Haiti Stories

While IC and one cousin waited near the dock area for transportation to Cite-Soleil, they heard shooting at the docks. As she ran by them, one woman exclaimed that a passenger from their boat had been shot. Because of the shooting, IC and his cousin ran from the dock area. They separated and IC took side streets to his home in Cite-Soleil.

During IC's second day at home, soldiers came to IC's house and asked for him. His mother told them IC was not there. That same day, soldiers went to the house of IC's cousin, Lifete Similus (who had been repatriated with IC and had given the military his address at the docks), and arrested him. This cousin's body was found that same day on a street some distance from his house. The body was dressed in military clothing and riddled with bullets. IC did not see the corpse but his mother described the scene to him.

During the late afternoon of that same day, soldiers came into IC's house and arrested him. IC was handcuffed, shoved into a military truck, and taken to the National penitentiary. At the prison, he was put into a room with twelve other people. IC recognized five of these people as members of the group that had been repatriated with him on 18 November. They were all from Port-au-Prince and included (1) Bijou Villard, (2) Charles Ketson, (3) Joseph Wetserd, (4) Dieulifaite Francois, and (5) Emilias Francois.

The detainees were beaten daily with wet towels and were never fed. IC was not beaten and was fed because the soldier who was ordered to guard the cells had been IC's classmate. IC and this classmate, who had joined the military, Succes Linbord, had attended L'Ecole Wonderful together. This school is located in Douillard, outside of Port-au-Prince. IC's friend told IC to move to the back of the cell each time he knocked to retrieve prisoners. IC observed some of the beatings through a small hole and heard screams. His friend, the prison guard, described other beatings to him and told IC that some of the detainees had already been killed because they had fled Haiti. This guard told IC that the others would also be killed for the same reason.

IC was detained for three days. IC's friend planned an escape by bringing IC a woman's outfit. During the third day of detention, IC escaped from the prison, disguised as his friend's girlfriend. IC went to his home.

The next day, IC's friend, Succes Linbord, came to IC's house and informed IC that the prison chief had noticed IC's absence and demanded that Linbord bring IC forward. This friend urged IC to leave his neighborhood and told IC that he himself was going to escape to Santo Domingo.

After a few more hours at home, IC's family gave him money and told him to flee to La Gonave. IC therefore took a boat to La Gonave. As he was boarding the boat in La Gonave, military guards called out his name from a list, along with others, but IC did not respond and the soldiers did not recognize IC.

Upon arriving in La Gonave, IC met briefly with grandfather, who gave him food and told IC to stay in hiding. IC's grandfather informed him that he had heard IC's name announced on the radio, as a prison escapee who must be caught. IC went into hiding in the bush and survived on food from friends. On 9 January 1992, IC saw a boat leaving La Gonave. He hailed its passengers, explained his situation, and asked for their permission to board the vessel. The passengers let him aboard. IC recognized about twenty people, as members of the group that had been repatriated with him on 18 November. There was a total of 189 people aboard the vessel IC boarded in La Gonave.

(interviewed by INS/civilians three times since arrival in GTMO)

IC: Fito, Jean
DOB: 30 years old
POB: Petit-Goave
POR: Cite-Soleil (Port-au-Prince)

IC departed from Haiti on 10 November; IC was repatriated from GTMO on 17 November. IC was a campaign organizer ("mandateur") for the FNCD and threw his political documentation overboard before the USCG cutter arrived in Port-au-Prince on 18 November at 3:00 p.m. IC was repatriated with his common-law wife, [illegible] Bontemps, and child, Marie [illegible]. IC also notes that he was repatriated with IC [illegible].

IC noted presence of military, both in uniform and civilian clothing on the docks. IC was able to identify the civilians as members of the military due to the semi-automatic weapons they were toting. Several soldiers had the repatriates form two lines and led them into the Red Cross building.

In the building, the Red Cross read individual names from a manifest, in the presence of miliatry officials. Those called out were given $10. IC's wife's name was called and she was given $10. After IC's name was not called, he approached an official in civilian clothing for the $10. Official responded that (a) if his name was not on the list, he could not have come from the boat and (b) if he was indeed disembarked from the boat, he was part of the group which had denounced the Haitian authorities and his country to the United States, upon which IC subsided.

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