Haiti: professor killed, union funding threatened

On March 12 several hundred Haitian students and activists gathered at a memorial service for Jean Anil Louis-Juste, a sociology professor at the State University of Haiti (UEH) who was shot dead in downtown Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12 a few hours before a massive earthquake hit the city. A well-known author and activist, Louis-Juste was a strong supporter of the militant student movement that erupted in the spring and summer of 2009.

Witnesses reportedly said men on a motorcycle approached Louis-Juste at the corner of Capois Street and La Fleur du Chêne as he was leaving the university and asked for money. When Louis-Juste said he didn’t have any, the men gunned him down with one bullet to the head and two to the chest, the witnesses said. Activists expressed doubt that a killing in broad daylight in that area could have been a simple mugging. (Haiti Press Network, Jan. 12; Haïti Liberté, Haiti and New York, March 10-16)

In other news, General Motors de Brasil, the Brazilian subsidiary of the giant US automaker, has announced that it will block payroll check-offs that the Metal Workers Union of São José dos Campos and the Region asked to be donated for earthquake relief to Haitian grassroots organizations, including the leftist labor organizing group Batay Ouvriye (Workers’ Struggle). An assembly of 6,000 GM workers approved the one-time donation of 1% of their pay on Feb. 11. The GM workers’ pledge was part of a Brazilian campaign that has already sent about 160,000 reais ($89,000) to Haiti. (AlterPresse March 24 from Brasil de Fato, São Paulo)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, March 28

See our last post on Haiti.