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Reportback form Haiti: Resistance and Repression Six Months After the Coup

Each year on August 14th Haitians celebrate Bwa Kayiman, a voodoo ceremony that marks the beginning of the slave revolt that started the Haitian revolution in 1791. On this 200th anniversary of the success of the Haitian Revolution and the establishment of the world's first black republic, the celebrations were particularly charged with emotion, irony and dissent as foreign troops again patrol the streets of Haiti and foreign interests challenge the independence for which Haitian's fought and died.
From the open publishing newswire: On February 22, 2004 eighteen people were killed as the so-called rebels, who overthrew the constitutional government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, looted and burned the Police Commissary and Transportation Authority of Cap Haitien. Their violent campaign included the destruction of a school bus program founded and subsidized by the Aristide government. During the raid, all of the buses that provided transportation for poor children in the countryside were looted and burned.

A worker in the school bus yard in Cap Haitian was forced into hiding after the coup expressed his fear and frustration standing among the ruins of the once thriving program of gutted busses marked "Dignity." Fighting through tears he stated, "The international community wants us to give up our dignity, doesn't want us to join hands but we still have dignity. If they are rich it is because they took our programs and resources without working for them. I think it is my right to work in a program supported by the former government, but it has cost me so much."

From the open publishing newswire: Although international attention has largely focused on the removal of President Aristide little attention has been given to turnover in local government offices. Immediately following the coup on February 29th more than 400 mayors and the employees of their municipalities were forced from their posts following a campaign of repression and political terror. Most were forced to go into hiding or flee the country five months before their mandates were scheduled to expire on July 17th, 2004.

All but two of the mayors were elected officials representing the majority Lavalas political party founded by Aristide. They have all been replaced by un-elected appointees of the government of Gerard Latortue who is also un-elected and was anointed in a process largely controlled and supervised by the Bush administration.

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