Aristide's Lavalas Puts UN Duplicity to the Test in Haiti

The following commentary was written by the Haiti Information Project, March 3, 2005.

Evidence continues to mount of the United Nation's complicity in an on-going campaign by the US-installed government of Gerard Latortue to terrorize and exterminate sympathizers of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's political party known as Lavalas. Despite detailed documentation of innumerable massacres committed by the Police Nationale de Haiti (PNH) over the last five months, the UN insisted in a new report released on February 25 that "the general security environment across Haiti has improved." Any sensible observer of Haiti must ask, "improved for whom?" The recent attack by the PNH against unarmed demonstrators demanding Aristide's return on February 28 destroyed the credibility of several such statements made recently by the UN in Haiti and exposed the duplicitous role of their forces in propping up an unpopular regime.

The reality is the UN has dirtied its hands to keep the US-installed regime in power. Their main role and objective has arguably been to insure there is no resistance as the current regime undertakes a campaign to eliminate the Lavalas party. Whenever the UN moved into the poor slums of the capital to occupy it by force, the Haitian National Police (PNH) soon followed with violent incursions against the population. Wherever the UN opened the gates the PNH soon followed to tear apart their victims. Following these bloody exercises in terror, the UN dutifully covered them up by accepting the PNH's denials and justifications while twisting reality by representing the Latortue regime as a centrist government embattled between the extremes of deadly Lavalas gunmen and the former brutal military. Meanwhile, the lopsided death toll of Lavalas sympathizers versus any other identifiable sector of Haitian society is incontrovertible and exposes the UN's subservience to US foreign policy whose main goal has been to consolidate the coup that ousted the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004.

Continuing a relentless campaign of misinformation by the Latortue regime, PNH spokeswoman Gessy Coicou commented on the killings of February 28 by stating, "The police broke up the march because it was violent and about half the protesters were carrying weapons." This stood in stark contradiction to press reports by the likes of Knight Ridder Newspapers (KRT) who wrote, "Two days after Haitian police opened fire on a crowd of peaceful protesters and killed two, the head of the U.N. mission here said police brutality is undercutting progress and such action will no longer be tolerated." The Miami Herald also quoted U.N. Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes as stating, "We cannot tolerate executions. We can't tolerate shooting out of control. We will not permit human rights abuses." KRT continued by adding "He [U.N. Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdes] said U.N. peacekeepers will intervene "and use force if necessary" if Haitian police attack unarmed civilians again."

The former statement by Valdes was disingenuous at best given that the UN has in the past given the PNH a freehand to kill Lavalas supporters with impunity in well-documented massacres in poor neighborhoods like Cite Soleil, Cite de Dieu, Bel Air and La Saline over the past five months. The latter statement of UN armed intervention against PNH for "attacking unarmed civilians" remains just words until put to the test.

Putting the UN's threat against PNH to the test is exactly what Aristide's Lavalas party intends to do over the next weeks and months before elections designed to legitimize the coup against him are held in October and November. Nothing less than the already compromised credibility of the UN is at stake in Haiti as the world braces itself for yet another feeble justification to continue the campaign of extermination against Lavalas supporters demanding Aristide's return.