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* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
June 22 - 28, 1999
Vol. 17, No. 14
TERROR IN POSTE MARCHAND
Poste Marchand got its name from a small police post that used to
be there. But now the neighborhood, which straddles Avenue John
Brown (Lalue) near downtown Port-au-Prince, has been overrun by
criminals, known as zenglendo. And the police are nowhere to be
found... except sometimes among the thieves.
At least that is what residents of Poste Marchand say. The area has
been virtually taken over by gunmen on four different occasions
over the past month.
The zenglendo swept through on May 19 and May 21, robbing shops,
houses, pedestrians and motorists indiscriminately. Then on May 27,
eighteen armed men sealed off two streets. Working systematically
in two groups, they robbed 20 homes. Every resident or passer-by
they encountered was frisked for money and jewelry. They stole
about $300 from a small boutique, raped a woman, and shot a young
man in the foot. All this during a leisurely two hours.
Again on Jun. 15, starting about 6 p.m., seven zenglendo occupied
the area, especially Impasse Lumiere. Those with guns fired them in
the air, as they robbed over 15 homes taking every television or
radio they found. They also cleaned out small merchants selling
rice and beans or fried plantain as well as one pharmacy's receipts
for the day. That operation lasted four hours before the police
came and the zenglendo, as usual, got away.
"I've had it," said one victim, an older man who like his neighbors
did not want to be identified because he feared the criminals, some
of whom live nearby, might carry out reprisals. "All of us in this
neighborhood are fed up with these thieves who come and rob us and
endanger our lives... Myself, my wife, and our seven children, we
are going to have to leave Poste Marchand."
Many of the thieves Ti Luc, Pouchon, Ti Loulou, Polo, Patatou
are known to area residents. The gunmen use 9 millimeter and black
.38 caliber revolvers, identical to those issued to the police, and
some are current or former cops, residents say.
The victims also blame road construction around Rue Pouplard for
the attacks. "It has been over 9 months since they tore up the road
but never fixed it," complained one resident. "Now the zenglendo
are more at ease since there aren't as many people, cars, and buses
POLICE CHIEFS RAMPAGE
While Port-au-Prince police chief Jean-Cols Rameau remains in jail
as the government investigates charges that he executed 11 men in
cold blood on May 28 (see Haiti Progres, Vol. 17, No. 12, 6/9/99),
other police chiefs around Haiti are also showing danger signs.
Take the case of Paul Antoine Sauvignon, Police chief for the
Southeastern department. At 11 p.m. on the night of May 20, he led
15 policemen in an assault on a the home of Charite Jean, a peasant
from Savane Dubois near the coastal town of Marigot. The policemen
were looking for cocaine that former Justice of the Peace Jean
Jeudi had supposedly given to Charite. After beating Charite, the
police ransacked his house but found no drugs. However, they did
take a small sum of money which Charite had hidden in his mattress.
What is most curious is that the policemen Sauvignon was leading
were from the Delmas headquarters in Port-au-Prince, about 40
kilometers out of their jurisdiction. Charite adamantly declares
his innocence and has filed charges against Sauvignon in Jacmel,
the department seat.
Another case is that of Ralph Fethiere, police chief of the
northern city of Cap Haitien. Since Jun. 11, Judge Prince Osias has
issued a warrant for Fethiere's arrest in connection with the
assault and battery last November of Sauveur Joseph, 50, the driver
of the bus "Dignite du Cap." Fethiere has ignored several court
subpoenas already issued in the case.
Many other people have filed complaints against Fethiere, a former
Haitian Army officer, for illegal arrests and beatings in Cap
Haitien and surrounding towns like Vertieres and Limbe. There are
rumors that other authorities have threatened Judge Osias with
dismissal for issuing the arrest warrant for Fethiere.
RAINS KILL CHILDREN AND CATTLE
Floods are once again claiming Haitian lives.
On Jun. 10, Celius Prophete, 10, drowned in the L'Acul River near
the northwestern town of Gros-Morne. He was carrying two dozen
mangos to a merchant when he was swept away by the rain-engorged
Another two children were killed in the rural zone Pandi, also near
Gros Morne, on Jun. 12 when a house collapsed on them during a rain
storm. Their parents were working in the fields at the time.
Meanwhile, on Jun. 6, in Bocozelle near St. Marc, the Artibonite
River overflowed its banks and swept the crops and livestock of
peasants out to sea. The Rananonte dam near Pont Sonde, recently
and expensively repaired after being destroyed by Hurricane Georges
last summer, did nothing to stop the surging waters. Also on Jun.
6, heavy rains and flooding cut in two the road to the southeastern
town of Thiotte, paralyzing commerce in the area.
DYING FOR KOSOVO
I would die for the crying child
who woke up parentless in the night
entangled in the cold of the mountain's grip;
I shall not die for NATO's ego trip.
I would die for the Albanians thrown out
from the refuge of their land,
fathers executed while the dinner is served;
I shall not die for the small club's glory.
I would die for the desperate mothers
who sold their innocence to save the family,
the young men sacrificed for war's rituals;
I shall not die for the empire's creed.
I would die for beloved Kosovo
for the memory of the Illyrian tribe,
for the birthplace of Serbian nationhood;
I shall not die for the New World Order.
I would die to avenge the Serbs killed
in the train, on the bus, on the bridge,
for those who never woke up from their sleep;
I shall not die for a Greater Serbia.
I would die for a womb aborted of its cells,
its corpus estranged in six warring parts,
I would die for beauty to come back to the land;
I shall not die to make the war machine stronger.
I would die for a borderless world,
infinite horizon to new revelations,
I would die to have rock' n roll in war zones;
I shall not die for the Dow Jones's rise.
I would die for the renewal of our dreams,
for the ties of sisterhood sustaining the despair,
I would die for justice for all the rejected
of a world consumed by power dominance;
I would die to stop the killings
in High School as well as in our soul;
I would die to plant trees
all around the Big Dig of Boston;
I would die to move to our back yards
the graveyards, the penitentiaries
and the downsizing factories
just to give us a feel of the war.
I shall not die for the bullies' exhilaration,
for the big voice that calls all of the shots,
I shall not die for your bad faith;
I would die for no more bombs.
I shall not die for the Pentagon's sweets
selling us the angels of the sky,
killing like God-sent crusading saints
whole villages of unrepentant Serbs.
Nor shall I die for a humanless enclave.
I would die
for a kiss
for a smile in death row
for food on the table
for school for all children
for the end of despair
I would die for Kosovo
and all of its peoples;
I shall not die for NATO's goals.
Tontongi, May 1999
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