Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti

UN Occupation of Haiti Intensifies

 

By G. Dunkel
Feb 2, 2007

Ever since the coup-kidnapping of the popular president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, on Feb. 29, 2004, this Caribbean country has been occupied. First it was troops from the United States, France and Canada. Then a U.N.-sanctioned and commanded force, mainly from Latin America and called Minustah, took over and provided a cover for this imperialist intervention.

Minustah stands for the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, but its intervention has meant “death, terror and lawlessness for the people of Haiti,” as a statement from Fanmi Lavalas, Aristide’s political party, puts it.

Even the U.S. State Department, in documents recently obtained by the Haiti Information Project (HIP) about a U.N. raid in Cit� Soleil in July 2005, admits that the U.N. troops used “excessive force,” which is like a butcher calling a slaughterhouse worker bloody.

These attacks have continued. According to residents of Cit� Soleil, cited by HIP, U.N. forces attacked in the early morning of Dec. 22, 2006, killing more than 30 people, including women and children. Yet they claim to be “peacekeepers.”

The National Commission on Justice and Peace, sponsored by the Roman Catholic bishops of Haiti, published a report on Jan. 23 acknowledging that 539 people died from “armed violence” in October, November and December. The deaths are concentrated in “the poor communities of Martissant, Grande Ravine and Bolosse, the southern suburbs of Port au Prince and in Cit� Soleil to the north,” according to the commission’s report. “In November and December [2006] Minustah and the Haitian National Police (PNH) became more active in the struggle against gangsters; their actions created victims, which in no way means their victims were bandits,” the report continues.

The day after the report was published, 300 U.N. soldiers in 20 armored personnel carriers, with bulldozers and helicopters, raided Cit� Soleil and demolished a “gang’s hideout that had been used for criminal attacks against Minustah posts,” was the version given by U.N. spokesperson Col. Abdesslam Elamarti, speaking to Haiti’s AlterPress service. Haiti en Marche reported that five residents of Cit� Soleil were killed in this attack.

After centuries of Western hostility to this Black republic, most people in Haiti are desperately poor. Even though Haitian police, who are commanded by U.N. officers under a deal struck with the previous, un-elected government, have flooded the streets of Port au Prince, parents are so afraid of kidnapping that they did not send their children to school after the winter holidays, according to Ha�ti-Progr�s (Jan. 17 to 23).

A number of Haitians living in the United States who usually go home for the holidays didn’t this year out of fear of being kidnapped for ransom in Haiti. Some have told this reporter that they feel the cops are involved, along with gangsters. There have been press reports that police uniforms have been found in the possession of kidnappers.

Henri Laforest, brother of well-known New York activist Ray Laforest, was recently shot through the heart after leaving a bank in Haiti. It is not clear whether the motive was robbery or political.

Political activists are also angry that there are still political prisoners who have not even been charged, although they were arrested as much as two years ago. Some of the most prominent political prisoners, like S� Ann (Anne Auguste) have been released, but hundreds more are still in jail. Fanmi Lavalas members who were fired because of their political affiliations still haven’t been rehired.

Most importantly, Aristide is still in exile in South Africa, while the gangsters and mass murderers who carried out the coup against him, with the financial and organizational support of the U.S. government, are walking around Port au Prince. The people of Haiti want their president back.

Given the U.N.’s occupation of Haiti, which is just a thin cover for the role of the United States, France and Canada, and its worsening economic situation, the Haiti Action Committee has called an internationally coordinated day of protests on Feb.7. For information on these protests, call 510-483-7481 in the U.S., or go to www.haitiaction.net or www.haitisolidarity.net . Protests�against the U.N. occupation are �happening in 47 cities on 5 continents on Feb. 7, including South Africa, the Philippines, Europe and many countries of Latin America.

In New York, Fanmi Lavalas and other groups in the Haitian community have called a major demonstration on Wednesday, Feb. 7 in front of the United Nations from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Call 718-469-2078 for more information in the New York metropolitan area.
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