Eyewitnesses Describe Massacre
by UN Troops on Haitian People
July 11, 2005
(For Dread Wilme reported Killed, go to:
Eyewitnesses Describe Massacre
by UN Troops in Haiti
by Democracy Now! | July 11, 2005
Eyewitnesses Describe Massacre by UN Troops in Haitian Slum
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In Haiti, UN troops launched a pre-dawn raid on Cite Soleil, one of
the most economically-depressed neighborhoods of Port au Prince. Local
residents say it might have been the deadliest attack carried out by
UN troops since they were stationed in the country last year. On Saturday
hundreds of Haitians gatherer for the funeral of Emmanuel "Dread"
Wilme -- a popular community leader who lives in Cite Soleil, one of
the most economically-depressed neighborhoods of Port au Prince. Wilme
was killed last Wednesday when UN troops attacked the neighborhood in
a pre-dawn raid.
Although the raid has received little attention, local residents say
it might have been the deadliest attack carried out by UN troops since
they were stationed in the country last year.
According to residents the UN troops entered the area at about three
in the morning and opened fire. Eyewitnesses reported the UN troops
used helicopters, tanks, machine guns and tear gas in the operation.
The UN has admitted that its troops killed at least five people. UN
military spokesman Colonel Elouafi Boulbars told Agence France Presse,
"The bandits tried to fight our men. They suffered serious losses
and we found five bodies in what was left of a house." Local residents
put the figure at no less than 20. Some estimates are even higher. Witnesses
said innocent civilians were among the victims.
• Witnesses in Cite Soleil describe the UN raid.
Another local resident lost her husband in the raid. She described what
happened on Wednesday.
• Cite Soleil resident describes her husband's death.
The United Nations has defended the operation by describing it as a
necessary move to wipe out violent gang activity. Both the United Nations
and the interim Haitian government have described the slain Dread Wilme
as one of the country's top gang leaders. Cite Soleil is comprised largely
of supporters of the Lavalas Party and ousted
Haitian president Jean Bertrand Aristide who was overthrown in a U.S.-backed
coup 18 months ago. To local residents Dread Wilme was a community leader
and the attacks were seen as politically motivated.
• Cite Soleil residents talk about Emmanuel "Dread"
We are joined in our studio by Seth Donnelly. He visited Cite Soleil
hours after the killings and interviewed survivors. On Saturday he
attended Dread Wilme's funeral. Seth Donnelly was in Haiti as part of
a human rights delegation sponsored by the San Francisco Labor
• Seth Donnelly, San
Francisco Labor Council.
http://www.sflaborcouncil.org/To purchase an audio or video copy of
this entire program, call 1 (888) 999-3877.
AMY GOODMAN: Witnesses said innocent civilians were among the
RESIDENT OF CITE SOLEIL: A lot of innocent civilians
were killed and there are even some people that they kill and just take
them with them. One of the worst things that happened is that they killed
like a mom with two of her children, and they are still -- the bodies
are still there.
AMY GOODMAN: Another local resident lost her husband in the
raid. She described what happened on Wednesday.
RESIDENT OF CITE SOLEIL: I'm working at night, so when I was
back in the morning, so at noon when I was back from my work, I found
him just in his blood. He was the only one here. And my three children
are in the countryside because I have them in countryside. And he is
a very old guy. So they just get inside and pulled him out under the
bed and killed him.
AMY GOODMAN: The United Nations has defended the operation
by describing it as a necessary move to wipe out violent gang activity.
Both the United Nations and the interim Haitian government have described
the slain Dread Wilme as one of the countries top gang leaders. Cite
Soleil is comprised largely of supporters of Lavalas and ousted Haitian
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide overthrown in the coup 18 months ago,
February 29, 2004, the President, Aristide, has described as a U.S.-supported
coup. He said he was kidnapped in the service of a coup backed by the
United States. To local residents, Dread Wilme of Cite Soleil was a
community leader. The attacks were seen as politically motivated.
RESIDENT OF CITE SOLEIL: So Dread Wilme grew up with us. So,
Dread Wilme is one of the guys who grow up in the community and who
wanted to work for peace, who wanted to have, like, an improvement for
the community, and he had, like -- he had developed a good relationship
with all the people in the neighborhood as a professional. So Dread
Wilme was a protector for us; he was like our dad. So they keep saying
that Dread Wilme was like a gang and he was involved in the killings,
but we never see this. We in the community, we have seen him as a peaceful
guy but never as someone who was involved in killings of people. So,
we want to say thank you to [inaudible] because he was the one who make
AMY GOODMAN: We are now joined in our studio by Seth Donnelly,
who went to Cite Soleil a day after the killings last Wednesday. He
interviewed survivors. On Saturday, he attended Dread Wilme's funeral.
Seth Donnelly was in Haiti as part of a human rights delegation that
was sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council. We welcome you to
SETH DONNELLY: It is good to be here. Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, talk about what you learned, what
you understand happened, what is the U.N.'s version of events. We tried
to get the U.N. on. They did not respond to our calls.
SETH DONNELLY: Yeah. I'd like to start with the official
version, and then we'll look at what the evidence of the massacre that
contradicts the official version. I interviewed the top military command
of the U.N. on Friday, July 8, with some Haitian colleagues, human rights
workers. And Lieutenant General Augusto Heleno and Colonel Morano claimed
that the operation was a success. They did state that about 300 U.N.
troops led by a Jordanian contingent, surrounded Cite Soleil, which
as you mentioned is one of the largest ghettos in Port-au-Prince. It’s
one of the poorest neighborhoods in the world. And it has, even before
this operation, it has been sealed off. According to locals, the U.N.
had put shipping freight containers blocking various entrances into
the community because it's been a hotbed of support for President Aristide.
It is a Lavalas base of support, and there has been ongoing conflicts
with U.N. and police in that community. So, the community was already
relatively sealed off. But then the 300 troops came around 3:00 a.m.
July 6, and then also according to U.N. high military command, they
had 18 to 20 armed personal - armored personal carriers, which are basically
like tanks without treads. They have cannons. And they had those choking
off entrances and exits to and from the ghetto.
And then around 5:00 a.m., they launched the attack. They tried to locate
Dread Wilme and capture him. They claimed he was killed. The community
is acknowledging that he was killed. But the top level military command
said they were unaware of any civilian casualties during the operation.
So that was sort of – and they also mentioned that there was a
helicopter that flew 3,000 feet overhead just for observation purposes,
but it did not shoot down into the community.
What we found actually when we went into the community the day after
the operation was widespread evidence that the troops had carried out
a massacre. We found homes, which when we say homes, we are talking
basically shacks of wood and tin, in many cases, riddled with machine
gun blasts as well as tank fire. The holes in a lot of these homes were
too large just to be bullets. They must have been tank-type shells penetrating
the homes. We saw a church and a school completely riddled with machine
gun blasts. And then the community came out.
Once we had passed through, and we were -- the community understood
who we were, women, children, old and young, came out en masse and started
to give us their testimony. They clearly were not being coerced by (quote/unquote)
“gang leaders” or “gang elements.” They took
us into their homes. They showed us bodies that still remained. They
gave us very emotional testimony. People were hysterical still. And
they all claimed that the U.N. forces had fired into their homes, had
fired into their community, and people were saying at a minimum 20,
if not more, people were killed.
Then there's a Haitian human rights worker who was actually on the scene
when the operation occurred and has video footage that unfortunately
we cannot yet release, but there is a plan at some point for that to
be released to the public, that shows people being killed during the
operation quite graphically.
Thirdly, we went to the local hospital that serves people from Cite
Soleil. There's one hospital in Port-au-Prince, it's Medicine Without
Borders, that doesn't charge a fee so very poor people can go to that
hospital. And we asked them if they would share with us their records,
which they did. And we got the impression that nobody from the U.N.
had spoken to them. Perhaps they did but we felt like we were the first
human rights workers making contact with the hospital after the operation.
And sure enough, their records show an influx of civilian casualties.
Starting at 11:00 a.m July 6, there is 26 people alone from Cite Soleil
that came in suffering mostly from gunshot wounds. Out of that 26, 20
were women and children. One pregnant woman lost her child. And 50%
of those 26 people had serious gunshot wounds to the stomach and had
to go into major surgery right away.
Now, if the U.N. was committed to finding out the (quote/unquote) “collateral
damage” of their operation, they would simply need to make a phone
call or do what we did, which was to go to the one hospital in Port-au-Prince
that serves the people of Cite Soleil or they could have spoken to the
Red Cross in Cite Soleil, which admitted that they had transported 15
people out of there on tap-taps into the hospital. So the other --
AMY GOODMAN: Those are local buses? Local buses, tap-taps?
SETH DONNELLY: Yes.
AMY GOODMAN: What did the U.N. military commander say
when you were questioning him about your -- the eyewitness accounts
that you heard?
SETH DONNELLY: Well, the Lieutenant General Augusto
Heleno initially challenged us, our delegation, as to why were we concerned
about the rights of the (quote/unquote) “outlaws,” the term
that he used, and not the (quote/unquote) “legal force.”
He seemed to write off community testimony as being part of community
hostility and part of these (quote/unquote) “gang attacks”
on U.N. forces. In that sense, I felt like he was sort of -- the subtext
of what he was saying was that the community itself was an outlaw community,
that the gang would presumably include all of these folks that came
out to talk to us. Another -- the other military commander present suggested
that some of the bodies that were shown to us were actually killed by
(quote/unquote) “gangs,” and that we should try to have
ballistics tests done on the bodies. I would be all for having ballistics
tests done on those bodies, as well as getting more comprehensive forensic
evidence from medical professionals.
AMY GOODMAN: Seth, you were also at the funeral of Dread Wilme
on Saturday. Fears that there would be another U.N. attack?
SETH DONNELLY: Yeah. Hundreds turned out. Inside of
Cite Soleil, I kept feeling like we were – it was sort of like
a South African township during the apartheid days, cut off. And hundreds
of people came out for this funeral. The way the community spoke about
Dread Wilme – again, not just youth who, you know, often worked
with Dread Wilme, but also the entire community, women and children,
referred to him as a father figure or a protector. But there was twice
during this funeral service where a rumor hit the crowd that U.N. troops
were coming back. There was U.N. -- some APCs in the distance in Cite
Soleil holding off checkpoints. And twice the rumor hit that they were
about to roll on the crowd, and people fled in terror, including myself.
It was a stampede running with the crowd, because you didn't know what
was going to happen. That also was an indicator that something was very
-- when you have hundreds of people fleeing in terror, it would indicate
that something very wrong happened on July 6.
AMY GOODMAN: You're saying a lot of the eyewitnesses saw this
as a political attack, Cite Soleil, long seen as a stronghold --
SETH DONNELLY: Oh, absolutely, the community is highly
politicized, it is highly -- the community views itself locked in a
long-term struggle for the restoration of President Aristide and for
the removal of occupation forces from Haiti, and it views -- people
view these attacks as part of the ongoing post-coup war on the poor
majority that is occurring in Haiti, which, by the way, our delegation
outside of this event in Cite Soleil found comprehensive evidence of
an ongoing war on the poor majority on different levels that is being
conducted by the coup regime itself, the interim government of Latortue
AMY GOODMAN: In other news from Haiti, paramilitary
leader, Guy Philippe announced last week he plans to run in the upcoming
Haitian presidential elections. Last year, he played a key role in the
ouster of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the president. Philippe, a former
police chief who was trained by U.S. special forces in Ecuador in the
late 1990s, involved with and has been accused of the masterminding
of deadly attacks in Haiti. We're talking to Seth Donnelly. Last comments,
Seth, as we wrap up right now about the significance of what happened
in Cite Soleil last Wednesday.
SETH DONNELLY: Right, I certainly want to say that it’s
one thing to describe this in words, but when a person actually enters
Cite Soleil, and you see the open sewage streams, you see the shacks
that -- how people are living, and then you think about 18 to 20 armored
personnel carriers with tank-type cannons and you think about 300 troops
with machine guns and a helicopter, by the way, which community people
are saying fired down on them, and we did see what appears to be bullet
holes in the roofs. It seems to me that this really was a Warsaw Ghetto-type
attack on an impoverished community. And I do think this is emblematic
of the ongoing war on the poor majority that is occurring in Haiti today,
and it requires people in the United States to stand in solidarity with
the people of Cite Soleil.
AMY GOODMAN: The U.S. has not sent military weapons to Haiti
under the democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide, but was documented
sending hundreds, if not a thousand rifles under the leadership, if
you could call it that, of Latortue.
SETH DONNELLY: Sure, and then they froze aid to Aristide, but
now the Latortue government is, you know, receiving all sorts of money
from the U.S. Then you have the -- you have the issue with what is the
U.N. role here. The U.N. role, they’re in all of the very -- they're
in fancy bourgeois hotels. They drive around in these fancy SUVs. they
have resources but I don't see schools being built. I think it could
arguably be stated that Cuban doctors sent by the Cuban government have
done more for the people of Haiti than the entire administer of the
U.N. mission in Haiti since the coup.
AMY GOODMAN: Well, I want to thank you very much for
being with us, Seth Donnelly a member of the U.S. labor human rights
delegation who has just returned from Haiti, reporting to us on what
happened last Wednesday, a pre-raid dawn by U.N. forces in a very poor
area of Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, Cite Soleil, long seen
as a Lavalas stronghold, stronghold of the supporters of the democratically-elected
president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. It looks like at least 20 dead, according
to the reports on the ground.
SETH DONNELLY: Estimates from the community are getting much
higher. Yeah. The person who was on the scene has given the estimate
of 30, at least 25 confirmed dead as he sees it.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much, Seth, as
we wrap up the show. Thank you.
|Emmanuel "Dread" Wilme
- on "Wanted poster" of suspects wanted by the Haitian
Reported killled by UN troops July 6, 2005
(See Democracy Now!: Eyewitness report below)
a Stop to the killings in Cite Soleil
Please send appeals immediately
See Urgent Action Alert
Drèd Wilme was reported assassinated by the UN occupation forces
in Haiti on Wednesday, July 7, 2005. But he's been falsely reported
dead before. Haitians with faith still know that long after the hired
triggermen who are shooting the people of Cite Soleil and even at Wilme,
are dust in the wind, Drèd Wilme's deeds, the people of Haiti's
resistance to tyranny, will live on, in all Haitians, for all peoples
on this globe, who resist Euro/US-led greed, racism and tyranny against
the poor and African on this planet.
The Haitian resistance against the Western bicentennial re-colonization
of Haiti lives on. Below, we bring again the voice of Drèd Wilme,
speaking a few days after the Apaid-hired-gun, Labanye, was killed and
the UN occupation troops themselves had entered Site Soleil to continue
the Haitian extermination campaign begun when the U.S. Marines kidnapped
President Aristide and exiled him from his country. Drèd Wilme
was announced dead on July 7, 2005, the same day that US CIA asset and
the real killer and Haitian bandit, Guy Phillipe, announced his candidacy
for President of Haiti. Guy Phillipe is a terrorists to the majority
of Haitians thus, naturally he's a "freedom fighter" for Roger
Noreiga, James Foley, Haiti Democracy Project, NED, IRI and their Group
Drèd Wilme represent(ed) Haiti's manhood, its courage and commitment
to liberty. He stood, as a lone fighter, a father to the Haitians in
Site Soleil without defenders against the most powerfully armed nations
on earth. Wilme lasted without resources for more than 16months evading
the biggest manhunt in the Western Hemisphere led against Haitian self-determination
by the alien and foreign occupying forces. But because Dred Wilme could
not, like Guy Phillipe be bought off by a U.S. dollar, he was a terrorist
for the aims of U.S. Ambassador Foley and right wing Cuban-American
hater of indigenous self-rule, Roger Noreiga. Haitians throughout Haiti
and the Diaspora embrace Wilme as they do Kapwa Lamò and Charlemagne
Peralte. None of those calling Drèd Wilme "bandit"
have ever shown he traveled outside his community to
attack either the foreigner who came to kill him in his own home, nor
the morally repugnant Haitian bourgeoisie who paid assassins to destroy
his community, his nation. In contrast to the bi-centennial Coup D'etat
traitors, Drèd Wilme is known to the people in his community
as a defender of the defenseless and poor. Again, we say, as we did
last April, Wilme covered himself in glory because he added value in
his own community, and if, in fact, he lives no more, he joins the line
going back to that first Neg and Negès Ginen who can only - depi
lan Guinen - live free or die. That unborn
spirit, that Haitian soul, cannot die. It's rising.
Li led li la
July 8, 2005
Haiti Action Committee
July 10, 2005
Haiti Action Committee condemns UN massacre in Haiti, demands an end
to the killing
The Haiti Action Committee today condemned a July 6 massacre of
Haitian civilians in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince carried out by UN
Dave Welsh, a delegate with the San Francisco Labor Council who was
in Haiti as part of a labor/human rights delegation, said, "This
full-blown military attack on a densely-populated neighborhood, which
multiple sources confirm killed at least 23 people, is a crime."
Published estimates indicate that upwards of 50 may have been killed
and an indeterminate number wounded, and that more than 300 heavily
armed UN troops took part in the assault on the neighborhood.
The attack took place in Cite Soleil, an extremely poor area that is
staunchly supportive of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Aristide was forced from office by the U.S. embassy in collusion with
U.S.-backed paramilitaries on February 29, 2004 and is now in exile
in South Africa.
Seth Donnelly, a California teacher with the same delegation, visited
the scene of the massacre and spoke to traumatized survivors of the
attack. "This operation started early Wednesday morning at 3am,
Jordanian and other troops on foot and in tanks and helicopters with
machine gun turrets. It was a full-scale attack. Survivors told us
that when they saw UN troops they felt that, unlike Haitian police,
they would not fire on civilians, but that the 'peacekeepers' soon
began shooting into houses and at civilians. "
The Labor/Human Rights Delegation from the United States, sponsored
by the San Francisco Labor Council, had been in Haiti since late June
to attend the Congress of the Confederation of Haitian Workers (CTH),
the country's largest labor organization, and met with hundreds of
Haitian workers, farmers and professionals, interviewing scores of
them about the current labor and human rights crisis in Haiti.
Pierre Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee noted, "MINUSTAH
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti] apologized to the
Haitian police for its delayed arrival on the scene of an incident
where two Haitian police officers were killed on May 22, but it has
never once apologized for any of the many documented instances where
UN troops killed Haitian civilians. This latest attack, in which
people in their homes and on the way to work were killed for no
reason, is beyond the pale. Such atrocities must not be accepted by
the international community. Those responsible for these killings of
civilians must be brought to trial."
Labossiere concluded that the U.S.Embassy should immediately refrain
from more statements which provide a "green light" for slaughter
civilians. "By recently calling grassroots activists 'gang members'
and 'terrorists', U.S. Ambassador James Foley sent a signal that it's
open season on civilians. This is especially Orwellian, since the
real terrorists in Haiti are the UN troops, the Haitian police and
the paramilitaries who are killing civilians. Under its most recent
mandate, the UN has supervision of the Haitian police. But instead of
stopping the killing of civilians, the UN is stepping up the
slaughter," said Labossiere.
Soleil Community Turns Out En Masse For Funeral of Dread Wilme
Credible Estimates of Civilian Casualties during July 6th UN Military
Operation in Cite Soleil Continue to Mount
US Labor and Human Rights Delegation
July 9th, Port-au-Prince
For further information, contact Delegation Member Seth Donnelly: 650-814-8495
Hundreds of people of all ages turned out for the funeral of Dread Wilme,
a leader of the Cite Soleil community in Port-au-Prince. Wilme was reportedly
killed in a UN military operation in Cite Soleil during the early morning
hours of Wednesday, July 6th. The funeral ceremony was held in the street
and involved speeches by community activists, music, dancing, and carrying
a coffin to the people. White banners were draped up and down one of
the main streets in the community. Media, mostly Haitian, were present.
Speakers expressed respect for Wilme as someone who embodied the hopes
of the community, someone who attempted to stand up for and protect
his community. They vowed to continue the struggle for the rights of
the poor in Haiti to healthcare, education, and democracy. In this spirit,
they also vowed to fight for the return of President Aristide. One young
female speaker stirred the crowd with her words affirming the dignity
of the people of Cite Soleil and their rights to be treated as human
Another speaker addressed the issue of kidnappings in Haiti, claiming
that they were being used by the coup regime to scapegoat poor communities
like Cite Soleil. Armed young men seemed to provide security for the
At least twice during the service, people began to urgently run away,
turning into a collective stampede, when rumors circulated that MINUSTAH
forces were coming. MINUSTAH APCs (tanks) were stationed at several
checkpoints in the neighborhood. People appeared to be terrified of
One older, Haitian-American woman who recently moved to Cite Soleil
one month ago to practice her ministry gave an interview to a US human
rights delegation and Haitian journalists, stating that the youth of
Cite Soleil are not animals or "chimeres", but intelligent
human beings who are struggling to deal with the most harsh oppression.
She described Dread Wilme as someone who worked on behalf of these youth,
providing them with education and food when the larger society was willing
to throw them away.
Credible Estimates of Casualties During the July 6th UN Military Operation
in Cite Soleil
Continue to Mount
In contrast to the claim made by the UN high military command in Haiti
that they were unaware of any civilian casualties from Cite Soleil during
the July 6th operation, the staff at the Medecines Sans Frontieres Hospital
in Port-au-Prince reported that they received a wave of wounded civilians
from Cite Soleil on July 6th. This is one of the few, if not the only
hospitals in Port-au-Prince where people can from Cite Soleil can go
because it provides free health care.
Ali Besnaci, "Chef de Mission" of the Medecins Sans Frontieres
program and hospital staff member Olivia Gayraud met with a US and Haitian
human rights team on July 9th, sharing the hospital registry records
with the team. The records indicate that on July 6th, starting at approximately
11 AM, the hospital received a total of 26 wounded people from Cite
Soleil who were transported to the facility by Red Cross "tap taps"
(local trucks). Of these 26, 20 were women and children and 6 were men.
Half of the total number were seriously wounded by abdominal gun shot
wounds and were routed into major surgery. One pregnant woman lost her
baby. Other victims seem to be in recovery, according to the hospital
staff. All reported that they had been wounded by UN military forces
during the operation and some spoke of their homes being destroyed.
This number of 26 stands in contrast to the hospital's records of Cite
Soleil residents admitted on other days when the figures are much lower,
such as 2 people on July 7th and none on July 8th. One Haitian human
rights worker present during the meeting with the hospital staff speculated
that the number of men from Cite Soleil who were admitted to the hospital
was low because many men would fear being arrested by the authorities
while in the hospital.
Meanwhile, one Haitian journalist who was an eyewitness to the damages
in Cite Soleil on the morning of July 26th claims that he personally
saw 20 bodies, and that 5 additional victims were buried by their families,
and that 5 families were searching for loved ones who have been missing
since the morning of July 6th. Additionally, a Reuters reporter covering
Dread Wilme's funeral told a human rights team that he had personally
seen and taken pictures of 7 bodies when he entered Cite Soleil at some
point after the operation. Moreover, he took video footage of gun shots
through roofs in the community, indicating that perhaps there had been
helicopter fire from UN forces, as many community members allege. The
US human rights team also saw what appeared to be many gun shot holes
through the roof of a community school and an adjacent building.
Another estimate on the death toll from one community member who spoke
during the funeral ceremony ranges as high as 80 community members killed.
Solidarity Day Pictures & Articles
May 18, 2005
and Articles Witness Project
photo for larger image
Wilme - on "Wanted poster" of suspects wanted by the
"Dread" Wilme reported killed July 6, 2005
"Dread" Wilme speaks:
Radio Lakou New York, April 4, 2005 interview with Emmanuel "Dread"
Alert- Demand a Stop to Killings
in Cite Soleil:
Sample letters and Contact information provided, April 21, 2005
Crucifiction of Emmanuel
Peralte - The old Bandit King of Haiti
* In 1919 the US murdered him and put the body on public display
Urge the Caribbean Community to stand firm in not recognizing
the illegal Latortue regime:
Show at the
July 27, 2004 Haiti Forum Press Conference during the DNC
in Boston honoring those who stand firm for Haiti and democracy;
those who tell the truth about Haiti; Presenting the Haiti
Resolution, and; remembering Haiti's revolutionary legacy
in 2004 and all those who have lost life or liberty fighting
against the Feb. 29, 2004 Coup d'etat and its consequences