Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A little fish heads to jail

Things are getting might interesting in Haiti again. Rene Civil, lately the chief of the Jeunesse Pouvoir Populaire (Youth Popular Power - JPP - but better known as Jan l pase, l pase) was arrested while driving a car stolen from the Dominican Republic and in possession of a 9 millimeter pistol in Petionville on Friday night by men acting under the commend of police chief Varnel Lacroix, reports Radio Kiskeya. A police officer was also apparently also arrested in the incident, and the file turned over to Port-au-Prince chief magistrate Claudy Gassant. "It is not a question of a political business, this arrest is strictly related to the banditry," Lacroix was quoted as saying.

I recall vividly how, during the presidential tenure of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Civil was escorted around Port-au-Prince by National Palace security personnel even though he was not an employee of the Palace, but rather of the capital's Autorité Portuaire Nationale (APN). Those familiar with Haiti will recall how university students protesting against the Aristide government accused Civil of involvement in the murder of medical student Eric Pierre, shot to death while leaving the Faculté de médecine building on the morning January 7, 2003. Witnesses at the scene attested that the killers left in an official state vehicle (with official license plates) and another vehicle belonging to Haiti's state telephone company, Teleco. The license plate number of one vehicles of the provided by witnesses vehicles belonged to Civil. To this date, no one has been brought to justice for the killing. Today, Kiskeya reports, Civil was transferred to the National Penitentiary under Gassant's order after questioning. Civil's lawyer, Mario Joseph, formerly of the Aristide-government funded Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) and now of the Aristide-linked Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH) wasted no time in attacking Gassant, questioning whether or not he had the "independence" to be involved in such a case, all said without a hint of irony, one can assume.

Amidst all this, the bodies of two women and a man, all unidentified, were found on Rue Macajoux in Port-au-Prince's central business district Violence appears to continue in Cité Soleil and Martissant unabated, now nearly a month after I first reported on the appalling conditions and nearly-equally appalling lack of Haitian government or United Nations action in the zone.

In far less grim news, it appears that the American Museum of the Moving Image will be screening one of my favorite films of all time, Marcel Camus' Orfeu Negro, this weekend. A shame I will be out of town and miss it.

No comments: