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Haitians Seek to Disarm Macoutes

By Pat Chin, in Workers World, 23 March 1995

Popular mobilizations across Haiti have become an almost daily event since the U.S.-led occupation of that country started in October 1994.

A growing number of Haitians, angry at the collaboration of the U.S. occupation forces with the Haitian military and paramilitary death squads, have taken to the streets. They are demanding the disarming of the repressive Duvalierist forces that continue to terrorize the population.

As part of the lop-sided deal that returned exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti on the crest of last year's invasion, Washington had promised to disarm the Haitian military and the CIA-linked grouping of killers in the paramilitary group FRAPH. But this has not happened.

In mid-February, a group of lower-ranking troops known as little soldiers denounced the violence and lack of disarmament. Their organization, the Committee for the Operation of Arms Searches, is led by Edouard Guerrier, a former corporal who deserted the military during the 1991 coup that ousted Aristide.

The newsletter Haiti Info of Feb. 25 reports that CORA will work with neighborhood watch groups and popular organizations to help rid the country of violence.

Protests have also erupted against the lack of justice for the many victims of the coup, IMF plans to privatize state-run industries, and the high cost of living. From Port-au-Prince to Cap Haitien, state offices have been taken over and shut down by a people on the move against corruption, exploitation and injustice.


When former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited Haiti for two days in late February, expecting to be welcomed, he instead met with many demonstrations that assailed him as Washington's representative who had brokered the deal that returned Aristide to Haiti powerless and let the coup murderers off the hook.

Some U.S. papers speculated that these actions were carried out by right-wing Haitians, but according to Haitian sources they were organized by five popular groups.

Numerous anti-Carter slogans were spray-painted around Port-au-Prince in Creole and English. At a cathedral gathering, people sang, Carter, we are grownups, we didn't invite you to come and interfere in our elections. Later, several hundred people marched on the National Palace.

The U.S. ruling class wants Aristide to step down at the end of his term and is already putting money into grooming candidates for the next election. But one placard at a hunger strike against Carter's visit read: The country is not ready for elections. There are economic and political things to take care of first.

On March 10, reporters in the capital demanding democratic reform at the state-run National Radio held a sit-in strike and refused to air the news. News Coordinator Dominique Bien-Aime, who was hired last November after Aristide's return, was then fired.

A defiant Baime-Amie said, The radio is run by Macoutes. They were hired by dictators, they have that mentality, they don't want to use democratic programs, programs to educate the people.

The growing militancy of the popular movement, which has been shutting down state-run offices where former Macoutes and coup supporters continue to work, shows that keeping the old oppressors in charge won't be easy for Washington.