It all began in the town of Gros-Morne on Jan. 1, 2004

when the population, at the end of an anti-Lavalas

protest, chased away the handful of Haitian National

Police stationed there.  Gros-Morne is a sleepy town

with little strategic value, so the news didn’t get

out much.  Then Gonaives followed suit.  The only

thing in common between the Gros-Morne uprising and

the highly mediatized takeover in Gonaives was the

general disaffection of the population which enabled

the Cannibal Army and the so-called rebels to soundly

defeat the special forces sent from the capital to

reclaim Gonaives.  The RAMICOS uprising in St. Marc

was preceded by an anti-government demonstration of 15

to 20 thousand people, a massive turnout in a

medium-size town like St. Marc. The whole Artibonite

region had turned against Lavalas.  A quick glance at

a map of Haiti would help to understand why the regime

felt obliged to retake St. Marc at whatever cost.

RAMICOS is the acronym for Rassemblement des Militants

Consequents de St. Marc (Rally of Genuine St. Marc

Activists), a grassroots coalition with widespread

support from the population.  Bale Wouze (Clean Sweep)

on the other hand was a criminal gang of the “Cannibal

Army” type, controlled by the government.  To equate

the two as Louis Joinet has is a kind of “tout voum se

do” arrogance akin to imperialist chauvinism.

Neptune and a police detachment arrived in St. Marc on

Feb. 9, two days after RAMICOS and a group of

supporters had stormed the police station.  The prime

minister called on partisans of the regime to assist

the police in putting down the uprising.  Over a

two-day period the police and a strafing helicopter

overwhelmed the La Scierie stronghold, forcing its

defenders to flee up a hill, while the Bale Wouze

militia carried out a first sweep of the neighborhood.

 A number of houses were burned down, and several

wounded people were thrown alive in the fire according

to eyewitnesses, including one woman who witnesses her

son being thrown inside one such burning house.

The Lavalas lobby later tried everything to deny the

massacre, including a virulent campaign to discredit

the NCHR human rights group that carried out an

investigation in the area in early March 2004.  Anne

least 25 Bale Wouze killings in the two-week period

leading to Aristide’s flight.  She acknowledged in the

article that there were probably many more deaths to

be documented.

As I wrote in a previous note, there is a chain of

command that leads straight to Neptune.  His hunger

strike, by the way, is a slap in the face of other

political prisoners who spent more time in HIS jails

without seeing their day in court. In some instances,

his government disregarded repeated judicial decisions

to free prisoners languishing in Lavalas jails. Where

was his outrage then?   The interim government can

free Neptune for political reasons, but it cannot

exonerate him.  Only a court of law and a full

investigation can do that.  But this is precisely what

Neptune is fighting literally tooth and nail to avoid.


Originally published on the Bob Corbett e-mail list. Reproduced here by author’s permission.