Haiti – Security : Violence in Bel-Air neighborhood, at least 15 dead 10/11/2019 07:24:19
Following the armed clashes that took place between 4 and 7 November in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, which killed at least 15 people and wounded several others, according to the National Defense Network of Human Rights (RNDDH), Jean Roudy Aly, the Minister of Justice expressed concern about the situation and “bitterly deplores these heinous acts that aggravate the violence perpetrated by individuals without faith or law […] who believe they can to reign, in all peace, fear, to mourn, by take away the life of peaceful citizens and destroy their property.”
Recall that according to an investigation of the RNDDH “[…] November 4, 2019 in the morning, Jimmy Cherizier aka ‘Barbecue’, ‘Ti Sonson’, Head of the gang ‘Base Krache Dife’, accompanied by several heavily armed individuals returned to the Bel-Air area and set fire to at least 4 vehicles and damaged at least 2 EDH transformers. In Mayard, 7 other vehicles and 20 houses were burned. At Le Morne Marinette intense shootings were recorded, carrying ‘Barbecue’ to flee…
[…] November 5, a new attack was perpetrated against the population of Bel-Air. Houses, motorcycles and cars were once again burned.
[…] on November 6th, ‘Barbecue’ and ‘Ti Sonson’ went once again to Bel-Air. That day, 14 people died : 13 perished in the fire of one house and another was beheaded to Mayard. The corpses of all the victims were washed away. Several people were shot and wounded. Vehicles parked at the side of the road were set on fire.
[…] On November 7, heavily armed individuals dressed in red and black took control of the Bel-Air area, bringing many residents to abandon their homes […]” Note that the RNDDH accuses the Executive of being behind these acts of violence…
For his part, Minister Aly states that “[…] these acts will not go unpunished. The police and the justice have already been seized of the file and remain mobilized to hunt down these bandits and drag them by before the courts so that they answer for their acts […]” inviting all the citizens to collaborate and to stand out from the bandits so to contribute to security in the country.
Jean Roudy Aly, the Minister of Justice presents “his sympathies to the victims and reiterates his commitment and his determination to work for the implementation of an effective criminal policy that will not leave any crime unpunished.”
Moreover, in a correspondence sent to Me Jacques Lafontant, the acting Commissioner of the Government of Port-au-Prince, Minister Aly asks him “[…] to conduct an investigation into the facts reported in the media, resulting from clashes between armed gangs in the Bel-Air district of Port-au-Prince […] I am therefore waiting for the Public Prosecutor’s Office to act effectively as soon as possible to shed light on these facts and allow justice to take its course […]”
Protesters recently threw a Molotov cocktail and burnt tires in front of the Canadian Embassy in Port-au-Prince. At another rally demonstrators hurled rocks at the embassy and a protester was filmed holding a sign saying: “Fuck USA. Merde la France. Fuck Canada.”
While jarring for most Canadians, these acts reflect the anger of an impoverished people fed up with foreign governments dictating their affairs.
For more than a year Haitians have been engaged in a remarkable popular uprising against a corrupt and repressive foreign-backed president. Since September schools and businesses in Port-au-Prince have for the most part been shut due to protests challenging the president, racism and economic inequality. However, Haitians are also rejecting Canadian foreign policy.
Jovenel Moïse remains president because he has the backing of Canada, France, the United States and other members of the so-called “Core Group.” Canada provides the unpopular president with important financial, policing and diplomatic support.
During the past decade and a half, Haitians have increasingly identified Canada with the country’s historic influencers. Michel Vastel, a prominent Québec journalist, reported that a secret meeting took place on Jan. 31, 2003 in Ottawa, where officials discussed Haiti’s future. No Haitian representative was invited to the summit where high level officials from the U.S., Canada, France and the Organization of American States discussed overthrowing elected president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, putting the country under international trusteeship and resurrecting Haiti’s dreaded military.
Thirteen months after that meeting, the U.S., France and Canada ousted Aristide. For the next two years they imposed a government responsible for thousands of deaths. The coup also ushered in a UN military force whose reckless sewage disposal caused a cholera epidemic that took 10,000 lives.
After the country was struck by a deadly earthquake in 2010, Canadian officials continued their inhumane and antidemocratic course. According to internal government documents the Canadian Press examined a year after the disaster, officials in Ottawa feared a post-earthquake power vacuum could lead to a “popular uprising.” One briefing note marked “secret” explained: “Political fragility has increased, the risks of a popular uprising, and has fed the rumour that ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, currently in exile in South Africa, wants to organize a return to power.” The documents also explained the importance of strengthening the Haitian authorities’ ability “to contain the risks of a popular uprising.” To police Haiti’s traumatized and suffering population 2,050 Canadian troops were deployed alongside 12,000 US soldiers and 1,500 UN troops (8,000 UN soldiers were already there).
A year after the earthquake the U.S. and Canada forced third place presidential candidate, Michel Martelly, into the runoff of an election that barred Aristide’s party. The central figure in the multi-billion dollar corruption scandal that has spurred recent protests, Martelly is Moïse’s mentor.
It’s no wonder Haitians are angry with the Canadian government. But, an alternative Canadian position is also being put forward. On Oct. 31, Québec’s National Assembly unanimously endorsed a motion declaring “our unreserved solidarity with the Haitian people and their desire to find a stable and secure society. ” It urges “support for any peaceful and democratic exit from the crisis coming from Haitian civil society actors.” A week earlier the Concertation pour Haïti, a collection of Québec NGOs and unions, called for “Canada to make the right choice and use its influence in the international community to support” a presidential transition.Last week David Suzuki, Amir Khadir, Roger Waters, Maude Barlow, Yann Martel and more than 100 other writers, musicians, activists and professors signed an open letter requesting that “the Canadian government stop backing a corrupt, repressive and illegitimate Haitian president.”
It is time for a change in Canadian policy in Haiti.Marie Dimanche is founder of Solidarité Québec-Haiti #Petrochallenge 2019. Frantz André is with Comité d’action des personnes sans statut and Solidarité Québec-Haiti. Yves Engler is a member of Solidarité Québec-Haiti and author of 10 books.
Rebo S.A., for its deluxe coffees, Askanya S.A., with its premier bean-to-bar chocolates, Belzeb S.A., the producers of holistic massage oils and organic teas, and Berling S.A., the authentic premium rum and cream liquers distillery, made up the delegation of Haitian businesses that presented their products at the 2019 Taiwan International Tea, Coffee and Wine Expo.
The expo which was held from November 15 to 18 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Hall brought together exhibitors from more than 53 countries and hosted nearly 200,000 visitors. They were four days of awe, with tasting and exhibition sessions for the Asian public and each of the Haitian entrepreneurs left with hopeful eyes.
In Haiti, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Port-au-Prince Wednesday, in the latest demonstration to call for the ouster of President Jovenel Moïse.
Protester: “We can’t suffer any longer. We live in a place where there are no roads, no water, no hospitals. There’s nothing. Everything is blocked in this country. We’re saying this isn’t possible. That’s why we’re in the street. We’re going to stay in the streets every day.”
More than 40 people have been killed in two months of the anti-government protests.