PPRC joins with Portland Central America Solidarity Committee to
Coup in Haiti, Kidnapping of President Aristide
Event: PPRC joins with Portland Central America Solidarity Committee to
Protest US Coup in Haiti, kidnapping of President Aristide.
Date: Friday, March 6th, 2004
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Place: Pioneer Courthouse Square
At this Friday’s 5:00 p.m. rally at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the
Peaceful Response Coalition will be joined by the Portland Central
Solidarity Committee (PCASC) and other local peace & social action
organizations to protest the US-engineered and supported coup in Haiti.
the sordid details of this coup emerge, it looks more and more like
example of America crushing nascent democracy in the hemisphere, just
saw in Guatemala under Arbenz and Chile under Allende," said William
a spokesperson for the PPRC. "We even have the spectacle of one of
terrorist thugs, Guy Philippe, telling us that that the man he most
is former Chilean dictator, the butcher Augusto Pinochet."2 Seaman
that protests of the US-backed coup had already taken place in
DC, and that members of the Congressional Black Caucus had called for
protest messages to be sent to the State Department to demand that
be released and that democracy be re-established in Haiti.
"We are calling on US citizens to speak out and to join with us Friday
protest this latest outrage against democracy and against the Haitian
people," said Seaman. "The Bush Administration is continuing the long,
tragic and criminal history of US interventions in Haiti, suppressing
democracy and coming to the aid of business elites whose number one
complaint is that they risk losing the slave-labor wages that have been
basis for their wealth and privilege."
Seaman said that a grave threat has now emerged as news of the ‘rebels’
releasing prisoners has been reported from Haiti. "It has been
that hundreds of former death squad killers of the previous Duvalier
military dictatorship regimes have been broken out of Haiti’s prisons,"
Seaman. "These are bands of ruthless murderers, responsible for the
of thousands of innocent Haitians during the struggle to topple the
of dictatorship and repression, dictatorships that long enjoyed the
of both the US and France."
For more information about this Friday’s protest, please write to
firstname.lastname@example.org. News reporters may call (503) 888-7455.
PREVIOUS PRESS RELEASE:
The Portland Peaceful Response Coalition condemns the US-backed coup in
Haiti and the direct role played by US personnel in forcing from office
democratically elected President Aristide. "This brutally imposed
change’, engineered in Washington, DC, is another entry in the long
answers to the question, 'Why do they hate us?'," said Mikel Clayhold,
spokesperson for the local peace group. "Coupled with the ongoing
to overthrow the democratically elected government in Venezuela, the US
backed coup in Haiti demonstrates that people around the world do not
our freedom and democracy, they resent our government's demonstrated
to deny freedom and democracy in other countries."
Clayhold said that US news reporting on the Haiti crisis also explains
Americans by and large continue to wonder why the US is so reviled
throughout the world. "Americans are not told who armed, trained, and
funded these so-called ‘rebels’ in Haiti, nor are we told anything
comprises their leadership," said Clayhold. "Americans following the
are left the impression that war just broke out, like the flu, or that
people just prefer bloodbaths to democracy."
Clayhold explained that Aristide has called several people in the US
his current location in the Central African Republic, saying that he
forcefully taken from his home in Haiti, that he had been threatened by
persons he described as US diplomats, reportedly told that if he did
leave Haiti, he would be killed by paramilitary leader Guy Philippe.1
was reported that these ‘US diplomats’ told Aristide that the US was
withdrawing armed security, effectively leaving the President
assassination by Philippe’s forces.
"And we ought to be clear about the identity of these so-called
that have implemented the latest US-sponsored coup," said Seaman. "The
opposition is the traditional privileged minority in Haiti, with no
gaining power through a democratic election, which is why they have
to violence to bring about the current crisis and set the stage for
coup." Seaman said that the armed gangs that have taken over several
in Haiti are reportedly armed with M-16s and M-60 machine guns, weapons
recently sent by the US to the Dominican Republic, which shares a
with Haiti. "These gangs have been linked to two organizations for
the Bush Administration has provided lavish funding," explained Seaman.
"The right-wing ‘Convergence of Democracy’ and the pro-business ‘Group
184’, groups with members that range from Duvalierists to some former
Of greater concern, according to Seaman, is that the so-called ‘rebels’
count among their leadership former FRAPH paramilitary leaders, such as
Louis Chamblain " along with Guy Philippe and Jean Pierre Baptiste "
the 1991 coup that deposed Aristide, killed as many as 5,000 civilians,
imposed a reign of terror for four years. The FRAPH leadership
persons trained by US personnel and often actually on the payroll of US
intelligence. Louis Camblain is a former army sergeant and notorious
military death-squad leader and convicted murderer. Guy Philippe is a
former police chief and was reportedly involved in previous coup
The main representative of ‘The Group of 184’ is Andy Apaid, a US
Apaid is widely known for running some of Haiti’s most notorious
He owns 15 factories and was prominent in opposing President Aristide’s
efforts to raise the minimum wage in Haiti from the abysmal $1.60 per
Also of concern is the treatment of Haitian refugees fleeing the
requesting asylum in the US. Already hundreds of refugees have been
back by US forces, in direct violation of international law governing
treatment of refugees. "The threat of violence directed against
supporters in Haiti is severe and growing," said Seaman.
requires all countries to accept refugees from these kinds of
and the fact that our government has had such a direct role in bringing
about this disaster makes it all the more imperative that the US
the rights of these refugees."
1. "Guy Philippe is a rebel leader in Haiti's Resistance Front -
portraits emerge of rebel leader", By Susannah A. Nesmith, Knight
Newspapers, posted at
2. Reported by Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who said she received a
from President Aristide at 9:00 a.m. EST on Monday, March 1, 2004.
Robinson, a close friend to the Aristide family, was also called by the
Haitian president and verified the report provided by Congresswoman
Congresswoman Waters and Mr. Robinson were interviewed on the radio
public affairs program, Democracy Now!, available online at
This information is also reported in "Aristide accuses US of
coup'", By Andrew Buncombe, Andrew Gumbel and Phil Davison, The
(UK), 02 March 2004, and in "Aristide: 'Marines forced me to leave'",
Andrew Buncombe and Andrew Gumbel, The Independent (UK), 02 March 2004.
3. "Haiti Q & A", by Mary Turck, posted at Resource Center of the
4. "Haiti - Insurrection in the Making", by Yifat Susskind; A MADRE
Backgrounder; February 25, 2004, posted on Znet,
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