Pentagon's troubling role in Haiti
January 12, 2008
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Residents bathing in ditchResidents of Cité Soleil are forced to bathe in open ditches despite over $1.5 billion in aid to Haiti over the past three years. December 15, 2007 Photo: ©2007 Randall White

Pentagon's troubling role in Haiti

HIP - Port au Prince, Haiti - Most people do not know that the Pentagon is directly involved in funding pacification programs in Haiti due to the presence of a large UN mission in that country.

A reminder of the Defense Department's role in Haiti came Friday when protesters burned tires outside of Cite Soleil's mayor's office to call attention to a $20 million program called the "House of Justice" initiative. One of the protesters who spoke via telephone on condition of anonymity stated, "We are taking this action to draw attention to the fact that our country is now being run almost completely by the US government. Although the UN may cover for them, it has always been the US who called the shots."

Cite Soleil is a sprawling seaside shanty town that is home to more than 300,000 people who continue to live in abject poverty despite more than 1.5 billion dollars of international aid injected into Haiti over the past three years. Following the second ouster of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004, its neighborhoods served as a launching site for massive demonstrations demanding his return. Residents and local human rights groups accused UN peacekeepers of committing two massacres of unarmed civilians in Cite Soleil on July 6, 2005 and December 22, 2006.

The role of the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency have remained highly controversial in Haiti since it came to light in 1996 they helped to create the Revolutionary Front for Advancement and Progress in Haiti or FRAPH. A paramilitary organization headed by Emmanuel "Toto" Constant, FRAPH was responsible for the murder and rape of thousands of Haitians after a brutal military coup forced then president Jean-Bertrand Aristide into exile in 1991. The Pentagon was also criticized for covering up its role after it seized more than 60,000 pages of documents from FRAPH headquarters in Oct. 1994. The documents were eventually returned to the Haitian government after most of the names and particulars had been blacked-out making prosecution of FRAPH nearly impossible.

Former members of FRAPH, under the leadership of Constant's second-in-command Jodel Chamblain, joined with bands of Haiti's former military to oust Aristide in 2004. Members of the former military have been integrated into Haiti's police force under a UN program to rebuild the institution. It has never been disclosed what Jodel Chamblain and members of FRAPH received directly from the Defense Department and the UN's Disarmament, Demobilization and Reinsertion (DDR) campaign.

To date, the US has contributed more than $40 million in equipment and training to Haiti's new police force.


The Haiti Information Project (HIP) is a non-profit alternative news service providing coverage and analysis of breaking developments in Haiti. Winner of the CENSORED 2008 REAL NEWS AWARD for Outstanding Investigative Journalism


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See Also:

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