[News] Demonstrations Against Martelly Rock Haiti

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Mon Oct 1 12:35:13 EDT 2012


published in the SF BAYVIEW 
September 28, 2012

Friday, Sept. 21, saw yet another in a series of large demonstrations 
across Haiti. The largest protests were registered in Cap Haitien and La 
Cayes, Haiti's second and third largest cities, against what many 
protestors called "the corruption of the Martelly regime."Chanting "Down 
with Martelly and the pink hunger," referring to President Martelly's 
campaign color, Haitians protesting his corrupt regime filled the 
streets of Cap Haitien, Haiti's second largest city. Newly assigned U.S. 
Ambassador Pamela White dismissed the demonstrations of real, legitimate 
anger at Haiti's huge and growing economic disparity as "SO unfortunate. 
Burning tires will not change a thing. They will turn off international 
business interests."
Thousands took to the streets chanting slogans such as "Down with 
Martelly and the pink hunger," a clear reference to the color associated 
with the president's election campaign and his supporters. While Haitian 
news outlets such as Radio Caraibe 
Radio Vision 2000 
and Le Matin 
reported on the demonstrations, the only foreign news agencies to write 
about them appear to be RFI 
and AlterPress <http://www.alterpresse.org/spip.php?article13437>.
On the same day, the new U.S. ambassador to Haiti, Pamela A. White, 
inaugurated her new personal Twitter account @AmbPWhite. As news of the 
protests against Martelly began to spread throughout Haiti, Ambassador 
White tweeted her disapproval: "These demonstrations are SO unfortunate. 
Burning tires will not change a thing. They will turn off international 
business interests."

This was immediately followed by the U.S. ambassador's admonishment: 
"Outsiders EXPECT burning tires in Haiti. Let's not give them what they 
have learned to expect but a better way forward -- like talking." Now 
exactly who White was referring to as "outsiders," given that she was 
only sworn into her post on July 18, remained unclear.

That she seems to either be unaware or disingenuous about the increasing 
evidence of growing corruption in the current Haitian government and the 
commiserate misery and hunger facing Haitians was crystal clear.

What she failed to acknowledge is that the thousands of Haitians 
protesting in the streets against corruption and hunger in Haiti were 
"talking" in the only way they felt possible, even as she was dismissing 
them as merely "burning tires." They have been "talking" for several 
months now and no one in power seems to be listening to them, especially 
Martelly and, apparently, the U.S. Embassy.
More interesting was that not a single U.S. news outlet filed a story in 
English on the demonstrations. Most conspicuously absent in their 
coverage was The Miami Herald, whose Caribbean correspondent, Jacqueline 
Charles, was busy tweeting about Haitian news of the protests throughout 
the morning despite claiming to be on vacation.

Ironically, Charles had been among the first the same day to endorse 
Ambassador White's new Twitter account with the now famous hash-tag #FF 
or Follow Friday. Ambassador White responded by heaping praise upon her 
for an article she recently wrote about a multimillion-dollar Haiti 
seaport project 
The U.S. ambassador genuflected to "@jacquiecharles 
<mailto:%E2%80%9C at jacquiecharles> wonderful piece in the Miami Herald; 
thank you for comprehensive reporting."

Unfortunately, Charles' "comprehensive reporting" did not include a 
single word written for The Miami Herald about the protests against 
Martelly rocking Haiti. Not a word published despite her clear knowledge 
of events, including tweeting a picture of Martelly and the Right 
Honorable Michaëlle Jean, UNESCO special envoy for Haiti "at a new 
University outside O' Cap, where tires r burning."
To say that The Miami Herald was conspicuously absent in covering what 
has to be the largest protests against corruption in Haiti in recent 
memory is an understatement. This is especially true in light of The 
Miami Herald's zealous and extensive coverage of past political scandal 
and corruption allegedly involving former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Writing about government kickbacks in a telecommunications scandal in 
Haiti dating back to the early 2000s, The Miami Herald printed on July 
"Aristide is not identified by name in the indictment. But defense 
attorneys say 'Official B' referenced in the corruption indictment is 
indeed the ex-president." Reuters would later write 
of The Miami Herald's assertion, "A lawyer for Aristide vehemently 
denied the allegation, which could not be independently confirmed."
Without a shred of evidence, The Miami Herald would then go so far as to 
try to connect Aristide to the assassination of the father of one of the 
defendants in the case, "He was assassinated just days after The Miami 
Herald reported in March that the son was cooperating with the Justice 
Department in a related kickback probe into deposed President 
Jean-Bertrand Aristide." Yes, The Miami Herald is well-known for its own 
brand of "comprehensive reporting" about corruption in Haiti.
With all the great interest and attention The Miami Herald paid to past 
corruption cases in Haiti, would it be too much to expect they might ink 
something, anything, about recent large anti-corruption protests in the 
country? Apparently not, when the U.S. ambassador is obsessed with 
burning tires harming Haiti's image with foreign investors or when 
demonstrators are targeting Martelly and his cronies.
/Kevin Pina, founding editor of the Haiti Information Project (HIP), 
winner of the Project Censored 2008 Real News Award for Outstanding 
Investigative Journalism and senior producer for Flashpoints on Pacifica 
Radio, can be reached at //hip at teledyol.net/ <mailto:hip at teledyol.net>/./
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 
863.9977 www.freedomarchives.org
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