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US-Haiti (1959-2005)

 
  

Project: History of US Interventions

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January 1, 1804

       General Jean-Jacques Dessalines declares Haiti's independence, after crushing the French army sent by Napoleon to re-enslave it following the world's first successful slave revolt. Dessalines quickly makes himself emperor. [Graham 1994; Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Jacques Dessalines
          

1806

       Fearful that the Haitian revolution might inspire enslaved Africans in other parts of the world to rebel, US Congress bans trade with Haiti joining French and Spanish boycotts. The embargos cripple Haiti's economy, already weakened by 12 years of civil war. The embargo will be renewed in 1807 and 1809. [International Action Center, 10/16/2003; Jean Saint-Vil, 11/2002] The embargo is accompanied by a threat of recolonization and re-enslavement if Haiti fails to compensate France for losses incurred when French plantation owners lost access to Haiti's slave labor. [Miami Herald, 12/18/2003; Boston, Globe, 1/4/2004; Boston Globe, 12/3/2003]
People and organizations involved: US Congress
          

1820

       Robert V. Hayne, a senator from South Carolina, summarizes US policy toward Haiti: “Our policy with regard to Haiti is plain. We never can acknowledge her independence.” This position reflects the United States' fear that Haiti's example would inspire slave revolts in other parts of the world and bring an end to slavery worldwide. [International Action Center, 10/16/2003; The Louisiana Weekly, 3/8/04]
People and organizations involved: Robert V. Hayne
          

1825

       Haiti is forced to pay 150 million gold francs to France to “compensate” French plantation slave-owners for their “financial losses.” The amount demanded by the French represents more than twice the value of the entire country's net worth. In exchange, France agrees to recognize Haiti's independence. Years later, the amount is reduced to 90 million gold francs, however it will take Haiti close to 100 years to pay off this debt and only with the help of high interest loans to French banks. [Rogozinski, 1992; Boston Globe, 12/3/2003; Miami Herald, 12/18/2003; Boston, Globe, 1/4/2004]
          

1862

       The US recognizes independent Haiti for the first time and sends Frederick Douglass as its Consular Minister. [International Action Center, 10/16/2003; Haiti's Progress, 9/24/2003; Christian Science Monitor, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Frederick Douglass
          

July 18, 1915

       US President Woodrow Wilson sends US forces to Haiti in an attempt to prevent Germany or France from taking it over. Haiti controls the Windward Passage to the Panama Canal and is seen as strategically critical. The Haitian government is near insolvency at this time and is significantly in debt to foreign corporations. German companies control almost 80 percent of Haitian trade. US forces will occupy the country until 1934. [Rogozinski, 1992; Toronto Star, 2/29/2004] A few weeks later, the US State Department installs Senator Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave as the head of state. “When the National Assembly met, the Marines stood in the aisles with their bayonets until the man selected by the American Minister was made President,” Smedley Butler, a Marine who will administer Haiti's local police force, laters writes. [Common Dreams, 3/10/04]
People and organizations involved: Woodrow Wilson, Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave, Smedley Butler
          

November 11, 1915

       Under pressure from the United States, Haitian President Sudre Dartiguenave signs, and the Haitian senate ratifies, a treaty legitimizing the US occupation and putting Haitian finances and government under the control of the US for the next 20 years. The act also disbands the Haitian army, creating in its place a single US-led, 3000-man police force known as the Gendarmerie d'Haiti which answers to the US Secretary of State. [Common Dreams, 3/10/04; Rogozinski, 1992] The Gendarmerie oversees the implementation of a US law reviving the practice of conscripted labor, or corv�e, which requires Haitian peasants to work on roads for three days a year. However, in some cases workers are forced to work bound with ropes for weeks and even months. The practice reminds Haitians of their slavery under the French and inspires a rebellion in 1918 (see Late 1918-1920). [Heuvel, 1990; Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave
          

Early 1917

       The US drafts a constitution for Haiti, which notably excludes a provision from the country's previous constitution which had prohibited foreign ownership of land. Under the US-drafted constitution, foreign investors would be able to purchase fertile areas and establish sugar cane, cacao, banana, cotton, tobacco, and sisal plantations. But the Haitian legislature finds the US-proposed constitution unacceptable and continues working on a new document which would reverse the terms of the 1915 treaty (see November 11, 1915), giving control of Haiti back to its own government, and which would leave the previous constitution's land restrictions intact. When a copy of the document is sent to Washington, it is quickly rejected by the US State Department which complains that it is “unfriendly” and instructs that its passage be prevented. But the Haitian lawmakers continue their work with plans to quickly ratify the new constitution and then impeach Haitian President Dartiguenave on the basis of the new document's provisions. To prevent its passage, Dartiguenave orders US Marine Smedley Butler to dissolve the Haitian legislature, which he does as they are preparing to vote on the new constitution. Smedley claims that the measure is necessary in order “to end the spirit of anarchy which animates it [the Hatian legislature].” [Rogozinski, 1992; Common Dreams, 3/10/04]
People and organizations involved: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave, Smedley Butler
          

June 12, 1918

       The US authorities in Haiti submit the US-drafted constitution (see Early 1917) to a popular referendum, which approves it in a landslide. Less than 5 percent of Haiti's population participate in the vote. [Rogozinski, 1992; Common Dreams, 3/10/04]
People and organizations involved: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave
          

June 19, 1918

       Haiti's new constitution (see Early 1917) goes into effect. Sudre Dartiguenave remains president, though his position is nothing more than that of a figurehead. Real power remains with the US occupiers. [Encyclopedia of World History; Common Dreams, 3/10/04; Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave
          

Late 1918-1920

       Angered by a US-instigated law requiring forced labor (see November 11, 1915), as many as 40,000 Haitians in the north led by Charlemagne P�ralte and Benoit Batraville, attack and defeat the local gendarmerie and take control over much of the northern mountainous region. US forces are called in to repress the rebellion in March of 1919. For the first time ever, airplanes are used to support soldiers. The fighting continues until November 1920. The official US record of casualties shows that thirteen US soldiers and 3,071 Haitians are killed. [Rogozinski, 1992; Haiti's Progress, n.d.]
People and organizations involved: Benoit Batraville, Charlemagne P←ralte
          

1922

       The Wilson administration appoints General John H. Russell as high commissioner and Louis Borno—an admirer of Mussolini—as the new Haitian president. This event follows the dismissal of the previous Haitian president, Sudre Dartiguenave, who had refused to sign an agreement concerning the repayment of debts to the US-owned National City Bank (later to be name Citibank) which controls Haiti's National Bank and railroad system. [Common Dreams, 3/10/04; Rogozinski, 1992] Russel and Borno's period of rule are characterized by infrastructure improvement, growing racial and cultural tensions, increased US control, and—toward the end of their term—increased civil unrest. Under their authority, most of the country's tax revenue is used to pay debts owed to foreign interests. The two will jointly rule until 1930 when, after a 1929 uprising, Borno is ousted. A short provisional head will be put in place until the National Assembly elects St�nio Vincent in November 1930 as president. [Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Citibank, Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave, St←nio Vincent, Louis Borno, John H. Russell
          

August 7, 1933

       US President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs an agreement with Haiti for a US withdrawal the following year. [Toronto Star, 2/29/2004]
People and organizations involved: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
          

August 1, 1934

       US troops withdrawal from Haiti after a 19-year occupation (see July 18, 1915). [Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Franklin Delano Roosevelt
          

September 25, 1956

       Francois Duvalier wins the Haitian presidential elections. Duvalier creates a totalitarian dictatorship and in 1964 declares himself president-for-life. He rules the country until his death in April 1971. His heir, the nineteen-year-old Jean-Claude, continues the dynasty until January 7, 1986 when Duvalier and his wife flee for France amid popular uprising. [Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Francois Duvalier, Jean-Claude Duvalier
          

December 1990

       Running against 11 other candidates, Jean-Bertrand Aristide wins the presidential elections in Haiti with a two-thirds majority. The election turnout is high and is later described as being “unquestionably the most honest Haiti has known.” [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; Rogozinski, 1992]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

October 31, 1991-October 15, 1994

       In Haiti, the Front for the Advancement of Progress of the Haitian People (FRAPH) overthrows the government while Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is on a visit to the UN in New York. The group rules as a repressive military regime until 1994 when a US-led UN intervention puts Aristide back in power (see September 19, 1994-October 15, 1994) [Rogozinski, 1992; Observer, 3/2/2004] The junta is responsible for the massacre of hundreds—or by some estimates, thousands—of dissidents. [Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004; The Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; Observer, 3/2/2004] The leader of the group is Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, who later acknowledges he had support from the CIA. “Emmanuel Constant is widely alleged, and himself claims, to have been in the pay of, and under the orders of, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) during the coup period,” Amnesty International will later report. The amount paid to Constant by the CIA during this period is $500/month. [Amnesty International, 2/7/1996; Observer, 3/7/2004; Center for Constitutional Rights, 2/18/2004; London Review of Books, 4/15/2004] Second in command is Louis-Jodel Chamblain, who had led death squads during the years of Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier's dictatorship and who is later convicted and implicated in multiple crimes committed during this period. [The Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004; Observer, 3/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Emmanuel “Toto” Constant, Louis-Jodel Chamblain
          

September 19, 1994-October 15, 1994

       US and UN military forces enter Haiti and restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency. [Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004] US conservatives, such as Senator Jesse Helms, are against the intervention and criticize President Bill Clinton for engaging in unnecessary “nation building” in Haiti. Helms falsely makes the claim on the Senate floor that Aristide is “Psychotic,” based on a CIA document later revealed to be a forgery. [Newsday, 3/1/2004; Taipei Times, 3/1/2004; Observer, 3/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton, Jesse Helms
          

(October 18, 1996)

       Haiti agrees to implement a wide array of neoliberal reforms outlined in the IMF's $1.2 billion Emergency Economic Recovery Plan (EERP) put together by the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), and the Organization of American States (OAS). The recovery package, to be funded and executed over a five-year period, aims to create a capital-friendly macroeconomic environment for the export-manufacturing sector. It calls for suppressing wages, reducing tariffs, and selling off state-owned enterprises. Notably, there is little in the package for the country's rural sector, which represents the activities of about 65 percent of the Haitian population. The small amount that does go to the countryside is designated for improving roads and irrigation systems and promoting export crops such as coffee and mangoes. The Haitian government also agrees to abolish tariffs on US imports, which results in the dumping of cheap US foodstuffs on the Haitian market undermining the country's livestock and agricultural production. The disruption of economic life in the already depressed country further deteriorates the living conditions of the poor. [International Report, 4/3/1995; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004; Shamsie, 2002; International Monetary Fund, October 18, 1996]
People and organizations involved: USAID, Organization of American States (OAS), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
          

November 2000

       Jean-Bertrand Aristide runs unopposed in Haiti's presidential elections and wins with 91.5 percent of the vote. The opposition Democratic Convergence party does not participate in the elections in protest of the May 21, 2000 congressional and municipal elections (see May 21, 2000) which its members claim were rigged. The election turnout is disputed. Though some news agencies report a low turnout of between 5 percent and 10 percent, Aristide's party, as well as five US-based NGOs—Global Exchange, the Quixote Center, Witness for Peace and Pax Christi—estimate the figure at 61 percent, or 3 million of Haiti's voters. [Global Exchange, 2001; Associated Press, 12/7/2000; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; Resource Center of the Americas, 2/24/2004; BBC, 7/7/2000; Zmag, 5/5/2004; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004; CBS News, 11/29/2000] These figures are also supported by USAID-commissioned Gallup polls taken both before and after the elections, but which are suppressed by the US. [Zmag, 5/5/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Democratic Convergence, USAID
          

(2001-2004)

       The United States Government funds and trains a 600-member paramilitary army of anti-Aristide Haitians in the Dominican Republic with the authorization of the country's president, Hipolito Mejia. The funds—totaling $1.2 milllion—are directed through the International Republican Institute (IRI) on the pretext of encouraging democracy in Haiti. In order to evade attention, the paramilitary soldiers appear at their training sessions dressed in the uniforms of the Dominican Republic national police. The training—provided by some 200 members of the US Special Forces—takes place in the Dominican villages of Neiba, San Cristobal, San Isidro, Hatillo and Haina, and others. Most of the training takes place on property owned by the Dominican Republic Government. Technical training, conducted once a month, takes place in a Santo Domingo hotel through the IRI. Among the Hatians that take part in the program are known human rights violators including Guy Philippe and Louis-Jodel Chamblain. [Democracy Now!, 4/7/2004; Radio Mundo, 4/2/2004; Xinhuanet, 3/29/2004; Newsday, 3/16/2004]
People and organizations involved: Louis-Jodel Chamblain, Guy Philippe, International Republican Institute
          

(2001-2003)

       Under the leadership of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Haitian government engages in cooperative projects with Cuba and Venezuela. The Chavez government offers to provide oil at significantly reduced prices, and treaties between Haiti and Cuba result in a presence of more than 800 Cuban medical workers in Haiti. In an explicit challenge to US domination of the regional trade patterns, Haiti works with other island nations to create a regional trading bloc that “may be a bulwark against the FTAA and other [US-led] initiatives.” Haiti and other Latin American countries regularly discuss regional strategies to reduce US hegemony in the region. [Dollars and Sense, 9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

(Mid-2001)

       The US convinces several European countries to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in credit and aid and provide the IMF, World Bank and European Union with “vague instructions” to deny other lines of credit to the impoverished Caribbean country. The resumption of aid and credit is made contingent on Aristide coming to an agreement with the opposition party, the Democratic Convergence, which is controlled and financed by Haitian and US right-wing interests. [Taipei Times, 3/1/2004; TransAfrica Forum, 5/16/2003; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004; Observer, 3/7/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush, Democratic Convergence  Additional Info 
          

October 2002

       The US ships 20,000 M-16s to the Dominican Republic. Though some US officials will later claim that the weapons transfer had only been agreed to at this time—not completed—there will be much evidence to the contrary. [Newsday, 3/16/2004; Washington Times, 3/4/2004; Web Ready Corporation, 3/26/04; Fox News, 3/2/2004] According to the Florida-based website, fuerzasmildom.com, which provides a detailed history and description of the Dominican military forces, the Dominican military receives a “donation of 20,000 surplus M16 rifles from the US Military Assistance Program” in October 2002. [Web Ready Corporation, 3/26/04] Additionally, according to one of the staff aides of US Senator Christopher Dodd, several Defense Department letters written in 2002 and 2003 appear to show that the weapons transfer had been completed. [Newsday, 3/16/2004] After Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is ousted a year and a half later, his attorney, Ira Kurzman, will tell Fox News that the guns had been provided to the Dominican by the US “in an operation called Jade Project where they [sic] secretly trained Dominican army people.” [Fox News, 3/2/2004]
People and organizations involved: Ira Kurzman, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Christopher Dodd
          

December 2002

       The Haiti Democracy Project creates the “Coalition of 184 Civic Institutions,” which is comprised of Haitian NGOs funded by USAID and/or the International Republican Institute (IRI ), the Haitian-American Chamber of Commerce, as well as several other groups. [Dollars and Sense, 9/7/2003] The coalition's leader is Andre Apaid, a US citizen born to Haitian parents who is the head of Alpha Industries,“one of the oldest and largest assembly factories in Haiti.” His factories—located in Haiti's free trade zones—produce textiles and assemble electronic products for several US companies, including Sperry/Unisys, IBM, Remington and Honeywell, some of which are used in US Government computers and US Defense Department sonar and radar equipment. According to a report by the National Labor Committee, Apaid's businesses are known to have forced their employees to work 78-hour work-weeks at wages below the minimum rate. [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights, 1/1996; Haiti Progres, 11/12/2003]
People and organizations involved: Haiti Democracy Project, Andre Apaid, USAID, International Republican Institute
          

Early January 2003

       According to Bob Woodward's book, Plan of Attack, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice visits George Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas. Bush tells her: “We're not winning. Time is not on our side here. Probably going to have to, we're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in The Washington Post, 4/17/04] When the contents of Woodward's book are reported in mid-April 2004, many people interpret Bush's statement as a decision to go to war. But Rice will deny that that was the case. “... I just want it to be understood: That was not a decision to go to war,” she will say. “The decision to go to war is in March. The president is saying in that conversation, I think the chances are that this is not going to work out any other way. We're going to have to go to war.” [Woodward, 2004 cited in Associated Press, 4/17/04]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush
          

February 2003

       Stanley Lucas, who is the point man in Haiti for the Republican-dominated International Republican Institute (IRI) based in the Dominican Republic, meets with Haitian rebel Guy Philippe and his men. Three months later the group will cross into Haiti and attack a hydroelectric power plant. Lucas has long ties to the Haitian military (see Early May 2003). After the toppling of Aristide's government 12 months later, it will be learned that the group had been funded and trained through the IRI (see (2001-2004)). [Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC), 2/27/2004; The Black Commentator, 5/15/2003]
People and organizations involved: Guy Philippe, Stanley Lucas, International Republican Institute
          

April 28, 2003

       The Haitian Press Agency (AHP) reports that diplomats at the Organization of American States are openly circulating demands for the removal of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. “One document's author suggested that it would be best if the situation kept deteriorating, saying that any aid should be blocked until 2005 in order to eliminate the party in power, Fanmi Lavalas [Lavalas Family], which will be of no help to the population, according to him.” [The Black Commentator, 5/15/2003] Though the news report does not provide any names, one possible source for the remarks is Roger Noriega, the US permanent representative to the Organization of American States. Noriega is a known critic of Aristide.
People and organizations involved: Roger Francisco Noriega, Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

May 6, 2003

       Dominican police arrest five Haitians, including Arcelin Paul, the official Democratic Convergence representative in the Dominican Republic, who they believe are plotting the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide's government. Also at this time, there is a US build-up along the Dominican border, where “900 US soldiers patrol jointly with the Dominican army, whom they have armed with 20,000 M16s.” Ben Dupuy, general secretary of the left-wing party PPN, tells the left-wing Haiti Progres, “There is no doubt these guys are true terrorists working with the CIA under Dominican protection.” Documentary filmmaker Kevin Pina, who has been covering Haiti for over a decade, calls this the “US funding of the Haitian ‘Contras.’ ” A September 2003 article in the magazine, Dollars and Sense, will comment: “Whatever we call them, there is an organized and well-funded armed group with ties to the Convergence, based in the Dominican Republic, which aims to overthrow the Aristide government. The Bush administration's support for the Convergence and its refusal to denounce this violence, as well as the US military presence along the border, through which the ‘Manman’ army easily travels, clearly implicates the United States in this aim.” [Dollars and Sense, 9/2003]
People and organizations involved: Democratic Convergence, Ben Dupuy, Arcelin Paul, Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

July 2003

       Haiti uses more than 90 percent of its foreign reserves to pay $32 million in debt service to its international creditors, requiring Aristide's government to end fuel subsidies and slash spending on health and education programs. Haiti's debt is of dubious legality, however, as the London-based Haiti Support Group explains: “Haiti's debt to international financial institutions and foreign governments has grown from $302 million in 1980 to $1.134 billion today. About 40 per cent of this debt stems from loans to the brutal Duvalier dictators, who invested precious little of it in the country. This is known as ‘odious debt’ because it was used to oppress the people, and, according to international law, this debt need not be repaid.” The debt payment increases public dissatisfaction with Aristide's administration. [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; Dollars and Sense, 9/2003; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

November 2003

       Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide demands that France return the money Haiti had paid to its former colonizer in service of a dubious debt agreement the country had been forced to accept—under threat of recolonization—in 1825 (see 1825). The exact amount, with interest added and adjusted for inflation, is $21,685,135,571.48. [London Review of Books, 4/15/2004; Miami Herald, 12/18/2003; Boston Globe, 12/3/2003; Haiti Action website, n.d.] France will later back the removal of Aristide in February 2004 (see February 25, 2004). [New York Times, 2/26/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
          

February 4, 2004

       Rebels take over cities in northern Haiti and move towards Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, overrunning Aristide's local police forces and vowing to overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. [New York Times, 2/29/2004] The rebels include various factions. The leading groups are led by Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a convicted murderer and former death squad leader under “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and Guy Philippe, also a known human rights violator (see October 31, 1991-October 15, 1994) (see 1997-1999). [Associated Press, 3/3/2004; Counter Punch, 3/1/2004; Amnesty International, 3/3/2004]
People and organizations involved: Jean-Claude Duvalier, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, Roger Francisco Noriega
          

February 28, 2004-March 1, 2004

       Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is escorted on a US-charted jet to the Central African Republic. The details of this event are disputed.
US' version of events - Aristide contacts US ambassador James Foley on the night of January 28 and asks him three questions: “What did he think would be best for Haiti? Would the United States guarantee his protection? And could he choose his destination for exile?” At 11pm, Ambassador Foley informs Aristide that the United States can ensure his safe departure if he decides to resign and adds that this is what the Bush administration feels he should do. [Independent, 3/2/2004; Associated Press 3/2/2004; Washington Post, 3/3/2004]
Aristide and his American wife decide that they will accept the American offer. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Later in the night, Foley attempts to email the president but Aristide's computer has already been packed. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Some time after midnight, Ambassador Foley telephones the US Embassy's second-ranking officer in Port-au-Prince, Luis Moreno, and asks that he escort Aristide and his wife to the airport. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Shortly after 4 am, US Diplomat Luis Moreno arrives at the gates of Aristide's residence in the suburb of Tabarre with a fellow US diplomat and six State Department security officers. Inside Aristide's house the lights are on. Aristide meets Moreno at the door with his suitcases packed. “You know why I'm here,” Moreno says in Spanish. “Yes, of course,” Aristide is quoted as saying in response. Moreno asks Aristide for a resignation letter and Aristide promises to give one to him before he leaves the island. “You have my word and you know my word is good,” Aristide is quoted as saying. They then travel to the airport in separate vehicles, without any further conversation. They arrive at the airport and about 20 minutes before the plane arrives, Moreno again asks for the letter. Aristide provides the letter and then the two converse for the next few minutes. “I expressed sadness that I was here to watch him leave,” Moreno later tells The Washington Post. “Sometimes life is like that,” Aristide responds. “Then I shook his hand and he went away.” [Washington Post, 3/3/2004; Reuters, 3/1/2004 Sources: Aristide's alleged letter of resignation] A US-charted commercial plane arrives in Port-au-Prince at approximately 4:30am. [Associated Press 3/2/2004 Sources: Aristide's alleged letter of resignation] US authorities do not force Aristide onto the leased plane. He goes willingly. [Associated Press, 3/1/2004; BBC, 3/1/2004] At 6:15am, the plane departs. [Miami Herald, 2/29/2004] “He was not kidnapped. We did not force him on to the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly, and that's the truth,” Secretary of State Colin Powell claims. [BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/1/2004] “The allegations that somehow we kidnapped former President Aristide are absolutely baseless, absurd.” [Reuters, 3/2/2004]
Aristide's version of events - US soldiers arrive at Aristide's residence and order the president not to use any phones and to come with them immediately. Aristide, his wife Mildred and his brother-in-law are taken at gunpoint to the airport. Aristide is warned by US diplomat Luis Moreno that if he does not leave Haiti, thousands of Haitians would likely die and rebel leader Guy Philippe would probably attack the palace and kill him. Moreover, the US warns Aristide that they are withdrawing his US-provided security. [Associated Press, 3/1/2004; BBC, 3/1/2004; Democracy Now! 3/1/2004]
Aristide composes and signs a letter explaining his departure. [Associated Press, 3/1/2004; Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] The president, his wife and his brother-in-law board a commercial jet charted by the US government. His own security forces are also taken and directed to a separate section of the plane. During the flight, Aristide and his wife remain in the company of soldiers. The shades on the windows of the plane are kept down. Soldiers tell him they are under orders not to tell him where he is going. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] The plane stops first in Antigua, where it stays on the ground for two hours, and then flies for six hours across the Atlantic to the Central African Republic. Aristide is unable to communicate with anyone on the ground during the entire 20-hour period he is on the plane because it is presumably not equipped with a telephone. Shortly before touchdown, Aristide is informed that the destination is the Central African Republic. Upon arrival, Aristide is escorted to the “Palace of the Renaissance,” where he makes one phone call to his mother in Florida and her brother. He is provided a room with a balcony, but is not permitted to move around, and he remains in the company of soldiers. [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004; Associated Press 3/2/2004] His phone is taken away by African authorities and [Miami Herald, 3/3/2004] he is not provided a replacement or a landline. On the morning of March 1, he contacts US Congresswomen Maxine Waters and family friend Randall Robinson with a cell phone that is smuggled to him.(see March 1, 2004) [Democracy Now! 3/1/2004] In an interview with CNN, he says he considers the events a “coup d'etat” and a “modern” version of kidnapping. [Inter Press Service, 3/2/2004]
Joseph Pierre's version of events - According to Joseph Pierre, a concierge at Aristide's residence, whose account is reported in the French newspaper Lib�ration, Aristide is taken away early Sunday morning by US soldiers. “White Americans came by helicopter to get him. They also took his bodyguards. It was around two o'clock in the morning. He didn't want to leave. The American soldiers forced him to. Because they were pointing guns at him, he had to follow them. The Americans are second only to God in terms of strength.” [Independent, 3/2/2004]

People and organizations involved: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Mildred Aristide, James Foley, Randal Robinson, Maxine Waters, Luis Moreno, Joseph Pierre, Roger Francisco Noriega, Colin Powell  Additional Info 
          

March 1, 2004

       US President George Bush announces that the US is sending US forces to Haiti to help stabilize the country. [Reuters, 3/1/2004]
People and organizations involved: George W. Bush
          


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