Monday, October 03, 2005

US helps keep Haiti's killers armed

The New York Times recently quoted Juan Gabriel Valdes, chief of MINUSTAH, the UN operation in Haiti, as saying, “the abundance of weapons in this country is a sickness of the whole Haitian society.” Using similar essentialist logic, in January 2005, Roger Lafontant, then senior advisor to coup Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, told the Times, “All our history we have had weapons in our hands. Those who would take away our weapons, would force us to become slaves.” (Lafontant, who started out his career as a student activist supporter of the notoriously brutal dictator Papa Doc Duvalier, since took a “leave of absence” in response to accusations he profited from sales of rice meant for free distribution to the Haitian poor.)

But while part of the UN’s mandate in Haiti involves disarming armed combatants, the United States, key backer of MINUSTAH and the current coup regime, has little interest in reducing the number of guns in Haiti. A March 2005 report from Harvard Law School reported, MINUSTAH’s failure to disarm is decidedly the product of a political will, not a weak mandate.” A Haitian radio journalist told me during my last trip to Haiti that the UN disarmament program is a “good idea but it doesn’t answer its task because it targets the poorest. There are many people with more arms—business people, drug dealers, security people. They’re better armed than the poor because they’re rich.”

From the large numbers of Haitian police I saw in Port-au-Prince toting T 65s, M-16S, M-1s, and MP5s w/night scopes, it is hard to believe the oft-repeated right-wing line that Haitian police are “outgunned” by what the coup regime calls ubiquitous “bandits,” who given the identities of civilians killed by HNP and UN “peacekeepers’, include women and children in the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

But the military aid from Washington just keeps on coming.

As Brian Concannon wrote at the September 24 / 25, 2005 edition of,

“The August 20 soccer massacre in the Grande Ravine neighborhood is illustrative of both the Haitian police's brutality and the futility of trying to reform the Haitian government by feeding it guns and money. On that day, police accompanied by machete-wielding civilians attacked a soccer crowd of thousands, shooting or hacking to death at least six and as many as thirty spectators. Our tax dollars were at both ends of the killing. The soccer game was sponsored by a USAID program, to promote peace in the neighborhood. The U.S. also sponsors the killers, the Haitian National Police, by providing guns and weapons despite a consistent history of police killings over the last eighteen months. When the House of Representatives passed Rep. Barbara Lee's resolution to block arms transfers on June 28, the State Department responded by announcing on August 9 that it would send $1.9 million worth of guns and other equipment to the police, before the elections and presumably before the Senate could vote on the resolution.”

Friday, September 09, 2005

A Visit With Father Gerard Jean-Juste, Incarcerated Servant of the Poor

On Wednesday, Sept. 7, as part of a human rights delegation from the U.S., I visited Amnesty International prisoner of conscience and Lavalas Party leader Father Gerard Jean-Juste. Jean-Juste, who seemed tired but in characteristically upbeat spirits, was recently moved from Port-au-Prince's main penitentiary to his current confines in a decidedly less medieval facility in the Pacot neighborhood.
The Pacot annex is a former private residence with clean surroundings, breatheable air, sunlight and room to move around, a far cry from the downtown lockup where I visited Jean-Juste in July. Getting in to see Jean-Juste was also more difficult in July, when the prison director told my colleague and me that we could not meet with the activist priest (apparently due to bureaucratic oversight, we later did anyway on a tour of the prison). On Wednesday, we arrived as a group of Jean-Juste's parishoners from St.Claire church were leaving. The five of them, including an elderly woman who was positively glowing, were happy to have relayed the message that Jean-Juste's feeding programs for hundreds of local children are ongoing despite his incarceration.
Jean-Juste's arrest on trumped-up charges was facilitated by a demonization campaign of ousted President Aristide's Lavalas Party waged by right-wing elites who control most of Haiti's media. Jean-Juste was violently attacked at a funeral he attended, the physical assaults on him only ending with his arrest, which he calls a classic case of "blaming the victim".
Lavalas has maintained consistent demands regarding Haitian elections the UN, with the support of U.S., Canada and France (the three countries most prominent in facilitating the coup which forced out President Aristide's Lavalas government and brought back a reign of military and paramilitary terror) has arranged for November and December. The party continues to argue that the elections cannot be free and fair unless there is an end to the brutal repression of Lavalas supporters, the over one thousand political prisoners are freed, and President Aristide and other political exiles are allowed to return to Haiti to help restore constitutional democracy. If this does not happen, Lavalas faithful are saying there will be "selections" by coup-friendly major powers, not true elections.
But given the millions of dollars being channeled into the electoral process (while cuts to Lavalas social programs by the coup regime exacerbate already dire conditions for most Haitians) seem likely to guarantee that elections will go forward no matter how the majorty feel, many on the streets are hoping that Jean-Juste will be named a last minute candidate.
Mario Joseph, Jean-Juste's Port-au-Prince based lawyer, told me, "People from the steets want him to run. People trust Father Jean-Juste and feel like they have no choice, so they'll take this chance. Father Jean-Juste feels embarassed at this call to be the candidate of the people, and doesn't want to leave his parish. But he's the only candidate people trust. Jean-Juste serves the poor, always goes to the poorest neighborhoods when there are demonstrations, and helps with funerals after police and UN soldiers kill protestors. Other politicians say they'll serve the poor, but usually don't."
Joseph added, "He has the trust and love of the people for all he has done for them, which is why the government wants to stop him and he is in jail. The U.S. embassy and UN don't want to use him as a peacemaker, because that would make him politically stronger and a threat to elite interests."
Jean-Juste concurred, saying that the son-in-law of the current de facto President had targeted the priest for "incendiary sermons." Jean-Juste had repeatedly said that Article 21 of the Haitian Constitution forbids cooperation with anyone working to destroy the government of Haiti, hence the coup regime should not be supported. He also argued that corrupt elites behind death squads and arbitrary executions are the worst criminals, and hence are hypocrites to accuse all street dissidents of being "bandits" (a term constantly used to describe vicitims of police and UN repression, including a man sitting outside his home confined to a wheelchair who was shot in the head by UN "peacekeepers").
Jean-Juste told our delegation, "I also spoke out to condemn the July 6 massacre of civilians by Brazilian troops in Cite Soleil, and in a visit to Miami called for a demonstration at the Brazilian embassy. So I'm paying for a lot of things. It is wrong for the government to take state power against an innocent person, to crush me. But I will forgive them on a spiritual level if they release me."

Of the potential for his candidacy, he said, "the amazing part is this is coming from the poorest ones" and expressed his admiration for the persistence of their struggle. He also made clear that he needs to speak to President Aristide (who remains exiled in South Africa) before making any decision, but such communication had not been permitted by his captors.
Jean-Juste pointed out that George W. Bush's betrayal of the people of New Orleans was similar to his silence on the demands of Congressional Black Caucus members to oppose repression of Lavalas. "We should take a lesson from the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina. When people are in need we should take care of them, and disengage from war. The young men and women at war in Iraq should not be there. It's a war for lies, the same as the right wing lies about Aristide."
He added, "if Aristide was still in Haiti, there would be uniforms and books for children who are now unable to start school. Malnutrition is so high, food is so expensive. This is what the coup has brought."
Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, another high profile prisoner the coup regime is refusing to release despite sustained international pressure, is confined in a separate wing of the Pacot annex. Jean-Juste had not been allowed to visit Neptune, but briefly saw him and said his health was "bad". Jean-Juste himself is in need of blood and other tests after collapsing in his former cell, but though the interim government provided treatment for a skin condition shared by many  in the National Penitentiary, the Lavalas leader has not yet received the needed tests. When asked how if he felt confident of his security in the current facility, he answered "no".
He expressed his appreciation for international solidarity, and asked that it be continued as much as possible. To disheartened fellow Haitians, he said, "Don't cry too much, there's work to do. Let's do it."

Open letter to the World Bank regarding recent statement on Haiti
ZNet | Corporate Globalization

Open letter to the World Bank regarding recent statement on Haiti:
by Many Signers; September 04, 2005

August 30, 2005

Paul Wolfowitz, President
The World Bank
1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
 Dear Mr. Wolfowitz,
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, write in response to the World Bank's recent statement on Haiti.
On July 27, the World Bank posted on its web site an article titled "Haiti: One Year Later"[1] that grossly misrepresents the current reality in Haiti.
To lead readers to the article, the World Bank posted a banner headline at the top of its home page reading: "Haiti's Recovery, A Year of Progress" and the teaser: "New schools, roads, and jobs are among the achievements of the Interim Cooperation Framework, Haiti's economic, social and political recovery program." This is an inexcusable whitewash of the terrible nightmare that most Haitians have suffered through since their democratically elected government was overthrown on February 29, 2004.
Haiti's economic situation remains dire. The country's GDP declined by 3.8% during the last fiscal year, which ended September 2004, and there is little evidence to suggest that there has been substantial improvement since then. The past year has been one of sharp decline in living standards for the vast majority of Haitians. The Haitian people have had to endure arbitrary, politically motivated detentions by the state, police violence including extra judicial killings (particularly directed towards residents of Haiti's slums), and a sharp increase in kidnappings, rapes, and murders. Under the interim government of Haiti human rights conditions have deteriorated so dramatically that United Nations Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno stated at the end of June that "Haitians in Cap Haitien …are in [a] worse situation than some of the IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] I saw in Darfur."[2]
The Bank touts "recruiting 2,300 new police officers" as one of Haiti's achievements since the coup. It is well known that former members of death squads and of the military, which was disbanded by Aristide in a widely popular move, have been reincorporated into the police.  According to the Catholic Institute for International Relations, many members of the Haitian National Police (HNP) have "links to the previous military or have been involved in drug rackets, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings or other illegal activities."[3] Since the incorporation of former military personnel in its ranks the HNP has been accused of numerous human rights abuses from a variety of sources including: the Bureau of International Lawyers, the Center for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Miami School of Law, the Harvard University Law School Advocates for Human Rights, and Amnesty International.
An investigation of human rights in Haiti published in January 2005 by the University of Miami Law School Center for the Study of Human Rights found Cité Soleil and Bel Air (two of Haiti's largest slums) to be under siege by the HNP and UN forces. The report found that UN forces and Haitian police enter these neighborhoods, which are filled with supporters of the elected former government and the Famni Lavalas political party, and mount violent attacks that routinely kill residents.  The report also described numerous attacks on unarmed demonstrators and residents of these neighborhoods by the Haitian police including the shooting of unarmed demonstrators in downtown Port-au-Prince on September 30, 2004[4]. 
Cases of summary executions of unarmed civilians have also surfaced. Haitian police are accused of executing 12 young men on October 25, 2004 in Fort National and 5 men on October 27, 2004 in broad daylight in Delmas.[5] Judy Dacruz, an independent human rights lawyer, has documented eyewitness accounts of summary executions of at least 32 unarmed people by the police between October 2004 and February 2005.[6]
The security situation is not improving, due in part to collaboration between UN and police - in fact, the situation has been made worse. A July 6, 2005 raid in Cité Soleil left at least 23 people dead (including women and children). According to residents who witnessed the raid, UN troops were the chief perpetrators of the violence.[7] Although the UN initially denied reports of unarmed civilian deaths, it later admitted to this possibility and announced an investigation.
Currently hundreds of political prisoners are being detained throughout Haiti.[8] Haiti's two most high profile political prisoners are former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and more recently Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a popular Catholic priest.  In both cases these men were arrested for crimes despite an apparent lack of evidence of their involvement. Yvon Neptune was charged with allegedly orchestrating a massacre of anti-Aristide protestors, which to date the government has not been able to prove actually occurred. Father Jean-Juste, who has been an outspoken supporter of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and a critic of the present government, was illegally arrested without a warrant on July 21, 2005 for supposedly murdering a journalist whose death occurred while Jean-Juste was himself abroad.[9] Amnesty International has declared Jean-Juste to be a prisoner of conscience and has raised a "health" and "legal concern" over Neptune, urging the interim government to "abide by its own constitution" and grant Neptune a fair trial.[10] The UN Special Envoy to Haiti, Juan Gabriel Valdes, has also called for Neptune's release.[11]
The World Bank reports that Haiti's interim government is "launching an ambitious electoral registration process." The Bank's claims were at odds with the findings of a report the International Crisis Group issued the next day, which found that only one-fifth of eligible voters - some 870,000 people - had been registered by July 29, none had yet received their new national identity cards required for voting, and only 327 registration centers were open.
Because of deficiencies in the electoral process and the violent repression of many of its members and supporters, Haiti's largest political party, Fanmi Lavalas, is boycotting the proposed elections. But the Bank gives only the unelected government's view of the situation.
The Bank also misrepresents the economic situation in the country, painting of picture of economic progress since last year's coup. The article cites the creation of "tens of thousands of jobs." But since the labor force has been growing by 60,000- 80,000 people per year, it is not clear that the jobs cited have even been enough to keep Haiti's massive unemployment rate from growing (some two-thirds of the population do not have formal employment).[12]
The World Bank's whitewash of Haiti's dire situation is especially troubling in light of the Bank's own role in helping to topple Haiti's democratically elected government by "suspending aid, under vague 'instructions' from the US," according to Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs, special adviser to the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.[13]
We call upon the World Bank to cease taking sides in Haiti's civil conflict, and to conduct an independent investigation into its own role in helping to destabilize the prior elected, constitutional government.
[Please direct response to Tom Ricker, Quixote Center, PO Box  5206, Hyattsville, MD 20782, or ]


Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center
Tom Ricker, Co-Director

TransAfrica Forum
Bill Fletcher, President

Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean (EPICA)
Olivia Burlingame-Goumbri, Director

The Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights

General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church
James Winkler, General Secretary

United Church of Christ Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility
Rev. Douglas B. Hunt, Director, International Programs

Hospital Employees' Union (Canada)
Fred Muzin, President

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
Brian Concannon Jr., Esq., Director
Haiti Action Committee
Charlie Hinton 

Center for the Study of the Americas (CENSA)
Peter Rosset

Fondasyon Mapou
Eugenia Charles, Executive Director

Global Exchange
Kirsten Moller, Executive Director

Friends of the Earth, Honduras
Ambika Chawla

Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas
Dale Sorensen, Director

Global Justice Ecology Project
Orin Langelle , Co-director

Office of the Americas
Blase Bonpane, Ph.D., Director

Peter and Gail Mott, Co-Editors

Guatemala Human Rights Commission/USA
Director, Patricia Davis

L.A. Weekly
Doug Ireland

Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala
Andrew de Sousa, National Organizer

Nicaragua Center for Community Action
Diana Bohn , Co-coordinator

Nicaragua Network
Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinator

Safe Earth Alliance
Dr. D.K. and F. L. Cinquemani - Largo, FL

Dominican Sisters of Mission, San Jose, CA
Stella Goodpasture, OP, Justice Promoter

Dominican Sisters of San Rafael
Marion Irvine, OP, Promoter of Social Justice

Central NJ Coalition for Peace and Justice
Robert Moir, Steering Committee Member

Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights
Dennis Dixon

No. Colorado Justice for Cuba Group
Elaine Schmidt

Portland Peaceful Response Coalition
William Seaman

San Francisco Bay Area Debt Cancellation Coalition

Thomasville Student Peace Organization
Elias George Mathes

Individuals (alphabetical)

Peter Ackerman
Peace & Social Justice Clerk
Ft. Lauderdale Friends (Quakers)*

Michael Albert

Ed Allen
Associate Professor of English, University of South Dakota*

Badrul Alam, President
Bangladesh Krishok Federation*

Julio Soto Angurel

Roger Annis - Haiti Solidarity BC

Dean Baker, Co-Director
Center for Economic and Policy Research*

Natylie Baldwin
Mt. Diablo Peace & Justice Center*

Nancy Bennett - Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ellen Boldon -Auburn, ME

Gary Bono

Martha Bushnell, Ph.D.  -  Boulder, CO
Noam Chomsky, Professor
Massachusetts Institute of Technology*

Truman C. Dean

Raymond Dubuisson
Co-coordinator, Comité des Haïtiens de l'outaouais pour la reconstruction d'Haïti (CHORHA)* Ottawa, CANADA

Kostas Diakolambrianos - Greece

Rev. Derek V. Dudek, D.D.

Rosemary Everett, SNJM- Cupertino, CA
Paul Farmer, M.D.
Partners In Health*

Ebrahim Gassab
General Secretary of Banker's Union - Kingdom of Bahrain

Harold Geddings, III
University of South Carolina-Upstate*

Sarah Haywood - Toronto, Ontario

Ken Heard
Political Affairs Officer
Philadelphia National Writers Union*

Devin Hoff - Oakland, CA

Nadia Hyppolite

Felix Ibarra

Connie Jenkins
Pax Christi Maine*

Alejandra Juarez, Student
CSU Stanislaus

Paul S. Kaczocha

Philip Kaisary
Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies Warwick University* - UK

Rob Keithan
Director, Washington Office for Advocacy
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations*

Ira Kurzban, Attorney
Kurzban, Kurzban, Weinger & Tetzeli, P.A.*

Marilyn Langlois
Haiti Action Committee (signed as organization above)*

Robert Levee - Kennesaw, GA

Liam Long - Lansing, MI

Erwin Marquit
Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota*

Jackie Mauro
International High School*

Don Matsuda

Lizbeth McDermott - LeClaire, IA

Edmund McWilliams (Senior Foreign Service, ret.) - Falls Church, VA

Mary E. Meehan - Boston, MA

Bridget Miller

Keith A Miller, CPhT

Henry Millstein  - Novato, CA

Stuart Neatby
Haiti Action Committee, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Brian O'Connor  - North Bay, Ontario

Paul Pallazola - Gloucester, MA

Kate Patterson - Brooklyn, NY

George Ann Potter - Bolivia

William Przylucki - Boston College '07

Suzanne Radford, Alexander Balfour, Erik & Victoria Grunewald, Dr. Theo Eridanos
Gnostic Communications*

Joan Rae - Fayston, VT

Wey Robinson -Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Jillian Rouleau - Mesa, AZ

John Sanchez

Rachel Satterlee - Minneapolis, MN

Mark Schafer - Cambridge, MA

Emile Schepers  - Great Falls, VA

Charles Scurich - Oakland, CA

Paul Sipple - Fayston, VT

Thomas Skayhan - DeFuniak Springs

Ursula Slavick - Portland, ME

William Slavick  - Portland, ME

Anne Sosin
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

Courtney Szper - Portland, OR

Esequiel Armijo Vargas, UCSB student, CA

Marc Arthur Voorhees, Jr

Jessica Watson-Crosby - New York, NY

Phil Webb

William Webb, CEO
WorldWideTrade Corporation*

Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director
Center for Economic and Policy Research*

Paul Whetstone, Attorney

Tom Whitney, South Paris
Maine Haiti Solidarity*

Jeremiah Wishon

Greg Wolfe

John Woodford, Journalist

Lisa Wright - Chico, CA

*Indicates organization appears for purposes of identification only. 



[1]Found at,,contentMDK:20594578~pagePK:64257043~piPK:437376~theSitePK:4607,00.html
[2] Heinlein, Peter. "UN Peacekeeping Chief: Haiti Worse than Darfur." Voice of America. June 28, 2005 Url:
[3] Catholic Institute for International Relations. "Haiti: free and fair elections unlikely as security worsens." August 2, 2005. []
[4] Griffin, Thomas. "Haiti: Human Rights Investigation, November 11 - 21, 2004" Center for the Study of Human Rights, University of Miami School of Law, 2005, pg. 9.
[5] Ibid, pg. 10.
[6] Lindsay, Reed. "Among Haitians, Police Are Seen As a Deadly Force." Boston Globe, February 27, 2005, Pg A15.
[7] Buncombe, Andrew. "Peacekeepers accused after killings in Haiti," 29 July 2005. See also Haiti Information Project, "UN 'peacekeepers' in Haiti accused of massacre," July 13, 2005. []
[8] Griffin, Thomas. "Haiti: Human Rights Investigation, November 11 - 21, 2004" Center for the Study of Human Rights, University of Miami School of Law, 2005, pg. 12.
[9] Amnesty International. "Haiti: Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience: Gérard Jean-Juste (m), aged 59, Catholic priest." July 25, 2005 [].
[10] Amnesty International. "Haiti: Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience: Gérard Jean-Juste (m), aged 59, Catholic priest." July 25, 2005; Amnesty International. "Haiti: Health concern/legal concern, Yvon Neptune." May 6, 2005. [ ]
[11] Delva, Joseph Guyler. "U.N. envoy in Haiti wants jailed ex-PM released." Reuters. June 24, 2005.
[12] Data from CIA World Factbook,
[13] Sachs, Jeffrey. "The Fire This Time in Haiti was US-Fueled" in Taipei Times, March 1, 2004

Lethaitilive mailing list

Half-Hour for Haiti: Plan for Worldwide Solidarity Protests on September 30

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brian <>
Date: Sep 6, 2005 8:42 PM
Subject: [Lethaitilive] Half-Hour for Haiti: Plan for Worldwide Solidarity Protests on September 30

September 6, 2005

Half-Hour for Haiti: Plan for Worldwide Solidarity Protests on September 30

This week's action is to plan to join grassroots activists in Haiti commemorating September 30, the 14th anniversary of the 1991 coup d'etat against Haiti's elected government, and the one year anniversary of an intensification of a crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Haiti.

The call to action was launched by the Fondasyon Trant Septanm  (September 30 Foundation), Haiti's largest and most persistent grassroots human rights group.  The Foundation has organized a march for justice in Port-au-Prince almost every Wednesday since 1997, often at great risk.   Fondasyon Trant Septanm  and has commemorated September 30 in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti for eight straight years, even as the people they protested about returned to power and their former brutality. 

This year, Fondasyon Trant Septanm teamed with U.S.-based activists to form the Sept. 30th Organizing Committee, which is coordinating an international day of action in support of justice and democracy in Haiti.  International solidarity is particularly important right now because last year Haitian police tried to stop Fondasyon Trant Septanm's legal demonstration, and when they could not, they opened fire on thousands of protestors.  This attack ushered in a wave of attacks against political opponents over the following several weeks.  This year, we can help protect vulnerable Haitian democracy activists by showing up on that day and showing the world that we care.

The Committee's announcement is below,.  We have a website section for the protest, and will soon post a list of planned actions.  If there is not an activity already planned near you, try to organize something with your church, peace, school or community group.  Activities can range from large marches to a few people gathering for a vigil.  Just be sure that you let the the Sept. 30th Organizing Committee (510-847-8657 or know, so that your efforts will be counted as part of the international mobilization. 


A Call to Action in Solidarity with Haiti


Coordinated International Protests in Many Cities

on September 30, 2005


Dear Activists for Haiti,


The coup regime in Haiti – backed to the hilt by the US, the UN, France and Canada – continues its bloody assault on the poor majority, targeting especially leaders and supporters of the Lavalas grassroots democracy movement.


Now Fondasyon Trant Septanm, a Haitian organization supporting victims of the repression in Haiti, has issued a call for renewed protests in many cities of the world on September 30, the anniversary of the first US-sponsored coup that ousted President Aristide in 1991.*  Haiti will be demonstrating on that day – so should we!  


We need to act now in solidarity with our Haitian sisters and brothers, whose unbreakable spirit, in the face of this genocide, just won't stop. Let us take up this call from Haiti, and make September 30th an international day of outrage against the US-inspired massacres and the trampling of Haiti's sovereignty.


Building on the success of the July 21st coordinated demonstrations

The July 6th massacre by UN troops in Cite Soleil sparked an international campaign, culminating in a day of solidarity actions in 15 cities and five countries on July 21 st.

The campaign succeeded in breaking through the media blockade, exposing the massacres, and putting US and UN officials on the defensive. It also brought into being an international network of committed people ready to spring into action in a coordinated way. [See "Wave of Protest" report, sent separately.] Now we need to activate and expand our network – to more cities and countries.


Our call is for each city to organize its own Haiti solidarity activity

on or around Friday 9/30 -- to be coordinated as a single worldwide mobilization to support Haiti's struggle for sovereignty, democracy and a just society.


It could be a march, rally, public meeting, vigil, house meeting or civil disobedience – whatever you are able to do -- in support of the following demands:




·       Stop the Serial Killings and Massacres of the Poor, in one popular neighborhood after another, by UN troops, Haitian National Police and paramilitary mercenaries under police control.

·       Restore the Democratically Elected Government of President Aristide

·       Free Fr. Jean-Juste, So' Anne, Prime Minister Neptune – and ALL the Political Prisoners

·       End the Brutal US/UN Occupation – Restore Haiti's Sovereignty – Respect the Will of the Haitian People


Please join us in this important mobilization. Let us know by phone or email what solidarity activity you are planning for September 30 th, so we can build the campaign. Use your contacts in other cities and countries to spread this movement.


For the September 30th 2005 International Day of Solidarity with the People of Haiti,


Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

Fondasyon Trant Septanm (September 30th Foundation)


Lavarice Gaudin

Veye Yo


Dave Welsh

Organizer, US Labor/Human Rights Delegation to Haiti (June-July 2005)


Sister Maureen Duignan

Director, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant



Contact the Sept. 30th Organizing Committee at 510-847-8657 or



* The Fondasyon Trant Septanm statement, calling for an international day of solidarity with the Haitian people on September 30, 2005, can be found in French and Kreyol at The statement calls for demonstrations in major world cities on that day "to denounce and condemn the dictatorship and the US/UN repression against the poor in Haiti." You should already have received an English version of the Foundation statement by email.




For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti or human rights in Haiti, see


Lethaitilive mailing list

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Haitian police provide machetes for attacks, UN bears responsibility

Reports continue to come in of UN and Haitian police attacks on civilians;
go to for an August 10 alert
from the Haiti Action Committee, which includes chilling details of
paramilitary thugs attacking unarmed civilians with machetes. Haitian media
outlets report that the machetes were distributed out of a National Police
car. The attack described in said alert took place in Solino, a neighborhood
which was under siege when I arrived in Haiti last month (see my post from
Friday, July 22, 2005 : quick note on Friday).

The action alert quotes a community leader: "They are trying to dismantle
the grassroots leadership of Lavalas by killing them -- in one neighborhood
after another. This is all in preparation for the sham elections they have
cooked up for this fall to try and legitimize the February 29, 2004 coup
d'etat and the coup regime. By 'they' I mean the death-squad government and
their US, UN, French and Canadian backers."

On our July visit to Haiti, my colleague Doug Spalding and I spoke to a
community-based journalist who has been documenting UN and Haitian police
attacks in popular (i.e. pro-Lavalas) neighborhoods during the current coup

The journalist, who I will call Pierre (for security reasons I prefer not to
risk using his real name) has been denouncing massacres on radio stations in
Miami and on MegaStar in Haiti. Pierre was told by a friend with the Haitian
Police that certain police will kill him if they see him, as a special death
squad called ³Zero Tolerance² is after him. Already, police have shot at

Pierre describes himself as ³the human rights guy in the popular
neighborhoods,² which is why he¹s being hunted. He has been in hiding for
several months but continues to risk his life by documenting human rights
abuses committed by police and UN peacekeepers.

Pierre showed us video footage of a July 11 police operation, where about 15
people were killed on Rue Tiremase downtown, near Bel Air.

He also showed us footage of the aftermath of a July 5 combined operation
between Haitian police and UN peacekeepers. It included images of a Bel Air
resident named William St. Mercy, who was in a wheelchair in the courtyard
in front of his residence when UN troops burst through the courtyard¹s gate
and blew the top of his head off. William¹s sister testified on camera that
Brazilian UN troops fired gas and came into courtyard with no provocation.
After the operation, a UN spokesperson said that ³peacekeepers² killed seven
³bandits², which included William in his wheel chair and a cobbler at work
in his second floor residence. Pierre witnessed eight people shot in the
operation, four of whom let him film their injuries. The survivors testified
that UN soldiers were shooting ³without any control.²

Pierre explained the situation: ³Right now there is a campaign in the media
to describe popular neighborhoods as unsafe, which keeps journalists from
going into area to see what¹s really going on there. There is no justice
for the people in this country, one day the situation will be different,
that¹s why I¹m risking my life to document that the coup government is
shedding Haitian people¹s blood. So that one day, even if I¹m not alive,
there can be justice for these crimes. It doesn¹t make sense that the
international community maintains silence. People just want access to food,
education, health care, justice, but it¹s still a situation where a wealthy
few control the society. People are really suffering in the popular
neighborhoods. People are shot in the head so that others will be terrorized
and won¹t come out in the streets. I have footage of a massacre at Fort
Damanche, where a resident was hiding under a bed, and got shot multiple
times at close range‹these are summary executions.

³In the poorest neighborhoods people don¹t have anything, and often can¹t
survive. The government has excluded them from economic decisions. The
government also created conditions where armed actions are sometimes taken
for survival.²

Good luck finding such analysis in the mainstream. Typically, the emphasis
is on violence attributed to the sectors who have been under attack since
the February 29,2004 coup which ousted not only President Aristide but also
his entire government. A good example of such accepted framing can be found
in a May 16, 2005 letter from Human Rights Watch to the UN Security Council
on the Renewal of the Mandate of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti
(MINUSTAH). The Washington-based NGO writes, ³During a recent mission to
Haiti, Human Rights Watch documented daily acts of violence in
Port-au-Prince. We found that much of the violence is perpetrated by armed
gangs claiming affiliation with former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Despite security operations carried out jointly by MINUSTAH and the Haitian
National Police (HNP), neighborhoods such as Cite Soleil remain paralyzed by

Whether or not the UN participates in attacks on civilians (sometimes they
are joint operations, sometimes just the Haitian police), under its new
mandate, the UN has responsibility for oversight of police. But the UN¹s
approach is to not acknowledge the realities of repression it is in Haiti to
support. In response to demands for an investigation of July 6 Cite Soleil
attacks in which UN forces killed women, children and men, a UN press
release claimed, ³MUNUSTAH forces take all possible measures to reduce the
risk of civilian casualties in their operations. MINUSTAH forces did not
target civilians in the operation on 6 July, but the nature of such missions
in densely populated urban areas is such that there is always a risk of
civilian casualties. MINUSTAH deeply regrets any injuries or loss of life
during its security operation."

For another example of MINUSTAH¹s slippery approach to the truth, see photos
of holes blown in roof of Cite Soleil dweller's home by
a helicopter which the UN denies fired any weapons:,hunterweb,66630,2.html

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

tell your congressperson to sign on Waters letter BY THURSDAY

from the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

August 9, 2005
Half-Hour for Haiti: Time for Congress to Stand Up For Justice in Haiti
First, an apology- many people found last week's alert confusing. We
appreciate you contacting us about it, and promise to be more clear in
future alerts. If you want to sign the International Declaration of
Support for the Haitian People, send an email with your name, city and
state to
This week's alert is an opportunity to convince our Congressional
Representatives to stand up for justice in Haiti. Rep. Maxine Waters
has asked all her colleagues in the House to join her in a letter to
President Bush, urging him to immediately intervene for the release of
political prisoner Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste.
Signing Rep. Waters' letter (below) should be an easy decision for any
member of Congress who believes in justice. It is well-documented and
obvious that Fr. Jean-Juste's arrest was illegal and part of a
campaign of political harassment.. Your Representative's place on the
political spectrum or opinion of the Lavalas movement is not relevant-
what matters is a belief in the rule of law.
This is an excellent time to contact Congress, because members are in
the districts for the summer recess, where they are particularly
attuned to constituent concerns. We've been told that calls from a
dozen or more friends, family or members of your solidarity, church,
school or other group can get this action onto your member's radar
screen. Unfortunately, time is tight- the deadline for signatures is
the close of business Thursday, so please act now.
Action: Contact your member of the House of Representatives; urge him
or her to sign onto Rep. Waters' letter to President Bush by Thursday.
The best way top do this is to speak with the Member at a local
event. Second best is calling the Washington office, and asking to
speak with the legislative aide who covers foreign affairs. Send a
follow-up email. Local office numbers should be in your phone book,
Washington offices can be reached through the House Switchboard, (202)
224-3121. Local event schedules, all numbers and email addresses are
available on each member's website. To find that, click the US House
of Representatives website, and type in your zipcode.
Talking Points
1. Fr. Jean-Juste's arrest was illegal: he was arrested without
a warrant while attending a funeral. He had already been questioned
twice in the preceding week on different charges by police and a
judge, none of whom found any reason to arrest him (more information
on the arrest.).
2. The arrest is the latest in a long series of
politically-motivated attacks against Fr. Jean-Juste. In October, he
was arrested illegally and held for seven weeks in prison, with
absolutely no evidence against him.
3. Amnesty International, and Human Rights First, among
others, have called for Fr. Jean-Juste's release.
4. Do not let the Member or aide dismiss you with concerns about
the Lavalas movement. Appeal to our shared fundamental belief in
justice and freedom of conscience- that imprisoning people for their
political opinions is wrong, no matter what those opinions are.
"Letting the Haitian justice system take its course" is not
acceptable: the last time Fr. Jean-Juste spent seven weeks in prison
illegally. The U.S. is the Haitian Interim Government's principal
patron, and has more than enough leverage to pry open the political
prisons if it wants to.
Click here for much more information on Fr. Jean-Juste's arrest
Already Standing Up For Justice : Reps. Tammy Baldwin , Corrine Brown,
Sherrod Brown, Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, John Conyers, Barbara Lee,
Kendrick Meek, Major Owens, Donald Payne and Jan Schakowsky have
joined Rep. Waters and signed the letter by Tuesday afternoon. If one
of these members represents you, please send a note of thanks for
their support of justice in Haiti.

Support the Release of
Father Gerard Jean-Juste,
Who is Unjustly Imprisoned in Haiti
DEADLINE: Thursday, August 11, COB
August 12, 2005

President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to express our profound concerns about the unjust
imprisonment of Father Gerard Jean-Juste in Haiti. We urge you to
take action at once to seek his immediate and unconditional release
from prison.

Father Jean-Juste is a widely-respected Catholic priest and a
courageous advocate for peace and human rights in Haiti. During the
1970's, he founded the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami, Florida, where
he worked to provide assistance to refugees who were fleeing
persecution under the Duvalier regime. He returned to Haiti in 1991
and currently serves as the pastor of Saint Claire Church in
Port-au-Prince and runs a soup kitchen for impoverished children in
his parish. Fr. Jean-Juste has always spoken out forcefully against
all forms of violence.

Father Jean-Juste was arrested on July 21, 2005, while
attending the funeral for Jacques Roche, a Haitian journalist who was
kidnapped, held for ransom and then murdered. Haitian police claimed
he was arrested because a "public clamor" at the funeral accused him
of murdering Jacques Roche, although he was in Miami at the time of
the murder. He currently is being detained in the Haitian National

Amnesty International has determined that Father Jean-Juste is
a prisoner of conscience, who is detained solely because he has
peacefully exercised his right to freedom of expression. Amnesty
International has urged that he be immediately and unconditionally

We respectfully request that you urge the Interim Government
of Haiti to release Father Jean-Juste immediately and unconditionally.
We appreciate your attention to our concerns.


cc: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Special Representative Juan Gabriel Valdés, MINUSTAH
Ambassador James Foley, U.S. Embassy in Haiti
Douglas M. Griffiths, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy in Haiti
Dana Banks, Human Rights Officer, U.S. Embassy in Haiti

For more information about the Half-Hour For Haiti Program, the
Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti or human rights in Haiti,
see w

Brian Concannon Jr., Esq.
Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti
(541) 432-0597
PO Box 745
Joseph, OR 97846

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Fwd: 5 Minutes to Save a Life: Letters to Haiti for Fr.Jean-Juste

I visited Fr. Jean-Juste in prison last week and his major concerns
were serving the kids in his parish
who need to be fed, and helping his fellow prisoners, too many of whom
are political and most of whom haven't seen a judge. Fr. Jean-Juste is
in solidarity with the poorest of the poor, hence he must continually
be demonized by the right-wing media machine in Haiti. Please do what
you can to spread the word about the campaign to free him.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: bill quigley <>
Date: Wed, 3 Aug 2005 12:06:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: [Lethaitilive] 5 Minutes to Save a Life: Letters to Haiti for
To: lethaitilive list <>

Take 5 Minutes to Save a Life: Campaign to Deliver
Letters to US Ambassador in Haiti to Free Fr.
Jean-Juste [please take action and forward]

We are asking people and groups to send a letter (and
to ask your friends to send a letter too) asking that
the United States Embassy do everything in its power
to persuade the unelected Haitian government release
Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste from prison in Haiti. Bill
Quigley, a law professor in the US and a volunteer
lawyer for Fr. Jean-Juste with the Institute for
Justice and Democracy in Haiti, will hand-deliver all
letters to the US Embassy in Port au Prince. Please
take 5 minutes to do this, and ask others to do it as
well - it could save his life.

It can be a simple letter or a long letter, but
please write it, on your letterhead if possible, and
mail it to:

U. S. Ambassador to Haiti, James B. Foley
c/o and Professor Bill Quigley
Loyola University Law School
7214 St. Charles Avenue, Box 902
New Orleans, LA 70118

or send a fax with your name and address or on your
letterhead c/o Bill Quigley 504.861.5440

sample letter:

Dear Ambassador Foley:
Please have the US do everything in its power
for the immediate release of Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste.
Fr. Jean-Juste has been identified as a political
prisoner by Amnesty International and other Human
Rights groups. I know the US has power to influence
the unelected Haitian government - please use that
power to free Fr. Jean-Juste and to cease all
political persecution of him.
Thank you, name and address

Bill Quigley will hand-deliver these letters to the
Embassy in Port au Prince. If you include your email,
we will notify you when your letters are delivered and
send you other information about human rights in Haiti
if you would like.

Additional information about the assault on Fr.
Jean-Juste in church in Haiti and his arrest and his
status as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty
International can be found at and
Amnesty report designating him as POC:
Human Rights First Campaign to free JJ:
Common Dreams article about assault at church and

Peace, Bill Quigley

Lethaitilive mailing list

good piece on elections in Haiti

Posted on Sat, Jul. 23, 2005

An election without votersBY SUE ASHDOWN and OLIVIA BURLINGAME

Less than four months before the start of Haiti's elections, it is getting hard to conceal the signs of an impending fiasco. But Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (known by its French acronym CEP) and the U.N. Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti are trying anyway.
Faced with out-of-control violence and the impossibility of registering 4.5 million Haitians by Aug. 13 (60 days before the first election on Oct. 13), the two institutions keep issuing upbeat but unsubstantiated statements about the electoral process.
By the end of May, out of 436 planned registration offices, the Organization of American States admitted that only 14 had opened. (For Haiti's 2000 elections, the CEP opened more than 2,000 registration centers.)

By early June, less than 2 percent of eligible voters had registered, so the CEP and the U.N. escalated their public relations. Every few days, one or the other would announce the opening of new voter registration centers and the registration of additional Haitian voters with numbers almost impossible to verify in the face of the skyrocketing violence in the country.
Desperate for change

As a tidal wave of kidnappings struck Haiti, leading to the evacuation of the Peace Corps and non-essential personnel from the U.S. Embassy, the U.N. enthusiastically reported that voter registration centers in Haiti had doubled. Several days later the CEP reported that the number of centers had quadrupled again. But by June 21, the registration rate was a still-insignificant 3.5 percent.

One might think that the average Haitian voter -- too poor to make a kidnapping target and desperate for change -- would be lining up to be fingerprinted and photographed in return for the right to vote. But he or she would need to get out of the neighborhood first. There are no registration centers in the poor neighborhoods and no plans to open any either.
Even getting out of the house can be a dangerous ordeal in the poor neighborhoods of the capitol, Port-au-Prince. Police and paramilitary groups, often backed by U.N. troops, routinely raid these areas, considered bastions of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, purposely killing or arresting suspected dissidents and killing or maiming bystanders as collateral damage. When the political violence subsides, gangs filling the void left by the police's conversion to a political force take over, imposing economic terror.

Meaningful participation in election activities is impossible. Aristide's Lavalas movement, which has won every fair election in Haiti's history by a landslide, refuses to join the elections unless the attacks against it stop. This includes freeing the hundreds of political prisoners in Haitian jails, from grassroots activists to Haiti's last constitutional prime minister, Yvon Neptune. It means ending the routine police practice of managing legal, nonviolent demonstrations by shooting at them.

Unable to control the country

The response of the countries that pushed Aristide out of Haiti to exile in Africa 16 months ago is to hope for the best. They will support some tinkering -- more guns for the Haitian police, a few more U.N. soldiers -- but will not face up to the fact that Haiti's interim government is unable to control the country and unwilling to establish the conditions necessary for free and fair elections.

The U.S. government appears willing to accept a deeply flawed election with low turnout, no Lavalas participation and no effective campaigning. That will provide a window of opportunity for the opposition, which has managed to attract millions of U.S.-taxpayer dollars but few Haitian votes over the past decade. It will also allow the Bush Administration to say that its regime change strategy in Haiti bore fruit. The one thing it will not do, is to make life more free, democratic or in any way better for the millions of poor Haitians who have suffered for too long from too many undemocratic governments.

Sue Ashdown is a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom in Washington, D.C., and Olivia Burlingame Goumbri is executive director of the Ecumenical Program On Central America & the Caribbean.
© 2005 and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

AHP/Radio Solidarity founder/director returns safely to Haiti

If you're not signed up for the English AHP translation, you can bye-mailing Mike at Or read the original at
Begin forwarded message:
> From: Mike Levy <
>> Date: July 30, 2005 1:49:23 PM PDT> To: "The AHP News- Eng. Translation" <>> Subject: AHP/Radio Solidarite Update, July 30, 2005 - AHP's Director> returns to Haiti

** AHP/Radio Solidarite founder/director Venel Remarais returned> safely to Haiti today at 12:30 PM. He cut short his travel in Florida> due to the summons brought to his office (but not delivered) on July> 27 stating that he is to appear before an investigating judge on> Monday August 1st to discuss criminal accusations against him.>> By the way, on his way home from the airport, Venel heard messages of> support from listeners to Radio Solidarite and called in to> congratulate a Haitian group on the release of their new CD that was> just played over the air and to reassure them that he was in Haiti and> ready to defend the station and his journalists. We will continue to> provide updates on this situation and expect to be sending you the AHP> News in English again before the end of the weekend. Thanks for your> support!>> For The Friends of AHP> Mike Levy>

Thursday, July 28, 2005

UN troops still occupying medical school created by Aristide

Just an update that I went by the medical school described below, and it's now being used as a base
for Brazilian UN troops. As death from preventable diseases continues to ravage Haiti's population, this is the
response of what we laughingly call the "international community". For a better approach check out Partners in Health, site easily accessible via google search. I'll post more about UN military operations in coming days.

This is from p. 4 of the excellent pamphlet We Will Not Forget! The Achievements of Lavalas in Haiti, available at

"President Aristide created a new medical school in Tabarre, which provided free medical education to 247 students from all parts of the country, each of whom committed to serve in their own community upon completion of their education. A school for nursing had been slated to open in fall of 2004. After the coup the U.S. and Brazilian militaries appropriated the land and building. The school remains closed."

AHP and Radio Solidarity founder/director under attack

below is a message that came from Mike Levy, stalwart English translator of AHP news. AHP and its sister organization, Radio Solidarite, have provided an independent voice for coverage of Haitian news which has refused to toe the line set by elite-owned right wing media in Haiti.

I'll post more news as this story proceeds, I greatly regret that I can't follow developments here in Haiti, as I'm returning to the U.S. tomorrow, but this blog will continue with material gathered from the 10 days working with the estimable Doug Spalding and other friends in Haiti. Though perhaps I will wind up changing the name of the blog as I won't be back in Haiti for a while, I will continue to write about events in Haiti, relying in no small part on Mike Levy's translations of AHP news. Note that at the bottom of this post is an appeal for financial support for AHP, please help if you can.

And please stay tuned.

Ben Terrall

Dear readers of AHP News,
A Haitian bailiff has just attempted to deliver a legal summons to the
office of the founder/director of AHP and Radio Solidarite, Georges Venel
Remarais in Port-au-Prince. The precise contents of the document are not yet
known as Mr. Remarais was not present and the document was not accepted,
however a member of the staff who saw the document reported that he is being
accused of "association de malfaiteurs" (criminal association) and
escroquerie (fraud). It is believed that he has been ordered to appear
before a judge on Monday, August 1. Mr. Remarais is currently outside Haiti
and is attempting to return to Haiti prior to the date indicated on the
Efforts are now being made on his behalf to determine who signed the order
against him and to learn further details regarding the allegations.
It is perhaps not a coincidence that a member of the Conseil des Sages
(Council of the Wise) recently stated that all radio stations that permit
bandits to speak over the airwaves should be shut down. It is believed that
the term "bandits" may be a reference to anyone living in the populist
districts. As most AHP readers know, AHP and Radio Solidarite, like most
independent media organizations, often provide news from a wide variety of
sources, including governments, NGOs, grassroots organizations, and
witnesses to natural disasters as well as acts of violence and actions of
national or international security forces in an effort to provide in-depth
reporting and to serve the Haitian public.
Some human rights observers are already interpreting this action as a very
disturbing  act of intimidation against what remains of the independent
media in Haiti, and believe that additional action by human rights defenders
may be necessary. It is hoped that human rights and press freedom
organizations will be monitoring the situation closely. As the full details
become available, the Friends of AHP will pass them along to you in the
event it becomes clear. We of course hope that this is not an indication
that a more serious human rights situation is about to develop.
For the Friends of AHP,
Mike Levy
[write Mike to be added to daily AHP translation list]
AHP and its sister operation, Radio Solidarité, greatly need your financial support to enable them to continue to bring news about events in Haiti to the Haitian people and an international audience, in a manner not available elsewhere.
We are delighted to announce that your contributions to AHP sent through the Marin Interfaith Task Force on the Americas are tax-deductible.
Please make your checks out to:
MITF/Friends of AHP
and send them to:

Friends of AHP
P.O. Box 370
Osceola, WI 54020

Checks made out to AHP/Radio Solidarite and sent to:

Friends of AHP
PO Box 370
Osceola, WI 54020

are also greatly appreciated and will be rushed immediately to AHP in Haiti, however they are not tax deductible.
Many thanks to all contributors and to MITF!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

this puts "gang" label into context, which Amnesty didn't

UN to Probe Deadly Raid
Haider Rizvi

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 25 (IPS) - Following protests by human rights
groups in the United States, the United Nations mission in Haiti has
decided to investigate the alleged killing of civilians by its troops
there early this month.

In a statement Monday, the U.N. Stabilisation Mission in Haiti, also
known as MINUSTAH, admitted for the first time that civilians might
have been injured or killed during the Jul. 6 raid on a working-class
neighbourhood in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

MINUSTAH is the sixth U.N. mission to hit Haiti in a decade, and comes
on the heels of the country's second U.S.-led invasion and occupation
in as many years.

Until recently, the U.N. mission had consistently and categorically
denied activists' claims that many innocent people had died as a
result of indiscriminate firing by U.N. troops in Cite Soleil, a
stronghold of the supporters of ousted president Jean Bertrand

"MINUSTAH forces did not target civilians in the operation on Jul. 6,"
U.N. officials said in a statement, adding that "the nature of such
operation in densely populated urban areas is such that there is
always a risk of civilian casualties."

The statement said the mission "deeply regrets any injuries or loss of
life during its security operation," but gave no count of the dead or

Right activists say community leaders in Cite Soleil had counted at
least 23 bodies, including those of women and children, as a result of
firing by U.N. troops. More than 400 troops took part in the assault.

U.N. mission officials said the security situation in parts of
Port-au-Prince remained "very tense," adding that for the past few
months different armed gangs had "terrorised" the population and
"disrupted" the economic activity of the city.

MINUSTAH and the Haitian police have collaborated on many missions in
the capital and in the countryside, carrying out raids, confronting
gang violence and providing security for events.

Justifying the Jul. 6 action, the U.N. mission said it had taken a
"robust posture to disrupt the activities of these armed gangs and
bring the alleged criminals to justice," because it was necessary to
create "a secure and stable environment within which the
constitutional and political process can take place."

In April, a delegation of 10 Security Council members, headed by
Brazilian Ambassador to the Security Council Ronaldo Mota Sardenberg,
and members of the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council ECOSOC, visited
Haiti to pledge support for a disarmament campaign, reform of the
police force and justice system, economic and social development, and
national elections slated for this fall.

But U.S.-based activists, who have interviewed scores of local
residents and medical aid workers in Port-au-Prince, see things
differently. They say since Aristide's ouster from power, the people
of poor neighbourhoods like Cite Soleil have faced extreme repression
-- including extra-judicial killings -- at the hands of Haitian

In response, some young people have set up their own armed networks,
which are labeled by authorities as "gangs."

While the U.N. mission in Haiti wants those youth to surrender their
arms, it has failed to rein in the police units that have been
terrorising people in the poor neighborhood, according to some Haiti

Though welcoming the U.N. decision to probe the use of excessive force
by its peacekeeping troops, activists said that was not sufficient.

"That is not the way to conduct a professional police operation," Seth
Donnelly, an activist who closely watched the recent events in Haiti,
told IPS. "Rather this seems to be what the U.S. military did in
Falluja, Iraq to find insurgents."

The widely-publicised siege of Fallujah in April 2004, called in
response to the killings of four U.S. military contractors, included
massive air and artillery strikes, and resulted in hundreds of Iraqi
civilian deaths.

Donnelly and others insist that the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights
Commission, not MINUSTAH, should be given the authority to conduct an

"We are hoping that Human Rights Commission will conduct its own
investigation," said Donnelly. "It's clear that higher authorities are
involved here."

Earlier this month, Donnelly and his colleagues were sent to
Port-au-Prince by the San Francisco Labour Council to attend a major
labor conference there. They said they were still in Haiti when the
U.N. troops raided Cite Soleil and that they had access to videotaped
footage showing innocent people dying as a result of that operation.

"The evidence of a massacre by U.N. military forces is substantial and
compelling. It completely contradicts the official version," they

Critics of the U.N. mission's way of handling the pervasive violence
in Haiti say the world body's mission there needs to strike a balance
in the conflict between Haitian police and members of the local

"The U.N. mission apologised to the Haitian police for its delayed
arrival on the scene of an incident where two police officers were
killed on May 22, but it has never once apologised for any of the many
documented instances where its troops killed civilians," said Pierre
Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee, a U.S.-based group.

Noting that under its most recent mandate, the U.N. has supervision of
the Haitian police, he added: "Instead of stopping the killing of
civilians, the U.N. is stepping up the slaughter. That must not be
accepted by the international community." (END/2005)
Lethaitilive mailing list

Amnesty International Designates Fr. Jean-Juste Prisoner of Conscience

Doug and I will attempt to visit Fr. Jean-Juste today but we've been
told he's been
put in isolation so we may not be allowed to actually see him.
Obviously it's important for them to know internationals want to get
in to see him, so we'll harass the bureaucrats no matter how much they
stonewall us.

Today new smears against Jean-Juste are coming out of Haiti's
elite-controlled right wing media machine, with allegations that Fr.
Gerry was involved in "corruption" in Aristide's administration. As a
friend said today, though it was nothing like the gangster regime now
in office, for sure there was some corruption in the former
government, just like there is in the U.S.(anybody asked George W. how
Ken Lay is doing lately?), but many many in Aristide's administration
were not loyal to him and did not have his solidarity with the poor
majority of Haitians. As my friend pointed out, "inside of the Palace,
Aristide had more enemies than outside". Many of these opportunists
wound up having more loyalty to Washington's agenda than to

The word is that there will be a demonstration in Cite Soleil
demanding Fr. Jean-Juste's release. We will be trying to get in to
speak to various prisoners elsewhere, so I don't know how close we'll
get to said demonstration. Given the fever pitch of demonization of
that neigborhood and support for extra-judicial executions among
elites pressuring the UN to "do more", it's not unlikely that the
"security" forces will crackdown in response.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: bill quigley <>
Date: Jul 26, 2005 9:23 AM
Subject: [Lethaitilive] Amnesty International Designates Fr.
Jean-Juste Prisoner of Conscience
To: lethaitilive list <>

Dear Friends:
Great news! Amnesty International has designated
Fr. Jean-Juste as a Prisoner of Conscience and asked
for international action to be brought. Here is their
report and request for action. Please follow up on
their requests for action! Peace, Bill Quigley

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 36/008/2005
UA 195/05 Arbitrary arrest/prisoner of conscience
25 July 2005

HAITI Gérard Jean-Juste (m), aged 59, Catholic priest

Catholic priest Gérard Jean-Juste was taken into
custody at a police station "for his own protection"
on 21 July, after he was assaulted, but while he was
at the police station he was accused of murder. He was
abroad at the time of the murder of which he has been
accused, but he is a prominent opponent of the
government. Amnesty International considers him a
prisoner of conscience, detained solely because he has
peacefully exercised his right to freedom of
_expression. He risks spending a long time in custody
awaiting trial on apparently trumped-up charges.

Rev. Jean-Juste has been an outspoken supporter of
former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and critic of
the present government, in his sermons and in radio
broadcasts. On 21 July he attended the funeral of
journalist Jacques Roche, at a church in the
Pétionville suburb of the capital, Port-au-Prince. He
was assaulted and threatened by a mob outside the
church, who said he was one of those responsible for
the violence that is sweeping the capital. He was
taken to Pétionville police station by officers from
the Haitian police and the UN civilian police force,
CIVPOL. None of his attackers is known to have been

At the police station, officer Jean-Daniel Ulysse,
from the Central Command of the Judicial Police
(Direction Centrale de la Police Judiciaire, DCPJ)
accused him of the murder of the journalist. Although
he was supposedly there simply for his own safety, he
was locked up in a cell at the police station with
another 43 detainees. The following day he was
transferred to the National Penitentiary, where he is
in solitary confinement. According to his lawyer, he
has reportedly been charged with the murder of Jacques
Roche. However, Rev. Jean-Juste and his lawyers were
not shown an arrest warrant or any other official
statement of the charges. He is one of dozens of
Aristide supporters who have been arbitrarily detained
in this way.

Journalist Jacques Roche was kidnapped on 10 July, and
murdered when the full ransom demanded was not paid.
Rev. Jean-Juste was in the United Sates at the time,
returning from Miami on 15 July.

Rev. Jean-Juste has been a target for government
repression for some time. On 13 October 2004, he was
arrested by police without a warrant at his church,
Saint Claire's, in Port-au-Prince. A warrant issued on
18 October accused him of "plotting against the
internal security of the state." He was released on 29
November, after six weeks in custody. When he flew in
from Miami on 15 July, he was stopped at
Port-au-Prince airport, searched and questioned. He
was ordered to present himself to the judicial police
on 18 July, and two days later he was questioned by
the investigating magistrate, regarding the accusation
leading to his October arrest.


President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted on 29
February 2004, after an armed rebellion led by former
military officers took control of the whole country.
The same day, a US-led multinational force was
deployed in Haiti, authorised by the UN Security
Council. An interim government was put in place in
early March with Gérard Latortue sworn in as Prime
Minister. In June 2004, the UN Stabilisation Mission
in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was sent to assist the interim
government in securing the country, reforming the
national police and protecting human rights. Since
October 2004, the violence has escalated, particularly
in the capital, where armed gangs, some of which
allegedly have political affiliations to Aristide's
party, are responsible for numerous killings and grave
human rights abuses.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as
quickly as possible, in French, English or your own

- expressing concern at the arrest and detention
without formal charges of Rev. Gérard Jean-Juste;

- pointing out that he appears to be a prisoner of
conscience, detained solely for the legitimate
_expression of his opinions, and urging the
authorities to release him immediately and

- calling on the authorities to put an end to the
arbitrary detentions that are prevalent throughout


Prime Minister
Gérard Latortue
Ministère de l'Intérieure, Villa d=Accueil, Delmas 60
Musseau, Port-au-Prince, HAITI (W.I.)
Fax: +509 298 3901
Salutation: Monsieur le Premier Ministre/Dear Prime

Minister of Justice and Public Security
Me. Henri Dorléans
Ministère de la Justice
19 Ave. Charles Sumner, Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: +509 245 0474
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/Dear Mr. Dorléans

General Director of the Haiti National Police
Mario Andresol
Directeur Général de la Police Nationale d'Haïti
Grand Quartier Générale la Police
12 rue Oscar Pacot, Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: +509 245 7374
Salutation: Monsieur le Ministre/Dear Mr. Andresol

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General
Juan Gabriel Valdés
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
385, Ave. John Brown, Bourdon, B.P. 557,
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: +509 244 3512
Salutation: Monsieur le Représentant spécial/Dear
Special Representative Valdés

Head of Human Rights Division
Thierry Fagart
Human Rights Division, MINUSTAH
385, Ave. John Brown, Bourdon, B.P. 557
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (W.I.)
Fax: +509 244 9366
+509 244 9367

and to diplomatic representatives of Haiti accredited
to your country.

International Secretariat, or your section office, if
sending appeals after 5 September 2005.

Lethaitilive mailing list

Monday, July 25, 2005

returned to Port-au-Prince after 2-day Les Cayes visit

Too much detail to pack in and not sure how long manager of this week's guest house will alllow me on this computer, but want to get one or two details down. I wrote for 45 minutes from the Southeastern town of Les Cayes and then connection was lost seconds before I was ready to post, oh well. Today we had a few visits with prisoners in jails around Les Cayes that, as a Haitian friends says of cruel realities down here, really put bad hair days in the U.S. in perspective, ditto internet snafus. Horribly crowded conditions, crappy food, long sentences, pretty much hell on earth. More on them soon, need to get documentation together with my colleague and comrade Doug before committing to cyber-space.

On Saturday we were parked downtown not far from the National Penitentary in our 4-wheel drive rental for our friends to get their vehicle so we could all go to Les Cayes in a 2-car convoy. I spent a while staring at the outrageously colorful tap-taps (covered pick-up trucks or vans with benches in back for passengers) driving people by, checking out ridiculous variety of expressions and exhortations painted on the sides of them in all manner of loud colors, especially red, blue, green, and yellow. My favorites were the ones with huge paintings of the owner's kids, much better than the ridiculous oversize images of Arnold and Sly Stallone (who probably were inspirations for some of the US Special Forces-trained paramilitaries that came into Haiti from the Dominican Republic in the winter of 2004 to unseat Aristide). After a quick narcoleptic back seat doze I began reaching for a collection of essays by diaspora Haitians edited by Edwidge Danticat, when shots rang out in the vicinity and everyone around us went apeshit. Our rock-solid driver Antoine said "this is where you have to chill" and let others speed off before slowly pulling out of our space and making a turn to drive out of the area. Given my experience the last time I was in Haiti in a similar situation, when our driver blindly swerved into a U-turn and was instantly hit by a pick up trick (nobody was hurt but the compact in question sustained major front end damage), I was impressed and relieved by Antoine's cool. Perhaps I'll actually remember that the creole expression 'nou poze' means 'we chill.'
As we drove out of Port-au-Prince `we drove by Village de Dieu, where some months back Haitian police shot and killed a Haitian reporter with a Miami radio station who happened to be in the way when firing on civilians commenced. The neighborhood was probably described as "a sprawling seaside slum" in the New York Times, that seems to be a pretty popular phrase in Haiti pieces. We drove on through what numerous sources describe as desperate poverty characterized by inadequate sanitation and dubious hope of potable water, but there was also a vitality and liveliness in the spirit of people on the street. As Antoine said about Haitians that take off to other islands with tough labor conditions, Haitians are used to hard work and can survive anything. That tenacity is both inspiring and humbling.

The condition of the road to Les Cayes could safely be described as bad to bad beyond belief, with occasional stretches of something approaching a smooth paved surface. One major bridge was wiped out by the recent tropical storm visitation someone inexplicably named Dennis, so we just drove through the river. Luckily it wasn't at a raging torrent phase. Our two vehicles swerved madly back and forth across the road in an approximation of some sort of amusement park ride devoted to avoiding randomly placed potholes. Given Antoine's habit of relying on honking as a protective measure while passing on corners, there were moments as a passenger that I found much more scary than the gunfire in Port-au-Prince, but it was a fun ride nonetheless.

En route we stopped and visited some friends of one of our travelling companions. A local kid thoughtfully scaled a coconut tree and knocked down a pile of nature's bounty, then set about hacking off the tops for us to drink coconut juice to our heart's content. Of course the delicious meat was also offered up. Country hospitality at its finest, not the last time we'd experience it over the weekend.

Along the road to the Southeast we hit numerous UN checkpoints at which Haitian police also hung out. By the end of the day we saw Uruguans, Nepalese and Sri Lankans, and later saw a UN 'Civpol' in a jail outside Les Cayes.

More to say about Les Cayes and points farther along barely driveable roads but for now here's a news update on last week's developments via an analysis from the progressive Washington outfit [there are a few left] The Council on Hemispheric Affairs:

"On July 16, Haiti’s Council of Sages formally recommended barring former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Lavalas Party from participating in upcoming elections, accusing the group of “continu[ing] to promote and tolerate violence.” Then, on July 22, Lavalas leader and likely presidential candidate, Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, was arrested on charges in connection with the death of prominent Haitian journalist Jacques Roche. It is important to note that a State Department official carefully articulated that his agency had seen no credible evidence establishing that pro-Aristide forces were responsible for Roche’s death. The priest’s arrest and the recommendation made by the seven-member advisory council, which was formed under the plenary direction of the U.S. following Aristide’s February 2004 ouster and was responsible for selecting interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, dealt fatal blows to any lingering hopes for delivering an open democracy in the near future to the long-struggling island. These events, along with stepped-up violence by Haitian police in complicity with the UN peacekeeping forces, have projected Latortue’s interim government as proving to be increasingly incapable of establishing the necessary stability, security and protection from political persecution on the island in order for free and fair elections to take place within a three month framework."

A Haitian activist friend calls the coup-appointed body which did the July 16 slamming of Lavalas 'The Council of Savages."