Sunday, July 17, 2005

Who are the intellectual authors of Jacques Roche's murder?

I was quite puzzled by the sadistic violence that Jacques' kidnappers used in murdering him. Why would they, after receiving a $10,000 ransom, cut out his tongue (while he was still alive), break both of his arms, torture him and then finish him off by shooting an untold number of bullets in his mouth? What type of psychopaths could possibly do this? And why?

Haitian news reports allege that his kidnappers found out about his involvement with the Groupe des 184, this amalgamation of civil society organizations which militated for Aristide's departure or a bunch of criminals intent on wiping the vast majority of Haitians, depending on your political point of view. And they made him pay for it because they viewed him automatically as an enemy of their leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The kidnappers' message to Jacques' family was very simply that, being affiliated with the Groupe des 184 carried grave consequences. In the case of Jacques, the outcome was all but certain: death.

But is it a crime for a journalist to be involved politically? After all, Jacques was a poet and observer of Haitian cultural affairs, as well as a commentator on Radio Ibo. He was not a bloodthirsty armed man, and even less a violent person. What then could have motivated the rage with which his kidnappers exhibited in torturing him so savagely? Was it the fact that they did not obtain the additional $40,000 from Jacques' family? Highly unlikely. Kidnappings in Haiti have been settled for much less than that.

No. The answer lies somewhere else. Broadly speaking, the intellectual authors can be grouped in two categories:

Pro-Artistide Supporters

They are the hatemongers who have decided to employ scortched-earth tactics and who dream of an uprising where any "bourgeois" or "rich person" of any social class in Haiti will be systematically murdered. Their modus operandi is quite simple:
  1. they always portray themselves as victims of a repressive regime as they are trying to defend the masses;
  2. they then use the sympathy they garner from naive foreigners who know very little about the country to pass off violent criminals as community activities (Dread Wilme is probably the best example of that);
  3. they make sure to demonize any group they suspect of being allied to their perceived enemies. In that respect, the following passage from an interview of Georges Honorat by Kevin Pina sums up the message:
The people say now, 'what's going on?' They [the MINUSTAH] want to kill them, and the elite, mainly the group, they call themselves, 184, backed by the United States and now by MINUSTAH, the United Nations, probably want to finish with the Haitian masses, so that's probably what motivates them so they will continue the fight until victory.
These hatemongers are providing the justification for the murder of anyone whom they believe participated in or supported in any way, shape or form the departure of their idol, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. To them, the end justifies the means and someone like Roche is just roadkill.

The inept UN Mission in Haiti

The UN peacekeeping force, known by its acronym MINUSTAH or better yet by its nickname TURISTAH, is the leading factor of destabilization and insecurity in Haiti today. Led by an inept Brazilian force, Minustah has managed the incredible feat of making an already fragile security situation worse by making a series of deadly blunders. General Heleno, thinking that Haiti was an extension of Brazil, decided that no security issue could be solved without attacking the socio-economic problems of Haiti. As a result, he gave criminals of all stripes free rein to engage in increasingly violent activities which could not be contained by an overwhelmed Haitian police force. MINUSTAH went so far as to providing protection to gang members who were passing off as victims of police brutality.

Port-au-Prince residents from all walks of life - but especially the poor who are being held hostage by the gangs in Cite Soley and Bel Air - are now reaping the "benefits" of Heleno's extremely erroneous reading of the Haitian political situation.

One of the untold stories of the tragedy that has befallen the women of the neighborhoods where the gangs have taken residence, has been the unreported high level of rapes of women of all ages, but especially adolescent girls by intoxicated and/or drugged up gang members. They usually buy the silence of the parents - or threaten retaliation if the rapes are reported. This represents a serious health crisis as many of these gang members are at risk of being HIV+ or of having contracted full-blown AIDS.