Dominican President Leonel Fernandez told State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Patrick Duddy in January of 2006, according to a cable released by Norway’s largest newspaper, that he suspects Brazilian MINUSTAH military commander Urano Bacellar was assassinated by a paramilitary-type group, possibly led by Guy Phillippe. Fernandez said he believes Bacellar did not commit suicide and there had been a cover-up.
Fernandez inquired about the circumstances surrounding the death of Brazilian Army General Urano Teixeira da Matta Bacellar. DAS Duddy confirmed that all indications pointed to suicide. Fernandez expressed skepticism. He had met General Bacellar; to him, suicide seemed unlikely for a professional of Bacellar´s caliber. Fernandez said he believes that there is a small group in Haiti dedicated to disrupting the elections and creating chaos; that this group had killed MINUSTAH members in the past (a Canadian and a Jordanian, and now the Brazilian General); and that there would be more violence against MINUSTAH forces as the election date approaches. The President said he knew of a case in which a Brazilian MINUSTAH member had killed a sniper. Although he allowed that Bacellar´s death might be due to an accidentally self-inflicted wound, he believes that the Brazilian government is calling the death a suicide in order to protect the mission from domestic criticism. A confirmed assassination would result in calls from the Brazilian populace for withdrawal from Haiti. Success in this mission is vital for President Lula of Brazil, because it is part of his master plan to obtain a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.
(SBU) DAS Duddy restated his understanding that the evidence pointed to suicide and that the specific circumstances of the other assassinations in all likelihood ruled out a conspiracy. (S) Fernandez elaborated further on his hypothesis: there was a cover-up of an assassination and that more attacks would occur. He was firm in this view and repeated the warning. (S) The Ambassador asked who might be behind such an attack. Fernandez said he did not know. He commented that in the case of the demonstrations against his visit to Port au Prince in December 2005, Haitian activist Guy Philippe had organized the effort. Fernandez said that Philippe had people working for him inside the National Palace.
Fernandez´s Visit to Haiti
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(U) DAS Duddy praised Fernandez on his handling of the aftermath of the Port au Prince demonstrations. (SBU) Fernandez retrieved from his desk a book of photos from the visit. He described his visit to the National Palace in Port au Prince: the growing crowd, his uneasiness, the lack of security, the “ambush” of his motorcade as they were leaving, machine gun fire, and the role of Dominican helicopters and MINUSTAH troops in rescuing the motorcade. (S) He said that entities within Haiti had killed MINUSTAH troops via sniper attack on previous occasions, and he believed they would do so again. Their goal was chaos. “Imagine,” he said, “the chaos that would have resulted if they had killed me in Haiti. There would have been wholesale persecution of Haitians in the Dominican Republic.” For this reason he had downplayed the incident to the press, but the truth was that it had been very serious.
Read up on the other Haiti-related disclosures in Wikileaks cables here.