[News] UN Massacre of Poor in Port-au-Prince

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 8 16:18:43 EDT 2005


For Immediate Release:

          [For more information, contact Dave Welsh, from the Labor/Human
Rights Delegation to Haiti, at 510-847-8657]


UN Occupation Forces Carry Out Massacre of Poor in Port-au-Prince


On Wednesday morning, July 6th, at approximately 3:00 AM, UN occupation
forces in Haiti carried out a major military operation in the
working-class neighborhood of Cite Soleil, one of the poorest in
Port-au-Prince and also a stronghold of support for Haiti's majority
political party Lavalas and President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Presumably,
the purpose of the operation was to crack down on illegal "gang activity",
in particular on "gang" leader Dread Wilme. In actuality, a US trade union
and human rights delegation in Port-au-Prince discovered evidence of a
massacre conducted by the UN forces, targeting the larger community
itself.

According to accounts from many different members of the community, many
of whom chose to remain anonymous, as well as from journalists who were on
the scene during the operation, UN forces surrounded two neighborhoods
within Cite Soleil, Boisneuf and Project Drouillard, sealing off the
alleys with tanks and troops.

Two helicopters flew overhead. At 4:30 AM, UN forces launched the
offensive, shooting into houses, shacks, a church, and a school with
machine guns, tank fire, and tear gas. Eyewitnesses reported that when
people fled to escape the tear gas, UN troops gunned them down from the
back.

UN forces shot out electric transformers in the neighborhood. People were
killed in their homes and also just outside of their homes, on the way to
work. According to journalists and eyewitnesses, one man named Leon
Cherry, age 46, was shot and killed on his way to work for a flower
company. Another man, Mones Belizaire, was shot as he got ready to go work
in a local sweatshop and subsequently died from a stomach infection. A
woman who was a street vendor was shot in the head and killed instantly.

One man was shot in his ribs while he was trying to brush his teeth.
Another man was shot in the jaw as he left his house to try and get some
money for his wife's medical costs; he endured a slow death.Yet another
man named Mira was shot and killed while urinating in his home.

A mother, Sena Romelus, and her two young children were killed in their
home, either by bullets or by a 83-CC grenade UN forces threw. Film
footage of many of these deaths was shared with the US human rights
delegation. Eyewitnesses claimed that the offensive overwhelmed the
community and that there was not a "firefight", but rather a slaughter.
The operation was primarily conducted by UN forces, with the Haitian
National Police this time taking a back seat.

Seth Donnelly, a member of the US human rights delegation in
Port-au-Prince, visited Cite Soleil with Haitian human rights workers on
Thursday afternoon, July 7th. The team gathered testimony from many
members of the community, young and old, men, women, and youth. All
verified the previous statements we had received from journalists and
other eyewitness accounts.

These community members spoke of how they had been surrounded by tanks and
troops that sealed off exits from the neighborhoods and then proceeded to
assault the civilian population. The community allowed the team to film
the evidence of the massacre, showing the homes -- in some cases made of
tin and cardboard -- that had been riddled by bullets, tank fire and
helicopter ammunition, as well as showing the team some of the corpses
still there, including a mother and her two children.

The team also filmed a church and a school that had been riddled by
ammunition. Reportedly, a preacher was among the victims killed. Some
community members allowed the team to interview them,  but not to film
their faces for fear of their lives. People were traumutized and, in the
cases of loved ones of victims, hysterical.

Many community members -- again young and old, men and women -- spoke
highly of Dread Wilme, referring to him as their "protector" or "father",
and expressed fear for the future. One member said that he heard that
another UN operation against the community was planned for later Thursday
night or early Friday morning.

Multiple community people indicated that they had counted at least 23
bodies of people killed by the UN forces. Community members claimed that
UN forces had taken away some of the bodies. Published estimates indicate
that upwards of 50 may have been killed and an indeterminate number
wounded, and that more than 300 heavily armed UN troops took part in the
assault on this densely populated residential neighborhood.

"There was systematic firing on civilians," said one eyewitness to the
killing. "All exits were cut off. The community was choked off,
surrounded -- facing tanks coming from different angles, and overhead,
helicopters with machine guns fired down on the people. The citizens were
under attack from all sides and from the air. It was war on a community."

The Labor/Human Rights Delegation from the United States, sponsored by the
San Francisco Labor Council, had been in Haiti since late last month to
attend the Congress of the Confederation of Haitian Workers (CTH), the
country's largest labor organization, and interviewed hundreds of Haitian
workers, farmers and professionals about the current labor and human
rights situation in Haiti.
**********************

AN OPEN LETTER
TO DUMAS SIMEUS
OF REPRESENTACTION

July 7, 2005

Dumas M. Simeus
Chairman & Founder, Simeus Foods International, Inc.
Co-Chair, National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians
Chairman, PromoCapital USA, the Haitian-American Investment Bank


Dear Mr. Simeus:

It is with great consternation that I read your open letter dated June
30, 2005 asking the president of the United States of North America, George
W. Bush to consider sending U.S. troops to provide security to our 
“helpless brothers and sisters” in Haiti. You also stated in your letter 
that you
are acting on “behalf of Haitians everywhere”. Sir, it seems to me that you
still do not understand the roots of the problems in Haiti.

First let me tell you that you have not spoken on my behalf. Second,  part 
of the problems of Haiti is and has always been the involvement of 
US  policy makers in the internal affairs of this Caribbean country. US 
policy makers have never been interested in both the development of 
democracy in Haiti and the well being of the Haitian mass. They have yet to 
prove me wrong.

You either do not know the history of the US interventions in Haiti. Or if
you knew, you are simply ignoring it. In order to solve a problem, you have
to understand the roots of its causes.  Dumas Simeus, I emphatically
repeat that the US Embassy is one of the major causes of our problems in
Haiti.

The majority of the Haitian people have made it clear that they want to
be included in the affairs of their country. They want to be considered as
real citizens of Haiti but not second class human beings.  They want access
to health care, education, opportunities, freedom to express, respect of
their human rights, and especially respect for their rights to choose their
elected representatives. US marines have never come to Haiti to  guaranty
those rights and to further advance those goals. Instead they always
come to maintain the status quo, a status quo that the majority of Haitians
have repudiated and will never accept. Furthermore, I would like to
enumerate who those “helpless brothers and sisters” are that you are asking
protections for? Nevertheless,  I have not heard you lending your voice to 
those
denouncing the despicable, barbaric acts of human rights violations (i.e. 
illegal and arbitrary arrests, prolonged detention without any charge, 
summary executions, rapes, beatings by the Haitian police while under 
arrest, etc) being committed by the current de-facto Haitian government. I 
would like to ask you if you are pleased with what is going on in the 
popular neighborhoods in Haiti and are you going to send an open letter to 
President Bush asking him to stop the bombings of innocent civilians in 
Cite Soleil?

Today instead what we need is a new national and patriotic vision for
the country based on respect for one another without any outside 
interference while recognizing the harm that has been done and still 
plaguing the society to come up with a new consensus to make Haiti the 
country we all dream
of.

You and I have had a chance to access many opportunities in these United 
States of America. Otherwise, you and I would have been among one of  those 
fighting for those opportunities and those rights denied to millions in 
today’s Haiti. Let us not forget that. We do not need any more boots 
including north-american to trample the aspirations and rights of the 
Haitian people.

Patriotically,

Jean Yves Point-du-Jour,
Transportation Engineer
Maryland, USA
Yves at erols.com
********************

From:   "RepresentAction" <info at representaction.net>
To:     jpoint du jour
Date:   07/02/2005 6:26:36 AM
Subject: An Open Letter To The President of The United States of
America

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
AN OPEN LETTER
TO THE PRESIDENT
OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

June 30, 2005

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We have read a press release from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti further 
reducing the in country personnel and sending them back home as a result of 
continued and accelerating violence in Haiti.  While all of us Haitians and 
Haitian Americans are very grateful to the United States for its repeated 
benevolent acts towards Haiti, we are respectfully asking you once more for 
additional help that only you can provide.

UN Peacekeeping Chief Jean Marie Guehenno recently stated that parts of 
Haiti are far worse than the violent conditions in Darfur, and that the 
1,000 additional troops assigned to Haiti will be insufficient to solve 
this crisis.  United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has also  stated 
that only the presence of U.S. troops working side by side with the U.N. 
will bring about peace and security.

We Haitians and Haitian Americans support the assertion of Mr. Kofi Annan 
that only the direct intervention of the United States will stem the flow 
of violence and bring about peace and security for all of its citizens.

As you know, there are at least 6 10 kidnappings daily in the country and 
citizens are living in a state of terrorism, full of fear and anxiety, 
afraid even to drive their kids to school.

May I urge you Mr. President, on behalf of Haitians everywhere, to consider 
direct action and help us provide security to our helpless brothers and 
sisters in Haiti.

Respectfully yours,

Dumas M. Siméus
Chairman & Founder, Siméus Foods International, Inc.
Co Chair, National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians
Chairman, PromoCapital USA, The Haitian American Investment Bank
***************

The spokesperson of Lavalas activists of Bel-Air denounces the MINUSTHA’s 
"blind operation" in Cité Soleil

Port-au-Prince, July 7, 2005 (AHP)- Spokesperson of Lavalas activists of 
Bel-Air, Samba Boukman, denounced Thursday the intervention considered 
brutal and without discrimination, done the day before at Cité Soleil, by 
the MINUSTAH and the National Police against gang leader Emmanuel (Dread) 
Wilmé.

People close to Mr. Wilmé said there were dozens of people killed, while 
the MINUSTHA military spokesperson, Elouafi Boulbars, speaks of several 
people killed, 6 of them only in Wilmé’s home. According to the daily 
newspaper Le Nouvelliste, among the people killed in the gang leader’s home 
are one of his children and one of his lovers.

Samba Boukman accused the MINUSTAH of violating Resolution 1576 of the 
United Nations Security Council, by killing members of the civil population 
during its operations. "Crimes occur regularly in residential 
neighbourhoods, Samba Boukman declared.

Dread Wilmé is accused of being involved in several cases of violence 
registered lately in the capital, notably the murder of another gang leader 
named Robinson (Labanyè) Thomas who was known to be close to the former 
opposition.

The spokesperson of the activists of Bel-air said that the MINUSTHA and the 
National Police have the right to want to arrest individuals whom they 
accuse of violence, but they should have other ways, different than the 
armour, to neutralize one man only.

"Using weapons of destruction in a neighbourhood as populated as Cité 
Soleil can only harm the population, Samba Boukman declared, saying that 
the activists of democracy are determined to mobilize peacefully until the 
return to democratic order.

Meanwhile, the body of Dread Wilmé, who was declared dead by UN officials, 
was still not found over 24 hours after the operations.

AHP July 7, 2005 12:05 PM
***************************


Outsiders plan Haitian elections: No voters? No problem
by Sue Ashdown, June 29, 2005

http://www.sfbayview.com/062905/haitianelections062905.shtml

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
Haitian police patrol Bel Air in Port au Prince Monday. No voter 
registration centers have been provided in Bel Air or other poor neighborhoods.
Photo: Thony Belizaire, AFP

The elections planned by the U.S. and its allies for Haiti in the fall are 
a fiasco that is becoming impossible to conceal. Faced with the hopeless 
prospect of registering 4.5 million Haitians by Aug. 13 ­ 60 days before 
the first election on Oct. 13 ­ Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council 
(known by its French acronym CEP) and the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti 
have taken to issuing surreal and unsubstantiated statements about the 
voter registration process.

By the end of May, out of 436 planned registration offices, the 
Organization of American States admitted that only 14 had been set up. The 
436 offices, were they to exist, would still stand in sharp contrast to the 
Haitian elections of 2000, when more than 12,000 registration centers and 
polls served the Haitian people.

Observing this logistical nightmare, the National Council of Electoral 
Observers expressed grave doubts about the feasibility of registering 
Haitian voters: “It would take six months to register 4 million voters in 
the 436 registration offices projected across the country. That is assuming 
that the offices were functional today, open seven days a week, 10 hours a 
day and staffed by competent technicians.”

In early June, with the lack of registration centers becoming a public 
relations disaster and with less than 2 percent of eligible Haitians 
registered to vote, the CEP and the UN appeared to agree on a joint 
communications strategy. Every few days, one or the other would announce 
the opening of new voter registration centers and the registration of 
additional Haitian voters. After all, the numbers would be almost 
impossible for anyone to verify, especially in the face of the skyrocketing 
violence in the country.

So, during a tidal wave of kidnappings which encouraged the U.S. to 
withdraw its entire Peace Corps contingent as well as non-essential embassy 
personnel and issue a travel warning, the CEP and UN reported that within 
the space of one solitary week in June, voter registration centers in Haiti 
doubled ­ and then quadrupled again ­ with a concomitant increase in voter 
registration that brought the claimed total registrants to 3.5 percent of 
the potential total.

One might argue that the average Haitian, having nothing to lose, and 
therefore nothing to fear from kidnappers, might choose to spend his or her 
practically nonexistent free time hunting down a registration center in 
order to be fingerprinted and photographed in return for the right to vote. 
But it seems unlikely.

The average Haitian would have to get out of her neighborhood first. There 
are no registration centers in the poor neighborhoods and no plans to open 
any either.

Poor Haitians have been terrorized in their own homes by police and 
ex-militaries backed up by UN forces. They have been fired upon by those 
same forces when they gather in peaceful demonstrations demanding the 
return of the president they elected last time, with 92 percent of the 
vote, Jean Bertrand Aristide.

Neither Aristide nor his party, Fanmi Lavalas, is on the ballot this fall, 
thanks to the U.S.-French-Canadian-supported coup which removed him to 
Africa last year, and Lavalas has sensibly refused to join the elections 
unless the attacks against it stop.

Of course this is not to be discussed. With Aristide out of the way, the 
whys and wherefores are of little interest to the international community, 
who treat the democratic Haitian elections of 2000 and the coup that 
overturned them as though it were all a bad dream, better forgotten. Time 
to move on!

An election result more favorable to foreign business interests has been in 
the works since long before Aristide won in 1990 and again in 2000. As in 
Venezuela, the U.S. has funneled millions of dollars to Haitian opposition 
parties through the pleasingly named National Endowment for Democracy.

The fall elections planned for Haiti are the fruit of that investment, 
designed to give those opposition parties the platform they have always 
desired, free of competition from the 900 pound gorilla, Lavalas ­ but, 
just to cover the bet, free of potential Lavalas voters as well. Just this 
week, a diplomatic source told Agence Haitienne Presse that the 
international community was prepared to accept a Haitian election with only 
200,000 to 300,000 voters, or less than 7 percent of the electorate.

And why not? Evidence continues to emerge that the same international 
community that howled about the invasion of Iraq was not only untroubled 
but supportive of the 2004 coup in Haiti. Yet coups are, by their nature, 
nasty affairs that tend to leave lingering doubts about the legitimacy of 
the replacement government.

An election is the tried and true method for erasing those doubts. That the 
Haitian election is totally rigged seems to trouble no one. International 
election observers are already being prepared.

Sue Ashdown, with the Washington, D.C., branch of the Women’s International 
League for Peace and Freedom, can be reached at sashdown at hotmail.com.



***************
Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers' Leadership Network

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