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25420: Haiti Progres: (News) This Week in Haiti 23 : 14 6/15/2005 (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,
(fax) 718-434-5551 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Also visit our website at <www.haitiprogres.com>.
"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
June 15 - 21, 2005
Vol. 23, No. 14
GUERRILLAS STRIKE IN BORGNE
The following is the English translation of a Jun. 6 communiqué sent to
the press by the High Command of the Dessalinien Army of National
On June 2 at 1 a.m., the Northern Front of the Dessalinien Army of
National Liberation (ADLN) occupied the northern town of Borgne just as
it did the northern town of Plaisance in February. Four policemen
stationed in the town's police station surrendered when so ordered by
the commander of the ADLN's assault team. They realized the town and the
police station were truly captured. Those policemen were not mistreated
in any way even though they were afraid for their lives. They even
offered the ADLN guerrillas the money and jewelry they had, but we did
not accept those things. We confiscated one pair of military boots, two
.38 caliber pistols, one 9mm pistol, two homemade pistols, a 12-gauge
shotgun and a bullet-proof vest. Those weapons will now serve to defend
the dignity of the Haitian people.
The ADLN's High Command takes this opportunity once again to tell all
the Haitian police to give up whenever they come under an ADLN attack
just as the policemen in Borgne did with discipline. It is in their
interest to desert all the police stations in the country. They will
return to serve as police when national sovereignty is re-established.
Whenever the Haitian National Police meet with the ADLN, if the police
conduct themselves badly, they will without question become victims. The
ADLN's mission is to rid the country of all military forces, both
foreign and indigenous, which defend the subservient criminal regime now
raping state power.
Haiti's liberation war has already begun. The ADLN will fight until the
final victory, just as Dessalines did.
HOW THE U.N. BACKS REPRESSION IN HAITI
by the Haiti Information Project
On June 11, Special Representative and Head of the U.N. Mission in Haiti
Juan Gabriel Valdes, made a statement on Haitian radio stations
declaring he had lived through the Pinochet dictatorship and, "compared
to that experience, there is no political persecution in Haiti."
Although his comment was broadcast throughout Haiti's capital, it was
ridiculous enough to be ignored by the mainstream international media.
More ominously, Valdes' comments mirror those of Haiti's traditional
economic and political elites, the very forces that are working to close
the door on national reconciliation and to exclude Aristide's Lavalas
Family party from participating in upcoming elections. His words also
represent a dangerous shift in U.N. policy in Haiti following what
appeared to be a period where the daily reality of political repression
against Lavalas supporters was acknowledged.
For a short time there was hope that the U.N. was serious about checking
the rabid hatred of Haiti's elites towards Lavalas and addressing the
human rights violations of the Haitian police. The commander of U.N.
forces in Haiti, Brazilian Lt. Gen. Augusto Heleno Ribeiro, protested
after the Haitian police fired on a peaceful demonstration by supporters
of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 28. According to the
Associated Press (AP), Ribeiro said on Mar. 1 that "police killings had
poisoned an atmosphere that peacekeepers had been working to improve for
two months." Ribeiro continued: "But police went there and killed six
people on Friday ... now we're being received with a completely
different attitude." On Mar. 4, Valdes was quoted in the Miami Herald as
saying: "We cannot tolerate executions. We can't tolerate shooting out
of control. We will not permit human rights abuses." According to the
Herald, Valdes also promised that "U.N. peacekeepers will intervene --
and use force if necessary -- if Haitian police attack unarmed civilians
After the police killings of Feb. 28, the U.N. reacted by barring the
Haitian police from security duties during demonstrations the following
week. This U.N. policy was short-lived as interim Justice Minister
Bernard Gousse [who resigned on Jun. 14 - ed.] claimed that the limits
placed on the police by the U.N. were illegal and usurped the rights of
the Haitian state. The U.N. backed down to the pressure and allowed the
Haitian police to resume the killing during another peaceful
demonstration on Apr. 27. This attack prompted another outcry by human
rights organizations and finally forced U.N. Secretary General Kofi
Annan to echo their demands for an official investigation. The
U.S.-installed government of Gérard Latortue dismissed the allegations
and the statements of Ribeiro, Valdes and Annan despite video footage
taken by a local television station confirming the unprovoked attacks.
The footage also showed Haitian policemen planting guns on corpses to
justify the Apr. 27 slayings.
Valdes reportedly asked Leslie Voltaire, a former official in Aristide's
administration before his ouster, about the existence of this video
footage. According to Voltaire, Valdes was not even aware that the
footage had been broadcast several times on a local television station.
"He didn't even know that the television station existed," Voltaire
said. Since then, Valdes and the U.N. have completely ignored the
evidence of extra-judicial killings committed by the Haitian police and
have failed to launch an investigation.
The U.N.'s failure to hold the police accountable sent a clear message
throughout Haiti that impunity for crimes committed by the Haitian
police would be tolerated. This message set the tone and context for the
recent wave of kidnappings and violence plaguing Port-au-Prince. It also
served to confirm for Lavalas supporters that the U.N. was itself
complicit in the killings, especially after its military forces were
seen resuming collaboration with the police in subsequent deadly raids
against the capital's poor neighborhoods.
Since the police were not held accountable, the only thing lacking was
an official justification for the U.N.'s continuing collaboration with
the police and its turning of a blind-eye to their human rights record.
On May 27, this justification was provided by the Haitian elite and
delivered by the President of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and
Industry, Dr. Reginald Boulos. During this meeting between the business
community and Haiti's Chief of Police Léon Charles, Boulos demanded the
Latortue government allow the business community to form their own
private security firms and arm them with automatic weapons. This was
clearly a demand to legalize the business community's own private
militias to kill what Boulos, and others in his circle, have referred to
as "Lavalas bandits." Boulos also suggested the Latortue regime allow
businesses to withhold taxes for one month and use the money to buy more
powerful weapons for the police on the international market. These
statements served the dual purpose of pressuring the U.N. with the
prospect of government-sanctioned private militias killing off Lavalas
supporters while providing another pretext for the Bush administration
to lift the 14 year-old arms embargo against Haiti. "If they don't allow
us to do this then we'll take on own initiative and do it anyway,"
Following Boulos' statements, Chief of Police Léon Charles addressed the
business leaders and further politicized the issue of violence and
insecurity, casting it as a "war against urban guerillas" bent on
destabilizing the Haitian government. Without saying Lavalas, Charles
used the code word that has come to describe Aristide's political party
among Haiti's entrenched elites: "bandits."
In the days following May 27, other members of Haiti's business elite
began to criticize the U.N. for being too soft on the "bandits,"
demanding they take harsher action. Industrialist and virulent Aristide
opponent, Charles Henry Baker, took to the airwaves on May 30 and pushed
it one step further by accusing U.N. forces of providing protection to
"Yesterday morning, when I saw MINUSTAH [UN Stabilization Mission in
Haiti] troops positioned on the Airport Road, I told myself we were in
big trouble," Baker stated on Radio Métropole, "because the presence of
MINUSTAH troops is, I believe, a form of protection for the armed
bandits and nothing more. The bandits are indeed at work in these
places. As for the police [pause] and as for the MINUSTAH troops, once
they hear shooting, they just get inside their tanks for protection and
do nothing. Meanwhile, the bandits do whatever they want."
The Haitian elite's pressure campaign reached critical mass when the
U.N. and the Haitian police launch a major offensive against the poor
neighborhood of Cité Soleil on the morning of May 31. According to
residents, the U.N. and the police entered the area and began shooting
indiscriminately in the street and at homes without provocation. Elie
Theodore was running from the gunfire when a bullet struck him in the
back of the head. He did not die instantly and writhed in pain as blood
and brains flowed out of the back of his head. Solange Emitide ran for
cover into her house and hid under the bed when two bullets struck her
in the back. Solange managed to crawl out to the front of her house
where she died in a puddle of her own blood. Panicked children fled
their schools to return home through plumes of black smoke as automatic
weapons fire hit propane tanks used for cooking and set several
buildings ablaze. None of this received any mention on Haitian radio
stations in the capital or in subsequent reports filed by the
international press. What did catch their attention was an attack by
unidentified gunmen on a large market on the outskirts of Cité Soleil
called Marché TLte Boeuf. Several people were burned to death in the
market after the same gunmen reportedly threw Molotov cocktails, setting
the structure ablaze.
The next day the Haitian elite, echoed in the international press,
accused the now infamous "Lavalas bandits" of striking again. The
rhetoric calling for U.N. military actions against the poor
neighborhoods intensified in the Haitian press as accusations of human
rights abuses by the Haitian police are conveniently forgotten.
Ironically, on the same day, Sanel Joseph was laid to rest in a funeral
conducted by Father Gérard Jean-Juste in Cité Soleil. Following another
peaceful Lavalas demonstration on May 18, the Haitian police gunned down
Joseph as he returned home. During the homily Jean-Juste declared:
"Sanel died standing up for the Haitian constitution. He believed in the
law but now the law has been turned against the poor and those who stand
for justice. There is no justice in Haiti today!"
On June 3, the Haitian police began a four-day operation against the
population in the neighborhood of Bel Air. Journalists entering the
neighborhood were shown huge pools of blood where victims were
reportedly shot without warning and residents indicated that more than
30 people were killed during the police raids. More than 12 homes were
reportedly burned to the ground in what many human rights observers
described as a "scorched earth" policy of the Haitian police. Residents
also reported being unable to flee indiscriminate shooting by the police
without running into roadblocks and checkpoints set up by U.N. forces
surrounding the area. Many complained of arbitrary arrests of relatives
by U.N. forces collaborating with the Haitian police as they tried to
escape the gunfire.
The U.N.-backed raids and killings in Bel Air, meant to assuage Haiti's
elite, were apparently not enough to insure compliance with U.S.
policymakers' plans. On June 5, the Washington Post reported that the
"U.S. Embassy in Haiti had recommended sending a small force of U.S.
Marines to secure elections scheduled for October and November." Michel
Brunache, Haiti's de facto Cabinet chief, responded in a June 6 AP
report: "We hope the U.S. government will move quickly with any plans
because the situation is very grave, and 1,000 Marines would make a
The U.S. government also announced on June 8 that it plans to lift its
arms embargo against Haiti. During a ceremony where the U.S. Embassy
donated $2.6 million worth of equipment to the Haitian police, U.S.
Ambassador James B. Foley stated: "Those weapons are a very important
element in the capacity of the Haitian police to ensure security." To
emphasize the U.S. policy of further militarizing Haiti's police, US
assistant secretary for State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger
Noriega arrived in Haiti the same day. Echoing Haiti's elite, Noriega
told to the international press: "We regard it as extremely important
that the United Nations take the necessary measures to fulfill their
mandate." Without considering the death toll in Bel Air prior to his
visit, Noriega continued: "It is urgent that they respond to the wave of
violence and to the insecurity to assure the Haitian people that they
The international community and the U.N. forces are supposedly on the
ground in Haiti to prepare for new elections and to "restore democracy."
Given the tremendous human tragedy left in the wake of the overthrow of
Aristide, elections are the only process left to legitimize the carnage.
The U.N. is hostage to Haiti's ultra-reactionary elite and a U.S.
foreign policy that dictates that elections can only be held if violence
is eradicated by military force and more guns. Any attempt to address
the underlying causes of violence in Haiti today is inconvenient because
it means recognizing the political repression of the Lavalas. It means
confessing that the Haitian police have been given a carte blanche to
kill peaceful demonstrators with impunity. It means recognizing the
plight of Lavalas political prisoners being held without charges in
Haitian jails. It means admitting that Haiti's largest political party
is justified in not participating in the next elections. It means
admitting that Juan Gabriel Valdes is lying and knows better when he
says, "there is no political persecution in Haiti."
The Haiti Information Project (HIP) is a non-profit alternative news
service providing coverage and analysis of breaking developments in
LIVING WITH THE NEW TONTON MACOUTES IN THE REPUBLIC OF MIAMI
by Doumic Romain
In 2003, while filming a documentary on Haitian music during the 10th
Annual Rasin Festival at Miami's Bayfront Park, I was assaulted, falsely
arrested, tormented, ridiculed, humiliated, tortured, brutalized and
terrorized by Miami police Haitian officer Stanley Jean Poix (Badge
#3486) and Paul Andre Noel (Badge #5471). The state of Florida, falsely
prosecuted me, charging me with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest
without violence. I did not act in any disorderly manner and I fully
complied with the police.
These charges were dismissed. Nevertheless, my rights were violated, and
I brought the matter to the attention of the Miami Police Department and
the Internal Affairs Division. It was covered up.
What occurred during that evening of my beating is as follows:
As I approached the side of the stage, I was stopped by Police Officer
Stanley Jean Poix and asked for a pass. I had on my staff T-shirt and a
staff wristband, which gave me access to the area. Before I even had a
chance to show him my wristband, Jean Poix, slammed his hand on my
chest, grabbed me, and threatened me with arrest. He finally let me go
because Rodney Noel of Noel and Cecibon Productions, one of the
co-promoters of the concert, intervened.
I left the area and then attempted to file a complaint with his
superiors. I spoke to Police Officer Fuertes, who was posted by the
beverage tent. He radioed his superiors backstage. Officer Fuertes
informed me that he could not leave his post to escort me backstage and
that I should speak to Lieutenant or Sergeant Harris who was in charge.
I then went to the side of the stage to get Officer Jean Poix's badge
While on the staircase, below the stage, attempting to obtain the badge
number, I was again assaulted by Jean Poix and then arrested. I raised
my hands up in the air and surrendered so that the police could not say
that I resisted arrest or shoot me after saying I pulled a shiny object
out of my pocket .
Officer Jean Poix threw me to the ground, and at least six Miami police
officers jumped on me. Knees were placed on my back and head, my arms
were twisted, and I was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting
arrest without violence.
After my arrest, I was thrown to the ground. They sat me in a puddle of
water backstage. While in custody, Officer Jean Poix began to laugh at
me, ridiculed me, and stated "since you wanted my badge number, now you
have it and you will also spend a night in jail."
Then he said: "You wanted to be a big man. Look at you now. All the
girls saw you being arrested and thrown on the floor."
Police Officer Paul Andre Noel: "You're lucky that we did not use the
taser gun on you."
Police Officer Jean Poix to Police Officer Paul Noel: "He thinks he is a
big man; he told the people out there to film what was happening to
Police Officer Jean Poix to me: "What were you going to do with that
badge number? You want to give me trouble?"
Police Officer Paul Noel: "We know what he was going to do with that
number - now you have it."
Jean Poix and Paul Andre Noel were gloating about my mistreatment. I
told Jean Poix that the handcuffs were too tight; he made them tighter
and began laughing. They refused to let me go to the bathroom. I sat
with my hands behind my back on a wet floor in an agonizingly awkward
and painful position for approximately two and a half hours. I repeated
my request to loosen the handcuffs. They just laughed and ignored me.
To further humiliate me, they forced me to sit handcuffed on the wet
floor backstage in view of all media, VIPs, and performers whom I had
previously interviewed for my documentary. Performers, their entourages,
and other police were inquiring about the reasons for my arrest and Jean
Poix began to fabricate a story to further embarrass me. This is what I
had to endure instead of being taken to a squad car.
On my way to the police car, another police officer of Haitian descent
said: "I don't understand why you talk back to the Police, this
democracy thing. if you were in Haiti, you would be killed if you talked
back to the Police". Jean Poix stated that someone told him I had stolen
the staff shirt and wristband that I was wearing. He also claimed to be
"the best cop in Little Haiti" and said he would "tell the judge exactly
In court, Jean Poix concocted a bizarre story to justify violating my
civil rights. He claimed that he had asked me to leave the stage on
multiple occasions, and that I had refused.
This was a total fabrication, and at no time did Jean Poix ever ask me
to leave. Jean Poix asked me for a pass. I had a wrist band pass and a
staff shirt on. Jean Poix also stated that I refused to put my hands
behind my back when I ordered to do so. I fully complied with the police
order. A witness told judge Karen Francis Mills that I had my hands the
air and was thrown to the ground and arrested.
On March 29, 2004, outside judge Mills' courtroom, Jean Poix threatened
me and tried to pin me against the wall. He walked up very close to me
in a very threatening manner and arrogantly asked: "What's up?"
On September 7, 2004 between the hours of 12:00 noon and 1:00 PM, on the
second floor of the Miami Dade County Court Justice Building at 1351 NW
12th Avenue, while waiting for the elevator to go to the lobby of the
court house, Jean Poix walked towards me several times, looking at me as
if he wanted to make sure that I knew that he recognized me.
After he made eye contact with me, he started to observe me, approaching
me very menacingly. While holding his gun, he invaded my personal space,
made body contact with me and asked if I had a problem. "No," I
responded. He stated sarcastically "I didn't think so," and then walked
I reported these incidents to the Miami Police Internal Affairs
Division. Sergeant Jose Gonzalez visited my home unannounced and left
his card. When I called him, he told me the case was closed as
unsupported. He promised to return my call. I reported these incidents
to the Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP #04-032). They claim they are
looking into it.
I wrote several letters to Police Chief Timoney and Major Cadavid
requesting a written disposition of the case (IA case #04-283S) and the
basis for their decision. Finally, Major Cadavid of Internal Affairs
sent me a letter saying he wanted to discuss the case. I sent him a set
of questions to facilitate the discussion. I have not heard from him
As an African, as a Haitian American citizen, everyday I live with
American hypocrisy. I witnessed and have been victimized by American
judicial charades. If America is truly based on the rule of law and
transparency, then why do those who label Abu Ghraib as an isolated
incident and an aberration remain silent about the injustices of the
criminal justice/industrial complex and rogue members of the American
law enforcement apparatus.
How can Haitians in Haiti and the Haitian diaspora trust officials and
officers of the American state who profess to protect and serve the
citizenry, but in fact systematically brutalize, torture, abuse, and
terrorize them, violating their civil and human rights and maliciously
criminalizing them with impunity.
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Governor Jeb Bush, and President Bush claim to
be concerned about the welfare of Haitians and human rights in Haiti,
but not in Florida.
If the Miami Police department cannot conduct a legitimate and
transparent investigation into a complaint of false arrest, brutality,
torture and intimidation by a Haitian American citizen in Miami, how can
we trust these Haitian-American officers to act professionally in Haiti?
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