Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Review of Peter Hallward’s Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment

A Review of Peter Hallward’s Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment

By Michael Deibert


I. Introduction

In early 2004, a few days after the February ouster of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide following months of massive protests against his rule and an armed rebellion of former soldiers and once-loyal street gangs, Peter Hallward, an academic working in the United Kingdom specializing in modern French philosophy, weighed in with his take on Haiti’s situation.

Writing from London, Hallward, who had never visited Haiti, wrote in the British newspaper the Guardian that “Aristide was forced from office…by people who have little in common except their opposition to his progressive policies and their refusal of the democratic process. [1]”

Going further, of the bloodshed that had marked those terrible months in late 2003 and early 2004, Hallward wrote that the killings committed by the government’s partisans represented “a small fraction of the number killed by the rebels in recent weeks…(Aristide) remained indelibly associated with what's left of a genuine popular movement for political and economic empowerment.”

Now, four years later, Peter Hallward has published Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment (Verso), his own take on the Aristide years in Haiti and the forces that lead to the president’s ouster in 2004. Admitting freely that he has “visited Haiti only twice” and has “ no special interest in the peculiarities of Haitian society, of its remarkable languages or even more remarkable religions,” these facts nevertheless do not stop Hallward from holding forth on Haiti’s tortuously complex recent political history.

Comprising chiefly of interviews made during two trips to Haiti in April 2006 and January 2007, many of them with English-speaking supporters of Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas political party, and an eclectic selection of secondary source material, the book’s goal, in Hallward’s words, is to show that Aristide was overthrown “because the movement he lead posed an intolerable threat to Haiti’s comfortable ruling class.”

This essay will seek to examine the validity of Hallward’s assertion, and the quality of the evidence with which he supports it.

II. Haiti’s historical background

One of the major flaws of Hallward’s account becomes apparent early on and it is a major one for an undertaking of this nature: The book has no historical memory. In seeking at all costs to prove the author’s thesis of the essential uniqueness and saintliness of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas political party, Hallward ignores the inescapable fact that Aristide and Lavalas did not come out of a vacuum, but rather represented simply the latest manifestation by which bright, ambitious political leaders sought to harness the popular discontent at the criminal poverty that Haiti’s poor majority is forced to exist in on a daily basis. It is a discontent that had been harnessed with varying degrees of effectiveness in the late 19th century by Lysius Salomon, and in the mid-late 20th century by Dumarsais Estimé and François Duvalier (both of whom made it to the presidency), as well as by more marginal figures such as Daniel Fignole, the Port-au-Prince political leader who oratory was so skillful at whipping his slum-based followers into a frenzy that they became know as his rouleau compresseur (steamroller).

These historical periods are viewed by Hallward as needless distractions from the task at hand, which is to rush headlong , very much in the manner of the novice though ultra-confident commentator that he is, into proving his thesis, but unfortunately for him, the periods of Jean-Pierre Boyer, Faustin Soulouque, Salomon and Estimé (as well as the tenures of more minor presidents such as Sténio Vincent and Elie Lescot) all left profound impacts on Haiti’s political culture, leading up to today. One scans the book’s pages in vain for any discussion, or even acknowledgment of Boyer’s 20 year annexation of the Dominican Republic, of Soulouque‘s arming of irregular loyalists known as zinglins (precursors of Duvalier’s Tontons Macoutes paramilitaries and Aristide’s chimere bands in later years), of Salomon’s virtual destruction of the commercial districts of Port-au-Prince in 1883 (and along with it the murder of at least of 1,000 of the president’s enemies) and of Estimé's ascension to the presidency in 1946 (breaking 20 years of mulatto hegemony of the office), but none is to be found.

Hallward's skimming over Haitian history up until 1991 (during which he tenuously links wealthy industrialists and importers - millionaires - with working-class local journalists and academics as being part of the country’s “bourgeois” elite), asserts that “class rather than race exerts the most powerful influence on Haitian society.” While it is true that class is often overlooked by foreign commentators seeking to draw overly simplistic parallels to explain the yawning inequity of Haiti’s economic and social model, race and class in Haiti remain extremely conflated, contentious subjects, the current of one overlapping with the other in periodic violent episodes throughout the nation’s history.

Though Hallward does not explore the theme in any detail, since the late 1950s advent of the noiriste dictatorship of François Duvalier and continuing on with the rise to power of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas party in the 1990s, a nouveaux riche black political class has emerged in the nation to share the country’s economic stage with the traditional mulatto elite, an elite who historically through Haiti’s history, via its surrogates in politics and the military, wrestled for control of the levers of power in the country with populist demagogues agile at exploiting the very justified feelings of exploitation that the majority of Haitians - black, impoverished and poorly educated and cared for by the state - felt against them. Until the Duvalier dictatorship brought the mulatto elite to its knees with arrests and pogroms (most notably in the southwestern city of Jeremie in 1964, where entire families of mulattos were wiped out) this, along with fears (some realized) of foreign intervention, had been the dominant theme of much of Haiti’s history.

This dynamic appears to allude Hallward, though, and instead he rapidly detours into an explanation of why, in an historical context, the “battered guns” of Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas party were never any match for the “better guns” of Haiti’s elite, before returning - apparently without irony - to laud Jean-Jacques Dessalines as a “proto-socialist.” Dessalines, a brilliant military strategist, was nevertheless capable of mass slaughter verging on genocide when the mood seized him, and promptly proclaimed himself emperor after declaring Haiti a republic in 1804. The civil war which followed Dessalines’ 1806 assassination, between the black Henri Christophe in the north and the mulatto Alexandre Petion in the south, and the long reign of Boyer (who succeeded in reuniting the country in 1820) are not even mentioned. For Hallward, with a small exception made for the 1915-1935 U.S. military occupation, it would appear that, despite a voluminous record penned by the country’s historians, Haiti had no history between the declaration of the Republic in 1804, and the first election to the presidency of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in December 1990.

III. Haiti, 1986-2000

Writing about Haiti after the fall of the Duvalier family dynasty in 1986, Hallward asserts, rather preposterously, that “there were just two viable political positions…revolutionary principles of liberation theology’s preferential option for the poor…(or) the ongoing remobilization of the army or its equivalent.” Therefore, Hallward posits, one was either a strong supporter of Jean-Bertrand Aristide (a priest expelled from the Salesian order in 1988) and the political current that he surrounded himself with (for Hallward intensely personalizes Haiti’s’ democratic struggle in the figure of Aristide), or one was militarist, anti-democratic, against the empowerment of the poor and in support of the crushing of participatory democracy

Hallward’s position is a willful perversion of what the Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck has referred to as the “heritage of valuable victories and painful sacrifices” the belong to the Haitian people as whole, not solely to one political leader or party. In addition to the liberation theology sector of the Catholic Church, which Hallward focuses on to the exclusion of virtual all of all other players in the struggle, the ouster of the Duvaliers and the resistance to the military juntas the followed it was carried out by a broad swath of Haiti’s populace, a collection that, by virtue of Haiti’s demographics, was also overwhelmingly poor, though not exclusively the urban poor that formed Aristide‘s power base. Everything from peasant organizations such as the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) to organizations of former soldiers such as the September 17th Popular Organization (OP-17) to social democratic and moderate political parties, played a role in the struggles that resulted in the 1990 elections. To diminish their role, as Hallward attempts to do, is to diminish the Haitian ability for complex political thought, a rather backhanded compliment if there ever was one. Hallward then proceeds to breeze through the complex political machinations of the 1991-1999 era -which laid the groundwork for so much of what came after - in a single chapter

Displaying an extremely shaky grasp of Haiti’s post-Duvalier political history, Hallward refers to the Front National pour le Changement et la Democratie (FNCD) - the broad-based progressive political coalition on whose ticket Aristide ran for president in 1990 - as “a loose coalition of small liberal-democratic parties” and then goes on to badly oversimplify the conflicts that lead to the split within the Òganizasyon Politik Lavalas (OPL), from which Aristide jumped ship in 1997 in order to form the Fanmi Lavalas (FL) party, with the OPL subsequently re-branding itself the Organisation du Peuple en Lutte.

To Hallward, there is a one-size fits-all explanation for the political jockeying of the 1990s: The slow-going privatization of Haiti’s nearly moribund state industries, traditional repositories of political patronage. A barely-disguised call by Aristide for mob violence at the November 1995 funeral of assassinated deputy Jean-Hubert Feuillé, which helped spur riots in which at least nine people died, is characterized as a speech against “untrammeled privatization.”

No mention is made of the armed pro-Aristide partisans that would paralyze Haiti’s capital and other urban centers, raining rocks and bottles down on motorists and passerby when it appeared that Aristide’s successor René Préval (1996-2001) was acting beyond what Aristide doubtless considered his place-holding duties. Likewise, there is no mention of the myriad of political assassinations of Aristide opponents and critics that took place during the time.

The courageous young policewoman Marie Christine Jeune [2], kidnapped, raped and murdered after she refused Aristide’s request to shake hands with known gang leaders from the Cité Soleil slum on national television in early 1996 does not figure in Hallward’s history. Nor does the August 1998 murder of the independently-minded priest Father Jean Pierre-Louis [3], founder of the Sèvis Ekimenik pou Devlopman ak Edikasyon Popilè (Ecumenical Service for Popular Development or SEDEP). Pierre-Louis’ funeral was later disrupted by Aristide supporters who hurled invective at the Préval government officials in attendance. The March 1999 slaying of OPL Senator Yvon Toussaint [4] and the attempt on the life of Pierre Esperance [5], the executive director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR), that same month are likewise curiously absent.

By the time Hallward gets around to writing about the May and November 2000 elections that swept the Fanmi Lavalas party and Aristide back into parliament and the presidency (respectively), he writes that the vote was “arguably the most remarkable exercise in representative democracy in Haiti to date.” A closer examination of that oft-cited ballot, though, reveals an altogether murkier picture.

Aristide’s face-to-face demand with Préval’s Secretary of State for Public Security Bob Manuel that Manuel make sure that the 2000 ballot “went well” for the Fanmi Lavalas party [6] is omitted, as is any substantive discussion of the demonstrable way in which Fanmi Lavalas supporters falsely inflated the number of votes in the parliamentary election to give the party an unwarranted majority [7]. The savage murder of Mouvement Chrétien Pour une Nouvelle Haiti (MOCHRENA) party candidate Merilus Deus [8], hacked to death in front of his daughter in April 2000, is not mentioned. Nor is the equally savage axe and machete-slaying of opposition activist Ducertain Armand [9] that same month. The brutal street side killing (in broad daylight) of Port-au-Prince independent mayoral candidate Jean-Michel Olophene [10] by a pro-Fanmi Lavalas mob - captured on video as his skull is split open by a rock -evidently never happened according to Hallward. Nor did the report—confirmed by electoral observers—that in the Artibonite Valley stronghold of the Komite Zafè Elektoral Peyizan pou Eleksyon Pwop (Electoral Affairs Committee for Clean Elections or KOZEPEP) peasant movement, groups of armed men seized and burned electoral materials in seven polling stations, stopping the vote.

Hallward does make time, though, to attack the Haitian peasantry for being insufficiently loyal to Aristide.

In Hallward's account, the philosophy professor dismisses the Mouvman Peyizan Papay (MPP) peasant union and the 200,000 strong Mouvman Peyizan Nasyonal Kongre Papay (MPNKP) as having a “a substantial though purely regional following” even though the latter is a national organization. Hallward then goes on to erroneously state that MPP leader Chavannes Jean-Baptiste’s break with Aristide (whom he supported in the 1990 election) was the result of Préval , rather than Chavannes himself, being named a Aristide's successor, and also that Chavannes aligned himself with the Convergence Democratique, the motley collection of political parties that came together to oppose Aristide after the 2000 vote. Both of these claims are false. Jean-Baptiste in fact served as Préval's transition chief when the latter took office in 1996 and broke with Aristide and Préval over governmental corruption, the controversial 1997 legislative elections and what he viewed as Aristide's drift toward despotism and tyranny in the run-up to and duration of his second mandate. Jean-Baptiste likewise was never a member of the Convergence Democratique [11].

Excised from Hallward's attack on the MPP and history of the 2000 vote, though, naturally, is a somewhat more compelling detail: The attempted murder of Chavannes Jean-Baptiste at a November 2000 meeting in the Plateau Central town of Hinche. That month, an MPP meeting at the Recif Night Club was attacked with heavy gunfire by a group of Fanmi Lavalas partisans that witnesses said included a pair of Lavalas mayors, Hinche mayor Dongo Joseph and Maissade mayor Wilo Joseph. At least five people were shot, including Chavannes' brother, Dieugrand, who was struck in the chest and nearly died of his injuries. Cars of attendees were set aflame and a home belonging to an activist perceived as sympathetic to the MPP was burned and looted [12].

Taken in tandem with a corrupted election and a slew of arrests of opposition politicians and journalists both before and after the 2000 ballot, one wonders exactly who the “representative democracy” whose advent Hallward was not in Haiti to witness was representing.

IV. Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Second Term in Office, 2001-2004

Hallward’s tenuous sketches of Haiti’s 1994-2001 history, though, pale in comparison to the full-on and often mendacious attempt to reinvent the history of the second Aristide administration that forms the balance of his book.

In chapter after chapter, (occasionally pretentiously opened with Kreyol proverbs that Hallward - a non-Kreyol speaker - couldn’t understand without a translator), the academic attempts to paint Aristide’s government as a besieged, populist administration at the center of a vast conspiracy, both foreign and domestic, with virtually no legitimate opposition on the ground in Haiti possible. It is an image that, even when taking into account the intrigues of Aristide’s enemies, bears no resemblance to the reality that journalists such as myself and others, daily engaged in reporting on the ground in Haiti between 2001 and 2004, saw transpire before our eyes.

The trajectory of Lavalas is absurdly compared to that of Nicaragua’s Sandinistas (a rebel army assuming power at the height of the Cold War), to the African National Congress and even the Palestinian Liberation Organization. A far more accurate, though also inexact, analogy, would be to the Frente Republicano Guatemalteco (FRG) political party in Guatemala. A post-Cold War creation like Fanmi Lavalas, the FRG also came to encompass a wide variety of right-and-left wing political actors in Guatemala (from former military dictator Efraín Ríos Montt to human rights activist Edgar Gutiérrez), throughout the 1990s, unified only by an often-virulent anti-elite populism and overlaid with a heavy dose of criminality. Though there were (a dwindling number of) decent and honorable people who still supported the Fanmi Lavalas ticket in the 2000 elections, the party, far from being united by any particular sort of vision by where it wanted to take the country, comfortably fit as the home of everyone from roguish former military men (Dany Toussaint, Fourel Celestin, Medard Jospeh), dissident priests (Gerard Jean-Juste), well-known politico-criminal actors (Ronald and Franco Camille, Amiot "Cubain" Metayer) and the sectors of the urban poor that were still willing to thrown their lot in with Aristide.

There are many flaws with Hallward’s analysis and many omissions in his historical record of Haiti’s recent years, but for reasons of brevity I will focus only on a few of those which I am most familiar with, including the role that armed gangs played in defense of the 2001-2004 Aristide regime, the impact of Haiti’s student movement, the role of the local and international press in Haiti. and Hallward’s use of sources on which to hang his narrative.

V. Haiti’s Armed Groups

In his book, Hallward complains that writers such as the Haitian historian Alex Dupuy (and myself) “regularly conflate inter-gang violence with deliberate government policy” during Aristide’s second tenure as Haiti’s president. That being the case, it is worth examining the connections, official and unofficial that armed groups in Haiti maintained with the Aristide government.

Between 2001 and 2004, I made dozens of visits to neighborhoods such as Cité Soleil, La Saline, Martissant and other areas where armed groups professing allegiance to the Aristide government operated. Particularly in Cité Soleil, I managed to befriend some of the leaders of these groups, one of whom, James-Petit Frere (also known as Billy) of the Soleil 19 neighborhood, became a close personal friend. The leaders of these factions were a diverse as any other element of Haiti’s complex society, running the gamut of politically-aware and educated political aspirants to more hardcore criminal sectors that were united only in their closeness to the Aristide government and the Lavalas party. Virtually all of the gang members I knew had photo ID cards issued from one of Haiti’s state industries, such as the Autorité Portuaire Nationale (APN), the Centrale Autonome Métropolitaine d’Eau Potable (CAMEP) or Télécommunications d’Haiti (Teleco), where they received small amounts of work from time to time in exchange for crushing demonstrations that the government found troublesome [13].

Some high-level militant leaders did better than others. Ti Kominote Legliz leader Paul Raymond, for example, enjoyed a plush office in the Teleco building. Felix “Don Fefe” Bien- Aimé, the brutal gang leader from the Grande Ravine area of the capital, was served as director of the Port-au-Prince cemetery under Aristide despite a June 2001 raid by his gang against an opposing slum that left thirteen people dead and over one hundred homes destroyed [14,15]. Bien-Aimé was later “disappeared” by Haitian police in September 2002, reportedly after a falling out with Aristide. The Armée Canibale (Cannibal Army) gang of Aristide-supporter Amiot “Cubain” Metayer dominated the port in the northern city of Gonaives [16], a situation which one local legislator (Marc-Andre Durogène) spoke out against and paid for with his life [17].

That these political militants were heavily-armed is something that is beyond dispute, as reporting such as that done by journalists such as Jane Regan [18], National Public Radio’s Gerry Hadden [19], The Boston Globe’s Steven Dudley [20] and others has proven. It is a portrait reinforced by the Danish director Asger Leth’s recent film Ghosts of Cité Soleil [21]. In one visit to Cité Soleil in the summer of 2002, for example, a French photographer and I saw burlap rice sacks full of dozens of automatic and semi-automatics rifles, about a dozen bolt-action rifles, glock 9 millimeters, a variety of other pistols, about half a dozen hand grenades and several of the hybrid, homemade weapons the Haitians call zanm kreyol.

That the armed groups were closely connected to the Aristide government is also beyond dispute, as they were regularly hosted by Aristide both at his residence at Tabarre and at the National Palace itself. One such meeting, in early 2002, which included such leaders of armed factions as Robinson “Labanye” Thomas, Rodson “Kolobri” Lemaire, James Petit-Frere and others, was even broadcast on Haitian state television. The private numbers of police officials such as Hermione Leonard (police director for the West Department, of which Port-au-Prince is a part) and government ministers such as Minister of Interior Jocelerme Privert were programmed into the militants' own cell phones, something I saw first-hand. All of this evidence, as well as photographic evidence from photojournalists such as Walter Astrada and Andres Leighton of the Associated Press [22] which documented armed Aristide partisans violently attacking political demonstrations in 2003 and 2004 is not even alluded to.

Hallward’s discussion of the links of armed groups with the government relies chiefly on a single (Port-au-Prince based) source - a foreign aid worker who briefly worked in Cité Soleil from mid 2003 until early 2004. This is the hook on which Hallward hangs his entire analysis of the relationship the armed groups there had with Aristide and the Fanmi Lavalas party. Though Hallward does briefly touch on the appalling crimes of the anti-democratic paramilitary FRAPH group during Aristide’s 1991-94 exile, extraordinarily, nowhere in his discussion of the recent history of the Cité Soleil district does he bother to inform his readers that the man directly appointed by Aristide to be the slum’s mayor when it became an official “city” in 2002, was none other than Fritz Joseph, one of the most notorious FRAPH attachés there from the 1990s, reportedly an active participant in the 1993 fire that had razed hundreds of homes and killed at least a dozen people in the district [23].

VI. Haiti’s student movement

By mid-book, if not before, Damming the Flood is fairly drowning in apologia. Hallward’s interpretation of the movement of Haitian university students against the Aristide government’s increasing violence and despotism is particularly instructive of this approach. Though student protests have historically played decisive roles over the years in Haiti, helping to topple the administrations of presidents as diverse as Elie Lescot and Dusmaris Estime as well as helping to force an end to the 20-year U.S. occupation of the country, Hallward appears to regard them as an anomaly faced solely by the second Aristide government.

Hallward dismisses the concerns of the students of Haiti’s state university system - overwhelmingly poor and hardly members of the “bourgeois elite” that he so enjoys obsessing over - as “a trivial dispute.” In fact, the July 2002 “hunger strike” by seven Lavalas-affiliated students (out of a student body of 12,000) - an event that the Aristide government used as an excuse to oust the system’s rector, Pierre-Marie Paquiot before scheduled (though delayed) faculty elections were held - was viewed by these young, materially (though not intellectually) impoverished scholars as anything but trivial. Though Hallward focuses on the role the students played in late 2003 (and the “training” some student leaders received that year from organizations such as the International Republican Institute in the Dominican Republic), the genesis and development of the student movement against Aristide was far more organic to the particularities of Haiti at the time than Hallward would ever let on to his readers.

On August 14, 2002, when a group of students protesting the government’s decision to remove Paquiot attempted a peaceful sit-in in front of the Ministry of Education, Aristide partisans began hurling stones and bottles them from the windows of the Ministry and later from the street itself. The windows on several cars, including press vehicles, were smashed by government supporters. On the evening of August 21, 2002, pro-Lavalas militant James Petit-Frere called me to tell me that the Cité Soleil chimere had received orders from the National Palace to crush a planned student demonstration the following day. When I arrived at the university’s École Normale Superieure just behind the National Palace, I watched as students and faculty members were prevented from marching by thousands of young, overwhelmingly male protestors blocking the building’s entrance, throwing the bottles, rocks, and pictures of Aristide over the École’s walls, and attacking students trying to leave with wooden planks with nails driven through them. Riot police standing by occasionally pushed the pro-government crowd back, but generally did not intervene.

As a wave hitting a rock sprays into a thousand uncontrollable streams, so did, with every violent government attempt to suppress it, the student movement grow. By November 2002, I and other journalists witnessed a march of thousands of students and others stretching as far as the eye could see down the capital's Avenue Jean Paul II, waving portraits of the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara and storming the university’s empty rectory (a scene captured by both international and local television cameras). Thousands of university students, joined by high school students and passerby, then brought their protests to the front of the National Palace, in a demonstration that doubtless caught the government (as it did me) by surprise. Every violent attempt to suppress the student movement over the summer and fall only served to inflame it.

Despite Hallward’s smug assertion that that Haiti’s students never had “a suitably clear-cut reason to protest a president who…had done immeasurably more for Haitian education than any president in the country’s history,” the working-class students I spoke with told me time and again that the university had to retain its autonomy as it was one of the few free spaces for discourse the country had left. The murders of students such as Eric Pierre (February 2003) and Romuald Cadet (March 2003), which the students blamed on the Aristide government, only poisoned relations between the two further, and are completely ignore by Hallward in his narrative [24, 25]. By the time we arrive at a bloody December 2003 attack by government partisans on the university’s Faculté des Sciences Humaines (FASCH) and Institut National de Gestion et des Hautes Etudes Internationales (INAGHEI), Hallward is far too wedded to his conspiratorial narrative to address the factual evidence of what indeed took place that day.

Describing the assault by street gangs working in collusion with Aristide’s police force as “a brawl,” Hallward goes on the quote Aristide’s former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune and several unnamed “witnesses” as laying blame for the melee squarely on the back of the protesting students. The problem for Hallward, though, is that photos and footage of the attack - by photographers such as Daniel Morel and the filmmaker Antonin Artaud - show in no uncertain terms who the aggressors were. Likewise, a scathing statement [26] by employees of the nearby Fondation Connaissance et Liberté (FOKAL) who watched the violence from the organization’s headquarters on Avenue Christophe, is also instructive:

We saw groups of pro-governmental militia . . . regroup in front of our building, visibly preparing to attack the student demonstration scheduled for that day. We saw their arms displayed, ranging from firearms, wooden and iron sticks, rocks and other objects capable of hurting and killing. We saw their chiefs, men and women, also armed, equipped with walkie-talkies and cellular phones, organize and give orders to the commandos that were to attack the students. We saw the police, not neutral as has been reported, but acting as accomplices to the militia. On several occasions, during that day of horror and shame, the police opened the way for the chimere attack and also covered their backs. We saw children aged between twelve and fifteen, some in school uniforms, used by the Lavalas militia to throw rocks and attack the students with fire arms.

This being the case (and only one of many such examples), it would be hard to take seriously Hallward’s claim that “where pro-government forces turned violent, it’s obvious that such violence was largely and understandably defensive."

VII. The Haitian police

One cannot discuss the role the extra-governmental armed groups played in Haiti’s recent history without examining the disastrous role the policy of their integration into government security services played in nearly destroying Haiti’s police force. Though Hallward bemoans a supposed anti-Aristide conspiracy that he claims took root in the Police Nationale d’Haiti (PNH) between 1994 and 2001, he seems largely blind to the demoralizing effect that the chimerization of state security had on the morale of Haiti’s law enforcement officials..

In place of skilled professionals such as Bob Manuel, Pierre Denize and Mario Andrésol, who ran the country’s police during René Préval’s 1996-2001 government, came individuals such as Rudy Therassan (previously fired from the PNH but reintegrated and promoted to head the Brigade de Recherche et Intervention), Hermione Leonard (police director for the West Department whose links with armed gangs in the Cité Soleil were long-standing) and René "Grenn Sonnen" Jean-Anthony (a former member of the Duvalier-era counterinsurgency Leopards battalion). The common denominator? At the time, they were all individuals known to be loyal partisans of Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas party militants, and their fortunes, therefore, were closely linked to that of the government.

Ignored in Hallward’s book is the tale of Jean-Robert Faveur, who served as head of the PNH for two weeks in June 2003 before fleeing for his life into exile. Faveur left a farewell letter accusing Aristide of demanding that he clear all decisions with Secretary of State for Public Security Jean Gérard Dubreuil and Jean-Claude Jean-Baptiste (a former PNH chief and Aristide loyalist) and that Aristide himself alone would make decisions regarding nominations and transfers of departmental directors and officer assignments in the capital. Describing how checks paid out by the PNH were under the control of two Aristide-loyalist PNH officials, as opposed to Faveur himself, in violation of Article 23.7 of the law on the creation of the PNH, Faveur went on to describe [27] how he was pressured to integrate gang members in to the police force, concluding

I have chosen the road of exile instead of letting myself be corrupted and enslaved. Mr. President, the situation is not good at all within the PNH, and poverty is killing the country. I had thought that with my presence at the head of the PNH you would see a beginning of the solution to the crisis, but, unfortunately, you do not care about that....I have saved my life, my trust and my dignity.

Two months later, one of Faveur’s former colleagues, police officer Jean Panel Charles from the Delmas 33 commissariat, told Radio Metropole News Director Rotchild Francois that, “policemen are not able to exercise their authority, because of the armed civilians who have full control in that police station. . . . These attachés are responsible for the bad acts. . . . They arrest people, steal people’s money, steal vehicles, put people in secret cells and kill them later on. Those people are so powerful that the policemen are not able to do their job as policemen. [28]”

Echoing the two men, an eight year-veteran of the PNH in Port-au-Prince whom I interviewed in late 2003 [29] told me the following:

The situation in the PNH is not normal. The people hired as police have no experience in this type of work, but the National Palace insists that they be hired. The make us work with chimeres and attachés. . . . They work in the same zones as the police and use their guns. There are political arrests, personal vendetta arrests…We need the police to recover their independence. We must work to serve the people, not the politicians. We need to help our country and our police force because without that, we will have no democracy.

At one point the book, Hallward briefly recounts the April 1994 attack against Aristide supporters in the Gonaives slum of Raboteau, which killed up to 20 people, but when it comes time to recounting the circumstances of swelling popular outrage against the Aristide government in the fall of 2003, Hallward declines to inform his readers of the appalling, state-sanctioned assaults on Raboteau and neighboring Jubilé in October 2003. Following the murder of Amiot Metayer and enraged street demonstrations by the slain chief’s partisans, government forces (including Unité de Securite du Palais Nationale personnel) stormed the neighborhoods the early morning hours of October 2, killing at least 11 people, while another government raid on October 27 killed at least a dozen people, including the month old baby girl of Micheline Limay, whose house was among dozens burned by police [30, 31, 32, 33, 34].

In further trying to cover up government violence, Hallward writes that “no credible news organization of human rights group was prepared to corroborate” that a massacre of government opponents took place in the northern city of Saint Marc in early 2004, where members of the PNH were operating in tandem with the Unité de Securité de la Garde du Palais National d’Haiti (USGPNH) and the local Bale Wouze (Clean Sweep) street gang to defeat the lightly-armed anti-government Rassemblement des militants conséquents de Saint-Marc (Ramicos) forces that had seized the town on February 7. In fact, that statement, like so many other of Hallward’s claims, is simply false. A delegation from New York-based Human Rights Watch, including Anne Fuller, a human rights researcher with two decades experience in Haiti, and Joanne Mariner, at the time the deputy director of the organization’s Americas Division, visited Saint Marc in March 2004, with Fuller concluding that at least 27 people were killed there by forces acting in support of the Aristide government on or shortly after February 11 [35], and a report from the ground by the Miami Herald's Marika Lynch at the time recounted the violence in some detail [36]. The victims in Saint Marc were people like Leroy Joseph, killed in front of his wife and children; Kenol St. Gilles, thrown alive into a fire in front of his terrified mother; and Ketia Paul, gang-raped over the course of seven hours in the burned-out remnants of the Saint Marc police commissariat where she had gone to plead for the release of a friend held there by Aristide-aligned forces.

Human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch are later flailingly attacked by Hallward for having provided the “moral justification for imminent regime change” for daring to have spoken critically of the Aristide government.

VIII. Post-Aristide Haiti

Hallward's approach may be many things, but objective history it is not, and it does not stop with Aristide’s 2004 ouster.

In writing about Operation Baghdad, the late 2004 uprising by pro-Lavalas street gangs that saw running battles between gangs, police and UN forces in Port-au-Prince, Hallward not only ignores such ghastly acts such the November 2004 decapitation slaying of opposition politician Weber Adrien, but attempts to suggest the whole uprising itself never really existed and rather, in fact, was created by Haiti’s Minster of Justice, Bernard Gousse, as an excuse to crush the Lavalas base in the capital. Inclined that way as Gousse and the interim government that ruled Haiti from 2004 and 2006 might have been, the historical record proves otherwise.

In an October 7, 2004 report [37] from Haiti (during which Hallward, as usual, was safely ensconced in London), National Public Radio correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, confronted by a group of hostile, armed young men when attempting to enter impoverished Port-au-Prince neighborhood of Bel Air, recorded one of the men (who refused to give his name) as saying the following:

We call it Operation Baghdad to prove to the interim Prime Minister that we are angry at what is going on.

Leaving, Garcia-Navarro was followed to the border of Bel Air by two young men, "their handguns held high in the air."

Hallward declines ever mentioning the fact that Wench Luc, a powerful chief of the pro-Lavalas Base Radical in the capital's Martissant slum, appeared on Haitian radio in January 2005 denouncing Operation Baghdad and accusing several Fanmi Lavalas grandees - Leslie Gustave, Jean Marie Samedi (another of Hallward's favored sources) and Dismy César, among others - of actively conspiring with capital's street gags and Aristide himself to maintain a climate of violence in the country to prevent the holding of elections and, consequently, a lessening of their power [38].

Though earlier in the book Hallward notes that, between July and September 1996, eight PNH officers were murdered, in his description of the violence that wracked the capital from September 2004 until February 2006, he ignores United Nations Civilian Police (CIVPOL) statistics, related to me by CIVPOL commissioner David Beer, that between September 2004 and June 2005, one PNH officer was being killed every five days in Haiti [39].

Finally, with no evidence, Hallward accuses current PNH chief Mario Andrésol of being linked with the murderous Lamè Ti Manchet gang in the capital‘s Martissant district, a charge I never heard mentioned during several visits I made throughout the neighborhood in the summer of 2006 [40], thereby casually defaming one of Haiti’s most honorable and dedicated public servants.

IX. The press in Haiti

In attempting to support his narrative, Hallward makes some fairly outlandish claims about Haiti’s national press as well as about the international press reporting in the country. The inherent contradiction in Hallward’s attitude towards the press, both local and foreign, that covered Haiti’s travails over the last decade is never resolved. On one hand, given his own lack of experience in the country, Hallward is often forced to quote media reports, but on the other hand he is anxious to dismiss reporting from the country as part of a vast conspiracy in order to prove his thesis. The media is thus to be believed when they support Hallward’s malformed pre-judgments and jettisoned when they do not. This tension is never reconciled.

Of the foreign press, Hallward writes that “most international correspondents know very little about Haiti and tend to spend a large part of their very occasional visits to the country at just one or two media-friendly elite hotels." Not only is this a slap at Haiti’s industrious hoteliers - who provide guests with at least a dozen perfectly acceptable options in Port-au-Prince alone - but it is telling how, in every respect, this description perfectly fits Hallward himself. Journalists such as Dominique Levanti of AFP (who spent 34 years living in Haiti), Michael Norton of the Associated Press (who spent more than a decade in the country), National Public Radio’s Gerry Hadden (12 trips to Haiti in four years) and others in fact knew the country far better than Hallward does and, curiously, virtually none of his assertions in Damming the Flood are borne out by their on-the-ground reporting.

No matter, though, one of Hallward’s sources (a former employee of Haiti’s Aristide-controlled state television ) tells him that Haitian radio outlets as the Radio Metopole frequently reported “fabrications” which the Associated Press and Radio France International would then “pick up for their wire services…the positive feedback loop for disinformation for the opposition is now complete.”

The only instance in Haiti since 2000 where I know that false information has been disseminated by a wire service was when Guy Delva, Reuters correspondent since Aristide’s ouster (and a major Hallward source) claimed in January 2005 that Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue was seeking the exiled Aristide’s help from exile in South Africa to end Haiti’s at-the-time spiraling violence. This was found to be false and prompted Reuters to issue a retraction stating that Delva’s story was “wrong and is withdrawn.” For his part, Delva, whose work has been accused by some of containing a strongly pro-Fanmi Lavalas bias, appears to rush giddily out of the closet in Hallward’s book, declaring that “Aristide certainly wanted to work on behalf of the poor, it’s impossible to deny this” and, at another time (paraphrased by Hallward), that “Aristide did far more for women, and for children, than any other Haitian politician.” Whether Delva is making an unintentionally ironic reference to the peasantry oppressed and impoverished by the Aristide government’s policies, the working class students beaten and killed, or and the women raped by its loyal street gangs is not clear.

Hallward makes much of the fact that the Association Nationale des Médias Haïtiens (ANMH), which he denounces as “bitterly partisan," declared in early February 2004 (not late 2003, as Hallward mistakenly claims) that it would suspend coverage of National Palace functions, but he fails to inform his readers that the announcement was the result of Aristide’s public denunciation of Radio Vision 2000 journalist Alex Régis, who Aristide had called a paid member of the opposition and a liar at a February 4 press conference when Régis dared to ask him about the demonstrations sweeping the country. In Haiti’s charged political climate at the time, Aristide’s words were little more than a signal that the reporter was now fair game to be targeted for a violent attack, and the ANMH merely demanded that Aristide apologize [41].

It could be that events such as the forced eviction of seven journalists from Gonaives under threat of death from Amiot Metayer's gang in November 2002, or the violent attack against Radio Metropole correspondent Goudou Jean Numa in February 2003 that lead to Numa's flight into exile in Montreal (where, reporting for the French-language radio station CPAM 1610, threats against his life by Aristide supporters continued to be phoned in frequently) [42] helped make members of the Haitian press look rather askance at the Aristide government and the Fanmi Lavalas party. In one of the ugliest and most cowardly passages of the book, the poet, television host and peasant advocate Jacques Roche [43, 44], kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 2005, his body found in a zone controlled by pro-Aristide street gangs, is dismissed as an “anti-FL journalist”

Rightfully pointing out the class bias of the owners of many of Haiti’s media houses, Hallward attempts to elevate one journalist, slain Radio Haiti Inter director Jean Dominique, above the rest, only to completely mischaracterize the fallen reporter.

Writing that “although he was occasionally critical of Lavalas compromises after 1994, everyone knew where his political sympathies lay.” Hallward then proceeds to quote the controversial cleric Gerard Jean-Juste in saying that Dominique “was strong Lavalas.”

Jean Dominique was never a member of the Fanmi Lavalas party. After Dominique’s ferocious (and typically brave) December 1996 on-air grilling of Aristide about the corruption surrounding the Petits Projets de la Presidence programs - to which Aristide responded only with platitudes - Dominique’s widow, Michele Montas (currently spokesperson for United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon) stated that the relationship between the two men “cooled off tremendously. [45]”

As usual with Hallward, what is not written is at least as important as what is. Nowhere in Hallward’s account of Dominique’s slaying and its aftermath does he bother to mention the fact that Montas, investigating officer Mario Andrésol (then Directeur de la Police Judiciaire and now head of the PNH under René Préval), investigating judge Claudy Gassant (now Port-au-Prince’s chief prosecutor) and the staff of Radio Haiti Inter all accused the Aristide government of personally and intentionally blocking the investigation [46, 47, 48, 49].

X. A Note on Hallward's Sources

Given Hallward’s stated hostility to the international and local press coverage of Haiti, and his own admitted lack of experience in Haiti itself, it may be worth pausing for a moment to examine the handful of sources that he does quote in backing his thesis.

Don’t look here for the voices of the Haitian masses who were supposedly so wildly supportive of the Aristide regime right up until the end. Aside from about a half dozen Fanmi Lavalas die-hards (some of them former officials), the preponderance (almost totality, in fact) of sources Hallward quotes directly are those with long history, sometimes financial as well as political, with Haiti’s former leader.

Among those used to support the thesis that Aristide’s second government faced difficulty because it posed an “intolerable threat” to Haiti’s tiny elite (and not because of the incompetence, corruption and violence that defined it), we find Ira Kurzban, Aristide’s Miami attorney whose law firm, United States Department of Justice Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) filings show, received $4,648,964 from the Aristide government of behalf of its lobbying efforts alone between 2001 and 2004, taking from the Haitian state more than 2,000 times the average yearly income of any one of the more than 7 million people in Haiti who survive on less that $2 per day [50]. We find Ben Dupuy, a discredited political opportunist and the leader of the infinitesimal and politically insignificant Parti Populaire National, who Hallward amusingly tries to build up into some sort of actual political force in the country. We find Patrick Elie, a former junior cabinet minister and convicted perjurer arrested in the United States for his part in an apparent plot against the life of Haitian ambassador to the United States Jean Casimir [51]. We find Kim Ives, described as a “veteran journalist” and then again as a “independent analyst," as opposed to, more accurately, the scion of a wealthy American family given to armchair radicalism who has made a long career out of fevered - and often baseless - attacks against anyone veering from his radical-deluxe pontifications.

On a different note, regarding the protests against Aristide that swelled around the country in late 2003 and 2004, Hallward quotes a reliably Lavalas-friendly American journalist - who was absent from Haiti during many of the pivotal moments at the time - that “the one opposition protest that I personally witnessed in February 2004 , was as big as they got , and it wasn’t that big, maybe 5,000 people.” How the journalist is able to assert the protest he witnessed was “as big as they got” when he admits having never seen any others is never made clear, nor is the evidence of the massive popular demonstrations against the Aristide government in late 2003 to early 2004. The Agence Haitian de Presse (AHP), which parroted the Aristide government line in the most uncompromising and violent terms, and which was located in the same complex of buildings that housed the government TELECO telephone authority, is also a favorite source. While researching corruption during the 2001-2004 era at Haiti's Banque de la Republique de Haiti, I came across records at the bank of an unexplained monthly stipend via TELECO paid into the Radio Solidarité account during Aristide's second term in office. According to officials at the bank, there was no legal reason for that to be happening. The words of the most fanatical, U.S.-based pro-Aristide propaganda sheets, such as the San Francisco-based Haiti Action Committee, are solemnly repeated by Hallward with straight-faced credulity and no attempt at independent confirmation.

In short we are presented with a parade of individuals with a propensity and documented history of shading the truth and outright lying to achieve narrow political or personal goals, trotted out to sympathetically fill in the blanks of Hallward’s tangentially-formed opinions. Perhaps, on consideration, not the best assortment of individuals to base one’s opinions of an entire country on.

Unfortunately, Hallward’s own reporting is if anything at least as untrustworthy as the statements he uncritically recycles from paid political hacks and adventurers.

At one point, Hallward quotes Anne Hastings, the director of Haiti’s lauded micro-credit institution Fonkoze, and an individual who has always stayed above the fray of Haiti’s political wars as saying that “there's very little substance to the accusations people make about Aristide.”

Having known Hastings for almost a decade as a very circumspect and sober-minded person who steered well clear of strident politics of any side, I simply couldn't believe that quote was accurate. So I wrote to her and asked her. The response I received was telling [52]. Hastings wrote:

I don't think I have ever said or ever would say that. I am always very careful to say I don't know whether there is substance or not. It is up to the Haitian people to make their decision.

So much for the credibility of Hallward’s own minimal reporting.

Admitting that he has no evidence that the U.S. government armed and trained rebel leader Guy Philippe’s men while they were in the Dominican Republic, Hallward simply says that it is “what everyone knows by that no one has yet been able to prove," not exactly that most rigorous scholarship I have come across in my life.

Including the Haitian human rights organization Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH) on “a very partial list of the recipients of USAID, IFES and/or IRI support” during the years leading up to the 2004 overthrow of Aristide, Hallward footnotes as proof of his assertion a January 2006 interview with activist Anthony Fenton on Democracy Now!, a show hosted by Amy Goodman, a slavish Aristide supporter [53]. Unfortunately for Hallward, during the interview in question, Fenton says nothing of the kind. There is no mention of RNDDH at all during the entire 32 minute conversation with Goodman. Hallward simply made it up.

As someone who was in front of the National Palace on December 17, 2001 in the wake of an attack there - a time during which I saw thousands of armed young men run riot in full view of police - I knew that Hallward’s statement that the attackers had “helicopter” support was pure fiction. Again, Hallward cites a report - this time by the Organization of American States - which says no such thing, though it does allude to a government helicopter that pursued the attackers beyond the city limits of Port-au-Prince [54].

To pad his heavy-breathing account of Aristide’s alleged “abduction” on February 29, 2004, Hallward again leans on Aristide’s lawyer Kurzban as well as the president's notorious chief of security Frantz Gabriel in an account that flies in the face of my own investigations and those of Saint Petersburg Times reporter David Adams [55], who quoted National Palace security agent Casimir Chariot, present that night, that, as Aristide was escorted to the airport. there "were security officers dressed like us, with earpieces. These were not people who came with handcuffs to handcuff the president. These were men who came to assure the security of the delegation. ... It was all done very calmly."

XI. Conclusion

It is difficult to finish Damming the Flood without concluding that Peter Hallward sought by writing his book to do the work of a propagandist rather than that of a rigorous, objective historian. As a result, either through intention or through woeful lack of preparation and familiarity with his subject, he deceives and misleads his readers on many important facts about Haiti's history, both recent and antique.

Hallward is, of course, not the first supporter of Mr. Aristide to use this tactic of evasion and omission in an attempt to repair the former president’s image among the privileged chattering classes that are the ultimate target of his book. It is a technique reminiscent of the one used by the Swiss director Nicolas Rossier who, in his 2005 film Aristide and the Endless Revolution, manipulated archival news footage to suggest that both the Convergence Democratique (formed in 2000) and the Group of 184 (which first appeared in early 2003) oppoistion coalitions were formed concurrently. In his film, Rossier uses footage of a press conference of the Democratic Platform from 2004 as if it occurred during the 2000 elections, and depicts an interview with opposition leader Evans Paul from a 2004 press conference (at which I was in attendance) as if it was also drawn from 2000. Hallward, like Rossier, seems unaware or uninterested in letting facts complicate what he no doubt finds such a compelling narrative [56].

Similarly, publications such as Znet, Counterpunch and even The Nation have all published demonstrably false claims about Haiti in recent years, with the editors no doubt confident that, as Haiti is an impoverished, small, violence-wracked country, there will be precious few (fewer still able to write proficiently in English) around to correct them. It is a wretched tradition, but one that will no doubt continue as long as their are arrivistes and opportunists happily willing to do the bidding of the thieves, liars, human rights abusers and power-hungry politicians who have dominated Haiti’s political discourse for far too long.

In his finest novel, Compere General Soleil, Haiti’s greatest author, Jacques Stephen Alexis writes of the end of the tragic journey of an immigrant couple and their child back from the Dominican Republic to Haitian soil, where, “the closer they came to the promised land, the more they felt the net tightening around them.”

It may have been many years since Haiti’s hugely decent, gentle, honest, hardworking and always-struggling populace have felt like they have glimpsed the promised land, and in the past decades of turmoil no doubt they have always felt the net, whether it be that of poverty or oppression, tightening around them. They have been failed on so many counts, by the lack of vision and the predatory nature of their own political leaders, by the short memory and dithering approach and often naked self-interest of the international community, by foreign journalists who often seem more concerned with moving on before they really even bother to get to know the place, and by overweening “experts” like Hallward, ever-eager to lecture Haitians on what their history means without ever bothering to even listen to what the Haitians themselves have to say.

But in the million small kindnesses on display to visitors to the country, and with the Haitians’ own acute sense of their history, one must still, however tenuously, have faith that the delicate task of repairing Haiti’s torn social fabric, of rebuilding its economy, and of creating a genuinely representative system of democracy based on strong institutions and the rule of law is an eminently possible undertaking, and the Haitians will get to that promised land someday.

(Author's note: A further response to Peter Hallward's response to this review can be read here: Michael Deibert responds to Peter Hallward, Michael Deibert's Haiti Blog, 17 April 2008)

Michael Deibert is the author of Notes from the Last Testament: The Struggle for Haiti (Seven Stories Press).


Notes


1. "Why they had to crush Aristide," by Peter Hallward, The Guardian, 2 March 2004.

2. Human Rights Abuses Committed by the Haitian National Police, Human Rights Watch, 1997.

3. "9 lane depi kriminèl te fè kò sasinay sou pè Ti Jan Pyè Lwi," Tet Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen/Sèvis Ekimenik pou Devlopman ak Edikasyon Popilè, 3 August 2007.

4. Haiti: Human Rights Developments, Human Rights Watch, 1999.

5. "Attack on Haitian Human Rights Defender Condemned," Human Rights Watch, 9 March 1999.

6. Interview with Bob Manuel, Guatemala City, September 2003.

7. Haiti: Human Rights Developments, Human Rights Watch World Report 2001.

8. "Haitian Pol Shot, Hacked to Death," by Michael Norton, Associated Press, 13 April, 2000.

9. "Haiti Opposition Official Killed," by Michael Norton, Associated Press, 28 April 2000.

10. Video viewed by author, August 2004.

11, 12. Author interviews between 2000 and 2002 with Chavannes Jean-Baptiste and members of Mouvman Peyizan Papay, Papay, Haiti.

13. The author conducted multiple interviews with a variety of armed government miitants in Cite Soleil between 2001 and 2004, including James
"Billy" Petit-Frere, Robison "Labanye" Thomas, Maxon "Kolonel" Moreau and others.

14. Radio Haiti Inter broadcast, Port-au-Prince, 25 June 2001, BBC Monitoring Service.

15. "RNDDH calls the public’s attention to certain areas of the 3rd District of Port-au-Prince," Réseau National de Défense des Droits Humains (RNDDH), 9 June 2005.

16."Cannibal Army," Wozo Productions.

17. "Haitian Legislator Shot Dead," by Michael Deibert, Reuters, 19 February 2002.

18. "Pro-Aristide gang leader funeral," Wozo Productios.

19. "Haitian Gangs Combat Demonstrators," by Gerry Hadden, National Public Radio, All Things Considered,10 February 2004..

20. “Militias’ might key to Aristide’s grip on power,” by Steven Dudley, Boston Globe, 19 February 2004.

21. Ghosts of Cité Soleil, Asger Leth (dir), 2007.

22. Photos by Walter Astrada and Andres Leighton of the Associated Press available on the AP wire.

23. "Political Violence Rules Cité Soleil," by Anne Fuller, Miami Herald, 26 November 2003.

24, 25. "Human Rights Situation Report: A Second Murder in the Haitian State University Crisis," National Coalition for Haitian Rights, 31 March 2003.

26. "Soros Foundation in Haiti Denounces Attacks on Students by Pro-Government Forces," FOKAL press release, 11 December 2003.

27. "Haitian Police Chief Resigns, Drops Out of Sight," Radio Vision 2000, 23 June 2003.

28. "Further report on police deserter’s allegations of attaches' atrocities," Radio Metropole, 11 August 2003.

29. Interview with active-duty member of Police Nationale d’Haiti, Port-au-Prince, December 2003.

30. "Enquête du Réseau Haiti Solidarité Internationale" Institut Mobile d’Education Démocratique, 10 October 2003.

31. Haiti: Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2003, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 25 February 2004.

32. "Haitian police storm stronghold of rebellious Metayer followers," by Michae Norton, Associated Press, 27 Octobre 2003.

33. Associated Press photos and text, 27-28 October 2003.

34. Author interviews, Gonaives, January 2004.

35. "The La Scierie Massacre," by Anne Fuller, Le Nouvelliste, 17 April 2005.

36. “Town taken from rebels feels heat of reprisal,” by Marika Lynch, The Miami Herald, 24 February 2004.

37. "Peacekeepers Battle Gangs in a Ravaged Haiti," by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, National Public Radio. 7 October 2004.

38. "Violences à Port-au-Prince : un ancien zélé partisan d'Aristide passe aux aveux," Radio Metropole, 28 January 2005.
39. "Reclaiming the streets," by Michael Deibert, Jane's Defence Weekly, 15 June 2005.

40. "Storm of Killing in Neighbourhood Has Wide Implications for Nation" by Michael Deibert, Inter Press Service, 2 August 2006.

41. "Aristide fait officiellement de la presse indépendante son ennemi numéro un, constate le GRALIP, en état de révolte," Gwoup Refleksyon ak Aksyon pou Libète Laprès (GRALIP), AlterPresse, 7 Feburary 2004

42. "Journalist Jean-Numa Goudou back on air," by Jeff Heinrich, Montreal Gazette, 23 September 2003.

43. "A Note To Jacques Roche," by Michele Montas-Dominique, 21 July 2005.

44. "A Tribute to Jacques Roche, Tireless Defender of the Poor!" collective statement from Solidarité Fanm Ayisyen (SOFA), Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (PAPDA), etc., 27 July 2005.

45. The Agronomist, Jonathan Demme (dir), 2003.

46. "Is Another Assassination of Jean Dominique about to Take Place?" Michèle Montas-Dominique editorial, Radio Haiti-Inter, 3 March 2002.

47. "Government Was Involved in Dominique's Murder " Radio Signal FM broadcast, 27 December 2002.

48. "Ex-Judge: Haitian Leader Blocks Murder Probe," by Ron Howell. Newsday, 27 January 2004.

49. Radio Haiti-Inter staff press conference, 3 April 2002, Port-au-Prince.

50. Unted States Department of Justice, Foreign Agents Registration Act filings 2001-2004.

51. "United States Court of Appeals for the Fouth Circuit v. Patrick Elie, Docket number: 96-4638," 24 April 1997

52. Email from Anne Hastings, 27 Janaury 2008

53. "U.S. Gvt. Channels Millions Through National Endowment for Democracy to Fund Anti-Lavalas Groups in Haiti," Democracy Now broadcast, 23 January 2006.

54. Report of the commission of inquiry into the events of December 17, 2001, Organization of American States, 1 July 2002.
55. "Aristide's last days," by David Adams, Saint Petersburg Times, 28 February 2006.

56. Aristide and the Endless Revolution, Nicolas Rossier (dir), 2005.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

So I haven't read the book, but now I'm not really inclined to. I myself have tried to understand the complexity of Haiti, its history, language and culture, but have never really been able to come to some kind of sanctified conclusion about my views on Aristide and the Lavalas movement. But having been lucky enough to converse with people who have spent considerable amounts of time there, know the language, and some who have even worked very closely with Aristide, I can understand your frustration with the desire of some writers to ignore or twist the facts/sources to back up their simplified conclusions. But then again I can understand their desire to want to do so. In so many ways, and like so many others, I wish the Aristide story could have had a different conclusion. Now I don't want to ramble for too long but I did find your review very thorough. I guess I need to read the book now to come to my own conclusions. I should probably read your book too. I'll let you know what I think...not that you probably care.

Anonymous said...

A further response to Peter Hallward can be read here:

Michael Deibert responds to Peter Hallward

http://deiberthaiti.blogspot.com/2008/04/michael-deibert-responds-to-peter.html

Jedidiah Daudi said...

Hey Michael. I did read your book some years ago. I was in Haiti from 2000 to 2005. The Lavalas staffers started to pump this book by Hallward on Amazon. I guess pumping on Twitter too, by some people who evidently cannot read accurately.

Here < a href="http://www.lyalls.net/haiti/week_of.html"> is my account of that last week of February 2004.