Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Haiti's Batay Ouvriye plays both ends against the middle as "maquila workers take to the streets —again"

Many in Haiti's labor movement have called foul and a conflict of interest, noting that Yannick Etienne of Batay Ouvriye, also known as Yvane Elie Castera, actually serves as a member of Martelly's Administrative Council of Social Security Bodies (CAOSS). She joined Martelly's "labor initiative" even as tens of thousands of Haitians have taken to the streets in recent months demanding Martelly resign amid accusations of corruption and the lack of free and fair elections.

Just this last

World War 4 Report

Defending the Fourth World, Deconstructing Overseas Contingency Operations

"One of the representatives, Yannick Etienne of the leftist Batay Ouvriye ("Worker's Struggle"), reported that "steps are under way for a consensus among the different parties on this situation. There are possibilities of meetings with the [CSS], the bosses and some unions." She added that "the question of the wages for the workers has to be renegotiated, because they don't accept the 225 gourdes."

The factories reopened on Dec. 13, but according to Batay Ouvriye "the main officials of the factory [union] committees weren't allowed to enter, sometimes with a letter indicating a suspension or a penalty, when it wasn't an outright dismissal." (AlterPresse, Dec. 13; Batay Ouvriye News, Dec. 13)

A smiling Yvane Elie Castera, an active supporter 
of the 2004 coup in Haiti standing to the right of Martelly in this recent
photograph, is also known as Yannick Etienne of Batay Ouvriye.

Written by The Sentinel Staff

Sunday, September 01, 2013 11:57 AM

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ( - Two institutions in the management of workers insurance and wage protection, the Superior Council of Salaries (CSS) and the Administrative Council of Social Security Departments (CAOSS) were inaugurated on Thursday during a ceremony at the National Palace.

 The installation ceremony was presided by the President of the Republic, Michel Martelly in the presence of the Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, Charles Jean Jacques and some members of the government, some parliamentarians, members of the private sector, representatives of international organizations and the trade union sector.

In a statement, the National Palace said "the setting-up of these two institutions is a milestone in the history of social security in Haiti."

The two structures established, according to President Martelly, are "to improve the performance of the institutions provided for by law in order to strengthen democracy, to support the Republican values​​, while ensuring security and peace for all citizens." The Head of State said, "I rely on these players who will assume their responsibilities."

The installation of CSS and CAOSS aims to respond to the needs of working men and women brave, thirty years after the adoption of the law establishing the CAOSS and CSS . The Head of State believes it is necessary to strengthen the organization of our social security system . With CAOSS , ONA and OFATMA will be better able to meet the workers in terms of social benefits and can contribute more to the stability and national cohesion.

"By making the functional CAOSS I want to reform and strengthen the foundations of our social security system guaranteeing distribution solidarity between generations. I take this opportunity to remind the mandatory contributions to social security funds."

For his part, the Minister of Social Affairs thanked the CAOSS and CSS, which in a patriotic spirit and public service , have agreed as part of tripartism to be part of these tips and give their time to advance the agenda of social security and the highly sensitive issue of the wage in Haiti.

The members of the Administrative Council of Social Security Bodies (CAOSS) are:
Volmy Desrameaux Fils, Tamara Georges Decastro, Reginald Delva (State Representatives );
Nahomme Dorvil, Nathale Hermantin, Gérald Marie Tardieu (Patron Representatives);
Leonel Pierre, Wisler Romain, Yvane Elie Castera (Representatives of Wage)
The Superior Council of Salaries is composed of:
 Marie France H. Mondesir, Renan Hédouville, Daniel Altine (State Representatives);
Norma Powell, Dany Jean Pierre Francois, Reginald Boulos (Representatives of Employers);
Jean Bonald Golinsky Fatal Jean Franck Noisimond , Fignole St Louis Cyr (Representatives of Wage).

Investiture  du conseil supérieur des salaires et du conseil d’administration des organes de sécurité sociale

Port-au-Prince, le 29 aout 2013 – (AHP) - Le président Michel Martelly a donné Investiture  jeudi au conseil supérieur des salaires et au conseil d’administration des organes de sécurité sociale (CAOSS).

La cérémonie s’est déroulée au palais présidentiel en preesence du ministre des affaires sociales et du travail Charles Jean-Jacques.

Le ministre Jean-Jacques s’est félicité du fait que gouvernement de montre intéressé à rendre fonctionnelles ces instances prévues par la loi depuis près d’une trentaine d’années.

Tout en reconnaissant les difficultés qui ont empêché leur mise en place M. Jean-Jacques a renouvelé l’engagement de l’équipe au pouvoir à garantir le respect des droits de la population à travers un système efficace de protection sociale.

Le président Michel Martelly a exhorté les membres du conseil d’administration des organes de sécurité sociale et du conseil supérieur des salaires à prendre à cœur les responsabilités auxquelles ils sont appelées.

Le chef de l’État a indiqué que toutes les entités concernées par la situation des travailleurs doivent travailler dans la plus parfaite harmonie.
C’est une condition sine qua non à la prospérité économique, a-t-il indiqué.

Michel Martelly a une nouvelle fois pris l’engagement de contribuer à la mise en place d’un système efficace de sécurité sociale et  à l’amélioration des conditions socio-économiques de la population en général.

 Les membres du Conseil d’Administration des Organes de Sécurité Sociale (C.A.O.S.S.) sont :

Volmy Desrameaux Fils, Tamara Georges Decastro, Réginald de Delva, (Représentants de l’Etat) ;

Nahomme Dorvil, Nathale Hermantin, Gérald Marie Tardieu ( Représentants du patronnat) ;

Leonel Pierre, Wisler Romain, Yvane Elie Castera (Représentants du Salariat).

Le Conseil Supérieur des Salaires est composé de :

Marie France H. Mondésir, Renan Hédouville, Daniel Altiné (Représentants de l’État) ;

Norma Powell, Jean Dany Pierre Francois, Réginald Boulos (Représentants du Patronat) ;

Jean Bonald Golinsky Fatal,  Jean Franck Noisimond, Louis Fignolé St Cyr (Représentants du Salariat).

Friday, November 15, 2013

Why is Sean Penn the Honorary Ambassador for an undemocratic and corrupt regime in Haiti?

Why is Sean Penn the Honorary Ambassador for 
an undemocratic and corrupt regime in Haiti? 

November 14, 2013 - Flashpoints on Pacifica Radio Senior Correspondent
Kevin Pina interviews political analysts about Sean Penn's role in Haiti


Protesters outside of Dreamforce Conference in SF on Nov. 19 where Sean Penn spoke glowingly
of Martelly's regime to a star-struck crowd including president Marc Benioff.

In a startling display of ignorance for a purported genius,
founder Marc Benioff falls prey to Sean Penn's celebrity by welcoming
Haiti PM Laurent Lamothe to the Dreamforce Conference in SF.
The previous day, tens of thousands of Haitians demonstrated
throughout Haiti calling for the resignation of president Michel Martelly
who came to office through a series of tainted elections

Kevin Pina joins Margaret Prescod on Sojourner Truth heard on KPFK in Los Angeles. He discusses how Haitian president Martelly has moved to rehabilitate and protect "Baby Doc" Duvalier who stands accused of human right abuses and crimes against humanity. Pina also lambasts the role of actor Sean Penn for providing credibility to Martelly even as he stacks his government with Duvalier supporters.


Call for demonstration in San Francisco just released:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Protests grow in Haiti despite biased news coverage


Last Thursday, Nov. 7, saw a large protest against the Martelly regime in Haiti.  Yet, a mere  three days later, this is what appears on Google as current news in Haiti (see Google snapshot below). 

In this NGO/Celebrity/Charity alternate reality, the overarching narrative regularly presented in the international press is that foreigners are the subject, heroes and protagonists of Haiti. Most people aren't aware of the real situation in Haiti because, whether unintentionally or through design, the press mostly feeds them a steady diet of foreigners committing selfless acts of charity as a distraction

The common reality of repression, corruption and grinding poverty experienced by most Haitians today remains largely unseen, unspoken and under reported.

Top of the Haiti Google News Search
November 10, 2013  - 5pm PST/8pm EST

Haiti anti-government protest turns violent

Demonstrators call on President Martelly to resign, accusing him of cronyism and failing to ease poverty. 

Last updated: 08 Nov 2013 09:11
Haiti has seen a wave of anti-government protests over the past month [Reuters]

Thousands of Haitian protesters have demanded the resignation of President Michel Martelly, clashing with supporters of the leader in the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Protesters said two people suffered gunshot wounds after Martelly loyalists opened fire during Thursday's skirmishes that lasted for several hours.

The two sides hurled stones at each other during the fighting, which brought parts of the city to a standstill and triggered huge traffic jams.

Anti-Martelly demonstrators accused the Haitian president of cronyism, charging that he is ruling the impoverished Caribbean nation for the benefit of his friends and family.

"We are from the ghettos. We get nothing from the government which works only for the rich," protester Johnny Joseph shouted.

The march began peacefully as the crowd grew to a few thousand people and passed through poor neighbourhoods, many of them strongholds of government critics.

"This is the people's fight for a change for better conditions,'' said Carlo Jean Daniel as he walked among the marchers. "Nothing is coming down for the people."

The demonstrators were dispersed by police after attempting to reach the Presidential Palace.
Haiti has seen a wave of anti-government protests over the past month, with demonstrators accusing Martelly of failing to ease poverty and unemployment and demanding his resignation.

The United Nations' peacekeeping mission in Haiti issued a statement on Thursday asking the divided legislative and executive branches to agree on "priority political issues," which include the holding of elections.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

How long has it been since 
the last elections in Haiti?:

Even longer for FREE & FAIR elections but hey, who's 
counting when they're too busy justifying hefty NGO 
salaries or making sure Haiti's OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!
Haiti's problem isn't's structural injustice!
 Now you can make your voice heard for real democracy and free & fair elections in Haiti by placing this counter on your webpage or blog with this embed code:
  <iframe src="" frameborder="0" width="518" height="88"></iframe>

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


By: The Archives
WBEZ 91.5 Chicago

Continuing Crisis in Haiti

October 16, 2007


The UN Security Council has agreed to extend its peacekeeping mission in Haiti for another twelve months. The 9,000-strong UN security force replaced a US-backed team deployed after an uprising toppled president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004.

Among those doing the toppling was the rebel leader Guy Phillippe, who disappeared after recently doing a radio interview criticizing the U.S.

Haiti's President is once again René Préval, an ally of deposed President Jean Bertand Artistitede. He won elections held earlier this year.

On the face of it, things seem to be improving in Haiti, but my next guest is unimpressed.

Kevin Pina is an independent journalist and filmmaker. He's founder of the Haiti Information Project and is Haiti Correspondent for the Haiti Action Committee. Kevin spent 7 years in Haiti between 1999 and 2006 and is critical about the role of the UN in Haiti.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Remembering Flag Day in Haiti and the events of May 18, 2004

Watch this clip starting at 21:53 from Haiti: We Must Kill the Bandits
about events in Haiti on May 18, 2004, Haitian Flag Day.

US Marines dispute Bay View's account of Haiti Flag Day protest

On Thursday and again on Saturday, the Bay View received email messages from U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. David Lapan, spokesman for the Multinational Interim Force in Haiti, wanting to "correct the record regarding MIF forces and U.S. Marines." Lapan is disputing our coverage of the May 18 protest by 30,000 to 50,000 Haitians, headlined "At least 9 demonstrators killed during huge march on Haiti's Flag Day," in last week's Bay View. This response to Lapan by journalist and documentary filmmaker Kevin Pina, an eyewitness, is followed by Lapan's first message, then by responses from Pierre Labossiere and Wanda Sabir and finally by Lapan's second message.

by Kevin Pina

Despite the slaughter of thousands of democracy-loving Haitians since the Feb. 29 coup d'etat, 30,000-50,000 marched for freedom on Haiti's Flag Day May 18. And they kept marching, even into a hail of police gunfire that felled several ‚ their courage equal to that of their ancestors who defeated Napolean's best troops. The Haitians of that day are described by a French officer, Capt. Jean-Baptiste Lemonnier-Delafosse: "But what men these Blacks are! How they fight and how they die! One has to make war against them to know their reckless courage in braving danger when they can no longer have recourse to strategem. I have seen a solid column, torn by grape-shot from four pieces of cannon, advance without making a retrograde step. The more they fell, the greater seemed to be the courage of the rest. They advanced singing Ö a song of brave men."

Photo: Haiti Information Project © 2004

I was an eyewitness to events of May 18 and wish to publicly respond to a letter written to the SF Bay View by Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, USMC, director, Public Affairs Office of the Combined Joint Task Force, Haiti. His letter was a response to an account of events on May 18 written by attorney Marguerite Laurent and published in the Bay View May 19.

While it is true I did not see the Marines fire into crowds, it is also true they were not required to do so, as they left that dirty work to the SWAT team of PNH or Police Nationale de Haiti (which Lapan should know is the correct acronym, by the way, not HNP). The role of the Marines was to enter the heart of the neighborhood of Bel Air with an extraordinary show of numbers and firepower in a clear effort to intimidate the community.

The Lavalas demonstrators had decided earlier to use the area in front of Perpetual Catholic Church in Bel Air, after receiving a legal permit to demonstrate from the police, as a rallying point for their intended peaceful march demanding the return of their constitutional President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Should Lapan decide to question whether Lavalas received such permission to demonstrate, I have a copy of the approval document with an official PNH stamp bearing the signature of a senior officer.

Lapan is indeed correct in describing the Marines as having "assisted" the PNH. While the Marines intimidated the community with an excessive show of armaments, or what he calls a "security presence," the demonstrators would then mass to leave the area and march down toward Champ de Mars. As they descended, the Marines became conspicuously absent as SWAT teams wearing black battle gear suddenly drove up to the front of the march and opened fire. It had the appearance of a clearly designed and coordinated strategy between the U.S. Marines and the Haitian SWAT team to forcefully break up an otherwise peaceful march.

Annette Auguste, aka So Anne, and Titus Simpton certainly would not agree with this propaganda literature of a smiling white Marine surrounded by doting Black children that is being distributed throughout Haiti. Auguste's residence was violently assaulted by U.S. Marines and she was arrested on bogus charges of "being a threat to stability and security in Haiti." Titus Simpton was murdered by the a Haitian SWAT team "assisted" by the Marines during a peaceful demonstration on May 18 calling for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The grim face of this Marine watching the brave marchers on Flag Day better represents the repressive U.S. occupation forces.

Photo: Haiti Information Project © 2004
In addition, there were several statements given on the scene that more than one demonstrator had been shot by the Marines" backup SWAT teams of the PNH. There were also unconfirmed reports, as there have been on several other occasions, that the Marines placed corpses in black body bags and immediately removed them from the scene.

Many inquiries have been made at the General Hospital morgue in Port au Prince and private morgues throughout the capital by countless families who have been unsuccessful in finding the whereabouts of missing relatives who publicly identified themselves with Lavalas. These instances of disappearances have grown in such frequency that it has led many of the poor, whether rationally or irrationally, to believe that the U.S. Marines may have a morgue of their own hidden somewhere in the area of the capital.

Lapan states, "Press accounts here in Haiti are that one person - not nine - was killed during the demonstration. It remains unclear how that person died." As to the actual number killed on May 18, I can guarantee Lapan that the investigation continues by credible human rights activists and journalists. I wonder if he and his forces can claim they are doing more to investigate the truth other than relying upon "press accounts."

As to his statement about the one person confirmed killed by a less than reliable Haitian press, I can state that I was a witness to the killing of Titus Simpton. Yes, Lt. Col. Dave Lapan, USMC, you should at least know the victim has a name and an age like yourself: Titus Simpton was 23.

Daniel Lescouflet, 16 years old, was shot dead at point blank range on Haitiís Flag Day by the regular forces of the Police Nationale de Haiti, who left in a vehicle with license number 1-0044. Daniel, part of the rasanblement in La Saline, was killed on the street that runs in front of the church of St. Jean Bosco, where President Aristide used to be pastor. Photo: Haiti Information Project © 2004

Photo: Haiti Information Project © 2004
He was shot and killed by a Haitian SWAT team member less than 30 yards in front of me, and it was I who filmed his last breath as he lie bleeding from a single shot to the head. The only weapon he had in his hands lay beside him, a bloodied Sony Walkman he was listening to as he marched peacefully demanding the return of his president.

After this, I attempted to film the faces of the SWAT team members who shot towards the crowd and they immediately responded by firing off two rounds in my direction. That Lapan states he does not know this is disingenuous, as I later reported it to an Officer Vasquez and gave him the license plate number of the vehicle the SWAT left in shortly after the murder of Simpton. Given his sense of duty and military discipline, he must also know I have since been contacted on two other occasions to verify the information.

I have interviewed every single member of Annette Auguste's household, and they all tell the same story. At 12:30 a.m. on the morning of May 10, a Special Forces team of the U.S. Marines violently invaded her home using explosive devices, terrorizing the occupants. I have photos of the damage and the paraphernalia left behind, including blasting caps and M-60 fuses.

The Haitian police never entered the premises nor did any official magistrate of the Haitian government. This was a unilateral home invasion undertaken exclusively by U.S. forces as the PNH stood outside watching from their vehicles. A warrant was asked for several times by those inside, and none was ever produced at the scene.

While Lapan states that this armed assault was undertaken "for questioning about threats to our forces and to stability and security in Haiti," he then contradicts himself by stating that PNH arrested Auguste on an outstanding warrant. Again, every single occupant and neighborhood dweller who witnessed this event states quite clearly that PNH never entered the premises.

If this overwhelming testimony is true, then why on earth are the U.S. Marines executing arrest warrants for the Police Nationale de Haiti? The larger question to Lapan is, where is the evidence to back up the U.S. claims that Auguste was at any time a threat to "his" forces and "stability and security in Haiti"? Provide us with the evidence and hold yourself to the same standards of proof you demand, or maybe we should just listen to the Haitian press and accept it as gospel.

When Annette Auguste was arraigned this week, the only charge made before the court was a weak accusation of purported participation in events that occurred at a university campus last Dec. 5. There was never any mention of her being a threat to U.S. forces, stability and security in Haiti.

In fact, the presiding judge never showed up to the evidentiary hearing on May 20, and Auguste's lawyers suspect this is because it is clear there is no evidence to justify continuing her incarceration. Unless this is a stalling tactic to allow more time for Lapan and "his" forces to prepare a stronger case for what appear on the surface to be specious and outrageous charges targeting an individual for her political beliefs.

Can we believe Lapan and the U.S. government when they state that "last week's arrest of Annette Auguste by the Haitian National Police had nothing to do with planned Flag Day activities"? The only way to answer that is by citing the role this brave woman has played in organizing previous peaceful marches and rallies in defense of democracy in Haiti.

Anyone who knows Auguste's history is well aware of the huge cadres of women who heed her call in Haiti and identify themselves by dressing in white. Of course, Lapan could not be expected to know this, as he has not been here that long and his knowledge of the history and culture come from "official" briefings prepared for him by military intelligence specialists.

Did Annette Auguste's arrest have any impact on the peaceful May 18 Flag Day demonstration demanding Aristide's return? You certainly prove you know little about Haiti if you think it didn"t. Lapan's response is either mere rhetoric approved by his superiors or proves how little he actually knows about contemporary Haitian history.

My final offering concerning the arrest of Annette Auguste is this letter sent May 11 from Congresswoman Maxine Waters to Secretary of State Colin Powell which shows the serious questions raised by this incident.

"Dear Secretary Powell:

"I write to urge you to immediately investigate the circumstances of the arrest of Anne Auguste (SÚ Ann), a well-known Haitian woman, who was arrested on or about 12:30 a.m., May 10, 2004, by U.S. military personnel in Haiti, acting as part of the Multinational Interim Force (MIF). I have seen reports that indicate that U.S. soldiers blew up the gates at Anne Auguste's home with grenades and entered her house carrying machine guns. Eleven occupants of the house, including two children, were taken into custody and interrogated. Anne Auguste was arrested and transferred to the Haitian National Penitentiary.

"Ms. Auguste is an elderly Haitian woman on medication who is recovering from recent surgery. Her grandson, who was one of the children detained and who was placed in handcuffs, is a five-year-old boy. It is virtually impossible to believe that an elderly woman and a child needed to be subjected to such overwhelming force, even if the MIF deemed it necessary to interrogate them. Ms. Auguste remains under arrest. While she was finally taken before a judge today, she still has not been charged with any crime.

"It is critical that you explain why Ms. Auguste is being detained or release her immediately. I urge you to conduct an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding her arrest in order to determine the reasons for her arrest, the charges against her - if any - and whether excessive force was used against her or other occupants of her household. If it is determined that excessive force was used, it is imperative that you act to hold accountable those who were responsible.

"Finally, I urge you to monitor the actions of U.S. armed forces in Haiti and ensure that they not take any actions that could endanger the very Haitian people whom you say they are there to protect. I would appreciate it if you would contact me as soon as possible to clarify the circumstances of Anne Auguste's arrest and to advise how you intend to proceed. I look forward to your prompt response.

"Maxine Waters, Member of Congress"

As far as the question of who fired upon me, I stated earlier it was elements of the Haitian SWAT team who were being "assisted," to use Lapan's word, by the U.S. Marines. That does not mean that I was not threatened by the U.S. Marines. Before the killing of Titus Simpton, I was disgusted, as an observer and journalist, to see how the U.S. Marines coordinated and provided cover for the Haitian National Police to attack the peaceful march by Lavalas on May 18.

As I was filming in one of the calmer moments of that day, one of the Marine grunts asked me, "What's up?" I made the mistake of giving him my honest opinion, to which his commanding officer on the scene responded by threatening to handcuff me and arrest me on the spot.

I provided him with my press credentials and asked him to identify himself. He purposely hid his name tag under the strap of his M-16 and refused three requests I made for him to identify himself. He threatened me again with immediate arrest if I did not leave "his" Marines alone.

I considered it a display of arrogance and abuse of authority that has come to symbolize the U.S. Marine presence in Haiti. In my opinion, the Marines are being used as pawns in a foreign policy debacle in the making by the Bush administration.

The U.S. forces are now trying to pretend they have no control over the Haitian police, while they were clearly seen collaborating and directing their movements. Even if Titus Simpton was the only murder victim on May 18, my photo of him drawing his last breath before dying is a symbol for the new nightmare the Bush administration now calls democracy in Haiti.

The Haitian people deserve better, the average American soldier deserves better and the American people deserve better.

Kevin Pina is associate editor of the Black Commentator ( and special correspondent for Flashpoints on KPFA radio in Berkeley, the flagship station of the Pacifica Radio Network.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Who really killed Jean Dominique and Jacques Roche?

by Kevin Pina and
Father Gerard Jean-Juste

Kevin Pina recently interviewed legendary Haitian priest and human rights activist, Father Gerard Jean-Juste from Miami, Florida on the program Flashpoints heard on the Pacifica network. The following is a transcript of the interview made possible by Kevin Salinger.

Kevin Pina: Good afternoon, this is Kevin Pina with Flashpoints on Pacifica. Today's very special guest is my dear friend, and a man who has fought tirelessly for justice in Haiti, who has fought tirelessly for human rights in Haiti, Father Gerard Jean-Juste. Father Gerard Jean-Juste is currently in Miami, he is undergoing chemotherapy. He was, of course diagnosed with leukemia while he was being held without charges in a Haitian jail. He was tested by Doctor Paul Farmer, who then smuggled out his blood and diagnosed him with leukemia. Finally the US, United Nations-backed forces, the US-backed government, installed government of Gerard Latortue was forced to free Father Gerard Jean-Juste to allow him to begin his medical treatment. Father Gerard Jean-Juste, good afternoon, and welcome to Flashpoints.

Fr. Jean-Juste: Good afternoon Kevin, good afternoon to all the listeners of Flashpoints.

Kevin Pina: Well, now you've had a little bit of time, you've been in Miami. How are the treatments going Father, how are you feeling?

Fr. Jean-Juste: It has been improving for a while, and I feel better now. I thank God; I thank all of you for your prayers, and for your support. And also, I'm getting ready right now for the second cycle of chemotherapy treatment. I have about five more cycles left, so the first one went very well, and I hope the second one will go well too, and the other ones, so they hope within five months I may recuperate pretty good.

Kevin Pina: Now I know that, in theory, your case is still pending in Haiti, but I'd like to get into that a little bit, particularly in light of the fact that there's been a lot of talk lately by Reporters Without Borders, and by the widow of Jean Dominique lately, raising the question of Jean Dominique, in particular the involvement of Lavalas in the murder of Jean Dominique; and I can't help but think of the parallels, in that, you of course are accused of being involved in the kidnapping and the murder -- a preposterous accusation of course -- and the murder of Jacques Roche. Jacques Roche was a reporter who was, really, I guess a sort of slanted reporter, I guess there is another term for it, a reporter who worked with the Group 184, which was, of course, the opposition group that helped to oust President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004. But Father, I don't think that we ever really heard from you. How did you feel when you first heard this preposterous accusation against you? I know you must have felt it was preposterous.

Fr. Jean-Juste: Definitely, definitely, it was ridiculous to charge me with such a preposterous accusation. I was in Miami on business, and then I returned to Haiti on the 15th, two days or three days after the Jacques Roche assassination. So I had nothing, absolutely nothing to do with Jacques Roche. Of course, now they are looking for a way to get rid of me, to shut my mouth, and also to stop Lavalas from participating in the election, in order for them to go to the elections and carry all the posts. But, unfortunately for them, and fortunately for us, within time the case of Jacques Roche has been dying -- inaudible -- because the search found nothing about us, they dropped the charges. But I would like to see Jacques Roche obtain justice, in the sense that they should try to find the true killers and go after them, and bring justice to the case. But now we have to ask the question: who was the true killers of Jacques Roche? Because it seems to me this is a political killing in order to capitalize, in order to benefit out of the exploitation of the death of Jacques Roche. And this is the beginning of what we call the "arming of ti machet." That was the first in a series where we've been attacked at the church, it was something plain, by some officers of the de facto government, and later on we discovered that the death squad was in full speed going after Lavalas people, even at the soccer game, organized, or sponsored by the USAID, where so many Lavalas people have been assassinated and killed in cold blood. So I guess there was a -- inaudible -- going on, and they were looking for a way to trap us Lavalas, and put everything on our back, and then get rid of Lavalas. So they have failed, Lavalas has survived, and now we hope we will keep moving forward, obtain justice, not only for myself, but for the other political prisoners, and for everyone else accused falsely in the case.

Kevin Pina: It seems so hard though to figure out the truth and to be able get justice, when people seem to politicize incidents like this, and use it as a tool of political persecution against those who are associated with Lavalas. Of course there's the most recent example of your own where you were not involved with Jacques Roche, but yet we know that the minister of culture under the Latortue government got up and accused you personally, accused Lavalas of involvement. Without any proof it was printed in the media, in the mainstream media and in the Haitian press, and there were very few questions raised as far as the validity of it until you were finally released when the charges were dropped. But I can't help but also think about the Jean Dominique case.
©2000 Michelle Karshan - Demonstration in memory of Jean Dominique at Radio Haiti Inter April 3, 2000 - Sò Anne participated in demonstration outside Radio Haiti Inter to protest the murder of Jean Dominique the day before. Reporters Without Borders aledged that Sò Anne played a role in the Dominique assassination, this is the first time that her name has ever come up as a "suspect."
And now I hear about Michelle Montas, who of course I have respect for, and I hear Reporters Without Borders who I have very little respect for, bringing up the Jean Dominique case again. But I also remember when those same forces had accused President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of having given Senator Dany Toussaint the order to have Jean Dominique, Haiti's most famous journalist, assassinated. I remember quite clearly, everyone, the political line was President Jean-Bertrand Aristide gave Senator Dany Toussaint the order to kill Jean Dominique. And yet, Senator Dany Toussaint, in the recent presidential elections, ran as a candidate for the presidency, and nobody said a word about it again. But yet the damage had been done. Father, can you help us to understand how these sorts of mysterious murders are used for political reasons, for a tool of political persecution against Lavalas, how accusations are made, peoples' lives are destroyed, and then suddenly we find out that what they told us was the truth, wasn't the truth.

 Fr. Jean-Juste: Yeah, it is unfortunate Kevin that in Haitian politics, some politician can do anything to blame, or to condemn the opponent, the adversaries. So, this is a very bad practice. It reminds me of the tactic on the international level, once in awhile we see that whenever they want to create a problem for a president, for a party, for a group, they manage to get somebody killed, and then they manage to blame some group they want to get rid of. In French we always say that -- speaking in French -- we say that whenever we want to get rid of somebody, just look for an alibi, look for a case we hear of murder, and put it on the back of the person, and then we make propaganda about it. So it is unfortunate. And in the case of Jean Dominique, Jean was a Lavalas, strong Lavalas, and helping the peasants, helping the poorest ones. And who should profit off the killing of Jean? Who should profit off getting rid of such a great journalist? You understand, so they use Jean to put pressure on the Lavalas government. It's like having a family, where someone will try to kill the son or the daughter of the family, and now try to blame the whole family for the killing. It is ridiculous. So in that sense, we are putting it so Jean Dominique could obtain justice. But I think that Reporters Without Borders is just using the case for their own purpose. Understand that the last three years we heard nothing about the case. Why is it now coming back again on the scene? It seems that every time a Lavalas, comes back- is running, they try to bring up something in order to stop the government of the people.

Kevin Pina: And of course Reporters Without Borders said absolutely nothing, or very little about this thing of Abdias Jean. You know we don't know, there's no clear evidence who killed Jean Dominique, but we know that there were eyewitnesses who say that the Haitian police summarily executed Abdias Jean in January 2005, in the neighborhood of Cite de Dieu. We know that for a fact.

Fr. Jean-Juste: Yeah, that's true. Unfortunately, this is the type of reporting we have coming from France. And understand that some French officials have been helping some Haitian students in order to make them rise against the Lavalas government all the time. And because President Aristide was apparently asking for France to repair it, to repair, to uh -

Kevin Pina: Give reparations.

Fr. Jean-Juste: - for reparations, and they [owe] 22 billion dollars to Haiti, and France refused, and in that case, I guess Reporters Sans Frontiers is trying to think ahead, to make us forget what we are looking for. We're looking for reparations, we're looking for restitution, and I think its about time that France stop- and deal frankly with the issue, otherwise, they cannot understand the issue. We're still alive, and probably after Jacques Chirac or some other government, we'll still continue to demand reparations and restitution, and we will gain justice someday.

Kevin Pina: Now you know, sometimes it almost seems like a cultural war for me. When I see the attacks, the character assassination on leadership of Lavalas, when I see the attempt to destroy the reputation of Lavalas, when I see the attempt to paint it with a wide brush stroke, that it was a violent movement at the behest of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the dictator of Haiti, all of this sort of propaganda machine within culture. And a latest example is this film that was just released, which I haven't seen yet, but the main theme of it, its called Ghosts of Cite Soleil, its produced by the son of Jorgen Leth, Asgar Leth. Jorgen Leth of course was the former Danish honorary counsel to Haiti, who had to resign because he had written a book that detailed his sexual exploits with his 17-year-old house servant, and that created a very moral uproar and he had to resign from that position. But his son Asgar Leth now has produced a film called Ghosts of Cite Soleil, in which he now chronicles the exploits of two gang leaders in Cite Soleil called Tupac and Billy. And according to this film, there are these phone calls that are made reportedly, in this film, that say that they are being made by those close to Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is getting leadership to the gangs in Cite Soleil to go out and kill the opposition. Father Gerard Jean-Juste, I've never asked you this question before: what is your opinion about the accusations that have been leveled against Jean-Bertrand Aristide, that he was using the state to sponsor violence against the opposition in Haiti?

Fr. Jean-Juste: Well its completely false, its completely propaganda, its completely unjust doing that to President Aristide. The president was elected by the people, the president was well-loved by the people, by most Haitians, as the president was being so good to the poorest ones in Haiti by offering education to everyone, regardless that the international community had stopped all aid, all assistance to President Aristide as well as President Preval in the past; and these presidents, loved by the people, had managed to offer maximum services to the people. And that is the reason that now we have so many people coming out, still supporting these Lavalas presidents. So I guess the enemy should take a lesson, instead of trying to destroy all those who want good for the grassroots, who want good for the people in general, who want good for everyone in general, rich or poor, who want possibilities for the poor, want - going after these good Haitians; and I think they should, instead, try to find ways to bring cooperation and help us better the life of the people. That's the way how I see it, but unfortunately we have a long way to go to make these people, to make the enemies of the Haitian people understand that. Its not the proper way to live, its not the proper way to operate, and they should come on the side of the people. So we hope with our prayers, with our discipline, we shall convince them, someday they will change. That's why hope, or otherwise I'll see why people who are educated, who are supposed to know better, will go in a way of -- inaudible -- that leads to the assassination of so many Haitian brothers and sisters. And President Aristide, he is loved by the Haitian people, not because he is President, or because he has done something great, its because he has shown complete love for the people. Poor people can enter the palace and eat with the president, and party with the president, as well as rich people. So President Aristide has been opening his arms and heart to everyone. So at the moment that the people have tasted this type of service, this type of offer coming from the president -

Kevin Pina: Open government.

Fr. Jean-Juste: - from the government -- you can do whatever you want, they will give their life for the movement, because the movement is in their advantage, giving them more dignity, and more hope, and improve their living. So that's the best way to operate. The best way to operate is completely to come with some services that allow people to receive basic human needs. So this is the best way, and you're going to have the Haitian people with you forever. But the other ways, exploiting them, killing them, and telling them nonsense -- they won't accept any of that nonsense.

Kevin Pina: You know Father, there seems to be a revision of history going on as well. People seem to be wanting to sweep under the rug what life has been like in Haiti the past two years, which I can only describe as a human rights hell. But I wonder if you could just help our listeners to understand, if you could describe, define what the last two years have been like in Haiti before the elections, after the coup against Aristide, February 29, 2004. How would you describe that period of history, Father.

Fr. Jean-Juste: Well as you just were referring, it was hell in Haiti, cause, imagine that we had a democratic government functioning, and in effect, within the international community, they come together and, with some putchist leaders, coup leaders, and they get rid of this elected president. And that has been quite a blow to us Haitians. So many innocent people have been killed for nothing, and the people who have survived have received no services at all, and all the public places that were built, to serve the people, to welcome them -- the parks, the public institutions in education, meant to serve the people -- everything has been either destroyed or disappeared. And so the de facto government that has been imposed on us the last two years has received more assistance from that sector of the international community -- from the international community at large, I should say -- and has done nothing for the people in concrete. Look at Haiti now: they are still without electricity, no woods, and no food for the people, and -- inaudible -- it's very expensive. And on the human rights level forget it. The jails are overcrowded with innocent people, most of them Lavalas people. And so this is a situation where they have tried to force a government in the throat of the people, and the people have stood up and thwarted them. So I think we have a great lesson today, and Haiti should never, never live such a sad, hellish moment, like we've had the last two years, in its history. So we have to find ways now to make democracy a growing, and find ways to make sure that human rights of all in Haiti are respected, and find ways to correct whatever wrong has been done by the previous de facto government, and move ahead to see if we can bring as many Haitians -- to bring them together, as many as possible, and to rebuild this beautiful country God has given us. So that's the way how I see it, because it is true that I'm not able to speak more, but you know, in the condition I'm now, I'm in the middle of treatment and I'm taking a lot of medication right now.

Kevin Pina: I understand Father. This is Kevin Pina on Flashpoints on Pacifica, our guest today is Father Gerard Jean-Juste. Now Father they've set you free to undergo chemotherapy for lymphatic leukemia, which of course is very dangerous. They had held you to the point where it had become life-threatening, and of course your treatment had to commence immediately. But technically you're still a political prisoner, because technically after your treatment you're supposed to return to Haiti. Is that right?

Fr. Jean-Juste: Yes, I'm looking forward to returning to Haiti. As far as my case is concerned, in order to send me for treatment the government wanted to pardon me. I said, what have I done to deserve a pardon? So I am the one who went on appeal. I'm going on appeal, and I would like to win the case all the way, all the way, and I won't back off until I receive justice from the government of Haiti, probably now would be under government under Preval administration, yeah.

Kevin Pina: Well I can't thank you enough Father Gerard Jean-Juste. God bless you sir and thank you so much for your time. Please take care.

Fr. Jean-Juste: Thank you very much Kevin. My greeting to all the listeners, and I hope God bless every one of us. Thank you.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The "Freedom Fighters" behind the 2004 coup in Haiti

Teenagers killed in Belladères: Louis Ramil, 14 years old and Natalie Souverain, 17 years old - killed by 2 bullets in the vagina - were assassinated by former military. The armed groups of ex-soldiers and members of the paramilitary group FRAPH who served in the pay ofthe U.S. and France organized extremely murderous campaigns against the border population

Haiti Information Project (HIP) 
Human Rights Archives

"Nou pap janm bliye!/We will never forget!"

Remembering Gerard Latortue's "Freedom Fighters"

The Victims of the Haitian "Contras" Testify

Haiti Progres   August 4-10   2004

Original story was published on the centerfold spread in French and appears for the first time on the web here. This version will have additional information that did not appear in the original printed version. All photos and story provided by Haiti Information Project to Haiti Progres.

Story in kreyol: Rapò sou sitiyasyon kite pase nan Beladè nan mwa jen pou rive nan desanm 2002

The series of deadly incursions by ex-soldiers and members of the terrorist organization, FRAPH and other mercenaries, especially on the Haitian-Dominican border, didn't just start a few days before the kidnapping and forced exile of President Aristide. Equipped and armed with expensive heavy weapons by agents of the Bush Administration, benefiting from the active complicity of the Dominican government and army, and working in coordination with the internal "opposition", these criminals have spread terror in the border region and led harassment operations which have claimed dozens of civilian victims during the last two years.

Here is a brief report on the attacks led by the former commissioner, Guy Phillipe and Louis Jodel Chamblain, the former death squad leader, who were presented as "freedom fighters" by the government of Gerard Latortue. This is the summary of a document published by the Haiti Action Committee entitled "Hidden from Headlines."

"In the morning of July 28, 2001, commandos in military uniforms attack five police stations in Haiti, including the Police Academy in Freres, a suburb of the capital. During this action the head of this police training center was killed along with four other police officers.

On December 17, 2001 a commando unit of 30 heavily armed men attack during the night and take control of the National Palace. They declare that Aristide is no longer president and try to force the Palace security guards to join forces with them to carry out a coup d'etat. The scoundrels are surrounded and finally dispersed by the police and thousands of civilians who take to the streets to defeat this attempt."
However, most of the assailants managed to run away and get to the Dominican Republic where they get political asylum to again take up their seditious and destabilizing activities which ultimately served as the pretext for the governments in Washington and Paris to move to the kidnapping of President Aristide on February 29, 2004.

At the end of 2002 and in 2003, army veterans organized attacks against the border towns from the Dominican Republic, killing police officers, civil servants and representatives of the Fanmi Lavalas party, and terrorizing the population.

On May 7 2003, some men who identified themselves as ex-soldiers attack the Peligre hydroelectric center, the most important source of electricity in the country. The commandos torture and execute two security guards and set the control room on fire, causing a worsening of the electrical crisis. The paramilitary group takes several employees hostage from the Partners in Health hospital and steals an ambulance. In response to this attack Dr. Paul Farmer, the director of the hospital, declares: "As you know, this isn't the first time that our medical team is a victim of these Contras. In December they used the same threats and same language, accusing Aristide (rightly) of having dissolved the Army and accusing our staff of being anti-military (again, rightly) It's worth remembering that the so-called human rights organizations in Port-au-Prince told the Miami Herald that these events didn't take place and that this is just "government propaganda."

After the overthrow of President Aristide by the United States and France, the file on a horrible massacre which was carried out by the "freedom fighters" in Belladeres in 2002 resurfaced. Cleodor Souverain, a Lavalas coordinator who has been underground since the February 29 coup, courageously gave this testimony to the Haiti Information Project (HIP), with supporting photos. It comes as a condemnation of the foreign policy of the United States, which aids and encourages the killers, a condemnation of the Dominican government and army who have allowed their territory to be used as a base, and finally a condemnation of the current de facto regime which has embraced these terrorists as "freedom fighters."

Eyewitness accounts of the toll of the former soldiers in Belladères:

The armed groups made up of ex-soldiers and members of the paramilitary group FRAPH, who served at the behest of the U.S. and France for the coup d'etat, organized extremely murderous incursions against the border population from their base in the Dominican Republic starting much earlier. These accounts that we have received give an idea of the toll exacted by these bandits starting in 2002 against members or reputed members of Lavalas in the Belladeres region. Several people have since had to again go underground, such as: Cleodor Souverain, Levelt Rival, Eliodor Denaud, Israel Jean, Felix Bruno, Rodolphe Remarais, Vilceme Rosalvard, etc.

Eyewitness Account of Cleodor Souverain, Belladères

"I am the coordinator of Fanmi Lavalas in the Central Department of Belladeres. In December 2002 I had to leave my house in Belladeres and take refuge in Port-au-Prince because a group of men, armed to the teeth, had arrived at my house to kill me and my family. Since I wasn't there, they assassinated the 5 people who were in my house:
  1. Rosita Souverain, my sister, 24 years old
  2. Nathalie Souverain, (17 years old, killed with two bullets in the vagina)
  3. Mimose Brizard, 38 years old, a friend of the family
  4. Dubuisson Brizard (35 years old, brother of Mimose)
  5. Louis Ramil (14 years old, servant)
Hussein Bertrand, a four year old boy was shot with a bullet in his spine and he remains paralyzed. All of these events took place before the kidnapping of President Aristide. After the departure of the President the situation got worse. We can't go out any more even in Port-au-Prince where the ex-soldiers and members of FRAPH are looking for us in order to kill us. The people who participated in the massacre of my family are:
  1. Clotaire Jean-Baptiste (ex-soldier)
  2. Remicinthe Ravix (ex-soldier)
  3. Voltaire Jean-Baptiste Alia Poitille (former chauffeur for Colonel Michel Francois who caused a reign of terror during the coup d'etat from 1991 to 1994)
  4. Bell Panel (armed civilian)
  5. Edouard Casimir (armed civilian)
All these individuals are currently members of the Resistance Front of Gonaives and they participated in the assassination of the regional police director Mr. Jonas Maxime in Hinche on February 15, 2004. Today Clotaire Jean-Baptiste and Remicinthe Ravix work on recruiting former soldiers for the National Police of Haiti (PNH).
A group of ex-soldiers arrived in Belladeres and came to my house on February 17, 2004 to rob and pillage. When they left, they left seven children orphans. I've thus become responsible for these kids, which is a huge problem for me. Here are the names of these little orphans:
  1. Micheline Brizard
  2. Robecca Brizard
  3. Chantale Brizard
  4. Miradelle Nestor
  5. Pharma Nestor
  6. Gilene Nestor
  7. Bussein Tito
I'm sending an SOS message to all our compatriots to help us because we cannot take refuge in the Dominican Republic. That's where the criminals have their base. We launch an urgent appeal for Hussein Bertrand, the four year old who was paralyzed.
On November 28, 2002 Judge Christophe Lauzama was going to hold a hearing in Kinpe. He was accompanied by Cleonor Souverain, Remarais Rodolphe and the magistrate, Jean-Robert Paldomaire. On the way they met some demonstrators from the Democratic Convergence. A former "Leopard" (an elite military unit for repression under the Duvalier dictatorship) by the name of Serge Etienne opened fire on them. Judge Lauzama died and his three companions barely managed to escape.

On December 10, 2002 in Penal, in the third section of Riyarib, armed civilians attacked the house of Eliodor Denaud, coordinator of the Casec of Fanmi Lavalas. The assailants destroyed everything he had. Since then Mr. Denaud, his wife and his nine children have been forced to return to clandestine hiding. On the same day, former soldiers and members of FRAPH killed: Erezman Joseph, Leonie Laverne, Caridor Dorinvil, Sincere Joseph, Jean Harry. On June 23, 2002 they had already killed Wilfrid Denaud, Marrus Pierre and Felix Bomo.

On December 13, 2002, still in the third section of Riyarib, after a confrontation between the police and the ex-soldiers, the soldiers came to Levelt Rival's house, coordinator of Fanmi Lavalas, at one o'clock in the morning. He had to take refuge with his wife and seven children in a banana field. They destroyed everything in his house as well as the small school he directed.
During the same night, at about 3:00, the bandits arrived at Isael Jean's house, a member of Casec. They destroyed everything. Even the goats in the courtyard were killed. Moise Celestin and someone named Golman pointed out Isael Jean's house to the commandos.

Following all these attacks, the supporters of Guy Philippe had decided to go to Las Cahobas. During their trip they ransacked and pillaged the house of Felix Brunel. They also killed Colean Pradel and Dadou Pierre.
On June 26, 2002, the former soldiers who were occupying Wasek Square had kidnapped and killed four members of my family, among which was my cousin whom they accused of being a militant with Lavalas.
Here is the situation in which I find myself. There's no need to tell you of the hardships endured at the hands of the FRAPH members and the ex-soldiers since the departure of President Aristide. Rodolphe Desmarais experienced the same situation."

Testimony of Isael Jean

"My name is Isael Jean, member of the Fanmi Lavalas Casec in the Central Plateau.
In the month of December 2002, ex-soldiers and their accomplices entered Pernal. They came to my house. A friend saved my life and sheltered me with my wife and children. After the kidnapping of President Aristide, my situation got worse. On March 17, 2004, the ex-soldiers came to our house saying they wanted to exterminate all the members of Lavalas. They destroyed everything in the house.

On February 17, 2004 after the assassination of the police chief Maxime Jonas, all the policemen had abandoned the Belladeres commissariat, and a group of soldiers and FRAPH members had taken control of it."

Photos and story provided by:
Haiti Information Project
all rights reserved

Hussein Bertrand,
a 4 year old boy was hit by a bullet in his spine and survived

Rosita Souverain, 24 years old was the sister of Cleodor Souverain a Fanmi Lavalas official in the Central Plateau.

Nathalie Souverain,
17 years old. Five people, who were at the home of Cleodor Souverain were brutally assassinated when the former soldiers discovered that he was not there.

Mimose Brizard, 38 years old, a friend of the family

Dubuisson Brizard
35 years old, brother of Mimose

Louis Ramil - 14 years old - worked in Cleodor Souverain's home

Friday, March 1, 2013

Remembering the 2004 coup in Haiti

Flashpoints Radio special marking the 9th anniversary of the Feb. 2004 coup in Haiti

Author Jeb Sprague joins Flashpoints guest host Kevin Pina on the ninth anniversary of the 2004 coup in Haiti to discuss his new book Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti


Friday, January 25, 2013

Haiti 3 years after the earthquake, US Militarizes Relief

Three years ago on January 25, 2010, critical reports began to surface of the US military stalling earthquake relief operations in Haiti. Flashpoints Senior Correspondent Kevin Pina provided this live report from the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port Au Prince.