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Edition Electronique
Vol. 10 • No. 26 •
Du 4 Jan  au  10 Jan 2017
Electronic Edition
Notre Editorial
English Wikileaks Wikileaks en français Wikileaks
Vol 9 • 51 Du 29 Juin au 5 Juillet 2016 Translate This Article
Martelly Bloc Formalizes Alliance with DEA Fugitive Guy Philippe
Violent Right-wing Destabilization Campaign Grows
Par Yves Pierre-Louis

A la de trakas papa

A climate of terror descended on the Haitian capital last week after a spate of armed robberies, pot-shots at corporate buildings, and attacks against foreigners. In recent weeks, heavily armed commandos have carried out many assaults with the clear objective of politically destabilizing the interim government of President Jocelerme Privert.

The violence comes after several provocative public statements by partisans and allies of former President Michel Martelly’s Haitian Bald Headed Party (PHTK) such as former departmental delegate and Martelly representative in the Southern Department Gabriel Fortuné, , Martelly’s former de facto Prime Minister Evans Paul, Senate candidate and paramilitary leader who led “rebels” in the 2004 coup Guy Philippe, indicted-for-fraud pro-Martelly activist and Viktwa party leader Odo Lajoie, and Peasant Response party coordinator Fednel Monchery.

After Guy Philippe’s paramilitaries carried out a deadly May 16 attack on the Aux Cayes police station,  Gabriel Fortuné declared that the commandos had the wrong target. They should have attacked the National Palace, the Prime Minister’s office, and the Parliament, he said.

Evans Paul used wordplay (composer ou décomposer pour ne pas être déposé) to tell Privert to make a deal with Martelly’s allies or be deposed. Since then, the Haitian people have endured nights of terror.

In February, Guy Philippe said he and his troops were “ready for war” against “anarchists.”

After violent attacks on several gas stations in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area, gunmen have begun targeting telephone companies, banks, and car dealerships. The headquarters of the multinational Digicel, Haiti’s largest cell phone service provider, was hit by six bullets, while that of its Vietnamese-owned rival NATCOM was hit by 13. Near the phone companies, the new Marriott Hotel in Turgeau was struck by five bullets.

Gunmen also fired on SOGEBANK in Delmas 30, as well as the car dealers Behrmann Motors and Automeca near the airport. Nobody was killed or wounded in the attacks.

"They are attacking the symbols of foreign investment in Haiti,” said Maarten Boute, the chairman of Digicel Haiti. “I think people do not realize the effect this will have on the country. It's a negative message sent to other potential foreign investors. We condemn this type of violence and destabilization aimed at creating a climate of terror and instability. This reminds me of the attacks against the service stations. I think there is a certain fringe element that is trying to send a clear message of destabilization."

In a press release, Christopher Handal, the president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the West Department (CCI West), also condemned the shootings on the night of Jun. 23. "These heinous acts against civilians and investors that create thousands of jobs came just weeks after similar acts against gas stations and even state institutions,” he wrote. “No society can evolve in such a context of instability and anxiety. Only a calm social climate is likely to lead to stability and promote the return of direct investment to create jobs, reduce social inequality, and recover the fullness of national independence. The ICC West urges the authorities to take the necessary measures to identify and punish the perpetrators with the full force of the law."

The American Chamber of Commerce in Haiti (AMCHAM), which works closely with the U.S. Embassy, also condemned the attacks. "These coordinated attacks clearly have the goal of discouraging Haitian and foreign investment, while throwing the general population into a state of fear and despair. While it is clear that the political situation creates rivalries and polarizes our society, these gratuitous and cowardly acts only reduce to tatters a private sector which is already in trouble, which is trying its best to play its role in the country’s economic and social development. Also, AMCHAM imperatively and urgently asks that the authorities take all necessary steps to identify the perpetrators of these senseless acts and bring them to justice."

The question we must ask is this. Was it not the private sector and its international allies, whose objective is only to maximize profit through exploitation, which brought overwhelming support to the Martelly regime during its five years in power? Now, Martelly’s partisans and allies are using violence to destabilize the country. They are all responsible for what is happening in Haiti, including much of the media.

The Presidency also denounced the acts of terror and destabilization. “These criminal acts designed to intimidate the population and threaten the private sector are totally unacceptable,” it said. “The authors, co-authors and accomplices will be apprehended, prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law.” The Presidency instructed the government and the Haitian National Police (PNH) to take all necessary measures and mobilize all means at their disposal to ensure the safety of lives and property and the well-being of the population.

In their Machiavellian destabilization, the right-wing death-squads have not spared foreigners who have come to Haiti during the summer holidays. On the evening of Jun. 23, gunmen seriously wounded Bhumi Patel, a young American student, in the chest and hand as he was leaving a restaurant with friends in Pétionville, in the vicinity of Place Boyer. He was one of eight medical students from Tulane University in Louisiana. They had come to Haiti as part of a health program focused on tropical medicine, and maternal and child health. Patel was flown for medical treatment to Miami. After this attack, all the other students in the Tulane program had to immediately leave the country.

The next day, Jun. 24, gunmen fatally shot Swedish tourist Johan Noren as he and his wife were returning to their hotel from missing a bus in Pétionville. Noren’s wife was “badly beaten” by the bandits, said Sweden's consul general in Haiti, Gregoire Fouchard.

Earlier on Jun. 24, three gunmen on motorcycles attacked two Digicel employees who were going to a bank on Rue Vulmenay in Port-au-Prince. One of the victims, Pierre Yves Elie, who was driving the vehicle, died within hours of being taken to the Saint Joseph hospital, and his passenger, Stephanie Lafortune, was seriously wounded.

That same afternoon, gunmen in La Saline shot to death an employee of the General Administration of Customs by the name of Lindor when he tried to rescue a friend being attacked by the thugs.

The next day, Jun. 25, gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on the crowded Rue Oswald Durand in downtown Port-au-Prince, wounding at least 18 people.

As we go to press, senators and deputies, convened in a National Assembly, are in closed-door negotiations about the fate of Privert’s presidency. Martelly’s parliamentary allies are waging a parallel, tandem campaign with the gunmen in the street. For a third time, they are trying to block a resolution confirming Privert’s mandate until Feb. 7, 2017, and hence derail new elections scheduled for Oct. 9. However, Privert clearly has the support of the majority of the Haitian people, which means that the right-wing destabilization campaign will continue to be denounced and countered by a massive popular mobilization.

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