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Haiti is imploding…Bush unraveled its democracy

This is another case of the media sleeping, and the masses of sheeple that generally take little interest in a story where people don’t look like them, and won’t work to identify with them when it’s easy to flip the channel. It’s easier to keep stories like the implosion of Haiti at arms length. We’re talking mass murders, genocide. CN Todd of Freiheit und Wissen asked his fellow bloggers last week to take action by blogswarming 100 posts in 10 days.

With all of the Chimperor’s talk about spreading democracy around the globe, it’s obvious, if you look at the situation in Haiti, that the average person on the street there knows Bush has shown a strange way of exporting it. In 2004, our president forced out the legitimate, elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who “resigned” and was flown off to the Central African Republic by the our government. No one really knows what the circumstances are that surround Aristide’s departure and treatment in CAR; the U.S. and France have blocked a UN investigation.

Haiti’s the poorest country in this hemisphere, and it’s not on the radar of your average American, certainly not mine. It is a mess, a military state of chaos where the poverty is wretched, and the seemingly endless violence in the shantytowns perpetrated on citizens by its corrupt police has been ratcheted up by by UN peacekeepers, brought in to “stabilize” the situation. In reality, it’s political oppression on a country-wide scale, a downward-spiraling state of fear and panic where public demonstrations are fired upon and people are being slaughtered in their homes.

The latest controversy is the role of UN troops in a massacre, an escalation of violence that terrorized the residents of Cite Soleil.

On July 6 in Cite Soleil, a weeping Fredi Romelus, recounted how UN troops lobbed a red smoke grenade into his house and then opened fire killing his wife and two children. “They surrounded our house this morning and I ran thinking my wife and the children were behind me. They couldn’t get out and the blan [UN] fired into the house.” Exclusive video footage from a HIP reporter captured the interview as well as the images of the three victims. Lying in blood on the floor of the modest home were Mr. Romelus’s wife, 22 year-old Sonia Romelus who was killed by the same bullet that passed through the body of her 1 year-old infant son Nelson. She was apparently holding the child as the UN opened fire. Next to them was her four year-old son Stanley Romelus who was killed by a single shot to the head.

Officially, the UN has responded that they only opened fire after being fired upon and have discounted non-combatant casualties. The HIP video shows 31 year-old Leonce Chery moments after a headshot ripped through his jaw. Chery was clearly unarmed as he lay bleeding to death in a pool of his own blood. In fact, the majority of the victims shown on the video were unarmed falling prey to a single shot to the head.

The international medical group Doctors without Borders, reported 26 people from Cite Soleil were treated for gunshot wounds at St. Joseph’s hospital following the UN operation on July 6. According to reports, 20 of the injured were women and children and one pregnant woman lost her child during surgery. Many wounded and untreated victims of gunshot wounds are reported to be hiding in Cite Soleil. They fear leaving the area to seek medical treatment for fear of reprisal by the UN and the Haitian police.

The bottom line is that the violence will continue as long as the media sleeps. With the call for a U.S. military presence to help further secure this militarized state to protect Haiti’s elite (who have everything to lose), this is an issue that the media needs to pay attention to, given how stretched our troops are now. Does this country want our troops deployed in Haiti because of the fallout from that 2004 U.S.-orchestrated coup? Is that serving democracy?

How on earth can Haiti hold elections in October under these circumstances?

Resources:
* Haiti Emergency Relief Fund
* Haiti Action Net – The perfect one stop resource for news updates, media analysis, and action alerts.
* The Haiti Coup One Year Later – Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! considers the role of the U.S. in the overthrow of Aristide including a personal interview with the man himself. She also has great quotes from Rumsfeld, Powell, and Scott McClellan denying that Aristide was kidnapped and taken hostage.
* Haiti Horror – A new article by Anthony Fenton on the year of struggle for Haiti since the coup, evidence of the U.S.’s and Canada’s role, and the
ongoing effort of Western nations to keep Haiti dependent.
* Why did Canada support a U.S. coup in Haiti? – a great piece by Tom Reeves on Canada’s support for Bush’s coup.
* Chaos Upon Chaos: Haiti After the Press Went Home – An article at Alexander Cockburn’s online journal CounterPunch. Details the real task of the so-called U.N. peace-keeping troops.

Hat tip to Shakes Sis, who wrote a great essay on this.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding