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5440: HAITI: Lavalas Repression Against MPP and Other Activists (fwd)

From: Karioka9@cs.com

Hinche in the Central Plateau, home to Charlemagne Peralte's peasant guerilla 
during the first US occupation of Haiti, is the new battleground between the 
Lavalas shock troops known as "Chimères," and an independent grassroots 
movement struggling for its survival.  Hinche is also the home of the Papaye 
Peasant Movement (MPP) led by Chavannes Jean-Baptiste.  In recent weeks, MPP 
launched a region-wide mobilization to protest an anti-democratic grab for 
power by the ruling Lavalas party led by former president Jean-Bertrand 
Aristide, and the escalating cost of living. Last month, a  march of 8,000 
peasants from Papaye to Hinche drove home that point, holding a Lavalas armed 
provocation at bay.  Also last week, the MPP leadership announced a series of 
demonstrations across the Central Plateau. 

What happened next is no longer a surprise.  On Thursday, Nov. 2, an MPP 
leadership meeting in Hinche was interrupted by an armed gang of Lavalas 
supporters who wounded six people in an attempt to kill Chavannes 
Jean-Baptiste.  The MPP members managed to protect their leader, but one 
person grievously wounded was Chavannes' youngest brother, Dieugrand, who was 
shot twice in the chest.  Lavalas apologists, including one Haiti-Progres 
reporter in NY, have tried to blame this incident on the  CIA and other 
occult forces (the so-called Laboratory), but Lavalas point men in Hinche 
have already acknowledged their involvement, alleging that the victims had 
actually attacked them!

If people were alloy, Dieugrand Jean-Baptiste would be pure gold.  I first 
met Dieugrand in 1998, on a visit to the Central Plateau.  Dieugrand is an 
agronomist and MPP organizer.  He and a small group of MPP organizers took me 
and my friend Bertin on a tour of the greater Bassin Zim area, where MPP is 
involved in a struggle against erosion and deforestation.  Dieugrand's naive 
love for trees, his ingenious and low-tech canalization of Bassin Zim water 
for his tree farm projects (thousands and thousands of robust seedlings 
readied for the fight against erosion) made me think of a wood elf.  At 
night, the constant teasing of the bashful and unmarried Dieugrand, by macho 
older peasants, reminded me of a living Manuel, the hero of Jacques Roumain's 
"Gouverneurs de la Rosee" who refused  to kiss and tell as far as his love, 
Anaise, was concerned.  I grieve for Dieugrand and his brothers, Chavannes 
and Bazelais.  I grieve for their mother whom I met briefly and who reminded 
me of Mrs. Massena Peralte.  I say woe to the scum who would harm them.

This weekend in St. Louis du Sud, the actor and playwright Herve Denis was 
also the victim of an assassination attempt. After a public meeting where he 
spoke against the Lavalas hegemonic agenda, a pickup truck pulled up and let 
out an armed militiaman who quickly moved to the front of the crowd and fired 
at the stage. People on the stage, who saw the gunman coming,  pushed Denis 
to the ground,  saving his life.  Lavalas strongman Henricles Joachim, a.k.a. 
Jean Mentor, then got out of the pickup truck, beating his chest and 
declaring that he was the mayor of St. Louis du Sud, and that henceforward no 
meeting shall be held there without with his approval.
Also this weekend in NY, the woman leader Yanick Etienne of Batay Ouvriye, an 
independent trade-union initiative among women workers in the countryside, 
launched an impassioned plea for people-to-people solidarity with the 
grassroots movement in Haiti.  The upcoming elections are a sham, she said, a 
conflict between two voracious gangs of exploiters, i.e., Lavalas and its  
bourgeois opposition.  Things have turned into their opposites.  The 
solidarity movement outside of Haiti needs to wake up to the reality that the 
Aristide they supported in 1991-1993 is not the Aristide of today.  Lavalas 
populism since Aristide's return to power, on the wing of a 20,000-strong US 
invasion, has been on a collusion course with fascism.  The last six years of 
Aristidism have been a free reign of corruption, repression and drugs.  After 
all what did the progressive movement expect?  That a 200-year problem of 
oppression and foreign dependency would fix itself while almost everyone else 
was busy elsewhere? 

Daniel Simidor