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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06PORTAUPRINCE2233
2006-11-20 20:38:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Port Au Prince
Cable title:  

ANTI-MINUSTAH PROTESTS COMMEMORATE NATIONAL HOLIDAY

Tags:   PGOV  PHUM  PREL  HA 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO4321
PP RUEHQU
DE RUEHPU #2233/01 3242038
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 202038Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4627
INFO RUEHZH/HAITI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 1291
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA PRIORITY 1128
RUEHQU/AMCONSUL QUEBEC PRIORITY 0624
RUMIAAA/HQ USSOUTHCOM J2 MIAMI FL PRIORITY
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK PRIORITY 1036
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 002233 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA)
WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL HA
SUBJECT: ANTI-MINUSTAH PROTESTS COMMEMORATE NATIONAL HOLIDAY

REF: A. PAP 2065

B. PAP 2087

PORT AU PR 00002233 001.2 OF 002


UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PORT AU PRINCE 002233

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/CAR
S/CRS
SOUTHCOM ALSO FOR POLAD
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/CAR
INR/IAA (BEN-YEHUDA)
WHA/EX PLEASE PASS USOAS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL HA
SUBJECT: ANTI-MINUSTAH PROTESTS COMMEMORATE NATIONAL HOLIDAY

REF: A. PAP 2065

B. PAP 2087

PORT AU PR 00002233 001.2 OF 002



1. (U) This message sensitive but unclassified: please
protect accordingly.


2. (U) Summary: A spasm of anti-Minustah sentiment surfaced
in Port-au-Prince leading up to and on November 18, a
national holiday commemorating the 203rd anniversary of the
Battle of Vertieres which led to Haitian independence in

1804. Several anti-Minustah protests took place in Haiti's
capital, including a student protest which resulted in two
student injuries and attacks on UN troops in the area.
During the official commemoration of the holiday at the
National Palace, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis said
he was not proud to commemorate the holiday given that
foreign troops were currently on the ground in Haiti.
Gang-led protests continue to occur in Cite Soleil, likely in
response to an increase in Minustah-led operations in the
Port-au-Prince slum. End summary.

Second Student Protest Results in Several Injured
- - - - - - - - - -


3. (SBU) According to news reports, dozens of anti-Minustah
protests occurred in Port-au-Prince on November 18, the
anniversary of the Battle of Vertieres. The most visible
protest was organized by students of the State University of
Humanities, who had filed for a demonstration permit that the
Haitian National Police (HNP) approved. This was their
second anti-Minustah protest (reftel A) and consisted of no
more than 150 people. According to Jean Philippe Laberge of
Minustah's Office of Civil Affairs, the protests are well
organized within the university, but are not coordinated with
gangs or others having their own motivations to mount.


4. (U) During the student protest, which ended near the
Presidential Palace, UN police (including those who came
under attack) were in the area doing electrical work near a
UN base. The students threw rocks at the troops and broke
the windshield of at least one UN vehicle. One UN police

officer from Niger was wounded in the shoulder. The UN
police troops took refuge in the local UN base near the
Presidential Palace. (Note: According to a UN contact,
downtown Port-au-Prince was off-limits to UN Police and
Minustah troops because of the threat of anti-UN protests.
End note.)


5. (SBU) One student protester was badly injured after a
security guard from Socabank shot him. One other student was
mildly wounded by the same gunfire. Minustah's civilian
affairs office and RSO reported that the guard panicked and
that the shooting was not justified. The injured student was
taken to a hospital and is in stable condition. The guard
has been arrested by the HNP.

PM Alexis Expressed Bitterness over Foreign Troop Presence in
Haiti
- - - - - - - - - -


6. (U) President Rene Preval, Prime Minister Jacques Edouard
Alexis, several ministers and a parade of HNP officers
gathered at the National Palace to officially commemorate the
holiday, described by local news reports as the anniversary
of the last heroic feat of Haiti's indigenous army against
colonial troops. News reports also noted that "contrary to
the protocol of this holiday's commemorations, the President
did not make a statement." Instead, PM Alexis spoke,
reminding the audience that the Haitian military (Forces
Armees d,Haiti -- FAd'H) no longer exists. Alexis
highlighted that 125 million Haitian gourdes (about USD 3.2
million) are set aside in the FY2007 budget for a study on
the possible creation of a new security force in Haiti.
Alexis said that he attended the comemoration "with
bitterness," but took consolatin in the fact that the
foreign troops were mandaed by the UN, of which Haiti is a
member. Minusah was invited by former President Jean
BertrandAristide's government as well as the interim
govenment, and Haitians bear responsibility for the sa
state of the country today. He closed by callig for

PORT AU PR 00002233 002.2 OF 002


everyone to work together to reach a point where Minustah can
depart as soon as possible.

Gangs Conduct Anti-Minustah Protest in Cite Soleil
- - - - - - - - - -


7. (SBU) A small protest also occurred in Cite Soleil on
November 17 protesting the presence of Minustah troops and
calling for the return of former President Aristide. (Note:
Often protests are highjacked by competing interests. In
this case, it appears that protest started as an
anti-Minustah demonstration, but attracted pro-Aristide
demonstrators who wanted to take advantage of the gathering.
End note.) This was the second gang-led protest in Cite
Soleil in one week in response to encroaching Minustah
operations in Cite Soleil over the past two months, which
were increased following the murder of two Jordanian soldiers
who appeared at the scene of a kidnapping November 11. A
larger protest on October 29 spoke out against recent deaths
at the hands of Minustah on October 17 (reftel B).


8. (SBU) Comment: The November 18 holiday commemorating the
Battle of Vertieres -- which is also recognized as the
anniversary of the FAd,H -- brought to fore the great
national pride Haitians have in their military and its role
in Haiti's independance. As PM Alexis said, the day was
filled with bitterness for many Haitians: not only has
Haiti's army been disbanded, but also, they are faced with
the presence of foreign troops on a day commemorating the
last battle of Haitian forces against French colonial troops.
This frustration with Minustah is only exaggerated by the
sentiment among Haitians that Minustah is not carrying out
its mandate to provide the population with a secure
environment.
SANDERSON