13 October 2005 Edition
The World Today: Haiti terror continues
Exiled human rights activist speaks to An Phoblacht
Sergo Alexis, comes from the poorest and unluckiest country in the American continent, Haiti. The history of the island is one of 200 years of struggling for freedom. On the way, there has been the terrible dictatorships of the Douvalier family and continuous foreign interference.
The situation today, after a military coup overthrew elected leader Jean Beltran Aristide, is one of terror. However, reports of massacres are daily ignored by the press, even with increasingly evident involvement of troops supposedly on peace keeping missions. On Friday 30 September supporters of democracy demonstrated against the Haiti situation in 40 cities around the world.
That is what brought Sergo Alexis, a Haitian human rights activist living in exile in Paris to Dublin, where he came to ask Irish people to put pressure on the US Government so that "it allows Haiti to look after its own affairs and to allows the country to organise its own free and democratic elections."
Asked to describe the situation in Haiti he says that in the international media issues such as Iraq overshadow any real coverage of Haiti. "What is happening there is as terrible as what is going on in Iraq. Nowadays, in Haiti, the massacres are a daily occurrence: women, children and political leaders, not just any political leaders, activists of the Labalas movement — are killed.
"Every day civilians are killed at the hands of armed groups or through abuse by the police. We are talking of a corrupt police force that rebelled against elected Prime Minister Jean Beltran Aristide and armed the forces of organised crime, which are now in charge of the security of the country.
"Violence against women is part of their strategy. Women are raped, murdered and discriminated against. The clearest exponent of human rights violations are the acts committed particularly against children, who are being systematically tortured and murdered by the national police as part of their plan of political cleansing. So, everyday in Haiti is one of repression, massacres and illegal detentions."
Asked about his opinion on the presence in Haiti of UN peace-keeping troops who have been linked to massacres, he says they joined forces with the National Police to engage in massacres against the civil population. "I believe that with the current President the UN will not improve the security situation.
Sergo does not see Aristide coming back to take over Haiti's government. "I do not think this would be possible, because he had two mandates already and the Haitian constitution does not allow for a third. Aristide's supporters are calling for his return now so he can help them to organise the elections that would take place next December.
He claims opposition to Aristide before the coup was created by the manipulation of the US, French and Canadian Governments who wanted rid of him. "They invest a lot of money in those who opposed Aristide and on the media, so to manipulate the information and create opposition to Aristide's government through news reports that have since proved false."
He sees the key reason for US interest in Haiti is that "it wants to use part of our national territory, the San Nicholas cape, to create a military installation in the country that would allow them to control the Caribbean, and that is something that Haitians know very well. But I do not think the US would occupy Haiti. I believe that Canada would send troops to occupy our country, because they are also a francophone state.
Of hopes for the future of Haiti Sergo Alexis says that during Aristide's government the economy and security situation improved enormously. "Since the coup, it has been decided to experiment with democracy and create the illusion that we will be electing our own government. However, if the situation continues as it is economically and from the security point of view, I believe that Canada or the US will act and take over the political leadership in Haiti.