The coordinator of the 184 Organizations of the Civil Society (Group of 184) is very critical of the officials of the U.N. forces in Haiti. Andre Apaid, Jr, affirms that the forces of the U.N. Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) have failed in their mission, which is to protect the people against armed bandits. Apaid, who denounces MINUSTAH’s passiveness, said that the armed groups want to do everything in their power to achieve political control in the lawless zones as the elections approach. Junior Vernet reports as follows:
Vernet: According to Apaid, MINUSTAH is a shield for the armed gangs that are terrorizing the Cite Soleil community. He points to the political chiefs of MINUSTAH, who, according to him, are showing hesitation in their decision making.
Apaid: The hesitations exist in the political leadership of MINUSTAH because they have their own agenda. They are afraid of spoiling their image vis-a-vis their evolution in other countries. Therefore, they do not have the guts to decide difficult issues. Consequently, MINUSTAH has become a shield on National Road 1, and behind this shield the armed gangs are reinforcing and restructuring themselves so that they may impose their political will. It is a pity that Valdes does not realize that he has set up a shield that is helping to reinforce the gangs’ political control. And this has created an obsessive fear in the capital, which can be catastrophic for the electoral process.
MINUSTAH is so concerned about the consequences that its action could have on its image that they went to Cité Soleil to get Emmanuel Wilme, known as Dread Wilme, but were involved in an exchange of gunfire with Wilme and his armed gang, which led to the killing of Wilme and some of his men months ago. The MINUSTAH troops abandoned the area right away. The Cité Soleil people then began to come out and express their satisfaction over the deaths of these terrorists. But the other armed bandits, Wilme’s supporters and the Lavalas partisans, then murdered 67 people in the Nan Lyann neighborhood, close to Bois-Neuf, where they buried the victims. Now, when MINUSTAH decides to enter an area where people are living in extreme poverty and terror, they should not go there following patchy plans that lack continuity. They should instead be able to maintain control. Ambassador Valdes should not let the pressures of his own country prevent him from carrying out MINUSTAH’s mandate, which is to deal with the insecurity issues in the lawless zones.
The pressure is actually coming only from one side. It is coming from the groups involved in kidnapping, the groups that are terrorizing the people that are in control. It is only these groups that can hold demonstrations and electoral campaigns in certain areas of Port-au-Prince. It is not right for the pressure to come from one side only, from those that acting out of foolishness. It is necessary for the people to get together to stop this. Otherwise, the nation will be facing very serious consequences.