|Above: Commemoration of the first anniversary of Gran Ravine's Massacre.|
The parents and friends of victims of the July 7, 2006 massacre walked
with tears on the one year anniversary. Photo by Wadner Pierre
Michael Deibert has made numerous false claims about myself and others writing about Haiti in recent years. Links to responses to some of these claims can be found here:http://wadnerpierre.blogspot.com/2009/08/michael-deibert-and-elizabeth-eames.html
In his Aug 2, 2006 IPS article, Deibert at least mentions Lame Ti Manchèt's alleged connection to a corrupt police officer, Carlo Lochard, but he says nothing else about this paramilitary group: (1) the article never explains how the group was the primary source of local violence according to community organizers and human rights investigators active constantly in the area, and (2) it never mentions the major attacks in the area that had already been carried out by Lame Ti Manchèt.
In early 2007 when a Haitian journalist, Jean-Remy Badio, was murdered in the area, in a killing widely-believed to have been carried out by the anti-Lavalas armed group Lame Ti Manchèt, Deibert again ignored in his reporting the wide-scale accusations leveled against the vigilante group. According to AUMOHD organizers and U.S. human rights activist Tom Luce, who worked consistently inside Martissant and Gran Ravine in the years following the 2004 coup, Deibert in his reporting obscured the proportionality and details of the violence that occurred. In reports such as Deibert’s the main cause of violence went unidentified; appropriate detail and background information went inexcusably omitted.
In response to criticism over his misleading reporting on the assassination of Jean-Remy Badio, Deibert has refered to his reposting on his blog a statement on the killing released by the Association of Caribbean Media Workers (ACM). However, ACM’s statement also says nothing about Lame Ti Manchèt’s involvement with the killing, which according to witnesses, family, friends, and several Haitian media outlets were the primary suspects. Deibert’s article forAlterPresse dated Feb 12, 2007, likewise never mentions that the main suspects in Badio’s killing were the members of Lame Ti Manchèt.
Attempting to buttress his claim that Lavalas (and the groups he associates with them) were the major proponents of violence in the area, Deibert has cited a few articles that appeared in local newspapers at the time that covered the alleged violent activities of Baz Gran Ravine. However, according to Luce, Fanfan and others none of the alleged attacks that Deibert refers to caused anywhere near the scale of death and destruction as did the Lame Ti Manchèt assaults that occurred often in coordination with an ex-military/paramilitary wing of Haiti's police force.
Above: A brief video on this attack, see: Tom Luce, Reed Lindsay, Raphael Jean-Labin, Jeremie Dupin, “Gran Ravine Massacre #3,” Human Rights Accompaniment in Haiti (2008), Available Online at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PUP7LRL4E8
HURAH, AUMOHD, the CHRCs, and other grassroots human rights groups have all along operated with EXTREMELY limited resources. Here is one report: http://hurah.org/history/government-atrocities/gran-ravine-1-index-2005/
These groups also carried out a study of the 2001-2004 violence against rural people - attacks carried out by FLRN paramilitaries and financed by sectors of the elite. The violent war of attrition carried out by rightist-paramilitaries in the Plateau Central received very little media coverage other than some articles in Haiti Progres and the former government paper L'Union (which itself was destroyed by paramilitary forces in 2004): http://hurah.org/history/government-atrocities/
More on the killing of Jean-Remy Badio:
Haiti: Lame Ti Manchèt Accused of Role in Killing of Photojournalist
com/notebook/jeb-sprague/2007/ 02/chief-lame-ti-manchet- reportedly-escapes-dominican- republic
Chief of Lame Ti Manchet Reportedly Escapes to Dominican Republic
Haïti : Lame Ti Machèt accusée d’avoir joué un rôle dans l’assassinat d’un photojournaliste
Haití: Lame Ti Manchèt Acusado de Haber Jugado un Papel en la Matanza de un Fotoperiodista