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29337: Holmstead: (informs)Re: 29327: Craig (news) Haiti: U.S. Partly Lifts Arms Embargo (fwd)

FROM: John Holmstead

What utter absurdity!! Because the high level of human rights abuses after the US lifterd the emabrgo the FIRST TIME under the Latortur regime has become clear they re-relift the embargo and rewrite history.....shameless revisonism.....sounds like some on this list....

U.S. lifts arms embargo to Haiti as violence grows
By Jim Lobe
Updated Nov 2, 2004, 12:01 am
WASHINGTON (IPS/GIN) - Amid growing violence in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, the United States announced Oct.
19 it will consider requests to sell weapons to the country’s interim government on a case-by-case basis, signaling the
end to a 13-year arms embargo.
The decision, confirmed by the State Department, appears designed to begin supplying weapons to the 2,500-man
police force that has carried out gun battles with militants loyal to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was
flown by the U.S. into exile earlier this year.
The police, however, have also been accused of firing on peaceful pro-Aristide demonstrators and rounding up
well-known leaders of Aristide’s political movement, Lavalas.
Human rights group Amnesty International (AI) denounced the recent arrest of Reverend Gerard Jean-Juste while the
priest was distributing food to hundreds of children and poor people at a church in a Port-au-Prince suburb.
According to testimony gathered by the London-based group, Rev. Jean-Juste was punched while being dragged out
of the presbytery by police officers, some of whom were wearing masks.
The police later said the arrest was a pre-emptive action based on intelligence that the priest was linked to
pro-Aristide groups, although no evidence to support that charge has been released.
“Amnesty International considers that, if the arrest is politically motivated for Rev. Jean-Juste being a vocal supporter
of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Amnesty International would consider him a prisoner of conscience,” said
the organization in a statement.
The rise in tensions in the Caribbean nation began in September after Hurricane Jeanne devastated the port town of
Gonaives, Haiti’s third-largest city, killing as many as 2,000 people and destroying hundreds of homes and
The interim government of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, which took power with the help of U.S. Marines and French
troops after Mr. Aristide’s ouster, failed to coordinate or provide much help to the stranded population, fueling popular
discontent with the regime, particularly among the poorest sectors that have long supported Mr. Aristide.
Pro-Aristide demonstrations broke out on Sept. 30, the 13th anniversary of the military coup that exiled the leader the
first time in 1991. Mr. Aristide, the first democratically elected president in Haiti’s history, is now living in South Africa.
At least two protestors were killed by police Sept. 30. The following day, the remains of three policemen who had been
beheaded were found on the street, bringing tensions in the capital to a boil. Some 50 people have since been killed in
sporadic violence.
Since the anniversary, the situation in the capital has been unsettled, while former soldiers and military officers who
led an insurrection against Mr. Aristide last winter and who still control much of the countryside, announced they
intend to move to the capital to back the police against pro-Aristide militants. The former soldiers have pressed the
government to restore the army, which was abolished by Mr. Aristide after his return from exile in 1994.
The result is a growing sense of chaos in Haiti, according to Professor Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert at the University
of Virginia, who described the situation as “very explosive.”
“What’s going on now is that the Latortue government is losing control of the situation,” he said in an interview.
The UN force, which took over from U.S. and French forces in July, is currently only at less than half strength.
But Prof. Fatton said neither more troops nor renewed U.S. aid to the police is likely to resolve the situation,
particularly given the failure of the government to take a more conciliatory attitude toward Lavalas, which most
observers believe remains the most popular political movement in the country.

BBC NEWS | Americas | US aims to lift Haiti gun embargo http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4075520.stm

US aims to lift Haiti gun embargo
The US is working to lift a
14-year-old embargo on
selling weapons to Haiti in
order to help police cut
rising crime and unrest
before elections this year.
Washington's ambassador to
Haiti, James Foley, said guns
were urgently needed to help
police guarantee security.
Haiti's cabinet chief, Michel Brunache, said a US marine
deployment could help restore order in time for the polls.
Some 700 people have died in less than a year in Haiti, in a
crime wave blamed on politically-aligned gangs.
Elections due to be held in the Caribbean nation this
autumn will be the first since an armed uprising forced
former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile last year.
The US has said slum gangs loyal to the former leader are
behind much of the crime and unrest in the country.
Human rights groups have accused the police of summary
executions of Aristide supporters - a charge the authorities
At a ceremony in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince,
Ambassador Foley said "guns are an extremely important
element for police to guarantee security".
An estimated $2.6m (£1.4m) worth of security equipment -
including trucks, tactical vehicles and motorcycles - were
donated to the police during the ceremony.
The US state department and Congress are also considering
plans to train Haitian police.
The US has acknowledged that it gave Haiti's police some
2,600 used firearms last year, making an exception to its
own embargo.
Troops request
The top US diplomat responsible for the western
hemisphere, Roger Noriega, visited Haiti on Wednesday for
talks with the interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue.