PEJ News - C. L. Cook - Frustrated perhaps with their inability to control the population of Cite Soleil, one of Port-au-Prince's most desperate neighbourhoods, on July 6th United Nations "peacekeepers" launched a full military offensive against locals they describe as "bandits." In the ensuing mayhem, at least twenty people were killed, most unarmed citizens going about the arduous business of daily survival in Haiti's capital city. Portions of the attack were recorded on video, contradicting the U.N.'s official version of events, and prompting charges of massacre against the U.N.
U.N. "Massacre" Caught on Tape
C. L. Cook
July 15th, 2005
The United Nations says the military offensive mounted against Cite Soleil was necessary to stop "gang" violence. They've admitted to killing five people, "bandits" resisting the onslaught that included tanks, helicopters and troops.
They came before dawn to this depressed slum, a political stronghold of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Lavalas party, looking for Dread Wilme, political activist/notorious gang leader, depending on whose story you listen to. But, the U.N.'s crediblility has come into question in the wake of the attack.
U.N. Casualty declarations, and the nature of the raid, are both belied by video taken on the scene and aired by Democracy Now! The video, recorded by a resident was given to a labour and trade delegation sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council visiting Port-au-Prince. Now they, and other human rights organizations are charging the U.N. with commiting a massacre.
More than seven thousand U.N. "peacekeepers" are currently deployed in Haiti, sent in to ostensibly reorganize the western hemisphere's poorest nation following the U.S. engineered coup d'etat that removed the democratically elected government of former priest, Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February of last year.
Aristide was spirited out of the country under the threat of death by U.S. military personnel and transported to the Central African Republic (CAR). Aristide, currently living in exile in South Africa, has charged the U.S. kidnapped him to serve the interests of Haiti's elite and international business. The coup effectively put an end to peace and reconciliation efforts in the country following decades of despotic rule by U.S.- sponsored father and son dictators, Papa Doc and Baby Doc Duvalier.
Thousands have been killed, imprisoned, and disappeared in the eighteen months since the fall of the legitimate government, though little is known of the situation in North America. The press has been slow to come to the story, perhaps because the coup was sponsored by both the United States and Canada. France too has played a large role in the ouster.
For its part, the U.N. is not commenting on the raid, further than denying a massacre occurred.
Chris Cook hosts Gorilla Radio, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. He also serves as a contributing editor at PEJ.org. You can check out the GR Blog here.
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Aristide in Exile
Canada Haiti Relations (DFAIT)