"Sarodj Bertin had a privileged childhood in Puerto Principe [Port-au-Prince] until age 9, when her mother, lawyer and opposition leader Mireille Durocher Bertin, was gunned down after announcing the creation of a political party that would compete with that of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the upcoming elections."
"Gen. George A. Fisher, the U.S. military commander here, knew at least 10 days before Mireille Durocher was murdered that the outspoken anti-government figure was the target of a serious assassination plot allegedly involving Haitian Interior Minister Mondesir Beaubrun [a charge Beaubrun vehemently denied], American and Haitian sources said Wednesday.
These officials said Fisher wrote to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government, outlining the plot. As a result, Justice Minister Jean-Joseph Exume called Durocher in and told her that U.S. military intelligence believed she was in real danger. Although advised "to take all precautions," she did not get protection from U.S. or Haitian forces, the sources said.
[...] Durocher, 38, was a lawyer closely linked to former Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the Haitian army commander who led the September, 1991, coup that overthrew Aristide. She also served as chief of staff for Emile Jonassaint, the puppet civilian president installed by Cedras in 1994."
"But the dream didn't last for long. As 1995 progressed, friction between Aristide and the U.S. began to surface. For example, on March 28, three days before President Clinton was to visit Haiti, a putschist political figure, Mireille Durocher Bertin was publicly assassinated. The hit was never solved but its highly professional execution suggests it was a CIA operation carried out to smear Aristide and embarrass Clinton.In the U.S. mainstream press, Bertin was lionized as an "opposition figure" and "an expert in international law." Listen to the beginning of a March 31 Associated Press dispatch movingly titled, "Her Last Days" by Michelle Faul: "She was setting up an opposition party running her busy law office, redecorating her home, writing and publishing a newsletter, and making time to educate her four children."
"There is no doubt that President Aristide's reputation has been severely blemished," said a prominent intellectual critical of the old order. "The killing is a major blow to President Aristide -- and to President Clinton."
In the couple's massive stone house in the hills high above the city, John Bertin recalled it differently. "I, as head of the family, was not notified," he said stiffly, and added that a phone call from the Justice Minister [Jean-Joseph Exume] to his wife told her only not to worry and did not warn of the plot.
Haiti Info, Vol. 3, no. 13, 8 April 1995
The most famous attack was the well-executed assassination of staunch coup supporter Mireille Durocher Bertin and Eugene Baillergeau, a former pilot for coup-leader Lt. General Raoul Cedras, obviously timed to throw a wrench in the celebrations.The case has all the necessary ingredients: the more well-known victim is an outspoken enemy of Aristide and the democratic movement, two brothers, labeled "ultra-leftists" by the local and international reactionary press, have confessed to a similar plot and have implicated Aristide's Minister of the Interior, and well before the murder (in mid-March), rumors of a "hit list" of Aristide enemies began to surface in the U.S. (not the Haitian) press.Whether the intended victim was Durocher Bertin, a lawyer who was frequently at anti-Aristide demonstrations, who led the effort to impeach Aristide, who served as counselor to de facto President Emile Jonassaint's ministerial council and who recently founded a political party which was said to be supported by the National Democratic Institute, or Baillergeau, as some have speculated, the other intended victims were obviously Aristide and Clinton.
Beginning before March 31, the sectors opposed to Clinton used the murders in an attempt to tarnish the celebrations of one of his few "foreign policy successes," and the assault has continued. Yesterday Senator Jesse Helms renewed his attack on Aristide and demanded Clinton block all aid to Haiti until the murder investigation is completed.