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Letter to the government of Brazil concerning the safe return of Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine

20 May 2008

HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA,
Brazilian Ambassador to the United States
3006 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 90008

HER EXCELLENCY, MS. THERESA MARIA M. QUINTELLA,
Consul General of Brazil
8484 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

YOUR EXCELLENCY,

It is time, after nine months of uneasy anxiety, that some authority charged in the name of the international community with responsibility for security in Haiti, advise the international community, that is, the international public, of its findings in regard to the scandalous kidnapping or disappearance of Haitian citizen and patriot, MR. LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE.

The date of MR. PIERRE-ANTOINE’S disappearance is well established. It is also known that he had been helping human rights delegations from two countries the USA and Canada, countries with famous courts and parliaments.

Please do not misunderstand this appeal. It has great hope in the United Nations as a peacekeeping agency and much hope in the evolution of democracy in Brazil, which holds a leading position in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. My disappointment is therefore considerable. Every son and daughter of Haiti deserves the protection of the law and of special international arrangements. LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE is a son of Haiti, one who is well-known in the region and is becoming better known in the world. His international reputation is a standard of judgment of the peacekeeping force. Their reputation will rise or fall with his fortunes. In the present day world, news of violations is highly saleable.

The world knows of no position by the official agencies in Haiti, whether domestic or international, on this important instance of inhumanity. When this matter was raised from the floor at a Conference on Haiti’s children at a University in San Diego, USA, the Ambassador of Haiti to the USA made a spirited response. Not only did he establish the non-involvement of the government of Haiti in the kidnapping of LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE, but he effectively defended the government, assuring the audience that it had no hand in the unfortunate affair. No one had even suggested that it had. He said that Mr Pierre-Antoine was probably a rival candidate of some other person and hinted that in such circumstances disappearances have sometimes occurred. I do not have a record of his statement before the gathering, and I am open to any correction he or any other party may wish to offer.

All the Ambassador was able to do was to vindicate the Haitian government. But MR. PIERRE-ANTOINE’S lawyer was present and rose to rebuke the government for its silence and its alleged failure to exercise its national responsibility.

The government of Haiti being ruled out as complicit in MR. PIERRE-ANTOINE’S absence, the hemisphere to which Haiti has always been central turns its searchlight on that multinational force considered to be of vital assistance to a historically crippled domestic government, and on the leadership of that force, the Republic of Brazil, a major hemispheric partner. Their presence there leads the uninformed to presume that they are there to supply the kind of expertise and clout which cannot be expected of the government in Haiti’s present circumstances. In these times of secretly employed but widely known intrusive surveillance, satellite observation on land, sea and air, clandestine wiretapping and other equipment useful in both offence and defense, there is a credibility gap. The public is not inclined to believe that a few thugs in Haiti have so completely baffled the humane capacity of the leading States of the hemisphere.

This matter of the disappearance of MR. LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE must therefore be taken to the bemused population of the hemisphere and the world at present waiting with impatience for some word of encouragement from the United Nations and its peacekeeping forces.

These forces must be aware of the kidnapping and disappearance of Haiti’s first Prime Minister, TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE. The French regime of that time, a regime of soldiers, treated TOUSSAINT’S fate with a silence similar to that with which MR. PIERRE-ANTOINE’S kidnapping is now being treated. Is this French model the model for the UN troops and its officials?

Questions rush to mind. The hemisphere certainly and the international community wish to know what task force has been set up to track the disappearance of LOVINSKY and other persons, regardless of their political attachment, who may be less well-known but in similar circumstances.

It is possible to have wrong notions about what happened to LOVINSKY. It is possible to make statements and then find the need to revise them. Is it possible in an age such as this, known for invasive surveillance, for criminal secrets to be so well-kept?

In the military context of a peacekeeping force, silence for two weeks on the part of the Commanding Authority may be advisable, after it has made an initial statement of concern assuring the public of its active pursuit of the offenders. Silence for three weeks may be cause for concern, yet understandable if it had given the necessary assurances. Silence for nine months becomes its opposite, and is no longer silence but an eloquent confession of incapacity, or worse, lack of concern.

If a citizen of LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE’S prominence and popularity can be “caught up in the air”: then the fate of the unknown citizen in Haiti under the aegis of the United Nation’s force is not an enviable one.

Questions persist: When did the authorities first hear of this kidnapping? What specific steps have they taken? Who is keeping PIERRE-ANTOINE’S wife and their children informed? Are there no suspects? Is the kidnapping seen as self-inflicted? Have the suspects, if any, evaded the UN’s multi-national capacity? Were there secret landings of aircraft unknown to the official guardians? Was he spirited away in a small boat and have all suspects been called in? Has LOVINSKY PIERRE-ANTOINE been rendered? Where are the international media, famous for increasing effectiveness? Have state and media conspired not to investigate the fate of this man? Is he held by the forces of law and order, and if so where are his rights? If he is held, on what allegations or reasonable suspicion? Was this man, who was well known for his committed to non-violence and aimed to become a senator, suspected of planning to blow up the parliament?

Your Excellency, MS. THERESA MARIA M. QUINTELLA,

I ask you to transmit this letter to your government in Brazil without delay. Out of respect for President Lula as an elected Head of State the author shall release it to the international media in the Region and in all continents not before the end of the second day of its dispatch to the Head Consulate Officer of Brazil in Los Angeles.

Yours sincerely,
EUSI KWAYANA

Cc:

United Nations Secretary-General
Congresswoman Maxine Waters
Amnesty International
Pax Christi
Global Women’s Strike, Los Angeles
Haiti Action Committee

**Mr. Eusi Kwayana is a distinguished elder from Guyana, known by many throughout the Caribbean region. He was central in bringing together Afro and Indo people in Guyana’s independence struggle.