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Is Haiti's Prime Minister Dead?

Yvon Neptune remains the Prime Minister of Haiti. He was kidnapped during the military coup last February. The last news of his condition was that he could no longer stand. He has survived beatings, illlness, and finally a hunger strike - so far.
News of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune's condition came from Argentinian doctors who saw him on April 30th. Meanwhile, on May 10th, the insurrectionists had their convictions for previous massacres reversed by the new Supreme Court of Haiti. Currently they continue hold Neptune and other officials of the Aristide government imprisoned under the worst conditions. Neptune's case is only one example.

From exile, President Arisitide granted a rare interview with Amy Goodman:

A complete transcript of the May 10th program is available at Democracy Now. Here are some excerpts:

AMY GOODMAN: Aristide was eventually granted asylum in South Africa, where he now lives. I reached him yesterday for the first extended national broadcast interview in this country since he moved to South Africa. I began by asking him about the condition of the ousted Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.

JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE: It is very sad what we have as information about our Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune. He is still in hunger strike. How long he will be able to survive, we don't know. That's why we grasp this opportunity to ask everybody who can do something to not hesitate, because it is a matter of life and death. We need to save his life.

AMY GOODMAN: The U.N. investigator, Louis Joinet, told Reuters that he believed the alleged massacre that Yvon Neptune is charged with was actually a confrontation between pro- and anti-Aristide forces. Your response, this alleged massacre in St. Marc?

JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE: Well, as I already said, they're just lying, trying to put the focus on that so-called massacre which we cannot see anywhere because it doesn't exist. And they continue to keep him in jail, and now he's close to death, so to understand what is going on with Yvon Neptune, I think it's also necessary to put it within the global context. The global context is clear. The Haitian people voted for democracy, and then last year they removed the elected president, illegally done, clearly. They never had the investigation to prove what they did was legal, because they cannot prove it. It is illegal. And they continue violating our rules, the international law, to have the U.N. in Haiti. Even the U.N. in Haiti is somehow involved in violation of human rights when they support the police killing people or when they don't protect the life of every single citizen, although we know clearly what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, but we don't see everybody through the U.N. moving this way. So hundreds of people are in jail. They already killed more than 10,000 people. We have so many others in hiding and in exile. That's why I said putting Yvon Neptune's situation in the global context help people understanding that what is going on right now, this is a matter of using weapons, imposing violence against democracy, against principle, against law, so we need many people to put their voices together and have that mobilization, a peaceful one, to see finally if those who have to do something will do it, for instance, by releasing our prime minister, So Ann, hundreds of innocent who are in jail, and so and so.

This may be confusing unless you have followed the news from Haiti closely over the past decade.

The government now in power in Haiti has pardoned themselves of previous crimes very well known as their work. Now, to keep the legally elected government officials in prison, they have accused them of similar crimes. This confuses most onlookers enough for the coup to continue. The result is nothing more than a military takeover of Haiti that has been in the making for over a decade. One of the leaders, Jodel Chamblain, was bold enough to brag about his crimes on network television in 1995. An embarrassment to the CIA, he was quietly sequestered somewhere in New York City. But like his cohorts, he has returned to the scene of the crime to claim his prize, armed with American-made weapons funnelled to him through Jamaica, Colombia, and most noticably, the Dominican Republic.

Ironically, Yvon Neptune was offered a trip to the Dominican Republic for medical treatment, but refused. Nothng has been heard of his actual condition for the past week. Hopefully his hunger strike and illegal detention will draw the world's attention to the gross injustice that is the Haitian coup of 2004.

David Roknich,



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