Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Turning a blind eye to Canadian war crimes in Haiti.

Canada's unflinching complicity (via CHAN)

Canada is complicit in each and every one of these acts of violence. The Haitian National Police are currently being trained by a 1600-member UN Civil Police Force, which has largely been under Canadian command since last summer. The UN Mission in Haiti, as well as the Canadian government, have thus far failed to acknowledge the well-documented killings and detentions of human rights activists, journalists, grassroots activists, and ordinary Haitians which have been carried out by the HNP.

In a report issued by the Miami-based Centre for the Study of Human Rights last January, members of the UN Civil Police Operations, as well as UN peacekeepers stated that their mission consisted of offering "back up" to HNP raids within poor neighbourhoods. A commander of the Civil Police from Quebec City was interviewed and stated that all he had done in Haiti was to "engage in daily guerrilla warfare." The Brazilian head of the UN forces was quoted in a Reuters article in November as stating "we are under extreme pressure from the international community to use violence." He cited France, the United States, and Canada among the countries pressing for the use of force.

Haitian government officials are currently on the payroll of the Canadian government as well. Philippe Vixamar, a minister within the Justice Department, has stated publicly that he was assigned to his position by the Canadian International Development Agency, and is currently on the CIDA payroll. CIDA is also employing Fernand Yvon, a senior advisor to President Gerard Latortue. Vixamar also denied that there were any political prisoners in Haiti in early November. Paul Martin, on a state visit to Haiti several days later, would make the same claim. In reality, the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has estimated that there are over 700 political prisoners throughout Haiti, including former Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and other ex-cabinet ministers within Aristide's government.

Haitian coup: Made in Canada?

However, in noting the Canadian role in legitimizing the current government, one cannot leave out the role Canadian politicians have played in de-legitimizing the government of Aristide in the lead-up to last year's coup.

In January of 2003, according to an article which appeared in L'Actualite magazine in March of the same year, Canadian MP Denis Paradis hosted a "high-level roundtable meeting on Haiti," at the Meech Lake Resort. The round-table's invitees included Canadian officials, high-level US officials, diplomats with the Organization of American States (OAS), and officials from throughout Latin America. No Haitian representatives were present.

L'Actualite reporter Michel Vastel noted that Paradis had told him the themes of the meeting would include Aristide's possible removal, the possibility of placing Haiti under international "trusteeship," and the potential return of the Haitian military, which was disbanded in 1995 by Aristide as a result of its history of human rights abuses and corruption. This revelation raises troubling questions of the role of Canadian officials in the planning of the coup of Aristide.

In addition, CIDA funding to Haiti during the period from 2000-2004 -- like that of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) -- was funnelled solely to "grassroots" NGO's and business organizations who were aligned with the opposition Democratic Convergence party. The Democratic Convergence never managed to gain more than eight per cent voter support in Haitian elections. Supported by neo-Duvalierist ex-military members as well as members of the Haitian business elite, it was the Democratic Convergence which first claimed that the May 2000 parliamentary elections in Haiti were fraudulent, contrary to the conclusions reached by election observers from CARICOM and the Organization of American States. Only eight out of 7000 total positions decided in this election were contested. Yet the Canadian media, as well as Canadian officials, parroted the accusations of fraudulence made by the Democratic Convergence even after Aristide ordered the eight government officials to resign.

The Canadian Corporate/State Nexus In Haiti by Anthony Fenton



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