Many people played a hand in the 1991 coup that saw the elected president of the Republic of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, removed from office, few with as much importance as army colonel and the then Haitian police chief, Joseph-Michel François. He was born on May 8, 1957 and went to military school at Fort Bragg in the United States.
The skills he acquired there would serve him well as part of the oppressive government, which ruled for over three years under Raoul Cédras. During this time, Michel Francois headed up the secret police and oversaw, or facilitated, many human rights violations, murders and other heinous, counter-judiciary acts.
Tourism has been on a substantial descent over the last 20 years. But one series of events, the Fête champêtre, continues to give hope to a struggling industry as tourists, local, from the Diaspora, and international, flock Haiti to witness the countryside festival.
One of the main avenues for entertainment to the 18th century elite, a Fête champêtre (a country feast or pastoral festival) was a type of garden party much loved at court. With pretensions to simplicity, the Fête champêtre was patronized by the well dressed, entertained by musicians hidden in the trees, as they enjoyed the beauty of landscaped park.
The Cannibal Army, which initially was known as Popular Organization for the Development of Raboteau came into being in the 1980s under the stewardship of Amiot Metayer. It was formed with an aim of resisting the dictatorial rule of Duvalier and was a major oppose of the 1991-1994 military regime. This made it vulnerable and increased its risk of being attacked by the army, a fact which led to what is known as the Raboteau massacre.
Following the restoration of the rule of law, the Cannibal Army became one of the most powerful gangs to be hired by politicians to bring down opponents. This was done by often utilizing some crude and uncivilized means to achieve their goal. It is said that its leader, Amiot Metayer, swore his allegiance to President Aristide and was often called upon to rein terror upon his political enemies.
The Massacre at Raboteau began April of 1991, pro-democracy candidate Jean-Bertrand Aristide won the Haitian presidency. Immediately following his victory, the de facto military dictatorship (FRAPH) Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, obstructed Aristide's right to take office with a coup d'etat. In response, the citizens of Raboteau demonstrated, disseminated pro-Aristide literature, and even hid fugitives. During this overthrow of the nascent democratic government, FRAPH beat and killed 26 victims, according to News Haiti, but unofficial estimates put the total at 50.
In the same month, FRAPH invaded every home in Raboteau, arresting, beating and, sometimes, throwing their victims like garbage into open sewers. They also pursued those who escaped, stalking the citizens, arresting, torturing and/or shooting them. They even went so far as to commandeer citizen fishing vessels, shooting at escapees fleeing by sea. As a final malicious act, FRAPH refused to let victims' relatives claim their bodies.
Haitian-American human rights attorney and Director of Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), Mario Joseph, provides legal services for those incarcerated for speaking out against the government of Haiti (GOH). He also goes to bat for impoverished Haitians and citizens harmed because of their political beliefs.
Mario Joseph earned his university degree from École Normale Supérieure and studied at Gonaïves Law School. He began his career as human rights counsel for the Peace and Justice Commission of the Catholic Church. In 1996, he became a member of BAI.
Joseph's most significant case was the Raboteau Massacre trial, in which he was lead counsel, representing survivors of the event. The six-week trial ended with 53 convictions and punitive damages of $43 million USD, assessed against the offenders. Joseph did not stop with the Haitian convictions. He assisted the Center of Justice and Accountability to try other instigators involved in the Raboteau Massacre in the U.S. judicial system.
With the nomination of Bernard Gousse hanging in the air, some popular names have surfaced. According to defend.ht Jean Pierre Batiste, better known as Jean Tatoune is threatening manifestation in the streets of Haiti if the Senate does not ratify Bernard Gousse as Prime Minister. The site further reported that Jean Tatoune said that he wants the senators to hear him clearly because as he stated: " I will not tell the Senators twice".
Doesn't this sound like an order to you?
Mr. Jean Pierre Batiste AKA Jean Tatoune thinks that the country has gone for too long without a Prime Minister and feels that it comes to a point where he must use his power to get things done.
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