Witch Hunt in Haiti by the Bush and 'Boca Raton' Regimes

ZNet | Haiti

by Anthony Fenton; April 06, 2004

    “Right now there is a political climate in Haiti where anyone can get on the radio stations and accuse anyone else of a crime or with being associated with violent Lavalas gangs. It means that without proof they can say this about you and immediately you have to go into hiding, and immediately you have to be concerned with your own welfare; and immediately the death threats begin. That´s the political climate that you have in Haiti today.’

    These chilling comments come from a conversation that took place on the tail end of my recent trip to Haiti with the first large post-coup ‘fact-finding´ delegation. [1] During this trip - which lasted ten intense days - twenty-two of us met with numerous groups and individuals representing all sides of the socio-political spectrum in Haiti.

    We interacted with representatives of many of Haiti's stakeholders, and also met with those outsiders who feel it is their place to determine how Haiti is governed. In this respect, the US, Canada, France, through their various institutional bodies have made themselves "de facto" stakeholders in Haiti. Such a framework becomes all the more clearer when we consider such comments as those made by OAS representative Luigi Einaudi at the Hotel Olaffson, December 31, 2003, on the eve of Haiti's bicentennial:

    "The real problem with Haiti is that the international community is so screwed up that they're actually letting Haitians run the place."[2]

    This is the same Luigi Einaudi, who, according to sources at the Canadian Embassy, was part of the "Ottawa Initiative on Haiti" at which, it was leaked by Denis Paradis, "regime change" was planned in Haiti, and there was discussion of the "need" for a military presence.

    It is doubtful that Einaudi differs greatly in perspective from the likes of John Negroponte, Otto Reich, or Jesse Helms's accolyte Roger Noriega. All of these individuals have specialized in carrying out crimes against humanity in Latin America and the Caribbean over the years. As I learned these past 10 days, despite the silence of the mainstream media, atrocities *are* taking place in Haiti on a scale that is all too well-known, especially when we frame recent events against the most horrendous of the 1980's. The tactics employed in Haiti also warrant comparison to the destabilization campaign against Jamaica's Michael Manley.

    Along these lines, our first meeting set a certain tone for the remaining days. This was a group of Lavalas leaders, none of which had seen their families in days, and one of which had recently been abducted, beaten, and held captive for fifteen days with several other people.[3] When he was released he was told to immediately take his family and leave his home, never to return.

    During this same meeting we were also told that the US Marines had recently slaughtered, in one night, 78 people in the Belair neighborhood of Port au Prince. Reportedly, the US [and “other foreign occupiers’] had brought ambulances with them in anticipation of a bloodbath. All but two of the people murdered were carried away in these ambulances. “Now no one will know the identities of those killed.’ We were told that the interim government, led by the US has the “intent to destroy popular organizations.’

    One popular organization in particular is under attack. Since they - Lavalas - represent the majority of the population, according to the most credible sources, they are the primary target for destruction. The US-spawned idea being that once the fear of a militarized Haitian police and a “trigger-happy’ US military are instilled in these people, they will think twice about disrupting the new political process that is being imposed on them.

    Followers of the news might ask themselves why demonstrations against the occupation abruptly stopped after March 11th. The 'alleged' massacre in Belair should be considered against this, since it occurred around this time. It is safe to say that there have been no demonstrations in Port au Prince since the Belair massacre.

    Importantly, two anti-Aristide groups - PAPDA and the National Coalition for Haitian Rights [NCHR] - corroborated the story of the massacre. Camille Chalmers of PAPDA, perhaps in a move that demonstrates his guilt over having helped create the conditions for the illegal occupation, ackowledged hearing people "talking about 60 people dying in one day in Belair.’ Where Chalmers denounces such human rights abuses as well as the US occupation, his group [in a preemptively contradictory manner] did contribute greatly to the demonization of Aristide, which culminated in his removal and the eventual presence of the imperial forces. PAPDA has been 'rewarded' by the illegitimate regime with a Ministry position [Environment] for one of its members. At this point the reader should be asked to reconsider Tom Reeves' "double games".[4]

    This applies equally to NCHR who claim on the one hand to be a legitimate Human Rights watchdog, but on the other refuse to investigate reported crimes such as the atrocities in Belair. The NCHR did not deny knowledge of these murders, and would only say that "it is too dangerous to enter Belair" to investigate. Too dangerous, for American allies perhaps.

    Such “reprisal killings’ [as put by Chalmers and others] are a daily occurrence in Haiti nowadays, though of course you would not know this from reading the mainstream corporate media. A significant part of the “big lie’ in Haiti requires that the media join the Bush and Boca Raton regimes [5] in denying the existence of any such atrocities. An image of the interim government ‘being on the right track´ [6] has to be contrived so as to lend legitimacy to the new status quo that is being imposed on Haitians.

    Daily around 4:00 P.M, lists of names are read over the elite-controlled radio stations. Considering Kevin Pina's "disinformation loop"[7], we have to interrogate why the Associated Press and Reuters are not reporting the reading of these lists. This interrogation might benefit from awareness of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's "Propaganda Model", specifically its "Worthy and Unworthy Victims chapter.[8]

    By sundown those whose names are read on these lists [and others] are quick to find a suitable place to hide. We witnessed this phenomenon first hand during our recent stay. Dozens of people risked their lives coming to see us - from hiding - in order to share their stories. Many of these people testified to the fact that close friends have already been ‘disappeared´ or killed. These people also confirmed the atrocities in Belair, perpetrated by the joint Haitian police and imperial military forces.

    We were also told that the few funerals that families were able to have [since most bodies were carried away] were attacked by Haitian police, and several more people were subsequently killed. A Western human rights lawyer in Haiti told us that she arrived at the location where these latest victims were being burned. She arrived too late to identify any of the remains, which had by then been reduced to ash.

    It is in this general context of a witch-hunt that the succession of lies on the part of the Bush Administration must be considered. Aristide apparently left “to prevent a bloodbath’. [9] Emerging from a recent trip to Haiti there is widespread testimony that the US is actually carrying out bloodbaths of their own. Meanwhile, an illegal government is being formed, democracy is being undermined, self-determination is being deprived, refugees are being illegally repatriated, while the corporate press obediently suppresses the truth, and a disempowered, heavily indoctrinated society laps the disinformation up.

    While most of the dissenting views that are managing to warrant mainstream coverage concern the investigation into Aristide´s departure, there has been next to nothing yet concerning US perpetrated [or condoned] atrocities. This is because the US government, the Boca Raton Regime, and the corporate press are in denial of them, so they have not yet been reported. It is my own view that these issues need to be investigated urgently and all those who claim to stand in solidarity with Haiti should act to facilitate this process immediately.

    [1] These views are solely those of the author and do not [necessarily] reflect those of the delegation. My role during the delegation was as political activist and journalist. The identity of certain quoted interlocutors will for the time being remain anonymous, as will the identity of those whom we met with that are currently in hiding.

    [2] Two parties who were present have confirmed these statements.

    [3] Lavalas is President Aristide´s political party.

    [4] http://www.zmag.org/weluser.htm, etc.

    [5] Latortue has resided in Boca Raton for many decades. His Minister of the Interior, Herard Abraham, who is known to advocate a return of the military, also hails from Boca Raton.

    [6] See: “U.S. expresses optimism about situation in Haiti’ From the Dept of State http://www.reliefweb.int March 30, 2004.

    [7] See http://www.blackcommentator.com and zmag.org

    [8] In "Manufacturing Consent" [2002], pp. 37-87.

    [9] This is a paraphrase. On Powell´s recent visit to Haiti and comments in this context see “Powell Rejects Probe of Aristide Departure From Haiti, AP Says’


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