RIC Query - Haiti (15 November 2002)
|Response to Information Request Number:||HTI03001.REF|
|Date:||November 15, 2002|
|Subject:||Haiti: Information on Conditions in Jérémie in November and December 2001|
|From:||INS Resource Information Center|
|Keywords:||Haiti / Demonstrations / Political opposition / Violence|
What happened in Jérémie in December 2001? Were there incidents of political violence between pro-Lavalas groups and the opposition?
On December 17, 2001, following reports of an attempted coup in Port-au-Prince, supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide harassed local representatives of the opposition OPL in Jérémie and burned down the headquarters of a labor union. Several OPL leaders fled to Port-au-Prince, where they met with a representative of the U.S. Embassy, and described their plight.
CONDITIONS IN JEREMIE IN NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER 2001
On November 5, 2001, Radio Metropole reported that several dozen members of pro-Lavalas popular organizations had demonstrated in Jérémie, closing down city hall, and offices of the General Directorate of Taxes, the National Port Authority, the Social Affairs Office, and the electric utility. The demonstrators were described as militant - "shouting and singing" - but nonviolent. Police arrested several of the demonstrators (FBIS 7 Nov 2001).
On December 17, 2001, the Radio Haiti-Inter correspondent in Jérémie reported that demonstrators had roughed up the local OPL (Organisation du Peuple en Lutte, Organization of People in Struggle) representative, and had burned down the headquarters of the Confederation of Haitian Workers (FBIS 17 Dec 2001).
On December 18, 2001, Agence Haitienne Presse (Haitian Press Agency, AHP), a pro-Lavalas news agency, reported that school and commercial activities had resumed in Jérémie (FBIS 19 Dec 2001).
According to the political officer at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, several OPL members fled Jérémie on December 19, 2001. The officer met with the OPL representatives at the home of an opposition leader. They said that early in the morning (6 or 7 AM) of Monday, December 17, the day of the coup attempt in Port-au-Prince, they began receiving menacing telephone calls, and then persons inquired with neighbors about their whereabouts. That night, vehicles drove by their homes, with the occupants firing shots in the air. The following day, they said they had met with local police chief Gaspard Hyppolite, who said he could not do anything for them. The police chief later suggested they leave town. Around midnight on Tuesday the 18th, they went to the airport, where the following morning they caught a flight to Port-au-Prince (DOS 15 Nov 2002).
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). "Demonstrators in Jérémie Close Public Offices," Radio Metropole (Port-au-Prince: 5 November 2001).
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). "Port-au-Prince Radio Reports Attacks on Opposition, Radio Stations," Radio Haiti Inter (Port-au-Prince: 17 December 2001).
Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS). "Activities Return to Normal in Haiti 18 Dec," Agence Haitienne de Presse (Port-au-Prince: 18 December 2001).
Department of State (DOS). Political Officer, U.S. Embassy. Telephone interview (Port-au-Prince: 15 November 2002).