Sunday, 27 March 2011

Report on Ex-FAd’H camp near Port-au-Prince (March, 2011)


Ex-FAd'H LT Jeune Aduen Moniteur stands in front of a Duvalierist flag.
(Photos: Jeb Sprague,2011)

In March of 2011, Isabeau Doucet (a journalist writing for the Guardian & the Christian Science Monitor) and I located the ex-FAd’H (Forces armées d'Haïti--Haiti's former military) camp that was recently covered in an article by the Associated Press.  Below I describe some of what I found and related information:


During the years following the 2004 overthrow of Haiti’s elected government, the ex-military has set up a formalized network of training camps around the country.

Thirty to forty minutes from the center of Port-au-Prince, past Carrefour, between the towns of Mariane and Gressier, members of Haiti’s former military  (FAd’H) have a hilltop encampment that they call ‘Lambi 12 Grande Saline’.   The camp is made up of between a dozen and twenty tents, with a few small wooden and corrugated tin structures.

Leading the troops is Nestor Appolon, who the ex-FAd’H say was a Lieutenant in Haiti’s army. Second in command of the camp is Jeune Aduen Moniteur, described as a former Captain of the FAd’H (pictured above). An older organizer of the men, Eugene Joseph, an ex-FAd’H and “counceiller” at the camp speaks fluent English, is a U.S. citizen, and smiles but refuses to answer when asked if the U.S. military trained him early in his career.


Some important points:

1. This group of ex-FAd’H and their new recruits claim to have been based
at this location for the last 1 ½ to 2 years.

2. They openly claim to be Duvalierists.  A Red and Black flag of the Duvalier era hangs in their main HQ tent.

3.  Security companies send recruiters often to this ex-FAd’H camp. According to one ex-FAd’H NCO: “They hire many of our men for their [security] companies, so we must always look for others [to join].”  My belief is that the leadership of the camp have some benefactors among the business elite and get some sort of kick back payment from security companies after they train and vet new recruits.

4. The Second in Command of the camp asked if we would like to hire a security detachment and that we could have many well-trained men, each with a weapon, for 500 US dollars per man per month.

5. The ex-FAd’H say that similar or smaller camps are also located near Cap-Haïtien (rumoured to be headed by a family member or son of Dany Toussaint), near Jérémie (headed by Guy Philippe), near Croix-des-Bouquets, and half a dozen other locations  around the country.  Ex FAd’H at ‘Lambi 12 Grande Saline’ say that the leaders of the camps communicate and coordinate with each other regularly.

6. They claim that Haiti’s Ministry of Justice provided them with USAID, UNICEF, and sky blue UN tents (the UN tents at ‘Lambi 12’ are from the Chinese contingent of MINUSTAH). See photos.

7. The ex-FAd’H at the 'Lambi 12' camp say that Haiti’s police chief Mario Andersol will do nothing to hinder their activities. 

8. Allegedly, according to well-placed sources, the DEA has “cut deals” with some of the leadership of these camps, as some have been implicated in narco-trafficking  (not to mention: numerous killings, armed assaults, etc).

9. The ex-FAd’H at the camp are strongly anti-Aristide/Lavalas but a few said [in response to a question about Aristide’s recent return] that “all Haitians should return to the country,” a widely held sentiment.  The  ex-FAd’H are strongly supportive of Michel ‘Sweet Micky’ Martelly who has for many years held close ties with members of the military and paramilitaries. 

10. According to some of the ex-FAd’H at the camp, Martelly, in a campaign stop, visited them.  A worker at the nearby Lambi hotel also told us that Martelly visited the ex-FAd’H camp. This has not been independently confirmed by anyone from the Martelly campaign.

11. While some in the camp appear to live in Port-au-Prince or the nearby area, it appears some live with their families full time at the camp.  New recruits undergo military training, including martial arts classes provided by a Haitian-American who has trained police and military personnel in the United States.  He was present during our visit.

Conclusion: The camps appear to have three core functions: (A) they serve as a chain of recruitment centers for security companies, (B) they keep up the rhetoric and campaign of the right wing in promoting the return of the Duvalierist military, and (C) they provide a useful site for maintaining a reserve pool of armed and trained men to crush any future attempts by the country’s poor majority to organize democratically.

It appeared to me that some among the ex-military are looking to improve their image in the media, as they hope Haiti’s next government will reinstitute the armed forces. It is true that members of the ex-FAd’H have been running camps off and on for years – and, on a few occasions these have been shut down- training young and unemployed men for jobs in security. However, following the 2004 coup this became a much more widespread, formalized, and hard-line rightist network.

For background on the brutality of Haiti’s military, ex-military, and paramilitary forces (which have often functioned symbiotically) see the University of Miami "Haiti Human Rights Investigation" published in late 2004. 

  As recently as 2007, the main author of that study, Tom Griffin and other human rights investigators found that "Army and various well-known Haitian elites meet on a weekly basis to discuss such matters, often joined by high-level narco-traffickers."  

For more context see Peter Hallward’s Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide, and the Politics of Containment published by Verso in 2008.  

The website Haitiancolors has also posted more.  A piece by Isabeau Doucet appears here in Haiti Liberte.  All of the photos here are by Jeb Sprague except for the third to last  photo which was published by AP, and the final two photos are by Isabeau Doucet.





Also below is a video report that Al Jazeera released a few weeks after my blog post here was published.  I have also pasted another video showing the ex-FAd'H marching in Port-au-Prince in September, 2011.

3 comments:

  1. Don't forget the 2004 Amnesty report on FADH
    "Perpetrators of past abuses threaten human rights and the reestablishment of the rule of law," Amnesty International report, 2004

    "The holding of perpetrators from the disbanded Haitian Armed Forces, the Forces Armées d=Haïti (FADH),and the paramilitary Front Révolutionnaire Armé pour le Progrès d'Haïti (FRAPH), Revolutionary Armed Front for the Progress of Haiti to account for their crimes was nearly unprecedented in Haiti's history. The trials of those implicated in such grave violations as the 1994 Raboteau massacre and the 1993 assassination of pro-democracy activist Antoine Izméry gave hope that, for the first time, the cycle of political violence might well and truly be broken."

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  2. Very informative investigative work here. THANK YOU

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    Replies
    1. Indeed, great reporting! Pretty scary stuff: this is an attempt to reestablish the 'Macoutised'that terrorised the population.

      Thanks Jeb,

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