Haiti Q & A
by Diego Hausfather
and Nikolas Barry-Shaw
What's happened in Haiti since Feb. 29 2004?
-After the democratically elected government was overthrown, the rebels and the newly formed police have been on a killing spree; thousands of poor peasants and slum dwellers have been massacred in "a pattern of repression" against "those close, or perceived to have been close, to ... Fanmi Lavalas (FL)", the political party that held power prior to Feb. 29, 2004, according to Amnesty International.
-In the month after the coup d'état, the morgue reported 900 additional deaths above the usual level, many of them violent, while the Catholic Church's Peace and Justice Commission estimated that 500 people were killed in the capital of Port-au-Prince. On October 15, 2004, the general hospital had to call the Ministry of Health to send emergency vehicles to remove the more than 600 corpses that had accumulated there over the previous 2 weeks.
-Rape is once again being wielded as a political tool to prevent women from speaking out against the coup d'etat and the subsequent repression.
-Political freedom has been severely restricted since the coup; Journalists critical of the interim government have been killed or threatened by the paramilitaries and radio stations have been shut down.
-Peaceful demonstrations calling for the return of democracy and an end to the repression have frequently been met with police bullets.
-Leading FL politicians, Lavalas activists and poor people perceived to support Lavalas are routinely arrested without a warrant and then packed into the overcrowded jails, where prisoners are abused and denied the right to see a judge. Prisoners also lack access to adequate food, potable water, or healthcare. The Catholic Peace and Justice Commission estimates that there are at least 700 political prisoners in Haiti today.
-Many people have become internal refugees, fleeing to the mountains or to Port-au-Prince, as a result of the campaign of killing, repression, and intimidation.
Full Article: Znet