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.

These Haitian Senators Will Face Deception in Washington, D.C.

Simon D. Desras - President of the Haitian Senate

The members of this congressional committee charged to investigate on President Martelly’s alleged foreign citizenship are expected to travel to Washington, D.C. to get to the bottom of this issue dominating the headlines for weeks -so they say.

They know this trip will not bring to light anything substantial, yet they still want to make it. Let me show you why I say that.

Under the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, it stipulates explicitly that “No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written of, the individual to whom the record pertains…” Of course, there are exceptions to this clause; these exceptions, however, do not cover the action sought to accomplish by these senators.

The possible dual citizenship of President Martelly, a foreign dignitary, does not constitute a threat to the national security of the United States. Therefore, as Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had stated, no US institution, including the US Congress, has jurisdiction over matters internal to the Republic of Haiti.

In light of all this, would it not be fair to ask if these guys are really coming to the US to accomplish what they say they will come to accomplish? In all earnest, I strongly doubt that getting to the bottom of this dual citizenship nonsense is exactly what they are coming here to do.

In my humble opinion, I think they are coming to the US to see their concubines and kids they do not get to see often, not to do anything having to do with the so-called investigation. While they are here, they will also use the moment to go shopping for expensive suits and pieces of jewelry, electronics, automobiles and other stuff they will not find in Haiti.

These guys need to stop taking the Haitian people for a bunch of dummies. Their actions have brought us enough shame already; they need not to add anymore to the load. We have enough of these guys making all of us pass for the ridicule of the world. I hope they can for once exercise their judgment to spare us the shame I can foresee in the horizon.

MAKE SURE PRESIDENT MARTELLY GETS THIS ASAP

President Martelly of Haiti

President Martelly, as I argued in my previous piece entitled THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS ON MOISE JEAN-CHARLES, it does not come to you to prove that you are Haitian and have never renounced your Haitian citizenship; it comes to Moise Jean-Charles to prove otherwise with the evidence he claims having in his possession.

If you hold the passport of another country, however, Mr. President, I am urging you to come out and say it and let me see these guys in the parliament destitute you. The people voted you in office not because you held a Haitian passport or whatever; they did, rather, because of your love and vision for your country. You inspire change; therefore, they want you to lead them towards that.

The ones who preceded you in power, those who did not so-called change their citizenship, I bet them to claim loving Haiti more than you do. They were in power before you, yet I don’t see how their “Haitian citizenship” had helped to make them better presidents than you. You have accomplished more for the country in your nine months in office than Preval has in his ten years.

Mr. President, you will finish your term no matter what. Ti Mari pap monte, Ti Mari pap desann. This is a political coup d’etat in the making, and it will not come through; the people will torpedo and defuse it. I trust and have faith in the good judgment of the Haitian people. So stay strong and resolute. Tet fret!!!

These guys in the parliament who are behind this coup are not acting in isolation. They very well know what this is all about. They will finally learn to respect the people’s will and desiderata.

If you conduct an opinion poll right now to take the pulse of the nation on this issue, you will realize that this Haitian Parliament is extremely unpopular and on the wrong side of it. So as unpopular as this Congress is, it would be unwise to have these guys in there decide the fate of the nation. They do not speak for me and thousands of others. All they ever worry about is their selfish political interests, not those of the nation.

Assuming that you are the holder of another county’s passport or had renounced the Haitian citizenship, in which case you are not in compliance with the dictate of the Constitution, this is not grounds for destitution since this is a special situation. Special situations require special solutions. We are in this special situation today because of what I would call a system glitch. If the Gaillot Dorsainvil PEC was doing its job, we would not be in this special situation today.

Mr. President, we will not go back to the mess we were in, to the status quo or business as usual; we will not go back to the old politics of the past. If they have a problem with you in the presidency with a foreign passport or whatever, let’s take it to the people and have a referendum for them to decide if they want you to stay or leave the presidency. Whatever comes out of the referendum will dictate the way forward. It is that simple. In the meantime, keep doing the good job you have been doing. As I said earlier, “tet fret. Ti Mari pap monte, Ti Mari pap desann.”

AXAN ABELLARD: JUST MY TWO CENTS

Presidential candidate Axan Abellard of KNDA

First, let me thank you, sir, for having left this video interview on my page on Facebook. At least, it gives me an idea as to where you stand on some of the key issues. You make sense in most of the things you said, but you left me a little perplexed for having not said a word with respect to the integration of the Diaspora in the development of the country and the reform of our system of justice. I understand the time allocated for this video interview may have not been a lot, but I think you missed a golden opportunity. How could you not be addressing these issues?

You talked about a program of job creation, and I think that is great. But how can you possibly think of any developmental plan without reaching out to the Diaspora, especially when we contribute over $2 Billion dollars a year to the country’s economy? We in the Diaspora have our own issues too, sir. We are tired of being economic contributors with no representation. We need to have a say in the internal politics of the country and have our own representation in Congress. And for all that to happen, the Haitian citizenship must be granted to us Haitians who happened to acquire the citizenship of our host countries.

In terms of the military, you are speaking my language -the return of the HAITIAN military to replace the MINUSTAH. I think that’s a must. You score some heavy points with that agenda item. To restore confidence in the foreign investors and the Haitian investors living in the DIASPORA, you have got to put the wave of insecurity under control. And so far, the UN troops currently occupying the country are not doing so. That was great to see you speaking in those terms.

You talked about a specialized intelligence agency to fight the corruptive practices in the public administration. I disagree wholeheartedly with you on that, sir. We don’t need another bureaucracy to fight corruption. We just have to enforce the law. By the way, don’t we have a Court Superieure des Comptes? It should be and it is the responsibility of that institution -to audit and investigate fraudulent practices in the public administration. Here in the US, we have an Inspector General (IG) inside almost every institution serving as watchdog to make sure things are being conducted according to the established internal rules, regulations and policies. So you don’t need another bureaucracy. We already have one. Let me tell you what we need. We need CAPITAL PUNISHMENT for these people. We need to be killing them. Once you prosecute and KILL five of them publicly, you will see if things will not be under control in a matter of weeks. I think you are a little too soft on this issue. I am for tough measures to fight corruption, especially in HAITI where it has become a CANCER. Well, again, I cannot blame you for your softness, for you are a politician running for office, meaning you have got to always be politically correct in your statements.

Well, though I disagree with your approach, unlike your rival Wilson Jeudy, at least you have a plan. That man plans on building a prison on the island of La gonave to jail the senators and other high government employees who are found guilty of stealing the people’s money. And the rationale behind that is that if the prison is destroyed and the prisoners are trying to escape, they will have the sharks in the sea waiting for them. That’s his plan to fight corruption. lol lol lol 😀 Excuse me, sir, if you see me laughing out so loud. This is the most ludicrous stuff I have ever heard in my life. lol lol lol lol lol 😀 I am sure you are now laughing too.

On the issue of taxation, I commend you for planning on working with our international friends to modernize our system at the General Bureau of Taxation (DGI) and train the staff there to make them more effective in their efforts to bring tax revenues into the country’s treasury. But I think it should be made a CRIME to not pay taxes in Haiti. Once we have the modernized system in place, we need to come up with laws to criminalize tax evasion. Then again, you cannot enforce something when you don’t have the system to do that. That would be foolish, would it not?

I see that you dodged the question on how to restore the authority of the state. You said: “Il faut moderniser l’etat” as though that is going to restore its authority. Yes, the computerization and modernization of our system is important, but I am not sure if it will restore the authority of the state.

I do agree with you on the necessity to strengthen the municipalities. The mayor in a city is the administrator, the president, the head of that city. If everything someone in the cities needs, it must be handled by somebody in Port-au-Prince, then what is the sense of having the local governments? Just have one central administration in Port-au-Prince and have everyone travel there for everything they want. Wait a minute!! Isn’t it the way it is now? What am I talking about? lol

Overall, it was a great interview. Many things you said I disagree with, but I do agree with you for the most part. Good luck, sir! You have a winning message. Just get out there and market it to see if the buyers will be interested in buying it.

P.S. Here are some issues –education, healthcare and agriculture -you slightly touched on but did not really get into details: 

  1. On the issue of public education, you only stated that 40% of our school age kids are not going to school. I would love to know what your plan is to remedy to this gruesome reality.
  2. Health care is a serious situation in Haiti. You mentioned that many pregnant women in labor in Haiti are being transported on the back of a horse to get to the nearest health care center, which, in many instances, is located tens of miles away. I am wondering what you have in your social agenda to fix this health care disparity issue.
  3. I did not hear you say anything about agriculture, a key component in our economy. Just let me know how important that is in your economic agenda. I hope it is somewhere to be found in your plan to reform our economy.

NINE MONTHS AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: Haitians Are Still Waiting on Santa Claus

Regardless the countless openings made available to us by the peoples that welcome us as guests in their home countries, we in the Diaspora cannot be living in our misperceived comfort zone of Chinese food eating and Kool Aid drinking to think that Haiti can do without us. Somehow, we need to find our political voice and activism to get involved in the political, social and economic debates going on inside the country. We, not the international community, are the savior of Haiti. No one can love and care about the country we call ours more than we do.

After the earthquake of January the 12th which basically put the country on its knees, it is more pressing today than it has ever been to get united around one agenda so we could do for ourselves what we have been desperately waiting for decades on others to do for us. We cannot and will not accomplish anything if we do not put aside all the bickerings and wranglings that are keeping us apart, thus preventing us from coming together as one people to overcome the challenges and solve our problems.  

The unity movement we are propagating needs to have three legs –social, political and economic. We already have the economic upper hand. We have been contributing about 2 billion dollars a year to the country’s economy. This is no small contribution; it cannot and must not be overlooked.

In any country, the economic power is the engine that tilts the political balance in one way or the other. If you do not represent anything economically speaking, do not expect to weigh anything on the political scale. Your economic standing is the drive that determines your political strength to influence the politics of things. Now that we know we have the economic upper hand, how can we capitalize on it?

We need to create and develop liaison organizations and establish partnerships with the political powerhouses on the ground. Politics is all about cutting deals and making compromises to get what you opt for, which in the world of politics we call LOBBYING. This is a world where you do not get anything with nothing.

If we organize ourselves in a systematic way, playing the game of politics on the ground in Haiti to get, for instance, the dual citizenship bill introduced, voted on in both chambers of Congress, and signed into law by the president of the country will be a piece of cake.

That should not be a matter of political struggle, not when we are all Haitians who just happen to be living outside the country. We do not need to be subject to a citizenship test to prove that we are Haitian. Being Haitian is not just a matter of nationality; it is also a matter of heart. Your home is where your heart is. And for most of us, our hearts are in Haiti.  

Way before the earthquake, the country was severely hurting with a brain drain phenomenon –skilled people leaving the country and migrating to foreign lands. The situation has gotten amplified as a result of the disaster. Now very few people with skills are left inside the country, explaining the reason why we are relying on these NGOs to take care of the country’s business. As I’ve said many times, the economic brain (skills/savoir faire) and blood (money) of the country are in the Diaspora, not inside the country. So any politics of isolation of the Diaspora is doing nothing but further alienating the country.

We have enough manpower and expertise in our ranks to rebuild our earthquake-stricken and poverty-stricken nation. Quite frankly, I refuse being entertained with the idea that a foreign country or dignitary has the solution to our problems; I reject any proposal that wants to make believe that the international community is here to rescue the country from the abyss it finds itself today. Believing in such foolishness is to believe in Santa Claus. Nine months after the quake, we are still sitting on our butts allowing ourselves being played by an international community that does not really give a damn about us.

It is time that we open our nostrils and start smelling the coffee. If these guys were going to do for us, they would have done so long ago, especially when some of them were and are still in control of the leadership of the world. In fact, some of them have their prints in the economic and foreign policies that got us where we are in the first place.

It is up to us Haitians to do for ourselves what we want and how we want it done. The rescue of Haiti lies in the hands of the Haitian people. Bill Clinton, however compassionate and sympathetic he may be with respect to the Haitian cause and struggle, cannot do anything for Haiti if we Haitians do not come through to set the tone and tell him what we want and how we want it done.

Finally, we in the Diaspora have this date with history which we need to show up for. We cannot stand her up this time. We need to come together as one to build our nation physically and psychologically like the Jews did to give birth to their independent nation of Israel six decades ago. We –dark-skinned and light-skinned Haitians, peasants and professionals, rich and poor, young and not so young, men and women across all social, religious, economic and political spectrums –need to converge our efforts with our brothers and sisters on the mainland to realize a social and economic 1804. We can make it happen. This is the moment for our generation to write its chapters in Haitian history. We are no different than our forefathers who brought amazement with their heroic spirits to the minds of the skeptics with their political movement that culminated in the independence of our great nation. So let’s not let this date with history bypass us.