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Support Haitian Democracy, not Rebel Thugs

GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
http://www.gp.org

For Immediate Release
Friday, February 27, 2004

GREENS: THE U.S. MUST BACK HAITI'S DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT, NOT REBEL THUGS; MUST END THE AID EMBARGO AGAINST HAITI

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As rebels threatened Port-au-Prince and France urged President Aristide's resignation, Greens called on the Bush Administration to reverse its hostility to the embattled Aristide government, withhold military interference, and end the embargo against Haiti. Greens also urged international action to ensure the safety of Haiti's democratically elected government and humanitarian aid and shelter for the Haitian people in the face of a bloody rebellion and refugee crisis.

"The Bush Administration's near silence should be recognized as an endorsement of the paramilitary street violence that threatens the legitimate Aristide presidency," said Michele Tingling-Clemmons, co-chair of the Black Caucus of the Green Party of the United States. "It's no secret that Mr. Bush wants to see Aristide deposed, especially in light of reports of the millions of dollars authorized by the White House to arm the Haitian insurgents"

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide angered the U.S. government after his 2000 election, when he resisted demands that state-run industries be privatized and other neoliberal reforms, and instead doubled the minimum wage and concentrated Haitian federal funding on public education and health care.

Greens note that the opposition Democratic Convergence Party, which supports the rebellions, represents Haiti's business elite with international corporate connections, and that the leadership of the rebels is drawn from criminal gangs and former military officers responsible for the reign of terror from 1991 to 1994. During this time, the CIA-funded death squad FRAPH killed 3,000 Aristides supporters.

"Bush is supporting the antidemocratic opposition, as he did the failed coup attempt against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, but more cautiously and surreptitiously this time," said Rick Tingling-Clemmons, who serves on the steering committees of the D.C. Statehood Green Party and the national party's Black Caucus, and who also noted that the opposition has never represented any more than 20% of the Haitian people, according to the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. "The Bush Administration wants to open up Haiti to privatization of state-run businesses and public resources and to sweatshop exploitation of Haiti's people. Bush rejects Aristide's populist reforms, so he is maintaining the international aid embargo initiated by former Senator Jesse Helms in the last days of the Clinton Administration."

"Greens condemn these policies, we reject the frequent media depiction of President Aristide as a tyrant and portrayal of the drug-traffickers and thugs behind the rebellion as heroes of democracy, and we demand the restoration of aid and recognition of Aristide's government, whose validity was confirmed by the Organization of American States," Rick Tingling-Clemmons added.

"The U.S. and French responses are especially shameful because they mirror a 200-year-old racist and colonial attitude towards Haiti, ever since former slaves ousted their French masters," said Peter LaVenia, co-chair of the Albany County, New York Green Party. "The U.S. isolated Haiti out of fear that Toussaint L'Ouverture's 1804 revolution would inspire slaves in the U.S. to revolt. The Bush Administration has again isolated Haiti, for its economic independence and resistance to U.S. corporate demands."

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party Presidential Nomination Convention & Candidates http://www.gp.org/convention/process.html

Media credentialing for the convention http://www.gp.org/forms/media/

The Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org 1700 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 404 Washington, DC 20009. 202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN Fax 202-319-7193

Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean: statements on the crisis in Haiti http://www.epica.org/

- END -


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