On Wednesday, December 12 the United Nations’ special representative for its operations in Haiti, Helen La Lime, gave a presentation to members of the Security Council on the current status of the mission (MINUJUSTH) which is set to expire on October 15, 2019. Lime suggested that the mission had achieved a lot, but that challenges remain, especially in light of the current protests and calls for President Jovenel Moïse to step down.
The Quixote Center supports smallholder farmers in Haiti to build sustainable livelihoods. The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center located in Grepin, Haiti, just outside of the city of Gros Morne, is our primary partner.
The Jean Marie Vincent Formation Center houses a tree nursery, a garden and multiple classrooms. These resources help farmers increase the yields of their farms, find new markets for their products, and gain access to the seeds and technology they need to succeed. The agronomy team from the JMV Center travel throughout the Arrondissement of Gros Morne to deliver workshops organized with a network of small farm associations, the Catholic Church’s Caritas network, and schools.
Haiti Reborn was initially launched in 1991 during a period of renewal in Haiti, following the election of Aristide and the rise of Lavalas, a popular movement for democratic reform. The coup that ousted Aristide later that year led us to focus our efforts on speaking out against United States intervention in Haiti. Today we are still monitoring the impacts of US policy and advocating for change.
Earthquake News, Disaster Relief
The northern departments of Haiti were struck by a powerful earthquake on October 6. The quake was centered in Port-de-Paix, but also severely affected Gros Morne, where several schools and the pediatric ward of the hospital were damaged or destroyed, as well as many homes. Thanks to many of you, we were able to deliver $3,000 to Haiti last week to help with the purchase of emergency supplies to assist people in need of shelter.
Haiti was struck with a powerful earthquake Saturday, October 6. The quake was centered near Port-de-Paix. Thus far, reports are that 17 people died, and over 300 were seriously injured. Outside of Port-de-Paix, the city that suffered the most damage is Gros Morne.
Reports from Gros Morne are that 7 people are confirmed dead. Dozens of people have been treated for broken limbs, with many being sent to hospitals in Gonaives or St. Marc for further treatment.
On July 14, 2018 Haiti’s prime minister, Jack Guy Lafontant, resigned following widespread demonstrations sparked by fuel prices increases. Lafontant was blamed for the poor execution of the plan's roll-out - particularly by the business community, which criticized Lafontant for lack of preparation regarding security. Seven people died in the demonstrations. The fuel price increases were suspended - but the pressure behind those increases remain.
Dolly Pomerleau was one of the pioneers who founded the Quixote Center in 1975. She and Bill Callahan launched this justice work with a strong commitment to social justice in both civil society and within the Catholic Church. In both arenas, that justice included changing structures to establish the equality of women and men. Dolly was utterly committed to that and all the other projects and ideals to which the Center committed itself over the years.
On Saturday, Haiti’s Prime Minister, Jack Guy Lafontant, resigned to avoid a formal vote of no-confidence. His resignation followed a week of conflict over proposed increases in fuel prices that had led to widespread protests. The price increases, cancelled following a day of protest in which three people were killed, would have been the direct result of the government removing subsidies for gasoline, diesel and kerosine.
Part IV of the Inspirational and Influential Women of the World Blog Series
Last week, I visited Haiti for the first time. Since Haiti Reborn, the Quixote Center’s program is related largely to reforestation and agroecology, I knew I would hear about and visit trees and gardens. What I knew best was that there would be a thriving forest, where once there had been barren land – and I hiked up the mountain that houses that verdant space on the third day of my visit.
In the fall of 2014 we had two important conferences which spearheaded activities for 2015. Both followed the same participatory model. First was the goat summit: on the first day we had 12-15 staff and leaders who planned out four stations covering goat food, goat parks, goat wellness, and milking goats. On the next two days about 40 people participated and rotated among the four stations and drew up action plans.