Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Anyone leaving “their house takes their life into their own hands.”

from WSWS (via Lenin's Tomb):

The UN occupation troops have locked down Port-au-Prince, establishing checkpoints at the major intersections as armored personnel carriers patrol the streets. Cité Soleil, an impoverished shantytown of 500,000 that largely supports Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party, has been made into a virtual prison according to Jean-Joseph Joel, the secretary-general of the local Lavalas branch.

Heeding the demands of Haiti’s business leaders and the coup government, Valdes suggested that another UN military raid on the neighborhood could be imminent. Many Cité Soleil residents fear a repeat of the massacre on July 6, 2005 that killed 50 people. The massacre resulted from a UN military operation to assassinate Emmanuel “Dread” Wilme, a popular community leader labeled as a “bandit” by UN forces (a monument has since been erected in Wilme’s honor by Cité Soleil residents).

Demonstrations erupted in Cité Soleil on Thursday, January 12 against the UN occupation and its collusion with the coup government that has jailed political opponents. One person was confirmed killed and 17 were injured in clashes with UN troops as of Wednesday last week. One of the wounded was a 12-year-old girl. “Every day, we are counting dead bodies,” said Joel.
A 30-year-old woman named Edline Pierre-Louis, who lost her unborn baby when she was shot by UN troops on July 6, protested the UN’s denial of the massacre. “The blue helmets [UN troops] are lying,” she told the Haitian Information Project. “They killed so many people, and I praise God that I am alive to call them liars.”

As witnessed by independent Canadian reporters Leslie Bagg and Aaron Lakoff, “multiple killings of civilians have been committed by UN forces.” In Cité Soleil they interviewed a resident named Dieunord Edme, who spoke of his wife, Annette Moleron, being shot and killed by UN troops on January 7 in an incident that also claimed the lives of four other women in a marketplace. The reporters witnessed a bloated corpse by a roadside that residents couldn’t retrieve because the UN military in Haiti (MINUSTAH) would fire on anyone that approached it. The reporters claim the corpse was left out in order to intimidate the neighborhood.

On Monday, January 9, Reginald Boulos, the president of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Andy Apaid, the Haitian-American who owns Haiti’s oldest and largest sweatshop empire—both members of the Canadian and US-backed Group 184—called for a “strike” allegedly to protest the wave of kidnappings. Group 184, which played a prominent role in destabilizing Aristide’s government, has been funded by the International Republican Institute, a constituent part of the National Endowment for Democracy, the US agency established to carry out political operations formerly orchestrated by the CIA.

The New York Times reported, “The Haitian Chamber of Commerce and Industry called a strike to pressure UN peacekeepers to move against gangs—allegedly loyal to ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide—who have carried out many of the kidnappings.” The “gangs” are the code word for Haiti’s poor, who largely support Aristide, and would most likely vote for René Préval, who served as Haiti’s president from 1996 to 2001. It is apparent that most of Port-au-Prince regarded the strike, in the words of one angry street vendor who closed his stall due to lack of business, as “a rich persons’ strike.”

Announcements aired over Radio Metropole threatened that anyone leaving “their house takes their life into their own hands.”

Lenin summarizes the enormous, and genocidal, condescenscion of the corporate media:

...we are told that "The world is at a loss to know what to do about Haiti. Everything from aid to foreign invasion has been tried. The result is anarchy." As if the requirement for aid was not created by colonialism and client-state imperialism, a process stretching right up until 1994. As if the 'aid' was benign. As if the foreign invasion were not part of the problem. As if these dirty brown people were simply beyond help, congenitally predisposed to violence and - who knows - probably rape and drugs and all sorts of evil things. This is frightening. To be amazed at how brutal the present is (as in "in this day and age") is a sure sign of naivete. And yet, I can't help feeling that the most weathered cynic would wilt and fume at such a performance.


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