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25092: Haiti Progres (news) This Week in Haiti 23 : 9 5/11/05 (fwd)
From: Haïti Progrès <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
newsweekly. For the complete edition with other news in French
and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100,
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Also visit our website at <www.haitiprogres.com>.
"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
May 11 - 17, 2005
Vol. 23, No. 9
"CITÉ SOLEIL IS HOSTAGE"
On May 9, a cola merchant was shot dead and eight people wounded when
occupation troops of the United Nations Mission to Stabilize Haiti
(MINUSTAH) opened fire on passers-by in the capital's teeming slum of
Raymond Neptune, 48, of Simon #5 was killed at the scene. A hawker of
colas and kleren (Haitian moonshine), Raymond was the father of three
children. Three of the wounded were also school children.
At about 11 a.m., armed men began throwing rocks and bottles at the
police outpost across from the Teleco office on National Route #1 near
the slum's Boston neighborhood. The police and MINUSTAH troops in the
"After that, the guys entered the station and burned two cars parked
there," Jean Ristil, a Haiti Information Project correspondent, told
HaVti ProgrPs. "Then they smashed the chairs and tables which the
MINUSTAH soldiers used. Then the MINUSTAH returned in two armored
vehicles and started shooting."
Ristil traversed the slum to compile a list of the wounded. It includes
four-year-old school girl Nadia St. Fleur, wounded in the stomach while
in a car going to school. Patrick Joseph, 8, a student at the Immaculate
Conception School was also hit in the stomach while Emile Pierre, 7, of
Carrefour Vincent was wounded in the foot.
Also wounded in the foot was Garry Emmanuel, 34, and Dieudonné Paul, 17,
from the suburb of Damiens who was waiting to take a bus home. Soldiers
wounded Marie Paul Lindor in the head, arm and pelvis. Madame Baptiste,
49, received a head wound and Dieudieu Eddy was shot twice in the thigh.
Starting at 10 a.m. on May 10, the MINUSTAH soldiers erected an oil-drum
barricade on National Route #1, effectively cutting off all traffic into
the shanty town, according to Ristil. "Cité Soleil is hostage," he said.
Resentment runs deep in Cité Soleil against the U.N. troops who have
carried out numerous forays into the slum and now hold it virtually
under siege. On April 9, a U.N. soldier fatally shot a 15-year-old girl,
Fedia Raphael, through the lungs.
UN ACCOMMODATES HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES BY POLICE IN HAITI
BY THE HAITI INFORMATION PROJECT
The images of the killings by the U.S.-armed and U.N.-trained Police
Nationale de Haiti (PNH) are stark and undeniable. Peaceful
demonstrators slaughtered in cold-blood as the U.N. pontificates and
postures to justify its role in legitimizing the February 2004 coup
against the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand
On Feb. 28, 2005, the first anniversary of the coup against the
constitutional government, the PNH fired at unarmed demonstrators as the
U.N. stood by. Video footage and photographs from that day show the U.N.
was close enough to see the police open fire on peaceful demonstrators,
yet unexplainably, not close enough to do anything about it.
Following the carnage of Feb. 28 the U.N. representatives from Chile and
Brazil, Juan Gabriel Valdes and General Heleno Ribera, told the world
they would intervene to stop the police from shooting at peaceful
demonstrations. The world believed the U.N. when they objected to the
killings by the police on Feb. 28 as the corporate media and their
pundits began to spin images of the impartial and dauntless humanitarian
role the U.N. in Haiti. The U.N. barred the Haitian police from guarding
demonstrations the next week but finally caved in to objections from
Justice Minister Bernard Gousse. Gousse claimed that the limits placed
on the police by the U.N. were illegal and usurped the rights of the Hai
The U.N.'s sound-bytes challenging the PNH for killings peaceful
demonstrators were never taken seriously by the US-installed regime in
Haiti. How could they? The U.N. mission to "restore" democracy to Haiti
has never resolved its own dysfunctions and contradictions. How can they
move to challenge the brutality and abuses of the Haitian police when
their mandate includes training and bolstering the very same forces? How
could they challenge Gousse's assertion of the right of the Haitian
police to kill demonstrators when their mandate is to protect the
unpopular US-installed regime at all costs?
Valdes and General Ribera's promise to intervene to stop the PNH from
killing unarmed demonstrators was tested when the Lavalas organized yet
another massive demonstration on April 27, 2005. In the wake of the U.N.
bowing down to Gousse's assertion of PNH policing rights, the force
struck again on cue. An innocent bystander's leg was blown to bits by
the PNH as he was leaving a local pharmacy in the vicinity of the
demonstration after buying insulin for his ailing mother. After killing
unarmed demonstrators, the PNH then planted guns in the hands of the
corpses. One journalist declared: "I filmed the dead bodies of
demonstrators killed by the police. The police put a gun in the left
hand of one of the corpses. After they saw me filming, they asked me to
come and film the gun in his hand. I couldn't believe it." An anonymous
source close to the UN mission commented: "The attempts to cover-up
these killings and the feeble justifications of the Haitian police are
unbelievably stupid and transparent. The U.N. mission is well aware of
the unacceptable pace of recruitment of former military into the Haitian
police, as well as the parallel emergence of death squads within the
Haitian police spokeswoman Gessy Cameau Coicou, now widely ridiculed for
always claiming that civilians killed by the Haitian police
are"bandits", declared that "only two persons were seriously injured
during a gun battle with a police patrol" on April 27. She added the
laughable notion that Lavalas activists killed "were not shot during a
demonstration since police authorities received no notice of a
demonstration." Standing by her side to lend credence to the farce was
Canadian U.N.-Civilian Police spokesperson Dan Moskaluk, who called the
march an "unauthorized, illegal demonstration." Moskaluk at least had
the decency to admit finding five corpses despite the corroboration of
nine killed after U.N. troops finally showed up at the scene. The truth
is the march was announced for several days before it took place on
radio stations throughout the capital. Coicou and Moskaluk failed to
disclose that the Haitian police beat and arrested the courier bearing
the official notification of the April 27 demonstration when he tried to
All of this led to May 4, 2005 when yet another large demonstration by
Lavalas took place. The leaders of the demonstration were photographed
and videotaped by the U.N. and a Haitian police officer wearing a U.N.
blue helmet before they left the Aristide stronghold of Bel Air. After a
brief and symbolic protest in front of the U.N. headquarters on Rue
Pan-Americain (Avenue John Brown), the demonstration continued down the
same street. At a certain point, the U.N. forces stopped and allowed the
protestors to continue without them for about 100 yards. Suddenly, the
PNH appeared with M-14 and M-16 military weapons pointed at the crowd.
Without the presence of a few press cameras and journalists to dissuade
them, it is clear the police would have opened fired on the crowd. When
questioned on camera, U.N. military officers afterwards refused to
answer questions and later dismissed the U.N.'s absence at a
near-confrontation as yet another coincidence.
After the Lavalas demonstration on May 4, U.N. troops drove by as
sharpshooters of a Haitian SWAT unit entered Bel Air with high-powered
telescopic rifles. The U.N. left the scene as if it was "business as
usual" as Haitian police began pointing their weapons, meant to kill
specific targets, at neighborhood residents. The presence of a news
camera made them angry but kept them from shooting at the population.
Given that the U.N. and the international community have tolerated the
abuses of the Haitian police thus far, journalists and photographers
have to wonder how long it will be before they become victims of
trigger-happy Haitian policemen or made deliberate targets? The presence
of journalists naturally places constraints on police behavior and, if
their reactions on May 4 are any indication, they are not happy about
To date, no serious investigation of the Haitian police has been
undertaken for shooting unarmed demonstrations or for well-documented
murder sprees in the capital's poor neighborhoods. The U.N. has done
little more than make noise while not one single name of a policeman or
SWAT team member who committed these acts has been made public. This can
only send a message to the Haitian police that they have free reign to
commit murder and tell tall-tales about it. They now assume the U.N.
will keep supporting them by remaining silent because no one in the
Haitian police is being held accountable. For many observers on the
ground, the U.N. mandate to "restore democracy" in Haiti appears to
provide the police with cover to commit murder with impunity. Without
any public investigation, it can certainly be argued this has been the
reality so far.
The U.N. relationship to the US-installed Latortue regime and the PNH's
human rights violations have done little to inspire confidence for the
much-touted elections scheduled to begin in October. Many people in
Haiti are asking how the U.N. can seriously expect Lavalas candidates to
participate in the next elections when they might expect the same
treatment from the PNH during a campaign rally? How can the masses of
poor Haitians who continue to support Lavalas despite more then 13
months of repression and brutality be expected to feel secure enough to
register or cast their ballots in the next elections?
Putting the question of the legitimacy of the upcoming elections aside,
the climate for change in coming years is bleak with a U.N. special
mission that offers lofty words about elections and democracy but fails
to hold the Haitian police accountable for documented human rights
THE CANADIAN CORPORATE/STATE NEXUS IN HAITI
BY ANTHONY FENTON
Haiti's de facto government will soon announce the appointment of Robert
Tippenhauer as its new ambassador to Canada. Previously, Tippenhauer was
the President of the first-ever Haitian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He
says he will be arriving in Canada shortly after the early June visit to
Haiti of Quebec Premier Jean Charest. Should the Canadian government
accept Tippenhauer's credentials, it will mark Canada's clearest
official alignment with Haiti's right-wing elites.
Prior to the Feb. 29, 2004 ouster of democratically elected President
Jean Bertrand Aristide, Tippenhauer was Jamaica's honorary consul in
Haiti. His ideological leanings were apparent on Mar. 15, 2004, when he
"resigned in protest against the decision by the Jamaican government to
host former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, which he reportedly
described as a 'slap in the face' to the Haitian people." (Radio
Galaxie, Mar. 17, 2004)
During a recent telephone interview, Tippenhauer affirmed that he is the
uncle of sweat-shop magnate Hans Tippenhauer, who played the role of a
Group of 184 "opposition leader" for the corporate media in the lead up
to Aristide's removal. On Feb. 24, as the U.S. funded and trained
paramilitaries were escalating the destabilization against Haiti's
elected government, the Washington Post offered up nephew Tippenhauer's
rationalization for the coming coup: "The Haitian people's voice today
is very clear; they want Aristide to leave." Hans Tippenhauer, a former
member of the Washington establishment's Center for Strategic and
International Studies (CSIS), also described the rebels as "freedom
fighters," a phrase that would be echoed one month later by Haiti's de
facto Prime Minister in GonaVves in front of then Canadian Ambassador to
the OAS, David Lee.
Needing employment after resigning his consulate post, Robert
Tippenhauer was soon given the prestigious role of directing the newly
created Haitian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which he described as "the
link between Canadian investors and Haiti." This link was officially
developed in late October 2004, when a delegation of twelve Canadian
companies, including procurement giant SNC-Lavalin, joined the
Francophonie Business Forum for a trip to Haiti. Tippenhauer said that
the meetings, in which Canadian Ambassador Claude Boucher and Latortue
took part, "like [Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister] Pettigrew said,
were a very important place to meet, to encourage Canadian investors to
come down here."
Of the many reconstruction projects that are being created, Tippenhauer
feels that "considering the active role that Canada is playing with
their lead role in the transition, Canadian firms should have a first
look at these projects." On Canada's leadership role, Tippenhauer made
the point that Canada had "one the most active ambassadors here."
Tippenhauer further lauded Canada's "constant interest in Haiti,"
stating "the mere presence of these officials is good for us."
Some of the incentives offered to companies like SNC, and Gildan
Activewear, who Tippenhauer estimates employ 5,000 people between their
independent factory (which is next to Tippenhauer's Dollar Rent-a-Car)
and Andy Apaid's factories; Apaid has been Gildan's primary
subcontractor in Haiti for many years, according to a Gildan
Asked about specific contracts, Tippenhauer simply affirmed that there
are "several discussions, negotiations" going on.
For its part, Ottawa remains mum on the particulars of reconstruction
projects. The recent OAS document on the French-led "reconstruction"
meeting in Cayenne, Guyana (Mar. 18, 2005) finds frequent references to
Canada and notes that Canada has proposed to organize the next
ministerial "reconstruction" meeting in a few months.
It's logical that SNC-Lavalin is involved in reconstruction. A maxim of
their business objective in the 2004 annual report finds "the ability to
win contracts around the world is a good indicator of a successful
business strategy." As a sign of the immensity of SNC's global
operations in realms of defense, oil, infrastructure, engineering,
mining, pharmaceuticals and agribusiness, SNC states that "we won
significant contracts in all our sectors of activity and are working on
projects of all sizes worldwide. In fact, our backlog increased by 52%
from year end 2003, to reach $6.3 billion at year end 2004."
With Haiti as "the latest procurement hot spot" and post-war rebuilding
contracts representing a US$200 billion a year business, the Toronto
Star (Mar. 23, 2004) cited SNC-Lavalin as a darling on the UN's approved
list of vendors. The UN doled out some $813 million in contracts in
2002. The Star cited estimates of some $100 million in potential
military contracts annually for operations in Haiti.
Asked about activities in Haiti, an SNC spokesperson would only say that
they are involved in "highly confidential negotiations" with the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), to whom she deferred.
CIDA media relations officer Regine Beauplan would only state that "CIDA
has entered into negotiations with SNC-Lavalin and because those
negotiations are on-going, CIDA is unable to provide information."
Fortunately, SNC-Haiti's General Manager, Bernard Chancy, was not so
reticent. Contradicting CIDA's statement, Chancy confirmed that CIDA and
SNC are well past negotiations on some projects. "In fact there is
already one project in activity and another one which is a study
project," he said. The project already underway is the Carrefour
Railroad, one of two major road-building projects that are listed in the
OAS "reconstruction" document.
According to Chancy, CIDA has already contributed $500,000 to the "labor
intensive" initial phase of the Carrefour project. "The Haitian
government has decided to construct a new road that gets out of
Port-au-Prince by the South," said Chancy. This aspect of the project
involves constructing one of the streets that will connect the Carrefour
road with the new one. The new road, a major undertaking that Chancy
says they hope to have completed "before the new government takes over"
will not be built without the assistance of SNC-Montreal's team of
engineers, who are conducting studies that will "permit the main part of
the road to be constructed." For this work, SNC will get a big slice of
the additional $8 million that Canada is contributing to the project.
There is scant mention of Haiti in their latest annual report, and yet
this recent information reveals that SNC-Lavalin is playing a major role
in the pro-coup policies of Canada and the "international community," a
community which implicitly excludes the African Union, CARICOM,
Venezuela and Cuba for their persistent refusal to recognize Haiti's de
facto regime. Fittingly, it was SNC-Lavalin who procured the $20 million
contract to build the new Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince, perhaps
the most auspicious harbinger of Canada's "long term presence" in Haiti.
When Pettigrew inaugurated the new Embassy in September 2004, there was
no mention of SNC-Lavalin, which would rather have their penchant for
profiting from war, occupation and colonial policies kept off of the
Protestors in Toronto recently denounced SNC-Lavalin for their role in
providing bullets for the U.S. military in Iraq, among other things.
SNC-Lavalin also provides 70% of Canada's military ammunition, which has
been used in UN and NATO occupations worldwide.
Like the infamous Halliburton in Iraq, SNC is profiting from and
encouraging the imperialist project in Haiti and the continued
repression of Haiti's masses.
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