FORMER U.S. SENATOR CHRIS DODD APPOINTED SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR THE AMERICAS- WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR HAITI?
BY: Emmanuel Roy
TrueNewsBlog – Senator Christopher Dodd, who was recently working as a lobbyist and special counsel for the lobbying firm of Arnold and Porter in Washington, DC, was appointed this week by President Joe Biden as Special Presidential Advisor for the Americas. Included in his portfolio is the troubled country of Haiti.
What does Dodd’s appointment mean for Haiti? Will we see a new policy toward Haiti? What should the Haitian Diaspora and the people of Haiti expect from Senator Dodd?
Dodd’s appointment is welcomed news for many in the Haitian Diaspora, including the Haitian Diaspora Political Action Committee (HDPAC) who had been pushing the White House to appoint a special advisor for some time.
HDPAC and its senior advisor Retired Lt. General Russell Honoré have been lobbying the White House and the state department for a change in policy vis-a-vis Haiti. The hard work seems to be paying off. With the appointment of Christopher Dodd as special presidential advisor for the Americas, many in HDPAC believe that a new policy designed to address the multi-faceted issues facing Haiti will soon be promulgated and enforced.
Since the brutal assassination of President Jovenel Moise, Ariel Henry, with the support of The CORE Group (USA, France and Canada) took over as Prime Minister and acting president. At first, the United States demanded that Henry organize elections within six months. But when thousands of Haitian migrants rushed the Southern border between Texas and Mexico, the United States made a deal with Henry – accept the return to Haiti of the Haitian migrants, and the U.S. will ease its demand for elections.
Henry has been in power for nearly two years. He has not organized elections. He has been unable to secure the country against criminal gangs terrorizing the population. Less than a month ago, a well-known political leader Eric Jean Baptiste was brutally murdered by criminal gangs reportedly controlled by Ariel Henry. And, just this week, Dr. Jean Palerme Mathurin a well known political activist, who is organizing a national summit in Haiti, was accosted and barely escaped kidnapping by four heavily armed men outside his home in La Boule 12.
The international community has been calling for a Haitian solution by the Haitian people. Still, the truth is that for any solution to be implemented in Haiti, the United States must play a leading role in it.
The people of Haiti deserve better, and Christopher Dodd can make a difference. First, between December 3 and 7, Potomitan, a grassroots organization in Haiti, and HDPAC are organizing a national summit in Haiti. This summit results from months of consultation and discussion with leaders of 148 communal sections in Haiti, with diverse sectors being represented. Unlike the Montana and other Accords, the summit envisaged the participation of all sectors of Haiti, not just political leaders in Port-Au-Prince.
The goal of the “Assise” or summit is for the Haitian people to formulate and agree on a solution that would lead to fair and democratic elections. But more importantly, the summit will not focus on the removal of Ariel Henry. Rather the summit is designed to set the agenda and the government that would implement it to move Haiti forward.
Senator Dodd can help the Haitian people by sending an observer to the summit and committing to the implementation of the delegates’ decision. But, equally, the U.S. should encourage the French and the Canadians to do likewise. Such endorsement would allow Haiti to come out of this morass.
During the summit of the Americas in California, President Biden announced some key initiatives spanning economic cooperation, migration, health, human rights, food security, and other priorities. Haiti, more than any other country in the Americas, needs the support of the United States as a fair arbiter. Senator Dodd understands Haiti’s intricacies and political dynamics, and the Haitian Diaspora has faith in his ability and willingness to support the effort of the Haitian people to arrive at a sustainable solution.