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+  Africa Speaks Reasoning Forum
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| | |-+  France calls for Aristide to quit
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Author Topic: France calls for Aristide to quit  (Read 10268 times)
Junior Member
Posts: 220

I am nothing with out my soul

« on: February 27, 2004, 09:26:55 AM »

PARIS, France (CNN) -- France has made a new appeal for Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to resign after talks with a Haitian government team and called for urgent moves to stop the situation getting out of control.

A statement from the French foreign ministry, referring to Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, said: "The minister recalled that President Aristide bears a heavy responsibility in the current situation and that he should draw the conclusions from the impasse."

A foreign ministry spokesman said "logistical problems" had prevented members of the Haitian opposition attending separate talks with de Villepin, but that he was ready to receive them as soon as possible.

An opposition representative welcomed France's involvement in trying to broker a settlement, making clear that he expected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to leave office.

France had already called for the international community to assemble a force to restore order and urged Aristide consider stepping down.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell called on the Haitian leader to do what's best for his people, as the option of Aristide's resignation began to be more openly discussed in Washington.

"He is the democratically elected president, but he has had difficulties in his presidency. And ... whether or not he is able to effectively continue as president is something that he will have to examine," Powell said Thursday outside the State Department. "I hope that he will examine it carefully considering the interests of the Haitian people."

Powell said he knows Aristide "has the interest of the Haitian people at heart."

"I regret to say that President Aristide, I think, has made some mistakes over the years," Powell told CNN's Paula Zahn. "I hope he will just examine the situation that he is in, and make a careful examination of how best to serve the Haitian people at this time.

"And I think my statement speaks for itself," Powell said, emphasizing that the United States and other concerned countries are still seeking a political solution to the Haitian crisis.

Aristide is holding firm.

"Thirty-two coups d'etat are enough," Aristide told CNN in a telephone interview, referring to his country's turbulent history.

Rebel forces have seized much of northern Haiti and are threatening to advance on the capital, Port-au-Prince. Haiti's political opposition has rejected an international peace plan that would leave Aristide in office, saying any deal must include Aristide's resignation.

Caribbean countries on Thursday called on the United Nations to dispatch a multinational force to restore order.

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday it has picked up about 500 Haitians attempting to flee the island country by sea. And at the United Nations, Jamaican Foreign Minister K.D. Knight warned the Security Council that "sheer anarchy and chaos" are imminent in Haiti.

Speaking on behalf of Caribbean Community nations, Knight told the council that "direct and immediate intervention" is required to preserve democracy and avert a humanitarian crisis.

The Security Council later adopted a statement expressing its deep concern in regard to the deterioration of the political, security and humanitarian environment in Haiti.

"It deplores the loss of life that has already occurred, and fears that the failure, thus far, to reach a political settlement may result in further bloodshed," the statement said, adding that the council supports CARICOM and the Organization of American States (OAS) in their efforts to broker a peaceful solution.

Haitian opposition leader Andy Apaid told CNN that Aristide is "an element of destruction" who has broken previous promises to reform.

"He must resign," Apaid said. "It is critical, because he has never respected his word in any of the international community's resolutions."

The rebellion against Aristide began February 5, when armed opponents seized the coastal city of Gonaives. They now control the nation's second-largest city, Cap-Haitien, and say they are preparing to move against Port-au-Prince.

The port city of St. Marc is the last major town between rebels and the capital, and rebel leaders said Thursday it would be their next target. Dr. Albert Tshiula, a representative of the relief group Doctors Without Borders, said his group is preparing the St. Marc hospital for an emergency.

"The people are scared," he said. "But at least we can say that the hospital is guaranteeing the security of the population."

In the United States, American Airlines announced it was suspending service to and from Haiti until next Wednesday. In a statement, the carrier said its employees in Port-au-Prince were having a hard time getting to work due to the chaos in the capital.

American Airlines' last flight from Haiti left at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.

In Miami, Coast Guard officials said it will send most of the 500 Haitians it has picked up back to Haiti. Petty Officer Crystal Norman, a Coast Guard spokeswoman, told CNN that most were taken aboard Coast Guard cutters from boats in the Windward Passage, the strait separating Haiti from Cuba.

The Coast Guard also held a Panamanian-flagged freighter, the Margot, off Miami after the captain reported it had been hijacked by a band of 17 Haitians. The Coast Guard seized three shotguns and a pistol from the Haitians, who were being questioned

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the president's brother, called Haitian migrants "hijackers" and urged the federal government to send them back. (Full story)

But the U.N. refugee agency is calling on countries to take in Haitians seeking refuge.

President Bush has warned Haitians not to try to escape the political turmoil and violence in their country by sailing to the United States and said any Haitians doing so would be turned back.


I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality.
Junior Member
Posts: 592

Higher Reasoning

« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2004, 10:57:19 AM »

Ah, revolution in the service of the financial paymasters of the world.

Until we deal with the fraternal bonds which unite the countries striving for self-determination with the European and American financial elite, any change will be superficial and any real change temporary.

Central and South America, the Phillipines have all seen their "revolutions" . . .in ALL of them the New World elite have benefitted and built their empire off of them.

""Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws." -Amschel Mayer Rothschild

"I care not what puppet is placed upon the throne of England to rule the Empire on which the sun never sets. The man who controls Britain's money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply." - Nathan Mayer Rothschild

Posts: 1531

« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2004, 12:41:25 PM »

Why Aristide Should Stay
by Tracy Kidder www.nytimes.com
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. In Haiti, a paramilitary group has been making coordinated attacks on towns and cities, overwhelming understaffed, underequipped and ill-trained members of the national police force. The group has been burning police stations and setting free prisoners, both ordinary criminals and people convicted of involvement in massacres. It has been looting and rounding up supporters of the elected government and, apparently, killing anyone who tries to oppose it.

This group seems to be operating with the tacit approval of some of the politicians who oppose Haiti's government. But many of these rebels, as news reports call them, have unsavory records. Some are former soldiers from the disbanded Haitian Army, which in 1991 deposed Haiti's first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and ruled the country with cruelty and corruption for three years. Another was a ranking member of an organization that aided the army in terrorizing the country during that period. This rebel group seems to enjoy sanctuary within the Dominican Republic and free passage across the border between that country and Haiti.

For several years, the rebels have been making raids into Haiti, including a commando-style assault on the presidential palace in 2001 and, in 2003, an attack on a hydroelectric dam, during which they burned the control station, murdered two security guards and stole an ambulance. Clearly, they were just getting warmed up. Their leaders now boast that they will soon be in control of the entire country.

I first went to Haiti in 1994, for research on an article about some of the American soldiers sent to restore the country's elected government. I have spent parts of the past several years there, working on a book about an American doctor and a public health system that he helped to create in an impoverished rural region. The Haiti that I experienced was very different from the Haiti that I had read about back in the United States, and this disconnection is even stronger for me today.

Recent news reports, for example, perhaps in laudable pursuit of evenhandedness, have taken pains to assert that President Aristide and his Lavalas Party have been using armed thugs of their own to enforce their will on the country. The articles imply that the current crisis in Haiti is an incipient war between two factions roughly equal in illegitimacy. But I have interviewed leaders of the opposition, and can say with certainty that theirs is an extremely disparate group, which includes members of the disbanded army and former officials of the repressive regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier — and also people who were persecuted by both these groups.

This is an opposition that has so far shown itself unable to agree on much of anything except its determination to get rid of Mr. Aristide. Most important, the various leaders of this opposition have enjoyed little in the way of electoral success, the true measure of legitimacy in any country that calls itself a democracy. Mr. Aristide, by contrast, has been elected president twice, by overwhelming margins, and his party won the vast majority of seats in Parliament in the last legislative elections, held in May 2000.

Press reports generally date the current crisis to those elections, which they describe as flawed. In fact, they were flawed, but less flawed than we have been led to believe. Eight candidates, seven of them from Lavalas, were awarded seats in the Senate, even though they had won only pluralities. Consequently, many foreign diplomats expressed concern, and some went so far as to call the election "fraudulent."

But to a great extent, the proceedings were financed, managed and overseen by foreigners, and in the immediate aftermath many monitors declared a victory for Haiti's nascent democracy. Sixty percent of the country's eligible voters went to polling stations, many trudging for miles along mountain paths, then waiting for hours in the hot sun to vote. Moreover, those eight contested Senate seats didn't affect the balance of power in Parliament. Even if it had lost them all, Mr. Aristide's party would still have had a clear majority.

Citing the flaws in those elections, the United States and other foreign governments refused to monitor the presidential election that followed, later in 2000, which Mr. Aristide won handily. The opposition boycotted the affair and still claims that the election was illegitimate, but it does so against the weight of the evidence. This includes a Gallup poll commissioned by the United States government but never made public. (I obtained a copy last year.) It shows that as of 2002 Mr. Aristide remained far and away the most popular political figure in Haiti.

Again citing the flawed elections as its reason, the Bush administration also led a near total embargo on foreign aid to the Haitian government — even blocking loans from the Inter-American Development Bank for improvements in education, roads, health care and water supplies. Meanwhile, the administration has supported the political opposition. This is hardly a destructive act, unless, as Mr. Aristide's supporters believe, the aim has been to make room for an opposition by weakening the elected government.

They have a point. Over the past several years, the United States and the Organization of American States have placed increasingly onerous demands on Mr. Aristide. Foreign diplomats insisted that the senators in the contested seats resign; all did so several months after Mr. Aristide's re-election. Though Mr. Aristide called for new elections, the opposition demanded that he himself step down before it would cooperate. Last year, a State Department official in Haiti, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me that the United States wouldn't tolerate that kind of intransigence but also said that no support for new elections would be forthcoming until President Aristide improved "security." And yet by the time the diplomat said this, the administration had long since withdrawn support from Haiti's fledgling police force, with predictable and now obvious results.

Mr. Aristide has been accused of many things. A few days ago, a news report described him as "uncompromising." For more than a week now, American and other diplomats have been trying to broker a deal whereby the president would appoint a new prime minister acceptable to the opposition. Mr. Aristide has agreed. So far the opposition has refused, insisting again that the president resign.

It was the United States that restored Mr. Aristide to power in 1994, but since his re-election our government has made rather brazen attempts to undermine his presidency. One could speculate endlessly on American motives, but the plain fact is that American policy in Haiti has not served American interests, not if those include the establishment of democracy in Haiti, or the prevention of the kind of chaos and bloodletting that has led in the past to boatloads of refugees heading for Florida.

One could also argue about the failings and sins of all the quarreling factions inside Haiti. But there are more important considerations. Haitians have endured centuries of horror: first slavery under the French, and then, since their revolution, nearly two centuries of corrupt, repressive misrule, aided and abetted by foreign powers, including the United States. All this has helped to make Haiti one of the world's poorest countries, and its people, according to the World Bank, among the most malnourished on earth.

The majority of Haitians have been struggling for nearly two decades to establish a democratic political system. It is important to this effort that Haiti's current elected president leave office constitutionally, not through what would be the country's 33rd coup d'état. Progress toward this difficult goal may still be possible, if the warring politicians within the country and the various foreign nations that have involved themselves in Haiti's affairs pull together now and put a stop to the growing incursions of terrorists. If this does not happen, there is little hope for Haiti. The result, I fear, will be a new civil war, one that will likely lead back to dictatorship and spill enough blood to cover all hands.

Tracy Kidder is the author, most recently, of "Mountains Beyond Mountains."

© Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Junior Member
Posts: 220

I am nothing with out my soul

« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2004, 07:24:19 AM »

Aristide leaves Haiti, U.S. administration official says
Multi-national force likely to be sent, State Department official says

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Under intense pressure from the United States and France, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has left the country, a senior U.S. administration official said Sunday.

U.S. State Department officials told CNN that Secretary of State Colin Powell, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, Caribbean leaders and U.N. leaders worked overnight to find a solution to a standoff between Aristide and opposition forces demanding his ouster.

Addressing questions about Haiti's immediate future, a U.S. State Department source told CNN Sunday that "it is safe to say a multi-national force" will be sent there soon.

Militant rebels intent on removing Aristide from power had taken over most of the northern part of impoverished and embattled Caribbean country, and leaders of the movement said they had advanced to within 30 miles of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Chaos erupted at the end of the week in Port-au-Prince, where looting and more violence was largely blamed on supporters of the president.

In 1990, Aristide became Haiti's first democratically elected president. He was overthrown in a 1991 coup, restored to power after intense pressure by U.S. officials in 1994 and won a new term in 2000 -- in elections his political opponents claim were fraudulent.

Word of Aristide's departure comes a day after the White House accused him of orchestrating the violence that has gripped the capital, Port-au-Prince.

"We condemn the violence in Haiti," a White House statement said. "Many are engaged in it. All should end their senseless looting and killing. ... This long-simmering crisis is largely of Mr. Aristide."

Aristide had vowed Saturday not to leave office before his term expires in 2006, even as the rebels seeking to drive him out of power advanced on the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Earlier in the week, the State Department had supported an arrangement under which Aristide would share power with his political opposition, but privately the United States had continued to distance itself from Aristide.

In Port-au-Prince, roadblocks were dismantled overnight and the streets Saturday morning appeared calmer than they had been Friday. But by Saturday afternoon, the looting and general disorder intensified.

Representatives of the U.S. and French embassies said they had no immediate plans to evacuate personnel. They urged embassy employees to remain in their homes until the situation eased.

"It's not an issue of safety," a senior State Department official said. "We're not going to shut down our mission because that's inconsistent with our desire to help Haitians solve this."

Rebels said they had advanced to within 30 miles of the capital, surrounding it with the aim of choking off supplies and ousting Aristide, whose election in 2000 they say was rigged.

A high-ranking police officer said Saturday that the police had been outnumbered Friday. It was not clear how much control they had regained Saturday.

Opportunities to flee the country were few. Two C-130 military aircraft landed at the capital's airport to evacuate foreign nationals.

Military helicopters from the Dominican Republic have been ferrying foreign nationals from the embassy to the neighboring country.

But the border with the Dominican Republic was sealed, and all commercial flights were suspended from the capital's sole airport.

The rebels -- and separately, Aristide's political opposition -- had accused his administration of corruption.

Last week, the Coast Guard said it intercepted 531 Haitians as they tried to escape the chaos. Most were sent back to Port-au-Prince, but a few dozen who asked for asylum were kept aboard Coast Guard ships, where their claims will be investigated.

The repatriation incensed Democratic Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, who joined a number of his colleagues in signing a letter urging that protective status be made available to Haitians picked up fleeing the country.

"The idea of sending people back to the killing fields of Haiti is violative of all our values," he said.


I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become reality.
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