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#865: This Week in Haiti 17:33 11/3/99 (fwd)

"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
newsweekly. For information on other news in French and Creole,
please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100, (fax)
718-434-5551 or e-mail at <editor@haiti-progres.com>. Also
visit our website at http://www.haiti-progres.com.

                           HAITI PROGRES
              "Le journal qui offre une alternative"

                      * THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

                       November 3 - 9, 1999
                          Vol. 17, No. 33


On the night of Oct. 18-19, plainclothes agents of the Haitian
government's Office for the Fight against Drug Trafficking (BLTS)
and of the U.S. government's Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents
poured across the crumbling wharf in the port town of Petit Goave
and boarded the cargo ship MV Multiflex Orient, inbound from
Colombia. The agents arrested five crew members -- Frantz
Hilaire, Lubin Saurel, Henry St. Victor, Ulrick Dorsainvil and
Manoly Réginald -- and impounded the vessel.

The policemen then seized 275 kilos of cocaine, according to
townspeople, and 60 kilos, according to themselves. Some of the
drug cargo had been off-loaded and was somewhere in town, the
police said.

After seizing the passports of the crew, the police also issued
search warrants for Lubin "Zaboka" Milord and Ti Floryan, who
they allege are accomplices of the drug traffickers. Some cops
may also be involved. "Lubin Saurel asserted that during the
offloading, there were 3 policemen on hand: Benoit Privert, Denis
Bellot and Jean René," said the local division inspector, Frantz

While authorities say they caught drug traffickers red-handed,
ambiguity abounds. The substitute government commissioner,
Bellande Dumersier, announced that the courts had freed two of
the suspects, Mr. Dorsainvil and Mr. St. Victor, for lack of

Meanwhile, residents of Petit Goâve complain that the town is
virtually under curfew. Each evening, about 20 heavily-armed CIMO
(Company for Intervention and the Maintenance of Order) policemen
from Port-au-Prince prowl the streets, forcing their ways into
the homes of residents on the premise of searching for drugs.
Townspeople claim that they are being harassed while the police
are in cahoots with, or at least allow to escape, the real drug


In the southeastern city of Jacmel, a water price hike in effect
since September has angered the customers of the National Service
of Potable Water (SNEP). The Consumers Association of the City of
Jacmel (ASIJAK), which claims some 200 members and supporters,
organized a two-hour sit-in in front of the SNEP offices on the
morning of Oct. 27 to protest the utility's 55% rate-hike from 71
gourdes (US$4.18) to 110 gourdes (US$6.47) per water unit. "We
Jacmeliens will set an example for the whole country," said
Hebert Lahatte, ASIJAK. "We are fighting to defend our social and
economic rights, which are guaranteed by the Constitution."


Over last weekend, armed thieves -- known as zenglendos --
terrorized various parts of the Artibonite, particularly the La
Syrie neighborhood of St. Marc. In several armed robberies, they
stole money, jewelry, electronic equipment, and other liquid
assets. Young people in various towns around the fertile
Artibonite Valley said that they have begun physical training
with machetes and clubs and have formed vigilance brigades to
combat the zenglendos. They said that they are reluctant to turn
the zenglendos they capture over to the police, because after a
short time in jail, the theives are out and often seeking


A week's worth of rain caused severe flooding in the area of Bois
Neuf near the northern town of St. Raphael. The rising waters
brought tragedy Oct. 23. "Two children were carried away by the
flood and drowned," said a peasant from the area. "The ravines
became rivers which washed away the houses and livestock of many
peasants. The situation is even worse than the flooding of
September 1998 [when Hurricane Georges hit Haiti]. Many of us
peasants have no idea what to do."

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