Published today by Narco News:
Security forces who are tearing down makeshift tent camps inhabited by Haitians displaced in last year’s earthquake were trained by Risks Incorporated, a US private security firm involved in torture trainings in Mexico, a Narco News investigation has found. Three camps in Delmas, a district in central Port-au-Prince, have been destroyed in the past week, sending families fleeing into the street with nowhere to go.
The Delmas Mayor’s Street Control Brigade, also known by the acronym BRICOR, helped carry out the evictions. Risks Incorporated’s Andrew Wilson, who also goes by the names “Orlando” and “Jerry,” confirmed in a telephone interview that he trained them in “use of force.” In 2008, Narco Newsrevealed that Wilson trained Mexican police in torture techniques in videos leaked to the Mexican press.
Videos posted in March 2009 on Risks Inc.’s YouTube page show a man training several dozen Haitian men in the then-partially-constructed city hall of Delmas Mayor Wilson Jeudy. Delmas is the largest municipal commune in Port-au-Prince, with at least 600,000 residents. “Yes, that’s me,” Wilson said by phone from Miami.
The men, wearing T-shirts bearing the Delmas Mayor’s emblem, perform exercises leaping over walls, kicking, and hitting tires on the ground with batons. In one scene, they practice controlling a boisterous demonstration. One group steps forward, jutting out their batons in striking motions, while the other chants in mock protest.
In the Mexico videos, Wilson is seen dragging a police trainee into his own vomit as punishment for an incomplete exercise, placing a man’s head into a dirty hole, and training police to squirt mineral water up the noses, another torture technique.
Mayor Jeudy and Daniel Antoine, the brigade chief, said in interviews last year that BRICOR received training from an American security contractor.
“BRICOR is a service that exists to control the streets, the merchants, and disorderly people. To put them in order,” Jeudy said, sitting in the pristine second floor hallway of the finished, palace-like city hall building. “[The American] was here to train them. . .We knew him from his work training the Haitian National Police.” Jeudy claimed the BRICOR training was done for free.
“The brigade is here to keep the streets clean and prevent merchants from selling in the streets,” Antoine said. “There’s a lot of disorder out there. . .and when foreign tourists come, they say, ‘This is so ugly.’”
He said his men had received training twice, the last time in November of 2009, with Delmas Police Commissioner Carl Henry, who commands the Haitian National Police in Delmas, in attendance.
Henry and Jeudy are reported to have threatened quake victims on the grounds of St. Louis Gonzague, an elite private school in Delmas, with forced expulsion as early as last February, only one month after the quake. Haitian National Police accompanied Jeudy’s forces in this week’s camp demolitions.
Jeudy said BRICOR is a 75-member unarmed force, without batons or guns, and is not authorized to make arrests. Yet they are seen training with batons in the Risks Incorporated videos and this reporter observed BRICOR personnel with handcuffs on their belts last year. The Miami Herald reported this week that security forces descended on a camp “wielding machetes and knives…tearing through the makeshift tents as unsuspecting campers fled for cover or yelled in protest.”
Journalist and organizer Etant Dupain raised the alarm about the evictions on May 23, after posting photos online of hundreds of tents scattered and smashed into the ground that day at Carrefour Aeroport, a prominent intersection. Two days later, another camp was destroyed. Dupain’s photos show the Haitian National Police and bulldozers on the scene, as well as an image of Jeudy with a man in a BRICOR uniform at his side. Another image shows a BRICOR-clad man ripping apart a tarp shelter with a knife.
Dupain believes about 350 families have been displaced. “I saw one family today,” he said by phone. “I know their names, they have three children. They’re in the street, still at Carrefour Aeroport. And it has rained since the camps were torn down.”