Cablegate: Tfha01: Embassy Port Au Prince Earthquake Sitrep As of 1800,
DE RUEHPU #0130/01 0370026
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 060024Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0316
INFO HAITI COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHAAA/WHITE HOUSE WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL IMMEDIATE
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE
UNCLAS PORT AU PRINCE 000130
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO MARR PREL PINR AMGT HA PGOV AID
SUBJECT: TFHA01: EMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE EARTHQUAKE SITREP as of 1800,
February 5, 2010
1. (SBU) Summary: Private sector representatives
pledged support to Preval for a common strategy. Minister of
Justice Paul Denis re-established activities at his Ministry and
appointed a new Chief Prosecutor and Dean of the Court of First
instance. The Government of Haiti (GOH) is struggling with
planning sufficient temporary settlements. The security situation
is stable as the National Police has returned to pre-earthquake
statistics for officers on duty. The risk of volatility, however,
remains, but can be mitigated by an outreach to opposition leaders
and sustained aid delivery. End Summary.
PRIVATE SECTOR MEETS PREVAL
2. (SBU) Key representatives of the private sector
met with President Preval and Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive on
February 4. A source close to the President's office and the
business sector told PolOff that the meeting ended on a positive
note, with the private sector representatives putting aside their
political differences and committing their support to President
Preval for a common strategy for reconstruction.
3. (SBU) Opposition parties and civil society
leaders have also proposed a common and unified strategy, but
remain critical of President Preval's leadership. Bellerive,
however, rejected calls by opposition parties and some senators for
a change in government. The Prime Minister argued that a change in
government would not improve aid delivery.
4. (SBU) The Ministry of Justice resumed its
activities in a new building downtown. The Minister of Justice,
Paul Denis, nominated Marie Jocelyne Casimir - a veteran of the
Court - as the Dean of the Court of First Instance, replacing the
diseased Rock Cadet. Joseph Manes Louis, just recently fired under
Prime Minister Pierre-Louis' government, will return to his
position as Chief Prosecutor. Denis has used the case of ten
American citizens held for alleged child trafficking as an example
that the justice system is still working, but several national and
local courts in the West and South departments (including the
Ministry and Supreme Court) were destroyed or rendered
non-functional by the earthquake and case work has yet to resume.
Court activities, however, are slowly returning to normal in the
remainder of the country.
5. (SBU) The GOH reportedly identified four new
planned settlement sites that may house up to 5,500 people. Other
sites are pending approval, but would in total host up to 65-80,000
people, a number still far short of what's needed. The GOH will
specifically have to tackle land tenure issues to enable the
creation of temporary settlements.
POLICE AND SECURITY
6. (SBU) 4,600 police officers reported for duty
in Port-au-Prince on February 3 despite the fact that no salaries
have been paid yet, according to Director General of the Haitian
National Police (HNP) Mario Andresol. This number is similar to
pre-earthquake statistics. HNP reports having arrested
approximately 100 of the 4,000 escaped prisoners.
7. (SBU) With U.N. and U.S. security forces
largely dedicated to the relief efforts, and the HNP tied down with
rebuilding itself, vigilantism is likely to rise. Canadian
officials reportedly witnessed the extra-judicial killing of
prisoners in the South by HNP officers, and reports indicate that a
kidnapper was killed by civilians in Port-au-Prince on February 5.
There are also reports that citizens in Cite Soleil killed two
returned gang leaders two weeks ago when they attempted to
re-establish control in their old zone, Ti Haiti. Probably as a
means of prevention, an HNP spokesperson publicly warned that the
lynching of "werewolves" (possessed spirits in voodoo belief) in
IDP camps will be prosecuted.
8. (SBU) Overall, the security situation remains
stable, except for sporadic incidents. However, with relief still
not reaching some individuals and allegations of corruption in aid
delivery, there is a risk that displaced persons (IDP) camps could
be utilized for political mobilization, including violent
demonstrations. Disgruntled political actors could leverage the
desperation and built-up frustration in IDP camps, where thousands
of homeless and jobless youth - easily manipulated - now reside,
to foment violence. The transition from the U.S. military to
civilian relief organizations and U.N. forces, combined with the
upcoming rainy season, may further challenge that stability (Note:
U.S. troops command significant influence in the Haitian "psyche;"
several reports indicate food deliveries managed by U.S. troops
have been smoother than those done by the United Nations).
Continued stability will largely depend on the extent to which
Preval is willing to reach out to estranged opposition leaders and
the sustained effectiveness of aid delivery, especially during the
hand-off from U.S. to U.N. forces.
9. (SBU) US naval officers were confronted by a
Venezuelan national following the structural evaluation of a
building requested by Haiti Port Authority officials on February 2.
The Venezuelan national (unconfirmed civilian or GBRV official)
accused U.S. personnel of being "occupiers," and claimed the
inspected building was in use by the Venezuelans. Press was on
scene and recorded the confrontation.