For Immediate Release Contact: Mikael Moore
February 2, 2006 (202) 225-2201
CONGRESSWOMAN WATERS URGES THE
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
TO INVESTIGATE THE COUP D’ETAT IN HAITI
Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35) expressed her support for a petition that is being filed before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The petition seeks to establish that the Bush Administration participated in a coup d’etat to overthrow President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically-elected President of Haiti, in February of 2004, and, in so doing, violated the democratic rights of the people of Haiti. The Congresswoman’s statement follows:
Two years ago, our government was a party to a coup d’etat in Haiti. President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the democratically-elected President of Haiti, was forced to leave Haiti in a regime change supported by the United States. President Aristide left the country on February 29, 2004, aboard a U.S. airplane when U.S. Marines and Embassy officials came to his home in the wee hours of the morning and told him to leave immediately or he and thousands of other Haitians would be killed. The U.S. plane took him to the Central African Republic and left him there.
This coup d’etat was carried out after groups of heavily-armed thugs had taken over several Haitian towns, occupied police stations, terrorized the local population, and entered Haiti’s capitol. Many of these thugs were former soldiers from the brutal Haitian army, and many of them continue to roam Haiti today with impunity.
After the coup d’etat, I led a delegation of President Aristide’s friends and supporters to escort President Aristide out of the Central African Republic and accompany him to Jamaica, where he was reunited with his family. President Aristide and his family are now living in exile in South Africa.
Two years later, the tragic results of regime change in Haiti are clear. Haiti is in total chaos. The unelected interim government, which was put in power by the United States and has received unprecedented support from our government, is both oppressive and incompetent. Violence is widespread, and security is non-existent. The Haitian police have been implicated in extrajudicial executions, and the interim government has imprisoned hundreds of political prisoners without trial. Haitian elections, which are now scheduled for next Tuesday, have been postponed several times, are fraught with technical problems, and are unlikely to be free and fair.
I urge the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the coup d’etat that occurred on February 29, 2004, and determine the role of the Bush Administration in this travesty of justice, which denied the democratic rights of the people of Haiti.