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THEtSITUATION IN HAITI AND U.S. POLICY
SUBCOMMITTEES ON HUMAN EIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS ., HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SECOND CONGRESS
FEBRUARY 19, 1992
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
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SEP 0 8 1992
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
DANTE B. FASCELL, Florida, Chairman
LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania STEPHEN J. SOLARZ, New York HOWARD WOLPE, Michigan SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut MERVYN M. DYMALLY, California TOM LANTOS, California ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey HOWARD L. BERMAN, California MEL LEVTNE, California EDWARD F. FE1GHAN, Ohio TED WEISS, New York GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York JAIME B. FUSTER, Puerto Rico WAYNE OWENS, Utah HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
GERRY E. STUDDS, Massachusetts AUSTIN J. MURPHY, Pennsylvania PETER H. KOSTMAYER, Pennsylvania THOMAS M. FOGLIETTA, Pennsylvania FRANK McCLOSKEY, Indiana THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey BILL ORTON, Utah (Vacancy)
John J. Brady, Jr., Chief of Staff Suzanne Hartley, Staff Assistant Abigail K. Aronson, Staff Assistant
WILLIAM S. BROOMFIELD, Michigan BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania JIM LEACH, Iowa TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey DAN BURTON, Indiana JAN MEYERS, Kansas JOHN MILLER, Washington BEN BLAZ, Guam ELTON GALLEGLY, California AMO HOUGHTON, New York PORTER J. GOSS, Florida ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations
GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania, Chairman WAYNE OWENS, Utah DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
TED WEISS, New York CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
ANTONIO J. COLORADO, Puerto Rico ILEANA ROS-LEHTTNEN, Florida
Mark J. Tavlarides, Subcommittee Staff Director Michael Ennis, Minority Staff Consultant
Kerry Bolognese, Subcommittee Staff Consultant Lisa Heyes, Subcommittee Staff Consultant
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, Jr., Michigan, Chairman
JAIME B. FUSTER, Puerto Rico STEPHEN J. SOLARZ, New York SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut TED WEISS, New York ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York PETER H. KOSTMAYER, Pennsylvania HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida
ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California PORTER J. GOSS, Florida ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida DAN BURTON, Indiana JAN MEYERS, Kansas,
Victor C. Johnson, Subcommittee Staff Director Tabor E. Dunman, Jr., Minority Staff Consultant Nancy Agris, Subcommittee Staff Consultant Francine Marshall, Subcommittee Staff Consultant Richard M. Frost, Subcommittee Staff Consultant
The Honorable Charles B. Rangel, a Representative in Congress from the State of New York....................................................................................................... 8
The Honorable Tony P. Hall, a Representative in Congress from the State of Ohio................................................................................................................................. 11
The Honorable Donald M. Payne, a Representative in Congress from the State of New Jersey..................................................................................................... 16
Donna J. Hrinak, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Caribbean and Mexican Affairs, Department of State, accompanied by James K. Bishop, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Department of State, and Ambassador Luigi R. Einaudi, U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States....................... 22
Ambassador Robert E. White, President, Center for International Policy........... 41
Kenneth Roth, Deputy Director, Human Rights Watch.......................................... 50
Nina Shea, President, Puebla Institute, accompanied by Barbara Jo, Puebla Institute......................................................................................................................... 64
1. Statement by the Honorable Ronald V. Dellums, a Representative in Congress from the State of California............................................................................. 85
2. Letter to the President concerning Haiti, signed by Congressman Hall, Congressman Emerson, and Congressman Wheat................................................. 89
3. U.S. Permanent Mission to the OAS publication on OAS efforts to reverse
the coup in Haiti.......................................................................................................... 91
4. Letter to Ambassador Joao Baena Soares, Secretary General to the OAS, concerning Haiti, signed by Congressman Hall, Congressman Emerson, and Congressman Wheat.................................................................................................... 99
5. Washington Office on Haiti alert to U.S. Congress.............................................. 101
THE SITUATION IN HAITI AND U.S. POLICY
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 1992
House of Representatives, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations, Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs,
The subcommittees met, pursuant to notice, at 2:12 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Robert G. Torricelli presiding.
Mr. Torricelli. This committee will please come to order.
Last October, the U.S. Government committed itself to the proposition that the September 30th military coup in Haiti would not stand.
We joined our fellow member states of the OAS in imposing a trade and financial embargo on Haiti, vowing to maintain and increase the pressure until the military regime permitted the return of constitutional government.
Today, by all accounts, this policy is in shambles.
The embargo has failed to deny to the regime, and to those able to pay, the resources necessary to conduct business as usual. In a cruel instance of double jeopardy, those most hurt by the embargo are the same people who were most hurt by the coup that the embargo was supposed to remedy.
In recognition of the fact that its policy was destroying the country it purported to save, the administration was forced to back away from the embargo in order to permit assembly industries to resume operations.
I was among those who urged the administration to take this action and I support it today. The embargo, at least in its original form, had outlived its usefulness. The fact is that we will not bring democracy to Haiti by starving its people.
But this leaves us in a position where we must decide, and decide soon, whether or not we remain committed to the restoration of democracy in Haiti. If we do, as I hope is the case, then we need to determine what further steps we are prepared to take to achieve that end. The steps we have taken to date are certainly not working.
I have personally called on the administration to do two things: First, to seize the assets and revoke the visas of those involved or implicated in the coup itself. Despite the administration's testimony last October before this committee that it would take this action, it has not done so.
Second, to set a date certain by which, if a settlement has not been achieved in Haiti, we would ask the legitimate authorities of Haiti to go with us to the OAS to seek collective action to remove the regime from power.
In my judgment, if we are not prepared to take serious measures, then we should stop pretending that we are serious about democracy in Haiti.
Those are my views. The purpose of today's hearing is to hear others.
The subcommittee will seek testimony on the situation in Haiti, on administration policy and on key questions of where we go from here.
At this point, if I could, I would like to recognize our ranking Republican Member, Mr. Lagomarsino, for any comments he might want to offer.
Mr. Lagomarsino. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, the past few years have seen great gains for democracy and freedom throughout most of this hemisphere, indeed, around the world. Against this backdrop, it is especially discouraging that the military regime in Haiti continues to hold on to power.
A year ago, we were filled with hope for a new democratic Haiti and its first freely elected president. Now that president is in exile, Haiti's citizens are fleeing by the thousands, and the United States is faced with some very difficult policy questions.
We have eased our trade embargo to give the Haitian people some relief. Now we must decide what alternative steps we can take to bring democracy back to Haiti.
We also need to address the issue of the Haitian asylum seekers. The United States must ensure that the Haitians who are repatriated are not being persecuted.
These are very difficult questions, and I hope today's hearing will help us formulate some of the answers, and I am very anxious to hear what our witnesses have to say.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Lagomarsino.
Mr. Johnston. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have no prepared statement but I do have four observations that I would like to make rather quickly.
Number one is the administration will not release the funds that have to deal with the fiscal impact that this is having on south Florida. We are in siege right now. I think in my district alone there are between 50,000 and 75,000 Haitians. In Miami, there are 60,000 Guatemalans, 50,000 Nicaraguans, 500,000 Cubans.
And if the administration does not feel that there is an emergency there, I invite them to come to my granddaughter's grammar school in Miami where there are at least 16 separate languages spoken and the hardship it is creating on the Department of Education of Florida.
Second observation: The Secretary of State sat where Mr. Hall is about two weeks ago and stated that there was not one documented case of retribution against a Haitian that was returned back to Haiti after coming to either Guantanamo or the United States. I
have been hearing differently and I would like all of the witnesses to comment on that observation.
The third observation, Mr. Chairman, I feel is one of racism condoned by the administration in what is happening in south Florida and I will give one incident of that.
About six months ago, a Haitian boat was coming in off the coast of Miami about five miles out. There were 131 Haitians on the boat. They stopped and picked up two Cubans who were drowning. Their boat had capsized and they were about to die. They then came into the port in Miami.
The Haitians were all interned in Croan Detention Center and sent back to Haiti. The two Cubans were marched around on the shoulders of their fellow Cubans in Little Havana and are eligible for citizenship in one year.
And I think that does not do well for us when it shows that we are treating people differently in South Florida.
Finally, I would like somebody to start answering my mail. My mail deals in the extremes.
On the first part, they feel that all people that migrate into south Florida are political refugees and they should all stay.
The next group says none of them are political refugees, and they should all be returned.
The next group says it does not matter whether they are political or economic, they should all stay and the fourth group says it does not matter if they are political or economic, they should all go.
So somebody, if they would drop by my office and help me answer these letters, I would appreciate it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Johnston.
Mr. Solarz? Anything you would like to add?
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Gejdenson?
Mr. Gejdenson. I apparently have a conflict which is not going to allow me to stay here, but my staff is going to stay and I would hope that the administration, at least from my party, tries to give me a sense of the kind of resources we have committed to the situation.
Not a short time ago, we sent a half a million Americans to protect a handful of desert sheiks and their oil. This is a much simpler proposition in a real sense, just a short distance from our shore. I often find it hard to believe that we are getting adequate focus on this from the State Department.
When we look at the administration's lack of a policy in the region, from this administration and its predecessor, as the Haitians bravely move toward democracy, we seem to have ignored the attacks on presidential candidates and now attacks on civilians and our own treatment of those who flee the persecution.
It reminds me almost of the policy during World War II when there were a boat load of Jews off the coast of Cuba on the S.S. St. Louis, that irrelevant to the dangers that we sent people back to, we could not find a place for these people not forever, but at least until things settled down.
Reports that we have from groups are that Haitians are picked up at sea, brought back to port, they are screened on board, and
the reports of those returned to Haiti are given to the port authorities in Haiti.
If that is true, it seems to me we are giving a list of people for the government, for the military to go after.
I would hope that we get a sense that the administration sees the situation as more urgent than it has demonstrated, that it focuses on reestablishing the legitimate government, a non-military government, an elected government to Haiti and that we deal with the Haitians, as I think Mr. Johnston pointed out, as other people who are suffering and not some subclass because they come from Haiti.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Solarz, have you reconsidered your silence? Mr. Solarz. Since that is such an unnatural posture for me, Mr.
Mr. Torricelli. That is how we all saw it.
Mr. Solarz. I simply wanted to complement you on holding these hearings. I think they are extremely timely.
We obviously face a number of critical questions concerning our policy toward Haiti. There is the short-term problem of what to do about the Haitians who are attempting to flee the violence and repression in their country, whom we are cruelly and callously sending back, and I gather some of our colleagues will have some suggestions to offer on that score which I very much welcome.
But there is, as you suggested in your opening remarks, a perhaps larger and longer-term question and that has to do with the future of Haiti itself.
Here, Mr. Chairman, I simply want to say that I have felt from the beginning that if there was going to be a solution to this problem and if democracy was going to be restored in Haiti it would probably at some point require the use of a multi-lateral force to remove the military regime which seized power there.
The question I have, and I very much hope we can get an answer to it in today's hearing, is the extent to which President Aristide would or would not welcome an expeditionary force, presumably under OAS auspices, to remove the regime and restore the democratically elected government to power; to what extent we could reasonably anticipate support from the OAS for such an initiative or whether that simply is not possible and, if it is not, what other alternatives do we have?
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I hope we could get some sense of how the people of Haiti themselves would feel about the use of force to restore democracy in their country.
I must say that on this question I have gotten conflicting responses and it is not at all clear to me whether such an initiative would be welcome by the people it would presumably be designed to help.
But you are absolutely right in saying that our current policy is not working and I would hope this hearing would constitute a basis for a review and reconsideration of that policy and the emergence of a new one which has a much better chance of achieving our objectives.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Solarz.
Mrs. Meyers? Would you like to add anything?
Mrs. Meyers. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am pleased that you are holding this hearing today. Certainly the question of Haiti and the Haitian refugees is one of the most difficult humanitarian questions that we have had to deal with. This country accepts, welcomes really, more refugees than any other country in the world and it would be wonderful if we could accept everyone who wanted to come here. But obviously we cannot and that means that there are going to be enormously difficult choices that we are going to have to make in the years to come.
I am pleased that we are holding the hearing, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mrs. Meyers.
Mr. Gilman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I welcome this opportunity to meet with some of our people who are concerned with this issue and particularly with Chairman Rangel, who led our delegation to Haiti. We returned just last night after meeting with a significant cross-section of Haitian society and leadership.
I thank both Chairman Yatron and Torricelli for holding what I consider to be a very timely hearing.
Our six-member delegation reflects a strong bipartisan Congressional concern over the deplorable situation in Haiti.
Haiti today has returned to the dark days of dictatorship. The September coup unleashed repression and persecution upon the long-suffering Haitian people and hundreds have been killed and many more have been persecuted and fled for their lives on very fragile boats across shark infested waters and ended up in Guanta-namo Bay. Unfortunately many of them have now been forced to return to their homes.
The coup in Haiti led to untold human tragedy and it has resulted in a total breakdown of the rule of law. This has also given the drug traffickers in that part of the world free reign in Haiti. It is a free trade zone for the traffickers.
As long as the illegitimate government in Haiti is more concerned with persecuting Haitians than prosecuting narcotics traffickers, Haiti is going to become the route of choice for cocaine that has been bound for our states.
But the coup did something else, something constructive. It energized the Organization of American States into unprecedented concerted action to try to restore constitutional government in Haiti.
The international embargo on Haiti has not yet succeeded in its goals but it has succeeded in putting pressure on Haitians to go to the negotiating table. Some 40,000 Haitians are without work today because of the embargo.
Accordingly, I do not think that there should be any backing down on the embargo but we must keep the pressure on. Our Congressional Delegation Rangel, met with a wide variety of vectors all across the political spectrum.
We met with legislators from virtually all of the political parties and there are many sectors today which are represented in the Parliament. We met with representatives in the church as well as private relief organizations.
We met with the military leaders, including General Cedras, the de facto leader, the business sector and human rights groups.
We underscored one fundamental point: the United States will not allow the military coup to stand. Haiti is and will remain an international pariah until constitutional government is once again restored. Our nation must not equivocate in our support for the democratic process in Haiti.
We found cause for hope in our meetings in Haiti and I believe there are opportunities for reaching a political consensus with the OAS as a catalyst.
I do not think any of the Haitians we met with would welcome U.S. military intervention. They do want some civilian consultants to help professionalize the military, under the auspices of the OAS.
Most Haitians understand that their nation is at a critical crossroads and that a negotiated solution, a solution based on consensus, is the best path to follow. We also heard that from both the pro Aristide people and the opposition. Haitian refuges are being repatriated to a nation that is filled with fear.
We do not recognize the Haitian government yet we entrust them with the fate of Haitians who are being fingerprinted and photographed upon their return. While our delegation did not receive any firsthand evidence of persecution of repatriates, there are indications that repatriates do face danger when they return.
It is clear that the situation in Haiti is so bad and the consequences of mistakes so severe that repatriating Haitians in the current circumstances is wrong. Repatriation should be halted until the current circumstances change.
So I stand behind the efforts of our nation and the OAS to try to find a democratic solution for Haiti. We must reinvigorate the OAS effort and demonstrate to the Haitian regime that time is not on their side. It is on the side of democracy and freedom.
Coup plotters must understand they cannot wait out the forces of democracy. Military men and would be dictators throughout Latin America and the Caribbean are closely observing events in Haiti at all times and a permanent defeat for democracy in Haiti I think would endanger democracy throughout the hemisphere. We cannot allow that to happen.
So I thank you, Mr. Chairman, and look forward to the testimony of our colleagues and some of the experts in this area.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Gilman.
It is clear why there is not a consensus in the country about how to proceed because every range of view is now represented on this committee. I appreciate each Member making their comments.
At this point, I would like to enter Mr. Yatron's comments into the record without objection at this point.
[The statement of Mr. Yatron follows:]
Statement by Hon. Gus Yatron "Situation in Haiti and U.S. Policy" Hearing with Western Hemisphere Affairs Wednesday, February 19, 2:oo p.m. 2172 Rayburn
The hearing today on Haiti comes at a critical time. I want to commend the co-chair of these proceedings, Congressman Torricelli, for his outstanding leadership on this issue.
The economic and political situation in Haiti remains desperate. Efforts to restore Haiti's constitutional democracy have been unsuccessful, and the armed forces remain in complete control. The economic sanctions have apparently had a minimal impact on the powers in Haiti to compromise, but have exacted a toll on the massive poor.
The Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations has received several reports documenting extensive human rights abuses committed by Haiti's armed forces, including killings, torture, beatings, illegal detentions, and complete suppression of expression, and reprisals against clergy, journalists, and any perceived supporters of President Aristide.
The efforts of the Administration and the Organization of American States to coordinate an effective response to the crisis in Haiti is to be commended. However, many aspects of the Administration's policy has been criticized, particularly with respect to the Haitian refugees.
I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and hope that today's hearing will in some way facilitate the restoration of Haiti's elected government. The Haitian people have suffered far too long under incompetent, corrupt, and ruthless despots. It is time for these brave and patient people to enjoy the freedom and prosperity associated with democratic government.
Mr. Torricelli. Those of you who are visiting with us today, we welcome you, I know many of you have come with banners, flags and other paraphernalia. We would appreciate it if those would not be displayed during the hearing but if you would keep them at your side.
Our first witnesses before the committee are three of our colleagues.
Mr. Rangel chairs the Committee on Narcotics. Mr. Hall chairs the Committee on Hunger and Mr. Payne, who is a member of this committee is a citizen of New Jersey, one of those high distinctions of life.
Mr. Hall, you were here first, but Mr. Rangel came the longest, having travelled from Haiti last night to get here this morning, which we appreciate very much.
Mr. Rangel, if you would begin followed by Mr. Hall and Mr. Payne.
STATEMENT OF HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK
Mr. Rangel. Thank you, Chairman Torricelli. I also share my thanks with Chairman Yatron and all of the members on this committee just for calling this hearing to focus attention and increase the concern about our friends in the Caribbean in Haiti.
I would like formally to associate myself with the remarks of my dear friend Ben Gilman, who eloquently shared with the committee the experiences that we had. We were accompanied by Congressman Mfume, Congressman Payne, the Deputy Chief Majority Whip, Congressman John Lewis, and we had the pleasure of having with us our distinguished ambassador to the Organization of American States, Ambassador Luigi Einaudi.
I would just like to briefly cover some of the things in a different way than Mr. Gilman did and first answer my friend and college from New York, Mr. Solarz.
With all of the different opinions that Haitians have about a variety of subjects and having met with those who fired the guns as well as those who got shot, the one thing that they agreed on is that they did not want foreign troops intervening there.
However, a diplomat can share with you, and you will be meeting this morning with one of the best, Ambassador Einaudi, can tell you their willingness to accept a civilian force with security that would be able to protect them from each other and at the same time allow the roots of their institution to get a little stronger so that they effectively on their own would be able to deal with the problems that they face internally. A lot of national pride is there, no matter which end of the rifle you are on.
I also would like to apologize to those who have heard me be critical of the State Department spokesperson when she said that she had no evidence that there was retaliations against any of the refugees that were involuntarily repatriated to Haiti.
Yes, she has no evidence and she could have added that there is no way for her to obtain any evidence. In asking our charge, who is in charge of a dramatically reduced staff in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, how would we know, we were informed that the Haitians arrive
and someone from the embassy is there when they are being fingerprinted and photographed, they receive now, or they should receive by now, $15 or the equivalent of $15 in cash and a bag of food and then they hurry off into the area where their villages many times have been burnt, where their houses have been sold as they got into these rickety ships. Our network of finding out who these people are are 50 Americans who happen to live in the area.
I cannot for the life of me see how some Haitian would feel comfortable in living where they live to go where I assume Americans live and share with them any experiences that they have. But we have talked with human rights leaders, we have talked with elected officials, we have talked with religious leaders and they have given us graphic examples of how their children have been mistreated when they return home.
I say children because one of the most emotional stories I heard is when one of the kids were returned and he went home and his mother was there and she asked him to leave because of fear that the military would know that he was home and that he would jeopardize not only their home but the entire village, and so he had to leave the very home that his mother had kept while he was gone.
I also would like to say that this weekend we were pleased to find out that the representatives of the principals of all those involved will be meeting at the Organization of American States and I would swiftly leave that because the distinguished ambassador would share with you in far more detail than I could possibly what we hope to find there.
One of the problems that we found in trying to find out how the returning refugees were being treated is another matter which I am certain will be touched upon by the chairman of the Hunger Committee. But when you have to listen to your people who are in charge of aid and in charge of care argue in front of you as to whether or not we should send seed for the farmers to be able to harvest in a month and it is being argued against doing that for fear that the farmers would eat the seed because of hunger, it is a very difficult thing to listen to this debate going on in the embassy among our own people as to whether or not sending any seed at all would make any sense.
We made it abundantly clear that our differences in foreign policy ended when we left the United States and so our entire delegation was in complete solidarity in supporting the Organization of American States and supporting the United Nations and supporting the United States and making certain that no one there believes that we will ever be dealing with the illegal de facto government in Haiti until such time as Aristide and democracy is returned.
Having said that, let me tell you about this embargo. The only one that believes that there is an embargo is the United States. Neighboring countries have violated the embargo.
Our European friends are taking advantage of the embargo and the fact that we had broken the embargo for American manufacturers has even caused some doubts among our friends in the Organization of American States as to just how sincere we are with the embargo.
The embargo has not hurt the Haitian people who are involved in the coup. It has not affected the military that feels very comfortable in trading with neighbors and they are well fed and if they are not well paid, they know how to get money which is accepted as a part of their way of survival. The wealthy and affluent not only are not affected but even if something was not available to them in Haiti, they have no problem in picking it up in Miami on their own planes or just going there for a visit.
So it just seems to me that while we all are cautiously hoping and wishing and are prayerful that there will be a successful negotiation with the OAS, it would seem to me that after we monitor that that the one thing that has to be made abundantly clear, whether you are Republican or Democrat, whether you are liberal or conservative, that if you care anything about America, you have to have that equal concern about a democracy, whether they are small, whether they are large, whether they are black or whether they are white. When that democracy is in your hemisphere and when you are trying to set an example for other countries who recently have joined us in an experiment with democracy, how we treat this mission is how the world is going to view us.
The silence of our President in this issue is deafening. It would not have been deafening if we did not know his ability to mobilize public opinion as he so effectively did in the United Nations, to come before the American people and to show us the tyrant that Saddam Hussein really was, but to allow the bullies and the thugs in Haiti to continue to be the de facto government, to have communication with our embassy, to be able to share their opinions with us in the United States, I think that the moral high ground has been lost by our country but can be regained by our President.
If indeed he decides that this is not his mission, it would appear to me that somewhere on the Secretary of State's agenda we would be able to find Haiti, not for the poor wretched souls in Haiti, not for the refugees who find themselves fleeing on shark infested waters from that inferno, but for the United States of America and for what we believe in, that we should let the entire world know where we stand and what we are doing about it and to be able to provide the leadership on this issue without interfering with the work of the Organization of American States.
Finally, I would like to say that while an embargo is always a blunt instrument to use in trying to achieve a political and diplomatic goal, it seems to me that when you find such glaring holes in that embargo that one would want to tighten up the net.
It is immoral and hypocritical for us to cut off assistance to the people in Haiti that affect the poor and still have the petroleum supplied by our allies to those that are more affluent and to the military.
It seems to me that every country's name ought to be called that believes in democracy that if they are supporting the OAS, if they are supporting the U.N., if they support us as friends in the U.S., we should have their names called who are violating the embargo.
Lastly, Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that if the people of this country can say that they do not have room for the poor Haitians that come here, that we should not have room for the rich Haitians as well. We should stop those visas immediately for all of the Hai-
tians that have enjoyed the benefit of the coup and the benefits of the embargo and allow our country and our embassies to issue those new visas to people that we know were not supports of the coup that has taken place against the government of our friends and neighbors in the Caribbean.
We hope that Chairman Brooks will favorably entertain the legislation that all of us co-sponsor that will give temporary protective status to the refugees who we believe are political refugees but for those who have some doubts, it would give them some temporary protection. It has been reported out favorably by Congressman Mazzoli of Kentucky, who is the subcommittee chairman, and we hope that Chairman Brooks might do the same.
Once again, let me thank this committee for having a hearing and giving us all a chance to show that America cares, or at least this part of America.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you very much, Mr. Rangel, not only for your statement but also for your efforts without which this committee and, indeed, this Congress would not have been able to reach judgments of its own regarding the situation in Haiti. It is much appreciated.
STATEMENT OF HON. TONY P. HALL, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OHIO
Mr. Hall. Chairman Torricelli and members of the committee, I, too, appreciate very much this hearing and what it is all about and certainly allowing me as Chairman of the Select Committee on Hunger to testify before you today.
I have not come to discuss the plight of those who have attempted to leave Haiti. I have my own opinion, it gels with the majority of opinion that has been stated already. I am a co-sponsor of Mr. Rangel's bill that presently is undergoing hearings. But I am here as the chairman of the committee to discuss the very survival of those in Haiti who are most vulnerable and I am speaking primarily of the children, the women and the elderly who face the real prospect of famine and disease.
Even before the coup, the poor of Haiti suffered. With approximately 85 percent of Haiti's 6.5 million people living in absolute poverty, more than one-half of the population suffered from malnutrition.
Prior to the coup, the United States, United Nations and the European Community administered emergency feeding programs in Haiti and these programs provided assistance to approximately 750,000 people on a daily basis. The majority of those assisted were children.
Immediately following the coup, these feeding programs were suspended and now five months after the coup, these programs are providing assistance to approximately 40,000 people. That is about 6 percent of the number that was aided before the coup. The current food distribution has been limited to the urban areas of Port-au-Prince and Gonaives.
Why have these programs been so limited? Because the relief organizations have not had sufficient fuel to drive their trucks out into the rural areas to distribute food. There are warehouses in Haiti holding tons of undistributed food.
There are plans to greatly expand these feeding programs but these proposed expansions will not go forward unless there is fuel available for the relief organizations.
The United States and the international community can and should undertake immediate action to ensure that fuel is provided to these relief organizations for the sole purpose of distributing food.
In addition to the problems encountered in the emergency feeding programs, the domestic food supply is facing severe setbacks. Farmers, who are now entering the planting season, have very little fertilizer and few seeds to plant. Without other food to eat, farmers have been feeding their seeds to their families as Congressman Rangel has alluded to in his testimony. A bad or nonexistent harvest will further raise the fear of famine in Haiti and force additional people to rely on an already overburdened emergency feeding program.
C.A.R.E. and other international relief organizations operated rural agriculture programs in Haiti prior to the coup and these programs assisted small farmers and were designed to increase food production and security. But subsequent to the coup, these programs were unnecessarily suspended and these programs should be reinstated and modified to include emergency seed distribution.
Relief organizations have also been very active in efforts to prevent the spread of disease and decrease the high infant mortality rate in Haiti. They have provided basic health care in the regions where no other health care is available. These organizations have operated programs designed to improve the water supply and sanitation in rural communities.
With only 12 percent of the people in Haiti having access to potable water, these water treatment programs are critical in preventing the spread of typhoid, cholera and other waterborne diseases. These programs were in operation prior to the coup.
After the coup, many of these programs were suspended or sharply curtailed and now is certainly not the time for the United States or the international community to decrease commitment to prevent disease in Haiti.
To pursue the specific actions that I have outlined would not require changes to the U.S. embargo nor legislative action. The U.S. embargo specifically exempts materials intended to relieve human suffering and clearly the measures that I have discussed here today fit within this humanitarian relief exemption. In addition, current U.S. law permits the administration to continue programs run by relief organizations that have been in operation prior to the coup.
We do not need to change the laws but we do need new international leadership. The international community should not decrease its support for the humanitarian needs of the Haitian people at this critical time. If the administration can take the lead to rescue business in Haiti on the premise that it is a humanitarian effort, then the administration should take the lead to rescue the poor from hunger and disease.
If we can move the equivalent of a supermarket per day into northern Iraq to help the Kurds, then certainly we can work with the Organization of American States, the United Nations, the European Community and nations of the region to provide the necessary humanitarian relief to Haiti.
We have an opportunity to prevent widespread famine and disease from causing additional suffering in Haiti. The United States should lead the international community and demonstrate that the New World Order embodies a universal standard that has true significance for all peoples and nations.
[The statement of Mr. Hall follows:]
STATEMENT OF REP. TONY P. HALL CHAIRMAN, HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON HUNGER, REGARDING THE HUMANITARIAN CRISIS IN HAITI BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEES ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND ON WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS FEBRUARY 19, 1992
Chairman Yatron, Chairman Torricelli and members of the Committees, I thank you for holding this hearing and allowing me the opportunity to testify before you today.
I have not come to this hearing to discuss the pros and cons of the U.S. or international embargoes. I have not come to discuss the plight of those who have attempted to leave Haiti. I am here to discuss the very survival of those in Haiti who are most vulnerable. I am speaking primarily of the children, women and elderly who face the real prospect of famine and disease.
Even before the coup, the poor of Haiti suffered. With approximately 85% of Haiti's 6.5 million people living in absolute poverty, more than 1/2 of the population suffered from malnutrition.
Prior to the coup, the United States, United Nations, and European Community administered emergency feeding programs in Haiti. These programs provided assistance to approximately 750,000 people on a daily basis. The majority of those assisted were children.
Immediately following the coup, these feeding programs were suspended. Now, five months after the coup, these programs are providing assistance to approximately 40,000 people less than 10% of the number aided before the coup. The current food distribution has been limited to the urban areas of Port Au Prince and Gonaives.
Why have these programs been so limited? Because the relief organizations have not had sufficient fuel to drive their trucks out into the rural areas to distribute food. There are warehouses in Haiti holding tons of undistributed food.
There are plans to greatly expand these feeding programs. But, these proposed expansions will not go forward unless there is fuel available for the relief organizations. The success or failure of these proposed expansions should not rely upon whether a fuel tanker breaks the embargo and unloads its cargo in Haiti.
The United States and international community can and should undertake immediate action to ensure that fuel is provided to these relief organizations for the sole purpose of distributing food.
In addition to the problems encountered in the emergency feeding programs, the domestic food supply is facing severe setbacks. Farmers, who are now entering the planting season, have very little fertilizer and few seeds to plant. Without other food to eat, farmers have
been feeding the seeds to their families. A bad or non-existent harvest will further raise the fear of famine in Haiti and force additional people to rely on an already over-burdened emergency feeding program.
CARE and other international relief organizations operated rural agriculture programs in Haiti prior to the coup. These programs assisted small farmers and were designed to increase food production and security. But, subsequent to the coup, these programs were unnecessarily suspended. These programs should be reinstated and modified to include emergency seed distribution.
Relief organizations have also been very active in efforts to prevent the spread of disease and decrease the high infant mortality rate in Haiti. They have provided basic health care in the regions where no other care is available. These organizations have operated programs designed to improve the water supply and sanitation in rural communities. With only 12% of the people in Haiti having access to potable water, these water treatment programs are critical in preventing the spread of typhoid, cholera and other water borne diseases. These programs were in operation prior to the coup.
After the coup, many of these programs were suspended or sharply curtailed. Now is certainly not the time for the United States or international community to decrease commitment to prevent disease in Haiti. These pre-existing programs should be reinstated and modified to include increased distribution of certain needed drugs and chemicals for water purification.
To pursue the specific actions that I have outlined, would not require changes to the U.S. embargo nor legislative action. The U.S. embargo specifically exempts materials "intended to relieve human suffering". Clearly, the measures that I have discussed here today fit within this humanitarian relief exemption. In addition, current U.S. law permits the Administration to continue programs run by relief organizations that had been in operation prior to the coup.
We do not need to change the laws, but we do need international leadership. The international community should not decrease its support for the humanitarian needs of the Haitian people at this critical time. If the Administration can take the lead to rescue business in Haiti on the premise that it is a humanitarian effort then, the Administration should take the lead to rescue the poor from hunger and disease.
If we can move the equivalent of a supermarket per day into northern Iraq to help the Kurds, then certainly we can work with the Organization of American States, United Nations, European Community and nations of the region to provide the necessary humanitarian relief to Haiti.
We have an opportunity to prevent widespread famine and disease from causing additional suffering in Haiti. The United States should lead the international community and demonstrate that the New World Order embodies a universal standard that has true significance for all peoples and nations.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Hall, thank you very much. Mr. Payne?
STATEMENT OF HON. DONALD M. PAYNE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY
Mr. Payne. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
It certainly gives me a great honor to be here to discuss the problem in Haiti, and I would certainly like to echo the sentiments expressed by the leader of our delegation on the past few days to Haiti, my good friend and colleague, Congressman Rangel.
I think that Congressman Rangel very clearly articulated the main points and I will attempt not to be redundant.
Our candid discussion in Haiti with human rights activists, including Gerard Pierre-Charles and Father Hugo Trieste of the Peace and Justice Commission confirmed what many of us feared: that intimidation is taking place against Haitians who oppose the government installed by the military coup. In fact, one of the priests we were scheduled to meet with, Father Massacre, had been imprisoned.
We inquired about his fate and asked to visit him in prison. Yesterday, while we were in Port-au-Prince we were relieved and pleased to learn that following our inquiry and discussion, Father Massacre was released from prison. I think that this is an indication that U.S. involvement in the Haitian situation can certainly produce positive results.
Unfortunately, intimidation methods are being used to silence the majority of Haitians who want their democratically elected president, President Aristide, returned to power. It is indeed tragic that a nation of people who finally achieved democracy after years of struggle are once again being subjected to fear and repression as a government of tyranny has taken over.
It is difficult to believe that our State Department could be unaware of dangers facing Haitians who are forced to return to life under this repressive regime as we saw in the New York Times a picture of a young boy being printed and photographed. As Mr. Rangel said, there is no evidence and there is no evidence because evidence is not being sought and our State Department is right by saying they have no evidence.
In my congressional district, the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey, we have a large Haitian community with whom I have frequent contact. They are fearful about the fate of their families and loved ones in Haiti. Furthermore, they are disturbed, as I am, about the disparity in the treatment of Haitian refugees compared with refugees of other politically repressed nations.
As a matter of fact, last week I sat in this same room to hear the testimony of our Secretary State, Mr. Baker. Mr. Baker had a long complete statement and discussed points of issues that he felt were extremely important to America. Not once in his statement, prepared and until he was asked a question, did he relate to Haiti. I think that this is an indication of the U.S.'s interest in that. Fortunately, several members asked the question and he responded but he did not have that in his global report to us.
We read about our Coast Guard escorting Cuban refugees to safe haven in Florida, airplanes being tracked by our radar to ensure safe passage to our country, and they are welcomed and given assistance and I support that. I think that we ought to. But by the same token, we have a policy of double standards for Haitians. When our government has so vocally promoted democracy around the globe, we are turning our backs to it here.
We cannot avoid the troubling question why is our government treating Haitian refugees so differently from others, why are we so callous about their fate?
Our country has had a long relationship with the Haitian people. They have offered their assistance during times of war. As a matter of fact, as far back as our revolutionary war, they had soldiers here who fought to make us free. During other crises, they were there involved. We ought to remember them as friends.
During our visit, our delegation had the opportunity to meet with and to deliver a strong message by our chairman: We will never accept the regime installed by military coup which has replaced the democratically elected president.
We are encouraged by the negotiations which will take place this weekend in Washington, D.C. between President Aristide, the Organization of American States and members of parliament. If the situation in Haiti is not resolved, I am committed to a plan to ask for tougher sanctions and, as has been indicated by Mr. Rangel, to request the removal of visas from the wealthy Haitians who travel to Florida and New York to be relieved of the hardships of the embargo.
We also should ask the United Nations to take a look at what is going on if the OAS cannot move this forward.
We met with an array of people: Mayor Paul from Port-au-Prince who ran on the Aristide ticket in the room with the Deputy President of the Chambers of Deputies, Mr. Medard. We met with Mr. Basin who was in the room there, a presidential candidate against Mr. Aristide. General Cedras was there as we met with Mr. Theodore, all in the same room. Mr. Theodore is currently the candidate for prime minister.
What is clear is that if Mr. Aristide ran for president tomorrow he would be elected again because he has started a movement of democracy and freedom and that will not go out. I think that we ought to have a policy that will assist in a negotiated settlement, that we should do all we can to support the OAS and that we should review our policy to show the world that our policy is needs based and not race based.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Payne, very much.
Mr. Rangel and Mr. Payne, during your visit, did you encounter any evidence of physical or other mistreatment of returning refugees, mistreatment that should be known to this committee and the Congress?
Mr. Rangel. Yes, I tried to share that and we will be able to give the specifics as well as the persons who shared that information with us. But as I pointed out, one of the elected officials in the Congress had shared with us what happens to those people who have supported Aristide who left the country with the boat people and
have returned but many more atrocities were shared with us by the human rights people, especially the two priests that we met with for some time.
Mr. Torricelli. These include people who have been returned in the last week?
Mr. Rangel. Yes. There was a specific incident of one of the double returnees that the priests had shared with us. But the point that I want to make, Mr. Chairman, I want to make it abundantly clear that it really is close to being hypocritical when one says honestly that we have no evidence of any of these refugees being retaliated against when they could also say honestly, and we have no way to find out what is happening with those refugees, our staffs have been dramatically reduced, and we are depending on someone to come to an embassy to tell us and they have not done it.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Rangel, do you share Mr. Payne's sense that in fact in these months since the military coup that there has not been any diminution in support for President Aristide?
Mr. Rangel. Let me say that sincethere has not been any diminution of support in terms that everyone knows that in order to have democracy that President Aristide has to return. There have been a lot of people who have been the beneficiaries, however, of the coup. While they talk about return, the enthusiasm is not as much as it would have been.
When the president talked about trying to be of assistance to the poor, he meant that there had to be a more equitable sharing of the wealth. This has been resented by some of the people that we met with. Even though they will tell us they did not support the coup, they are now trying to be the beneficiary of the coup to see whether something can be negotiated with anyone but Aristide.
But there is no questionI have told many people, diplomats and public officials, I ask the rhetorical question if a person is elected that has the overwhelming support of the people, who lacks the guns, lacked the money, lacked the army, lacked the support of business and lacked the support of the wealthy, is that person lacking? The answer is yes.
President Aristide has the support of the people but does not have the guns or the money.
Mr. Torricelli. There have been repeated allegations, however, of Mr. Aristide's exceeding his authority by taking extra-constitutional measures, thus providing the foundation for a justification for what the military did.
Did you encounter any evidence, any discussion that would tend to support those allegations?
Mr. Rangel. I would say yes, Mr. Chairman.
One of my colleagues said that President Aristide was a public servant and not a perfect servant. It does appear that when the legislative body attempted to resolve issues that would have adversely affected the president or attempted to be critical and censure his prime minister that the president did not stop the crowds who were expressing their vocal condemnation of the legislative body and as a result of some of the things that happened, one from a distance could assume that the president's interest was not being served by members of the legislature and that it was the people
that demonstrated in no uncertain terms their contempt for the legislature acting that way.
Now, there have been some people that were hurt as a result of it and even though there is no evidence that President Aristide supported or directed those things, our embassy has said neither is there any indication that he condemned the behavior of those people that were violent against the legislators.
Mr. Payne. Yes, Mr. Chairman. I think Mr. Rangel said it correctly.
What Mr. Aristide did when he ran for president, he said that people should have a better life. He said there is no reason that after a democracy, for a free nation that had freed itself from its colonial power that 90 and 95 percent of the people should live in abject poverty.
He said that everyone has the right to strive for a better life. He said that people should have the opportunity for education for their children. He said you should also dream to live up on the hill and to drive a vehicle.
Well, the people that lived on the hill and drove the vehicles said well, he said they should take my house and my car. But I think that he was saying thingsnow, I would be the last to say that President Aristide did everything correctly. I will make that clear. But I cannot confirm that he on purpose inflamed people.
There was one death of a person that died halfway across the country from where he was in an incident, he was a political person. The opponents to Aristide said he is directly responsible for that death.
Mr. Toericelli. Is that the most direct evidence you heard of loss of life by the president's hand?
Mr. Payne. In my conversation, they said that he is a very emotional person and he has an ability to get crowds worked up. Well, there are a number of political leadersCharles de Gaulle was like that. But that did not necessarily mean that the person is overwhelmingly wrong.
As I said before, there were definitely mistakes that Mr. Aristide made.
Mr. Torricelli. At least our Democratic candidates for presidents would be safe from criticism.
Mr. Payne. That is true. He made many mistakes. There is no question about it. I am not defending those mistakes. Let me make that clear. But I cannot see where I have talked to some U.S. officials who said that they felt more comfortable with General Cedras in his conversations and social life with them who is in charge of the military that we know killed between 150, 300, 500 or 1500 people than he did with President Aristide.
Mr. Torricelli. OK. Let me continue quickly because there are going to be multiple votes and I would like to ask at least a couple other things and give my colleagues an opportunity before we leave.
I was not surprised to hear your testimony that people in Haiti agreed as a consensus against the prospect of foreign military involvement. One would expect that from any sovereign self-respecting people.
Do you understand to mean that there is not a constituency in Haiti that would welcome either an OAS or a United Nations effort to restore constitutional government if that international sanction was of limited duration? Of course, it would have to be endorsedwhich I recognize has not happened to dateby the legitimate constitutional authorities of Haiti.
Do you interpret what you heard to go that far?
Mr. Rangel. Not only would I agree, yes, it goes that far that they would resist and that they do not want any multi-national military forces or unilateral military forces or U.S. military forces in Haiti and I was surprised, really, to find that out.
But I am convinced that now would not be the time even to think about it. I think we ought to give the OAS an opportunity to work its will this weekend before we start even thinking about it but running these rascals in the hills and trying to smoke them outHaiti just believes the only people that are going to be hurt are Haitians and so that would be greeted with open arms.
I think there is a way to get a force in there and that force will have to be colored in very, very civilian terms and there is no resistance to that civilian group having the type of security that would be necessary to protect it against the army.
Mr. Hall. Mr. Chairman?
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Hall.
Mr. Hall. I would just like to say one thing in our deliberation about this whole situation is that we do not lose track of the overwhelming problem that is in Haiti today.
Now, we can discuss this political situation for months and I think it is probably going to go on for months and all of you have a better understanding, probably, of it better than I do. But the one thing that I am concerned about is half of the people in Haiti before this coup were facing malnutrition and a lot of sickness. That is about half of 6.1 million people, and it is going to get worse and disease is starting to break out all over the country.
They do not have food, distribution of food is not occurring, and we do not have leadership in the United States, we do not have leadership internationally, and we need leadership. I hope when we are trying to seek a political solution through legislation we speak out on this fact, that the poverty is killing these people.
Mr. Torricelli. I guess, Mr. Hall, if there is something that divides each of us, being colleagues and friendsI hope of similar ambitions for Haiti, it may be simply that question of strategy, that to do nothing is intolerable. My fear is that having the patience of weeks or months may appear to be the more humanitarian approach.
Respecting the sovereignty of Haiti and opposing any kind of intervention may be the more enlightened approach but the net result of all of that may be untold malnutrition, disease, suffering and death.
Therefore, the only caveat I would add to testimony which I otherwise would embrace, is there must be a limit here to patience or all of us who have entered into the embargo and taken the position the United States has taken, will be culpable ourselves for the final result of the suffering. It cannot endure.
Mr. Payne. Mr. Chairman, I think if our government would make that clear to the leadership, the people who oppose the election of Aristide, the business people, the bourgeois people, the military people, and these are people that we have influence over, I think that then that step could be moved forward.
Mr. Torricelli. Apparently that is not happening. The credibility the United States had in building an international coalition against Saddam Hussein somehow cannot be mustered for the business community and the military elite of Haiti to believe that we are serious about a return to democratic government in Haiti.
Mr. Rangel. You have that right.
Mr. Torricelli. That is what is frustrating because it would cost nothing but a commitment of time and energy by the administration.
Mrs. Meyers, would you like to add something? I apologize to my colleagues for having dominated the time. However, if it is of any solace to you, I have only gotten through one of multiple pages of questions.
Mrs. Meyers. Unfortunately, I think a number of us have different meetings that begin at three o'clock and I am going to try to come back after this vote but I have two other places I am supposed to be. I will read carefully the testimony that was submitted by those who are to testify later.
Mr. Torricelli. Gentleman, you have all been very helpful.
Mr. Hall, Mr. Payne, I appreciate your being here.
Mr. Rangel, as always, I recognize that I am chairman of the Western Hemisphere Committee, except for the Caribbean where I co-chair that committee with you. Thank you very much. You have been very helpful.
Mr. Rangel. Thank you for your friendship and support, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. The committee will adjourn for these two votes. We will be back as promptly as possible, at which time we will hear from our next panel, who I would ask to please take their places and be prepared to give testimony.
Mr. Torricelli. The committee will now hear testimony from Donna Hrinak, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Caribbean and Mexican Affairs, Department of State, to be accompanied by James Bishop, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs; and Ambassador Einaudi, U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS.
Welcome. We appreciate your coming before the committee today.
I understand that Mr. Bishop and the Ambassador will not be testifying but are here to assist you in testimony and in questioning. Is that correct?
Ms. Hrinak. That is correct.
Mr. Torricelli. Ms. Hrinak, your testimony will, of course, be entered in the record in its entirety but we would welcome any comments you would like to share with us. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF DONNA J. HRINAK, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR THE CARIBBEAN AND MEXICAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, ACCOMPANIED BY JAMES K. BISHOP, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, AND AMBASSADOR LUIGI R. EINAUDI, U.S. PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE TO THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES
Ms. Hrinak. Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear today before this committee to discuss the administration's policy toward Haiti.
I would like to begin by stating that policy clearly and emphatically: We remain committed to the restoration of democracy and human rights in Haiti and to Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide as Haiti's legitimately elected president. We do not recognize the militarily installed regime now in power. I want to use this opportunity to call on that regime to end the general climate of fear and repression and to restore Haiti to constitutional order under terms that provide for Father Aristide's return as president.
The restoration of democracy is our overriding goal in Haiti but it is linked with two additional objectives which I would also like to discuss today: creating a basis for economic well-being to accompany democratic government and implementation of a sound and just immigration policy in accordance with the laws passed by this Congress.
Let me first review our interest in a democratic Haiti. The administration's role in bringing democracy to Haiti is well known to this committee, which has been very supportive of our work, as has the entire Congress.
The first phase of our efforts was the backing we provided to the 1990 electoral process through the National Endowment for Democracy, the Organization of American States, the United Nations Development Program and the International Federation for Electoral Systems and through our own observer mission, a process which culminated in the first generally free and fair vote in Haiti's history and the inauguration of Father Aristide as president.
We were the first country to recognize Father Aristide's victory and we provided his new government more support than any other country.
In fiscal year 1991, our major bilateral assistance program included $12.5 million in economic support funds, $38.3 million in development assistance and $29.1 million in PL-480 food assistance.
At the time of the coup, we were preparing programs in strengthening democratic institutions, administration of justice and improved law enforcement. Ironically, as the coup was taking place in Port-au-Prince, we were informing the Haitian ambassador here, Jean Kazimir, of our forgiveness of $107 million of Haiti's debt to the United States.
Our concern for Haiti's democracy is shared by countries throughout this hemisphere as reflected in the efforts of the OAS and in Secretary General Jovemay Inoslatus. They are conducting negotiations to achieve our common goal. The OAS-backed talks have resulted in President Aristide's nomination of a new prime
minister, Rene Theodore, who must now be confirmed by the Haitian parliament.
Despite efforts to intimidate Mr. Theodore and derail the agreement on a prime minister, we believe that a negotiated settlement under OAS auspices remains the best hope for restoration of democracy. In this regard, we are encouraged by last week's decision taken by both houses of the Haitian parliament that a new round of talks should begin.
We understand that the Secretary General has invited President Aristide, Prime Minister-designate Theodore and the leaders of the Haitian parliament to undertake here in Washington this coming weekend a new round of talks.
The OAS is also prepared to field a multi-lateral civilian presence throughout Haiti, OEA-DEMOC, to foster conditions for the return of democratic rule.
Mr. Chairman, in addition to the authoritarian governments which have plagued Haiti, no country in this hemisphere has experienced Haiti's history of economic misery. Creating a climate for economic well-being is a principal goal of our policy and our efforts to foster that climate have faced us in recent months with difficult choices.
The primary instrument we have used to bring pressure on the illegal regime in Haiti and thereby facilitate a return to constitutional government has been the economic and financial embargo endorsed by the OAS. We believe the embargo remains an essential element in pressuring the regime to negotiate.
Because we continue to believe in the effectiveness of the embargo, let me be clear about what we did on February 4th. We retargeted the embargo, we did not lift it. We will permit, on a case-by-case basis, companies in the offshore assembly sector, the so-called 807 companies, to ship components for assembly and to bring finished products back to the United States. These components and products do not enter Haitian commerce. Our action does not open or resume general commerce with Haiti.
In taking this decision, we acted to prevent what we concluded would have been disastrous and lasting damage to the Haitian economy through the bankruptcy of these companies or their transfer to third countries. We considered the harm facing the 40,000 employees, their approximately 250,000 family members and the future of one of the very few bright spots in the Haitian economy.
Mr. Chairman, mindful of the embargo's impact on the poor in other ways, we have been careful to exempt food tables from our sanctions. Reporting from our embassy indicates that foodstocks remain adequate. We also have put in place a special humanitarian assistance program operating through PVOs that is now providing supplemental feeding for 71,000 persons and is expected to reach 180,000 by the end of February and a half a million by the end of March.
Finally, I would like to discuss our interest in a managed and rational immigration policy and thus the issue of Haitian migration. There is a large and steady of legal immigration from Haiti to the United States, more than 140,000 Haitians in the last decade, fifth among all nations in the world.
One million Haitians, one-sixth of Haiti's total population, live in the United States. As an example, the population of Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince, is approximately 470,000. The Haitian population of New York City is estimated at 400,000.
At the same time abject poverty and recurring violence have for many years motivated large numbers of Haitians to put to sea to attempt the 600-mile voyage to the United States. Often the voyages end in tragic loss of life.
This loss of life and our obligation to curb the wave of illegal immigrants prompted the U.S. and Haitian governments to implement the Alien Migration Interdiction Operation in 1981.
During the ten years preceding the coup, more than 22,000 Haitians were interdicted under the AMIO, including 13,051 during the seven months of the Aristide government. Since the coup, 15,749 Haitians have been interdicted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The administration has been accused of arbitrarily categorizing these boat people as economic migrants while ignoring the unstable and possibly violent conditions that they fled. This is inaccurate and misleading.
While it is true that we find most Haitian migrants are principally motivated by economic considerations, we do not ignore the other conditions in Haiti, the general climate of fear and instability which may have induced them to leave. However, U.S. law, as written by Congress, does not say that any citizen of any country in the world who experiences instability or violence can automatically be admitted into the United States as a refugee.
Rather, an individual under law must present a credible claim of persecution or well founded fear of persecution on account of his or her religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service through its interviewing process has thus far determined that over 4800 Haitians of those 13,761 interviewed since the coup or 35 percent had plausible enough claims to pursue them further in the United States.
In the ten years before the coup, that rate was only 1 percent. This 34 percent increase alone demonstrates our understanding that more Haitians have more to fear since September 30th than before.
Nevertheless, claims that all Haitians are fleeing imminent danger are not supported by decisions some of the Haitian migrants themselves have made. Of 100 Haitians taken by the UNHCR to Venezuela, 73 chose to return voluntarily to Haiti; 123 Haitians who arrived in the Turks and Caicos Islands chose to return to Haiti when they learned they would be held in the Turks and Caicos rather than brought to the United States or to Guanta-namo.
Of 250 Haitians taken to Honduras, 104 chose to return to Haiti. Haitians have also voluntarily returned to their homes from the Bahamas and Jamaica.
In addition, few Haitians have sought refuge through the porous Dominican border, which remains open although commerce is controlled. Of a group of 23 Haitians who we know did pass into the Dominican Republic, 15 chose to return to Haiti.
At the same time, despite widely reported claims by individuals seeking entry to the United States that repatriates face retaliation in Haiti, we do indeed have no credible evidence that this is the case. In fact, we have investigated several cases and evidence in those has directly contradicted the claims. We will continue to monitor the situation of returnees and we have expanded our embassy staff to do so adequately.
I think it is also important to be frank with the American people about what demands to halt repatriation mean. They mean that any Haitian out of the 6 million who sets out will be admitted to the United States. That will be an enormous magnet for out-migration and the numbers will be unlimited.
Mr. Chairman, there are some lessons to be learned from the current problems of Haiti. One is that the international community has a continuing responsibility to emerging democracies beyond support for elections. Had we and the other countries and organizations which supported the electoral process followed up more vigorously, we might have mitigated the mutual fear and suspicion that grew up between the Aristide administration and some other elements of society.
Another lesson is that the international community when moved to action has few tools with which to respond and those which we do have such as an embargo may work slowly and have unintended and sometimes innocent victims.
Mr. Chairman, in those days after the coup those involved in Haiti believed a prompt solution was within our grasp. We have felt that same hope on several other occasions over the last five months, only to be disappointed each time.
The truth is that the situation in Haiti permits no quick solution. Rather, it requires persistence and patience if we are to see this crisis through to a satisfactory resolution.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Hrinak follows:]
Prepared Statement of Donna J. Hrinak, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Caribbean and Mexican Affairs, Department of State
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have the opportunity to appear today before your committee to discuss the administration's policy toward Haiti. My colleagues, Ambassador Einaudi and Ambassador Bishop, will not have opening statements but will, or course, answer your questions. I want to point out also that we are accompanied by officers from the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the State Department's Bureau of Refugee Programs whom I may wish to call on, with your permission, for their expertise on matters related to the migrant issue.
Mr. Chairman, it is my intention in these opening comments to explain briefly the underlying rationale for our policy toward Haiti; trace how we got to where we are now; and touch on where we want to go from here.
At the outset let me make one basic observation: the situation in Haiti presents no easy answers or quick solutions. Rather it faces us with some very tough choices and requires of us persistence and patience if we hope to see democracy restored to Haiti.
As I said, I want to turn first to the rationale behind our Haiti policythe reasons why we care what happens there and try to influence these events.
Our concerns lie on two levels. First, there is our humanitarian obligation to the people of Haiti and our desire to see them enjoy decent standards of economic well-being, social justice, respect for human rights, and political freedoms. These objectives spring from the most fundamental tenets of the administration's foreign policy and, in this sense, are no different when applied to Haiti than to any other country.
And yet, in these human terms, Haiti is a special case. No close neighbor of oursin fact no nation in the Hemisphere and few in the worldhas experienced a history of economic misery and authoritarian brutality to match Haiti's. This history is an affront to our most cherished values and one we must try to reverse.
The second level of our concern is a more pragmatic one. It stems from the fact that what happens in Haiti has a direct, material impact on other areas of interest to us. Recent developments in Haiti illustrate this phenomenon as never before. The most dramatic such illustration is the boat people, about which I will say more in a moment. Another dimension, less visible but potentially more worrisome, is the danger that Haiti's current crisis will open the country to expanded influence of drug traffickers. There are signs already of drug involvement by army officers. We must anticipate that this situation will worsen as long as the current illegitimate regime remains in place and keeps Haiti economically and politically isolated.
Finally, there is the fact that overthrow of Haiti's freely elected government in a setback to the consolidation of democracy throughout the hemisphere. Let me stress that I am not talking here in abstract or philosophical terms but rather of the contagious effect of both dictatorship and democracy. It is no coincidence that, in the 1960's and 1970's, one Latin American nation after another suffered military coups. The disquieting reality is that the military in the various victim nations were emboldened by the success of their counterparts elsewhere. Similarly, the return of these Latin nations to democracy in the following decade did not occur in isolation but rather as part of an unmistakable trend that has brought this hemisphere as a whole to an unprecedented level of political freedom and respect for human rights.
It is for these reasons that the ouster of an elected government in Haiti, or in any nation of the hemisphere, has a political significance well beyond the borders of the country directly involved. It is likewise for these reasons that the Organization of American States reacted quickly and firmly to the coup in Haiti and why we have supported, and continue to support, the efforts of the OAS and its Secretary General to restore constitutional order in Haiti.
This discussion of Haiti's importance to us brings me logically to a brief outline of how this administration triedbefore our efforts were interrupted by the coupto help move Haiti in the direction of economic health and democratic freedoms. Our efforts can be divided into two phases. First was the support we provided to Haiti's latest electoral process which culminated with the first genuinely free and fair vote in the country's history in December 1990 and the inauguration 2 months later of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as president.
Our role in this process is a matter of record and has been outlined before to this committee which, I should add, was very supportive of our efforts as was the entire Congress. Suffice it here to say that, working both independently and in conjunction with the OAS, the United Nations, and other interested governments, we devoted significant material and political resources to help ensure that the campaign, the election itself, and the transition were carried out in accord with accepted democratic principles and in a climate free of fear and intimidation. We are proud of the role we played. We shared with the people of Haiti the joy they felt at the inauguration of a president whom they themselves had chosen and who represented to them such great promise.
With the successful completion of the electoral process, we moved into the second phase of our effort, characterized primarily by the implementation of a major bilateral assistance program that included, in fiscal year 1991 $12.5 million in Economic Support Funds, $38.3 million in Development Assistance and $29.1 in Public Law 480. In fiscal year 1992 the allocated totals were $24 million ESF, $39 million DA, and $20.6 million in Public Law 480.
I want to stress moveover that our bilateral programs in Haiti, as projected, went well beyond provision of material assistance. At the time of the coup we were preparing to implement programs in the areas of strengthening democratic institutions, administration of justice, improvements in law-enforcement procedures, and reform of the military. In short, we contemplated a comprehensive approach to helping Haiti address the full range of problems that have plagued the country for generations.
I can't say how long this effort might have taken or even whether it would, in the end, have produced the results desired. I can say that the programs I outlined reflected a strong commitment of the United States to the betterment of conditions in Haiti, particularly in the areas of economic well-being and political rights and freedoms. This commitment remains today the underpinning of our policy toward Haiti.
In this context, and specifically to reject some allegations that have been made since the coup, I want to reassert that we remain committed to the restoration of democracy to Haiti and to our recognition of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as Haiti's le-
gitimately elected president. By the same token, I want to stress that we do not recognize the military-installed regime now in power in Haiti, nor will we deal with it except on matters we deem in our own clear interest. I want to use this opportunity to call on the military regime to restore Haiti to constitutional order under terms that provide for President Aristide's return to his legitimate authority and that guarantee full rights and freedoms for all Haitians.
Mr. Chairman, our concern for Haiti's return to democratic rule is shared by countries throughout this hemisphere. That is why the member countries of the OAS have been engaged from the day of the coup in efforts to help restore democracy in Haiti. And that is why the United States has acted in solidarity with other member countries of the OAS.
Within 48 hours of the September 30 coup, OAS-member foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Baker, met and unanimously adopted tough measuresdiplomatic isolation and suspension of aid, economic, commercial, and financial tiesto press the illegal regime to return to democratic rule. The OAS member state foreign ministers followed these measures by urging an embargo and freeze of official assets on October 8.
In the week after the coup, active OAS diplomatic efforts began with an eight-country mission to Haiti, including U.S. Assistant Secretary Aronson. He, seven foreign ministers, and the Secretary General met with individuals across a spectrum of Haitian society to press for return to democratic rule.
OAS Secretary General Baena Soares, through his Representative, Augusto Ramirez Ocampo the former foreign minister of Colombia, has carried on OAS diplomacy in Haiti, Caracas (where President Aristide is temporarily living), Cartagena and Washington. The OAS has facilitated repeated meetings among Haiti's political leaders and maintains pressure to keep the dialogue going. And the OAS has brokered talks that have resulted in President Aristide's nomination of a Prime Minister, Rene Theodore, who must now win the approval of Parliament to begin serving as the head of government.
The OAS is preparing to field a civilian presence throughout Haiti (OEA-DEMOC) to monitor human rights, help strengthen judicial and other democratic institutions, and help professionalize the military. The aim of OEA-DEMOC is to foster conditions for the return of democratic rule and Haiti's freely elected President. Fielding OEA-DEMOC will complement progress on the diplomatic-political front. Timing of deployment is part of the negotiation process.
Such a country-wide OAS presence in Haiti would be no stranger to the Haitian people. On December 16, 1990, the day Haitians elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide as their president, the OAS electoral observation team in Haiti stood at 202 members from 25 countries. Team members were located throughout Haiti and monitored balloting at some 1,000 polling stations. Their presence in the 1990-91 elections, along with the U.N. and other interested bodies, is credited with a major role in ensuring a free, fair, and peaceful process. The value of a country-wide OAS presence is shown also by the successful work of the OAS Commission on Verification and Support (CIAV) in helping resettle.former resistance members in Nicaragua.
The United States fully supports OAS diplomatic and other measures to resolve the crisis brought on by the coup of September 30. We have pledged $2 million to carry out OEA-DEMOC and coordinated our humanitarian relief program for Haiti's neediest with the OAS.
Hemispheric solidarity on Haiti is unprecedented. The United States and the 33 other member countries of the OAS are united in the determination to see constitutional democracy restored in Haiti. We are united in our resolve that Haiti's freely elected President resume exercise of his legitimate authority. We are united in the approach laid out in the foreign ministers' resolutions of October 3 and October 8.
Efforts to date have kept open channels of communication and dialogue and helped bring Haiti to the threshold of selecting a prime minister, in spite of attempts by a violent fringe to intimidate Mr. Theodore and derail the efforts to settle on a prime minister.
Much more needs to be done, but mechanisms are in place, a process has been set in motion, and the political support needed to bring the crisis to a conclusion remains as firm as in the days following the coup when 34 countriesincluding the United Statesrallied to the cause of democracy in Haiti.
The primary instrument we have used to bring pressure on the illegal regime in Haiti, and thereby facilitate return to constitutional government, has been the economic and financial embargo adopted by member states as urged by the OAS in its resolutions of October. I want to stress that we believe the embargo remains an essential element in pressuring the regime to negotiate restoration of democracy.
As I mentioned, however, the crisis in Haiti is characterized by tough choices. In this regard, there are some aspects of the embargo that I want to discuss in more detail.
We have heard criticism that the embargo against Haiti has affected the wrong peoplethat it has hurt the poor and left the regime and its supporters unscathed. More recently we have heard accusations that the administration bowed to pressure from the American business community in deciding to ease the embargo.
Starting with the latter claim, let me be clear about what we did on February 4. We retargeted the embargo. We did not lift it. We now permit companies in the offshore assembly sector (the so-called 807 companies) to ship components to Haiti for assembly and to bring finished products back to the United States. These components and products do not enter Haitian commerceHaiti simply provides the labor to assemble them. Our action does not open or resume general commerce with Haiti. American companies continue to be prohibited from paying taxes or making other payments to the illegal regime.
I want to stress that we took this action precisely out of concern for the effect the embargo was having on poor Haitian workers employed by these companiesor not employed, which was increasingly the caseand on the families that depend on their wages. We likewise acted to prevent what we concluded would have been disastrous and lasting damage to the Haitian economy through the bankruptcy of the 807 companies or their shift to third countries.
At the time we imposed the embargo, we weighed very carefully the impact it would have on the 807 sector. From firsthand experience, I can assure the committee that we agonized for days, knowing the harm that could come to the 40,000 employees and up to 250,000 dependents and to the future of one of the few really bright spots in the Haitian economy. To lessen the impact, we granted that sector a 30-day grace period during which companies could continue to ship materials and assembled goods to and from Haiti.
The crisis has gone on longer than we had hoped, and it became apparent a few weeks ago that we would have to act to relieve the hardship that this was causing to Haitian workers and to the long-term economic prospects of the country.
Do American businesses benefit? Yes. But here, too, we had concerns about the effect of the embargo on workersin this case U.S. workerswho faced the loss of their jobs as American companies were bankrupted because their Haiti operations were shut down.
Mindful of the embargo's potential impact on the poor, we were careful to exempt food staplesincluding rice, wheat and cooking oilfrom our sanctions. Reporting from our Embassy indicates that food stocks remain adequate. We also put in place a special humanitarian assistance program, operating through private voluntary agencies that work with the Agency for International Development, to provide food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable groups. That program is now providing supplemental feeding for 50,000 persons and is expected to extend to an additional 200,000 by the end of March. Finally, for humanitarian reasons we have also continued to permit experts of medicines to Haiti as well as shipments of humanitarian donations and supplies for private voluntary organizations providing health care and hospital services in Haiti.
We believe the embargo has had a very marked effect on Haiti. Millions of dollars of official Haitian assets in the United States remain frozen. Government revenues are dramatically down. The 1992 budget introduced by the de facto regime last month is almost 25 percent lower than in 1991. The regime has had to purchase oil on the stock market at premium prices when it could get it. The criticism the embargo has received both publicly and in private from regime officials makes clear that it is having a major economicand psychologicalimpact. For all its imperfections, it remains our and our allies' most powerful lever on the regime.
Finally, I want to touch on the issue of Haitian migration, which is a long-standing problem and is of special concern to us. While there is a large and steady flow of Haitians to the United Statesmore than 140,000 persons in the last decade, fifth among all nations in the worldpersistent, abject poverty and recurring violence have, for many years, motivated large numbers of Haitians to put to sea to attempt the 600-mile voyage to the United States. Usually the attempt is made in dangerously overcrowded, unseaworthy vessels. Often the voyages end in tragedy, the vessels sinking with a loss of life which cannot be estimated.
This loss of life and our obligation to try to curb the wave of illegal migrants prompted the U.S. and Haitian governments to implement the Alien Migration Interdiction Operation (AMIO) in 1981. Under this agreement, U.S. Coast Guard Cutters are positioned just outside Haiti's 12-mile limit of territorial waters. To the extent possible, vessels with intending migrants are interdicted before they can sail
into the dangerous waters of the high seas. Interviews are conducted on board by INS agents, and those with plausible claims to asylum are brought to the United States to pursue their claims.
During the 10 years preceding the September 1991 coup, more than 22,000 Haitians were interdicted under AMIO, including 1,351 during the 7 months of the Aristide administration. While the coup and its volatile aftermath certainly influenced some of the approximately 15,000 interdicted since September to make the attempt, the greater immediate inducement was the court injunction barring repatriation. This injunction made the odds of gaining admission to the United States greater than they had ever been before, and made the Coast Guard cutters magnets rather than deterrents. This is borne out by the drastic decline in new interdictions since the court ban was overturned.
On a related aspect, Mr. Chairman, the administration has been accused of arbitrarily categorizing boat people as "economic migrants" and denying them entry on these grounds while ignoring the unstable and possibly violent conditions that they fled. This is an inaccurate and misleading description of the process. While it is true that we find most Haitian migrants are motivated by economic considerations, we do not deny them entry expressly on these grounds nor do we ignore the other conditions in Haiti that may have induced them to leave. However, U.S. law as written by Congress does not say that any citizen of any country in the world who experiences instability or violence can be automatically admitted into the United States as a refugee. Rather, an individual must present a credible claim of persecution, or well-founded fear of persecution on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. INS through its interviewing process has thus far determined that over 4,100 Haitians of the 11,000 interviewed since the coup had plausible enough claims to pursue their claims further in the United States. However, it is our intention to repatriate those who do not. Despite widely reported claims by individuals seeking entry to the United States that repatriates face retaliation in Haiti, we have no credible evidence that this is the case. In fact, in those cases which we have investigated, evidence has directly contradicted the claims. We will continue to monitor the situation of the returnees.
Mr. Chairman, in closing I want to note that while there are few easy answers to the current problems in Haiti, there are some lessons to be learned or reinforced.
One relates to the fragility of democratic government, especially in a country that lacks the cultural and institutional foundations to make it work. Hindsight suggests that we and other friends might have done more to help Haiti's latest attempt at democracy succeed. Had we and the rest of the international community followed up after the inauguration on the ambitious effort that we mounted to support Haiti's presidential campaign and election, we might have mitigated the mutual fear and suspicion that grew up between the Aristide administration and other elements of society and ultimately led to the coup. It is, in part, this recognition that led to the creation of OEA-DEMOC and our determination to work actively with all Haitians of good will in restoring and strengthening democracy in their country.
Another lesson stems from our experience with the embargo. Although, as I have noted, we consider the embargo on balance to be an effective instrument of pressure against the illegal regime, it is clear that it has not forced the solution we sought and that, inevitably, it brought hardships on innocent Haitians, U.S. businessmen and their employees, and other unintended victims. There may be no sure remedy for these kinds of flaws but they will have to be considered closely in a future situation of this kind. Meanwhile, as I have discussed, we have fine tuned our economic sanctions against Haiti in trying to produce the desired overall effects.
Mr. Chairman, there is a theme running through my comments that I would like to make very explicit in conclusion. This administration, consistent with our nation's deepest values, strongly supports genuine democracy and respect for human rights in Haiti. Similarly, we are committed to improving the well-being of all Haitians and will continue working to do so within the limits of our resources and our law.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you very much.
Madam Secretary, when the United States imposed an embargo upon Haiti, we crossed a threshold that we will be unable to ever reverse. Whether we like it or not, we are now a part of the solution to the problems in Haiti whether they prove difficult or impossible.
We are therefore faced with the reality of the fact that an embargo policy has not succeeded, the military regime may be consolidating itself, and negotiations have so far not been fruitful.
The question therefore begs itself as to how much patience the administration will have and what options follow the failure of negotiations.
Would you like to address either or both of these points? Of course, at any point you would like to yield to your colleagues, I would be glad to hear from them.
Ms. Hrinak. I am going to ask Ambassador Einaudi to respond directly to the issue of negotiations since we have seen that the OAS is maintaining the slow and often frustrating momentum but that will be picked up again this weekend.
Obviously there are options to discuss and I am not sure it is productive to speculate publicly on many of them.
Mr. Torricelli. I am not sure that is not very productive to speculate on them. That may be part of the problem with the way the administration has handled this crisis.
There are those in Port-au-Prince who may believe that the current situation can continue forever. They believe that they can be forgiven for that impression because that is exactly what is coming out of Washington, that there is endless patience with negotiations that go nowhere and that we are prepared to tolerate this situation. So I think speculating about future events might be very helpful.
Mr. Ambassador, would you like to proceed?
Ambassador Einaudi. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Actually, I am not sure that I am quite in a position to give you satisfaction since I think the future events that are worth speculating on in the immediate sense are what we are trying to put in place as a vision for the political solution in Haiti which, of course, will also be the basis of a solution to the situation of repression and fear and ultimately poverty that is driving people out and is creating all this instability.
The vision that has been developed by the OAS negotiators who are working within the mandate given to them by the various ministers, including President Bush and Secretary Baker, is that given the extreme polarization in Haiti between on the one hand the legitimate president and his supporters and the people associated with the coup and one of the realities is the numbers of people who have been involved on both sides is very large, this really is a divided society, that the solution really is to apply the constitution there and to get an agreement on a new government, a new prime minister. This is, I think, where the current talks are headed.
Once that happens, you can build around that new government the kind of institutional support and I would say foreign support and solidarity that will provide a little bit of confidence and stability in the country.
Mr. Torricelli. Well, Mr. Ambassador, I suppose I was under the impression that that is part of what has been taking place to date in discussions.
Ambassador Einaudi. To date, the de facto government has not let this group of the civilian mission into Haiti.
Mr. Torricelli. Yes, I understand that but the question of the return to constitutional government and the application of existing law, has that not been the basis of negotiations to date?
Ambassador Einaudi. Yes, it has.
Mr. Torricelli. Well, how then are the discussions in the OAS this weekend going to differ from the unsuccessful discussions to date?
Ambassador Einaudi. Because I think that the pointyou have put your finger on an important element, which is that perhaps people in Haiti may think that this is going to go on forever and nobody is going to do anything.
Mr. Torricelli. Has anything occurred to dissuade them of that impression?
Ambassador Einaudi. Well, among other things, I think that the mission that was headed by your colleague, Chairman Rangel, was extremely eloquent in that direction because, as he himself said here, he made very clear that the Haitian constitution has no provisions for military coups and we support that constitution.
Mr. Torricelli. I know that you do and I am certain Mr. Ran-gel's trip made an important contribution. My concern is howif a neartotal embargo and the visibility of an administration directly engaged with the negotiations to return President Aristide were not successfulhow, as time passes, is a weakened embargo under the auspices of the OAS going to be successful? It defies a bit of logic.
Ambassador Einaudi. Yes. No, I am aware that there are many problems here. The first is to grant us the credit to believe that when we say that we are retargeting the embargo we mean what we say. We are not trying to weaken it.
We are trying to use the three months of experience we have gotten with it to realize that people are suffering because of the blunt instrument and we are trying to retarget it and sharpen it. That does not mean give it up.
Mr. Torricelli. Because I do not want to seem unduly critical of the Bush administration, I believe if the organization to which you represent this country had assumed its proper role, Mr. Bush's ambition for a restoration of a democratic government in Haiti probably would have been realized a long time ago.
It is in my judgment a real tragedy that in the same year when the United Nations was tested and met all the hopes of its founders the OAS was also tested and found wanting by everyone.
Is it indeed accurate that there is no principal constituency in the OAS at this point for the kind of collective action that would make the point that military coups are no longer to be tolerated in this hemisphere and that all peoples in every nation are prepared to take a degree of responsibility to ensure that will not occur?
It appears to me if there were anything that were to give the OAS meaning and where it could make a real contribution, it would be on this point and Haiti provided it with that opportunity and it has failed.
Ambassador Einaudi. Well, if I may, may I, sir?
Mr. Torricelli. Please.
Ambassador Einaudi. Your position is extremely clear and I respect it. Let me just start by asking the question why is the OAS doing this, why not the United Nations?
The reason is that the Haitian situation can be distinguished from the situation in, for example, Kuwait. Kuwait was a clear case of aggression against international borders and therefore something that no one in the international community could duck.
Haiti is a question of, as you put it, a military coup and sudden practice of repression against the Haitian people and against an elected government.
That, according to some members of the United Nations to this day, should be considered an internal matter for Haitians to solve. In a sense, the United Nations in the way it works took itself out of the Haiti situation. The OAS did not because for the first time in its history last June in Santiago all the governments represented there had a claim to democracy and therefore found it possible to agree on a mechanism to respond precisely to the situation that you are posing.
Now, you are suggesting that progress has been very slow. You are right. You are also suggesting that we should be moving to at least threaten our military force in the situation. There are two problems with that. The first is that at least to my knowledge the president of Haiti who has asked for our support and intervention has not asked for us to go in militarily. That is a major fact, as is the fact, I think, that yesterday in the extraordinary gamut of people that Chairman Rangel's delegation spoko to, no Haitian suggested that he favored the use of force and several spoke of all different political views, spoke eloquently against it.
The other problem is the OAS and let us be very cold here. The OAS does not have the kind of Chapter 7 coercive authorities that the United Nations has. Moreover, the U.S. has long exercised what some people consider an excessive in the OAS and has used that influence militarily. That creates tremendous resistance to the use of force.
Now, I notice that today's New York Times suggests that therefore the way to deal with that is to have the countries of Latin America intervene with no U.S. troops involved. The difficulty with that position, if I might suggest it, is that it is much easier to be free with the troops of others than with one's own.
Now, we are dealing withand all of this palaver of mines does not change that you are right. We are dealing with a vital, critical issue, namely the survivability of civilian led, constitutional government in this hemisphere and it is a principle that we do value, that, as Secretary Hrinak said, we feel is challenged by what is going on in Haiti.
At some stage, if there is not a solution in Haiti clearly the countries of this hemisphere are going to have to start putting some of this history aside and take a very cold, hard look at what their options are.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Ambassador, if that were clear, I would be much less concerned. It is because it is not clear that we are holding this hearing and having this conversation. It appears to me that the nations of this hemisphere and, perhaps against its initial and better instincts, this administration may be prepared to allow
events in Haiti to take their course since the embargo did not succeed.
That is all of our concern and the ramifications of it that do not limit themselves to Haiti or even the Caribbean. I would guess that the coup plotters in Venezuela would have made very different calculations if in the weeks that followed the Haitian coup there had been an international response throughout the hemisphere.
So the hesitation that our friends in Latin America now have and their failure to have the OAS live to its real potential may have consequences not simply for the people of Haiti but indeed for themselves and that would be an enormous tragedy of history.
I recognize that the OAS by its charter is different from the United Nations but there is a saying in parliamentary law that by unanimous consent you can achieve almost anything. Indeed, had the OAS the political and the moral will it could achieve all of these things. There are certainly formulas available.
Well, I had asked the question about the length of patience and attempted to define Plan B. I am still prepared to hear it if anybody would like to address it.
We are not short on time.
Ms. Hrinak. I think in addition to the problems with the OAS charter and the force of will that you have already discussed, I think we also have to understand that whatever we do in Haiti is going to be a very long-term commitment and whether that is a civilian mission, whether it is a civilian mission with some security forces or whether people are eventually moved to some kind of a multi-lateral force because the legitimate authorities have asked for that, Haiti is not the kind of case where you are going to go in quickly and come out quickly.
The same lessons that we learned about improving Haiti's democratic institutions I think would prevail in any kind of a Plan B. Whatever we decide to do, we have to make a long-term commitment to it.
Mr. Torricelli. I understand it is a long-term commitment and part of my concern that I wanted to make clear here today is that in the affairs of nations, when you enunciate a policy and pursue it and it does net succeed, there is not an ability to simply leave the scene of battle and hope others perform well.
We had an embargo. It has had real consequences on the politics of Haiti, on the quality of life in that nation, potentially for malnutrition and disease. We did so recognizing that there might be a human cost but that cost was less than allowing the military coup to succeed.
Now Haiti has experienced the consequences of our embargo and, by all accounts, the quality of life for those people it has been devastating. The embargo has now been lessened but the military government remains in place.
Part of what now occurs in Haiti is on our hands. It is at least in part now our responsibility because of the actions we took. It must therefore be succeeded by something. That is my concern.
Any day, at any hour we could hear a news report of widespread malnutrition, death or contagious disease. The few thousand people who are now attempting to cross the Florida straits may be followed by tens of thousands should those situations arise.
This is not a crisis which can be allowed to simply develop of its own devices. An answer must orchestrated in the near term.
Let me briefly follow with a couple of other questions.
Our European allies who have a complete commitment to the restoration of democratic governments and the preservation of freedom, if it is their own, have been found somewhat wanting in my judgment in this crisis. By all accounts, they seemed willing to violate the embargo, at least by the testimony of my colleagues.
Are you satisfied that they indeed were helpful with the embargo?
Did they share our level of commitment?
What degree of will do they now seem to have in solving this problem?
Ms. Hrinak. I think when we were debating the issue last October of whether an embargo was an appropriate mechanism and what kind of embargo. Those of us who were supporting embargo agreed that the most effective one would be tough, total and quick. Unfortunately, you are right, the international community did not respond in a way that imposed that kind of an embargo.
The EC in particular found itself in a very difficult political, legal situation as it turned out with their responsibilities to Haiti under the Lome Convention. They have not yet sorted those out in a way that allows them to impose an embargo although they have cut off all but humanitarian assistance to the Haitian government and particularly any kind of military assistance.
We have demarched them many times. I think they do share our interest in a restoration of democracy. We continue to hope that they will find some way to overcome their legal difficulties and impose the embargo.
Mr. Torricelli. What do the Europeans argue would be necessary to take them out of this terrible legal constraint?
Ms. Hrinak. They say that Haiti would have to be ejected from the Lome Convention and that that would be a process of some six months.
Mr. Torricelli. Would it not be sufficient for there simply to be a vote by the United Nations?
Ms. Hrinak. They could respond to a U.N. Security Counsel resolution as well to impose an embargo. That is true. But to date, there is also no Security Counsel resolution.
Mr. Torricelli. So why did the United States not accompany our embargo with a Security Counsel vote?
Ms. Hrinak. Well, last fall, as Ambassador Einaudi said, the U.N. in effect took itself out of the game both by relying on its Chapter 8 provisions that a regional organization should be allowed to operate first if it can and in the opinion of some members of the Security Counsel, determining that the situation in Haiti was an internal conflict rather than an international one on which the Security Counsel could properly act.
Mr. Torricelli. So is it your judgment that a Security Counsel resolution in support of the embargo allowing the Europeans to escape is somewhat manufactured argument about their restraints and would have been vetoed or failed in the United Nations?
Ms. Hrinak. I think a Security Counsel resolution certainly would have helped the EC and I think-
Mr. Torricelli. That was my point. My point is that there is a reason you did not attempt it because you thought it would not succeed?
Why was it not attempted since clearly the embargo was set up then with all likelihood to fail if the Europeans were not going to comply?
Ms. Hrinak. Well, I think that we were not at all certain that it was set up to fail. The EC indicated that it would attempt to do what it could and it has unfortunately not been found a way to be able to do that. But their indications initially were that they would certainly try, that they did cut off their aid as quickly as we did, their military aid as quickly as we did.
We did not contemplate that at the time because it did not appear necessary at the time.
Mr. Torricelli. It did not seem to you that an embargo was going to fail if the Europeans said they did not have legal recourse to force compliance?
Ms. Hrinak. They did not say that at the time. They said they were looking for a way to do that.
Mr. Torricelli. No, I was speaking to reason, not their statement.
Ms. Hrinak. Well, I think that we had no reason to doubt their statement.
Mr. Torricelli. I think given that set of circumstances, it would have been clear to me that an embargo could not possibly succeed if the Europeans were not willing to give it legal sanction and the only way to give it legal sanction, it would appear to me, would be to go to the Security Counsel.
I have asked you if you did not go to the Security Counsel because you were convinced it would be vetoed or it would fail.
Ms. Hrinak. We were convinced the Security Counsel would not take this issue up and we were convinced of that by the initial reaction to the coup in the days immediately following it.
Mr. Torricelli. Is it your judgment that in the months that have passed the military government has been able to consolidate its power?
Does it represent a stronger force today than it did in the weeks that immediately followed the coup? How would you gauge its political status?
Ms. Hrinak. I think the military remains very divided. I think it has succeeded in creating a climate of fear and repression that has discouraged political demonstrations against it and to that extent I think it has been able to consolidate itself.
At the same time, I think that they are getting the message that there is no business as usual until there is a negotiated settlement and I think the fact that you have the parliamentarians coming up again this year shows that there are people of courage in Haiti who are willing to enter those negotiations.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. Ambassador, is leadership on the Haitian issue one of the victims of the attempted Venezuelan coup?
Do you anticipate a less active Venezuelan role in the OAS as a consequence of what occurred?
Ambassador Einaudi. I have seen no sign of it yet.
Mr. Torricelli. You have seen no evidence of that?
Ambassador Einaudi. No.
Mr. Torricelli. They appear as engagedVenezuela being one of the countries in the hemisphere which has shown the most vision and courage in dealing with this issue.
Ambassador Einaudi. Absolutely. Beginning with giving asylum to President Aristide. For example, I think it was this morning they provided an aircraft for him to fly to the Dominican Republic to make an appearance before an EC meeting prior to perhaps continuing here for the negotiations.
So President Perez is a man of conviction and courage and he has continued to support the-
Mr. Torricelli. Let me just say that President Perez's response to the Haitian coup has made him a remarkable figure, in my judgment, in the diplomacy of the western hemisphere. If indeed, the attempted military coup were to change his aggressive stance in Venezuelan affairs in Latin America, then it would indeed be an enormous tragedy.
His leadership is very much wanted at this moment and if there is going to be a political solution. It will be, no doubt, because he plays an active role, so I hope your analysis is correct.
Mr. Gilman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Ambassador Einaudi, who joined us during our recent delegation to Haiti and was very instrumental in giving us some good background with regard to what the OAS was doing. Mr. Ambassador, having recently visited Haiti and having worked on this issue for a long period of time, are you optimistic that the OAS can play a pivotal role in the resolution of the problems in Haiti?
Ambassador Einaudi. Yes. I think it actually has been doing so. One of the interesting dimensions here in response to the Chairman's question about the military government consolidating itself, the fact is that not a single representative of that military government has been accepted and given credence in any country of this hemisphere and it is perfectly clear that that is one of the things that has led them to implicitly go back from where they began by recognizing the legitimacy and the authority of President Aristide in the form of the negotiations with him.
So clearly if it has not produced a settlement, it has at least kept the issue in the air but I would say it has gone further than that.
Thanks to President Perez, there was a meeting in Caracas in early January at which an agreement was reached on the prime minister. I think that if that prime minister can now be confirmed, coming out of the OAS led process of negotiations, then we can move to the creation of the civil mission and its introduction into Haiti to provide the kind ofI think the key word right now is unarmed support for the function of Haitian institutions and for the calming for the kind of partisan viciousness and fear that we saw yesterday.
Mr. Gilman. There seemed to be a general acceptance during our meetings of a commission of that nature, an OAS supported commission.
Did you find that there was pretty much a general acceptance of that proposition?
Ambassador Einaudi. Yes. I was quite struck by it, particularly since there has been an enormous amount of anti-OAS propaganda by the people who pulled off the coup and run the de facto government. They have been targeting the OAS as a means ofsort of as a stand in for the United States in the hope that the United States would sort of get tired and accommodate.
So against that background, it is really quite striking that basically everybody we talked to and even you will remember when I commented that it would help if the de facto government were to loosen up a bit here, immediately somebody who was associated with them said oh, I am sure they would, I am sure they would, I am sure they would. We need to see the practice.
Now, if I may say one thing that happened this morning. I was able to deliver a Treasury check for $1 million to the Secretary General of the OAS as a United States earnest of special funding to enable this civilian mission to get itself organized and into Haiti. The Secretary General in turn announced in the Permanent Counsel that he had named Edwin Carrington of Trinidad and Tobago to lead it and that he hoped that he could begin to introduce it as rapidly as possible. I think getting agreement on that in a formal sense is one of the objectives of this weekend's negotiations.
Mr. Gilman. That is very encouraging. This weekend, the OAS meeting, who do you anticipate will be attending?
Ambassador Einaudi. Well, the key people who have been invited and who in order for the meeting to be successful must attend are President Aristide himself-
Mr. Gilman. Has he indicated his willingness to participate?
Ambassador Einaudi. I am the U.S. Representative to the OAS, sir. I am not one of the OAS negotiators. I understand that informally they have invited him and informally he has indicated his willingness.
Mr. Gilman. Who else, Mr. Ambassador?
Ambassador Einaudi. His prime minister designate, Rene Theodore. The president of the senate, Mr. Belizere, and the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Mr. Medard.
They have been authorized in resolutions that were passed in the senate and the chamber, and as you well know, these are elected bodies that draw their legitimacy from the sale election as the one that gave President Aristide 67 percent of the vote, these bodies voted last week on the 13th to hold this meeting. They had initially until theparticularly the senate, had been attempting to hold up the negotiations.
The hope is, at least the purpose is, to attempt to draft a protocol of understanding that all the parties involved can sign, that is, the language of the senate resolution.
Mr. Gilman. What are your priorities at this OAS meeting? Is it getting Theodore and Aristide together, getting an agreement on a vote for Theodore or getting the OAS mission on the ground and be able to move in?
Ambassador Einaudi. One, two. I think unless we get a new government confirmed, we are not going to get the peaceful acceptance of this civilian mission. So the first priority has got to be get a new government confirmed so that indeed that mission can go in.
My own belief is that given the poisons and hatreds and polarizations I mentioned before, unless that mission goes in, it will be hard to be optimistic about a long term solution but that if one does go in, then I think we can in fact afford to be optimistic presuming that it is also able to tackle such questions as military professionalization, the creation of a separate police force as mandated under the constitution, and finally create the confidence in the conditions of security that will enable President Aristide to return.
Mr. Gilman. In your opinion, should the OAS mission be in place before they take a vote on Theodore as prime minister? Ambassador Einaudi. The sooner it is put in place, the better. Mr. Gilman. The sooner the mission is put in place. Ambassador Einaudi. Yes.
Mr. Gilman. Do you have any preference about whether the mission ought to be there before the election?
Ambassador Einaudi. Well, the reason I answered that way is that, for example, the OAS has for some time accepted to try to help us monitor the safety and well being of the Haitians that we are repatriating.
The de facto government has not allowed them to bring the personnel into Haiti to do that. That is why in relation to your first question I would have said, and I have been arguing, get that civilian mission in but I was giving you sort of a practical answer of what I think is possible.
I think in fact you need an agreement on the new government before you are going to get that mission in peacefully.
Mr. Gilman. Besides the U.S. contribution to that mission, are other nations contributing to the proposed mission?
Ambassador Einaudi. Indeed, one of the impressive things in an organization where the United States has historically paid almost two-thirds of the freight and where it has paid I would say 99.44 percent of the freight, for example, with regard to the Nicaragua reconciliation activities, other countries have been contributing quite dramatically.
The new member Canada not only provided 707 aircraft for the first missions to Haiti by the foreign ministers but it has also provided over $1 million in medicines.
Chile, Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia, have all provided aircraft to ferry Aristide, the legislative leaders, the negotiators, et cetera, back and forth.
We have indications even of interest and support from some of the European countries. Both Germany and France have indicated, I think Italy also has an interest.
So that in fact I would say that this is one situation in which the OAS is eliciting an unusual amount of world support.
Mr. Gilman.We commend you for your efforts and we hope the OAS commission will be successful getting in and bringing the parties together.
Madam Secretary, just one question. There was a great deal of criticism earlier today by some of my colleagues who joined us in this recent mission to Haiti that we were not doing enough to monitor the repatriates who were coming back.
We were greeting them, we were giving them a little stipend, but beyond that there was very little way being done to monitor just what was happening to them beyond the initial greeting when they returned.
Have you taken a look at that by any chance?
Ms. Hrinak. We have been looking at our monitoring program to make sure it is as adequate as we can make it. There are two different kinds of monitoring. One is to investigate claims made in individual cases, in particular, those cases of the so-called double-backers, those who say they were persecuted after they were repatriated because they were repatriates.
The embassy has looked at those individual cases and is taking names not only from those that the INS and the UNHCR have provided but from other individuals, including journalists and church groups who have information to provide. I would say that in none of those cases have the charges held up.
In addition to that, the embassy has been in touch not only with the 45 U.S. citizen wardens but with the PVOs, particular CARE, CRS, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, International Lifeline who were participating in our aid program.
We have been in touch through the broad network of PVOs, church groups, the International Federal of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies which has agreed to monitor repatriates as well, and the 700 volunteers of the Red Cross who are also spread throughout the country to ensure that we have the most effective program we can.
It is impossible to monitor the case of every Haitian who is repatriated but if there is information on individual cases, we will ask the embassy to follow-up on it.
Mr. Gilman. Well, I would hope thatfrom the testimony we heard while we were down there, it seemed to be a pretty loose process, beyond just meeting them, greeting them, giving them a stipend. We would hope that something further could be done so that we could assure people back in the States that everything that is available to us is being done to make certain that the repatriates are being treated properly.
I would suggest, too, that you might want to take a look at the reports by Father Trieste and Father Adrian, who did point out some violations of human rights with regard to the repatriates.
Ms. Hrinak. We are looking at individual cases. I am sure those will be included.
Mr. Gilman. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Gilman.
I want to thank each member of the panel. This will probably not be the last time we will communicate on this issue.
It is my own sense that we are headed for real trouble with events as they unfold in Haiti unless the administration attempts to gain control of events, the Organization of American States lives up to its promise, and people take responsibility.
I recognize, because I think we have all seen enough of George Bush's style of management and his sense of foreign policy, that if he had a willing partner in the OAS, this problem could be solved.
It is time for the administration to deal with the reality that tragically our allies in Europe, who are always willing to take any measure of assistance to deal with their own problems, are unwilling to face the consequences of this problem.
The other nations in Latin America seem unprepared to recognize the consequences for themselves of the precedents of military coups in Haiti or other nations. Therefore the United States, against all logic, unfortunately may be left to both design and attempt to implement a policy on our own. Simply because that is unfair does not mean it is unwise.
What has occurred in Haiti cannot be allowedto borrow a phrase of George Bush'sto stand. This must be reversed.
This committee will ask you back again as the policy begins to unfold on the assumption that it is designed and I trust for the people of Haiti it will come to some conclusion before natural events make the tragedy there even larger than it is at the moment.
Thank you all for coming before the committee today. We appreciate your testimony very much.
The committee will now hear from Ambassador Robert White, Kenneth Roth, Deputy Director, Human Rights Watch, and Nina Shea, President of the Puebla Institute.
Welcome to the committee and thank you for offering your testimony today.
Ambassador White, before we proceed, let me say that when the peace accords were signed in Salvador, there were slaps on the back for just about everybody within arms' reach. I might have missed it but I did not notice anybody at least from the administration slapping you on the back, so let this suffice. There are many people who deservedly could take a great deal credit for happenings in El Salvador, for the fact that the war has come to an end, that there is going to be peace and that lives were saved, but I cannot think of many people who deserve more credit than you. You have given a great deal of your life to a proper and a peaceful settlement in El Salvador.
I cannot begin to think of how many lives were probably saved as a consequence and the correction of American policy that took place. It took a long time to correct American policy. It is a great behemoth that moves forward of its own momentum, but it was changed and it was changed markedly and it was done so within an incumbent administration.
In any case, you deserve an enormous amount of credit and, no matter how inappropriate, I thought I would use this occasion to do so.
You are each invited here today to give your testimony on a very different subject. I would like, however, to reserve most of the time we have remaining for a discussion.
Much of what could be said in prepared testimony probably has been said so I would urge you to summarize. We will take your prepared remarks and put them in the record in their entirety.
With that, Ambassador, if you would like to proceed.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR ROBERT E. WHITE, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR INTERNATIONAL POLICY
Mr. White. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for your kind words and for this opportunity to testify on the most important subject of Haiti and U.S. policy.
Mr. Chairman, logic should have told us that a porous embargo would prove ineffectual and result in a flood of refugees. In order to avert this, there were several things we could have done.
The first, of course, was to make the embargo totally effective. It has been a while since I have read the Lome Convention but, the legitimate government of Haiti, it seems to me, could easily request the Lome Convention to make an exception on this.
We did not take the measures that we could have taken to make the embargo effective. We did not ratchet up the pressures by freezing the assets banked in this country of those complicit in the coup. We did not declare all Haitians visas invalid. We did not use special broadcasts in Creole from the Voice of America to the people of Haiti asking them to give this policy a chance to work.
Instead, we relaxed the embargo unilaterally. This action cut the heart out of the most important sanction we had to force compliance from the military government and it undercut the authority of the OAS.
Now, the OAS diplomatic team with U.S. encouragement has begun a negotiating strategy designed to fulfill the letter of the law but not the spirit. The flawed formula we have adopted involved the appointment of a prime minister acceptable to both President Aristide and the military. This approach always had a limited chance of success but failure was ensured because the military authorities understood that the appointment of a prime minister would substitute for the return of President Aristide while President Aristide was led to believe that the appointment of a prime minister would be the prelude to his return.
Let us hope that this problem is ironed out this weekend, although without the presence here in Washington of the Haitian military, I have to wonder about how efficacious these negotiations will be.
It is important for the United States to recognize that Haiti cannot function as a democracy without the return of President Aristide to the exercise of his full powers. It is the widespread perception inside Haiti that the Bush administration has attempted to barter away the reality of Aristide's mandate.
The most likely alternative to Aristide's return is a continuation of the present de facto government which I assure you will result in institutionalized violence, consistent violations of human rights and a constant and increasing flow of refugees.
However, the military has little if any popular base and understands that it cannot rule indefinitely by terror. Many military officers reject corruption and want to cut ties to civilian thugs and accommodate to democracy. These military leaders want certain specific things: restoration of the chain of command, professionali-zation of the military as an institution, the separation of the police from the army and disarming of paramilitary forces.
To negotiate directly with these democratically inclined Haitian military officers will require an OAS mission composed in part of high ranking military officers and including a respected flag officer from the United States. This special mission should set up offices in Port-au-Prince and be prepared to spend weeks negotiating the agreement. It is impossible for any diplomacy to succeed with only occasional eight-hour stopovers in Haiti.
In order for such a policy to work, we would have to make the embargo effective, particularly I might add as regards to oil. That is the absolute essential.
Of course, any negotiation runs the risk of failure. It runs the risk of stubbornness on the part of the military. So contingency planning by the United States and the OAS has to face up to the possible need for force. I do not take seriously, too seriously at least, statements that the OAS charter does not envision such measures. The OAS, like any other political arrangement, is governed by the basic dynamics of the relations among its member states. Once the United States makes up its mind to enforce the OAS resolution, we will be able to muster the votes. This is especially true if we make clear that the OAS peacekeeping presence, which will take over after the necessary force has been applied, excluded U.S. military personnel.
I agree almost entirely with Congressman Rangel's statement. I found however, that the traditional power centers, Duvalieristes and others, consistently remind Americans of the time of U.S. occupation as a sort of nationalist blackmail. I note that the Haitian embassy has just released a statement that gives President Aristide's point of view and in effect this statement says that Haiti accepts for consideration all measures without exception if they are applicable to all nations of the inter-American system.
I read that as saying that a multi-national force would be acceptable provided it was not some special exception for Haiti but that it was taken in the context of the Santiago resolution.
I share Chairman Torricelli's fears that we are moving into a weakening rather than a strengthening of U.S. policy and let me just finish with this statement. The people of Haiti have now known democracy. They will not long submit to tyranny. There exists in Haiti a powerful people's movement and before long, no one knows when, violence will break out with a looming prospect of civil war.
I have known Father Aristide for some time and, if I read him correctly, he is not a man to stay long in exile and would rather die in Haiti than live out his days in Caracas.
Secretary Aronson told this committee that there is a terrible price to be paid for overthrowing a democratically elected president. Thus far, we have failed to protect the constitutional government and the coup makers of Haiti have paid no price at all. To the contrary, they are richer and more powerful than ever.
[The statement of Mr. White follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ROBERT E. WHITE President Center for International Policy before the
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C February 19, 1992
Seldom has the United states defined a policy with such clarity and precision. On October 3, 1991, with Secretary of State James A. Baker III in the lead, the Organization of American States condemned the coup in Haiti and called for the return to power of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide by name. President George Bush received President Aristide at the White House and pledged our best efforts to restore him to the presidency. Yet this bold, sound and sharply-drawn policy quickly lost its way a casualty of consequences unforeseen and negotiations with the wrong people over the wrong issues.
Logic should have told us that a porous embargo would prove ineffectual and result in a flood of refugees. To sharply diminish this flow, the United States had to make clear its intent to achieve President Aristide's prompt return. To accomplish this, the Bush administration should have, through consultations with the European Economic Community, made the
embargo totally effective. Washington could have then ratcheted up the pressures by freezing the assets banked in this country of those complicit in the coup and declared all Haitian visas invalid. Finally the Voice of America, broadcasting in Creole to the people of Haiti, could have asked them to stand by their president and await his speedy return.
We took none of these measures. Instead we relaxed the embargo unilaterally. This action not only cut the heart out of the most important sanction we had to force compliance from the military government, it also undercut the authority of the OAS. It was read loud and clear as a statement from the Bush administration that domestic politics the influx of Haitians into Dade County matters more than international obligations where Haiti is concerned.
Shortly after the OAS resolution calling for the return of President Aristide to power, the OAS diplomatic team, with U.S. encouragement, began a negotiating strategy designed to fulfill the letter of the law but not the spirit. This flawed formula, widely regarded in Haiti as a U.S. creation, involved the appointment of a prime minister acceptable to both President Aristide and the military. This course of action had limited chances of success. But failure was insured because the military authorities understood that the appointment of a prime minister would substitute for the return of President Aristide while Aristide was led to believe that the whole rationale for the appointment of a new prime minister satisfactory to
traditional power groups was to insure his return.
Earlier this month, the Center for International Policy sponsored a delegation visit to Haiti. John Burstein of the Center staff and Samuel Ellsworth of the Center Executive Committee accompanied me. In the discussion that follows I have drawn freely on the analysis and recommendations of political leaders in Haiti, who met with us often at great risk to themselves. I wish particularly to acknowledge the insights of Gerard Pierre-Charles, whose grasp of the Haitian reality is unequaled.
The United States should recognize that Haiti cannot function as a democracy without the return of President Aristide to the exercise of his full powers. This needs public restating at the highest level because it is the widespread perception inside Haiti that the Bush administration attempted to barter away the reality of Aristide's mandate. The only alternative to Aristide's return is the inexorable consolidation of power by the present de facto government and their Macoute allies. This is taking place now and will result in institutionalized violence, consistent violations of human rights and a constant and increasing flow of refugees.
To negotiate with the civilian accomplices of the coup, as both the OAS and Bush administration have done, is to fall into a trap. These traditional power brokers' concept of negotiations is to deceive, to postpone, to consolidate and then to present the OAS and the United states with a fait accompli.
The military has little if any popular base and understands that it cannot rule indefinitely by terror. Many military officers reject corruption and want to cut ties to civilian thugs and accommodate to democracy. These military leaders want restoration of the chain of command, professionalization of the military as an institution, the separation of the police from the army and disarming of paramilitary forces.
To negotiate directly with these democratically-inclined Haitian military officers will require an OAS mission composed in part of high-ranking military officers and including a respected flag officer from the United States. This special mission must set up offices in Port-au-Prince and be prepared to spend weeks negotiating the agreement. It is impossible for any diplomacy to succeed with only occasional eight-hour stopovers in Haiti. For such a policy to work the OAS and the United States
Reimpose the embargo with particular attention to
preventing any oil shipments from reaching Haiti. Make high-level diplomatic approaches to the EEC and other
potential embargo breakers .(Mideast oil producers) to
insure that they respect the embargo. Place an immediate freeze on assets of those involved in
Suspend all visas until constitutionality is restored. (The rich of Haiti can only survive by weekly shopping trips to Miami.)
Allow Haitian boat people to remain under U.S. jurisdiction until the crisis is resolved.
Encourage a visit to Haiti by the Inter-American Press Association to call attention to the absolute censorship of all news and the murder of several journalists.
Adoption of these measures coupled with negotiations will almost certainly restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to the presidency and set Haiti back on the road to democracy.
Of course, any contingency planning by the United States and OAS must face up to the possible need for force. I do not take too seriously statements that the OAS charter does not envision such measures. The OAS, like any other political arrangement, is governed by the basic dynamics of the relations among its member states. Once the United States makes up its mind to enforce the OAS resolution, we will be able to muster the votes. This is especially true if we make clear that the OAS peacekeeping presence which will take over after the necessary force has been applied will exclude U.S. military personnel.
I hold out little hope that the United States will fashion a set of policies, such as I have suggested, that will accomplish the objective the Bush administration has set for itself. Present policy is inadequate to the task and the prospect is for further weakening, not strengthening.
Major results will flow from this abandonment of our responsibilities:
1. The OAS will suffer a blow to its prestige from which I
doubt it will recover. The United Nations has done such a superb job in negotiating and supervising the peace in El Salvador that the contrast with the OAS failure in Haiti will tend to encourage bypassing of the OAS and recourse to the United Nations as the more effective body.
2. In the OAS debate on the coup in Venezuela, eight Latin American ambassadors expressed the view that had the OAS dealt more firmly and decisively with the Haiti crisis, then the coup in Venezuela might not have occurred. The generals may have vacated the presidential palaces in Central and South America, but they have left reluctantly and they are ever at the ready to return. They are watching our reaction to the Haiti coup with great intensity.
3. The people of Haiti have now known democracy. They will not long submit to tyranny. There exists a powerful people's movement in Haiti and before long violence will break out with the looming prospect of civil war. This has a connection to President Aristide. If I read him correctly, he is not a man to stay long in exile and would rather die in Haiti than live out his days in Caracas.
Assistant Secretary Bernard Aronson told this committee that the United States has an unshakable commitment to protect constitutional government. He stressed that the coup in Haiti demands a "clear message from the OAS that there is a terrible price to be paid for overthrowing a democratically-elected
president." Thus far, we have failed in Assistant Secretary Aronson's pledge to protect constitutional government and the coup-makers of Haiti have paid no price at all. To the contrary, they are richer and more powerful as a result of their successful assault on the democratically-elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Ambassador White. Mr. Roth?
STATEMENT OF KENNETH ROTH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, HUMAN
Mr. Roth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me today.
My name is Kenneth Roth. I am Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch and I appear here today on behalf of Americas Watch, one of the five regional divisions of Human Rights Watch.
I was heartened, in listening to Secretary Hrinak's oral testimony today, that she made a point of calling for an end to the "general climate of fear and repression"those were her words. That was a new statement for the administration, one that it has rather systematically avoided since the beginning of November, that is to say, since the beginning of the refugee crisis.
More typical, unfortunately, of the administration's policy so far were the written remarks of Secretary Hrinak. I read them very carefully, all 17 pages of them, and I could not find one critical word about the human rights situation in Haiti today. Not one.
To the contrary, the only place where she got into human rights was in saying that the United States had no credible evidence that repatriates faced retaliation when returned to Haiti, a statement that is simply false, and the evidence is in the hands of the Administration's own Immigration Service at Guantanamo.
The reason for what has become a virtual apology for the military junta in Haiti in terms of its human rights policy and the horrendous repression to which it has subjected the Haitian people is the administration's overriding concern with ending the flow of refugees to the Florida shores.
It has not been politically, let alone legally, feasible for the Administration to admit the reality of how bad things are in Haiti and at the same time to propose to return to Haitian shores roughly two-thirds of those who flee.
So what has resulted has been not only a disaster for the 15,000 people in Guantanamo, many of whom face forced repatriation, but also for the 6 million people who remain in Haiti. The U.S. has simply dropped out as a significant force pressing the Haitian army to accept the reality of political compromise and the need to accept the return of Haiti's legitimate government.
The Haitian army, although it looks quite powerful from afar, is a mere 7000 men trying to restrain an enraged population of 6 million. Its current strategy for doing that is a short-term strategy, it is one of terror, of systematic repression. The United States, unfortunately, by being quite about the disastrous human rights situation in Haiti, by going one step further and actually defending the human rights practices of the Haitian government, has reduced the political cost of maintaining that strategy of terror. It has in effect become a party to that strategy.
The first step that the U.S. must take if it wants to move toward an appropriate resolution to this crisis is to begin to condemn the horrendous human rights reality in Haiti. It has not done that. I hope that Secretary Hrinak's brief comments today mark the beginning of a new policy, but unfortunately, the administration's
practice since the beginning of November leads me to be pessimistic about that prospect.
The United States has tremendous leverage in Haiti. Let us not forget that in the past six years the U.S. has played an instrumental role in toppling three governments: the Duvalier government in February 1986, the Namphy government in September 1988 and the Avril government a year and a half later. The Haitian people, of course, had a large part, perhaps the greatest share, to do with all of those change of government,but U.S. pressure was tremendously important. That same pressure, if applied systematically today, could move the army toward the political compromises that are necessary to get us out of the horrendous situation we face in Haiti.
What should we be moving toward?
Obviously, a critical element of any solution has to be the return of President Aristide. That is step number one. Not necessarily chronological step number one, but step one in terms of the agenda.
It also, I think, is clear not only to the Aristide supporters but also to the army that there needs to be an international presence. That world serve as a buffer between the people in the army, protecting the people from the army, but also, in a sense, guaranteeing the army that it will not face the sort of popular uprising, the dechoukage, that has periodically taken place at moments of popular political victory in Haiti over the past six years.
There will have to be third a step: professionalizing the army, at minimum, by separating the police from the army, as required by the Haitian constitution, but also the beginning of a system of accountability so that those who have been responsible for the estimated 1500 murders since the coup do not escape scot free.
If the message without that is one of impunity, we will only face a repetition of what happened on September 30th in the not too distant future.
Why would the army agree to this? Well, I think that the answer to that is quite simple. They recognize that the strategy of terror is not a long-term solution to the problem, that there will come a moment when they will face, as Ambassador White just pointed out, a popular uprising. The spark for that uprising could be nothing more than President Aristide giving up on the OAS and clandestinely landing in some remote corner of Haiti. That is all that it would take to begin the uprising and to have a much more violent solution to the crisis than any of us would want.
Unfortunately, by allowing the Haitian army to continue to postpone the moment when it needs to reckon with the Haitian people, by in essence defending its strategy of terror and abuse the U.S. played, became a very detrimental role in efforts to resolve this crisis. I hope that the hearings today might mark the beginning of a more interventionist, in the verbal sense of the term, approach by the administration toward recognizing and stopping the abusive strategy of the Haitian army to postpone the return of President Aristide.
[The statement of Mr. Roth follows:]
A DIVISION OF HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
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Stephen L. Kass
1anna Pinto Kaulman
Cynthia Arnson Anne Manuel
IEPRESEMAT1VE SAM I AW
Patricia Pitlman Susan Osnos
Human Rights and the Bush Administration's Policy Towards Haiti
Testimony of Kenneth Roth, Deputy Director, Human Rights Watch
before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittees on Western Hemisphere Affairs and on Human Rights and International Organizations
Wednesday, February 19, 1992
COMMITTEE Roland Algrant Kenneth Anderson Robert L Bernstein Albert Bildner Paul Chevigny Dorothy Cullman Peter W Davidson Drew S Days, III Patricia Derian Adrian W DeWmrj Stanley Engelstem Tom J. Farer Jamie Fellner Alejandro Garro Wendy Gimbel John S. Gillilz Robert K Goldman James Go Id si on Jack Greenberg Wade J Henderson Alice H Henkin Anne M Johnson
Russell Karp Margaret A. Lang Jocelyn McCalla Theodor Meron Marshall Meyer David E Nachman
John B Oakes Victor Penchasadeh Clara A. Zazi Pope Michael Posner
Bruce Rabb Jeanne Richman Tina Rosenberg Jean-Marie Simon Santord So lender George Soros Aitred Stepan Rose Slyron Arturo Valenzuela Jorge Vails
Orville H. Schell
Thank you for holding this hearing, Chairmen Torricelli and Yatron, and for inviting me to testify. My name is Kenneth Roth, and I am the Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch. I appear today on behalf of Americas Watch, a division of Human Rights Watch.
Summary of Concerns: It is one of the anomalies of the current political crisis in Haiti that a small army of 7,000, with its handful of tanks, limited transport and antiquated communications, is able to keep the lid on an enraged population of 6 million. So far, the Army has made up for its lack of resources with unrestrained violence. It has murdered an estimated 1,500 Haitians since the September 30 military coup that toppled Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's first freely elected president, and has silenced the vibrant civil society that had blossomed
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH OFFICERS
Robert L Bernstein. Chair Adrian W DeWmd, Vice Chair Aryeh Neier. Eiecutive Director Kenneth Rolh, Deputy Director Holly J Burkhalter. Washington Direcior
in post-Duvalier Haiti. Not since the darkest days of the Duvalier dictatorship has repression been so widespread and ruthless.
Yet the depth of this brutality is also a measure of the Army's precarious grip on power. Even the gunmen who roam the streets of Port-au-Prince must recognize the long-term risks of their strategy of terror. Among the grievances of the rank-and-file soldiers who launched the coup were allegations that Aristide, a charismatic and wildly popular president, was fomenting popular violence. The prospect of such violence has only grown since the coup, as the people's wrath mounts in the face of savage military rule. The Army's fear of reprisal suggests a way out of Haiti's sad and seemingly insoluble predicament.
There is ample precedent of popular revenge in post-Duvalier Haiti. In the brief moments in which the impoverished Haitian masses have savored political victory the fall of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier in February 1986, the overthrow of the ruthless regime of General Henri Namphy in September 1988, and the defeat of a January 1991 attempt to block Aristide from taking power bloodletting has surged. The process, known as dechoukaqe (the uprooting of the old order) has left alleged members of the ancien regime hacked and stoned to death. More recently, as the preferred method of lynching has become the lighting of a gasoline-soaked tire around the victim's neck, the practice has been dubbed Pere Lebrun, after a tire salesman whose
television commercials featured him popping his head through his merchandise.
Until the coup, the target of the violence had been the armed right-wing forces, including remnants of the Duvaliers' Tontons Macoutes militia, who had been responsible for much of Haiti's political violence. The Army, despite its own substantial history of abuse, had been spared such reprisals. There had always been a reformist Army leader or faction to step in and distance the military from the repression. Indeed, in the year before the coup, the Army had built up a reservoir of good will by defending the December 1990 elections that brought Aristide to power and crushing a coup attempt the following month.
Today, mention of the Army to most Haitians conjures up images of merciless cruelty. There is no disguising its central role in the violence. All soldiers know that when the moment of revenge comes, it will be the Army, not only the Macoutes, who will be targeted.
This vulnerability leaves the Army potentially receptive to a negotiated transition: a return to civilian rule in exchange for an international observation force to serve as a buffer against popular reprisal. The same force, of course, would also protect the population from Army abuse.
However, the Army will be tempted to believe it can defer the need to reckon with the wrath of the Haitian people so long as it is free to pursue its strategy of terror. Stopping the
violence is thus a critical first step toward creating the conditions for a negotiated solution.
Unfortunately, the Bush Administration's policy toward Haiti has had the opposite effect. Preoccupied with stemming the flow of Haitian refugees by returning most of them to their embattled homeland, the Administration has downplayed Army abuses to avoid the perception of indifference to the fate of those returned. The stance has prolonged Haiti's political crisis by reducing the international cost to the Army of its violent repression.
Human Rights Conditions in Haiti: In conjunction with the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees, Americas Watch has monitored the human rights situation for a decade. In monitoring the eight-month tenure of the Aristide government, we applauded President Aristide's attempts to exert civilian control over the Army including his substantial efforts to rid the Army of abusive elements and to restructure the Army in accordance with the 1987 Constitution while criticizing his willingness to encourage popular violence as a political tool. Our findings are detailed in our report, Haiti: The Aristide Government's Human Rights Record, which we published together with the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees and Caribbean Rights.
In the four-and-a-half months since the coup, we have documented some of the most widespread and shocking abuses of human rights in Haiti's recent history. In the immediate aftermath of the coup, troops descended on the shantytowns and poor neighborhoods of Port-au-Prince, firing into the flimsy
homes of presumed Aristide supporters and at anyone who dared to venture onto the street. Army violence also flared in cities and towns outside the capital, and the reinstatement of abusive section chiefs sparked renewed violence in rural areas. Hundreds were killed within days of the coup, and killings have continued to this day. Arrests and beatings have become commonplace. Tens of thousands by some estimates 200,000 are in hiding.
Leading Aristide supporters have been especially vulnerable. But the crackdown extends well beyond those publicly identified with the deposed president. Fearful of Aristide's eventual return, the Army has set out to crush the popular organizations and institutions that provided Aristide's base of support, and that might serve as a foundation for a future challenge to military supremacy.
First on the list of targets have been the radio stations. Journalists have been arrested and murdered. Studios have been shot at. Most stations have gone off the air. Those that continue to broadcast have quit airing the news or adopted politically neutral formats.
The Army has also attacked the multitude of peasant organizations, youth groups, trade unions, student associations and religious societies that have mushroomed in post-Duvalier Haiti. Members have been arrested and mistreated or driven into hiding.
The Army's audacity has been striking. On October 7, armed soldiers broke up a meeting between junta representatives and an OAS delegation, sending the diplomats into panicked flight.
On November 12, the day after another OAS delegation arrived in Haiti, 100 to 150 members of the Federation of Haitian Students held a press conference at the national university calling for Aristide's restoration. Several truckloads of heavily armed soldiers stormed the conference and arrested and clubbed those in attendance.
On December 15, a pirate radio station calling itself Radio Volontaires de la Securite Nationale-57 (VSN-57), a reference to the formal name of the Tontons Macoutes and the year of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier's coming to power, broadcast a list of some 100 individuals and 200 organizations to be suppressed. Among those named were journalists, political activists, government officials, progressive priests, and close associates of Aristide. The broadcast implored: "When you find them...you should know what to do....Go and do your job...crush them, eat them, drink their blood." The list was later rebroadcast by the government-controlled Radio Nationale under the guise of news coverage.
The Army's efforts to legitimize the coup have been equally heavy-handed. On October 7, soldiers stormed the Legislative Palace, pointing guns and waving hand grenades, to convince the National Assembly to declare the presidency vacant and to ratify Supreme Court Justice Joseph Nerette as Aristide's successor. The elderly jurist has barely been heard from since. Army repression
since the coup is documented in our report. Return to the Darkest Days: Human Rights in Haiti Since the Coup, which we issued together with the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees and Physicians for Human Rights.
As appalling as the numbers of political killings are, we have reason to fear that they underrepresent the seriousness of the Army's brutality. The level of repression has been such that it has been extremely difficult to receive information from outside Port-au-Prince. With virtually all of Haiti's independent organizations destroyed or forced underground, many of the sources for conveying information, particularly from rural areas, are not available. The loss of independent radio stations has compounded the problem.
Still, information received from Haiti, including by a delegation for the National Coalition for Haitian Refugees which returned this past weekend, indicates that repression is continuing at severe levels. Bodies continue to appear regularly on the streets of Port-au-Prince, and members of popular organizations in the several areas of the country that were visited remain in hiding out of fear of persistent Army raids and the resurgent section chiefs. Haiti today remains and closed and frightened society.
Violence Against Returned Refugees: In an effort to justify its widely criticized policy of returning refugees to Haiti, the Bush Administration has repeatedly stated that it has no evidence that returnees face persecution upon their arrival in Haiti.
Indeed, this claim represents the executive branch's principal defense of the policy. We find this defense to be insupportable and cynical. The level of repression in Haiti is so great that the U.S. Embassy had reduced its staff to only a handful. Not only is the systematic tracking of individual returnees nearly impossible, but even systematic reporting on general human rights conditions around the country is severely hampered by the Army's destruction of civil society. The Administration is able to make the claim that it has no information about repression of returnees precisely because the level of repression makes information gathering so difficult. This approach to human rights documentation is reminiscent of the Reagan Administration's fact-gathering in El Salvador in the early 1980's. (At Congressional hearings in early 1982, for example, then-Assistant Secretary Thomas Enders challenged firsthand press reports of a massacre of some 1,000 noncombatants in Mozote. The Secretary purported to rely upon an investigation of the episode by the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador. In fact, however, no proper investigation was ever made by the Embassy: the embassy's effort consisted of flying over the area in a helicopter.) The U.S. Embassy's claims of not being able to confirm accounts of abuses against Haitian returnees is of comparable cynicism.
While systematic tracking of the repatriates has not been possible, the experiences of the so-called "double backers" Haitians who were interdicted and returned to Haiti only to flee and be interdicted again suggests the danger that returnees
face. Forty-one of the first batch of 42 double-backers were found by INS personnel in GuantSnamo to have credible claims of political persecution. In light of the expense and security problems in trying to leave Haiti by boat, the double-backers clearly represent but the tip of the iceberg of repression encountered in Haiti by those who are forcibly returned. We believe that in light of the widespread repression in Haiti and the inevitable inaccuracy of individual determinations of asylum, the United States can meet its international obligation to avoid returning refugees to face political persecution frefoulement) only be granting fleeing Haitians the blanket protection of temporary protected status.
US Policy Toward Haiti: The Bush Administration's soft-pedaling of human rights abuses in Haiti in an effort to defend its indefensible policy of returning Haitians to the country has implications beyond the danger that it poses to the refugees themselves. Another implication has been that the State Department's once-powerful denunciations of Army abuses have stopped. Whereas in the early days following the coup the U.S. strongly denounced abuses, virtually nothing has been said since refugees started to flee in large numbers in early November.
This is extraordinarily unfortunate, since the Army's human rights abuses and the lack of accountability for such abuses is the heart of the problem in Haiti. By stopping its criticism of Army violence and, indeed, insisting that human rights conditions in Haiti do not preclude the return of the vast majority of
fleeing Haitians, the Administration provides political cover for the continuation of those abuses. The Army's ability to maintain its strategy of terror postpones the moment when it must come to terms with the Haitian people.
Besides forthright condemnation, the other major weapon at the Administration's disposal is the trade embargo. When implemented by the Organization of American States (OAS) in October, the embargo was thought likely to bring the Army quickly to its knees. Haiti has no domestic source of oil and little capacity for oil storage. Two months without an oil delivery, it was widely believed, and Army resistance to Aristide's return would crumble.
The theory was never put to the test because oil tankers were allowed to arrive in Port-au-Prince at three critical moments, each time giving the Army another two-month reprieve. Then, under pressure from US businessmen, the Bush Administration on February 4 lifted the embargo for the assembly industry the collection of factories that use cheap Haitian labor to assemble garments and electronic goods for export to the United States. Although the Administration promised to try other mechanisms for pressuring the Army, such as freezing US bank accounts of those financing the coup, it seems to have little prospect of coming up with the specific proof needed to justify such action in court.
The embargo was always a mixed bag. In addition to causing severe deprivation among Haiti's poor, it may even have helped to enrich the Army, its supposed target, by driving up the price of
gas and other scarce products controlled by the military. But by partially lifting the embargo without replacing it with a meaningful alternative, the Administration ensured that rum was flowing at military garrisons in Port-au-Prince.
If the United States were to use its formidable influence in Haiti to stop Army abuses, we believe the Army would soon be compelled by its fear of a popular uprising to accept a political compromise that would guarantee the security of both it and the Haitian people in the context of the return of President Aristide. Precedent for these steps can be found in the recent UN-brokered peace accord in El Salvador. There, by consent of all parties, an international observer mission, including a large contingent of human rights monitors, has been established to preserve the peace and deter a resurgence of abuse. An independent police force will be created, a committee will be organized to rid the Army of abusive figures, and a "Truth Commission" will be formed to investigate serious abuses of the past decade. (The process of acknowledging the truth has been important in many Latin American nations as a mechanism for acknowledging and moving beyond the violence of a military dictatorship.) A new amnesty excludes for the time being those found by the Truth Commission to have been responsible for violent abuse, leaving open the possibility of prosecution.
As in El Salvador, however, sustained international pressure will be required to produce an accord in Haiti. But history shows that the Haitian Army is extremely susceptible to such pressure,
particularly from the United States. Duvalier's departure in February 1986 was arranged one week after an announced cutoff in US aid. The overthrow of General Henri Namphy in September 1988, shortly after the St. Jean Bosco massacre, was largely a product of the Army's realization that his presence would preclude a resumption in US aid suspended again after the crushing of the November 1987 elections. The March 1990 resignation of then-President General Prosper Avril, at a time of accelerating violence and broken electoral promises, appears to have been hastened by a single long night of discussion with US Ambassador Alvin Adams. Aristide may have been too glib when, asked in January how the US government could get rid of General Raoul Cedras, the Army commander, he said, "With a phone call." But there is little dispute that the US government could have tremendous influence over the Haitian Army.
It is the possibility of such influence that makes the Bush Administration's interdiction-driven stance so scandalous. By downplaying Army abuses and treating the ongoing political negotiations as a matter to be left to the Haitian people and the relatively weak OAS, the Administration handicaps efforts to curb Army violence and condemns Haiti to a bleak future of unfulfilled hopes for democracy.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Roth. Ms. Shea?
STATEMENT OF NINA SHEA, PRESIDENT, PUEBLA INSTITUTE, ACCOMPANIED BY BARBARA JO, PUEBLA INSTITUTE
Ms. Shea. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for inviting me to speak today.
My name is Nina Shea. I am President of the Puebla Institute. We are a private lay Catholic human rights organization, and I would also to introduce my colleague to the left Barbara Jo, who just returned from a fact finding mission for us to Haiti last night. She will be available to answer any questions about the situation on the ground there.
The Puebla Institute, Mr. Chairman, condemns the military coup d'etat that occurred in Haiti last September which unconstitutionally ousted Haiti's first democratically elected president. The civilians at the head of government do not hold real power and they lack legitimacy. The terror and raw violence of the army and Tonton Macoutes in the days following the coup, hundreds of incidents of which were reported to Puebla's representative, are depressing vestiges of an archaic political period, a period we had hoped ended with the elections of December 1990.
Haiti is now languishing in an acute political crisis which is breeding ever deeper poverty, lawlessness and human rights abuse. U.S. foreign policy will be critical to Haiti's future and should be redesigned to strengthen the nation's democratic institutions.
Democracy is essential for peace and economic development. Haiti needs a revolution, complete economic and political restructuring. Anyone with a moral conscience can recognize the need for radical change if they have been to Haiti.
Haiti had democratic elections but it has never had democracy. The Puebla Institute believes that Haiti needs a real democratic revolution and the means to attaining it must be peaceful, through the patient, painstaking building of democratic institutions. The basis for this democratic revolution should be Haiti's own 1987 constitution.
In an historically unprecedented development, Jean-Bertrand Aristide ascended to the presidency legitimately through the ballot. As president, he attempted some human rights reforms and succeeded in lessening the repression in certain ways. Nevertheless, Aristide ruled within a framework that was consistent with the historical pattern, that is, through a highly personalistic, centralized and authoritarian control.
Haiti has always lacked and lacked at the time of September's coup full civilian rule, a separation of powers, checks and balances and rule of law, the very hallmarks of democracy.
Aristide's government represented the greatest hope in the Haitian experience that Haiti's political system could turn the corner into modernity, but in fact even it did not bring about a fundamental change in the structures of government and showed every sign that it was continuing in the old mold.
For example, during the seven months of Aristide's government, the judiciary remained virtually moribund when it was not carrying out directives of the executive.
During the entire Aristide rule, the criminal trial court in Port-au-Prince decided only two cases though hundreds were imprisoned awaiting trial.
Aristide named new supreme court judges without consulting the senate as the constitution requires.
On August 4th, after the conviction and sentencing in the political case of Roger Lafontant, Aristide gave his supporters a kind of pep talk, boasting that the outcome of the sentencing was the direct result of his supporters' threat to necklace the judge.
The most certain retribution was then, as it has been in the past, the rough justice of the streets, but mobs are indiscriminate. They do not distinguish between the Macoute and the lawful dissident. In Les Cayes, only hours before the coup, the lynched the brave human rights defender and Christian Democratic Party head Sylvio Claude and then lynched the justice of the peace who came down to make out a report.
There was and is, as Puebla's delegate to Haiti found, still no system of justice in Haiti.
The legislature, traditionally a rubber-stamp institution, abdicated to Aristide exceptional powers during the first six months of his government. In the seventh month, it debated whether to vote no confidence against Aristide's prime minister until the legislators, too, were threatened by mobs with necklacing. The vote never took place.
Now, as before, civilian rule is tightly circumscribed. The army is the supreme arbiter of politics and the real locus of power. For the first 100 years after independence, all Haitian heads of state were military officers. The U.S. Marine occupation that followed this reinforced the political role of the military.
Aristide, too, was constantly hamstrung by the all-powerful force of the military during his seven months. Though he attempted to reform the prisons, the repressive institution of rural section chiefs and some of the excesses of military, he was nearly always blocked by elements in the military.
The way Haitian presidents have traditionally consolidated their power is through the development of a paramilitary counterforce loyal to them. But this cure has always turned out to be worse than the illness. The countervailing forces were themselves scourges on the population and prolonged the rule of the worst tyrants.
I commend to you AID Officer Marilyn Zak's democratic needs assessment on Haiti written in 1989 which traces the history of these countervailing forces.
Controlling Haiti s military and not by either coopting it or creating yet another repressive counterpoint to it should be the centerpiece of any reconstruction program.
The Puebla Institute recommends the following 13-point program for a new U.S. policy toward Haiti that is designed to resolve the constitutional crisis, protect human rights, reduce political polarization and best encourage the development of democracy and the rule of law.
1. Grant temporary protective status to all Haitian boat people until the constitutional crisis is resolved. The arbitrary and violent abuses of power of the military, compounded by the pain of the embargo which the U.S. itself is inflicting, make this measure warranted on humanitarian grounds. This also was a recommendation in an appeal that was given two weeks ago by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the OAS to the Bush administration.
2. Lift the trade embargo immediately. The embargo has been counterproductive, allowing those dealing in the drug trade and other contraband to flourish, while strangling small businessmen and causing punishing hardship for the population at large. The embargo is both underinclusive, not impacting on those military officials and oligarchs behind the coup, and overinclusive, hurting most the people without power.
In November, Haiti's Catholic bishops as a group issued an impassioned appeal for the lifting of the trade embargo stating it had become "humanly intolerable". Red Cross officials and others working in Haiti in health services told Puebla this week that the pre-existing level of malnutrition is growing, with a consequent increase in disease, especially dysentery and tuberculosis among children.
Mr. Torricelli. Ms. Shea, would you just read through the remainder of your 13 points without the supporting arguments? I think I decipher what the arguments might be.
Please, list through the points so we can go to questioning. I would like to hear the rest of your points, but I also would like to get on the questioning.
Ms. Shea. Sure.
4. The U.S. should impose economic and military sanctions against the government and embargo the shipment of all weapons and military equipment to Haiti.
5. It should work for the appointment of a new negotiating team, preferably an international one through the United Nations but, in any case, not through the OAS since sharp negotiating skills are needed such as those that were brought to bear in the Salvador situation.
The new negotiators should be strictly neutral, helping each side to give a little and get a little following the Salvadoran model.
6. Pressure needs to be applied to Aristide to compromise. The OAS policy and the pressure from the embargo have all been onesided. Some in the opposition to Aristide in Haiti have legitimate fears and grievances that must be addressed. Non-Duvalierist businessmen in Haiti, including furniture craftsmen, soft drink salesmen and small entrepreneurs told the Puebla Institute that Aristide's constant talk of redistributive justice often using the metaphor of overturning the dinner table, has made them fear for their lives as well as for their property.
7. Reactivate immediately efforts to identify and support the democratic center in the private sector. Reinstate governmental aid through AID and NED and its core groups to these private groups.
8. Support civic education through private media and groups. Broadcast from offshore if necessary following the models of Radio Marti and Radio Free Europe.
9. Encourage international support for the formation of a politically independent and neutral human rights network that is nationwide. There is a critical need for credible human rights reporting, not only to promote justice but also to deter violations.
10. Bring lawyers for training in the U.S. or French-speaking democracies.
11. Urge that any negotiated solution include an internationally supported effort to abolish and disarm the rural section chiefs and the militarized police and reduce the military.
12. Using the proposed Salvador model, urge an internationally supported effort to create from scratch a civilian police force. Urge that hundreds of police from established democracies go to Haiti under the U.N. flag to observe the existing police to prevent abuses during the transition. Have a separate group of foreign police professionals provide instruction at the new academy.
13. After a resolution to the current crisis, initiate programs for the administration of justice, government-sponsored civic education and judicial training.
That will conclude my testimony, Mr. Chairman. [The statement of Ms. Shea follows:]
Embargoed Until Delivered
PREPARED STATEMENT OF NINA SHEA PRESIDENT PUEBLA INSTITUTE* before the
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs and the
Subcommittee on Human Rights Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives Washington, D.C. February 19, 1992
The Puebla Institute condemns the military coup d'etat that occurred in Haiti last September, which unconstitutionally ousted Haiti's first democratically-elected President. The civilians at the head of government do not hold real power and they lack legitimacy. The terror and raw violence of the army and Tonton Macoutes in the days following the coup, hundreds of incidents of which were reported to a Puebla fact-finding mission that returned last night from Haiti, are depressing vestiges of an archaic political period a period we had hoped ended with the elections of December 1990.
Haiti is now languishing in an acute political crisis which is breeding even deeper poverty, lawlessness and human rights abuse. U.S. foreign policy will be critical to Haiti's future and should be designed to strengthen the nation's democratic institutions.
Democracy is essential for peace and economic development. Haiti needs a revolution a complete economic and political restructuring. Anyone with a moral conscience can recognize the need for radical change if they have has been to Haiti and have seen the millions of people living there in abject poverty, amidst filth and garbage, without potable water, jobs, education, without security, or justice, or the most basic of human rights, and without hope of improvement if they remain in their homeland.
Haiti had democratic elections, but it has never had democracy. The Puebla Institute believes that Haiti needs a real democratic revolution and the means to attaining it must be peaceful through the patient, painstaking building of democratic institutions. The basis for this democratic revolution should be Haiti's own 1987 Constitution.
In an historically unprecedented development, Jean-Bertrand Aristide ascended to the presidency legitimately through the ballot. As President, he attempted some human rights reform and succeeded in lessening the repression in certain ways. Nevertheless, Aristide ruled within a framework that was consistent with the historical pattern; that is through a highly personalistic, centralized and authoritarian control. Haiti has always lacked, and lacked at the time of last September's coup, full civilian rule, a separation of powers, checks and balances and a rule of law -- the hallmarks of democracy. Aristide's government represented the greatest hope in the Haitian experience that Haiti's political
system could turn the comer into modernity, but in fact it did not bring about a fundamental change in the structures of government and showed every sign that it was continuing in the old mold.
For example during the seven months of Aristide's government the judiciary remained virtually moribund when it wasn't carrying out directives of the executive. Aristide named new Supreme Court judges without consulting the Senate as the Constitution requires. On Aug. 4th, after the conviction and sentencing in the political case of Roger Lafontant (who staged an unsuccessful coup d'etat shortly after Aristide's election), Aristide gave his supporters a kind of pep talk, boasting that the outcome of the sentencing was the direct result of his supporters' threat to necklace the judge: "For 24 hours in front of the courthouse, Pere Lebrun became a good firm bed. The people slept on it. Its springs bounced back. They were talking inside the courthouse with the law in their hands. The people also have their own pillows. They have their little matches in their hand. They have their little gasoline not too far away." During the entire Aristide rule, the criminal trial court in Port-au-Prince decided only two cases, though hundreds were imprisoned awaiting trial.
The most certain retribution was then, as it has been in the past, the rough justice of the streets. But mobs are indiscriminate. They don't distinguish between the Macoute and the lawful dissident. In Les Cayes only hours before the coup, they lynched the brave human rights defender and Christian Democratic Party head Sylvio Claude and then lynched the Justice of the Peace who came down to make out a report. There was and still is no system of justice in Haiti.
The legislature, traditionally a rubber-stamp institution, abdicated to Aristide exceptional powers during the first six months of his government. In the seventh month, it debated whether to vote "No Confidence" against Aristide's Prime Minister until the legislators, too, were threatened with necklacing. Three legislators were badly beaten and another had his home sacked; an angry Aristide-mob 2,000 strong filled the galaries of the parliament building screaming for Pere Lebrun. The vote never took place.
Now, as before, civilian rule is tightiy circumscribed. The army is the supreme arbiter of politics and the real locus of power. For the first hundred years after independence, all Haitian heads of state were military officers. The U.S. Marine occupation that followed this reinforced the political role of the military. Aristide, too, was constantly hamstrung by the all-powerful force of the military during his seven months. Though he attempted to reform the prisons, the repressive institution of rural section chiefs, and some of the excesses of the military, he was nearly always blocked by elements in the military.
The way Haitian presidents have traditionally consolidated their power is through the development of a paramilitary counterforce loyal to them. But this cure has always turned out to be worse than the illness. The countervailing forces were themselves scourges on the population, and prolonged the rule of the wont tyrants.
Zak observed the following:
"[Pres.] Soulouque [who ruled in the mid 19th century] made effective use of zinglins, precursors to the Tonton Macoutes. During his presidential campaign, Duvalier organized a private paramilitary grcup known as cagoulards. This developed into a national network of Tonton Macoutes after Duvalier took office. In 1962 the Tonton Macoutes were legitimized and formalized as a uniformed militia, the Volontaires de la Securite Nationale. The VSN was a reactionary political apparatus devoted to power maintenance and repression of political opposition. ...There is also precedent for establishing [the counterforce] from within [the army]. Pres. Vincent (1930-41) first created the praetorian guard in the 1930s... [which] helped Vincent maintain power for 11 years. ... The Corps de Leopards was created by Jean-Claude Duvalier in the 1970s. This is yet another variant on the theme of a specialized army corps with the explicit function of maintaining presidential power and discouraging coups d'etat mounted by other army factions."
Against this background, the discovery that Aristide was quietly training a Service de Securite du President (SSP) shortly before the coup struck a raw nerve in some Haitians.
Controlling Haiti's military and not by either coopting it or creating yet another repressive counterpoint to it, tactics used in the past that only deepened Haiti's political troubles -should be the centerpiece of any reconstruction program.
The Puebla Institute recommends the following 13-point program for a new U.S. policy toward Haiti that is designed to resolve the constitutional crisis, protect human rights, reduce political polarization and best encourage the development of democracy and the rule of law.
1. Grant "temporary protective status" to all Haitian boat-people until the constitutional crisis is resolved. The arbitrary and violent abuses of power of the military, compounded by the pain of the embargo which the U.S. itself is inflicting, make this measure warranted on humanitarian grounds. A humanitarian, temporary suspension of forcible repatriation of Haitians would be consistent with a recent appeal to the Bush Administration by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States.
2. Lift the trade embargo immediately. The embargo has been counter-productive, allowing those dealing in the drug trade and other contraband to flourish while strangling small businessmen and causing punishing hardship for the population at large. The embargo is both under-inclusive not impacting on those military officials and oligarchs behind the coup and over-inclusive ~ hurting most the people without power.
In November Haiti's Catholic bishops, as a group, issued an impassioned appeal for the lifting of the trade embargo, stating that it had become "humanly intolerable." Red Cross officials and others working in Haiti in health services told Puebla this week that the pre-existing level of malnutrition is growing, with a consequent increase in disease,
especially dysentery and TB among children. The humanitarian exception that is built into the embargo soon proved inadequate due to the general breakdown in infrastructure that has obstructed the delivery and distribution of food, water, fuel, and medicine. The recent exception regarding U.S. assembly plants does not address this problem.
The sanctions against South Africa were more targeted and more limited than the Haiti embargo. Unlike South Africa, Haiti's military lacks a strong vertical command and contains elements which are insulated from international pressure.
Pres. Aristide's own vigorous insistence on the embargo is suspect. Aristide has said many times, "Woch nan dlo pa konnen doule woch nan soley," or "the rocks in the water don't know the pain of the rocks in the sun." The embargo accomplishes at least with respect to the working classes the social leveling that Aristide is interpreted as desiring in this and other statements. (Aristide also gives an insight into his views on foreign investment in his 1990 book, In The Parish of the Poor, p.76: "And everytime the big capitalist bosses pay out one dollar, they take in four. When they invest $400, they make four times that .... They make a lot of money, while the little that they pay you can barely buy food enough for you and isn't enough to feed your children, to pay for your rent, to pay all your bills. Is it right for these unholy ones who supposedly invest in our country to come here and stop us from living?")
The embargo arose out of -- but is not mandated by the sentiment expressed in the OAS 1991 Santiago Accords that any possible weakening of the region's democratic resolve must be halted. There are other, more effective and more humane means for accomplishing this.
4. Impose economic and military sanctions against the government and embargo the shipment of all weapons and military equipment to Haiti. This would send an unequivocal signal of U.S. condemnation of the unconstitutional structure in power today, and would not strengthen the military. Since Haiti's government traditionally provides virtually no public services, this formula would not cause further damage to the nation's population at large nor to the job sector.
5. Work for the appointment of a new negotiating team, preferably an international one through the United Nations, but in any case not through the OAS. Sharp negotiating skills such as those that were brought to bear by the UN in the Salvador situation, or in the Iran hostage crisis are needed. By sending to Haiti negotiators without substantial negotiating experience or skills, who acted as advocates for Aristide rather than as neutral mediators, the OAS contributed to the current political impasse and has made it the object of deep resentment by anti-Aristide political leaders inside Haiti. The new negotiators should be strictly neutral helping each side to give a little and get a little, following the Salvador model.
6. Pressure needs to be applied to Aristide to compromise. The OAS policy and the pressure from the embargo have all been one-sided. Some in the opposition to Aristide in Haiti have legitimate fears and grievances that must be addressed. Non-Duvalierist businessmen in Haiti, including furniture craftsman, softdrink salesmen, and small
entrepreneurs told the Puebla Institute that Aristide's constant talk of re-distributive justice often using the metaphor of overturning the dinner table has made them fear for their lives, as well as for their property. Aristide's reputation of having an uncompromising character is legendary. In In the Parish nf the Poor, he writes of himself: "There are those of us, usually younger and eager for change, who believe that the commitment should be total, unrelenting, intransigent. There are others, often with grayer heads and more comfortable with the ways of the world, who do not mind conciliating the powers that sit around the great table, who believe that collaboration and compromise are a valid means in taking up our preferential option for the poor. In my heart I am sure that the way of total commitment is the right way, but perhaps time and life will change me, as they have so many others. I doubt it." p. 18.
7. Reactivate immediately efforts to identify and support the democratic center in the private sector. Reinstate governmental aid through AH) and NED and its core groups to these private groups. It is counter-productive to let these efforts wither during what has become a protracted crisis period.
8. Support civic education through private media and groups. Broadcast from offshore, if necessary, following the models of Radio Marti and Radio Free Europe. Many Haitians have come to believe that democracy is nothing more than a change of personalities at the top of government, with the victor taking the spoils. Also, include programs designed to help bring about political and social reconciliation within a framework of justice and heal the deep polarization prevalent in Haiti today.
9. Encourage international support for the formation of a politically independent and neutral human rights network that is nationwide. Most human rights groups in Haiti arc tied to a particular political party or personage and are limited to work in the capital. There is a critical need for credible human rights monitoring, not only to promote justice, but also to deter violations.
10. Bring lawyers for training in the U.S. or French-speaking democracies, using the journalist-training model of AID that was effective for Haiti in the past.
11. Urge that any negotiated solution include an internationally-supported effort to abolish and disarm the rural section chiefs and the militarized police and reduce the military. Be prepared to bring in international peace-keeping troops, if needed.
12. Using the proposed Salvador model, urge an internationally-supported effort to create from scratch a civilian police force. Urge that hundreds of police from established democracies go to Haiti under the UN flag to observe the existing police to prevent abuses during the transition. Have a separate group of foreign police professionals provide instruction at the new academy.
13. After a resolution to the current crisis, initiate programs for the administration of justice, government-sponsored civic education and judicial training.
Of course, Haiti will need now, more than ever, international help in its economic
reconstruction and ecological restoration -both of which have been badly impacted by the embargo. But it also needs international help to democratize. If the international community had remained in Haiti helping it build democratic institutions, attain civilian rule and monitoring abuses, there is a good chance that the current crisis would not have occurred. Some would like to wash their hands of Haiti. For the sake of our own interests and for moral reasons, we should not do this. We need to keep our focus on Haiti. Our two nations' histories are inextricably bound together starting with our common heritage of independence.
* Nina Shea is a human rights lawyer who has been President of the Puebla Institute since 1988. The Puebla Institute is a private, lay Catholic human rights group, defending religious freedom and other human rights throughout the world. Since 1988, it has documented and reported on human rights in Haiti. Its most recent fact-finding mission, conducted by Barbara E. Joe, a human rights volunteer and a member of Amnesty International's Caribbean Co-Group, returned from Haiti on Feb. 18th. Puebla also sponsored an election observer delegation to Haiti in December 1990. It has published two major reports on Haiti that are available from its offices: Haiti: Looking Forward to Elections, July 1990; Haiti's Reign of Terror Report of Chronic Religious Repression and Other Human Rights Abuse. Sept. 1988. In 1990, Puebla supported civic and voter education broadcasting on the Haitian Catholic bishops radio station, Radio Soleil, through a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy. The Puebla Institute is located at: 1319 18th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20036; Telephone: (202) 296-8050.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you very much, Ms. Shea. I am sorry to have you abbreviate your testimony but I wanted an opportunity for us to discuss several of these issues.
Mr. Roth, or indeed any member of the panel, is it your own judgment that much of the political violence that is continuing to take place against dissidents or potential rivals to power is being orchestrated from the actual leadership of the coup? Or is it a question of there being chaos and a lack of a justice system?
Mr. Roth. I think that it's somewhere in between. The leadership in the sense of Cedras is not necessarily directing all of this to happen although he clearly is moving as quickly as possible to stay at the head of it.
I think that there are a series of power centers within the army with the police chief Francois being a very significant center of the repression.
Mr. Torricelli. But the violence is coming from those individuals, this is not simply a case of wanton violence chaotically occurring.
Mr. Roth. This is not chaos. This is not chaos. This is a very well thought out plan that goes at this stage far beyond attacking open Aristide supporters. Few people at this stage are still around who are admitting publicly to supporting Aristide. They have either gone into hiding or have been arrested or have shut up.
At this stage, the repression is really directed against the wide range of popular organizations that I think the Army quite rightly perceives as being supportive of Aristide without the need for them to speak out at all. But the army in a very systematic, coordinated way is intent on wiping out this vibrant civil society-
Mr. Torricelli. Some of the military leadership has argued in the past that they did not have complete control other elements of the military, particularly senior officers or even some enlisted men who had organized among themselves.
Particularly from those of you who have visited, is it your own impression that there is a lack of central authority and control?
What is the degree of control of enlisted men and junior officers from the leaders of the coup?
Does anybody want to try that?
Mr. White. Well, I was just in Haiti, as you know, Mr. Chairman, and I witnessed the breaking up of a mass by two truckloads of policemen. Shots were fired.
When I brought this up to General Cedras, he said that every army has undisciplined units. I said well, does that mean that you are going to punish the people involved? He dismissed that suggestion with a sort of a shake of his head.
I have the opinion from numerous conversations with people on the subject that the enlisted men take orders but that there is sort of a loose coalition of people running the Haitian military, sort of independentrelatively independent groups. In fact, I heard to my surprise that Francois was not appointed to be the police chief, rather, someone else was appointed and he just moved in and took the chair and said this is my job. He apparently is becoming very rich at it.
Mr. Roth. But General Cedras just presided over Francois' promotion, which gives a sense of the acquiescence.
Mr. White. Yes.
Mr. Torricelli. But this idea is that there are junior military officers or enlisted personnel wandering around the country giving themselves orders, that would be consistent with what Mr. Aronson was told and he actually recounted a similar story to what are you just told.
I am taking your story as confirmation. I take it you are more skeptical of what you told than I might be.
Mr. White. You will often have a corporal or a sergeant out in a rural area that gets angry at someone and knows that he can get away with brutal treatment because that is just the way things are done. But I agree with Mr. Roth that this is basically orchestrated terror. After all, these generals and colonels know that seven out of every 10 people long for President Aristide's return.
Mr. Torricelli. Well, let us address this issue, then, in the perspective of the political negotiations.
Would it be your judgment that the hardening of views on the question of Aristide and his return flows from the top or from the bottom of the military?
Where is the less compromising of elements in the military establishment?
Mr. White. I asked that same question in Haiti and the answer always .came back the same way. The enlisted people are only concerned basically about job security and they would be amenable to any kind of solution that would guarantee that.
Mr. Torricelli. You accept that answer? Your own instincts are that that is right?
Mr. White. Yes, basically I do. In fact, one of the most conservative people I talked to just poked fun at the idea that this coup was the idea ofthat it was run by the enlisted men. He just thought that was silly.
Mr. Torricelli. My own criticism of the OAS and of the administration is of their failure to bring it to collective action. Is that a fair criticism and does the answer lie somewhere therein?
Mr. White. The OAS, in my view, and I used to be the Deputy Representative to the OAS, so I have some acquaintanceship with the organization, I think that the OAS negotiators have concentrated on talking to the wrong people about the wrong subjects.
The idea that foreigners can ever be wise enough or knowledgeable enough about a society to decide who is going to be prime minister and how to make these internal arrangements, I believe is a great mistake and I think that what we basically have to do, the OAS mission basically has to do, is talk straightforwardly to the military, find out who those reasonable military are who want to make a professional force, and make a deal with them. Establish the conditions for democracy, and that basically means taking the army out of politics, and then leave the internal arrangements of Haitian democracy to the players.
Mr. Roth. I would say that it is a mistake to blame the OAS too much for the crisis so far. The OAS does not have the clout that the U.S. Government does and if the U.S. Government wanted to make the OAS negotiations work, it could. Instead, it has used the OAS as an excuse not to get directly involved and, as a result, has
not put the severe public pressure on the Haitian army that I think would do the trick.
Mr. Torricelli. But it is true that while the power may be disproportionately American, there is a critical need for the cover of the OAS for us to do the things we might like to do. While the OAS may have no inherent power, it finds itself in a powerful position because it can veto by its own inaction an unwillingness to be of assistance.
Mr. Roth. But the OAS has already authorized the sort of unarmed multi-lateral presence that should be an instrumental part of an agreement.
I agree that the OAS has not spent the sort of concentrated time in Haiti that, for example, the U.N. did in fashioning the Salvador agreement but there has also not been the kind of U.S. involvement in Haiti as was necessary in Salvador to produce that agreement.
Mr. Torricelli. Do any of you from your visits there have a sense of what number of Haitians are actually now leaving as compared to the numbers we see arriving and what a likely trend under a continuation of current circumstances might be? If you would, venture a guess?
Mr. Roth. If I could speak on behalf of a representative of the National Coalition for Haitain Refugees who just visited last week and who spent a lot of time looking precisely into the question of migration and repatriation, I think that the argument that there is this potential magnet effect and that if somehow temporary protected status were enacted that we would be faced with tens of thousands of additional Haitians here is really a red herring.
She spoke to many people who would like to have already fled but simply cannotboth because it is very expensive to do that, you need to pay the people who control the boats and that money is not available to most people in Haiti, and because it is extremely dangerous. A lot of the people who are most at risk have taken to the hills. They no longer live at home. The prospect of getting from the remote corner that they are hiding in to the relatively exposed areas where these boats do leave from in an effort to get to Florida is just a risk that they are not willing to take.
Given that reality, I do not foresee a huge additional migration, even if there were a change in the U.S. position on interdiction.
Mr. Torricelli. If the risks are as great as you are assessing them, why are people not simply crossing into the Dominican Republic?
Mr. Roth. Well, I think you have to keep in mind that up until nowand for all I know, currently as well, we have not yet sent our researchers back this yeargoing to the Dominican Republic at this time of year has meant being forced to work on a state sugar plantation for the duration of the harvest season in the worst kind of conditions, both living and working conditions, cutting cane. That is a prospect that everybody knows about in Haiti and that few are willing to risk.
Plus, less than a year ago, seven months ago, the Dominican Republic was in the process of expelling Haitains forcibly, often treating them rather severely in the process. So the Dominican Republic is hardly paradise in the eyes of most Haitians.
Mr. Torricelli. But nonetheless, not to argue that it is paradiseI think you know my sympathy for the fate of the Haitian sugar cane cuttersit appears to me that may be somewhat of an overstatement but perhaps more significant, that faced with the kind of peril that is alleged people are facing inside Haiti, they still would flee to the Dominican Republic, given the choices of remaining for abuse.
Mr. Roth. But many people are fleeing simply to the hills of Haiti. I honestlythis afternoon's statement by Secretary Hrinak that there were 23 Haitians that had fled to the Dominican Republic strikes me as a ridiculous understatement.
We have not sent people there to count it but I have certainly heard accounts of much larger numbers of people who in fact did flee to the Dominican Republic. I cannot speak to this from firsthand knowledge, but it is worth looking into in light of that statement. It is the first time I had heard such a ridiculous small figure.
Mr. Torricelli. Mr. White?
Mr. White. May I that I think that the number of Haitian refugees will increase steadily as long as this government is in power and that the only way to reduce it is to bring back democratic government and President Aristide.
I would like to add that I think that this administration has hit on precisely the wrong formula. I think that they are going to they have basically said, the administration has basically said that we calculate that one out of every three Haitians is a legitimate political refugee.
This means to the Haitians that they have a one in three chance of making it to the United States. Those are pretty good odds. So I think you are going to find that that particular policy is going to encourage people to become refugees, boat people. Some of them maybe just on the off chance that they will make it.
Mr. Torricelli. An interesting point.
Mr. Gilman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We have certainly got a diversity of views here.
Ambassador White, are you aware of any significant group in Haiti that would support the use of force? In our meetings, none of them would advocate military forces going in.
Mr. White. I think, Mr. Gilman, that it is very difficult to get Haitian leaders to talk in any public way about this because it has become sort of a patriotic statement to reject intervention because of Haiti's history, of which you are very well aware. But I believe that the statement by the Haitian embassy is most indicative and it reflects President Aristide's belief that stronger action is necessary.
I believe that if the U.S. Government went to President Aristide and said if we mobilize an OAS force to go into Haiti, will you guarantee to us not to reject it that he would give that guarantee.
I obviously cannot speak for him but that is my belief. I think that the people that primarily do not want a solution to this thing and want the present government to continue will be the ones who will play this nationalist card but I do not think that nationalist card is as important as we have made it out to be.
Mr. Gilman. Well, are you saying then the ultimate solution has got to be a military intervention?
Mr. White. No, sir. On the contrary. I am saying that if we make the embargo effective, particularly on oil, and if we take away visas, if we freeze assets and if the Inter-American Association of Press documents the lack of press freedom, if we will ratchet up these pressures, then I think that force will not be necessary.
But you have to place all of these things in a context, and unless down the end of the road, the military understands that unless they comply there will be that force, then you may find them willing to hold out. But I just think that a force, a multilateral force, as a threat that the U.S. backs would be very effective.
Mr. Gilman. Mr. Ambassador, who would be the multi-national force? OAS says they do not want military intervention. The U.N. I do not think is prepared for military intervention.
Are you talking about a U.S. force then going in? I do not think we are prepared to do this at this point.
Mr. White. Your question, Mr. Gilman, is who would do this? I think that if President Bush decided that this coup would not stand, then I think we could mobilize the OAS to do this.
Mr. Gilman. But most of the Haitian people do not want a military force to intervene, even privately. Forget the public denunciation of this. In our private conversations, they say no, that is not the answer. This is even clear during private meetings. A commission, yes. An OAS commission, put them in placeeven that, they are not happy with a Latin American type of intervention but they are willing to accept an OAS commission. But to put a military force in, first you need Aristide's support, and I doubt whether Aristide would approve of that.
Have you discussed that with Aristide?
Mr. White. I have discussed many things with President Aristide and clearly President Aristide cannot return to Haiti on the back of the U.S. Marines. That is clearly out of the question.
Mr. Gilman. He has said that publicly. He does not want a military group to bring him back to Haiti.
Mr. White. Well, I also read the public statement here which I can only interpret as saying that if there is an OAS multi-lateral force that was not just specially prescribed for the Haitian situation but that it could be envisioned that such a force would be used in a future case, that he would accept it. That is what I interpret the Haitian embassy's statement as saying.
I think, Congressman Gilman, that we should not concern ourselves too much with the idea that this force would ever have to be used. I think as long as we can say we are prepared to do this and project the seriousness of our purpose, then I think we will find the Haitian military ready to negotiate.
Mr. Gilman. That is a paper tiger.
Mr. White. But you do have to be prepared to use it. I agree with that.
Mr. Roth. Representative Gilman, could I offer a comment here?
Mr. Gilman. Yes. I would welcome your thoughts.
Mr. Roth. I think that there is so much that can be done before one needs to talk about a military invasion that is not being done that it makes sense to focus on that for a moment.
The U.S. has stopped condemning army atrocities since the end of October. There have been over three months now of silence and apologies on that score.
The U.S. has never invoked what would be a very significant sanction the withdrawal of visas from the army as a whole, even from all Haitians with exceptions made on an individual basis. What that would do would be to close off the safety valve that many of the elite in Haiti look to in the event of a popular uprising. That threat, that reality of stopping the visas, would be a very powerful sanction against those who are behind the coup.
The U.S. has never frozen private assets held by Haitians in the United States; it has only frozen governmental assets. So as a result, the financiers of the coup are able to continue providing money as necessary.
Steps like that must be used before we start talking about military intervention, and I am convinced that given the demonstrated U.S. ability to change governments in Haiti without getting anyplace near military intervention, in three instances in the last six years, that the Administration could do it again if it wanted to, if the will was there.
Mr. Gilman. I appreciate your thoughts. You mentioned that we have not voiced any protests of human rights violations. What about the 1991 State Department Human Rights Report on Haiti that was very critical?
Mr. Roth. I went through that and looked at the paragraphs that were devoted to the government of Aristide and the paragraphs that were devoted to the military junta and to my surprise, it was two-thirds Aristide, one-third military.
Now, I am willing to grant that there were problems under the Aristide government. We issued a report in early November very critical of some of the-
Mr. Gilman. Well, bear in mind that Mr. Aristide was in power for nine months of that 1991 period.
Mr. Rangel. Representative Gilman, you know as well as I do that the purpose of that report is not to attempt to be chronological but rather to deal with the worst abuses and there is no way that you can tell me that the 1500 murders since the coup compared in any way with the violations that occurred under President Aristide. There was no comparison. Those should have been featured far more pi eminently than they were. The State Department did the minimum necessary.
If you look, for example, at the treatment of arrests, there are two lines devoted to arrests under the military government and two very long paragraphs devoted to a handful of arrests under President Aristide. That report read as a whole is an apologia for the military junta and it was a disgrace.
Mr. Gilman. What is the basis for the 1500 deaths? We have been trying to track that down. Is that coming from Amnesty International?
Mr. Roth. The group that has been doing the best monitoring in country is a group called the Platform of Human Rights Defense Organizations. It is a coalition of nine private Haitian groups not affiliated with the government. Under extremely difficult conditions they have been issuing regular bulletins, sometimes on a
daily basis, at least once a week, and they are the ones who are really in the best position to know, and who currently estimate the death toll at 1500.
So I am willing to go with that estimate, given the lack of anything better that I have seen, including statements by the U.S. Government.
Mr. Gilman. So you are basing your number 1,500 on their report?
Mr. Roth. On their reports. Their regular, almost daily reports since the coup.
I might say that if you simply total up the number known to have been killed in a handful of massacres right around the coup, you quickly get to 300 or 400.
Mr. Gilman. Our embassy people seem to think it was in the range of 300 to 400. Of course, whether it is 10 or 15 or 100, it is still not a good result but we keep talking about a 1500 figure.
Barbara Jo, is it? You are part of the Amnesty International group?
Ms. Shea. No. Barbara Jo is part of Puebla's group. She is a volunteer with Amnesty International.
Mr. Gilman. Yes. Where does Amnesty International get their 1500 figure from?
Ms. Jo. I am not aware that they had a 1500 figure. I have the report here which I would recommend to this committee.
Mr. Gilman. Which report is that?
Ms. Jo. This is the report of January 1992.
Mr. Gilman. By whom?
Ms. Jo. By Amnesty International.
Mr. Gilman. What figure do they quote or recite?
Ms. Jo. Well, I was just looking through it. I do not know because I have not looked at that particular figure.
I did find a figure here of asylum seekers in the Dominican Republic which says since the September coup, tens of thousands have gone to the Dominican Republic. That is on page 26 of their report.
Mr. Gilman. Is that the same report, is that entitled "Amnesty International: Haiti, the Human Rights Tragedy", January 1992? Ms. Jo. Right. You have it.
Mr. Gilman. I see on the second page of that report, at the bottom paragraph, it says, "Reliable information indicates that over 1500 civilians have been killed and the number of arrests reported to Amnesty International exceeds 300." We were just trying to track down the basis for that information the other day and that is why I am pressing the issue.
Ms. Jo. I am here for Puebla Institute and not for Amnesty International.
Mr. Gilman. All right.
Ms. Jo. There are people in the audience here from Amnesty International maybe who could answer that.
Mr. Gilman. Well, is there any representative of Amnesty International person who wants to come forward and tell us the basis for that 1500 figure and could you identify yourself, please?
Mr. Saunas. My name is Carlos Salinas.I am the Government Program Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean with Amnesty International.
Mr. Gilman. Yes. Could you just tell us where you arrive at the basis of the 1500 that were killed? There seems to be some question of the validity of that figure.
Mr. Saunas. The basis of the figure lies from reports that we have received of massacres and of killings in Port-au-Prince, in the surrounding cities and the countryside.
Now, we believe that figure to be very conservative. If you were to speak with President Aristide, he would tell you, as he told us when we met with him, that the figure is much closer to 3000.
When we met with Ambassador Adams, he told us that their figure was based on the count at the morgues.
Mr. Gilman. On what?
Mr. Saunas. On body counts at the morgues in Port-au-Prince and in surrounding areas. Mr. Gilman. What was his figure?
Mr. Saunas. He believed it was between 300 to 500, although closer to 300. In Port-au-Prince, not all bodies make it to the morgue and in the countryside certainly all bodies do not make it to the morgue.
Mr. Gilman. All right. We appreciate your trying to clarify it. I guess it is really not that important whether it is 10, 20 or 100 as I said before. It is still a violation.
Ms. Shea. Representative Gilman, I would like to say something.
Mr. Gilman. Yes.
Ms. Shea. One of our recommendations is that the international community, the private international community as well as the public, should work to strengthen the human rights groups in Haiti. One of the problems we have both in deterrence and in justice in Haiti is the figures, the human rights data is often soft, it is often not nationwide, it is often given by personalities who are political and that goes for the human rights group in the capital, the Haitian Center for Human Rights which is now being run by the de facto government's prime minister's wife. So there is a problem with reporting that I think it would be a good idea for us to deal with and strengthen.
Mr. Gilman. Well, we met with Father Trieste and Father Adrian who seemed to be spearheading some of the human rights studies and human rights violations and they seemed to have some credible information.
Ambassador White, you again based your approach on the necessity for having a more forceful embargo, an embargo that does not have a sieve in it, and unfortunately the biggest violator seems to be the European Community. They hide behind the Lome Convention and they say that they have a restriction on embargoing this kind of thing because of that convention.
Now, how do you go about having an effective embargo if they are buying oil through the EC and through Libya and some of the other nations and how do you have an effective embargo if the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti is like a sieve and they come back and forth by the hundreds each day and they are getting all kinds of supplies?
Tell me how you have an effective embargo under those conditions.
Mr. White. One of the first points I have in my written testimony, Representative Gilman, is the need for effective consultation with our European allies.
I have followed this very closely and I have no sense that we tried in any way to get Europe's cooperation here. France was very active in the early days following the coup. They could have spearheaded a drive but now the information I have is that France feels as though it has been cut out by the United States.
So, had Secretary of State Baker used his formidable powers of persuasion with the European allies on this issue, I think we could have achieved the cooperation of our European allies.
Mr. Gilman. Well, I have some question about all that. Even during the Persian Gulf War we had trouble having an effective embargo. Even though the best laid plans of our own nation was an attempt; an endeavor to get everyone to cooperate, we had massive violations of the embargo and I just wonder if we can have an effective embargo.
There is no questionI think that what we have to do is keep pressure on the opposition and the pro forces and make certain that OAS moves forward effectively but I do not think trying to tighten up the embargo in the long run is going to get us anyplace because of these continual violations.
Mr. White. Well, let me say this, Mr. Representative. I think either you make it effective or you take it off because at this point all you are doing is punishing small-
Mr. Gilman. I agree with that contention. We met with the business community down there and they were pleading on behalf of the 40,000 workers who have been put out of work because of the embargo. Even the lessening of the restrictions now has not helped very much because you cannot make payment to the de facto government. So if they want to pay their employees, for example, and take out taxes, you have to put it in a trust fund. You cannot pay for utilities. That has to go in the trust fund. So their hands are tied in trying to put people back to work.
Mr. White. Well, the real reason I think why at the end of the road you have to have this use of force potential is we cannot fail in this. I mean, we can but we certainly should not.
Before the United States can be a world power, it has to be a regional power. If we cannot effect our will in an organized way through the OAS, then we are really not living up to our responsibilities.
I am convinced that right now the coup plotters believe that all they have to do is hang on for another few months and we will gradually accommodate ourselves to them. If that happens, we will have risked and lost a great deal, including the OAS as an effective organization.
Mr. Gilman. Well, I hope that we can overcome any laxity or any lack of affirmative action by the OAS short of military intervention. I do not think it is something the Haitian people want, I do not think it is something President Aristide would like, I think we would have a very difficult time convincing the Haitian people that that is the way to go.
I want to thank the panelists. Thank you.
Mr. Torricelli. Thank you, Mr. Gilman.
To the members of the panel, thank you very much for your testimony today. It has been very helpful. You have helped this committee understand the administration's policy and where it should indeed be going. We appreciate it very much.
The committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:29 p.m., the subcommittees were adjourned.]
REPRESENTATIVE RONALD V. DELLUMS
BEFORE A JOINT HEARING OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS AND THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES FEBRUARY 19,1992
I want to thank the subcommittees for holding this joint hearing concerning the current crisis in Haiti.
Since the September coup overthrew the democratically elected government of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, conditions have deteriorated rapidly in Haiti and are continuing to deteriorate. Human rights organizations and religious groups have continuously described the acute state of repression that exists in Haiti. Amnesty International has documented case after case of human rights abuses, and stated in its January 1992 report that "hundreds of people have been extrajudicially executed, or detained without warrant and tortured." The Organization of American States (OAS) has estimated that more than 1,500 innocent civilians have been killed since the coup, but it is feared that the numbers are much higher. Rural sheriffs, disarmed and dismissed under Aristide rule, have been reinstated and more heavily armed. Similarly, army officials that were dismissed or indicted for crimes- have been reinstated and promoted. The military junta has systematically targeted President Aristide's supporters, particularly journalists, priests, and youths. Any supporter or anyone viewed as a supporter is at risk, not merely members of President Aristide's party, Lavalas. Amnesty International has documented a case of a teacher that was tortured to death solely for putting up a picture of President Aristide. Persons, including children, caught looking at posters of the ousted leader are subject to harassment and intimidation. Two-thirds of Haitian citizens voted President Aristide into office; these two-thirds have reason to fear for their lives. How then can the Administration make claims that those fleeing Haiti are doing so for economic reasons?
The Bush Administration itself has condemned the coup. Following the coup, the U.S. froze its aid package. President Bush suspended all direct assistance to Haiti, blocked the export of all arms and ammunitions to the Haitian police and military. The U.S. has participated with the OAS in its embargo efforts, although it has recently relaxed restrictions. The U.S. has warned its citizens of the dangers in Haiti and returned all non-essential embassy personnel. Ambassador Alvin Adams has been recalled in response to the military attacking a political meeting and murdering the bodyguard of Rene Theodore, proposed as Prime Minister.
U.S. policy has at best been inconsistent. The danger is apparent enough that we warn our citizens; yet we do not recognize those fleeing as refugees. The U.S. does not recognize the military junta; yet the Administration persists in working with the defacto government to honor a migrant interdiction agreement struck with the Duvalier regime. Drug interdiction is of the utmost priority; yet we have allowed Haiti to become a virtual safe haven for drug traffickers. The U.S. claims to be the safe haven for those fleeing persecution; yet we turn these Haitians away. The U.S. claims to be the watchguard of democracy; yet in our own hemisphere, we have allowed the first democratically elected government in Haiti's history to be destroyed and the hopes of many Haitians to be crushed.
I am dismayed at the recent actions of the Bush Administration in this matter, but I am further discouraged by the silence of the Congress. We have failed to respond to the pleas of thousands fleeing repression and persecution. We must act swiftly, effectively, and with clarity. That is why I will shortly be introducing legislation in regards to this matter. U.S. policy, vis a vis Haiti, must be clearly stated. Congress must renew the U.S. commitment to the OAS embargo, and direct the President to garner world-wide support, as he
did in the Persian Gulf. We must cease condemning to death Haitians willing to risk their lives for liberty by returning them to their persecutors. We must legislatively grant Temporary Protected Status to Haitians, since the Attorney General will not. Anything less than TPS should not be accepted.
Congress cannot allow this racist policy to continue. We have not worried if Cubans, Eastern Europeans, Cambodians and others were fleeing economic conditions. If these groups were held to the same lithmus test as the Haitians, they most certainly would not be admitted either. Haitians are being turned away because of the color of their skin. The policy is blatantly racist, and we cannot allow it to continue any longer. In the words of President Bush: "This will not stand."
Congress must continue to question U.S. actions at Guantanamo. Why have those Haitians that have passed the initial screening not been sent to the U.S. as stated by the Administration? Why have family members that have not passed the initial screening not been covered by those family members that have as is customary? Why are new arrivals at Guantanamo being separated from those who have been at the naval base for months? Are screening proceedures reliable? If so, why has the Immigration and Naturalization Service been so secretive? Why are Haitian officials requiring photos and fingerprints as well as addresses of those being repatriated? The General Accounting Office should be directed to answer these questions and to further investigate effects of the repatriation process.
Congress has remained silent too long. Let us send a message to the coup leaders, that the U.S. will not tolerate circumvention of the democratic process. More importantly, let us send a message of hope and support to the Haitian people.
November 20, 1991
The President The White House Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President:
As members of the House Select Committee on Hunger, we strongly support the implementation of your Executive Order dated October 28th, which imposed a comprehensive trade embargo against Haiti.
We were the first Members of Congress to meet with President Jean-Bertrand Aristide during a Committee-sponsored Congressional delegation to Haiti that took place several months before the coup. During subsequent discussions with President Aristide during his post-coup visit to the United States, we pledged our support to the constitutionally-elected government of Haiti and our commitment to uphold trade sanctions.
However, we are very concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Haiti. The increasing unavailability of fuel is preventing relief organizations from distributing food and medical supplies and could disable sewage and water systems. The onslaught of cholera, famine and disease may soon afflict the poor of Haiti. The leader of the recent Organization of American States mission to Haiti remarked that, "the crisis is so profound that we don't have much time".
In spite of this deteriorating situation, it is clear that the poor of Haiti support strict application of the U.S. and international embargoes. By their express terms, humanitarian assistance is exempt from the scope of the embargoes. We believe that specific and timely international action can prevent famine and disease while remaining consistent with the embargoes.
We are writing to urge you to recommend that the OAS directly undertake to supervise the distribution of food and medical supplies in Haiti. This type of humanitarian relief operation can be modeled after the UNICEF "Days of Tranquility" program in El Salvador or the Operation Life-line activities employed by the United Nations in the Horn of Africa. The proposed delivery and distribution of humanitarian relief by the OAS will not derogate from the letter or intent of the embargoes.
The President November 20, 1991 Page Two
While famine and disease have not yet taken their toll upon the citizens of Haiti, it is likely that these problems will soon surface. If the necessary dialogue and negotiations to implement the proposed relief operation is set in motion now, then the potential human tragedy may be avoided.
We believe that this proposed humanitarian relief operation is consistent with past U.S. and international relief activities and is mandated by the obligations of the emerging New World Order. If the international community acts now, we can prevent the famine and disease in Haiti that has caused hardship and instability throughout much of the world.
Tony P. fflall Bill Emerson Alan Wheat
Chairman] Ranking Minority Member Member of Congress
U.S. Permanent Mission to the Organization of American States Department of State, ARA/USOAS Washington, D.C.. 20520 (202) 647-9376
OAS EFFORTS TQ REVERSE THE COUP IN HAITI
A military mutiny in Haiti, which began the night of September 29, 1991, appeared to have succeeded the next evening when President Jean Bertrand Aristide was put on a plane and flown to exile in Venezuela.
The Organization of American States (OAS) repudiated the attack on President Aristide while it was still in progress and has since then coordinated wide-ranging efforts to reverse the coup by negotiating a peaceful restoration of democracy in Haiti. OAS efforts have centered on the use of an economic embargo to induce dialogue among President Aristide and the elected leaders of Haiti's Parliament. This fact sheet summarizes those efforts. (See Chronology, Annex A)
Reaction was Immediate
OAS Secretary General Joao Clemente Baena Soares convened the Permanent Council immediately upon reports that a coup attempt was underway. Ambassadors from more than 30 countries gathered at 4:00 p.m., September 30. The Council vigorously condemned the coup, demanding that President Aristide's life be spared and that he be returned to exercise of his constitutional authority. The Council also convened a meeting of the hemisphere's foreign ministers to consider actions in response to the grave events in Haiti.
On October 1, President Bush declared, "We condemn those who have attacked the legally constituted, democratically elected government of Haiti and call for an immediate halt to violence and for the restoration of democracy in Haiti. We will be working closely with the OAS to bring this about."
The convening of a Meeting of Foreign Ministers at the OAS was the first use of a mechanism approved at the 1991 OAS General Assembly in Santiago, Chile, requiring a response to a sudden or irregular interruption of the functioning of a democratic government anywhere in the Western Hemisphere.
President Aristide addressed the Meeting of Foreign Ministers convened at OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C., on October 2. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who attended the session, said, "I believe this hemisphere will meet its test. The Organization of American States must not and will not rest until the people of Haiti regain their democracy."
On October 2, both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate unanimously approved resolutions commending OAS efforts to support democracy and declaring that the "international community, particularly the OAS, should take all appropriate action to restore democratic government in Haiti."
February 19, 1992
OAS Resolution 1/91: Restoration of Legitimate Government
On October 3, the ad. h2ff_ Meeting of Foreign Ministers adopted Resolution 1/91. The resolution condemned the coup, called for the immediate reinstatement of President Aristide, recommended that all states suspend economic, financial, and commercial ties with Haiti, and urged that member states cut off all aid or technical cooperation, except that provided for strictly humanitarian purposes.
Resolution 1/91 requested that an OAS delegation travel to Haiti to advise those holding power of the hemisphere's rejection of the disruption of constitutional order.
OAS Secretary General Baena Soares and foreign ministers from eight countries made three visits to the Haitian capital of Port au Prince from October 4-7. The OAS delegation (which included the foreign ministers of Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela, plus U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs Bernard Aronson) met representatives from a broad spectrum or Haitian society, including the de facto regime.
The delegation discussed with duly elected members of the Haitian Parliament and others the steps necessary to restore constitutional order. This dialogue immediately following the coup reached some common ground on necessary steps toward resolving the crisis, but a final settlement was not attained. All OAS foreign ministers met again in Washington on October 8 to hear the report of the ministerial delegation and consider further action.
OAS Resolution 2/91: Urging OAS Members to Impose an Embargo
OAS Resolution 2/91 of October 8 reiterated support for Haitian democracy and the restoration of the exercise of authority to President Aristide, condemned the use of violence and military coercion, and urged each member state to enact a trade embargo and freeze assets of the Haitian state. Moreover, the resolution declared that no government (nor its representatives) resulting from the illegal situation would be accepted.
Negotiations to Restore Haitian Democracy
The Haitian Parliament, acting without a quorum and under duress, on October 8 declared the presidency vacant and elected Joseph Nerette the new head of state. Jean Jacques Honorat was elected prime minister, and in late November the Parliament scheduled elections for January 8, 1992, to choose a new president.
Secretary General Baena Soares named former Colombian Foreign Minister Augusto Ramirez Ocampo his special representative on Haiti on October-17. Ramirez, in turn, assembled a group of distinguished private leaders from throughout the hemisphere: Sonia Picado from Costa Rica, John Biehl from Chile, Enrique Peinado of Venezuela, Michael Houghton of Canada, Edwin Carrington of Trinidad and Tobago, and U.S. citizen Lawrence Harrison, plus OAS Democracy Unit staff member Mario Gonzalez. This group combined substantial experience in Haiti as well as in human rights, diplomacy, public affairs, and development with its broad regional representativity.
On November 10, Ramirez led this initial OEA-DEMOC delegation to Haiti to resume the dialogue with the leaders of the Haitian Parliament (who were duly elected in the December 1990 elections). The delegation also met with judicial and executive authorities, political parties, the army, no n-govern mental organizations, church leaders, representatives from the industrial, commercial and manufacturing sectors and members of grassroots and labor organizations.
According to the joint declaration of the Mission and the Haitian parliamentary committee, both parties agreed to a meeting under OAS auspices outside Haiti (later scheduled for November 22 in Cartagena, Colombia). They also agreed that the OAS would send two missions to Haiti: one to evaluate the humanitarian assistance needs of the population at large and make appropriate recommendations to the OAS, and another to assess the human rights situation. The parliamentarians acknowledged the necessity of respect for civil rights and the freedom of the press.
At Cartagena on the weekend of November 22-24, President Aristide, under OAS auspices, met directly with the parliamentary leaders. The two sides agreed in principle to the return of President Aristide to power in Haiti and the need to select a prime minister acceptable to both the parliamentary leaders and the president.
Under the Haitian Constitution, when no party holds a majority in the Parliament, the President and the leaders of the two parliamentary chambers must agree on a prime minister and submit the choice to the Parliament for approval.
The two sides in Cartagena also discussed the need to professionalize the Haitian military and establish a civilian police force. However, efforts to secure a written commitment to these principles failed.
In the weeks that followed, OAS envoy Ramirez Ocampo, using shuttle diplomacy and working with ambassadors from OAS countries in Haiti, sought to convince both sides to take the first step toward a solution by agreeing on a new prime minister.
President Aristide stated publicly on December 12 that Victor Benoit was his choice for prime minister. However, in late December, after consulting with other members of the two houses of Parliament, the parliamentary leaders provided Ramirez Ocampo with two other names as candidates for prime minister to be presented to President Aristide for his choice.
Direct meetings between President Aristide and Haitian parliamentary leaders resumed under OAS auspices in Caracas, Venezuela, on January 7-8. President Aristide invited Venezuela's Minister of the Presidency Beatrice Rangel and U.S. Ambassador to the OAS Luigi Einaudi to attend the negotiating sessions.
This dialogue produced President Aristide's agreement to accept Rene Theodore as his prime minister, a decision he expressed in two letters (dated January 8 and cosigned with OAS envoy Ramirez Ocampo) to Theodore and the leaders of the Haitian Parliament. The letter to Theodore invited him to Caracas to discuss the composition and programs of a national unity government as well as the return of President Aristide. The letter to the parliamentarians asked that Theodore be ratified as soon as possible. The OAS and the United States have urged all parties to take this first critical step toward a settlement without further conditions.
In line with the Caracas agreement, Secretary General Baena Soares invited President Aristide, Mr. Theodore, and the leaders of the Haitian Parliament to meet at OAS Headquarters in Washington on January 18 to discuss pending questions relating to a return to constitutional order. Only President Aristide attended. The other parties asked that the meeting be rescheduled; the lower chamber of the Parliament expressed its willingness to meet, but not without a representative of the Senate.
President Aristide reiterated (in a letter dated January 18) his commitment to Theodore and called for a meeting with the key Haitian parliamentarians.
On January 25, a political meeting in Port au Prince being conducted by Rene Theodore was attacked by armed men; Theodore and others were beaten, and a Theodore aide was shot to death. The attack was considered a setback for the OAS negotiations and a deliberate attempt to derail the dialogue. Theodore and other political leaders continue to be targets of harassment.
On February 13, however, the Haitian Senate adopted a resolution seeking renewed negotiations and a meeting between President Aristide and the parliamentary leaders. As this is written, OAS negotiator Ramirez Ocampo is working to arrange the meetings, which is likely to take place at OAS Headquarters in Washington the weekend of February 21.
The Trade Embargo
On October 4, the United States suspended foreign assistance to Haiti, prohibited payments by U.S. companies to the regime, and froze the regime's financial assets. Other OAS members also took immediate steps to isolate the regime diplomatically and economically. For example, in an important decision, immediately following the coup, Venezuela and Mexico suspended concessional sales of oil to Haiti.
On October 29, the United Stales, Haiti's key trading partner, imposed an embargo consistent with OAS Resolution 2/91. Other OAS member states took similar steps to cut trade with the illegal regime in accordance with the resolution.
On January 22, the OAS Permanent Council established a Special Committee to monitor compliance with the trade embargo on Haiti. The Committee reports periodically to the Council on compliance, as well as on the humanitarian needs of the Haitian people.
On February 4, the United States announced its intention to re-target the effects of the embargo. This step was taken to mitigate the unwanted impact of the embargo on 40,000 Haitian workers (and their 250,000 dependents) who rely on the assembly sector for their livelihood. Under this adjustment, case-by-case exemptions may be granted for companies operating in Haiti's assembly sector. The United States also announced that it is developing measures to increase pressure on individual coup supporters by freezing their personal assets and denying them visas to the United States.
The European Community has not applied an embargo on Haiti despite statements of political support for OAS efforts. As a result, Haiti has received shipments of gasoline, diesel, propane, and other fuels in at least three major shipments (November 28, January 1, and January 10) that involved European companies. OAS member states whose companies were indirectly involved in these shipments have stated their commitment to the embargo.
OAS Civilian Mission ("OEA-DEMOC") Created by Resolution 2/91
OAS Resolution 2/91 created a civilian mission, to be known as OEA-DEMOC, to facilitate the reestablishment and strengthening of Haitian democratic institutions, the full force and effect of the constitution, and respect for the human rights of all Haitians. By establishing a presence throughout Haiti, OEA-DEMOC is intended to help restore public confidence and orderly institutions, thus helping to create the conditions for President Aristide's return to Haiti.
The Secretary General intends to develop a nationwide presence of OAS observers. OEA-DEMOC will be staffed and funded by contributions of the OAS member states and other countries. The United States has earmarked $2 million to help jumpstart this activity, of which it provided $1 million on February 19.
OEA-DEMOC is represented by a core OAS staff in Port au Prince. Edwin Carrington, of Trinidad and Tobago, has been asked by the Secretary General to manage OEA-DEMOC operations on the ground. However, the de facio regime has thus far refused to allow the OAS to increase its OEA-DEMOC staff in Haiti for the purposes of monitoring the human rights of repatriated Haitians. The Secretary General continues to press for permission to augment OEA-DEMOC.