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Context of 'February 6, 2002: US-Published Haitian Paper Says Aristide’s Party Engulfed by Scandal'

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Lavalas Family (LF) deputy Nahoum Marcellus exposes a scandal involving the duty-free import of 70,000 metric tons of rice by Lavalas senators and representatives. They used the cover of a fake cooperative reportedly founded by FL Senator Mirlande Liberus (an Aristide Foundation director), Paul Preslet (a former Aristide Foundation director, current head of the National Bank of Credit), and Jonas Petit, the FL’s official spokesman. Charles Souffrant, head of the peasant organization Kozepe, denounces the scheme which undermines the production of local rice and hurts Haiti’s rice growers. The Haitian treasury lost some 117 million gourdes in customs duties and tax revenues as a result of the ploy. [Haiti Progres, 2/6/2002]

Entity Tags: Paul Preslet, Nahoum Marcellus, Charles Souffrant, Mirlande Libérus, Jonas Petit

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Haiti-Progres, a Haitian newspaper published in the United States, reports that President Aristide’s Lavalas party is engulfed in financial scandals which are wreaking havoc on the economy. The most serious scandal so far is the duty-free import of 70,000 metric tons of rice by Lavalas senators and representatives, who used the cover of a fake cooperative (see (Late January 2002)). [Haiti Progres, 2/6/2002]

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

The Haitian Press Agency (AHP) reports that diplomats at the Organization of American States are openly circulating demands for the removal of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. “One document’s author suggested that it would be best if the situation kept deteriorating, saying that any aid should be blocked until 2005 in order to eliminate the party in power, Fanmi Lavalas [Lavalas Family], which will be of no help to the population, according to him.” [Black Commentator, 5/15/2003] Though the news report does not provide any names, one possible source for the remarks is Roger Noriega, the US permanent representative to the Organization of American States. Noriega is a known critic of Aristide.

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Roger Francisco Noriega

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1804-2005)

Dominican police arrest five Haitians, including Arcelin Paul, the official Democratic Convergence representative in the Dominican Republic, who they believe are plotting the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government. Also at this time, there is a US build-up along the Dominican border, where “900 US soldiers patrol jointly with the Dominican army, whom they have armed with 20,000 M16s.” Ben Dupuy, general secretary of the left-wing party PPN, tells the left-wing Haiti Progres, “There is no doubt these guys are true terrorists working with the CIA under Dominican protection.” Documentary filmmaker Kevin Pina, who has been covering Haiti for over a decade, calls this the “US funding of the Haitian ‘Contras.’” A September 2003 article in the magazine, Dollars and Sense, will comment: “Whatever we call them, there is an organized and well-funded armed group with ties to the Convergence, based in the Dominican Republic, which aims to overthrow the Aristide government. The Bush administration’s support for the Convergence and its refusal to denounce this violence, as well as the US military presence along the border, through which the ‘Manman’ army easily travels, clearly implicates the United States in this aim.” [Dollars and Sense, 9/7/2003]

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Arcelin Paul, Democratic Convergence, Ben Dupuy

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1804-2005)

The US State Department releases a report on human rights in Haiti one year after the ouster of Jean Bertrand Aristide. The report concludes that human rights violations have remained high under the interim government but that the interim government is not responsible for the abuses. [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]
bullet The report condemns members of the former military (FAd’H), members of the paramilitary Revolutionary Army for the Progress of Haiti (FRAPH), and the Haitian National Police (HNP) for using “deadly-force.” [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]
bullet The report also provides numerous examples of the HNP arresting Lavalas supporters without warrant and detaining them for extended periods of time without charge. The report condemns these actions as being in direct violation of the Haitian Constitution which states that a detainee cannot spend longer than 48 hours without hearing a charge before a judge. Of the people detained without charge, the report lists So Anne (Lavalas activist, folk singer, imprisoned May 2004, still imprisoned as of February 28, 2005), Father Gerard Jean-Juste (a well-known Catholic bishop, pro-Aristide activist, imprisoned October 13 and released November 29), and various members of the Lavalas Party in the Senate and Municipal government. The highest profile prisoner mentioned in the report is former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who as of February 28, 2005, has yet to hear a charge against him. [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]
bullet The report documents various killings of Aristide/Lavalas supporters that have taken place over the past year. The report assigns blame for some of the killings to the HNP. For others, the report concludes that the perpertrators of the killings could not be determined. [US Department of State, 2/28/2005]

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Gerard Latortue, Haitian National Police, US Department of State

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

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