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 de Paul.

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 killed.
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.

Contact: haitiinformationproject@yahoo.com

Also Visit:  Background on the Haitian Crisis