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by Jeb Sprague
Monday, Aug. 21, 2006 at 11:44 AM
Ignoring murder in post-coup Haiti
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In an eight-minute report (6/5/05) in which she rode in a U.N. armored personnel carrier and extolled the bravery of U.N. soldiers, NPR correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro cited “human rights organizations” as saying that “things have improved since the Aristide days.” The NPR report interviewed two members of the U.N. force, one U.S. police trainer, one Haitian police official and Gérard Latortue, the head of Haiti’s unelected interim government. It neglected to quote any victims of the violence perpetrated by the Latortue regime or any human rights organizations critical of the governmental-sponsored violence—perhaps because they might have pointed out that such violence actually increased dramatically during Latortue’s time in power.
After Haiti’s democratically elected leader, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was ousted in February 2004, the United States, Canada and France put into place an interim government made up of members of the opposition. Latortue, a wealthy Haitian-American, was installed as the head of this government.
On April 30, 2004, the United Nations, under U.N. Resolution 1542, established the U.N. Stabilization Mission to Haiti, known as MINUSTAH, grouping more than 9,000 military and police personnel from more than 40 countries under the leadership of Brazil and Canada. For more than 26 months, the interim government used former members of Haiti’s disbanded military, along with U.N.-trained paramilitary police, to crack down on the slum-dwelling supporters of the ousted government and of Fanmi Lavalas, the political party which had voted Aristide into office. During this period, the mainstream U.S. press observed a virtual blackout on the state-sponsored violence perpetrated by the U.S.-backed interim Haitian government.
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