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#5126: From SICRAD/CIP: Big Anti-Lavalas Demonstration in Hinche (fwd)
From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>
Eight Thousand Demonstrate Against the
serie 2 / No 71 / 18 Septembre 2000
E-bdo d actualite haitienne et de perspective democratique
For the first time in ten years an anti-Lavalas demonstration
has drawn more than eight thousand persons. On September
18 in Hinche, in the Central Plateau department (the east of
the country), the Peasants' Movement of Papaye (Mouvement
des Paysans de Papaye [MPP]), led by Chavannes
Jean-Baptiste, organized this demonstration against the
regime to protest the economic situation and engage in civil
disobedience. To the thousands gathered in the city's central
square Chavannes Jean-Baptiste lashed into the Lavalas power,
which he called a "dictatorship." "We do not and never will
recognize the authority of those persons put in by Aristide
and Préval in the electoral mess of May 21," he said to the
crowd's applause. "We won't participate in any other
phoney election with Préval or his electoral commission."
The leader of the MPP protested against galloping inflation,
insecurity and the economic decline of the country. He said
the unjust taxes of the Duvalier dictatorship were being
reimposed, calling on the population not to pay them.
He called for "a true coming together of the Haitian people
to say no to the Lavalas dictatorship." Only one leader of
the Organization of the People in Struggle (Organisation du
Peuple en Lutte [OPL]), Paul Denis, took part in the march.
The other parties or groups such as the Space for
Concertation (Espace de Concertation) and the Rally of
National Progressive Democrats (Rassemblement des
Démocrates Nationaux Progressistes [RDNP]) were
represented only by delegations of lower rank.
Departing from Papaye the march with its own security
contingent went nine kilometers before reaching Hinche,
the leading city in the department. At several points armed
men tried to break up the demonstration by shooting into
the air. The police intervened to control the situation.
The Fanmi Lavalas partisans gathered at the Hinche city
hall shouted slogans in favor of former president
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and accused the police of being
partial to the MPP. They also threatened the reporters
present at the scene. The night before, unidentified
individuals tried to set the MPP office in Hinche on fire,
causing minor damage.
Allied to the OPL, the coordinator of the MPP, who proved
his valor in the struggle against the military regimes since
1986, was formerly close to ex-President Aristide and a
former adviser of President Préval. Some years ago he
left the Lavalas movement which he said had become
The Hinche demonstration took place during a stormy
phase of the political process, as the post-electoral crisis
lingered on. Last weekend high-ranking U.S. officials
including the diplomats Arturo Valenzuela and Anthony
Lake went to Haiti to discuss a negotiated solution. Nothing
yet has filtered out of these meetings held with the
opposition leaders and those of the party in power,
including Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Also along the same lines a delegation of the
Organization of American States is due, while preparations
continue for senatorial and presidential elections in
November. So far only the Lavalas Family party has said
it would participate.
The adherents of this party are promiting the impending
candidacy of Jean-Bertrand Aristide. But rivalries within
the party are beginning to deepen. Candidates elected
from the Nippes region (Southwest Department) fired on
and dispersed a rally of the peasant organization KOZEPEP,
which is close to the government. The rally was in the locality
of Chalon. The dispute was over who had the right to run
Aristide's campaign. The government sent a high-level
commission of inquiry.