Saturday, July 30, 2005

How pro-Aristide factions are supporting former OP criminal Paul Raymond












Paul Raymond: "activist" or Aristide goon?


On July 25, 2005, a surprising unsigned post appeared on www.haitiaction.org, a pro-Aristide website. Entitled "Haiti: Pro-democracy activists deported from the Dominican Republic", the piece decries the lawful extradition of Paul Raymond to Haiti. It paints Raymond, a well-known Aristide supporter as an exemplary, peaceful community activist, to wit: "... a prominent Haitian grassroots leader and tireless defender of Haiti's poor ...", "... a founding member and coordinator of Haiti's base community church, Ti Kominote Legliz (TKL) ...", "... a well-known proponent of liberation theology and an activist in the popular movement calling for the return of President Aristide and constitutional democracy ..."

Mr. Raymond may well have been a member of the base community church, and we may accept that he had at one time been a proponent of liberation theology. But his deeds and pronouncements while Aristide was in a power certainly belie any notion that Mr. Raymond had stayed faithful to his original beliefs. It is surprising that, with his long record of incendiary, hateful and downright murderous language, coupled with an untold number of violent and illegal acts, that haitiaction.org would even call for the release of this criminal.

One of the controversial aspects of liberation theology is that one of its strands does teach violence as a means to break free of "oppression". Indeed, certain liberation theologians "will in some cases regard a particular action (e.g., killing) as sin if it is committed by an oppressor, but not if it is committed by the oppressed in the struggle to remove inequities. The removal of inequities is believed to result in the removal of the occasion of sin [i.e., the oppressor] as well." ( Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983), 592 ) We need to question, however, whether any of Paul Raymond's violent acts fit within the "acceptable" context of violence preached by some liberation theologians. A more general question is, to what extent is liberation theology not just a means to achieve "revenge" rather than an attempt to establish a more balanced society? Did Aristide mean to right the wrongs of exclusion and oppression, or did he use liberation theology simply to elevate himself and his cronies to power?

Perhaps we should take a stroll down memory lane and revisit Paul Raymond's activities.

February 21, 2001
Haiti Torn by Hope and Hatred As Aristide Returns to Power
Washington Post Foreign Service | Friday, February 2, 2001; Page A01
By EDWARD CODY

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The death threat came in a chilling Creole expression. Unless the opposition to President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide backed off, righteous crowds would kill 80 of Haiti's establishment politicians, journalists and clerics, turning their "blood to ink, their skin to parchment and their skulls to inkwells."

Twenty Haitian reporters were summoned to hear the warning read out on Jan. 9 at St. Jean Bosco, a burned-out church whose shell remains a monument to Aristide's days there as a liberation theology priest. Paul Raymond, a militant in the slum's "Little Church Community," named the opposition figures one by one, as several dozen activists affiliated with Aristide's Lavalas political movement shouted, "Long Live Aristide! Long Live Aristide!"

Realizing the significance of what they had just heard, the reporters rushed back to their radio and television stations. By nightfall, Port-au-Prince, the Haitian capital, was buzzing with the news. Opposition politicians demanded Raymond's arrest. Foreign embassies and the papal nuncio issued condemnations. People waited for Aristide to emerge from his luxurious home to disavow the threat made in his name. But they waited in vain.

[...]
October 18, 2001
Letter from NCHR to Jean-Marie Cherestal, Prime Minister

[...]

3. The Refusal to Execute Certain Warrants

Several individuals close to the ruling powers are the objects of judicial proceedings. One can name, among others, the case of Richard (Chacha) SALOMON, René CIVIL of "Jan l Pase l Pase" (JPP), Paul RAYMOND of Ti Kominite Legliz (TKL) of St. Jean Bosco, and Ronald CAMILLE, known as Ronald CADAVRE, currently the new "Bos Pent" .

These individuals are being "actively sought-after" by the police for the investigation surrounding the assassination of the director of Radio Haiti Inter, Jean Léopold DOMINIQUE and the station's guard Jean Claude LOUISSANT, and for the murder of Fritzner JEAN aka Bobo. Nevertheless, these men circulate without worry throughout the capital and make public appearances in areas patrolled by police officers.

The police have given all the pretexts for not executing these warrants. In the past, did Haitians not witness the actions of a general in the Army, soliciting the intervention of the Court of Cassation regarding a warrant, in order to justify the Army's refusal to arrest Dr. Roger LAFONTANT ? What has changed? Are we in the presence of a new Roger LAFONTANT? A new version of the Haitian Army that now uses a different name? Is the National Police - like the army - an institution that consumes nearly eighty percent (80%) of the budget for the Ministry of Justice, nothing more than an auxiliary of the public powers?

These are just some of the dark areas on which the CSPN must shed some light. The Haitian population needs to know; it has the right to know.

[...]

October 30, 2001
Letter from the Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POPDH)

The Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH) brings to the attention of the national and international community the existence of a list of fifteen human rights workers threatened with assassination, including: Pierre ESPERANCE, Treasurer (POHDH) and Executive Director (National Commission on Human Rights/NCHR), Viles ALIZAR, Program Director, NCHR; Serge BORDENAVE, Secretary General of POHDH; Jean Simon SAINT HUBERT, Executive Secretary of POHDH. This threat is RELATED to denunciations made by the Platform and the NCHR related to political influence on the National Police of Haiti, and to the ongoing grave violations of human rights in Haiti.

The POHDH takes this threat very seriously. In March 1999, POHDH treasurer, Pierre ESPERANCE, was the subject of an assassination attempt that had been previously announced in leaflets thrown in the courtyard of the institution.

The POHDH recalls that for some time now, leaders of Haitian Human Rights Organizations have been the objects of threats for their criticism of President Jean Bertrand Aristide's executive order calling for "Zero Tolerance" of lawlessness. Paul RAYMOND and Rene CIVIL, two individuals close to the centers of power of the President's Lavalas movement, have demanded that the movement apply the rule of zero tolerance to defenders of human rights.

The POHDH denounces this situation, which brings back memories of the DUVALIERS and their military governments. The POHDH reminds the authorities that the Haitian people were not responsible for the military coup of the 16th of December 1990 and resisted that coup d'Etat and the surge in political assassinations based on a belief in real democracy and scrupulous respect for human rights. The assassination of defenders of human rights is not the solution to the multiple problems which are facing the country, but a simple attempt to destroy the thermometer which indicates the degree of human rights violations in the country.

Faced with these circumstances, the POHDH demands that the government apply the Declaration of Paris, which compels it to assure protection for defenders of human rights.

Serge BORDENAVE
Secretary General
July 1, 2002
OAS Report on the December 17, 2001 Events

[...]

M. Joseph Guyler Delva déclina devant la Commission les détails des menaces qu’il avait reçues. Il indiqua spécifiquement les menaces de mort que lui avaient faites les dirigeants des Organisations Populaires qui s’identifient avec Fanmi Lavalas. Par exemple, M. René Civil l’a accusé publiquement de travailler dans l’intérêt des «colons blancs». Le 11 janvier 2002, il dût quitter précipitamment l’Hôtel Plaza à Port-au-Prince où il prononçait une conférence sur «La liberté de la presse en Haïti» en compagnie de M. Robert Ménard de «Journalistes sans frontières». Tous les deux furent contraints de s’enfuir car M. René Civil et M. Paul Raymond, accompagnés des membres de leurs groupes manifestaient devant l’hôtel et y pénétrèrent pour les attaquer. Les dirigeants des Organisations Populaires susmentionnées soutenaient que ce genre de conférences discréditait le Gouvernement. M. Delva informa que Paul Raymond l’avait accusé d’être un agent de M. Ménard, et que lui et M. Ménard avaient distribué des armes à travers le pays pour déstabiliser le Gouvernement. Toutes ces accusations n’avaient pour objectif que de justifier le traitement qu’ils voulaient lui réserver.

[...]
December 2, 2002
The Raboteau revolt: Aristide's Machine
By Clara James
[...]

The UN’s independent human rights expert for Haiti, French lawyer Louis Joinet, visited Haiti in September and was shocked at what he found: "quasi-public armed leaders" of structured paramilitary gangs operating with "impunity."

The gang leaders - some call them "crowd brokers"- are paid "zombi" checks from state businesses like the telephone company or work at the National Palace as "aides." When warm bodies are needed, money is distributed in a pattern now so well-known that street thugs do not hesitate to show a well-placed journalist their checks. The prime minister [note: Yvon Neptune] even made a reference to it after two well-known brokers - with very close ties to Aristide - took to the airwaves in September to announce a "movement" to force him from office. His predecessor exited in much the same way only a few months earlier.

"Yvon Neptune must go," raged Paul Raymond into journalists’ microphones. "We brought down Cherestal and we’ll do the same with Neptune." Raymond, once a member of a "ti kominote legliz" (church-based community group) at Aristide’s former parish, St. Jean Bosco, then read off a list of officials he called "grabbers" and "thieves" and was answered with the crowd of men, his "popular organization," shouting "Tie them up." For a few weeks, the capital saw demonstrations and press conferences, all accompanied by the same crowd, but suddenly they ended. Obviously, Raymond’s handler had decided the demos were not working or had achieved their purpose at some unknown, back-room politics level.

[...]
February 15, 2004
Aristide Fait Distribuer des Armes de Guerre

De source confidentielle et digne de foi, le gouvernement de JBA a reçu dimanche soir une cargaison d'armes venant des Bahamas. Cependant les armes ont été compilées (sic) dans plusieurs autres pays de la région.

Une partie de cette cargaison d'armes est distribuée à des milliers de chimères à l'aube du lundi 9 février à l'APN (Autorité Portuaire Nationale). La distribution s'est poursuivie dans la matinée du lundi jusqu'à 10 heures a.m.

Lundi soir (11 heures p.m) la distribution a repris par le biais de René Civil, Paul Raymond, Théobald Pierre Paul, La Bannière et Fòs (ainsi connu).

Il s'agit d'armes de calibre de guerre destinée à faire échec à toute nouvelle insurrection dans le pays.

February 21, 2004
As Police Flee, Rebels Tighten Grip in Haiti's Heartland
By Tony Smith, the New York Times
[....]

In the face of rebel advances this week, Paul Raymond, a top chimère leader, threatened to bring back necklacing - the execution of political opponents by placing a burning tire around their necks, and which has not been seen here in several years.

[...]


I decided not to comment on the above quotes. They speak for themselves, especially the one immediately above. I wonder whether the proponents of liberation theology ever thought of necklacing as a suitable means of threatening their enemies, especially in the absence of evidence of oppression.


We can conclude that the folks at haitiaction.org are either 1) completely unaware of the true nature of Paul Raymond or 2) that they condone the illegal acts that this individual committed while he was one of Aristide's henchmen. At any rate, to claim that Paul Raymond was a man of the church, a man of peace could not be further from the truth. And here again we have exposed the duplicity and hypocrisy of the US-based pro-Aristide movement. What a shame!