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As you know, the terrorist leaders have long ties to the U.S., from American training and

other support to Guy Philippe, to support for Louis Jodel Chamblain's FRAPH organization

 

 

Urgent Message for Secretary Powell

from Supporters of Haiti

 

February 23, 2004

Dear supporters of Haiti:

As you know, Haitian democracy is under its gravest threat since the 1991-1994 dictatorship.  As of this writing, armed groups led by former Haitian military and FRAPH members have taken control of Haiti's 2nd and 4th largest cities.  In both places, the terrorists brag to journalists about hunting down democracy supporters and police, who are tortured, killed and mutilated.  They are attacking Port-au-Prince, and if they succeed there is every reason to expect a repetition of Haiti's last coup d'etat in 1991, when 5,000 Haitians were killed, and hundreds of thousands tortured or forced to flee the country.

The Haiti Action Committee encourages everyone who supports democracy in Haiti or wants to avoid a repetition of 1991's massive violence, to contact the State Department and insist that the U.S. stop the bloodshed in Haiti. Contact information and a proposed letter is below, and more background information is below that. Feel free to borrow from it or use your own language, as you think appropriate.

Please send your letters to Secretary Powell, with copies to the Haiti Desk officers, and your local Members of Congress. And fax and call too.  The only way to avert bloodshed in Haiti is for American citizens to stand up, today.  For more information about the situation in Haiti, visit www.haitiaction.org .

Peace,

Haiti Action Committee

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Dear Secretary Powell:

I am writing to insist that the U.S. fulfill its obligations under international law, including the OAS Charter, and our own democratic principles to support Haiti's democratically elected government.  The U.S. can and should stop the current violence without sending international troops, by cutting off support to the armed terrorists and their allies in the U.S.-supported opposition, and by supporting Haiti's beleaguered police.

The U.S. should immediately cease all political, diplomatic financial and logistical support for the violent opposition and its allies; b) encourage its allies, especially the Dominican Republic, to do the same; c) provide support to the Haitian National Police, including lethal and non-lethal police supplies, transportation, operating funds and advice, the insurgency could be brought under control; d) classify the armed gangs as terrorist groups under U.S. law and instruct the Office of Foreign Assets Control to take immediate enforcement action against the organizations' members and supporters.

I note that you have publicly condemned the violence, and expressed support for Haiti's Constitution and elected officials.  But unless these words are backed up by concrete actions, hundreds of Haitians will be killed, thousands more tortured and displaced, and Haiti's democratic development will be set back several years.

I also note that you have explicitly conditioned U.S. help in Haiti's fight against terrorism on the Haitian government accepting unconstitutional power sharing with the opposition. This policy is little more than the Bush Administration sitting back and letting murderers and torturers do its work, work not accomplished through three years of embargos and financial support for the opposition.  Such a policy will bring nothing but shame to the Administration and the American people.

As you know, the terrorist leaders have long ties to the U.S., from American training and other support to Guy Philippe, to support for Louis Jodel Chamblain's FRAPH organization, and to training for the former Haitian armed forces (FADH). You also know that the terrorists have received shelter and support from the military in the Dominican Republic, a close ally and recipient of generous U.S. support and training.

You are also aware of the links between the terrorists and the opposition to whom you have granted a veto.  The opposition, although distancing itself from the violent methods, publicly and explicitly supports the violent groups' goals.  The violent groups have, over the course of several months, maintained that they are collaborating with the civilian opposition.  Civilian demonstrations in Port-au-Prince have been planned to coincide with violent actions, and have been intentionally provocative, placing increased pressure on an over-extended police force.

As someone who has been involved in Haiti for some time, you are also aware of the extensive ties between the opposition and past Haitian dictatorships.  Andre Apaid had his assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury for his support for the 1991-1994 de facto dictatorship.  As an American citizen, his support for violent regime change in Haiti violates the U.S. Neutrality Act.  Another prominent member of the opposition, Leslie Manigat, was installed as President by a military dictatorship in 1987 three months after the dictatorship cancelled elections by allowing paramilitary and military massacres at  polling sites.  Several other members, including Hubert de Ronceray, were prominent Duvalierists.  Former dictator Prosper Avril, according to a Miami Federal Judge, "bears personal responsibility for a systematic pattern of egregious human rights abuses in Haiti during his military rule of September 1988 until March 1990," and has been indicted in Haitian courts for his role in the 1990 Piatre peasant massacre.

Today is not, unfortunately, the first time that some elements of the U.S. government have tried to undermine Haitian democracy.  Our intelligence services abused training programs for Haiti's police to recruit operatives, enough to cause the American director of the training program to complain.  She was fired (Legal Times, March 1, 1999).  For three years we have imposed sanctions on Haiti, including a development assistance embargo and an embargo on police supplies, which now even includes tear gas. Although we publicly criticized the 1991 coup d'etat and the subsequent dictatorship, we continued to train the army's soldiers in the U.S., and supported FRAPH, the paramilitary terrorist group.  

Many of the top coup leaders were paid by the CIA (New York Times, November 1, 1993). The CIA tried to intervene in Haiti's 1987 to undercut the influence of Mr. Aristide, who was not even a candidate (the Senate Intelligence Committee heard about, and stopped, the program. (L.A. Times, October 30, 1993).  In 1993, U.S. intelligence helped prepare and circulate a fraudulent report that President Aristide was mentally ill.

There is still time for the Administration and America to come out on the right side of this.  If the U.S. were to take action today, the insurgency would be soon extinguished.

I ask you, on behalf of the millions of Haitians who will be exposed to the cruelty of a coup d'etat, to act now.

Sincerely,

*   *   *   *   *

U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT Contact Information:

Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State
Fax: 202.647.2283 or 202.647.5169
Phone: 202.647.5291 or 202.647.7098

Mail: U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
E-mail: via http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html

Haiti Desk Officers, U.S. State Department:

Joseph Tilghman
Fax: 202.647.2901
Phone: 202.647.5088
email: tilghmanjf@state.gov

Lawrence Connell
Fax: 202.647.2901
Phone: 202.647.6765
email: ConnellLF@state.gov

 *   *   *   *   *

Additional Background

Secretary of State Colin Powell has publicly stated his support for Haiti's Constitution and its elected officials, but there are reasons to doubt the U.S. commitment to this position.

1.The terrorist leaders have strong U.S. connections

The U.S. has long-standing ties to the terrorist leadership.  The two top leaders, Guy Philippe and Louis Jodel Chamblain, both received U.S. help and have been protected by the Dominican Republic's army, despite several requests for their return to face charges in Haiti.  The Dominican army receives extensive U.S. assistance, including U.S. advisers near the Haitian border, and a year ago, a shipment of 20,000 M-16 rifles, many of which are believed to be in use in Haiti today.  Guy Philippe was a soldier in the Haitian army (FADH) during the brutal 1991-1994 de facto dictatorship. He received specialized U.S. training in Ecuador, and at U.S. insistence was integrated into the top police leadership.  He fled in October 2000 after revelations that he was planning a coup with other top police officials.  He planned two subsequent coup attempts in 2001.  After the second attempt he was arrested, but later released, by Dominican authorities. 

Louis Jodel Chamblain was the number two leader of FRAPH, a violent paramilitary organization founded with U.S. encouragement in 1993.  The UN, the U.S. State Department and human rights groups attribute hundreds of murders and tens of thousands of other crimes against humanity in 1993 and 1994 to FRAPH. U.S. government sources have confirmed the claims of FRAPH's top leader, Emmanuel Constant, that U.S. intelligence officials encouraged him in his activities, and paid him a monthly salary (see
http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2001/06/grann.htm).  Constant has been allowed to live freely in New York, despite a 1995 deportation order and a 2000 murder conviction.  The Dominican Republic allowed both Chamblain and Philippe to operate from its territory.

2. The U.S. has given a veto to the formal opposition in Port-au-Prince, which is closely linked to the armed terrorists.

The so-called civilian opposition is closely linked to the violent opposition.  Although some of its members, under U.S. pressure, have recently distanced themselves from the violent methods, they continue to publicly and explicitly support the violent groups' goals.  The violent groups have, over the course of several months, maintained that they are collaborating with the civilian opposition. Civilian demonstrations in Port-au-Prince have been planned to coincide with violent actions, and have been intentionally provocative, placing increased pressure on an over-extended police force.  Last weekend, civilian opposition leaders called for a delay in responding to the international compromise proposal, in order to give the terrorists time to attack Cap Haitian, which they did on Sunday.

The civilian opposition also has extensive ties to past Haitian dictatorships.  The most prominent member of the opposition, Andre Apaid, had his assets frozen by the U.S. Treasury for his support for the 1991-1994 de facto dictatorship. He is an American citizen, whose support for violent regime change in Haiti violates the U.S. Neutrality Act.  He acquired his Haitian citizenship with documents fraudulently claiming that he was born in Haiti, when he was born in New York. He led the fight to keep the Haitian minimum wage at its current rate, about $1.60/day.  Another prominent member of the opposition, Leslie Manigat, was installed as President by a military dictatorship in 1987 three months after the dictatorship cancelled elections by allowing paramilitary and military massacres at  polling sites. Several other members, including Hubert de Ronceray, were prominent Duvalierists. Others, including Evans Paul, collaborated with the de facto dictatorship.


3.  The U.S. has explicitly conditioned assistance for Haiti's Constitutional authorities on their accepting opposition demands for unconstitutional transfers of power.

Secretary Powell conditioned U.S. help in Haiti's fight against terrorism on the Haitian government accepting a Prime Minister ratified by the U.S.- supported opposition, not by Parliament, as the Constitution requires.  This policy is little more than sitting back and letting murderers and torturers do our work for us.  It is a violation, not only of Haiti's Constitution, but of American democratic principles, and of international law such as the OAS Charter.

Another condition that the U.S. is trying to force on the Haitian government is the release of former dictator Prosper Avril.  A Miami Federal Judge found that Avril "bears personal responsibility for a systematic pattern of egregious human rights abuses in Haiti during his military rule of September 1988 until March 1990," and awarded some of his victims $43 million in damages because Avril bore "personal responsibility for the interrogation and torture of each.  Last December, Avril was indicted in Haitian courts for his role in the 1990 Piatre peasant massacre, and he is being held pending trial.


4. The U.S. has a long and shameful history of undermining democracy in Haiti

Although the U.S. has done many things to support Haitian democracy, it has also persistently undermined it. Our intelligence services abused training programs for Haiti's police as recruitment centers enough to cause the American director of the training program to complain.  She was fired (Legal Times, March 1, 1999).  For three years we have imposed sanctions on Haiti, including a development assistance embargo and an embargo on police supplies, which now even includes tear gas.  Although we publicly criticized the 1991 coup d'etat and the subsequent dictatorship, we continued to train the army's soldiers in the U.S., and supported FRAPH, the paramilitary terrorist group. Many of the top coup leaders were paid by the CIA (New York Times, November 1, 1993).  The CIA tried to intervene in Haiti's 1987 election to undercut the influence of Mr. Aristide, who was not even a candidate (the Senate Intelligence Committee heard about, and stopped, the program.  L.A. Times, October 30, 1993).  In 1993, U.S. intelligence helped prepare and circulate a fraudulent report that President Aristide was mentally ill.

*   *   *   *   *

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For the past three decades, America has steadily become a nation of haves and have-nots. Our incomes are increasingly drastically unequal: the top 1% of Americans collect almost 20% of the nation’s income—more than double their share in 1973. We have less equality of income than Venezuela, Kenya, or Yemen. What economics Nobelist Paul Krugman terms "the Great Divergence" has until now been treated as little more than a talking point, a club to be wielded in ideological battles. But it may be the most important change in this country during our lifetimes—a sharp, fundamental shift in the character of American society, and not at all for the better. The income gap has been blamed on everything from computers to immigration, but its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration.

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

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