November 24 - 30 , 2004
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As Former Army Blusters:
New Anti-Coup, Anti-Occupation
Force Emerges


November 24 - 30, 2004

Vol. 22, No. 37

"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of Haïti Progrès newsweekly. For the complete edition with other news in French and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100, (fax) 718-434-5551 or
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Haïti Progrès "Le journal qui offre une alternative"

November 18 marked the 201st anniversary of the battle of Vertières, the final major conflict of the Haitian Revolution in 1803. On that day, the indigenous army decisively defeated French forces, and that night, French General Rochambeau surrendered to rebel General Jean-Jacques Dessalines. Forty-three days later, Dessalines declared the birth of the Republic of Haiti.

On the anniversary, former Haitian soldiers wanted to march through the capital with their weapons, as the now disbanded Haitian Army used to do, but were prevented from doing so by troops of the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH). Several dozen former soldiers were forced to parade around the vicinity of their de facto headquarters at the old police academy in the capital's Frères district, cordoned off by U.N. armored vehicles.

Earlier in the day, the former soldiers had tried to occupy the old Haitian Army headquarters, now the Culture Ministry, on the central Champ de Mars square, but withdrew after negotiations with U.N. officials.

Meanwhile, a few dozen former soldiers and their supporters marched through the northern city of Cap Haïtien on Thursday.

Despite the perhaps contrived appearances of tension, the former soldiers and occupation troops generally have cordial and collaborative relations. They carry out joint patrols in several towns.

However, a new anti-occupation and anti-coup force sent its first communiqué to the Haitian press for the VertiPres anniversary, heralding a new stage in Haiti's escalating uprising. The Dessalinien National Liberation Army (ADLN), whose origins remain unknown, took responsibility for the Oct. 24th attack on the Gros Morne police headquarters in Haiti's northwest and promised future actions. The guerillas spray-painted their acronym on the station and neighboring buildings with the slogans "Down with the occupation! Down with the former soldiers! Down with the de facto government!" The following is the ADLN's communique, which was sent to the Haitian press on Nov. 17.

Communique No. 0104

From: Command of the Dessalinien National Liberation Army (ADLN)

For: MINUSTAH occupation forces, the de facto government, the press and the Haitian people

On October 24, 2004 at half past midnight, the ADLN's Artibonite Front surrounded the Gros Morne police station and asked the policemen to surrender. We clearly told the policemen to come out with their hands up, without weapons, through the front door of the station. We told them that if they did that, nobody would get hurt.

Two policemen chose to disobey the order we gave. They tried to escape out of the station's back door. The unit covering the back of the station had to fire on them, and one of them was wounded. Another ADLN unit had to fire on a vehicle which tried to enter into the zone of operations. The ADLN column, which was very disciplined, entered the police station and took control of and removed from the scene a policeman who left out the front door as we had asked. Nothing happened to him. The station was empty. There was no furniture. We saw only three mattresses and a prisoner who was an old man.

This attack by the ADLN's Artibonite Front on the Gros Morne police station is a warning to make known that the Dessalinien National Liberation Army (ADLN) has begun to fight for the total liberation of the Haitian people. We note that several of the press reports we heard about the ADLN attack on the Gros Morne police station spoke of a "bandit army"!

Once and for all, we make it known that the ADLN is not a mercenary army nor an army of bandit thugs. That is why, during the Gros Morne operation, when the ADLN unit met on the road with two groups of young men and women who had just left a disco, those people were not aggressed in any way. The guerrillas did not steal their possessions the way the zenglendo, Macoutes, and demobilized soldiers do everywhere around the country.

The warning we gave on October 24 was for: 1) MINUSTAH which is acting as a puppet for the United States. 2) The incompetent de facto puppet "technocrat" government of Alexandre and Latortue. 3) The so-called former "rebels," former soldiers, former FRAPH members and Macoutes who have reemerged. 4) All the reactionary forces which hold the country in ignorance and misery for decades and who enjoy and take advantage of the crisis tormenting us today.

We say to all these little clique sectors that they cannot hide. ADLN will find them on the day, date and time of its own choosing.

We note that the MINUSTAH is the armed wing of big countries, like the U.S., which squeeze and occupy Third World countries like Haiti. Therefore, MINUSTAH is a legitimate target of the armed wing of the popular masses. That is why we call on progressive forces in Third World countries like Brazil, Argentina and Chili, to force their governments to remove their troops from Haiti immediately.

Aspiring for political liberty and a better life with organization, the popular masses can have Haiti take true independence, the same way that Jean-Jacques Dessalines managed to gather the aspirations and demands of the slave masses and freed the country from the French colonists grip. In the same way, the spirit of Dessalines has entered and is beginning to stir up the masses for a second independence. So ADLN tells all combatants fighting the dictatorship to continue the struggle.

Just like Dessalines, ADLN will not rest until the final victory.



Haitian police cracked down on a peaceful demonstration of several hundred Lavalas partisans in the Bel-air neighborhood of Port-au-Prince on Nov. 10, 2004. The demonstrators were demanding better living conditions, an end to political persecution, the liberation of Lavalas political prisoners, and a return to constitutional order.

Walking peacefully and wearing T-shirts emblazoned with President Aristide's picture, the marchers had passed through several neighborhoods - Saint Martin, Belair, Sans Fil, and Post Marchand - when heavily armed and masked policemen attacked them at Avenue Poupelard near Lalue. MINUSTAH forces had promised security to the march organizers in the National Cell of the Base of Reflection of Popular Organizations of Fanmi Lavalas. But just before the masked police attacked, the U.N. soldiers disappeared, apparently aware of the ambush that awaited demonstrators.

The demonstrators say that several were killed and others wounded in the police attack. "Once again, the police have committed atrocities against us, making our blood flow while we are peacefully demonstrating in the streets," said one militant. "Was this a plan concocted by MINUSTAH to lead us to the slaughterhouse after promising us security?"

Despite the attack, demonstrators made their determination clear."There will not be peace in the country as long as Aristide does not return," said one.

During the assault, the police arrested and beat up a former government official and National Cell leader Jean Marie Samedi, along with several other popular organization members. Authorities charge that they are behind recent violent acts in Port-au-Prince. Even pro-coup human rights groups like the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) have denounced the arrests, demanding that the prisoners' rights be respected. After visiting Samedi in jail, the NCHR said it saw apparent beating marks on Samedi's body.

Ronald St. Jean of the Defense Committee for the Haitian People demanded medical treatment for Samedi. "The health of Jean Marie Samedi is very critical," he said. "He was gravely beaten around the head, and it could be that he has problems in his hips. The PNH must free him to consult a doctor."

The National Popular Party (PPN) demanded the immediate liberation of Samedi and his companions. In a Nov. 12 statement, PPN spokesman Georges Honorat called the arrests "arbitrary and based on rumors." He said that it is "a situation with harkens back to the torture of the dictatorial regime of Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier who disappeared, arrested and exiled all those who dared to oppose his power on the pretext that they were 'communists.'" Today the de facto regime arrests or disappears anybody who calls for a return to the constitutional order on the grounds that they are "terrorists," Honorat said.

The PPN said that this crackdown should be a wake-up call to Lavalas leaders promoting a "policy of dialogue and reconciliation with those who have perpetrated the kidnapping of Feb. 29th, 2004."

"It is this very policy which pushed the members of the Cell to swallow the promises of the MINUSTAH occupation forces that they would guarantee the security of the Nov. 10 demonstration, which was nevertheless repressed," Honorat said.



by Margaret FéquiPre

The Lion in Captivity is an outstanding play by Dr. Sal Westrich about the imprisonment and death of Toussaint Louverture. It depicts how he dealt with the agony of his brutal imprisonment at the Chateau de Joux in the frigid Jura Mountains on the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the show currently running at the Paul Robeson theater in downtown Brooklyn, the main character is played by Guyanese born Kirt Harding, who gives a mesmerizing performance, interpreting Toussaint's final years.

The venue is a perfect match for the play. Not only because of Paul Robeson's lifelong dedication to the struggle of oppressed people but also because of the theater's austere 19th-century architecture. On the rainy night of the premiere, the theater was cold and moist, just like Toussaint's mountain cell must have been.

Edward Tyler, playing Toussaint's servant, gives a compelling performance and leaves a vivid impression of the conditions under which the Haitian revolution's leader was imprisoned. Director Evria Atwell presents Louverture not as an untouchable hero but rather as a proud man who is determined not to lose his self-respect and sanity in spite of his sufferings. Alexander Bilu, the actor playing General Caffarelli, Bonaparte's envoy, superbly renders his character's initial arrogance, but also the personal feelings he came to have for Louverture at the end.

As a Haitian woman, I felt proud to watch such a performance and to hear traditional Haitian songs being sung by a non-Haitian cast. The music often accompanied unearthly sequences, such as when the spirits of Boukman, the Haitian revolution's initiator, and of Louverture's contemporaries visit him at varying points during the play.

"The spirit of Toussaint L'Ouverture and what he fought for transcends Haiti," said director Atwell. "It is a universal theme, especially at this time when our freedom and quality of life is being threatened."

This play is extraordinary and should be seeing not only by my fellow Haitians but by all young black men and women throughout the tri-state area. It delivers many subtle messages about who we are and the powers that we have within us. The actors show Toussaint Louverture as an historical figure whose influence and messages are still timely and relevant.

Showings are at the Paul Robeson Theater, 40 Greene Avenue (between Carlton & Adelphi), Brooklyn, NY 11223 (718) 826-2942. Tickets: $35.00. All proceeds will be used to support the Haitian Relief efforts. Last 2 performances: Saturday, Nov 27, 2004, 8:00 pm; Sunday, Nov 28, 2004, 4:00 pm.

All articles copyrighted Haiti Progres, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED.

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