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.