[News] Haiti bribing disgruntled former soldiers

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 5 08:59:20 EST 2005

Haiti de factos try bribing disgruntled former soldiers

December 29, 2004 - January 4, 2005
Vol. 22, No. 42

Former Haitian soldiers seem to be getting some results from their brief 
take-over of President Jean Bertrand Aristide's Tabarre home on Dec. 15 
(see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 22, No. 41, 12/22/2004).

This past week the government of illegal Prime Minister Gérard Latortue 
created a new office to finish settling accounts with ex-soldiers who have 
been demanding 10 years back pay because, they claim, Aristide illegally 
dissolved the Army in 1995.

The new office, created on Dec. 21, continues the work of previous 
government commissions which have failed to satisfy the ex-soldiers' 
claims. Headed by three ex-colonels, the revamped commission is supposed to 
get money into ex-soldiers' hands before Jan. 1.

"There has been a continuity with the work already done to help the new 
members of the commission to get out as quickly as possible, before the 
holidays, even a partial list so that it can give the demobilized soldiers 
at least an advance so that they can have a little money on hand to 
celebrate like any citizen," Latortue declared. Of course, most Haitian 
citizens have no cause or money for celebration this year.

De facto secretary of state for Public Security, Davide Bazile, said that 
the new commission would be working through the holidays to get the money 
to the soldiers before the New Year, starting on Dec. 28.

"The soldiers based in Jacmel that we visited agreed to lay down their arms 
and are going to receive their restitution," he said. Some 100 million 
gourdes ($2.7 million) have been squeezed from the drained state coffers to 
pay off the soldiers, de facto President Boniface Alexandre announced. The 
ex-soldiers also got a 54% increase in their pensions.

Despite these moves, the arrest warrant for the erstwhile leader of the 
ex-soldiers, Rémicinthe Ravix, remains in effect. But Ravix, speaking 
regularly on radio shows, has shown no signs of fear as he points to the de 
facto government's hypocrisy. "All those in the interim government who are 
attacking me and saying I am not a former soldier always supported me 
financially during the anti-Aristide insurrection," Ravix said.


On December 27, the National Popular Party (PPN) issued a statement 
denouncing the plans of the de facto government and occupation authorities 
to hold elections in Haiti in 2005. The PPN ridiculed the notion that free 
and democratic elections could be held in the present context of foreign 
occupation, fierce crackdowns and near-universal hunger.

"This Christmas and the coming New Year's celebration have left a bitter 
taste in the people's mouth due to the repression of the occupation forces, 
the former soldiers and the Macoute section chiefs who have returned with a 
vengeance all over the country," the PPN said. "There is no constitutional 
order so no elections can be held in the country."

The PPN also condemned talk of a "national conference" as mere "build-up 
for the fake elections they need to hold."

"What kind of national conference are they talking about when they have 
carried out the coup d'état/kidnapping of Feb. 29 in an attempt to remove 
the masses from the political scene?" the PPN asked.

For the planned elections, the party asked similar questions: "What kind of 
elections can be held when the ruling class sells the country in 2004 on 
the 200th anniversary of Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the slave masses 
giving us independence?"

The PPN urged "the masses and all people of good faith" to shun all calls 
for elections under the current repressive occupation regime and to 
"organize and struggle for another 1804."

by Margaret FéquiPre

The 12th Annual African Diaspora Film Festival was held in New York from 
November 26 to December 12, 2004. December 2nd was entitled "A Day in the 
Caribbean." That day, I had the opportunity to view two premieres: Catch a 
Fire and How to Conquer America.

Catch a Fire is a brief documentary/reenactment of Reverend Paul Bogle's 
1865 Morant Bay Rebellion against slavery in Jamaica. For the Jamaican 
people, Reverend Bogle was a martyr, renowned for his strength and 
nobility. The most tragic aspect of his death was that he was sold out by 
some of the very people that he was fighting for.

In the film, Bogle's great-grandchild walks us through the events that led 
to the Morant Bay Rebellion and eventually Bogle's death on October 24, 
1865. The film left me feeling sad yet angry. It reminded me that our 
struggle to be free from slavery still continues and that we need time to 
reflect on the past so that we may avoid repeating the same mistakes.

This serious, thought-provoking documentary was followed by a subtle and 
humorous film about a night in the life of three Haitians and two Canadians.

How to Conquer America in One Night is a comedy written and directed by 
Montréal-based Haitian writer Dany LaferriPre. It juxtaposes the struggle 
of two Haitian men living in a cold country and dreaming of returning to 
their homeland, with that of one of the men's young nephew, who is 
immigrating to Canada from Haiti and dreaming about "conquering America in 
one night." The film is a must-see for those of us who came to North 
America young and full of aspirations but whom circumstances in life have 
kept from reaching their full potential.

Danny LaferriPre, known for his books, How to Make Love to a Negro Without 
Getting Tired, On The Verge of a Fever, and now, How To Conquer America in 
One Night has produced several critically acclaimed films based on his 
novels. From this sad struggle of living in the diaspora, he reveals the 
joy of living that is embedded within our culture. Through studying Haitian 
history, I have often wondered how we have managed to continue the 
struggle. LaferriPre's latest film answers that question by finding the 
humor in difficult situations.

All articles copyrighted Haiti Progres, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED. Please 
credit Haiti Progres.

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