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Context of 'March 5, 2005: Haiti’s Foreign Minister Says UN Violated Mandate'

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“Following a US-backed plan,” Haitian Prime Minister Gerard Latortue meets with political leaders to begin the process of selecting thirteen ministers for a new interim government. People who had worked in the government since 2000 are automatically disqualified. Additionally, no representatives from any political parties—the Lavalas Family Party or the opposition—are supposed to be included in the interim cabinet. Notably, several of those chosen have held posts in international development organizations, which as the Haiti Support Group notes, “have been very active in Haiti for many decades without making any discernible progress with the country’s social or economic development.” Among those chosen are Yvon Simeon as foreign minister; Bernard Gousse, an anti-Aristide lawyer, as justice minister; Henri Bazan, president of the Haitian Association of Economists, UN consultant, as finance minister; former Gen. Herard Abraham as interior minister; Josette Bijoux, World Health Organization, as public health minister; Daniel Saint-Lot, Director of Training for the controversial USAID-funded, community radio development program, RAMAK, as commerce, industry and tourism minister, Pierre Buteau, as education and culture minister; Roland Pierre, agronomist, as planning and environment minister, Smarck Michel, former primer minister, as planning minister. [CNN, 3/16/2004; Haiti Support Group, 3/17/2004] Despite Latortue’s assurances, several of these people do have ties to political parties. Yvon Simeon, was the Democratic Convergence’s representative in Europe and Bernard Gousse is said to be an active member of the Group of 184. [Haiti Support Group, 3/17/2004] Interestingly, many of the new cabinet members, like Mr. LaTortue himself, are from Boca Raton, Florida, leading some observers to refer to the new government as the “Boca Regime.” [Z Magazine, 5/5/2004]

Entity Tags: Josette Bijoux, Yvon Simeon, Smarck Michel, Mac Donald Jean, Herard Abraham, Roland Pierreas, Paul Emile Simon, Pierre Buteau, Lamartine Clermont, Danielle Magliore, Gerard Latortue, Anne-Marie Issa, Ariel Henry, Henri Bazan, Christian Rousseau, Bernard Gousse, Daniel Saint-Lot

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Haiti’s new justice minister, Bernard Gousse, announces that Haiti will seek the extradition of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide for alleged corruption and human rights abuses. Gousse also suggests that convicted murderer and known human rights violator, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, could be pardoned. Chamblain was convicted in 2000 in absentia and sentenced to life imprisonment for his involvement in the Raboteau Massacre (see April 18-22, 1994). “We have to take into consideration that [Chamblain] helped get rid of two dictators in Haiti—[Jean-Claude] Duvalier and Aristide,” Gousse claims. [Miami Herald, 4/2/2004; Human Rights Watch, 4/5/2004; CNN, 4/8/2004] Human Rights Watch quickly condemns the suggestion. “The contrast between the Haitian government’s eagerness to prosecute former Aristide officials and its indifference to the abusive record of certain rebel leaders could not be more stark,” says Joanne Mariner, deputy director of Americas Division for Human Rights Watch. [Human Rights Watch, 4/5/2004; CNN, 4/8/2004]

Entity Tags: Joanne Mariner, Bernard Gousse, Louis-Jodel Chamblain

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Four days after the bloody one year anniversary of Aristide’s ouster, protesters march peacefully on the Haitian capital calling for the return of Aristide and the release of political prisoners. Protestors march under the protection of the UN peacekeepers, who were simply observers on February 28, 2004. Haitian police officers are prevented from entering the march’s perimeter by UN forces. A spokesperson for the march, Samba Boukman, says: “We don’t want the Haitian Police. They are killing us. We want to deal with UN troops.” [Reuters, 3/4/2005; Reuters, 3/5/2005]

Entity Tags: Haitian National Police, Samba Boukman

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Haiti’s Justice Minister Bernard Gousse says that the UN removal of Haiti’s National Police from the March 4 demonstration (see March 4, 2005) was a violation of the UN mandate. Even though demonstrators thanked the UN troops for protecting them, Gousse states that “there is no way MINUSTAH (UN presence in Haiti) can ask national police to leave an area within Haitian territory.” Gousse also claims that the Haitian National Police were “told in an aggressive way” that they were not to be present at the demonstration. [Business Day, 3/7/2005]

Entity Tags: MINUSTAH, Bernard Gousse, Haitian National Police

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

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