Aristide has behind-the-scenes role in Haiti’s new crisis

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His name is not on any ballot paper and he was toppled from power 12 years ago but the shadow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide still looms over Haiti and his supporters are at the center of a new crisis in the impoverished country.

Despite the divisions in his party “Fanmi Lavalas”, or “The Flood”, and his official retirement from politics, Aristide’s influence has quietly grown since he returned from exile in South Africa in 2011.

Three of the four top candidates in the flawed first round of Haiti’s presidential election in October fully or partly draw strength from Aristide’s followers, and his name is uttered with reverence by poor protesters whose violent demonstrations last week forced the run-off vote to be called off.

The moves Aristide and his political heirs make in the next few weeks could determine Haiti’s immediate future more than at any time since the former priest-turned-president was toppled from power in 2004.

“Aristide is the engine of this movement. Without him we cannot live,” said unemployed protester Fredo Dorival standing near smoldering tires and rubble at a march from Port-au-Prince’s St Jean Bosco parish, where Aristide once presided.

Haiti was supposed to choose a replacement for outgoing President Michel Martelly on Sunday but the two-man run-off was postponed indefinitely after opposition candidate Jude Celestin refused to participate over alleged fraud that sparked the protests and violence.

Aristide’s supporters want their candidates put back in the race – a position that puts them in direct conflict with both the government and the international community, and potentially with Celestin, who currently enjoys their backing as the default opposition candidate.

Aristide himself, who was twice elected president and twice ousted in coups, is constitutionally barred from running again.

Since he returned from a seven-year exile in 2011 to a country on its knees from a devastating earthquake, Aristide, 62, has kept a low public profile, officially dedicating his time to a university bearing his name.

‘CAPTAIN TO COACH’

His most recent, rare, appearances were to vote in October and to endorse Maryse Narcisse, a doctor, as Fanmi Lavalas’ presidential candidate. He did not respond to request for an interview for this article.

But he remains involved in his party’s strategy.

“He has played a role as a captain, now we hope he will accept a role as coach,” Narcisse told Reuters, adding that she consults with Aristide regularly and would want him as a senior adviser if she were to become president.

Speaking beneath a campaign poster of Aristide holding her raised hand, Narcisse said her political mentor predicted in October the vote would be “a selection not an election” – a catch phrase that has defined the opposition’s fraud claims and galvanized protesters.

“He respects the Haitian people, and the Haitian people are mobilizing,” Narcisse said. “The mobilization will continue.”

Haiti now has to decide whether the election run-off between Celestin and ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise should go ahead, or be scrapped to again include Narcisse and others.

Martelly is due to leave office on Feb. 7, meaning the country will need some kind of interim administration until a new leader is elected.

Some in Haiti fear that Fanmi Lavalas’ renewed relevance, with or without electoral support, could mean a return to a chaotic period of ideological conflict that characterized Aristide’s time in power.

Even a few days ago, it didn’t look like Aristide’s enemies had much to worry about. Narcisse was a low profile health expert until she emerged as Aristide’s favorite in 2014. His support boosted her popularity, but she still only mustered 7 percent of the vote in October.

While she says that is because of fraud, many Fanmi Lavalas voters opted for either Celestin or former Aristide aide Moise Jean Charles, who came third.

In opposition to Martelly and the October election, the different factions have united, at least for now.

Narcisse insists that the fraud claims be properly investigated and says she should remain a presidential candidate – impossible without scrapping the run-off vote.

Ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise, a businessman and political novice, was favored to win the run-off and has rejected the fraud claims.

The U.S. government has had strained relations with Aristide over the years. A U.S. congressional source said on Tuesday the Obama administration would be worried if he were playing an important role.

“They’re not thrilled with Aristide’s forces coming back,” he said.

Kenneth Merten, the top U.S. official on Haiti and a former ambassador here, says Washington had no preferences about who becomes the Caribbean country’s next president.

Aristide’s last term in office was marred by violence and an economic recession. Street gangs ruled the slums of Port-au-Prince and terrorized large parts of the city with kidnapping and shootings.

But even among Aristide’s many detractors, there is a recognition of his appeal to Haiti’s poor masses.

“Regrettably, he’s the most popular person in the country,” said Patrick Moussignac, director of Haiti’s Radio Caraibes, adding that Aristide behaves like “a mafia boss”

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247 Comments

  1. Zoe si ou bin gade tout opozision an soti nan lespri lavalas min se misye ki anpeche Union an fet pou peyi a ka pran figi li. Tan an rive pou moun sa yo sispann enrichi tet yo pou yo panse a peyi a.

  2. Lè Aristide t prezidan 2001 nèg mateli yo kanpe la nan dèyè l li rele yo pou fè dialòg yo di c pou Aristide ale ebyen konnye a u pa wè gen moun q t nan menm kan ak mateli q kanpe anfas li ebyen c sa q rele bat chien an tann mèt li

  3. Tout moun konnen si Aristide t vle kanpe cas mateli tout bon vre mateli pa t k kenbe paske Aristide di si yon pouvwa élu pa eleksyon c pou konstitisyon an rèspekte apresa yon ti mo c voltije mateli tap voltije wi ayayayyyy

  4. Blanc ap retire tout sevo nou yo poul mete tenten. Pa bliye prezidan franse a pap janm rekonet Dessalines kom yon heros. Lel te vinn Haiti a li se tout nom moun yo nomal sel Dessalines li di Jacques Dessalines. Li pap janm site nonl byen paske li pa rekonet li. E byen sa se yistwa pa renmen moun pa foli renmoun pou sa li merite.
    Blan yo fenn rayi tout sa ki bon pou nou e yo ap fenn renmen malendwen paske nou pa kwe konpetans.
    Mwen pa tolere vole, kidnape epi moun ki pa gen menm yon setifika. Mwen tolere moun ka fem ranpli ak konesans chak jou lel pale de sak bon.

  5. Agenor Sanon parèt tout kòw bann lach met bouquets fleurs sou profil nou ap pale kk nou rayi moun menm pou sèvol nap di aristide pa gen moun sil pat nan peyi sa ti simòn tap banou nèg bannann ki konn koupel la men kay la gen moun ladann kousa pap pase

    • Ki cerveau wap pale la moun ki gen cerveaun janw di a renmen partager konbyen konferans ou tande neg sal ou a bay nan peyi a ki bo ou tande li ap partager konesanw ou pretan’n kel genyen an ak ti pèp li ap pran poz li kel renmen an sel sa li partaje ak pep la c piye volè bruler tiye anyen anko misye pa partaje esprit misye sal menm janw we li led la

  6. bann sanwont bann zonbi depi rejim bout disa moute ayitil mete pep la ajenou se woch win rete poun kenbe nan men nou poun manje epi enbesil yo pajanm we sa nn

  7. Un peu de respect pour nos chefs d’État. Aristide, Martelly tous sont nos victimes. C’est nous qui ne voulons personne. Nous voulons un miracle, un chef qui peut nous faire entrer dans le bonheur dans un tour de magie. Attendez un qui peut le faire, ils viennent bientôt. Nos problèmes seront fini. Bravo, les grand parleur

  8. Mwen renmenl paske li ba ns demokrasi pou ns lib mwen rayil paskel detri peyi a se li ki fe jounen jodi a tout haitien ap soufri et seli anko ki fe ns tout ka pale kaka jan ns vle mwen renmenl mwen pa renmenl

  9. Misye mechan vre wi paske c li menm ki t conseye matelly pou’l pat janm oganize elektyon c li menm ki ede’l lage tout bandi sa yo nan prizon c li menm tou ki fè brant ap site nom pitit li nan kidnapping c li menm ki ede’l ampoizone juj la c li menm ki ede’l kache Evinx daniel c li menm ki montrel joure fanm bouzin en publik ouh enfin pou bagay ki genyen ke Aristide koz matelly fè mwn pa gen bouch pou’m pale, humm Aristide mechan vre banm joure’l “” yon’ n nan pi gro nèg save haiti genyen “” mwen fout joure’l menm

  10. Aristid kadejakè ou fin kraze peyia a volew yo epi wap bay pwblm tjr malfektè sal. Maryse ou a pap menm prezidan bitch’s bò rex yo. Alevwa poul ta prezidan rara. Fuck U tizè pouvwa.

  11. Martelly ancien membre du frap a du sang sur les mains son nom est cité dans le kidnaping de Jacqes Roche il traitent ceux-la mêmes qui le defendent de ti pôv mais ils n’ont pas la dignité necessaire pour réagir son bilan presidentiel catastrophique ‘argent sal dificil à blanchir quant à Aristid son nôm est cité dans la mort de Jn Dominique mais comme pour Martelly aucune preuve Son bilan presidentiel catastrophique et le peuple s’entredechire dans un tourbillon malsain où la notion de compatriote perd de son sens

  12. Je crois qu’on exagère en louange et en calomnie pour ces deux ex-presidents mais certains citroyens tentent de faire passer l’un comme l’ange et l’autre comme le demon cette apprôche est loin de la verité les bilans en temoignent le peuple principal victime sombre dans un fanatisme steril nos propos se limitent à des insultes c’est une preuve de la precarité de l’education une jeunesse incapable de reflexion defendant l’indefendable accusant sans preuve sans assise scientifique mais par l’insulte

  13. Woy anmwey men diab men malfektè ya men kanibal la c li wi ki mete di feu nan sent Jan bosko wi epi yo t di c makout w menm anko anmwey anmwey Jesus vin sove nou an ba volè sa yo c pa moun yo ye non

  14. Mezanmi mwen pa nan polititik men sim ge yon konparezon poum ta fe li mwen konnen nou tout la al lekol pa vre sa se opinion pam mately te met pat bon se vre et se vre sou aristid bagay yo pat cher konsa men o mwen m te gen yon ti kras la pe sou mately aristid se seul president ki fem kriye li manje trop moun se deux moun diferan mezanmi

  15. sou aristid tout moun teka manje te gen kob pou timoun yo al lekol epi tout moun teka gen yon ti kay wi ba pou youn ba pou lot mwen bay sam te we esa map viv kounya ok zanmim yo

  16. Nou Bliye 3 ti moun madam viola robert yo oh non moncher atila pap ka rebon ankor laa mesye oh Aristide se présidant kipi malveyan ke ayiti konnen nan tout ekzistans li wi janw wel Led la konsa ❤ méchan tou

  17. Epi monune sot ki di aristid ap fizye privert poul pran pouvwa kotew t lekol ou pakonn 1er ministre c chef gouvneman li ye ki etud ou fe pase sa pouw bzwen rivalize aristid antanke yon pe yn neg ki pase sou pouvwa 3fwa e ki c yn dokte kounya li pral minis nan boul figiw la, la pksa nou pa pe lap pibon pou nou ke nap voye monte san nou pa fe okenn analiz antouka ke nou kontan ke nou fache sal ye dja li sa net fe efo pou tet pa nou

  18. Boude n’a boude jouk nou PT menmjan ak marthe Elie! Nou pa gen anyen n k fè ankò… Bann tikriye pou pouvwa: c wè n’a wè LAVALAS ap pase! M konnen n egri. Makout, tètkale, frap, atache, zenglendo tout plim tout plimay pap tounen sou moun ankò. Nou c Chen q manje atè q pa di mèsi, n t dwe remèsye PRÉVAL q t bay “sweet mimi” opòtinite vin dechèpiye peyi an, pap gen piyay sa ankò!

  19. Al cheche tjou mesye epi pa mansyone nonm leuw ap pale ok jenjan cheche konn sak vle di dokte wa konn nan kisa ansyen prezidan ki t konn tiye ver nan vant ou an dokte a tande ti egri nou fek kare we

Rutshelle Guillaume

Biography of Rutshelle Guillaume …
Born in Port-au-Prince on July 28, a family of three children, Rutshelle GUILLAUME is the only daughter of her Father. At the age of five, she began to sing at the church of God of Boulard directed by Pastor Louis DESTINVAL. His passion for music takes him to 19 years, in the group “REL”, a musical formation composed for the most part of young musicians of the National School of … Arts (ENARTS). She was able to meet her husband, Walner O. Registre (Doc wor) band leader of the group Rèl, father of her beloved daughter (Ruth-Warly O. Registre). Rutshelle is one of the most listening and charming women’s voices on the air today. Her opus “KITE M KRIYE” is asked and asked again in the shows to which she is invited to produce. This song, according to her, comes out of the particular to reach the social. Rutshelle, Philosopher of formation, joined the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) of the State University of Haiti (U.E.H) in 2008. After completing her studies, she is currently completing her research in order to obtain her degree in philosophy. – Former Professor of Grammar and Philosophy at New Bird College. Rutshelle Guillaume currently works as: Protocol Officer attached to the Kiosk of the Ministry of Haitians Living Abroad (MHAVE) at TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE International Airport. – During a training on vocal techniques organized by James Germain, Emmeline Michel and Stevenson Théodore at the Fokal in 2011, his performance on stage enabled him to surprise Yole DEROSE, in search of young female talents for his project “Haiti Heart of Women “. She chose to be part of her project. While awaiting the release of her album, she presents to the public the opportunity to discover it in her song titled “KITEM KRIYE” which is video-clip. In addition, Rutshelle had already participated on numerous projects with several artists and musical groups, such as: – Roosevelt SAILLANT, known as BIC Tizon dife: “Mesi ti cheri doudou” a song from his latest album entitled “Kreyòl sings Kreyòl Konpran” . Doc Filah: “Trèv pou amoni”, a song from his album “Akrilik sou twal rezon” – Eunide Edouarin dit (Eud) and Aristor Oberson says (Dad Crazy): “Fòk mwen fete”, a song of their album “Limyè wouj” – Jean Bernard Félicien dit (Hurricane) and Valkency Décembre dit (K-lib): “yon lide”, a song from their album “Knock Out” – Barikad crew , konplèks, bafon plafon “, songs from the album” RED “. To name but a few

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Neefah Song
Biography

Prior to launching her musical career, Neefah got her start by auditioning for the Brooklyn High School of the Arts; a specialized arts school where she majored in vocal music. In addition, she took Music Theory for she believes reading and writing music should be a very important factor in any musicians training.

Neefah excelled in the program and later attended the AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts where she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Musical Theater. She also graduated from the Barbizon School of Modeling the same year. Upon both graduations, Neefah began pursuing music full-time.

Stephanie “Neefah” Fontus was born on February 21st in Brooklyn, NY to a Haitian mother and a Haitian and Bahamian father. Her father, a professional bassist didn’t give her much support or encouragement when it came to music and her mother supported his decision because they didn’t want their daughter to make a career in music instead they encouraged her to complete her studies and have a normal and stable life and career. Neefah heeded her parents’ advice however it was in school where she actually found the drive and necessary encouragement that she needed and it came from her music teacher. Through her teaching and mentoring, Neefah finally felt secure enough to pursue her dream in entertainment.

Neefah went on to perform at some very prestigious events and places such as the United Nations, FAME on 42nd Street (Broadway Musical), VH1 Hop Hop Honors where she opened the show, she sang the national anthem at the Yankees’ stadium for the Mets twice to name a few.

With her career looking bright Neefah still felt the need to please her parents and obtain a degree in criminal justice but her heart still remains in music.

Neefah’s musical training and experience may be outside of the Haitian Music Industry’s (HMI) realm, she is no novice to the industry. Neefah’s collaborations include Dola Mizik, Clinton Benoit, Madman JP and Charlot Maitre on lead vocals.

Neefah’s new single entitled “Nobody but you” is officially released and Neefah is currently in the studio adding the finishing touches to her album slated for a Summer release.

__________________________________
Written by Cheyna Pierre

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Yves Joseph

Yves Joseph

Background vocal

A Native of Petion-Ville, Yves Joseph, better known as Fanfan, is one of the original members of the band. Fanfan started with the band in 1968 playing the congas. In the 80’s, he moved to the front as an additional vocalist in support of Shoubou. The two have formed an impressive singing duo for the last 45 years. Fanfan is, undoubtedly, one of the most important and versatile members of Tabou Combo. Apart from being the band background vocalist, he’s also the band’s manager and main songwriter. Fanfan is a graduate (Cum Laude) from City College with a major in International Relations and a minor in Education. In the Summer of 2000, Fanfan became the first Haitian artist to land an endorsement deal with a major U.S. company when he signed with LATIN PERCUSSION (LP). Fanfan said his most positive experience with Tabou Combo was when the hit single NEW YORK CITY was released. ‘It is a good feeling to hear your songs everywhere you go in Europe, in jukeboxes, major radio stations, and Clubs,’ said Fanfan. ‘The attention you get, the pampering and the fame is unbelievable…’

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Yvon Andre

Yvon Andre

Percussions/Vocal

It was in 1968 when then fifteen year old percussionist Yvon Andre, known to all as Kapi, became a member of Tabou Combo. Back then the young musician had to sneak out of his family’s home in Petion-Ville to play with the band due to the fact that his parents were determined not to let their son become a musician. However, his love for music was too strong to be stopped. Kapi said he could have become anything, but he chose to be a musician because he loves music. It is that love that has motivated him to stay with Tabou Combo for so many years. Kapi is not just a mere percussionist; he’s also a pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. Kapi has penned many of Tabou’s hit songs. He has also written most of the band’s Spanish songs including FIESTA and PANAMA QUERIDA. The latter he co-wrote with Fanfan. Kapi said his most memorable moments as a member of Tabou was in 1998 when he traveled to the Ivory Coast to receive a lifetime achievement award on behalf of Tabou Combo, and again when RFO (French radio/television) honored Tabou Combo in Martinique; those, he said, were historical moments.

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Tabou Combo

BIOGRAPHY

“Rhythm is the essence of Tabou Combo,” says Tabou Combo’s co-founder and ex-drummer Herman Nau. The infectious rhythm of Haiti’s national dance music, Konpa (con-pah), has propelled the country’s preeminent dance band around the world. The 12 members of the band have covered many territories since leaving Haiti and relocating to New York City in 1971. By that time, Tabou had already established itself as Haiti’s number one group, and as the “Ambassadors of Konpa.” Tabou Combo now has worldwide fans and followers from London to Paris, Holland, Switzerland, Japan, South America, throughout the Caribbean and in North America.

It is easy to understand why Tabou Combo’s relentless and high-energy style of Compas dance beat knows no language barrier. Singing in English, Spanish, French or their native Creole, Tabou serves a hot mix of grooves and textures with roots from around the world. You will hear a strong dose of the Dominican Republic’s national dance music, meringue. In addition, there is Haiti’s dance-till-you-drop carnival music, rara, the hypnotic drums of Haitian voodoo rituals. Add to that quadrilles and contra-dances from Haiti’s French colonizers and funk from the American soul era to James Brown for good measure. The mixture of all these influences makes for a serious bass line that brings new meaning to the word bottom; layer upon layer of accents courtesy of drums, percussion and congas; the constant intertwining of two guitars with the feel of West African Soukous topped with bright piano riff and the brassy sound of a 3-man horn section.

Tabou Combo got started in 1968 in Petion-Ville, a town just outside Port-au-Prince, by Albert Chancy and Herman Nau and some friends, all in their teens. They began by naming themselves “Los Incognitos” because they were unknown at that time. They changed to Tabou Combo in 1969, in order to bear a name closer to the Haitian culture. That year, the band won first prize in a televised talent contest, gaining a national reputation in Haiti, and by 1970 it was one of the island’s leading bands. Then the Chancy’s parents stepped in, and Albert, the band’s guitarist, and original, leader was sent to college in Montreal and gave up music. The band dissolved and its members drifted to the United States. Early in 1971, however, an unexpected meeting led to a Tabou reunion with rhythm guitarist Jean-Claude Jean as the leader and the band has been together, with a few changes, ever since.

Employing the repetition and breaks of Afro-American gospel music, TABOU COMBO entices the listener to become listener and dancer. Almost four decades after TABOU COMBO’s establishment, the band has audiences dancing everywhere from concert halls to the streets and in nightclubs around the world. Says Fanfan, the band’s background vocalist and main songwriter, “We want people to dance and forget their sorrows.”

There is no doubt, the music is made for dancing, but Tabou also features lyrics that focus on social issues of the day. For example, the lyrics from the title cut of the group’s 1991 release ZAP ZAP deal with uplifting the image of Haitian people in the wake of bad press connected to the AIDS epidemic.

It was 1974 when the band captured Europe’s attention with its million-selling hit single NEW YORK CITY. Tabou steadily has been building its international followers ever since. The 1989 release, AUX ANTILLES (The Antilles), topped European and Caribbean charts for six consecutive weeks. AUX ANTILLES also won Best Album for Haitian Dance Music at the 1991 1st Annual Caribbean Music Awards at New York City’s famed Apollo Theater. Tabou’s release, KITEM FE ZAFEM (Let Me Do My Things), was voted among Beat Magazine’s Best of 1988. In 1989, KITEM FE ZAFEM, along with ZAP ZAP were used by the film director Jonathan Demme in his movie MYSTERY DATE. The song JUICY LUCY was chosen by French movie maker Maurice Pialat for his movie POLICE (1985). In 2002, world known guitarist Carlos Santana recorded the song MABOUYA (Foo Foo) on his album SHAMAN.

After traveling around the world with Tabou, Fanfan says he has found that people everywhere are all the same and they all love music. TABOU COMBO seduces the people with rhythm that does not let go. Konpa’s unrelenting dance beat is contagious and there are plenty of witnesses. Many of the thousands of TABOU COMBO fans around the world eagerly will testify… that is if they can stop dancing long enough to talk!

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Dat7

Biography

Based out of Hollywood, Florida, Dat7 is a Haitian band with a style deeply rooted in the finest tradition of Compas Direct with Zouk and R&B influences. Dat7 came into existence in late 2014 when former bandmates and longtime friends, Ricot Amazan (conga drums), and Eddy Viau (percussionist), join forces and created the band. They were later joined by Vladimir Alexis (drums), and Olivier Duret (vocalist), to complete the ensemble. Dat7 has created quite a stir since releasing their debut album VERDICT in October of 2015. Having been awarded the “Revelation de L’année 2015” award and the Haitian Academy Award in 2017, Dat7 continues to position itself as one of the most notable new bands, especially for their superb live performances.

Je-veux-M’envoler

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