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#4458: Batay Ouvriye press release (fwd)

From: Charles Arthur <charlesarthur@hotmail.com>

Keywords: union organising, repression of workers, Batay
Ouvriye, Fanmi Lavalas

(Charles Arthur's note: Batay Ouvriye is a group that helps
workers to organise themselves. Among many other areas of organising, Batay 
Ouvriye members have been active in the attempts to form trade, or workers'  
unions in the textile assembly sector in Port-au-Prince, and at the Novella 
coffee factory and Grand Marnier orange tree plantation in the North 

Press release of Batay Ouvriye - 24 June 2000

(translation from Creole of part of the press release by Charles
Arthur for the Haiti Support Group).

During the last week, Batay Ouvriye has experienced numerous
attacks at the hands of people who present themselves as supporters of Fanmi 
Lavalas, and who stand in opposition to us as they continue to defend the 
interests of the ruling class. These attacks have taken place in various 
parts of the country - in the Central Plateau, in the Artibonite and in the 

- In the Communal Section of Batso (Saint Michel de l'Attalaye,
Artibonite) a member of the Fanmi Lavalas ASEK, Dilwi Damas, killed Wilno 
Bonplan, brother of a member of Batay Ouvriye, blatantly and without 
explanation. On June 7th, in broad daylight, he shot this young man several 
times in the back.
We recall that this same Dilwi Damas has, for several years,
persecuted workers in this area. In 1997, it was he who tied up, beat, and 
made them spend several days in prison...
Today, we are joining with the family of the victim to publicise
the movement against this assassin, and to try and force all the electoral 
bodies (from the BEC to the CEP) to put a brake on this man's political 
ambitions, especially in the electoral sense, and to stop him from appearing 
on the list of those 'elected' and to prevent him from 'taking the oath for 
the post'.  For us, in this sense, he has had none, and still has no, 

- In the Central Plateau, members of a Fanmi Lavalas popular
organisation in the Belladere-Lascohobas region waited to ambush one of our 
members in this zone; it was only our self-control that stopped someone 
being killed. When this didn't work, a group of armed men came and 
surrounded the house where our member was known to sleep. This band of 
scoundrels demonstrated that no matter when, no matter where, they'll get at 
us, finish us off.

- In Platon Zefi, near Anse-Rouge in the North-West, a group of
people who declare themselves supporters of Fanmi Lavalas, a group of
mercenaries who work for the landlords, laid an ambush for our members after 
a meeting of day-labourers and share-croppers. Then, the assassins attacked 
the Batay Ouvriye members with machetes. But fortunately they miscalculated, 
and the Batay Ouvriye members defended themselves, and drove these 
scoundrels off.

For us, these events form part of a pattern over several months
(since the election period began) in which Batay Ouvriye has been in
serious confrontations with a group of people who call themselves
members of, or sympathisers with, Fanmi Lavalas. We have had to face a 
packet of provocative acts, intimidation and threats. And now, after the 
elections, the attacks are direct and armed.

These acts are not only made in the interests of, but in
collaboration with, the ruling class: they all mean to keep us workers 
dominated and exploited, under their boots, all the  time....Supporters, or 
rather members of Fanmi Lavalas, just like the foreign bosses, declare that 
they must control everything that is done, everything that happens, and that 
they must know everything - a framework that is totally in the interests of 
the ruling class, and prevents workers from organising to lead an autonomous 

Batay Ouvriye denounces this reactionary, anti-popular project
that is developing in the practice of Fanmi Lavalas in various parts of the 
country. Vigilance and resistance are needed by those who renounce this 
project. At the same time, we are alerting national and international 
opinion of the threats and direct attacks made against us.

Batay Ouvriye
BP 13326,

Tel/fax: 509 2226719
email: <batayouvriye@hotmail.com>
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