Originally: An international protectorate could bring stability to Haiti

As Haiti descends deeper each day into anarchy, the time has come to consider some form of international protectorate to take temporary control of that beleaguered Caribbean country.

It is increasingly obvious that Haiti’s current interim government, installed under U.S. tutelage following President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Feb. 29 flight into exile, has neither the popular support nor the capacity to meet the challenge of the country’s ongoing disintegration.

If Haiti is to continue as a functioning independent state, alternative options — including a period of international governance — need to be seriously contemplated to stem nearly two decades of unremitting political, economic and social deterioration.

The history of such missions (called mandates, protectorates, trusteeships or, most recently, transitional administrations) has not been particularly auspicious, but it is clear that nothing else has succeeded in Haiti. As unpalatable as it may be for the vast majority of Haitians, who spent 1915 to 1934 under a U.S. Marine occupation, ceding temporary sovereignty to an international body is one option slowly gathering momentum.

`A predatory state’

An outside panel of academics, in a Nov. 8 hemisphere analysis prepared for — although not necessarily reflecting the views of — the Miami-based U.S. military’s Southern Command, which includes Haiti in its area of responsibility, observed that the country “is on the verge of an outward explosion of boat people and an inward immolation of gang-on-gang violence.’’

The report’s executive summary also notes : “Haiti’s violence is the consequence of a predatory state, a nonexistent political culture, economic collapse and ecological destruction. Long-term measures are necessary, to the point of considering Haiti for protectorate status under a Brazilian-led regional coalition, if one can be created that is willing to support a 10-year restoration initiative.’’

Even some Haitians will tell you privately that protectorate status may be the only solution to the country’s current morass, with the United Nations as the most likely — although not the only — candidate to undertake such a role. Counting the present U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti, the U.N. Security Council already has authorized nine special multinational missions to Haiti over the past decade, although none has had a mandate to administer the country.

Although not endorsing such a role, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan wrote in The Wall Street Journal two weeks after Aristide began his exile that ’’Haiti is clearly unable to sort itself out, and the effect of leaving it alone would be continued or worsening chaos.’’ Among the lessons learned from past U.N. missions, Annan added, is that “there can be no quick exit. A long-term effort — 10 years or more — is needed to help rebuild the police and judiciary as well as basic social services such as healthcare and education.’’

Ericq Pierre, a respected Haitian economist at the Inter American Development Bank, said in a recent paper that the presence of U.N. missions in Haiti, ’’whether it is in the ambit of protection of human rights, or that of the organization of elections or for the maintaining of peace, always benefits the population.’’ But, added Pierre, “these missions have had to face three fundamental constraints : Their mandate has never been very precise, their terms have never been defined, their means of operation have always been very limited.’’

The contemporary history of the protectorate concept dates to World War I with formation of the League of Nations and creation of the mandate system to administer former colonies and territories of the German and Ottoman empires. It was succeeded after World War II by U.N. trusteeships to administer the world’s remaining colonial territories, with the termination of Palau in 1994 as the last such entity.

The end of the Cold War gave birth to U.N.-sponsored transitional administrations to shepherd dysfunctional states back to viability. East Timor, Kosovo and Bosnia are among more-recent examples. Such a structure was considered for Liberia in 2003 but discarded at the last minute in favor of an indigenous national transition government. Apart from the United Nations, there was the U.S.-created and -run Coalition Provisional Authority, which governed Iraq for a year after the 2003 U.S. invasion.

Society is polarized

Obviously, the establishment of any form of multilateral or unilateral transitional administration for Haiti would have to overcome considerable antipathy from both the international community and Haitians themselves, rightly proud of their status as the world’s first black republic in 1804 and the Western Hemisphere’s second independent nation.

More than 200 years later, Haitian society is polarized. Political violence is a staple of daily life, disrupting commercial and social activity. Individual and collective national security is nonexistent. The police force — numbering less than 3,000 for a wild and rugged country with a population of more than eight million — is understaffed and inefficient. Armed pro- and anti-Aristide gangs battle almost daily in the capital, while a pseudo-guerrilla force of ex-Haitian soldiers — a significant factor in Aristide’s departure — independently controls much of the country.

On the verge of extinction

The economy is in ruins, battered by an accumulation of official mismanagement, corruption and incompetence, coupled with natural disasters that have left thousands dead and many more homeless, a byproduct of the years of ecological degradation. Gonaives, the country’s third largest city, is on the verge of extinction, first from the ravages of armed conflict and then from the flood waters of Tropical Storm Jeanne. A provisional electoral council created by the interim government to prepare for new elections late next year is in disarray, with the elections themselves in jeopardy unless security improves.

’’What is going on is literally insane,’’ concluded Haitian human-rights activist Jean-Claude Bajeux, reflecting on the country’s current situation in an interview earlier this month. “It is what we call in philosophy a death march. If we can’t stop this, we are looking at the destruction of the Haitian nation.’’

Originally: NCHR-Haiti’s Reaction on the murder of Francesca Gabriel in Gonaïves

NCHR-Haiti’s Reaction on the murder of Francesca Gabriel in Gonaïves 16 November 2004

NCHR-Haiti has learned of the latest murder in Gonaïves, of six-year-old Francesca Gabriel who died of gunshot wounds during the night of  November 14, 2004.  The murder appears to be the handiwork of Wilfort Ferdinand (alias Ti Will) – former member of the Cannibal Army and current member of the Reconstruction Front of the Artibonite.  According to witnesses and to the results of a preliminary NCHR investigation, Ti Will led a group of armed men, consisting of Herno, Joseph Elisme, Sessaline Sobens and company, to the home of Jacky Bordenave, in order to settle a jealous score by way of a shootout.  It was under these inexcusable circumstances that Francesca lost her life. 

This murder clearly illustrates that today the fundamental right to life is of no importance for members of armed groups circulating within our society. 
It is NCHR’s sincere hope that this crime will not go unpunished, and thus calls on the State Prosecutor of Gonaïves, Mr. Louiselmé Joseph, to take public action against Ti Will and all those implicated in this incident.   The State Prosecutor must not protect these criminals.  On the contrary, it is the State Prosecutor’s responsibility to protect society and in doing so, he needs to see that these criminals are arrested and brought to justice to answer the charges against them.  Given that the police is the auxiliary of the judiciary and as those responsible for this murder have already been identified, Mr. Louiselmé is not required to wait for the police to react or wait for official complaints to be filed by the victim’s family.  In this instance, the State Prosecutor should issue warrants for the immediate arrest of the alleged suspects.
NCHR would like to know from the Boniface-Latortue Government when exactly will the much anticipated and promised disarmament campaign actually begin.

The entire NCHR staff offers its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Francesca Gabriel.

9 novembre 2004

Une journaliste mise en cause par le Front de résistance nationale de l’Artibonite

Reporters sans frontières s’inquiète des accusations calomnieuses dont a été victime, le 6 novembre 2004, Nancy Roc, journaliste et présentatrice de l’émission “Metropolis” sur Radio Métropole.

“Il est très préoccupant que le leader d’un groupe armé, Monsieur Winter Etienne, porte-parole du Front de résistance nationale (FRN) de l’Artibonite, ait associé sans fondement le nom d’une journaliste à un complot et à un assassinat. Ces allégations irresponsables et gratuites mettent en péril la sécurité de la journaliste. Reporters sans frontières se félicite de la réaction rapide du gouvernement haïtien et lui demande que la protection accordée à Nancy Roc soit maintenue aussi longtemps que nécessaire”, a déclaré Reporters sans frontières.

Le 6 novembre 2004, au cours de déclarations faites sur les ondes de la radio nationale Radio Vision 2000 et de Caraïbes FM, Winter Etienne a évoqué l’implication de Nancy Roc dans le complot ayant entraîné l’assassinat d’Amyot Métayer, ancien chef de l’armée cannibale, en septembre 2003. Le porte-parole du Front de résistance a également établi un lien entre la journaliste et la tentative d’assassinat du frère d’Amyot Métayer, Butter.

Jointe par téléphone par Reporters sans frontières, Nancy Roc a expliqué qu’elle s’était rendue aux Gonaïves afin d’effectuer un reportage sur l’aide humanitaire apportée à la ville suite au passage de la tempête Jeanne en septembre dernier, ainsi que sur la corruption locale dans la répartition de cette aide. Dans le cadre de ce reportage, la journaliste avait pris contact avec Winter Etienne, qui est également directeur de l’Autorité portuaire nationale (APN), et lui avait fixé deux rendez-vous successifs, auxquels il ne s’était pas rendu.

Lors d’une interview du président haïtien, diffusée le 30 octobre sur Radio Métropole, Nancy Roc avait par ailleurs révélé que Winter Etienne avait affirmé ne jamais avoir fait partie de l’armée cannibale.

Suite aux déclarations de Winter Etienne, Nancy Roc a reçu un appel de soutien du gouvernement haïtien. Elle bénéficie actuellement d’une protection de la police nationale 24 heures sur 24. Malgré ces événements, son reportage sur les Gonaïves a été diffusé comme prévu le 6 novembre.


9 November 2004



Former rebels falsely accuse journalist of involvement in murder plot

Claims by a former rebel group based in the northern city of Gonaïves linking radio journalist Nancy Roc to the murder of its leader last year were “irresponsible and gratuitous” and posed a threat to her safety, Reporters Without Borders said today.

“It is very disturbing that the leader of an armed group, Winter Etienne, the spokesman of the National Resistance Front (FRN), has made baseless allegations associating a journalist’s name with a plot and a murder, the organisation said.

“Reporters Without Borders welcomes the Haitian government’s rapid response in according Nancy Roc protection and asks that it be maintained for as long as necessary,” the statement added. Roc presents a programme on Radio Métropole called “Metropolis.”

Comments by Etienne on Radio Vision 2000 and Caraïbes FM on 6 November suggested that Roc was involved in a plot leading to the murder in September 2003 of Amyot Métayer, the leader of the Cannibal Army (as the FRN was then called). He also suggested that Roc was linked to a recent supposed attempt to kill Amyot Métayer’s brother, Butter.

Reached by Reporters Without Borders, Roc said she went to Gonaïves to do a report on relief work aid there since the disastrous flooding caused by Tropical Storm Jeanne in September, and on the impact of local corruption on the distribution of humanitarian aid. She said she contacted Etienne, now in charge of the city’s port, and set up two appointments, but each time he failed to turn up.

During an interview with President Boniface Alexandre on Radio Métropole on 30 October, Roc also reported that Etienne had said he never belonged to the Cannibal Army.

After Etienne made his allegations against her, Roc received a call from the government offering support and she currently has police protection twenty-four hours a day. Despite Etienne’s allegations, her report on Gonaïves was broadcast as planned on 6 November.  



9 de noviembre de 2004



El Frente de Resistencia Nacional de Artibonite acusa a una periodista

Reporteros sin Fronteras está muy preocupada por las calumniosas acusaciones vertidas el 6 de noviembre de 2004 contra Nancy Roc, periodista y presentadora del programa “Metrópolis” en Radio Métropole.

“Resulta muy preocupante que el líder de un grupo armado, el señor Winter Etienne, portavoz del Frente de Resistencia Nacional (FRN) de Artibonite, haya asociado sin fundamento el nombre de una periodista a un complot y a un asesinato. Estas alegaciones, irresponsables y gratuitas, ponen en peligro la seguridad de la periodista. Reporteros sin Fronteras se felicita por la rápida reacción del gobierno haitiano, y le pide que la protección concedida a Nancy Roc se prolongue durante todo el tiempo que sea necesario”, ha declarado Reporteros sin Fronteras.

El 6 de noviembre de 2004, en el transcurso de una declaraciones efectuadas en las ondas de la radio nacional Radio Vision 2000 y de Caraïbes FM, Winter Etienne se refirió a la implicación de Nancy Roc en el complot que, en septiembre de 2003, condujo al asesinato de Amyot Métayer, ex jefe del ejército caníbal. El portavoz del Frente de Resistencia estableció también una relación entre la periodista y el intento de asesinato de Butter, el hermano de Amyot Métayer.

Contactada por teléfono por Reporteros sin Fronteras, Nancy Roc explicó que había ido a Gonaïves con el fin de hacer un reportaje sobre la ayuda humanitaria llegada a la ciudad tras el paso de la tormenta Jeanne se septiembre pasado, así como sobre la corrupción local en el reparto de la ayuda. En el marco del reportaje, la periodista contactó con Winter Etienne, que también es director de la Autoridad Portuaria Nacional (APN), y éste le confirmó dos citas, a las que no acudió.

Por otra parte, en una entrevista con el presidente haitiano, emitida el 30 de octubre en Radio Métropole, Nancy Roc reveló que Winter Etienne había asegurado que nunca formó parte del ejército caníbal.

Tras las declaraciones de Winter Etienne, Nancy Roc ha recibido una llamada de apoyo del gobierno haitiano. Actualmente tiene protección de la policía nacional, las veinticuatro horas del día. A pesar de estos acontecimientos, su reportaje sobre Gonaïves se emitió el 6 de noviembre, tal y como estaba previsto.


Régis Bourgeat
Despacho Américas / Americas desk
Reporters sans frontières
5, rue Geoffroy-Marie
75009 Paris – France

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