Freed rights abusers back in the streets

Freed rights abusers back in the streets


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



Also free are three former officers in the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Haiti

from 1991 to ’94, who were found in Florida, deported home and convicted

in the same Raboteau massacre as Tatoune



Books on the Caribbean

Hubert Cole. Christophe: King of Haiti. New York: The Viking Press, 1967.

C.L.R. James. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938)

Edourad Gissant. Caribbean Doscourse (2004)  /  Barbara Harlow. Resistance Literature (1987)

Josaphat B. Kubayanda. The Poet’s Africa: Africanness in the Poetry of Nicolas Guillen and Aime Cesaire (1990)


Paul Laraque and Jack Hirschman.  Open Gate An Anthology of Haitian Creole Poetry (2001)

David P. Geggus, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World.  University of South Carolina Press, 2001.

Jean-Bertand Aristide. Eyes of the Heart: Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization

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Freed Rights Abusers Back in the Streets

By Trenton Daniel and Susannah A. Nesmith

GONAIVES, Haiti – The notorious Jean Tatoune is wanted for the massacre of at least six people here, but he’s not hard to find. Just ask around Gonaives’ seaside slum of Raboteau.

Though Tatoune was sentenced to life for the 1994 killings, he walks the streets openly, a commander of the rebels who helped drive President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power.

”We’re the ones making history,” said Tatoune, whose real name is Jean Pierre Batiste, standing on the dusty streets of the slum, surrounded by admirers and children.

Tatoune is only one of several hundred convicted and suspected criminals — from common murderers to former dictators to army human rights abusers deported from Miami — who escaped from prisons in the last months of Aristide’s rule. Most fled Feb. 5-29, as the rebels opened the prisons and police fled.

As Haitian police and peacekeeping troops from the United States, France, Canada and Chile try to restore security, recapturing the escapees and bringing them to justice will prove problematic, police officials and human rights groups say.

There’s former Gen. Prosper Avril, Haiti’s 1988-90 military ruler, jailed for a massacre in 1990, now reading novels at his home in Port-au-Prince, according to his son.


Also free are three former officers in the brutal military dictatorship that ruled Haiti from 1991 to ’94, who were found in Florida, deported home and convicted in the same Raboteau massacre as Tatoune:

Gen. Jean-Claude Duperval, once second in command in the army, then captain of a tourist boat at Disney World in Orlando.

Col. Hebert Valmond, former chief of military intelligence, later a Tampa security guard and Evangelical preacher.

Col. Carl Dorelien, former army personnel chief, found living in Port St. Lucie after winning $3.1 million in the Florida Lotto.

Dorelien was rumored to have been spotted eating an omelet at the capital’s high-end Montana Hotel just days after Aristide resigned and fled the country on Feb. 29.

The three were among 37 convicted in absentia for the Raboteau massacre in a landmark trial — the first to bring to justice a large group of former Haitian soldiers and paramilitary supporters for human rights abuses.

Among them also was Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a former paramilitary leader and now a top rebel leader. He fled to the neighboring Dominican Republic to escape the trial and now walks freely about the capital with a pistol in his waistband.

Avril’s son, Gregor, told The Herald his father did not escape but was released on the orders of National Penitentiary director Clifford Larose at 7 a.m. on the Feb. 29 — two hours before the rest of the prisoners escaped.

Gregor claimed a judge had ordered his father freed in 2002, but Aristide had forced Larose to disobey the order. Larose could not be reached for comment.

Tatoune was one of the key leaders of FRAPH, a paramilitary group that supported the 1991-94 military dictatorship and was blamed for killing scores of Aristide supporters.

He was convicted in 2000 for the Raboteau massacre, which human rights groups allege left at least 20 dead, although many of the bodies were never found.

Tatoune’s friends broke him out of the Gonaives prison last year, and now that a ragtag bunch of rebels control this port town, where a U.S.-led peacekeeping force has yet to arrive, he is free to walk its streets.


He’s not the only one. More than 1,000 inmates at the national penitentiary in the capital fled on Feb. 29 after they heard radio reports of Aristide’s fall, setting trash fires in their cells and snapping open the prison’s metal gates.

”The gates aren’t strong enough to keep more than 10 people from rattling and breaking the locks, and so everybody escaped,” Prison Inspector Olmaille Bien-Aime said.

Recapturing all the prisoners is a task far tougher than Haiti’s barely functioning police force can begin to handle. Port-au-Prince Police Commissioner Claude Moise Marckinsky keeps a bulletin board in his office with the mug shots of 60 convicted drug dealers and murderers who escaped on Feb. 29.

But with not enough policemen to patrol the capital, he admitted that he had no plans to seek out the wanted men. They will commit new crimes, Marckinsky said, and will then be rearrested.

Recapturing human rights violators like Dorelien and the others would also require ensuring that they receive fair trials, advocacy groups say, because Haitian laws require anyone tried in absentia to be tried again once captured.

Brian Concannon, an American attorney who helped Haitian prosecutors on the Raboteau trial, said justice was unlikely to prevail in the current chaos. “I’m sure that the ones with the guns and money will call the shots.”

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The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World 

Reviewed by Mimi Sheller

The slave revolution that two hundred years ago created the state of Haiti alarmed and excited public opinion on both sides of the Atlantic. Its repercussions ranged from the world commodity markets to the imagination of poets, from the council chambers of the great powers to slave quarters in Virginia and Brazil and most points in between. Sharing attention with such tumultuous events as the French Revolution and the Napoleonic War, Haiti’s fifteen-year struggle for racial equality, slave emancipation, and colonial independence challenged notions about racial hierarchy that were gaining legitimacy in an Atlantic world dominated by Europeans and the slave trade. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World explores the multifarious influence—from economic to ideological to psychological—that a revolt on a small Caribbean island had on the continents surrounding it.

Fifteen international scholars, including eminent historians David Brion Davis, Seymour Drescher, and Robin Blackburn, explicate such diverse ramifications as the spawning of slave resistance and the stimulation of slavery’s expansion, the opening of economic frontiers, and the formation of black and white diasporas. Seeking to disentangle the effects of the Haitian Revolutionfrom those of the French Revolution, they demonstrate that its impact was ambiguous, complex, and contradictory.—Publisher, University of South Carolina Press

David P. Geggus is a professor of history at the University of Florida in Gainesville and a former Guggenheim and National Humanities Center fellow. He has published extensively on the history of slavery and the Caribbean, with a particular focus on the Haitian Revolution. He is the author of Slavery, War and Revolution: The British Occupation of Saint Domingue, 1793–1798 and an editor of A Turbulent Time: The French Revolution and the Greater Caribbean. Geggus lives in Gainesville.

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Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804

A Brief History with Documents

By Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus

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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays

Edited by Miriam DeCosta-Willis 

Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a collection of fourteen essays by scholars and creative writers from Africa and the Americas. Called one of two significant critical works on Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late 1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of Carter G. Woodson and Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an historical context for understanding 20th-century creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone writers, such as Cuban Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist, and scholar Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the significance of Negritude in Latin America. This collaborative text set the tone for later conferences in which writers and scholars worked together to promote, disseminate, and critique the literature of Spanish-speaking people of African descent. . . . Cited by a literary critic in 2004 as “the seminal study in the field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which most scholars in the field ‘cut their teeth’.”

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.


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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 6 May 2010 




Home  Toussaint Table  

Related files: Amnesty International on Haiti  Why They Had to Crush Aristide  Washington and Paris overthrow Aristide  Haiti’s Murderous Army Reborn 


Dialogue between Two   Haitians  In Defense of Aristide  Aristide Under Lock and Key   Freed rights abusers back in the streets  Dreams Buried in Freedom’s Coffin  Maxine Waters to Colin Powell

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