Sunday, June 05, 2005


Disarming Haitians remains one of the urgent mandates of the U.N. peacekeeping force on the Caribbean nation. But it also remains one of the most difficult. Armed gangs still rule in many parts of Haiti, and violence is only getting worse.

--story on NPR's All Things Considered today

... As Mrs. [Gehanne] Beaulieu arrived for work on Tuesday, in broad daylight, on the busy Rue des Miracles, three men carrying long guns forced their way into her car. Within the hour, they called her husband by cellphone and demanded $20,000....

...In just the past two weeks, gunmen fired on a United States Embassy van, and the State Department ordered all nonessential personnel to leave the country. A French honorary counsel, Paul-Henri Mourral, was shot to death on the road between Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, gunmen chased police officers into a popular market, and then set the market on fire, killing at least 10 people.

...authorities in the interim government and foreign diplomats estimate that 6 to 12 kidnappings occur in this city every day....

--story in tomorrow's New York Times

Gosh -- even though it goes unmentioned in the Times and NPR stories, you don't suppose the violence and crime in Haiti have anything to do with this, do you?

...the ATF has said that 25 percent of the gun smuggling cases handled by its Miami office during the past three years have involved firearms destined for Haiti. The island is the top foreign destination for guns exported illegally from South Florida.

...It is perfectly legal to buy large quantities of so-called "long guns," which include shotguns, AK-47 type copies and many other military-style weapons and ammunition without raising any red flags or reports to ATF, said retired ATF agent Gerald Nunziato. Nunziato was a special agent assigned to the creation of ATF's gun tracing database.

While traffickers break the law when they ship weapons overseas without the proper license, they are rarely caught, Nunziato said. A review of gun smuggling cases shows that even when they are caught, the sentences tend to be minor...

"They are rarely caught"? "The sentences tend to be minor"? Oh, sorry, I forgot -- we can't ever get serious about any shady gun trafficking, ever. That would piss off the NRA. Much better to let a whole country go to hell in a handbasket, right?

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