Circling the Wagons – Petro / La Saline

      Republican members of Congress in the House and the senate are digging their heels while collectively burying their heads in the sand when it comes to their reactions to the latest information about President Donald Trump.  Do we need to rationalize about the why they are lining up like the proverbial herd of cattle blindly following the leader in the plunge.  The Republican Party is banking that by shamelessly playing the agenda of the promoters of a return to white supremacy who are batting for Trump and his racist metaphors they can secure their position.  The party is embarking on a dangerous path where they believe the rest of America that does not benefit from the Make White America Great Again will stand by idly out of fear or ignorance.  There is enough information available to seriously question President Trump’s victory in the last presidential election because of Russian interference, hacking and misrepresentation of Democratic strategic material in cyberspace, the Facebook debacle and the utilization of the Justice Department and the FBI not to prosecute an alleged violation but to influence voters during the campaign.  When you add all these facts you get the picture of a campaign for Trump that relied on tricks, deception and collusion with the enemy.  What’s in it for the Russians ?  

      Have we stopped and asked ourselves why the Russians decided to help Trump and the Republicans as opposed to remaining uninvolved observers; which is the appropriate and traditional attitude foreign powers usually adopt during elections.  Of course foreign governments have always used the services of lobbyists to contribute money and cozy up to U.S. elected officials.  At one point the Saudi Arabian regime had a plethora of consultants and lobbyists running around in Washington, D.C. and Houston, Texas to sell their oil, buy military hardware and contribute to campaigns of their choice.  Many Despots from Africa, Haiti and parts of South America have always retained powerful law firms to enhance their relationships to the corridors of power in the U.S.  This has always been accepted in American politics and these influence operatives are registered while their work is usually within the law.  But what the Russians have done and continue doing is to become decisive players with great importance beyond what is acceptable in our electoral process.  Hackers are working overtime polluting our cyberspace and infecting servers associated with the electoral process; shady characters are spending money setting up bogus associations and they are using any means possible often illegally.  Republicans must be aware of this, yet they choose to circle the wagons and continue on that dangerous path that can only lead to the destruction of their party which will become increasingly vulnerable to blackmail and all the shenanigans associated with Russian criminals. Make no mistake about this, many of the operatives working for he Russians are criminals who excel in money laundering and international schemes.  Once you get in bed with those guys it’s impossible to stop and they eventually lead you to destruction and moral turpitude.  But Republican members of Congress are choosing to circle the wagons around Trump and deny the mounting evidence showing that the Trump campaign was in direct contact and worked hand in hand with Russia to win the election.  Once again we have to ask what’s in it for them ?

      In Haiti we are faced with a similar situation where a recent report from the RNDDH, the National Network for the Defense of Human Rights in Haiti talks about the massacre of nearly one hundred people in the slum of La Saline, a poor neighborhood at the northern entrance to Port-au-Prince.  According to the RNDDH gangs of criminals armed and protected by members of the government and the majority political party PHTK carried out a campaign of murder, rape, burning and looting in La Saline between November 13 and 14.  There was a visit by the wife of the President who met with some gang leaders posing as activists in the neighborhood prior to the attack and weapons with ammunition were distributed by a government official. After the massacre, bodies were left on piles of garbage to rot and be eaten by pigs while the perpetrators retired to their turf with no fear of retribution or prosecution.  So far the police and the prosecutors from justice have been uninvolved perhaps because the victims are poor people who do not count as persons of interest.  Both the president, Jovenel Moise and the Prime Minister, Jean H. Ceant have uttered platitudes and the promise of a serious investigation while time has passed and nothing is being done by the police save for a vague mention of experts assigned to the matter.  There is no evidence that the police or the prosecutor’s office is actively talking to people who live in the area.  Activists and survivors have spoken on radio about their experience.  It seems that certain militants were targeted to stop demonstrations and stop the population from taking to the street to demand change and answers for the Petro corruption.  Attorney Andre Michel who is a fierce opponent of Jovenel Moise and his regime said on Radio Caraibes that it is a shame the murder of so many people is being marginalized and treated as a passing occurrence.  One of the biggest massacre in the Caribbeans this year is treated as a common event not worthy of great media attention.  The people that died and their relatives are ignored, marginalized and their ordeal is being swept under the proverbial rug.

      As this murder is being ignored, on the Petro front a group of people who stole the funds during Martelly’s reign have been indicted by the Haitian prosecutor’s office.  Of course no one has been arrested save for two minor officials.  The bulk of the money is still hidden away waiting for the washing machine while the folks who are accused are abroad or hiding in the country, most prominent among them Wilson Laleau and Ronald Nelson.  The noose is so slowly getting closer to Martelly and his family but it is a slow process that is not being helped by international agencies that should be participating in the procedure to recover stolen money.  This is something that should have us wonder why the international agencies are not contributing to prosecuting this crime which through money laundering has become transnational in scope.  Who are the financial wizards laundering all this money and how can they continue working in relative anonymity with no fear of prosecution ?  These are questions that are at the center of the Petro Challenge.

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