The UN in Haiti: Part of the problem, not the solution

Haiti Information Project

Haiti Action Network,, August 30, 2005


When doing a news search of Haiti today, you will find two very different articles about soccer in Haiti.

An Associated Press dispatch headlined "Soldiers use soccer to win over Haitians" by Alfred de Montesquiou tells how U.N.-deployed Brazilian troops are playing soccer with residents in Bel Air to counteract fierce popular resistance to the Feb. 29, 2004 coup against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and the ensuing foreign military occupation of Haiti.

Another article entitled "Massacre of football fans raises state terror fears," written by independent journalist Reed Lindsay, tells how a machete-wielding paramilitary death-squad and Haitian National Police (PNH), under the nose of U.N. forces, attacked spectators on Aug. 20 at a soccer match sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), killing at least eight. The discrepancy between these two news accounts goes to the very heart of the question: what is the U.N.'s role in Haiti?

Who's really in charge?

As reports continue to surface about the human rights hell that Haiti has become, any independent observer must ask how many massacres the Haitian police will commit under the tutelage of U.N. forces before the U.N. is held accountable? Are U.N. forces in charge of the PNH, as their mandate states, or do we simply accept their excuse of being unable to stem police violence against Aristide's supporters.

Why would you reward the perpetrators?

As HIP has reported, the Haitian police have gunned down unarmed Lavalas demonstrators on several occasions over the past year and even planted weapons on their victims' corpses. The police chief during these operations was Léon Charles, anointed by the US, accepted by the U.N. and forced upon the Haitian people. If anyone is responsible, Charles is.

So where is Charles today? He is the de facto government's Chief of Security and Arms Procurement at to the Haitian Embassy in Washington D.C. with an annual salary of $150,000. Charles was given this plum position despite allegations that he ran a scam to collect the salaries of phantom PNH employees to line his own pockets. He is also being rewarded for overseeing the massacre of Lavalas supporters during peaceful demonstrations.

And who pays Charles' salary in Washington? U.S., Canadian and European taxpayers, who provide their governments with "international donor money" collected under U.N. auspices to build "democracy" in Haiti. The U.N. would rather have Charles parked in a well-paid job in Washington than hold him accountable for killings, where he might reveal U.N. complicity.

The Bush "fix" is in

Another case of hypocrisy was recently provided by outgoing US Ambassador James B. Foley. He lamented the recent release of Louis Jodel Chamblain - convicted murderer and vice-president of the CIA-funded paramilitary death-squad, the Front for Advancement and Progress in Haiti (FRAPH). Foley failed to mention that his government continues to harbor the FRAPH leader Emmanuel "Toto" Constant somewhere in the New York metropolitan area. Since 1996, Constant has had political asylum in the U.S. If Foley really wants justice in Haiti, he should start by demanding that "Toto" Constant be deported to Haiti to be judged and jailed. Alligator tears are plentiful in Haiti today at the U.S. embassy and the U.N. mission. Sound bites replace reality as Lavalas supporters are slaughtered or made political prisoners.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration has entered its own candidate in the U.N.-run Haitian presidential elections scheduled for November. Texas-based businessman Dumarsais "Dumas" Siméus will have his campaign run by Rob Allyn, a Republican political consultant and hit-man for Bush's 2004 re-election campaign. Allyn falsely announced that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez had lost the referendum for his recall last year and was the architect of President Vicente Fox's 2000 election victory in Mexico.

The Real Questions

How many massacres, like the one U.N. forces carried out on July 6 in Cité Soleil, must be committed before we acknowledge that their role in Haiti is far from altruistic? How many more political prisoners need to rot away in Haitian jails, as the U.N. continues to support and bolster the U.S.-installed regime of de facto Prime Minister Gérard Latortue? How many times has the U.N. called for investigations into human rights violations by the Haitian police only to have it lead nowhere as the slaughter of innocent Haitians continues? When will we admit that the U.N. mission itself is fundamentally corrupt?

The U.N. is responsible for creating the very environment that has given rise to the police state in Haiti. Some human rights organizations believe that the U.N. can play a positive role, if pressured to do so. They think that only the U.N. stands between the naked repression of the Haitian police and the majority of the population that continues to demand Aristide's return. But this thinking is naive and dangerous.

It is dangerous because it ultimately views the poor majority as powerless and serves the interests of those who wish to further take power and voice away from Haiti's poor. This is precisely the role being played by the U.N., whose fundamental goal is to legitimize last year's coup with sham elections this fall. The U.S.-installed Latortue regime would not stay in power for more than a week without the guns of the U.N. protecting it in the Presidential Palace. And the sham elections would not be possible either.

Objectively, the U.N. has proven time and again that it is enforcing Washington's coup agenda and is ultimately responsible for the human rights nightmare in Haiti today.

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