“All Elements of Society Are Participating” – Impressions of Cap Haitien’s Movement Against the UN

Coffins block a downtown road in Cap Haitien.

I spoke to Democracy Now and Flashpoints Radio yesterday. A Free Speech Radio News story featuring some of the voices in the piece below aired on Friday.

CAP-HAITIEN – The first barricade looked harmless enough. Foot-long rocks piled next to each other in a line.

But as the bus driver slowed down, flying rocks landed in the street – thrown by youths crouching in the bushes up the hill.

“We don’t really have a country! The police don’t do anything!” a nun sitting across from me complained after the bus driver negotiated, with a little cash, our way past.

The man next to her said the country will always be mired in problems until a leader like Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro takes power.

We must have passed a dozen more barricades, most unmanned.

After Limbe, where cholera has killed at least 100 people, we came to the biggest “barikad” yet in the highway. Thick trees lay across the road and hundreds of people, a few holding machetes, blocked the way.

The bus driver once again descended to negotiate, but didn’t appear to be making any progress. Most passengers grabbed their belongings and got out.

I decided to go too. As I gathered my things, there was a debate among the remaining passengers:

“He’s a blan (foreigner), he’s going to get hurt.”
“No no no, he speaks Creole, he’ll be fine.”
“They’re going to think he’s MINUSTAH. They’re not logical.”

MINUSTAH is the acronym for the UN peacekeeping mission. As I stepped off the bus, people standing at the road called me over and urged me not to go. It was the third day of so-called “cholera riots” against foreign troops blamed for introducing the disease into the country.

Someone said the protesters are violent “chimere,” a word for political gangs. I explained that it’s my job as a journalist to go talk to them.

Then two Haitian journalists who were on the bus pushed their way through the crowd and wrapped their arms around me. Everyone agreed, finally, that together with the two guys I could get through the barricades.

Elizer and Duval were coming back home to Cap Haitien. They were scared for me, saying under no circumstances should I talk with protesters or take photos. I reluctantly agreed to follow their instructions.

I wondered if perhaps the UN peacekeeping mission was right in saying these were protests were organized by a politician or gang. “Enemies of stability and democracy,” MINUSTAH mission head Edmond Mulet called them. So far, I’d only seen young men in the street.

But as we passed through each barricade, everyone – young girls and rotund market women mingling with demonstrators yelled out, “MINUSTAH ou ye?”

I yelled back, “Non, mwen se yon journalis Amerikan.” The suspicious stares softened into smiles and understanding looks. After passing the third barricade that way, we started laughing.

One teenager who threw a rock at us as we approached on motorcycle said, “pa gen pwoblem” – no problem – after I held out my press badge.

As we arrived on the outskirts of Cap Haitien proper, the streets were deserted except for people gathered around barricades. One was still flaming. At another, dozens of men milled around a burnt out car.

“Press! Press!” I called out, and they beckoned me through the crowd, many hands pushing me forward until I was through.

I was glad when an elderly man walking in the street stopped me. I finally had a chance to do an interview, against the advice of my companions. I whipped out my audio recorder. He was Amos Ordena, the local section’s elected Kazek – an official dispute mediator.

“The population has information that MINUSTAH introduced cholera,” he told me. “So many people have died. They’re obligated to hold fast, to demonstrate, so that the authorities will take responsibility. They’re asking MINUSTAH to leave the country.”

Asked if the protests are by a single group or the general population, he said all elements of society are participating in “the movement.” He said MINUSTAH are not firing weapons in self-defense, in the air to disperse protesters, but firing at people. He heard that at least one person had died earlier in the day.

We finally turned off the main road and walked into an alleyway. Elizer’s modest home was at the end (his lost his wife, children, and house in the capital in the earthquake). One of his brothers, blind and handicapped, lay on the floor beneath a television showing a soccer match. He smiled and introduced himself when I walked in.

Elizer reminded me to use hand sanitizer. Then his frail mother, beaming at us, served us fresh mais moule (corn) and papaya juice.

A neighbor of Elizer called up TV reporter Johnny Joseph, who came to meet me and help me get to the house where I was planning to stay. Elizer refused to accept any money for all his trouble.

Before leaving with Johnny, I spoke to Aristil Frito, a 24-year-old student standing outside talking with his neighbors. “The objective of the movement is clear: they’re asking for the departure of MINUSTAH.”

He said irresponsibility by the leaders of the country had led to this situation. In a more developed country, without so many young unemployed people in the street, the protests might have been more peaceful, he said.

“But the real solution is for people to live in a climate of peace, in dialogue. Today all Haitians should work together finish with hunger and poverty,” he said. “The best solution is the promotion of social dialogue.”

Johnny and I hopped on a motorcycle taxi, taking backstreets to bypass the barricades. We passed a five-foot deep trench dug in a narrow dirt road. Johnny said a MINUSTAH vehicle fell into the trench Wednesday and people threw bottles at them. The troops opened fire, killing an innocent bystander whose body was taken downtown, he said.

MINUSTAH blamed the death on local gangs.

At one junction, a young man in a purple shirt and black cap blocked our path and stuck out a knife as his friends looked on. I realized my press badge was tucked into my shirt. I pulled it out as Johnny talked the man down.

“You need to have your badge out,” the young man told me, glaring. “It’s a principle.” That’s been the only instance of serious hostility directed at me since I arrived in Cap Haitien.

So it’s bewildering to read the reporting of CNN’s Ivan Watson, who claimed that armed rioters control the city. He told viewers while being filmed on the back of a fast-moving motorcycle that it’s only way to move about the city amidst “violent protests.”

He doesn’t use that adjective to describe the actions of UN troops, accused of killing at least three demonstrators since Monday.

“They shot many people. We took them to the hospital. We’re asking MINUSTAH to leave the country,” a middle-aged man who declined to give his name told me.

He stopped bicycling past an intersection barricaded with coffins to stop and share his anger. “We have bottles, we don’t have guns to shoot them, but they’re shooting us. We have to defend our rights, MINUSTAH is a thing that doesn’t work in this country.”

Another of Watson’s reports claimed that Christian missionaries were forced to speed on a bus away from out-of-control-mobs, like in a Hollywood-style chase scene.

High drama = high ratings.

As I walked towards the downtown’s central public square on Wednesday, finally nearing the house, I saw several dozen people facing Haitian police in full riot gear standing in their way.

They said they had no beef with foreigners generally – only MINUSTAH.

Theodore Joel said they respected the Haitian police, because they’re brothers and family – though two police stations were reportedly set on fire during the first day of protests.

“Those soldiers are tourists! The money that’s invested in MINUSTAH – they could invest that money in education. They could invest in constructing hospitals, in cleaning up the country. but they’re paying those soldiers instead. We don’t have guns like in 1803… but each time we put our heads together, we’re marked in history.”

Thursday marked 203 207 years since the Battle of Vertières, where Jean-Jacques Dessalines led the final major assault on French armies to drive them off Haitian soil. They renamed the city: from Cap Francois to Cap Haitien.

While many expected demonstrations to continue in commemoration of Haiti’s independence struggle, the streets were quiet. No further confrontations were reported. I walked around downtown Cap on my own, trying to find an Internet connection to send out a radio story.

I’m asking everyone I meet here – from local journalists, vendors, men at the barricades, to a local magistrate – if these protests were organized by a gang or political group.

The unanimous answer is no – people are fed up with UN peacekeepers and the cholera outbreak is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

The magistrate said he understands and respects the people demonstrating, but he wishes the barricades weren’t impeding the transportation of medical supplies to fight cholera in his commune, where people are dying in the street.

As the head of MINUSTAH warned that “every second lost” because of protests means more suffering and death from cholera, the anti-UN demonstrations continued in Port-au-Prince on Thursday.

CNN’s Watson led his report this way: “Like cholera itself, Haiti’s protests against the United Nations spread Thursday to the capital, Port-au-Prince, as angry people took to the streets demanding the global body get out of their country.”

Seems that for Watson, these protests are like a disease. It continues: “a planned protest began peacefully in the center of the city but turned violent as it moved toward the presidential palace, with one woman overcome by tear gas, witnesses said.”

Again, the protesters are the ones implicated in the violence. But a timeline-report released by International Action Ties, an independent human rights monitoring group, said the demonstrations were largely peaceful after returning to Champs de Mars plaza.

UN troops and Haitian police fired at least thirty tear gas canisters into the Faculty of Ethnologie and surrounding tent camps, the report said, sending children and old women fleeing into the streets. Police ignored the group’s pleas to stop firing.

Are protests against the UN meant to destabilize the country? Are Haitians who’ve taken to the streets being used, like puppets, by powerful politicians for their own ends? Are the protests violent?

The foreigners I’ve talked to say yes. A few American liberals living in Haiti tell me they fear the protests are violent and meant to cause chaos, echoing the statements of MINUSTAH and reporters like Watson. Some Haitians in the professional middle class don’t want to participate.

But most Haitians I’ve spoken with say no. They say this is the inevitable outcome when troops who operate in Haiti with seeming impunity may have introduced a deadly, misery-multiplying disease into the country. It’s an angry, popular movement – protesting however they can, emotions running high – against a five-year-old foreign occupation.

What do you think? We’ll see how this plays out in the next nine days, ahead of the Nov. 28 election. Stay tuned.

You can also read Landon Yarrington’s account of how the protests began, which the magistrate disputes. Video posted by Pierre Durohito De Venchy of the first three days of protests:

48 thoughts on ““All Elements of Society Are Participating” – Impressions of Cap Haitien’s Movement Against the UN”

  1. Hey Ansel,

    Just throwing it out there because I know folks in Cap who feel like many of the people at the blockades are just thugs. What would have happened if you didn’t have that press pass? I know plenty of people going hungry in Cap right now because the blockades have shut down regular commerce ad they’ve run out of food and money in their homes. There are more people infected with cholera because prevention options aren’t getting out.

    I respect the need to protest against MINUSTAH, and an organized protest would have done a lot more to motivate change. MINUSTAH needs to own up to the grave error of transporting an infected troop. But a few hundred or even a few thousand people using machetes, rocks, bottles and burning tires to shut down a few hundred thousand person city and endanger people’s lives at the start of a fast spreading infectious disease epidemic is not a movement that in my opinion deserves much respect.

    You burn down food warehouses, throw glass bottles at public health workers just because they are white, threaten to burn down gas stations, shut down the banks, close the roads, attack the day to day fabric of people’s lives leaving people hungry shuttered in their homes to air your political grievances and you have crossed the line from political discourse to thuggery.

    Prior to these events MINUSTAH in cap was largely an innocuous bureaucracy driving around maybe not doing a hell of a lot in the eyes of the people but honestly other than a few incidents at the level of a corrupt police force and driving around too fast in armored vehicles showing guns they did not act as occupiers.

    Do the people protesting think it will get better without MINUSTAH? Really? Please, I would like to know from a group of protesters how MINUSTAH is keeping them down as an occupier? Illegal searches? Rapes? Levied taxation through corruption? From what I know the MINUSTAH police were the only people really trying to do something about violence against women or corruption, such as catching the people who hacked that girl to death who spoke out against her rapists a few weeks ago.

    Do people think suddenly there is going to be a safer city without MINUSTAH? That the level of investment needed to solve Haiti’s infrastructure problems and create jobs from the domestic investor community? Do they think the international community is going to start to put the billions in that are needed if they drive MINUSTAH away with riots? The only people who I can see who benefit significantly from MINUSTAH leaving are criminals or drug dealers.

    I don’t see a political voice here talking about reasonable options in these protests. I see an angry mob lashing out maybe not manipulated by political forces but definitely not lashing out to a positive end, and in the meantime more people are getting infected with Cholera without treatment.



    1. Thanks for your comment Peter. You’re entitled to your opinion, of course. I’m reporting what I’m hearing and seeing.

      Also, to answer your question – I think I would have been fine without the press pass. I was with local journalists. When you’re with people who are part of the communities you’re traveling in, it’s a lot less likely that people are going to give you problems.

        1. Jonna, from personal experience with her, I do not trust Troutman’s reporting. Got anything else? I’m here in Cap, doing interview after interview about the case of Gerard Jean Gilles, just like you told me to do in your last comment on this site. Going to continue to ignore my efforts to reach out?

      1. just said what they pay you to said that s all.you will never tell the truth about what you see.one day they will paid for it there one man who let that happen is god that all thanks.

    2. Peter:

      Your ignorance is quite overwhelming. And the fact that you’ve typed a whole essay, justifying your lack of awareness is quite shameful if you ask me. You, like so many others, are so quick to attempt to formulate an opinion on the situation in Haiti without knowing the facts, and that, my friend, is what I call intellectual sloth.

      I have family in Au Cap – a lot, actually – and the notion that folks in the region view those freedom fighters that are defending their country and their dignity and wellbeing, as thugs is a bold-faced lie and you know it. I spoke to my great aunt and several other friends and relatives in that area, and I know for sure they all want MINUSTAH to get the hell out of their city and country. Furthermore, the initial protest consisted of several thousand people, according to my people over there, so I guess the men, women, and children who participated in the protest are all thugs, too?

      Also, do you care to explain why Haitians would not be better off without the brutal UN proxy occupiers that has done nothing but engaged in rape, pillage, and repression? Perhaps you believe Haitians are just savages who simply can’t fend for themselves, but the truth is, Haiti was doing much better before the US / France / Canada orchestrated coup against Dr. Aristide. And while Dr. Aristide was not perfect (considering that he bowed down to neoliberal pressure), he was not given the chance to exercise his true potential for the betterment of Haiti, and because he eventually resisted the call to sell his soul to the imperialists devils, he was eventually thrown out of country.

      For over two centuries, Haiti has been in a proverbial economic chokehold, starting with Thomas Jefferson, who imposed a long-standing embargo on the country because recognizing the newly independent republic would have been a threat to his highly lucrative slave business. This cycle of injustice continued even today, and this, my friend, is the reason for Haiti’s lack of infrastructure.

      And last I checked, tyranny never responds to peaceful means. Six years of peaceful protests against MINUSTAH occupiers have solved absolutely nothing. In fact, they’ve recruited troops from all over the country to intimidate Haitians and keep them from rising up. They’ve even invested millions in the
      Nazi-esque Haitian National Police to further oppress and repress the people.

      So, now…By any means necessary. That is the only solution. They won’t accept the peaceful way, so now it’s time for the Dessalines way. And more people need to stand up and kick the satanic UN, NGO poverty pimps, and fake white-savior charity do-gooders and Jesus freaks out of the country. Now, I’m not saying all of the charities are bad, but many of them are front groups for the US, and they must be exposed. Every damn camp needs to rise up. From

      By the way, who cares if the warehouse was allegedly burned down? The food was probably bad anyway, since they were not being delivered to Haitians. The food was left to rotten. So whatever.

      Neither you nor I are in the predicament of Haitians in Haiti. And even though I’m Haitian and I have a lot of relatives in Haiti, this feeling of utter despair that get when I see Haitians being slaughtered and disrespected in their own country is quite minimal compared to those who are actually enduring it, and the other effects of this occupation. In other words, it’s easy for you to sit there, curl you fingers, and type a lot of nonsense, and get away with it.

      Learn to formulate opinions / analysis on facts, not what the mendacious media spews out.

      Media = lies
      Opinions based on media lies = lies.

      Regardless of how you look at it, it’s all lies.

  2. Nah,

    I can appreciate your comments and perhaps my opinion is too disconnected for you but it was informed by communications and not just media. Mainly my personal feeling is within the past century violent action has rarely improved large scale social issues for any country. Peaceful protest and non-violence movements, yes, but not violent protest. That is heightened in this case where there is an un-managed epidemic that is raging (and there were oral rehydration salts bound for the WFP warehouse that was burned Tuesday night).

    The future of Haiti is in the hands of Haitians. I appreciate the desire to protest against the UN and national police. But from a macro-economic viewpoint countries that have been able to make significant economic improvement in the past 40 years have done so from positions of peace, education development, and encouragement of direct foreign investment not through mass protests.

    Haiti has billions on the table pledged that has not shown, and there will be waste and profiteering ad poor intentions in part of that capital flow but in that but there will be a lot of improvement for people day to day as well, my opinion is that it is shortsighted to risk that in cascading violent action of ever increasing tension and protest.

    But you are right that I speak as an outside observer who does not have to live in crushing day to day poverty. I just don’t see violence on any side as the path to end that poverty. And I feel the protests ultimately hinder the capability to manage the immediate greatest danger, which is Cholera.

  3. I think “Nah” has no rights to claim about the truth of the matter since neither he nor Ansel were there. To “Nah”: there were not thousands of people there, but maybe less than a hundred, and women and children, especially kids on the way to school, were hit with rocks early Monday morning when it began. To Ansel: Batay Vètyè took place in 1803, so that would be 207 years ago. What’s more, it was not Janjak, but Kapwa Lamò who led and won the battle. Now that “is what I call being an intellectual sloth.”

    Lastly, Peter is right about there being many fingers in many pies. I respect your efforts Ansel, but it takes more than turning up the second day of protests and talking to some folks to get an idea of the political-economic history of Cap-Haitien. I’m not saying anti-UN sentiment isn’t there – no one doubts this. But that these protests have prevented access to clinics and medical care is a pretty serious reason to doubt, or at least better investigate the issues. Have you met with any health officials in Ft. St-Michel or Petite Anse, how about Justinien? I think the doctors and nurses there, at least the ones I’ve met, will tell you something different.

    Have you seen Saint-Philomène lately? This morning, a community organization named Famille Capoise put out their sign and began cleaning and sweeping the road. These were the people who were debloke, the ones who were most affected by these riots and most fed up with them.

    1. Thanks for pointing out the number error. Dessalines directed much of the battle, so he led it as much as anyone else.

      “it takes more than turning up the second day of protests and talking to some folks to get an idea of the political-economic history of Cap-Haitien.”

      It also takes more than being a foreign anthropologist who’s lived here for a while. That’s why the article is titled “Impressions.”

    2. @ Landon:

      “There were not thousands of people there, but maybe less than a hundred.”

      You’re doing a mighty horrible job lying to yourself, my friend. Less than a hundred were able to paralyze Au Cap? What exactly is your agenda?

      First and foremost, the riots and protests in Au Cap took place throughout the day on Monday, and as I’ve said, according to countless folks who live in the area, there were thousands of people marching against the UN. This is a fact according to many people who actually live there.

      Smaller crowds that consisted of hundreds of people in other parts of the country were easily dispersed by the UN occupiers and the subservient Haitian National Police, but the same couldn’t be done for Au Cap, and you have the audacity to claim only less than a hundred folks participated?

      Secondly, blocking access to aid is the only negative consequence of the protests / riots. But in this case only the medical workers that are actually working and helping the sick have the right to speak out, not the UN. The UN is an evil occupying force that lies to the world about helping the poor Haitians, when this is definitely not the case.

      Despite your false insinuations, the protests in the area were against the UN / NGOs and other cover groups masquerading as “aid” and “charity” in the country. I guess many of you are still in denial for whatever reasons, but the Haitian people are largely fed up with the occupiers. The HAITIAN PEOPLE, not the so-called gangs or bandits or thugs, are fed up with the misery. They’re fed up with the occupation.

      Finally, you have the right to believe the lies and propaganda, but understand that this is only the beginning, and once this whole situation escalates, and it will, then you’ll have no choice but to swallow your own propaganda and accept the truth for what it is.


  4. No, these countries that have made these so-called significant strides sold their souls to the neoliberal devil. This is the case of India, where the a vast majority of the population is living like the average Haitian, yet the lying media never tells you that. This is where a farmer commits suicide every 3 – 8 hours. This is where farmers are selling their wives, daughters, and kidneys to repay debt. This is where water scarcity and land degradation are so widespread because of decades of growing killer chemical crops introduced to them by the Eugenicist Rockefeller and Ford Foundations.

    It’s the case with the Dominican Republic. Despite the false images of prosperity that is constantly being promoted by the controlled media, the country is still poor and underdeveloped, and will remain that way, as the the mass social problems in the country are masked by beautiful sandy beaches and resorts that are basically owned by the so-called international community, just as they did with Jamaica, where killer cops murder citizens everyday, and poverty run rampant.

    Mexico has the 13th largest economy in the world, YET, the people are so poor? Why? Right – because GDP growth does not equate to a reduction of poverty. Neoliberalism / Free – trade means the bulk of the wealth goes to a small segment the society. Look at Mexico today and tell me if that’s what you would want for Haiti.

    This, my friend, is their plan for Haiti, where Haiti hands its sovereignty to the so-called international community to build beaches and resorts, and sweatshops, while the vast majority of Haitians work as hotel servants in their own country. And although they’ve progressed to an extent, with the privatization of TeleCo (phone company) and some others, and “free trade”, the people will continue to fight.

    If violence never solves anything, like you proclaim, then how come it took a mass uprising for Baby Doc to end the tyranny and leave the country? What did peaceful protest against the Duvalier duo do to Haitians prior to that? Yeah, they got killed.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.

    You mean to tell me the Satanic UN is doing by any means necessary to oppress the people of Haiti, even killing them, yet Haitians can’t do the same to protect themselves?

    Don’t you see what these 4 weeks of protest have done so far? They’ve made international news, while exposing the UN for the evil, satanic entity that it is. When did the peaceful protest make international news? True – the mainstream media distorts the facts, but the truth slowly but surely finds its way out. People are wondering why Haitians would accuse the UN of committing genocide against them, and, again, the truth is coming out, as it can never be suppressed forever.

    Oh, and the billions of dollars raised was never intended to go to Haitians and it never will. So let’s just forget about that.

    – Nadege

    1. Nadedge, thanks for your comments. I agree with you on a bunch of things. But using words like ‘satanic’ and ‘Nazi’ doesn’t help…

      1. Hello Ansel:

        As someone who has spent thousands of hours researching the United Nations, I am certain that the UN is a Eugenicist, satanic operation – a front cover for the imperial powers and the international banking cartel. Look beyond UNICEF and World Food Program (veils for their true agenda) to see their parasitic nature.

        And those blue helmet criminal thugs engage in “peacekeeping” by way of murder, rape, and pillage. Some of their “peacekeeping” actions include:

        – Running child prostitution / sex slavery rings
        – Roasting children
        – Lynching
        – Impregnating 10 – 12 years old

        And as far as the HNP goes, well they actively collaborate with outsiders to oppress citizens of their own country, so if you don’t believe torturing and killing by “law enforcement” is Nazi-like, then I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

        I think the sooner we start to realize the atrocities committed against people around the world is a continuity of historical atrocities, albeit in a more sophisticated manner, whether it’s in Haiti or in the Middle East, the better off we will be., especially for those who have already woken up, otherwise everything else is pointless.

        Free speech rules, by the way. Feel free to not accept any comments from me if you wish, because I certainly don’t think its fair to have to curb my speech for the the sake of anything or anyone.


        1. No, I won’t censor this. You, like Peter, are entitled to your opinion. Again, I don’t think using those terms helps when it comes to convincing anyone of anything, whether you’re on the far left or the right wing. People hear them and immediately dismiss you.

          1. Well, firstly, I don’t subscribe to the “far left” of “far right” paradigm. It’s a farce and a distraction.

            Secondly, I am not concerned about who dismisses me or who does not. As I’ve said, and I will continue to say it, the UN is a satanic cult, while the Haitian Gestapo police are what they are. If by any chance you or anyone else disagrees, then state your case instead of attempting to tell me how I should express myself. I’d appreciate that.

            And, yes, Peter is entitled to his opinion, but it’s better when opinions on based on facts and sound evidence.

            That’s all I have to say about this. Have a nice day.

  5. I have not followed news from Haiti as closely as I’d like, so I just have a factual (not ideological) question: is there any evidence that MINUSTAH introduced cholera into the country? It seems like a dubious assertion to me, but as I said, I haven’t been following events there. What is the factual basis for this claim?

  6. @Nah

    Read closely: I said less than a hundred people when it began. I was in Okap from the start, and a key piece missing from all the reporting is how and why the riots began in the first place – what precisely happened? How did it happen? Where, and who exactly was responsible for throwing the rocks and bottles, which, by the end of the day, turned into open gunfire? Where, how, and why did firearms come into play in the first place? Who was responsible for welding steel grates to the bridge at Pont Neuf? Until questions like these are answered, I’m not buying the anti-UN motivation alone.

    On a similar note, where’s the follow up? When I asked people on the streets if they would carry they manifestasyon on into Tuesday and Wednesday, they said “wi sidyevle” – yes, God willing. Where are they now? Where’s the interview with the same people who said they were Dessalines and said they won’t stop until UN is gone? This reporting is a small slice in time – in medias res, in the middle of things. Things here weave a complex narrative that have clearer beginnings and, at least as of Friday, clear ends.

    1. Hi Landon:

      Nice try, but this is a long-needed movement – one that is bound to accelerated no matter how much apologists like yourself try to deny it. Let nature take its course – that is all you can do. You can’t stop it.

      By the way, if you were in Au Cap, then tell the truth about the thousands of people who took the truth.

      Peace to you.

  7. As someone who has no idea what’s going having never been to Haiti. I want to thank Ansel for his first-person storytelling style. It’s quite refreshing. As opposed to feeling the need to make broad general statements (a la CNN “this is the only way you can get around town”), it’s made clear that this is merely what he experienced, take it or leave it. This demystifies the art of journalism, and contributes greatly to the media literacy of us all.

    Keep on keepin’ on Ansel!

    I’m throwin down a donation to keep Ansel in Haiti, I hope y’all will join me. It’s clear that he is needed. If only by the privileges that his press pass is getting amongst the people in the communities down there.

  8. This is not the first time that MINUSTAH is acting with complete impunity in Haiti and it will not be the last.

    People in Haiti have resorted to take to the streets because the situation is out of control. It is a matter of life and death for them.

    Nigel Fisher, Vincenzo Pugliese, Ed Mullet and the rest of the cabal at the UN took precaution to protect their own troops by not allowing them to travel to the Artibonite region while taking no measure to protect the Haitian population, preferring to continue in their denial.

    Although we have been told that the permanent member of the UN security Council aka the UN, the CDC are focused on fighting the disease, yet they have not committed the resources needed to fight it. As reported by Aljazeera and other media outlets international response to the cholera epidemic is inadequate and short of funding: http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/11/2010112005720398357.html

    The Haitian people are living in fear. The price of a gallon of water is 12 Haitian dollars right now. They have to buy clorox to clean the water.

    Those who cannot afford to buy the water and the clorox face death.

    Once they get sick, if they manage to make it to the hospital, they must fork 2 dollars for an IV bottle at the hospital or get turned away: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bryn-mooser/post_1272_b_784553.html

    None of us are in a position to criticize what their response should be at this juncture.

    MINUSTAH has resorted to using very provocative statement to refer to the protesters, that is expected of them. They are in Haiti to deny the Haitian people their humanity.

  9. Notes From The EpiCenter: We Are Out Of… Everything:

    We are out of ORS – oral rehydration solution, pedialyte, IV fluids and tubing — everything. The situation in the tent camps/cities is already full of unspeakable horrors and now for those with cholera the sight is just gruesome.

    Finally, after running out of medications, fluids, etc. and being turned away from most all sources for medical supplies, including the UN, there was no way to help those suffering from cholera. It was simply too difficult to watch another baby die of dehydration and I came home to recover from the worst week I’d experienced in Haiti since the earthquake.


  10. It is becoming clearer every day that the permanent members of the UN Security council have not committed the resources needed to fight the disease. However, thru their spoke person in MINUSTAH, notably Nigel Fisher and Vincenzo Pugliese, they are using the protests to publicly claim that they could not deliver the supply to the affected areas.

    How do you deliver supplies you don’t have?

    We were also told that while the protest was keeping them from delivering the supplies but it was not keeping them from delivering the ballots for their upcoming elections/selection.

    It was not until this weekend after news broke out that supplies needed to fight the cholera are lacking that they finally came out and states that the response to the cholera is inadequate:


    The Haitian people are not dumb. If they felt the situation was under control there would be no need for them to take to the streets.

    They want the Haitian people to die in silence. In other words, they want complete submission. Look if you are going to die anyway, may as well as go down fighting. It makes no sense to die on your knees.

  11. Some clarification to my posts:

    situation under control means the epidemy/pandemy under control.

    You control a pandemy not by arresting and/or killing/demonizing folks who are demonstrating out of fear for their lives and that of their family and neighbors.

    You control a pandemy by providing resources such as free drinking water, medicine, nurses and doctors who know how to treat it and a massive education campaign to reach every remote corners of the country. After all, not everyone in the rural areas are aware that their rivers are contaminated with cholera and they cannot continue to use it the way they have been accustomed to do so for centuries.

  12. I find this article interesting and more insightful than those of most foreign (and indeed many local!) journalists in Haiti. I’m glad that someone is there not trying to portray the usual narrative.
    However, as someone who used to live in Cap for a number of years I really find it difficult to believe that there is no political motive behind these demonstrations and violence. I don’t deny that people generally aren’t pissed off with and disillusioned by MINUSTAH’s presence – they were when I was there two years ago. However, it’s usually the same people (those who want Aristide back) that are demonstrating against the UN and causing disruption to further their own cause. ‘Chimere’ isn’t used to describe any political gang – the word is used for the thugs that Aristide armed and his other armed supporters. So while the population may be angry with MINUSTAH you can be sure that certain people are using this anger for their own (questionable and/or legitimate) political motives.

  13. Left Cap today (Sunday). All was seemingly calm, as were things Saturday. MINUSTAH in the area where I stayed seemed relaxed and nonthreatening, certainly not out “gunning people down”. So it might have been helpful to talk with some of the Chilean and Nepalese troops, as I did, before you unfairly characterize their actions.

    1. There weren’t protests yesterday, so of course MINUSTAH wasn’t shooting at anyone. Remind me of where I unfairly characterized their actions?

  14. I guess it is ok for the permanent members of the security council and their Minustah henchmen to create a pandemy and use it to further their own political agenda, then use violence to force the population into submission.

    However, all hell will break loose should anyone else dare to see their political maneuvering for what it is and call them on it.

  15. Speaking of violence, last i checked it is MINUSTAH riding in their military tanks, pointing guns at people and killing them.

    The Haitians were throwing rocks and bottles and were unarmed.

    Minustah’s violence is always justified. It is referred to as maintaining “security” and self defense. Impoverished Haitians responding to Minustah’s violence are rioting and have no right to self defense.

    Thanks but no thanks for the clarification.

    1. In response to Mag:
      Look I’m no fan of Minustah but they don’t go riding around in their armored vehicles (I never saw tanks there) killing people at random. You try throwing rocks at police or peacekeepers in Haiti or in any other country and see what kind of response you’ll get. Rocks and glass have potential to cause just as much damage to human life as guns. Get real. No-one has alleged (other than you) that Minustah is attacking people and people are responding with rocks etc. It’s the other way around.
      It is not “ok for the permanent members of the security council and their Minustah henchmen to create a pandemy and use it to further their own political agenda” even if that were true! A ridiculous assertion.

      There is enough BS spread on all sides in Haiti – let’s try to stem it rather than add to it.

  16. ANSEL,
    thanks for being kind in answering my peoples, who can be a hand full sometime. This is a real nice site you have, it ‘s fair and just writing on Haiti. By far one of the most fairness writing on Haiti , I’ve seeing.

  17. Kat,

    I am not sure where you are coming from.

    Haitians living in Haiti have the right to have a political agenda for their own country. They also have the right to fight Minustah henchmen occupying their country.

    This undeniable right was fought and won by their ancestors at the Bataille de Vertieres. Their ancestors recognized that right long before the rest of Western world did.

    Again, thanks but no thanks for your clarification

  18. Kat,

    Also impoverished Haitians living in Haiti also have the right to be concerned and fear any outsiders looking to impose their political agenda on them.

    No one, including the permanent members of the UN security Council, their Minustah hinchmen and allies have the right to prevent impoverished Haitians living in Haiti from charting a political agenda for their country thru manipulations of the press and thru the use of aggressive/passive military force.

    Again, thanks but no thanks for your clarification

  19. Kat,

    “Peacekeepers” give me break!!!

    Obviously, if these Minustah henchmen were in their own country, impoverished Haitians in Haiti could not possibly throw rocks and bottles at them.

    MINUSTAH’s presence on Haitian soil is a provocation in itself and constitutes violence towards Haitians who don’t want them on Haitian soil.

    1. Mag you’ve commented nine separate times, making a lot of the same points over and over. Please don’t dominate the entire thread like this… one or two should be enough unless you get into a back and forth with someone.

  20. Ansel,

    I’m a mission worker working with a farmer’s organization outside of Hinche. My wife, daughter and I live up the mountains from Papaye, in a community near the Bassin Zim waterfall. My undergraduate degree was in Environmental Studies, with a focus on International Development. My masters from Michigan State was in Forestry. I’ve been working as an agronomist in Haiti, then Nicaragua and now back in Haiti for a total of almost thirteen years, back in Haiti for the last 6 1/2.

    I have a friend who sent me the connection to your article. I don’t do “threads” but I’ve read through most of this one. You write well and I appreciate your willingness to address the observations that each writer raises. Your writing feels really honest to me. Keep on keeping on.

    1. Thanks Mark. I’m not sure if you remember, but I met and interviewed you during the MPP’s anti-Monsanto march back in May. Keep up your important work too. I enjoy reading your blog.

  21. Right after the quake, I remember hearing about the marines being sent in en masse with lots of bullets to distribute the local populace. I expressed doubts, but they told me I was being unamerican.

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