At 12:30 in the morning of May 10, approximately
20 U.S. Marines executed a military assault on the Port-au-Prince
home of 69-year-old
Annette Auguste, a.k.a. Souer Anne. Auguste’s residence is part
of a compound that includes four other apartments that were also
invaded by the U.S. military forces. The troops covered the heads
of 11 Haitians with black hoods and then forced them to lay face
down on the ground while binding their wrists with plastic manacles
behind their backs. The victims of this terrifying U.S. military
invasion included five-year-old Chamyr Samedi, 10-year-old Kerlande
Philippe, 12-year-old Loubahida Augustine, 14-year-old Luckman
Augustine, and seven adults.
The Marines blew up a vehicle and a substantial
part of Auguste’s
three-story house, leaving behind c4 and c5 explosives paraphernalia
including blasting caps and igniters. Not a single member of the
Haitian National Police force (PNH) or the de facto Haitian government
was present when the U.S. forces attacked the residence, said the
All the detainees except Auguste were released after questioning.
According to Haitian law, as is the norm in
any democratic country, no arrest can be made without a proper
warrant issued by judicial
authorities. The Haitian Constitution requires that warrants only
be executed between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The lack
of any legality within the context of Haitian law and the fact
this was executed unilaterally by U.S. military forces raises serious
questions of national sovereignty and the role of the U.S. military
in Haiti today.
Lesly Voltaire, one of the highest ranking Lavalas officials remaining
in Haiti, has consistently condemned the campaign of political
persecution and arbitrary arrests against his political party.
Ms. Auguste is being held incommunicado at
a U.S. military-controlled “special
section” of the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Although
the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) claims to have
visited her at the prison, this is disputed by her husband, Wilfrid
Lavaud, who says the family has no knowledge of any such visit
by the New York-based agency. Lavaud also said that he does not
consider NCHR to be a credible human rights organization because
they have worked so closely in the past with the Haitian opposition
to the constitutional government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
NCHR played a significant role in the media disinformation campaign
that preceded the coup against President Aristide (see , October
International journalists have been denied
access to Ms. August. Spokesmen for Gerard Latortue's government
claim they are “too
busy” to respond to requests to see the prisoner.
Media for hire
Why was Annette Auguste targeted for this
military-type assault by U.S. Marines? Lavalas officials, who
had been calling for
the end of political persecution against their party, last week
announced they would begin demonstrations on May 18 calling for
the return of President Aristide. Annette Auguste was active
in supporting the Aristide government, and in helping to build
Lavalas’ base of support among the poor majority in Haiti. Many
Lavalas activists see the attack against Ms. Auguste as a preemptive
strike against their party by the Bush administration – a continuation
of the destabilization campaign hatched in the U.S. State Department
by Otto Reich and Roger Noriega, that eventually led to the forced
departure of President Aristide.
The real question is, what right does a U.S.
military assault team have to perform such an action in Haiti? The Haitian media,
controlled by the same forces that allied themselves with the
Bush administration to forcibly remove President Aristide, allege
that Ms. Auguste controlled violent factions associated with
the Aristide government. A second accusation, fielded by Radio
Metropole, is that Ms. Auguste was organizing a clandestine operation
aimed at launching armed assaults against U.S. military personnel
in Haiti. As per usual with the elite-controlled media, no corroboration
or factual evidence was ever given to back up these claims, which
are typically made by paid surrogates.
Guyler C. Delva, of the Association of Haitian
Journalists, has publicly accused many of his colleagues of
working as paid
informants for the U.S. military in Haiti. These are the same
Haitian media that worked hand-in-glove with the campaign that
removed President Aristide on February 29.
has been a frequent target of the Haitian elite, due to her
close ties with President
Aristide. She is the leader of PROP (Pouvwa Rasembleman Organizacion
Popile), a popular Lavalas organization. She is also a singer
of Haitian folk songs and is open about her practice of voodoo,
officially recognized as a national religion for the first time
in Haitian history under the Aristide administration. Ms. Auguste’s
religious beliefs and practices have led to many unfounded, disparaging
rumors and a campaign of demonization against her.
In the past, critics such as Yves A. Isidor, professor of Economics
at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and Executive Editor
of wehaitians.com, and Raymond Joseph of the Haiti Observateur,
now the Chief Diplomatic Representative to America for Haiti,
have accused Ms. Auguste of things as outrageous as human sacrifice. Isidor
authored a January 2, 2001, article that charged Ms. Auguste
was President Aristide’s “voodoo medium” and that she bathed
him in human blood to curse George W. Bush and ensure the election
of Vice President Al Gore in 2000. No evidence or witnesses
were cited as sources for this information.
Isidor’s grotesque article was picked up and embellished by
Raymond Joseph. Joseph added details regarding a ceremony where
a newborn was sacrificed in a giant mortar with a heavy pestle. Joseph
contends that those who question the veracity of this allegation
need only find support in the statement, “But who would have
thought that men infected with the AIDS virus in South Africa
believe that they can be healed by having intercourse with a
young virgin!” Joseph never actually states that Ms. Auguste
was involved in the alleged sacrifice, but two paragraphs later,
his reference to her as Aristide’s “voodoo medium” implies her
presence there. Joseph directly accuses Ms. Auguste of holding
meetings at her home where criminal activities were planned – the
nature of which was never revealed.
In a March 11, 2004, New York Sun article,
Joseph lambasted California Congresswoman Maxine Waters for
making three trips
to Haiti in seven weeks, with the third trip being first-class. Joseph
asked, “Do American taxpayers have to pick up the tabs? Or is
it the Haitian government robbing from the poor in the ‘poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere’ to maintain Waters and company
in luxurious style?” Joseph provided no support or explanation
for these allegations. He simply sought to discredit Rep. Waters,
never even offering the possible explanation that she paid for
the tickets herself or upgraded with frequent flier miles. As
a reward for his part in the campaign of lies and misinformation
against Aristide and Lavalas, Joseph has been named the Boca
Raton regime’s highest representative to the United States.
In his current position, Joseph is well placed
to direct the U.S. Marines to the doors of people’s activists
like Annette Auguste. His is the face that smiles when boots
trample on hooded,
helpless women and children.
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