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From: John Holmstead <cyberkismet@yahoo.com>

AHP News - November 17,  2003 - English translation

Everything is set for the celebration of the 200th
anniversary of the Battle of Vertières

Cap-Haïtien, November 17, 2003-(AHP)- Secretary of
State for Communication Mario Dupuy said Monday that
everything is ready to go for the commemoration of the
200th anniversary of the Battle of Vertières on
November 18 in Cap-Haïtien. 

According to Mario Dupuy the population in the North
is awaiting the arrival of President Jean Bertrand
Aristide to celebrate with pride the final battle of
the indigenous army against the powerful army of
Napoleon, which led to the definitive freeing of the
slaves and to national independence on January 1st,

Mr. Dupuy said he is confident that all sectors of the
population regardless of political affiliation will
come together to commemorate this event.

The government's delegate in the North department,
Jean Myrtho Julien, stated that all appropriate
measures have been taken to welcome President Aristide
and the many other invited guests.

Several activities were organized over the past
weekend including a torchlight procession in which
several thousand people took part.

According to Mr. Julien, the population's
participation in the march proves that it understands
the need to honor the memory of the heroes of

Delegate Julien announced that the construction work
and renovations at the site of  Vertières have been

Many residents of Cap Haitien as well as tourists
arrived from abroad this weekend to take part in the
great event.

The country's second city is decorated with the
national colors, blue and red, and flags were flying
just about everywhere in the city.

The opposition in Cap Haitien canceled demonstrations
that had been planned for this past weekend following
a new communiqué by local authorities pointing out
that all demonstrations that are not related to the
200th anniversary of  Vertières are banned until
November 19th.

The Superior Council of the National Police (CSPN)
promised that all appropriate measures have been
adopted to assure security at the cultural events.

AHP November 17, 2003  1:25 PM 

 A delegation from the United States Embassy attends
the ceremonies to commemorate the bicentennial of the
Battle of Vertières

Port-au-Prince, November 17, 2003-(AHP)- The U.S.
Embassy in Port-au-Prince announced Monday that the
United States will be represented on November 18 at
the ceremonies for the 200th anniversary of the Battle
of  Vertières to pay tribute to the heroes and to
demonstrate its solidarity with the Haitian people.

In a statement dated November 17, Ambassador James
Foley indicated that the government and people of the
United States are profoundly aware of the importance
of the celebration of the bicentennial of the
Vertières battle.

"The victory on the battlefield of the heroes of Haïti
was also a victory for the entire world because it
made possible the birth of Haiti as an independent
nation and inspired the independence movement in the
hemisphere and the worldwide struggle for the
abolition of slavery", stated the Ambassador, adding
that the heroes of Haiti are the heroes of the entire

Ambassador Foley said however, that he will not be
able to attend the ceremony himself because of the
events of November 14.

On that day demonstrators who are members of the
Lavalas movement had caused an opposition rally to be
called off because they greatly outnumbered the

Mr. Foley said he deplores the fact that Haitians were
prevented from exercising their most fundamental right
to self-expression and assembly, rights that the
heroes of Vertières helped to establish, he added.

The U.S. Ambassador also said he deplores the arrest
and continued detention of more than 20 organizers of
the November 14 rally.

Officials of the Group of 184 were arrested for
illegal possession of firearms, according to the

AHP November 17, 2003 4:00 PM 

The strike by the opposition is not widely followed
across the country

Port-au-Prince, November 17, 2003-(AHP)- The strike
called by the Group of 184 (in opposition to the
government) was not widely followed across the

In Port-au-Prince, public transport, the informal
economic sector and public markets were open more or
less as usual.

The upper echelons of the business community, for the
most part backers of the strike, kept their stores
shuttered, while many supermarkets were open for

As for the State-run banks, the BRH (Bank of the
Republic of Haiti), the BPH (Haitian Popular Bank),
and the BNC (National Credit Bank), served customers
while the private banks sent their employees home.

This situation provoked anger among some customers
outside a bank in Delmas. They protested their having
been deprived in an arbitrary manner of their right to
carry out banking transactions relating to their

The wife of one of these customers had given birth by
Caesarian section on Monday.

The majority of schools decided to send their students
home for various reasons including the absence of
teachers, while some, such as the Collège
Canado-Haïtien followed a normal school schedule.

The strike by the Group of 184 was not followed in the
majority of the provincial cities.

In Léogane, the strike call by the Group of 184 and
the business community was not followed.

Shops, public transportation services, and the school
were open as usual.  

Several residents criticized the conduct of Group of
184 leader André Apaid who is seeking, they said, to
destabilize the country with a view to preventing the
government from commemorating the bicentennial of
national independence.

In Gonaïves, the strike was partly followed. Drivers
serving the route between Gonaïves and Port-au-Prince
who protested the increase in insurance premium did
not come to work Monday. At the same time, public
transport within the city was proceeding as usual.

The larger shops closed their doors while the informal
market vendors were open.

In related news, the city of Gonaïves has been calm
since the installation in office of the new government
delegate for the Artibonite department, Billy Racine.

In Les Cayes, all activities proceeded normally. All
the major shops, public markets, the informal trade
sector and schools were operating as usual.

Unibank,  the BUH (Bank of the Haitian Union) and BNC
(National Credit Bank) opened their doors to customers
on Monday. Only Sogebank was not open. 

Public transportation drivers also observed a work
stoppage to protest the increase in premiums for
vehicles insured through the OAVCT.

In Port-de-Paix, there was no sign of the strike
launched by the opposition. All activities went on as
usual in this city in the Northwest.

The strike was also unsuccessful in Mirebalais and
Hinche in the Central Plateau.

The Group of 184 and the other sectors of the
opposition decided to launch the strike following the
cancellation of the rally scheduled for Friday at the
Champ-de-Mars in Port-au-Prince to present a "new
draft social contract" to their supporters and to call
at the same time for the departure of the elected
governmental authorities.  

The demonstration had been overwhelmed by the presence
of supporters of Lavalas who had come to the Champ-de-
Mars in far greater numbers.

According to Group of 184 leader André Apaid, business
leaders expect to take advantage of the presence in
Haiti of journalists from some international
television networks to talk about their determination
to make a clean break from what he called "the

They also intend through this strike to press for the
release of several members of the Caravan of Hope,
including David Apaid and Charles Henry Baker,
arrested by the police for alleged illegal possession
of firearms.

AHP November 17, 2003  10:10 AM

Reactions to the strike called by the opposition

Port-au-Prince, November 17, 2003-(AHP)- Prime
Minister Yvon Neptune said Monday that he had not been
informed of the strike call launched by business
leaders and the Group of 184.

Yvon Neptune indicated that the government did not
receive any notification by the strike organizers, and
said that the strike is political in nature and has
nothing to do with the social demands of the Haitian

The Prime Minister finds it abnormal for a group or a
sector to decide to deprive people of services to
which they have a right.

The strike call by the business community is in
violation of the labor code which clearly defines how
unions can carry out a strike, asserted the prime
minister, adding that employers don't have a right to

In addition, the Prime Minister announced that formal
instructions have been issued to the police to take
action against all who attempt to intimidate people by
coercing them to take part in the strike called by the
business sector.

The head of the government asked everyone to feel free
to carry out normal activities, adding that the police
will take appropriate action against any who choose to
stir up trouble in the country.

The Democratic Convergence gave its support to the
strike call by the Group of 184.

Paul Denis, a spokesperson for the political
coalition, considered that what happened Friday at the
rally of the group of 184 is revolting and merits a
suitable response.

Mr. Denis also criticized the position of some labor
and human rights organizations who called on the
population to ignore the strike call of the Group of

According to the Convergence official, the government
violate the people's right to express itself freely.

The MSH (Haitian Labor Union movement), an
organization which is a member of the Group of 184,
also supported the strike call.

MSH spokesperson Montès Joseph said he is supporting
the strike to demand the release of the members of the
Group of 184 who were arrested on Friday for "illegal
possession of firearms".

The Coordinator of the September 30 Foundation,
 Lovinsky Pierre Antoine, along with Duclos Bénissoit,
leader of the ANC (National Action of Drivers),  Rétès
Réjouis, Secretary General of the FTPH (Federation of
Haitian Public Transporters), as well as St Fort
Dieumaitre, spokes person for the APCH (Association of
Vehicle Owners and Drivers), all appealed to the
population to ignore the strike call of the Group of

Drivers in particular were asked not to join with
those who are working, they said, against the
interests of the most underprivileged.

The director of  CERFO (Center for Workers' Studies
and Research), Ronald St Jean, also spoke against the
"illegal character" of the strike call launched by the
Group of 184.

According to Ronald St Jean, the strike organizers
need to inform the Ministry of Social Affairs of their
plans. He deems the strike a serious violation of
workers' rights.

In Mr. St Jean's view, the leaders of the Group of 184
are working for certain sectors of the international
community who are financing them in order to
destabilize the country.

AHP November 17, 2003  12:05 PM 

The U.S. government affirms that it continues to
support Resolution 822 as a way out of the crisis in


Port-au-Prince, November 17, 2003-(AHP)- The United
States government announced Monday that it continues
to support the efforts of the OAS to form a consensus
electoral council and launch a process that would lead
to free and honest elections.

"We remain convinced that this is the best solution
for emerging from the political crisis", said
Ambassador James Foley, emphasizing that in order for
this initiative to succeed, the Haitian government
must demonstrate a minimum of good faith and enact
measures to restore confidence in the political
institutions and those mandated to guarantee security.

Commenting that the anniversary of Haiti's 200 years
of independence is fast approaching, Amb. Foley said
that the United States is counting on being present
alongside the Haitian people to celebrate this great

"We sincerely hope that between now and that time the
government of Haiti will assume its responsibilities
and act in the interest of the Haitian people" , he

It is noteworthy that many opposition sectors have
called on their supporters in recent weeks to mobilize
to oust the current government.

Lavalas supporters have for their part pressed
opposition leaders to proceed along the path of
elections if they wish to hold power.  

AHP November 17, 2003 4:35 PM 

Several thousand members and sympathizers of Fanmi
Lavalas take part in mini-conferences held in various
parts of the country


Port-au-Prince November 17, 2003-(AHP)- Several
thousand members and sympathizers of Fanmi Lavalas
participated Saturday in the party's conference for
the Southeast Department held in Jacmel in preparation
of the national conference to be held in December.

The conference was attended by several Lavalas elected
officials of the Southeast Department. Senator  Fourel
Célestin recalled the priority of the Lavalas
government, which is, he said, to invest in human

Fourel Célestin also denounced the divisions that are
eating away at Haitian society.

For his part, Deputy Wilnet Content called on the
population to mobilize to block the way to all sectors
financed, he said, by sectors of the international
community seeking to destabilize the country.

In Petit-Goâve, the local coordinating office of Fanmi
Lavalas also held a conference for that area.

Several hundred Fanmi Lavalas supporters came from the
communal sections of Petit-Goâve to take part in the

They reiterated their support for President Aristide
and advocated elections as a means of bringing the
post-electoral crisis to an end.

In the Grande-Anse Department, a conference was held
around the theme of " Restitution and reparations ". 

At that event, the acting National Coordinator for
Fanmi Lavalas, Jonas Petit, criticized the maneuvers
he claims are being orchestrated by some sectors
working to lead the country into chaos.

Jonas Petit asked the opposition and civil society to
organize themselves to move toward participating in
the next elections.

AHP November 17, 2003 2:30 PM 

The residents of Cité Soleil and the Wharf area
demonstrate for the return of electricity and potable
water to the area


Port-au-Prince November 17, 2003-(AHP)- Residents of
Cité Soleil and the Wharf area held a demonstration
Monday in which they called on the government to
re-establish the supply of electricity and potable
water to the area which have been cut off for more
than a month, they say, by supporters of gang leader
Robenson Thomas, known as Labanyè.  

They also blocked National Route # 1 by erecting
flaming barricades.

The demonstrators asked the police to assume their
responsibilities in the Cité. 

Residents of the Wharf area also denounced the killing
of an individual named Zaro which they claim was
carried out by supporters of Labanyè.

They threatened to continue to demonstrate if the
authorities do not intervene to resolve the problems
facing the Cité.

AHP November 17, 2003 3:10 PM


Inauguration of the Aristide University for Democracy
in Tabarre


Port-au-Prince November 17, 2003-(AHP)- President Jean
Bertrand Aristide inaugurated the Popular university
of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy in Tabarre
last Friday.

Until such time as arrangements can be made to teach
other subjects at the university, only courses in
medicine will be offered.

 At the ceremony the Chief of State and his wife,
Mildred Aristide Trouillot, asked the first group of
students to work for the improvement of health
conditions for the Haitian people.

The First Couple also asked them act as defenders of
human rights.

Several foreign dignitaries including university
professors took part in the ceremony.

A public high school and a public square were also
inaugurated the same day in Croix-des-Bouquets by
President Aristide.

AHP November 17, 2003 11:00 AM


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