Aristide's removal presents threat to Cuba says report

Campaign News | Sunday, 7 March 2004

US objective was to establish a base to finish off Fidel Castro

French journalist Thierry Meyssan claims that in 2003 the US and France devised a joint plan to oust Aristide

By Eduardo González of Rebelion

Journalist and French writer Thierry Meyssan has claimed that France and United States agreed in the summer of 2003 to a joint plan to prepare a coup d'etat against the ousted president of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, due, among others things, to utilize the country as a base of operations to finish off Fidel Castro "within five months".

The other motive was the French reaction to Aristide's decision to demand that Paris refund debt payments contracted with the former colony throughout the X IX century.

US president, George W. Bush, contacted France in the latter part of 2002 to oust the former president of Haiti, but it wasn't until July of 2003 that Paris decided to be implicated, reported Meyssan - president of the French alternative network, "Voltaire" and known by his book "The Horrifying Fraud", which casts doubt on the official American version of the attacks on September 11, 2001 - cited by the Latin-American press agency IAR-NEWS.

According to Meyssan, Aristide's return to power in 1990 created a problem for Washington, since it "marked the beginning of the failure of American strategy to eradicate communism in the Caribbean".

In 1991, Aristide was ousted by General Raoul Cédras and the death squads of Louis-Jodel Chamblain, one of the main leaders of the revolt that removed him from power in March.

Pressure from black voters, among whom Aristide had many supporters, forced former American president Bill Clinton to support the Haitian leader's return to his country in 1994, after which his prime minister, René Préval, assumed the Presidency of the country (Aristide could not take office because the Haitian Constitution forbids two continued terms.

The anti American policies of Préval were answered in October of 2000 by a frustrated coup d'etat led by the other leader of the present revolt, the former police commissioner, Guy Philippe.

After the return of Aristide to the Presidency in 2000 (after obtaining 91 percent of the votes in elections), the returned president demanded that France refund 90 million Franc-gold (currency of the times) that had been confiscated from Haiti by the French Government between 1825 and 1885. The sum, adjusted for interest, equals approximately 20 billion euros.


Under these circumstances, says Meyssan, Bush contacted France to carry out the plan to overthrow Aristide, with the objective to establish a base of operations "to finish off Fidel Castro (president of Cuba) within five months".

The project would encompass 4 phases.

The first phase was to achieve "democratic destabilization" by means of supporting and financing the internal opposition with funds from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the creation, directed by US undersecretary of State, Roger Noriega (an old enemy of Liberation Theology, to which Aristide subscribes), of a task force "for democratic restoration".

Within this context, both powers would have lent support to the formation of the Group of the 184 opposition, presided by André Ap an old financier of the Duvalier dictatorship, who on January 2 presented a transition alternative and five days later called a demonstration that degenerated into anarchy, causing Washington to accuse Aristide of not being democratic.

According to Meyssan, the mandate of the Parliament expired on January 13 and the opposition refused to name delegates to the Electoral Commission, thus preventing the elections from being held and widening international pressure against the president.

The second phase is referred to as "diplomatic pressure", an operation supervised by the French intellectual Régis Debray and Veronique Albanel, president of the Universal Fraternal Association and the sister of Dominique of Villepin, the current French foreign minister.

Under this cover, the US and France exerted pressures on different countries of the region so that they would not participate in the ceremonies of the 200th independence anniversary of the "first black republic of America", celebrated January 1, this year in Port au Prince.

The third phase of the plan was the 'military destabilization' of Haiti in which, according to Meyssan, United States would put into play an armed group in the Dominican Republic, under the orders of Guy Philippe. In February 5, this group carried out an armed uprising in Gonaives (north), while the Group of 184, "in permanent contact" with the American secretary of state, Colin Powell, ordered the opposition to maintain a distance with the rebels to be able to opt for power without "having to feel responsible for the abuses or atrocities committed by the insurgents on their behalf.”

On February 21, a plan for resolving the conflict proposed by the international community was accepted by Aristide but rejected by the opposition who demanded his unconditional resignation. Two days later, the insurgents, under the command of Louis-Jodel Chamblain, crossed the Dominican border.

That same day, AFP commented that "many in Port Au Prince believed that the Dominican Army allowed the old Haitian military to enter Haiti with the approval of the U.S. which maintains very close ties with its joint command and the Government." The French agency also recalled that the "Dominican Republic was the only Caribbean country to send 300 soldiers to Iraq at the request of the US."

The fourth act of the plan was the "Abduction". On Sunday, US Special Forces seized the Presidential Palace and told Aristide that, unless he resigned, he would be sent to Miami to be judged for drug trafficking. Otherwise, they would expect the arrival of his opponent, Guy Philippe, who had received orders "to kill him", said Meyssan.

"Under the threat of M-16 rifles and in the presence of US Ambassador, James B. Foley and French ambassador, Thierry Burkard, Aristide signed a prepared letter of resignation "in order to avoid a blood bath".

Aristide was transported to Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic, where agents of French security were expecting him.

Meyssan also points out that the United States and France sent their troops to Haiti before the United Nations Security Council would decide not to send the "blue helmets".

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