News and opinions on situation in Haiti
  
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8/9/06

Heading South, a film depicting White Women predators-imperialist sex tourism/exploitation of young, black and poor Haitian men |US-supported Latortue Regime’s massive corruptions and alleged embezzlements unveiled |Haiti appoints commission to oversee UN-backed disarmament | Lancet caught up in row over Haiti murders | US-Haitian candidates who supported the illegitimate Latortue and the 2004 coup d’etat lost in last tuesday’s Miami elections, the one winner won without the Haitian vote…

 

   

Date: 8 September 2006

Recomemded HLLN Link:

– President Preval is reported to be in possession of a list of politicians and
media personalities who have participated in the conspiracy to destroy the
country and received huge sums of aid money in the process,Ezili Danto
Witness Project, July 18, 2006
www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaignone/testimonies/raining.html#raining

Kreyol audio|Al tande rapò Jiye 18 sa a:
www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaignone/testimonies/LK_Jul_18.mp3

*
– Lancet Research Study:Human Rights Abuses Frequent in Haiti’s capital by Athena Kolbe and Royce Hutson of Wayne State University
www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaigno
ne/human_rights_reports/lancet.html

and www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campai
gnone/human_rights_reports/downloads/lancet.pdf

*

– Haitian Women Recount Gang Rape, Abuse at Hearing Against Haitian Death Squad Leader Emmanuel Constant | Democracy Now!
www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/08/31/144239

Listen to segment
play.rbn.com/?url=demnow/demnow/demand/2006/
aug/audio/dn20060831.ra&proto=rtsp&start=37:58

– Troubles abound in an artificial paradise
Interpersonal politics, cultural gulfs, sex trade in Haiti are explored
HAP ERSTEIN |Cox News Service | Fri, Sep. 08, 2006

– (Movie Review) “Heading South”: Sex, struggles and oblivion in Haiti
By Tom Keogh | Special to The Seattle Times, Aug. 25, 2006

– Haiti’s Corruption: dozens of people express outrage at the embezzlement allegedly committed by officials of the former government | AHP News – August 31, 2006 – English translation (Unofficial)

– An AHP Editorial: Two meanings to the word ?corruption? | September 4, 2006, Unofficial English translation (by Marcella) – Source: <mlhaiti@cornernet.com>

– Six million dollars (US) were misappropriated at the Foreign Affairs Ministry under the interim government according to the president of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chamber of Deputies | AHP Aug. 27, 2006

– Haiti names new commission to monitor gang disarmament, Xinhua, Sept. 8, 2006

– Haiti appoints commission to oversee U.N.-backed gang disarmament | The Associated Press, September 7, 2006

– Lancet caught up in row over Haiti murders by Duncan Campbell
Friday September 8, 2006 | The Guardian

– Latortue’s disturbing legacy BY IRA KURZBAN (ira@kkwtlaw.com)

– Military investigates alleged threats by Canadian troops in Haiti

– Killings, human rights violations and sexual abuse were rampant in Haiti during the two year administration of the interim government, according to a study published in The Lancet | AHP, Aug. 31, 2006

– Radio is key for Haitian candidates
Infighting in South Florida’s Haitian-American community could affect
the outcome of several races Tuesday. BY TERE FIGUERAS NEGRETE AND JACQUELINE CHARLES
***********************************

The sex tourism trade in Haiti

*
Troubles abound in an artificial paradise
Interpersonal politics, cultural gulfs, sex trade in Haiti are explored
HAP ERSTEIN
Cox News Service | Fri, Sep. 08, 2006

Most depictions of the imperialist sport of sex tourism show the predator to be male. But in Laurent Cantet’s languorous yet haunting drama “Heading South,” it is the women who vacation at an all-inclusive resort on Haiti, chiefly for the sexual favors of the local black-skinned boys.

Based on several short stories by Dany Laferriere, the film is set in the 1970s during the dictatorial rule of Baby Doc Duvalier, who kept his people poor and subservient with the help of his secret police, the Tonton Macoute. Yet the affluent American tourists could remain oblivious to the politics of the island, safe and ignorant under the palm trees at their hotel, sipping an island rum punch and occasionally retiring to their rooms for a little physical exercise.

Into this world arrives Brenda (Karen Young), 48, a stressed-out Georgian who returns after three years, seeking 18-year-old Legba (Menothy Cesar), with whom she had a liberating affair that she is intent on resuming.

To do so, she will have to go up against Ellen (Charlotte Rampling), 55, a Wellesley professor of French literature, who has been coming to the hotel for the past six summers and now seems to rule the roost.

Their dynamic and the artificial paradise of the resort, in contrast to the squalor just outside its gates, forms the basis of “Heading South,” which juggles interpersonal politics with the cultural gulf between Haiti and the United States. Despite the physical dangers in Haiti, the police are highly protective of the tourists, so when violence does break out — as was foreshadowed from the film’s start — guess who does not fare well.

The screenplay by Cantet and Robin Campillo inserts the interior thoughts of Brenda and Ellen in monologue, as well as a third-wheel Canadian guest named Sue and, intriguingly, the career headwaiter Albert, who hides his hatred of the white visitors behind a mask of courtly charm. Unfortunately Legba, the one character we yearn to know, is not given a monologue and remains an enigma.

Away from the resort, we see Legba on the run, pursued in some deadly matter that we never quite understand, as if we viewers also are tourists. Cantet moves his camera fluidly through the narrow streets and atop the corrugated metal roofs of the town, with a completely different visual style and pace than at the hotel.

Rampling, who has elevated withering hauteur to an art, is very much in her strength as Ellen, bossing the hotel staff around, blithely demanding Legba’s time and only occasionally letting her feelings peek through her armor. Young is an effective contrast, as the no-longer-young Southerner who has confused love with sex. “Heading South” does not judge these women harshly, but sees their barter of money and gifts for sex as the reality of the island economy. And the dark shadows of Haiti are unknowable to them, even if they tried to understand it.

Heading South

STARS: Charlotte Rampling, Karen Young, Menothy Cesar.

DIRECTOR: Laurent Cantet.

RUNNING TIME: One hour, 45 minutes.

RATING: Unrated (sexual situations, violence, mature themes).

© 2006 Charlotte Observer and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. www.charlotte.com

************************************************

“Heading South”: Sex, struggles and oblivion in Haiti

Movie Review
By Tom Keogh

Special to The Seattle Times
seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2003223404_heading25.html

Showtimes and trailer
edb.seattletimes.nwsource.com/ae/scr/edb_ed.cfm?evt=223257&s=st&t=m

Sexual rapture and cultural exploitation merge into something quite
horrifying, almost gothic, in “Heading South,” an unsettling drama
by the director of two other remarkable films about class
illusions, “Human Resources” and “Time Out.”

French filmmaker Laurent Cantet sets his new work in late-1970s
Haiti, when the country was violently ruled by Jean-Claude “Baby
Doc” Duvalier. While ordinary Haitians are routinely harassed,
waylaid and murdered by Duvalier’s privileged thugs, sexual tourism
thrives for oblivious North American women at a tropical resort.

There, Brenda (Karen Young), a 48-year-old divorcée from Savannah,
Ga., arrives in hope of reconnecting with one of the local gigolos,
18-year-old Legba (Ménothy Cesar). Three years earlier, the then-
married Brenda experienced her first orgasm with Legba and has pined
for him ever since.

“Heading South,” with Charlotte Rampling, Karen Young, Ménothy
Cesar, Lys Ambroise. Directed by Laurent Cantet, from a screenplay
by Cantet and Robin Campillo, based on stories by Dany Laferrière.
105 minutes. Not rated; much sexual content, strong language,
nudity, suggested violence. Partially in French, with English
subtitles.

But Legba is also the favorite of the resort’s visiting doyenne,
Ellen (Charlotte Rampling), a 55-year-old, single professor at
Wellesley. Ellen is both delightful and venomous, clear-eyed but
confrontational. She has been sleeping with Legba for some time and
instantly engages in a power struggle with Brenda over his attention.

A couple of other characters at the resort figure into the story,
though somewhat awkwardly, not really having an impact. One of them,
Albert (Lys Ambroise), the resort’s headwaiter, comes from a line of
patriots who fought the U.S. occupation of Haiti. Addressing the
camera in an ill-fitting monologue sequence (a misstep by Cantet),
Albert makes clear that despite his polished deference to the
hotel’s white visitors, he is ashamed of his work.

Then again, every Haitian we meet in “Heading South,” including
Legba, is making compromises to survive political realities on the
island. The life Legba leads away from the resort, in the streets,
is perilous, provoking both his fatalism and pride.

Brenda and Ellen, clutching at him out of need, know next to nothing
of this. The tragedy is that it won’t make any difference in their
vacation plans.

Tom Keogh: tomwkeogh@yahoo.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

************************************************

Haiti’s Corruption: dozens of people express outrage at the embezzlement allegedly committed by officials of the former government | AHP News – August 31, 2006 – English translation (Unofficial)

Port-au-Prince, August 31, 2006 (AHP); Dozens of people, including students, teachers, socio-professionals, and ordinary citizens said Thursday (August 31) that they were outraged at the acts of corruption allegedly committed by senior officials of the interim government of Gérard Latortue.

In recorded interviews carried out in the streets of Port-au-Prince these individuals accused the interim authorities of having systematically plundered the State coffers while the public was languishing in misery.

According to information made public by members of the Haitian Parliament, several million dollars were misappropriated through the Foreign Ministry alone and at some of the diplomatic missions.

“We now understand what former interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue meant when he said his residence is in Boca Raton (Florida). He was in Haiti for the purpose of accomplishing a predetermined mission”, said a young student interviewed at the Champ-de-Mars in the center of the capital.

A teacher belonging to the National Union of Teachers in Training, which has called for an audit of the administration of the former Education Ministry, said that Haiti has been the victim of a terrible curse.

“Even the “technocrats”, the spearhead of the pseudo anti-corruption campaign after Aristide, were not able to resist the millions in the public treasury”, he said.

Along the same lines, a young professional said that those who make the most elegant speeches about honesty are the most skilled at mischief-making. He considers it shameful that those who uttered the loudest condemnations in the recent past are today part of a cover-up or are jumping through all sorts of hoops to whitewash the people accused of corruption rather than contributing to the effort to shed light on the issue.

Some people are even promoting a new style of discourse aimed at discouraging people who try to discover the truth, by suggesting that by digging too deeply into the performance of the interim government, they might delay the release of international aid.

Several people interviewed said they believe that the appropriate authorities should act against all who are guilty of corruption.

Others say they are skeptical as to the prospects for this investigation to be pursued to its logical conclusion, because, they observed, investigations are inevitably in a state of perpetual continuation in Haiti, without ever reaching a conclusion.

“What has changed to make the prospects any different now”, said a young man named Jacques from the populist district of Bel-Air.

Others urged the haitian authorities to try to fight corruption by strengthening the public institutions and improving living conditions for the population.

With regard to the more than $6 million allegedly misappropriated, the Superior Court of Accounts declared in a letter to the various Haitian Parliamentary commissions that it is difficult to conduct an audit of the Foreign Affairs Ministry because the former officials of that Ministry caused all of the accounting documents to disappear.

The President of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Senate, Evalières Beauplan, announced at the same time this Thursday that a bipartisan commission has been formed to investigate the Haitian Foreign Ministry and several Haitian embassies and consulates.

AHP August 31 2006 2:40 PM
********************************

An AHP Editorial: Two meanings to the word ?corruption?

AHP News – September 4, 2006 -English translation (Unofficial) –
<mlhaiti@cornernet.com>

Talk of corruption, misappropriation of funds and other accusations of embezzlement that could name numerous high-profile members of the interim regime can be heard in every conversation.

From data already available, hundreds of thousands of gourdes may have been misappropriated in those few public institutions where the new government has begun to shed some light.

In one example, no explanation is given for a sum of 300 million gourdes (1 US dollar = 38.5 gourds) that was spent, and entered merely in the “ other “ column, and this it is the largest category in the budget.

There were other cases of institutions that spent hundreds of thousands of US dollars on the purchase of equipment from abroad, but for which there is no trace or which was simply sent to the wrong destination.

Yes another ironic aspect of the corruption is outlined in the case where an official named his wife as a cleaner for a diplomatic mission, paid at 3,500 US dollars a month. She did not however ever report to work.

For weeks, in public and private offices, within the close circles of the former regime and among foreign diplomatic missions, the question of corruption is at the heart of every conversation : scandal, indignation, outrage, discouragement, embarrassment or perhaps solidarity, are all words that can be heard, depending on which side you stand.

Articles on the subject are flooding the internet in which many writers are calling this the largest financial scandal in Haiti to have taken place in such a short period of time.

It is true that corruption has become a worldwide evil and that even the largest countries have their share : the limited partnership shares scandal in Canada, the fictitious jobs in France, Enron and Halliburton in the United States,
Banintair in the Dominican Republic, the suspected implication of Kofi Anan?s son in the corruption surrounding the UN Oil for Food program in Iraq.

However, in Haiti, several people were vocal about their thought that it would be inconceivable to imagine even for an instant that civil servants under the interim regime, who purported themselves to be champions in the fight against fraud, could become implicated in such depths of corruption.

In our small country, we often forget at our peril that the grandest of speakers are also often the greatest demagogues and the most skilled manipulators in the art of misappropriation.

Unfortunately, in Haiti, corruption strangely bears two meanings.

When one sector is on the receiving end of the pointed figure, whether wrongly or rightly, the word corruption can be a real pain. An entire infantry is deployed in preparation for war, even without proof: a golden opportunity to rid oneself of one’s accusers.

But when another sector is implicated, one is even more furious with the accusers than with those accused of the crime.

Instead of joining in attempts to shed light on the acts attributed to certain individuals, many people instead have a tendency to stand in solidarity with those accused, to cover up their misdeeds, because in their case, eloquent speeches about honesty trumps the facts, and, most importantly, “corrupt” in this situation means intelligent.

We are however suddenly reminded that accusations without proof against former heads of State can cause severe harm to the entire country. OH! The double-meaning of the word corruption!

For example, the UCREF, ULCC and other groups created to “ combat corruption “ mobilised all of their resources to conjure up evidence that would confirm that the dog to be put down really did have rabies.

In another instance, these same institutions that were accused of acting as political wings throughout the last two years have suddenly become impotent, paralysed, refusing any investigation ---- limiting themselves to simply asking to see the proof.

The new government that have been said to hold solid evidence of fraud, despite the disappearance of accounting documents in some departments, has thus far been keeping a low profile on the corruption accusations.

Reacting to these scandals, many sectors believe the most important thing for now and in the near future is to not become wrapped up in speculation and blind accusations as in the past, even when seeking to fight back against political opponents. What is important, they say, is to be able to give proof of the accusations that are put forward. It is also a matter of having the courage to be able to recognize each corrupt person as corrupt, regardless of the sector to which he belongs, and to transform the judiciary into a system that treats all persons equally.

In the meantime, following the findings published in the prestigious British journal The Lancet that 8,000 people were murdered and 35,000 sexual assaults against women and girls were committed during the two years of the interim regime, several people are pushing the envelope further in saying that the heads of the interim regime were able to kill two birds with one stone, becoming laureates in both corruption and the violation of human rights. Exceptional performance, never to be matched as “ they were committed to achieving the impossible “.

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Six million dollars (US) were misappropriated at the Foreign Affairs Ministry under the interim government according to the president of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Chamber of Deputies

Port-au-Prince, August 27, 2006 (AHP); Sorel François, president of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the House of Deputies, said Friday that more than $6 million (US) were misappropriated by the Foreign Affairs Ministry over the two year administration of interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue.

In remarks on the private station, Radio Solidarité, Sorel François explained that a portion of those funds were misappropriated at the Haitian Embassy and consulates in the United States.

He urged the Haitian authorities to act to question all individuals accused of involvement in this case of corruption.

Several other members of Parliament said there has never been so much corruption in Haiti over such a short period of time (two years).

For his part, former UNION presidential candidate Pastor Chavannes Jeune said he was disappointed that certain interim authorities are guilty of corruption.

“ It is extremely difficult to find serious and honest men today to whom positions of considerable responsibility can be given without squandering the public treasure”, deplored Pastor Jeune.

Members of the interim government led by Gérard Latortue and Boniface Alexandre presented themselves March 2004 as “technocrats, honest men and women who have come to fight corruption and embezzlement of public funds”.

The leader of the UNION party called upon the new government to assume its responsibilities by setting in motion the wheels of justice to act against all who are guilty.

AHP August 27, 2006 10:20 AM

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Haiti names new commission to monitor gang disarmament

The Haitian government on Thursday named a new commission to monitor a UN-backed program to disarm hundreds of gang members, according to news from Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti.

The program seeks to persuade up to 1,000 gang members to give up their weapons and rejoin society by providing them with economic aid and job training.
Speaking to reporters, Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis said the new commission, made up of people from various government sectors, would replace the one appointed by the 2004-2006 interim government, which took power after former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced to step down by an armed revolt.

“We had a disarmament commission before and the United Nations recognized that it did not produce results,” Alexis said.

Alix Fils-Aime, president of the new commission, said “the program will serve as a step forward to end violence.”

The 8,800-strong UN peacekeeping mission in the Caribbean country will launch radio and television ads about the program in coming days.

Source: Xinhua

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Haiti appoints commission to oversee U.N.-backed gang disarmament | The Associated Press, September 7, 2006

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti Haiti’s government appointed a new commission on Thursday to oversee a U.N.-backed initiative to disarm hundreds of gang members by offering them economic aid and job training.

The seven-member commission will decide who can enter the long-awaited program, which seeks to persuade up to 1,000 rank-and-file gang members to give up their weapons and rejoin society.

Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis told reporters the commission â?? made up of people from various government sectors â?? will replace the one appointed by the 2004-2006 interim government that took power after an armed revolt toppled former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

That commission never successfully launched a program to disarm gangs, which are blamed for a surge in kidnappings and other violence in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

“We had a disarmament commission before and the United Nations recognized that it did not produce results,” Alexis said.

The new commission’s president, Alix Fils-Aime, said the program “will serve as a step forward to end violence.”

Fils-Aime, also a Preval adviser, said he did not know what criteria the commission would use to select participants, who will receive ID cards, money, food for their families and job training in exchange for disarming.

Special U.N. Envoy to Haiti Edmond Mulet said this week that top gang leaders and human rights violators wouldn’t be eligible for the “Disarm, Demobilize and Reinsertion” program.

Business leaders this week offered tepid support for the plan and urged peacekeepers to forcibly disarm gangs if the bid fails.

The 8,800-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission will launch radio and television ads about the program in coming days.

****************************

Lancet caught up in row over Haiti murders

– Report appeared to clear Aristide camp of blame

– Magazine investigates ‘misleading’ study

Duncan Campbell
Friday September 8, 2006
The Guardian

www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1867372,00.html

The Lancet medical journal is investigating complaints that it published a misleading account of violence in Haiti that appears to exonerate the supporters of the exiled leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide of murder, sexual assaults and kidnapping.

The report into human rights abuses, carried out by Wayne State University in Michigan, found that 8,000 people had been murdered and 35,000 women sexually assaulted in Port-au-Prince in the 22 months after Mr Aristide was ousted in 2004. But it found that while opponents of Mr Aristide’s Lavalas Family party were responsible for 13% of the murders, 11% of the sexual assaults and 17% of kidnappings, supporters of Lavalas were not implicated in any of them.

Charles Arthur, an author and Haitian solidarity activist in Europe, has written to the editor of the Lancet challenging the the notion that no Lavalas groups were involved in the violence. He said there had been many allegations that all groups, including Lavalas, had been involved.

Mr Arthur also said that one of the authors of the report, Athena Kolbe, had previously written favourably about Mr Aristide when working as a journalist in Haiti under the name of Lyn Duff. The Lancet report quotes articles by Ms Duff without saying that she is the same person as Ms Kolbe.

The report identified criminals as the main perpetrators of the violence, but the Haitian police and opponents of Mr Aristide were also cited as being responsible for much of it. UN soldiers were implicated in lesser crimes.

A women’s rights group in Haiti has also protested to the Lancet that the findings run counter to all the evidence they have received from rape victims. “We have seen around 1,000 cases of rape,” said Anne Sosin, of Haiti Rights Vision. “What our evidence overwhelmingly suggests is that all groups are implicated in abuse against women. It’s important that scientific journals such as the Lancet are used to hold all perpetrators to account for human rights violations and abuses.”

Ms Kolbe said this week that she stood by the findings. “I am not a supporter of Lavalas,” she said. She added that the report indicated that Lavalas Family party supporters had been involved in assaults, death threats and other offences, although not in murder and rape.

The report does indeed state that “political groups on both sides of the spectrum were named as responsible for violent and criminal acts … Lavalas members and partisans of the Lavalas movement were also named as having committed such acts.”

Ms Kolbe said she felt that the most important aspect of the research – that there had been widespread murder and rape in Port-au-Prince – should not be lost in issues over people’s past work.

Her colleague, Professor Royce Hutson, also stood behind the report’s findings. He said that, with hindsight, clarifying that Ms Kolbe and one of her sources were the same person might have been advisable. He said they were fully cooperating with the Lancet inquiry but were confident there were no issues of conflict of interest.

The UN stabilisation mission in Haiti (Minustah) has also queried the report’s findings and suggests that the estimate of 8,000 murders is four times higher than its own data from human rights organisations on the island.

Speaking for Minustah, Sophie Boutaud de la Combe said the report’s conclusions “seem exaggerated” and she felt a truer figure would be 2,000.

The publisher of the Lancet, Richard Horton, said the study had come with excellent credentials and peer reviews. “It was very thoroughly reviewed by four external advisers,” he said.

He added that if a journalist quoted in the report was the same person as the academic conducting the research he would have expected it to be disclosed and was “dismayed” that it had not been. The Lancet is checking that all the correct procedures for the research were followed.

It is not suggested that the Lancet report had misreported its findings or that Ms Kolbe had any other agenda than the welfare of ordinary Haitians at heart. It is accepted by all parties that the study’s core findings – that there have been disturbingly high levels of violence and sexual abuse in Haiti in that period – are true and need to be urgently addressed by the Haitian government and other bodies.

The president of Haiti, Renè Prèval, a former close ally of Mr Aristide, was elected earlier this year. Mr Aristide, from whose party Mr Prèval distanced himself in the election campaign, is in exile in South Africa.

********************************

Latortue’s disturbing legacy

BY IRA KURZBAN
ira@kkwtlaw.com

On Feb. 29, 2004, former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forcibly removed from Haiti by the Bush administration. Several days later, Gerard Latortue was airlifted into Haiti and named the prime minister with barely a fig-leaf as a process. Latortue was a radio announcer in Boca Raton.

His major qualification, as with many Iraqi advisors to the Bush administration, was his strong ties to the U.S. intelligence community and neoconservatives in the White House. Having fed the administration what it wanted to hear about how unpopular and dictatorial Aristide was in Haiti — similar to the disinformation campaign waged by Ahmed Chalabi regarding Iraq — the unqualified Latortue was rewarded by being anointed prime minister.

Brutal regime

The results of his tenure are now in. A study published this week in The Lancet, the respected medical journal of the United Kingdom, scientifically analyzed the brutality of the regime. In the last two years, reports have documented the gross human-rights violations in Haiti, but these abuses were sadly ignored by most mainstream media. The University of Miami School of Law’s Center for Human Rights, led by the prominent human-rights author and professor Irwin Stotzky, Harvard University’s Human Rights Clinic and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti all detailed executions and systematic human-rights violations after Aristide’s removal.

The Lancet report, however, confirms everyone’s worst suspicions. It concludes that in the 22 months after Aristide’s removal there were 8,000 murders and 35,000 sexual assaults in the greater Port-au-Prince area alone. More than 50 percent of these murders were attributed to anti-Aristide and anti-Lavalas factions including armed anti-Lavalas groups, demobilized army members and government security forces.

Gangs not guilty

Similarly, almost 30 percent of the sexual assaults were attributed to anti-Lavalas and anti-Aristide forces. The remaining murders and sexual assaults were due to common criminals or of unknown origin. Although a sustained disinformation campaign by Latortue and the Bush Administration claimed that violence was due to Lavalas ‘’gangs’’ — the study finds just the opposite. No murders or sexual assaults were attributed to Lavalas members or partisans during the 22-month period of Latortue’s regime.

As in Iraq, the other lasting legacy of the Bush administration’s policies in Haiti has been rampant corruption. More than $900 million in aid was provided to the Latortue regime at the request of the United States, France and Canada. But no visible major projects warranting such huge expenditures have been recorded. In a country where the average annual income is less than $350 per year, the newly elected legislature is investigating this rampant corruption, including $6 million that disappeared from Latortue’s Foreign Ministry.

Luxury cars

Latortue also paid a U.S. law firm $250,000 a month retainer solely to bring against Aristide a civil suit that was ultimately dismissed. In a parting shot to the Haitian people, Latortue awarded himself two new luxury automobiles, which he took to Florida until the misappropriation was discovered.

The Bush administration legacy of terminating democracy under Aristide and allowing gross human-rights abuses and corruption to fester during Latortue’s regime will take many decades to reverse. Nor was the administration successful in terminating the Haitian people’s desire for the return of Aristide, who is as popular as ever in Haiti.

Ira Kurzban was the general counsel for Haiti for 13 years during the governments of Renè Prèval and Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
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Killings, human rights violations and sexual abuse were rampant in Haiti during the two year administration of the interim government, according to a study published in The Lancet

Port-au-Prince, August 31, 2006 (AHP)- Human rights violations were commonplace in Haiti during the two years of the interim government directed by the duo, Boniface Alexandre and Gérard Latortue.

A study published in the British journal The Lancet in its latest issue indicated that “more than 8,000 people, that is roughly 12 per day, were killed during the two years that followed the departure of the democratically elected president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide”.

This period was also marked by summary executions, death threats and kidnappings, as well as very serious incidents of sexual assault and rape.

The study projected that some 35,000 women and young girls were raped over the two year period. The perpetrators of the numerous acts of violence were frequently identified as being police auxiliaries, members of the national police and soldiers from the UN peacekeeping force, the Lancet article indicated, emphasizing that these traumatized populations remain vulnerable.

AHP August 31, 2006 2:50 PM
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Military investigates alleged threats by Canadian troops in Haiti

Jeff Heinrich
CanWest News Service; Montreal Gazette

Thursday, September 07, 2006

MONTREAL – The Department of National Defence is looking into allegations of death threats and sexual threats by Canadian troops in Haiti in 2004.

‘’The military police are conducting a review of the information relating to these allegations,’’ said Capt. Mark Giles, spokesman for the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal.

‘’They’re aware of it, obviously, and they’re going to make an assessment as to whether further investigation is warranted.’’

Giles was commenting on a front-page article last Saturday in the Montreal Gazette.

In the article, the co-author of a new U.S. study on human-rights abuses in Port-au-Prince said Canadian soldiers were blamed for threatening people after the ouster of presidentJean Bertrand-Aristidein early 2004.

The allegations were made in a December 2005 survey done by the author, Athena Kolbe, and a fellow researcher at Wayne University’s school of social work, in Detroit. Their report was published last week in The Lancet, the British medical journal.

In one alleged incident, a resident of Delmas on the outskirts of the Port-au-Prince said Canadian troops raided his house and threatened to kill him if he didn’t give them names of Aristide supporters.

In another alleged incident, a woman said she was grabbed by a drunk, off-duty Canadian soldier while out with friends near a base in the capital. She said he threatened to have sex with her.

But Giles suggested that may not have been possible.

‘’There’s some information from our end suggesting our troops were pretty much confined to the camp, to the base, for the majority’’ of the Canadian troops’ time in Haiti, from March to August 2004.

‘’So whether or not it’s feasible that there’s reality or not to these allegations, I don’t know. But certainly we take any allegation like this seriously.’’

jheinrich@thegazette.canwest.com

Montreal Gazette
© CanWest News Service 2006

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Copyright © 2006 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorks Publications, Inc.. All rights reserved.

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Posted on Sun, Sep. 03, 2006

DADE POLITICS
Radio is key for Haitian candidates
Infighting in South Florida’s Haitian-American community could affect
the outcome of several races Tuesday.
BY TERE FIGUERAS NEGRETE AND JACQUELINE CHARLES
tfigueras@MiamiHerald.com

This election season, the Haitian community could pull off a political
trifecta: Haitian-born candidates are on the ballot for the Florida
Legislature, Miami-Dade School Board and county commission.

But infighting among factions of the community could thwart that
achievement. A vestige of the class and political tensions plaguing the
island, the bickering is frustrating some who say it only squanders
political capital that transplanted Haitians have amassed in their
adopted

homeland.

The drama is being played out over the airwaves, with Creole-language
radio hosts accusing some candidates of supporting the 2004 ouster of former
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide — still a contentious issue in
Haitian circles. Election day is Tuesday.

‘’It’s really gotten out of hand,’’ said Haitian-American community
activist Marleine Bastien. ``You have this small group causing a lot of
division.’’

Miami-Dade Commission candidate Phillip Brutus, a state representative,
has been subjected to outlandish accusations that he conspired with the
Bush administration to kidnap Aristide, who lives in exile in South Africa
with family.

School Board candidate Gepsie Metellus has also been accused of being
anti-Aristide, and therefore lacking compassion for the poor and
illiterate, Aristide’s base of support. And state Rep. Yolly Roberson is being
taken to task not for her record in Tallahassee, but

for her perceived support
of Haiti’s former U.S.-backed prime minister, Gérard Latortue. Latortue, a
South Florida resident, was tapped to fill the political vacuum left by
Aristide.

NO-WIN SITUATION

‘’You cannot win with them,’’ Roberson said of the pro-Aristide radio
hosts.

She’s fought back by running ads on WLQY 1320 AM at the top of the hour
during one of her harshest critics’ morning shows.

The most outspoken critics of the trio are on-air radio personalities
Nelson ‘’Piman Bouk’’ Voltaire of WLQY 1320 AM and Lavarice Gaudin, whose
pro-Aristide grassroots organization Veye Yo controls several hours of
airtime on WLQY and WSRF 1580 AM. They have portrayed the U.S.-educated
candidates as out of touch with their mostly poor listeners — tapping
into class divisions that polarize Haitian society.

At least one non-Haitian candidate is trying to take advantage of the

infighting.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dorrin Rolle, who narrowly avoided a
runoff in 2002 against a Haitian-American candidate, has spent thousands of
dollars on Creole-language ads during pro-Aristide programs in his battle
against Brutus.

The prodigious amount of money Rolle has spent buying time on Haitian
radio programs such as Radio Alternative Veye Yo, Radio Pep La and Yeye
Variete & Vibration has also bought him influence, said Bastien. In addition to
the ads, hosts devote considerable airtime demonizing Brutus.

Rolle, who did not return calls for comment, has said in the past that
he has tried to reach out to the emerging Haitian community in his
district. In the past year, he has been visible at a number of Haitian events in
Little Haiti and North Miami and supported various Haitian causes.

The growing influence of Haitian voters is reflected in his campaign
expenditures: Since June, Rolle has spent nearly $30,000 buying time on
local radio. Radio host Voltaire received $5,000 from Rolle’s campaign
to air radio ads. Voltaire leases almost 30 hours of prime-time airtime a
week on WLQY 1320 AM.

Voltaire has personally taken to championing Rolle during his Radio Pep
La (The People’s Radio) morning program — cheering on callers who phone
in to disparage Brutus.

FREEDOM OF SPEECH

‘’This is freedom of speech,’’ said Voltaire, claiming that Brutus has
``never come tell us what he is doing in Tallahassee.’

‘’I am not supporting anybody for the money,’’ said Voltaire. ``I am
supporting [Rolle] because he’s been there for a long time. He’s done a
lot of work.’’

With the exceptions of Brutus, Metellus and Roberson, Voltaire said
he’s supporting all other Haitian-born candidates who are seeking office
this election season, including state House candidates Alain Jean from
Broward and Ronald Brise, who is vying for Brutus’ House seat.

Voltaire’s support, or lack thereof, can help tilt a race. Last year,
the radio host campaigned against Haitian-born North Miami mayoral
candidate Jean Monestime — a factor many observers say cost Monestime the
election, and the Haitian majority on the city council.

Brutus, who has raised $58,000 compared to Rolle’s $378,160, called the
attacks ``counterproductive.’’

‘’They should be talking about the importance of representation, about
the issues,’’ said Brutus.

Brutus says he has been accused not only of plotting to kidnap
Aristide, ``but also that I have called Haitians dog vomit. I did neither.’’

Wooing politically powerful radio hosts is nothing new in Miami, where
Spanish-language stations have always crackled with the intrigues of
election season. And Cuban-born candidates for local office are often
lauded or lambasted for their stances on foreign policy.

UNFAIR COMPARISON

Bastien says it’s unfair to draw too close a comparison, noting there
has never been a Haitian-American in countywide office or on the school
board.

‘’Cuban Americans have representation. They know their voices are being
heard,’’ said Bastien. ``We are a voice that is falling on deaf ears.’’

Bastien has taken to Creole-language radio to support the three
Haitian-born candidates but has been blasted by callers questioning her views on
Haitian politics.
********************************
Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
********************************

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