Inter-Actualités Magazine, Special Report: The Slaughter at Jean Rabel, late July 1987

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Download: Inter-Actualités Magazine, Repòtaj Spesyal: Masak Jean Rabel (l’Hécatombe de Jean Rabel), fen jiye 1987 (1)

Inter-Actualités Magazine, Repòtaj Spesyal: Masak Jean Rabel (l’Hécatombe de Jean Rabel), fen jiye 1987 (2)

 

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As news of the massacre of peasants at Jean Rabel reaches Port-au-Prince, Jean Dominique tries to make sense of the situation based on the scarce information at hand.  All that is known is that a group of peasants in the grassroots group Tèt Ansanm who were demanding land reform have been killed by other peasants as the result of the machinations of Duvalierist landowners.  Jean Rabel is in a remote area and the press can not yet go there.  There are conflicting reports about the number of dead; tens to hundreds are reported dead, and there is the possibility that the death counts have been inflated by the aggressors.

July1989_chantepeyizan_cartoon_1 copy

Cartoon from Tèt Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen’s 1989 pamphlet commemorating the Jean Rabel massacre. Wealthy landowners, the army, the Church, and the US, among others, are destroying Haitian peasant farmers. (Source: Radio Haïti Inter paper archive.)

This program revisits several other recordings — the July 3, 1987 interview with members of Tèt Ansanm in which they they warn that the situation is getting more perilous for Jean-Marie Vincent’s missionary team, the July 28, 1987 broadcast from Radio Soleil in which members of Tèt Ansanm who escaped the massacre described what they saw and experienced, Konpè Filo’s interview with Rémy Lucas and Jean-Michel Richardson earlier in 1987 after the violence at Gros Sable, and Michèle Montas’ interview with Father Jean-Marie Vincent on July 28, 1987.  While Jean-Marie Vincent is careful not to criticize Church authorities directly, the Association Nationale des Agronômes Haïtiens is more direct in its denunciation; in an open letter, they claim that bishops and priests have long been attacking Tèt Ansanm and Father Jean-Marie’s missionary team through inflammatory sermons, and that the Church is implicated in this violence.  According to speakers from the community of Plaine de l’Arbre, Tèt Ansanm had also been promoting national production and the consumption of local agricultural products by blocking imported food and food aid (manje sinistre), which created resentment for peasants whose families could not eat without this aid.  The recording concludes with Father Jean-Marie’s words on the future of Tèt Ansanm and grassroots peasant organization.

Face à l’Opinion: Agronomist Jean-Claude Delicé, Charles Suffrard, Anderson Charles on Agrarian Reform, 10 Jan. 2000

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Download: Face à l’Opinion: Agronòm Jean-Claude Delicé, Charles Suffrard, Anderson Charles sou Refòm Agrè, 10 janvye 2000 (1)

Face à l’Opinion: Agronòm Jean-Claude Delicé, Charles Suffrard, Anderson Charles sou Refòm Agrè, 10 janvye 2000 (2)

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An experiment in agrarian reform under the government of René Préval was short-lived but it carried the hopes of thousands of landless peasants. Following the devastation of Hurricane Georges in 1998, the government undertook land redistribution, drainage, dredging, irrigation and credit projects. However, the project faltered in part amid long-standing distrust of ODVA (Organization for the Development of the Artibonite Valley) by peasant farmers, as ODVA was historically seen as representing the interests of landowners rather than those of small farmers.  It also faltered because of accusations of patronage and favoritism.  In this interview, one of many done by Radio Haïti about agrarian issues, agronomist Jean-Claude Delicé (the general director of ODVA), and two members of small farmers associations, Charles Suffrard and Anderson Charles, discuss the goals and challenges of this agrarian reform project in the Artibonite Valley. Interview Jean Dominique.

Face à l’Opinion: Senator Samuel Madistin on Corruption and Peasant Demonstrations in the Artibonite, 17 Apr. 1996

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Download: Face à l’Opinion: Senatè Samuel Madistin sou Manifestasyon Peyizan ak Koripsyon ODVA nan Latibonit, 17 avril 1996 (1)

Face à l’Opinion: Senatè Samuel Madistin sou Manifestasyon Peyizan ak Koripsyon ODVA nan Latibonit, 17 avril 1996 (2)

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Outspoken and controversial Senator Samuel Madistin discusses the struggle and demonstrations of peasant farmers in the Artibonite who, since 1989, have lacked access to water for their crops. He blames inefficiency and corruption on the part of the Organisme du Développement de la Vallée de l’Artibonite (ODVA), Care, and PADF, which he describes as a “permanent plot against the peasants.” He also denounces the Plan National d’Éducation et de Formation (PNEF), because of a scholarship program that would require accepting loans from the Inter-American Development Bank that would not reinforce existing state structures. He criticizes privatization in general, especially as a condition of aid from the US. Madistin was a member of the OPL party, which at the time stood for Organisation Politique Lavalas. The following year, in 1997, it would break with Fanmi Lavalas and change its name to Organisation du Peuple en Lutte (Òganizasyon Pèp kap Lite). Interview Jean Dominique.

“Privatization and development are like milk and lemon. They don’t go together. They are like dogs and cats. That is my deep conviction.” – Samuel Madistin

Face à l’Opinion: Anderson Charles, Jean François Germain, and Anosthène Eliscar on Peasant Organizations and Agricultural Policy in Haiti, 17 Jan. 1996

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Download: Face à l’Opinion: Anderson Charles, Jean Francois Germain, ak Anosthene Eliscar sou Mouvman Peyizan ak Politik Agrikòl an Ayiti (1)

Face à l’Opinion: Anderson Charles, Jean Francois Germain, ak Anosthene Eliscar sou Mouvman Peyizan ak Politik Agrikòl an Ayiti, 17/01/1996 (2)

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Three members of peasant organizations, Anderson Charles, Jean François Germain, and Anosthène Eliscar, discuss agricultural policy, the current situation of peasant farmers in Haiti, their dreams and goals, and the resources available to bring those dreams to fruition. They discuss, in particular, the problems facing national agricultural production as it is threatened and undersold by cheap imports from abroad, waste of resources, the abuse and exploitation of peasant farmers by big landowners, the seizure of peasant land and questions of land ownership, violence against peasants by the army and the National Police of Haiti (PNH), and the peasantry’s role in participatory democracy under Aristide. Interview Jean Dominique.

“If we had a private sector that was truly patriotic or nationalist, and would work on these things, it would let people take a break and breathe. That means creating a plan both for the peasant sector, and for city people, and we will be able to grow more food to eat, and in that way, we will no longer depend on imports from overseas.” — Jean-François Germain