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17505: This Week in Haiti 21:38 12/03/2003 (fwd)
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
December 3 - 9, 2003
Vol. 21, No. 38
HAITIAN BOURGEOISIE FUMES AT CLASS-BLIND JUSTICE
In decades past, the Haitian bourgeoisie has generally enjoyed
the equivalent of diplomatic immunity in Haiti. If arrested, they
could usually count on their "connections" to rapidly spring them
from detention and, more often than not, they circumvented
courtrooms and prosecution.
Justice and jails were not for them; that was for another class
This preferential treatment then explains the fury with which
they reacted following the Nov. 14 arrest of two members of the
bourgeoisie on weapons charges. Police detained David Apaid and
Charles Henry Baker, vice president of the Haitian Association of
Manufacturers (ADIH), after finding three guns in the Mercedes
the men were driving to an anti-government demonstration in the
capital presided over by Apaid's uncle, André Apaid (see Haïti
Progrès, Vol. 21, No. 36, 11/19/2003). The two were released on
Dec. 1 after Judge Joassaint St. Clair dismissed the charges
against them, perhaps in response to the bourgeoisie's intense
When stopped and asked for gun permits, Baker had presented the
permit of someone else, government prosecutor Riquet Brutus had
charged. Baker's lawyers argued it was an "honest mistake."
Furthermore, although two of the guns had valid individual
permits, the third was registered to Apparel & Garment
Contractors, an assembly factory in the airport industrial park.
No representative of the company was with the firearm thus
resulting in another violation, the prosecution argued.
The police arrested 25 people on Nov. 14 and quickly released all
but four, including Apaid and Baker.
Outraged that their ilk should be charged and held in the same
manner as any ordinary citizen, the bourgeoisie immediately
castigated the arrests as "political" and "unjustified."
"There is no infraction, no violation, no crime," said Gervais
Charles, a lawyer for Apaid and Baker. "It is purely a political
Mme. Marie Claude Bayard, the ADIH president, used veiled
blackmail to explain why the courts should not prosecute Baker
and Apaid. "Such a decision risks throwing tens of thousands of
employees out of work," she said.
In fact, Baker used this tactic, ordering that his factory doors
be closed while he was in jail, thereby pressuring workers to
clamor for his release.
The tactic is similar to that used by the Venezuelan bourgeoisie
in their campaign to collect signatures for a petition to force a
recall vote of President Hugo Chavez. In many cases, workers who
refuse to sign the petition have been fired.
On Nov. 25, ten members of André Apaid's "Group of 184" (G184)
occupied the Port-au-Prince headquarters of the Organization of
American States (OAS) for five days to demand the release of the
"The Special Mission deplores this inappropriate action by the
representatives of the Group of 184," the OAS said in a mild
protest 48 hours after the occupation started. "The ends and the
means must be congruent and this, on behalf of everybody. The
Mission calls on the Group of 184 to immediately withdraw its
representatives from the OAS diplomatic offices." But not until
Saturday, Nov. 29, did the G184 withdraw.
A protest occupation of OAS offices during the 1991-1994 coup
d'état against Aristide was taxed as "terrorist" by many of the
same bourgeois-aligned radio stations which hailed last week's
KILL THE HAITIANS! WHAT A MESSAGE!
by Faustin Beaurevers
"Kill the Haitians!" is the refrain heard in Rockstar Games'
video title "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," which has already made
the company $260 million richer. The intellectual effect of this
video game will be to create a generation literally ready to kill
Haitians because they were taught to do so at a very early age.
But "killing all the Haitians" will not be so easy. The Spaniards
killed an estimated two million of the first Haitians Taino
indians whom they found on the island they renamed Hispaniola
in 1492. Then Europeans brought new Haitians enslaved Africans
beginning in 1503. For three centuries, they cruelly eliminated
hundreds of thousands by hanging, drowning, and shooting. Some
were even burned alive.
They were unable to destroy the Haitians in 1685, 1789, and 1791.
They could not stop our Proclamation of Independence on January
1, 1804. But because of that achievement, they have starved us,
killed us, and drained our blood.
Then in 1825, the French sent a fleet of 19 battle ships, 15
frigates, and seven other vessels with a total of 900 cannons to
give us an ultimatum that we pay them150 million gold francs or
be blown in pieces. We paid...
They were unable to destroy the Haitians in 1915, when U.S.
Marines invaded and occupied the country.
They were unsuccessful in stigmatizing Haitians as "carriers" of
the AIDS Virus in 1990. But the disease has succeeded in killing
one percent of our population over the past two decades.
Despite all the atrocities, lies, and false accusations over the
years, they've failed to destroy the Haitians or to stop their
ongoing effort to celebrate 2004. They have killed some men and
women. But they could not and will not kill the dream of a
peaceful, democratic, flourishing Haiti, for the dream is
stronger than life itself. They won't succeed in killing Haitian
pride and glory.
Today, they are teaching the 20 million kids who have already
purchased the racist video game "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" to
pursue an extermination that they've been unable to realize for
centuries. They want to pass on their hatred and cruelty to a new
generation of the human race.
What have Haitians done? What is their crime? Why is it death-row
for all Haitians?
Is it because Haitians gave to the world the first and only
successful slave revolution, the first army to defeat Napoleon
Bonaparte's military machine, the first independent black nation,
the second nation of the Americas, the first country to abolish
slavery, the first country where every man was a man regardless
of his color? Is it because the Haitians tremendously contributed
to help free the rest of the continent: Venezuela, Colombia,
Criminals of the new millennium, leave the Haitians alone! If
"killing all the Haitians" was impossible in 1492 and 1503 and
1915, it will not occur today.
Haitians might be momentarily defeated but cannot be destroyed.
Today, you are distributing millions among our hungry brothers
and sisters to pit them against each other, to kill and deceive
one another. But one day, perhaps even today, Haitians will grasp
Haitian brothers and sisters, in unity, there is strength. Such
is our national motto. We must stop this infernal machine, this
relentless propaganda, this war of another kind against our
people, our dignity and our country.
The author is a writer and poet living in New York.
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