Prime Minister Gerard Latortue describes July 14, 2005 as a day of shame due to the murder of journalist Jacques Roche. In a speech made last night at the French ambassador’s residence on the occasion of the celebration of July 14, the prime minister said that he regrets the fact that he did not choose the demobilized military option to help fight the bandits. If he had done so, he said, the country would not have been in a deadlock with this climate of violence. He also denounced the political sectors that support and feed the violence in Haiti. The following is an excerpt of the statement made by the head of government last night at Manoir des Lauriers:
Latortue: “For us Haitians and members of the government, today is somehow a day of shame for us when I consider what happened to Jacques Roche today. After the French ambassador, I would like to ask you all to observe a minute of silence in memory of a fighter, a democrat, an artist, and a writer who believed in the future of his country, but for whom those who looted the State funds for decades, those who destroyed the Haitian people for years, those who still continue to degrade the Haitian people from overseas, signed his death sentence with villainy.
“We are here tonight to celebrate with you a great date. We Haitians have followed your example. In our daily struggles we draw inspiration from your own struggles. The storming of the Bastille is still a historic reference for us each time there are other bastilles to storm. This time we are determined to storm this bastille that is characterized by fear, hatred, and killings. We should not let anybody come and tell us that we are not in favor of national reconciliation. Yes, of course, we are in favor of it. But we are only in favor of it, and I want to underscore the word only, we are only in favor of it with those who wish to renounce violence. And I am ready to not accept to sit anymore with those who, on the one hand, participate in our meetings, laugh with us, give us the impression that they are playing the game, but on the other hand, participate in the planning, the organization, and the execution of vile acts like the ones that are taking place in Port-au-Prince today.
“Mr. Ambassador and dear friends, for fourteen months now I have been living one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, and it is the cohabitation with President Boniface Alexandre, a remarkable man who also believes in the virtue of dialogue. When I see that, in return, they only fob us off with empty promises, I assure you, my friends, and especially you in the international community, I am asking you to forget a little about yourself to understand that there are limits that we should not go beyond. I am asking that our friends, especially those from human-rights organizations, not just stand by the side of the executioners that they are now trying to present as victims. No, we will accept this no more.
“And, in effect, Mr. Ambassador, may the time come for Haiti to break off once and for all with the reign of tyranny, intolerance, violence, and impunity whose after-effects have resulted in serious consequences for the country’s future.
“Mr. Ambassador, we want the reestablishment of security. This is what we always wanted, and maybe this is the time for us to remind some of our friends in the international community that, sometimes, although blinded by their own perception of Haitian problems, they believe that they know our reality better than we do.
“I assure you, Mr. Ambassador, ladies and gentlemen of the international community, that when we came to power in March 2004, if they had given us a little more freedom to work together with our former military to get them to participate in the fight against the armed gangs, I am almost certain today that we would not have been in this deadlock that we are in today. But instead they made us believe that these men were enemies, and they threatened us constantly when we wanted to make use of these men. I sincerely recognize that this was a mistake. But today, we will not repeat this same mistake again. We will look for our allies where we can find them to fight those who have decided to fight us.”