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Panama Papers and the Haitian Connection

Panama Papers and the Haitian Connection

We have learned that there is an involvement of some Haitians in the Panama Papers leaks.

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of world's fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca, specializing in the creation of offshore companies. The leak has also revealed how the rich and powerful people, sometime hide their assets. Some documents found in Panama leak, suggest how politically connected Haitian officials tried to make profits from fuel shortage in Haiti out of a 2014 oil deal valuing $30 million between Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. Some of the Haitian characters involved in the scandal are, Georges Andy René, who served as head of the Centre de Facilitation des Investissements (from August 2012 to February 2014), an ex-bank executive, and Ralph Pereira, a close friend of former President Michel Martelly. Georges Andes Rene, as the head of Haiti's State-run investment agency, and advisor to then Prime Minister Lamothe, set up shell companies - through Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca to benefit from the deal. In last month, Senator Ronald Lareche said, a special commission would be created to investigate the spending and contracts under former President Michel Martelly's 2011-2016 administration.

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Mole St. Nicholas as potential US naval base for Canal of Panama

Mole St. Nicholas as potential US naval base for Canal of Panama

Here is a picture of Môle St. Nicholas in Haiti as a strategic location as potential US naval base to protect Canal of Panama.

Ex-President Florvil Hyppolite, eager to have the might of the United States behind him during a trying period, began to have negotiations with Admiral Bancroft Gherardi, a negotiator appointed to represent US President, Benjamin Harrison, to talk about the US's acquisition of Môle St. Nicholas as a US naval base for the Panama Canal. At that period, the elevated limestone peninsula was thought to be impregnable, and the US, seeking a Caribbean site for their base, was eager to acquire the 5.5km piece of land. The deal fell through, however, as the sale would have been against the Haitian Constitution.

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President Louis Mondestin Florvil Hyppolite and his Panama Hat

President Louis Mondestin Florvil Hyppolite and his Panama Hat

There is a Haitian folk song dated back to President Louis Mondéstin Florvil Hyppolite and we are still singing it. The famous story of his Panama Hat

To be a Haitian President, one needed, especially in the 1800's, to be well dressed. Few could imagine a better dressed man than one who was donning the very stylish and increasingly essential Panama hats that were all the rage. Hyppolite, already considered a well-dressed man with his glasses tinted blue and white suits was immortalized as the man in the Panama hat when, upon his death, a song that would live on through generations was born. In typical Haitian satire, the circumstances of his death, having fallen off a horse under what some called mysterious circumstances (though some say it was a simple heart attack), made for a catchy tune that seemed to reference an incidence five years before when his Panama hat had, indeed, fallen off his head.

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Presidential palace of President Villbrum Guilluiame Sam who was assassinated

Presidential palace of President Villbrum Guilluiame Sam who was assassinated

Presidential palace of President Villbrum Guilluiame Sam who was assassinated

At the beginning of the 20th century, United States became increasingly concerned with the level of German activity and influence in Haiti. German businesses in Haiti dominated commerce in the entire area.

German nationals controlled over 80 percent of Haiti international commerce. They owned utilities in Cap Haitien and Port-au-Prince, wharf, railroad serving the Plain of the Cul-de-Sac. To get around Haitian law that forbid foreigners from owning land in Haiti, German men were increasingly marrying Haitian women and open businesses.

Although the sphere of U.S influence in the Caribbean started in 1898, in 1915, during the First World War, the U.S President Woodrow Wilson feared that Germany could invade Haiti and establish a military base near the Panama Canal that was built with huge U.S investment. The U.S President had right reasons to worry because then there were many Germans settlers living in Haiti who had financed the rampaging cacos with loans which were almost impossible to be repaid and they were at the mercy of the Germans to invade and restore order.

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Port Lafito international multipurpose port and terminal

Port Lafito international multipurpose port and terminal

Port Lafito is a private international multipurpose port and terminal that is under construction at 20 km outside Port-au-Prince. It is Haiti's first greenfield multipurpose Panamax port equipped with the most recent quay and terminal equipment for handling containerized and loose-bulk cargo. 'Panamax' is the term for the size limits of ships traveling through the Panama Canal as per its expansion proposal, October 2006. With an estimated project cost of $57-million and scheduled to be completed within Q4 2014, Port Lafito, a subsidiary of the Gilbert Bigio Group will offer computerized load management for vessels as per Panamax requirement, speedy customs and National Port Authority services. It will be a new gateway which will connect Haiti to the rest of the world. In May this year, Port Lafito announced that it had reached a strategic alliance with SSA Marine to manage its port and terminal operations in Haiti. SSA Marine is a subsidiary of Carrix, Inc., a Seattle, Washington based privately-held company. They have activities at more than 210 terminal facilities and intermodal rail operations, all over the world.

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Panama President Ricardo Martinelli in Haiti

Panama President Ricardo Martinelli in Haiti

The visit of Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 was the very first visit of a Panamanian leader to Haiti and it came almost two years after Martelly visited Panama twice that year. He met Haiti President Michel Martelly on this tour. His tour was intended to increase cooperation between both countries through participation on several new project agreements on many crucial areas including trade, health, sports and environment. The Panamanian President expressed his nation's awareness of the present economic and social situation in Haiti and promised solidarity in joint effort of recovery for the development of the Haitian people. The President was accompanied by Panamanian Foreign Minister Francisco Alvarez De Soto and other officials.

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Haiti Needs Private Investment for Port Development

Haiti Needs Private Investment for Port Development

The Haitian government wants to develop its port facilities to compete for business from Panama. Panama is currently expanding its canal to accommodate post-Panamax ships, larger and faster vessels.

Both the U.S. and Europe are preparing for Panamas' new vessels to be in operation by 2015.

Port Authority Director, Alix Celestin, convened a two-day conference in Pétionville to motivate private investors to create a maritime industry, beneficial to the economy and competitive in attracting more business from Panama.

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No Visa requirement for Dominicans, Panamanians, Colombians to come to Haiti

No Visa requirement for Dominicans, Panamanians, Colombians to come to Haiti

based on an announcement made public by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Religious Affairs, Laurent Lamothe in the presence of the Minister of Tourism, Stéphanie Balmir Villedrouin, all Dominicans, Panamanians an Colombians are free to come to Haiti and with no visa.

This was done with the objective to encourage foreign to invest or to come to Haiti to visit. Haiti is open for business

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