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new.gif (2109 bytes)Odious photographs of notorious criminal Amiot Metayer's body after he was brutally murdered by his uncommonly chief bandit Jean-Bertrand Aristide; protests, murders, burning and much more (updated on Dec. 15, 2003).
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Posted at 3:29 p.m., Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Stop paying taxes, Haiti opposition urges
By Amy Bracken, Reuters Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Civic and political groups seeking the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide urged Haitians on Monday to stop paying taxes and called for a one-day general strike on Tuesday.

The Platform of the Civil Society and Political Parties Group, a coalition of private and public sector organizations opposed to Aristide, called for a campaign of civil disobedience, including a tax boycott.

"We cannot continue to give money to Aristide to pay thugs to attack us," said businessman and political activist Andre Apaid, speaking for the group at a news conference.

The group called on state employees and police to abandon the government and join forces with the opposition. It called for a one-day strike on Tuesday, followed by massive demonstrations on Wednesday.

Several hundred students gathered downtown for an anti-Aristide march on Monday. Police fired bullets into the air and threw tear gas to disperse them.

Police had warned the demonstration would not be permitted because the organizers did not notify police of the time and location 48 hours in advance, as required by law.

Opposition leaders issued a statement saying they no longer recognized the authority of the government and the police, and would demonstrate without prior notification.

Apaid said police would not be notified of the time or place of Wednesday's demonstration because this would invite the violent disruption of the protest by police and "thugs".

Last week saw one of the largest anti-Aristide protests yet, as well as violent clashes between protesters and supporters of the president.

After being ousted by a bloody military coup in 1991, Aristide was returned to Haiti in a U.S.-led invasion in 1994 and was re-elected in 2000. Since then, tension between his supporters and opponents has grown, with opponents claiming his re-election was illegitimate and accusing him of engaging in corruption and of ordering violence.

Defenders of the president claim that he has the constitutional right to remain in office for five years, and accuse opponents of planning another coup.

Tuesday is the anniversary of the president's first election in 1990 and Apaid said the opposition will not demonstrate on that day. Wednesday is the anniversary of an attempted coup against the president in 2001.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Unlimited

US, France to celebrate bicentennial of Louisiana purchase
By Agence France-Presse

NEW ORLEANS, United States, Dec. 17 (AFP) - A handful of US and French officials will put aside their differences over Iraq this weekend to mark the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase, Napoleon Bonaparte's 1803 land sale that overnight doubled the size of the young United States of America.

French National Assembly President Jean-Louis Debre and US Interior Secretary Gale Norton will attend the main event Saturday, a re-enactment of the signing of documents that transferred more than two million square kilometers (some 800,000 square miles) from French to US ownership. US President George W. Bush and French President Jacques Chirac however will be absent, dashing organizers's hopes that the two leaders could use the event to make amends after months of sharp differences over the US-led war in Iraq.

On May 9, 1803, US diplomats in Paris representing president Thomas Jefferson bought the city of New Orleans and the vast tract of land west of the Mississippi, which now comprises all or part of 15 states, for 15 million dollars.

Napoleon had lost interest in the Americas after losing Haiti to a slave rebellion two years earlier, and needed money to finance his European military ambitions.

Information moved as fast as ships back then, and it was not until December 20, 1803, that the formal handover took place here.

Kimberly Wooten Rosenberg, a top official with Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, regretted the absence of Bush and Chirac. "It didn't fit into the schedules," she said diplomatically.

US president Theodore Roosevelt was present at the centennial celebrations in 1903 -- "and it would have been a wonderful tradition to keep up" to have a president at the event, Rosenberg said. "But we have to be realistic. (Bush) is a busy man."

Despite historically close ties with France, anti-French feeling surfaced in Louisiana, as in much of the United States, after France's opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq.

A Louisiana state representative even attempted -- but failed -- to rescind Chirac's invitation to the celebration.

James Gill, a political columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune newspaper, said that anger at France has only partially abated, even though half a million Louisiana residents can claim French ancestry.

"A lot of people hoped that Bush and Chirac would show up and give a boost to Louisiana-French commerce," Gill said. But instead Washington announced that countries that did not support the US effort to oust Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) cannot bid for any of the Iraq reconstruction contracts.

"The general feeling around here is that it serves them right for not helping the US cause," Gill said. "It's ironic that this is just the time our relations with France should be most cordial, and it may be just the opposite."

Damien Regnard, the president of the New Orleans branch of the French-American Chamber of Commerce, said that Louisianans' attitudes toward France have improved during the past six months.

"The French-bashing for me is something that is behind me -- with some scars. I'm trying to look ahead. You can use the F-word -- France' -- now without being looked at strangely," he said.

Regnard regretted that Bush and Chirac will not attend Saturday's celebration.

"I am sad for Louisiana. That is a state that is very Francophile and Francophone and very friendly with France. That relation and the historical aspect of it was a great opportunity (for Bush and Chirac) to talk about something else besides Iraq and to celebrate friendship between the two countries."

The re-enactment concludes a yearlong bicentennial celebration which has included lectures, exhibits, theatrical performances, a commissioned opera and even a special Beaujolais wine.

Earlier this year, the New Orleans Museum of Art, with the participation of more than 20 French museums and cultural agencies, mounted a major exhibition of French and American art and artifacts titled "Jefferson's America, Napoleon's France."

Two galas, one of which will recreate the Great Ball hosted by French representative Pierre Clement Laussat in 1803, are planned for late Saturday.

King Juan Carlos of Spain has also declined to attend the celebration, and it was unclear if Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide would be present.

Copyright © 2003 Agence France Presse

72 refugees returned to Haiti
By WPLG Click10.com
Seventy-two Haitian refugees were sent back to Port-au-Prince Tuesday afternoon. The US Coast Guard spotted them crowded on a rickety boat Thursday night. Initially they were given life jackets, food and water and taken to Key Biscayne. Coincidentally, there is a protest scheduled at the torch of friendship between Northeast 2nd and 4th streets on Biscayne Boulevard tonight from 4 to 8. Protesters are fighting to end violence and human rights violations in Haiti.

Copyright © 2003 WPLG Click10.com

Posted at 5:52 p.m., Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Strike shuts down businesses in Haiti
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - A strike to press for the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide closed down schools, stores and banks in the Haitian capital Tuesday.

The strike was called by opposition parties and a coalition of 184 business associations, labor unions and other groups.

"We must continue the struggle to the end in order to uproot the bloody, criminal, outlaw government," the coalition said in a statement.

Meanwhile, others planned a demonstration to celebrate the 13th anniversary of Aristide's first electoral victory on Dec. 16, 1990.

Aristide, the Caribbean country's first freely elected president, was ousted in a 1991 army coup and restored to power in a 1994 U.S. invasion. He stepped down in 1996 due to a term limit and was re-elected in 2000.

"Today, the same forces that in 1991 staged a coup are attempting to overthrow the people's choice," governing party Sen. Clones Lans said.

Leaflets scattered in some areas Tuesday warned: "If anything happens to Aristide, we'll kill them, we'll burn them... Houses, stores, vehicles, everything will be destroyed. A hungry people doesn't fool around."

Poverty has deepened while the government and opposition have been locked in disagreement since 2000 legislative elections that the opposition charges were rigged.

Thousands of pro-Aristide officials and supporters met in Croix-de-Bouquets outside the capital Tuesday on the third and final day of a party convention. The convention touched on a range of topics, including the need for new legislative elections.

The opposition has refused to participate in the elections unless Aristide resigns, but terms for most lawmakers expire in January. If a vote isn't held by next month, Aristide would have to rule by executive decree.

Tensions are increasing amid violence that left at least two dead and 10 injured in the capital last week.

The State Department has warned U.S. citizens to avoid traveling to Haiti, citing political tensions and unrest.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 11:21 p.m., Monday, December 15, 2003
An uncommonly vicious tyrant Aristide's plan to brutally murder thousands more of freedom fighters 
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor

Cambridge, MA, Dec. 15 - Of all uncommonly vicious tyrant Jean-Bertrand Aristide's plans to stay in power, in Haiti, a small Caribbean nation shattered by abject poverty and totalitarian dictatorship, none looms larger, if not bloodier, to be specific, than the one last designed during a late night Dec. 12, 2003 secret meeting, chaired by bestial and chief bandit Aristide himself, at the Haitian national palace.

So out-of-touch a thug Aristide has turned into, he compared himself  to the captured former Iraqis dictator, Saddam Hussein, or rat, when he told participants, according to two of them who spoke to me Monday by telephone on the condition that they are not identified in this report, "I must soon, and I mean within the next few days, start writing the obituary of the so-called opposition against my government; I must order certain police officers, and they must not be in uniform when they are executing my orders so they will not be identified, and members of popular organizations to open fire, killing as many of the so-called protesters as possible."

Bestial or notorious criminal Aristide, who plans to thereafter appear on Haitian national television, with the purpose of first chastising freedom fighters not murdered for the planned mass killings, then order that they be taken out of the circulation, or as many of them as possible be kidnapped, has contracted the services of about 200 members of the South African military, and this, at an undermined economic cost, the two participants in the secret meeting said, to help him regain Gonaives, a large Haitian northern city.

Gonaives easily fell in the hands of Cannibal Army, a violent gang, on September 22, two days after hell-sent Aristide brutally murdered its leader, Amiot Metayer, who tortured, raped, and to top it all, brutally murdered an exorbitant number of democracy and human rights advocates who were opposed to the former little red priest of the shantytowns' reign of terror. 

Orders to have several gas and radio stations and stores, to name only these ones, in the capital Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in the dirt-poor country, consumed by flames, in the next few days, were also given to a handful of his most trusted criminals who drank vodka and French wine like fish, sang Voodoo songs for hours, and they were, according to words of the two participants, Gerald Gilles, Lovensky Pierre-Antoine, So An or Marie-Anette Auguste, Duclos Benissoit, Harry Ceant, Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste, and Mario Dupuy.

Most Haitians' idea about Jean-Baptiste and Auguste involves is they are two notorious criminals.

Jean-Baptiste(photos), who was forced to resign as corrupt to the teeth Aristide's police chief early this year, still stands accused of playing a leading role in the burning to death of the late Rev. Sylvio C. Claude, whose badly calcinated body was thereafter dragged for miles, or nearly all over the streets of the provincial city of les Cayes, where the odious crime occurred, on September 30, 1991.

Auguste, a Voodoo priestest, was recently once again accused of brutally killing a stolen new-born baby during a Voodoo ceremony to hopefully help Aristide consolidate his de facto power.

Jean-Baptiste and Auguste, who crushed in a mortar with a heavy pestle the young mother Nanoune Myrthil's baby, less than 72 hours after he was born,  have yet to offer a serious explanation as to whether or not they have committed brutal murders.   

US says Haitian government fomenting violence in crackdowns on protests
By Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 (AFP) - The United States accused the Haitian government of violently suppressing peaceful political demonstrations by paying "armed thugs" to crack down on crowds protesting President Jean-Betrand Aristide's rule.

"The United States deplores the violent suppression of political demonstrations that have occurred in Haiti recently," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in a statement.

"These demonstrations, led mainly by students, were legitimate and peaceful expressions of political views," he said.

"The government of Haiti acted in complicity with its hired armed gangs to suppress these demonstrations with violence, resulting in some injuries and deaths," Boucher said.

He called on Aristide's government "to end immediately its efforts to stifle legitimate dissent" and to work with neighboring countries and the Organization of American States to resolve the political crisis peacefully.

Earlier Monday, Haitian police used tear-gas and fired shots in the air to break up a demonstration of several hundred students calling for Aristide's resignation. At least three people were arrested.

Monday's demonstration followed a weekend of relative calm in Port-au-Prince after two days of increasingly violent protests late last week.

Those protests, in which at least four people were killed in various parts of the country, prompted the State Department on Friday to urge US citizens to stay away from Haiti due to the uncertain security situation there.

The week before, armed Aristide supporters attacked a group of university students and professors, injuring at least 25, some seriously, including the president of Haiti University who had both of his legs broken.

That incident prompted Education Minister Marie Carmel Austin to resign on December 10.

Aristide, a former priest, was re-elected president in 2001 and is to serve through 2006 but political tensions have been mounting for months with his opponents accusing him of misrule and corruption and demanding he step down.

He first came to power in 1991 but was ousted in a military coup. The United States intervened militarily in the impoverished nation in 1994, returning him to office.

Copyright © 2003 Agence France Presse

Haitian thugs break up protest against tyrant Aristide   
By Michael Norton, Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 15 - Police hurled tear gas canisters and fired shots in the air Monday to break up a protest by hundreds of university students who want President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to step down.

Police arrested at least three people as they halted a protest (photos) for the fourth time in less than a week. Some 300 students scattered to avoid the tear gas, and no one was hurt.

Protesters defied a police warning issued hours earlier saying they must notify authorities of any demonstration 48 hours in advance. Protesters said they won't tip off a police force that they consider allied with Aristide.

"We will persist. We will prevail. We won't be cowed by this dictatorship," said protester Sadrac Jean, 22. "Aristide must go."

Meanwhile, opposition parties and a coalition of business associations, labor unions, human rights groups and others called a general strike Tuesday.

"We protest against the police communique that restricts our liberty," said Andy Apaid Jr., a leading government opponent.

Minister of Culture and Communication Lilas Desquiron defended the police, saying protests must comply with the law and "people cannot hold the capital hostage."

Before police halted the march, students shouted: "They've caught Saddam (Hussein), we've still got Aristide!"

Tensions are increasing amid violence that killed at least two and wounded 10 last week.

Aristide supporters set up flaming tire barricades as an apparent warning to opponents.

Protests have increased as Haiti's situation has deteriorated, with its 8 million people facing worsening poverty.

"I'm not for one side or the other, but things have got to change. I'm starving," said 28-year-old Margarethe Jean, a mother of two, as she watched marchers. "I can't feed my kids today. I don't know how I'm going to feed them."

At least 21 people have died during clashes since mid-September.

The government says the protesters are trying to spoil state-sponsored celebrations Jan. 1 on Haiti's bicentennial.

In northern Cap-Haitien, gunmen opened fire Sunday at a vehicle carrying governing party Sen. Pierre Soncon Prince, but he was unhurt, Haitian radio reports said. Last week, Prince had urged Aristide to quit.

Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected leader, was deposed in a 1991 coup and restored in a 1994 U.S. invasion. He stepped down in 1996 because of term limits and was re-elected in 2000.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 2:31 a.m., Sunday, December 14, 2003
Police halt student-led protest in Haiti
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 13 - Police fired warning shots Saturday to break up a fourth day of protests led by university students demanding the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Hundreds of people joined about 200 students(photos)as they marched from the state university to midtown Port-au-Prince, where they confronted police.

Protesters said the police fired warning shots above their heads and a group of Aristide militants shot directly at them. They said they found safety by jumping behind a wall.

Annals of Homosexuality: From Greek to Grim to Gay / Discriminating? Yes. Discriminatory? No.

Haiti's situation has deteriorated as a long-suffering population of 8 million confronts deepening poverty and unemployment. Critics of the government, meanwhile, say some officials are enriching themselves off favors and the drug trade.

"Aristide has got to go ... he betrayed his people," said carpenter Bazelais Derival, after some of the protesters hid from police and Aristide militants in his yard.

On Friday, thousands of people took to the streets in response to a call from opposition parties and civil groups for Haitians to demonstrate "until the country is liberated." They called Aristide and other top officials "outlaws."

A police force accused of being partisan blocked roads and used tear gas to keep thousands of marchers from central Port-au-Prince Friday. Aristide militants lobbed rocks and reportedly fired gunshots that wounded three people.

Union leader Montes Joseph said Saturday's protest was a "warmup" for a bigger march Monday.

"We have the right to demonstrate but this dictatorial government won't let the people express themselves," he said.

At least 21 people have been killed in increasingly violent demonstrations since mid-September.

Student-led protests in Haiti played a mayor role in the fall of President Elie Lescot in 1946 and the dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986.

Aristide's government says the protests aim to spoil state-sponsored celebrations Jan. 1 of the celebration of the world's first black republic.

Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected leader, was deposed in a 1991 military coup and restored in a 1994 U.S. invasion. He stepped down in 1996 due to a term limit and was re-elected by a landslide in 2000.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

FROM WEHAITIANS.COM: In many Haitian provincial cities and towns shattered by dehumanizing poverty and totalitarian dictatorship, and far from the reach of most Haitian and international journalists, an exhorbitant number of citizens have been hacked to death by chief bandit Jean-Bertrand Aristide's junior criminals.

US tells citizens to delay travel to Haiti amid growing unrest
By Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (AFP) - The United States advised US citizens to stay away from Haiti due to the uncertain security situation in the Carribbean country as pro- and anti-government violence grows more violent.

The State Department said unrest in heavily populated areas, including the capital Port-au-Prince and secondary cities, had worsened in the past days with supporters and opponents of President Jean-Bretrand Aristide becoming increasingly violent.

"Political tension has increased significantly over recent days in Port-au-Prince, Gonaives, Cap Haitien, Petit Goave, Jacmel, and other parts of Haiti," the department said in a statement.

"If at all possible US citizens should delay travel to Haiti until calm is restored," it said, noting that US embassy in Port-au-Prince had been closed on Friday because of instability.

"The government of Haiti has not been able to maintain order in Port-au-Prince or in other cities and in some instances has assisted in violently repressing the demonstrations," the department said.

The statement added that some international organizations in Haiti had decided to reduce their staffs in Haiti due to the situation.

At least four people have been killed in two days of clashes on Thursday and Friday as thousands of Haitians have burned tires and erected barricades in rallies for and against Aristide in the worst violence the impoverished nation has seen in years.

Copyright © 2003 Agence France Presse

Posted at 3:10 a.m., Saturday, December 13, 2003
Monsters and cannibals at war in Haiti
By Marcus Warren, The Telegraph

Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Fueled by drugs and voodoo, supporters of Haiti’s President Jean-Bertrand Aristide are fighting a revolt against him, reports Marcus Warren.

Thousands of students calling for the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide clashed with police and armed thugs yesterday in a day of violence that once again brought anarchy to the streets of the Haitian capital.

Drink and drug-fueled mobs (photos of monsters, cannibals and freedom fighters) of Aristide supporters roamed the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, into the night, setting up barricades, intimidating onlookers and flaunting their weapons in the hope of muzzling a groundswell of demands for the government’s overthrow.

The thugs, known as "the Monsters", shut down most of the capital, chanting "Aristide for king" and screaming "This is a war between the dark and light-skinned" at passers-by as they gathered in front of the presidential palace to the accompaniment of voodoo drums.

Pulling drivers out of their vehicles to rough them up and steal their cars, their only saving grace was their poor marksmanship. One hoodlum who took aim with his revolver at the car in which I was travelling, missed from 10 yards.

Heavily armed police patrolling the city did nothing to stop the mayhem. Law and order had all but broken down even before the latest surge of violence. Haiti can field only 5,000 policemen to control its 8 million people.

To maintain his grip on power, Mr Aristide and his allies have been forced to rely on "the Monsters", thugs mostly recruited from the slums.

The demonstrating students, terrified by their brutality, were forced to take to the hills above the city, marching through alleys to avoid the mobs.

"Things can still happen fast here," Andy Apaid, a key opposition leader, said yesterday. "This can still be delayed but it will take a lot of killing to do so and prompt the downfall of his regime."

Today’s demonstrations were the most violent of a week-long wave of protests by up to 10,000 students that has been moving through the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Behind the unrest aiming to unseat Mr Aristide, the former priest who once inspired support across the country, lies the same voodoo cult that fuelled the slaves of Haiti to rout Napoleon’s armies and win their freedom 200 years ago.

The black cross of the Baron, Master of the Dead and Keeper of the Cemeteries, that was carried at the head of the student demonstrations symbolises their readiness to die for their cause - a readiness which may soon be put to the test as the country plunges into new bloodshed and violence.

Haiti is still the poorest country in the Americas and the Port-au-Prince slums offer an image of destitution so complete that the late Mother Theresa called them "the Fifth World".

The spectacular upsurge in strife has been aggravated by Mr Aristide’s campaign to mark the bicentenary of Haiti’s founding with fanfare and celebrations.

The anniversary marks the occasion when a slave insurrection, freeing the colony from French rule, gave the world its first black republic.

Nowhere is Mr Aristide’s weakened status more visible than in Gonaives, where Haiti declared its independence on January 1, 1804. Monuments to the date have been smashed up and its slums are under the control of the so-called "Cannibal Army".

Tyres burn on the streets, pigs snuffle through barricades of rubbish built to keep the police at bay and even "Rosie’s", a local brothel, has been shot up.

Sporting red neckerchiefs which endow them, so they think, with the mystical power to dodge harm and sprinkling a special voodoo eau de toilette as they march, the "Cannibals" scream for revenge against Mr Aristide.

Although ordained as a Catholic priest, Mr Aristide, 50, is only too aware of the power of voodoo beliefs. In a populist bow to the masses he has declared it an official religion.

Many Haitians still assume that, as the survivor of numerous past assassination attempts and coups, he has mystic powers himself.

Even voodoo may not save him now. While the "Cannibal Army" will spoil the bicentenary only in Gonaives, the student demonstrations could yet sweep aside his rule.

"The streets are hot. Aristide is in trouble," the demonstrators chanted as they jogged through the streets. "We are not afraid. We will never fear."

Some former cronies, several of them with distinctly unsavoury pasts of their own, are deserting their president. One ex-ally predicted that he is destined for "death, prison, or, at best, exile".

Nor can he depend on the inhabitants of the slums who were once his disciples and believed he could deliver them from a life little better than animal.

"Death is all I see for my children," said Marie Medesin, the mother of nine, as she surveyed the shacks built among rubbish tips and open sewers that are home to her and hundreds of thousands of others in the city.

So desperate is the situation in the slums that a dead body, clearly the result of some violent confrontation between gangs, lay unclaimed, and almost unnoticed, for hours.

The softly spoken president seems convinced that he and only he can save the country from total ruin. "What we have been through in recent years would be enough to make any other president unable to govern," he said.

Often criticised for trying to run the country like a parish priest, he pleaded for "dialogue" and "conciliation" at a press conference this week.

But within 24 hours, "the Monsters", were running wild on the streets outside, trying to stone foreign journalists and shooting up opposition radio stations.

"I dare someone to come into my position and keep both the rich and poor happy," he said during a press conference which ended with him, like a caring vicar after a Sunday service, shaking hands with each journalist as they left.

He may have spoken too soon. Someone may take him up on the challenge earlier than he thinks. But no one can relish taking over a country with such a turbulent past where half the population is illiterate and one in 20 have Aids.

Reprinted From The Telegraph, UK, of December 14, 2003.

Posted at 8:45 p.m., Friday, December 12, 2003
At least four shot amid street unrest in Haiti capital
By Amy Bracken, Ruters Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec 12 (Reuters) - At least four people were shot and wounded as supporters of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide reacted to a huge anti-Aristide march with their own demonstrations on Friday in the capital.

Gunshots were heard overnight in various Port-au-Prince neighborhoods as Aristide supporters fired into the air (photos), burned tires and set up barricades at intersections, seeking to take back the streets after Thursday's march by thousands of students.

Witnesses said at least four people were shot and wounded, one of them with a bullet to the head, in two neighborhoods of the city during Friday's unrest. It was not clear whether they were government supporters or opponents, or who shot them.

State offices, international organizations, private schools, gas stations and other businesses in the city were closed, fearful of violence.

On Thursday, thousands of students and others took to the streets to call for Aristide's resignation, blaming him for violence against protesters in past demonstrations. It was one of the largest political demonstrations in Haiti this year.

Several hundred supporters of the president gathered in front of the National Palace on Friday morning and marched around the block, beating drums and singing.

Some chanted, "Cut off heads, burn down houses," a battle cry of the father of Haiti's independence, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who led the Caribbean country to independence from France in 1804. Some demonstrators carried saws or swords and called out threats to students and journalists.

Several hundred students and other opponents of the president marched in Port-au-Prince and nearby Petion-Ville, where they were occasionally tear-gassed by riot police.

After Thursday's demonstration, Aristide supporters fired guns and threw rocks at the offices of two independent radio stations, Caraibes and Kiskaya. A third station, Radio Metropole, received threats and shut down its news service early.

Copyright 2003 Reuters Unlimited

Aristide supporters, opponents stage competing protests in capital
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 12 (AP) -- Hundreds of flag-waving Haitians marched through Port-au-Prince in support of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Friday, as university students protested on the outskirts of the capital for the third day.

One person was reported shot and wounded in the unrest, a day after eight people were injured in one of the largest demonstrations against the government in the capital in years. Fearing further violence, the U.S. Embassy and many stores were closed Friday.

Two radio stations resumed news broadcasts with police posted outside their offices. Radio Vision 2000 and Radio Metropole were among four radio stations that suspended broadcasts on Thursday amid death threats from government supporters. The other two, Radio Caraibes and Radio Kiskeya, said they planned to follow suit soon.

At least 1,000 Aristide supporters, complete with a carnival band, thronged a square in central Port-au-Prince. Other government backers set up flaming tire barricades across the capital, reportedly harassing drivers. Ronronne Chantal, a U.N. official, said his private vehicle was stolen.

A bystander was shot and wounded by government supporters, independent Radio Vision 2000 reported.

On the outskirts of the capital, meanwhile, about 200 people led by students marched up a road shouting: "Aristide has to go! Too much bloodshed!"

Joining them was Theodore Beaubrun Jr., leader of the well-known roots music band Boukman Eksperyans. "The time has come to make a clean break with violence," Beaubrun said.

Government supporters set up a flaming tire barricade to block the student march, and witnesses said some hurled rocks. Police hurled tear gas to break up the march just as another group of 150 people approached to join the anti-government demonstrators.

Demonstrator Bernard Gousse, a law professor, said it seemed police "wanted to prevent the two marches from joining up."

Business leader and Aristide opponent Charles Henry Baker, who was recently released after being detained in a previous protest, pledged to keep demonstrating "until democracy is established and the international community pulls its head out of the sand."

Haiti's government has been locked in a stalemate with the opposition since 2000 legislative elections that the opposition says were rigged. Anti-government protests are on the rise, with violence increasingly the outcome. Since mid-September, at least 18 people have died and scores have been wounded in clashes during protests.

On Thursday, thousands of university students poured into the streets for what is believed to have been the largest anti-government demonstration in Port-au-Prince in recent years.

Police fired tear gas to break up the protest, in which at least eight students were wounded in clashes. A bystander also was shot and killed Thursday in a separate protest in western Gonaives.

Governing party Sen. Clones Lans called Friday's demonstration by Aristide supporters "an example of democracy."

"Aristide partisans have the right to express themselves too," Lans said. He said the president's opponents want a "coup d'etat."

Student protests also contributed to the fall of President Elie Lescot in 1946 and dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986.

Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected leader, was deposed in a military coup in 1991 and restored in a U.S. invasion in 1994. He stepped down in 1996 due to a term limit and was re-elected by a landslide in 2000.

The opposition refuses to participate in new legislative elections unless Aristide steps down. The president says he will serve out his term, which ends in 2006.

The government says the latest protests are meant to spoil state-sponsored celebrations for Haiti's bicentennial on Jan. 1.

Posted at 5:15 p.m., Friday, December 12, 2003
Protests, violence paralyze Haitian cities
By Jane Regan And Michael A.W. Ottey mottey@herald.com

OPPOSING ARISTIDE Protests, violence paralyze Haitian cities Tens of thousands of protesters in Haiti demonstrate against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; at least five reportedly are killed in clashes with police.

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UNREST: Thousands of student demonstrators spill into the streets of Port-au-Prince Thursday in the latest protest against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. LANNIS WATERS/PALM BEACH POST More photos

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Massive and sometimes violent protests shook much of Haiti Thursday as tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators took to the streets to demand President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's resignation.

Four local radio stations -- Radio Carabes, Radio Metropole, Vision 2000 and Radio Kiskeya -- suspended broadcasts after death threats and a drive-by shooting at Radio Carabes, The Associated Press reported. Station owners said Aristide supporters promised a night of terror.

The demonstration was one of the largest in a decade, with some estimates placing the marchers at as many as 50,000.

Schools and businesses closed as the student-led protest wended its way through the capital, stopping near the Presidential Palace and the offices of the Organization of American States.

In Gonaves, a local radio station reported that police shot and killed anti-Aristide protesters, with five confirmed deaths and at least 12 injured, however there was no independent confirmation of the casualties.

There were no confirmed reports of deaths in Port-au-Prince.

At the Presidential Palace, riot police fired warning shots and tear gas at demonstrators. Police also fired machine guns and handguns in the air, causing panic.

When protesters passed in front of the state telephone company, where several well-known pro-government activists receive paychecks, marchers demanded that salaries to the chimere, or thugs, be stopped.

In front of the state television company, which has frequently been accused of one-sided, pro-government reporting, they chanted, ``Look at the minority!'' Protesters also chanted slogans against the Organization of American States, accusing the group of supporting Aristide and doing nothing for Haitians.


Aristide, who has condemned the violence, referred to protesters as ``a small minority.''

Some government leaders have said the demonstrators are seeking to spoil state-sponsored celebrations of Haiti's bicentennial on Jan. 1 in Port-au-Prince and Gonaives.

University of Haiti students, 15,000 strong, have become increasingly critical of Aristide in recent weeks, accusing his administration of corruption, human rights violations and ignoring the needs of students. They called for another protest today.

''What has happened is unacceptable,'' university professor Frantz Varella, who was Aristide's former minister of public works, told The Associated Press. ``These young people aren't politicians. They are the intellectual elite of the future in revolt against the intolerable.''


Thursday's march came one week after Aristide supporters attacked an anti-government rally of university students, injuring dozens and ransacking two colleges.

The U.S. Embassy, the OAS, Amnesty International and dozens of organizations denounced the attack, which left over two dozen injured and the university dean hospitalized. Bands of armed Aristide supporters reportedly roamed the capital seeking out anti-government protesters.

Aristide backers have clashed with students and other anti-Aristide demonstrators for months, causing serious injury and property damage. University of Haiti Rector Pierre-Marie Pacquiot was among the injured. Aristide, in his second term, also appeared to be losing support among members of his Cabinet. Education Minister Marie-Carmel Paule Austin, who had been a minister for about a year, resigned late Wednesday night, expressing anger over the attacks on the student protesters.

University deans also issued a letter condemning the attacks and called on Aristide to step down. It was the first time the deans had issued a unified call for the president to resign.


The government said Austin was using Wednesday's violent attacks on demonstrators and police failure to stop attacks to save face.

''She knew she was going to be replaced because she is under investigation for misappropriation of funds,'' said Mario Dupuy, a government spokesman.

Austin could not be reached for comment.

Paul Antoine, an Aristide spokesman, told The Herald on Thursday that Aristide condemned the violence on all sides.

He said the students, however, had armed thugs in their midst who were also responsible for violence.

Antoine said Aristide asked the police to conduct a thorough investigation of the matter and to arrest those responsible for the attacks.

Thursday's march grew in size and lasted for more than eight hours, as people came off their stoops and closed their businesses to join the demonstration.

They carried branches -- the traditional sign of victory -- and chanted anti-Aristide slogans.


''This has gone on long enough,'' said Theodore ''Lolo'' Beaubrun, who heads the well-known Haitian roots music band Boukman Eksperyans. ``It's time for Aristide to step down and we need a lot of other changes, too, in order for Haiti to become a democracy.''

Beaubrun was among the thousands of people who joined the march.

Businessman Anderson Laforet said he closed his office and joined the students because of his ties to the university.

''I was once a university student,'' said Laforet, marketing director at a technology firm, as he marched toward the National Palace in a sea of students. ``The attack on the university was unacceptable!''

Laforet was surrounded by tens of thousands of men and women who waved branches and holding homemade signs, who chanted: ''Down with Aristide! You'll be gone by the weekend!'' and ``Aristide -- look at the minority!''

Haitian drug trafficker offering names to get shorter U.S. term
By Larry Lebwitz llebowitz@herald.com

A major Haitian drug trafficker is offering to cooperate with U.S. officials about his ties to political, police and military officials in Haiti -- for a reduced sentence.

One of Haiti's most politically connected drug lords is facing 22 to 27 years in prison and will hand over more than $15 million in cash and property under the terms of a plea agreement, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Jacques Beaudoin Ketant, 42, was extradited from Haiti and handed over to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents in July. He pleaded guilty in August to conspiracy to import cocaine and launder drug money.

'If you took out your Funk & Wagnalls [dictionary], Mr. Ketant's picture would be next to the word `kingpin,' '' said federal prosecutor John Kastranakes. ``He lived in the lap of luxury in a $5 million home (photos) in Haiti in a country that is surrounded by squalor.''

Kastranakes asked U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno to give Ketant a sentence above the 22-year minimum required under the sentencing guidelines, to reflect the vast quantities of drugs smuggled and the paying off of government agents in the United States and Haiti.

Ketant has offered to cooperate with U.S. officials about his ties to high-ranking political, police and military officials in Haiti, his Miami lawyer said.

But attorney Ruben Oliva said he doesn't believe U.S. officials have the political will to challenge the government of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Moreno delayed the final sentencing until Feb. 25. The judge wanted to ensure that Ketant pays all three of his prior lawyers before the government seizes his bank accounts, and to guarantee he continues helping the United States find and convert his assets -- homes, gas stations, a disco -- amid the deteriorating conditions in Haiti.

''He's agreeing to give up all of his houses,'' Kastranakes said, ``But, as of now, we have nothing.''

Prosecutor Karen Moore said that shortly after Ketant's arrest, one of his five ex-wives, escorted by a police chief, apparently stole $5 million in cash and $1 million worth of Haitian art from his $8 million hilltop mansion above Port-au-Prince. That home, she said, may be turned over to a Haitian charity.

Ketant, 42, confessed to helping smuggle at least 30 tons of Colombian cocaine into the United States between 1986 and 1997. Ketant was the primary contact in Haiti for the Medellín, Cali and Northern Valley cartels for years, operating several airstrips where large quantities of cocaine were dropped. DEA agents say Ketant had a large crew of smugglers and ''swallowers'' who would move the drugs to Miami, Chicago and New York in suitcases, boats and their stomachs. He also controlled a vast network of military, police and customs officials in Haiti and the United States who provided security information and were well paid to turn their heads away when drugs were crossing their borders.

Ketant was last seen on the streets of New York in 1996 but escaped. He was indicted in South Florida in 1997 but openly walked the streets of Port-au-Prince without fear of being sent back to the United States.

Two codefendants -- a Colombian cocaine supplier and a Haitian immigration official who turned a blind eye to drug shipments -- went to trial and received life sentences from Moreno. Former Haitian police Chief Michel ''Sweet Mickey'' François is a fugitive in Honduras, outside the reach of U.S. agents.

Reprinted from The Miami Herald of December 12, 2003.

Posted at 7:45 p.m., Thursday, December 11, 2003
Haitian police, students protesters clash
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 11 - Police fired tear gas and warning shots at thousands of university students who spilled into the streets Thursday in the latest protest aimed at ousting President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. One bystander was killed and at least five protesters were hurt.

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Thousands of students demonstrate in the capital Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Dec 11, 2003. Police fired tear gas and warning shots as thousands of university students spilled into the streets Thursday in the latest protest aimed at ousting President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Chanting anti-Aristide slogans, students approached the National Palace but were rebuffed by police who fired tear gas and warning shots. (AP Photo/Pablo Aneli). More photos

Two students were shot and three were cut as they fled police who fired tear gas and warning shots, while Aristide supporters reportedly pelted students with rocks. It was unclear, however, who shot the students.

Meanwhile, a bystander was shot and killed during a protest in the western town of Gonaives. Violent anti-government demonstrations have killed more than a dozen people in Gonaives since September.

"Aristide has mismanaged the country," said Pierre Joseph, a 22-year-old student from the University of Haiti. "Every sector of the country is suffering and saying we've had enough!"

Aristide has condemned the violence, while other government leaders say the protests are aimed at spoiling state-sponsored celebrations of Haiti's bicentennial on Jan. 1.

The demonstrations have drawn several sectors of society and Thursday's student protest in the capital came a day after Haiti's Education Minister Marie-Carmel Paule Austin resigned, saying she was "horrified" over a recent attack on university students.

More than 24 people were hurt last Friday at the university's Human Sciences College, when dozens of government supporters attacked about 100 students calling for Aristide's resignation.

Aristide supporters ransacked both the Human Sciences College and the nearby Public Administration Institute, which belong to the University of Haiti, and set fire to a nearby house. University Rector Pierre-Marie Pacquiot was hospitalized after Aristide partisans allegedly beat his legs with iron bars.

Austin said police stood by Friday as Aristide supporters attacked the students. The government, however, said Austin was using the event to save face. Austin could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"She knew she was going to be replaced because she is under investigation for misappropriation of funds," said Mario Dupuy, a government spokesman.

Student demonstrations have played an important role in Haiti, helping topple the regimes of President Elie Lescot in 1946 and dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986.

"What has happened is unacceptable," said university professor Frantz Varella, who was Aristide's former Minister of Public Works. "These young people (students) aren't politicians. They are the intellectual elite of the future in revolt against the intolerable."

Aristide's administration has been locked in a stalemate with the opposition since flawed 2000 legislative elections that the opposition charged were rigged. Since mid-September, clashes during anti-government protests have killed at least 17 people and wounded scores more.

The opposition refuses to participate in new elections unless Aristide steps down. The embattled leader, however, says he will serve out his term until it ends in 2006.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 10:01 p.m., Wednesday, December 10, 2003
An apology long overdue to Haitians, Haitian-Americans and others who reject the idea of advocating a genocide
Video game maker to kill slay-Haitians command
By Frank Lombardi, The Daily News Writer

Bowing to an angry outcry, the makers of a video game that urges players to "kill all the Haitians" apologized yesterday to the Haitian community and said it would edit the remark out of future copies of "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City."

The popular game had been denounced in recent weeks by Haitian leaders here and in Haiti, as well as by Mayor Bloomberg and other outraged civic and religious officials.

Players assume the role of a crime kingpin wiping out rival gangs, especially a Haitian one.

Bloomberg had requested an investigation of the game by the city's Human Rights Commission. Last night, he praised the action by the Manhattan-based game makers, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. and Rockstar Games Inc., and requested the commission to suspend its probe "while the game is being modified."

Councilwoman Yvette Clarke (D-Brooklyn) called the apology "a start."

"But do we hold them harmless if at a future point, due to their insensitivity, some nitwit who played the game over and over again goes out and harms somebody?" she said.

Frank Lombardi

Originally published on December 10, 2003

All contents © 2003 Daily News, L.P.

Haiti Democracy Project presents videotape of student beatings
By Haiti Democracy Project

Haiti Democracy Project web page item #1130 (http://www.haitipolicy.org)

At 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9 the Haiti Democracy Project presented a videotape of the sanguinary events at the state university of Haiti. The event was held in the hearing room of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rayburn 2172. The following were represented:

Rep. Cass Ballenger (R-N.C.)

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.)

Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.)

Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.)

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.)

Rep. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.)

World Bank

International Republican Institute

Haiti Democracy Project

The videotapes were narrated by Evans Paul, spokesperson of the Democratic Convergence and former mayor of Port-au-Prince. In a discussion following the tapes, Evans Paul answered a number of questions posed by the congressinal aides. Most of the aides will join their members on a congressional delegation to Haiti this weekend.

Haiti de facto education minister resigns
By Yves A. Isidor, wehaitians.com executive editor

Today, in Haiti's political lexicon being part of the Caribbean nation brutal dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide's de facto government means you easily can be defined as a brutal primitive killer, and with certitudes.

This is exactly what Ms. Marie Carmelle Austin did not like at all, said many, especially after bestial Aristide beat up, by proxy, an incalculable number of university students within an inch of their lives Friday.

A prize for democracy and much more

Ms. Austin, who apparently does not want to face bar of justice in the year or years to come, also for the beating of Haiti's university Rector, whose both legs were broken after he was severely beaten with iron bars, resigned Wednesday as de facto minister of education.

IOL: Mbeki's Haiti trip could cost R10m

President Thabo Mbeki plans to visit strife-torn Haiti for its bicentennial celebrations on January 1, says the Johannesburg daily Beeld.

The newspaper said the naval replenishment vessel SAS Drakensberg had left Simon's Town for Haiti to serve as a safe haven for Mbeki and his party if the situation got out of hand.

The visit would cost South Africa R10-million.

AP reported this week that police fired teargas and warning shots in Gonaives to disperse a student demonstration, the latest in a growing swell of anti-government protests, and protests also erupted in the capital Port-au-Prince.

Tensions have grown since legislative elections in 2000, which the opposition said were flawed.

The department of foreign affairs confirmed on Tuesday that Mbeki would visit Haiti for the celebrations.

It added that Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma arrived in Haiti on Tuesday with a high-level delegation to discuss preparations with Haitian President Jean Aristide.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Cape Argus on December 10, 2003

©2003. All rights strictly reserved. Independent Online is a wholly owned subsidiary of Independent News & Media.

Haiti: 'Victory over adversity
By Erika Gibson, South Africa News

Gibson Pretoria, Dec. 12 - The 200th anniversary of the first black republic in the world, Haiti in the Caribbean, should serve as an example to South Africans that it was possible to achieve victories, despite opposition.

Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for foreign affairs, defended the South African government's decision to spend R10m on Haiti's independence celebrations on January 1.

He said the revolution on this island also would focus on the challenges of development, progress and a better life for all.

South Africa has made 70 officials and experts available to Haiti to help with logistics for the celebrations and the navy vessel, SAS Drakensberg, is carrying another 200 military support personnel to the island.

Mamoepa said the cabinet already had approved the budget for the festivities as part of South Africa's own celebrations of 10 years of democracy.

Large-scale corruption

The cabinet approved R50m for South Africa's local celebrations.

President Thabo Mbeki, Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and several other senior government officials will attend the Haiti celebrations amid international criticism of human-rights abuses and violent oppression at the hands of the island's police.

Virtually all foreign development aid to the island has dried up after protests against the government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the terrible economic situation, alleged election fraud and large-scale corruption.

The Democratic Alliance criticised what it called the "wasting of money".

Roy Jankielsohn of the DA said on Wednesday: "The South African government should stop concerning itself with less-important international events and concentrate on issues on the home front.

"South African taxpayers' money and military equipment and staff are not there to boost President Mbeki's ego in the far-reaches of the world."

Posted at 10:31 p.m., Tuesday, December 9, 2003
U.S. Coast Guard repatriates 361 Haitians
By The Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 9 - U.S. officials repatriated 361 Haitians on Tuesday after a Coast Guard cutter intercepted their 54-foot sloop in the Bahamas.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Escanaba cutter picked up the migrants Saturday near Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas as Tropical Storm Odette churned to the east.

Of the 361 migrants, 348 were adults.

Thousands of Haitians each year risk dangerous voyages aboard rickety, crowded boats to reach the United States. Haiti is the hemisphere's poorest country.

Many Haitians wait to make the journey after the hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 11:18 p.m., December 8, 2002
Once again, Haiti's thugs violently break up freedom demonstration
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Police fired tear gas and warning shots to break up a student demonstration Monday, the latest in a wave of anti-government protests.

Hundreds of students had gathered in front of a high school in west-coast Gonaives, demanding that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resign. Two students were arrested.

The show of opposition came just two days after police clashed with demonstrators in another anti-government protest in Gonaives. Two young children were shot and wounded in that demonstration.

The government claims the protests are meant to spoil state-sponsored bicentennial celebrations in Gonaives, where independence was proclaimed from slave-holding France in January 1804.

But tensions have been growing since legislative elections in 2000, which the opposition says were flawed.

Aristide, the country's first democratically elected president, was deposed in a 1991 military coup and restored in a U.S. invasion in 1994. He stepped down in 1996 due to a term limit and was re-elected in 2000.

Although still popular among the poor masses who helped propel him to the presidency, Aristide has lost support in former strongholds such as Gonaives. Protests have also erupted in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

At least two dozen were injured Friday in violence that broke out at the University of Haiti after police separated dozens of government supporters from about 100 students calling for Aristide's resignation.

At least six people were shot and wounded, including an Aristide supporter and five students.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 2:31 p.m., Monday, December 8, 2003
Mayor plans goodwill trip to Haiti with Louima uncle
By Stephanie Gaskell, New York Post Writer

Hizzoner announced yesterday that he'll take a quick trip to Haiti and Jamaica in mid-January - and he's taking Abner Louima's uncle with him.

"I really am a believer that if I am going to do as much as I can for the people of this city, knowing who they are and where they come from and what they're so proud of is so important and I'm lucky enough to be able to do it," he said during a church service yesterday at the Evangelical Crusade of Fishers of Men Church in Brooklyn, where the Rev. Philius Nicholas preaches. Nicholas is the uncle of Louima, the Haitian immigrant who was sexually tortured by NYPD cops in 1997.

Bloomberg will fly his private plane to Port-au-Prince for the part of the year-long celebration of the bicentennial of Haitian Independence Day, which is Jan. 1. He will also visit a church and a hospital and meet with community and business leaders. Then he'll jet off to Jamaica later that same day.

No exact date was given for the trip - only that it would be on a Sunday in mid-January - and aides did not know which city the mayor would visit in Jamaica.

"On the Haitian flag there's a motto, which if you translate it into English, it says, 'In unity there is strength,' " Bloomberg said. "That's true in Haiti, and that's true here in New York City . . . It is the diversity of this city that gives it its strength."

Copyright © 2003 NYP Holdings,Inc.

Posted at 1:35 p.m., Sunday, December 7, 2003
Haiti's de facto government condemns violence after protests leave two dozen injured; incomparable notorious de facto premier-criminal Neptune repeatedly slapped
WEHAITIANS EDITOR's NOTES: What exactly Haiti's de facto, delinquent, ferocious and naco-dictator Jean-Bertrand Aristide did when he pretended to deplore the unprecedented violence at some of Haiti's university campuses Friday was adding a cruel insult to the beating (photos) of bestial, primitive nature he ordered his criminals to subject the university students, including two officials, whose legs were broken and left paralyzed after they were beaten with iron bars, to. To understand butcher Josef Stalin is to comprehend uncommonly vicious tyrant Aristide's grossly unintelligent game. Stalin appointed the Belarus' native, Bakara, as minister of war. Stalin later had poisons injected into the veins of the successor of Léon Trotsky by one of his medical doctor-criminals. Stalin did not only attend Bakara's funeral, give a long speech,"I sure have lost a great comrade, and I will really miss him," but later had monuments erected and public parks named for him.    
By Agence France-Presse

Haiti’s government condemns violence after protests leave two dozen injured - Haiti Info Abonnez-vous Ecrivez-nous Haiti’s government on Saturday condemned an outbreak of violence at a university that culminated in the country’s prime minister being slapped as he visited recovering victims at a hospital.

At least two dozen were injured Friday in violence that broke out after police separated dozens of government supporters from about 100 students who called a protest to demand that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resign.

In the aftermath, Prime Minister Yvon Neptune was slapped Friday night during a fracas that broke out at a hospital where the wounded were being treated, witnesses said.

"The government denounces and condemns all violence from wherever it comes and in whatever form," the government said in a statement, accusing the students who protested Neptune’s visit of "total disrespect for the rights of hospital patients."

Students who met Nepture chanted : "Down with the government !"

A security guard struck two students with a rifle butt, said student leader Herve Saintilus. Neptune was slapped before his security guards pulled him out of the melee, and later police returned to arrest two students, witnesses said.

The outburst of violence underlined growing tensions in the Americas’ poorest country.

In the clashes Friday, at least three government backers were injured as stones were flung between dueling crowds at the State University of Haiti.

Journalists also saw at least six people shot and wounded, including one Aristide supporter and five students.

Meanwhile, Aristide supporters ransacked two university buildings, witnesses said. Several men beat one Haitian journalist with sticks, bloodying his arm.

University Rector Pierre-Marie Pacquiot went to negotiate with students who were holed up inside the walled Human Sciences College. While he was there, journalists saw Aristide supporters break a hole in the wall and begin beating students.

At least 14 people were injured, including the rector and vice rector. The rector was beaten in both legs with an iron bar, said Vice Rector Wilson Laleau, who suffered minor injuries.

Aristide, the country’s elected president, was deposed in a military coup in 1991 and restored in a U.S. invasion in 1994. He stepped down in 1996 due to a term limit and was re-elected in 2000.

Tensions have grown since flawed 2000 legislative elections that the opposition charged were rigged.

The opposition refuses to participate in new elections unless Aristide steps down. The embattled leader, however, says he will serve out his term, which ends in 2006.

Copyright 2003 Agence France-Presse

Posted at 2:31 a.m., Saturday, December 6, 2003
Haitian students clash with govt. backers
By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec. 5 - University students and government supporters hurled rocks at each other Friday in clashes that left at least four injured as tensions grew in the impoverished country.

The students, who were demonstrating to demand President Jean-Bertrand Aristide step down, were met by groups of government supporters in downtown Port-au-Prince. Police fired warning shots to disperse the crowds.

One Aristide supporter (photos) was shot in the leg, although it was not clear who shot him. Aristide partisans, meanwhile, attacked journalist Rodson Joffelin of the Haiti Press Network, hitting him in the arm with sticks. At least two others received minor injuries in the hail of rocks.

Haiti: 'The world doesn't.have any idea how bad this situation is getting / Potographs that cry out for meaning / Haiti's 200 years of wasted hopes / Everyone wants a share of a prominent Haitian Basketball player

"This is the last day that we'll let them demonstrate against our president," said Robens Bellefleur, 20. "We voted him into office."

Tensions have grown in Haiti since flawed 2000 legislative elections that the opposition charged were rigged. The opposition refuses to participate in fresh elections unless Aristide steps down, but the embattled leader says he will serve out his term until 2006.

"No one in civil society is spared by the generalized disorder spawned by Aristide's bloody regime," said Herve Saintilus, president of the Federation of Haitian University Students.

As gunshots, chanting and the sound of falling rocks rang out on Friday, church hymns from nearby churches reverberated in a surreal symphony in downtown Port-au-Prince.

Anti-government demonstrations have increased recently, drawing student groups, the opposition and civic organizations.

About 200 students marched through the capital on Wednesday, waving placards and painting walls with anti-Aristide slogans. A small group of Aristide supporters pelted the students with rocks.

Last week, at least four anti-government protesters were injured when Aristide supporters blocked their march near the downtown National Palace. The president's backers threw rocks and splashed the protesters with a stinging potion of poison ivy steeped in water.

Copyright © 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 2:40 p.m., Monday, December 1, 2003
Judge orders releases of two imprisoned business leaders
By Agence France-Presse

A judge ordered the release of two business leaders arrested during an opposition rally more than two weeks ago, saying there were no grounds to hold them.

David Apaid and Charles Henry Baker were released from the national penitentiary to the chants of "Victory, victory" from a crowd of supporters. Judge

In Haiti: feed the fish, then the people / Haiti s'enfonce dans le choas à la veille du bicentenaire de l'indépendance / The Samaritans of the north in Cangé and Thomonde, Haiti

Joassaint Saint Clair ordered their release but they were briefly returned to their cells pending approval from deputy government prosecutor Riquet Brutus.

The pair were detained Nov. 14 when partisans of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide disrupted a rally by a civil society coalition, known as "the 184," who wanted to present proposals for sweeping changes in Haiti.

The rally ended with police firing tear gas into the crowd. No Aristide partisans were arrested, while 25 coalition members were detained when police found three handguns in a vehicle owned by Baker.

Apaid and Baker were jailed while the others were released.

The gun permits had expired; but, since police have not renewed any permits since May, they remained valid, their lawyers said.

Last week, the Organization of American States condemned the detentions, saying they were illegal and appeared "politically-motivated."

Apaid is the nephew of Andy Apaid Jr., leader of "the 184," that includes business associations, woman’s and human rights groups, labor, peasant, and student unions, the Haitian Protestant Federation, and the Haitian Medical Association.

Baker is vice-president of the Haitian Association of Manufacturers.

The arrests have provoked a storm of criticism.

"The government is persecuting the 184 group," said their lawyer, Port-au-Prince Bar Association President Rigaud Duplan, who said there were "no legal grounds to keep them in prison."

Government spokesman Mario Dupuy, who called the Nov. 14 rally "a provocation," said the executive had no role to play in the case.

Tensions have grown in Haiti since flawed 2000 legislative elections that the opposition charged were rigged.

Since mid-September, clashes during anti-government protests have left at least 15 dead and scores wounded across the country.

The opposition refuses to participate in legislative elections proposed for this year and is demanding Aristide resign.

Aristide says he will serve out his term, which ends in 2006, and has defended his government, saying its efforts to ensure security and progress have been blocked because of the political opposition and shortage of international aid.

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press

Posted at 9:17 p.m., Monday, December 1, 2003
Extremely primitive and uncommoly vicious tyrant Aristide fears brutal death is awaiting him and family
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