Does Haiti Really Need More Prisons?

Dady Chéry has the answer:
"Canada and the U.S. are itching to build prisons in Haiti.  True, Haiti’s prisons hold three times more prisoners than the capacity for which they were built, but Haiti does not need more prisons, it needs better prisons and fewer prisoners.  Already Haiti has the lowest per-capita number of inmates in the Caribbean, at a rate of 55 per 100,000.  It turns out that more than two thirds of those incarcerated have never been tried. In prison: young, old, and contagious are thrown together.  Two hundred of seventy five inmates have died of cholera because the prisons are not supplied with clean drinking water.  Many of the inmates are political prisoners who were locked up after Aristide’s overthrow.  The sensible thing to do is to respect these individuals’ rights.  This should have the salutary effect of dropping Haiti’s incarcerations to a number very close to the country’s prison capacity."

This and more facts here:
Haiti Has Lowest Inmate Per Capita in Caribbean and 70% Await Trial | Haiti Chery by Dady Chéry ht.ly/kfDa6

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VIDEO: Haiti Reporters interview Raoul Peck about his film "Mortal Assistance"

Raoul Peck is the internationally acclaimed Haitian director of such films as Lumumba, Man by the Shore and Moloch Tropical.

This interview with Port-au-Prince based young reporters about his latest film Assistance Mortelle (Mortal Assistance) which aired on French channel Arte this week and premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, is in French. I jotted down its key points in English while watching:

  • "I wanted that we be the ones telling our story for a change, to turn the tables for a moment. What I see on the airwaves is the not the country I know. Haitians do not have a voice."
  • "When asked why the aid is not working, "international" actors always say you can't trust Haitians, the Haitian state is weak. I had to break that litany of pretexts that prevents us from looking at the real problem."
  • " Along its 60 year history and everywhere it goes (Africa, Latin America included), "Development Aid" is ultimately neither "aid" nor "development". Looking at many African countries, one has to ask, where is the evidence of success? Have the lives of these countries really changed, do those countries export more than before, are there less inequalities, is there less infant mortality?"
  • "Aid" is deceptive because 40% of what is supposedly given is not spent in the supposed target country but in the donor country."
  • "Had the Haitians within the CIRH/IRCH [Bill Clinton-led International Reconstruction Commission for Haiti] not been marginalized, they could have played a crucial role relaying information to the population and to the ministries both of which were kept at bay."
  • Peck did the film out of the frustration of being in Haiti shortly after the earthquake and not being able to help because of the lack of coordination between various international actors who were ultimately there to serve their own interests first.
Can I go one step further Mr. Peck and say that ultimately the "aid", by functioning parallel to the Haitian government  and excluding it from "aid" coordination, ultimately weakens the very Haitian institutions it claims to bolster? 

VIDEO LINK:  http://ht.ly/k8PPK

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Raoul Peck: Haitian State Too Weak To Be Blamed for Aid Management Failure

From the Director of the forthcoming film Mortal Assistance. Couldn't have said it better myself:

« L’aide est violente, arbitraire, aveugle, imbue d’elle-même. Un monstre paternaliste qui balaie tout sur son passage. Elle fait semblant de résoudre les problèmes qu’elle s’applique à entretenir », critique le cinéaste dans le film.
En marge de la projection, Raoul Peck est intervenu pour souligner l’intérêt de sortir du discours permanent de critiquer l’Etat haïtien dans la gestion de l’aide humanitaire en évoquant comme argument la faiblesse de celui-ci.
Cette tendance empêche d’aborder les discussions structurelles, relatives au sens même de l’aide, explique t-il.
Le cinéaste plaide en faveur de la prise en compte des compétences haïtiennes dans la reconstruction du pays.
« Le terrain est vicié par un ensemble d’influences que nous ne contrôlons pas. Quand quatre-vingt pour cent de l’argent du budget d’un Etat n’est pas entre ses mains, c’est une grande perte de légitimité et de pouvoir », fait-il remarquer.
Soulignant le dysfonctionnement de l’aide, il appelle tous ceux qui sont impliqués dans cette reconstruction à rebattre les cartes et repenser l’ensemble du dialogue enclenché.

Source: L’aide à la reconstruction d’Haïti, un échec, selon le film « Assistance mortelle » projeté à Port-au-Prince http://ht.ly/jSXcy Alterpresse


"The aid is violent, arbitrary, blind, self-important. A paternalistic monster which sweeps everything in its wake.  It acts like it is solving problems that it in fact maintains" says the director of the film.

Raoul Peck intervened to stress the importance of getting out of the discourse of permanently criticizing the Haitian government's management of the humanitarian aid citing the state's weakness.

This tendency avoids structural discussions having to do with the aid itself.

The filmmaker pleads in favor of using Haitian competencies in rebuilding the country.

"The terrain is maligned by a set of influences that we do not control. When 84 percent of the money in a government's budget is not in its hands, it is a huge loss of legitimacy and power" he adds.

Underlining the dysfunction of the aid, he calls on all those implicated in the reconstruction to reshuffle the cards and rethink the conversation."

Can I get an A-MEN

 (Raoul Peck is a prominent and internationally acclaimed Haitian filmmaker. His films include Man by the Shore and Lumumba.)

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