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Date: Wed, 5 Jul 1995 20:28:53 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bob Corbett <bcorbett@crl.com>
Subject: This Week in Haiti 13:15 07/05/95
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.91.950705202829.26756A-100000@crl11.crl.com>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 1995 22:19:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: NY Transfer News Collective <nyt@nyxfer.blythe.org>
To: transfr!cari@crl11.crl.com, nica news <transfr!nicanews@crl11.crl.com>
Subject: This Week in Haiti 13:15 07/05/95

Via NY Transfer News Collective * All the News that Doesn't Fit

New School of the Americas for Haiti's police

Haiti Progress, This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 13, no. 15, 5 - 11 July 1995

With only token opposition from the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, 400 future Haitian police officers were sent last week to a US Army base for two months of intensive instruction. The training camp at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri is in essence a Creole-speaking version of the infamous School of the Americas, the US military facility at Fort Benning, Georgia where hundreds of ruthless Latin American military officers have been trained over the past decade and which is the object of a growing protest movement in the United States calling for its elimination.

Of course, the US government already created, trained, and equipped the previous version of the Haitian army -- originally called the Garde d'Haiti (Guard of Haiti) and then the Forces Armees d'Haiti or FADH (Armed Forces of Haiti) -- from 1934 to 1994. Many FADH officers were also trained individually or in small groups on various military bases around the US.

But the US government's desire to train large numbers of Haitian cadets in the US is the most ambitious and flagrant effort yet to control the future Haitian army, which may end up just being called police. The US government already insists on monopolizing the training on Haitian territory of the new police force through the International Criminal Investigations Training Assistance Program (ICITAP).

The taking of Haitian trainees to the US underscores two facts about the present situation in Haiti: first, the almost total control of Haitian affairs by United States since its Sept. 1994 military intervention; and, second, the Aristide government's complete submission to Washington on any matter of substance.

The US government's stated rationale for training Haitian police officers in the US is because they want a large enough armed force on the ground before the withdrawal of US/UN troops tentatively scheduled for February 1996. This concern is understandable because Washington always needs local actors on whom to rely since exposing US troops in foreign interventions carries domestic political risks. Hence, the US wants to leave as many US-trained police in place as possible. Training cadets in the US will raise the number of permanent police officers from 4,000 to 6,000 by the time the UN military mission pulls out, US Embassy spokesperson Stanley Schrager told the Associated Press June 26.

The Aristide government went through its usual motions of whining but yielding on the matter. We rammed it down Aristide's throat, and he had to accept it, one US official told The Washington Post this week. In a gesture typical of his government's feigned resistance to US strong-arming, President Aristide squeaked that he would like to see a Haitian delegation sent to Missouri to keep people informed about what the training entailed.

Despite the training of the new police force and the presence of 6,000 foreign troops, the lack of justice and the first jolts of neo-liberal reform in Haiti are once again creating refugees. Slowly but steadily, Haitians are again taking to the high seas to escape the effects of the coup's legalization in their homeland. The US Coast Guard returned 41 refugees to Port-au- Prince late last month, pushing the number of Haitians intercepted this year to 281. The 32 men, 4 women, and 5 children were picked up 30 miles of the west coast of Haiti, US officials said. The Aristide government, which abrogated last year a 1981 agreement allowing the US to intercept Haitian vessels, of course had no immediate comment.

Meanwhile, some 75 Haitian children interned at a prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were released into the United States June 26. The children, whose incarceration and brutalization became a major scandal, were flown into Homestead Air Reserve Base near Miami. Another 36 Haitian refugees were paroled for humanitarian reasons at the same time. Some 210 Haitians remain imprisoned at the base, including 48 unaccompanied children.