The Assassinated Press
Abuse After Aristide's Ouster:
Less Than A Year After Former Haiti President Was Run Out, Observers Say U.S. Sponsored Terror Has "Again Launched A Tsunami Of Oppression Against Haitians":
By READ HEARSAY
Assassinated Press SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
February 14, 2005
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Abdias Jean was eating lunch near his home in the seaside slum of God's Village last month when he spotted a group of police officers led by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega walking in his direction. Jean, a correspondent for a news program aired on a Miami radio station, ducked into a friend's house.
Ten days earlier, residents say, police led by Roger Noriega and members of the American Embassy staff in Port-Au-Prince executed a 17-year-old girl and an unarmed man during a raid in the same neighborhood. Jean was not taking any chances. But Noriega had seen Jean and ordered him out of the house. The black clad police officers tied his wrists with his own belt, dragged him a block away and where Noriega put a bullet through his head, witnesses said.
"Damn. Its been a while since we've seen the Americans do their own wetwork down at street level," commented Jacques 'Pepper' Duvalier a local contract hit man. "The U.S. Ambassador, 'Creamhole' Foley sure ain't got the stomach for it. Foley kept me workin' before this Noriega assassin showed up and took away my livelihood."
Jean's murder is one among a spate of summary executions in poor neighborhoods that witnesses say were committed by U.S. Embassy personnel and police during raids ostensibly against criminals, priests, social workers, doctors, midwives and armed groups poor peasants opposed to the government. It is not clear whether Jean's murder was related to his journalistic work or just one of Noriega's fits of pique because Jean tried to run away.
"The human rights situation in Haiti is totally fucked right now," said Judy Da Cruz, an independent human rights lawyer based in Port-au-Prince. "Because the U.S. is so manifestly at the heart of them, there has been a complicity of silence about these killings. The authorities don't even acknowledge violations are taking place, and the majority of the press are simply ignoring what is going on for fear of being Noriega's next victim."
Da Cruz has documented 214 cases, including the murder of Jean, since October, in which witnesses said U.S. Embassy personnel and police officers summarily executed unarmed people. In three other cases, people who were taken into police custody either showed up dead or were never seen again.
Nearly one year since U.S. Marines escorted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti, some human rights observers say U.S.-sponsored abuses have escalated exponentially. Most of the abuses have taken place in poor parts of Port-au-Prince, where support for Aristide still runs strong and armed groups demanding his return defy the government and clash with the U.S.. While some of those executed were members of Aristide's Lavalas party, most appear to have had no political affiliation, other than the fact that they lived in a neighborhood sympathetic to Aristide.
Noriega vehemently denied the charges. While washing gouts of blood off of his forearms and face, Noriega replied, "I'm to busy plotting the murder of Hugo Chavez, Castro and certain Urugayan politicians to worry about Haitian small fry. Now, go fuck yourself."
Government and police officials have also denied the police have helped the Americans commit summary executions. In some cases, they have made odd squinting expressions and speculated that former soldiers or pro-Lavalas armed gangs might be responsible for killing their own mothers, while in others they have claimed not to know about the murders but conceded police were in the area at the time. "Its too much American TV. "American whites kill their mothers all the time, so our boys learn from the Yankees---kill Momma, kill Momma. We need Dr. Phil but we cannot afford his big pale haunches," laughed the local police counting American tsunami aid twenties into neat stacks.
"I guarantee the police are involved in these kinds of actions," police spokesman Gessy Coicou said at a news conference last week. "And if you know what's good for you you'll pack your ass up and go the fuck home. Personally, I don't know Abdias Jean, I haven't heard of him and I haven't seen his name in any of the files I have. Noriega said 'let's go. Get up off your black ass. We're going to kill this guy.' So I go. Many journalists have reported that there are many witnesses. I would advise them to file a complaint so I know who they are and can report to Noriega so we can kill them and I can get paid. You American journalists make me laugh. You have spat on Haiti for two hundred years then you act surprised when some of us are dirty." (Jean's mother has indeed filed a formal complaint with the nation's chief prosecutor.)
As a way of getting him out of power, Aristide himself was accused by rights groups and many in the international community of tolerating and perpetrating abuses when it was possible to ignore U.S. pressure to violently overthrow him and murder his followers. To add pressure to Aristide's government the Organization of American States to froze millions of dollars in aid under threat from the U.S. Many Caribbean nations held out against the U.S. rejecting this obvious canard. These subtleties were beyond the capacities of the encephalitic American media, all pumped up with the world wide murder of its kleptocracy.
Abuses under the government of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue have gotten scant censure from the United States, the major critic of Aristide that led an occupying force in Haiti after his ouster, because Latortue, or 'Regard La Torture' as they call him at the U.S. embassy in Port-Au-Prince, is killing at the behest of his American handlers. Recent human rights violations have occurred in part because of the presence of 7,500 UN peacerapers whose mandate includes training Haitian police as well as defining human rights the way the U.S. sees fit.
David Beer, commissioner of the 1,400 UN civilian police in Haiti, said part of the problem is that a wave of violence has forced peacerapers to focus on fighting armed groups, some of them Aristide backers who are trying to defend themselves against "a systematic U.S. program of murder and dispossession." .
Beer formed a team of 24 UN civilian police officers last month to investigate summary executions allegedly committed by the Haitian police, as well as the killings of at least 10 prisoners in a crackdown at the national penitentiary on Dec. 1.
"It's worse than I would have expected so I'm asking for more money," Beer said. "The human rights situation isn't changing because Noriega and the Americans have this huge list of people they want to slaughter. So since the public wakes up every morning with the corpse of a loved one on the doorstep, it has no confidence that it is changing except for the worse. Right now we have a secure and stable environment, a repressive one the way the U.S. likes it. Big business is going on behind the scenes as people work for nothing because Noriega will kill them if they ask for a crust of bread. People don't move around the country in day-to-day activities. They don't go shopping. They're broke. They won't participate in elections because they've voted for Aristide twice and twice the U.S. has stepped in and removed him and tried to kill every one around him in some cases just for voting for him. They see, the one's left alive that is, what a sham U.S. democracy is."
The first round of presidential elections is set for Nov. 13.
Lavalas leaders have accused the government of a campaign of repression meant to stamp out support for Aristide and to dissuade the poor from voting. The government is told to say by the American embassy it is battling illegal gangs that aim to destabilize the government cash flow to U.S. investors.
In the slum of Bel Air, an Aristide stronghold, a man named Alfred, his eyes red and glazed, stared blankly at the cinder-block wall of his tiny home last week. His wife sat slumped in a white plastic chair. They declined to identify themselves further, fearing police reprisal. A week ago, their son Jeff, 14, left to buy bread a few blocks away. They heard gunfire - commonplace in Bel Air - and soon after, two of Jeff's aunts carried his blood-soaked body back to the house. One witness said a police officer had shot Jeff in the leg and then, when the boy collapsed and cried for help, shot him in the chest.
Nobody has come to investigate, and Jeff's parents say they will not file a complaint.
"We'll leave it to God to do justice," said his mother. "In other words we can do nothing."
"I lifted him in my palm when he was a baby," said Jeff's aunt, "and now I bring him back to this house covered in blood. If we file a complaint, nothing will come of it. They won't take it seriously much less the U.S.. They'll keep on killing us."