| So Anne and her choir singing at the 2003 PPN Congress
URGENT ACTION ALERT
ZAP the U.S. Embassy and State
Department [State Department contact information follows below]
Demand the immediate release of Anne Auguste (So Anne)
Haitian singer and activist arrested on Mother's Day
United States Marines have arrested
Annette Auguste (So Anne), a prominent Haitian singer and humanitarian
activist. A sizeable contingent of marines attacked So Anne's home in
Port-Au-Prince, where she was recuperating from surgery. They detained
eleven friends and family, who were handcuffed and taken away, including
two young children (ages five and twelve years old). The military ransacked
the house. The U.S. Marines apparently still hold So Anne incommunicado.
[Read below for a more detailed narrative.]
What is So Anne's ìcrime?î Organizing nutritional programs, serving
food to the homeless, presenting cultural programs, and supporting Lavalas
(along with the majority of the Haitian people) to name a few. Thousands
of Haitians have already been killed since the coup d'etat on February
29, 2004 for similar ìcrimes.î Thousands more are in hiding. We must
fight back on their behalf.
Protest this illegal and immoral action by the United States Marines!
Demand So Anne's immediate release! Your calls, faxes and e-mails will
make a difference to keep So Anne alive, to deter brutal treatment and
to expedite her release.
Please contact Ambassador James Foley directly at the U.S. Embassy in
Port-au-Prince. Call on Secretary of State Colin Powell at the U.S.
State Department in Washington, and contact your Senators and Representatives.
Call early and call often.
Ambassador James B. Foley
U.S. Embassy, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
phone: 509.223.7011 or 509.222.0200
(for address and additional phones)
Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State
fax: 202.647.2283 or 202.647.5169
phone: 202.647.5291 or 202.647.7098
email via: http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html
Haiti Desk Officers, U.S. State Department:
On or about 12:30 on May 10, 2004, the U.S. military, acting as the
Multinational Interim Force (MIF) in Haiti violently gained entrance
to the home of Annette Auguste, aka "So Anne."
No Haitian police were present at the time of the forcible entry, at
the time of interrogations or during the arrests. The U.S. soldiers
are said to have blown up the gate where So Anne was living and accused
her of making threats against the MIF.
Freedom of speech, assembly and protection of property are no longer
civil rights for Haitians, especially for Lavalas progressives. In fact,
it appears Haitian law and Constitution means less than nothing unless
U.S. authorities need a pretext to give legitimacy to Justice Boniface
and Latorture as the puppet replacement heads for foreign rule and dictatorship
At a press briefing on May 10, 2004, MIF CJTF Public Affairs officer
Col. David Lapan reportedly said, in sum, when asked why such force
was used to make this arrest, that in operations of this type it is
necessary to use violence in order to show the individuals who are the
objects of the operation that the MIF means business. Haitians who had
any doubt as to the current status of Haitian sovereignty need no longer
ask. The U.S. military, through Colonel David Lapan, have clearly implied
that Haiti is under occupation, and wartime rules known only to U.S.
officers. Although the curfew imposed on February 29, 2004 by the MIF
has been lifted. By this action of May 10, 2004, it is reasonable to
say, Haiti is under U.S. martial law while Ambassador Foley puts every
word that comes out of U.S. puppet head, Mr. Latorture's month.
Annette Auguste is an elderly Haitian woman recovering from recent surgery.
She is a well-known artist, a political and cultural activist, a mother
and grandmother, whose life has been dedicated to the Lavalas Movement
for democracy and development in Haiti. As a well-respected Haitian
elder and community leader, her house is a meeting ground, as is the
normal Haitian custom, for people to come and eat, gather, share news
and solidarity. The Haitian Constitution guarantees Haitian citizens
the right, not to be arrested or terrorized without due cause, especially
it outlines no arrest warrants may be excised between 6pm and 6 am at
Yet, last night, a strong contingent of U.S. soldiers, from the Multinational
Interim Force in Haiti apparently decided to forego Haitian and international
law and practice warfare games on this elderly grandmother's unarmed
Instead of knocking at the door, providing proof of charges and making
a legal arrest at a reasonable and Constitutionally approved hour for
arrests, the U.S. soldiers, armed with the world's most sophisticated
war instruments, threw a grenade and blew up this elderly Haitian woman's
gates and forcibly entered her home.
All the people in her house, some 11 people, including her tiny 5-year
old grandson, Shashou, where forced to the ground and were handcuffed
by U.S. soldiers armed in heavy artillery.
Let's reiterate - Shashou, a 5-year old Haitian baby boy, handcuffed
by the world's most powerful soldiers at midnight in his own grandmother's
This is the sort of "law and order" and democracy Haitians are subjected
to after their Constitutionally-elected President was, himself, forced
out of Haiti by U.S. and French soldiers at gunpoint.
This is the sort of "law," "order," and better "democracy" the Bush
Administration is bringing to the world, while Secretary of State, Colin
Powell praises Latorture, a man who called cop killers and convicted
felons, "freedom fighters" in Haiti. This is the democracy the Bush
Administration, currently hosting Mr. Latorture's first "official" U.S.
visit, has saddled peace-loving Haitians with. Meanwhile, U.S. authorities,
ignoring that most of the local, State and congressional invitees have
declined to attend meetings with the illegal Latorture, still are blithely
forging ahead with their "Regime Change", escorting the illegitimate
U.S. replacement to the Constitutional government, Mr. L atorture, to
shrimp and lobster dinners to places such as the Harvard Club in New
After, the U.S. soldiers, with grenades, blew up the gates at So Anne's
house, they then shot, with powerful automatic weapons, the hapless
defenseless yard dogs and children pets who were barking in the yard
at the rude entry in the dead of night.
Photos taken of So Anne's house show that a lot of damage was done.
Also from news reports, the U.S. admitted, through Col. Lapan at the
press conference, that there was no evidence of any weapons at So Anne's
house. Thus, the use of such excessive force and the hour of the operation
is rendered even more illegal and clearly a blatant violation of the
Haitian Constitutional, Haitian sovereignty and international treaties,
not to mention the OAS and UN charters.
Moreover, in the context of the U.S. citizenry's current concerns over
treatment of individuals in US custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo
Bay, this May 10, 2004, excessive force and handcuffing, terrorizing,
at past midnight of Haitian civilians, who where then not accused of
any crime is especially egregious.
All 11 people at So Anne's house where transported to the U.S. barracks
at the Medical University the U.S. shut down upon arriving in Haiti,
a country without doctors, and interrogated. None where charged. No
apologies given. They were release, except that Lavalas militant, So
Anne, was then delivered, after U.S. interrogation, to the Haitian National
Penitentiary. No official charges have been cited. Presumably, the Interim
Multinational Force has the authority, by virtual of what law? to use
military force against a Haitian citizen, without warrant, without even
the presence of Haitian authorities or any Haitians whatsoever?
Are we to understand that protecting unarmed Haitian civilians - through
policing, demilitarizing Haiti and arresting convicted mass murderers
such as Guy Philippe and his ex-soldier and FRAPH mercenaries - are
"beyond the U.S. peacekeeping mission."
But, throwing grenades at an unarmed and sickly grandmother's house
because she supports Lavalas and the return of the legitimate President
of Haiti - ransacking and destroying her house; brutally forcing all
the occupants to the ground and handcuffing them, and taking them to
U.S. barracks for further terrorizing after two hours of U.S. "show
of force" shock-and-awe at their home - that, that sort of U.S. military
performance is indeed well within the U.S. "peacekeeping mission" in
Haitian children, even 5-year old baby boys in Haiti, need to be handcuffed
by grown U.S. soldiers in the dead of night. The head of their dogs
cut off by a U.S. grenade.
Thus, it is clear, our malnourished and defenseless Haitian children
no longer have to get on overloaded Haitian boats, face shark infested
open seas and reach Miami to be terrorized by U.S. guards.
Now in Haiti itself they don't have sanctuary.
Even more poignant, our Haitian children, don't, in this 200 year of
our ancestor's greatest feat against enslavement and colonialism, have
asylum, justice, sanctuary at their own grandmother's houses on Haitian
This situation is more than illegal. It's barbaric, untenable. It's
naked racism. Haitians are flesh and blood human beings with heart beats,
pains, dreams, desires for beauty and peace.
Why are they so persecuted by the most powerful of peoples? It seems
terrorists, convicted felons responsible for actually murdering innocent
people, including Americans, are treated better by this Administration
than innocent Haitians, who 've never harmed anyone; who merely voted
for a leader the Bush regime, Otto Reich, Roger Noreiga, Luigi Einuiadi
and big-business-interests hate with a deranged, psychotic passion.
And dare we quote President Bush in reference to a statement made about
the U.S. soldier's torture of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody, and say
that the handcuffing and arrest of 5-year old baby-boy Shashou at midnight
on May 10, 2004; even the killing of defenseless pets in the yard of
a grandmother in Haiti awaken by U.S. grenades, not too mention the
arrest of So Anne and her entire household, one of Haiti's most tireless
pro-democracy activists, is simply too naked and revolting a lawlessness;
and, for those who still believe in the untainted goodness of the U.S.
government: it's simply "un-American" to borrow that recent phrase used
by President George W. Bush.
It is reported this U.S. orchestrated show of force is to further pressure,
intimidate and otherwise stop other such Lavalas activists requesting
the return of laws and democracy to Haiti from holding a demonstration
intended for May 18, 2004, Haiti's flag day.
More than 3,000 Haitians, mostly young Haitian men associated or rumored
to be associated with the Lavalas party have been killed in Haiti since
the U.S. deposed President Aristide itself on February 29, 2004. In
a bare two months, this bloodbath and killing of 3,000 Haitians represents
more than half the number of Haitians that were killed during the entire
three years of the first Coup D'etat against the Haitian people. More
than 3,000 defenseless Haitians have been killed since U.S. soldiers
landed in Haiti for this 2nd Coup d'etat against Haitian development
and democracy. Yet, the reason given by Secretary of State, Colin Powell
for the MIF and forcing out of President Aristide was "to avoid a bloodbath."
According to current reports, as of April 26, 2004 - less than two months
after U.S. and French soldiers forced Haiti's Constitutionally elected
President unto a U.S. aircraft - this Bush Administration's illegal
interdiction policy towards Haitian asylum seekers has resulted in Washington
returning 1,948 Haitians to Haiti in 2004, already an increase, according
to the U.S. Coast Guard, over the 1,490 intercepted at sea for the entire
2003 year. And yet, the State Department's propaganda to destabilize
the Constitutional government, had promised the Haitian people a better
human rights record than that of the previous two Lavalas voted-in governments?
There is now a strong dossier of the 14-year destabilization campaign
against Haitian democracy and development by the powerful Western Nations,
led by the U.S. The violent arrest of So Anne, her 5-year old grandson
and 10 other people at her house at midnight on May 10, 2004 and similar
brutal conduct by the U.S. military against Lavalas -- the party whom
State Department propaganda insisted, before the Coup D'Etat, no longer
supported President Aristide is too blatant to need deeper investigation.
The U.S. Marines did not leave So Anne's house until around 2 or 2:30
a.m. on May 10, 2004. The house of this well-known Haitian woman and
Lavalas activists was brutally ransacked and all the occupants, including,
as we have noted above, small children as young as 5-years old, where
taken in custody, in the dead of night and transported to the Medical
University at Tabarre. Some of the detainees report they were interrogated
about their role under the Constitutional government, including questioned
regarding whether they knew "Danny Toussaint was a drug trafficker?"
and what where they planning at the house so late at night, et.
It is reported, by some of these detainees, that excessive force was
used in putting them into custody. They had no warning and some still
are trembling from the encounter and that they were terrorized during
the interrogations by U.S. soldiers. No one can say how this newest
trauma will damage the children involved, not to mentioned the adults,
who were already managing the U.S./France metered out Coup D'etat's
post traumatic stress syndrome. Imagine waking up and all that you have
worked for your entire life has been trashed and defiled while the duly
elected President is kidnapped to parts unknown. The trauma is tremendous
for the majority of Haitians who do not support dictatorship and wanted
to move from elections to elections, not from Coup d'etat to dictatorship
and the rule of the old, status-quo Duvalieriest and their FRAPH and
Haitian army soldiers.
No charges where pressed against any of the twelve Haitian detainees
taken from So Anne's house. Except that So Anne was arrested and transferred
to the National Penitentiary after having been interrogated all night.
Just as with the forced removal of President Aristide and his wife,
this operations was conducted without any Haitian present other than
the foreign soldiers.
Although, the MIF reportedly transferred So Anne to the custody of the
PNH without charging her with any crime. It has been reported, after
the arrest, and before any formal charges have been brought that NCHR
- a human rights organization with strong ties to USAID, the U.S. Embassy,
the right wing Haiti Democracy Project and the opposition to President
Aristide and the Lavalas party- has accused So Anne of "some connection"
to the December 5th violent incidents at the University. However, these
innuendoes are not supported by NCHR by any facts as of yet, nor does
it have the authority to press its witch-hunt campaign against Lavalas
Moreover, other Haitian popular organizational leaders, currently in
hiding for fear of similar U.S. reprisals, have opined that they suspect
this arrest is a pretext to prevent So Anne from taking part in a demonstration
demanding the return of the rule of law and President Aristide planned
for May 18, 2004 - Haiti's Flag Day.
So Ann is an elderly woman on medication and has yet to be charged or
to see a judge in accordance with the 48 hour rule under the 1987 Haitian
Constitution. This is an urgent call to action. Please contact the State
Department, Defense Secretary Colin Powell, your local congressperson
and representatives, the Congressional Black Caucus and media, to denounce
the arrest of So Anne; the systematic terror campaign against Lavalas
demonstrators, and the treatment of Haitians, like So Anne, and especially
her 5-year old grandson, Shashou, by U.S. command with the Multinational
Interim Force in Haiti.
Marguerite Laurent, JD,
Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
(dedicated to protecting the civil, human and cultural rights of
Haitians at home and abroad)
May 10, 2004