[Marxism] Haiti: UN marauders attack pro-Aristide stronghold

David Quarter davidquarter at sympatico.ca
Tue Dec 14 17:15:12 MST 2004


By AMY BRACKEN, Associated Press Writer

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Hundreds of U.N. peacekeeping [SIC!!!!] 
troops stormed a stronghold of ousted President Jean-Bertrand 
Aristide's supporters on Tuesday, seeking control of areas that 
have become flashpoints of violence. At least six people were shot.

Shootouts broke out between residents and U.N. troops who rolled 
into Cite Soleil before dawn, said Damian Onses-Cardona, a 
spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission.

Cite Soleil, a gritty slum outside Port-au-Prince, has been a center 
of violence since September, when Aristide loyalists increased 
protests to demand his return from exile in South Africa. More than 
100 people have died in political violence since Sept. 30.

Three people with gunshot wounds were carried through a U.N. 
roadblock on Tuesday. Residents told U.N. officials the injured had 
been shot by armed thugs.

In addition, U.N. troops carried away a 16-year-old boy and a 26-
year-old woman who were hurt by gunfire, relatives told The 
Associated Press.

The troops also transported Fransur Julien, 13. He lay on a bed in 
his kitchen after a bullet penetrated his home and struck him in the 
side. His mother, Memen Oben, said she had no way of getting 
him to a hospital. She said she didn't know where the bullet came 

The show of force came a week after U.N. mission chief Juan 
Gabriel Valdes promised a crackdown on armed groups, saying 
troops would disarm gangsters for the first time since U.N. 
peacekeepers arrived to stabilize the island nation.

On Tuesday, sympathizers of the ousted leader, who fled the 
country on Feb. 29 after a three-week rebellion, hurled stones at a 
neighborhood considered anti-Aristide. The Aristide loyalists, some 
armed with guns and machetes, also set fire to several tin and 
wooden shacks belonging to their opponents.

U.N. officials said they planned to patrol the area for at least two 
months until they can transfer operations to Haiti's beleaguered 
police. Many officers, who had been loyal to Aristide, fled their 
posts during the rebellion out of fear of reprisals. Nearly 20 police 
officers have been slain since Sept. 30, allegedly by Aristide 

The troops planned to dismantle roadblocks erected by residents 
and gain control of two police stations in the slum.

Onses-Cardona said Tuesday's operation involved hundreds of 
Brazilian, Jordanian and Sri Lankan troops, flanked by Chinese 
police and Chilean helicopters. He said most of the troops left after 
several hours but similar pushes would occur daily.

"This operation is definitely not an easy thing or a quick thing," he 

Both the 6,000-member peacekeeping force and the U.S.-backed 
interim government have done little to disarm Aristide loyalists or 
rebels who still control much of the countryside, patrolling towns 
and undermining police authority.

The rebels include members of the army Aristide disbanded in 
1994 and who are demanding backpay.

Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue has accused Aristide of 
orchestrating the violence from exile — a charge Aristide has 
denied. Aristide claims the United Stated forced him to leave the 
country, a claim rejected by U.S. officials.

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