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14/5/06

Prison killings and bloodbath mark and launch Preval’s inauguration | COHA: RenéPréval: Haiti May Get One Last Chance in Spite of Washington’s Best Efforts

 

   

Date: 14 May 2006

Prison killings and bloodbath mark and launch Preval’s inauguration by HLLN, May 14, 2006

There was a demonstration inside the National Penitentiary prison earlier today (May 14, 2006) and the families on the outside where supporting the prisoners’ demands. It seems that many of the prisoners had gotten out of their prison cells, but where still within the prison walls. Many of the prisoners climbed on top of the wall-fence that surrounds the jail and where raising the bodies of some of their friends. Apparently 7 to 12 (we’ve even been told 22) detainees were killed inside the prison at the National Penitentiary today. While CIMO (Haitian police) was inside putting down the prisoner riot. There are reports of the Jordanian soldiers entering the prison and shooting the unarmed prisoners (some say Chinese soldiers were also taking part in the shooting) along with the Haitian police and guards.

Apparently throughout the past week, the prisoners have been receiving more brutal beatings than usual from their guards because of their hopes, anticipation of liberation because of the inauguration. All week, many of the injured were being transported to the hospital all week or simply came up disappeared, according to family members. The families demonstrating on the outside all week are beside themselves with worry and grief. Today, the prisoners suddenly found the cell doors open. No one knows how all the cell doors got open at around the same time, but everyone remmembers the December 1, 2005 inside job where up to 107 unarmed Haitian prisoners were slaughtered by the guards while US Secretary of State Colin Powell was visiting the de factos the US imposed on Haiti. Today, the prisoners came out of their cells and some went on top of the guard fence singing: “Ohhh, Preval, se ou menm nou t ap tan”, -”Ohh, Preval you are what we were waiting for..” and while they were singing the guards started shooting them. They continued to sing, lifting the bodies of their fallen comrades. Some of the wounded were lifted up, so mothers and relatives who were outside starting screaming, wailing, as they recognized their sons or husbands who were among the dead and wounded bodies being lifted up by the prisoners. The crying outside became louder than the prisoners’ singing or the sustained UN/cimo soldiers shooting of the detainees. The situation outside the National Penitentiary is still not calm as of the writing of this briefing.

There are three large ceremonies expected for the inauguration of Preval today: the swearing-in at the Palais De Justice, the ceremony at the Port-au-Prince Cathedral (going on right now 2:12pm) and then a ceremony to be held at the National Palace. MINUSTHA has barred the National Palace so that the demonstrators cannot gather. This is not a Haitian decision. MINUSTHA decided nobody is going in front of the Palace. But the people on the streets say they intend to go in front of the National Palace to demand not only release of the prisoners, justice for the victims of the UN soldiers, return of Aristide but the arrest of the Boca Raton regime, especially Boniface and Latortue.

After the swearing-in ceremony of Rene Preval earlier today, the poor majority gathered outside, who had fought so hard to stop the UN/US occupation and Latortue’s dictatorship, started chanting loudly and drowning everything else: “vle pa vle fò li tounen” – demanding Aristide’s return. The news is, the Haitian folks demonstrating, waited until after Preval was sworn in and then drowned out everything else that followed. Apparently Preval refused for the illegal Boniface to put the Presidential sash on him, accepted it from someone else, reportedly the President of the Senate, Joseph Lambert. The situation is very tense. The people in the streets are demanding the arrest of Boniface and Latortue, immediately. There is frustration and resentment that the people of Haiti, the majority who went out to vote feel they are being excluded from the inauguration activities of a President they elected. It’s ironic to note, that those at the forefront calling for the arrest of Boniface, Latortue, Madame Comeau Coicou, Leon Charles, Bernard Gousse, Madame Comeau Denis are the very GNBist students who had called for the resignation of Aristide.

It’s been a long day. Haitians we talked to indicated that the de factos purposely discouraged and prevented the people who had elected Preval, especially members of the Lavalas party and those who lead the resistance to the Boca Raton regime and UN occupation from attending and participating at the three official ceremonies. But the people say they will not be UNINVITED in their own country and will not be prevented from participating in the governance of their own country by foreigners and their Haitian technocrats and that if the de facto regime and MINUSTHA prevent the people from peacefully demonstrating to demand release of the political prisoners, return of President Aristide, and the arrest of Boniface and Latortue, many more will die before the day is over. One Haitian man outside demonstrating told us, he’d rather die standing up than live on his knees or as a zombie puppet like Boniface, Latortue and the other Haitian Group 184 Restaveks/uncle toms.

Ezili Danto May 14, 2006 at 2:20pm

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– Prison killings and bloodbath mark and launch Preval’s inauguration by HLLN, May 14, 2006

– Disorganized preparations for the swearing-in ceremony of the new president: the interim government is put under the spot light.

– COHA – René Préval: Haiti May Get One Last Chance in Spite of Washington’s Best Efforts

– Port-au-Prince, 11 May 2006 (AHP) – Delaying tactics have once again marked the fourth day of the judicial process relating to the Scierie massacre (96 km to the north of the capital) taking place at the Court of Appeals in Gonaïves.

– New documents have been released in the underwater prospecting case near Ile-à-Vâches: The Minister of Culture and Communications claims that interim Prime Minister Latortue was present during the signing of the Sub-Sea Research contract

– Students share their intention to bring forth a formal complaint to the Chamber of Deputies against the leadership of the interim regime

– COPAH invites the Haitian people to massively participate in the inauguration ceremony of President Préval

– Fanm Yo La pays homage to women elected in the last elections and to all those who participated

– Election of the Bureau of Officers for the senate: To be presided by a senator from the Platform of Hope (Lespwa) party Joseph Lambert

– Another day of delays at the Court of Appeals in Gonaïves: The President of the Court and counsel for the alleged victims of the ‘Scierie’ are held responsible

– Give Preval a Clean Slate: Cancel Haiti’s Debt: Rich Nations Must Cancel Impoverished Nation’s Debt, Leftover from Duvalier Era | Jubilee USA Network

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Agence Haïtienne de Presse – AHP www.ahphaiti.org

May 12th, 2006

AHP news – (Unofficial English Translation)

Disorganized preparations for the swearing-in ceremony of the new president: the interim government is put under the spot light.

Port-au-Prince, May 12 2006, (AHP) ‘ Two days before the swearing in of President Rene Preval, the situation in the capital remains disastrous, especially in terms of sanitation.

The streets of Port-au-Prince are overflowing with debris and chaos of all sorts. The smell is unimaginable and the country is plunged in darkness.

The situation is jolting the consciousness of citizens who are accusing the ‘technocrats’ of having re-routed released funds for the swearing-in ceremony.

66 million gourdes were released for the cleaning of the Haitian capital ($1 US = 40.50 gourdes)

‘It is inconceivable that the interim authorities haven’t taken any measures to put the city into proper condition to receive foreign delegations that will attend the swearing-in ceremony of President Preval.’

The interim authorities were satisfied with simply cleaning the areas surrounding the presidential palace, deplored some citizens.

In addition, the distribution of invitation cards didn’t begin until Thursday. Many of the delegations modified their composition because of having received the invitations so late. Many foreign officials were invited by telephone. Some of them were asked to pick up their invitation at the Port-au-Prince National Airport.

Questions are being raised about the efficiency and the good faith of the interim regime but also about the committee formed by officials close to President Preval to prepare the ceremony.

Numerous sectors denounced, on the other hand, the decision of the interim authorities to keep the population at a distance from the swearing-in activities.

According to plans which have been made public, the population will be kept far away from the gates of the presidential palace, behind cement separators, contrary to Haitian tradition at swearing-in ceremonies since 1991.

The authorities claim that security concerns justify these measures.

But citizens claim that it is a maneuver to keep the people from demonstrating their discontent and heckling the members of the exiting government.

‘The Haitian people have a right to gather around the presidential palace to hear their president speak,’ said some youth who claimed that this is exactly what will happen.

The only time that there was an incident at a ceremony at the National Palace was last January when individuals associated with the old GNB ant-Aristide movement threw rocks at the Dominican president Leonel Fernandez’s car. Fernandez was visiting Port-au-Prince and the protesters claimed they were reacting to the mistreatment of Haitian workers in the Dominican Republic.

Students who took an active part in the GNG anti-Aristide movement criticized interim authorities for their mishandling of public affairs over the last 2 years.

According to these students, the way that the technocrats led the country proved that Aristide partisans were right in saying that no one would be able to replace him if he was forced to leave.

The situation deteriorated in every way under the interim regime. Only Gerard Latortue, Boniface Alexandre and their close associates remain to deny this, claimed students of the Social Sciences department, despite being at the forefront of the anti-Aristide GNB movement.

(AHP, May 12, 2:25 PM)

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Council On Hemispheric Affairs tinyurl.com/f9ksz

COHA Report 06.09

May 13, 2006

René Préval: Haiti May Get One Last Chance in Spite of Washington’s Best Efforts

With his official inauguration planned for May 14, Haitian President-elect René Préval faces a Brobdingnagian challenge in rebuilding his shattered country. Succeeding a U.S.-installed de facto government headed by Interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue, which couldn’t have performed more poorly, Préval must search for a precise balance between the interests of foreign donor governments and bitterly divided domestic forces. In recent weeks, Préval has shown a genuine interest in consulting with the competing pressure points that will soon enough affect his new government.

On the domestic front, there is a near consensus that Préval has inherited a broken country from Latortue. Because of this, once inaugurated, the new president will need to act quickly to prove his credibility after a questionable election process, which almost illicitly consigned him to an unwarranted run-off. He must also prevent a flare up of domestic political malcontents; create an effective coalition among the several parties in his government; and constructively assess former President Aristide’s possible request to return to Haiti.

Not only has the president-elect initiated his efforts on the domestic front, but he has already made various strategic foreign visits, and has attempted to build a consensus with the international forces that have had a historic presence in Haiti, such as the U.S. and Canada. However, he is also attempting to form new alliances elsewhere, with Cuba and Venezuela for example, breaking away from a traditionally Washington-controlled Haiti.

Préval’s efforts on the domestic front

Préval’s victory is a positive sign for many of Haiti’s poor. His inauguration is expected to be the start of a hopefully more stable period for the island, after a lame period of interim rule under the leadership of former lending agency official Gérard Latortue. The controversial election period has left Préval in a somewhat tenuous position, and he will now need to juggle between the competing domestic political groups, while at the same time making improvements to Haiti’s shattered security, infrastructure and judicial systems. Perhaps Préval’s most daunting challenge will be managing the contentious situation surrounding Aristide’s exile.

Préval’s victory

Préval won the Haitian presidency after a controversial election, which saw him obtain 51% of the vote only after a consensus arrangement was reached on how to tally spoiled ballots. The second round of parliamentary elections on April 21 attracted only 30 percent of the 3.5 million registered voters, to cast ballots for the 127 available parliamentary seats. While Préval’s Lespwa party won the most Senate seats (eleven), it fell five short of the number needed to appoint the country’s prime minister, which will force Préval to form a coalition government in order to pass legislation. The new Prime Minister will need to carefully be chosen by the Préval government, in order to ensure Haiti’s future political stability.

Many of the island’s political weaknesses were exacerbated by the notorious interim government that preceded Préval. The departure of the hapless Latortue regime marks the end of a government that fundamentally disregarded human rights and the rule of law. Ironically, this government was set up and appointed by a band of self-serving international powers – primarily the U.S., Canada, France, and the UN’s Kofi Annan – in early 2004, just as the anti-Aristide forces were reaching Port-au-Prince. Human rights organizations such as the Haiti Support Group, several Latin American governments, as well as CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), accused the Latortue government of further darkening the country’s already shaky human rights record by arresting, torturing and imprisoning pro-Aristide government officials and supporters, including former Interior Minister Jocelerme Privert and former Prime Minister Yvonne Neptune, who still remain behind bars but most likely will be released the moment that Préval assumes office.

Aristide’s Return

Another domestic issue Préval will have to manage amidst divisive political groups in the country is former president Aristide’s possible early return to Haiti. The February 2004 coup, orchestrated by the U.S. State Department and backed by its confederates, ousted Aristide and sent him into exile in South Africa. They then installed former Boca Raton talk show host Gérard Latortue as interim Prime Minister. At the onset of Préval’s presidency, Aristide’s shadow lurks large amidst Haiti’s many uncertainties. Many Aristide supporters, as well as pro-democracy advocates, supported Aristide and are now inquiring whether Préval will allow his mentor to return to Haiti once he assumes the presidency.

His many critics do not want to see Aristide come back to Haiti, at least for now, and the country’s elite adamantly argue on scant evidence that Aristide was becoming ‘dictatorial’ and corrupt. The Latortue government accused the ex-president of stealing millions of dollars of state funds, which may be as much an auto-biographical statement as it is a serious charge against the former president. But Aristide has a tremendous influence among the country’s poor, where his popularity is immeasurable. Many of Préval’s supporters consider his Leswpa (’Hope’ in Creole) and Aristide’s Lavalas parties to have almost identical agendas, and support the former president’s return. While a March Knight Ridder News report noted that ‘Préval has made it increasingly clear to foreign diplomats that he does not want the fiery former priest to return home any time soon,’ in an interview with Dominion, Préval ‘reiterated his intention to uphold the Haitian Constitution’s ban of political exile,’ which leaves the door open for Aristide’s possible return. Préval has simultaneously warned of possible corruption charges against the former president. While Préval and Aristide were close allies in the past, their relationship became increasingly distant during Préval’s first presidency from 1996 to 2001, and many fear that Aristide’s return would cause a resurgence of domestic violence between pro and anti-Aristide groups.

During the Chilean presidential inauguration in March, Préval, South African President Thabo Mbeki, Brazil and several other international players – such as Argentina, France, and Chile – discussed Aristide’s possible return and its likely implications. Préval will thus have to find a middle ground between Aristide’s domestic supporters and opponents, while taking into consideration the potential reactions of key international actors, among them the U.S., Canada, France, Brazil, Chile and Argentina, who fear that Aristide’s return to Haiti would cause unnecessary political turmoil and unrest, and could use the return to justify sanctions.

Préval in the global arena: A call for continued international aid and responsible behavior

While not only initiating efforts domestically, Préval has started to actively engage with the international community, particularly regarding the flow of international aid which is crucial to building up Haiti’s economy. His efforts in this area must be stellar, since the island nation has historically been impoverished and dependent on – and thus controlled by – foreign donors.

During his predictable visit to the United States in late March, Préval met with President Bush in Washington to discuss financial assistance, and visit institutions such as the United Nations – where he requested the continuing presence of MINUSTAH (the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti); the World Bank; the Organization of American States; the Inter-American Development Bank; and the IMF, all venues where he requested long-term development aid.

Préval also paid a visit to Ottawa for a series of meetings with Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to remind the officials of the importance of their country’s goods and assistance to Haiti. In his conversations, Préval emphasized the recognition of dual citizenship for the Haitian Diaspora in Canada, and the need for foreign investment and tourism in Haiti’s future, which would undoubtedly lead to increased economic development and more stable conditions in the country. Prime Minister Harper promised continued support of the Caribbean nation, indicating that the relatively new Conservative Canadian administration views Canadian financial assistance to Haiti as a priority in the two countries’ relationship. Ironically, during Préval’s visit to Ontario and Quebec, Interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue who is to leave office on May 14, asked the Canadian government to lift the travel ban on several former Haitian officials (accused but not charged of human rights abuses), stating ‘Help us, forget about that… give a chance to all Haitians now to be able to reconcile once again and be able to work together,’ according to the Canada-based newsletter Embassy.

Beating the Brush for Aid

Préval has also moved his diplomacy into new international arenas, somewhat to the dismay of Washington, which already warily associates him with Aristide’who the State Department abominated. In April, Préval visited Cuba and Venezuela, where he discussed aid in health care, education, and electricity. The Préval-Castro meetings were particularly significant since the country is in dire need of the doctors Cuba could provide, as well as medical training for Haitian students in Cuba’s universities. Following the Havana visit, Préval had a 24-hour stay in Venezuela on April 24, where he discussed with Chávez possible Venezuelan aid in health and education, as well as Haiti’s entry into Venezuela’s Petrocaribe program, which provides poor Central American and Caribbean nations with discounted or bartered oil. Assistance from Cuba and Venezuela could play a key role in Préval’s attempt to rebuild Haiti.

Importantly, Préval made his first visit to the Dominican Republic in March, where he dialogued with President Fernandez on the vitally important immigration issues that dominate the relationship between the neighboring countries. Préval then continued to Brazil, where he met with Brazilian president Luis Inacio ‘Lula’ da Silva, to discuss infrastructure projects, as well as thank Brazil for its troop support in Haiti under the Brazilian led UN mission MINUSTAH, later traveling to Argentina and Chile.

Washington’s Worries

Washington will, as always, be scrutinizing what is happening on the island. Policymakers are undoubtedly troubled by Préval’s ties to Aristide and his decision to build relationships with such ‘pink tide’ countries as Venezuela. What the U.S. mainly wants from Preval is to get Haiti off its agenda as soon as possible and at the lowest cost. It also will insist that Preval clamp down on any revival of the ‘boat people’ trying to illegally enter this country.

This is, of course, Washington’s primary concern, as a renewed instability would lead to a higher number of illegal Haitian immigrant boats floating towards Florida’s shores, a problem Washington is eager to avoid. This may give Préval some much needed autonomy to formulate policies and build alliances that, while untraditional, may ultimately benefit Haiti. Thus, Préval’s attempts towards domestic, as well as international cooperation, including Cuban and Venezuelan aid to Haiti may not produce an immediate backlash. For decades, until the present, the State Department has been content to allow lower policy standards, based on the working philosophy that since it is only Haiti, the best need not be required.

As Florida Governor Jeb Bush prepares to lead a U.S. delegation to Haiti for Préval’s official inauguration on Sunday, unfortunately very few will be watching the situation closely and carefully.

This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Mara van den Bold Saturday, May 13, 2006

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New documents have been released in the underwater prospecting case near Ile-à-Vâches: The Minister of Culture and Communications claims that interim Prime Minister Latortue was present during the signing of the Sub-Sea Research contract
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Port-au-Prince, 11 May (AHP) – The Minister of Culture and Communications, Magali Comeau Denis, indicated in a memorandum on Thursday that the interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue was present during the signing of the new contract with the Sub-Sea Research company for the prospecting, research and exploration of the sea-beds around the Ile-à-Vâches region.

In the memorandum, Minister Magali Denis Comeau writes that the contract was signed on 27 August 2004 in the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Finance and the Economy (MEF) by the Minister of Finance and the Economy and by the Minister of Culture and Communications in the presence of the interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, as well as Daniele Saint-Lot, Gervais Charles, the legal representative Sub-Sea Research LLC, the representatives of the company Sub-Sea Research Caribbean Marine Institute, Christopher John Lea Russon and Douglas D. Chozianin and the director of the cabinet for the Ministry of Finance, Guy Bernadin.

This contract revoked a previous contract concluded in 2003 between the Aristide government and Sub Sea Research LLC.

The Co-Director of this company, Greg Brooks, stated this past 27 April that in November 2005 – while he was in the United States to give assistance to the victims of Hurricane Katrina – five bronze canons and a number of gold and emerald pieces were stolen on-site and transported to Panama.

In the memorandum sent to interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, a copy of which was sent to AHP as well, the MCC directed by Ms. Magali Comeau Denis let it be known that if it had abstained from intervening publicly in this affair until now it was only because they wanted to avoid transmitting information in a biased manner. They were now addressing the matter after having assumed ownership of the dossier, in fact that of the Minister of Finance and the Economy (MEF), in order to undertake their responsibilities with respect to the public.

“During multiple cabinet meetings, during meetings held with the MEF itself and in the framework of informal conversations on the subject with the Minister of Finance Henri Bazin, the MCC always preached the need for the government to inform the population on the evolution of this program,” Magali Denis Comeau underlined, affirming that “in the context of a fragile state, the MCC always expressed its differences in opinion with the government internally and always avoided declarations which would endanger the cohesion and the coherence of public actions.”

The Minister of Culture affirmed having made a whole series of proposals dealing with the proposed contract, but all of these were rejected.

“On 13 August 2004 while the Ministry of Culture was preparing a note to the MEF, Prime Minister Gerard Latortue summoned me for a meeting in his office. In his introduction to the meeting, which was called at the request of the Minister for Finance who was also on-hand, I was asked to hurry-up the passage of this file whose potential amounted to billions of dollars,” Magali Comeau Denis writes, adding: “it was put forward to me on the one hand that my reservations would likely cause the government to lose resources which would allow it to follow its own political agenda, to reduce its dependence on external sources of assistance. It was also claimed that by revising the contract signed in 2003, the interests of the State would be better defended.”

The Minister of Culture and Communications noted today that the only official position of the transitional government on the matter was a note by the Press Office of the Premiership dated 1 May 2006 seeking to clear the name of the Prime Minister (following an AHP dispatch concerning the signature of the contract by him).

“Understanding that it is necessary to transmit to the Premiership all information, which in order that it wouldn’t be directly implicated in the administration of this dossier that it could not reveal to the population, the MCC decided to release the following memorandum addressed to Gerard Latortue in particular and to the public in general,” continues Magali Comeau Denis.

What emerges from the memorandum of the Minister of Culture is that the entire operation proceeded in the utmost secrecy and without a hint of transparency.

Magali Comeau Denis reports that on 7 December 2005, when she intervened at the Council of Ministers to request the temporary suspension of exploration operations, the provisional Prime Minister was opposed to any such decisions since the Minister of Finance and the Economy was absent.

The holder of the Culture portfolio says that she demonstrated a certain willingness to keep the population in the dark about the prospecting work being undertaken and of the discoveries that resulted from it. Despite this, she affirms of having detected obvious resistance in communicating even to her the detailed inventory of the artifacts that were to go public.

Along these lines, the government’s representative at the Ile-à-Vâche site, Ernst Wilson (who was later sent back), had to prohibit a cameraman from the Ministry of Culture from filming anything, asserting that he was the only representative of the State in this program. According to him, he had signed a contract with the MEF and not with the MCC and he was thus the only person able to authorize anyone else to work on the exploration site.

Concerning the cannons and other pieces which are said to have disappeared from the waters of Ile-à-Vâche, the Ministry of Culture declared that it received information on 31 August 2005 about a boat, coming from Caribbean waters and with an American ensign, which had arrived in Panama transporting canons on-board.

Magali Comeau Denis states that she signaled to Gerard Latortue on May 9 that, “faced with the gravity of such injurious charges to the Republic of Haiti and to the good reputation of those individuals within the government concerned with the matter…we want to proceed with the opening of an investigation into the entirety of this process and all the actions that have been carried out to date. Including a requirement that Mr. Greg Brooks formally designate the members of the transitional government and civil servants of the State that he accuses of corruption, of complicity in the theft of the canons and other artifacts, in order that the culprits – if there are any – be punished in accordance with the law.”

This recommendation doesn’t seem to have been implemented because the Press Office of the Premiership limited itself simply to the diffusion of a press-release seeking to distance the interim Prime Minister from any responsibility in this affair.

AHP 11 May 2006 4:20 PM

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Students share their intention to bring forth a formal complaint to the Chamber of Deputies against the leadership of the interim regime
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Port-au-prince, 11 May 2006 (AHP) – The University Reflection and Research Group for Integrated Development (GREUDI) and the Union of Concerted Haitian University Students (UNICEH), announced Thursday their intention to submit as soon as possible a complaint against the interim government, in front of the Chamber of Deputies.

During a press-conference at the Port-au-Prince Faculty of Law, students affirmed their request that Parliamentarians in the new legislature undertake an inquiry into administration of the interim regime in order to identify and to arrest those individuals who are found to have been guilty of embezzlement.

Notably, the regime in place currently is accused of not respecting the law, of serious violations of human-rights and of corruption.

The Latortue government is accused, in particular, of having freed those who’ve been condemned by Haitian courts and other individuals found guilty of participating in documented crimes in order to replace them in prisons with political adversaries of the regime.

The General Coordinator of GREIDI, Jean Gédéon and the Secretary General of UNICEH, Apollon Renelsond, estimate that the interim authorities should be held accountable for their administration over the course of the last two years.

The two spokespeople cited the signature of a contract by the transitional government with a foreign company for the exploration of Haitian sea-beds and the Presidential decree of 9 December 2005 leading to the arbitrary dismissal of five judges from the Supreme Court of Appeal.

According to them, this was a flagrant violation of Article 58 of the 1987 Constitution relating to the separation of powers and Article 77 relating to the irrevocability of judicial appointments.

These students have accused the interim authorities of having been incapable of guaranteeing the proper functioning of public institutions, notably the Electricité d’Haïti, which turned ‘black-outs’ into an article of consumption.

Jean Gédéon and Apollon Rosemond also demanded explanations concerning the unconstitutional accord signed between Prime Minister Gérard Latortue and MINUSTAH that seeks to place the Haitian National Police under foreign tutelage – thus putting into question, as they say, the acquisition of national sovereignty.

They stated that these dealings seriously challenge the conscience of students and deserve clear explanations.

The Chamber of Deputies would proceed initially to commit certain cases to trial and the Senate would demand that the High Court of Justice rule on the acts of these technocrats, underlined the students.

AHP 11 May 2006 11:25 AM

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COPAH invites the Haitian people to massively participate in the inauguration ceremony of President Préval
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Port-au-Prince, 11 May 2006 (AHP) – The Haitian Pastors Conference (COPAH) on Thursday invited the Haitian population to participate massively in the inauguration ceremony of president-elect René Garcia Préval, on 14 May 2006.

In a declaration to Radio Solidarité, a COPAH representative, Pastor Tranquilus Denavar, asked the leaders of Protestant churches to organize short worship services early on the morning of Sunday, May 14, aimed at freeing up the faithful so that they can participate in the ceremony.

According to Pastor Denavar, the return to power of President Préval offers Haitians a new opportunity to achieve better conditions of life.

“These people have suffered too much, the living conditions of the Haitian people must change,” expressed the COPAH representative, inviting all sectors towards unity and cooperation in order to save the country.

AHP 11 May 2006 1:20 PM

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Fanm Yo La pays homage to women elected in the last elections and to all those who participated
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Port-au-Prince, 11 May 2006 (AHP) – The women’s organization Fanm Yo La paid homage on Thursday to all the women that participated in the last presidential and legislative elections, despite the enormous difficulties that they faced, and congratulated all those that were elected.

During a press-conference, the Executive Secretary of the Organization, Ms. Lisa François saluted the courage of all women (whose participation is indispensable in the administration of public affairs).

According to Lisa François, women have passed an important milestone in the future of this country, where the spaces of power are still seen as the sole hunting-ground of men.

The election of women in the last elections is testimony to the will of the population to break with traditional patterns according to which women are generally relegated to the background, stated Ms. François.

She called upon those elected women to work in the interests of the country and to those who were defeated to continue to mobilize their constituencies with an eye to the next round of elections by carrying out positive activities in their regions.

For her part, the General-Secretary of Fanm Yo La, Marie Laurence Jocelyn Lassègue, congratulated the accompaniment work of women within the framework of the recent elections.

Ms. Lassègue said she was sure that other women will occupy important positions after the next elections.

AHP 11 May 2006 1:50 PM

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Election of the Bureau of Officers for the senate: To be presided by a senator from the Platform of Hope (Lespwa) party Joseph Lambert
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Port-au-Prince, 11 May 2006 (AHP) – The Senate of the Republic confirmed on Thursday its final listing for its Bureau of Officers.

The Bureau will be presided over by the first senator of the Platform of Hope (Lespwa) party, Joseph Lambert, who represents the South-East Department. It will also have as its Vice-President, Edmonde Bauzile Supplice of the Fusion Party and its First Secretary will be Eveline Chéron of Fanmi Lavalas. François Fouchard Bergrome from ‘Artibonite in Action’ and Pierre Louis Jean Joseph from the Organization of the People in Struggle (OPL) were chosen as parliamentary administrators.

The majority of the officers were elected by acclamation following discussions between the different political formations constituting the Senate.

In his speech of circumstance, the President of the Bureau of Officers for the Senate, Joseph Lambert, greeted the spirit of agreement, harmony, and of dialogue that guided the choice of officers hailing from various political tendencies.

“I will never forget the unity achieved despite the difficulties and diversity of political tendencies that made my election to the head of the Bureau possible,” stated Mr. Lambert, judging that this was the necessary price for ensuring the stability and the effective functioning of the Senate.

Jean Lambert, who says he is conscious of the heavy responsibilities that awaits the senators of the Republic, promised to work in close cooperation with the Executive branch, the Chamber of Deputies and all civil-society organizations in the hope of creating the necessary conditions for the proper functioning of the state.

Furthermore, senators Kély Bastien and Antoine Rene Samson denounced the execrable conditions that greeted members of Parliament as they were welcomed to the legislative palace.

Recalling that a large amount of money was set aside for the renovation of the Parliament buildings, these senators asked for the release of all documents relating to this project and a report accounting for the expenditures carried out in order to implement this task.

The parliamentarians also promised to work for the reintegration of all employees that were booted from their positions due to their political convictions.

AHP 11 May 2006 3:30 PM

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Another day of delays at the Court of Appeals in Gonaïves: The President of the Court and counsel for the alleged victims of the ‘Scierie’ are held responsible
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Port-au-Prince, 11 May 2006 (AHP) – Delaying tactics have once again marked the fourth day of the judicial process relating to the Scierie massacre (96 km to the north of the capital) taking place at the Court of Appeals in Gonaïves.

Some 15 citizens, including the former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, have been charged on the basis of allegations made by organizations allegedly close to the old opposition to the Aristide government. They have been in court since Monday.

One of the lawyers for these political prisoners, Camille Leblanc, denounced on Thursday the attitude of the counsel for the plaintiffs and the President of the Court for deliberating prolonging the case so that the file would be transferred to the next administration.

“During each intervention of the defense team, the President of the Court grants motions to the counsel for the plaintiffs lasting some 40-45 minutes, this usually goes on until the day is exhausted,” denounced Leblanc, judging that legal principles are being systematically violated during this process.

According to him, the judicial authorities are pursuing a well defined goal: to push citizens, whose rights were violated, to abandon the trial and instead to make them assume responsibility for the alleged acts.

In Gonaïves, many citizens reacted to the trial, during a micro-street survey carried out in the city.

Many among those interviewed stated that: “it is clear to everyone that there was never a massacre at la Scierie. It was a plot put together by the NCHR/Haiti and other associates in order to take revenge on their political opponents.”

Others indicated that those who made-up this affair were doing nothing but further dishonoring and dirtying themselves.

Some law students stated that the masquerade organized in Gonaïves is a maneuver aimed at making people believe that the interim authorities are interested in making this case move forward.

“In reality, however, they can’t do it because they’ve already gone too far,” said a young jurist in the city.

An employee with a humanitarian organization affirmed that: “Mr. Samuel Madistin, the lawyer of the NCHR in Haiti and a lawyer for ghosts and false victims whose names nobody knows since they never existed, is an instrument in the service of evil.”

A number of other citizens expressed their shock at the laxity of many sectors of the international community, including MINUSTAH, in the face of the flagrant injustices and violations of human rights brought about by this case.

One of the political prisoners at the trial, former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, has been in prison for two-years. He’s been in jail simply because the NCHR in Haiti and the violent organization known as Ramiscosm decided that he should be incarcerated since, as a representative of the State, he was in a city where two days later (11 February 2004) an alleged massacre took place.

The President of NCHR in Haiti, Pierre Espérance stated that the alleged massacre resulted in 50 deaths. But when pushed to reveal where the bodies ended up, he responded that they had all been eaten by dogs.

AHP 11 May 2006 5:00 PM

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Jubilee USA Network * www.jubileeusa.org www.jubileeusa.org/jubilee.cgi’path=/press_room&page=release051206.html

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 12, 2006

Contact: Debayani Kar, 202-783-0215, 202-246-8143
Neil Watkins, 202-783-0129, 202-421-1023

Give Preval a Clean Slate: Cancel Haiti’s Debt

Rich Nations Must Cancel Impoverished Nation’s Debt, Leftover from Duvalier Era

WASHINGTON ‘ Jubilee USA Network, the US arm of the global movement for debt cancellation in impoverished countries, released the following statement today:

‘Haiti’s massive debt burden of $1.4 billion is both unpayable and unjust, and Jubilee USA Network calls on this odious debt to be cancelled immediately. The newly elected president Rene Preval, who is set to take office this Sunday, May 14, campaigned on a platform of alleviating the misery of the country’s impoverished majority. This majority will not see any benefit from new economic programs without first obtaining 100% cancellation of its external debt. Much of Haiti’s debt was contracted under 30 years of Duvalier regimes, notorious for their human rights abuses and opulent lifestyle financed by Haiti’s poor and by foreign assistance.

‘Haitians cannot afford to continue to service their debt burden. In 2005, the Haitian government spent more than $70 million on debt payments, a significant portion of its budget. Yet less than half of the population has access to basic rights such as healthcare, education, and potable water. The World Bank estimates that three-quarters of Haiti’s 8 million people live in poverty; half the population lives on less than US$1 per day. This past Tuesday, Haiti’s newly elected Parliament was sworn in by candlelight, because of persistent blackouts in Port-au-Prince.

‘Though the country was added in April to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank’s debt relief program, under the program’s onerous economic policy conditions, Haiti will not see irrevocable debt cancellation for three or more years. Even the World Bank’s optimistic estimates assert that Haiti will qualify for cancellation only in 2009. Policies other countries have been mandated to implement to qualify for initial debt relief and then full cancellation include privatization of water and electricity. Haiti already ‘opened up’ its economy in the 1990's ‘ its tariffs are lower than the US’s ‘ with disastrous results. Haiti cannot wait years or suffer through more such policies to see its debt cancelled; delays to debt cancellation cost lives.

‘The illegitimate origins of Haiti’s debt provide another compelling argument for cancellation. More than half the country’s debt was contracted by the Duvalier family dictatorship (1957-1986). Harvard economist Michael Kremer reports that Jean-Claude Duvalier stole $900 million from the Haitian people. According to a 2006 UN sponsored census, half of Haiti’s population was born after the Duvalier era and forced to carry this debt burden from birth. The Haitian people were not consulted about these loans, and received little benefit from them. But now they are forced to repay them. Such ‘odious’ debt must be cancelled.

‘Given the harsh realities faced by the Haitian people today, the people of Haiti need a clean slate to have any hope of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) or achieve sustainable development. We join with Haitian civil society groups in calling on creditors, especially at the IMF, World Bank, and Inter-American Development Bank, to cancel Haiti’s debt, immediately and without harmful economic conditions attached.’

— Jubilee USA Network is the US arm of the international movement working for debt cancellation for impoverished nations. Jubilee USA is a network of 75 religious denominations and faith-based groups, labor groups, environmental organizations, and community and advocacy groups working for freedom from debt and economic justice for countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

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Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network www.ezilidanto.com
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HLLN’s Media Campaign to FREE the political prisoners in Haiti
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Join HLLN’S MEDIA Campaign to expose the corrupt role of the UN, US, Canada, OAS, France, their false “humanitarian aid”, to expose this international community’s (the “International Community”)culpable role in keeping in office, over the OBJECTIONS of the majority of Haiti’s peoples, at home and abroad, for more than TWO years now, and training and paying a puppet Haitian government with no popular mandate and massive human rights abuses and political repression. Stop UN, US, OAS, Canada, France’s hypocrisy. Their authorities are the ones holding the political prisoners in Haiti. They are coup d’etat countries with the UN as their proxy militarizing Haiti and fleecing it dry with their IMF/World Bank debts and foreign “free trade” multinationals exploiting Haiti’s access to the Windward Passage (Mole St Nicholas); oil (in La Gonave); uranium, iridium and Haiti’s goldmines in the Northeast, gas reserves Near Aquin and our State companies, ports and plentiful and cheap labor force. They are the RESPONDIAT SUPERIORS, not the puppet Latortue government or its corrupt and paid-off judges. Write to media urging them not to let the International Community pass the blame to their very employees – the Latortue death regime and its corrupt justice system. Demand that the mainstream media stop being false witnesses and turning a blind eye to the truth in Haiti: to the WHO holds the keys locking the political prisoners behind bars and destroying justice, decency and democracy in Haiti. It’s this INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY with UN soldiers as henchmen, with its USAID, World Bank, IMF and IRI/NDI Economic Hit MEN, wielding its defacto protectorate in Haiti, using the Latortue regime, its foreign-trained Haitian technocrats as its proxy and “black face” in Haiti

Demand that these coup d’etat implementers, FREE the people before giving back the reigns of government illegally held by the international community’s employees in Haiti. Demand that all contracts entered into under the illegal US regime’s reign must go to a national referendum placed before the people of Haiti and no backdoor structural adjustment economic plan be foisted on the people of Haiti, either through the outgoing coup d’etat regime, the contracts its illegally signed or through US/Euro false benevolence such as “debt forgiveness.” https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00015.html

– 3 Sample Letters for HLLN’s media campaign to protect the Feb 7th mandate, release political prisoners, release Haiti’s children from prison immediately https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00002.html

– HLLN’s Urgent Action Request to the UN/US/France/Canada – RELEASE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS before ceding Haiti back to a duly elected President and government! https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00001.html

Turning Haiti into a Penal Colony: The Systemic Criminalization of Young Black Males in Haiti by Haiti’s US-imposed Miami government parallels US habit of criminalizing Blacks in the US| Haitian Perspectives by Marguerite Laurent, November 3, 2005 www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/damocles.html

Haiti’s sin: Fighting to live and be free from European and American chains by Marguerite Laurent, 2004 www.sfbayview.com/060904/haitissin060904.shtml

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HLLN’S MEDIA Campaign responding to media racism, flase witnessing and libel against the people of Haiti and its President-elect
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See, Urgent Media Alert: Media Disinformation Campaign Against Haiti by New York Times, LA Times, Miami Herald, Associated Press, – the mainstream media – EMBOLDENS the Washington Chimères and Haiti Democracy Project’s coup d’etat plans against Haiti even before Presitent-elect Renè Preval takes office! www.winterludes.net/forum/viewtopic.php’p=14278#14278

HLLN’s Media Letter Writing Campaign: Stop Mainstream Media libelously railroading President Preval and the people of Haiti – Keep writing, denouncing these false accusations. https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-02/msg00027.html

Letter to the New York Times from Hazel Ross-Robinson office https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-02/msg00028.html

Why we cannot forget the past by Harry Comeau, A letter to Washington, Ottowa, Paris and the international media from a Haitian man https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-03/msg00000.html

Letter’s to the Media – It’s the INTERNATIONAL EFFORT that has brought Haiti where it stands today. Stop these international LIES about Haiti, stop stealing and calling it “helping Haiti!” | Pouki sa lapres lang long fin dechennen kont pep Ayisyen an’ | Plans to make Haiti a penal colony and officially placed under UN Protectorate proceeds. https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-03/msg00002.html

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We are collecting endorsers. Join the list of sponsors. Answer the call. Add your organization’s name to our list and call upon your friends and colleagues to endorse the FreeHaitiMovement. This would help make May 18, 2006 (and the two other upcoming Free Haiti Movement events, on Aug 14, 2006 to celebrate Bwa Kayiman, which begun the great Haitian Revolution, and Oct 17, 2006 the 200th anniversary of Dessaline’s death) a greater success.

ANSWER THE CALL and support the current 2006 8-point Haiti Resolution

www.margueritelaurent.com/solidarityday/18_06pressrel.html and www.margueritelaurent.com/law/res2006.html

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FREE THE POLITICAL PRISONERS: Sample letters for HLLN’S Media Campaign to Free Haitian children in prisons, Free the political prisoners, Protect the Feb. 7th vote| https://lists.riseup.net/www/arc/ezilidanto/2006-04/msg00002.html

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Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network www.ezilidanto.com | e-mail: erzilidanto@yahoo.com
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Men Anpil Chay Pa Lou! – Many Hands Make Light a Heavy Load!

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To support HLLN’s work, please donate to the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network at www.margueritelaurent.com/donate/donate.html

  
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