A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism)
Coalition condemns the U.S.-led coup carried out
today against the elected president of Haiti,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, as well as the U.S. occupation
of that country. U.S. marines have entered Haiti
tonight (February 29).
President Aristide was actually kidnapped by U.S.
forces, as some sources have reported, or was
just presented with 'an offer he couldn't refuse,'
there is no question that Washington played the
decisive role in this regime change. The coup
in Haiti is reminiscent of similar deadly CIA
operations in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Chile
and numerous other countries in the last half-century.
removal of President Aristide follows more than
a century of U.S. intervention in Haiti, and years
of destabilization designed to bring about the
destruction of the Aristide government. This negation
of Haiti's democracy and sovereignty by the U.S.
comes as the country is marking its 200th anniversary
of independence which followed the heroic revolt
against slavery and the creation of the first
free Black republic in the Western Hemisphere.
the election of Aristide to a second term in late
2000 with 92% of the vote, Washington has maintained
economic sanctions against the poorest country
in the Western Hemisphere. Sanctions have had
the intended effect of wearing down the people
and popular support for the Aristide government
by denying food, medicine and other necessities
of life to the population. Haiti's poverty today
is a direct result of centuries of slavery and
exploitation for the benefit of corporate interests
in France and the U.S.
addition, the U.S. has extended financial and
political support to the so-called "Democratic
Convergence," the right-wing opposition. According
to a story in today's Miami Herald, State Department
spokesman Richard Boucher said today that the
U.S. "facilitated" Aristide's departure. Ira Kurzban,
an Aristide spokesman in Miami, said he believed
"U.S. intelligence agencies were involved in the
ouster. ... This was a major operation by the
intelligence agencies of the U.S."
Charles Rangel, a member of the Congressional
Black Caucus, said that the U.S. government is
"just as much as part of this coup d'etat as the
rebels, looters or anyone else." (ABC's "This
Week," Feb. 29, 2004)
to Reuters, U.S. civil rights leader Jesse Jackson
called Aristide's resignation an "American-assisted
coup," and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a California
Democrat, demanded to know where the Haitian leader
was being taken one day after he told her "he
would rather die than leave." "When I last talked
to him (Aristide) yesterday, he was not going
to leave. He said he would rather die than leave.
And then I wake up this morning and I find out
that my government has landed at his home with
Marines. How did they get him to leave? What did
they do? And where is he?" Waters said in an interview
Bush Administration has arrogantly and illegally
embarked on a policy of "regime change" in Afghanistan,
Iraq, Haiti and elsewhere. On March 20, the first
anniversary of the start of the unprovoked war
of aggression against Iraq, people around the
world will take to the streets in massive numbers.
We will demand: Bring the Troops Home Now and
End Occupation from Iraq to Palestine and Everywhere.
We will also be marching to oppose the criminal
role of the Bush administration in ousting the
first democratically elected government in Haiti's
read the background statement on Haiti issued
by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition on February 11,
Friday, February 27, a press conference on the
U.S. role in the Haitian crisis was held in Washington
DC. For a report, photographs and the UPI article,
Founded by Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey
39 W. 14th St., NY, NY, 10011 212-633-6646,
Message from Ramsey Clark
March 1, 2004
Bush administration has worked towards the removal
of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from office
for three years. It has enforced a unilateral
embargo and cut off humanitarian aid to the poorest
country in the hemisphere. It has sought to undermine
support for President Aristide while supporting
his opposition. It has waged a relentless propaganda
campaign to force him out of office. It has supported
calls for elections in violation of the constitution
and laws of Haiti.
recently the U.S. has forced regime change by
armed aggression supporting former Haitian military
officers, FRAPH leaders and criminal elements
who entered Haiti with heavy firepower. Though
only hundreds in number they easily captured Cap
Haitien, Gonaives, Hinche and Les Cayes, killing
the police who were untrained in warfare, or in
defending against commando units, armed only with
small force could never have entered Haiti if
President Aristide, a man of peace, had not abolished
the Haitian army, a praiseworthy act. Unfortunately,
this left the country defenseless against armed
international organizations, CARICOM, OAS and
the UN should have acted to protect the democratically
elected government of Haiti. After Costa Rica
abolished its army, President Somoza (who U.S.
President Franklin Roosevelt called "our SOB")
of Nicaragua, twice threatened invasions of Costa
Rica, only to be stopped, once by the OAS and
once by Venezuela.
U.S. consistently acted to force President Aristide
to leave Haiti, abandon his constitutional duties,
repudiate democratic processes and desert his
people to the tender mercies of the Old Regime.
The army, the paramilitary FRAPH, criminal gangs
and the old oligarchy that supported Duvalier
terrorism against the Haitian people with U.S.
support for 30 years. When in 1986 Baby Doc Duvalier
was forced to leave, his repressive forces no
longer able to contain the anger of the people,
it was in a U.S. Air Force plane to the French
Riviera with millions of dollars wrung from the
sweat of the poor people of Haiti.
Aristide consistently refused to leave his people,
to resign, to subvert Haitian democracy and constitutional
government under enormous pressure from the Bush
Administration. He was under that enormous pressure
for months as violence was again threatening his
presidency as it did in 1991, nine months into
his first term as the first democratically elected
president of Haiti, the first and only country
in which a successful slave rebellion took place.
That revolution was begun by Toussaint Louverteur
in 1791 and ended under Jean-Jacques Dessalines
and others who defeated Napoleon's legions, 20,000
strong, and win independence for Haiti in 1804.
his autobiography published in exile in 1992 first
in France, Aristide wrote, "In Haiti, we are watching
the ascent of a rebellious people who are revolting
against slavery. I am only the reflection, an
echo of that movement?they are the principal actors.
I simply try to exist in their dimension, to show
love and non-violence, through and beyond all
the difficulties of life, as the only thing that
will enable us to go forward."
Aristide listed in the final chapter of his autobiography,
"The Ten Commandments of Democracy in Haiti,"
first spoken by him before the General Assembly
of the United Nations in September 1991. The commandments
of President Aristide, the political faith of
a priest, scholar and person of, by and for the
poor, included: liberty; democracy; fidelity to
human rights; the right to eat and to work; defense
of the Haitian diaspora; no to violence; fidelity
to the human being and the highest form
of wealth fidelity to Haitian culture;
everyone around the same table.
is the man President Bush has deposed.
the Bush administration policy of unilateral wars
of aggression, violations of international law
and the U.S. Constitution and regime change is
to be stopped before the U.S. loses its last friend
and creates a wave of terrorism that will engulf
the planet for years, the U.S. Congress must investigate:
The role of the U.S. in forcing President Aristide
2. The support the Bush administration gave in
training, financing and arming the aggression
3. The acts the Bush administration took to destabilize
social order in Haiti, to support the old army,
the FRAPH and the wealthy oligarchies
4. The role the U.S. played in President Aristide's
sudden departure from Haiti, contrary to all his
public statements, and his transport to a distant
5. Any explanation the Bush administration has
for its failure to demand the former military,
FRAPH and other violent groups lay down their
arms, arms the U.S. provided, until the eve of
the president's coerced departure
6. Why Washington placed every pressure at its
disposal to force the democratically elected President
of Haiti to surrender his constitutional powers
7. Why President Aristide was kidnapped in fact,
even as Toussaint Louverture was kidnapped to
imprisonment in France in 1803 and Philippine
President Emilio Aguinaldo was kidnapped by U.S.
soldiers to end the Philippine-American War in
Western Hemisphere cannot be a safe or happy place
until U.S. military and economic intervention
and regime change end, justice for all is assured,
reparations for past offenses to Haiti are paid
and until President Aristide returns for Haiti
to serve his people.
March 1, 2004
Posted: March 4, 2004