Posted by: petertluce | February 26, 2011

News Bulletin Feb. 2011

– 02.25.11

Hello !

We’ve got some still good news and some mixed news.

GOOD: Check out what our Human Rights Defender on the ground, Gentilhomme, is doing. He is still involved in a major scholarship program for poor kids. And he is our active representative
in our program to support the development of a strong cooperative movement.

MIXED: see below where we’re at with the cooperative development movement.  We have had to drop our work in the fundraising project with AMCC. But we are continuing to support cooperative development.   See details below.

Please keep us in your thoughts.

Thank you for all you’ve done in the past!



OUR HURAH “DEFENDER” of Human Rights:


Gentilhomme is still willing to stay with us because of his devotion to human rights even though my request for donations these past 6 months has not resulted in sufficient funds to support him except for room rent, internet service, cellphone assistance.

So I’m making another appeal. Just $3,160 for a whole year! Monthly $263. I figure by providing him with some expenses he can survive while also helping human rights go forward. This is the field he would like to stay in. He still works with AUMOHD as well. If we can raise this whole budget we could give him a stipend of $1.25 per hour for personal expenses.
See our DONATE page for more explanations.

We want to continue to involve Gentilhomme in the development of
the cooperative movement. He needs to study the movement, acquire skills in
coop management. Please consider helping us make this real contribution to the

See our DONATE page


Gentilhomme has helped St. Columba Parish in Oakland to work out a scholarship program for kids not able to afford to go to school. HOPE FOR HAITI: EDUCATION

Gentilhomme has worked with the Community Human Rights
Council -CHRC in one of the poorest, most dangerous sections of the capital
of Haiti Port-Au-Prince to select 170 students, and purchase school supplies
including uniforms, books, book bags and tuition. Gentilhomme has photographed each student and composed a biographical statement for the sponsors.

From 2005-2009 Hurah has supported the Grand Ravine CHRC through AUMOHD, providing them with grants for transportation, phone, office renovations.

If you would like to contribute, send a check to St. Columba Parish, Haiti
Committee, 6401 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, Ca. 94608

THANKS! As always a big thank you to everyone who donates and who supports us in any way!





The goal isn’t impossible. Not being an expert in business financing or construction, I left that to AMCC’s leadership and past history which was credible. The two coops slated for the “model” development had been organized expertly by AMCC since the mid ’90’s.

When I read now about the common problem in Haiti during this post-quake period that people have with land ownership, our friends in Milot and Galette Chambon had resolved this almost 20 years ago. They were well on their way to getting the “model” coop going with professional architectural planners and they were committed to “green” practices. Central to the plan was education for all–a serious commitment to do something about the “restavek” problem (domestic servitude of children).


Another key to the “model” was “macro-credit” financing. Even as international aid groups were beginning the “micro-credit” programs like the Grameen Foundation, AMCC with its experience created a full service bank that was by design controlled by its cooperative members. 51% of the shareholders were by statute required to be coops. What happened to this “model” undertaking is part of the history of Haiti’s wrenching political scene complicated with the coup in 2004 and it is also the history of ordinary criminal activity. Members of the bank’s board of directors, still well known leaders in Haiti, defrauded the bank by absconding with its funds and falsifying elections to the board. Some Haitian government banking officials also acted illegally by having the bank closed. A sad story, but a major blow to serious business development in Haiti’s poor cooperative communities. I have learned in this process that “micro-credit” cannot put the needed investment money into businesses that will have a chance to make the business “sustainable” that is, not dependent on handouts.


Hurah’s role/job/assignment was to be the “watch-dog” for human rights, within our group and as we worked with/advocated for the goal. My major concentration in the last 6 months was facilitating the formation of
the Alliance of Haitian Cooperatives For Human Rights-AHCHR. We began with the already established coops and we attracted coops in the making. We also acquired “Support” members like Hurah, agencies with special services. AUMOHD our friend and partner in Haiti joined. Sirona Cares, a non-profit agency in SFO that helps Haitian farmers grow jatropha plants for harvesting its rich-in-oil beans that will bring in income by providing a source of electricity. It was wonderful being part of the serious exchange and study of the 7 Principles of Cooperatives (International Cooperative Alliance). We created a business structure for the Alliance with committees and responsibilities. We created a website (click above on Alliance). We began meeting using e-mail, cellphones and SKYPE. It was exhilarating to see our coming together across the barriers of time, sea, and land–including our peasant farmer friends.


Here’s a sad report to tell everyone that the million dollar project Hurah signed onto last summer–for a second time–and which I’ve reported on in our recent bulletins has ended. Yes, this is the second time I’ve had to withdraw from this project–$9millionUSD to build a model cooperative in two locations–Milot and Galette Chambon–with safe, family housing, education for all and a sustainable eco-tourism business. Promoting this “model” was meant to set in motion a nation-wide movement, an alliance of such coops that would make serious inroads into the poverty, homeless, situation of the people Hurah wants to do something for in the long term. We haven’t given up on the mission, just the fund raising piece due to “irreconcilable” differences with the lead organization.


The devil is always in the details in human interactions. I thought that the conflicts between Hurah and the lead organization, AMCC (American
Museum of Creole Cultures) had been resolved and that we could achieve our goal, if not entirely, at least substantially.This is when our relationship with AMCC fell apart. It happened when we started trying to work cooperatively in live meetings and in e-mail follow-ups, dealing with confusion, with outright disagreements. I was not prepared to have such a serious breakdown in the way people need to behave in cooperative organizations. The approach –among those who have studied and endorsed the 7 Principles– is intended to be positive, respectful, and trusting. But this was not the way our AMCC member behaved. Instead we were subjected to an attack on the very existence of the Alliance. However I persisted following coop procedures, calling for transparency, for voting on issues. In the end it was a clear majority that said we were operating in a credible way. The AMCC rep continued to be disruptive and finally bid us good bye. That meant, of course, we lost our business expert. It was then that I decided my concerns about our ability to work successfully together in the fund raising phase needed to be heeded. With the severe breakdown on AMCC’s part in handling problems cooperatively I couldn’t see us getting through the tough grind of holding fundraisers around the US and Canada. And since we were working to build the “model” cooperative and already AMCC had attacked our fledgling cooperative Alliance, I had no choice but to end Hurah’s involvement. So whatever we’ve published in the past 6 months about our commitments, our support for the TOUR aka The Talent School International Network, this is all now cancelled.


We intend to continue supporting the Alliance. Our coop friends–peasant farmers still ready to seek the “model” coop, still generously open to incorporating earthquake refugees– say they want to “keep on keepin on.” Hurah will provide research assistance in growing the Alliance, liaison with carious coop support agencies. We will provide our fiscal agent services for potential grant money to promote cooperative development. So please
consider still donating to Hurah, including money and time!

Tom Luce

Online; Send Checks to Tom Luce, 1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

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Online; Send Checks to Tom Luce,

1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703


Rights Accompaniment In Haiti-Hurah, Inc.

a 501(c)(3), non-profit

1515 Fairview St., Berkeley Ca. 94703 President, Tom Luce,
Blog Site Hurah

To DONATE click here.Or
mail a check to Tom Luce,

1515 Fairview St. Berkeley, Ca. 94703

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