Int'l Tribunal on Haiti Session shows horrors of occuppation

Post Reply
User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 2152
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 7:03 pm

Int'l Tribunal on Haiti Session shows horrors of occuppation

Post by admin » Sat Oct 01, 2005 6:13 pm

International Tribunal on Haiti
First session shows horrors of occupation
By G. Dunkel

Published Sep 30, 2005 11:13 PM
Even Haitians who knew the situation in their country were shocked and horrified to see the video presented by Kevin Pina at the First Session of the Tribunal on Haiti, held in Washington on Sept. 23.

Viewers saw blood pooling out of the head of a protester, shot by United Nations troops, jerking in his death throes.

They saw Fredi Romélus, as he sat beside three bodies lying in a pool of blood in his modest home in Bel Air,
describing how his 22-year-old wife, Sonia Romélus, and their sons, Stanley and Nelson, had been killed by the UN forces. “They surrounded our house this morning and I ran, thinking my wife and the children were behind me. They couldn't get out and the blan fired into the house.”

Bel Air is one of the sections of Port-au-Prince where support for restoring democracy and deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is the strongest.

The same shot killed Sonia and Nelson, the son she was holding. Stanley, 4 years old, was killed with another shot to the head. The UN forces claimed that Sonia, Stanley, Nelson and an unidentified protester were bandits who fired on UN troops first. No weapons were found in the street and UN forces suffered no casualties.

This was part of the testimony entered at the tribunal's Washington session. Other sessions are being planned in Miami, New York, Montreal and Boston, where there are significant Haitian communities.

nThe tribunal's stated purpose is “to gather testimony and proof of the crimes perpetrated by the UN forces in Haiti.” The dossier that it creates will be presented to the International Criminal Court, which sits in The Hague. The United States does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, but other countries whose forces comprise the UN troops in Haiti do.

Ira Kurzban, an attorney from Miami who represented the Haitian government under Aristide, testified to the collapse of the justice system there. He pointed out that the United States itself had recognized this by refusing to deport Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, wanted for mass murder, to Haiti, saying that the Haitian justice system could not guarantee him a fair trial. This was just a pretext to cover up Constant's role as a CIA agent, Kurzban said.

Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, coordinator of the Foundation for Victims of the Sept. 30, 1991, Coup d'Etat, testif
ied to the complicity of the U.S. government in the systematic undermining of the democratic process in Haiti, recounting his own personal story of how he escaped after Aristide was kidnapped.

Thomas Griffin, who had been a federal parole and probation officer for 10 years before he became a civil rights and immigration lawyer in Philadelphia, testified about his civil-rights investigation in Haiti during November 2004. He interviewed people suffering from gunshot wounds to the head who were afraid to go to the hospital because they said people who go to the hospital with such wounds usually wind up in the morgue.

Griffin said that he investigated a site where 60 bodies had been burned. He said large amounts of misprinted Haitian currency were used as fuel, which pointed to the involvement of the current de facto government.

Kevin Pina, a U.S. journalist who has lived in Haiti for over a decade, testified to how he obtained his vid
eo interview with Fredi Romélus. He also told how, while trying to exercise his profession as a journalist, he was arrested by police as they were attempting to plant a weapon in the house of Fr. Gérard Jean-Juste, a supporter of Aristide's Lavalas Party.

Jeb Sprague, Yves Engler and Seth Donnelly also testified.

Ramsey Clark, an anti-war activist, founder of the International Action Center and former U.S. attorney general, has agreed to lead a Commission of Inquiry in Haiti, which is tentatively scheduled for the beginning of October. Capt. Lawrence Rockwood, Tom Griffin, Dave Welsh and Katharine Kean have agreed to serve on it and some notable U.S. political figures have expressed interest.

The presiding judges at this session of the Tribunal were Ben Dupuy, Lionel Jean- Baptiste and Lucie Tondreau[/b:
67c3089c90]. The investigating judge was Brian Concannon.


This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License.
Workers World, 55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011
Support independent news

Page printed from:

Charles Arthur
Posts: 151
Joined: Tue May 25, 2004 7:35 am

Batay Ouvriye responds to allegations

Post by Charles Arthur » Mon Oct 03, 2005 10:13 am

New Heights Attained By The Haiti-Progrès Current And Its Allies

On September 25th, 2005, we, at Batay Ouvriye, learned that a supposed “tribunal” organized by the Haiti Progrès current, the International Action Center and Kakola (amongst others) during that weekend hosted a presentation by a journalist/history student, Jeb Sprague, in which he alleged that our organization was a main recipient of United States government funds destined to overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. According to Sprague, these funds from the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center, one of the four primary conduits of three million dollars in such blatant imperialist projects, went from Batay Ouvriye to a "sub-grantee", Socowa, thus converting this workers' movement into the unwitting "co-conspirators" of an unholy alliance
fabricated by the State Department. This is a very serious allegation for which, at the start, we must begin by challenging the "researcher/witness" who never once contacted our organization for information. Nor were we contacted by the organizing committee of the "Tribunal".

First, we'll say no “research” was needed to reveal that, amongst others, Solidarity Center funds were channeled to the Sokowa free trade zone worker's union through Batay Ouvriye. These finances (US $3,500! – August 2004), destined to coordinate the struggle and, specifically, support the fired workers undergoing much difficulty due to the situation's duration, resulted from a general appeal we issued. As is clear in the excerpt included in Annex 1, this appeal (relayed by various labor websites such as Labourstart was public and open to all. The AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center was one of the organizations that concretely responded. That phase of t
he struggle concluded, we publicly thanked all those who had contributed to the struggle whether through militancy or solidarity funds, amongst them the Solidarity Center (Annex 2). So, as we said, the slightest “research” wasn't necessary to disclose such publicly issued information.

The Haiti Progrès group, International Action Center and Kakola… accusations reached further heights, however, when their “researcher” advanced that we received funds from USAID and the NED to destabilize Aristide and then overthrow his government, that we were under the control and orientation of the “184 organizations” group, the “Democratic Convergence” and even, by association of ideas, the CIA mentioned just a little further! This, now, is complete disparagement, an outright attack. We'll reply in several points:
  • First, that, concretely, Batay Ouvriye by no means participated in Aristide's overthrow. We refused to engage in that mobilization precisely because of its direction. And
    when in December 2004 we issued a position on the situation of the country at that moment (Annex 3) we were absolutely meticulous on this point, specifically in order not to play into the goals of the bourgeois opposition, and not to be associated with this group. In this sense, the very first base allegation of this “university researcher” is hopelessly null, passing fully aside our positions, included here in extenso. No wonder he was so hesitating and stuttering on WBAI's September 28th “Wake Up Call”.
  • We have always pursued and engaged in relations of solidarity, whether militant or financial, on the basis that they relate to struggles and practices based solely on our deep convictions and in total independence of orientation and functioning. These positions are clearly expressed in a public statement again included (Annex 4).
  • We hold this position concerning all groups who contribute to our struggles, whether through militancy or financial support. This explain
    s our clear stands taken concerning the yellow, rotten, collaborationist unions in Haiti, while, at the same time, in the framework of the free trade zone specific struggle, members of the OGITH union traveled there to convey their support and we accepted their solidarity. Similarly, we participated in PPN (Parti Populaire National) demonstrations in the North of the country, but when they distorted the grounds of our presence in a basically opportunistic and untruthful way in their newspaper, we denounced them too, in writing, which they refused to print in their paper, denying us the very basic right of response. Again, even as we accept the AFL-CIO's solidarity practices, we clearly informed them of our position concerning the current they belong to, the disagreements we have with a good number of fundamental national and international practices historically and presently held, our issues with their forms of labor militancy and our views on the internal struggle they are now confronting (Annexes 5 and, esp
    ecially 6 where these stands were put in writing).
  • Insofar as criticisms of Aristide in 2003: within the large scope that included many various facets, we'll say once again and confirm that yes, we totally confronted the Lavalas leaders who we certainly exposed to be reactionaries, swindlers, complete frauds, anti-popular and fundamentally anti-worker. It is no accident at all that the people themselves, in all conscience, named them clearly: “gran manjè” (“big eaters”)! In a statement we issued during these mobilizations, we clearly expressed this position (Annex 3). But even before, long before, ever since 2001-2002, Batay Ouvriye-organized workers denounced the practices of this reactionary government concerning a massacre it was preparing in collusion with the big landowners, the bourgeoisie in Cap-Haitian and major multinationals (Cointreau) at the Guacimal orange fields; indeed, the massacre occurred. This same clash was the first occasion in Haiti in which a large mass of workers,
    thwarted in their most essential demands by the Lavalas mayor, the Lavalas Northern delegate and the Lavalas director of the ministry of interior, shouted together: “Down with Lavalas”! British GMB unionists who had accompanied us in the field on this occasion can bear witness. And everywhere workers, peasants, poor market women… workers in general were confronting big landlords, macoutes, bourgeois and multinationals, the lavalas leaders always, always, supported these upper classes.

    At this time, in this very Guacimal struggle, Haiti Progres was also clearly against these nefarious Lavalas practices. Ever since 2001, it issued articles of denunciation, warning of the role the Lavalas leaders were playing against the masses (See “Workers Fight for Rights on Orange Plantation”, Haiti Progres – May 16-22, 2001). And in 2002, around the Guacimal massacre itself in which the paper's own reporter who had accompanied the workers was arrested too, they even titled: “Repression: Lavalas Reveals Itself!” (Ju
    ne 6th, 2002). All throughout this conflict, Haiti Progrès continued to title, often on its front page: “Guacimal: Haitian Government Supports Big Landowners in Clash with Peasants” (June 6th and 19th, 2002 – the latter including the picture of a graffiti in Cap-Haitian saying “Down with the Lavalas government that kills peasants of St. Raphael); “Guacimal: Neoliberal Repression” (June 12th 2002); “Guacimal, Free Hand to Repression” (June 26th, 2002); “Guacimal, Lavalas persists in Illegality” (July 31st, 2002)… Was Haiti Progres then paid by the US government to destabilize Aristide?
  • Yes: we fought Aristide with his practices of embargo during the 1991 coup at the expense of the Haitian people which only enriched its enemies, instead of choosing a popular mode of struggle; Aristide who returned with 20,000 soldiers of US imperialism to reestablish his personal and crony power; the lavalas leaders, - and Aristide in particular – who, exactly like the “opposition”, formally requested the p
    resent occupation; all the usurpation leaders of the lavalas movement, opportunistic, reactionary and anti-popular in the extreme, except when they've been rejected causing them to again appeal to the feelings and demands of mass struggles that put them in power in 1990;

    … Aristide and all the corrupt and treacherous lavalas leaders, but also, immediately, the 184 Group and the bourgeois leadership of the opposition movement, not only exclusively theoretically (or in ‘newspapers!') but in the construction of this same popular movement in which we were demanding the independence of the people's camp, warning of what may come and preparing the aftermaths that had just begun (Annex 3); later yet, until the present, as always, in the workers' struggle against the bourgeois and macoute-bourgeois (in which we've hardly ever seen militants related to the Haiti Progres/PPN current); up till the present then, in our struggles against Apaid, Baker, Mrs. Bayard, ADIH… (Annex 7 – News Bulletin 2 & Press Statem
    ent on a free trade zone judgment) and the occupation (Annex 8). So it is concretely that we are against all the macoute, bourgeois, multinational, imperialist, 184, “big eaters” movements confronting the workers and the Haitian people in general.

    Why then are Haiti Progres, the International Action Center, Kakola… and their quack researcher seeking to introduce a confusion that either they haven't sought to probe, or that they know perfectly well to be contrary to the simple truth that Batay Ouvriye is frontally opposed to all reactionary orientation! Why don't they have the minimum of courage to confront us on the necessary orientation in the unique interest of the working masses, of the real popular masses?

    If such was the case, we would remind them that Aristide himself is bourgeois, that it is under his government that the largest concentration of financial capital ever occurred in Haiti, with banks mushrooming all over… We would remind them that it was all the monopolistic bourgeois who
    , under Aristide, controlled the quite evidently neo-liberal privatizations taking place especially in the ports. We would remind them that it was Aristide who, secretly, went to lay the first stone of the Ouanaminthe free trade zone that would become a hell on earth for all workers, as was foreseeable and explains why he chose to carry out this mission secretly. We would remind them of all the corruption and state graft, all the anti-popular repression, all the treasons the lavalas leaders concretely and consciously carried out. The general director of the Ministry of interior in the Guacimal conflict, to defend his petty climber's interests, officially declared to the press: “this government is here to defend the lands of diplomats”!!!
  • The Haiti Progres, International Action Center and Kakola… detractors know this, just as, generally, they know Batay Ouvriye's practices. Is it by accomplished opportunism and a complete lack of principles, that they defend a cause that can't be defended
    – the advocacy of the lavalas leaders (who in Haiti have already surrendered and, being the chameleons they are, fully engaged in the electoral process under the imperialist occupation)? Is it their complete absence of practices amidst the workers in Haiti that causes them to adopt such an already putrid cause?

    We will understand this group's attitude and particularly that of Haiti Progres in analyzing the nature of the conflict on hand. For, precisely, it is a real conflict and not a simple debate with petty bourgeois. We should clarify that these attacks won't have us deviate one inch from our objectives or from anything we believe should be done in the interests of the workers, particularly the wage laborers. But we give them and will continue to give them all their importance.

    In the context of the struggle's development within the country in which the ruling classes and petty bourgeoisie have failed, the imperialists and their different types of servants all have interest in attacking the
    forces rooted amongst the workers and advancing in concrete struggles. Given certain obligations - the ruling classes and imperialism sometimes have to maintain a “democratic” appearance -, the best weapon they can use is the supposedly ‘left' current. In this sense, when these enemies, themselves, objectively, in the interest of the most archaic sectors in the country, attack us, this is a good thing. Although this is how we understand it, we still need to pursue our explanations unveiling the enemy for all to understand quite clearly.

    The leader of the ‘current' suddenly attacking us is Ben Dupuy. We need to follow his itinerary and that of his ‘current' to fully comprehend the situation. During the whole period of struggle against Duvalier in the 1970's, he set up, participated and/or promoted various organizations, particularly “Rezistans Ayisyenn” (RA), linked to “Radio Vonvon” of notorious reputation in its suspected infiltration, selecting youths of those years to prepare “invasions” in which a
    ll the participants were found and/or killed, except the leaders…! Later, the “Rassemblement Démocratique Haitien”(RDH), MHL (the Movement of Haitian Liberation), “IDEE” (“Idea”)… various organizations which were completely sterile and functioned on the sole basis of recruitment, void of political coming together, not to speak of militant practices amongst the masses. The various youths recruited, often on a militaristic basis, functioned with one main orientation: that of attacking progressive orientations, denouncing them as CIA and even publishing their pictures. In the Haitian emigration, many militants rose against these practices and speculated if it wasn't precisely the Dupuy current that was playing the CIA role in setting up these sterile organizations just to pressure Duvalier, deviating the youth from deeper and more consequential practices (in particular with the workers) and finally denouncing all progressives.

    This appeared even more clearly in 1971-72 when Dupuy fawned before Senator Ful
    lbright, leading a large number of youths behind him, supposedly to overthrow Duvalier. Yet more: in 1974-1976, when he traded his boots and military fatigues for the Marxist-Leninist intellectual's tie and attaché case, this current attempted to counter the Unified Communist Party (PUCH) in order to infiltrate Cuba. They issued books and movies showing the “major work” they were accomplishing; but the Cubans, despite a short period of laxism, finally unmasked them. During this same period, Dupuy's current traveled to Cuba to meet with the militants who had kidnapped the American ambassador, Clinton Knox. And returned to the United States with no problem at all!

    During the following Jean-Claude Duvalier period of liberalization, roles changed: Dupuy's current upheld the ‘independents' that the Carter administration and CIA were allowing to develop in the country. After Duvalier's departure, MHL engendered the APN, the Haiti-Progrès newspaper and finally the PPN. It's in the context of the latter organi
    zation that instead of targeting the 184 Group that was setting up anti-Aristide associations, they chose to attack workers in the Plaisance area, in landowners' interest.

    This itinerary is that of an agent who went to great lengths to dismantle the Centrale Autonome des Travailleurs Haitiens (CATH) when it was at its most dynamic. If, seriously speaking, the current he leaded had had major issues with that labor federation, he would have initiated a new one with major differences. An agent who, upon further scrutiny, doesn't single out the so-called “unionists” of the 184 Group, i.e. the notorious “Secteur Syndical” regrouping of most of the unions of the country (except the Batay Ouvriye May First Labor Federation) that openly and outright supported the 184's actions, was responsible for funds in that grouping and closely resembles the pro-imperialist and pro-bourgeois Confederation of Venezuelan Labor (CTV)…. but rather chooses to tackle Batay Ouvriye as a target. As mentioned previously, this in d
    efense of a particularly reprehensible cause such as the upholding of the anti-worker, anti-popular Lavalas big-eaters and in a similar logic as that of AFL-CIO members' “lesser evil” endorsement of the Democratic Party. Or, precisely, playing a CIA role?

    We repeat: the enemy's hostilities are a good sign. They allow us to precise our struggle and always keep in mind that we can't be playing with the enemy. Finally, this, at the same time, allows us to unmask these reactionaries and their chameleon nature, seeking to infiltrate the popular struggles, and, so, reinforce and consolidate the people's camp, thanks to such denunciations.
  • This is why our own conclusion, in this conflict, is our wish to meet with these various petty bourgeois currents in the actual field of struggles against the landlords, their field administration and servants; in the field, against the bourgeoisie concretely in the factories, sweatshops, plantations, and in the political arena, alongside the peasants,
    workers, wage laborers, and then, necessarily, as they had already seen it in 2002, against the landlords-bourgeois-multinational allies, that is, against the Lavalas leaders.

    Let us meet in the concrete battlefield, the workers will then advise.[/*:m]
Port-au-Prince, Oct. 1, 2005

Post Reply