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6180: GILMAN, HELMS AND GOSS ISSUE STATEMENT ON HAITIAN ELECTION , (fwd)
From: Stanley Lucas <firstname.lastname@example.org>
DATE: December 8, 2000
> FOR RELEASE: Immediate
> CONTACT: Lester Munson 202-225-8097 (email@example.com)
> GILMAN, HELMS AND GOSS ISSUE STATEMENT ON HAITIAN ELECTION
> WASHINGTON (Dec. 8) - U.S. Rep. Benjamin A. Gilman (20th-NY),
> Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, issued the
> following statement today along with Senate Foreign Relations Committee
> Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman
> Porter Goss (R-FL):
> November 26 marked a tragic day in Haiti's long and troubled quest for
> pluralism and representative democracy. Haitian President Rene Preval and
> his one-party electoral commission organized a sham election with the sole
> purpose of delivering absolute control over Haiti's government to Mr. Jean
> Bertrand Aristide.
> News accounts put Haitian voter participation on November 26th at less
> than 10%. It was probably worse. Indeed, Aristide's rival candidates
> abandoned their campaigns when they concluded that the election was a
> farce. On this basis, Mr. Aristide cannot claim a popular mandate to give
> his anti-democratic actions the facade of legitimacy.
> There has clearly been an interruption in the democratic process in
> Haiti that demands the attention of the Organization of American States.
> The United States must also make it clear that Jean Bertrand Aristide is
> not fit to join the democratically elected leaders at the Summit of
> Americas in April 2001.
> Under Mr. Aristide's leadership and influence, Haiti has become even
> more impoverished. Haiti's incompetent and corrupt government turns a
> blind eye to the desperate plight of its people. Colombian narcotics
> traffickers have established a firm beachhead and, with their Haitian
> confederates, have largely succeeded in consolidating a narco-state in
> Mr. Aristide's rare conciliatory rhetoric toward the opposition and
> the international community have never been met by commensurate actions.
> While he tells reporters that "the opposition is indispensable," leaders
> of the opposition have, in fact, gone into hiding from gangs of thugs
> acting in Mr. Aristide's name.
> Senior administration officials now concede that their policy toward
> Haiti has failed. A comprehensive, bottom-up review of U.S. policy toward
> Haiti is long overdue. Such an inter-agency review should evaluate U.S.
> efforts to combat drugs and money laundering and illegal migration - with
> particular emphasis on the implications of the Clinton Administration's
> failure to secure the renewal of a repatriation agreement with the
> Haitian Government.
> The United States must now deal with Haiti for what it has become.
> Basic humanitarian assistance provided directly to the Haitian people and
> assistance to democratic elements in Haiti are the only forms of aid that
> should continue. All direct support for the Haitian Government must end,
> as provided under current U.S. law. We must protect Haitians who might
> be tempted to risk their lives on the high seas by vigorously enforcing
> our immigration laws.
> Narco-traffickers, criminals and other anti-democratic elements who
> surround Jean Bertrand Aristide should feel the full weight of U.S. law
> enforcement. Their U.S. visas must be denied or stripped from them, their
> green card status reviewed to ensure compliance with the requirements of
> that status, and their ill-gotten assets frozen.
> ## 30 ##