This message to President Aristide:
Would you like us to return you? [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img]
President Aristide: \'I Was Kidnapped\',
\'Tell The World It Is A Coup\'
Monday 01 March 2004
Multiple sources that just spoke with Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide told Democracy Now! that Aristide says he was \"kidnapped\" and taken by force to the Central African Republic. Congressmember Maxine Waters said she received a call from Aristide at 9am EST. \"He\'s surrounded by military. It\'s like he is in jail, he said. He says he was kidnapped,\" said Waters. She said he had been threatened by what he called US diplomats. According to Waters, the diplomats reportedly told the Haitian president that if he did not leave Haiti, paramilitary leader Guy Philippe would storm the palace and Aristide would be killed. According to Waters, Aristide was told by the US that they were withdrawing Aristide\'s US security.
TransAfrica founder and close Aristide family friend Randall Robinson also received a call from the Haitian president early this morning and confirmed Waters account. Robinson said that Aristide \"emphatically\" denied that he had resigned. \"He did not resign,\" he said. \"He was abducted by the United States in the commission of a coup.\" Robinson says he spoke to Aristide on a cell phone that was smuggled to the Haitian president.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. Congress member Waters, can you tell us about the conversation you just had with Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide?
MAXINE WATERS: I most certainly can and he’s anxious for me to get the message out so people will understand. He is in the Central Republic of Africa at a place called the Palace of the Renaissance, and he’s not sure if that’s a house or a hotel or what it is and he is surrounded by military. It’s like in jail, he said. He said that he was kidnapped; he said that he was forced to leave Haiti. He said that the American embassy sent the diplomats; he referred to them as, to his home where they was lead by Mr. Moreno. And I believe that Mr. Moreno is a deputy chief of staff at the embassy in Haiti and other diplomats, and they ordered him to leave. They said you must go NOW. He said that they said that Guy Phillipe and U.S. Marines were coming to Port Au Prince; he will be killed, many Haitians will be killed, that they would not stop until they did what they wanted to do. He was there with his with Mildred and his brother-in-law and two of his security people, and somebody from the Steel Foundation, and they’re all, there’s five of them that are there. They took them where they did stop in Antigua then they stopped at a military base, then they were in the air for hours and then they arrived at this place and they were met by five ministers of government. It’s a Francophone country they speak French. And they were then taken to this place called the Palace of the Renaissance where they are being held and they are surrounded by military people. They are not free to do whatever they want to do. Then the phone clicked off after we had talked for about five…we talked maybe fifteen minutes and then the phone clicked off. But he, some of it was muffled in the beginning, at times it was clear. But one thing that was very clear and he said it over and over again, that he was kidnapped that the coup was completed by the Americans that they forced him out. They had also disabled his American security force that he had around him for months now; they did not allow them to extend their numbers. To begin with they wanted them to bring in more people to provide security they prevented them from doing that and then they finally forced them out of the country. So that’s where his is and I said to him that I would do everything I could to get the word out. …that I heard it directly from him I heard it directly from his wife that they were kidnapped, they were forced to leave, they did not want to leave, their lives were threatened and the lives of many Haitians were threatened. And I said that we would be in touch with the State Department, with the President today and if at all possible we would try to get to him. We don’t know whether or not he is going to be moved. We will try and find that information out today.
AMY GOODMAN: Did President Aristide say whether or not he resigned?
MAXINE WATERS: He did not resign. He said he was forced out, that the coup was completed.
AMY GOODMAN: So again to summarize, Congress member Maxine Waters, you have just gotten off the phone with President Jean Bertrand Aristide, who said he believes he is in the Central African Republic.
MAXINE WATERS: That’s right, with French speaking officers, he’s surrounded by them and he’s in this place called the Palace of the Renaissance and he was forced to go there. They took him there.
AMY GOODMAN: What are you going to do right now?
MAXINE WATERS: I’m going to get to the State Dept to find out what do they plan on doing with him. Do they plan on leaving him there or are they planning on taking him to another country? We are going to tell them we would like to see him. We are prepared to go where he is NOW and that we are demanding that we are able to see him and go where he is. And to negotiate what will be done with him.
AMY GOODMAN: Did he describe how he was taken out? We had heard reports in Haiti that he was taken out in handcuffs. Did he…
MAXINE WATERS: No he did not say he was taken out in handcuffs. He simply said that they came led by Mr. Moreno followed by the marines and they said simply “you have to go!” You have no choice, you must go and if you don’t you will be killed and many Haitians will be killed. We are planning with Mr. De filliped to come into Puerto Rico. He will not be alone he will come with American military and you will not survive, you will be killed. You’ve got to go now!
AMY GOODMAN: How did President Aristide sound? What was the quality of his voice?
MAXINE WATERS: The quality of his voice was anxious, angry, disturbed, wanting people to know the truth.
AMY GOODMAN: Did he say why he had not made any calls since early on Sunday morning; that people had not been in touch with him for more than 36 hours. Certainly this plane was equipped with a telephone?
MAXINE WATERS: OH, I don’t think they were able to make any calls from the plane. They were only allowed to make calls once they landed. And I think the only call that they had made was to her mother who is in Florida and her brother. But they were not allowed…they had no access to telephone calls… to a telephone on the plane.
AMY GOODMAN: What is the next step…what are you going to do? What do you think the people in this country should being doing about this situation in Haiti?
MAXINE WATERS: First of all I think the people in this country should be outraged that our government led a coup de’tat against a democratically elected President. They should call, write. Fax with their outrage, not only to the State Dept. but to all of their elected officials and to the press. We have to keep the information flying in the air so people will get it and understand what is taking place. And for those of us who are elected officials we must not only get to the President, we must demand that he is returned to claim his presidency if that is what he wants. If you can recall what happened in Venezuela when Mr. Chavez was…they tried to force him out and they had someone step into the presidency and he had not resigned his presidency and he got it back. I did not have that conversation with President Aristide but we must meet with him and we must talk with him and be prepared to protect him.
AMY GOODMAN: Congress member Maxine Waters I want to thank you for being with us again. Congress member Waters has just spoken with President Aristide who she says said he was kidnapped and is now with his wife and surrounded by security in the Central African Republic.
Go to Original
Aristide Supporters in Montreal Decry
\'International Coup d\'etat\' in Haiti
By Ross Marowits
National Post, Canadian Press
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Les partisans du président déchu d\'Haïti Jean-Bertrand Aristide à Montréal ont accusé le Canada d\'avoir participé à un coup d\'Etat international pour l\'évincer. (PC/Francois Roy)
MONTREAL - Emotional supporters of the deposed Haitian president accused Canada on Sunday of participating in an international coup d\'etat to oust Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
About 40 backers marched to the American consulate to protest the removal of Aristide from the office to which he was elected four years ago - the poverty-stricken country\'s first democratically chosen leader in its 200 years of independence. \"This is a coup,\" said Ferere Coffy, 52, one of the organizers of the march.
\"President Aristide has not decided personally to leave the power. It\'s a coup by the international community.\"
Participants blamed United States, France and Canada for cuts in foreign aid that led to economic problems that in turn fomented rebellion against the 50-year-old former slum priest.
Many feared for the future of a country - the poorest in the Western Hemisphere - that has experienced 32 internal coups in its troubled history.
\"Mr. Aristide is not the problem in Haiti,\" said Max Noelizaire, an electrician who has lived in Canada for 25 years.
\"The problem is the Haitian people. They never want to talk. They only want to fight.\"
But opponents of the former president said Aristide only has himself to blame for the population turning their backs on him.
\"The population is very depressed because they were hoping so much from that guy,\" said Marjorie Villefranche, 52.
She attributed Aristide\'s problems to his willingness to allow loyal militants called chimeres to terrorize the people with impunity for so many years.
Even those who were happy to see Aristide resign were fearful about what would happen next.
\"For the nation it\'s best that he left, but I wonder what\'s going to happen after Aristide,\" said Fritz Lawson, 60. \"For me it doesn\'t give peace to Haiti.\"
The small crowd of loyalists, meanwhile, waved placards denouncing the American and French presidents and chanted their support for Aristide.
\"Long live Aristide,\" Rosemarie Joseph yelled as the protesters began to gather in front of a downtown federal building.
\"The Americans and the Haitian bourgeoisie didn\'t want him because he wanted the country to leave its misery and feed the hungry.\"
She argued that Aristide\'s opponents felt threatened by efforts he was taking to lift the country out of poverty.
Aristide\'s nationalist approach soured the international community\'s opinion of him, said Andre Bastiany, a chemist who left Haiti 24 years ago.
\"Unfortunately, I\'m sad to be a Canadian citizen because Canada is supporting what is happening now. I don\'t know why they are doing that because it used to be a kind of neutral country.\"
Bastiany said he doubted foreign powers will allow the country to descend into the sort of bloodbath that seemed inevitable in the days before Aristide fled into exile.
But he questioned whether democracy can again take root in the country.
\"If Mr. Aristide cannot stay in power, there won\'t be any democratic president in Haiti,\" Bastiany lamented.
The march came a day after hundreds of people, including some Aristide opponents, rallied in solidarity with Haitians as the rebellion-racked nation descended into chaos.
Montreal is home to the third-largest Haitian community outside the Caribbean island country after New York and Boston.
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This message to President Aristide:
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ZNet | Central American And Caribbean
Don\'t Fall For Washington\'s Spin On Haiti
by Jeffrey Sachs; Financial Times; March 01, 2004
The crisis in Haiti is another case of brazen US manipulation of a small, impoverished country with the truth unexplored by journalists. In the nearly universal media line on the Haitian revolt, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was portrayed as an undemocratic leader who betrayed Haiti\'s democratic hopes and thereby lost the support of his erstwhile backers. He \"stole\" elections and intransigently refused to address opposition concerns. As a result he had to leave office, which he did at the insistence of the US and France. Unfortunately, this is a gravely distorted view.
President George Bush\'s foreign policy team came into office intent on toppling Mr Aristide, long reviled by powerful US conservatives such as former senator Jesse Helms who obsessively saw him as another Fidel Castro in the Caribbean. Such critics fulminated when President Bill Clinton restored Mr Aristide to power in 1994, and they succeeded in getting US troops withdrawn soon afterwards, well before the country could be stabilized. In terms of help to rebuild Haiti, the US Marines left behind about eight miles of paved roads and essentially nothing else. In the meantime, the so-called \"opposition\", a coterie of rich Haitians linked to the preceding Duvalier regime and former (and perhaps current) CIA operatives, worked Washington to lobby against Mr Aristide.
In 2000, Haiti held parliamentary and then presidential elections, unprecedented in their scope. Mr Aristide\'s party, Fanmi Lavalas, clearly won the election, although candidates who won a plurality rather than a majority, and who should have faced a second-round election, also gained seats. Objective observers declared the elections broadly successful, albeit flawed.
Mr Aristide won the presidential election later that year, in a contest the US media now reports was \"boycotted by the opposition\" and hence, not legitimate. This is a cruel joke to those who know Haiti, where Mr Aristide was swept in with an overwhelming mandate and the opposition, such as it was, ducked the elections. Duvalier thugs hardly constituted a winning ticket and as such, did not even try. Nor did they have to. Mr Aristide\'s foes in Haiti benefited from tight links with the incoming Bush team, which told Mr Aristide it would freeze all aid unless he agreed with the opposition over new elections for the contested Senate seats, among other demands. The wrangling led to the freezing of $500m in emergency humanitarian aid from the US, the World Bank, the Inter- American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The tragedy, or joke, is that Mr Aristide agreed to compromise, but the opposition simply balked; it was never the right time to hold elections, for example, because of \"security\" problems, they said. Whatever the pretext, the US maintained its aid freeze and the opposition maintained a veto over international aid. Cut off from bilateral and multilateral financing, Haiti\'s economy went into a tailspin.
All this is being replayed before our eyes. As Haiti slipped into deeper turmoil last month, Caribbean leaders called for a power-sharing compromise between Mr Aristide and the opposition. Once again, Mr Aristide agreed but the opposition merely demanded the president step down - reportedly rejecting even US Secretary of State Colin Powell\'s requests to compromise. But rather than defending Mr Aristide and dealing with opposition intransigence, the White House announced the president should step down.
The ease with which the US thereby brought down another Latin American democracy is stunning. What has been the CIA\'s role among the anti-Aristide rebels? How much US money went from US institutions and government agencies to help foment this uprising? Why did the White House abandon the Caribbean compromise proposal it endorsed just days before? These questions have not been asked. Then again, we live in an age when entire wars can be launched on phony pretences with few questions asked.
What should happen now is unlikely to pass. The United Nations should help restore Mr Aristide to power for his remaining two years in office, making clear that yesterday\'s events were an illegal power grab. Second, the US should call on the opposition, which is largely a US construct, to stop the violence immediately and unconditionally. Third, after years of literally starving the people of Haiti, the long-promised and long-frozen aid flows of $500m should start immediately. These steps would rescue a dying democracy and avert a possible bloodbath.
The writer is director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
next you will tell me you believe in the free market , IMF, World Bank,Christianity, Zionism, Democracy and all the other lies that come out of your country you really do need to get out more you are a very sad case
have a nice day
And yet YOU buy products made here!?!? [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]
Thanks for your support [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]
p.s. sorry your body pack didn\'t explode as planned today - next time make sure the powder & fuses are dry.
REMARKS BY THEN PRESIDENT CLINTON
IN TELEVISION ADDRESS TO THE NATION
The Oval Office
9:00 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak with you about why the United States is leading the international effort to restore democratic government in Haiti. Haiti\'s dictators, led by General Raoul Cedras, control the most violent regime in our hemisphere. For three years, they have rejected every peaceful solution that the international community has proposed. They have broken an agreement that they made to give up power. They have brutalized their people and destroyed their economy, and for three years we and other nations have worked exhaustively to find a diplomatic solution, only to have the dictators reject each one.
Now the United States must protect our interests -- to stop the brutal atrocities that threaten tens of thousands of Haitians, to secure our borders and to preserve stability and promote democracy in our hemisphere and to uphold the reliability of the commitments we make, and the commitments others make to us.
Earlier today, I ordered Secretary of Defense Perry to call up the military reserve personnel necessary to support United States troops in any action we might undertake in Haiti. I have also ordered two aircraft carriers, U.S.S. Eisenhower and the U.S.S. America into the region.
I issued these orders after giving full consideration to what is at stake. The message of the United States to the Haitian dictators is clear: Your time is up. Leave now, or we will force you from power.
I want the American people to understand the background of the situation in Haiti, how what has happened there affects our national security interests, and why I believe we must act now. Nearly 200 years ago, the Haitian people rose up out of slavery and declared their independence. Unfortunately, the promise of liberty was quickly snuffed out. And ever since, Haiti has known more suffering and repression than freedom. In our time, as democracy has spread throughout our hemisphere, Haiti has been left behind.
Then, just four years ago, the Haitian people held the first free and fair elections since their independence. They elected a parliament and a new president, Father Jean Bertrand Aristide, a Catholic priest who received almost 70 percent of the vote. But eight months later, Haitian dreams of democracy became a nightmare of bloodshed.
General Raoul Cedras led a military coup that overthrew President Aristide, the man who had appointed Cedras to leave the army. Resistors were beaten and murdered. The dictators launched a horrible intimidation campaign of rape, torture and mutilation. People starved; children died; thousands of Haitians fled their country, heading to the United States across dangerous seas. At that time, President Bush declared the situation posed, and I quote, \"an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States.\"
Cedras and his armed thugs have conducted a reign of terror. Executing children. Raping women. Killing priests. As the dictators have grown more desperate, the atrocities have grown ever more brutal. Recent news reports have documented the slaying of Haitian orphans by the nation\'s deadly police thugs. The dictators are said to suspect the children of harboring sympathy toward President Aristide for no other reason than he ran an orphanage in his days as a parish priest. The children fled the orphanages for the streets. Now they can\'t even sleep there because they\'re so afraid. As one young boy told a visitor, \"I do not care if the police kill me because it only brings an end to my suffering.\"
International observers uncovered a terrifying pattern of soldiers and policemen raping the wives and daughters of suspected political dissidents. Young girls, 13 years old, 16 years old. People slain and mutilated with body parts left as warnings to terrify others. Children forced to watch as their mothers\' faces are slashed with machetes.
A year ago, the dictators assassinated the Minister of Justice. Just last month, they gunned down Father Jean-Marie Vincent, a peasant leader and close friend of Father Aristide. Vincent was executed on the doorstep of his home, a monastery. He refused to give up his ministry. And for that, he was murdered.
Let me be clear: General Cedras and his accomplices alone are responsible for this suffering and terrible human tragedy. It is their actions that have isolated Haiti.
Neither the international community nor the United States has sought a confrontation. For nearly three years we\'ve worked hard on diplomatic efforts. The United Nations, the Organization of American States, the Caribbean Community, the six Central American presidents all have sought a peaceful end to this crisis. We have tried everything -- persuasion and negotiation, mediation and condemnation. Emissaries were dispatched to Port au Prince and were turned away.
The United Nations labored for months to reach an agreement acceptable to all parties. Then last year, General Cedras himself came here to the United States and signed an agreement on Governors Island in New York in which he pledged to give up power, along with the other dictators.
But when the day came for the plan to take effect, the dictators refused to leave, and instead increased the brutality they are using to cling to power. Even then, the nations of the world continued to seek a peaceful solution while strengthening the embargo we had imposed. We sent massive amounts of humanitarian aid -- food for a million Haitians and medicine to try to help the ordinary Haitian people as the dictators continued to loot the economy. Then this summer, they threw out the international observers who had blown the whistle on the regime\'s human rights atrocities.
In response to that action, in July the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that authorizes the use of all necessary means, including force, to remove the Haitian dictators from power and restore democratic government. Still, we continue to seek a peaceful solution, but the dictators would not even meet with the United Nations special envoy. In the face of this continued defiance and with atrocities rising, the United States has agreed to lead a multinational force to carry out the will of the United Nations.
More than 20 countries from around the globe, including almost all the Caribbean Community and nations from as far away as Poland, which has so recently won its own freedom, Israel and Jordan, which have been struggling for decades to preserve their own security, and Bangladesh, a country working for its own economic problems, have joined nations like Belgium and Great Britain. They have all agreed to join us because they think this problem in our neighborhood is important to their future interests and their security.
I know that the United States cannot -- indeed, we should not -- be the world\'s policemen. And I know that this is a time with the Cold War over that so many Americans are reluctant to commit military resources and our personnel beyond our borders. But when brutality occurs close to our shore, it affects our national interests. And we have a responsibility to act.
Thousands of Haitians have already fled toward the United States, risking their lives to escape the reign of terror. As long as Cedras rules, Haitians will continue to seek sanctuary in our nation. This year, in less than two months, more than 21,000 Haitians were rescued at sea by our Coast Guard and Navy. Today, more than 14,000 refugees are living at our naval base in Guantanamo. The American people have already expended almost $200 million to support them, to maintain the economic embargo, and the prospect of millions and millions more being spent every month for an indefinite period of time loom ahead unless we act.
Three hundred thousand more Haitians, five percent of their entire population, are in hiding in their own country. If we don\'t act, they could be the next wave of refugees at our door. We will continue to face the threat of a mass exodus of refugees and its constant threat to stability in our region and control of our borders.
No American should be surprised at the recent tide of migrants seeking refuge from on our shores comes from Haiti and from Cuba. After all, they\'re the only nations left in the Western Hemisphere where democratic government is denied, the only countries where dictators have managed to hold back the wave of democracy and progress that has swept over our entire region, and that our own government has so actively promoted and supported for years.
Today, 33 of the 35 countries in the Americas have democratically-elected leaders. And Haiti is the only nation in our hemisphere where the people actually elected their own government and chose democracy, only to have tyrants steal it away.
There\'s no question that the Haitian people want to embrace democracy; we know it because they went to the ballot box and told the world. History has taught us that preserving democracy in our own hemisphere strengthens America\'s security and prosperity. Democracies here are more likely to keep the peace and to stabilize our region. They\'re more likely to create free markets and economic opportunity, and to become strong, reliable trading partners. And they\'re more likely to provide their own people with the opportunities that will encourage them to stay in their nation, and to build their own futures.
Restoring Haiti\'s democratic government will help lead to more stability and prosperity in our region, just as our actions in Panama and Grenada did. Beyond the human rights violations, the immigration problems, the importance of democracy, the United States also has strong interest in not letting dictators -- especially in our own region -- break their word to the United States and the United Nations.
In the post-Cold War world, we will assure the security and prosperity of the United States with our military strength, our economic power, our constant efforts to promote peace and growth. But when our national security interests are threatened, we will use diplomacy when possible and force when necessary.
In Haiti, we have a case in which the right is clear, in which the country in question is nearby, in which our own interests are plain, in which the mission is achievable and limited, and in which the nations of the world stand with us. We must act.
Our mission in Haiti, as it was in Panama and Grenada, will be limited and specific. Our plan to remove the dictators will follow two phases. First, it will remove dictators from power and restore Haiti\'s legitimate, democratically-elected government. We will train a civilian-controlled Haitian security force that will protect the people rather than repress them. During this period, police monitors from all around the world will work with the authorities to maximize basic security and civil order and minimize retribution.
The Haitian people should know that we come in peace. And you, the American people, should know that our soldiers will not be involved in rebuilding Haiti or its economy. The international community, working together, must provide that economic, humanitarian and technical assistance necessary to help the Haitians rebuild.
When this first phase is completed, the vast majority of our troops will come home -- in months, not years. I want our troops and their families to know that we\'ll bring them home just as soon as we possibly can.
Then, in the second phase, a much smaller U.S. force will join forces from other members of the United Nations. And their mission will leave Haiti after elections are held next year and a new Haitian takes office in early 1996.
Tonight, I can announce that President Aristide has pledged to step down when his term ends, in accordance with the constitution he has sworn to uphold. He has committed himself to promote reconciliation among all Haitians, and to set an historic example by peacefully transferring power to a duly-elected successor. He knows, as we know, that when you start a democracy, the most important election is the second election.
President Aristide has told me that he will consider his mission fulfilled not when he regains office, but when he leaves office to the next democratically-elected president of Haiti. He has pledged to honor the Haitian voters who put their faith in the ballot box.
In closing, let me say that I know the American people are rightfully concerned whenever our soldiers are put at risk. Our volunteer military is the world\'s finest, and its leaders have worked hard to minimize risks to all our forces. But the risks are there, and we must be prepared for that.
I assure you that no president makes decisions like this one without deep thought and prayer. But it\'s my job as President and Commander-In-Chief to take those actions that I believe will best protect our national security interests.
Let me say again, the nations of the world have tried every possible way to restore Haiti\'s democratic government peacefully. The dictators have rejected every possible solution. The terror, the desperation, and the instability will not end until they leave. Once again, I urge them to do so. They can still move now and reduce the chaos and disorder, increase the security, stability and the safety in which this transfer back to democracy can occur.
But if they do not leave now, the international community will act to honor our commitments; to give democracy a chance, not to guarantee it; to remove stubborn and cruel dictators, not to impose a future.
I know many people believe that we shouldn\'t help the Haitian people recover their democracy and find their hard-won freedoms, that the Haitians should accept the violence and repression as their fate. But remember: the same was said of a people who, more than 200 years ago, took up arms against a tyrant whose forces occupied their land. But they were a stubborn bunch, a people who fought for their freedoms and appealed to all those who believed in democracy to help their cause. And their cries were answered, and a new nation was born -- a nation that, ever since, has believed that the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be denied to none.
May God bless the people of the United States and the cause of freedom. Good night.