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Old 07-26-2007   #1
SWJED
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Default Haiti (Catch all)

26 July LA Times - Haiti Tastes Peace Under Preval by Carol Williams.

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... A year into his second tenure as president, Rene Preval has broken ranks with two centuries of despots and demagogues.

Preval has eschewed the politics of brutality and confrontation, quietly achieving what only a year ago seemed unimaginable: fragile unity among this country's fractious classes.

Allies and adversaries alike credit the reclusive president with creating a breathing space for addressing the poverty and environmental devastation that have made Haiti the most wretched place in the Western Hemisphere. Preval has taken small steps to crack down on crime and corruption, and improve Haiti's infrastructure and food supply. But he largely holds fast to the strategy he used in defeating more than 30 rivals in the presidential race last year: Make no promises, raise no expectations...
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Old 07-26-2007   #2
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ICG, 18 Jul 07: Consolidating Stability in Haiti
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Haiti’s security and stability remain fragile. President René Préval has endorsed national policies for security, police, justice and prison reform, but a weak state and decades, if not centuries, of institutional abandonment, make implementation slow, difficult and uneven. His first real success has been the dismantling of the toughest gangs in Port-au-Prince, but for this to be sustainable a community-friendly Haitian National Police (HNP) needs to be built under the security umbrella provided by the UN peacekeepers (MINUSTAH), infrastructure and economic opportunity must appear in the capital’s poor neighbourhoods, and comparable recovery and reconstruction have to be extended across the country....
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Old 12-14-2007   #3
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ICG, 14 Dec 07: Peacebuilding in Haiti: Including Haitians from Abroad
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The UN mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) will not stay forever and, in any case, cannot be made responsible for solving Haiti’s manifold and deep-seated problems. The absence of adequate professional staff, sufficient financial resources and efficient management at all levels of government has delayed structural reforms and economic and social programs. The country needs institutional strengthening prior to its transition from President René Préval to his successor after the elections in 2011 – also the likely outside limit for MINUSTAH’s mandate. Otherwise, political polarisation along traditional cleavages will reappear, as will the risk of conflict. Training civil servants and increasing their salaries are important but insufficient to produce the advances Haitians are demanding. A serious and sustained initiative to include three million Haitians living abroad could overcome historic nationalistic mistrust of outsiders, bring a missing middle class within reach and help Haiti escape its “fragile state” status.....
Complete 34 page paper at the link.
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Old 12-15-2007   #4
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Default Haiti and hope

Having worked on Haiti with respect to both PKO missions (1994 & 2004) I find myself dubious yet hopeful. Clearly, people can change. The Rene Preval of today is different from the man who took over the presidency in 1995. He seems to be wiser as well as older.

That said, the predatory culture of Haiti will not change overnight. But it must change if Haiti is ever to emerge from being the basket case of the Americas. In the process, Haitians will need to learn that to succeed they must help themselves. They cannot continue to rely on the UN or anyone else to give them handouts. I have been to a lot of poor countries (and poor regions in countries) in Latin America. But never have I been in a place like Haiti where people simply felt entitled to being given what they desired without having to work for it. The following anecdote describes what I mean: I was in a market and shopping for haitian crafts. I finally found a product I liked and bargained (briefly) for it. As I walked away with it, I was accosted by other craft sellers who said to me, "You bought from him, therefore you owe me your business."

So, while I hope that Preval and MINUSTAH have begun to chnge the Haitian culture, I remain dubious.

Cheers

JohnT
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Old 09-02-2008   #5
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USIP, 1 Sep 08: Haiti: Confronting the Gangs of Port-au-Prince
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Summary

- Although ostensibly criminal in nature, the gangs of Port-au-Prince were an inherently political phenomenon. Powerful elites from across the political spectrum exploited gangs as instruments of political warfare, providing them with arms, funding, and protection from arrest.

- Beginning in 2006 and reaching its culmination in February 2007, the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) conducted a series of successful military and police operations against armed gangs, based in sanctuaries in Cité Soleil and other urban slums, that had terrorized the populace. The campaign resulted in the arrest of principal gang leaders and some eight hundred of their followers.

- UN operations followed a public announcement by Haiti’s president, René Préval, that the gangs must “surrender or die,” and a private request to the United Nations to take armed action. Préval’s call for action came after efforts to negotiate with the gangs proved futile.

- Antigang operations involved the Haiti National Police (HNP), the country’s only security force. HNP support for, and direct engagement in, these operations was essential to their success. Haitian police SWAT teams arrested most of the gang leaders.

- Although the UN assaults resulted in civilian casualties and extensive property damage, the great majority of Cité Soleil residents surveyed believed that the UN crackdown was justified.

- If MINUSTAH had not been willing and able to confront the gang threat, the likely consequences would have been the collapse of the Préval administration and the failure of the UN mission. The United Nations must be capable of mounting assertive operations to enforce its mandates, and it can succeed in such operations under the proper conditions if it summons the necessary resolve. MINUSTAH’s success in confronting the gang threat suggests that the conditions needed for successful mandate enforcement include unity of effort among mission leadership, local buy-in and support, actionable intelligence to guide operations, effective employment of Formed Police Units (FPUs), integrated planning of military, police, and civilian assistance efforts to fill the void left by the displacement of illegal armed groups, and holistic reform of, and international support for, the legal system.
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Old 09-23-2008   #6
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ICG, 18 Sep 08: Reforming Haiti's Security Sector
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Operations led by the UN peacekeeping mission (MINUSTAH) largely disbanded armed gangs in the slums of Haiti’s cities in early 2007, but security and stability are far from consolidated. The failure to provide an immediate, visible peace dividend once the gangs’ hold was broken was a lost opportunity the still fragile country could ill afford. Now new threats are appearing. Serious crime persists, especially kidnapping and drug trafficking, and in the absence of a sufficiently large and fully operational police force and functioning justice and penitentiary systems, it threatens to undermine political progress. This was evidenced by the fall of Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis’s government following April 2008 protests and riots against high living costs. Security sector reform (SSR) is essential to stabilisation but has been plagued by serious institutional weaknesses.....
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Old 05-05-2009   #7
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CIGI, May 09: Security Sector Reform Monitor: Haiti
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Inside
  • Introduction
  • Where There’s a Will...
  • Judicial Reform
  • Penitentiary Reform
  • Police Reform
  • Overview of Haiti’s Security Environment
  • Concluding Observations
  • Works Cited
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Old 01-15-2010   #8
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Default Haiti and the pact with the devil

Here is the larger clip of Pat Robertson's remarks I think this whole string of thought needs further analysis and unpacking. Fox News indicates that the whole quote was taken out of context and that Robertson is actually a supporter of Haiti and was simply explaining why the nation has undergone so much suffering.

Jon Stewart's response to this is both funny, but also insightful.

What is the true nature of religion and religious belief?

Last edited by Beelzebubalicious; 01-15-2010 at 02:09 PM. Reason: added info
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Old 01-15-2010   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post

What is the true nature of religion and religious belief?
Hey Eric !
The Op-eds this morning were straight to the point (regarding Estonia's disaster relief team enroute to Haiti while the economy goes to Sierra).

Quote:
"He's (Robertson's) paying and gets to say what he wants".
Sigh... In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash
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Old 01-15-2010   #10
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Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
What is the true nature of religion and religious belief?
I saw and heard more outrage at that statement on Christian webpages, blogs, and facebook pages than anywhere else. It was a stark contrast to many sites (many politically leaning) who used it as an opportunity to cry racism and "Christian" bigotry. I couldn't believe it when I followed a link to the Huffington Post and saw racism alleged. Where did that come from? I expect nothing but stupidity from any politically-oriented website, but that was so dumb that it overshadowed Robertson's asinine statement.

My two cents.
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Old 01-15-2010   #11
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Hi Guys,

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Originally Posted by Schmedlap View Post
I saw and heard more outrage at that statement on Christian webpages, blogs, and facebook pages than anywhere else. It was a stark contrast to many sites (many politically leaning) who used it as an opportunity to cry racism and "Christian" bigotry. I couldn't believe it when I followed a link to the Huffington Post and saw racism alleged. Where did that come from? I expect nothing but stupidity from any politically-oriented website, but that was so dumb that it overshadowed Robertson's asinine statement.
Well, IMO, it just goes to show the value of a PhD in business administration, which is, I believe, what Robertson has. Theologically, my cat is more sophisticated which, BTW, isn't saying much at all .

I'm not surprised by the allegations of racism either; it is a "standard" discrediting allegation.

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What is the true nature of religion and religious belief?
Ask a simple one why don't you?
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Old 01-15-2010   #12
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Default just as a follow up...

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What is the true nature of religion and religious belief?
Think about this one: religion is a symbol system for organizing and explaining our experiences of reality. This is an interesting example...
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Last edited by marct; 01-15-2010 at 03:28 PM. Reason: can't get the embed working...
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Old 01-15-2010   #13
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Default I'll tell you if...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
What is the true nature of religion and religious belief?
you send me a case of Chopin Potato Vodka

Discovering the esoteric means of the great holy texts-Veda, Upanashad, Torah, several dozen Gospels, and the Qur'an- requires libations to Hecate, Vestal Virgins, and St Jerome.

After such libations, I will throw a bottle of wine and a Divan-e Hafiz in a burlap bag and toss them in a river floating away from my home. Three nights from the point they sink, you will receive a message with your answer.

In otherwords, γνῶθι σεαυτόν.
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Old 01-15-2010   #14
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Thumbs up

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In otherwords, γνῶθι σεαυτόν.
LOL - okay, that does it.... I have to find a cuneiform UTF-8 script !!!
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Old 01-15-2010   #15
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Well, IMO, it just goes to show the value of a PhD in business administration, which is, I believe, what Robertson has.
I wasn't aware of that, but it makes perfect sense. I think I know why he made this outrageous statement (aside from explanations of senility, arrogance, etc). If you are trying to get an audience of Christians to pony up cash (which is what he was doing - soliciting donations for Haiti), then the surest way to do it is to convince them that the people in need don't have a chance. For a Christian, that means conveying that the people haven't been exposed to God's word. You will get a lot more sympathy for someone who is clueless than someone who has been exposed to the Bible but chooses to ignore it. He was casting them as a group of people hopelessly lost, descendants of individuals who rejected God, unexposed to the Bible.

From a cold, calculating, business perspective, it was a shrewd thing to say. From a historically accurate viewpoint - (How does he know what the devil said in the alleged conversation? Does he have a transcript?) - probably not so much. From a PR standpoint, epic FAIL.
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Old 01-15-2010   #16
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Quote:
If you are trying to get an audience of Christians to pony up cash (which is what he was doing - soliciting donations for Haiti),
So, save them from the devil by donation and prayer. I wonder if that works on an individual basis. I am particularly devilish and one might even say "possessed" at times. If only I had some money to combat the problem. Please text 666 to Fixme....
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Old 01-15-2010   #17
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You know, Schmedlap, if you add in the "chance to redeem the children suffering in Darkness through the fault of their ancestors", it's a really powerful draw . As to how he may know what the devil said, I'm sure someone told him .

People like him, and a whole slew of other "characters" in a similar vein, are too close to the indulgence sellers of the 16th century for my taste.
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Old 01-15-2010   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzebubalicious View Post
I wonder if that works on an individual basis. I am particularly devilish and one might even say "possessed" at times. If only I had some money to combat the problem. Please text 666 to Fixme....
It worked for Jimmy Swaggart
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Old 01-15-2010   #19
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Methinks it has something to do with the fact that

1. Haiti is overwhelmingly Catholic and some Evangelical groups still consider Catholics to be 'devil-worshippers'.

2. There is a whole lotta Voodoo going on down there and people wrongly associate it with Satanic rites.

'Pact with the Devil' conveniently brings both up.

In terms of drumming up money from like-minded Christians, it didn't ring that way to my ears. It could be interpreted as a veiled threat. Why would a devout Christian send money to people who work for the Devil- disaster or otherwise? Pray for their souls- yep. Money and goods? I'll have to do some digging.
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Old 01-15-2010   #20
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Default a cause for reflection

So Satan is being used to cast out Satan? Lot of that goin' round these days seems like.
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