[Marxism] US Style Voodoo Democracy and A Comparison

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 18 20:59:07 MDT 2004


ZNet | Haiti
Killers and Kangaroo Courts
by Justin Felux; August 18, 2004

Many people in Latin America and around the world have spent the past 
several days celebrating. On Sunday, the poor people of Venezuela crushed an 
attempted electoral coup d'état by that country's ruling elite. The policies 
of President Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian movement received yet another 
mandate, this one so strong that even Jimmy Carter and the Organization of 
American States were forced to accept it. However, only two days in to the 
celebration we received a grim reminder of the fact that the struggle for 
justice and democracy in Latin America is far from over. In Haiti, not far 
off the coast of Venezuela, the democratic order has not been so fortunate 
in recent months. In what may be the government's most despicable act yet, a 
sham trial in Port-au-Prince acquitted Jodel Chamblain of the murder of a 
prominent Haitian activist in 1993. Chamblain, the second in command of the 
death squad known as FRAPH, has been described by former CIA employees as a 
"ruthless, cold-blooded killer."

Chamblain and his co-defendant, Jackson Joanis, had been convicted in 
abstentia of the murder of Antoine Izmery, a strong supporter of Haiti's 
exiled President, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Amnesty International was quick to 
denounce the "trial" as an "insult to justice." The trial only lasted 
fourteen hours and only one witness appeared, who said he knew nothing about 
the case. Both Chamblain and Joanis are facing other charges that have yet 
to be dealt with, but if this trial is any indication of what is to come, 
they will likely escape justice in those cases as well. While it is said 
that Chamblain is incarcerated, he is actually allowed to roam freely inside 
his prison, where his menacing presence undoubtedly terrifies the many 
political prisoners who now populate Haiti's jails. Some reports even claim 
that Chamblain has been spotted roaming the streets of Port-au-Prince and 
getting drunk at bars during his alleged incarceration.

Every event leading up to Chamblain's trial indicated that it would be a 
sham. Prime Minister Gerard Latortue referred to him and his thugs as 
"freedom fighters" several months ago. When Chamblain surrendered in April, 
the puppet government's Justice Minister, Bernard Gousse, described him as 
"noble" and said he could be pardoned "for his great services to the 
nation." The "great service" Gousse referred to was the rampage Chamblain 
and his rebels led across Haiti in the months leading up to the coup on 
February 29. During this so-called "rebellion," Chamblain and his men 
committed acts of unspeakable cruelty, including rapes, murders, and 
torture.

In the Plaine du Cul-de-sac, for example, a group of rebels burglarized 
several homes and raped the women who lived in them, including an elderly 
woman. On March 1, the body of Nancy Borgella, a 21-year-old mother of two, 
was found in Pont Rouge. Her left hand had been cut off, her neck was 
swollen, and her tongue was hanging out. She had apparently been locked 
inside a container and was left to suffocate. Many other gruesome stories 
(some with photographs) have been documented by the Institute for Justice 
and Democracy in Haiti. All in all, the rebellion has killed a thousand 
people at the very least.

The other charges Chamblain will be facing deal with his involvement in the 
infamous Raboteau Massacre, in which FRAPH and the former army killed over 
twenty people. Some were tortured and forced to lie in open sewers. Others 
were shot as they fled. In March, the judge who convicted Chamblain of the 
massacre was beaten by some of Chamblain's allies in retaliation. Brian 
Concannon, one of the lawyers who helped prosecute the case, recently 
lamented the fact that many of the people who had risked their lives by 
speaking out are now in danger: "we were able to convince people to take a 
gamble on democracy, we convinced people to testify in open court ... the 
victims very courageously took the gamble, and now they're looking like 
suckers because the people they put in jail are now out, and in power, and 
are threatening them."

Chamblain's acquittal is the strongest evidence thus far (as if we needed 
any more) that Haiti's puppet government is crooked, illegitimate, and cares 
nothing for human rights. Killers such as Chamblain and the rebel leader Guy 
Philippe are getting off without a hitch. Guy Philippe even plans on being 
President one day. The government apparently doesn't find these men as 
threatening as the elderly community activist, Annette Auguste, who was 
arrested on Mother's Day, apparently for her dissident political views. The 
same is true for Aryns Laguerre, a teenage cameraman for a children's 
television station, who was also arrested for no apparent reason. This is 
the nature of the regime that has been installed by the United States. Its 
enemies are journalists, doctors, literacy teachers, community activists, 
farmers, and human rights workers. Its allies are men like Jodel Chamblain, 
who will likely continue to reap rewards for doing the government's dirty 
work.

Justin Felux is a writer and activist based in San Antonio, Texas. He can be 
reached at justins at alacrityisp.net

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