[A-List] [Fwd: [R-G] AS NEW MASSACRES LOOM: QUESTIONS SURROUND UN GENERAL'S DEATH]
mstainsby at resist.ca
Wed Jan 11 19:19:08 MST 2006
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [R-G] AS NEW MASSACRES LOOM: QUESTIONS SURROUND UN GENERAL'S DEATH
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 23:16:18 -0800
From: Anthony Fenton <fentona at shaw.ca>
Reply-To: Radical anti-capitalist environmental discussion.
<rad-green at lists.econ.utah.edu>
To: Radical anti-capitalist environmental discussion.
<rad-green at lists.econ.utah.edu>
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
newsweekly. For the complete edition with other news in French
and Creole, please contact the paper at (tel) 718-434-8100,
(fax) 718-434-5551 or e-mail at editor at haitiprogres.com.
Also visit our website at <www.haitiprogres.com>.
"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
January 11 - 17, 2006
Vol. 23, No. 44
AS NEW MASSACRES LOOM:
QUESTIONS SURROUND UN GENERAL'S DEATH
Suicide, accident or murder? What explains the bullet that passed
through the head of Brazilian General Urana Teixera da Malta Bacillar at
the deluxe Montana Hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Jan. 7?
In coming days, that is what teams of investigators from Brazil and the
United Nations will try to figure out... or cover up.
Bacillar, 57, commanded the 9,006 uniformed troops and policemen from
over 30 countries that make up the occupation force of the misnomered
U.N. Mission to Stabilize Haiti (MINUSTAH). He was found dead on the
balcony of his hotel suite on Saturday morning.
But how did he die?
Brazilian army officials initially called Bacellar's death a "firearm
accident." While possible, it seems unlikely that the decorated army
veteran, parachutist and instructor would be careless enough with a
pistol to accidentally shoot himself in the head.
Now many news reports say that Bacellar's death was an "apparent
suicide." But this verdict is still unofficial. Brazilian authorities
say that the death has not yet been fully investigated. Brazilian
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is sending a team of experts to
Port-au-Prince to probe the death. Brazil's Foreign Minister Paulo Celso
Amorim also asked UN General-Secretary Kofi Annan to investigate the
The suicide hypothesis stems from statements by Brazilian Ambassador
Paulo Cordeiro de Andrade Pinto who told the Associated Press that he
saw a gun next to the body. Some press reports also say that Bacillar
was shot in the mouth.
But many observers doubt the suicide theory. Bacillar was a very
religious man, with a wife and two children in Brazil. He had just
returned to Haiti four days earlier from a Christmas visit home. One
would expect him to leave behind a suicide message of some sort.
According to the sources of Brazilian journalist Ana Maria Brambilla,
Bacillar "did not display any signs of depression during his last days."
He was accustomed, after "39 years of service, to pressure far worse
than he had seen in his four months in Haiti," his military colleagues
told The Independent.
Furthermore, his body was reportedly found with a book on his lap,
according to the Dominican daily El Nacional, as if he had been reading
and relaxing in his underwear on his balcony.
According to the South African newspaper Beeld, "the latest reports in
the Dominican media questioned the feasibility of suicide as no bullet
casing was found near the body... He would have been an easy target for
Although officials said that the room's door did not appear to be
forced, it is also possible that a killer could have entered with a key
or by invitation and planted the pistol that was found near Bacellar's
Some question whether some sectors could have wanted to kill Bacillar
for his reluctance to crackdown on Cité Soleil, the rebellious shanty
town that U.N. troops have been unable to pacify. In recent weeks, the
Haitian bourgeoisie had been heavily pressuring the MINUSTAH commander
to carry out aggressive actions there.
"Late last week, Bacillar had tense meetings with UN and coup regime
officials and the right-wing business elite," said the Haiti Action
Committee in a Jan. 10 statement. "They reportedly put 'intense pressure
' on the general 'demanding that he intervene brutally in Cité Soleil,'
according to AHP. This coincided with a pressure campaign by Chamber of
Commerce head Reginald Boulos and sweatshop kingpin Andy Apaid, leader
of Group 184 [the business group that helped mastermind the February 29,
2004 coup that ousted President Aristide]. Last week Boulos and Apaid
made strident calls in the media for a new UN crackdown on Cité
In response to this pressure, on Jan. 6, MINUSTAH's civilian chief,
Chilean Juan Gabriel ValdPs, said that U.N. troops would "occupy" the
Cité Soleil, which is already militarily surrounded, and warned that
civilians could be harmed.
"We are going to intervene in the coming days. I think there'll be
collateral damage but we have to impose our force, there is no other
way," ValdPs said.
According to Reuters, some UN officials said that Bacillar "had opposed
"The general had insisted that his job was to defend the Haitian
constitution, but not to fight crime," The Independent of Jan. 10
Brazilian General Augusto Heleno Pereira, from whom Bacillar had
inherited the MINUSTAH command last August, also made statements
indicating his reluctance to carry out repressive operations in Cité
Soleil and other shanty towns, despite intense pressure from Washington
and Haiti's bourgeoisie. But on July 6, 2005, Pereira did lead a UN raid
on the shanty town, which resulted in untold dozens of civilian
casualties, including women and children.
The Independent, citing a UN "summary of an internal inquiry" it had
received, revealed that "the UN has for the first time admitted that a
number of innocent civilians may have become 'collateral victims' and
killed during a controversial raid by peacekeeping forces in Haiti."
In a November report, the Interamerican Commission for Human Rights said
that the killings on July 6 and in other massacres were no accident. "In
many cases, the victims are not 'collateral damage' of operations," the
report said. "They are killed intentionally by the police or by the
MINUSTAH." The UN mission responded that its military actions have been
carried out "according to the rules."
Groups like the Haiti Action Committee (HAC) fear that another massacre
like that of July 6 may be imminent, especially given Bacellar's
successor. "General Eduardo Aldunate Herman, a Chilean army officer who
served the brutal dictatorship of General Pinochet as an officer in the
CNI, the Chilean political police," HAC's Jan. 10 statement continues.
"Aldunate Herman has been accused of participating in the 1973 overthrow
of Chile's elected government, and of involvement in the 1976 killing of
a Spanish diplomat. He is a graduate of the US Army's School of the
"If we take UN chief Juan Valdes at his word, this could be another
massacre in the making," the note concludes.
Large segments of Brazilian society, in particular the Landless Peasants
Movement, fiercely oppose Brazil's role in militarily occupying Haiti
and supporting the illegal Haitian coup regime. Some have seized on
Bacellar's death. "The moment has come to withdraw Brazilian troops,"
Maria Jose Maninha, a congresswoman who has led Brazilian parliamentary
missions to Haiti told Reuters.
But Brazilian Vice-President and Defense minister Jose Alencar said on
Jan. 9 that Brazil would continue to lead the MINUSTAH. "We cannot in
any way even question the mission. We cannot retreat in any way," he
told the official Brazilian government news agency Radiobras. "We are
working so that the command remains with Brazil. I don't have any doubt
that the command should remain with Brazil."
According to many analysts, Lula sought to obtain a permanent seat for
Brazil on the UN Security Council by leading the Haiti mission. The
gamble seems to have failed, however.
"Japan's decision, last week, to no longer support the project of
Security Council reform presented by Brazil, India and Germany render
the aspirations of Lula's government more illusive than ever," commented
the French daily Le Figaro Jan. 9.
On Jan. 10, Brasilia announced that Gen. Jose Elito Carvalho de Siquiera
would succeed Bacillar, whose body was flown back to Brazil the same
Despite Bacellar's death, Boulos' Haitian Chamber of Commerce and
Industry kept up pressure on the UN by calling a general strike - in
reality, a lock-out - for Jan. 9 to demand that the MINUSTAH attack Cité
Soleil to stop Haiti's crime wave that he contends originates there.
Automatic gunfire terrorized Port-au-Prince residents throughout the
night before the strike, a common tactic of the elite. Commerce and
schools were affected mainly in the capital, while activities continued
pretty much as normal throughout the rest of the country in other cities
like Cap HaVtien, Cayes, Mirebalais and Hinche.
"This is a rich person's strike," one small street merchant told the AP.
"Boulos called a strike but it is meaningless here," another merchant in
Jacmel told Radio Solidarité. "I've already been on strike for two
years," a reference to the time since President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
was kidnapped and exiled by U.S. soldiers on Feb. 29, 2004. "Boulos and
his kind called a strike but the people are not heeding their call."
Meanwhile, Haiti's electoral council announced Jan. 9 that the
first-round of national elections is now scheduled for Feb. 7, the
deadline which the UN and Organization of American States had requested
during meetings on Jan. 6. Run-offs would be held a mere eight days
later, on Feb. 15, which more or less corresponds to the end of MINUSTAH
's last eight-month mandate. It is the fourth time an election date has
Illegal Prime Minister Gérard Latortue has said he will step down on
Feb. 7 and will just handle the government's day-to-day affairs until a
new government is installed.
All articles copyrighted Haiti ProgrPs, Inc. REPRINTS ENCOURAGED.
Please credit Haiti ProgrPs.
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