for Duvalier to commit his atrocities against not just the rich and powerful but also and much more against the poor and disinherited. Duvalier showed himself as a radical, a revolutionary who could quickly deliver what Estimé could not, and we are still paying for this radicalism, aren't we?

Had there been honest discussions about the mistakes of Estimé, had there been attempts by politicians and political analysts to resolve these issues of for instance, the supposed "right" of the executive to m
anipulate or amend or change the constitution, we wouldn't have had a Duvalier, at least not the way we had him. We would have been much better prepared.

I will never cease to repeat it: what we need is systemic changes, NOT another revolution (which will not happen by the way).

Those who refuse to discuss the flaws of the Aristide II presidency are bound to cause the very same kinds of mistakes to occur again, and again, and again à la Duvalier.

It is incidentally, the same kinds of things with Salomon. He forced Parliament to renew his term and less than two years later I believe, was forced out of power. He was as good and even moderate as Estimé was, but power got to him. These are some of the problems that we have, which we refuse to honestly discuss. I am not trying to crucify Aristide; we must discuss the flaws of his presidency if we want to advance the process further.

It is not just the fault of the rich traditionalists from the elite; it is
also how we conceive power and use it when we get to the helm of the executive branch. Enemies of democracy and progress in Haiti always use it against us by the end.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 3:23 pm
by Hyppolite
A bit bombarded Marylin. I got your point and actually agree with you on what you wrote about the US revolution. We, as Haitians, actually do have the potential for great leaders and all. But we have some fundamental differences with the way the US began. And if I may say so, thanks to the rench.

This very issue you discussed here, related to the American revolution, I have also discussed in my book. It's a very important issue but I don't wish to sound like I'm trying to sell it here before it's out. It will stand on its own or fail.

All I'm saying is this: should you take the very same American elite and transplant it into Haiti's political system, they will or would do the same as G-184, or whatever else you wish to consider. They are constrained here, by the system. That is why I insist on systemic reforms in Haiti. It will be hard; it will be painful. But we must engage by the end, the very G
-184, the grassroots orgs., the most reactionary interest groups along with the most progressive interest groups in the system, and force them through healthy and nonviolent coercion to work within a well-structured body. Otherwise, we are doomed.

It is when all groups of civil society are empowered for real, when the legislature feels empowered, when the executive recognizes its powers and its limits, when the state institutions are empowered and feel shielded from retribution from the executive or the legislative or the judiciary branches of gov't that we'll begin to make progress. These kinds of changes are slow but empowering. But first, we must have the courage to keep on saying that one man one vote must stand, and perhaps even a no coup d'état pact.

Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 6:48 pm
by Jonas
What do Estime, Duvalier, Aristide have to do with each other?

Estime was one the scions of the Nordist aristocracy. He was a cabinet minister under Stenio Vincent and much richer than said Vncent.

There is this tendency to associate the word "oligarchy" to the "melanine challenged" part of the bourgeoisie.

The struggle between Estime and the "light skinned bourgeoisie " was just a fight to see which branch of the bourgeoisie would control the state apparatus.

And to all this mumbo jumbo, all this "let's hold hands and sing kumbayah", all this let's get along, I would say one thing:
There won't be any more coup d'etat when these guys realize they can leave their "pelt" when engaging in that activity.

And it seems that we are reaching that threshold.

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 8:37 am
by Gelin_
I never voted for lavalas. ok? Now, consider your dance here:

[quote]Okay. I am not going to criticize Voltaire here. I am neither willing, nor able to do so. You have to realize that no matter what, in Haiti's political structure, one can be a good potential technocrat, politician or whatever else. But if the <U>right leadership</U> is not there, you are at best limited.[/quote]
You are not willing to criticize Voltaire and you don't even think that you are able to do so, but you can do that toward his leader. Right? Wrong.

[quote]....After all, wasn't it Voltaire who helped under Préval, redesign many of the public parks we do have now in Haiti (which by the way, have been decrepit since then: filthy and all with this new government of Latortue; the stories are in the news).[/quote]

Let me see....whatever good Voltaire was able to do as a lavalas official goes to
Voltaire's own credit. But, if it appears that he failed to embrace or engage the 10th department (which was his job), then the blame must go to Voltaire's top leader. You can't have it both ways, Hyppolite.

gelin

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 9:30 am
by Gelin_
[quote]...For instance, The Lavalas Party originally was created by the intellectuals, a portion of the bourgeoisie, the middleclass, and passive participation of the masses. What happened! The masses [neg beton yo] gave a coup d'etat (with Aristide consent), to the intellectuals and latriye.[/quote]
If I remember well, Aristide never had an official meeting with the FNCD after he was elected for the 1st time in 1990. Evans Paul was instrumental in launching the lavalas movement. You can't do that to K-Plim and not pay the consequences - whatever they may be. It is my opinion that Aristide would have probably completed his second term if he had K-Plim on his side.

gelin

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 10:55 am
by Hyppolite
Lots of interesting discussion here. Again, I'll be brief.

Estimé was indeed from wealth. Estimé was never poor. It is where most of us have faltered in our analyses of Haiti. We assume that Vincent for instance was rich, when he was actually a poor mulatto in comparison to Estimé for instance. He was educated; that's all. But Estimé, jus like Salomon, was from a rich-landed family.

It is not that those facts about Estimé are or were not known; it is instead, that we do not focus on these little incidents which are by the end, so telling in terms of their impact. For instance, based on these patterns of our executive branch, I believe that the next parliament (the 48th) should legislate so the executive branch no longer has the right to get involved in matters of elections. That's the privy of not parliament itself, but of the constitutional body that is allowed to do so, the CEP.

On the issues
presented by Marylin. Again, it is in a sense irrelevant where the money comes from. Deschamps does what he has to do: earning an honest living. But it is for the State and its power branches to gather those facts first, and figure out how to make sure that so much power is not concentrated in one hand or with one group. It is not just the executive's privy; it shall be the work of Parliament, the State institutions and whichever agency that can and must come up with the right kinds of regulations to ensure that money does not negatively impact the process.

As Marylin so rightfully stated, the US revolution was a revolution by an elite. The US establishment has a tendency to work first with elites, wherever they go. In a sense, that's the sword on the Establishment's head. They assume that elites from foreign countries, will do the right thing. By the time they realize they are in the wrong, they're already so much in bed with those elites that they become part of the problem. Plus, as we all know
, churches tend to be more conservative anyway. So it makes sense that those missionaries eventually are found in bed with the very elemnts that we all tend to decry.

Finally Gelin, if you're from Haiti and live there, with a family and responsibility, it would be difficult for you, once you're with a gov't to just walk out at ease. The reason's simple: not enough jobs and therefore, you may be trapped. So, rather than leave and live in misery or in lower conditions, you may decide to stay.

It is known that Aristide never wanted to work with anyone whom he perceived to have been a potential challenger. Would you therefore show him all you could do, if you wanted to keep your job for instance in a country that does not have any?

Some might say that I'm being cruel here in that matter. But as the reference is made of K-Plim in one of the posts here yesterday, just remember one thing. When in 1991, there was the presidential ceremony making Aristide president (February 7, 1991), he did
not, according to many sources, even invite K-Plim to the ceremony. Whatever we may think of K-Plim, this is the man under whose political banner he ran to have become president. Aristide by many accounts, used to humiliate his potential challengers (or so he thought of those who were as smart as he was or smarter). So we cannot put all the blame on those guys, even though they took it personally. They simply should not have and move on. At least, I wouldn't have because I know of the potential danger. But most people when hurt in their personality may be wicked. And that's why they were so wicked and still are, against him.

We need to discuss all those issues if we wish to make sure that we don't get into another coup d'état.

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 12:00 pm
by Hyppolite
You may be right in so many ways Marylin about the money but you also seem quite pessimistic. There's one thing that I think, we've all been missing in the debate about Haiti.

There are many, many, many people among the Haitian elite, tout koulè, who are as trapped by a few arch-conservatives as you and I and everyone else is. The problem is, that they get discouraged. They are silent. They are part of the silent majority. Word has it for instance, that the wealthiest Haitian living in Haiti is also a man who truly cares about Haiti and prefers to deal within a democratic and honest framework. Call it as you wish but it's just one more proof that it may not be all that bad after all. This is what I suspect. And to me, it is extremely important.

I suspect that those who make the most noise in Haitian politics, among the conservatives or the so-called progressive elements, are usually the
ones who have the least to offer to the nation.

It is in that context that we function as a society and always have. The issue is, how do you really galvanize the other 95-plus percentage of the populations (all social, political, and economic class included), to neutralize the very few (much less than 5 percent of the population at large, and probably less than 50 percent of their own socioeconomic group) and benefit the nation at large?

Remember always. Those who make the most noise and who have always been efficient in the political system of Haiti have almost always been those who have the least to offer to the country. This is true, whether they're from the right or the left.

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 12:34 pm
by Gelin_
[quote]Word has it for instance, that the wealthiest Haitian living in Haiti is also a man who truly cares about Haiti and prefers to deal within a democratic and honest framework. Call it as you wish but it's just one more proof that it may not be all that bad after all. [/quote]
You start with a <U>rumor</U> and you call it <U>one more proof....</U> Do rumors prove anything?

[quote]The issue is, <U>how do you really galvanize</U> the other 95-plus percentage of the populations (all social, political, and economic class included), to neutralize the very few (much less than 5 percent of the population at large, and probably less than 50 percent of their own socioeconomic group) and benefit the nation at large?[/quote]
Simple. Educate and encourage everybody to know and to respect the law of the land. Only that will give us the space necessary for everything else. That's the sa
feguard against vampires...and it works in every stable nation on the face of the planet.

gelin

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:48 pm
by Hyppolite
Marilyn,

Let me first apologize for having consistently spelled your name incorrectly.

Secondly, you brought a number of issues here.

In regards to Aristide, I think you've been programmed as all of us have, to feel like you need to apologize because you adhere to principle. One can be perfectly in disagreement with Aristide and still adhere to the philosophy he pushed for minus the violent language prior to becoming an elected official. Those who are truly against the philosophy of inclusion in Haiti, usually find a way to characterize anyone who says anything good for and about the majority or even principle, as Lavalassien or Aristidien for that matter. To them, I usually say, too bad. It ain't and was never nor will it ever be about Aristide. It's about Haiti. It's about respect for the rule of law, respect for law and order, etc.

It's the same way th
at nowadays, the former opposition accuses anyone who says that Neptune's detention is extrajudicial and illegal as being Lavalas. Again to them, I say, too bad.

Finally, however wicked a political leader Avril was, it's the same way that when he was in power and keeping Avril in prison wrongly, I said clearly that I thought it was illegal. Others who disagree called me a turncoat. To them also at the time, I said too bad.

Don't let these kinds of attitude influence you or your thoughts. Walk along the line with your conscience clear for by the end, it will be all worth it.

On the matter of funding, I am shocked that you have been so principled. I can almost guarantee you that you won't find too many people in your position to make such a choice. I still command you for it but I think, that you could still find some other sources of funding if you wished. I didn't click on the link you had provided because I believe you. Th
ere was no such need. I am not sure however, that they won't be able to accomplish the very same goal over time without your help for instance. I am not sure that would or will make much difference in the long run. After all, eventually we will have to have a standardized dictionary/orthograph, etc. It is necessary and even vital. I even argued in my writing that we need to have an Academy for the Haitian language, with Haitian linguists and experts of the language, who can and will create/build a framework for solid grammar and ortograph of the Haitian language. So either way, this will happen; it needs to happen, if only so we can use it as a tool for development. There's no way around it. I am only one among many who are now arguing along the same lines. So your fear, although justified, also has a reverse side to it which I dread. If we don't have a standardized form of writing in the language, it will be still considered as kreyól in the most negative of sense.

Befo
re I go, there's one more point related to something Gelin wrote. Gelin, I had met this extremely wealthy individual and had heard his conversation on these issues. I also know of many of his projects for the environment in Haiti for instance. These efforts have been stalled because of the current political situation. All these efforts are for and to the benefit of the country. Of course he's making money too but at least he has a minimal threshold of social conscience. Yet, you'll never hear his name in the current or perhaps,future political imbroglio although he's much much much wealthier than those who make the most political noise in the G-184.

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 2:23 pm
by Leonel JB
You know Serge, I agree alot with what wrote earlier.

We have a long way to go. It is not going to be easy. Now, my question is this: with less than one third of the population is registered for the next Selection. Who do you think will be President if the election was Today?

And again, would everyone(Apaid and Co.) accept the results and move forward?

L'union fait la force,
leonel

Posted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 3:19 pm
by T-dodo
[quote]The presidency should be number one priority. This is where final decisions lay.[/quote]

Michel,

I lean more towards Hippolyte's position here than yours. During the past 201 years, almost without exception, the focus of administering and economic development in Haiti has been the presidency. And, every time it has always failed! What is new today to make focussing on the presidency succeeds that would end the continuation of this history of failure? The latest promising effort was the Constitution of 1986. Yet it also failed to prevent the presidents elected after its passage from contributing to the worsening of the conditions in Haiti.

Michel, let me try to explain why perhaps in a democracy a president is very limited in engineering the kind of national shift that is needed in Haiti to stop the detrioration first, then move the country forward towards development. For a country
to prosper in a competitive environment like this global market today, the average number of its citizens must prosper as well. The reason I am focussing on the citizens is because Haiti has no remaining natural resources, such as oil, precious metals, or raw materials, just to name a few, that are in great demand among those countries that can contribute to our development. Not even our coastline and their remaining beaches can impel an influx of economic activity in Haiti the way they are today. So, the focus should be on the people not the presidents.

A smart president can be a catalyst to make the people of Haiti change. But like we saw during the Aristide government, even with the support of the masses, that is not enough without counting or negotiating with the elite. To move Haiti forward, the people of Haiti - the elite and the masses - must be motivated to change their old ways. The Aristide administration had it right at the begining in trying to motivate the people to change the country. F
or xample, private individuals, if I understood it correctly since I was living abroad at the time, took the initiative of cleaning the streets, particularly La Grande Rue, and we started the process of making Kreyol the language that all the people can communicate and get educated in. Then Ar4istide and his administration got entangled in the politics of being president and lost the focus on changing the people.

Besides motivating the people to produce more to raise the GDP and to follow the laws to maintain social stability, the presidency has little power left to make real changes. He cannot make the laws that would foster economic development. He cannot pass the budget, thought it prepares it. That is the legislative power. He cannot enforce those laws to ensure the legislative intent is carried out. That is the judicial branch's job. His only real power is to motivate the people to do better. Haiti's history is a bad example of presidential motivation. You can argue, like they did on Corbett f
or so long, that to maintain and renew the infrastructure you need the central power of the president. This appears to make sense, except that without the people producing enough revenues to provide the resources to build that infrastructure, that presidential power is useless as it has been in the past 58 years.

To me, the litmus test of any sign of change in Haiti is when the focus is on motivating the people of Haiti and uniting the various social groups for change in the country. You will say that requires a president to do it! The answer is NO. The Group 184, for example, would have been wiser to focus on changing the way of the people instead of violating the Constitution and Haiti would have been better off today. Another example is the Haitian media. They can be a motivating factor that makes the president toothless.

Presidents can try to stimulate the economy. But, the people ultimately make it move towards one direction or another. When the millions of haitian workers increased
their productivity by any percentage, the GDP should change by a proportional amount. The same result does not apply in a production change of the president.

Posted: Mon Jul 04, 2005 9:30 am
by T-dodo
[quote]To me, the main question remains whether and how Haitians will manage to reclaim their rightful power of decision over who gets to rule over them.[/quote]

Jaf,

Although I agree with most of what you said in this previous post, and also in another one on this thread and a related one in another thread, the big picture is missing here. The question you left hanging there is purely about politics, if you recall, my definition of which is "a fight for power." The people of Haiti can regain the power to govern themselves. For the reasons I mentioned in my previous post - no resources - without the cooperation of the foreign powers to allow them to convert that political power into economic development, the cycle of misery and economic stagnation will continue. That's why, more often than I wish, I disagree with you. Our focus should be on the country as a whole, not groups or individuals.

r
What needs to be fought for in Haiti is self-sufficiency, freedom from misery, economic independence and growth, etc. In this today's world, no country with Haiti's conditions can fully achieve that without cooperating with the rest of the world. That is why, while I wholeheartedly agree with you that the foreign powers had never given Haiti a chance during its history, we are not going to obtain it without smartly dealing with them. The foreign powers will not hand us economic development. We will have to earn it. To do so, we will have to compete not only with them but with the rest of the world small countries who have been eating our lunches while Lavalas and the Convergence bickered, while the elite and the masses fought, while the military and the private sector traded military and economic coup d'états. While we were fighting, the Caribbean countries took our tourists, the South American countries took our customers who used to buy our bananas, cacao, coffee, sugar, etc., China, Mexico and Centra
l American countries took our textile assembly jobs. And, this is just the tip of the icerberg.

Regaining our democratic independence is only less than half of the struggle that Haiti has left to do to ensure a minimum of decency to its 8 million citizens in a near future, perhaps about one hundred years.That is why we should not "bet the house" to get it back. We need to keep things in perspective. Like my boss continues to say, "we need to focus on the forest, not the trees." In the process of fighting to restore constitutional order in the country, we need to ensure not only that we don't lose that order in the future but also how to make it benefit the Haitian people. That is WHEN - after political stability - you will need to deal with those foreign powers who have denied us to go it easy with our lives for the 201 years that you mentionend.

But if we are strong and smart, which we have not been in those past 201 years, we can prevent them, like a lot of other
Caribbean nations have done, from making life impossible for our people. Like Steven Covey preached, we should try to be "interdependent, not independent." We have tried independence. We all know now that is not enough. It is time to try INTERDEPENDENCE. So, burning bridges with the foreign powers is a short-sighted strategy that will ensure more misery than needed for our 8 million people.

The bigger question remains:" What is the best way to get Haiti out of that cycle of chaos, misery, economic stagnation, hunger, ecological disaster, etc., rather than who gets to rule them? Perhaps the political question is the first step towards the goal of happiness. But do not use all of our resources on obtaining political independence! it is the people who matter, not their rulers!