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Date: Tue, 6 Jun 1995 09:03:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: (fwd) HTI: the Americas #277 5/21/95 (fwd)
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.950606090228.409F-100000@crl3.crl.com>

From: Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York

US pushes for 7,000 Haitian cops

From the Weekly News Update on the Americas,
Issue #227, 21 May 1995

During his Mar. 31 visit to Haiti, US president Bill Clinton gave Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide a proposal for expanding the country's new police force to 7,000 members and for training them inside the US. Officials of the Aristide government are said to be unenthusiastic about the US plan, which was revealed by a Haitian press agency earlier this month. The Haitian government has planned on a 4,000-member force; the first class of 365 agents, trained by Canadian, French and US advisers at a new police academy in Haiti, is due to graduate on June 1. But Leon June, the Justice Ministry official in charge of reorganizing the police, called the US proposal very interesting in early May; a few days later he suddenly resigned on the grounds that he was tired out. June is considered a likely contender for the presidency in the December elections. [La Jornada 5/14/95 from ANSA, AP, AFP, EFE and IPS; Haiti Progres (NY) 5/10-16/95 and 5/17-23/95]

The New York-based leftist weekly Haiti Progres writes that the US is using the proposal for an expanded police force as a backup solution after President Aristide rejected the US plan to retain a large part of the 7,000-member Haitian army. Aristide dissolved the Haitian army for all practical purposes in late December; he is now pushing to have the dissolution made official once the new Parliament is chosen in June 25 legislative and local elections. Haiti Progres notes that the US plans to leave Haiti a new police force at the end of the current occupation just as it left a new army at the end of its 1915-1934 occupation. That army was originally called the Gendarmerie d'Haiti--Haitian Police Force. [HP 5/10-16/95]

The current wave of violence may generate some popular support for the expansion of the new police force. Haitians from the left and the grassroots movement had already had suspicions about the UN occupation force's apparent inability to control violent crime, much of it committed by Haitian army veterans. [HP 4/26- 5/2/95] Early in the invasion the US insisted that the Haitian army would be drastically reduced and split into a small army and a small police force. Haitian activists predicted that the combined army and police would be the same size as the old army-- between 7,000 and 10,000 members [see Update #249].