- Title: HAITI: EX-ARMY SOLDIERS BLAME ARISTIDE SUPPORTERS FOR RECENT VIOLENCE.
- Date: 15th October 2004
- Summary: (U2) PETION-VILLE, HAITI (OCTOBER 14, 2004) (REUTERS) 1. GV: EXTERIOR OF BUILDING WHERE FORMER HAITIAN SOLDIERS HAVE THEIR HEADQUARTERS 0.06 2. GV: FORMER CAPTAIN REMISSANITHE RAVIX ON TELEPHONE 0.12 3. MV: SOLDIERS ON BALCONY 0.19 4. MV/CU: EX-SOLDIER WITH GUN; CLOSE OF GUN; SOLDIER WITH GUN (3 SHOTS) 0.28 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) FORMER HAITIAN ARMY CAPTAIN REMISSANITHE RAVIX, SAYING: "We made a decision and decided to bring our troops into the capital. Those from Hinche and Mirebalais are here. Those from Cap-Haitien and Ouanaminthe are on the way. All over the world, when a situation like this develops, the army is called in. The police can't handle it. The army has to play its part." 0.52 6. CU: FACE OF EX-SOLDIER 0.54 7. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) FORMER HAITIAN ARMY CAPTAIN REMISSANITHE RAVIX SAYING: "It is our responsibility to do this. There are some people who don't want Haiti to have an army -- I don't know why -- but soldiers can't just sit there with their feet crossed and watch the country be destroyed." 1.07 8. MCU: EX-SOLDIERS 1.10 9. (SOUNDBITE) (Creole) FORMER HAITIAN ARMY CAPTAIN REMISSANITHE RAVIX, SAYING: They say Aristide has to come back. We don't have a problem with the Lavalas Party. We have a problem with the 'chimeres' who are wrecking our country. It is with them -- personally -- that we have problems." 1.23 10. MV/PAN: PAN OF RAVIX AND OTHER EX-SOLDIERS 1.34 11. LV/GV: PLUME OF BLACK SMOKE FROM CAR BEING TORCHED RISING OVER PORT-AU-PRINCE (2 SHOTS) 1.50 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 30th October 2004 13:00
- Location: PETION-VILLE, HAITI
- Country: Haiti
- Reuters ID: LVA6GAWYDAPXI3M0Z4RXUORMSEGE
- Story Text: Former Haitian Army soldiers blame supporters of
former president Aristide for recent violence.
Scores of heavily armed former members of Haiti's
disbanded army vowed on Thursday (October 14) to stop the
recent wave of violence that has left over 50 dead in the
past two weeks.
As the former soldiers took up residence in and around
the capital of Port-au-Prince, they said they were waiting
for the government to call on them to help the police and
U.N. peacekeepers stem the tide of political violence.
The former soldiers -- all members of the army which
was disbanded in 1995 by then-President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide -- said they had two contingents in the capital
and that more were on the way.
"We made a decision and decided to bring our troops
into the capital," former Haitian Army Captain Remissanithe
Ravix told Reuters. "Those from Hinche and Mirebalais are
here. Those from Cap-Haitien and Ouanaminthe are on the
way. All over the world, when a situation like this
develops, the army is called in. The police can't handle
it. The army has to play its part."
Ravix was one of hundreds of former soldiers who led an
armed movement that toppled Aristide in February.
Aristide called the movement a "modern coup d'etat" and
accused the U.S. and other countries of being behind the
so-called "rebels" who were members of the army he
disbanded in 1995 following a three-year coup against him
during his first term.
Ravix -- who has taken up residence in an apartment building
a couple of miles from Haiti's capital -- said he
and his men had nothing against Aristide or his party, the
Lavalas Family party.
"They say Aristide has to come back. We don't have a
problem with the Lavalas party," he said. "We have a
problem with the 'chimeres' [gangs] who are wrecking our
country. It is with them -- personally -- that we have
Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, has faced
simmering tensions since Aristide was driven out on Feb. 29
by an armed revolt and U.S. and French pressure to quit.
Pro-Aristide gangs retain control of many of
Port-au-Prince's sprawling slums and the former soldiers
who opposed him remain in charge of several towns,
demanding the re-establishment of the army and years of
The interim government of Prime Minister Gerard
Latortue does not have the resources or police to impose
order, and the Brazilian-led force of around 3,000 soldiers
is at less than half the strength authorized by the U.N.
Furthermore, floods that killed more than 3,000 people
last month after Tropical Storm Jeanne swung north of the
deforested country have strained the peacekeepers'
resources as they try to protect aid convoys from looters
and patrol the capital.
The current bout of violence erupted on September 30,
the thirteenth anniversary of the military coup against
Aristide, when gunmen attacked a pro-Aristide rally.
Protesters blamed police and decapitated or shot up to five
officers in retaliation.
At least 50 people have been killed since, many of them
in gang warfare in the slums, and police and Brazilian
troops have arrested dozens in sweeps through Aristide
strongholds. Burning barricades block some roads and many
businesses are shuttered.
Groups loyal to Aristide said they would launch a new
wave of unrest on Friday (October 15) if the authorities
did not release Lavalas supporters, including former Prime
Minister Yvon Neptune, jailed on vague charges of promoting
violence. Friday marks the tenth anniversary of Aristide's
U.S.-backed return from exile in 1994.
Lavalas members say the interim authorities have
targeted them for supporting Aristide, who is now in South
Africa. But the government and Washington blame the
violence on Lavalas.
In anticipation of violence, and in protest of two
weeks of killings, the private sector on Thursday (October
14) called for schools, banks and businesses to remain
closed on Friday for "a day of reflection against
As the sun set over Port-au-Prince on Thursday and
commuters streamed home, a pall of black smoke from a
burning barricade hung over the capital.
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