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5921: Events in Haiti (fwd)

From: Greg Chamberlain <GregChamberlain@compuserve.com>

(from Caribbean Insight newsletter)

(24 Nov 00)

A teenage boy was killed and 14 other people injured in seven grenade
explosions in Port-au-Prince on November 22 as violence increased before
presidential and partial Senate elections due on November 26.  Two exploded
in busy downtown streets, two on the airport road and three in the wealthy
suburb of Pétionville.  The grenades were reportedly thrown from unmarked
vehicles.  Gunfire and incidents of street panic (kouri) have also
disrupted the capital in recent days, forcing shops and businesses to
close.  Pro-government "popular organisations" called for the arrest of
opposition leaders.
        Three of the six minor presidential candidates announced they were
dropping out of the race, though their names legally remain on the ballot. 
The main opposition coalition, the Covergence Démocratique, is boycotting
the election, charging that former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is
expected to be easily returned to the presidency, rigged the Senate results
in the May 21 legislative elections.  The UN and the US have refused to
finance or observe the elections and the US government has warned its
nationals to avoid Haiti because of the danger of violence.
        Thirty-seven senior military figures during the 1991-94 military
regime were sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment at forced labour on
November 16 after being found guilty of murder for their part in a 1994
massacre in the Gonaïves slum of Raboteau.  They included the head of the
military regime, Gen Raoul Cedras, his deputy Gen Philippe Biamby, police
chief Col Michel François, and former FRAPH paramilitary leader Emmanue
Constant, all of them in exile in Central America or the United States. 
They were also ordered to pay one billion gourdes ($43 million) in
compensation to the victims.  One of those convicted, Col Carl Dorélien,
lives in Florida, where he won $3.2 million in the state lottery in 1997.
        US Immigration Service officials in south Florida arrested a former
head of the feared "anti-gang" unit of the Port-au-Prince police, Jackson
Joanis, and 11 other Haitians on November 16 in a sweep against foreign
human rights abusers who had sought refuge in the US.  Joanis was sentenced
in absentia to life imprisonment in 1995 for his part in the murder of a
leading Aristide supporter, businessman Antoine Izméry.  All are likely to
be deported.