May 16 to 22, 2004
MONDAY, May 17
Haiti has virtually disappeared from the news since the U.S. kidnapping of President Aristide and Coup d'Etat on February 29. Meanwhile, conditions of life have only worsened, as garbage piles high in the city streets, electricity becomes available only an hour or so each day, and the price of staples has skyrocketed. An intense campaign of repression has targeted Lavalas officials and activists, while terrorizing the general population. Lists of the wanted names are read each afternoon over the radio. Preliminary reports indicate death squads may have already killed some 3,000 people, (on pace to far exceed the 5,000 - 10,000 killed during the last coup between 1991-4). Thousands of refugees have taken to the sea - most arrested and returned by the U.S. Coast Guard - the luckier ones reaching more hospitable destinations such as Jamaica. Many thousands more have become internal refugees, moving from house to house to avoid capture.
The news has been sketchy, but we can now start to put names on some of these abuses. The recent, unresolved, ongoing case of So Anne - grandmother, renowned singer and Lavalas activist - represents a situation where international solidarity activists can make a real difference. [See updated news on So Anne's case below.]
CALL the media. Demand the full story come out about this travesty. CALL your Senators and Representatives. Demand they support the T.R.U.T.H. Act (The Responsibility to Uncover the Truth about Haiti) CALL your friends. We need to not only raise awareness, but demand respect for Haitian lives and an end to the Occupation.
TUESDAY, May 18
RALLY and MARCH, 4 - 5 p.m.
Meet at 14th and Broadway, Oakland, CA
March to the Federal Building following a short rally.
WEDNESDAY, May 19
REPORT BACK from Haiti
St. John's Community Center
Members of Faith/Labor and Accompaniment Delegations recently returned from Haiti and will present first-hand accounts of the current situation.
Key Media Contacts
San Francisco Chronicle: email@example.com
Reuters: www.reuters.com click on "contact us"
Associated Press: firstname.lastname@example.org
Key Congressional and Government Phone Numbers
UPDATE on Sò Anne's Situation
Annette Auguste was heard this Thursday but returned to prison: her lawyers and supporters denounce political persecutions
Port-au-Prince, May 13, 2004(AHP)-Fanmi Lavalas activist Annette Augustin (Sò Anne) was returned to the national penitentiary after she was heard this Thursday at the county court of Lamarre street.
This decision surprised Sò Anne's lawyers and supporters who expected her to be released, since according to them, there are no charges against her and she was arrested illegally Sunday night.
After her hearing, Annette Auguste who was obviously calm, declared that her arrest was illegal. She declared she was in good shape, despite the fact that she just had surgery.
Fanmi Lavalas supporters who were in front of the court demanded her release unconditionally as well as that of all other members and officials of the party who have been illegally arrested, notably former Minister of Interior Jocelerme Privert, PÈtion Rospide alias Douze and Harold SÈvËre.
Denouncing the attempts from the power in place to block all mobilization for President Aristide's return to the country, they declared that the arbitrary arrests only arouse their desire to demonstrate on May 18th to demand peace, justice, the end of persecutions and arbitrary arrests against Fanmi Lavalas supporters and better life conditions for the population.
Sò Anne's lawyer Me Patrick Laurent demanded his client's release. "If the examining magistrate wants to respect the law, he must release Annette Auguste who was arrested Sunday night without warrant by American soldiers of the multinational force. The court has no proof for the accusations hanging over his client, notably for her presumed involvement in the events of December 5th 2003 at the Faculty of Social Sciences, like the NCHR claimed.
The multinational force had claimed that Sò Anne had been arrested because she had made threats against foreign soldiers and members of the PNH. Another prisoner, PÈtion Rospide alias Douze, presumed Fanmi Lavalas activist, was also heard this Thursday. His lawyer, Me Reynold Georges, criticized the behavior of the examining magistrate who could not even give the reasons of his client's arrest.
According to Me Georges, the court has no case nor summing-up for the prosecution specifying appropriate sentence for PÈtion Rospide. Reynold Georges says he believes that his client was arrested for his political convictions. He declares that he sees that Fanmi Lavalas supporters are victims of persecutions in the country. According to him, the arrests done by provisional authorities are illegal, including the arrest of Annette Auguste and Jocelerme Privert.
AHP May 13, 2004 3:15 PM
Port-au-Prince, May 12, 2004 (AHP)- Through a press release made public this Wednesday, the communications commission of the Fanmi Lavalas Political Organization denounced the illegal arrest of the party activist Annette Auguste at her residence around midnight on Sunday May 9.
"At the time of the intervention by U.S. soldiers, Sò Anne was recovering following surgery", according to the statement by members of the commission, which was authenticated by spokesperson Jonas Petit.
She was handcuffed, as were nearly 15 of her friends and family, including her grandson Chachou, aged 5, the note indicated, adding that the Lavalas activist was taken to the campus of the University of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy, which is now utilized as a military base. She was interrogated there in the absence of legal representatives or any Haitian presence.
" This is one assault too many against the historic sacrifice of our ancestors that hits squarely in the middle of the bicentennial of our independence", asserted Fanmi Lavalas, which also deplored what it termed the hideous fascism inaugurated on February 29, 2004 through the establishment of an illegitimate government.
Fanmi Lavalas said it it wishes to raise its voice to sound the hymn of democracy and to ask the multinational force, in a chorus with the Haitian people, to release without delay and unconditionally the compatriot Annette Auguste as well as all other Lavalas activists being held in illegal confinement based on false pretexts and in which the true basis, is their political affiliation.
Fanmi Lavalas, declaring its conviction that the future of the country is inextricably linked to democracy, also said that it is renewing its commitment to accompany the Haitian people in its quest for a society truly based on the rule of law, that defines itself through the provisions of the fundamental mother law of the nation and through the full and effective participation of the citizens without distinction.
AHP May 12, 2004 2:50 PM
For more information contact the Haiti Action Committee:
(510) 483-7481 email@example.com www.haitiaction.net
For reliable independent news on Haiti:
Marguerite Laurent, JD, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (dedicated to protecting the civil, human and cultural rights of Haitians at home and abroad) May 10, 2004 http://www.margueritelaurent.com/campaigns/campaigns.html
"Men anpil chaj pa lou" is Kreyol for - "Many hands make light a heavy load."
See, The Haitian Leadership Networks' 7 "men anpil chaj pa lou" campaigns to help restore Haiti's independence, the will of the mass electorate and the rule of law. See, http://www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/haitianlawyers.html ; http://www.margueritelaurent.com/pressclips/concerns.html