From my prison cell...
by Annette Auguste; June 18, 2005
PORT AU PRINCE - I am Annette Auguste, who has been unjustly imprisoned and held without charges since May 10, 2004. U.S. Marines arrested me in a violent invasion of my home causing harm to my family. To this date there is no reason for my imprisonment other than my support for the duly elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Although Amnesty International has been cowardly in using the term, I am among the thousands of political prisoners rotting away in Haitian jails today. There is no other explanation for my imprisonment as I have never been convicted of a crime or allowed my day in court to challenge any allegations brought against me.
From my prison cell I have learned many things. I have heard that police have been free to kill Lavalas supporters with impunity on several occasions. I have heard that the U.N. is working with these same deadly forces, on behalf of the backward wealthy elite of our country, to justify murder of the poor in the popular neighborhoods that continue to demand the return of President Aristide. I am told that homes are burned and people killed as the U.N. shows its true colors in places like Bel Air and Cite Soleil. These are our hearts in the struggle to return our president and it is not our friends who established this climate of insecurity. What did the U.N. expect when they allowed the police to kill with impunity? It is now certain that police are involved in the recent insecurity and kidnappings; two of them were arrested yesterday for that. When the U.N. allowed them to get away with murder they thought they could away any crime imaginable. The U.N. and the same people in the Bush administration who arrested me are responsible for this current climate of kidnappings and insecurity by allowing the current regime to exact its revenge against Lavalas. If the police are committing these crimes today it is because the international community allowed them to do so out of a blind vengeance against Lavalas. They established a climate where a policeman who got away with murder of Lavalas thought afterwards why couldn't he kidnap to put money in his pocket? Nobody held him responsible so why not?
I now hear that the defacto Justice Minister Bernard Gousse is resigning. He is the one who represents the Group 184 and the traditional reactionary elites of Haiti who have denied justice in Haiti. This is a false and cosmetic move meant to distract us away from the truth. This is a move meant to clear the way for the false elections the international community plans for Haiti. If I am not freed there are political prisoners in Haiti. If former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and former interior minister J. Privert are not freed there are political prisoners in Haiti. If ALL the prisoners in Haiti who have been arrested merely for their affiliation with Lavalas are not freed there are political prisoners in Haiti. I challenge Amnesty International and other respectable human rights organizations to begin to use the words, "political prisoners" or otherwise explain to the world why we are still behind bars. Why am I still behind bars? Explain this to us! Let us understand your reasoning that keeps us behind bars without ever having a fair day in court.
The elections they are planning to cover all of the human rights abuses they have committed against Lavalas will not pass. They want to show to the world that the coup of Feb. 29 was justified; I call upon all democracy loving Haitians to not register for this vote. If you must accept their bribe of a new national identity card to register then take it. But when the day comes to vote stay home. Show them that we are a proud nation that believes in democracy. We already voted and spent our energy on a government that represented the majority of the poor in Haiti. We will never give into to extortion and kidnapping. We will remain strong and resolved to return the constitutional government. When it is darkest we will shine the light.
The international community has given us no choice by their acceptance of human rights violations by the police and their killings in the popular neighborhoods. We have no choice but to die or not vote in the next elections. This is all they have left us.
I wish to thank all of those who love freedom for their support of democracy in Haiti. We shall never forget your commitment and struggle for our people. I say to you remain strong because lies cannot erase the truth over time. I send you my love.
Annette Auguste Penitentiary Petion-Ville Haiti June 15, 2005
ZNet | Haiti
[via Haiti Information Project]
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