Thursday, February 16, 2006


JUSTIN PODUR in New Left Review

"In the vast corrugated-iron shanty town of Cité Soleil, home to quarter of a million people, all the schools are shut down and the one hospital closed. White armoured un personnel carriers patrol the perimeter, half a dozen blue-helmeted heads poking out of the turret, automatic weapons trained on the streets. It is the masked units of the Police Nationale d’Haïti, bolstered by heavily armed irregulars from the officially disbanded Haitian army, who take the lead in the brutal raids into working-class neighbourhoods, but the Mission des Nations Unies pour la Stabilisation en Haïti—minustah—who back them up, blocking off exits as the pnh spread out through the area and the gunfire begins. In the poor districts of Port-au-Prince—La Saline, Bel Air—a 2004 human-rights investigation reported, such raids leave ‘dead bodies in the streets almost daily, including innocent bystanders, women and children, with the un forces visibly acting as support for, rather than a check on, the official violence’. One Québécois police officer attached to the un force complained that all he had done since getting to the island was ‘engage in daily guerrilla warfare’." (more)


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