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#3212: Arthur diagnoses more election 'fever' (fwd)

From: Charles Arthur <charlesarthur@hotmail.com>

a) Re: "A ravaged island's prospects for democracy
By Kathie Klarreich Special to The Christian Science Monitor
April 10 2000

I am grateful to the senior US official, "requesting anonymity",
who set me straight about about the last 15 or so years of Haitian history 
when he said in this article:
"Haiti does not have a tradition of civil society, or mass mobilization ... 
to demand things from the government."

Ti legliz communities, peasant organisations, worker and student
unions, women's groups, human rights groups, environmental groups,
progressive NGOs - none of them existed.

Dechoukaj, rache manyok, makout pa ladan, aba Roger Lafontant,
thousands and thousands of protests, demonstrations, and road-blocks calling 
for justice, the demobilisation of the FADH, disamrmament of the death 
squads, an end to impunity, for land reform, for road repairs, for water and 
schools - none of these things happened.

I was so wrong. Now I know, Haiti has no tradition of mass
mobilization, no tradition of civil society.

I now realise that it is only recently that such representative 
organisations as the Chamber of Commerce, the Council for Free Enterprise, 
the Association of Hoteliers, and the Protestant Church,have valiantly got 
together to launch a civil society response for the first time. Hurrah!

b) Re: Reuters wire 04/10/2000  Haitian opposition blames
Aristide for fire.

This wire tells us that
"Dominique's assassination has sparked terror in Haiti. Opposition 
politicians, journalists and musicians critical of the government have all 
been forced underground."
and, in the context of the burning down of Evans Paul's building on Camille 
Leon, adds a further example of the "terror":
"Unidentified assailants also threw rocks through the windows of a
community radio station in Haiti's Artibonite department, north
of the capital, after it broadcast a program on the  assassination on

For those who would like to know more, rather than less, I
provide my translation of a news piece put out by SICRAD - the Information 
Service of the Haitian NGO, CRAD -  on 6 April:

>Radio Unite in St. Michel de L'Attalaye ransacked -
Unidentified individuals ransacked the St Michel de L'Attalaye community 
radio station, Radio Unite, during the night of the 3/4th April. The station 
staff have informed SICRAD that several doors were forced open and equipment 
was taken, including cassette and CD players, microphones, a radio receiver, 
and a sum of 525 gourdes.

The damage was noted by a juge de paix, and a report had been
filed at the St Michel Police commissariat, the radio station's directorate 

This incident followed soon after a broadcast by the station
marking the double murder of the director of Radio Haiti Inter, Jean
Dominique and his employee, Jean-Claude Louissaint.

Threats against Radio Unite had been made for some time, added
the staff. According to them, certain sectors have never hidden their wish 
to silence this "peasant radio". These threats had been accentuated during 
the election period.

Radio Unite is a station with a 100 Watt transmitter whicha has
been on the air for five years. It is managed by a platform of popular
organisations from St Michel de L'Attalaye.<
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