[Marxism] Ramsey Clark on Aristide & Haiti

usman x sandinista at shaw.ca
Tue Mar 2 00:23:22 MST 2004


-----Original Message-----
From: David Morgan 


International Action Center
Founded by Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark
39 W. 14th St., NY, NY, 10011 212-633-6646, 
www.iacenter.org

A Message from Ramsey Clark
March 1, 2004

The 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.

Most 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 
pistols.

This 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 aggression.

The 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.

The 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.

President 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. 

In 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."

President 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.

This is the man President Bush has deposed.

If 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: 
1. The role of the U.S. in forcing President Aristide from 
Haiti 
2. The support the Bush administration gave in training, 
financing and arming the aggression against Haiti 
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 country 
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 1901?

The 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.

Ramsey Clark
March 1, 2004




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