Group protests Haiti ‘intervention’

U students and professors gathered near University Avenue and Highway 280.

by Amy Horst

A group of protesters gathered near University Avenue Southeast and Highway 280 on Thursday evening to oppose what they said is U.S. intervention in the Feb. 5 overthrow of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Ruben Joanem, a University French professor who is from Haiti, said there is no way the rebels could have overthrown Aristide. In the past, he said, they did not have the resources for a coup.

“It was not a popular uprising,” Joanem said. “It happened through an outside infusion of money and weapons.”

The new rebel government is causing havoc in Haiti, University biochemistry senior Especianise Loresca said.

“If you are a supporter of Aristide, you get killed; you get tortured by the rebels,” Loresca said.

Loresca’s parents and seven siblings are in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince, where U.S. Marines recently entered to secure the U.S. Embassy. Loresca said when she spoke to her family four days ago, they were in good health but frightened.

She said they are particularly worried because a senator who lives a block away from her family was robbed and abducted from his home a few days ago.

Protest organizers estimated that approximately 100 to 200 people were at the protest, but Senior Cmdr. Gregory Pye of the St. Paul Police Department estimated attendance at 30 to 35 people. The protest was peaceful, he said.