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a322: Quo Vadis Lavalas? (fwd)

From: Robert Benodin <r.benodin@worldnet.att.net>

Quo Vadis Lavalas ?
Today is January 1st, 2002 and in front of the presidential palace, four
hundred participants in a demonstration sponsored by the government shout
repeatedly: “Americans are terrorists.” Six hundred persons bused by the
government to the lawn of the palace – they were promised a good meal and
the equivalent of two U.S. dollars in local currency – are listening to the
president’s speech. To drive his point home, in his demonstration, the
president has described the United States’ attitude toward his country as
“economic terrorism.” The American Ambassador in this country feels offended
and leaves the ceremony at the presidential palace. This is not happening in
Libya, Syria, or Venezuela. It is happening in Haiti, and the president is
Jean Bertrand Aristide, restored in power in 1994 by 20,000 American
soldiers. This is not the language of a friend of the United States. The man
has not changed; he is the same Jean Bertrand Aristide who had described the
United States as the Great Satan and capitalism as a mortal sin.

Since the operation by the Clinton administration to bring Jean Bertrand
Aristide back, things have been going from bad to worse. The Bush
administration inherited a catastrophic situation on Haiti: A Haitian
government without legitimacy or legality, involved in drug trafficking,
political assassination, corruption, rigged elections, and without any
regard for poverty in the population. All the progresses of democracy are
under threat by the guns and tires of Lavalas supporters. Voting rights,
freedom of speech, religion, movement, expression, assembly and press are
all under threat.  To stop that general deterioration in Haiti, caused by a
small group in power, the Bush administration has decided, pending the
establishment of a clear policy, to stop the political irresponsibility
leading Haiti on the path to disaster. The Bush administration has decided
to make the Haitian government accountable.

There is no difference between the Fanmi Lavalas party and the preceding
governments: State funds are used to satisfy the personal needs of high
officials: villas, vehicles, travels, luxury articles, bank accounts with
large amount of dollars. In politics, the Lavalas program is clearly to use
any means necessary to establish a one-party system: assassination attempts
against political leaders and former presidential candidates, under the
pretext of conspiring against the security of the state. Leon Jeune barely
escaped assassination, thanks to the presence of international police
monitors; Paul Denis, Irvelt Chery, Hubert de Ronceray and several others
almost had the same fate. Assassination of political leaders and elected
officials: Reverend Leroy of the Movement for National Development, Senator
Toussaint of the Organization of the Struggling People (OPL). Assassination
of journalists and political activists: Jean Dominique, Brignol Lindor...
Home of political leaders burned: Gerard Pierre Charles, Victor Benoit, Luc
Mezadieu, and Reverend Milfort. Several offices of political parties burned:
Movement for National Development (MDN), Space for Concertation, Democratic
Unity Committee (KID), Organization of the Struggling People (OPL),
Democratic Convergence, and the ALAH party. Radio stations attacked and
vandalized: Radio Caraibes, Radio tet a tet, Vision 2000, St Marc, Signal
FM. Homes of journalists burned: Montigene Sincere, James Lamour. NGO
facility destroyed: CRESFED. More than thirty journalists beaten and injured
by Lavalas supporters just for the month of December 2001. The Director of
Haitian Platform for Human Rights was shot and wounded, and threatened with
death because of his human rights activities. Threats against Protestant,
Catholic, and Baptist churches; priests are threatened, following sermons
where they had spoken the truth about the economic, social and political
situation in the country; children are kidnapped to warn them. Even American
citizens are kidnapped. It is known to the American Embassy and Haitian
citizens that the kidnappings are the work of police and Lavalas activists.
Those acts are political as well as part of the regime’s policy of
corruption and gang activity.

The people is dying of hunger, Haitian families cannot feed their children,
there is no medical care, no jobs, no electricity, nothing works in the
country. The Lavalas leadership, headed by Aristide and Yvon Neptune,
president of the de facto Senate, accuses the United States of being
responsible for the general deterioration in Haiti because of the policy of
“economic terrorism” imposed on Haiti by the United States (as said J.B.
Aristide.)  Experts on Haiti know that those statements are lies.

The truth is that humanitarian aid is deliberately stopped at Haitian
Customs by the government. The Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide, the
ministers of Interior Henry Claude Menard, of Economy Faubert Gustave, of
Social Affairs and Communication Guy Paul, of Foreign Affairs Antonio
Joseph, and the directors of Customs use a systematic policy of stopping
humanitarian assistance at the entry ports of Haiti. Containers loaded with
humanitarian aid for the people have been kept for months at Customs in
Haiti. Even worse, corruption has reached unprecedented levels, state funds
are used to purchase villas costing 2.4, 1.7, and 1.2 million dollars, and
millions are spent for lobbying in Washington. The Minister of Interior has
been accused of corruption by his colleagues; the Prime Minister has been
accused of corruption by the Minister of Interior and the so-called elected
representatives and senators. The so-called senators and parliament
representatives are caught in corruption scandals and in organizing gangs
involved in theft and extortion. Corruption is not only found at the top of
the Lavalas government. The so-called locally elected officials, mayors, and
Lavalas representatives in the communes are also caught in cases of
embezzlement, political assassination, threats, and kidnapping...

Justice is politicized and corrupt. Those responsible for political
assassinations have been identified. In the cases of Jean Dominique,
Mireille Durocher Bertin, Brignol Lindor, Reverend Leroy, Michel Gonzalez,
and Yvon Toussaint, the assassins are known. Most of them are high-ranking
officials of the Lavalas movement. Their involvement in those murders have
been established in reports from the media and human rights organizations.
But Jean Bertrand Aristide, Danny Toussaint, Henry Claude Menard, Yvon
Neptune, and Guy Paul are obstructing justice because they are probably
involved themselves. The reports are eloquent: Milien Romage, a former
bodyguard of Aristide appointed as parliament representative for Carrefour
is the main responsible for the murder of Reverend Leroy; Danny Toussaint is
involved in the assassination of Jean Dominique; human rights organizations
have established that Dominique was killed by Lavalas. The question is: Who
gave Danny Toussaint the order to execute him? Is it Aristide? Is it because
Dominique was expected to run for president? Is it Aristide who gave the
order to execute Bertin, Gonzalez, and Senator Toussaint? Those who carried
out those murders now live in Florida, and they can testify. They escaped in
commercial boats, fearing that Aristide would eliminate them as dangerous
witnesses, as he did when he had the Swat Team eliminate Emmanuel Arbrouet.
Will Aristide eliminate Danny Toussaint before the latter begins to talk?
One must keep an eye on this story.

Columbian and Haitian drug dealers are ordered released upon a simple
telephone call from political officials of Lavalas. Meanwhile, political
prisoners have been kept in jail without trial for two, three, four, five or
six years. The police is completely corrupt. It has been caught in cases of
political murder, kidnapping, drug trafficking, corruption, summary
execution, electoral rigging, and violation of human rights. Young and
conscientious police officers prefer to stay home and steer away from the
police stations to avoid being picked for those dirty jobs. A human rights
advocate declared that this police force is more corrupt than the worse

Elections are a mockery. The United States has spent almost 20 million U.S.
dollars in Haiti for every election since 1990. Five elections have been
organized since that year. The only decent one was organized by President
Ertha Pascal Trouillot on December 16, 1990, and allowed Aristide to arrive
in power, and participation was estimated at 70%. Since then, all the
elections organized by Aristide were manipulated. Voting rights continue to
be violated. Since 1997, elections have been totally boycotted by the
political parties and the civil society because of manipulations and fraud.
Participation since that year has been estimated at less than 5%. In 2000,
the efforts of Leon Manus reassured the population, the political parties,
and the civil society who then participated in the process. As a result,
participation went up to more than 60%. Unfortunately, the elections of year
2000 were discredited because of the manipulation of results and fraud after
elections day. Jean Bertrand Aristide and Rene Preval threatened Leon Manus,
President of the Interim Electoral Commission, with death, to force him to
publish fraudulent results. Manus refused to betray the vote of the
population and declared the results published by the government illegal and
illegitimate. The U.S. government provided a helicopter for Manus’
transportation into exile, helping him barely to escape death.

Next, came December 17, 2001. Was that a coup d’etat? Was it a scenario
designed by Aristide to launch a barbaric repression against the opposition?
Haitian History, along with an analysis of recent events, can cast some
light on this matter. During the recent coups of the past fifteen years
against General-President Namphy, President Manigat, General-President
Prosper Avril, President Ertha Pascal Trouillot, and President Aristide in
1991, the leaders or organizers of those coups always attacked directly the
private residence of the president of the Republic, to arrest the president
in person. It always happened like that. Why was it not the case this time?
80% of Haitians know where Jean Bertrand Aristide lives. Why was the false
coup blamed on former military men, instead of former police officers who
were recently the protégés of Aristide? Was that supposed to play better in
a public relations campaign? Was it a “spectacular ploy” or a family affair?

 The person named as responsible for the “coup” is a former commissioner of
the national police, Guy Phillippe, who was Aristide’s protégé. As
president, Aristide had appointed him Commissioner of Petion-Ville, and
later of Delmas. Guy Phillippe played a major role for Aristide in
manipulating the elections on the 21st. The manipulation operation started
on that date, at 2 p.m. What, then, happened between Aristide, Phillippe,
and the other commissioners?

The same problems that Aristide had experienced with assassinated parliament
representative Feuille, with Emmanuel Arbrouet, and with the Moise brothers.
In 1995, a group of nine commissioners were Aristide’s favorites within the
national police. Some of them had political responsibilities, while others
answered to him about the drug traffic network and the black market (rice,
iron, flour, sugar, etc.) through a certain control of customs. There were
two causes for their dismissal: a conflict about the percentages that they
would give to Aristide, and their increasing appetite for political power.
The lieutenants wanted to replace the boss of the family. What was to be
expected from a political family working like a mafia? Uncles and family
members of those commissioners are always appointed at the highest positions
of the Lavalas political apparatus. The family members and close friends of
those commissioners are political partners of Aristide. They dropped members
of their family for Aristide, maybe to embrace the cash cow.

How would it have been possible for 17 individuals to cross the border
between the two countries, far from the capital, drive across cities, enter
the capital, take over the national palace for three to four hours, come
back out, cross the streets of the capital again, and drive across other
cities, to finally cross the border in the other direction? HAHAHA, is it
not a joke? As the police forces were already circling the palace in the
early hours of the morning, the Lavalas thugs and a crowd of spectators were
also near the palace.  How could that group of individuals leave the palace?
Complicity among members of the same family? A money matter? Was there an
understanding between commissioners working for Aristide and their close
friends to let them enter the palace and exit without problems? The
government is doing all it can to convince the public that former military
men were responsible for that act. Nobody believes it, since it is known for
a fact that there is a large majority of hard core Duvalierists, former
military men, and members of FRAPH who have been working for Aristide since
1995. That association has allowed Duvalierists to become members of the
Interim Electoral Commission and Serge Beaulieu to become a top advisor of
Aristide. What Lavalas and the Duvalierists have in common is their shared
vision of populism, anti-Americanism, and the way that they use power for
their own ends.

As for the association with former members of the military and some former
killers of FRAPH, as well as the pro-Aristide demonstrations on national
television and the streets of Port-au-Prince by former members of the
military in 1995-96 and 1997, an open letter from Mr. Chenet Jean Baptiste,
General Secretary of the Haitian Platform for Human Rights, published in the
Nouvelliste in 1995, is a vibrant testimony that brings to light the true
Jean Bertrand Aristide.  Let us remind that Chenet Jean Baptiste risked his
life in Haiti, fighting against the military regime from 1991 to 1994 for
the return of Aristide. After the assassination of Father Ti Jean, Chenet
Jean Baptiste accused Jean Bertrand Aristide of having sponsored that
murder. An order was issued to assassinate Chenet Jean Baptiste. He was to
be killed on the day of the funeral of the priest Ti Jean. His life was
spared by miracle, and that day he identified Lavalas leaders giving
instructions to former military men and FRAPH killers for his assassination;
Chenet had known those deadly individuals for having confronted them during
the period of the military coup.

Those who are familiar with Haiti know that this is not the first time
Aristide is staging a scenario, either for Haitians or for foreign
nationals. As an example of scenario designed for foreign nationals, ask
Ambassador Lawrence Pezzulo! He can tell you that Aristide forged a letter
using a letterhead of the United Nations and signing it instead of Caputo.
That forged letter allegedly from the United Nations, written by Aristide,
was sent to Prime Minister Malval. As an example of scenario designed for
Haitians, there are catholic priests who know a lot, as for instance the
1987 kidnapping in the Cathedral of Port-au-Prince. There is also the 1995
crackdown at the home of Jean Jeune, a cousin of Aristide. He had then
ordered Aramick Louis, then police commissioner, to kill Leon Jeune at his
residence in Petion-Ville, under the pretext of conspiracy against the
security of the state. Jeune is still alive by miracle. His life was spared
by the presence of an international police monitor, who happened to be
present in the neighborhood, a Frenchman who stopped the execution. Aristide
had not forgiven Jeune for having presented himself as a presidential
candidate. Jeune was kept illegally in jail for several months before his
release. Paul Denis, Edgard Leblanc, and Reynold Georges were also the
victims of a staged scenario.

Was December 17, 2001, a staged scenario? What is interesting is that those
assassinations, “coups d’etat”, and plots against the security of the state
always occur at a time when Aristide is politically in trouble. Just like
Francois Duvalier, who used to manufacture an event every time he was in
trouble and wanted to eliminate opponents? Did Aristide also manufacture an
event to get out of a difficult situation?  The “manufacturing” of events to
get out of trouble coincided with the assassinations of Senator Toussaint,
Jean Dominique, and Father Ti Jean.

The “coup d’etat” or staged scenario of December 17 occurred at the time
when, domestically, all sectors were mobilizing against the problem of the
country. Jean Bertrand Aristide was then the problem in Haiti, as was
Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986. That “coup” also occurred immediately after
the last round of negotiations of the OAS had revealed abroad that Aristide
was part of the problem. Did Lavalas manufacture those events to get out the

Something else is strange. In spite of everything that happened, the Haitian
government did not call for an emergency meeting of the Organization of
American States on this matter, and does not seem in a hurry to give
explanations. Why? Do they have the answers to all the questions? Finally,
it is the OAS member countries who asked Haiti to explain the events of
December 17, 2001, and decided to have a meeting on this issue on January 9,
2002. The Convergence filed a complaint with the Permanent Council of the
OAS and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

After all that happened, Lavalas has proven its lack of credibility, and
offers to compensate are being made by someone who has always bluffed and
never honored his commitments. Someone whose only concern is to always take
advantage without concessions and keep all power, while trying to discredit
and demobilize the opposition. Finally, Lavalas and Aristide are a danger
for the national security and the welfare of the Haitian people. What must
be done? The answer must come from the different Haitian sectors: the
Convergence, the Church, the private sector and others who have already
called for unity and mobilization... Let’s wait and see.

Meanwhile, Lavalas continues to follow its political program: pressure on
the Bush administration through he Black Caucus, Senator Christopher Dood,
two democratic political advisors, Michele Karshan and Laura Flynn working
in the palace with Aristide, and the support of lobbying firm in Washington,
Randal and Hazel Robinson, Dellumn, Burton Wides, Ira Kurzban, John Kozyn
and former president Bill Clinton himself. That is a smart program. Aristide
forced the Black Caucus, with his contributions to Conyers and Waters, to
write to President Bush who “hates” a Republic of “Negroes.” President Bush
would be allegedly responsible for poverty in Haiti. The public relations
firms are conducting a campaign in newspapers, television, and radio in the
United States saying that the Bush administration is responsible for the
situation of poverty in Haiti. Senator Dodd gives presentations in Florida
about the resumption of American aid to Haiti, invited by an organization
called “VEYE YO” responsible for political and pro-Aristide violence in
Florida. That same Senator Dodd is opposing Otto Reich, who was nominated as
representative of the Bush administration for the American continent. Is
there a relationship between the financial interests of Senator Dodd in
Haiti and with Aristide, and the blocking of Otto Reich? The Wall Street
often mentioned it, but the Justice Department of the United States has not
started an investigation so far.

Former President Clinton himself came to the help of his protégé by going to
a Haitian radio station in New York to give an interview and declare that
Aristide has been doing a good job, and that there is democracy in Haiti.
What are the implications, when it is known that Hillary Clinton’s brother
is conducting business with Aristide?

As for the other part of the program, Aristide is financing the construction
of boats to send a new wave of refugees to Florida. He learned that lesson
from Castro, and used it at the end of 1994, when he financed a wave of
thirty thousand refugees toward Florida in less than one week. As a result,
Clinton launched the invasion of Haiti. Today, the media campaign of
Aristide in the United States is educating the public opinion to the fact
that the Bush administration is blocking economic aid to Haiti, the poorest
country of the hemisphere. Therefore, when refugees will begin to arrive at
the end of January, the president’s brother and Governor of Florida will
have to call on the White House for help during the election year. At that
point, there will be a narrow margin of options and, as already predicted by
the Wall Street Journal, the only choice will be to “show the money to