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#86: HEM on the Republicans, IRI and Haiti (fwd)

From: Max Blanchet <MaxBlanchet@worldnet.att.net>

What are the Republicans up to? 
Haïti en Marche, June 27, 1999
Translated by Max Blanchet

Port-au-Prince, June 27 - The Republican Institute all of a 
sudden announces its withdrawal from Haiti. The stated reason: its 
staff in Haiti has received death threats from individuals presumed 
to be partisans of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"The armed individuals who threatened our staff claimed to 
belong to Jean-Bertrand Aristide's camp" declared Mr. Lorne 
Craner, IRI's president.

"They told us to end our activities or they would kill us. They said 
that only Aristide has the right to represent the people," added Mr. 

According to an AP bulletin, during the last 18 months, IRI's 
employees "were approached on two occasions by armed 
individuals and they are frequently threatened verbally." Meetings 
organized by IRI to help political organizations with issues such as 
free elections, electoral campaigning and voter registration have 
been disturbed and training sessions were canceled. 

Reactions to IRI's departure have been by and large brief. While 
vehement in the case of Hubert Deronceray, Gérard Pierre-
Charles for his part thinks that this augurs poorly for the coming 
elections. As for Evans Paul, this is a most unfortunate decision 
which will further tarnish Haiti's image while he notes that other 
international institutions, among them IRI's democratic counterpart, 
the National Democratic Institute (NDI,) function in Haiti without 

Furthermore, IRI's withdrawal takes place while Republican 
members of Congress are actively campaigning in Washington for 
the withdrawal of what is left of the American contingent in Haiti -- 
500 soldiers -- that had intervened in 1994 to drive the putschist 
military out of power.

For his part, the head of this contingent, the commanding General 
of the Southern Command based in Miami, Charles Wilhem, also 
brought up the question of insecurity: "Though we have not 
identified any specific threat targeting our troops, the overall 
environment in the field has led us to increase the level of our 
preoccupation regarding the protection of our troops." 

Insecurity has broad shoulders...

According to an article by Don Bohning of the Miami Herald 
(Monday June 7, 1999) things have gone downhill since. And he 
really put the spotlight on the recent burning of a jeep that 
belonged to the American military mission that happened to break 
down near an area where a street demonstration was taking 

More suspect, however, was the inclusion in the same paragraph 
of a traffic accident that caused the death of two military personnel 
and sent 14 others to the hospital. The vehicle in which only 
American military personnel were traveling was headed for the 
inauguration of a construction project north of the capital when it hit 
another vehicle that had stopped and ended up off the road. An 
accident that Mr. Bohning also attributes in passing to insecurity 
and therefore to the Haitian authorities.

His article is entitled "The US Support Group will probably leave 
by the end of the year."

However, a democratic Congressional mission (Senator Graham 
and Representative Alcee Hastings, both from Florida) while 
visiting Port-au-Prince recently to dedicate a plaque at the Haitian 
State University Hospital to the memory of the late Democratic 
Governor Lawton Chiles, after being briefed on the electoral draft 
law published on June 11, stated their happiness with its contents 
and promised to try and convince their Republican colleagues to 
delay the withdrawal of the American contingent because if it were 
to take place, it would probably have a de-stabilizing impact on the 
electoral process currently underway.

Another hobby-horse for this crowd is to assume that the coming 
elections are already compromised because of the level of 
insecurity ...

OPL and Fanmi Lavalas get in touch on their own with the 
Provisional Electoral Council (CEP in French) ...

This is not quite the analysis performed today in the field where 
political sectors heretofore opposed to the elections have entered 
into a dialogue with the CEP, this in the context of suggestions 
and recommendations made regarding the electoral decree. This 
is the case among others with the Organization of the People in 
Struggle (OPL in French.)

We do not know if the former OPL MPs who had gone into 
political exile in the US the day after the murder -- still unresolved! -
- of the OPL Senator Yvon Toussaint intend to return home, or if 
they have not already done so, in order to participate in the 
coming elections.

Besides, we have learned that the full CEP was received by 
former President Aristide, the leader of the Fanmi Lavalas political 
party, who until now had kept his distance from that institution.

But a certain radical camp, goaded by the Republicans and their 
propaganda agents, are in constant agitation. The goal is to 
tarnish, especially in the eyes of the international community, the 
situation in Haiti. To be sure it is difficult, and even untenable, but 
every argument is used, including the ecological disaster which 
has its genesis in colonial times!!! 

In short, it is becoming clearer and clearer that there is more to 
the situation than meets the eyes and that things are not as simple 
as they would want us to believe.

Before the scandal blows up? ...

Let us go back to the hasty departure of IRI which has not caused 
only grief, far form it. According to Father Yvon Massac, a Fanmi 
Lavalas leader, IRI's office in Haiti was a war machine targeting 
exclusively former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, whose 
intention to run again for president in the year 2000 is well known.

But pro-Fanmi Lavalas popular organizations (POs) are more 
explicit. In the opinion of Civil René of Youth for Popular Power 
(JPP in Creole) this hasty exit of IRI is suspect since the local 
representatives of the Republican Party do not have a clear 
conscience. Maybe they are leaving officially, but this would be to 
cause more mischief under cover. Unless they are already 
compromised in rather shady activities and are packing their bags 
before the scandal blows up. In this context, he raises the issue of 
the FRAPH documents that the Pentagon quickly seized 
immediately after the intervention in Haiti in September 1994. 
FRAPH is the paramilitary group responsible for so many crimes 
during the military regime that sent JB Aristide into exile on 
September 30, 1991, and whose leaders and executioners were 
spirited out of the country by US intelligence agencies and given 
refuge in the US and other countries in Latin America. Since then, 
the Haitian Government has tried without success to recover these 
archives in which the names of agents and snitches in the pay of 
American intelligence have been summarily erased in certain 
Washington offices.

A premeditated pacifism and too pronounced a pacifism to be 
... natural.

Insecurity being from all evidence the absolute weapon that the 
Republicans and their Haitian minions are counting on to derail the 
Haitian situation and to upbraid the Democrats about their failure 
in Haiti, could it be that their honorable correspondents in the field 
tried to up the ante in order to get the milk to boil a little higher or 

Only a thorough investigation will enable us to answer this 
question. And there will not be a serious investigation as can 
already be seen in the matter of the 11 individuals killed by a 
police commando on May 28 in Carrefour-Feuilles. For the same 
reason that there has not been any thorough trial of the 
assassinations, not even the more spectacular ones, perpetrated 
under the military regime backed by the intelligence community 
and Republican interests in Washington.

What then to do? Given that national security ties the hands of the 
Haitian State, could it disclose certain truths and in the process 
correct the campaign of disinformation underway especially in the 
foreign press?

Beware the provocations!

But the Government itself is not without its faults. How could death 
squads, like the one that operated in Carrefour-Feuilles, sprout 
under the very nose of government leaders if they did not have 
their shortcomings?

Through complacency and negligence even though the game has 
been clear, with insecurity and the young national police being the 
soft underbelly of the system put in place from the very beginning 
of the presidency of Mr. René Préval. 

Next came the events surrounding the May 28 affair in the 
Champs de Mars during which a demonstration of civil society 
recommended by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but 
maybe remotely controlled under cover by certain interests, 
including some based in Washington, was violently stopped by 
pro-Lavalas POs.

But the impression of an astute observer is that the POs fell into a 
well-prepared trap with both feet. The more stones and bottles 
they threw, the more the organizers displayed a militant pacifism, 
too pronounced to be natural, dramatic, ... in short premeditated.

But the same night, boom! A police commando, taking 
advantage of the rain and blackout, kills in cold blood 11 
individuals in Carrefour-Feuilles. If they had not been caught red-
handed, the cops had intended to abandon the bodies on the spot 
and get out unseen by anyone. This would have been another 
example of insecurity and we can only guess at what the public's 
reaction would have been to such carnage!

Has the Carrefour-Feuilles plot been a failure? Can we expect 
subsequent developments?

In any event, a first conclusion: the Lavalas leadership took time 
to understand the strategy of their enemies. Most precious time 

Today who knows how many traps have been set?

By the same token, the government would be making a strategic 
error by reacting in a paranoid manner. On the contrary, it should 
do its utmost to reduce insecurity, the principal weapon of its 
enemy. It is important not to play the game of the enemy.

A commando storms Lafanmi Selavi ...

On Friday, the rumor spreads that car windshields are again 
being smashed.

Where? At Lafanmi Selavi, near Pont-Morin. Big surprise, the 
orphans themselves are not involved but a commando made up of 
former interns of the orphanage sent by nobody knows whom, 
storms the place to create a mess and vilify the name of their 
former benefactor. They accused the former President of having 
misled them in that he made them believe that he would find them 
jobs once they had graduated from the institution and of having 
made money on their backs. Lafanmi Selavi was created in the 
80s by Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide to receive street kids. There 
are tens of thousands of them in the streets of the Haitian capital 

A provocation? Most certainly!

By focusing its effort on reducing insecurity and controlling a 
situation that borders on anarchy, the government would not only 
be foiling the Republicans in Washington -- the great beneficiaries 
of the chaotic situation in Haiti - who have done so much damage 
to our country, but would obviate the need for the Clinton 
Administration to go into higher gear.

For the Republicans, the key is to strike before the Haitian 

As a matter of fact, subjected to a barrage about the insecurity 
facing the American contingent in Haiti, facing American citizens 
traveling to Haiti (they learn at airports in the US that they go to 
Haiti at their own risk,) and facing even ... American vehicles in 
Haiti, and given that we are talking about a country through which 
transits, according to American authorities, 20% of the cocaine 
destined for the Unites States -- a country the US, therefore, 
cannot turn its back to contrary to the fallacious propaganda being 
spread in Congress by the very active Peter Goss (Republican 
Representative from Florida and Ben Gilman ( Representative 
from New York) -- the only option left to the White House would be 
to send to Haiti a new occupation force numbering many 
thousands of soldiers. For instance, under the aegis of the 
Organization of American States (OAS) and coming to the rescue 
of a sister republic subjected to anarchy and civil war, as has been 
already suggested by the Republican cabal!

Of course, such an outcome would undermine the goals of the 
previous intervention that in 1994 drove out of power the 
perpetrators of the bloody coup of September 1991 and restored 
constitutional legality.

This is what the Republicans are wishing for before the Haitian 
elections in November and December 1999. In fact, while the 
major Haitian political parties, including those at loggerheads, are 
reaching a consensus regarding the coming elections and the 
divisive issues are beginning to fade, the Republican margin for 
maneuver is automatically reduced. IRI has practically nothing to 
do in Haiti. On the other hand, we can bet that Haiti will become in 
the near future a high priority item on the agenda of the Congress 
with a Republican majority in order to put maximum pressure on 
the White House.

Everything hinges on the control of the situation -- a situation 
already fraught with all sorts of traps -- in the field in Haiti, and at 
the top of the list, the insecurity factor itself.