Since 2004, MINUSTAH has played a central but controversial role in maintaining stability in Haiti. However, MINUSTAH should not and is not going to be in Haiti forever. The International Crisis Group (ICG) describes steps that can prepare Haitian authorities for when they are fully in the lead without MINUSTAH support. Key to this effort will be doubling the number of police, with adequate vetting and training, so greater responsibility can be transferred to them over time. Until then, all plans for reconstituting the army should be tabled. A summary follows below.
The Pulitzer Center and Population Services International (PSI) will hold “Voices of Haiti”, a performance concerning the ongoing consequences of the earthquake, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art on July 25th and 26th. It will feature a documentary, poetry, music, photography, and reporting from a variety of sources. Voices of Haiti has previously been screened in Port-au-Prince and Miami. More information follows below.
As a result of Constitutional amendments published Tuesday, Haitians abroad now have the right to own land and run for lower levels of offices. Another amendment specifies that 30% of all government workers should be women. A new electoral council is also to be created. The hard work now comes in implementing these changes. An Associated Press article by Evens Sanon concerning the amendments follows below.
Below is an LA Times article about the difficulty and potential of promoting tourism in Haiti. Every country in the Caribbean benefits from tourism to some extent. Haiti's tourism industry could also grow (modestly) over time - with stability, more hotels, and hospitality training programs. Linkages to tourism agencies in the Dominican Republic could also open up cross-border tourism. Thoughts on promoting tourism in Haiti? Post your ideas below.
Below is a New York Times Photo-Blog (Lens) about photographer Maggie Steber. Steber has been involved with Haiti since 1986, and her photographs capture both turmoil and beauty. Her photos, along with commentary about them, can be found on her website "The Audacity of Beauty". Steber knows Haiti intimately and has never given up on it. Her photos and experiences can help others better understand Haiti as well.
The U.S. State Department Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) is mandated to release annual country-specific human rights reports that address individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 2011 Haiti Human Rights Report is copied below. Haiti's development depends in large part upon the extent to which human rights are protected, especially for the vulnerable. That takes the engagement of civil society and a government with the capacity and political will to do so. As the report makes clear, much remains to be done before we get there.
Below is a guest blog by Raynald Leconte, Chairman of the Haitian Cultural Foundation (HCF). HCF has produced a documentary about Haitian art entitled "In The Eye of the Spiral" with commentary by some of Haiti’s most important living artists. Haitian art is so expansive that it can be difficult to describe adequately. To paraphrase the artists: “Chaos is the reality of life…there are few places in the world with as much chaos and artistic devotion as Haiti… creativity is our wealth”. Check out the documentary and HCF as well. Thanks!
To say the Dominican Republic and Haiti have a difficult history is an under-statement. Despite historical (and largely artificial) divisions, there is much the two countries share. This includes a love of music, dance, rum and a good fet/fiesta. The Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Center and the Haitian and Dominican Embassies teamed up yesterday to hold a concert celebrating friendship among two peoples who share an island and a future. Enriquillo Tejada y Los Clarinetes Magicos and Tabou Combo represented their countries well.
Haitians may yet have a stadium to match their passion for soccer. Below is a New York Times blog about a stadium scheduled for construction in Cite Soleil. The majority of the $5 million dollar project will be financed by Delos LLC as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. The stadium will seat 12,000 but could be expanded to 20,000 over time. Best of all, it will be built with local materials and by local workers, maximizing the economic impact.
There have been a number of articles recently about Haiti's emerging mining industry. However, mining legislation has not been revised since 1976. The Associated Press article below notes that the Haitian government is presently drafting new laws concerning foreign investment in mining. Haiti could certainly use the jobs - but also needs protection against labor abuses and environmental degradation. I'll be watching this with interest and will post any updates in the comments section.