From Tue Dec 31 11:00:05 2002
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002 08:23:20 -0600 (CST)
From: Bob Corbett <>
To: Haiti mailing list <>
Subject: 14237: This Week in Haiti 20:41 12/25/2002 (fwd)

Police clash with former soldiers on Central Plateau

This Week in Haiti, Haiti Progres, Vol.20 no.41, 25–31 December 2002

Haitian police attacked the camp of armed anti-government former soldiers on Dec. 22 in the rural hamlet of Pernal, near the town of Belladères on the Central Plateau. Haitian authorities say the armed band fled. No official report of prisoners or casualties was available at press time, but it is expected soon.

A special unit of the Company of Intervention for the Maintenance of Order (CIMO) carried out the attack from three helicopters, which dropped bombs on the camp. The homes of several peasants in the area were destroyed in the attack, and livestock was killed, according to some reports which the government denies.

Journalists who traveled to the area were unable to glean further information about the attack. Most peasants have fled the area, and those that remain are afraid to talk.

According to the Haitian Press Agency, about 50 heavily armed masked men occupied Pernal for several weeks. It is apparently the same group which launched deadly attacks against police stations and the National Palace on Jul. 28 and Dec. 17, 2001, escaping back to the neighboring Dominican Republic, from which the attacks were launched.

The gunmen identify themselves as former soldiers of the Armed Forces of Haïti (FADH), disbanded in 1995, and fly the red and black flag of the Duvalier dictatorship (1957-1986). In a Dec. 19 press conference, they announced that they had come to rally former soldiers and other sympathizers in an effort to overthrow President Jean Bertrand Aristide and reestablish the Haitian army.

Just like the former soldiers, the Lavalassians are suffering but are not aware of their responsibility and think that they have to submit to Aristide, a former soldier declared at the press conference. Therefore, we call on all soldiers and our supporters to awaken, because we have come to hasten the fall of Aristide.

State Secretary of Communications Mario Dupuy branded the men terrorists and part of the destabilization campaign against Haiti. Our information indicates that a group of heavily armed terrorists has taken refuge in Pernal on the Central Plateau and is terrorizing the population there, Dupuy said. This is the same group that participated in the [Dec. 10] attack on the Lascahobas police post and which previously had killed the judge of Belladères Christophe Lozama (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 20, No. 40, 12/18/2002). Recall that during the attack on the post, they liberated four prisoners, two of whom were charged for involvement in the assassination of Judge Lozama. By doing this, they wanted to derail the investigation so it cannot be traced back to the intellectual authors of these violence acts. Mario Dupuy implied that the Democratic Convergence opposition front was allying itself with former Duvalierist soldiers. Certain sectors do not want to admit that it's up to the population to choose its leaders, he said. The country cannot return to the brutal system of [the political prison] Fort Dimanche, or to the red and black flag.

Jacques Maurice, one of Aristide's spokespersons, accused the armed group of extorting money and food from the citizens of Pernal, particularly those favoring the Lavalas. On Dec. 13, the former soldiers also attacked a CIMO convoy on its way to guard the funeral of the Judge Lozama, Maurice said.

Evans Paul, a Convergence leader, denied any links to the armed group on the Central Plateau, but stopped short of condemning them. We must clarify that the Convergence is peaceful and we have never had a strategy of weapons, Paul said. We are not associated with this armed group.

It remains unclear who planted seven hand-made bombs around the capital's central square, the Champs de Mars, on Dec. 21. The police defused all the devices, as well as a fragmentation grenade found in the Nazon neighborhood on Dec. 22.

The government called for a truce during the holiday season from Dec. 21 to Jan. 8, saying that the police would not allow any political demonstrations—pro or anti-government—during this period. An opposition demonstration in Cap Haïtien on Dec. 22 was broken up by police with tear gas.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders traveled to the Dominican Republic to meet with representatives of the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Republican wing of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The National Popular Party (PPN) is not surprised that about fifty traitors took a plane on Wed. Dec. 18 to go meet on the other side of the border, reactionaries like [IRI Haitian representative] Stanley Lucas, [Florida-based anti-Aristide businessman] Olivier Nadal, and [former electoral council president] Léon Manus, said Ben Dupuy, PPN's secretary general. IRI has bought these people, just like Conzé [the traitor who led U.S. Marines to assassinate resistance leader Charlemagne Péralte] sold his soul to the Americans in 1915. For a long time, the PPN has denounced the plots that are instigated from the Dominican Republic against Haïti. Under the regime of Jean Claude Duvalier, the bourgeoisie was in heaven; it's normal that today it is nostalgic for the return of Duvalierism and of the Macoute Army which knew how to repress the uprising of the underprivileged masses with blows from their Uzis. This is a corrupt ‘political class’ that is always at the service of the ruling classes and colonists. Today, they are attempting a come-back. This macouto-bourgeoise alliance is waging an undeclared war against popular masses.