Dear Friends,

At this critical time in Haiti's history, it's imperative to force the media and Congress to deal with the fact that the United States government engineered a coup against the democratically elected government in Haiti and to hold our "selected" officials responsible.  Please do all you can do to spread the word.  Deaths squads roam the streets, many people have been killed, and the lives of many more, currently in hiding, are at risk.

Thanks for taking action,

Post-Coup Actions and Talking Points for Congress and the Media
Denounce what has taken place in Haiti as a US-sponsored coup. Aristide was "kidnapped" (his own words.)  He did not voluntarily resign.

Return Aristide to power as the only legitimate president of Haiti.

Protect Aristide plus Fanmi Lavalas officials and supporters.

Investigate the role of the United States government, the military, the CIA, and various intelligence services in the coup. Who supplied the weapons,  logistics, and training for the return of the FRAPH death squads, former army leaders, and Duvalierists? These are impeachable offenses under the US Neutrality Act.

Grant refugee status to Haitians fleeing US-sponsored death squad terror.

No reconstitution of the Haitian army.

Key Congressional and Government Phone numbers
Congressional Switchboard - 800-839-5276 or 202-224-3121
White House Comment line - 202-456-1111
US State Department - 202-647-5291 or 202-647-7098 (phone)
202-647-2283 or 202-647-5169 (FAX)
Nancy Pelosi - (SF) 415-556-4862; (DC) 202-225-4965
Dianne Feinstein - (SF) 415-249-4777; (DC) 202-224-3841
Barbara Boxer - (SF) 415-403-0100; (DC) 202-224-3553


Key Media Contacts
San Francisco Chronicle:
Reuters:  click on contact us
Americas Desk: (202) 898-8300 or (202) 898-8300

New York Times:
Reporters who write on Haiti: LYDIA POLGREEN and TIM WEINER
Foreign Desk: (212) 556-7415

Associated Press:
International Desk: (212) 621-1663
Miami Herald

The Washington Times
Reporter who writes on Haiti: Sibylla Brodzinsky
Foreign Desk: (202) 636-3222
Washington Post
Reporter who writes on Haiti: Kevin Sullivan and Scott Wilson
Foreign Desk: (202) 334-7400
LA Times
Reporter who writes on Haiti: Carol J. Williams
Foreign Desk: (213) 237-4413
Foreign Desk: (212) 456-2800

Foreign Desk: (201) 583-5777

Foreign Desk: (212) 975-3019

International Desk: (404) 827-1519
State Department Correspondent: Andrea Koppel (202) 898-7515

Foreign Desk: (202) 513-2299

Backgrounder From Renee:

Sorry guys!  It's much more complicated than "Aristide was incompetent"...
This one falls squarely on the feet of the Bush Administration.  You have to understand the recent history of Haiti to understand the problem here...  BushCo decided in early 2001 that they would not support Aristide.  He was too far left, too close to home.  He actually had plans to HELP his people...this could not be tolerated...especially so close to home.  From day 1 of the Bush Admin, ALL aid was cut off to Haiti.  This was done under the guise of providing small amounts of Humanitarian Aid, some medicine (no where near enough for the millions of sick people), some food (again, no where near enough).  No money, No military aid (his police force is largly unarmed, when was the last time you thought of going to Haiti for a vacation - one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean?  I didn't think so, too dangerous)) to stop say, an uprising?, No financial support from the OAS, the WTO, the US.  His only option was to try to reapportion the wealth in the country...a few people with a lot of money and power...they weren't happy.
Aristide was begging for this help to put in place the programs needed to lift his people - the poorest in the world - out of the abject and devasting poverty they have suffered for the last 50 years.  Not surprisingly, Aristide was unable to rule the country without any outside support (we prop up cruel dictators around the world without blinking, but a ruler of a poor nation that wants to change that couldn't get help).  Not surprisingly, BushCo after creating the inability to rule, then started planting ideas that he wasn't fit to rule...where have I heard this before?
As Aristide became more desparate to keep his country out of the hands of the former ruling elite (the current rebels), things got ugly.  You have to remember that even TODAY, the majority of the millions of poor Haitians still support in Aristide...   
So let's take a look at the uprising.  A handful (100's to maybe 2000 TOTAL rebels) of unhappy citizens, suddenly begin to rise up against the Government (unarmed Government).  They are carrying AMERICAN weapons brought in from the Dominican Republic.  They are made to look strong by the lack of strength of Aristide's Government and by reports that they are successful.  Reports now coming out of Haiti by the people say that they thought there where 100's of thousands of rebels, but when they got into the Capitol, there were only a few.  These rebels seem to be trained in guerilla warfare (in a country with nearly $0 and the poorest of the poor) and many think that some numbers of them are either Haitians coming back into the country, or others...  You have to understand what I'm getting at here...this is NOT a people's rebellion against a cruel and out of control dictator.  Aristide was duly elected by a huge majority of his people who still support him.  His term ends in 2 years, not so long that he couldn't have been supported to help the country uphold their Constitution.
Now, fast forward to last week. A few well armed rebels supported by the wealthy class with American guns start a rebellion.  Aristide begs the world community to help him keep his country under control, they refuse.  Then, he says, late on Saturday night to supporters in the US Congress and others, I am NOT leaving under any circumstances.  At 2:00AM, US troops show up at his house, force him to sign a resignation letter, by telling him leave or die, this is your last chance to live, and spirit him out of the country.  He is allowed a few phone calls in which he tells US Congress people that he has been kidnapped, and he has not been heard from directly since except to say that the US Military took him to somewhere in the middle of Africa.
Now, I don't know about you guys, but this has CIA coups d'tat written all over it to me...  Remember the media you see is completely controlled by BushCo.  You ALWAYS have to question what they say and look beyond the pictures...  I hate to be so pessimistic, but how many times can you be lied to and still believe the liars???

NYTimes Article by Tracy Kidder
February 26, 2004
Why Aristide Should Stay
The leaders of the opposition in Haiti have enjoyed little in the way of electoral success, the true measure of legitimacy in any country that calls itself a democracy.

Why Aristide Should Stay



In Haiti, a paramilitary group has been making coordinated attacks on towns and cities, overwhelming understaffed, underequipped and ill-trained members of the national police force. The group has been burning police stations and setting free prisoners, both ordinary criminals and people convicted of involvement in massacres. It has been looting and rounding up supporters of the elected government and, apparently, killing anyone who tries to oppose it.

This group seems to be operating with the tacit approval of some of the politicians who oppose Haiti's government. But many of these rebels, as news reports call them, have unsavory records. Some are former soldiers from the disbanded Haitian Army, which in 1991 deposed Haiti's first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and ruled the country with cruelty and corruption for three years. Another was a ranking member of an organization that aided the army in terrorizing the country during that period. This rebel group seems to enjoy sanctuary within the Dominican Republic and free passage across the border between that country and Haiti.

For several years, the rebels have been making raids into Haiti, including a commando-style assault on the presidential palace in 2001 and, in 2003, an attack on a hydroelectric dam, during which they burned the control station, murdered two security guards and stole an ambulance. Clearly, they were just getting warmed up. Their leaders now boast that they will soon be in control of the entire country.

I first went to Haiti in 1994, for research on an article about some of the American soldiers sent to restore the country's elected government. I have spent parts of the past several years there, working on a book about an American doctor and a public health system that he helped to create in an impoverished rural region. The Haiti that I experienced was very different from the Haiti that I had read about back in the United States, and this disconnection is even stronger for me today.

Recent news reports, for example, perhaps in laudable pursuit of evenhandedness, have taken pains to assert that President Aristide and his Lavalas Party have been using armed thugs of their own to enforce their will on the country. The articles imply that the current crisis in Haiti is an incipient war between two factions roughly equal in illegitimacy. But I have interviewed leaders of the opposition, and can say with certainty that theirs is an extremely disparate group, which includes members of the disbanded army and former officials of the repressive regime of Jean-Claude Duvalier — and also people who were persecuted by both these groups.

This is an opposition that has so far shown itself unable to agree on much of anything except its determination to get rid of Mr. Aristide. Most important, the various leaders of this opposition have enjoyed little in the way of electoral success, the true measure of legitimacy in any country that calls itself a democracy. Mr. Aristide, by contrast, has been elected president twice, by overwhelming margins, and his party won the vast majority of seats in Parliament in the last legislative elections, held in May 2000.

Press reports generally date the current crisis to those elections, which they describe as flawed. In fact, they were flawed, but less flawed than we have been led to believe. Eight candidates, seven of them from Lavalas, were awarded seats in the Senate, even though they had won only pluralities. Consequently, many foreign diplomats expressed concern, and some went so far as to call the election "fraudulent."

But to a great extent, the proceedings were financed, managed and overseen by foreigners, and in the immediate aftermath many monitors declared a victory for Haiti's nascent democracy. Sixty percent of the country's eligible voters went to polling stations, many trudging for miles along mountain paths, then waiting for hours in the hot sun to vote. Moreover, those eight contested Senate seats didn't affect the balance of power in Parliament. Even if it had lost them all, Mr. Aristide's party would still have had a clear majority.

Citing the flaws in those elections, the United States and other foreign governments refused to monitor the presidential election that followed, later in 2000, which Mr. Aristide won handily. The opposition boycotted the affair and still claims that the election was illegitimate, but it does so against the weight of the evidence. This includes a Gallup poll commissioned by the United States government but never made public. (I obtained a copy last year.) It shows that as of 2002 Mr. Aristide remained far and away the most popular political figure in Haiti.

Again citing the flawed elections as its reason, the Bush administration also led a near total embargo on foreign aid to the Haitian government — even blocking loans from the Inter-American Development Bank for improvements in education, roads, health care and water supplies. Meanwhile, the administration has supported the political opposition. This is hardly a destructive act, unless, as Mr. Aristide's supporters believe, the aim has been to make room for an opposition by weakening the elected government.

They have a point. Over the past several years, the United States and the Organization of American States have placed increasingly onerous demands on Mr. Aristide. Foreign diplomats insisted that the senators in the contested seats resign; all did so several months after Mr. Aristide's re-election. Though Mr. Aristide called for new elections, the opposition demanded that he himself step down before it would cooperate. Last year, a State Department official in Haiti, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me that the United States wouldn't tolerate that kind of intransigence but also said that no support for new elections would be forthcoming until President Aristide improved "security." And yet by the time the diplomat said this, the administration had long since withdrawn support from Haiti's fledgling police force, with predictable and now obvious results.

Mr. Aristide has been accused of many things. A few days ago, a news report described him as "uncompromising." For more than a week now, American and other diplomats have been trying to broker a deal whereby the president would appoint a new prime minister acceptable to the opposition. Mr. Aristide has agreed. So far the opposition has refused, insisting again that the president resign.

 It was the United States that restored Mr. Aristide to power in 1994, but since his re-election our government has made rather brazen attempts to undermine his presidency. One could speculate endlessly on American motives, but the plain fact is that American policy in Haiti has not served American interests, not if those include the establishment of democracy in Haiti, or the prevention of the kind of chaos and bloodletting that has led in the past to boatloads of refugees heading for Florida.

One could also argue about the failings and sins of all the quarreling factions inside Haiti. But there are more important considerations. Haitians have endured centuries of horror: first slavery under the French, and then, since their revolution, nearly two centuries of corrupt, repressive misrule, aided and abetted by foreign powers, including the United States. All this has helped to make Haiti one of the world's poorest countries, and its people, according to the World Bank, among the most malnourished on earth.

The majority of Haitians have been struggling for nearly two decades to establish a democratic political system. It is important to this effort that Haiti's current elected president leave office constitutionally, not through what would be the country's 33rd coup d'état. Progress toward this difficult goal may still be possible, if the warring politicians within the country and the various foreign nations that have involved themselves in Haiti's affairs pull together now and put a stop to the growing incursions of terrorists. If this does not happen, there is little hope for Haiti. The result, I fear, will be a new civil war, one that will likely lead back to dictatorship and spill enough blood to cover all hands.

Tracy Kidder is the author, most recently, of "Mountains Beyond Mountains."