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Author Topic: Resistance in the Slums of Haiti  (Read 12775 times)
Posts: 1531

« on: October 18, 2004, 08:10:50 PM »

By Nancy
October 17, 2004
The Black Commentator

Backed by United Nations so-called peacekeepers, the U.S.-installed Haitian regime continues its siege of poor neighborhoods in the capital, Port au Prince, in an attempt to crush ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas party. The following is the result of a clandestine interview with a woman called Nancy, conducted last Sunday in the slum of Bel Air.

Nancy is a member of the Cell of Reflection of Family Lavalas. The interview took place under extremely difficult and dangerous conditions. Nancy's remarks were then edited (by The Black Commentator) to safeguard her and the journalist's anonymity.

First you should realize that they have been trying to starve the poor in Haiti since President Aristide was kidnapped on February 29th. Do you know how much rice and beans cost now in the market? Families are starving while a few families that import goods are getting rich off the pennies we have to spend on food. They have killed us since then and driven us into hiding. Have you ever tried to feed your family while you are running from the police and you have no job? They have arrested our leaders or driven them into exile. They have cornered us and taken our dignity away so that now we realize we have no where left to go.

We see that the situation in the streets, our situation, we who are part of the Cell of Reflection of Family Lavalas, we see that in all the poor neighborhoods there is not a day that goes by that the government does not squeeze us. The repression is much worse. And now the de facto Prime Minister [Gerard Latortue] has said he is going to sign a contract with the former military to kill us one by one. In a secret meeting he had with the Minister of justice, a friend inside heard Latortue estimate that it would be necessary to kill 25,000 people in the capital, in the capital alone to stop the calls for the return of President Aristide. September 30th was the beginning of this initiative where Latortue unleashed his forces that are comprised of new units of SWAT, USP, CIMO and the police where the killers of the former military had already been integrated. It was they who began firing on unarmed demonstrators while the Brazilians and the United Nations stood by to let them kill us.

This was only one part of their strategy that day. On September 30th they had extra squads of former military work hand-in-hand with these militarized forces of the police to enter Bel Air, Cite Soleil, La Saline, Grand Ravine, Delmas 2, Martissant and many other poor neighborhoods to kill a lot of people. On September 30th many people were killed, especially in Bel Air. The former military had already set up operations in Bel Air and Cite Soleil without our knowledge before the demonstration had started. We did not know that they had quietly entered certain houses very early in the morning and held the occupants at gunpoint waiting for the right moment to strike. After the killing started they broke into many more houses shooting and beating people who had stayed at home. They also broke everything they could and stole anything of value while we were running from the bullets of the police. Later in the afternoon the police entered the poor neighborhoods and arrested everyone they could get their hands on. This is how the violence of September 30th began and it became a question of defending our neighborhoods and our community from the violence of Latortue's police and the former military. What do we have to lose by defending ourselves since they are determined to kill us anyway?

In the days that followed we would not allow them to enter our communities and continue the killing. They tried several times on their own and we would not let them enter. So they set up on the outskirts of our neighborhoods and began to arrest everybody in sight. Outside of Bel Air we have seen them force three year-olds and four year-olds to the ground. There are many people here who do not know where they have taken their family members after they arrest them. All of this because Latortue and Bush were afraid of the numbers of people they knew we would mobilize to demand Aristide's return on September 30th. There is no other explanation.

Since then, Latortue has made it clear we do not have the right to live and we are no better than animals that deserve to be slaughtered. We are not counted as human beings in Haitian society because we are poor and uneducated even though we are the majority of the population. With President Aristide this was not the case and for this reason we are determined there will never be peace in Haiti until he returns. Our brothers, our sisters, our fathers, our sons and our cousins are all willing to die before we will accept this misery caused by a government that was put into power by foreigners and that does not accept us as human beings. We will never stop and there can be no peace until President Aristide returns. They can call us bandits and thieves all they want but they know the truth and this is why they are in a process of exterminating us today.

Bush and the United Nations know the truth as well. They know that without the Brazilians they could not have entered Bel Air. They know that without the Jordanians they could never keep us from the National Palace. Without the UN forces this phony government would not last a week. That is why we call them occupation forces and it is criminal for them to prop up this killing machine that is trying to destroy us. It is an insult to see them occupying the streets in front of our National Palace to keep in place a government that was not chosen by the people.

They should be ashamed of themselves and wonder how they would feel if the same thing were done to them in their country. We believe that if the people in their countries knew the truth they would ask them to come home. We pray we will not have to fight them but they are part of the killing machine right now and it is a question of survival for us. We have no choice but to defend ourselves and our communities against their tanks and their guns.

It is clear they will kill many more of us in the weeks to come. The streets of Bel Air and Cite Soleil will turn red from all the blood Latortue intends to spill but we will no longer just stand like zombies and let them kill us. We will continue to demand the return of our elected president and we will defend ourselves against them when they come to kill us. We are not animals, we are not bandits and we did not start this killing. They did.

Take this to the American people and let them know we think that what Bush is doing in Haiti is criminal. He had a choice of supporting our democracy and our votes but he chose to throw them away. He sided with criminals and the rich against us instead of choosing dialogue and reconciliation. We do not blame the American people and it is a lie that we intend to harm them in Haiti. We love our children and we love life as much as they do but we must defend our right to exist in the face of these criminals who are determined to exterminate us.

Reproduced from:
Posts: 1531

« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2004, 08:14:20 PM »

by Haiti Information Project  
October 17, 2004  

Port au Prince, Haiti(HIP)- Armed units of the Haitian National Police (PNH) entered the pro-Ariside slum of Bel Air as thousands of residents took to streets to demand the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Marchers defied a shutdown of the capital by the business community and threats issued by the former military. Heavy gunfire erupted as the police reportedly fired shots to disperse the crowd. The police were then forced to withdraw as unidentified gunmen returned fire from surrounding buildings in a thunderous volley. Haiti has been rocked by violence since September 30th after police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators demanding the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and condemning political persecution of his Lavalas political party. Aristide was ousted last February 29th amid charges he was kidnapped by U.S. Marines and is living as guest in the Republic of South Africa.

Two demonstrators were killed on Sept. 30th and the U.S.-backed government claimed that the headless bodies of three policemen were later discovered. The identities of the headless policemen were released at a funeral held for them earlier this week. The bodies of the headless men were reportedly cremated before journalists and human rights groups were given an opportunity to perform an independent examination of the corpses to confirm the government's claims.

In a statement portraying Aristide's Family Lavalas party as terrorists, the Haitian Chamber of Commerce called for a National Day of Reflection today asking for all schools and businesses to stay closed and for all residents of Port au Prince to stay in their homes. The U.S. Embassy closed its doors as well in a gesture meant to symbolize their approval of the business community's initiative. Several U.S. citizens expressed their anger at the closure stating that it "left them defenseless" in the event they were required to evacuate Haiti in the face of mounting violence.

Tensions heightened in the capital as several pro-Aristide slums announced their intention to defy the shutdown and protest on the 10th anniversary of the ousted president‚s return to Haiti in 1994. Aristide was overthrown by Haiti's military in a brutal coup in September 1991and returned to Haiti on October 15, 1994 after Clinton committed 20,000 U.S. troops to “Operation Restore Democracy."

Aristide supporters had braced themselves for today's attacks after the U.S.-backed government and United Nation‚s forces allowed armed units of the former military to enter the capital unchallenged over the past two days. This has led to charges by Lavalas representatives of a “second coup" and UN complicity in allowing the former military to return to power in Haiti. Two trucks of former military opened fire on residents at Delmas 2 in the slum of La Saline this morning and could be seen setting up roadblocks on Route Frere.

Today's violence comes two days after the arrest of a Catholic priest, Father Gerard Jean-Juste, the government accused of trafficking in weapons and harboring gunmen in his parish. Human rights organizations and legal experts have condemned the arrest as "arbitrary" and an effort by the authorities to repress political dissent. Earlier this week, UN soldiers and Haitian police conducted numerous joint raids in several poor neighborhoods in the capital known for their support of Aristide. Hundreds have been arrested yet few weapons have been confiscated as the violence continues for a second straight week.

The morgue at the General Hospital issued an emergency call this afternoon stating that there was no longer space for new corpses and it had reached full capacity.

Posts: 1788


« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2004, 09:50:50 PM »

Garard Latortue who came to power in the wake of American sponsored unrest and violence has the audacity to talk about 'respecting international law'. What hypocrisy!!!

Mbeki blamed over Haitian unrest

Streets of Port-au-Prince in the unrest that forced Jean Bertrand Aristide from power in February  South Africa has been accused of letting Haiti's ex-leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide incite violence in Haiti from his place of exile in South Africa. Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said President Thabo Mbeki was breaking international law by supporting the ousted Haitian leader.

At least 50 people have died in recent weeks in violence blamed on Mr Aristide's supporters.

 No respectable president would allow a person in his territory to organise violence in another country

Pretoria did not comment immediately after Mr Latortue's remarks.

Gerard Latortue pulled no punches in his criticism of President Mbeki, the BBC's Daniel Lak reports from Haiti.

"No respectable president would allow a person in his territory to organise violence in another country," Mr Latortue said.

"Mr Mbeki is not respecting international law."

Understaffed police

Asked whether Mr Aristide had a role to play in bringing peace to his troubled homeland, Mr Latortue roundly condemned the deposed president.

"His capacity is only to destroy. He knows how to kill, how to put fire, how to put violence, how to arm 12-, 13-, 14-year-old young people," he said.

Mr Latortue said he hoped those supporters of the exiled president would respond to his offer of peace talks but he was prepared to be tough and use aggressive means to bring the capital under control.

It is hard to see how that could happen, our correspondent says.

Haiti's police force is understaffed and has little money. The UN police and peacekeepers are at less than half strength.

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