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8430: Re: 8420: State of constant dread? Gimme a break (fwd)

From: Amy Wilentz <amywile@panix.com>

Lance Durban is right about personal security in Haiti. Even when I
first arrived just before Duvalier II went into exile, and for some time
after, there was lots of personal security. 

But this was not for good reasons. There was safety except when there
wasn't (as they say in Israel). If someone stronger than you wanted your
land -- there was no safety. If someone better connected than you wanted
your business -- no safety. 

And for the general populace, yeah, as Lance says, if you stayed out of
politics, you were generally safe. But the fall of Duvalier was all
about empowering the people to participate in politics -- and that IN
PART is why there is so much insecurity today. For better or for worse,
far more of the Haitian people are now connected to one political
movement (I won't say "party") or another than were back under Duvalier
Fils. And thus they are always at risk of putting themselves in the way
of political retribution.

And it's not going to be easy to establish the rule of law if the
president runs around to police stations advocating what sounds to me
like extrajudicial executions for criminals caught in the act. Under the
rule of law, the police usually first try to ARREST these guys. Or am I
failing to understand the message?

This is what I read, as reported by Naomie Calixte on Radio Metropole
and sent in to Corbett's list:

Pres. Aristide is speaking: 
"If a criminal [Creole: zenglendo] stops a car out on the street, takes
the car keys, forces the driver to get out and drives away with the
vehicle, then that person is guilty. That person is guilty because
the vehicle does not belong to him. You [policemen] do not need to take
him to court to answer to the judge, because the car does not belong to
him. It is a criminal [zenglendo] who is forcing people to get out of
their car so he can steal it, and so then he is a culprit. If a criminal
carries out physical violence against somebody out in the street with
intent to kill that person, you do not need to wait for that criminal to
appear before the judge, you can prevent that murderer from taking

Perhaps the Haitian executive needs a legal adviser on due process. I
can think of American lawyers among Lavalas' counselors who could
provide instruction. 

Amy Wilentz