At 12:30 in the morning of May 10,
approximately 20 U.S. Marines executed a military assault on the Port-au-Prince
home of 69-year-old Annette Auguste, a.k.a. Souer Anne. Auguste’s
residence is part of a compound that includes four other apartments
that were also invaded by the U.S. military forces. The troops covered
the heads of 11 Haitians with black hoods and then forced them to lay
face down on the ground while binding their wrists with plastic manacles
behind their backs. The victims of this terrifying U.S. military invasion
included five-year-old Chamyr Samedi, 10-year-old Kerlande Philippe,
12-year-old Loubahida Augustine, 14-year-old Luckman Augustine, and
The Marines blew up a vehicle and a substantial part of Auguste’s
three-story house, leaving behind c4 and c5 explosives paraphernalia
including blasting caps and igniters. Not a single member of the Haitian
National Police force (PNH) or the de facto Haitian government was
present when the U.S. forces attacked the residence, said the arrestees.
All the detainees except Auguste were released after questioning.
According to Haitian law, as is the norm in any democratic country,
no arrest can be made without a proper warrant issued by judicial authorities. The
Haitian Constitution requires that warrants only be executed between
the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The lack of any legality within
the context of Haitian law and the fact this was executed unilaterally
by U.S. military forces raises serious questions of national sovereignty
and the role of the U.S. military in Haiti today.
Lesly Voltaire, one of the highest ranking Lavalas officials remaining
in Haiti, has consistently condemned the campaign of political persecution
and arbitrary arrests against his political party. Voltaire stated:
Ms. Auguste is being held incommunicado at a U.S. military-controlled “special
section” of the National Penitentiary in Port-au-Prince. Although
the National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) claims to have visited
her at the prison, this is disputed by her husband, Wilfrid Lavaud,
who says the family has no knowledge of any such visit by the New
York-based agency. Lavaud also said that he does not consider NCHR
to be a credible human rights organization because they have worked
so closely in the past with the Haitian opposition to the constitutional
government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
NCHR played a significant role in the media disinformation campaign
that preceded the coup against President Aristide (see , October
International journalists have been denied access to Ms. August.
Spokesmen for Gerard Latortue's government claim they are “too busy” to respond
to requests to see the prisoner.
Media for hire
Why was Annette Auguste targeted for this military-type assault
by U.S. Marines? Lavalas officials, who had been calling for the
end of political persecution against their party, last week announced
they would begin demonstrations on May 18 calling for the return
of President Aristide. Annette Auguste was active in supporting
the Aristide government, and in helping to build Lavalas’ base of
support among the poor majority in Haiti. Many Lavalas activists
see the attack against Ms. Auguste as a preemptive strike against
their party by the Bush administration – a continuation of the destabilization
campaign hatched in the U.S. State Department by Otto Reich and Roger
Noriega, that eventually led to the forced departure of President
The real question is, what right does a U.S. military assault team
have to perform such an action in Haiti? The
Haitian media, controlled by the same forces that allied themselves
with the Bush administration to forcibly remove President Aristide,
allege that Ms. Auguste controlled violent factions associated with
the Aristide government. A second accusation, fielded by Radio Metropole,
is that Ms. Auguste was organizing a clandestine operation aimed
at launching armed assaults against U.S. military personnel in Haiti. As
per usual with the elite-controlled media, no corroboration or factual
evidence was ever given to back up these claims, which are typically
made by paid surrogates.
Guyler C. Delva, of the Association of Haitian Journalists, has
publicly accused many of his colleagues of working as paid informants
for the U.S. military in Haiti. These are the same Haitian media
that worked hand-in-glove with the campaign that removed President
Aristide on February 29.
Annette Auguste has been a frequent
target of the Haitian elite, due to her close ties with President
Aristide. She is the leader of PROP (Pouvwa Rasembleman Organizacion
Popile), a popular Lavalas organization. She is also a singer of
Haitian folk songs and is open about her practice of voodoo, officially
recognized as a national religion for the first time in Haitian history
under the Aristide administration. Ms. Auguste’s religious beliefs
and practices have led to many unfounded, disparaging rumors and
a campaign of demonization against her.
In the past, critics such as Yves A. Isidor, professor of Economics
at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and Executive Editor
of wehaitians.com, and Raymond Joseph of the Haiti Observateur,
now the Chief Diplomatic Representative to America for Haiti, have
accused Ms. Auguste of things as outrageous as human sacrifice. Isidor
authored a January 2, 2001, article that charged Ms. Auguste was
President Aristide’s “voodoo medium” and that she bathed him in human
blood to curse George W. Bush and ensure the election of Vice President
Al Gore in 2000. No evidence or witnesses were cited as sources
for this information.
Isidor’s grotesque article was picked up and embellished by Raymond
Joseph. Joseph added details regarding a ceremony where a newborn
was sacrificed in a giant mortar with a heavy pestle. Joseph contends
that those who question the veracity of this allegation need only
find support in the statement, “But who would have thought that men
infected with the AIDS virus in South Africa believe that they can
be healed by having intercourse with a young virgin!” Joseph never
actually states that Ms. Auguste was involved in the alleged sacrifice,
but two paragraphs later, his reference to her as Aristide’s “voodoo
medium” implies her presence there. Joseph directly accuses Ms.
Auguste of holding meetings at her home where criminal activities
were planned – the nature of which was never revealed.
In a March 11, 2004, New York Sun article, Joseph lambasted California
Congresswoman Maxine Waters for making three trips to Haiti in seven
weeks, with the third trip being first-class. Joseph asked, “Do
American taxpayers have to pick up the tabs? Or is it the Haitian
government robbing from the poor in the ‘poorest country in the Western
Hemisphere’ to maintain Waters and company in luxurious style?” Joseph
provided no support or explanation for these allegations. He simply
sought to discredit Rep. Waters, never even offering the possible
explanation that she paid for the tickets herself or upgraded with
frequent flier miles. As a reward for his part in the campaign of
lies and misinformation against Aristide and Lavalas, Joseph has
been named the Boca Raton regime’s highest representative to the
In his current position, Joseph is well placed to direct the U.S.
Marines to the doors of people’s activists like Annette Auguste.
His is the face that smiles when boots trample on hooded, helpless
women and children.
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