International Action Center
Founded by Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark
39 W. 14th St., NY, NY, 10011 212-633-6646,
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
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
1. The role of the U.S. in forcing President Aristide from
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
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.