Moderator's note: This item was originally posted by Ezili Danto.
Haiti - Urgent Action Alert
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, t
o 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
Haiti Action Committee
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 ar
med 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 developm
ent 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
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 havebeen 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 af
ter 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 t
ear 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.
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT Contact Inf
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
http://contact-us.state.gov/ask_form_ca ... etary.html
Haiti Desk Officers, U.S. State Department:
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