Warped Lens

Haitian Diaspora’s Defense of Guy Philippe is Deeply Misguided


Photo Credit: Meridith Kohut, The New York Times

By Garry Pierre-Pierre

Two days after Guy Philippe was arrested in Haiti by Haitian police officers and extradited to Miami on drug charges, I received an email urging Haitians to sign a petition calling on the U.S. State Department to release him to the Haitian authorities. Philippe, who has been wanted by the U.S. Drugs and Enforcement Agency for more than 10 years,  was nabbed on Thursday, Jan. 5  outside a radio station in Petion Ville minutes after he gave an interview.

Here is what the petition read:

  1. Request a Review of the Protocol of the Arrest.
  2. Release the Senator to His Peers for Local Due Process.
  3. Revise International Agreement between Countries as to not Subjugate the rights of Local Elected Officials. The Laws of Justice of the United States can be applied in due time before or after the Elected Official is in function.

What is curious to me is that this petition is coming from a group of Haitian Americans, who are clearly ignorant of international laws and U.S.-Haiti relations, and know precious little about Philippe and his nefarious role in the mess that is Haiti today.

Philippe, a former police officer, ran for president and was recently elected a senator from the Grand Anse region.  He was to take the oath a week or so before his arrest. Philippe’s election as a senator would have given him immunity from prosecution, but he was arrested before he was sworn in.

I first came to hear of Philippe when a mutual friend called me frantically on a cold night in 2003. The friend wanted to know what I could do to help Philippe and a band of rogue police officers who had ran afoul of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s corrupt rule. They were in the lam in Cap Haitien. I told the friend that they should try to get to the U.S. embassy to seek refuge. The friend replied somberly that the U.S. had revoked their visas. Why I asked, they were accused of being involved in drugs. I calmly said that there was nothing I could do and hung up the phone.

A year later, Philippe would emerge as a leader of a rag tag bunch of former soldiers of the disbanded Haitian Armed Forces and would topple Aristide as Haiti was celebrating its 200 anniversary as the first black republic in the world. Oddly enough, this man who was under investigation by US authorities was allowed to march across the country from Cap Haitien to the gates of the destroyed National Palace and forced Aristide out of the country into exile, first in Central African Republic and then to South Africa, where he spent years teaching at a university until his return to the politically troubled Caribbean nation in 2011.

In the intervening years, Philippe has become a brazen personality and developed a myth of invincibility around his persona. He has escaped the reach of law enforcement officers by mere seconds. He openly gave interviews to radio stations and goad his nemesis to come get him. His luck ran out last week when he was nabbed. Philippe was taken to Miami where he awaits his day in court. He is innocent until proven guilty and he has hired an attorney to defend him.

Without Philippe’s bogus coup d’etat, there would have been no UN troops in Haiti. By extension, there would have been no cholera. So when we rightly denounce the UN’s presence in Haiti we have to ask ourselves, why was the UN in Haiti in the first place? Haiti is the only country in the world with a UN force without having gone through a true civil war. Our zero sum politics got us where we are today and given the latest political upheaval, Haitian leaders have shown they’ve learned nothing and are dammed to repeat the same mistakes of the past.

I have never met Philippe and I don’t know whether or not he’s guilty. The American judicial system will be the final judge. However, I believe that his arrest is a seminal moment in Haitian politics and society. I hope it sends a strong signal to law breakers that they can’t act with impunity and that no one is above the law. This year we have seen too many miscreants elected to Parliament.

I believe the number one plague in Haiti is the lack of the rule of law or the enforcement of the law by Haitian authorities who are unwilling to bring those who violate the law to justice. That fundamental flaw is at the root of the problem and has stifled economic and social growth. I hope that whatever the outcome in Philippe’s case, Haitians start to understand that no one is above the law. I’m deeply disappointed that some Haitian Americans would start a petition on behalf of Philippe. Where is that support for the late Father Jean Marie Vincent,  Mireille Durocher Bertin, Antoine Izmerry, Jean Dominique, Felix Lamy and so many more. These are people who were murdered in cold blood and to this day none of their assassins have been brought to justice. The diaspora’s outrage over Philippe’s arrest is misguided and deeply troubling.

Garry Pierre-Pierre

Garry Pierre-Pierre

Garry Pierre-Pierre is a Pulitzer Prize winning, multi-media and entrepreneurial journalist. Founder and publisher of Haitian Times.
Garry Pierre-Pierre
January 13, 2017

20 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Haitian Diaspora’s Defense of Guy Philippe is Deeply Misguided”

  1. Claude Denis says:

    Right on and to the point!

    • Georges says:

      Ditto Garry
      You took the words right out of my mouth. I have a few names for these brainless single cell idiots who are circulating this petition. But I can’t write
      in this forum.

      • Joe says:

        unfortunately I don’t see any complexity in your own brain cell.

      • Dan Jack says:

        I thank the writer for this article, it is well written.Personally I dont think Haitians are idiots.. One must understand that a large percentage of our people are illiterate due to lack of basic education in the country and the small percentage who are educated have a hard time utilizing basic logic.

        As you can see the petition appears to be based on emotion instead of reason..most of those who wrote the petition may not know any thing about the person who was arrested and the process through which the person was extradited to the USA. Needless to say, they may not know about international law or the process of the US judicial system.

        Instead of belittling them…let us who understand better teach them to utilize more logic and reasoning. Peace

    • Lavenir Elie says:

      I would like to congratulate you for the courage and the intellect that you have projected through this article. I have shared it on my Facebook page and I gave my opinions about it.

  2. Sylla olivier says:

    Thankyou Garry Pierre Pierre you are a good Haitian we need more Haitian Like you to save Haiti from those faux Nationalism!!

    • Joel says:

      Same on you ! This dude is killer and drug trafficker! When you’re a drug dealer , DEA doesn’t mess with you …! I hope he got life in prison !

  3. Edouard Saint-clair says:

    Great article with a wealth of information that clears the smoke around Guy Philippe. It is really mind boggling for the U.S. DEA to not being able to arrest G.Phillippe who had always been living in the open in Haiti. He is a well-oiled machine invented by the U.S. and Haiti’s Jewish oligarchy. Around 2004, upon crossing the Dominican border toward Haiti, and after making a few killings on his way to Port-au-Prince, he was welcomed at destination with cases of beer that Madsen personally handed to him.

    Then, again, we must remember the treacherous/conniving way the U.S. did away with Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Trujillo, Bin Laden and other agents that they previously trained and used for a purpose. In the case of Haiti, Toto Constant went also through this process, but still functioning and probably working for his master.

  4. Gigi says:

    Thank you. Beautiful article. HAITIAN ignorance.. unbelievable

  5. Renee says:

    I am not a supporter of Guy Philippe or any circulating petition, but there are hundreds of drug criminals operating in Haiti, and Guy Philippe out of all of them is arrested?

    We had/have video proof of UN Brazilian soldiers raping a young Haitian boy in Haiti, and the UN or Brazilian officials would never extradiate those rapists to the Haitian government for prosecution. I am sure there has been cases of rape by US soldiers in Haiti, but the Haitian government would never be given the right to come into the US to capture and bring back a criminal for prosecution in Haiti. Whether Haiti has the rule of law infrastructure in place or not, the point is the US cannot go into Russia to capture Snowden as it feels like. The US has had precedence of going into Haiti, making arrests, and freezing assets that obviously belong to the Haitian people. Can the Haitian government come into the US declaring that the gym or mall that once belonged to an American criminal now belongs to the Haitian government?

  6. Franswa Makandal says:

    This article is full of innuendos, one sided accusations and inaccuracies with any proof, the very reason Haiti is where she is forced to be. Mr. Trump has just been elected, I see no one trying to remove him accusing him of being a dictator? Mr. Guy Philippe is a drug dealer, a person who murdered many innocent people, burned police stations, killed police officers, burned government tractors and trucks fixed the dilapidated road on borrowed funds, who refused to follow his politic of destruction and treason, supported by the so called international community against the Haitian people the year Haiti and the African world community was ready to celebrate Haiti’s 200th independence anniversary. A people create what it needs!
    Mr. Philippe was not even near the Capital, the Haitian people would have eaten him alive having to pass through citee soleil. He thought he was going to take the presidency and when he realized that the marines and the american ambassador were on the ground of the palace he felt betrayed and promise to write a book to tell all. This is when he was found tom be a loose canon. If one takes a book written by any credible author especially professors of major universities who have written about Haiti, one will realize that these murderers need to be arraigned for Haiti to have a chance. Mr. Philippe was running with Chamblain, a man who was convicted of murdering Mr. Antoine Izmery and his brother and release during the night by Gerard Latortue. Guy Philipped, Stanley Lucas, Andre Apaid, Olivier Nadal, Roger Noriega, Charles Henri Baker, Reginald Boulos were meeting in the Dominican Republic to destroy Haiti democracy at birth. ” Nadal is implicated in a peasant massacre that occurred in the Haitian town of Piatre. In 1990, a group of peasants were killed by Nadal’s security after they squatted on unused land that he owned. “
    “Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment”

    There no article that give Mr. Philippe immunity in the Haitian Constitution but while in office as a Senator, NONE!This is the net, you are not writing for reader of a third world country as a co called journalist. This is not Haiti!
    ARTICLE 21:
    The crime of high treason consists in bearing arms in a foreign army against the Republic, serving a foreign nation in a conflict with the Republic, in any official’s stealing state property, entrusted to his management, or any violation of the Constitution by those responsible for enforcing it.
    ARTICLE 21-1:
    The crime of high treason is punishable by forced labor for life without commutation of sentence.
    ARTICLE 114-2:
    No member of the Legislature shall be subject to civil imprisonment during his term of office.
    ARTICLE 115:
    No member of the Legislature may during his term be arrested under ordinary law for a crime, a minor offense or a petty violation, except by authorization of the House of which he is a member, unless he is apprehended in the act of committing an offense punishable by death, personal restraint or penal servitude or the loss of civil rights. In that case, the matter is referred to the House of Deputies or the Senate without delay of the Legislature is in session, and if not, it shall be taken up the next regular or special session.

  7. Spencer Cineus says:

    Finally we have someone who understands the due process of International laws. Great article Garry very well laid out. ??

  8. Stanley Ted says:

    Excellent post. I truly appreciate the article as I to was not familiar with Guy Philippe but came wind of all the new calculating after his arrest. One of Haiti biggest problem is the government and if we keep letting people that are troublesome at the least to get into power than how will it ever change. There needs to be a stop at some point, the cycle has to end, we have to move forward as a nation. We can’t do that if criminals [not saying Mr Phillipe is or not, that’s for the judge to decide] get elected and become immune to law that they swore to uphold and govern.

    One last point I have is that too many of our politicians love to run to NY, Miami or else where in the states to hide or do god knows what. That has to stop.

  9. Richard says:

    I’m in total agreement. I’m totally confused as to why this man who ruined our democracy has been receiving so much support from the Haitian community. This man was used to avoid a world celebration of 200 years of Haiti’s independence. I have absolutely no pity for him. He made is bed and now he must lay in it.

  10. Manny David says:

    This article is well written. Innocent until proven guilty and no one should be above the law. If Haiti is not organized enough to enforce the law to some privileged individuals with money and fame the US can. It’s a shame when a person is fleeing from the law is elected by a group of people that knows nothing better than corruptions. If Haiti is going to be led by a group of outlaw how promising will the future be for the youth. Haitian people should save their emotions and let GP be judged by the law and if he’s innocent he should be set free. When the policeman is a criminal where can the innocent get justice. If a drug dealer is a law maker or becomes president where is the pride of the country. Haiti is becoming little by little a joke to the international community because too many criminals are leading the country. The dignity of Haitians are disappearing slowly. It’s a shame how many people are complaining about the fact that man is arrested and nobody cares that a probable criminal is elected to lead a country with so much suffering.

  11. James says:

    This loser has been terrorizing the Haitian people and had the nerve to say that he is the son of Dessalines. Karma is a …… don’t drop the soap

  12. Claude Beaujuin says:

    This why I love reading the Haitian Times that was a great article and I think every Haitian should read it. Nevertheless, Mr. Phillipe
    is innocent until proven guilty and yes his coup in 2004 brought Haiti back ten years if not fifty years. Including disease such as Cholera that never existed in Haiti. And yes Mr. Phillipe thought he was above the law. Despite’s all the things Mr. Phillipe have done to destabilize Haiti I don’t think the United States of America has the right to go to Haiti and snatch a Haitian Citizen for crime he has committed in his homeland. Haiti would not dared do that to a US citizen who had committed any form of crime against Haiti. In addition the United States could have pick him up since 2004 since nothing goes in Haiti politic from whose going to be president or having a coup d’etat without the knowledge or the blessing of the United States government meaning perhaps Mr. Phillipe had permission or the blessing of the United States government to do all this craps in Haiti. Now that he’s no longer of service to the United States government he’s the bad guy. The problem with Haiti is since our independent in 1804 their never been any true rules of law or people could agree to disagree on certain political matters and at the end of the day goes home without fear of reprisal or even death. Just because of having a different political view. Until Haitians realized we are all Haitians with the same rights and freedom of speech freedom of having different political view sadly more innocent especially those that could help Haiti grow will continue to die and no one will never be held accountable for their crime against these people.Powerful nations will continue to tell us what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. For those Haitianss in the Diaspora that are asking for the release of Mr.Phillipe or funding to help him fight the United States Legal System. I don’t think they doing it because they love him rather theirs a lot more Haitian criminals who probably has killed more people in Haiti stole more money tied to drug trafficking that are living in Miami or elsewhere that the United States government have given them a free ride to come and live in the United States and elsewhere with all their illicit funds. While for reason only know to the United States Government Guy Phillipe ( like him or not) has become the sacrificial lamb and they demand the so called Haitian government to turn Mr. Phillipe over to them. And the Haitian government comply. Because they fear what the United can do to them.

  13. Val says:

    Moin gin problems avec American kote yo kite tout tan SA pase yo PA mache AL pran guy 1 .2 Pou tout moun SA yo kap vole lajan governments kap kidnapped malere yo epi tuye yo sak Fe PA gin okim response Pou Jan de bagay SA yo si guy koupab SE Pou l juge min sil PA koupab l hope yo PA fose mete charge SA sou dol mercie

  14. Val says:

    Moin PA konnin SA map gade nan YouTube si tout se vre mim si SE yon gagay ki ta verite Jan vole SA yo ap detuit la VI malere SA yo amba kap vole lajan leta SE Pou American desan anba mare tout malpropte SA yo epi Na gin yon Haiti anko bagay SA yo Fe moun ront ampil, ampil nan larue a tout moun kap pale de guy yo PA konnin si guy Fe anyin deja SE bondieu avec guy ki konnin sil Fe yo nou tout ta kontan si guy retounin Haiti sil PA koupab . nou konnin nan la VI SE PA tout moun kap rinmim guy it’s OK American bezoin mare yo paske SE vole yo ye yap vole Pou Madame yo avek pitit epi le yo mare yo yal pran prizon Pou kont yo egare yo yap mache AL kidnapped moun ki PA nan anyin avek yo tuye malere ki PA mim ka mamge Pou AL an riche pitit avek famm yo epi le yo mete yo amba kod SE lot neg ki pral rejuie sou Tet yo imbesil yo ye amba kod amba kod

  15. Carl says:

    Simple analysis for simple minds!

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