About 200 ex-soldiers occupied former military buildings in northern Haiti on Tuesday to demand the reinstatement of the disbanded army and 14 years of back pay, the group’s leader and witnesses said.
The men took over the buildings in Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second largest city, and in Ouaminthes, a town on the border with the Dominican Republic.
I think Reuters got the name of the town wrong. It probably should be Ouanaminthe.
The developing story from Radio Kiskeya [in French]:
- Armoured MINUSTAH tanks and members of the Haitian National Police’s (PNH) special units tried, without success, to remove the 100 or so ex-military who were occupying the Ministry of Culture and ISPAN (Institute for the Safeguard of National Heritage) buildings.
- The leaders of the occupation claim that the reinstatement of the military will help “restore safety and fight against the kidnappers”
In a bit of good news for Haitians:
Emmanuel “Toto” Constant goes down like Al Capone.
From the International Herald Tribune:
A former Haitian paramilitary leader who has been branded a ruthless killer by human rights groups was convicted Friday of helping hatch a mortgage fraud scheme that cheated lenders out of $1.7 million.
A Brooklyn jury found Emmanuel “Toto” Constant guilty of fraud and grand larceny. Constant faces up to 15 years in prison at his sentencing on Sept. 10.
CNN reports that he could face between 15-45 years. I don’t know which reporting is correct.
Background on Constant:
The son of a military officer, Constant emerged as the notorious leader of the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, or FRAPH, after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was toppled in 1991.
Human rights groups allege that between 1991 and 1994, FRAPH terrorized and slaughtered slum-dwellers loyal to Aristide. When Aristide returned to power in 1994, Constant slipped into the United States.
Despite a 1995 deportation order, Constant was allowed to remain in the U.S. because of instability in Haiti. He kept a low profile, living with relatives in the New York City borough of Queens until being jailed in 2006 in the fraud case.