Thursday, 26 January 2006

WSF in Caracas

The World Social Forum (Jan 23-29) in Caracas, Venezuela had a number of Haiti related panels. To read the 'reports back' from the Canada Haiti Action Network on Indybay's Haiti Page click this image..

Also courtesy of Anthony Fenton/INADEM see Narco News for info on new NED grants and some good links.

Monday, 23 January 2006

Popular Democracy in Bolivia: Social Movements Mobilize

After years of contesting for seats in the government, the MAS movement in Bolivia has been successful. On Monday, January 23rd, 2006, Evo Morales was sworn in as Bolivia's first ever indigenous president. He plans to move rapidly to nationalize Bolivia's oil and cooperate in the new regional alternatives spearheaded by Venezuela. Listen to Democracy Now! w/ Amy Goodmanfor an update on the inauguration.

Photo: AFP

Thursday, 19 January 2006

The U.S. Media in Haiti

It is strangely common for journalists writing for mainstream outlets in Haiti to at times write for the VOA (Voice of America), which is financed by the US government and due to domestic propaganda laws not allowed to air in the United States. I would argue that many of the "experts" and "professionals" that deal in providing us our media information travel in the same class circles, promoting basically an uncritical view of wealthy over the poor. One journalist that recently wrote on Haiti, Edward M. Gomez, is a former employee of the U.S. State Departement. On his blog for the SFGate he cites the reason for violence in Cite Soleil as "kids" being high on "crack". Only after writing letters to him and the SFGate did he include in a new post some of the context behind the violence, the coup, and the ongoing wave of repression.
Another journalist, Carrol J. Williams of the Los Angeles Times, for years now, has done some of the worst reporting on Haiti. After the 2004 coup she continued the State Dept line that Aristide had "fled". On 15 Feb 2006 she used the term "perceived injustice" in describing how the Aristide/Preval supporters feel. It would seem only "perceived" if like Williams we ignored the thousands of poor Haitians massacred over the last two years. That is to say nothing about those that were raped, injured, lost jobs or have fled the country. Her articles have been consistently filled with inaccuracies and a heavy elite bias. Williams has also made an effort to put Haiti's democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into a comparative analysis with Haiti's former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier (responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands).
According to the University of Washington Alumni Magazine Carrol J. Williams has covered Eastern Europe, Russia, Germany, Kosovo and Afghanistan (she also covered Venezuela). She attended a "U.S. defense department media training session" in November of 2003. Here is Williams on board a U.S. Naval aircraft carrier.

Friday, 13 January 2006

UN Military Force 'MINUSTAH' Preparing to Take Cite Soleil?

The UN has admitted to "collateral damage" during prior operations in Cite Soleil. Reports from human rights groups such AUMOHD and IJDH as well as from press outlets such as AHP and HIP have documented a number of killings carried out by the Coup Government's National Police and the UN MINUSTAH force (primarily the Jordanian and Brazilian contingents). An invasion of Cite Soleil could mean many more dead men, women, and children in Haiti. A lawyer by the name of Evel Fanfan, Pres. of AUMOHD, has presented an alternative to stop both the kidnappings and the violent repression. I also just published an interview on Narco News with a kidnapping victim and his thoughts on the violence in and aimed at Cite Soleil.

Sunday, 1 January 2006

LA Times refuses to answer basic questions on Haiti coverage.

The LA Times refused to directly answer 9 of my 10 questions that I recently provided to their Director of Media Relations, David Garcia. They only answered one.
"Why does Williams continually use the term "fled" to describe Aristide's ousting in 2004?"

David Garcia, LA Times:"...editors believe the verb "fled" to be accurate no matter what the reason behind Aristide's urgent departure. We reported the charges and countercharges over his leaving Haiti in a March 2, 2004 story headlined "Aristide Says U.S. Forced Him to Leave.""