Chief of Lame Ti Manchet Reportedly Escapes to Dominican Republic

Human rights workers on the ground in Martissant, Haiti, reported yesterday that the wife of Rudy Kernizan has been apprehended. Rudy himself -- chief of the vigilante Lame Ti Manchete (Little Machet Army) -- has escaped reportedly to the DR. There was an account yesterday in AHP that MINUSTAH and PNH did an operation in Martissant. Human rights workers report that several (3-4) Lame Ti Manchet people have been arrested by MINUSTAH and the Haitian police. No casualties occurred.

The overwhelming amount of documented killings in Martissant over the last two years have been conducted by Lame Ti Manchèt according to AUMOHD, and this has taken place against Lavalas oriented communities. This included a massacre of 21 people, the burning down of 300 homes 7/9/06, and a massacre carried out jointly with the Haitian police at a USAID sponsored soccer tournament 8/20/05.

A study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, utilizing scientific methods such as random spatial sampling (and recently approved again by Wayne State officials) clearly shows that the massive amount of violence after the coup was aimed at Lavalas/Lespwa communities.

Recent pieces by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and now by former Economist Intelligence Unit correspondent  Michael Deibert have attempted to place an equal amount of blame for the violence in Martissant on a group known as the Baz Gran Ravine as with the now infamous group Lame Ti Manchet. The problem with the argument is that according to both Haitian citizens and human rights workers active on the ground (such as AUMOHD), the vast majority of violence has been carried out by Lame Ti Manchet. This does not mean that Baz Gran Ravine has committed no violence, but the facts clearly show that the huge majority of recorded violence is from the vigilante group known as Lame Ti Manchet.

It is clear that the disinformation being spread by Deibert/RSF has a political edge that is meant to whitewash the driving force behind violence in Martissant, especially violence conducted against Lavalas communities who they choose to ignore.

These same organizations/correspondents have ignored the half dozen human rights reports that came out during the 04-06 period showing interim government complicity in violence against slum dwellers (National Lawyers Guild, Miami University, Amnesty International, Quixote Center, New York University, Lancet). They ignored the death of grassroots journalist Abdias Jean. RSF acknowledged to me that they had interviewed police officers who admitted police complicity in the killing of Abdias Jean but they (RSF) never published this information or any information on Abdias Jean for that matter. NED officials have acknowledged three grants that included funding for RSF. Now RSF has ignored the claims by family/friends of a photojournalist Jean-Rémy Badio that Lame Ti Manchet had a role in his killing.

Diana Barahona observes that "Every overthrow of a government begins with a narrative". Now we see that every repression of a poor population begins with a narrative. Lame Ti Manchet is intricately linked with members of Haiti's de facto interim police force, fifteen of which were let off by the same pro-coup judge who illegally kept Father Gerard Jean-Juste in prison while his neck swelled with cancerous lymph nodes.

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Jeb Sprague can be reached at JebSprague-at-gmail-dot-com. Visit Jeb Sprague's University web page: http://www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~jhsprague/