Guy Philippe

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K. A. Paul with Haitian rebel leader Guy Philippe and Former US Congressman Bob Clement, at a press conference in Haiti after Paul convinced Phillipe to lay down his arms following Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's deposition

Guy Philippe (born 29 February 1968) was a Haitian death squad leader and has attempted to become a political leader. He led the 2000-2004 paramilitary insurgency that culminated in the U.S. government's 2004 Haitian coup d'état ousting of Haiti's elected government and President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Philippe was a presidential candidate in the Haitian general election, 2006, receiving nearly 4% of the vote. On 21 June 2017, he was given a nine-year sentence by the United States federal government (USFG) for taking bribes from drug smugglers. The court case did not try Philippe for any of the numerous deaths that were documented as being carried out under he FLRN death squads that he led between 2000 and 2004. [1]

Early life[edit]

Philippe was born in Pestel, in the province of Grand'Anse. He obtained his primary and secondary education at Institution Saint-Louis de Gonzague.[2] Human Rights watch alleges that in his late teens he was a death squad leader during the rebellion against Baby Doc Duvalier and in the turmoil which followed.[3]

According to Philippe, he "has a law degree[4] from Ecuador and studied medicine in Mexico for a year."[5] In 1992, he received a scholarship from the Haitian Armed Forces (FAd'H) to Ecuador's police academy (La Escuela Superior de Policía "Gral. Alberto Enríquez Gallo"), where he graduated in 1995. When he returned to Haiti, however, the FAd'H had been dismantled, so he was assigned to the newly created police force, which is why he was never formally part of the Haitian army.[6]


Phillipe accepted a commission as a commander in the Haitian National Police, and then became the police chief of the Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas from 1997 to 1999. International monitors later "learned that dozens of suspected gang members were summarily executed, mainly by police under the command of Inspector Berthony Bazile, Philippe's deputy."[3][7] In 1999 he was made police chief of Cap-Haïtien.


On 15 January 2000, Guy Philippe and his wife had a daughter named Aïsha. Following October 2000 accusations of participation in a coup plot and his subsequent removal from his post as police chief of Cap-Haïtien, Philippe fled to the Dominican Republic. While there he recruited ex-military and others forming a paramilitary organization,[8] which received training from the U.S. Government.[9][10][11] The Haitian government accused Philippe of masterminding a deadly attack on the Police Academy in July 2001 and of an attempted coup in December 2001.[3] In July 2003, witnesses place him, together with Voltaire Jean-Batiste, leading a death squad operating in eastern Haiti just across the Dominican border.[12]

In February 2004, he returned from the Dominican Republic with his paramilitary group to join the 2004 Haitian coup d'état against president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Five days after crossing back into Haiti and joining former militia leader Louis-Jodel Chamblain in announcing his support for anti-government forces, Philippe was given command of the rebel army. On 2 March 2004, Philippe and his paramilitaries retook control of the former Haitian Army headquarters across from the National Palace. Philippe declared to the international press that he himself was now in control of 90% of Haïti's armed forces. In an address on Haitian Radio, Philippe declared, "The country is in my hands."[13] He summoned twenty police commanders to meet with him the previous day and warned that if they failed to appear he would arrest them.[14]

That same day, Philippe announced he would arrest Haitian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who is a top official of Aristide's Lavalas party. As published at the time by Democracy Now!, quoting sources in Haïti: "Neptune's home was burned and looted and that he was being pursued by armed gangs. People close to Neptune reported that he fears for his life. Local radio reported that Neptune was evacuated from his office by helicopter as Guy Philippe led a mob in a march to the office. Meanwhile, there are reports of regular execution-style killings on the Haitian seaside.[13]".

Early in 2005, Philippe's guerrilla group, the Front for National Reconstruction (FRN) which was involved in the coup of 2004 was officially transformed into a recognized political party. On 11 July 2005, Guy Philippe announced he would run for president for the FRN party. Philippe has been critical of the administration of the interim government, blaming them for the slow process of setting up registration centers throughout the country. Early on he was considered a front runner for the Haitian general election, 2006 but later fell behind the main contenders simply because he did not have the money required for a campaign. In spite of his international and local rebel backers and appealing to young Haitians to follow him, Phillippe won less than 1% of the vote, demonstrating that he had failed to project his persona as a popular hero.


Shortly after dawn on 16 July 2007, five helicopters, two planes and more than a dozen heavily armed DEA and Haitian anti-drug agents surrounded Philippe's home in the hills above Les Cayes, on Haiti's remote southern peninsula, to seize evidence of drug trafficking.[15] Philippe was suspected of ties to illegal drug trafficking in Haiti. Philippe's supporters said the allegations against him were politically motivated, noting he had recently threatened to identify powerful Haitians who provided financial support for the 2004 coup d'état.[15][16] Nevertheless, Phillipe was indicted in the United States on charges of conspiracy to import cocaine and money laundering.[17][18] Following his indictment, Phillipe isolated himself in his hometown of Pestel protected by his paramilitaries.[19]

In 2015, Phillipe began his campaign for Senator in the Haitian parliament as a member of the National Consortium of Haitian Political Parties (CNPPH).[20] However, his paramilitary units continued a guerrilla war to "create havoc and overthrow the provisional president, Jocelerme Privert."[19][21] In the final election Phillipe won the seat for Grand'Anse department, and was due to be sworn in on January ninth.

On the afternoon of 5 January 2017, Guy Philippe was arrested on these charges as he walked out of a popular radio show. He was extradited to the US on the same day as his arrest.[22] His arrest was not without controversy as the freshly elected senator had not yet received the immunity from legal charges or arrest that is provided under Haitian law to protect serving lawmakers,[23] also there were questions about the legality of the extradition.[24]

On 21 June 2017, Philippe was given a nine-year sentence by the United States federal government (USFG) for taking bribes from drug smugglers.[25][26]


  1. ^ Sprague, Jeb (2012). "The return of paramilitarism, 2000-2001". Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti. New York: Monthly Review Press. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-1-58367-300-3. 
  2. ^ Sprague, Jeb (2012). "The return of paramilitarism, 2000-2001". Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti. New York: Monthly Review Press. pp. 116–117. ISBN 978-1-58367-300-3. 
  3. ^ a b c "Guy Philippe: The flip-flopping rebel who admires Pinochet and Bush". The Jamaica Observer. 7 March 2004. Archived from the original on 6 April 2005. 
  4. ^ The curriculum at La Escuela Superior de Policía "General Alberto Enríquez Gallo" includes legal studies. "Informacion de la Carrera" (in Spanish). La Escuela Superior de Policía "General Alberto Enríquez Gallo". 
  5. ^ "Guy Philippe: The Rebelling Soldier". BBC News. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  6. ^ Sprague 2012, p. 103
  7. ^ "Haiti: Secure and Credible Elections Crucial for Stability". Human Rights Watch. 5 February 2006. Archived from the original on 4 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Sprague 2012, p. 126
  9. ^ Howell, Ron (16 March 2004). "Probing US ties to Haiti". Newsday. 
  10. ^ "US accused of training Haitian rebels in Dominican Republic". Beijing: Xinhua News Agency. 29 March 2004. 
  11. ^ "Is not recognized the legitimacy of the new Haitian government". Radio Mundo Real. 2 April 2004. Archived from the original on 9 July 2004. 
  12. ^ Sprague 2012, p. 185
  13. ^ a b Concannon, Brian (3 March 2004). "The Haitian Army Returns: Who Is Guy Philippe?". Democracy Now!: Independent Global News. Archived from the original on 6 March 2004. 
  14. ^ Dodds, Paisley; James, Ian (3 March 2004). "Haitian rebel leader Guy Philippe declares himself military chief". The St. Augustine Record. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 14 January 2017. 
  15. ^ a b Jacobs, Stevenson (19 July 2007). "U.S. Raids Home of Haitian Ex-Rebel". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 14 January 2017. 
  16. ^ "Taking on the gangs: Security in Haiti starts to improve". The Economist. Archived from the original on 20 January 2011. 
  17. ^ Charles, Jacqueline; Weaver, Jay (5 January 2017). "Former Haiti coup leader Guy Philippe arrested". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 7 January 2017. 
  18. ^ "Miami Fugitives: Philippe, Guy". Drug Enforcement Administration. 29 August 2007. Archived from the original on 22 November 2016. 
  19. ^ a b Pierre-Louis, Yves (24 May 2016). "Guy Philippe's Paramilitaries Launch Deadly Attack Against the Aux Cayes Police Station". Haiti Liberte. Archived from the original on 19 May 2016. 
  20. ^ "Haiti - Politic : The G8 rejects the statements of Guy Philippe". Haiti Libre. 27 January 2016. Archived from the original on 28 January 2016. 
  21. ^ "Haiti - FLASH : Guy Philippe ready for armed struggle against "the anarchists"". Haiti Libre. 25 January 2016. Archived from the original on 30 January 2016. 
  22. ^ "Guy Philippe: Former Haiti coup leader pleads not guilty in US court". BBC News. 12 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017. 
  23. ^ Robles, Frances (12 January 2017). "Rebel. Drug Fugitive. Hero? Haiti Erupts Over an Arrest". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "Haiti - FLASH : Guy Philippe was extradited on what legal basis ?". Haiti Libre. 11 January 2017. Archived from the original on 13 January 2017. 
  25. ^ Charles, Jacqueline; Weaver, Jay (June 21, 2017). "Haiti's one-time fugitive Guy Philippe gets nine years in U.S. prison". The Miami Herald. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Haiti ex-coup leader Guy Philippe sentenced in US". BBC News. June 22, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2017. 

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