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25647: Saint-Vil (news): Haiti's "Ambassador" to Canada - ZNET (fwd)
From: Jean Saint-Vil <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Haiti's 'Ambassador' to Canada by Jean Saint-Vil
"As it now stands, the Constitution is somewhat...uh! An exception was
Robert Hans Tippenhauer trying to rationalize his illegal nomination as
"Ambassador" of Haiti to Canada, June 29, 2005
It happened quick and in the very heart of Canada's capital. Early
this morning of June 29, 2005 when colleague Kevin Skerrett and I
arrived to cover the story, for a brief moment, we worried that other
news media had somehow scooped our insider's information. Cameras and
various recording materials left little standing room for the many
journalists crowded in the waiting room at Rideau Hall.
Adding panache to the situation, a dedicated staffer quietly enters the
waiting room and hushes that Governor General Adrienne Clarkson and the
first of two distinguished guests are about to meet. They will allow us
to record the brief encounter but no questions are allowed. So, we
Within a matter of minutes, Robert Hans Tippenhauer enters the room and
hands over the envelope to Mrs. Clarkson. Those in attendance barely
noticed when, a visibly nervous Tippenhauer drying his hands on his
suit, referred to "celui qui me pré-décédait" (the one who has
"pre-deceased" me!). "Uh ! Mon prédécesseur!"(the one who
preceded me), he quickly corrected, before proceeding to tell the
Governor General about his high school days spent in the province of
Québec. Aside from this suggestive Freudian slip, Tippenhauer did
relatively well. He and Mrs. Clakrson exchanged a few words, smiled and
posed happily for the cameras and - the deed was done. Officially, the
Dominion of Canada and its Queen had accepted the credentials of the
new "Ambassador" of Haiti to Canada.
Knowing that there were skeletons in Tippenhauer's closet, I
reiterated to the friendly Rideau Hall staffer the official request to
interview the new "Ambassador". This shouldn't be difficult to obtain
considering, as we had by then realised, all the other media present
came to cover the new U.S. Ambassador who was next to present his
credentials to Mrs. Clarkson. After an hour's wait, Kevin and I were
told that Mr. Tippenhauer declined our request. Reason? - too busy -
no can do, no time! So, we decided to take our time and patiently
waited by the entry along with the other reporters.
Contrary to schedule, Wilkins, the new U.S. Ambassador, was the first
to come out. He took all sorts of questions, including one which he
dodged about his impression on Canada's performance in Haiti. Then,
came « Ambassador » Tippenhauer, the former Chair of the
Canadian-Haitian Chamber of Commerce, of whom Vancouver-based
journalist Anthony Fenton wrote: "Should the Canadian government
accept Tippenhauer's credentials, it will mark Canada's clearest
official alignment with Haiti's right-wing elites". With his May 16,
2005 ZNET article titled "The Canadian Corporate/State Nexus In
Haiti", Fenton was the first journalist to break news of
Tippenhauer's nomination. A revelation that shocked many, especially
members of Canada's Haitian community, who had fresh in mind how,
following the Feb. 29, 2004 coup that toppled the democratically
elected President of Haiti, Tippenhauer played a key part in a series
of diplomatic blunders that led to Haiti's post-coup regime's total
ostracism by its Caribbean neighbours. Tippenhauer, a Port-au-Prince
based businessman of German extraction who was also playing the role of
Jamaica's honorary consul in Haiti at the time, had decided on Mar. 15,
2004 to raucously announce his resignation from that honorary position.
This, in protest to the decision by the Jamaican government to
temporarily host exiled former President Jean Bertrand Aristide.
Haitians have not forgotten this recent episode where it effectively
took a brazen rescue mission lead by Jamaica's Prime Minister
Percival Patterson and Black American author and human rights activist
Randall Robinson to facilitate Aristide's return to this hemisphere
and reunification with his two young daughters. The children were not
in Haiti the night of the coup, when U.S. Marines surrounded the
president's residence and took him and his wife in an unmarked white
plane to the Central African Republic where they knew no one.
So, as Robert Hans Tippenhauer made his way to the exit, I scrambled to
decide what to ask him first. Should I ask him why activists in
Montreal keep accusing Canada's Foreign Minister, Pierre Pettigrew,
of aiding criminals in Haiti? Should I ask him why the non-elected
government that he represents is often characterized by Haitians
everywhere as being an illegal, brutal puppet regime, imposed on them
by the U.S., France and Canada? Should I ask him why the Caribbean
Community, Venezuela, the 53 nations of the African Union, Nelson
Mandela's African National Congress, prominent Congressmen and
Congresswomen from the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus... all refuse to
recognize his regime in Haiti? Should I ask him to comment on the fact
that countless activists from PEI to Victoria, B.C. have accused Canada
of participating in a racist coup that brought to power through violent
means a group of Haitians who happen to be, like him, of European
So, I began:
Q: Your nomination was not ratified by the Haitian Senate. Some contend
it is illegal...?
Tippenhauer: Well, everyone is entitled to his own opinion which I do
respect. However, there has been an accommodation with the «
international community » to provide our country with an interim
government that will, indeed, permit us to achieve credible and honest
elections and make it possible to hand power on February 7th to a
President who would have been elected by the Haitian People.
Q: Therefore, in the interim, during the transitional period, the
Haitian constitution is not being followed because it stipulates, for
instance, that « the President of the Republic, following approval by
the Senate, names ambassadors»?
Tippenhauer: But, this is an exceptional case because, we do not have a
government - at that time. We did not have an elected government.
It's only now, you know that and we are doing all that is possible
for us to do in order to have a government and precisely where the
president will swear in on February 7, 2006. And, we are working
I was not sure whether the "Ambassador" had just acknowledged
representing a non-existent government. But, knowing that even in
Washington, D.C., the regime's representative, Mr. Raymond Joseph,
bears the title of Chargé d'Affaires, I pursued...
Q: But, the normal procedure would have been to name a « Chargé
d'Affaires » since you are not constitutional...?
Tippenhauer: No! You are the one who says that I am not constitutional.
Q: But, it's the Constitution that...?
(showing him a copy with the relevant section highlighted in yellow)
Tippenhauer: As it now stands, the Constitution is somewhat...uh! An
exception was made because, as I have told you and am repeating it,
there has been an international consensus, you know, to go over this
difficult and fragile transition that we are currently subject to -
that the country is subjected to. And, precisely, to allow the country
to have a president who is elected and who will be elected - an elected
"A legitimate one !", I tried to interject.
Tippenhauer:... coming from elections, you know, that will take
place...uh! at the end of this year.
Thus, Robert Hans Tippenhauer, who was fraudulently named Ambassadeur
Plenipotentiaire de la République d'Haiti on June 29, 2005,
confirmed that the Constitution of the Republic he represents has
effectively been put on hold. He came close to saying it in so many
words. But, even more important than his statements, it is
Tippenhauer's actions that have the most dire consequences for
millions of people.
My colleague Kevin Skerrett probing Tippenhauer's views on the
well-documented dreadful Human Rights situation in post-coup Haiti,
asked him about the country's most recognizable of over 1000
Q: Mr. Tippenhauer, former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune is still
in jail and his health situation is quite serious and we hear that no
evidence has been presented against him. What can you tell us about his
Tippenhauer: Well, uh! As far as his situation, he is at the
disposition of Haitian justice which, precisely, by the separation of
the justice from the legislative and ... the executive, Haitian justice
is independent. And, he is in the hands of Haitian justice.
Q : But, what is your reaction to the condemnation by Amnesty
International and by Juan Gabriel Valdes, chief of MINUSTAH (U.N.
Mission in Haiti), on Mr. Neptune's situation? Your reaction?
Tippenhauer: And, what is that reaction?
Q : Mr. Valdes recently declared that Mr. Neptune's situation is a
violation of his rights. And, this is consistent with comments made by
Mr. Fagart as well as several others.
Tippenhauer: I am totally ignorant of this declaration. Therefore, I
cannot comment on it.
Such were the reflections of the man officially confirmed this June 29,
2005, "Ambassador of the Republic of Haiti" by Her Majesty the
Queen of Canada.
Along with all the other unlawfully appointed leaders of Haiti,
Tippenhauer is now fully habilitated to take state-binding decisions,
including signing multi million contracts, on behalf of an impoverished
people that never had chosen him to be their representative. Not
surprisingly, among the beneficiaries of lucrative contracts with
Haiti's illegal regime are Canadian companies: SNC-Lavalin and Gildan
If the corporate incentives to lend a blind eye to the illegal nature
of this regime are plain enough, what might be the mid-to-long term
impact of Prime Minister Martin's pro-coup Haiti policy on Canada's
image in the Caribbean? Can our Department of Foreign Affairs truly
pretend not to have realized the evident flaws in the "credentials"
presented by Mr. Tippenhauer?
In a sensitive area like foreign affairs is it not important to be
mindful of perceptions? If Haitian-Canadians taking part in recent
Ottawa call-in shows are any indication, the response of the Haitian
community to the nomination of Tippenhauer is unequivocal: "He does
not represent us", "He is no ambassador", "His nomination is
illegal". Such reactions were rather predictable since it is no
secret that the Tippenhauer family counts some of the most prominent
supporters of the coup that toppled Haiti's constitutional government
in 2004. In addition to Robert Hans Tippenhauer's own reactionary
credentials, his nephew, also named Hans Tippenhauer, a former member
of the Washington establishment's Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS) and a sweat-shop magnate is a key member
of the E.U. and USAID- funded Group of 184 opposition front. He is
credited to be the first to have assigned the term "freedom
fighters" to the murderous paramilitaries, some of whom are convicted
criminals, who paved the way to the coup. Tippenhauer's Group 184 is
prominently led by two other white businessmen operating sweatshops in
Haiti, Charles Henri Baker and the American Andre Apaid.
Considering all these facts, accepting Tippenhauer's credentials, not
only mark Canada's official alignment with Haiti's right-wing elites,
it also gives credence to the disturbing allegations of an insidiously
racist dimension to the 2004 overthrow of Haiti's elected government.
«Depi nan Ginen bon nèg ap ede nèg!»