Haiti update

bon moun sherrynstan at igc.org
Thu May 15 16:20:26 MDT 2003


                      * THIS WEEK IN HAITI *

                         May 14 - 20, 2003
                           Vol. 21, No. 9

HAITIAN OPPOSITION'S "ARMED WING" STRIKES AGAIN

Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide received an unambiguous
response to his May 1 call for a truce with the opposition: armed
commandos launched a deadly attack on the Péligre hydroelectric dam, the
power-starved nation's most precious energy source.


Near 1 a.m. on May 7, about twenty heavily armed men attacked the
hydroelectric facility, situated just north of Mirebalais on the Central
Plateau, a region where anti-government contras have been active for
almost two years. The attackers killed two security guards, Jean
Esthénio and Célestin Arnoux, and roughed up and tied up custodians and
operators. They then doused the dam's control room with gasoline and set
it ablaze.

"They have managed to reduce Péligre's output to zero megawatts," said
Public Works Minister Harry Clinton who led a delegation to inspect the
damage the same day. "The three turbines were not damaged, but the
command center and communication system were completely burned." The
facility, which was built in 1971, has a capacity of some 54 megawatts.

Jules André Joseph, director of the state power company Electricité
d'Haïti
(EDH) called the damage "considerable" and promised to make repairs "as
quickly as possible."  By May 9, specialized EDH technicians had already
completed major repairs to the control room.

"Without a shadow of a doubt, this is an action by what it is fitting to
call the armed wing of the opposition," said Interior Minister Jocelerm
Privert of the attack. "This act can only come from traitors in the
armed opposition, which takes pleasure in creating disorder."

The attack on Péligre is just the latest in a series of assaults by
former Duvalierist soldiers who are reported to be training and based in
the Dominican Republic (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 21, No. 2, 3/26/2003).

On May 6, the eve of the attack, Dominican military authorities arrested
former Haitian police chief Guy Philippe in the El Platanito Hotel of
Dajabon, a town on the northern Haitian/Dominican border. Philippe fled
Haiti in Oct. 2000 when the government of President René Préval accused
him and other police chiefs of planning a coup (see Haïti Progrès, Vol.
18, No. 32, 10/25/2000). He has since been implicated in the numerous
armed attacks against Haiti from the Dominican Republic.

Arrested with Philippe were Presler Toussaint, a former Haitian police
inspector, Hans German, a Haitian merchant, Bovinel Ancegard, a
Port-au-Prince banker, and Arcelin Paul, a former chargé d'affaires for
the dictatorship of Gen. Prosper Avril and an official representative in
the Dominican Republic of the Democratic Convergence, Haiti's
Washington-backed opposition front.

While admitting that Arcelin is an opposition representative,
Convergence spokesman Paul Denis tried to take some distance. "The
Democratic Convergence has designated a certain number of
representatives in various foreign countries, among these Paul Arcelin,"
Denis said. "But, I also know that there has not been contact between
the board of directors of Convergence and all these people at certain
times."

Despite the arrests, Ben Dupuy, secretary general of the National
Popular Party (PPN) predicted that Philippe would be freed. "Mark my
words," he said in an interview with Radio Solidarité. "It is certain
that [the Dominican authorities] will release them because they have a
lot of connections, a lot of powerful forces behind them." Indeed, on
May 8, Philippe and his cohorts were released by Dominican authorities
because they were deemed not to present any threat to the internal
security of the *Dominican* state.

"There is no doubt, these guys are true terrorists working in
conjunction with the CIA and under the protection of the Dominican
army," Dupuy said. "Even when they deny their involvement, the members
of the Convergence are the intellectual authors of these terrorist
acts."

While Convergence leaders are coy, Philippe is quite up front about his
subversive activities, openly calling on Haitians to overthrow the
elected Haitian government. "With the difficult situation in the country
and the way the authorities are handling it, it is a duty for all
citizens to be plotting,» Philippe said on one Dominican radio station,
nonetheless denying any involvement in the attack against the Péligre
facility.

Philippe claims he was in Dajabon, which is outside the radius from
Santo Domingo which Dominican authorities allow him to travel, in order
to put out a document prepared by ex-police inspector Toussaint alleging
that new Haitian police officers are involved in banditry. "During this
meeting, I was in the company of ambassador Paul Arcelin and of the
Police inspector who had access to a list of the 900 policemen of the
last class among whom there are a lot of zenglendos [bandits]," Philippe
said. "We were planning to give these documents to Haitian journalists."

But Jean-Baptiste Bien-Aimé, the Haitian Consul in Dajabon, said that
Philippe was in the town planning an attack on police headquarters in
Cap Haïtien, where Philippe was once police chief.

Meanwhile, other developments indicated that the network of plotters
extends well beyond Philippe and his confederates. On the evening of May
7, Haitian police raided the residence of Judie C. Roy on Delmas 60 in
the capital. They seized grenades, thousands of rounds of ammunition,
and assault rifles including Ghalils and Uzis. The police said they also
found several thousand shirts with the emblem of the «San manman» army,
as the contra guerrillas are now known. According to police spokeswoman
Daphney Orlando, police also found plans for an attack against the
National Palace and Aristide's private residence. Roy is member of the
right-wing Patriotic Grouping for the Revival of Haiti (REPAREN) and of
the International Humanitarian League.

On May 9, James White, a 47-year-old North American pastor with the
"Sharing the Vision" mission in Cap Haïtien, was arrested in Gonaïves
for the illegal trafficking of firearms.  The arrest came after police
in Gonaïves searched the contents of a boat which had arrived from West
Palm Beach, Florida and found military arms and equipment. The police
say they recovered rifles, grenades, military uniforms, a
bullet-reloading machine, a bomb-making manual, and computer equipment,
much of which was presented to the press. White said these materials
were destined for a Haitian pastor named Luc Joseph, about whom nothing
has been said and who appears to be in hiding. Meanwhile, White, who has
lived in Cap Haïtien for the past three years, is being held by
authorities in Port-au-Prince.

All these events suggest that Washington's low-intensity war against
Haiti is intensifying and that the Haitian opposition will continue to
boycott negotiations, bicentennial celebrations, and participation in
the elections that Aristide is trying to organize for later this year.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS FOR THE BICENTENNIAL OF THE HAITIAN FLAG

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

8:30 AM
Medgar Evers College
1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
Haitian American Student Association (HASA)
The Haitian flag will be hoisted in front of the Bedford Avenue Building
by Dr. Edison O. Jackson, president of the school, and Rubens Sylvain,
president of HASA. To be followed by afternoon lecture and evening
cultural events. Info: 718-207-2354 or haitianclubfor2004 at yahoo.com.

4:00 PM
The Ferguson Library
South End Branch, 34 Woodland Avenue, Stamford, CT
Contes Haïtiens avec Emmanuel Doreste.
Info: 203-964-1000 ext. 280 or www.fergusonlibrary.org.

8:00 PM
Queens Borough Hall
120-55 Queens Blvd, Kew Gardens, NY
Haitian Flag Day Commemoration
A Salute to Educators with Queens Borough President Helen Marshall.
Info: 718-286-3000.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

4:00 PM
The Ferguson Library
South End Branch, 34 Woodland Avenue, Stamford, CT
Un documentaire sure Haiti accompagné d'un débat après la séance.
Info: 203-964-1000 ext. 280 or www.fergusonlibrary.org.

5:30 - 9:00 PM
City Hall
Manhattan, NY
New York City Council 2nd Annual Haitian Flag Day Commemoration Haitian
Flag Day Lecture & Recognition Ceremony with NYC Council Members:
Speaker Gifford Miller, Yvette D. Clarke (40th Dist.), Kendall Stewart
(45rd Dist.), Leroy Comrie (27th Dist.) & James Sanders Jr. (Dist. 31).
Info: Abel Pierre, 718-287-8762.

Friday, May 16, 2003

5:00 - 7:00 PM
The Ferguson Library
South End Branch, 34 Woodland Avenue, Stamford, CT
Un tour de la riche culture haïtienne à travers sa poésie, son art, sa
cuisine et l'histoire de son drapeau.
Info: 203-964-1000 ext. 280 or www.fergusonlibrary.org.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

9:00 AM - Noon
Bridgeport City Hall
45 Lyon Terrace, Bridgeport, CT
Haitian Flag Day Celebration
Youth In Action presents folkloric dance, Haitian music, poetry,
stories, Haitian arts & crafts.
Info: Ms. Sherly B. D'Haiti 203-372-3327 or James St. Paul 203-526-2114

12:00 Noon
Hamilton Avenue
Trenton, NJ
Haitian Flag Day Parade
The Haitian American Community Services sponsors a parade down Hamilton
Avenue to be followed by a soccer game and other events at Mercer County
Park in West Windsor. Info: Jerome 609-635-7577 or
HaitianAmerican at aol.com.

2:30 -  4:30 PM
Mercer County Community College
1200 Old Trenton Rd., West Windsor, NJ
Haitian Community Outreach Program
A symposium to engage community leaders in a dialogue that will identify
and address issues confronting the Haitian community and celebrate the
Haitian Flag's bicentennial. With Renee Godefroy and Jocelyne Mayas.
Info: Yve-Car Momperousse, 866-768-3665

7:00 - 10:00 PM
St. Pius X Auditorium
1220 Front Street, Uniondale, NY
Kinanm
Haitian American Apostolate Ministry (HAAM) and Haitian American Family
of Long Island (HAFALI) present an historical cultural dramatization of
key moments in the history of Haiti that will depict 200 years of
slavery, freedom and turbulence. Call Barbara or Maryse at HAAM Diocese
Office, 516-868-8076 for information. Free admission.

9:00 PM - 1:00 AM
MIT Student Center
84 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA
Celebrate the Haitian Flag's 200th Anniversary. All money raised will
fund engineering projects of the MIT Haitian Alliance in Haiti.
Donation: $6, $5 with a Haitian flag. Info: www.mit.edu/cidd or
617-669-0764. Email: gjeune at mit.edu


Sunday, May 18, 2003

11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Eastern Parkway
Corner of Utica Avenue to Mt. Prospect Park, Brooklyn, NY Haitian Flag
Day Unity Parade 18 Mai Committee & HCAW Partners sponsors a parade with
marching bands, floats, steppers, dancers, decorative costumes & NYC
Civil servants. Parade participants must register. All Observers
welcome. Info: 718-270-6935.

11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Nostrand Avenue
Between Beverly Rd & Ave. D, Brooklyn, NY
May 18th Festival
Yoyo Family Community Group. Info: 917-642-2265

12:00 Noon - 6:00 PM
York College, The Atrium
Guy Brewer Blvd. & Archer Ave., Jamaica, NY
Conference & Cultural Extravaganza
To celebrate Haitian Flag Day and to commemorate the Bicentennial of
Toussaint Louverture's death, Inisyativ Ayiti 2004 and The Association
of Haitian and Francophone Studies at York College. Haitian dance,
music, free Haitian food, & poetry reading. With historian Claude Moïse
and musicians Lody Auguste, Miryam Augustin, Sarah Dupuy, Alix Ambroise
aka Bouyou, and Georges Wilson aka Moumous with his group of students
from Wingate High School. Awilda Sterling and Albert Barton and their
group, "Los Bomberos de Brooklyn," an afro-latin drum and dance
ensemble. Free admission.

1:30 PM - 7 PM
Spring Valley Village Hall
200 N. Main Street, Spring Valley, NY
Parade of Unity
IFG Productions sponsors a parade to Spring Valley Memorial Park, and
then speeches & cultural presentations. Info: 845-352-5897

2:00 - 6:00 PM
WBAI 99.5 FM in New York
The Haitian Collective at WBAI broadcasts a special 4-hour program for
Haitian Flag Day.

2:30 PM
Elizabeth City Hall
50 Winfield Scott Plaza, Elizabeth, NJ
Haitian Flag Day Planning Committee of New Jersey, Inc
Raising of the Haitian Flag and then a Parade. Info: (908) 820-4000

3:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Mt. Prospect Park, Eastern Parkway
Underhill & Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Haitian American Cultural Festival (HACF)
With T-Vice, Carimi, Tabou Combo, Beethova Obas, Sheila Degraff,
Phantoms, Michael Benjamin, Kepopoz, Miel, System Band, NY All-Stars,
Dekwochay, and La Troupe Makandal. Open to the Public/ Donations
suggested. Info: ET at 718-469-5030.

3:00 PM
Brooklyn Museum / Outdoor Culture Garden
Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY
Traditional Haitian drumming dances and songs.

Monday, May 19, 2003,

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Brooklyn Borough Hall
209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, NY
Haitian American Economic Development Conference
Presentation on the economic status of Haiti.

12:00 Noon - 2:00 PM
Lutheran Medical Center
150 50th Street, Brooklyn, NY
Haitian Flag Recognition
Caribbean-American Family Health Center. Info: 718-630-6732

Friday, May 23, 2003

8:00 PM
Carnegie Hall
881 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY
Haiti: The Rhythms, The Dances and The Gods.
Historical/ cultural dramatization will depict two hundred years of
freedom and a glimpse and the next two hundred featuring Danny Glover,
Emeline Michel, Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon. Mapou Productions. Tickets:
$30, $50, $75, $100. Info: 866-655-7355 or 212-247-7800.

All articles copyrighted Haïti Progrès, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED. Please
credit Haïti Progrès.

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