Former Congressman, Haiti’s Government Counsel Respond to Recent Protests in Haiti 

     WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ — As reported late yesterday by a
Haitian news service, Agence Haitienne de Presse (AHP), roughly 10 members of
Convergence, the opposition, violently demonstrated Tuesday in Gonaives, Haiti
to challenge the elected government.  Armed with weapons, members of
Convergence set up flaming barricades throughout the city and fired “bursts of
gunfire” into the crowd, AHP reported.
    “This is a direct attempt by Convergence to destabilize the Government of
Haiti,” said Ira Kurzban, General Counsel for the Government of Haiti in the
United States.  “It is clear from the violent actions of Convergence
supporters yesterday in Gonaives that the opposition is trying to abort the
election process in Haiti in any way they can.”
    According to AHP, the escalating situation brought schools and businesses
to a standstill in Gonaives, as heavily armed Convergence supporters attacked
a police squad, stealing three guns of varying calibers.  The previous day, a
similar armed group stole seven guns from several police officers and forced
the officers to abandon their vehicle.
    “The turbulent protests in Gonaives represent the first major armed attack
by Convergence against the Haitian National Police,” Kurzban said.  “For the
sake of the Haitian people, it is critical that the work of the democratically
elected Government not be disrupted in any way.”
    “There are eight million people in Haiti, many of whom are hungry and many
of whom need clean water and proper medical care,” said former Congressman Ron
Dellums.  “If Convergence continues to stall the elections process through
violent protests and other means, those eight million Haitians — young and
old — will continue to suffer needlessly.”
    Haiti is currently suffering from the effects of a now two-year
international financial aid embargo led primarily by the U.S.  The embargo on
humanitarian development assistance loans has devastated the Haitian economy
and left the Haitian people lacking basic health care, education and crucial
infrastructure.  If Convergence insists on disrupting the election process,
the resumption of vital international humanitarian assistance to Haiti will
continue to be delayed.
    This material is distributed by Downey McGrath Group, Inc., on behalf of
the Government of Haiti.  Additional information is available at the
Department of Justice, Washington, DC.