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8079: Re: 8073: Avril and the Democratic Convergence (fwd)
Keywords: Avril, Democratic Convergence, torture
Bon Mambo Sans Racine is absolutely right to wonder how both AP and Reuters
somehow fail to mention that in 1994 former dictator (former president as AP
and Reuters describe him) Prosper Avril was found guilty in a US federal
court of ordering the beating and torture of Evans Paul, Serges Gilles,
Marino Etienne, Gerard Laforest, Gerald Brun and Jean Auguste Mesyeux, on
November 1, 1989. Avril, who was dictator of Haiti at that time, had them
displayed, bloodied, on television. In early 1990, he was apparently flown to
Florida by the US government when his regime was undermined by a rising tide
of pro-democracy grassroots mobilisation. There he might have lived happily
ever after except that some of his former torture victims brought the law
suit against him. At one point in the process, he failed to make a court
appearance and thus defaulted. He fled to several countries trying to find
haven before returning to Haiti. The 1994 court judgement against him,
ordering him to pay the victims US$41 million in compensation and damages,
was made in his absence, and he has not to my knowledge paid anything.
I also seem to remember that Avril was the subject of an arrest warrant in
1995 - quite a notorious incident when President Aristide and US Embassy
staff quarelled on short wave radio about whether the police should make the
arrest or not. During the delay, Avril 'escaped'.
It seems there were further arrest warrants issued in September 1996 and May
1997 but neither of these warrants were executed either.
Mambo Sans Racine is right also to draw attention to the Democratic
Convergence's embrace of those who wish to see the revival of the brutal
Armed Foces of Haiti (FAD'H).
I believe the Washington Post is regarded as a fairly reputable newpsaper in
the United States. In a report on Haiti that appeared in that paper on 2nd
February 2001, the following paragraphs are noteworthy:
<The (Democratic) Convergence was formed as a broad group with help from the
International Republican Institute, an organization that promotes democracy
that is closely identified with the U.S. Republican Party. It includes former
Aristide allies -- people who helped him fight Haiti's dictators, then soured
as they watched him at work. But it also includes former backers of the hated
Duvalier family dictatorship and of the military officers who overthrew
Aristide in 1991 and terrorized the country for three years.
The most determined of these men, with a promise of anonymity, freely express
their desire to see the U.S. military intervene once again, this time to get
rid of Aristide and rebuild the disbanded Haitian army. "That would be the
cleanest solution," said one opposition party leader. Failing that, they say,
the CIA should train and equip Haitian officers exiled in the neighboring
Dominican Republic so they could stage a comeback themselves.>
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