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U.S. Marines arrest Haitian singer and activist So Anne on Mother’s Day

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  • Djehuti Sundaka
    U.S. Marines arrest Haitian singer and activist So Anne on Mother s Day http://www.sfbayview.com/051204/soanne051204.shtml by Marguerite Laurent United States
    Message 1 of 1 , May 18, 2004
      U.S. Marines arrest Haitian singer and activist So Anne on Mother's
      Day
      http://www.sfbayview.com/051204/soanne051204.shtml
      by Marguerite Laurent

      United States Marines arrested Anne Auguste, a
      prominent Haitian singer and humanitarian activist
      known popularly as So Anne, on Sunday, Mother's Day. A
      sizeable contingent of marines entered by blowing up
      her gate with grenades and then ransacked her home in
      Port-Au-Prince, where she was recuperating from
      surgery. They detained 11 friends and family, who were
      handcuffed and taken away, including two young
      children, ages 5 and 12. The Marines are holding So
      Anne incommunicado.

      Her life dedicated to the Lavalas Movement for
      democracy and development in Haiti, So Anne's house is
      a meeting ground, as is the Haitian custom, for people
      to come and eat, gather, and share news and
      solidarity. The Haitian Constitution guarantees
      Haitian citizens the right not to be arrested or
      terrorized without due cause, and it prohibits arrests
      between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. at night.

      Nevertheless, at midnight, all the people in So Anne's
      house, including her 5-year-old great grandson,
      Shashou, were forced to the ground and handcuffed by
      U.S. Marines armed with heavy artillery - a 5-year-old
      Haitian child, handcuffed by the world's most powerful
      soldiers at midnight in his own grandmother's home!
      The children's pet dogs were shot to death for barking
      at the Marines.

      All 11 people at So Anne's house were 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 was charged. No
      apologies were given. All were released, except that
      Lavalas militant So Anne, after having been
      interrogated all night, was then delivered to the
      Haitian National Penitentiary. No charges have been
      cited.

      Other Haitian popular organizational leaders,
      currently in hiding for fear of similar U.S.
      reprisals, 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, Haiti's Flag Day. 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.

      At a press briefing on Monday, Col. David Lapan,
      public affairs officer for the Multinational Interim
      Force reportedly said, 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
      that the MIF means business. Lapan clearly implied
      that Haiti is under U.S. martial law, while U.S.
      Ambassador Foley controls every word that comes out of
      the mouth of U.S. puppet Gerard Latortue, the man
      appointed to "replace" Aristide.

      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 clearly a
      blatant violation of the Haitian Constitution, Haitian
      sovereignty and international treaties, and OAS and UN
      charters.

      Moreover, in the context of the U.S. citizenry's
      current concerns over treatment of people in U.S.
      custody in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, this
      excessive force and terrorizing of Haitian civilians,
      who were then not accused of any crime, is especially
      egregious.

      More than 3,000 Haitians, mostly young Haitian men
      associated or rumored to be associated with the
      Lavalas Movement, have been killed in Haiti since the
      U.S. deposed President Aristide on Feb. 29. In a bare
      two months, this bloodbath and killing of 3,000
      Haitians represents more than half the number of
      Haitians who were killed during the entire three years
      of the first coup d'état from 1991 to 1994. Yet the
      reason given by Secretary of State Colin Powell for
      forcing out President Aristide and bringing in the MIF
      was "to avoid a bloodbath."

      As of April 26, the 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 year in 2003. 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.

      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 Haitian Constitution. This is
      an urgent call to action. Please contact Secretary of
      State Colin Powell, your local congressperson, the
      Congressional Black Caucus and the media to denounce
      the arrest of So Anne, the systematic terror campaign
      against Lavalas demonstrators, and the treatment of
      Haitians like So Anne and her 5-year-old great
      grandson Shashou by the U.S. command with the
      Multinational Interim Force in Haiti.


      Demand So Anne's immediate release

      What is So Anne's "crime?" 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 Feb. 29 for similar "crimes."
      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 (509) 223-7011 or
      (509) 222-0200, fax (509) 223-9665, email
      acspap@ state.gov or visit http://usembassy.state.gov
      And contact Secretary of State Colin Powell at the
      U.S. State Department in Washington; call (202)
      647-5291 or (202) 647-7098, fax (202) 647-2283 or
      (202) 647-5169, or email via
      http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html.
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