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In Haiti, US to Talk About Elections, Electricity Q UNanswered by IMF

By Matthew Russell Lee

WASHINGTON, March 27 --  On March 26 after reports that the International Monetary Fund is pressuring Haiti to cut or "reform" electricity subsidies, Inner City Press went to the IMF and asked spokesperson William Murray about it. Video here, from Minute 39:23; transcript here and below.

  On March 27, the US State Department announced that

"Counselor Thomas A. Shannon and Special Coordinator for Haiti Thomas C. Adams will travel to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, March 29-31.  They will meet with senior government officials, civil society, and the private sector.

"On March 29, Counselor Shannon and Special Coordinator Adams will travel to Santo Domingo to meet with President Medina, Foreign Minister Navarro, and representatives of the International Organization for Migration and U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.  They will discuss preparations for the Summit of the Americas, regional relations, and bilateral issues of interest and importance.  While in the Dominican Republic, the Counselor and Special Coordinator will also meet with representatives of civil society to discuss issues of migration and worker rights.

"On March 30, Counselor Shannon and Special Coordinator Adams travel to Port-au-Prince to meet with representatives of the Government of Haiti, international organizations, and the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) to discuss preparations for upcoming Haitian elections.  While in Haiti, the Counselor and Special Coordinator will also meet with representatives of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry."

 So, meeting with business groups, the government, MINUSTAH and other "international organizations." What about civil society?

  Here's from the IMF's March 26 transcript:

Inner City Press: This is the kind of question that sometimes doesn’t get -- you can't get it in online. So I wanted to ask it since I'm here.

MR. MURRAY: Yeah, welcome to Washington.

Inner City Press: It has to do with Haiti. There's reporting in Haiti that the IMF may decline to sign an agreement or to proceed with them given the sub -- you know, if they continue to subsidize Electricite d'Haiti. And so, people are obviously very concerned. A lot of people don't have any electricity. Is that -- do you either know or can you get an answer on what the status of that is?

MR. MURRAY: Let me check to see. I don't, you know, this is not something that jumps out at me at the moment but let me see if I have something to offer you on that. We will get back to you and we'll share with everybody here. Hold on a second. Let me see if we have -- I have something on Haiti. I don't believe I have anything that's really current at the moment but let me just see.
Yeah, I don't. I'm going to have get back to you on that. We can talk afterwards and then, we'll share it. It'll go -- as our standard practice, when we receive questions, this is for the audience out there as well, when we receive questions of a nature where I don’t have an immediate answer, we will incorporate the answer -- the question and the answer that we give in the transcript that we publish and we'll make that -- we'll bracket it somehow to make sure it's clear that it was inserted. But you'll see also this conversation in the transcript.

  But when the transcript went online, there was no answer. Yet. Watch this site - and this embedded video, last question:

On March 18 after the UN Security Council held its semi-annual debate on Haiti, with 28 speakers, on March 18, Inner City Press  asked UN envoy Sandra Honore to explain paragraph 11 of her speech, in which she said:

"The radical opposition has continued to criticize the recent political breakthrough and has not desisted from organizing anti-Government demonstrations, calling for the resignation of President Martelly and capitalizing on socio-economic grievances such as the recent general strikes over fuel prices and teachers' salaries."

 Isn't it Haitians' right, to protest? Such protests elsewhere, against other leaders, are lionized. So what had Honore meant?

 She insisted it wasn't pejorative. Video here.  Inner City Press also asked about the spike in cholera cases, and to comment on if the UN denying and evading responsibility for bringing the disease harmed the UN's "legitimacy and moral standing."

 Honore cited a particular water source, and said cholera in Haiti has not impaired the UN's work around the world. Really? Video here.

 Honore's speech did not mention the UN mission MINUSTAH shooting at demonstrators. On March 17, Inner City Press asked the UN:

Inner City Press: on what you said about the reports becoming public, one suddenly came back to mind is the report from MINUSTAH on the shooting of demonstrators.  I know it's been said a number of times it was being finalized.  It happened in December and it's now March.  Is that released?  When is that report going to be released?

Deputy Spokesman Haq:  We'll let you know once it can be… once it has been finalized for release.  But, at this stage, I believe what Stéphane has already said about this remains the case, that the person involved in this was suspended from duty.

 Honore on March 18 said MINUSTAH's report is finished and is "with" DPKO. We'll have more on this.


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