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From editor@haiti-progres.com Tue Aug 1 10:22:04 2000
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 22:35:49 -0500 (CDT)
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Subject: This Week in Haiti 18:29 7/26/2000
Article: 101600
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New rally and shootings in Gonaïves; A pattern seems to be developing

Haiti Progrès, This Week in Haiti,
Vol. 18, no. 19, 25 July - 1 August 2000

Haiti's opposition politicians roll into a town to hold a rally of a few hundred people. Some members of the Lavalas Family party (FL) are shot. Then the opposition says it is being repressed.

This is what happened in Petit Goâve last week (see Haïti Progrès Vol. 18, N°. 18, 7/19/00). It happened again this week in Gonaïves.

On Jul. 20, the Convergence Group, an opposition coalition, rallied about 300 people at the city's Manassé Park. The demonstration called for the Zero Option, that is the removal of President René Préval and Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis, the dismissal of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), and the annulment of parliamentary and municipal elections held on May 21 and Jul. 9.

The rally was led by the Christian Movement for a New Haiti (MOCHRENA), a Convergence adherent, a party led by right-wing Protestant pastors who have publicly called for the return of the Haitian Army, which was dissolved in 1995. The demonstration was guarded by the Police's Departmental Unit for the Maintenance of Order (UDMO).

Haiti should not be ruled by Lucifer anymore, said Ernst Colon, a MOCHRENA spokesman at the rally, referring to former president Jean Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas government and Préval's Lavalas- tinged one. In the recent elections, the FL won most of the contests, and Aristide is expected to easily win presidential elections, now scheduled for November.

But Colon claimed that MOCHRENA's two Senate candidates and 17 lower-house candidates all won their races, but were cheated out of their victories by the Lavalas and the CEP.

Furthermore, Colon said he had a prophetic dream that Luc Mésadieu, MOCHRENA's leader, would be inaugurated as Haiti's president on Feb. 7, 2001.

Asked if MOCHRENA continues to call for the reinstitution of the Haitian Army, Colon responded that the question of the Army is not the order of the day.

Presidential-candidate-to-be Mésadieu also addressed the rally, promising that, as president, he would resolve unemployment, the high cost of living, and the lack of security, clean water, and electricity. In Psalms, Chapter 127, Verse 3, we find these words: No, these men will not govern for all time over the nation of righteous men; if not, righteous men can be led into evil, Mésadieu preached.

But apparently, some coup-supporting righteous men affiliated with the opposition have already been led into evil. On Jul. 19, unidentified armed men shot and wounded Carl-Henry Emilcar, an FL partisan and secretary treasurer of the local Departmental Electoral Office (BED), as he was driving home in his car.

There were conflicting reports about how and how many times he was shot. At a minimum, he took a bullet in the stomach and one in the foot.

Emilcar was transported in a private car (the local ambulance had no gas) to Gonaïves's Providence Hospital, and after that to the General Hospital in the capital, where he is in stable condition.

Meanwhile, on Jul. 22, two other FL militants in Gonaïves were shot and wounded under uncertain circumstances, according to Radio Haiti.


Now that election results are finally being promulgated, some changes are likely. New rural and town councils will go about electing a permanent electoral council to replace the current provisional one. It will be the first full-fledged election council ever installed since prescribed by the 1987 Constitution.

The government will also likely be replaced. The Constitution says that the Prime Minister should be drawn by the President from the ranks of parliament's majority party, in this case the Lavalas Family.

We are waiting for the CEP to completely announce the final results, and at that point, the government of which I am Prime Minister must resign, Jacques Edouard Alexis said this week. I want to put President Préval at ease to choose the Prime Minister and government which wants. Alexis was appointed in 1999 with the sole mandate of facilitating the holding of elections.


Haiti's crumbling National Penreitentiary can take no more prisoners, its director, Jean Daniel René announced this week.

The crumbling edifice in downtown Port-au-Prince now holds 2061 men and women, 238 of them convicts and the remaining 1823 awaiting trial. That's a ratio of almost 8:1.

René placed the blame for the crisis on Haiti's justice system, which moves at a snail's pace. Prisoners can wait up to three years to come before a judge, usually just to have their case postponed.

Meanwhile, the U.S. and Canada are sending back planeloads of convicted felons, who they claim are Haitian nationals (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 18, N°. 18, 7/19/00). This has further taxed Haiti's fragile and overwhelmed holding system.

The overcrowding begets horrendous conditions. For example, there are only four doctors and a dozen nurses to care for the penitentiary's inmates. The prison, built in 1918 during the first U.S. military occupation of Haiti, is run by 108 prison authority policemen along with 82 other personnel.