Calling On Former High-Ranking Haitian Military Officers

Members of the demobilized Haitian military

I understand that these demobilized military guys want the return of the Haitian military. I do not think anyone with the Haitian blood flowing through their veins could ever reject or oppose to that. The return of a professional Haitian military is paramount to the country’s national security and prestige.

The argument is not whether the return of the Haitian military is feasible or not as it is recognized in the Constitution of the land; it is, rather, how should we proceed and what should be its mission and purpose.

I have heard many making the argument that we do not need to return with the Haitian military. I must ask these people this simple question: If you say we do not need our own military, what do we still need MINUSTAH troops in the country for? They are not there working for free; they get paid for what they do. Would it not make sense to replace these foreign troops occupying our land with our own folks -who know our culture, speak our language and are from us? I doubt anyone would disagree with that.

So until someone can show me how it is not going to be in the country’s best interest to reactivate or reinstate the Haitian military, I am standing strong and resolute for the return of the Haitian military as stipulated in the 1987 Constitution.

The way these so-called former members of the armed forces are proceeding to make their voices heard, however, is not going to help their cause. Rather, it will turn off people with the pen power to satisfy their concerns.

In terms of public relations, they are doing their movement a disservice. They are not being properly represented and portrayed in the press nationally and internationally. When I and most people look at them, to be honest with you, it is disheartening, appalling and disgusting. We look at them as a group of armed thugs in the heart of some jungle receiving military training for the sole purpose of terrorizing their own population of civilians -raping, killing, kidnapping, destroying, stealing, etc… Not a good image to project and promote when you want people to listen to you.

So I am calling on former military officers in the caliber of General Herard Abraham to come to the rescue of these so-called prior service military personnel. They will constitute a sort of a leadership council to represent these guys and push to the forefront their revendications. In other words, this body will play the role of a lobbying team to talk on behalf of these guys -whom no one in the international arena will ever sit down to talk to.

It is imperative that certain well respected former high-ranking military officers come forward to form this lobbying body to represent these guys. We all know that nature abhors a vacuum. So if nothing is being done urgently to structure and galvanize this movement and give it an allure of serious, I guarantee you someone from their ranks will emerge and proclaim himself or herself the leader of this movement. And when that happens, it will be very hard to ask this self-proclaimed leader to step aside and allow someone with the leadership skills, education and knowledge to lead the movement. Meanwhile, they have weapons in their hands; no one can foresee what may happen. It is very dangerous to allow someone with demands that cannot be met to have a weapon in his hand and become bitterly frustrated. You can expect the unexpected to occur. So we do not need to let things get to this point of no return, especially when we could do something to prevent that.

The Trayvon Martin Case: Newt Gingrich Did It Again

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich

NEWT GINGRICH, the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, is on the wrong side of the debate that surrounds the killing of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Black high school student from Sanford, Florida. In a statement made over the weekend, he literally went after President Obama for saying “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

“What the President said, in a sense, is disgraceful. It’s not a question of who that young man looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe. Period,” Gingrich said. “We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic background. Is the President suggesting that if it had been a white who had been shot that would be okay because it wouldn’t look like him? That’s just nonsense.”

Basically, what the former Speaker is implying is that Obama is trying to interject race in this issue. If this is not about race, what is it about, really? His argument is that it does not matter the color of the skin, killing any human being -White, Black, Yellow -is wrong; we all should be safe regardless our ethnicity. I do agree with him in that no one should be killed like Trayvon regadless the color of the skin. However, that’s ideal, not what the reality entails.

Trayvon was unarmed and did not constitute a threat to Zimmerman -who still felt threatened, followed the boy (in spite of a direct order from the dispatcher at the police station to stop following him), and shot him dead on grounds of self-defense. Self-defense? Are you serious?

If this case goes to court, I do not think the “stand your ground” law will sustain as a convincing defense as Trayvon was unarmed and did not do anything that could be considered a threat to Zimmerman, per the police report. The only thing that seemed to be a threat to Zimmerman, I would say, was Trayvon’s skin complexion, nothing more and nothing less. In fact, Trayvon was not following Zimmerman with a weapon; it was the other way around. So how could it be acting on self-defense? Defending the self against whom and from what -from the bag of skittles and the iced tea that Trayvon had in his hands?

The president is right on target in his statement, though guys like Speaker Gingrich are trying to blame him for saying it. Yes, indeed, Obama is the president of the United States. But let his daughters walk outside right now, they would be Black girls, and that alone would be grounds for them to be shot dead, raped or lynched.

What we ought to be asking ourselves in this whole saga is this: What if it was the other way around, what would have happened? What if it was Trayvon who shot and killed Zimmerman -given the circumstances we all know -would he be allowed to walk away free with his weapon in his hand as if nothing happened? I strongly doubt it. There would be an arrest, and he would be fighting tooth and nail to use the “stand your ground” law in his defense in court.

Newt Gingrich -a Southern White male -will never understand the daily dire reality of living Black in America. I understand he is so desperate right now trying to make a comeback in the GOP presidential primary as things do not look good for him at all, but that does not mean he has to lose his dignity and say these irresponsible and reckless things. He is known for making these types of remarks. He is someone who wants to fire school janitors and hire their kids to replace them. So you can have an idea who this man really is. President Obama pretty much knows what he is talking about because he is a Black man; he can relate to Trayvon. There is no playing politics in this. And Newt Gingrich must be ashamed of himself.

Deactivated Military: Martelly Must Be Careful

The Martelly administration needs to be very careful in the way it plans to deal with the armed deactivated military personnel illegally occupying the installations of the old Haitian military disbanded by former President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 1995.

This issue is like a ticking bomb, which, if not addressed properly, meaning if not addressed with tact and finesse, will go off and cause serious and irredeemable political drawbacks.

These guys are acting like a bunch of armed thugs with no sense of military discipline and respect for their Commander-in-chief. If they are really what they claim to be -disbanded military personnel -the fact that they could disobey the orders of the president to put down their weapons and evacuate the military bases, they technically enter in rebellion. For that, they should be dealt with by any means necessary, regardless if that means utilization of the use of force. That would be ideal, but for the sake of politics, it would not be the best course of action.

The orders issued by the Ministry of Justice and Public Security calling on the national police and MINUSTAH to go after these guys to disarm and force them to empty the sites they occupy will be like the spike needed to explode the bomb.

Using force in this situation is not warranted as it is not going to politically play in President Martelly’s best interest. It will quickly escalate into a political quagmire to be exploited by the president’s political opponents. In other words, bringing MINUSTAH in this affair will be politically disastrous for President Martelly as his political opponents will quickly jump on the bandwagon and start beating their drums of nationalism politics.

My advice to President Martelly is to create a multidimensional/multisectorial commission to sit down with these guys to come up with an agreement on a timetable to satisfy their claims, have them put down their weapons and evacuate the premises.

That is the most politically sensed approach to defuse this bomb and avoid a bloodbath in the country, which could politically weaken the president. I hope I do make sense and somebody with the power to influence the decision-making apparatus in Port-au-Prince could listen.

Citizenship: Martelly and Obama -Two Distinct Cases

Let me take a minute to address these people trying to make the silly and ridiculous comparison between the citizenship case of President Obama and that of President Martelly.

Some argue that like Obama did show his birth certificate when Donald Trump and others were raising doubts about his American citizenship, Martelly should give his passport to the Senate commission charged to investigate on the allegation of Senator Moise Jean Charles holding charges that Martelly is not Haitian so the country could move on.

Let me make it clear to these folks that those are two different cases in reality and political conjuncture. They are different in that, unlike the Martelly case, the allegation held against Obama did not come from a member of one of the country’s institutions; it came from a citizenship. That’s why even certain members of Congress in Trump’s party, the Republican Party, were calling him out on this.

In the Martelly case, however, you have a state senator making the allegation that Martelly is not Haitian. Now a Senate commission, from one of the country’s institutions I must add, is investigating the case. What makes this case appalling is not the fact that the citizenship of President Martelly is being questioned, but rather who is questioning it. This is not a simple citizen like Donald Trump questioning the president’s citizenship; it is a state senator.

In any country around the globe, a senator holds certain power and authority a normal and ordinary citizen does not. He or she can access any information in any institution at any given time to come to the bottom of anything he or she has doubts on.

So in light of that, before Moise Jean Charles, a senator I must add, came out to make such a serious allegation against President Martelly, he should have taken his time to collect all the pertinent information to build his case and corroborate his stance. He only submitted two bogus passport numbers, one of which, the American passport number, per Ambassador Merten, has absolutely nothing to do with the president. That alone should have been grounds for rejection of the case for insufficiency of evidence. No, they still want to play politics with this baseless and unfounded issue while millions are unemployed and living in abject poverty.

Now that they realize they are making a fool of themselves because the pieces of evidence they so-called had to substantiate the case against President Martelly have been refuted, they are pressing the president to come out with his passport to rescue them from the embarrassment. Why should he? I say let them destroy themselves. As Napoleon Bonaparte eloquently stated, “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.” So he must NOT submit his passport; it will stay in his pocket as he stated.

In the President Obama case, he did release his birth certificate because he was facing reelection pressures. That was the only way for him to put the nonsense behind him. Had he not done so, the issue would have not been put to rest, which could have caused him his reelection. So for the sake of politics, he was obliged to relinquish this very personal information. He did it for politics, not because he wanted to be a good-hearted and patriotic citizen.

It is imperative that we do not get these two cases mixed up. They are diametrically different, though they may have some points of similitude. Donald Trump is a simple citizen; Moise Jean Charles is a senator. The Tea Party backing Trump on his charge is a political entity within the Republican Party; the commission charged to investigate on President Martelly’s foreign nationality is an entity from within the country’s Senate, an institution of the state.

The fact that these guys in the Senate, after about three months of futile investigation, have yet to come forth with a conclusion of their investigation has proven their incapacity and the weakness of our institutions. If this case was investigated in the United States, I do not think they would have relied on President Obama’s goodwill to submit his travel papers to conclude whether or not he is a US citizen. No wonder the world is laughing at us as though we are a bunch of cave people living in this 21st century.