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26197: This Week In Haiti 23:26 9/7/2005 (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 *
September 7- 13, 2005
Vol. 23, No. 26
LAVALAS RENEGADES MANEUVER TO WIN OVER PARTY BASE
Controversy and confusion have reigned in the Lavalas Family party (FL)
since Aug. 8, when three former FL parliamentarians registered the party
for November elections being sponsored by Haiti's coup government and
the foreign occupation troops which back it (see HaVti ProgrPs, Vol. 23,
No. 22, 8/10/2005).
The enrollment made by former FL senators Louis Gérald Gilles and Yvon
Feuillé along with former FL deputy Rudy Hériveau was widely denounced
by spokespersons from Lavalas-affiliated popular organizations in
Port-au-Prince's shanty towns as well as by the party's Miami-based
Communications Commission, supposedly second only to exiled President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the FL hierarchy.
"The Lavalas Family party denounces and condemns with all its might the
conduct of Senators Feuillé and Gilles and of Deputy Hériveau, who have
neither the authority nor the mandate to enroll the party in elections,"
the Communications Commission said in an Aug. 9 statement. "This
demagogic attempt to register the organization in the mascarade they are
calling an election will not succeed." The Commission said it would take
"all necessary legal and disciplinary measures" against the three
But on Sep. 5, Gilles and Hériveaux made another "demagogic attempt" to
rally support behind their electoral ambitions. Flanked by FL popular
organization leaders from Cité Soleil, they threatened to not
participate in elections unless the government of de facto Prime
Minister Gérard Latortue released political prisoners, stopped
repression and opened dialogue.
But without even waiting for the de facto government's response to their
demands - a rejection which came minutes later - Gilles and Hériveau
announced that they would register imprisoned Catholic priest Father
Gérard Jean-Juste as the Lavalas Family's presidential candidate on
Tuesday, Sep. 13.
"It looks like they are trying to get Jean-Juste killed in jail,"
commented Lavarice Gaudin, a leader of Veye Yo, the popular organization
which Jean-Juste founded in Miami almost two decades ago.
Jean-Juste has been imprisoned without charges since Jul. 21 (see HaVti
ProgrPs, Vol. 23, No. 20, 7/27/2005). He was severely beaten by a mob
before his arrest but has received no medical attention. He has lost
consciousness more than once in his hot, airless, cramped cell.
The maneuver by Gilles and Hériveau (Feuillé is reportedly at odds with
them for the moment) is transparent. First, they postured behind an Aug.
31 statement made by Aristide from South Africa calling for Jean-Juste's
"In Haiti, in order to have elections and not a 'selection,' the
following steps must be taken," Aristide wrote. "1. The thousands of
Lavalas who are in jail and in exile must be free to return home." This
would naturally include President Aristide himself, whose physical
return the party has always made a condition. "2. The repression that
has already killed over 10,000 people must end immediately. 3. Then,
there must be national dialogue. Fr. Jean Juste too has echoed this call
for dialogue and peace. He must be freed. All the political prisoners
must be freed," Aristide said.
Gilles and Hériveau are trying to replace the central condition for the
FL's participation in the occupation elections - Aristide's return to
power - with a new one: release of the political prisoners.
But they are not even waiting for this condition to be met. "Before we
have the liberation of all the political prisoners, the Lavalas Family
asks all citizens to lose no time in going to get their electoral
cards," Hériveau said.
In contrast, the Aug. 9 Communications Commission asked "the people and
party members to not go stand in line for baloney electoral cards." To
date, far less than half Haiti's eligible voters have registered, even
according to the de facto Provisional Electoral Council or CEP's
Release of the political prisoners is also the concession that U.S. and
U.N. authorities are pushing for. In the past month, Juan Valdes, head
of the U.N. Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH) and James Foley, the
recently departed U.S. Ambassador, both called for the release of
prominent political prisoners like former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.
Even Haiti's new de facto Justice Minister Henri Dorléan has echoed this
Secondly, Gilles and Hériveau are trying to recuperate the Lavalas
popular organizations based in shanty towns like Cité Soleil and Belair.
Two weeks ago, Belair popular leader Sanba Boukman issued five
conditions for FL participation in elections: the liberation of all
political prisoners, return and general amnesty for political exiles,
disarmament of all illegally armed groups, resignation of the de facto
government, and the formation of an undefined "government of national
unity." Sanba Boukman also said that if the FL were to have a
presidential candidate, it should be Jean-Juste.
Although they did not call for the de facto government's removal or
disarmament, Gilles and Hériveau claimed that Sanba Boukman supports
them. He was not present at their press conference however. At the table
were former deputy Levy Joseph, former Aristide chief of staff Dr.
Jean-Claude Desgranges, former Aristide counselor Dismay César, and
occasional unofficial FL spokesman Father Yvon Massac.
But the two principal people that Gilles and Hériveau wanted to
highlight at the press conference were John Joel Joseph and René
Monplaisir, leaders of radical and combative popular organizations in
Cité Soleil. In this way, the FL renegades sought to give the impression
that they have the support of the party's head and base, which they don'
Latortue quickly dismissed the demands of the press conference, saying
that his government had no say in the release of the political prisoners
because "justice is independent" and that he would accept no conditions
for electoral participation "if they did not fall within the framework
of the law." Nonetheless, rumors persist that a deal for the release of
some prominent political prisoners is in the offing.
Meanwhile, on Aug. 30, the National Popular Party (PPN) reiterated its
rejection of any elections until the Feb. 29, 2004 coup, in which U.S.
soldiers kidnapped Aristide from his home, was reversed and the foreign
military occupation of Haiti ended.
"The PPN notes that certain unprincipled leaders at the head of the
Lavalas Family cannot lead the people to final victory because they have
betrayed the [democratic nationalist] ideals of Dec. 16, 1990," the date
of Aristide's first election, said the PPN's Georges Honorat. "These
disguised leaders only know how to corrupt the leaders of popular
organizations by offering them money and visas to sow division among the
masses... These leaders only want to get jobs as senators, deputies and
ministers so they can continue to fool the masses... Today, the PPN
notes that these opportunist Lavalas leaders have pushed certain popular
organizations to publish notes saying they are ready to participate in
elections if the political prisoners are released... The PPN calls on
the popular organizations concerned to get a grip so that they don't
regret it when they would be massacred on the alter of the
selection/elections. The PPN calls on the masses to be vigilant and
avoid falling into this trap."
The PPN closed by repeating that "we will not participate in the
selection/elections so as not to legitimize the Feb. 29 coup d'état and
the occupation of the land of [founding father Jean-Jacques] Dessalines,
of [revolutionary war hero] Capois-la-Mort, and of Charlemagne Péralte,"
who led a guerrilla resistance to the first U.S. occupation of Haiti.
Last week, the CEP changed the electoral schedule, as it has done
repeatedly, to give Haiti's recalcitrant population more time to
register. The first round of presidential and legislative elections are
now pushed back from Nov. 6 to Nov. 20, and run-offs from Dec. 11 to
Due to space limitations, we have again postponed until next week the
continuation of the article, The Haitian Revolution Revisited:
Selections from "Avengers of the New World".