The oligarchs will use every tool at their disposal – military, media, the NGOs, money, religion. They’ll use the very people who are protesting – their protest – to service imperialism. The US embassy has thousands of agents, the UN and USAID forces in Haiti, there solely to keep the US occupation going. Disenfranchise Haiti locals. Steal Haiti riches. Loot its underwater treasures.
US occupiers in Haiti privatizing Île à Vache- Chronicles of a coming massacre
(Go to part 2 for the Kreyol post on Ilavach)
Haiti sovereignty, dignity, dreams for happiness, health, productivity and leisure is disrespected, at will, by the US and their UN/NGO agents.
The internationals are polluting Haiti in many ways, importing cholera to Haiti is an example. There’s another international crime in the making in Haiti. The media blackout on the desperate plight of the inhabitants on Ilavach (Île à Vache) is complete.
If you’re reading this, share it. Help the exploited people of Haiti, whose island has so much riches, the US built its fourth largest embassy in the world there. But the controlled media has the U.S. public believing it’s the US that’s giving aid to Haiti, not the other way around. But it’s Haitians and Haiti riches the US elites are exploiting, with impunity. Today as in the past. Haiti offshore islands and deep water ports are assets to be taken over, no matter that the inhabitants have lived off the land and taken care of these bounties for centuries without spoiling it.
Ilavach (Île à Vache) is a beautiful offshore Island in southern Haiti. Ilavach is about 30 minutes by boat from Les Cayes, the third largest city in Haiti. It is about 8 miles long, 2 miles wide, with an area of 20 square miles. The 16,000 to 20,000 Haiti residents have lived at peace there in this unspoiled paradise, eating the fresh fruits, vegetables off the land, fishing and crafting beautiful art pieces. Enjoying natures’ bounty, the sand, sky and sea. Selling to other local areas, without food, their extra food. In fact, up until recently Ilavach only had two policemen on the Island.
But the Obama crew is pushing for more privatization of Haiti assets and wealth.
So, last May 2012 the Martelly-Lamothe government unilaterally, with no national debate or local participation, took, through eminent domain, the entire island of Ile à Vache and the country’s other offshore islands, categorizing them as tourist-development areas – zones de development touristique d’utilité publique. This is a MASSIVE and illegal taking of an impoverished peoples’ property and source of food by the US overseers in Haiti, massive.
Article 2 of the presidential decree declared all properties and lands in these areas, that are the subject of leases or transactions between individuals, going back five years, are now state property.
On May 10, 2013, the Martelly-Lamothe government, again with no checks and balances, issued another extra-democratic decree specific to Ile à Vache – particularizing the Ile à Vache lands that the government would confiscate for housing the Ilavach tourist project.
Martelly, the US-picked Haiti president simply DECREED. (Haiti’s Doctored Elections, Seen from the Inside: An Interview with Ricardo Seitenfus)
None of this makes legal or democratic sense. It’s imperial thievery, plain and simple. Colonial conquest reminiscent of Catholic pontiffs gone by. These silly pronouncements bear no resemblance to the customary uses of eminent domain. The decree is unconstitutional on its face. It’s looting sold as progress for the nation. But this is where the US occupation -the Western gaze, unbridled greed, its so-called “civilized values” always intended to take Haiti.
Some of Haiti’s offshore islands include Île à Vache (52km2), Île de la Tortue ( 180 km2), Île de la Gonâve ( 670 km2), La Navase (7 km2), Cayémites (45km2), et al. In terms of mangrove protection, flora-fauna, preserving Haiti biodiversity riches and ecosystem management concerns, the Navase island alone has “more than 800 species, many of which may not exist anywhere else in the world, and as many as 250 that might be entirely new to science ( Center for Marine Conservation, 1999).”
The people of Ilavach, where the first government military contingent has landed to force relocation of fishermen and peasants living in the coastal areas, reject this plan to take their Island, their livelihood and property to create tourist resorts for mostly white folks and other privileged foreigners. Ilavach protestors categorically reject the contemplated deportations, the dire ecological consequences, impoverishments and state oppression. As of January 2014, twenty families were ejected from their homes with no arrangements made for other housing. The government leveled to the ground, the only forest on the island to build an airport. ( Stefanie Schüler’s report on Ile à Vache illustrate Martelly-Lamothe bad faith (in French) ; Pèsòn pap pèdi kay yo ; Tourism is not development: Haiti, liberate yourself ! and Venezuela’s Deep Political Education Means Venezuelans Will Withstand Right- Wing Protests )
The Ministry of Tourism’s revelation that the foreigners being courted by the state to own the coastal properties to be taken from the poor include investors from countries like the Dominican Republic. A country that just denationalized Haitians in the DR retroactively going back to 1929 and made apartheid legal. These blatant insults to the Black population further heightens the searing indignity and intolerable violation of losing Haiti lands this way. Lands paid for, again and again, century after century, in endless Haitian blood, sweat and tears.
Haven’t the people of Haiti been traumatized and destroyed enough?
“To achieve this, the government intends to relocate inhabitants of coastal areas, especially from the fishing village Kay Kòk (Roosters’ Place) and Madame Bernard, which are near to the luxury hotel Port Morgan.”–Haiti’s Peasants Fight Land Grab of Offshore Islands for Ecotourism
Konbit peyizan Ilavach (KOPI), the organization put together by the people of Ilavach to secure their interests say the taking of their lands is illegal and the development is not intended to benefit the island residents but foreigners. Haiti lands are being confiscated, the locals displaced. Most, see no sustainable benefit from the tourism industry for the majority of the 16,000 inhabitants. Especially as the bulk of tourist profits made in Haiti won’t circulate in the local economy but overseas. Property prices has skyrocketed, along with the cost of living on Ile à Vache as more and more tourists arrive and use foreign currency.
The “Life and Debt” documentary on the Jamaican situation illustrates why tourism, an export economy, sweatshops and privatization of pubic assets are not development for Haiti, Africa, the Caribbean.
“The May 2012 and May 10, 2013 Martelly presidential decrees taking, through, eminent domain, all Haiti offshore islands, voiding property owners rights is colonial thievery, criminally absurd, morally bankrupt and as illegal as the recent Dominican ruling denationalizing Dominican children of Haitian ancestry, retroactively to 1929-“-Ezili Dantò of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network “HLLN”
In addition, the population want to preserve the unspoiled environment, want change that preserves local agriculture, local food sovereignty, preserve their local values, local history, local dignity, increase local production and sustainable jobs. One resident says he’d rather continue to eat yams, fresh fish, fruits, vegetables off his own ancestral land than have to get a starving wage job on the Island to service Northern tourists. Haitians took down slavery in 1804 not to return to it in 2014. (See also, Abraham Lincoln deported over 400 enslaved Blacks from the U.S. to a then, fairly isolated Island of Haiti called – Île à Vache and Heritage looting: Bronze cannons, gold and emerald pieces stolen at Ile-à-Vaches.)
The Ilavach folks have no local representation in the puppet government of US occupied Haiti. There has been no local elections, no parliamentary elections in Haiti since the US puppet, Michel Martelly, took office with only 17% of the population voting. The Martelly-Lamothe government, instead of organizing required elections, has enjoyed complete control by constantly postponing local and national elections. Two thirds of the parliament’s mandates are over. There was no mayoral elections as provided for in the Constitution. Dictator Martelly conveniently CHOSE local folks who will rubber stamp his decrees.
Martelly created the local position – Ajan Egzekitif Enterimè or Interim EXECUTIVE agent. The name says it all. In Ilavach the person chosen by Martelly’s government for this position is someone who previously ran for local office that residents say only got 100 votes. “He would not have been elected to represent the people of Ilavach if the people were allowed to vote” one resident said in a radio interview. But it is this local man who is selling out the people of Ilavach. He’s pointing out community leaders, says the residents, to the Martelly-Lamothe government forces for repression, intimidation, imprisonment and death. (Source: Emisyon Goute Sel 25 Fevriye Radio Vwa Klodi Mizo Aux Cayes).
As I understand it, Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin, the Minister of Tourism arrived on the Island to talk to the agitated residents. She came without the plan of development that the people asked to see and promised to return with the plan the government said would benefit the people. But then released a youtube video of the government vision for Ilavach. On that same day when the Haiti plan for Ilavach was released on youtube, 100 BIM soldiers – a special Haiti police squad, trained by the occupiers and created to protect foreigners – tourist- in particular, arrived on the Island. (Motorized Intervention Brigade – BMI)
Residents report that these non-local forces have been terrorizing the protestors, going to the school to intimidate their children, arresting the KOPI members, beating up the demonstrators, firing live ammunition at the unarmed people. No international media is reporting on this.
Section E, Article 31 of the 1987 Constitution of Haiti, provides:
“Freedom of unarmed assembly and association for political, economic, social, cultural or any other peaceful purposes is guaranteed.”
How is the overseer government and its foreign “investors” honoring the Haiti Constitution as they proceed with their coastal, port and mining initiatives without the people’s (konbit/lakou= Haiti pubic domain/common good) participation. According to Section H, Article 36-5 of the 1987 Constitution of Haiti:
“The right to own property does not extend to the coasts, springs, rivers, water courses, mines and quarries. They are part of the State’s public domain.” –1987 provision to protect the local interests of Haiti and Haitians. (Ale wè: Ilavach se pwopriyete nasyon an, okenn pouvwa pa gen dwa fè dappiyank sou li pou remèt li bay konpayi prive ak gwo miltinasyonal pou fè piyay selon MPDP)
HLLN has sent out an urgent action alert (an earlier version of this essay).
The residents of Ilavach say Radyo VKM is, to date, the only radio station to report on their desperate plight. Vwa Klodi Mizo on Radyo VKM in Southern Haiti has a wealth of information on their site and interviews with updated information (Go to http://www.radyovkm.org/).
We’re getting more Haiti radio station to report. FONDCODI, AlterPresse, Agence haitienne de presse (AHP), Lakou New York, Hugues Girard, AMARC, the Haitian Blogger, Elsie News, Dady Chery and Caribbean Journal are writing and posting about this. Radio France Internationale has January 9, 2014 . There may be more we’re not aware of. But we’re asking everyone, everyone to tell this story. Help stop the coming massacre of innocent people. This attempt to make landowning Haitians landless and without food sovereignty. Help stop this big business terror in Haiti.
The Ezili Network is asking Haitians in the Diaspora to call their families in Southern Haiti and Port au Prince. Don’t let the resident of Ilavach face the wrath and unbridled greed of the rabid elites alone. Tell their story. Reach out to the media. Circulate their words, the voices of the people of Ilavache.
Stand in solidarity with them especially during the days of carnival – this coming Sunday, March 2nd to Tuesday, March 4, 2014. Do not let the fascist US puppet government take the lands of the poor and give it to foreigners. This oppression and coming bloodbath must be stopped. Already the heretofore peaceful resident are being called “bandits.” The government has arrested Carl Oza, Ayizan Silien and others including KOPI vice president, Jean Maltunès Lamy. (See, “Nòt pwotestasyon plizyè òganizasyon kont arestasyon ak anprizònman jean Matulnès Lamy“- http://bit.ly/1mNYag3)
Dady Chery transcribed the following statement, made by the president of KOPI in an interview with Vwa Klodi Mizo on RadyovKM:
“KOPI President Marc Lainé Donald (Jinal) said that KOPI still wants a recall of the May 10, 2013 decree that declared the entire island a zone of public utility. According to Jinal: “This is a lousy decree. This project reflects a macabre plan, a rat trap, a collective suicide, that aims to drive all the residents from the island. It is a cultural genocide that puts everyone in the island’s storm and dispossesses people of their lands. No one has the right to build on the island any more. If Ile à Vache is a hidden treasure, its people should enjoy it and get integrated into the proposed developments. We are craftsmen who have worked to beautify this corner of paradise that is so coveted by Lamothe’s administration.”
WHAT HAITI HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS AT THE EZILI NETWORK EXPECT WILL HAPPEN
A fact that bares repeating with great emphasis is that the West has two faces, one evil. Its trickery is without parallel.
One Western face is outright imperialism through the Neocons and their aggressive aspects of imperialism waged through both overt and covert military, economic, and diplomatic domination.
It’s evidenced in the US occupation of Haiti behind UN guns.
The second is the more “friendly,” covert imperialism waged through the NGOs, their humanitarian war on Haiti . It’s deadlier. Smiling faces telling lies. It’s the missionaries destroying Haiti’s indigenous culture. It’s NED democracy-manipulating groups like the NID, IRI manipulating civil groups for the interests of the global elites. It’s the Ford Foundation, Gates Foundation, Clinton Foundations, or the Paul Farmer/Clintons as UN spokespersons and leaders of the elites’ charitable industrial complex. The global elites fund the fake progressive groups (via liberal foundations and the World Bank, USAID, UN, EU/IMF). The “soft” or “friendly” faces of imperialism allows the corporatocracy to accomplish whatever cannot be done publicly or militarily to neutralize indigenous, anti-imperialistic and anti-neoliberal forces.
It’s not too hard to guess what will happen at Île à Vache. The oligarchs will use every tool at their disposal – military, media, the NGOs, money, religion. They’ll use the very people who are protesting – their protest – in the service of imperialism. They’ll buy off as many of the community elders as possible, blackmail, frame , use prison, visas, grants, job offers and do everything to paint the peaceful, unarmed citizens as terrorist, troublemakers, thieves, thugs, kidnappers. The US embassy has thousands of agents, plus the mighty UN’s high-ground to unleash. USAID forces in Haiti, are there mostly to create markets for squeezing out profits for big business. And to keep the US occupation going. Disenfranchise Haiti locals. Steal Haiti riches. Loot its underwater treasures.
Empire owns and controls the international and national media. They will put pressure on the local owners of the island, such as they’ve already done by raiding the schools. Scaring children. Making it dangerous for parents to protest for fear of retaliation through harming the children. Folks they can’t buy-off, or place in compromising situations, they’ll accuse of a crime. Of thievery when the internationals are the thieves using Martelly to take prime Haitian lands. Empire will obscured legitimate public protest to retake the moral high ground.
They’ll demonize the Haitians the Martelly-Lamothe puppets are making landless and without food sovereignty. Create conflicts of interests where there’s none. Conduct public trials by innuendo. They use upper crust kidnapping rings like the Ninjas ones headed by Clifford Brandt or street death squads they internationals hold in the wings like Lame Timanchet, Guy Philippe, Louis Jodel Chamblain. We’ve seen it all at the Ezili Network. (The Cite Soleil Massacre Declassification Project; UN provoke mourners, gun down unarmed, blames it on victims.)
They’ll send in agitators to mingle with the legitimate protestors. Buy off people. Criminalize the leaders of KOPI. Accuse them of drug trafficking, kidnapping and all kinds of depravity that the rich mafias and organized criminals in three piece suits in Haiti have a monopoly on. All, to confiscate African lands and riches while spewing forth the moral high ground of bringing jobs, development, “civilization” to the poor. It’s been their line since slavery.
Here’s the terrorizing right-wing and left-wing patterns we’ve witness over the years: If there are schools, the US duopoly’s forces of unbridled greed shall close them down or use their most favorite trick. That is, suddenly, we’ll hear there are “students” on the side of the imperialist government that the legitimate protestors are violently drowning out, killing, maiming. The oligarchs will ratchet up the pressure against the unarmed demonstrators at Ilavache with strategic and untimely closing down of access to fuel distribution, gas stations, grocery stores, roads to commerce. Further hike up the cost of living in every aspects with their big business monopolies. The embedded media may also provide the photos. Even staged them if necessary, as was done in Venezuela, Ukraine, Egypt, Libya, Honduras, Haiti in 1991 and in 2004. Yes, the neoliberalism sneaks will create the “civil opposition” to KOPI. Fund it. Give it major media voice to obscure empire’s thievery.
And, whatever the oligarchs running Haiti cannot do publicly or militarily to neutralize anti-imperialistic and anti-neoliberal forces like KOPI, they’ll get their “progressive” forces to do.
As the Ezili’s Network constantly maintains, beware of the “justice” and “peace” folks who will soon descend to “help” the people “win” this life and death fight. Their net zero result for Haitians is legendary. (See, Nonviolence in the Service of Imperialism by Michael Barker)
The West has two faces. One evil.
The people of Haiti, though weary and traumatized, still have property like Île à Vache to fight for. Even in 2014. Even after 10-years of UN occupation behind UN guns. Even, after over 300 years of slavery and 200-years of neocolonialism – Western-imposed debt, dependency and domination. Haitians did what most Island in the Caribbean have failed to do. The Black masses have kept the profit-over-people vampires at bay. Still own a bit in Haiti. That’s why all their superpower forces and trickery are at play against us.
“Grenadye alaso sa ki mouri n’ap vanje yo!” –Indigenous Army of Ayiti, 1791
Share and circulate widely. Join the conversation
Listen to Jinal’s interview (in Kreyòl) with Radyo VKM.
Sign Petition asking puppet Haiti government to withdraw the May 10, 2013 presidential decree.
For more detailed information, go to –
1.- Radyovkm (In Kreyòl)
3. – Hugues Girard videos
4. In French – L’île-à-Vache : future vitrine touristique d’Haïti? par Stefanie Schüler, Radio France Internationale (RFI), 9 janvier 2014
7. AHP, 25 février 2014: L ‘ancien sénateur Jean Gabriel Fortuné dénonce le “manque de transparence qui entoure le projet touristique de l’Ile -à-Vache et l’exclusion de la population de l’Ile”
8. Médias Citoyens
Release Jean Lamy Matulnes Junior
Île à Vache need you to be their voice now! Demand the release of Jean Lamy Matulnes from prison. Demand that the Martelly-Lamothe government rescind the May 2012 and May 2013 decrees to take all the offshore islands in Haiti. Haiti is not for sale! (See HLLN Urgent Action Alert 2 – Haiti is not for sale! Release Matulnes! and AMARC international appelle à la libération du président de la radio VKI) Demand the release of Jean Lamy Matulnes from prison. Demand that the Martelly-Lamothe government rescind the May 2012 and May 2013 decrees to take all the offshore islands in Haiti. Haiti is not for sale! Release Maltunes! Île à Vache must not fall! (See, Venezuela’s Deep Political Education Means Venezuelans Will Withstand Right- Wing Protests )