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You are there to win - but the Haitian masses will not let you
by Lionel Jean-Baptiste

Dear Lt. Col. Lapan:

On May 18, 2004, I heard a direct report over internet radio on the demonstration organized by the Haitian people to celebrate Haitian Flag day. The demonstrators on the scene were constantly dispersed, harassed and terrorized with the expressed purpose of defeating their will so that they would not provide an example of resistance to the illegal occupation and the illegal coup led by the U.S. The report put together by attorney Marguerite Laurent reflected the report I heard, a direct feed of live coverage from a reporter on the scene in Haiti to the radio station. I now have a copy of the tape of that broadcast.

Your characterization of attorney Laurent's report as inflammatory and fictitious is quite consistent with your very purpose as the spokesman for the Multinational Interim Force in Haiti. You and the other troops currently illegally occupying Haiti are carrying out the policy of the Franco-American-Haitian Comprador Bourgeoisie of uprooting the Lavalas movement.

Your bosses first fomented, funded and armed an opposition to a legitimate, democratically elected government. But not only that, you invaded the country, kidnapped President Aristide and expelled him from this hemisphere.

Not only that, you gathered the remaining leadership of the Lavalas movement and imprisoned them. Not only that, you further engaged in a campaign to terrorize the mass base of the Lavalas movement through killings, believing that if you did this, then the Haitian people would not dare resist en masse.

So when the masses of people did dare to take to the streets on May 18, 2004, it must have appeared an illusion to you because you and those you serve never imagined that this could still happen in the face of all your terror. Why do you now apologize for breaking up the demonstration and preventing people from exercising this "democracy" that you allegedly went to Haiti to protect?

Why did your people seek to break up the demonstration in the first place? Who do you expect to believe that your soldiers did not forcibly break up the demonstration up to and including killing nine people in the process?

You talk about press accounts of the demonstration in Haiti, and that is exactly what I heard: unfiltered accounts from the demonstrators direct from Haiti. "Your press," though - and I say yours because the rebels, former soldiers and opposition groups to the constitutional government you protect and legitimize have terrorized the dissenting press in Haiti - is and has been filtered since the invasion.

I am not even going to engage you around the arrest of Annette August. You have painted her arrest as legitimate because it was executed pursuant to an arrest warrant issued by the illegitimate LaTortue government. Come on. Her arrest was part and parcel of the Uprooting Policy. You know it and I know it. Do you think she was born yesterday?

Your purpose as spokesman is to control and mediate all forms of information that leave Haiti and to best fit the "truth" to the aims of your mission. You are performing the function for which you were appointed.

But your insistence that we believe your word over eyewitness accounts, photographic evidence, the sentiments of innumerable Haitians, and the lessons of world history is more than comical - it presumes a basic naivete and unfamiliarity with U.S. notions of truth on our part and is a sign of your obvious disrespect for the intelligence of the Haitian community.

You are there to win. But the Haitian masses will not let you.

Attorney Lionel Jean-Baptiste is the founding partner of the law firm Jean-Baptiste & Associates, a founding member of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network and a well-known reparations activist in Chicago. Email him at lioneljb@aol.com.
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