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"Did You See Youri Latortue?" A Creepy Roadblock at Midnight

A Creepy Roadblock at Midnight

by RICHARD MORSE

I saw a picture of Youri Latortue in The Chauvettes’ newspaper this morning. Makes me think that he may be the Parliamentary leader of recent events. Though Youri Latortue is based in Gonaives, according to the newspaper, he was in the south (Les Cayes) investigating "prices".

Youri, I believe, claimed Parliamentary Immunity when it was suggested that he may some how have been involved in illicit activities during previous governments including that of Aristide and that of Uncle Gerard Latortue. He might have even had a nickname back then. Uncle Gerard, if I remember correctly, had to be escorted to the airport by the American Ambassador. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was a thank you gesture.

On Sunday April 6, our band, RAM, performed in Ennery, just north of Gonaives, to celebrate Toussaint Lourverture. We played for a few thousand ecstatic people who seemed to know all the words of all the songs. We left Ennery at about 11 PM, drove through Gonaives, which was dark and quiet except for one local bar which had a biker scene going on. When we got past the town of L’Estere we came up to a police roadblock. We were out in the boonies by this time I might add.

The scene was a bit creepy. There were about a dozen police in a group and the police pickup had its lights flashing. I had seen the lights from about a mile away not quite knowing what they were. I turned on my inside lights to improve the chances of them recognizing me. When we stopped, a big stocky man, dusty, wearing a dirty white t-shirt (it was a dirt road) came up to the window on the passenger side. My wife was sitting there. He said he had been attacked. He introduced himself as a Deputy in the Haitian Parliament.

We told him we just came back from Ennery. He asked if Youri Latortue was there. We said we hadn’t seen him though we had seen several other deputies. By this time the car was surrounded by police, with the uneasy joy of recognizing RAM at a time like this.

People don’t usually hang out on deserted dirt roads around midnight. I was a bit concerned. When they saw my security man in the back seat, they recognized him, laughed a bit, held some conversations I couldn’t hear, everyone still uneasy, and they let us go. The next morning the demonstrations /attacks began in Port-au-Prince.

I can’t make heads nor tails of what that was all about. There were no more road blocks until we got just outside Port-au-Prince.

By the time we got home, around 3am, we went through about six roadblocks. None of the others had that creepy feeling …. None of the others asked us questions and no one mentioned Youri except the Deputy.

RICHARD MORSE runs the Olafsson Hotel Port-au-Prince Haiti and the leads the Haitian band RAM.