PRIVERT FOREVER:No End in Sight to Election Mess in Struggling Haiti- Added COMMENTARY By Haitian-Truth

  • By david mcfadden, associated press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — May 4, 2016, 12:09 AM ET

Senate leader Jocelerme Privert took office as Haiti’s caretaker president with one real task: Quickly untangle a political stalemate blocking presidential and legislative runoff elections.

Three months on, yet another voting date has fallen by the wayside as political infighting continues to snarl election efforts. Privert, meanwhile, seems increasingly comfortable as Haiti’s leader, traveling through the capital in horn-blaring motorcades and recently attending a U.N. climate change meeting in New York.

Welcome to Haiti’s dysfunctional democracy, where few people think there will be voting anytime soon.

Under the accord that helped put him in office, Privert was supposed to make way for a voter-approved president May 14 following a late April election.

But his provisional administration got off to a sluggish start, and only recently appointed a commission to verify contested elections held last year that many Haitians believe were rigged to benefit Tet Kale, the party of previous President Michel Martelly.

“We can’t go to the polls without first restoring confidence in the process,” said Privert, who now suggests holding presidential and legislative runoffs in October along with already scheduled balloting for a third of Senate seats.

Lawmakers aligned with Tet Kale are demanding Privert’s resignation, accusing him of putting up obstacles so he can hold onto power. The faction is stoking street protests as it opposes the verification panel, questioning its legality.

The impasse is a reminder of the fragility of democracy in one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world.

Laurent Dubois, a Haiti historian at Duke University, said election postponements and declarations of fraud have been a consistent part of the nation’s electoral process since the overthrow of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986. They were also a part of the political process before that, including during the U.S. occupation of 1915-1934.

“Much of what is going on today is not that different from earlier election cycles,” said Dubois, author of “Haiti: The Aftershocks of History.”

In 2010, outgoing President Rene Preval was suspected of rigging the vote to elect his preferred successor, Jude Celestin, sparking violent clashes between Martelly’s supporters and U.N. peacekeepers. Celestin was eventually eliminated from the two-candidate runoff under pressure from Washington, the Organization of American States and opposition protests. Martelly took office in May 2011.

This time, No. 2 presidential finisher Celestin announced a boycott as he rejected first-round results that put the Martelly-backed Jovenel Moise in the front-runner spot. As local election observers decried the October election as a sham, Celestin’s opposition alliance called for a transitional government to organize a “fair” vote. International monitors with the EU and OAS have said last year’s election results appeared legitimate to them.

The U.S. and other countries have been pressing Haiti to meet the deadlines of the last-minute deal for an interim administration negotiated by legislative leaders and Martelly less than 48 hours before he was to leave office. The February accord paved the way for Privert’s 120-day government to oversee the runoff.

Few voters expected a quick fix.

“Haitian politicians refuse to compromise and will do anything to get power or keep it,” said Patrice Zephyr, an electrician from downtown Port-au-Prince who voted for the first time in 2010 and was so disappointed with the result he doesn’t expect to cast a ballot again.

Worried by Haiti’s partisan tensions, the OAS says it’s critical that elections resume without repeating the issues or problems of the recent past. “The elections should be held as soon as possible but shouldn’t be rushed,” Luis Almagro, secretary general of the organization, told The Associated Press.

Frustration in Washington has grown. Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told a Miami television station that Haiti’s “so-called leaders need to understand there’s a clear limit to the patience, the willingness of the international community to condone this process of delay.”

In Haiti, though, there is deep resentment of anything that could be construed as outside meddling in the impoverished country, where foreign powers and NGOs have long held considerable sway.

“No Haitian should accept the meddling of foreigners trying to dictate what we do in our election,” the National Human Rights Defense Network and three other local groups said in a statement.

Kenneth Merten, the U.S. State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti, said the U.S. recognizes the vote is a Haitian process even though foreign powers are funding much of the cost. The U.S. has already spent $33 million on Haiti’s suspended balloting.

Rejecting accusations of meddling, Merten said the international community simply wants an elected government in place that reflects the voters’ will rather than a president chosen by politicians.

Merten described the newly launched verification process of last year’s balloting as a sort of “black box” that risks being manipulated by political actors whose factions didn’t make the cut last year.

“It is a very opaque and you could argue non-democratic way of moving forward,” he told the AP shortly before traveling to Haiti last week to discuss the stalled elections.

Now there are new deadlines that Haiti may struggle to meet. The five-member verification commission installed last week has 30 days to finish gauging the legitimacy of the official results. Meanwhile, a revamped Provisional Electoral Council says it aims to publish a new election calendar later this month.

Many Haitians have little faith in their country’s democracy due to years of unmet promises and political infighting. But some, deeply proud of Haiti and serious about their duties as citizens, still want to vote.

“If I get the chance, I will vote even though no government has ever brought improvements to this area,” said Jean-Mary Daniel, a subsistence farmer struggling to grow beans and corn in isolated southeastern Haiti.



It must be remembered that Adolf Hitler manipulated the Democratic framework and captured Germany to rule as a dictator for 12 years and see some 60,000,000 people die.

Privert is playing the Democratic Game with Preval and Aristide as allies.

They knew they could not win an election – as demonstrated by the losses of Jude Celestin and Maryse Narcisse. They will now use the Democratic Concepts to destroy the Democratic Reality.

We are rapidly approaching a situation in which very aggressive action will be needed, in order to derail Privert’s rush to power.

Privert is counting on the fact that no one will commit to aggressive action.

By the time the opposition to Privert is ready to be aggressive, it will be too late.

It must also be remembered that the Accord that saw Privert mandated to deliver an election April 24, was signed by 3 people: Martelly, the President of the Senate, and the President of the Chamber of Deputies. Any revision will require this trio’s participation.

Time is being wasted.


And it must be remembered that Jude Celestin was really removed from the earlier election because of his involvement with the assassin Amaral Duclona, having coordinated the murder of CNE head Robert Marcello. Celestin then took his place and stole millions of dollars – finally being fired for this.

Celestin stole enough material from CNE to set up a big hardware store.

Celestin arranged for a false passport, under the name Innocent, that saw Amarol Duclona smuggled to safety in the Dominican Republic, after hiding in Preval’s sister’s house.

And, for some strange reason, he was still allowed on the recent ballot.

Celestin says he will not participate, in the run-off, Preval insiders suggest the new Preval candidate will be Jerry Tardieu.

Election delay, then Privert decision that previous elections were fraudulent, and  invalid.  New ballot with Tardieu as candidate. Privert/Berlanger control of CEP – Tardieu a foregone conclusion.




Author: `

6 thoughts on “PRIVERT FOREVER:No End in Sight to Election Mess in Struggling Haiti- Added COMMENTARY By Haitian-Truth

  1. Your photo gives Tardieu saluting a friend across Privert’s lap.

    He is a snake.

  2. ‪#‎Haiti‬ —Fanmi Lavalas prudent sur la Commission : “Maryse Narcisse doit-être au second tour”.- Shiller Louidor, Porte-parole du Parti Fanmi lavalas a indiqué à propos de la Commission de Vérification « Nous n’allons pas accepter toutes les recommandations de la Commission de vérification » laissant sous-entendre que Famni Lavalas, refusera les décisions ne permettant pas à sa candidate à la présidence, Maryse Narcisse, d’accéder au second tour… HL/ HaïtiLibre–
    Ecoutez HaitiNation sur le net:
    sur la Bande FM : 105.5 dans le Centre, le Nord et l’Artibonite
    Sur Facebook :

  3. Fin de Mandat*** Privert débloque les fonds de l’état mobilise les ressources du Groupe de Bourdon et du Groupe Blakawout pour acheter Gpep e des sénateurs pour rester au pouvoir après le 14 mai
    Gerard Pradel : May 03 11:08AM -0400

    Privert a passe des instructions aux ministres des finances et de la planification et au directeur general du FAES pour débloquer 500 millions de gourdes en faveur des parlementaires de Gpep et des sénateurs majoritaires. Samedi il a rencontre les Vorbe du groupe Blakawout pou obtenir 300 millions de gourdes et il espère trouve 400 millions de gourdes du groupe de bourdon.

    Des 1.2 milliards de gourdes Privert utilisera 700
    millions de gourdes pour acheter des parlementaires et il gardera 500 millions comme fonds de sécurité pour sa retraite s’il ne peut pas obtenir la prolongation de son mandat.

    La grande majorité des parlementaires de Gpep et des sénateurs majoritaires sont prêts a recevoir l’argent sans voter une prolongation de mandat pour Privert qu’ils qualifient de dangereux et d’un homme qui ne tient jamais sa parole.

    Le consensus au parlement semble être autour de l’application de l’article 149 de la constitution pour donner au premier ministre de diriger l’exécutif avec le conseil des ministres.

    Les seuls supports politiques de Privert viennent de Pierre Espérance du RNDDH, d’une parti de Fanmi Lavalas et de Pitit Dessalines qui ont promis de le supporter avec une violence politique systématique. Pitié Dessalines a demande a Privert de lui livrer des armes.

    Personne en sait encore quelle sera la reaction de Michel Ange Gédéon qui doit faire face au sénat pour sa ratification.

  4. An American computer expert tells us that one of his friends has been retained by Privert to steal the election electronically.

    The ballots must be counted by hand and all calculations done – by hand – under supervision.

    Delay allows Privert, and his team, to load the dice against Jovenel, and anyone else they wish to block.

    Tardieu is the ideal candidate. He is suitably light-skinned, to make foreigners happy, he is power hungry, and is greedy.

    The Clinton team will be able to use Tardieu to further rape Haiti. Clinton provided over $2,000,000 for the Oasis Hotel that could have gone to a legitimate purpose.

  5. L’ancien premier ministre lavalas Yvon Neptune et 29 autres personnes doivent être traduits par-devant le tribunal criminel, recommande l’ordonnance de clôture du juge chargé de l’instruction du dossier du Massacre de La Scierie

    Des ex-hauts gradés de la police et au moins deux ressortissants étrangers figurent également sur la liste

    Publié le lundi 19 septembre 2005

    L’ordonnance de clôture du juge d’instruction de St-Marc Clunie Pierre Jules,en charge du dossier de l’Affaire de La Scierie, a conclu à l’existence de charges et indices suffisants pour poursuivre par-devant le tribunal criminel l’ancien premier ministre Yvon Neptune et 29 autres personnes inculpées, dont les anciens ministres lavalas de l’intérieur et de la justice, respectivement Jocelerme Privert et Calixte Delatour.

    Remise jeudi dernier au Commissaire du gouvernement Lesly Jules, l’ordonnance conclut aussi à l’inexistence de charges et indices suffisants pour poursuivre 35 autres personnes, dont l’ancien président Jean Bertrand Aristide et son secrétaire d’Etat à la communication, Mario Dupuy.

    Dans son exposé des faits, le magistrat a rejeté les thèses de génocide et d’affrontement utilisées par certains pour caractériser les violences qui ont endeuillé St-Marc du 9 au 29 février 2004. Me Clunie Pierre Jules parle plutôt de massacre, établissant le fait que, pendant les tristes journées du 9 au 11 février 2004, de nombreuses personnes sans défense ont été lâchement assassinées par des membres de l’organisation « Bale Wouze » dirigée par l’ex-député contesté Amanus Mayette, par des civils armés venus de Port-au-Prince et des policiers dont certains se trouvaient à bord d’un hélicoptère du Palais National qui tiraient sur des gens qui fuyaient les violences en tentant de se réfugier au Morne Calvaire, voisin du quartier de La Scierie.

    Les témoignages sous-tendant la thèse de l’affrontement n’ont pas pu faire la preuve de l’existence de victimes dans les deux camps, tandis que les éléments techniques font défaut pour étayer celle du génocide, soutient le juge d’instruction. En guise de rejet de la thèse de l’affrontement, le rapport d’instruction est catégorique : il n’y a pas eu d’insurrection armée à proprement parler à St-Marc ; les policiers ont délibérément abandonné leur commissariat. L’incendie qui a consumé le 11 février une clinique appartenant au Dr Yfto Mayette, cousin germain du chef de « Bale Wouze », entrait tout simplement dans le cadre du scénario mis en place pour justifier le déclenchement des hostilités, a reconnu le médecin au Cabinet d’Instruction de St-Marc. Ce qui sous-entend que l’incendie n’était pas véritablement l’œuvre des opposants à Aristide.

    Quant au bilan justifiant la thèse du massacre retenue par le juge, l’ordonnance reconnaît qu’il est controversé. Elle fait référence au missionnaire américain Terry Snow, directeur de « Jeunesse en mission » qui, au cours des événements, a entrepris de nombreuses démarches auprès des responsables de l’organisation « Bale Wouze » pour sauver des vies et arriver à la paix. Terry Snow parle, avec des supports photos, d’une centaine de morts et de 45 maisons incendiées.

    L’ordonnance relate tout de même divers témoignages établissant un bilan moins lourd, avoisinant la cinquantaine de morts. Pour sa part, le juge indique qu’il n’a pas été possible de dresser la liste de toutes les victimes, mais que l’instruction permet de dénombrer 44 personnes tuées, carbonisées et portées disparues. 22 des personnes tuées ont été nommément identifiées. Il s’agit de :

    – Brice Kéner Pierre Louis (tué et carbonisé à La Scierie)

    – Francky Dimanche, Stanley Fortuné (tués à Morne La Scierie)

    – Yveto Morency (tué à Terre Blanche)

    – Anserme et Wilghens Petit-Frère (carbonisés à Portail Montrouis)

    – Bosquet Faustin,Wislet Charles (tués à La Scierie)
    – Kénol St-Vil et Jonas Nelson (tués et carbonisés à La Scierie)

    – Makens Louis.

    – Marc Antoine Civil, Jean Louis et Guernel Joseph (tués à Frécyneau-McDonald)

    – Florette Solide,une femme enceinte et Fanès Dorjean (carbonisés à la Grand-rue, en la résidence des Paultre)

    – Laurette Guillaume, Sandy Cadet, Gaston St-Fleur, Josias St-Fleur (portés disparus).

    Deux jeunes femmes, Anne (34 ans), Kétia (22 ans), à la recherche de leurs concubins enlevés et tués pendant les événements, ont été violées à même le sol au Commissariat de Police de St-Marc par des membres de « Bale Wouze ».

    Trois adolescents capturés par les membres de « Bale Wouze », solidement liés à l’aide d’une corde, ont été jetés de l’hélicoptère vivants à la mer, à Amaniy-Les-Bains ; leurs cadavres ont été retrouvés.

    Deux personnes, dans l’hélicoptère, avaient été décapitées et leur corps ont été jetés dans l’espace.

    L’octogénaire Luc Paultre a eu de graves brûlures au cours de l’incendie du 12 février en sa résidence.Les nommés Somoza, Vickès, Ti jean Claude, Ernst Pascal, Biron, Amanus, Armstrong ont fait irruption dans la maison du pasteur Daméus Anulaire pour appréhender le nommé Kénol St-Gilles qui s’était réfugié sous un lit après avoir reçu une balle à la jambe : ils l’ont jeté vif au feu, sous les yeux de sa mère.

    Le mari de la nommée Yvanne Clairvoyant, nourrice de 15 jours, a été décapité à l’aide d’une hache et jeté au feu.

    Le nommé Nickson François a été attaché à une camionnette et traîné à travers la ville.

    L’ordonnance de clôture fait par ailleurs état de l’existence d’un rapport de la police scientifique datée du 27 mai 2005 selon lequel des ossements humains, des cadavres ont été retrouvés à Montrouis et à Etang Bois Neuf.

    Les incidents, décrits dans l’ordonnance avec un luxe de détails, ont fait suite à la visite le 9 février à St-Marc du premier ministre Yvon Neptune préparée par le député contesté Amanus Mayette ; avec qui, d’ailleurs, Yvon Neptune tint conseil au commissariat de police, en compagnie des deux maires-adjoints de la ville. L’un de ces derniers, Paul Pollys, soutient, dans une audition au Cabinet d’Instruction, qu’il a dû se retirer après avoir mesuré la profondeur du mutisme du premier ministre à ses propositions de résolution pacifique des problèmes en lieu et place de la violence telle que la pratiquait les membres de « Bale Wouze ». La réunion, qualifiée de secrète par le magistrat, s’est alors poursuivie entre le premier ministre et Amanus Mayette qui, dès le lendemain, allait assurer en personne la direction des opérations. A l’issue de la réunion, le premier ministre s’est adressé en anglais aux journalistes haïtiens et étrangers présents. Arrivé à Port-au-Prince, il déclara le même jour à la presse gouvernementale qu’il venait de « pacifier » St-Marc, rappelle l’ordonnance.

    Les déclarations faites par Yvon Neptune au cours de l’audition au Cabinet d’Instruction révèlent des contradictions flagrantes qui ont en quelque sorte étayé les suspicions du juge instructeur à son encontre. L’instruction cite des témoignages sur le rôle-clé joué dans les violences par Amanus Mayette et, dans le même temps, sur les étroites relations entre ce dernier et le premier ministre tout au cours des incidents.

    Le dossier comporte au total 146 pièces constituées, entre autres de lettres de plainte ; transcriptions d’auditions de témoins, interrogatoires ; rapports d’enquête sur le terrain ; ordonnances ; arrêts de la Cour de Cassation ; rapports relatifs à de multiples appels téléphoniques entre Yvon Neptune, de hauts responsables du gouvernement, du CSPN et de la police avec des exécutants au moment même où se déroulaient les opérations.

    Du 7 au 13 février 2004, le portable de Yvon Neptune, le 558-1631, a été utilisé pendant 34.187 secondes, soit 9 hres 33 mns et 46 secondes. 21.319 secondes de ce temps concernent des appels vers des responsables de police ou de sécurité et des membres de « Bale Wouze » à Saint-Marc, dont Amanus Mayette. Personnes concernées par les appels : Jean Gérard Dubreuil, secrétaire d’Etat de la sécurité publique ; Jean Robert Esther, directeur central des Services généraux, responsable des questions de finance au niveau de la PNH ; Frantz Gabriel, commissaire de police, pilote d’hélicoptère ; Oriel Jean, responsable de la sécurité au Palais National ; Amanus Mayette, principal responsable de « Bale Wouze » ; Biron Odigé, coordonnateur de la même organisation, directeur de l’APN de la ville ; Barthélémy Valbrun Jr, directeur des services de sécurité du Palais National (USP-USGPN- Cat Team) ; Roland Dauphin (alias Black Ronald), commissaire auto-proclamé de St-Marc, au moment des événements.

    L’ex- premier ministre lavalas a utilisé, pendant le massacre, plus de 60% de son temps de téléphone à régler des questions de police en rapport avec St-Marc, relève l’instruction. Dans ce cadre, il a réalisé plusieurs appels-conférence avec Jean Robert Esther, Amanus Mayette et Frantz Gabriel. Il a été également répertorié plus de 20 appels de Roland Dauphin vers Jean Robert Esther, uniquement pour la seule journée du 11 février 2004 ; deux appels de Biron Odigé vers Jean Robert Esther ; plusieurs appels de Amanus Mayette vers Frantz Gabriel ; 59 appels entre le premier ministre et Jean Robert Esther ; 5 appels de Jocelerme Privert vers Jean Robert Esther, 6 appels de la directrice générale de la PNH, Jocelyne Pierre, vers Jean Robert Esther.

    En conclusion et en raison des charges et indices accumulés, le juge instructeur recommande la poursuite, par-devant le tribunal criminel, des individus dont les noms suivent : Amanus Mayette, Biron Odigé, Roland Dauphin (alias Black Ronald), Figaro Désir, Ernest Pascal, Vikès Janvier, Jean Claude Jean-Baptiste dit Jean Claude Désir, Hervé Méristil, Dieubonnet Mayette, Georges Michel Valbrun, Yvon Neptune, Jocelerme Privert, Jocelyne Pierre, Jean Gérard Dubreuil, Roody Berthomieux, Calixte Delatour, Jean Robert Esther, Olvy Emilcar, Pierre Destinoble, André Louissaint, Féquière ainsi connu, Wantalès Lormejuste, Jean Baptiste Hora, Harmony Ronald, Williams Baptiste, Mathieu Raphael, Frantz Gabriel, Baron Brandt Decker, Rony Wayne Lusk (un américain, spécialiste en mécanique aéronautique), Daniel Timophy Hovermale.

    Les personnes au sujet desquelles des charges et indices suffisants n’ont pu être établis et qui ne seront pas poursuivies, sont les suivantes :: Jean Bertrand Aristide, Mario Dupuy, Jonas Petit, Evens Sainturné, Frénot Cajuste, Dany Fabien, Paul Joubert, Zacharie Dalusmé, Kertus Lafleur, Marcellus Polinet, Paul Polinet, Ronald Génescar, Robert Valgresseau, Jeniel Marcellin, Johnny Marcellin, Pierre Jeanty, Ilès Joseph, Fafo Cajuste, Tison Destiné, Larousse Jean Gilles, Espérancia Pierre, Emmanuel Ulysse, Samuel Edwing St-Eloi, Smay Clotaire, Jean Elie Bastien, Antoine Daniel, Larousse Jean Jules, Jean Claude Honoré, Gardy Volcy, Dieulifète Freca ou Milien Somoza, Dieulifète Fleury, Patrick Fleury et Amson Gédéon. [jmd/RK]

  6. The fêted and the dead in Haiti

    What took place in the Caribbean nation of Haiti this past weekend marks perhaps the regional nadir of diplomacy for the international community that helped bring it about, and perhaps the worst single day for the country’s fragile democracy since a 1991 coup derailed its first democratic government.

    Following a dispute centered on alleged government-sponsored fraud in elections to find a successor to outgoing President Michel Martelly, the president’s mandate expired on 7 February and, after cutting a deal with parliament, he stepped down to clear the way for the selection of a provisional president tasked with forming a new electoral council and holding a new vote.

    It was believed the Martelly, a former star of Haiti’s konpa music scene who went by the name of Sweet Micky, intended to appoint Jules Cantave, the chief of Haiti’s Supreme Court, as his successor, even though the latter’s mandate had expired late last year. The chief of the Supreme Court has traditionally been the head of interim governments during Haiti’s often-fraught periods of transition, including in 1990-91 and 2004-2006.

    Haiti’s parliament, which has technical approval over the appointment and which itself was elected in August elections so full of violence and fraud they had to be cancelled in some municipalities, had other ideas, though. The senate – after announcing that candidates would have to pay $8,300 for the privilege of applying – selected its own president, Jocelerme Privert, to run the country until elections are held in April and a new president inaugurated in May.

    Privert, currently affiliated with the INITE party of former president René Préval, has served as a senator since 2010. During his tenure in parliament, he has been praised by the international community as a flexible pragmatist willing to work out deals with various political factions and the international community. Before he entered parliament, though, Privert served from 2002 to 2004 as the Minister of Interior, in charge of internal security, for the second government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was overthrown in February of the latter year after an armed rebellion and massive street protests against his rule.

    This is where things grow murky.

    Between 2001 and 2004, I spent many days in the Cité Soleil slum of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, the largest such neighborhood in the Caribbean and then a stronghold of pro-Aristide armed groups, referred to in Haiti as chimere, after a mythical fire-breathing demon. Though Cité Soleil is far from just a gangland and the majority of its residents are hardworking people simply scrambling to survive, that the leaders of these irregular armed groups – whose existence violated Article 268 of Haiti’s constitution whereby the national police were the only body with the right to distribute and circulate weapons in the country – were in close contact with the Aristide government was beyond doubt. They were frequently hosted by Aristide at the National Palace (sometimes these meetings were even broadcast on state television) and they showed me what they said were the personal cell phone numbers of such individuals as Hermione Leonard, then police director for the department including Haiti’s capital, and of Privert himself, whom they witheringly referred to as Ti Jocelyn (Little Jocelyn), on their own mobile phones. I was not the only one to observe this. Similar groups existed throughout the country.

    Privert and Aristide’s connections to these armed groups are relevant because, as the regime sputtered to its sanguinary dénouement in late 2003 and early 2004, these groups were among the state-allied actors who carried out a series of killings in the Haiti’s Artibonite region.

    In late 2003 a rebellion against the government erupted in the northern city of Gonaïves after the killing of Amiot Métayer, the leader of a pro-Aristide gang in the city called the Cannibal Army. The gang blamed the crime on Aristide, swore revenge and set about fighting pitched battles with pro-government security forces [They would be joined be joined in a few weeks’ time by former members of Haiti’s disbanded army and others crossing over from the Dominican Republic).

    During October 2003, while Privert was serving as Interior Minister, government security forces killed over 20 people during raids into the Cannibal Army’s stronghold in the slum of Raboteau, many of them uninvolved civilians including mother of five Michelet Lozier, Josline Michel and a month old baby girl.

    These incidents, however, paled in comparison to what befell the resident of the northern town of Saint-Marc four months later.

    On 7 February 2004, an armed anti-Aristide group, the Rassemblement des militants conséquents de Saint-Marc (Ramicosm), based in the neighborhood of La Scierie, had attempted to drive government forces from the town, seizing the local police station, which they set on fire.

    Two days later, the combined forces of the Police Nationale d’Haiti(PNH), the Unité de Sécurité de la Garde du Palais National (USGPN) — a unit directly responsible for the president’s personal security — and a local paramilitary organization named Bale Wouze (Clean Sweep) retook much of the city. By 11 February, Bale Wouze – headed by a former parliamentary representative of Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas political party named Amanus Mayette – had commenced the battle to retake La Scierie. Often at Mayette’s side was a government employee named Ronald Dauphin, known to residents as “Black Ronald,” often garbed in a police uniform even though he was in no way officially employed by the police.

    When the photojournalist Alex Smailes and I arrived in the town, we found the USGPN and Bale Wouze patrolling Saint-Marc as a single armed unit. Speaking to residents there — amidst a surreal backdrop of burned buildings, the stench of human decay, drunken gang members threatening our lives with firearms and a terrified population — we soon realized that something awful had happened in Saint-Marc.

    According to multiple residents interviewed during that visit and a subsequent visit that I made to the town in June 2009, after government forces retook the town — and after a press conferencethere by Yvon Neptune, at the time Aristide’s Prime Minister and also the head of the Conseil Superieur de la Police Nationale d’Haiti — a textbook series of war crimes took place.

    Residents spoke of how Kenol St. Gilles, a carpenter with no political affiliation, was shot in each thigh, beaten unconscious by Bale Wouze members and thrown into a burning cement depot, where he died. Unarmed Ramicos member Leroy Joseph was decapitated, while Ramicosm second-in-command Nixon François was simply shot. In the ruins of the burned-out commissariat, Bale Wouze members gang raped a 21-year-old woman, while other residents were gunned down by police firing from a helicopter as they tried to flee over a nearby mountain. A local priest told me matter-of-factly at the time of Bale Wouze that “these people don’t make arrests, they kill.”

    Nor were Alex and I the only journalists to document what was happening. The Miami Herald’s Marika Lynch wrote of how the town was “under a terrifying lockdown by the police and a gang of armed pro-Aristide civilians called Clean Sweep” and that “the two forces are so intertwined that when Clean Sweep’s head of security walks by, Haitian police officers salute him and call him commandant.” Gary Marx of the Chicago Tribune wrote of how “residents also saw piles of corpses burning in an opposition neighborhood and watched as pro-Aristide forces fired at people scurrying up a hillside to flee.”

    According to a member of a Human Rights Watch delegation that visited Saint-Marc a month after the killings, at least 27 people were murdered there between 11 February and Aristide’s flight into exile at the end of the month. Her conclusion was supported by the research of the Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), a Haitian human rights organization. Survivors of the massacre and relatives of the victims formed a solidarity organization, the Association des Victimes du Génocide de la Scierie (AVIGES).

    Following Aristide’s overthrow, several members of Bale Wouze were lynched, while Privert and Neptune turned themselves over to the interim government that ruled Haiti from March 2004 until the inauguration of René Préval in May 2006.

    Held in prison without trial until their 2006 release, a May 2008 decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the Haitian state had violated the American Convention on Human Rights in the detentions, though stressed that it was “not a criminal court in which the criminal responsibility of an individual can be examined.” Weighing in on the release of Neptune and Privert releases, Human Rights Watch noted that “the La Scierie case was never fully investigated and the atrocities that the two men allegedly committed remain unpunished.”

    Days later, after being jailed for three years without trial, Amanus Mayette was also freed from prison. Haiti’s RNDDH denounced the release as “arbitrary” and a move that would “strengthen corruption” and “allow the executioners of La Scierie to enjoy impunity.” Arrested in 2004, Ronald Dauphin subsequently escaped from jail, was re-arrested during the course of an anti-kidnapping raid in Haiti’s capital in July 2006 and fled prison again after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake destroyed the jail. Despite several chaotic public hearings, to date, none of the accused for the killings in La Scierie has ever gone to trial.

    Frustratingly for the people of Saint-Marc, far from being supported in their calls for justice, the events they experienced have become a political football among international political actors.

    The United Nations independent expert on human rights in Haiti, Louis Joinet – who visited the site of the killings only briefly – in a 2005 statement dismissed allegations of a massacre and described what occurred as “a clash”, a characterization that seemed unaware of the fact that not all among those victimized had any affiliation with Haiti’s political opposition. Thierry Fagart, then the head of the UN Human Rights Commission in Haiti, while getting many of the details of the timeline of the violence wrong, also made similar claims. RNDDH referred to the attitude of the international community to the case as “a scandal”

    In a heart-rending June 2007 letter to Louis Joinet, AVIGES coordinator Charliénor Thomson asked the judge “who cares about our case?” before going on to recount some of the horrors that had been visited upon Saint-Marc in February 2004 and continuing

    The victims of these horrors live under the constant threat of criminals who were all released under pressure, in particular, from some agencies of international civil society…Today, what justice should we expect? Who can testify freely while the assassins are free and can circulate with impunity? The majority of inhabitants in Saint-Marc are afraid. Even those who have been direct victims of acts mentioned above are scared. The victims want to flee the city and the witnesses to hide…When will we enjoy the benefits of justice we claim? In the current circumstances, what form does it come?

    As the citizens of Saint-Marc fought their uphill battle for justice, rather than supported, they were actively undermined by some in the international community, especially, perhaps not surprisingly, those so-called human rights organizations with deep financial and personal links to the Aristide regime. The U.S.-based Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH), for example, wrote fawningly of Black Ronald as “a Haitian grassroots activist, customs worker and political prisoner,” and talked of the work of Mario Joseph of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), IJDH’s partner organization in Haiti, as Ronald’s attorney in a “legal analysis” of the case made available to supporters. Ira Kurzban, one of the IJDH’s founders and former head of its board of directors, serves as Aristide’s personal attorney in the United States, while the BAI’s Mario Joseph serves as one of a coterie of attorneys in Haiti defending the former president from various investigations related to his time in office. The people of La Scierie unfortunately have never had such deep-pocketed champions. All they ever asked for was a trial, but perhaps they will never get one.

    The question now remains, having ascended to the highest office of the land, what is exactly the game Privert is playing? At his inauguration, which was attended by the foreign diplomatic corps, as well as Aristide’s wife, Mildred, and Maryse Narcisse, the presidential candidate for Aristide’s party (who officially came in fourth in the disputed results), Privert spoke of “dialogue.” and “reconciliation” as the way out of Haiti’s political crisis. Privert’s assumption of the presidency was loudly praised by the United Nations, the so-called Core Group (Brazil, Canada, France, Spain, the US, the European Union and the Organization of American States) and, individually, by the ambassadors of the United State and France. One group of opposition politicians, on the other hand, known as the G8, denounced the process as a “parliamentary coup.”

    To be sure, Martelly was no angel. He surrounded himself with a coterie of highly suspect individuals who were serially accused of everything from drug trafficking to murder, and was often gruff and confrontational with his critics. But the elections, compromised as they may have been, were cancelled only under the threat of violencewith apparently little thought as to what would come next.

    The scenario that is being painted by some Haitian politicians now – the exclusion of Jovenel Moïse, the candidate of Martelly’s Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale from the second round of presidential elections – is one that would disenfranchise thousands of voters and undoubtedly only lead to further conflict.

    The policy of the international community, and especially that of the United States, over the last few years in Haiti, as much as any policy at all can be discerned, appears to be to mutely accept any excess of depredation all the while bankrolling a process doomed to fail. Rule by decree? No problem. Summarily replace over 140 mayors with people loyal to a party apparatus? Fine with us. Have a man accused of involvement in gross human rights abuses extra-constitutionally assume the presidency and oversee new elections? Tout bagay anfom.

    All those years ago, RNDDH called the attitude of the international community towards the killings that took place in La Scierie a scandal. It continues to be so, as it continues to be a symbol of the hardcore of impunity that no elections in Haiti have ever seemed able to vanquish. It is a system that allows journalists, human rights workers, priests and politicians to be killed and the intellectual authors of the crimes to never even be tried, let alone convicted. Neither the UN mission, the US Embassy or any other foreign presence in the country seems to care much about the killings of a bunch of poor nobodies more than a decade ago. And so they stand and applaud, each clap pushing a chance for justice – whatever that might look like – ever farther away.

    At a reception at the National Palace for Privert’s investiture, where Lavalas die-hards swilled champagne, one such activist crowed to a Reuters journalist that “Lavalas and Aristide are back in the palace. We are back in power and we won’t let it go.”

    Amid the diplomatic pomp and popping champagne corks, one thinks of the dead of La Scierie, still turning in their unquiet graves.

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