[News] Haiti - Update on Jean Juste & Maxine Waters

Anti-Imperialist News News at freedomarchives.org
Fri Dec 2 11:02:01 EST 2005

ezilidanto at lists.riseup.net

Update on Fr. Jean-Juste 12.1.05

We wound our through the hills of Port-au-Prince up
the road that Father Jean-Juste calls Gologotha to the
Annexe Pententiare Nationale, where he has been
incarcerated the last several months. The Haitian
National Police and U.N. soldiers from Senegal patrol
the prison. Father's health condition continues to be
serious and, in fact, has worsened since September,
according to Dr. John Carroll who examined Father then
and also today (12-01-05). Father is need of a
complete medical work up and a surgical intervention.

As to his legal and ecclesiastical situations, he is
waiting to hear from authorities on both. A judge in
Haiti has his dossier and is reviewing the
information. This "review" has been going on for
months now. As there is no evidence that Father has
committed a crime of any kind, we can only believe
that he is being kept in jail until after the
elections, which  keep being postponed. They are currently scheduled for
January 8.

Though Father is eager to leave jail, he hopes to hear
from Rome first about his status as a priest. He was
recently told by the bishops of Haiti that he could no
longer officially act as a priest. "It would be a
great hardship on me if I couldn't say Mass after I am
released from prison," Father said. He has little
support from Catholic priests and bishops in Haiti or
abroad. "Many of the Haitian priests who would be
supporters of mine are dead," he said. Bishop
Gumbleton from Detroit has visited Father and
advocates for Father Jean-Juste's release.

Father's spirits continue to be strong; no one can
keep him from God.

The feeding program at his parish, St. Clare's is
going strong, four days a week, feeding 750 people
each time possibly the only meal they will eat that
day. If you would like to donate to this absolutely
vital cause, contact Margaret Trost at
margarettrost at yahoo.com or visit the What If
Foundation website at www.whatiffoundation.org.

Father appreciates the support he receives from people
in Haiti and all over the world.



For Immediate 
Release                                           Contact:  Mikael Moore

December 1, 
2005                                                        (202) 225-2201




         Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Maxine 
Waters (CA-35) sent a letter to Secretary of 
State Condoleezza Rice, asking her to explain how 
the interim government of Haiti is financing the 
civil lawsuit it filed in a U.S. District Court 
against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and 
several co-defendants for allegedly stealing money from the Haitian treasury.

         "I want to know how the interim 
government of Haiti is financing this lawsuit," 
said the Congresswoman, "and I want to know 
whether the interim government's allegations 
against President Aristide have been investigated 
sufficiently by the U.S. Government to justify 
the expenditures for this lawsuit."

         President Aristide, the 
democratically-elected president of Haiti, was 
forced to leave Haiti in a coup d'etat on 
February 29, 2004.  The interim government of 
Haiti is in the process of organizing elections, 
but these elections have been postponed several 
times.  The elections are currently scheduled for January and February of 2006.

         "The interim government of Haiti has 
promised to hold elections," said Congresswoman 
Waters.  "Why can't these allegations be 
investigated by a government that has been freely 
elected by the people of Haiti?"

         Congresswoman Waters' letter 
specifically asked Secretary of State Rice 
whether any U.S. government funds, such as grants 
from the Department of State, the Department of 
Justice, the U.S. Agency for International 
Development (USAID), or the National Endowment 
for Democracy, are being used to finance the 
lawsuit against President Aristide.

         "Foreign aid is in demand for programs 
ranging from reconstruction in Afghanistan to 
AIDS in Africa,"  said the 
Congresswoman.  "Meanwhile, the United States is 
facing record deficits, and Congress is 
considering major budget cuts in both domestic 
and international programs.  We should not allow 
an un-elected government to use our foreign aid 
to pursue legal challenges to the elected government it replaced."



Notes on our four-hour chat with a former Lavalas minister
by Anna and Kirsty Andrews

On November 25, we met with Patrice* ___, a 
former minister in the Fanmi Lavalas (FL), who 
played an important role in the FL’s 
ground-breaking 1995 disbandment of the 
notoriously murderous Haitian armed forces — an 
army that had only ever served to wage war on the 
Haitian population. Patrice had recently traveled 
into the Port-au-Prince shantytown of Site Soley 
— the battleground in a present-day war against 
civilians.  An already impoverished 
neighbourhood, Site Soley has been particularly 
hard hit by the US, Canada and France-backed 
February 2004 coup d’etat. One of the first moves 
of the defacto government of Gerard Latortue was 
a large-scale purge of the public sector; some 
4000 workers who had been hired under Aristide, 
many of whom inhabited the impoverished slums 
around Port-au-Prince, were fired in the immediate aftermath of the coup.

Site Soley is a longstanding stronghold for FL 
support, and its residents have played an 
important role in organizing demonstrations 
against the coup government. Meanwhile, the 
residents’ acute impoverishment, particularly 
since February 2004, has prompted others to rely 
more on petty criminal activities to survive 
(although these crimes often pale in comparison 
with those of business leaders and the defacto 
government—which have played a major role in a 
number of high profile kidnappings since the 
coup). In Haiti, many people carry firearms, and 
in Site Soley, some residents have started using 
guns to defend their neighbourhoods against the 
increasing repression waged by the Haitian 
National Police (HNP) and MINUSTAH. The defacto 
government has tried to conflate the criminal 
activities — including the kidnappings they 
themselves have had a hand in--with the political 
organizing going on in Site Soley.

Former MINUSTAH commanding General, Brazilian 
Heleno Ribeiro, had emphasized that violence in 
Site Soley had social and economic roots. 
However, after Ribeiro was replaced, the focus 
has shifted: Site Soley is now a “law and order” 
problem to be treated by military means — namely 
by sending Jordanian soldiers into the 
neighbourhoods to assassinate residents. The late 
night MINUSTAH raid that attracted world media 
attention on July 6, when tens of civilians, 
including children, were shot in Site Soley, is part of an ongoing pattern.

MINUSTAH refers to this as targeting gang 
leaders. Residents’ movements are restricted by 
checkpoints guarded by MINUSTAH soldiers.

The residents have not had any water supply or 
electricity since over a year ago, when water was 
cut in what Patrice notes is a “punitive measure” 
by the defacto government. From what Patrice has 
gleaned from recent visits to the neighbourhood, 
“It’s being transformed into a concentration 
camp”. The population of the city has dropped 
down dramatically as a result of the occupation; 
“people are fleeing”, Patrice stated. The weekend 
before last, he had heard lots of shooting coming 
from the shantytown, which he noted was 
significant because “from my place to hear 
something means that there are some serious 
weapons” being used by MINUSTAH. A lawyer with 
BAI we recently spoke with told us that last 
weekend, entry into the neighbourhood had been 
blocked off by MINUSTAH.  When we spoke to 
journalist Jean*_____, who lives in the 
neighbourhood, on Saturday, he told us that he 
himself had been shot at. Four bullets had hit 
his motorcycle. He also reported that MINUSTAH 
appeared to be expanding its base inside Site Soley.

Patrice is extremely critical of MINUSTAH’s shift 
from a social-economic to military discourse 
about the “problem” of Site Soley — especially 
because it is evident from all the conversations 
that he has had with folks in the neighbourhood 
that desperate poverty is  playing a huge role in 
much of the crime and violence.

“This comes back continuously in my conversations 
with [the residents of Site Soley]’”, Patrice 
told us; “people say ‘the first time I was hired 
was under Aristide’. Now they can’t send my kids 
to school, or their kids are dying from lack of 
25 goudes to buy medicine or food. He added that 
sometimes people only have a choice between two 
kinds of violence: that of robbing some bourgeois 
driving by on the nearby highway, or of watching one’s child die of hunger.

In Patrice's analysis, MINUSTAH’s Disarmament, 
Demobilization and Reinsertion Programme (DDR) 
has been fundamentally flawed. Instead of 
offering a means of social reintegration to both 
sides, it has in fact at no point and in no way 
been applied even-handedly. One side—the 
resurgent (and insurgent) militaries and the 
delinquent police — was offered a good deal; for 
the other side — the armed young men in the 
slums, whether criminalized gangs, Lavalas 
loyalists or community self defenders — there has been nothing but repression.

DDR seems well-named indeed, an odd bow to the 
notorious state of East Germany (but without the 
social welfare that the Soviet regime bestowed 
along with its apparatus of Party and Stasi). In 
fact, this was the second time on Friday that 
East Germany had come to mind. Rereading Kirsty’s 
notes on Georges Michel, Anna recalled Brecht’s 
famously mordant poem on the occasion of the 1953 
workers’ revolt against the Party state to the 
effect that the people having lost the confidence 
of the Party, perhaps the Party should elect 
another people. Professor Michel certainly seems 
to be of that opinion. We wonder: is the 
“international community” inclined to think the same?

AKA are freelance journalists who traveled to 
Haiti on November 23rd, to document and report on 
the nefarious activities of the international 
community in undermining Haiti’s democracy. The are keeping a blog...

(*Real Names altered by HLLN as a precautionary measure)

Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

The Freedom Archives
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San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
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