Haiti Liberte : 2020-07-08

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This week in Haiti COVID-19 Surges in Miami, the Heart of Florida’s Haitian Community Wikileaks: Secret U.S. Diplomatic Cables Highlight Danger that “Toto” Constant Might Elude Justice “Fagart warned the Core Group that there was good reason to believe that Louis Jodel Chamblain might be freed even sooner following the May 3 decision by the Supreme Court to annul part of the Raboteau case,” Foley wrote. On that date, the Supreme court had issued “an unexpected ruling” which overturned “on procedural grounds, ... the conviction­s of the 15 people who were actually present during the [Raboteau trial] proceeding­s,” Griffiths had explained in his May 13 cable. Griffiths had opined that “there may indeed be technical merit to the Supreme Court’s decision” but worried that “it has nonetheles­s reinforced perception­s that the judiciary under the current government [of Gérard Latortue] is biased against Lavalas partisans and more focused on procedural matters than on justice.” Furthermor­e, “legal experts were puzzled at the decision to go further and order the accused set free,” Griffiths continued. “Normal procedure have connived in an effort to get Chamblain released illegally, but the IGOH [Interim Government of Haiti] has pledged not to do so,” reported the U.S. Embassy’s Chargé d’Affaires Douglas Griffiths in a May 13, 2005 cable classified “Confidenti­al.” Bear in mind, the IGOH of Prime Minister Gérard Latortue was patently installed by Washington following the Feb. 29, 2004 coup d’état it engineered against former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Latortue was Washington’s puppet. After riding triumphant­ly into the capital with the armed “rebels” who helped overthrow Aristide, Chamblain turned himself in to Latortue’s government in April 2004. In a sham overnight trial, he was acquitted of the murder of Lavalas businessma­n activist Antoine Izméry in September 1993, but his 2000 conviction for involvemen­t in the 1994 Raboteau massacre still stood. Pierre Espérance of the National Network for the Defense of Human Community members distribute supplies at Miami’s Sant La Haitian Neighborho­od Center. Photo: The Sant La Center Toto Constant’s mug-shot when he was arraigned for mortgage fraud in New York in 2006 in Miami. An estimated 40% of the population the center serves was employed in the service industry. Parents who previously placed their children in summer camps are now supporting their children at home. The city of North Miami, for example, had about 500 children enrolled in camps last summer, but only 32 this year. by Kim Ives in absentia A larm and indignatio­n are growing over former CIA agent and deathsquad leader Emmanuel “Toto” Constant’s deportatio­n by the U.S. back to Haiti last month. Haitian police arrested Constant when he stepped off the plane on Jun. 23, but now it remains to be seen if Haitian authoritie­s will bring him to justice for the many crimes against humanity of which he is accused. “Is Haiti’s justice system up to the job” of retrying Constant? That was the question asked by a Jul. 5 editorial. Constant was convicted in 2000 for crimes against humanity committed when his Revolution­ary Front for the Advancemen­t and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) helped carry out a massacre in the Gonaïves’ neighborho­od of Raboteau in April 1994. But now he is entitled to a new trial. The already recognizes that “Haiti’s judicial system is fragile at best, and [President Jovenel] Moïse’s own commitment to human rights and justice is highly suspect: He named another man convicted in the Raboteau massacre to a top position in the country’s reconstitu­ted army — an institutio­n that itself has a bloodstain­ed history. If Mr. Constant goes free or is subject to To help community members in need, Hermantin added that Sant La has an emergency fund to help cover expenses like food and rent. The center is “always running out of funds,” she said. “We want to be able to place people at decent wage jobs,” said Leonie Hermantin, communicat­ions director at Miami’s Sant La In March, a coalition of leading Haitian profession­al and grassroots organizati­ons came together to discuss the impact of the pandemic and advocate for solutions that could benefit Miami’s Haitian community. The coalition advocated for a walk-in site, and one opened in April, at Holy Family Catholic Church in North Miami. While there are also drive-in sites and drug stores in and around Little Haiti, getting the walk-in site was important to serve the numerous community members who do not have cars, according to Hermantin. by Sam Bojarski Washington N Post ew coronaviru­s epicenters have sprung up in the southern United States, including areas with large Haitian population­s. Nurses everywhere, including members of the Haitian American Nurses Associatio­n of Florida, first learned how mentally and physically exhausting it was to care for coronaviru­s patients in March. As cases surge in Miami and statewide, “I’m starting to see that same sense of anxiety from my members,” said Pauleen Louis-Magiste, president of the organizati­on. “And now we’re not just hitting a peak, but the numbers are doubling from what they were a month ago,” she also said. Miami-Dade County, home to Little Haiti and well over 125,000 Haitian Americans, has the highest number of confirmed coronaviru­s cases in Florida more than double Broward County, which has the second-highest total. While access to testing and the employment situation within the Haitian community has improved somewhat since the pandemic began, the recent surge in cases is the latest reminder that the pandemic is far from over. in absentia Post After riding triumphant­ly into the capital with the armed “rebels” who helped overthrow Aristide, FRAPH’s Louis Jodel Chamblain (center) surrendere­d himself to Latortue’s government in April 2004. He walked free 16 months later would have been for the Supreme Court to annul the lower court ruling and then either re-try the case(s) itself or send them back to the Gonaïves court for (proper) retrial. The Supreme Court did neither, instead ordering the prisoners Rights (RNDDH) confirmed for the embassy a United Nations report that “that the chief prosecutor and chief of the court in Gonaïves had collaborat­ed to produce a release order for Chamblain,” wrote Griffiths. “He said the chief prosecutor ( for Port-au-Prince would have to approve any Chamblain release, and had given assurances that he would not do so. Charge [Griffiths] raised this issue with Prime Minister Latortue May 11. Latortue assured us that Chamblain would not be released, saying Minister of Justice [Bernard] Gousse agreed with him on this. He repeated this twice, saying Chamblain would not be released as long as he was Commissair­e du Gouverneme­nt) Nurse Pauleen Louis-Magiste, the president of the Haitian American Nurses Associatio­n of Florida, on the job. If people were wearing masks and social distancing, “we probably wouldn’t have this peak,” she said Pierre Espérance of the RNDDH: “Toto Constant has his government in power. We can’t be overly optimistic.” Health authoritie­s in Miami-Dade reported 2,304 additional COVID-19 cases Jul. 2, bringing the county total to more than 40,200 cases. Florida has confirmed over 158,000 cases in total. New York City, previously an epicenter of the virus, last recorded more than 2,000 new cases on Apr. 30. Cases have declined in New York, if unevenly, since then. Many Haitians in Miami still have not returned to work, despite the partial reopening of the economy. Low-skilled, low-wage employees in particular lack access to the technology needed to conduct a job search and work remotely, if needed, according to Leonie Hermantin, communicat­ions director at the Sant La Haitian Neighborho­od Center, a social services nonprofit a trial manipulate­d in his favor, it will be a conclusive sign that impunity once again has triumphed over rule of law in Haiti.” We’ve heard such pious concerns before... from the U.S. Embassy in Haiti, no less. In secret diplomatic cables which the media organizati­on WikiLeaks provided to in 2011, we learn that the de facto government assured the U.S. Embassy that it would not release another convicted FRAPH leader, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, the death-squad’s #2. “The Gonaïves prosecutor and the chief judge of the Gonaïves court Prime Minister.” But three months later, on Aug. 11, 2005, Chamblain released from prison. He walks freely and prominentl­y in Haiti to this day. Could “Toto” Constant also walk? It’s very possible, given that Haiti’s justice system today is even more corrupt and dysfunctio­nal than it was 15 years ago. “At the time it was launched, there weren’t many takers, people were just not coming in,” Hermantin said. “Now, you can barely get an appointmen­t there.” Part of the demand for testing, she added, stems from employers requiring it, in order for employees to return to work. Florida entered its second reopening phase Jun. 5, allowing bars and restaurant­s to open at half capacity for indoor seating. The state has since moved to stop bars from serving was Mario Joseph of the Internatio­nal Lawyers Office (BAI): “The United States is Moïse’s internatio­nal ally, and it should use that relationsh­ip to ensure that Haiti makes sincere efforts to prosecute Constant.” Haïti Liberté freed if there were no other cause.” One of those prisoners freed was former Haitian Army officer Jean-Robert Gabriel, the very man who now holds “a top position in the country’s reconstitu­ted army,” as the In a May 25, 2005 secret Embassy cable, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti James Foley related the May 20 presentati­on of Thierry Fagart, the UN Human Rights Representa­tive, to the “Core Group,” the U.S.-allied. ambassador­s to Haiti. suite à la page(16) suite à la page(14) Vol 14 # 01 • Du 8 au 14 Juillet 2020 Haiti Liberté/Haitian Times 9 PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­r.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . 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