It has always been a votive of mines to start this thread and I feel obliged to do it today since it's a very special day especially for Haitians.Happy Independence day to those reading this and I hope one day we can have a discussion here and form our own vanguard. Politics Evans Paul nominated as new Haitian PM Over the past 30 years that he has strutted on Haiti’s political stage, politician Evans Paul has become something like the empire’s ace-in-the-hole. This is why he has always moderated his message in an effort to please the neocolonists who think they can decide Haiti’s future. It is no coincidence that he chose to leave the Patriotic Movement of the Democratic Opposition (MOPOD) earlier this year to go it alone and to participate in the dialogue that led to the signing of the El Rancho accord in March. Some elements of Haiti’s political class never act without instructions from the embassies of imperialist nations. After the forced resignation of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe on Dec.13, President Michel Martelly gave Haiti a booby-trapped gift on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, possibly ordered by Santa Claus or Uncle Sam, when he nominated Evans Paul, alias Konpè Plim or K-Plim, as Prime Minister. Constitutionally, the nomination is supposed to be approved by the Parliament. But indications are that laws might be bent or even broken to put Evans Paul in power. Haiti is in the midst of a political crisis created by Martelly’s poor governance and attempt to establish a totalitarian regime, while the Haitian people want democracy. In this situation of confusion and anxiety, the traditional ruling class is calling for negotiations with President Martelly to reach a power-sharing deal. But the masses marching in the streets are no longer interested in cutting any deals or compromises with Martelly. They demand Martelly’s resignation, the formation of a provisional consensus government, and the organization of elections. “The problem is Michel Martelly,” cry protesters almost daily around Haiti. “The solution is the Martelly’s departure.” For the first time ever, a massive demonstration was held on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, despite calls for a holiday truce. “Negotiations or not, Martelly must go!” the protestors chanted. Another chant was: “Instead of negotiations with Martelly, we’d prefer civil war.” According to demonstrators in the streets, any negotiations or political agreement must simply be around how Martelly is going to step down. Martelly was not elected by the people, they say. He was instead imposed by the “international community” (i.e. U.S., France, Canada) as head of state. Now he has plunged Haiti into a deep political crisis, setting the stage for the imperialists to once again meddle in the sovereign internal affairs of the Haitian people. Michel Martelly, due to his political roots among the Duvalierist Macoutes, is not disposed towards negotiations and consensus. He claims to have had dialogue with some groups which don’t represent anybody. It is just a way to run down the clock until Jan. 12, when he thinks he can disband Parliament and rule by decree. Indeed, Martelly’s choice of Evans Paul, a clear representative of Haiti’s political-financial-media oligarchy, has been rejected by all the leaders and political forces involved in the mobilization. They continue to call for Mr. Martelly’s unconditional resignation. The presidential decree naming Evans Paul as Prime Minister said that the choice was made on the basis of consensus with the presidents of Parliament’s two Chambers. However, a few hours later, Senate President Simon Desras Dieuseul denied this. “It should be clear to everyone that the future of the Parliament must be defined before anything else, for example, any vote on amendments to the Electoral Law of 2013 or the possible ratification of a Prime Minister,” Desras said.In the Senate, the six Senators who have been blocking Martelly’s efforts to ram through his Electoral Law also say that they don’t support his move. “None of the senators in this group is ready to ratify Paul Evans as prime minister,” said Sen. Pierre Francky Exius. His colleague from the South, Sen. Carlos Lebon, said the same thing, citing Evans Paul’s lack of ethics since he was part of the Presidential Commission that proposed Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s resignation. The nomination of Evans Paul has also raised the hackles of political leaders engaged in talks with Martelly, including those of the parties INITE, FUSION, Kontrapèp and Haitians for Haiti, represented respectively by Paul Denis and Sorel Jacinthe, Rosemond Pradel and Alix Richard, Jean William Jeanty, and Jonas Coffy. Opposition groups which have refused negotiations with Martelly – MOPOD, Patriotic Forces for Respect of the Constitution (FOPARC), the Dessalines Coordination (KOD), the Platform of Dessalines Children (PPD) – also reject the nomination and call for “Non-Stop Mobilization” until Martelly steps down. The Lavalas Family party, which met separately with Martelly last week, has not yet announced its position on Evans Paul’s nomination, nor has it recently clarified its stand on Martelly’s resignation. Months ago, when the uprising was still young, FL leader Dr. Maryse Narcisse said only Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe should resign, but not President Martelly. As thousands of FL militants and sympathizers now call for Martelly’s resignation in almost daily demonstrations, the FL’s Executive Committee has still not formally changed its position. The street is also full of talk about Evans Paul. People remember when he was the mayor of Port-au-Prince from 1991 to 1995. When he stepped down, there was nothing left in the town hall. Everything was stolen, looted. Paul’s partisans also ran the National Insurance Office (ONA) under the de facto regime of President Boniface Alexandre and Prime Minister Gérard Latortue (2004-2006). They then ran the Commerce Ministry under President René Préval (2006-2011). There were all sorts of scandals. Evans Paul also traveled to Gonaïves to take part in the commemoration last year of the 210th anniversary of Haiti’s independence alongside President Martelly, the late former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, and former dictator Gen. Prosper Avril (whose soldiers beat up Paul and then nationally televised his battered face). At the same time, Paul was among the coup-fomenting politicians who boycotted the Haiti’s Bicentennial organized by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. “Evans Paul has already established his headquarters at the Prime Minister’s residence on the Bourdon road and is working on the formation of a new cabinet,” said Dr. Joseph Enold, the Secretary General of Paul’s longtime organization the Convention of Democratic Unity (KID), according to the pro-government websites. “It could be installed as Prime Minister by Tuesday (Dec. 30).” It's also reported that parliamentarians could be summoned to an extraordinary session on Dec. 28, 2014 to audit Paul’s documents, as required by Article 157 of the Constitution. But the former pro-coup politician already considers himself Prime Minister, even without Parliamentary approval. “I have not been appointed Prime Minister to make war on anyone,” Paul said on Dec. 26, the day after his appointment, “but to work for the well-being of all Haitians.” While touring the Center Department on Dec. 28, he told a crowd in Cerca Carval: “I am not from the government. I was not on Martelly’s team. I did not campaign for him. I am also not in the opposition. As Prime Minister, I am a servant who comes to serve society and make things advance because the country is in crisis.” Clearly, Evans Paul thinks he has the post in the bag. Perhaps he knows something, heard in some corridors of power, that nobody else does? So the appointment of Evans Paul as Prime Minister appears to be his reward for services rendered to the imperialists. It is also the product of a so-called reconciliation with the executioners of the people. “On Jan. 12, there will be no political tsunami,” Paul said. “There will be an agreement among Haitians.” Evans Paul is truly a genuine enemy of the people, a scheming chameleon, always plotting against the people’s interests. In this case, the people’s interests and their demands are: Down with dictatorship, long live democracy! Down with occupation, long live sovereignty! Down with the enemies of the people, long live the mobilization! Down with reconciliation with the executioners, long live justice! Down with those who trample the dignity of the people, long live respect of the people! Haiti's Energy Future An international research team of Worldwatch Institute basen in Washington, D.C, will present at the Forum on Rural Energy of Haiti, to be held on 24 and 25 November at the Royal Oasis Hotel in Petion-Ville, in the presence of Jacques Rousseau, Minister of Public Works, the results of the study "Haiti Sustainable Energy Roadmap", on the potential for renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative network solutions for Haiti. This study presents the tremendous opportunities and actionable solutions that exist to build a sustainable electricity system in Haiti. Alexander Ochs, Director of Climate and Energy at the Worldwatch Institute, an independent non-for-profit think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C, USA, he led an international research team that prepared this study, shares in preview on HaitiLibre.com the reflections of this study on the future of Haiti where, in the most ambitious scenario, the country could satisfy by renewable and clean energy up to 90% of its needs. Which would make Haiti a global model in terms of green energy. Rise and Shine: Haiti's Bright Energy Future : By Alexander Ochs "There is hardly a place on Earth where the advantages of domestic renewable power are as evident as in Haiti. Today, the country's electricity system relies largely on dirty, expensive, unreliable, imported fossil fuels supplying an outdated and insufficient distribution system. The result: Seven percent – and more, depending on the year – of Haiti's gross domestic product each year is sent overseas for the import of fossil fuels, limiting the capital that can be invested domestically to rebuild the economy. And still three quarters of the population do not have access to modern electricity services. Haiti's government faces two urgent and interwoven challenges: First, it must develop the infrastructure needed to provide reliable and affordable energy access to as many Haitians as quickly as possible. Second, it must diversify its power supply to improve energy security and resilience to natural disasters and climate change. Currently, the country relies on two technologies that are both increasingly questionable: The burning of petroleum-based products (e.g., to operate diesel generators) for most of Haiti's power production has created enormous dependence on volatile commodity markets and rising fuel costs. In addition, erratic rainfall patterns and increased siltation from deforestation threaten hydropower production, the second leg of today's supply. The existing system is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake as well as major storms and droughts – events that are forecast to increase in frequency and intensity as a result of climate change. The answer to the country's energy problems and the precondition of sustained future development is not rocket science. It is a system that generates power from domestic and renewable energy sources that are provided every day free of charge: wind, sun, water, plants. It is a system that uses the produced energy as efficiently as possible. And it is a system that tries to produce electricity as closely to where it is needed to reduce the costs and the amount of energy lost in distribution. In the absence of a centralized nation-wide grid system, Haiti has an opportunity to leapfrog 20th century energy development, modeling a pathway to electrification and resilience that harnesses the country's strong biomass, small hydro power, solar, and wind resources.The report we will present assesses the potentials of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and alternating grid solutions; it analyzes the social and economic impacts of various electricity pathways; it looks into financing opportunities; and it suggests policy and institutional reforms that will make sustainable energy investments more attractive. Among the results: - Only 6 square kilometers of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels could generate as much electricity as Haiti produces today. A few medium-sized wind farms near Lac Azuei to the east of Port-au-Prince would do the same. Gone the dependency on unsustainable fossil fuel imports. - Building an electricity system powered almost exclusively by renewables would decrease the average cost of electricity by about two thirds. The most ambitious scenario we modeled (90% renewable energy supply) shows savings of almost 6 billion US dollars by 2030, compared to business as usual. - To power all of Haiti in the year 2030 with 90% renewable electricity would cost less than USD 7 billion in investment between today and then – an investment far outweighed by its enormous economic benefits, and much cheaper than a system built on fossils. Up to 1,870 new jobs would be created, local air and water pollution reduced, and health and education improved. - Existing barriers to achieving a sustainable energy transition can be overcome using an effective policy framework. Key components include an ambitious, long-term strategy for energy sector development; concrete short-, mid-, and long-term targets; improved institutional capacity and administrative efficiency, including the creation of an independent regulator and a Bureau of Rural Electrification, the de-monopolization of EDH and the opening of the market to other power producers and grid operators; and a mix of well-designed and complementary concrete support policies, including tax or tariff incentives for renewable technologies. Haiti has already demonstrated its commitment to achieving a more diverse, sustainable energy supply. We will continue to support the government and civil society as they move forward. This Roadmap is dedicated to the citizens of Haiti and to all those individuals—including energy practitioners, policymakers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and academics—who volunteered their time and expertise to support this project. Ultimately, it is for the Haitian people and through the Haitian people that the road map becomes a reality. Review of the agricultural sector 2013-2014 As part of the constitutional requirement relating to the filing of the report of activities carried out during the fiscal year 2013-2014 and the principle of accountability, Thomas Jacques, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARDDR) has made available a detailed document of 134 pages on the Ministry's activities during that fiscal year. In his introduction, the Minister Jacques summarizes the main points of its record saying that "the overall objective for this exercise was to ensure that the agricultural sector maintains the pace of growth to 4.5% in order to contribute to the improvement of national food security and to increase revenue of rural workers, prerequisites for the improvement of living conditions and well-being of the Haitian people." To achieve this, the Ministry of Agriculture has benefited for the 2013-2014 period a total budget allocation of nearly 7 billion gourdes (6,921,275,737 Gdes) including operation and investment. The part devoted to investment accounted for just over 6 billion gourdes (Gde 6,142,354,404), representing 89% of the budget allocated to the MARNDR. It was intended to fund 7 programs, declined in 72 projects, including 40 funded solely or in exchange, by the State Treasury funds. The others were financed by external resources.Finally, the Minister has indicated in its balance sheet, it was only possible to engage or spend a little more than 4 billion gourdes (4,076,840,160 Gde), 65% of the budget. Stressing that "This investment has helped strengthen productive infrastructure and to ensure that thousands of producers can undertake agricultural activities during the two main seasons Winter and Spring. Mitigation of major natural hazards and environmental protection have had a central place among the actions that were taken, this in the perspective of sustaining the latter. The impact on unemployment is undoubtedly, in fact, interventions have generated tens of thousands of temporary jobs that allowed people to earn additional income off-farm."In addition, the Minister emphasized the collective nature of the preparation of this report "Under the authority of General Management, a Review Commission was created. The preparations for this balance sheet followed a participatory approach. First, the Commission has developed a set of tools for collecting information. In addition, a workshop brought together the Agricultural Department Directors, Technical Directors at the central level and the Development projects coordinators to validate and enrich the data collected by the Studies and Planning Unit (UEP)." Economy The Federation of Haitian Diaspora in Europe organizes the first meeting of Haitian origin entrepreneurs around a dinner seminar, to be held January 10, 2015 from 5h30 p.m. to 11h00 p.m. at the Hotel Forest Hill of the Porte de la Villette in Paris. This first gathering where more than 100 Haitian professionals and potential investors are expected to share their experiences, identify the real potential for economic development in Haiti and investment opportunities and above all in the perspective of networking Haitian businessmen and European that undertake in Haiti, aims in particular to : Increase the envelope of funds invested in Haiti by the diaspora by the mechanical effect of the increase in the number of entrepreneurs ; Provide more information to Diaspora entrepreneurs on investment opportunities in Haiti ; Identify issues and make recommendations ; Obtain the principle adhesion of participants for the creation of a "Club of Haitian entrepreneurs in Europe". This initiative is part of the finding of the strong revival of the motivation of the Haitian Diaspora to work more concretely to the development of their country of origin. With a delegation of Haitian entrepreneurs from different countries (Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Germany, England, Holland...), of active entrepreneurs in Haiti, iinvestment specialists and of the international economy and resource persons at the institutional level, this dinner-seminar demonstrates the need to act collectively to improve the quality of life and the economic empowerment of Haitians. 4 investment specialists will speak at the dinner-seminar : Martin Fleury, Founder and Director of t consulting firm in economic development RMDA (France) ; Dr Arnousse Beaulière, Doctor of Economics of Sustainable Development (France) ; Ms. Katleen Félix, International consultant, President HHTARG and Interim President HDF (USA) and Bénédique Paul, Doctor innovation economy, Vice rector of Quisqueya University, (Haiti). Humanitarian Haiti - Japan : Grant Agreement for the purchase of 5,000 tons of fertilizer In the framework of the cooperation Haiti-Japan, the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development (MARNDR), received from 30 June to 4 July 2014, a mission of the Japan International Cooperation System (JICS), an agent designated by the Japanese Government to ensure the management of the Supply Management of the donation of 300 million yen (± $2.8 million) for disadvantaged farmers, signed May 7, 2014 with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This mission, composed of Kyota Aoki, project manager and M.Kozu Muneyuki, JICA expert, aimed at preparing the MARNDR, direct manager of the donation, the service contract, the tender offers and the authorization to global disbursement. In this sense, Friday agronomist, Pierre-Guy Lafontant, Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture has signed the minutes of the meetings with the Head of Mission and other documents relating to the donation. These funds will allow the Ministry to purchase 5,000 metric tons of fertilizer for the fertilizer subsidy program, which will be available in Haiti in March 2015. Diplomacy 2 new Ambassadors accredited in Haiti Friday, at the National Palace, President Michel Martelly, received the credentials of two new Ambassadors accredited in Haiti. These are the Ambassador of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Mr. Duong Minh, and that of Pakistan, Mr. Qazi Khalilullah. These new Ambassadors reiterated the commitment of their countries to support the President Martelly in its efforts to improve the living conditions of the Haitian people. For its part, the Head of State reassured them of his willingness to work to strengthen the ties of friendship and cooperation between Haiti and their country. After handing over their credentials, the two new Ambassador respectively, made a floral offering at the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien, in memory of the heroes of the Independence of Haiti. Following this memorial service, a guided tour of the permanent exhibition of the museum was offered to two Ambassadors, so they can discover the history and culture of Haiti.