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8223: This Week in Haiti 19:12 6/6/2001 (fwd)
"This Week in Haiti" is the English section of HAITI PROGRES
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"Le journal qui offre une alternative"
* THIS WEEK IN HAITI *
June 6 - 12, 2001
Vol. 19, No. 12
ARISTIDE BARGAINS PEOPLE'S VOTE WITH OAS ASSEMBLY
"Every State has the right to choose, without external
interference, its political, economic, and social system and to
organize itself in the way best suited to it, and has the duty to
abstain from intervening in the affairs of another State,"
declares the Organization of American States (OAS) Charter in its
So it was ironic this week to watch President Jean-Bertrand
Aristide bow to "external interference" by submitting his ideas
for resolving Haiti's internal political crisis to the 31st OAS
General Assembly in San Jose, Costa Rica, like a child handing
homework to his parents. (Needless to say, President George W.
Bush's clumsy power grab last December was not on the OAS
Despite a 3-day visit to Haiti last week, OAS Secretary General
Cesar Gaviria was unable to make any headway in resolving the
continuing power struggle between the opposition Democratic
Convergence front (CD) and Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party (FL)
(see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 19 No. 11, 5/30/2001). Instead, Gaviria
left Haiti on May 31 with a formal letter from Aristide to the
Jun. 3-5 OAS meeting offering to reconstitute the Provisional
Electoral Council (CEP) with opposition appointees by Jun. 25, to
truncate the terms of deputies and senators elected last year,
and to hold new parliamentary elections earlier than
Constitutionally prescribed. Aristide had seven FL senators, who
the OAS maintains should have gone to run-off votes last year,
step down this week even before hearing the OAS response, and the
new CEP would hold elections to fill their seats by year's end.
Under Aristide's plan, new elections would be held for the entire
lower house in two years, while other Senators would see two
years sliced off their four and six year terms.
Although the OAS meeting voted in support of Aristide's plan, the
CD (and by extension Washington) rejected it.
At the OAS meeting, Washington attempted to ram through a
"Democratic Charter," which could be used to bludgeon non-
compliant states with sanctions and military interventions. "The
United States is one of the major backers of a bid to enshrine a
definition of democracy that would hold sway on two continents
and punish those who violate it," wrote the AP's Michelle Faul in
a Jun. 5 dispatch. Haiti would be one of the first targets of the
"new, improved"OAS if the "Democratic Charter" is ever hatched.
It was not approved in San Jose, but a reworked version will be
presented at another OAS meeting in September.
Back in Haiti, the CD and even some human rights groups have made
a fuss about the long-overdue arrest of former general Prosper
Avril (see Haïti Progrès, Vol. 19 No. 11, 5/30/2001). But it
remains to be seen if he will be prosecuted and if other
Duvalierist and putschist criminals with outstanding warrants,
will also be apprehended, or if Avril's arrest is an exception
which has more to do with the political wrangling between the CD
In a Jun. 5 press conference, Ben Dupuy of the Parti Populaire
National (PPN) analyzed these developments. Here we present large
extracts of Dupuy's remarks.
"Haiti is confronting a false political crisis fomented by an
international consortium. We say a consortium and not the
"international community" because the international community is
the 189 countries which make up the United Nations. The
international consortium badgering Haiti is a few big countries
headed by the United States and the European Union with a few
others. The international consortium has fabricated this crisis
from scratch with the help of a traitorous opposition, which it
is financing with the sole aim of finishing to impose on Haiti
its neoliberal death plan, no matter what. And Washington is
doing its dirty work with the assistance of Uncle Sam's Ministry
of Colonial Affairs, what they call the Organization of American
"Today Washington has resuscitated the OAS, which had died.
Everybody forgot that it even existed since it was so lifeless
and silent during the 40 years of the Duvalier dictatorships and
when all sorts of Pinochets were flourishing in Latin America.
"But what's even worse is that the Haitian people thought that
they were recently voting in the three Lavalas cornerstones of
Dec. 16, 1990 -- Justice, Participation, and Transparency -- but
instead they find they are being put in a trap...
"Just yesterday, the Fanmi Lavalas was saying that the people's
vote was not negotiable. Today we hear from Costa Rica that Fanmi
Lavalas is bargaining with the people's vote, both wholesale and
"President Aristide, once he came to power, fired all the CEP
members who organized the vote which put him in the Palace and
named another CEP which was filled with Macoutes just to please
the foreigners. Now he is promising in Costa Rica to fire this
CEP and name another which will have even more Macoutes and
pocket-patriot bourgeois in it. He has promised in Costa Rica to
fire 7 Senators and cut the mandate of all the senators and
"We say to the elected Lavalas officials that they are fools to
get pulled into this game. Later will only be sadder... Because
the foreigners also say that this is just the first step. So this
is just the beginning, they will want more concessions: mayors,
ASEC and KASEC [local representatives]. You better get ready
because as long as they don't touch Aristide's 5 years,
everything else is negotiable. We'll get out of one false crisis
just to fall into another because in the next election it is the
OAS, USAID [Agency for International Development], and IRI
[International Republican Institute] which will be running the
"That is the final goal of Washington: to put Haiti under the
aegis of the OAS. Gaviria said in Costa Rica that they haven't
yet put an embargo on Haiti. Well, if what we have today isn't an
embargo, then I don't know what an embargo is. But the next
stage, and that is what the Macoutes are waiting for, is a
military occupation of Haiti with the aid of the Dominican
military to carry out a Sankara-style or Kabila-style
"PPN says to Washington and all the OAS countries: be careful
because taking a snake to school is easy but making it sit in a
chair is something else. It seems Washington has forgotten what
happened in Somalia...
"We also see that the government acted on a 1996 warrant and
finally arrested that big torturer Prosper Avril, shortly after
he had gotten together with all his chums in the Convergence. If
the government wants to do away with impunity and begin to give
the people justice, well we have no problem with that. But if
Prosper Avril's arrest is just some kind of vendetta in the fight
with the Convergence, we will see that. Because today they
enforced a 1996 warrant. But we know that just this past
December, there was a warrant for the arrest of Stanley Théard,
who is currently Commerce Minister. The CIMO [a heavily armed
police unit] was looking for him everywhere. So we say to the
Justice Minister and the state prosecutor, in the big basket
which has all the warrants, they cannot choose to serve some and
not others, in this little game going on. Justice, as they say,
is blind. So we are waiting to see what their next move will be.
They were looking for Stanley Théard, and he has an outstanding
warrant against him, pursuant to the report of a [1986 Justice
Ministry] Investigating Commission, which said that he embezzled
$4.5 million from the public coffers."
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