Haitian blogs

Haiti: Stop the Repression. No impunity. NO NEW ARMY.

HaitiAnalysis -

By: Haiti Action Committee 
The people of Haiti need our solidarity in the face of the increasing violence of the fraudulently imposed government of Jovenel Moise.
Last Thursday July 14, 2017, in Petionville, Haiti, near Port-au-Prince, a young book vendor was shot to death by a police officer in front of horrified witnesses. The police used tear gas and batons against a crowd outraged by the murder and the quick, forcible removal of the body in a perceived attempt at a cover up. This is the latest of recent extra-judicial killings by the Haitian police and paramilitary forces.
The brutal killing occurred as the occupation government of Jovenel Moise, installed in the fraudulent elections of November 2016, is pushing to restore the brutal and corrupt Haitian military, which was disbanded by then-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1995. Moise has stated that he wants the Army back within two years. Haitians remember the US-supported bloody rampage by former members of this army that claimed thousands of lives during the period of the 2004 coup d'etat against the elected government. The US/UN forces and occupation governments subsequently integrated many of these killers into the Haitian police and government paramilitary units.   
This announcement takes place at a volatile moment in Haitian society. The Haitian police and other government paramilitary forces, accompanied by UN occupation forces, have carried out criminal attacks against protesting teachers, students, factory workers, market women, street vendors and others who are victims of government extortion, theft of land, money and merchandise.
 ·      On July 10 - 12, 2017, during three days of peaceful protest for an increase in the minimum wage, Haitian police attacked the workers from the industrial park in Port-au-Prince with tear gas, batons and cannons shooting a liquid skin irritant. One of the beaten workers is a woman who had recently returned to work from giving birth.
·      On June 12, the government-appointed rector of the Haitian State University used his car to hit and run over a protesting university student. The government prosecutor has ignored the complaint filed by the students against the rector and is instead pursuing the victim's colleagues in a blatant attempt to harass and intimidate them.
·      In May 2017, units of the Haitian police and paramilitary forces again attacked the people of Arcahaie protesting the government's plan to remove the main revenue-generating district from the community, located about 30 miles northwest of Port-au-Prince. 
·      In May 2017, a food vendor in Petionville was killed after he was deliberately hit and run over by a car of the municipal paramilitary forces according to outraged witnesses.
·      On March 20th, 2017, police officers were videotaped shooting at the car carrying President Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas presidential candidate Dr. Maryse Narcisse as they returned from court. The police officers were reportedly observed returning to the national palace; there was no condemnation of this blatant assassination attempt by the government.
Adding a newly organized Haitian Army to this mix is a sign that the Haitian government is planning on more repression. The Haitian military’s purpose was to protect Haitian dictatorships and to attack any challenges by the Haitian people.  Whether under the Duvalier dictatorships from 1957-1986 or when the military overthrew the democratically elected Aristide government in 1991, leading to the killing of over 5000 people, the military has been a central anti-democratic institution in Haitian society. When then-President Aristide disbanded the narco-trafficking Haitian military in 1995, the Army was eating up 40% of the national budget in a country with fewer than two doctors per 10,000 people. 
Now this infamous military is being restored just as the United Nations is said to begin a staged withdrawal of its troops. This is similar to what happened following the U.S. occupation of Haiti from 1915-1934, a period in which 20,000 Haitians were killed. As the U.S. forces withdrew, they left in place a neo-colonial army with Haitian faces to do their bidding and continue the repression of popular discontent. 
Haitians are saying NO to the restoration of an additional repressive military force.  They are demanding an end to police terror and an end to impunity.  We join their call.
E-mail and phone-in campaign to:
- Say No to the Restoration of the brutal Haitian military
- Hold the US and UN occupation accountable for the terror campaign by the Haitian police and security forces they train and supervise.
- Say No to impunity for police terror in Haiti


Contact:
- US State Department: HaitiSpecialCoordinator@state.gov
- Your Member of Congress: 202-224 3121

- UN Mission in Haiti: minustah-info@un.org

The UN’s Legacy in Haiti: Stability, but for Whom?

Haiti Relief and Reconstruction Watch -

CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston published the following article at World Politics Review: 

The UN’s Legacy in Haiti: Stability, but for Whom?

After 13 years and more than $7 billion, the “touristas” — as the United Nations soldiers that currently occupy Haiti are commonly referred to — will finally be heading home. Well, sort of. While thousands of troops are expected to depart in October, the UN has authorized a new, smaller mission composed of police that will focus on justice and strengthening the rule of law. But the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH, is not just thousands of foreign soldiers “keeping the peace.” It is the latest and most visible manifestation of the international community’s habit of intervening in Haiti, a habit that is unlikely to change. 

World powers have always had a difficult time accepting Haitian sovereignty. When a slave revolt delivered Haiti independence from France in 1804, gunboat diplomacy ensured the liberated inhabitants would pay for their freedom. For the next 150 years, Haiti paid France a ransom for its continued independence. In the early twentieth century, a new hegemonic power held sway, with US Marines occupying the country for more than 20 years. 

Two hundred years after Haitian independence, when the UN Security Council created MINUSTAH, it also mandated the formation of the “Core Group,” which included MINUSTAH’s leadership as well as diplomatic representatives from foreign governments and multilateral organizations. Since its creation, the group has influenced — subtly and not so subtly — Haiti’s internal affairs, with the backing of a heavily armed military force.

Read the rest here at World Politics Review.

As UN occupation force steps down, Rightwing Haitian government to revive state's repressive force

HaitiAnalysis -

teleSUR
The army was disbanded in 1995 following a bloody period of military rule that resulted from the U.S.-backed removal of President Aristide in 1991

It has been over twenty years since the Haitian armed forces were dissolved, and replaced by a continuous United Nations security force presence on the island, but now the Haitian government has initiated the process to reform its armed forces as the UN mission is scheduled to leave the country later this year.

The government is looking to recruit approximately 500 soldiers to serve as border patrol, security, and natural disaster relief, in addition to supplementing the civilian police force of 15,000 officers.

The United Nations Security Council announced in April that it would be withdrawing its “blue helmet” security forces from the island, leaving a group of Brazilian army soldiers in Haiti until October, when UN security operations in Haiti are set to end officially.

Some politicians have hoped the move will also provide jobs for young Haitians. The positions are open to both men and women between the ages of 18 and 25. Others, however, are more wary of the move, fearing the potential for politicization.

The Haitian military has its origins in the Haitian Revolution that overthrew French colonial rule, but the revolutionary army was dissolved shortly after by mandate of the occupying United States Marine Corp forces. Since then, the army has come in and out of existence, often being heavily politicized during oppressive governments such as that of Francois “Papa Doc” Duvalier who sidelined the army in favor of private militias.

The most recent iteration of the Haitian armed forces was disbanded in 1995 following several years of military-junta rule after a U.S.-backed military coupremoved popular democratically elected President Aristide, a priest, and liberation theologian.

According to Harvard University academic and writer Paul Farmer, "Declassified records now make it clear that the CIA and other US groups helped to create and fund a paramilitary group called FRAPH, which rose to prominence after a military coup that ousted Aristide in September 1991... For the next three years, Haiti was run by military-civilian juntas as ruthless as the Duvaliers."

Over 4,000 people are beleived to have been killed in the few years following 1991.

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