Ron Daniels and the Haiti Support Project
is at it again!
March 11, 2005
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Ron Daniels and the Haiti Support Project is at it again!

by Marguerite Laurent

Last August, political activist Ron Daniels, who heads the New York-based Haiti Support Project, scandalized pro-democracy activists by organizing a cruise to commemorate the Haitian bicentennial with leaders of the U.S.-backed opposition front who had just helped overthrow Haiti' s democratically elected government.

Today, Daniels is again working with pro-coup forces and presenting them as "honest brokers, mediators and facilitators, people who are not tied to or committed to any political party, organization or personality within the broad array of progressive forces in the popular movement for democracy in Haiti."

Daniels is convening a host of coup d'état participants, sympathizers and supporters for a March 17 and 18th symposium at the Rayburn Office Building in Washington, DC to supposedly "facilitate a serious and substantive assessment and dialogue about the state of affairs in Haiti with the objective of creating or contributing to momentum towards positive, workable solutions to Haiti's social, economic and political crises."

But Daniels' list of invitees reads like a who's-who of the very coup elite which torpedoed Haiti's democracy on February 29, 2004. They include: Frandley Julien, who led the "Group of 184" opposition front in Cap HaVtien and was the public face in Haiti for Daniel's "Cruising into History" junket last year; Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, a leader of the opposition-aligned Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP), who supported and collaborated with armed "rebels" like death-squad leader Jodel Chamblain when they rolled into Hinche in early February 2004, murdering two policemen; Jocelyn "Johnny" McCalla, whose U.S.-State Department-supported National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) has been lambasted for justifying the illegal imprisonment of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert, as well as Deputy Amanus Mayette; Jim Morrell of the Washington-based Haiti Democracy Project, which was the coup's think-tank and propaganda clearinghouse; Lionel Delatour of the Center for Free Enterprise and Democracy (CLED), a U.S. State Department-supported businessmen's group which has fought Haiti's democratic forces for almost two decades; Gabriel Marcella from the U.S. Army War College, who recently advocated in U.S. newspapers that Haiti become an international "protectorate" run by Washington and its allies; Alix Baptiste, the illegal, coup-installed Minister for Haitians Living Abroad; and a gaggle of other U.S. government officials and quasi-officials from agencies like USAID and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

We should also note that no less than three representatives of Frandley Denis' National Civic Movement are set to attend.

Is it conceivable that Ron Daniels, who postures as a progressive, can be inviting this patently anti-democratic crowd to discuss "workable solutions" at this hellish juncture in Haiti's most recent coup d'état? It makes about as much sense as 9-11 survivors inviting Osama Bin Laden to the Rayburn Building in Washington to sit with Congressional members and discuss the future of the United States. It is like asking the Ku Klux Klan to come discuss the future civil rights and development of African-Americans in the U.S. after the murders of Emmett Till, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., or the Mississippi civil rights workers.

The Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) has walked in the past year, since the U.S.-backed and implemented coup d'état, hand-in-hand with the poor disenfranchised masses of Haiti, with the majority who disagrees with the coup and denounces illegal Prime Minister Gérard Latortue's murderous death squads. Our collaborators have walked with the people of Belair, Cité Soleil, Cité de Dieu, Fort National, Milot, Cap HaVtien, and those throughout the provinces outside of Port-au-Prince who face the coup d'etat's military forces and this U.S.-backed and illegitimate Latortue regime. We support the women who have been raped, the street children shot while they sleep, the political prisoners, the families forced into exile, and the refugees who cannot find asylum or Temporary Protected Status.

We know who has unequivocally denounced the coup d'état, fought for the principles and process of democracy, and been on the firing line in this merciless attack against Haitian self-determination and sovereignty. We have stood with the Black Caucus, the African Union, Caricom and the people's leaders on the populous streets of Haiti. We bear witness and can credibly point to many who joined the Haitian majority in their long walk to freedom as a new chapter began on Feb. 29, 2004. In that walk, we have not run into the organizers of "Cruising into History." Au contraire. They were one of our adversaries.

In the ranks of those fighting for Haiti's dignity and respect for the one-person-one-vote principle, we certainly did not meet the pro-coup representatives who make up almost 80% of the symposium invitees and whom Ron Daniels calls "honest brokers" ready to discuss the future of democracy and development in Haiti.

How is it possible that those who participated in the destabilization and ouster of the constitutional government such as Jim Morrell, Frandley Denis Julien, and Chavannes Jean-Baptiste can now have ANY credibility to sit down and dialogue about a democratic future for Haiti? And what about the people denouncing the coup? Why is Ron Daniels not getting confirmation of attendance to his shindig from the champions of democracy, from organizations who have sent delegations to Haiti in 2004 to report on the human rights situation, organizations such as EPICA, Pax Christi, Miami Law Center, Haiti Accompaniment Project, Amnesty International, National Lawyers Guild, the Haiti Commission of Inquiry, the International Labor/Religious/Community (ILRC) and the Haiti Action Committee.

Are these pro-democracy activists not "honest brokers"? If they were invited, why have they decided to not attend? Why are organizations such as Haiti Action Committee, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, International Action Center, Fondasyon Trant Septanm, Veye Yo, New England Organization for Human Rights in Haiti, Haiti Support Network (HSN), Committee for the Defense of Political Prisoners in Haiti, the Resistance Movement of the Popular Bases (MRBP), the Communication Commission for Fanmi Lavalas, Vwa ZansPt, AUMOHD Dwa Moun, Haiti Information Project, Haitkaah Social Justice Project, Ottawa Haiti Solidarity Committee (OHSC) and so many other pro-democracy forces not "honest brokers, facilitators and mediators" but Haiti Democracy Project, Chavannes Jean-Baptiste, Frandley Denis Julien, and Ron Daniels are? Why are so many pro-democracy groups not participating in this symposium?

Is this a repeat of the symposium that was held on Dec. 10 and 11th in Canada where the Canadian government invited "leaders in the Haitian community abroad" who were simply coup-d'état leaders while pro-democracy groups with credibility among the grassroots movement for democracy in Haiti were not invited or welcomed at this meeting? Is Ron Daniels taking a leaf out of Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew' s book and now plotting to legitimize this idea of "protectorate" with the Chalabis in the United States?

Where are the Haitian diaspora's representatives who have fought for Haitian rights, who never called for the coup d'etat and denounced it after it had taken place? On Daniel's list, why are there so few undisputed supporters and delegates from Fanmi Lavalas, Haiti's most powerful political party, who are in New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Canada, and France?

Even if pro-democracy forces were to sit down with pro-coup people (which pro-coup forces always refused to do before they took power), at least the symposium's participants should accurately represent Haiti's democratic reality. Without question, the vast majority of Haitians oppose the coup while only a tiny minority supports it. The symposium at present has these proportions reversed and is unbalanced in its representation of the views of the Haitian majority. It's tantamount to attempting a coup d'état in the U.S. Haitian diaspora to give legitimacy to positions that hold no water with the Haitian masses.

I would say, based on the e-mail below and the compiled list of those qualified to "discuss Haiti's future," that Ron Daniels is as clueless today as he was last year when he tried, with Frandley Julien as his spokesperson in Haiti, to bamboozle the African-American intelligentsia, scholars, activists and well-meaning celebrities, such as Danny Glover and other unsuspecting Black Americans, to join him in supporting and collaborating with the "Group of 184" and the Latortue death regime in Haiti in the name of celebrating our ancestors' bicentennial.

Despite Ron Daniel's high-placed friends, the August 2004 "Cruising into History" project failed because it collaborated with putschists. Daniels didn't succeed then and is plainly looking to humiliate himself once again.

Larouze fP banda tout tan soley pa leve. Nou pap bay legen! Grenadye alaso!

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