January 7, 2005
UN works to squash followers
of Aristide in Haiti
Haiti Information Project (HIP)
Port-au-Prince,Haiti(HIP)-Corralling residents and kicking down doors,
heavily armed troops of the UN and the Police Nationale de Haiti (PNH)
invaded several neighborhoods of Cite Soleil one day after an alleged
attack on the headquarters of the mission of the Sisters of St. Vincent
Hundreds of UN troops and Haitian police formed a dragnet that resulted
in truckloads of residents being arrested without a warrant in the
sprawling neighborhood that is home to more than 500,000 Haitians.
Following the arrests, the UN and PNH conducted house-to-house searches
as residents of the slum reacted with fear, anger and disgust. The UN
left a calling card of a fluorescent lime-green X on residences they
searched without a legal warrant.
Representatives of President Jean-Bertrand Aristides Lavalas party
accused gunmen associated with a gangster named Labanye, who they claim
is aligned with wealthy sweatshop owner Andre Apaid, of attacking the
Catholic mission to justify the military intervention.
Residents recalled violence in the early morning hours of December
14th, when heavily armed gangsters of the so-called Baz Labanye, began
firing on the population.
The firefight that followed gave the UN justification to militarily
occupy Cite Soleil.
Last December 14th an angry resident of Cite Soleil exclaimed, "Baz
Labanye, controlled by Andre Apaid and Reginald Boulos [of the former
opposition], began a heavy attack against us and many people were
The United Nations then used this as a pretext to invade our
neighborhood and end our calls for Aristide's return. It is clear they
are working together to exterminate us." Most residents echoed the same
sentiments today as they sought desperately for information concerning
the whereabouts of their loved ones.
Where is my boy? asked 49 year-old Marie Douisson, whose door was
kicked in by Jordanian troops who left a huge fluorescent lime-green
X in front of her house after arresting her son. She continued, What
right does the blue helmets have to break down my door? They gave no
reason and then they took my son away in handcuffs. What did he ever do
except ask that Aristide be returned to Haiti. Aristide was democracy.
This is not democracy.
At the church of Weslyenne, students recalled the violent operation by
the UN and PNH in tears. A student who feared giving his identity
recalled, The UN shot at our church with huge guns. Look at the damage
they did to the school, in the church grounds.
Look at the damage to the church. I still cannot understand their
violence against us.
The population of Cite Soleil reacted to the military action of the UN
and the PNH with a peaceful demonstration that ultimately broke out
into a call for the return of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A
representative of Lavalas in Cite Soleil concluded, The UN wants to
pretend they are for democracy. We will surprise them with a democracy
they have never dreamed of in their own countries. A Haitian democracy
of the poor majority they are helping to destroy and never had in their
own countries. We thank them for the example. But always remember 1983.
We will never forget our own history even when their memories fail or
they have no interest in us. We can never forget because this is Haiti.
This is our country.
The Haiti Information Project
(HIP) is a non-profit alternative news service providing coverage and
analysis of breaking developments in Haiti.
Background on the Haitian Crisis