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Why Bernard Gousse should not be Haiti’s next prime minister

July 9, 2011

by Wadner Pierre

Haiti’s former Minister of (In)Justice Bernard Gousse, the choice of Haiti’s President Michel Joseph Martelly to be the country’s next prime minister, is well known amongst the masses in Haiti for his criminal record. The July 6 Miami Herald cites his “’God awful’ reputation as Haiti’s top law enforcement official.” – Photo: Wadner Pierre, 2009
In 2004, I was in Haiti living under the injustice Bernard Gousse inflicted on his own people while serving the Haitian elite and the “international community.” Like many of Gousse’s victims, I was driven into hiding after the arrest of the late Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a prominent Lavalas leader and human rights activist. Under the dictatorship of Gerard Latortue, Gousse ran the Ministry of Justice – an injustice machine that filled Haitian jails with political prisoners, usually targeting the most vulnerable.

Here are seven reasons why Gousse shouldn’t be Haiti’s next prime minister:

1) Gousse became the minister of justice after the 2004 coup against Haiti’s democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Gousse was considered one of the most powerful men in the U.S-backed regime that ruled from 2004 to 2006.

2) Among the people illegally jailed by Gousse were Fanmi Lavalas officials under Aristide such as former Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, former Minister of Interior Joselene Joceleme Privet and former legislator Amanus Maette. The allegations against all of them were shown to be completely baseless. In the case of Neptune, the illegality was so egregious that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ordered the Haitian government to pay Yvon Neptune reparations.

3) With Gousse’s enthusiastic support, the Haitian National Police, backed by U.N. troops, launched murderous raids on communities where support for Aristide was very strong, such as Cite Soleil.

The Miami-based Haitian grassroots organization Veye-Yo calls for the arrest of Bernard Gousse for the killing of Haitian people at a 2009 protest outside the Trump Plaza Hotel in North Miami Beach, where Gousse was attending the Haitian Diaspora Annual Congress. This protester’s shirt features a photo of the beloved priest and political leader Father Gerard Jean-Juste, founder of Veye-Yo, who died not long after his release from imprisonment in Haiti at the hands of Gousse. – Photo: Wadner Pierre
4) Since 2009, a Miami-based Haitian human rights group, Veye-Yo, founded by the late Father Jean-Juste, has called for the arrest of Bernard Gousse.

5) Gousse’s crimes occasionally attracted some notice in the corporate press. Below are some examples:

“Once again, one man has become the center of a political storm that threatens to foil this country’s uphill struggle for stability,” wrote Ginger Thompson in the June 16, 2005, New York Times article, “How Haiti’s Future May Depend on a Starving Prisoner.”

“Gousse also has been accused of ignoring alleged atrocities by police against pro-Aristide slum dwellers,” wrote Stevenson Jacobs in the June 16, 2005, Associated Press article, “Interim Justice Minister Resigns.”

However, his crimes are best documented in “Haiti Human Rights Investigation: November 11-21, 2004,” a very detailed report by Thomas Griffin of the University of Miami School of Law.

A year after his July 2004 arrest, Yvon Neptune, Haitian prime minister under President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, had still not been charged and had undertaken a series of hunger strikes in protest. New York Times writer Ginger Thompson reported: “When a visitor went to the two-story house where Mr. Neptune is being held, the former prime minister could not lift his bony body off a foam mattress on the floor of his cell. … ‘I feel weak,’ he said barely above a whisper.” The Times story noted, “On Tuesday, Justice Minister Bernard Gousse resigned, a move that may clear a final obstacle to Mr. Neptune's release.” – Photo: Thony Belizaire, AFP
6) The scale of the crimes committed by the Latortue dictatorship – in which Bernard Gousse played a major role – were revealed by a scientific study published by the Lancet Medical Journal in 2006. The study estimated 4,000 political killings perpetrated by Latortue’s securities forces and its armed allies.

7) There can be no true reconciliation without justice. The choice of Bernard Gousse is a clear signal that the rights of the Haitian people will continue to violated under the Martelly administration.

If Haiti’s current President Michel Martelly is not a U.S. puppet, he should arrest Gousse rather than appoint him as the head of his government. Anyone who has followed the situation in Haiti can see that Haitian people – in fact, anyone – deserves better than Bernard Gousse.

Wadner Pierre
Popular Haitian photojournalist Wadner Pierre is senior staff photographer for the Maroon and Wolf magazines at Loyola University New Orleans, where he is currently studying. Visit to help him reach his fundraising goal to return to Haiti this summer to investigate and write about social justice work in the aftermath of the Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake. Also visit his website,, and his blogs, and On The Journey of a Haitian Photojournalist, you are sure to find photos by Wadner that will print themselves indelibly on your heart and can be purchased and displayed for others to enjoy. Wadner can be reached at


30 thoughts on “Why Bernard Gousse should not be Haiti’s next prime minister

  1. Fen'm Vayan

    Are you serious?….Who the hell are you? Let me see, San Francisco, California…The Black Caucus, most of whom got rich under Arsitide, most under indictment right now…Negro please!!!!…Stay out of Haiti's Business…you people have done ennough to keep us where we are…Mr Gousse is the only Haitian I know who had the guts to tell Maxine Waters et al to "get the hell out of my country"….And for that alone, I hope he gets ratified. Stay out of Haiti…

  2. Ayisienn

    the lavalas propaganda machine at it again!!! wadner pierre, kim ives, jacqueline charles, all Lavalas mouth piece pretending to be subjectives. I suppose yvon Neptune role in the St. Marc Massacre had nothing to do with his arrest. People need peace and security in Haiti and we need someone like goouse who's not scared of lavalas crooks (pou met lod nan dezod) to create order out of chaos

  3. JJB

    Well Wadner you forgot to mention why Mr Gousse were after Lavalas ( Kokorat). They made people's life a living hell. The Aristide's Governement did what ever they could to keep power by providing arms to Gang even under age kids to kill people. Gousse was right . I think you should be ashamed of yourself to write a piece like that.

  4. michel

    Very well said Pierre. This man, Gousse is responsible for so many deaths and so many heartaches. The undisputed facts are on your side for anyone with any ounce of objectivity to pursue on their own, do the research folks don’t take the author’s word look it up. Keep exposing the truth. I will support. you in any way I can.

  5. Guy

    excellent piece wadner. The people trying to rag on you above do not even realize that you have spent most your life in Haiti, and witnessed every single day of the interim regime.

    1. Vitch

      False!! I lived in Haiti during that period. I came to the US in 2005. I witnessed everything that happenned. I wasn't a game. Many friends of mine were kidnapped, one because he dared pass through bel air. I had close family friend living in Bel Air suffering. One of my friend who was kidnapped, was supposed to get married, she died soon after her release. How can someone defend the indefendable. The Lavalas Regime were not Saint, and not all Lavalas were persecuted. I also had close family friend who very big in the Lavalas, to the point that I benefited and could have benefited even more if I wanted. But they were not in hiding. I remember one who came to my house and we were making fun of him when his regime fell. So don't tell me that they were innocent political victim. I've seen the regime, I've lived under, benefited to a point from it but I can tell you, they were not saint. And it is an insult to defend what the gang were doing in the 2004 period.

    2. Vitch

      They were not peacefull people that were attacked, they were blind killers attacking whoever no matter the age, sex or origin. Stop shedding tears for the likes of Dread Wilme, Grenn Sonnen and others. Talking about Grenn Sonnen, another close family friend, whos a security for the APN Director, was killed and burned at Delmas 33. He left a wife son and daughters, go tell them that these criminels were innocents.

  6. Nathalie Pierre

    Some day you will realise the truth.

    It’s just that haitian doesn’t have the culture to file in justice against their oppressor.

    To show them that practice that’s why Bernard Gousse arrested the 2 people who were mostly involved in the massacre in Saint-Marc’s neighbourhood called La Scierie.

    If not the armed rebells would have brought a chaotic situation were Lavalas leaders would have just been killed, not judged.

    Bernard Gousse made sure this didn’t happen during his tenure and dismantled the rebels after Aristide departure in February 2004. Lavalas leaders have to be grateful to Bernad Gousse if they are alive now, because the armed rebels would have not sparred their lives.

    Instead, the LAvalas leaders orchastred the so called Baghdad Operation, which was a violent and armed operation not against the armed rebels but against innocent people and even police officer poorly armed (because of the arms embargo imposed on HAiti by the American Government).

    Everybody knows that this operation the same day foreign finance leaders were about to sign for hundred of millions of USD to help haiti rebuilt its economy afte Aristide’s departure.

    More than a 1000 thousand people have been kidnapped, tortured, raped, some decapited on a daily basis only in Port-au-Prince during this BAghjdad Operation led only to argue that Bernard Gousse can’t bring peace and justice in Haiti.

    Bernard Gousse wanted fair trials, security and justice to prevail during his tenure, but they made him fail because of the Americam Embargo on arms in Haiti (which prevented the Haitian Police of being well equiped), the evident complicity of the Black Caucus which never blamed the Baghda Operation and its leaders, the fear of the Haitian people realising that they would not have enough protection if they file for justice against their oppressors which at that time were lavalas leaders.

    The hypocrisy has to stop. Bernard Gousse can be compared to Elliot Ness against the incomprehension of the international community, the LAvalas leaders and the fear of the real good passive Haitian people.

    Bernard Gousse was alone and is still alone just because he beleives in fair trials, justice, respect of the laws and above all respect of Haiti as a country who should be able to exist and function just as any other respected country in the world.

  7. Harry Comeau

    @ Fen'm Vayan: You are telling another Haitian to stay out of Haiti's Business and you expect to be taken seriously. @ Ayisienn: Someone should linger in jail for months with no due process because of his alleged role in a so-called massacre and you called that "pou met lod nan dezod" no wonder why you would like Gousse to be confirmed. @ JJB The Aristide's Government did whatever they could to keep power. How interesting? The man was elected twice and did not fully serve either ( overthrown in September 30, 1991 and February 29, 2004) Please next time bring sound arguments.

    1. Le Profete Louis

      Si gen yon ayisyen kap sipote lavalas toujou, sa vledi ayisyen sa a pa renmen ayiti. Bay kou bliye pote mark sonje, sou gouvenman aristid la, polisye yo te tankou ti chien, li te fe chime touye yo a nenpot ki moman, pat gen sekirite nan peyi a, polisye yo te oblije pran lanme pou yo, yo te al echwe jis jamayik ak tout iniform polis yo sou yo, ak tout zanm yo sou yon ti boat , Mesi Gouvenman Jamayik la, li te byen akeyi polisye sa yo, se mwen menm ki te enterpret polisye sa yo. pou kounye a tout moun sa yo ap fe sanblan ke yo bliye tout bagay sa yo. Fok Aristid jije kanmem ak tout lavalas kriminel sa yo. Yo te konn di makout te bandi, se moun lavalas sa yo ki kriminel. Nou Bezwen Bernard Gousse pou mete baton nan wou kidnape yo, arete kadejake yo, arete kriminel kap touye biznisman nou yo, li le li tan pou ayti pran yon souf, ouf ouf ouf, lavalas mezanmi, ale de miun yo mechan

  8. Nathalie Pierre

    Well orchastred propaganda! Bravo once again! And once again Haiti is the loser! (Not allowed to provide materials for the Police because of the American embargo on arms on Haiti, + Baghdad Operation with well armed people backed by Lavalas leaders killing and kidnapping people daily + International investors not able to invest in the country due to this instable situation = Bernard is not good!) Yeah yeah you are right! Good job! So please take care of Haiti if you can, with your so called majority in Parliament, oh I forgot, with the money Preval piled-up thanks to Aristide’s popularity and very good work! Time will tell someday who is right.

  9. Jaby

    Pierre needs to tell the truth, they can’t let gang and bandits lead a country. To me Haiti needs another dictator again, because haitian peoples can’t live in democracy, this is my opinion. As Haitian @ Pierre Wadner, if u said this is not right to arrested Yvon Neptune after been accused over st marc mass murder and Pere Gerard Jean Juste for saying Kidnaping fenk kormanse at the fineraille of Jack Roche. U are a good Haitian bro. Kolan gyet manmanw

  10. Fen'm Vayan

    @ Comeau: Unfortunately lingering in jail in Haiti is constitutional…La prison preventive est constitutionelle en Haiti. He is from Haiti? Wow! You would not think so the way lap denigre peyi li…I still think he needs to stay away…He is a Lavalas mouthpiece…that is all. Gousse may not make it, but if he does I hope he goes after the rest of those Lavalas apatrides.

  11. jean jacques dessalines

    life to lavalas …life to Haiti …

    Aristide is prosperity… Aristide is dignity …

    Aristide is schhol and hospital for all…

    down all the makout restavek politiciens….

    down all the international racists…

    Bernard Gousse is for franchise douaniere, to persecute and kiiling progressive lerders, Bernard is for injuustice … is for misery against the Haitian people….

  12. RichardL

    @ Comeau: so people that are pro-democracy (as lavalas won in elections) are mouthpieces and should stay away? You are a very undemocratic person. You are anti-debate and free thought. You also have a lot of time to spend on the internet. Thank god for people like wadner- giving us insight into how most the people of haiti feel and think but few have the privilege of high speed internet to argue with people like Comeau.

  13. Le Profete Louis

    Pou sa moun lavalas sa yo te fe peyi a, se pa nan prizon selman pou yo te ale. Aristid pile timoun piti nan pilon, Aristid mete zam nan men timoun 8 ans pou al terorize peyi a, Aristid mete chimer pou destabilize peyi a, ooooohhhh mezanmi,ala kote moun lavalas sa yo mechan, se yo menm ki fe plis krim nan peyi a, moun sa yo te konn boule moun tou vivan, mwen pase se tout konnsekans sa yo ki vin fe ti ter haiti a modi konsa. Met Bernard Gousse merite Honore pou bon travay de sekirite sa a li te fe an 2004, Bondye gen poul beni l ak tout fannmi li. Moun Chime rat pa kaka Aristid yo te mete yon operasyon kriminel ki te rele operasyon bagdad pou detrui tout ayisyen konsekan an ayiti, si se pat Met Bernard Gousse,atoufe san manman sa yo tap fin detrui tout peyi a net. Atoufe lavalas sa yo te konn viole timoun 6 ans nan de je paran yo. Mezanmi mwen konnen Bondye ap bayo yon santans kanmem.

  14. NomoneyforHaitithugs

    I'm completely disgusted that US money has gone to support these vile and violent creeps, Gousse and co. What kind of person defends this kind of depravity? Bernard Gousse called notorious death squad leader Jodel Chamblain a freedom fighter and freed him from his conviction for the Raboteau Massacre. Enuf said.

  15. Bel Air

    @ Le Profete Louis Ou se yon moun fou ki gen vale nan pwopagann nan elit la rich medya yo. Mwen espere ke ou ka pale ak moun yo ki nan peyi a ak katye popilè yo aprann verite a sou demokrasi ak òganize kolektif.

  16. bena pride

    what were you doing in haiti? join the operation? there is nothing wrong with fighting bernard gousse for acting against operation bagdad. what is wrong is you bagdatists , now that you formally and publicly taking reponsibility of the operation, need to take responsibility for all the victims? you shoud take bernard gousse to court for tring to stop the killings and therefore slow you down. On the other hand, the government should go after all of you who are defending the right to kidnap and kill.

  17. haitian born

    bernard gousse is great man , i like the guy he would be one of the greatest PM .people who don't like him those are the people who in violation with the law or intend to violate the law .
    i wish him the best in life and agreat future in haitian politic.

  18. Franck

    Ban'n moun sa yo,mwen pat espere plus ke sa de nou apre sa Aristide fe pou nou ak lajan peyi a ansan'm ak tout Black C….whatever sa yo rele nou an,se paske nou pat nan mizer yo ki fe nap pale konsa,viv Bernard Gousse ankor ki juska prezan sove ampil ti moun elev lekol e tan dot paran ankor.Kom rekompans plume sa wap ekri fatra sa yo li menm ankor kap kondane'w.Ban'n apatrid.

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