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President Aristide is saying he was kidnapped and forced to leave Haiti. The U.S. government is denying this. Whom shall we believe.

Multiple sources that just spoke with Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide told Democracy Now! that Aristide says he was "kidnapped" and taken by force to the Central African Republic. Congressmember Maxine Waters said she received a call from Aristide at 9am EST. "He's surrounded by military. It's like he is in jail, he said. He says he was kidnapped," said Waters. She said he had been threatened by what he called US diplomats. According to Waters, the diplomats reportedly told the Haitian president that if he did not leave Haiti, paramilitary leader Guy Philippe would storm the palace and Aristide would be killed. According to Waters, Aristide was told by the US that they were withdrawing Aristide's US security.
TransAfrica founder and close Aristide family friend Randall Robinson also received a call from the Haitian president early this morning and confirmed Waters account. Robinson said that Aristide "emphatically" denied that he had resigned. "He did not resign," he said. "He was abducted by the United States in the commission of a coup." Robinson says he spoke to Aristide on a cell phone that was smuggled to the Haitian president.

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There are Negroes who will never fight for freedom. There are Negroes who will seek profit for themselves from the struggle. There are even some Negroes who will cooperate with the oppressors. The hammer blows of discrimination, poverty, and segregation must warp and corrupt some. No one can pretend that because a people may be oppressed, every individual member is virtuous and worthy. Martin Luther King

More to come later! Your Brother Faheem
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RANDALL ROBINSON: The president called me on a cell phone that was slipped to him by someone - he has no land line out to the world and no number at which he can be reached. He is being held in a room with his wife and his sister's husband, who happened to be at the house at the time that the abduction occurred. The soldiers came in to the house and ordered them to use no phones and to come immediately. They were taken at gunpoint to the airport and put on a plane. His own security detachment was taken as well and they were put in a separate compartment of the plane. The president was kept with his wife with the soldiers with the shades of the plane down and when he asked where he was being taken, the soldiers told him they were under orders not to tell him that. He was flown first to Antigua, which he recognized, but then he was told to put the shades down again. They were on the ground like this for two hours before they took off again and landed six hours later at another location again told to keep the shades down. At no time before they left the house and on the plane were they allowed to use a phone. Only when they landed the last time were they told that they were in the central African republic. Then taken to a room with a balcony. They do not know what the room is. Outside they say they are surrounded by soldiers. So that they have no freedom. The president asked me to tell the world that it is a coup, that they have been kidnapped. That they have been abducted. I have put in calls to members of congress asking that they demand that the president be given an opportunity to speak, that he be given a press conference opportunity and that people be given an opportunity to reach him by phone so that they can hear directly from him how he is being treated. But the essential point is clear. He did not resign. He was taken by force from his residence in the middle of the night, forced on to a plane, and taken away without being told where he was going. He was kidnapped. There's no question about it.
AMY GOODMAN: How does he actually know, Randall Robinson, how does president Aristide know that he is in the Central African Republic?

RANDALL ROBINSON: He was told that when he arrived. That there was some official reception of officials of that government at the airport when he arrived. But, you see, he still had and continues to have surrounding him American military.

AMY GOODMAN: You spoke with him and Mildred Aristide up to 10 times a day in the last days before they were removed from Haiti. How did president Aristide sound when you spoke with him today?

RANDALL ROBINSON: They sounded tired and very concerned that the departure has been mistold to the world. They wanted to make certain that I did all that I could to disabuse any misled public that he had not resigned, that he had been abducted. That was very, very important to him and Mrs. Aristide explained to me the strange response to my calls on Saturday night. I had talked to her on Saturday morning and him on Friday. But when I called the house on Saturday night, the phone was answered by an unfamiliar voice who told me that the president was busy, a response that was strange and then when I asked for Mrs. Aristide, I was told that she was busy, too. As she told me then, even that early on, before they were taken away and before the soldiers came, they had been instructed they were not allowed to talk to anyone. So, that is - she said that was the reason she explained this today, a few minutes ago - why she was not able to talk to me and he was not able to talk to me when I called the house object Saturday evening.

AMY GOODMAN: Who did they say was the person that you had actually spoken to?

RANDALL ROBINSON: No, but that it was not someone who worked at the house because they know my voice when they hear it and they respond to it because I call so many times. This was something new, a new person, a new voice, with a new kind of tone. That is when we began to be concerned that something was amiss.

AMY GOODMAN: I will ask you the same question I asked Congressmember Waters who also spoke with president Aristide. The issue of whether president Aristide resigned. Did he say he did or he didn't?

RANDALL ROBINSON: Emphatically not.

AMY GOODMAN He said he did not resign?

RANDALL ROBINSON: He did not resign. He did not resign. He was kidnapped and all of the circumstances seem to support his assertion. Had he resigned, we wouldn't need blacked out windows and blocked communications and military taking him away at gunpoint. Had he resigned, he would have been happy to leave the country. He was not. He resisted. Emphatically not. He did not resign. He was abducted by the United States, a democratic, a democratically elected president, abducted by the United States in the commission of an American induced coup. This is a frightening thing to contemplate.

AMY GOODMAN: And again, Randall Robinson, you said you spoke to president Aristide by a cell phone that was smuggled to him?

RANDALL ROBINSON: Yes and I cannot call back because I have no number and the only way they can call out is by cell phone because they have not been provided with any land lines.

AMY GOODMAN: Did they say how long they will be staying in this place that they are, the palace of the Renaissance, they say they believe in the Central African Republic?

RANDALL ROBINSON: I haven't been told anything. I told her that last night I spoke to senator Dodd's foreign policy person Janice O'Connell called me to say that she had learned from the State Department that he was being taken to the Central African Republic and she had also been told by the State Department that they had refused, that the south Africans had refused asylum. I told her that I didn't believe that that was true because the South African foreign minister - [Noise] Hello?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, Randall, Robinson, we hear you.

RANDALL ROBINSON: Because the South African foreign minister had called me from India Mid-afternoon on Sunday and she asked how I was doing and I thought I was going to be doing much better, and I told her so. And I said because I'm sure that president Aristide has arrived in South Africa. She said no, he hasn't arrived here. We haven't heard anything from him. We don't know where he is and then we became really alarmed. She said there's been no request for asylum. So, you see, the State Department is telling an interested public, including members of the congress, that South Africa refused asylum. The State Department knows better. They know that President Aristide was not allowed to request asylum from South Africa or anybody else because he was not allowed to make any phone calls before they left Haiti, during the flight, and beyond.

AMY GOODMAN: Anything else you would like to add from your conversation with president Aristide on this smuggled phone that he got hold of after many hours incommunicado and now saying he believes he is in the central African republic with the first lady of Haiti, Mildred Aristide?

RANDALL ROBINSON: The phrase that he used several times and asked of me to find a way to tell the Haitian people, he said tell the world it's a coup, it's a coup, it's a coup.
Given Aristide's apparent 'ego' problems, ie, turning a democracy into a dictatorship, using state funds for himself and not for the people, destroying democratic institutions in order to retain power, making deals to enrich himself with drug smugglers, etc, it is possible someone close to him is in fact saying these things now. But it sounds more like a 'face-saving' ploy than anything else. I'm sure its difficult for such a man to accept such utter failure and rejection.

Its also a little odd that given the mess he created in Haiti and the plight they are in today, that this rumour becomes the focus of someone's attention.

It is more than likely that his rescuers were concerned for his life, as well as their own, and he didn't like being told what to do. He's probably upset there were no 'red carpets' waiting for him is likely closer to the truth. No matter what anyone tells you, it is GOOD that he is gone.

So in light of Haiti, and the desperation of Haitians, WHO GIVES A DAMN about Aristide.

This smacks of political wrangling against the administration once again, something which is getting old now. I'd take Colin Powell's word, and his knowledge, over Ms Water's any day of the week.

Ms Water's is still trying to cover up the fact that she endorsed this creep in the first place. She'd probably have him back in office tomorrow re-abusing his people, if she could! Its Ridiculous.
Why outsiders and insiders who are well aware of Bush's policy on Haiti hate Aristide? Because Aristide's government, while economically aligned on certain point with US global agenda, does not represent the full aspiration of a US installed puppet regime varnished by a democratic process of facade. Aristide's government is not palatable to Washington for several reasons. Haiti has relations with Cuba. Aristide has refused to abandon certain social projects. His government has stalled certain privatization projects. But first and foremost, Aristide is popularly elected and does not owe its power to Washington's benediction and financial support. Aristide's first election has already sparked a wave of leftist take over through elections: Peru, Venezuela, Brazil etc. These developments are at odds with US plans to install puppet regimes with democratic facades to replace cold war era strong man and military regimes!!! Let's condemn the well-detailed plan the US has for Haiti. It is not fair to put all the blame on Aristide.
Whether the President stay in power or not, the bloodshed and chaos will continue. Lavalasyens will continue to fight with the rebels MORE lives will be lost. We haven't seen anything yet. Wait until next week. This is the beginning of the end. If the rebels take over, they will start fighting each other for power, I know that for sure...We are miserably failing our true ancestors Boukman and Toussaint-L'Ouverture who won us physical freedom 200 years ago. Most Haitians and Black people worldwide don't really look into the fact that mental slavery plays a big part in our problems. As long as we deny our archaic tradition (Vodou), we will continuously be fighting and Haiti and the Black race will go nowhere. God bless the people who are committed to "democracy". God bless Haiti!

AfroMan.

[This message was edited by Afroman on March 01, 2004 at 01:08 PM.]
I just saw Colin Powell give a press conference where he emphatically denied the abduction allegations. He said that Aristide called the U.S. asking for help in extricating him. Powell said that the U.S. made arrangements to have Aristide flown out with his family and security detail.

Too funny - this will be interesting to see how it plays out. What is the truth???
quote:
Originally posted by DeltaJ:
How will it play out? Democrats will use this to bash Bush once again, despite there being nothing to it at all, and by this time next month it will be totally forgotten as another round of BS, and those out for bush blood will have moved on to the next 'rumor'.


So you believe it is a major conspiracy involving members of Congress, Randall Robinson and others? Wouldn't that be a rather stupid thing to do since 1) they are friends with Aristide, and 2) all it takes is a 1 minute press conference where Aristide dispels the "kidnapping" charges to dispute their claims? On the other hand, we have a history of the Bush administration taking liberty with the truth. Is it so far-fetched to conceive of them lying to the American public?
It is rather unusual that Aristide appears to have spoken to the press in CAR but apparently did not mention the "kidnapping" at the hands of the Americans.


March 1, 2004
Ousted Aristide Arrives in Africa, but Final Stop Is in Doubt
By MICHAEL WINES

OHANNESBURG, March 1 "” Newly arrived in the impoverished Central African Republic, Haiti's ex-president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, today assailed the rebels who ousted him from power on Sunday, saying that "in overthrowing me, they have chopped down the tree of peace, but it will grow again."

The government radio in Bangui, the republic's capital, said Mr. Aristide was being accommodated only for a few days, probably until he receives permanent asylum in South Africa.

But South African officials gave mixed signals as to their willingness to take in Mr. Aristide. And domestic critics of President Thabo Mbeki, one of Mr. Aristide's few international supporters, excoriated the government for even considering it.

Mr. Aristide's aircraft landed shortly after dawn in Bangui after a 13-hour overnight trip from Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital and largest city.

In a brief radio statement after his arrival, Mr. Aristide portrayed himself as a victim of power struggles in his homeland, and predicted the return of popular rule in the tradition of Toussaint Louverture, the father of Haiti's independence movement two centuries ago.

But in Port-au-Prince, news reports said thousands of people clogged the streets to cheer triumphant rebels entering the city.

Mr. Aristide's future was unclear. In Bangui, Agence France-Presse quoted government officials as saying that he had been given temporary refuge as a humanitarian gesture in recognition of Haiti's status as the world's first black-ruled republic. But they did not say how long Mr. Aristide would be permitted to stay, or where he would go next.

It was widely reported that Mr. Aristide had already sought refuge in South Africa, but had been rebuffed for fear of the political consequences.

Today South African officials said Mr. Aristide had made no formal request for asylum in South Africa, and gave no clear signal of whether such a request would be granted were it to be made.

At a midday news conference. South Africa's deputy foreign minister, Aziz Pahad, said that the foreign minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, was discussing asylum, and that "in principle, we would have no problem" in granting Mr. Aristide refuge.

But a foreign ministry spokesman, Ronnie Mamoepa, later insisted that no preliminary decision on granting asylum to Mr. Aristide had been made, and that any final decision would turn on discussions among President Mbeki's cabinet, Haiti's neighbors and key Western powers like France and the United States.

In fact, domestic politics may play a key role in South Africa's decision to admit Mr. Aristide.

A nationwide election to Parliament and local government seats is barely 45 days away, and a quick decision to grant refuge to Mr. Aristide could bolster opposition politicians' charges that Mr. Mbeki has a soft spot for internationally shunned dictators.

Mr. Mbeki is already under sustained attack for his friendship with Robert Mugabe, the autocratic Zimbabwean leader who is accused of plunging his nation into privation and repressive rule. Reports last week, relying on Iraqi newspapers' publication of documents recovered from state archives, tied Mr. Mbeki's ruling African National Congress to potentially illicit oil deals with Iraq in 2001.

African National Congress officials have denied wrongdoing, but have yet to rebut the accusations or to deny that they traveled to Baghdad at the time the oil deals were struck.

Today opposition political parties seized on rumors that Mr. Aristide might end up in South Africa to accuse the government of debasing the nation's human rights record.

"Mr. Mbeki's best friends are people like Mugabe and Tariq Aziz and Saddam Hussein," said William Gibson, the chief parliamentary whip for the Democratic Alliance, South Africa's second-ranking party.

"For God's sake "” can't we find some friends who will do some foreign investment in South Africa so we can create jobs for the eight million people who are unemployed?"

Mr. Gibson said that France, the United States or Canada should be willing to give Mr. Aristide refuge "” and that if they were not willing, South Africa had no more compelling reason to grant him asylum.

The Democratic Alliance, a new political party that portrays itself as battling a corrupt and entrenched government, said that Mr. Mbeki's friendships with autocrats were devaluing South Africa's international standing.

Almost alone among global leaders, Mr. Mbeki has been close to Mr. Aristide, donating roughly $1.5 million in South African currency to underwrite Haiti's bicentennial celebration during two months ago.

Mr. Mbeki later attended the festivities in Port-au-Price, accompanied by a security contingent that included a helicopter, a South African warship and a squadron of guards.

The visit turned into an embarrassment when anti-Aristide forces rioted and a gun battle broke out during the celebrations, forcing Mr. Mbeki to leave.

Another visit in rural haiti was canceled when a South African helicopter was fired on during a security sweep in advance of the South African president's arrival.



Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
MBM, "history or truth" is the propaganda of the victors! The western Media has been printing fallacious and negative articles about each and every Haitian president since 1804 due to racism and Haiti' stance on Independence. In the US 95% of the articles concerning Haiti & Haitians are sided and bias. This is the reality of this gigantic and powerful medium of information called " Western Media". So, let's put our emotion aside and act rational: the democratically elected president was kidnapped by U.S marines!!! Check out www.democracynow.org for the facts! Aristide was kidnapped at least he wasnt killed...


AfroMan.
I agree with you Afroman. Let's look at the facts of this situation. A few days ago it was reported that Aristide had signed an agreement to share power with the opposition, then he is said to have signed his resignation, as of yesterday he has left Haiti. He came out with a statement just before he all of this kicked off saying that he would not concede to the demands of thugs. So what has happened in the last few days? Now Randall Robinson gets on CNN and says that Aristide has been kidnapped. Just before this, Colin Powell a West Indian himself, alledgely sends a message to Aristide saying that the opposition is going to take over his palace and the U.S. wasn't going to do anything to stop it. I must say when I heard that he was gone from Haiti, I thought for sure that he had been 'liquidated' like Lumumba. So I ask the question, what in the world is going on in Haiti and what do the French and U.S. have up their sleeves? Is this the way for the U.S. to make nice to France because Haitians were trying to get back the billions of dollars paid in restitution to France and French citizens 200 years after the overthrow of French rule in Haiti?
Time will tell.....
Yes Ysyss, The KEY thing that shows that the US was behind the coup is that the state department allows the rebels who are well know killers to roam the street of Haiti while the freely elected president is out of the country. You cannot take one out because of your business interest while you allow the other to reign freely on the soil that they have damped with bloods. Powel, the house nigger said that the US went to action when he thought it was necessary. Bullshit!! The US could not negotiate with Aristide because his government is "corrupted" but is willing to negotiate with known killers. This is scandal!


AfroMan.
MBM, it may seem unusual at first but once we consider he was still not clear as to where they were taking him or where his final destination would be it is easier to understand why he never mention the kidnapping in the first news conference, he had no idea who was who. Both sides could be telling the truth here, Aristide may have asked for help, but when help arrived it did not announce itself as the help he asked for but just ordered him and his family to get up and prepare to be moved out of Haiti.
Faheem, the sad thing is that the people who believe that they have UN forces backing are always STUPID because in the end, the UN forces (led by the US) ALWAYS stabs them in the back when they're no longer useful. Amerikkkans run the world. They install and remove presidents as they see fit everywhere they go! I'm hoping that one day, even if it's 1000 years from now, Black leaders will be alert to their own stupidity and personal goals before they act!

AfroMan.
A few questions to ponder about this current situation in Haiti.

1. How was the opposition funded after the Duvalier Death Squad leaders were put out of Haiti? They seem to have an abundant supply of guns and other weaponry even after the military had been disbanded for the last 8 years.
2.Who has something to gain from the dissolvement of Haiti? Could it be the upper class Haitians, their French relatives, GWB or all of the above.
3. Why if the U.S. was trying to aid Haiti did they a) place an embargo on Haiti since the reinstatement of Aristide b) restrict Haitians from coming to the U.S. since the time of Aristide's reinstatement c) flatly refuse to admit any Haitians into the U.S. in light of the current situation there? President Bush said he would not allow any more Haitians into the U.S. One must ponder why this is the case also.
Hell, lets get to the REAL question for pondering. Why does voodoo seek to invoke dead bodies into walking around?

So, gw sold guns to 'someone' in Haiti, kidnapped Aristide to help French relatives, and tries to discourage thousands of people from tying together little rafts from scraps of wood and taking their chances crossing shark infested waters, or worse yet, paying some 'coyotes' to smuggle them by packing them like sardines into tiny recesses beneath ships, and hoping they dont' get crushed or murdered along the way.

And all this means what again? Oh of course, the whole thing is GWB fault. Naturally, how silly to think otherwise.
GW made a comment the other day I found interesting. "He was disappointed at what Aristide had not accomplished".
How can we give aid to someone and not have a clue to progress being made? For me GW and the UN acted mighty quick to pass a resolution; the UN to try to save some face and GW to garner more votes as a man for all people.
I don't think he was kidnapped but urge rather strongly to get on the plane and keep his mouth shut.
Why is it when a leader resigns or is overthrown we never offer political asylum here ???

catch
quote:
Originally posted by ThaWatcher:
Kidnapped?....no

Coerced?...yes
In the whole scheme of things, is one that much different than the other?

This is the Politics Of Semantics.
quote:
  • KIDNAP: to seize and detain or carry away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom

  • COERCE:
    1 to restrain or dominate by force
    2 to compel to an act or choice
    3 to bring about by force or threat
  • I see no functional difference between the two terms.

    Considering Aristide was DEMOCRATICALLY elected, unless Americans endorse armed rebellion when we ourselves are unsatisfied with duly elected officials... [Black people should definitely understand that... but by many opinions few endorsed "violence" against the "government" say in the CRE despite the violence the gov't condoned or perpetrated...] then for him to be "unseated" by anything other than the "democratic" electoral process is, particularly with American complicity, a FRAUD so-called democratic principles we say we want for ourselves and people around the world.

    (You know... Peaceful Transition Of Power vis Elections... Hmmmm..... The U.S. didn't even endorse, as far as I know, that Haiti hold new elections in order to 'peacefully' determine the 'will of the people'. It appears elections are a Principle of Convenience when it comes to U.S. support for democracies outside of the U.S.)

    We often have problems translating our BIG TALK about democracy into practice.

    It's also funny how now all-of-a-sudden we're suppose to just take Colin Powell's and the Administrations word on this.... After Iraq... that's about the most ridiculous thing ever...

    Can you say NO CREDIBILITY!!!????
    Patently suspect... not to mention the history...
    I agree he was coerced. With thousands of people coming to chop off his head, I doubt the atmosphere was one of a relaxing trip off to a vacation. He needed to be out of there, and fast. Thats so obvious.

    He's just mad about the US not propping him up once again, and probably overestimated the support he'd have. I'm sure he can hop on an aircraft and go back anytime he chooses.
    quote:
    Originally posted by DeltaJ:

    I just saw a video of Aristide getting off the plane laughing, smiling and having a good old time. If this guy has been kidnapped, then we should all be kidnapped. This guy looks like he's one of the happiest people in the world to get out from being arrested by the rebels.

    Kidnapped my butt.


    So what is the motivation of his statements about being kidnapped? Why would he publicly spurn the people who ostensibly just saved his life?
    According to news reports, "Aristide's resignation letter said... according to a U.S> translation from Creole. "I accept to leave, with the hope that there will be life and not death." A copy of the letter was provided by the Bush administration. "

    Up until I read that, I figured Aristide may have lied and claimed coercion in order to save face. But upon seeing this account and feeling my Spider-Sense tingling at the lack of veracity, I believe we may have forced him out.
    Why write a letter with nothing more? Why write it in Creole instead of French? Why "so that there will be life and not death" instead of "to spare further bloodshed?" It sounds like it was written by somebody trying hard to sound like a third world foreigner. And would someone motivated by an emotional desire to save face have earlier written a letter for the opposite effect, given that the same stimulus for the motivation to save face existed at the time the letter was written? And finally, the Bush administration does not have any more credibility than Aristide does. If no one other than them saw the letter before its release (if it ever was even released), that's reason enough not to trust it.

    I'm not normally much of a conspiracy theorist, but I at least have to wonder about this one. I could be wrong, but I'm not dismissing it.
    I don't know. Perhaps in 'creole' thats the translation.

    Anyways, African leaders do not agree:

    African Hosts Ask Aristide to Stop Blaming U.S.

    Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2004

    BANGUI, Central African Republic – The African hosts of Jean-Bertrand Aristide have asked the exiled Haitian leader to stop blaming the United States for his ouster as they work to get another country to take him, a top official said Tuesday.
    Aristide, who resigned Sunday and came to the Central African Republic on a flight arranged by the U.S. government, said American troops forced him to leave Haiti, a claim adamantly rejected by Secretary of State Colin Powell and other American officials.

    His claim, made in interviews with The Associated Press, members of the U.S. Congress and activists, where he is staying in the official residence of President Francois Bozize.

    "The authorities have already called on Aristide to remain calm, to stop making accusations against America," Foreign Minister Charles Wenezoui told AP.

    After Bozize was delayed at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the countryside, officials canceled a planned meeting between Aristide and top government ministers, the Foreign Ministry reported.

    South Africa has said in principle it's not opposed to taking in Aristide, but that it hasn't received a formal request. Like the Central African Republic, it was thought to be troubled by the political and diplomatic problems that could follow Aristide.

    "Diplomatic contacts are still going on to find Aristide another country of asylum," said Wenezoui. He said a permanent home outside the Central African Republic could be determined for Aristide "in the days to come."

    The government of the Central African Republic on Monday denied claims by Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected president, that he was being held prisoner in the presidential palace.

    French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie suggested Tuesday that Aristide was being guarded by French soldiers, but later backtracked. She said French troops had been in the country training African soldiers, but their mission "has nothing to do with the presence of President Aristide."

    The Central African Republic's Foreign Ministry said it would investigate Aristide's charges that he was "forced to leave" by the U.S. military.

    Communications Minister Parfait Mbaye said he wasn't in a position to comment on Aristide's claim.

    "The way we look at it, he was moved from Haiti to avoid bloodshed" as rebels seeking his ouster moved toward the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, Mbaye said.

    Bozize, who took power in March 2003, has been courting international support and aid to stabilize his country. The U.S. Embassy in Bangui closed on Nov. 2, 2002, as Bozize's rebellion raged in the country.

    On Monday, Aristide called members of Congress, American activists and reporters, saying U.S. troops forced him to leave.

    "They came at night. ... There were too many. I couldn't count them," he said.

    Powell said Aristide's claims were "absurd."

    "He was not kidnapped. We did not force him on to the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly, and that's the truth," Powell said in Washington.

    Aristide described the American "agents" as "good, warm, nice," but said that he was deprived of his rights during his 20-hour flight to Africa.


    © 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

    ********************************************************************************

    You see that line in there that reads:

    Aristide described the American "agents" as "good, warm, nice," but said that he was deprived of his rights during his 20-hour flight to Africa.

    That tells me he was upset because someone didn't kiss his ass enough during the flight to safety, and decided to make a big show of it. When's the last time you heard someone who was forcibly 'kidnapped' describe his attackers as "good, warm, nice". He's an ego-maniacal psycho, lets face that.
    ***This country just does whatever it wants to with other countries in the world...but handle the countries that do not take schit from the U.S. with kid gloves...it is amazing how that works....

    From His First Day in Office, Bush Was Ousting Aristide:
    Where were the media when Haiti's leader was railroaded and rousted?
    By Jeffrey D. Sachs

    March 4, 2004

    If the circumstances were not so calamitous, the American-orchestrated removal of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from Haiti would be farcical.

    According to Aristide, American officials in Port-au-Prince told him that rebels were on the way to the presidential residence and that he and his family were unlikely to survive unless they immediately boarded an American-chartered plane standing by to take them to exile. The United States made it clear, he said, that it would provide no protection for him at the official residence, despite the ease with which this could have been arranged.

    Indeed, according to Aristide's lawyer, the U.S. blocked reinforcement of Aristide's own security detail. At the airport, Aristide said, U.S. officials refused him entry to the airplane until he handed over a signed letter of resignation.

    After being hustled aboard, Aristide was denied access to a phone for nearly 24 hours, and he knew nothing of his destination until he and his family were summarily deposited in the Central African Republic. He has since been kept hidden from view. Yet this Keystone Kops coup has apparently not worked entirely according to plan: Aristide has used a cellphone to notify the world that he was forcibly removed from Haiti at risk of death and to describe the way his resignation was staged by American forces.

    The U.S. government dismisses Aristide's charges as ridiculous. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has offered an official version of the events, a blanket denial based on the government's word alone. In essence, Washington is telling us not to look back, only forward. The U.S. government's stonewalling brings to mind Groucho Marx's old line, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"

    There are several tragedies in this surrealistic episode. The first is the apparent incapacity of the U.S. government to speak honestly about such matters as toppling governments. Instead, it brushes aside crucial questions: Did the U.S. summarily deny military protection to Aristide, and if so, why and when? Did the U.S. supply weapons to the rebels, who showed up in Haiti last month with sophisticated equipment that last year reportedly had been taken by the U.S. military to the Dominican Republic, next door to Haiti? Why did the U.S. cynically abandon the call of European and Caribbean leaders for a political compromise, a compromise that Aristide had already accepted? Most important, did the U.S. in fact bankroll a coup in Haiti, a scenario that seems likely based on present evidence?

    Only someone ignorant of U.S. history and of the administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush would dismiss these questions. The United States has repeatedly sponsored coups and uprisings in Haiti and in neighboring Caribbean countries.

    Ominously, before this week, the most recent such episode in Haiti came in 1991, during the first Bush administration, when thugs on the CIA payroll were among the leaders of paramilitary groups that toppled Aristide after his 1990 election.

    Some of the players in this round are familiar from the previous Bush administration, including of course Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney. Also key is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega "” a longtime aide to Jesse Helms and a notorious Aristide-hater "” widely thought to have been central to the departure of Aristide. He is going to find it much harder to engineer the departure of gun-toting rebels who entered Port-au-Prince on Wednesday.

    Rarely has an episode so brilliantly exposed Santayana's famous aphorism that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

    In 1991, when Congressional Black Caucus members demanded an investigation into the U.S. role in Aristide's overthrow, the first Bush administration laughed them off, just as this administration is doing today in facing new queries from Congressional Black Caucus members.

    Indeed, those who are questioning the administration about Haiti are being smeared as naive and unpatriotic. Aristide himself is being smeared with ludicrous propaganda and, most cynically of all, is being accused of dereliction in the failure to lift his country out of poverty.

    In point of fact, this U.S. administration froze all multilateral development assistance to Haiti from the day that George W. Bush came into office, squeezing Haiti's economy dry and causing untold suffering for its citizens. U.S. officials surely knew that the aid embargo would mean a balance-of-payments crisis, a rise in inflation and a collapse of living standards, all of which fed the rebellion.

    Another tragedy in this episode is the silence of the media when it comes to asking all the questions that need answers. Just as in the war on Iraq's phony WMD, wherein the mainstream media initially failed to ask questions about the administration's claims, major news organizations have refused to go to the mat over the administration's accounts on Haiti. The media haven't had the gumption to find Aristide and, in failing to do so, to point out that he is being held away from such contact.

    With a violence-prone U.S. government operating with impunity in many parts of the world, only the public's perseverance in getting at the truth can save us, and others, from our own worst behavior.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Jeffrey D. Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is a former economic advisor to governments in Latin America and around

    ________________________________________________

    In Aristide's Wake, a Land Long Divided by Class, Color Explodes
    Looting and attacks on businesses and the rich could lead to deepening of the nation's poverty.
    By Carol J. Williams
    Times Staff Writer

    March 5, 2004

    PETIONVILLE, Haiti "” From the palm-shaded swimming pools and marble terraces of this wealthy suburb's hillside villas, the distant squalor of Port-au-Prince looks like a tranquil, opalescent coastal setting.

    The lavish comforts enjoyed here by Haiti's small class of industrial kingpins inspired former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to label them "rocks washed by cooling waters," while his people, the impoverished masses in the slums below, were "the rocks in the sun, taking the heat."

    In a populist drive to show the rich how poverty feels, Aristide once urged his followers to drag the rocks from the river into the inferno "” a metaphorical appeal that lives on after his departure as armed supporters continue to loot and burn the businesses of the upper class in a frenzy of revenge.

    "Aristide sold people that image, that we were the rocks in the water," said Michael Madsen, an industrialist of Danish descent who is the embodiment of the light-skinned elite whom Aristide demonized as Haiti's economic vampires.

    "He told his people to take us out, to show us what it was like on the outside. Why didn't he encourage them to come themselves into the water? Because he was incapable of building anything. He only knew how to destroy."

    Two days before Aristide stepped down, gunmen armed by his Lavalas Party broke into Madsen's Haiti Terminal port freight yard, he said, ransacking the offices to punish him for supporting the political opposition. It wasn't long before desperate slum dwellers began looting the shipping containers in the yard, which were filled with food, clothing and electronics.

    In the torrent of reprisals unleashed against his perceived enemies in ideology, class and color as his power vanished, Aristide succeeded in sharing the pain of the poor with some of the elite that had never felt it.

    But the strategy of sacking enterprises owned by Aristide's political opponents promises to only widen the social gap between the industrial dynasties that have controlled the economy for generations and the impoverished masses that will have even fewer jobs. As U.S. Marines patrolling the capital refuse to intervene to halt the looting, the damage could spread.

    Aristide, who departed early Sunday, had long promised a "cleansing flood" "” his party's translation of the Creole word lavalas, whose close French derivation more accurately means "deluge." The inundation of the last few days has wiped out the workplaces of thousands and perhaps the gains of the relatively few blacks who succeeded, under Aristide, in penetrating the so-called bourgeoisie.

    How much longer the attacks on the rich will continue is uncertain, but the damage has dealt a staggering blow to an economy that was already the poorest in the Western Hemisphere and spiraling downward. At least $160 million in property has been destroyed, estimated Maurice Lafortune, head of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce.

    The loss could represent half this devastated nation's private investment, said importer Sandro Masucchi, whose Honda auto dealership was looted and burned on the morning of Aristide's departure.

    The roots of the mob rampage run deep in Haitian history.

    The minuscule population of whites and mulattos "” as those of mixed black-and-white ancestry are called in Haiti "” thought to be no more than 1% of the populace of 8.5 million, has long occupied a disproportionate position in the equally tiny echelon of the wealthy.

    That is a consequence of landownership dating to Haiti's 1804 independence, when some offspring of French colonial masters and African slaves acquired property amid the panicked exodus of the Europeans after the slave revolt triumphed. With no redistribution of land, the haves and have-nots formed along racial lines. Color was so obsessively tied to status then that Haitians put names to 64 racial mixtures and assigned each a place on the social hierarchy.

    In 1884, British Ambassador Spencer St. John wrote prophetically of the young state's racial fixation. "There is a marked line drawn between the black and the mulatto, which is probably the most disastrous circumstance for the future prosperity of the country."

    Those now heading family empires insist that the color issue faded at the start of the last century, when the same waves of immigration that brought Irish, Italians and Germans to work in U.S. factories also infused fresh blood into Haiti. Business deals and marriage crossed racial lines sooner than in the United States, say the racially mixed third- and fourth-generation descendants of the immigrants.

    During the 30-year dictatorship of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and his son, Jean-Claude, the mulatto industrialists prospered and paid little heed to either the poverty that afflicted the masses or the repression of the Duvaliers' political opponents. The elite's protectors and political delegates were the generals of the Haitian National Army.

    When Aristide rose to national prominence from his Catholic pulpit in the late 1980s, he embraced a socialist ideology equating ownership with exploitation and encouraged the homeless to build shantytowns on industrialists' land. He cast factory owners as modern-day enslavers for the paltry wages they paid, sowing discord in the workplace. Business owners were so angered that some backed the 1991 military coup that deposed Aristide.

    That purported collusion with the army by a few of the most powerful families "” the Brandts, the Mevs, the Accras "” allowed Aristide to taint the entire industrial class as dictatorship's paymasters. He also dissolved the army and used jobs in the police force to reward political patronage, essentially destroying the security institutions and replacing them with armed bands of hungry street kids.

    "The bourgeoisie are the reason Aristide couldn't do anything," said Katho Laguerre, a 21-year-old Cite Soleil slum dweller, gesturing toward the hills of Petionville above the capital. "The bourgeoisie have everything, and we have nothing. That's why Aristide said we could build houses here, that this was the living room of the people."

    Charles Baker, whose apparel empire has been closed and sister's factory torched, said the former president, unlike his predecessors, used color to polarize the nation.

    "When someone says 'bourgeoisie' in Haiti, they don't mean a rich man who is black but a rich man who is white or mulatto and belongs to the opposition," said Baker, a descendant of Europeans and American blacks who came here in the 1930s. "The opposition is 99% black and of lesser means than we are, but the image he tried to create was of a light-skinned elite."

    Aristide's use of racial politics forced the business elite to descend from its splendid isolation and join a broad array of movements, from independent media to peasant groups to labor unions.

    "It's the one good thing he did," author and opposition activist Yannick Lahens said of Aristide. "Everybody felt so threatened that it brought us together."

    Wealthy businessmen such as Madsen and Andre Apaid, the son of a Lebanese father and mulatto mother, say the elite has learned a humbling lesson from the Aristide era, when they were blamed for every social failure.

    "We have to be a society of inclusion, and we have to stay united," said Apaid, whose telecommunications businesses have proved less vulnerable to the crowbar-wielding vandals than the holdings of other industrial leaders. "We have a precious thing in this unity for the first time in our history. Where else do you see union leaders and business owners marching together?"

    Some opposition leaders, however, remain skeptical of the motivation of the rich to work for better lives for all Haitians.

    "The mentality of the elite hasn't changed yet," said Franckel Jeanrisca, head of the Peasant Movement of Papaye. "We can't have two classes "” one mulatto and one black."

    Haiti's subsistence farmers have long occupied the bottom rung of the social ladder. Devastating environmental problems have drastically cut crop yields, leaving them poorer than ever, Jeanrisca said.

    His 200,000-strong organization, which once avidly supported Aristide, entered a "tactical union" with the elite and other factions to drive the president out, he said. It remains to be seen whether the industrialists are genuinely committed to national reconciliation, he added.

    Honda dealer Masucchi, whose Italian ancestors arrived after World War I, is one of many businessmen who contend that they became Aristide targets not because of their money or light skin but because of their challenge to Lavalas.

    The wrecking crews targeted even small businesses owned by Aristide opponents, such as Hans Remy's Ca
    If a person asked to leave, seems like to me he would at least know where he is going , and he would have asked a nation state to grant him assylum.There is no way in hell he would have asked to go to the "CAR, country nothing more than the stopping grounds , and puppits of France ,and the CIA. Name any other country with a democratically elected President have that president forced out of office by another government and that government the supports the Coup, it seems a like a plan to me!
    If this were the first time he faced revolt by his people, your points would make 'half' sense. But its not, its the second time he lost his nation, and Ole George Bush wasn't around to blame when all this began. Make a mistake once, your human. Make the same mistake twice, you are an idiot.

    You can look at Haiti before Bush arrived on the american scene. It was no picnic in year 2000 either. Your defense of this Aristide is wholly unfounded.
    Hmmm ... DeltaJ sounds like someone who, after 3 1/2 years of practice and experience, has perfected the art of defending, arguably, the worst President in past 2 centuries! Razz She's/He's actually pretty good at it ... seems to have a quick answer for everything!! Perhaps he/she should apply to the White House as a spin doctor ... Eek

    But anyway, to answer the question, I heard the audio of the phone call that Jessie Jackson arranged with Aristide, and conversations with many people who spoke with him the same day as his departure, and every one of them seemed to make the point that he had not mentioned resigning or leaving the country. Also, I don't know of anybody who plans to go somewhere, yet not know where they are going. Even the U.S. has admitted it did not inform him of his destination until after he had arrived at it.

    Apparently, Aristide's wife is also under the impression she was kidnapped, as she is also calling her friends around the country with the same story! And it's not like the U.S.'s credibility carries more than a few ounces worth of weight these days!! Maybe if Colin hadn't been caught in so many other previous lies I could believe what he says now.

    I think the man and his family were taken against their will. That's a generally accepted definition of "kidnapped" by most standards... so .... y'all do the math!!

    (However, don't use DeltaJ's calculator!! lol)
    the worst President in past 2 centuries

    Yssys, I wanted to point out that 'language' thing I mentioned earlier. Rose is doing it too with the above statement. Now I know Rose probably does know much regarding the presidents over a 2 century time period, but isn't it funny how we use language like the above and wonder why so few black folks rally around it.

    Lets play nursemaid. Ok, if Aristide was not kidnapped and allowed to stay in his fabulously lavish castle, how long would his head, and probably his wife's, have stayed attached to his body? One day? Two days? A few hours?
    if you have 200 years of dictators and coup after coup and the unseen hands of France and US keeping the country from developing into the great state it could be, you would blame Aristide,. the first Democratically elected President in the entire history of the country>but when the US just ups and forces the dude to leave , no one has anything to say but , he was a bad dude, and what are we gonna do now, nevermind the fact that the so called greated democracy in the world participated in a coup. Its baffling to me that anyone would even try to defend such actions
    But its the people of Haiti who are 'just ups and forces the dude to leave'. And yesterday, supporters of Aristide began shooting and killing innocent people celebrating his departure in the streets. The blood of those dead people now lay at Aristide's hands, since its his statements since leaving are are only serving to keep the country divided politically and giving his remaining supporters unrealistic hope that they will remain the cream of society in Haiti.

    Now Aristide's people are KILLING civilians, and Aristide should have more class and wisdom than to be promoting the idea that he never wanted to leave and giving false promise that he'll return. Over FOURTEEN years as a supposed 'president' should be enough. Who elects 'presidents' for 14 years in true democracies?

    This in microcosm should tell the world what type of man Aristide truly is, the blood of others means nothing compared to the power he greedily craves. He could stop the bloodshed and chaos tomorrow if he so chose. But he's Aristide, and therefore he will not.

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