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Context of 'January 1, 2004: First Investment Bank Launched in Haiti; Some Shareholders Have Dubious Pasts'

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On April 18 and 22, 1994, members of the Haitian Armed Forces and the paramilitary Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti (FRAPH) enter the coastal slum of Raboteau on the outskirts of the city of Gonaives. They break into “dozens of homes, beating, and arresting those they found inside,” the BBC will recount several years later. Several of the victims are “tortured on site” and “forced to lie in open sewers” while others are shot as they try to escape. [Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; BBC, 10/4/2004; Center for Justice and Accountability, 1/10/2005] Between two dozen and one hundred deaths are attributed to the Raboteau Massacre. The number will remain undetermined, however, because the attackers kill many who are fleeing in boats and whose bodies fall into the sea. Additionally, the killers toss several bodies of people killed on the land also into the ocean. Days later, mutilated bodies wash back to shore. [St. Petersburg Times, 9/1/2002; Amnesty International, 3/10/2004; Center for Justice and Accountability, 1/10/2005] Among those who will be convicted for the atrocity are Louis-Jodel Chamblain and Jean Pierre Baptiste. [Human Rights Watch, 2/27/2004; Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; Amnesty International, 3/10/2004; BBC, 10/4/2004; Center for Justice and Accountability, 1/10/2005]

Entity Tags: Louis-Jodel Chamblain, Jean Pierre Baptiste, “Jean Tatoune”

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

The Haiti Democracy Project (HDP) is formally established. At its official launching, which takes place at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., speakers warn that the current “crisis” in democracy in Haiti is worsening at an ever increasing pace. “… Luigi Einaudi opened the talks with dire predictions that Haiti was fast approaching a point where diplomatic means would no longer contribute to solve the crisis. According to Einaudi, those concerned about Haiti should at this time be gathering for a ‘wake.’ The rapidly deteriorating economic situation, the inability of the main protagonists to advance the negotiating process and the increasing protest demonstrations throughout the country made for a very bleak future.” US ambassador to the OAS, Roger Noriega also speaks at the ceremony. At one point, Noriega says, referring to the contested 2000 Haitian elections (see May 21, 2000), “We have to get them [The Haitian people] that opportunity as they will not participate in a farce.” [Haiti Democracy Project, 11/20/2004] Attending the event are some questionable figures including Stanley Lucas and Olivier Nadal. Lucas is said to be the point man in Haiti for the USAID-financed International Republican Institute, which is providing training and funds to anti-Aristide Haitian rebels in the Dominican Republic (see (2001-2004)). Nadal is a Miami-based Haitian businessman and the former president of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce. [Haiti Democracy Project, 11/20/2004] 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 Progres, 7/21/1999; National Coalition for Haitian Rights, 4/24/2004] The prominent businessman Antoine Izmery said shortly before he was murdered that Nadal had been one of the financiers of the 1991 coup d’etat (see October 31, 1991) that ousted Aristide from office. And in 1994, the United States government froze Nadal’s assets because of his suspected involvement in the coup. [Haiti Progres, 7/21/1999] The Haiti Democracy Project is funded by the wealthy, right-wing Haitian Boulos family, which owns several companies including Pharval Pharmaceuticals, the USAID-funded Radio Vision 2000, the Delimart supermarket, and Le Matin. In February 2002, Rudolph Boulos was under investigation for his possible involvement in the assassination of Haitian journalist Jean Dominique who had been very critical of Pharval after contamination of the company’s “Afrebril and Valodon” syrups with diethyl alcohol had resulted in the deaths of 60 children. [Haiti Progres, 7/21/1999; Haiti Weekly News, 2/28/2002; Knight Ridder, 3/11/2004; Haiti Democracy Project, 11/20/2004] The project’s board of directors includes Rudolph Boulos, CEO of Pharval Laboratories; Vicki Carney of CRInternational; Prof. Henry F. Carey of Georgia State University; Timothy Carney, US ambassador to Haiti (1998-1999); Clotilde Charlot, former vice-president of the Haitian Association of Voluntary Agencies; Lionel Delatour of the Center for Free Enterprise and Democracy (CLED); Ira Lowenthal, an “Anthropologist”; Charles Manus; Orlando Marville, Chief of the OAS electoral mission to Haiti in 2000; James Morrell, the Haiti Democracy Project’s executive director; Lawrence Pezzullo, US special envoy for Haiti (1993-1994); and Ernest H. Preeg, US ambassador to Haiti (1981-1983). [Haiti Democracy Project, 3/26/2004]

Entity Tags: Luigi Einaudi, Lionel Delatour, Orlando Marville, Roger Francisco Noriega, Stanley Lucas, Vicki Carney, Timothy Carney, Lawrence Pezzullo, Rudolph Boulos, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Olivier Nadal, James Morrell, Antoine Izmery, Charles Manus, Ernest H. Preeg, Clotilde Charlot, Henry F. Carey, Ira Lowenthal, Jean Dominique, Haiti Democracy Project

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Seventy wealthy Haitians and Haitian-Americans officially launch Haiti’s first investment bank, PromoCapital. The bank, a 50/50 joint-venture between Haitian and US shareholders, consists of two institutions: PromoCapital Haiti, SA—incorporated in Haiti as a “Societe Financiere de Developpement” —and PromoCapital USA, Inc,—a corporation registered in the state of Delaware. [PromoCapital, 4/2/2004; USA Today, 4/29/2004] The bank’s headquarters are in Petionville, Haiti with representative offices in Washington, DC, and Aventura, Florida. [PromoCapital, 4/2/2004; USA Today, 4/29/2004] Its founder, Dumarsais Simeus, who owns a large food-processing business in Texas, says the bank’s investors hope to see annual returns on their investment in the mid- or high teens. He is also the chair of PromoCapital USA. Henri Deschamps, a prominent Port-au-Prince printing and media executive, is the chairman of PromoCapital Haiti. [PromoCapital, 4/2/2004; USA Today, 4/29/2004] Of the 70 names included on the list of PromoCapital shareholders, nine—Frederic Madsen, Gilbert Bigio, Gregory Brandt, Marc-Antoine Acra, Monique Bigio, Olivier Acra, Ronald Georges, Reuven Bigi, and Sebastien Acra—appear on a US Treasury Department list of people and organizations whose assets had been blocked by the US Department of Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control under the Clinton Administration, until 1994. [US Department of the Treasury, 1994] And one of them, Hans Tippenhauer, had told The Washington Post on February 23 that the Haitians had enthusiastically greeted the paramilitary rebel forces as “freedom fighters.” [Washington Post, 2/24/2004]

Entity Tags: Michael Gay Sr., Monique Bigio, Josseline Colimon-Féthière, May Parisien, Olivier Acra, Nadege Tippenhauer, Marc-Antoine Acra, Laurence Bigio, Laurent Pierre-Philippe, Joelle Coupaud, Joseph Baptiste, Julio Bateau, Kimberly Simeus, Patrice Backer, Magdalah Silva, Patrick Delatour, PromoCapital, Patrick Tardieu, Steeve Handal, The Simeus Foundation, Vanessa Dickey, Yael Bigio-Garoute, Yves Joseph, Serge Pinard, Serge Parisien, Sebastien Acra, Régynald Heurtelou, Jerry Tardieu, Reginald Villard, Patrick Moynihan, Reuven Bigio, Rudolph Berrouët, Rudolph Moise, Ronald Georges, Jean-Robert Vertus, Jon Robertson, Jean-Marie Wolff, Elda James, Esq., Elisabeth Delatour, Emile Corneille, Emmanuel Francois, Florence Bellande Robertson, Jean-Pierre Saint-Victor, Frantz Bourget, Dimy Doresca, Daniel Silva, Albert Levy, Axan Abellard, Carlet Auguste, Caroline Racine, Daniel Rouzier, Daniele Jean-Pierre, Esq., Fred Tony, Dumarsais M. Siméus, Fritz Fougy, Henri Deschamps, Hendrik Verwaay, Henry Paul, Jacques Deschamps Fils, Herve Francois, Jean-Henry Céant, Harriet Michel, Gregory Brandt, Gabrielle Alexis, Esq., Gary Jean-Baptiste, Hans Tippenhauer, Frederic Madsen, Gerd Pasquet, Gilbert Bigio, Georges J. Casimir

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

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