Haiti: Uruguay Must Make Investigation Public, Justice Swift

haiti sex assault

UN base where Uruguayan peacekeepers allegedly sexually abused an 18-year-old man in Port Salut, Haiti. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)

Acknowledging that the damage is irreparable, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica apologized to Haiti for the kidnapping off the streets of Haiti and gang rape and abuse of a Haitian teen by four Uruguayan U.N. “soldiers”. The incident was captured on a cellphone camera of one of the soldiers and made public to journalists by the Haitians in the town of Port Salut who found it. (U.N. Peacekeepers Accused of Sexually Assaulting Haitian Teen, ABC News.)

It seems at least one country with U.N. / MINUSTAH in Haiti still has some conscience, unlike most of the U.S. media and the two U.S. envoys – Paul Farmer, Bill Clinton – from the U.N. to Haiti.

Uruguay’s Defense Minister, Eleuterio Fernandez Huidobro, said members of their armed forces are prohibited from “referring to this episode as a joke, since the use of that word is SHAMEFUL for any armed forces’ official because here there was no joke, but a serious aggression against a person.”

I expected to see only the usual U.N. lies and obfuscations about how Haitians are responsible for their own victimization. Uruguay seems different. Hopefully, they won’t allow the U.N. and U.S. aggressors to force them to sweep this under the rug as the U.N. has done for more than seven years of slaughter, sexual assaults and bringing the cholera plague to Haiti.

But it is good and no small example for those of us who have been bringing complaints against the U.N. for sexual abuse and wrongful killing of Haitians for over seven years without any U.N. honcho or country in Haiti accepting responsibility, that “Uruguay’s president has apologized for the “outrage” carried out by peacekeepers accused of sexually assaulting a young Haitian man and vowed the “maximum penalty” for anyone found guilty.” ( Uruguay apologizes over alleged Haiti sex assault and Uruguay sacks UN official in Haiti sex attack probe .)

Before the commander was fired by the Defense Minister, it was reported that the “Uruguayan Navy Lieutenant Nicolas Casariego, the local base commander, said that the video was real, but called the abuse in the video “a game, a joke,” and said it was not sexual in nature.” The commander appeared to have been trying to justify the soldiers criminal actions by saying the teen had insulted the soldiers and they were only “bullying him.” (See, Peacekeepers in Haiti face sex attack inquiry by Ansel Hetz, Sept. 3, 2011, Aljazeera)

Speaking about the UN Uruguay contingent,  representatives for the townspeople have said:

“They are engaged…in prostitution, they have, inside their base, sex with disadvantaged children, they take advantage of the situation of poverty. And the worst is that they take pictures of the naked children on their phones to show other soldiers.”

Like the UN commander, the UN itself denied the allegations in whole and I wrote about their quick lies thus:

“Immediately, as per usual, a U.N. ‘preliminary investigation’ set the normal unconscionable UN tone, finding that the UN soldiers did not sexually abuse the Haitian teen. Miami Herald and Huffington Post, for example, along with other media took to parroting the UN apologists that this could have been “a prank,” “a bad joke,” despite the video being authenticated, despite the forced and criminal abduction, the history of the UN in Haiti and the Haiti residents’ testimonies – all with racist indifference, downplaying the horrific, barbaric abuse of military power.

Instead of using the correct word for the alleged behavior of the UN troops in questions, that the teen was KIDNNAPPED and gang raped by these depraved UN soldiers, all media reporting this so far, say something similar, that the alleged victim was “snatched by a soldier outside the front gate of a U.N. base and was taken inside. Those words: “kidnapped,” “criminal,” “corrupt” and “gang” seemed used by the UN, US, international community and the mainstream media only to refer to Haiti’s poor.” – Ezili Dantò of HLLN (See also, UN Peacekeepers and Humanitarian Aid Workers raping, molesting and abusing Haitian children .)

But, Defense Minister, Fernandez Huidobro not only fired a UN navy commander in Haiti over the incident, he forbade Uruguayan armed forces from calling the incident “a game” or “a joke” but then said the Uruguayan investigation will “go to the bone.” More heartening, in comments on the ministry’s website, Fernandez Huidobro also said that Uruguay “should apologize as urgently as possible to the people and government of Haiti, give reparations to the victim of these abhorrent acts, be exhaustive in its investigation and apply the maximum imaginable sanction against those responsible.” (Uruguay apologizes to Haiti for alleged sex abuse)

In our experience at HLLN, when the UN says it will investigate, that’s usually a lie or the investigation, if it is done, is kept from the Haitian public. (See, HLLN Letter to the UN asking for investigative reports on UN rape)

Uruguay must make its investigation public, its punishment public, its reparation swift and just and not be influenced by the Obama/Clinton administration whose only concern is keeping the US’s foot on Haitian soil to fleece Haiti’s riches for US big business, the NGOs and as territorial zone to block Cuba and Venezuela from using the assets for the benefit of their own citizens.

As we’ve urged since the beginning when this Bush regime change started in 2004 and the US got the UN to be its proxy military arm in Haiti, it’s way past time the US and UN were out of Haiti. Haitians are not at war; this occupation is racist, about false benevolence, forced assimilation and Western tyranny.

ezili dantoThe unrest that took down Haiti’s democratically elected government in 2004 and that is the excuse for the UN presence in Haiti today was financed and orchestrated by the United States, France and Canada. That Brazil is making preparations to leave is one step in the right directions. Haiti cannot be occupied for the benefit of the US corporatocracy and NGOs. The US/MINUTAH occupying force needs to leave Haiti…YESTERDAY and the US, UN, France and Canada provide reparation for crime against humanity and the personal and environmental damage their cannabalistic occupation have wrought on the peaceful masses of Haiti.

Ezili Dantò

Published by the LA Progressive on September 9, 2011
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