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25615: Haiti Progres (news) This Week in Haiti 23 : 17 7/6/2005 (fwd)
From: Haïti Progrès <email@example.com>
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
July 6 - 12, 2005
Vol. 23, No. 17
AS U.S. ENVOY CHARGES "TERRORISM":
LAVALAS RENEGADES PREPARE TO ENTER OCCUPATION ELECTIONS
This past week, the Washington Post reported that United Nations
Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the Bush administration to send
troops to Haiti to "reinforce" the 6500-member U.N. Mission to Stabilize
Annan made the request for American "boots on the ground" to U.S.
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice at U.N. headquarters in Manhattan on
Jun. 28, the Post reported.
Many in the Haitian bourgeoisie have accused the U.N. troops - led and
dominated by Brazilian, Argentinian, and Chilean contingents - of being
ineffective and not repressive enough against rebellious slums in the
capital like Belair and Cité Soleil, where resistance to last year's
coup d'état against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide runs deep.
"We want scarier troops," one senior U.N. official told the Post.
But Rice had said prior to the meeting with Annan that it would be a
"mistake" for the U.S. to buttress its U.N. proxies occupying Haiti,
although she offered to encourage Canada and France to do so. Washington
is reluctant to commit troops to Haiti because the Pentagon is already
facing severe troop shortages for its campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Nonetheless, the Post reported that "U.S. and U.N. officials have begun
a series of preliminary discussions about a possible U.S. military role
in Haiti, including the provision of
logistical and intelligence support to the planned U.N. rapid reaction
force, according to senior U.N. diplomats."
Despite being coy about a U.S. troop deployment, Washington has stepped
up its rhetoric against Aristide, whom U.S. Special Forces kidnapped
from his home and sent into exile on Feb. 29, 2004. In a Jun. 24 article
in the Miami Herald, Roger Noriega, a former aid to arch-conservative
senator Jesse Helms and now U.S. assistant secretary of state for
Western Hemisphere Affairs, blamed Aristide for "personally stirring the
violence" in Haiti.
"We believe that his people are receiving instructions directly from his
voice and indirectly through his acolytes that communicate with him
personally in South Africa," Noriega told the Herald. "Aristide and his
camp are singularly responsible for most of the violence and for the
concerted nature of the violence."
Noriega also asked the U.N. occupying force to take a more "proactive
role" in repressing anti-coup resistance. He asserted that it was
"extraordinarily apparent that Aristide and his gangs are playing a
central role in generating violence, and trying to sow insecurity."
He claimed that Aristide had a 15-year "pattern" of using political
violence and that this was just "one last stand to terrorize the Haitian
people and deny them good government."
U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James Foley reiterated these themes in his
traditional July 4 speech in Haiti. He said that the wave of
kidnappings, arson, and other crimes gripping Haiti was the work of
"terrorists" who had a "silent political partner participating in an
even more illegitimate political project, but basically we know what,
and who, it involves." This was a thinly-veiled allusion to Aristide and
his Lavalas Family party (FL).
Foley's remarks caused certain FL opportunists who have been wheeling
and dealing with the putschist government of Prime Minister Gérard
Latortue to jump. Former FL Sen. Yvon Feuillé felt compelled to declare
that the Lavalas Family is "a political party which does not recognize
anybody who uses violence to attain their goal, no matter what sector
they belong to." He called on Haitians to "cohabit and reconcile
ourselves so that we can lay the conditions to have elections in the
country." Noting that in the past two months eligible voters have
shunned getting electoral cards (less than 4% of eligible voters have
registered), he then called on Lavalas members to procure their
electoral cards "between the Jul. 15 and Aug. 30" so as to "show the
whole world that you have electoral cards."
Mario Dupuy of the FL's Communications Commission, the party's leading
council, denounced the call, saying that "Yvon Feuillé has confirmed
once again, although I had no doubt about it, that he is an integral
part of the of the Feb. 29 coup d'état and that he carries
responsibility for the population's blood that is spilled each day."
Dupuy said that "Feuillé and company" - a reference to confederates like
former legislators Gérard Gilles and Rudy Hériveaux - were
"magouilleurs" (opportunists) and that "the population already knows
that it is the majority; it has demonstrated that by staying home and
not participating in the mascarade of accepting the false and poisonous
In recent weeks, the National Popular Party (PPN) and several
FL-affiliated popular organizations have been circulating a flyer urging
Haitians to shun the "electoral card trap" so as "not to play into the
hands of the Feb. 29 kidnappers" (see HaVti ProgrPs, Vol. 23, No. 13,
HAVE THE LATORTUES KIDNAPPED DEMOCRACY IN HAITI?
by Anthony Fenton
(Second of three installments)
On Jun. 9, Radio Vision 2000, which is jointly owned by Boulos and Andy
Apaid, leader of the anti-Aristide and U.S. backed Group of 184
coalition, blamed "unabated" kidnappings on "bandits."
"It really seems as if armed bandits will not give Port-au-Prince
residents a moment's respite," the radio opined, "because not a day has
gone by without a kidnapping being committed in the capital."
In a later interview with Haiti's Radio Métropole, Apaid would
characterize the violence and kidnappings as "part of a Lavalas plot to
regain control." Apaid refers to the kidnappings as being carried out in
a series of "well coordinated waves."
"I have no doubt that some sectors are doing this for commercial reasons
or things like that," he said. "But most of the violence that we are
undergoing today comes from these people that were armed by the former
dictator [Jean-Bertrand Aristide]... It is clear that it is the armed
branch of the Lavalas party, the armed sectors of the Lavalas party that
are sponsoring the violence for the most part. They are the ones that
are sponsoring the kidnapping... The kidnapping is mainly a political
instrument aimed at reinforcing this terror and bringing despair and
discouragement in order to give better political options. Because there
is a plan behind all this... The plan is to entertain such violence that
should unseat and put everybody in a state of helplessness and
As the 'kidnapping scourge" reached a crescendo, the high-level
delegation led by [U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roger] Noriega
along with Canada's special envoy to Haiti, Denis Coderre, and France's
Daniel Parfait. This visit, premised on a show of "solidarity" with
Gérard Latortue by the primary "donor" countries, saw an increase in
speculation about U.S. troops being sent in. On the show of support for
Latortue, Coderre said: "We are here together to send a strong message:
We want the elections to take place in time."
On Jun. 10, the Miami Herald summarized Noriega's trip: "Noriega calls
for the UN to be more 'proactive' in squelching 'a coordinated campaign
of criminality' that is undermining efforts to restore peace to this
troubled Caribbean nation." In an Orwellian moment, Noriega said: "The
rights of the vast majority of the Haitian people are being violated by
the ones who spread violence . . . It's a deadly destabilization
Showing how Noriega's sentiments cater to the business elite, the Herald
concluded, "Noriega's comments echoed the sentiments of many Haitians
who see the peacekeepers as too passive in the face of an onslaught of
kidnappings, carjackings and shootouts."
On Jun. 14, Haitian National Police [HNP] spokesperson Jessie Coicou
announced the creation of a "special intervention unit... to combat
kidnappings for ransom." Coicou attended the Montreal International
Conference on Haiti two days later and would subsequently get promoted
to inspector-general of the HNP on Jun. 22. Coicou also announced the
arrests of several individuals in relation to kidnappings, including at
least one Haitian police officer and someone supposed to be affiliated
with Aristide, who was allegedly "caught while distributing money in
Bel-Air to maintain the climate of violence." After weeks of presuming
the guilt of Aristide supporters, the government had finally taken what
seemed to be a concrete measure to substantiate any of the claims.
Coicou's announcements were well-timed to coincide with the conference
in Montreal, where security in advance of the October elections was a
central topic of discussion. Two days before the conference, the AP
speculated that kidnappings and other violence could "undermine" the
During a Jun. 12 interview with virulently anti-Aristide reporter Nancy
Roc, Denis Coderre feigned sympathy for the kidnap victims: "I would
like to offer my condolences to all the victims of kidnapping," Coderre
intoned. Roc herself fled the country just days later in the face of
alleged kidnapping threats against her. The NED-funded pseudo-human
rights organization Reporters Without Borders [RSF] would quickly come
to her defense, and took a swipe at the exiled Aristide in the process,
writing that Roc "blamed the threats on drug-traffickers, linked, she
believes, to the Fanmi Lavalas, militias that support ex-president
Interestingly, RSF notes how Roc's employer at Radio Métropole, Richard
Widmaier, escaped a kidnapping attempt on Jun. 11. RSF neglected to
mention Widmaier's opinion on the kidnappings, captured in the Miami
Herald on Jun. 23: "We have a situation here that is more similar to
what you see happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's terrorism... You
have guys who pretend to be supporters of former President Aristide,
attacking people in the streets, burning cars and kidnapping people."
An unidentified speaker on a Jun. 15 Haitian Signal Radio broadcast
referred to "a very organized sector" that is executing the kidnappings.
This was echoed in a Jun. 20 Agence Haitienne Presse (AHP) article,
citing a radio director from Quebec, that "the kidnappers are
well-organized gangs, formed, among other things, by Haitians who lived
in Quebec and in the United States and who were expelled because of
their criminal activities. White people living in Haiti could also be
part of these criminal gangs." Signal Radio also warned of an "exodus"
of Haitians fleeing the kidnappings and other insecurity.
On the official policy side, where examples of the kidnappings being
used as a pretext to increase repression are slightly more transparent,
we can turn to Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew, who addressed
the topic of kidnappings, to fellow "trustees," in Montreal on Jun. 16.
"The recent wave of abductions in Port-au-Prince is especially
troubling," he said. "This climate of violence must change in
anticipation of the fall elections...Port-au-Prince, where most of the
violence has occurred, must be secured. We must study with utmost care
the possibility of augmenting military and police
contingents...Maintaining security, in addition to having benefits for
Haiti's people, is necessary for the holding of free, transparent and
democratic elections this fall."
In a special parliamentary hearing on Haiti on Jun. 14, Pettigrew and
Coderre were called upon to discuss human rights in Haiti with other
parliamentarians. Coderre must have picked up some counterinsurgency
lingo from his friend Noriega, which he deployed in the meeting,
volunteering the profound analysis that there is an "urban strategy to
try to destabilize the situation."
Deflecting questions raised by NDP foreign affairs critic Alexa
McDonough, Pettigrew referred to the kidnappings to illustrate his point
about the danger of looking at things in a one-sided way: "When we had
the kidnapping of the Canadian women, the Montreal women, two days ago,
I had been the first to say that there were security concerns, so I'm
not saying that raising them.... I'm talking about absolutism. I'm
talking about taking only that part of the picture and focusing on it
plays into the extreme elements of [Lavalas] which don't want the rest
of the picture... Certainly I think it's our duty as members of
Parliament, and for us as the government, to make Canadians well aware
of the situation, so that they don't set their foot into a reality that
they're not aware of."
Rather than raise a question that drew from the independent and
meticulously documented human rights report by Thomas Griffin of the
University of Miami, which the Canadian government and Pettigrew
specifically have dismissed without counter argument, slurring it as
"propaganda," McDonough based her question on the most recent
International Crisis Group report (ICG), released on Jun. 1. Partially
funded by the Canadian government, the ICG report has, in theory, a far
greater influence on policy than the numerous independent reports on
Haiti. Interestingly, the ICG report is much clearer than Pettigrew or
Coderre on the possibilities of transitional government and
international complicity in the crime wave, kidnappings, and drug
Where the ICG does mention "factions sympathetic to Aristide" as among
the "powerful spoilers" who have "much to gain" from insecurity and
violence, they also refer to "elements of the business elite, drug
traffickers, or other criminal organizations" as having "an interest in
"Powerful people" have an "overarching long-term objective," which is to
"prevent the creation and development of solid and effective state
institutions which would reduce or halt their current activities."
"Groups linked to criminal activities, particularly drug-trafficking and
contraband (in Haiti and abroad) are behind much of the current wave of
Noting that "the HNP and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have
arrested many individuals linked to Fanmi Lavalas," the ICG emphasizes
that "only suspects believed to be close to Lavalas have been detained
in combined HNP/DEA operations." They continue:
"The perceived inaction of international law enforcement agencies with
regard to the transitional government has led many in Haiti to believe
that their actions are driven in part by political or strategic reasons.
The roles of U.S. agencies such as the DEA and CIA, therefore, continue
to be controversial."
Faced with McDonough's question, Pettigrew deferred to Coderre. Before
addressing the ICG report, Coderre, knowing that human rights activists
had met recently with Alexa McDonough, was quick to define his position
on independent reports, characterizing them as "propaganda reports,"
which he also claimed are lying. Coderre presented no evidence and
refused to address any of the facts, interviews, photographs, or other
damning context, in these so-called "propaganda reports."
He called the University of Miami report, which he and dozens of members
of Parliament have been presented, "disgusting." He cited allegations of
Canadian police misconduct as "baloney." Turning to the ICG report,
Coderre changed his tune: "a lot of the report is good," he said, and
"we should provide some credibility" to it. Coderre seems to believe
that "credibility" can come only from the Canadian government or,
presumably, Washington, and not from the evidence itself, which he
While it is unlikely that Coderre himself understands this, aspects of
the ICG report are, indeed, credible. Youri Latortue's career confirms a
number of the report's assertions about the Haitian government's
involvement in kidnapping and insecurity. There is, however, much
missing from the ICG report: Specifically, the extent to which the
US/Canada/French-backed regime is involved in kidnapping, drug
smuggling, massacre, and arms trafficking. All this, too, is illustrated
by focusing on Youri Latortue.
To be continued
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