Arrest of the Lavalas activist Annette Auguste (Sò Anne)
Annette Auguste was arrested Sunday evening, accused of having made threats against soldiers of the multinational force, according to David Lapan
Annette Auguste is arrested because of an allegation that she was involved in the events of December 5, 2003 at the Faculty of Social Science. according to NCHR
The Fanmi Lavalas Political organization denounces the witch hunt against its supporters throughout the country
Demonstrations in Miami and New York against Gérard Latortue and a planned demonstration for May 18 in Haiti
A Canadian researcher declares that he agrees with the thesis of kidnapping put forward in connection with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
The National Commission of Justice and Peace presses the Latortue government to disarm the groups that are sowing terror
Evans Paul confirms that he might be a candidate for president
A photo of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell together with the provisional Haitian Prime Minister provokes a reaction of shame from among the ranks of the former opposition
Evans Paul calls for the exclusion of Lavalas in the formation of the CEP; Yvon Feuillé issues a warning to those appointees to the CEP who have taken the oath of office lest they carry out any actions in the name of the electoral body
Campaign to rescue the sick among the population in several parts of the country
The President of the Senate denounces the inability of the Latortue government to require some sectors to honor their tax obligations
AHP News - May 10, 2004 - English translation (Unofficial)
Rounds of heavy weapons were fired, creating panic throughout the neighborhood.
The son of Madame Auguste, Ralph Samedi, who was released a short time later along with 10 members of the family, said that the arrests were carried out by U.S. Marines with a great deal of noise.
The U.S. military caused, he said, substantial damage when they broke down doors through the use of sophisticated weapons, smashed the windshields of vehicles and launched grenades. They handcuffed all the occupants of the home including a child aged five, he said.
A dog was reportedly also torn to pieces during the operation.
Ralph Samedi said he sees this arrest as being linked to a campaign designed to intimidate Aristide supporters and to dissuade them from organizing a nationwide demonstration against violence on May 18.
Multinational Interim Force spokesperson Col. David Lapan said for his part that Sò Anne had been arrested because she made negative comments against the foreign soldiers and the national police.
"If my mother made threats against the multinational force, the accusers would have to say on which radio stations, which television channels she made the statements", said Mr. Samedi.
But the NCHR stated that her arrest was in fact connected to her possible involvement in the violent incidents of December 5 2003 at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
Colonel David Lapan acknowledged that no weapons were fired from the home of Sò Anne and that no illegal weapons were found there. He contended that the Marines used substantial force during their operation in order to persuade the occupants of the home that the Marines were capable of defending themselves.
Annette Auguste had recently undergone surgery and her physician had recommended that she stay at home, her son stated.
For his part, Justice of the Peace Marcenau Salomon, who prepared the official report of the military operation affirmed that he had documented substantial property damage.
However, Judge Salomon declared that the type of weapons used in this occupation of the area could only be identified by an expert.
Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson Gilvert Angervil denounced the arrest of Sò Anne as an illegal act.
What the de facto authorities are trying to do, he said, is to lock up all the leaders and members of Fanmi Lavalas, and persecute, harass and drive into hiding all the supporters of the Party throughout the country.
"That is what kind of democracy they wanted when they asked the foreigner to make President Aristide leave", exclaimed Gilvert Angervil. He asked human rights organizations to issue a denunciation and to demand that this escalation be stopped.
The Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson also called on the population to ask in a peaceful manner that the persecution and violence come to an end.
AHP May 10, 2004 10:40 AM
The Multinational Interim Force wanted to interrogate Mme. Auguste concerning statements attributed to her which allegedly constitute a threat to the soldiers of the multinational force as well as the police.
The interrogation took place, however Sò Anne was detained afterwards, though the other members of her family were freed, because the Haitian National Police, which was not present at the time of the arrests, stated tat it had a warrant for the activist's arrest.
David Lapan explained that the violence utilized to break into Sò Anne's house was motivated by the fact that the soldiers wanted to surprise her and demonstrate that they had overpowering resources.
He emphasized that no illegal weapons were found on Sò Anne and that no exchange of gunfire took place.
Mr. Lapan called on all those against whom a warrant has been issued to go to the police or risk becoming victims of this sort of strong arm intervention.
AHP May 10, 2004 4:20 PM
Speaking on behalf of NCHR, Vilès Alizar, who visited Sò Anne at the National Penitentiary, declared that she is accused of having provided members of populist organizations with the means to attack the students.
According to Vilès Alizar, the office of the prosecutor attached to the civil court of Port-au-Prince wanted to interview Sò Anne this Monday, but the hearing did not take place because her lawyer did not appear.
In her statements to NCHR, Mme Annette Auguste confirmed that the U.S. soldiers caused considerable property damage.
Vilès Alizar asked the judicial authorities to respect the rights of Annette Auguste by handling her case in an impartial manner.
"Sò Anne is being detained at the prison under normal conditions of detention", said Mr. Alizar who nevertheless deemed her arrest illegal because it was carried out without a warrant.
The spokesperson for the multinational force, David Lapan, indicated at a news briefing that Annette Auguste was arrested because she made disagreeable comments about the foreign soldiers and members of the Haitian National Police.
AHP May 10, 2004 4:30 PM
A Fanmi Lavalas spokesperson, Gilvert Angervil, declared that he had documented more than ten arrests of activists in Port-au-Prince and the provinces since the beginning of the month.
He said that all these arrests were made illegally on the basis of wild accusations or after police informants had mentioned their names.
According to Gilvert Angervil, this wave of arrests is intended to pave the way for official elections to be organized by the Latortue government for the benefit of his political family.
He called for the immediate and unconditional release of all activists and high-level officials of Fanmi Lavalas who are illegally detained. Such is the case for the activist Annette Auguste who was arrested in the middle of the night.
For his part, the executive director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), Pierre Espérance, denounced the illegal nature of the arrest and detention of the former mayor of Delmas, Maxon Guerrier.
Pierre Espérance said it isn't right for someone to be arrested without any charge being made against him.
He described as unacceptable these arbitrary practices consisting of imprisoning a person for no legitimate reason.
"One can not construct the rule of law without respecting the laws and human rights", said Mr. Espérance. He called on the interim authorities to respect the Haitian Constitution.
AHP May 10, 2004 10:15 AM
New-York, May 10, 2004 -(AHP)- Several hundred Haitians organized two sit-ins in Manhattan against the U.S. visit by the provisional Haitian Prime Minister, Gérard Latortue.
The Haitians rallied near a hotel where Mr. Latortue was scheduled to give a news briefing, chanting slogan hostile to the interim prime minister, accusing him of backing a coup d'état in Haiti.
President Aristide had left the country suddenly on February 29 under circumstances that remain confused, while rebels hesitated to march on the capital after having set fire to police stations and numerous government offices in several parts of the country.
A member of the coordination unit of Fanmi Lavalas in New York, Pierre Florestal, declared that Gérard Latortue does not represent the Haitian people and can not negotiate on Haiti's behalf.
Hundreds of Haitians demonstrated against Gérard Latortue in Miami and New York last Friday and Saturday, claiming he "vested himself with an illegal authority".
In related news, grassroots organizations of Fanmi Lavalas plan to hold a demonstration on May 18 in Port-au-Prince to call for an end to the repression and for the return to power of President Jean Bertrand Aristide.
A Fanmi Lavalas activist Jackenson François, declared that it is unacceptable that the rights of Haitians continue to be trampled.
"We are going to take to the streets in a peaceful manner on May 18, a date of great historical importance, to say that we are determined to fight for the respect of our rights and of the Haitian Constitution", said Jackenson François.
AHP May 10, 2004 11:10 AM
Kevin Keerett said he did not understand why the united States still refuses to open an investigation into the circumstances of President Aristide's departure on February 29.
According to him, there is nothing to establish that until the evening of February 28 President Aristide had shown even the slightest intention of leaving office.
Kevin Keerett accused the United States and France of having done everything they can to overthrow a constitutionally-elected president.
He said that in his view CARICOM should persist in calling for an independent inquiry into the circumstances of the departure of President Jean Bertrand Aristide.
AHP May 10, 2004 11:30 AM
The National Commission of Justice and Peace presses the Latortue government to disarm the groups that are sowing terror
The director of this Catholic Church organization, Father Jean Hansens, said that the free circulation of weapons in the country contributes enormously to an increase in crimes in society.
According to Father Hansens, a vast campaign of disarmament is urgently needed if one does in fact wish to pacify and stabilize the country.
Father Jean Hansens asserted that all sectors should contribute to the success of the disarmament operation.
However he insisted upon the need for those who continue to make fine speeches on the question of disarmament to shoulder their responsibilities fully.
AHP May 10, 2004 11:45 AM
Port-au-Prince, May 10, 2004 -(AHP)- KID leader Evans Paul confirmed this past weekend that he might be a candidate in the presidential elections set for 2005.
Speaking on a Port-au-Prince radio program, Evans Paul said that if he does run for president it will be for the good of the country.
However he said he is in the process of following the situation so as to assure himself that all the necessary conditions have been put in place and that he would be able to have a good team before he will think further about such a step.
He added that he does not wish to become president just for his own sake.
"The Kid does not merely have need of the presidency but aspires rather to power in a fuller sense and to having a team capable of addressing the country's problems", he declared.
Mr. Paul recently traveled to the Dominican Republic and met with Leonel Fernandez, the candidate from the PLD party (Party for Dominican Liberation) and said that the borders between Haiti and the Dominican republic should not exist when it comes to trade.
The leader of the KID party, which is a member of the Democratic Convergence, did not say whether he intends to run as a candidate representing the major socialist party that this political coalition says it would like to form.
AHP May 10, 2004 1:00 PM
Port-au-Prince, May 10, 2004 -(AHP)- A photo depicting U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell with Haiti's interim prime Minister Gérard Latortue, which was published at the end of last week in the daily Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste has aroused a great variety of comment in Port-au-Prince.
The photo shows a smiling Gérard Latortue extending his hand to Secretary Powell, who appears in the photo to be more interested in looking at his watch as if to say to his guest that time is passing and that he has other issues to worry about.
Former colonel Himmler Rébu asserted that the publication of this photo by the Nouvelliste is an extremely serious matter, since, in his view, it presents a very bad image for the country.
"For the love of my country, I would refrain from publishing such a photo", indicated Mr. Rébu.
For his part, Paul Denis, a spokesperson for the Democratic Convergence , considered that Mr. Powell committed a serious violation of internationally recognized rules of protocol.
"There are some gestures that are more significant than words", said Mr. Denis.
Marc Antoine Destin of the Democracy and Growth Party stated from his perspective that Latortue only got what he deserved, even if the gesture by Colin Powell is shameful for the country.
He blamed all those who worked for the installation of this government to run the country as being responsible for this insult.
Supporters of the opposition Platform sought to explain that if Mr. Powell seemed to be disinterested in Mr. Latortue, it was just a way of saying that the Congressional Black Caucus was waiting for him and that he couldn't tarry any longer.
The majority of the members of the Black Caucus had chosen to boycott a meeting with the provisional prime Minister on Capitol Hill, believing that Mr. Latortue lacked legitimacy.
For their part, the CARICOM representatives accredited to the OAS chose to slam the door at the moment Gérard Latortue delivered his remarks before the OAS Permanent Council.
AHP May 10, 2004 12:40 PM
Port-au-Prince, May 10, 2004 -(AHP)- KID leader Evans Paul commented Saturday that the government should already have moved ahead to fill the vacancy left by the Fanmi Lavalas party within the new Provisional Electoral Council (CEP).
According to Mr. Paul, Fanmi Lavalas will never join the new electoral body because, he said, the CEP it is an electoral institution that is going to organize credible, honest and democratic elections.
He also said that the current leaders of the FL party are too dependent upon President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and that the party currently finds itself unable to find a valid representative from among the current leaders.
Mr. Paul added that it is a waste of time to wait for the Fanmi Lavalas party in order to come up with the ninth member of the new electoral body.
For his part, the President of the Haitian Senate, Yvon Feuillé, warned the eight people who have taken the oath of office against taking any action in the name of the CEP.
"In order for it to be operational and functional, the CEP must be composed of nine members as called for under the Constitution", said Yvon Feuillé.
The Senator pointed out that the new CEP was formed in an unconstitutional manner and thus all actions taken by its members are contrary to the Constitution of 1987.
Yvon Feuillé appealed to the population to bring about the failure of the Latortue government, which he said violates the country's constitution.
AHP May 10, 2004 12:20 PM
Port-au-Prince, May 10, 2004(AHP)- The multinational force, together with the Haitian National Police (PNH) and several volunteer doctors launched a rescue operation campaign Monday aimed at sick people in several regions of the country.
Sick children and pregnant women will receive care through this campaign. Between 200 and 500 patients will be treated each day, said several officials of the multinational force.
Medicine will also be distributed to them, said the volunteers.
More than 250 people were treated in Hinche on Saturday May 8, the multinational force officials reported. They also announced that they will next visit the South of the country and Bel-air.
AHP May 10, 2004 3:50 PM
In the downtown area and across much of the capital, foul-smelling garbage is making normal life impossible and is undermining public health.
Many people say they are astonished to see leading merchants cheerfully climb across huge piles of garbage to get to their shops.
They appealed to the wealthy to help provide regular sanitation for the city rather than to engage in all sorts of gymnastics to avoid paying their taxes on the pretext that their shops were looted on February 29th following the sudden departure of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
The people interviewed by AHP are asking them instead to compensate the State for the acts committed by their supporters against the police stations, customs offices, the internal revenue agency and other public offices during the anti-Aristide demonstrations of January and February of this year.
Many Port-au-Prince residents are also calling on the Latortue government to take concrete action to improve the supply of electricity.
Electricity rationing has reached such drastic proportions that it has now reached zero hours per day in the so-called high- priority zones.
But the black-out has become more expensive than the electricity because the electric bills are now higher.
At the same time, people living in all parts of the country continue to speak out to pressure the authorities to act quickly to relieve the misery of the population confronted with dizzying increases in the cost of living.
In the communities of the Grande-Anse, some fathers have even threatened to kill themselves in light of their inability to put food on the table for their children.
Last week, the provisional prime minister, Gérard Latortue, called on the population to change its dietary habits by eating corn gruel, cassava and other foods seen as cheaper and of lesser quality.
AHP May 10, 2004 3:25 PM
Port-au-Prince, May 10, 2004 -(AHP)- Yvon Feuillé, President of the Haitian Senate, took issue with statements by interim Prime Minister Gérard Latortue who has claimed that the Lavalas government had looted the State's coffers.
Yvon Feuillé, who is a member of the Senate Finance Commission, said that Gérard Latortue is in fact trying to conceal the inability of his government to bring any money into the public treasury because of its obligations toward those who participated in the anti-Aristide GNB movement.
The new authorities are unable to collect because the industrialists and large retailers are now refusing to pay tariffs and income tax, explaining that their shops were looted on February 29 following the suddden departure of President Aristide.
Yvon Feuillé also pointed out that on top of this problem the country is losing out on investments. Business leaders have decided to invest elsewhere in the Caribbean following the latest troubling events that shook the country.
The fact that the rebels, who claimed they were lending a helping hand to the former anti-Aristide opposition and had decided to set fire to customs offices and the DGI (General Taxation Authority) in many parts of the country in order to attain their goal, have created a climate of fear among the investors.
Mr. Feuillé wondered how, if the Aristide government had looted the treasury, that government had found money to carry out a series of projects. He cited the public funds that were spent on the construction of 134 schools, dozens of hospitals and roadside health centers, public parks, etc. and to pay the salaries of public employees as well as expenditures in the area of electricity supply and telecommunications.
Mr. Feuillé said he believes that the new government talks about looting in order to cover up the truth.
"One can not speak of waste when across the country the Lavalas government had a program of assistance to people who were facing difficult economic situations", he emphasized.
Yvon Feuillé called for an end to the witch hunt, and appealed for the creation of a climate of security in the country with a view to the resumption of economic activities that should lead, he said, to an increase in revenue for the State.
AHP May 10, 2004 2:15 PM