Originally: Peasants’ leader denounces violent repression in Hinche

Chavanne Jean-Baptiste, the leader of the Papaye Peasant Movement (MPP), has denounced the actions of the members of the Lavalas People’s Organizations who attacked peasants who were taking part yesterday in an MPP congress in the Papaye area. Jean-Baptiste has invited the organizations that defend human rights and the international community to come and launch an investigation into the state of repression, which, according to him, prevails in the Plateau Central area. Jean-Baptiste spoke as follows:

The political conference took place without any problem, although the participants were under a lot of pressure before they came. But all the delegates were present. As usual, we said a novena against the Lavalas regime the night before the gathering. The next morning, we informed the people about different statements made by the police. It should be pointed out that some of the debates were broadcast live on the radio.

We then decided to hold a march all the way to Hinche. After the march, some Lavalas scoundrels came and beat up some members on their way home. For example, some people who came from the south were beaten up as they were nearing Hinche. The scoundrels beat them up and broke the leg of the MPNKP (Papaye National Congress of Peasants’ Movements) coordinator in Port-a-Piment in the southern part of the country. They broke the leg of one of our members in several places. They went inside people’s houses and beat them up.

There is a situation in Hinche that is not really related to the Congress. There is a group from the town hall that seized a vehicle belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture that was carrying Lavalas scoundrels. Lionel Olibris from the Hinche town hall led the gang that was attacking and beating people.

We still have between 4,000 and 5,000 people who were taken hostage at the national training centre. It is an extremely serious situation. Last night, when we were trying to find the people who were beaten up and left on the roads, a group of men called ASPA who were dressed in black?and that group depends on the police and probably on the Hinche town hall, we are not sure?came with heavy weapons. Tensions were so high that the people who were trying to go home last night had to come back.

We are therefore issuing an invitation to the democratic sectors in the country, the human rights organizations and the international community to investigate the Hinche situation. Hinche is an area that is under the control of the Lavalas scoundrels who are doing what they want there. Thus, the Lavalas regime is now showing its claws and drinking the blood of people in the Plateau Central area. It is necessary for the human rights organizations to come here as soon as possible.

They closed the doors of the telecommunications company yesterday. They shut down the court because the court had freed somebody. The current situation in Hinche is catastrophic and repressive. It is an unacceptable situation, and we want all sectors concerned to intervene so that the situation may change.