[Marxism] Aristede says he was kidnapped, US coup stirs outrage (WW)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 4 10:42:31 MST 2004

(Excellent analysis. Puts responsibility where it belongs
on Washington and not on the Haitian President Aristede.
Shows effectively how all of this threatens Cuba, too.)

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the March 11, 2004
issue of Workers World newspaper

By G. Dunkel

March 2--The Bush administration has been caught once again
in an enormous lie to the people of the world. On the night
of Feb. 28-29 the U.S. carried out a coup in Haiti,
kidnapping the president and flying him out of the country
in the custody of an armed guard. But it told the world
that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide had "resigned" his
post and that Washington was sending troops to Haiti to
"restore order."

This lie was exposed almost immediately when, after being
flown to the Central African Republic, Aristide was able to
call friends in the U.S. on Monday, March 1, and tell them
what had happened. Randall Robinson, founder of the
organization TransAfrica, told Pacifica radio that
afternoon that he had just received a call from Aristide.
"He did not resign. He was abducted by the United States in
the commission of a coup," said Robinson.

Robinson confirmed what Rep. Maxine Waters, a leader of the
Con gressional Black Caucus, had said earlier on the Pacif
ica show "Demo cracy Now." She had actually been on the air
talking to host Amy Goodman about Haiti when Aristide
called her from Bangui, capital of the Central African
Republic, where the Pentagon plane had deposited him. She
returned to the program with the dramatic announcement:
"He's surrounded by military. It's like he is in jail, he
said. He says he was kidnapped."

Aristide also called CNN that evening and said, "Again and
again, I am telling the truth. I call it a coup d'etat ...

The same day, Jesse Jackson arranged a phone interview with
Aristide for the Associated Press. Asked if he left Haiti
on his own, Aristide answered, "No. I was forced to leave.
Agents were telling me that if I don't leave they would
start shooting and killing in a matter of time." When asked
who the agents were, he responded: "White American, white
military. They came at night. ... There were too many, I
couldn't count them," he said.

Aristide had little security at that point. He had no
troops, having disbanded the Haitian Army after surviving
an earlier military coup. He had relied on security guards
from a private U.S. company to protect him. According to a
report in the March 1 Miami Herald, "The Bush
administration blocked a last-minute attempt by Haitian
President Jean- Bertrand Aristide to bolster his
bodyguards," forcing the guards, provided by the Steele
Foun dation, to delay their flight to Haiti until after
Aristide had been deposed.

The abduction of Aristide came after a U.S. destabilization
campaign that includ ed years of denying Haiti, the poorest
country in the Western Hemisphere, any loans or aid, and
the funding by semi-official U.S. groups of a political
opposition. There is also a history of U.S. collusion with
the terror gangs that have been used by Haitian
dictatorships since the rule of the Duvaliers.

With all this evidence of a direct U.S. coup, the Bush
administration scrambled to contain the damage. At a press
conference on Monday afternoon, Secretary of Defense Donald
Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell repeated their
story that Aristide had left Haiti voluntarily. Powell
called the charges of kidnapping "baseless" and "absurd."

But more members of the Congres sion al Black Caucus were
already charging that the United States was heavily
implicated in a coup against the democratically elected
president of the world's first Black republic. Rep. Elijah
Cummings, who chairs the 43-member Black Caucus, said, "As
far as what has happened to Pre sident Aristide, we,
members of Con gress, will not stand around and watch a
democracy being taken apart by our own country."

Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General and founder of
the International Action Center, called it "A clear
demonstration of U.S. regime change by armed aggression."

Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patter son, who chairs
Caricom, the Caribbean Community, had issued a statement
earlier that "The removal of President Aristide in these
circumstances sets a dangerous precedent for democratically
elected governments anywhere and everywhere, as it promotes
the removal of duly elected persons from office by the
power of rebel forces."

In many U.S. cities, hastily organized demonstrations
supporting Aristide broke out in the Haitian communities.


The abduction of Aristide came after he refused to cave in
before the threats of an armed group of about 400 ex-army
officers and members of the death squad organization FRAPH,
who seized the northern part of Haiti in early February. A
confrontation between them and the pro- Aristide popular
forces was looming if they tried to take the capital of
Port-au-Prince, a sprawling metropolis of more than 2
million people. The U.S. used the threat of these killers
to try to force Aristide to resign, but he refused.

Newsday of March 1 reported that the overthrow of Aristide
was a victory for Roger Noriega, assistant U.S. secretary
of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. Noriega was a
protege of right-wing Republican Sen. Jesse Helms. Another
architect of U.S. Haiti policy is Otto Reich, a Cuban
American on the National Security Council connected to the
Venezuelan plotters who tried to overthrow President Hugo
Sanchez in a coup there two years ago.

This drastic move against Aristide gives credence to recent
warnings by Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro that the Bush
administration is planning a new attack on that socialist

While Haiti has had many coups--the generally accepted
number is 35-- this is the first one carried out directly
by foreign soldiers and diplomats.

The political situation in Haiti is extremely fluid. The
armed rebels have taken over much of Port-au-Prince. They
are headed by Guy Philippe, an ex-army officer trained in
police work by the United States, and Louis-Jodel Chamb
lain, a former leader of FRAPH who has been convicted of
mass murder. FRAPH was the paramilitary organization the
Haitian Army used after the 1991 coup against Aristide to
sow terror, and is accused of killing 5,000 people at that

They are occupying the national police headquarters across
the street from the Presidential Palace, which is
controlled by U.S. Marines and State Department Security.
They have welcomed the U.S. and French troops, who have
allowed them to take the capital.

CNN reported on March 2 that at least four Aristide
supporters had already been executed, gangland-style. More
terror can be expected, based on the past history of those
now controlling the police headquarters.

Hundreds of U.S. and French Marines, plus about 60 Canadian
troops, control key points like the airport.

Immediately after abducting Aristide, the U.S. pushed a
resolution through the UN Security Council condoning a
multinational intervention. That resolution, based on the
lie that Aristide had resigned and foreign troops were
needed to "restore order," is invalid--but it will take the
pressure of the mass struggle to get it reversed.

The large demonstrations around the world on March 20,
planned to protest the occupation of Iraq and Palestine,
are already being amended to add Haiti to the list of
occupied countries. More protests and demonstrations are
being planned to make it clear that Jean-Bertrand Aristide
is still president of Haiti, that his forced resignation is
invalid, and that the United States government was behind
the coup that shoved him out of his country.

- END -

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