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28989: Sontaine (discuss) Reply to Randall White on gangs (fwd)

From Georges Sontaine:


You fail in accepting the thesis that the gangs formed for "the survival of their neighborhood." As you can see from those articles, there were already gangs - heavily armed - in 2002, then operating under and in coordination with the Aristide regime, who you say that they had nothing to fear from. So your attempt to say they congealed after February 2004 doesn't pass the test when held up to the actual printed record of their existence.

You want examples of pro-Lavalas gang activity after March 2004?

In Jane Regan's February 2005 article for NACLA "Haiti: In Bondage to History?" (http://www.haitipolicy.org/content/2850.htm) we read the following:

"November 18, 2004, anniversary of the slave army's decisive victory over Napoleon's soldiers 201 years ago--another semi-decapitated body laid in the streets, its charred flesh smoldering and crackling under the noonday sun. This time the killers brazenly ignited their prey, a man named Weber Adrien, just a few blocks from the UN peacekeepers' command post in Bel-Aire. Beheadings, a new form of violence in this perpetually violent country, were almost as common as nighttime automatic weapons fire as Haiti's bicentennial year ended. The trend started after a September 30 clash between Haitian police and protestors turned deadly. The demonstrators--some of them armed--were marching to demand the return of ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Shots were fired and in the end three policemen and perhaps six demonstrators were dead. The confrontation unleashed a wave of violence by pro-Aristide militants nicknamed "Operation Baghdad," replete with ambushes, decapitations, snipers, and police counter-actions with harsh house-to-house searches and arrests without warrants. There appear to have been brutal summary executions on both sides."

In Joe Mozingo November 29, 2004 article "Anarchy reigns in streets of Haiti" in The Miami Herald (http://www.globalexchange.org/countries/americas/haiti/2755.html), Mozingo writes:

"In the last two months, warring gangs -- and what many slum residents claim are government death squads -- have trapped tens of thousands of Haiti's poorest citizens in a deadly state of anarchy where rule is determined by which groups of young men have the biggest guns. "

In here report “Peacekeepers Battle Gangs in a Ravaged Haiti,” (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4075205) NPR’s Lourdes Garcia-Navarro convincingly maps the role of pro-Aristide gangs in the gruesome violence that ravaged out capital in the fall 2004.

When you, on the other hand, write "Not that I would have taken offense if resistance movements decided that they needed to destabilize Latortue by direct action that - might have - employed the use of arms outside of their neighborhoods," all I can say is that is very easy, and quite cowardly, to say from the United States where you are at no risk, quite a different kettle of fish in Haiti itself. It shows little respect you have for the lives of people in Cite Soleil, or anywhere else in Haiti, for that matter. We've had more than enough killing already.


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