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#2384: This Week in Haiti 17:47 2/9/00 (fwd)
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100, (fax)
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
February 9 - 15, 2000
Vol. 17, No. 47
NORTH: POLICE ARREST IMPATIENT BUS DRIVERS
On Feb. 1, the Cap Haïtien police arrested several bus
drivers who ply the road between Cap Haïtien and Port-au-Prince
because they have not respected the schedule laid down by the
police for departures toward the capital.
In recent months, hundreds of passengers aboard several buses
have been held up by zenglendos, armed highway men, who ambush
the vehicles en route, usually at the curve in the road around
Gros Morne St. Marc, a shrubby mountain about halfway down the
desolate 11 kilometer stretch of highway between the towns of
Pont Sondé and St. Marc. Such an ambush occurred in the early
morning hours of Feb. 1.
The police direct bus drivers to wait until 3 a.m. before leaving
Cap on the four hour trip to Port-au-Prince so that they pass by
Gros Morne St. Marc closer to the 6 a.m. sunrise, when it is
safer. But many drivers, anxious to squeeze more trips into their
day, leave Cap at 1 a.m., which puts them in the ambush zone
during hold-up prime time from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m..
«It is the stubbornness of the drivers who leave Cap before the
designated hour which is the cause of the zenglendos being able
to do whatever they want on the road,» said police inspector
However, most Haitians fault the police for not acting
aggressively against the highway men of National Route 1.
Although the police occasionally set up a weapons checkpoint in
the Artibonite town of l'Estère, they have been unwilling to
carry out late night patrols in the principal areas of zenglendo
«The police should increase their patrols of Route One by a
factor of ten,» one traveler declared on Radio Kiskeya.
Another favorite ambush point on National Route One is in the
curves just below the mountain pass called Puilboro between the
town of Plaisance and the city of Gonaïves.
COUP VICTIMS CONTINUE SIT-INS AROUND HAITI
On the morning of Feb. 2, the Association of Victims of the
Massacre of April 22, 1994 in Raboteau held its 2nd sit-in at the
Place of Liberty in the center of Gonaïves. Fritz Désir, the
association's spokesman, said that the group plans to hold the
actions every Wednesday. The purpose is to pressure judicial
authorities to push ahead with the still pending trial for the
massacre and to call attention to unfulfilled government
According to Désir, the government's Coordination Office had
promised to lend some money to the massacre victims and to launch
a literacy project in Raboteau.
«They said they would do beautiful things for the Raboteau
victims,» Désir said, «but that was a lie. It's not true because
the literacy campaign, for example, is still stuck at the level
of discussions. Overall, it is just people making noise to make
like they're doing something, but in fact they are just making
money with the Raboteau affair.»
Charles Saintellus, the president of the Appeals Court, said
that, following hearings in December, the judges are reviewing
briefs from both the plaintiffs and the accused. In about two
weeks, the court will issue some decisions to get the Raboteau
trial underway, he said.
Elsewhere on Feb. 2, coup victims in the northwestern city of
Port-de-Paix held their 7th sit-in demanding that the justice
ministry take action on their behalf. They were joined by about
twenty members of the September 30th Foundation, a Port-au-Prince
based victims organization.
«The September 30th Foundation sent this delegation of twenty
members to support the demands of the victims in Port-de-Paix, so
that they see that they are not alone,» said the group's
spokesman Gilbert Elméus. «We want them to see that it is the
same struggle in Port-de-Paix as in Port-au-Prince to get justice
Meanwhile, victims in the town of Petite Rivière de l'Artibonite
also held a sit-in on Feb. 7 in front of their courthouse to
demand justice from government authorities.
THE SEA CLAIMS LIVES IN THE NORTHWEST
On the afternoon of Jan. 24, residents of Berti, a seaside
neighborhood of city of Port-de-Paix, found on the shore the body
of Wilnord Justin, a fisherman. There was no apparent cause of
death. He still had on an underwater mask and flippers. But no
other fishing equipment, like a spear-gun, hook or net, was
nearby. Next to the body, however, residents did find a one-eyed
fish. Townspeople said that the fisherman had died of fright.
Authorities, however, are not so sure and say the death is a
On Feb. 2, four people drowned off Baie des Moustiques, a small
town about 20 kilometers west of Port-de-Paix. A sailboat
carrying 24 people to a funeral capsized in strong winds
offshore. The funeral goers who drowned were from towns around
the Northwest including Gros Morne, Anse à Fouleur, and Port-de-
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