• Slide-1
    Educating the Haitian youth about reforestation and sustainable farming
  • Slide-2
    Advocating for a world where everyone loves thy neighbor
  • Slide-3
    Providing homes for families to combat the housing crisis in Nicaragua

We stand in solidarity and friendship

A gathering of people who work and pray with laughter, to reach for the stars that seem too distant to be touched, or to dim to be worth the effort. We try to be friends with people in need, and to celebrate life with people who believe that the struggle to be like Jesus in building a world more justly loving is worth the gift of our lives.

What We Do

Quest for Peace

Quest for Peace

We have partnered with the Institute of John XXIII and FEDICAMP, local organization in Nicaragua
Haiti Reborn

Haiti Reborn

Our work in Haiti is centered in the region of Gros Morne, located in northern Haiti
InAlienable

InAlienable

Research, education, and advocacy in pursuit of an inclusive vision of citizenship.
Catholics Speak Out

Catholics Speak Out

The Quixote Center has been at the forefront of Catholic reform efforts including the priesthood
Activist in Residence

Activist in Residence

Check out our new Activist-In-Residence Program

Latest Blog Post

Daily Dispatch 12/14/18

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InAlienable
Daily Dispatch

December 14, 2018


Top Stories:

CBP is investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a 7 year old girl from dehydration while in CBP custody. The girl arrived last week with her father, who remains in El Paso. More coverage from WaPo here.

The Office of the Inspector General released scathing report on CBP’s contract with Accenture, which was paid $13.6 million to provide the agency with thousands of new hires, but so far has only hired 2 people.

Other Stories:

After ankle monitoring, bi-weekly ICE check-ins, and threats to be put on a plane to El Salvador without her U.S. citizen children (one of whom has Downs Syndrome), Rosa Gutierrez Lopez decides to seek sanctuary in Unitarian church in South Kensington, MD.

Lawmakers pack-up for the holidays with no indications of solving border wall showdown.

Trump tweets that USMCA = Mexico pays for border wall.

Friday Bonus: Tucker Carlson rants about immigration.


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Haiti Update: Policing the Poor Is Not Security

On Wednesday, December 12 the United Nations’ special representative for its operations in Haiti, Helen La Lime, gave a presentation to members of the Security Council on the current status of the mission (MINUJUSTH) which is set to expire on October 15, 2019. Lime suggested that the mission had achieved a lot, but that challenges remain, especially in light of the current protests and calls for President Jovenel Moïse to step down. Lime argued for more support for the police, a primary focus of the current UN mission:

“It would behoove not only the government of Haiti, but also the international community to fulfill their commitment to fully fund the five-year HNP [Haitian National Police] Strategic Development Plan, so as to ensure the continued buildup of human, logistical and material capacity of the institution.”

Is this emphasis on policing misplaced? There is little doubt that human security is threatened in Haiti – as it is many places. However, it seems that the emphasis on policing is a thin veil for the underlying class dynamics at play, whereby the wealthy desire protection from an impoverished majority.

Peace…?

The UN established a “peace-keeping” mission in 2004 following a coup that forced President Aristide from office that February. MINUSTAH, the original mission, would come to be a dominant presence in Haiti, in a tenure dominated by scandals: Armed incursions into Cite Soleil that killed dozens of civilians, sex trafficking and other abuse of women and girls, and the introduction of cholera into the country in 2010, an epidemic that has killed at least 10,000 people. Against the backdrop of the scandals have been daily operations characterized by the all too familiar bigotry of international aid, whereby international “advocates” have more access to policy makers than the majority of the people impacted by policies.

The principal purpose of MINUSTAH was, in theory at least, to provide security, broadly understood, in the wake of the coup (officially not a coup, but a resignation). Toward that end, MINUSTAH, among other things, oversaw an expansion of Haiti’s police force, from 2,500 in 2004 to 16,000 officers today. MINUSTAH’s mission came to a close in 2017, and was replaced with MINUJUSTH, which has focused primarily on police “professionalization.” In recounting MINUJUSTH’s achievements, however, Lime missed a few details.

In November of 2017, 200 police officers descended on the Gran Ravine area of Port-au-Prince in an “anti-gang” operation. The community was under siege for 6 hours – during which time HNP killed several civilians, beating someone nearly to death with a chair at Maranatha College in front of community members, then killing a teacher who tried to intervene. In total, nine people were killed, five with gunshots to the head – the bodies left in view of the community until the next day. UN “trainers” helped organize the operation, but blamed the deaths on rogue police officers, taking (as is the UN habit in Haiti) “no responsibility” for the killing.

The UN statement on the operation read:

“None of the [U.N. police] unit proceeded to the location at Maranatha College where the alleged killings took place,” the spokesperson wrote. “The planned portion of the operation went relatively well. The post-operation unilateral initiative of some HNP members to conduct a high risk search, proceeding outside of the operational cadre, without advising the hierarchy, without authorization and contravening the operation plan was not part of the planned operation.”   

A different kind of security

It should come as no surprise (though many seem surprised) that Haiti’s internal security problems have not been solved by increasing the size of the police force. The underlying structural socio-economic tensions remain, and are worsening: Inequality, economic stagnation, and an indifferent elite (indifferent to the poor, that is), typically backed by the “international community” in their indifference. The class dynamics in Haiti remain consistent: the police sequester and contain the poor, while protecting the wealthy in the name of stability and property. This is, of course, the institutional role of the police within capitalism more generally – not simply in Haiti – a role that has intensified globally in the last decades of neo-liberal pilfering of state resources.

So, as the UN discusses its ongoing role in Haiti, the Haitian people might be better served if the talk was less about the police and more about the UN’s debt for the cholera crisis and how it will repay that debt with expansive investments in health infrastructure. Or, they could talk about how to contain (dare we say, “police”?) affiliated organizations like the International Monetary Fund that continue to press for deeper and deeper austerity. The current political upheaval is hard to separate from IMF pressures. For example, the IMF demand for cuts in fuel subsidies sparked huge protests in July – protests that led to the resignation of the previous government.

A security regime that focuses on just working conditions, a sustainable and revitalized economy – especially in rural areas – health and education access, and human rights protections might be more effective than funding more police officers. The so-called “international community” has the resources, and it might even be cheaper than the current strategy. The reason such measures are not taken is that security for the poor is not really the goal. Security for the wealthy, and the system from which they derive their wealth, remains the evident goal.  This is not likely to change any time soon. But we can still call for accountability and join in solidarity with those who are trying to change the system.

Daily Dispatch 12/13/18

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InAlienable
Daily Dispatch

December 13, 2018


Top Stories:

Nancy Pelosi responds to White House meeting on government shutdown and Trump’s obsession with the border wall:

It’s like a manhood thing with him — as if manhood can be associated with him.”

In FY 2018, ICE workplace arrests increased 666% over FY 2017 and employer audits increased 361%.

Due to the information sharing rule that uses kids as bait, ICE has arrested 109 people with no criminal records after they came forward to sponsor unaccompanied or separated children.

68 judges send letter to ICE Acting Director Ronald Vitiello asking that courthouses be off limits to ICE arrests.

Letter From Former Judges -… by on Scribd

Other Stories:

From Politico:  “How the Migrant Caravan Built Its Own Democracy”

From NYMag: “Why Do Libertarians and Left Have Such Similar Views on Immigration”

From the New Yorker: “Trump’s Ongoing Disinformatin Campaign Against Latino Immigrants”

From Vox: “The hypocrisy of Trump’s immigration agenda is getting harder to ignore”

From the Atlantic: “Trump Keeps Invoking Terrorism to Get His Border Wall”

 


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Contact Us

  • Quixote Center
    7307 Baltimore Ave.
    Ste 214
    College Park, MD 20740
  • Office: 301-699-0042
    Email: info@quixote.org

Direction to office:

For driving: From Baltimore Ave (Route 1) towards University of Maryland, turn right onto Hartwick Rd. Turn immediate right in the office complex.

Look for building 7307. We are located on the 2nd floor.

For public transportation: We are located near the College Park metro station (green line)