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Old 07-26-2007   #1
SWJED
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Default Haiti Tastes Peace Under Preval

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

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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 01-20-2010   #8
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Exclamation 'Harsh in Haiti: a light discussion'

Opening Thread explanation:

Moderators Note

Created to house some recent postings on another thread, which discussed the Haiti-Canada linkage: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9534

This thread was created as some have suggested that a solution to the problems of Haiti is to be harsh.

Posts here will be moderated if their tone verges on what can be perceived inside and outside SWC as advocating lynching (taken from Rex).

Back to the thread below


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Originally Posted by marct View Post
In my cynical and jaded moments, I have to wonder if the current response isn't just another example of reinforcing the dependence of Haiti on the rest of the world while, at the same time, providing "us" with an opportunity to feel good about ourselves: a post-Westphalian form of "Save the Children", complete with the full range of Cosmo propaganda and emotional blackmail.
Perhaps a little too cynical, Marc? It is not as if Haiti has any other options at the moment, and periodic outbreaks of Western altruism are probably better than no altruism at all.

The Haiti crisis does raise some real question about the limits of our understanding and capacity to transform highly unequal, corrupt, and poorly governed social and political systems into something that is more just and better governed. For all the "we must leave Haiti better off than before" rhetoric (a sentiment that I fully agree with), I'm not sure we've yet adequately examined why we've failed in the past, and how (and the extent to which) we can do better in the future.

As to the broader issue of Afghanistan--we're pulling our combat forces out of Afghanistan, and that decision was pretty much set in stone long before the Haiti crisis.
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Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-24-2010 at 08:22 PM. Reason: Add Moderators Note as explanation
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Old 01-20-2010   #9
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Default Having worked on Haiti

issues since 1994, I was especially pessimistic about the capability of Haiti and the will of the international community to do what was needed to develop both a Haitian state and nation. (I said so several times in print) In the present emergency, however, I am beginning to wonder about my previous judgment. First, the Haitian people have responded far better than I expected to the emergency based on my experience on the ground in 1995 and research of the 2004 crisis. Second, I have seen some very positive things coming out of one of the important health NGOs involved in the relief effort. Third, former Pres Bill Clinton has spoken of the economic and governance strides that Haiti was making before the earthquake hit. Finally, the skills and responses of the Haitian diaspora give rise to some hope. So, if the international community maintains its will, there may be reason to be cautiously optimistic about Haiti's mid-range future.

Cheers

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Old 01-20-2010   #10
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Hi Rex,

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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
Perhaps a little too cynical, Marc? It is not as if Haiti has any other options at the moment, and periodic outbreaks of Western altruism are probably better than no altruism at all.
Probably, but I'm in that sort of mood right now . Is it even altruism I have to ask myself? Probably, at least on the part of most people - I'm just in a very weird headspace right now...

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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
The Haiti crisis does raise some real question about the limits of our understanding and capacity to transform highly unequal, corrupt, and poorly governed social and political systems into something that is more just and better governed. For all the "we must leave Haiti better off than before" rhetoric (a sentiment that I fully agree with), I'm not sure we've yet adequately examined why we've failed in the past, and how (and the extent to which) we can do better in the future.
Agreed which, in part, is a (miniscule) part of where my cynicism comes from. We are, however, engaged in a Peacock Effect type of mission (cf. Dawkins, The God Delusion, p.163); if we actually solved the problem, "we" would just have to create another opportunity to display our altruism.

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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
As to the broader issue of Afghanistan--we're pulling our combat forces out of Afghanistan, and that decision was pretty much set in stone long before the Haiti crisis.
Yup, I totally agree, which is why I said we don't "need" Haiti as a justification. Having said that, I'm sure that Jack Layton will, however, use it as a justification for pushing us to get out of combat missions entirely .
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Old 01-20-2010   #11
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Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
issues since 1994, I was especially pessimistic about the capability of Haiti and the will of the international community to do what was needed to develop both a Haitian state and nation. (I said so several times in print) In the present emergency, however, I am beginning to wonder about my previous judgment. First, the Haitian people have responded far better than I expected to the emergency based on my experience on the ground in 1995 and research of the 2004 crisis. Second, I have seen some very positive things coming out of one of the important health NGOs involved in the relief effort. Third, former Pres Bill Clinton has spoken of the economic and governance strides that Haiti was making before the earthquake hit. Finally, the skills and responses of the Haitian diaspora give rise to some hope. So, if the international community maintains its will, there may be reason to be cautiously optimistic about Haiti's mid-range future.

Cheers

JohnT
Hey John,
I decided to remain pessimistic following our relief team's last this morning.

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We managed to save 21 today despite the local resistance and the cops going home at 1630. A shame the looters, that keep trying to steal our medical supplies, don't quit at five sharp too!
Relatively speaking this reminds me of a money hole in Africa that just never manages to get full and we move on. It never really mattered that some cataclysmic event occurred, the end was the same decades later.

Just exactly how did this become a Canadian problem?
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Old 01-20-2010   #12
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Default Gee Stan

I hope you're wrong! Unfortunately, you are probably right and I will have to return to my normal pessimistic state.

JohnT
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Old 01-20-2010   #13
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Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
I hope you're wrong! Unfortunately, you are probably right and I will have to return to my normal pessimistic state.
Hey, John, I thought we had agreed that I would be the pessimist for this thread !
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Old 01-23-2010   #14
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Hmmm ... what would a proper response be, sans "Cosmo propaganda and emotional blackmail"? Also, what is Cosmo propaganda?
"Cosmo," rather "Kosmo," was a term I coined for A Desert Called Peace as a substitute for "Tranzi." They're essentially the same. I rather had to coin a new term because I'd used "Tranzi" in the form of the "Tranzitree," a genetically engineered fruit-bearing tree, the fruit of which is green on the outside, red on the inside, and intensely poisonous but only to intelligent life. Frankly, I think cosmopolitan progressive is slightly more accurate than transnational progressive.

Their propaganda might range from the memetic attack on all things western in the movie Avatar to a still shot of a boated-bellied and starving African child covered by flies to the silly notion that when you sign up to pay 54 cents a day to feed, clothe, and educate Maritza, the starving Guatamalan child, that your money is actually doing that, rather than paying for first class flights to five star resorts for Tranzi, or Kosmo, conferences to discuss the plight of migrant widget pickers in Eastern West ####istan. Or maybe it was Western East ####istan; these conferences tend to be largely interchangeable and _completely_ useless.
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Old 01-23-2010   #15
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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
Perhaps a little too cynical, Marc? It is not as if Haiti has any other options at the moment, and periodic outbreaks of Western altruism are probably better than no altruism at all.

The Haiti crisis does raise some real question about the limits of our understanding and capacity to transform highly unequal, corrupt, and poorly governed social and political systems into something that is more just and better governed. For all the "we must leave Haiti better off than before" rhetoric (a sentiment that I fully agree with), I'm not sure we've yet adequately examined why we've failed in the past, and how (and the extent to which) we can do better in the future.

As to the broader issue of Afghanistan--we're pulling our combat forces out of Afghanistan, and that decision was pretty much set in stone long before the Haiti crisis.
What question? We have essentially no ability to do so with the means we are willing to use.
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Old 01-23-2010   #16
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Hey, John, I thought we had agreed that I would be the pessimist for this thread !
Where Haiti is concerned, you cannot be more pessimistic than I am. It's simply not possible.
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Old 01-23-2010   #17
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It is really easy to be cynical about the prospects for development in the so-called "third world"--especially if you ignore the actual data on third world development over the last thirty years or so.

In most places, we've seen striking reductions in mortality, and improvements in nutrition, education, and real disposable income--largely due to local efforts, but in some cases (notably the reductions in infant and child mortality as a consequence of vaccination and education) due to critical contributions from the international community.

Even in Haiti--certainly the most difficult development challenge in the Western hemisphere, even before the recent earthquake--under-5 mortality has dropped from 143 (per thousand) in 1994 to 76 (per thousand) in 2008--almost halving the number of child deaths.

GapMinder provides a fascinating software-based way of viewing these trends over time--have a look here. Charles Kenny also had a good piece on some of the under-recognized achievements of African development in Foreign Policy Magazine last year.
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Old 01-23-2010   #18
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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
It is really easy to be cynical about the prospects for development in the so-called "third world"--especially if you ignore the actual data on third world development over the last thirty years or so.

In most places, we've seen striking reductions in mortality, and improvements in nutrition, education, and real disposable income--largely due to local efforts, but in some cases (notably the reductions in infant and child mortality as a consequence of vaccination and education) due to critical contributions from the international community.

Even in Haiti--certainly the most difficult development challenge in the Western hemisphere, even before the recent earthquake--under-5 mortality has dropped from 143 (per thousand) in 1994 to 76 (per thousand) in 2008--almost halving the number of child deaths.

GapMinder provides a fascinating software-based way of viewing these trends over time--have a look here. Charles Kenny also had a good piece on some of the under-recognized achievements of African development in Foreign Policy Magazine last year.
And the effect of more Haitians is to be precisely what, do you think? Other than further deforestation of an already largely deforested country, said deforestation leading to top soil erosion and the killing of fish on the coast, said deforestation caused by the trees being turned into charcoal, so that the already excessive numbers of Haitians (excessive for what their third of the island can support) can cook, I mean.

Further, what improvement would you expect increased but still limited opportunities for education to do for Haiti, other than to make that fraction talented enough to qualify for the education high-tail it for a better place? Yes, they'll send remittances back, for a generation or so. But after that, the place will be the poorer for its more talented people having left, and the remittances will have stopped.
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Old 01-23-2010   #19
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And the effect of more Haitians is to be precisely what, do you think? Other than further deforestation of an already largely deforested country, said deforestation leading to top soil erosion and the killing of fish on the coast, said deforestation caused by the trees being turned into charcoal, so that the already excessive numbers of Haitians (excessive for what their third of the island can support) can cook, I mean.

Further, what improvement would you expect increased but still limited opportunities for education to do for Haiti, other than to make that fraction talented enough to qualify for the education high-tail it for a better place? Yes, they'll send remittances back, for a generation or so. But after that, the place will be the poorer for its more talented people having left, and the remittances will have stopped.
Deforestation tends to also be an issue of poor access to alternative energy supplies (including sparse rural electrification), land tenure and inequality, education, disposable income and government policy—not merely population density. Moreover, in Haiti we've seen a significant decline in population growth rates since the 1980s (1.7% in 2007, down from 2.3% in 1984), hopefully indicating that the usual demographic transition is slowly underway.

My broader point, however, was that infant mortality rate (one of the best indicators of average living conditions, since it is affected by income, education, shelter, nutrition, access to safe water, etc.) has steadily declined even in Haiti, and much more rapidly in other places. Methodologically, an even better measure of the slow but significant improvement in Haitian living conditions in recent years is its Human Development Index score (an amalgam measure of quality-of-life indicators):



I'm not saying that reconstruction and development in Haiti will be easy. It won't--it will be enormously difficult, challenging, and prone to setbacks. We might even fail.

I am suggesting, however, that it is not impossible.
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Old 01-23-2010   #20
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Deforestation tends to also be an issue of poor access to alternative energy supplies (including sparse rural electrification), land tenure and inequality, education, disposable income and government policy—not merely population density. Moreover, in Haiti we've seen a significant decline in population growth rates since the 1980s (1.7% in 2007, down from 2.3% in 1984), hopefully indicating that the usual demographic transition is slowly underway.

My broader point, however, was that infant mortality rate (one of the best indicators of average living conditions, since it is affected by income, education, shelter, nutrition, access to safe water, etc.) has steadily declined even in Haiti, and much more rapidly in other places. Methodologically, an even better measure of the slow but significant improvement in Haitian living conditions in recent years is its Human Development Index score (an amalgam measure of quality-of-life indicators):



I'm not saying that reconstruction and development in Haiti will be easy. It won't--it will be enormously difficult, challenging, and prone to setbacks. We might even fail.

I am suggesting, however, that it is not impossible.
"Not impossible," in this case, might as well be code for, "oh, me, oh, my; if only we care enough, and are sensitive enough, and toss enough money into the bottomless pit, we can rescue poor Haiti from itself."

I think it is impossible, because the core problem is not material, nor educational, nor health related, nor anything we can do anything about. The core problem is that the place has been such a disaster for so long - arguably, given its history as a slave colony, since inception - that it is engrained in them, or at least most of them, that nothing can work because nothing ever has, and that the only way to rise above the muck, even a little, is to look out for number one and number one's blood relations (and even the latter is somewhat atrophied by local reproductive mores). The problem is, therefore, moral and memetic and is not helped in the slightest by our on again-off again, feel-good-while-undermining-what-little-self-confidence-they-might-have attempts at western guilt reduction. Nor, for that matter, would a more sustained effort help for the reasons I gave above and because it is simply tangential to the core problem.

Frankly, I'm of the James Shikwati school of foreign aid, which is to say, "Don't."
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