New President Described as a Thoughtless Man and Goof
For a country born over 200 years ago out of revolutionary struggle and violent rebellion, the past year has been marked by both for the Caribbean nation of Haiti. As the country remains enveloped in political conflict and, in places, intense urban combat, economic reconstruction dwindles and political recuperation seems next to impossible even as UN peacekeeping troops and Haitian police forces collaborate in a struggle to maintain harmony.
Since last February, when democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced out of office in a popular revolt, Haitian people have suffered from continuously weakening political, social economical and security crisis.
A November investigation into the human rights situation in Haiti, published by the Center for the Study of Human Rights at the University of Miami School of Law, found that conditions have deteriorated severely since the ousting of Aristide.
“The injured prefer to die at home untreated rather than risk arrest at the hospital. Those who do reach the hospital soak in puddles of their own blood, ignored by doctors. Not even death ends the tragedy: bodies pile up in morgues, quickly devoured out of recognition by maggots.”
2004 was a rollercoaster year of events for Haiti, one that typified the country’s state of affairs–from historic New Year’s celebrations marking 200 years of independence to a violent uprising against the president and horrific floods in various parts of the country that left over 5,000 people dead or missing.
Evans Dure, who left Haiti for the United States almost 10 years ago, says that the ever-present political volatility in Haiti lends for a vicious cycle of violence that is being repeated now.
“Right now there is practically no stability and absolutely no security. Haiti is a fragile country to begin with and when there is an abrupt change in power like that, the infrastructure is destroyed.”
Dure also blames the interim government for a lack of initiative keeping Haiti from social and political recovery, referring to Interim President Boniface Alexandre as a “goof” and a “thoughtless man.”
From late 2004 until the present, the level of deadly political and gang violence remains high in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The United Nations deployed troops to help stabilize the region but has been criticized for not being able to disarm both pro and anti-Aristide gangs.
“In peacekeeping missions, patience and restraint is the most important thing. We don’t want to create worse wounds than we already have,” Brazilian Navy Cmdr. Carlos Chagas Braga told the Miami Herald.
The investigative report, conducted by an independent human rights team and led by attorney Thomas M. Griffin, criticizes the interim government for a lack of infrastructure that is felt in the poorest regions of Port-au-Prince.
“The complete lack of impartial government support and security has added stifling fear and murder to one of the most distressed and hungry gatherings of humanity in the world,” details the report, directly under a photograph of a human body being devoured by dogs in CitÃ© Soleil, a deprived and war-torn region of Port-au-Prince.