Guy Philippe (born February 29, 1968) is a Haitian politician. When Jean-Claude Duvalier was toppled in 1986, he was 17 years old, which makes claims that he was an alleged former Tonton Macoute leader preposterous. He led the 2004 Haitian coup d'état that ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide and he was a presidential candidate in the Haitian general election, 2006. He is currently wanted for allegedly participating in the illegal drug trade in Haiti.
Philippe was born in Pestel, in the province of Nippes. He obtained his primary and secondary education at Saint-Louis de Gonzague. According to Philippe, he "has a law degree from Ecuador and studied medicine in Mexico for a year." He obtained a scholarship from FADH to the Escuela Superior de Poilicia General Alberto Enriquez Gallo in Ecuador; however when he returned after graduation, the FADH had been dismantled which is why he was never formally was part of the Haitian army.
Philippe is accused by Human Rights Watch of being a death squad leader during the reign of Baby Doc Duvalier before receiving training from the U.S. Special Forces in Ecuador in an American bid to reinstate President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in the 1990s.
Human Rights Watch reported Friday, February 27, 2004, that during Philippe's term as police chief of the Port-au-Prince suburb of Delmas from 1997 to 1999, international monitors "learned that dozens of suspected gang members were summarily executed, mainly by police under the command of Inspector Berthony Bazile, Philippe's deputy."
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. The Haïtian government accused Philippe of masterminding a deadly attack on the Police Academy in July 2001 and of an attempted coup in December 2001.
In February 2004, he returned from the Dominican Republic to join the 2004 Haitian coup d'état against president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Five days after crossing back into Haiti on February 14 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 March 2, 2004, Philippe and his paramilitaries retook control of the former Haïtian Army headquarters across from the National Palace. Philippe declared to the international press that he himself is now in control of 90% of Haïti's armed forces. In an address on Haïtian Radio, Philippe declared, "The country is in my hands." He summoned 20 police commanders to meet with him the previous day and warned that if they failed to appear he would arrest them.
That same day, Philippe announced he would arrest Haïtian Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, who is a top official of Aristide's Lavalas party. Democracy Now! heard from sources in Haïti that 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 Haïtian seaside.
On July 11, 2005, Guy Philippe announced he would run for president for the Front for National Reconstruction (FRN) party. The FRN is also his guerrilla group which was involved in the coup of 2004. Early in 2005 the FRN became recognized as a political 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 frontrunner 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 the end in spite of his international and local rebel backers, and in spite of appealing to young Haitians to follow him, Phillippe won less than 1% of the vote, demonstrating that he was no popular hero and was only the leader of a false, mercenary rebel group.
Shortly after dawn Monday, July 16, 2007, five helicopters, two planes and more than a dozen heavily armed DEA and Haitian anti-drug agents surrounded Philippe's yellow, two-story gated home in the hills above Les Cayes, on Haiti's remote southern peninsula.
Philippe is being sought because of suspected ties with illegal drug trafficking in the country. Philippe's supporters say the allegations against him are politically motivated, noting he recently threatened to identify powerful Haitians who provided financial support for the 2004 coup d'état.
- BBC, March 4, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-5-14
- The Jamaica Observer, March 7, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-6-1
- Human Rights Watch, February 5, 2006. Retrieved on 2009-5-13
- Democracy Now!, March 3, 2004. Retrieved on 2009-5-43