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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
APRIL 5, 2000
Serial No. 106-133
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/internationaLrelations
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
66-166 CC WASHINGTON : 2000
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL "MARK" SANFORD, South
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio
GEORGE RADANOVICH, California
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey
JIM DAVIS, Florida
EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
BARBARA LEE, California
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
RICHARD J. GABON, Chief of Staff
KATHLEEN BERTELSEN MOAZED, Democratic Chief of Staff
CALEB C. MCCARRY, Professional Staff Member
MARILYN C. OWEN, Staff Associate
The Honorable Peter F. Romero, Acting Secretary for Western Hemisphere
Affairs, U.S. Department of State ............................................ .................... 5
Prepared Member's Statements:
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress from New
York and Chairman, Committee on International Relations ......................... 28
Prepared Witness Statements:
The Honorable Peter F. Romero, U.S. Department of State ............................. 30
Additional materials submitted for the record:
Questions submitted by Chairman Benjamin Gilman, together with answer
of Assistant Secretary Romero, concerning reactivating Guantanamo Bay
for handling refugees (Exhibit A) ......................... ........................................ 34
Question submitted by The Honorable Brad Sherman, a Representative from
California, together with answer of Assistant Secretary Romero, concerning
comparison of money the United States has spent on Haiti for economic
aid and military security or physical security, compared to money spent
by other nations on Haiti, especially as compared to money spent in the
former Yugoslavia (Exhibit B) ............................................................................ 35
HAITI: PROSPECTS FOR FREE AND FAIR
Wednesday, April 5, 2000
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room
2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman
(Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Gilman, Brady, Ballenger, Gejdenson,
Payne, Hastings, Sherman, Meeks, Lee, and Delahunt
Also present: Representatives Conyers and Goss
Chairman GILMAN. The Committee will come to order. This
morning our Committee will examine the prospects for free and fair
elections in Haiti. Our witness is the Honorable Peter Romero, Act-
ing Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
This is the first time that our Committee is meeting in our refur-
bished hearing room. The new equipment you see includes ad-
vanced audio and video technology to take us into the 21st century.
As a result, among other improvements, our audio feeds will be
available in other Committee facilities. I am pleased that we will
also be able to take testimony from witnesses in another city or on
Last week, the House lost a good friend, Colonel Jack Brady, who
worked for the House Foreign Affairs Committee for 26 years, in-
cluding 17 years as our Chief of Staff. Jack passed away last week.
From 1976 to 1993, he was the personification of our Committee.
Jack Brady was a man who took great pride in serving his nation,
which he did with distinction in a number of arenas. I am asking
my colleagues to join with me now in recognizing Colonel Brady's
extraordinary service to this Committee and to the House with a
moment of silence.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
I have supported U.S. engagement in Haiti during my career in
the House of Representatives. There is a substantial community of
hard-working Haitian-Americans in my district. I will continue to
support U.S. assistance for the people of Haiti.
Yesterday, my colleagues, Mr. Goss, Mr. Rangel, and Mr. Con-
yers, who I am pleased is here with us this morning, and Mr.
Delahunt, joined me in issuing the following statement:
"As long-time supporters of Haiti and its people, we are outraged
by the recent political assassinations in that country. Yesterday,
the Director of Radio Haiti-Inter, Jean Leopold Dominique and
Jean-Claude Louissaint, the radio's janitor, were murdered. On
March 28th in Petit-Goave, a local leader of the Patriotic Move-
ment for National Salvation, MPSN, Mr. Legitime Athis, and his
wife were murdered in their home.
"Over the last month, the political situation in Haiti has deterio-
rated sharply, threatening to derail considerable progress made by
the Provisional Electoral Council toward holding free and fair elec-
tions, and re-establishing a functioning legislature and local coun-
cils. In addition to political assassinations, orchestrated violent
street riots have erupted. We strongly urge Haitian President Rene
Preval to restore public order and unequivocally signal that these
attacks on the electoral process will not be tolerated by imme-
diately launching credible, thorough investigations of these crimes.
"The Organization of American States has urged the Haitian gov-
ernment and the Provisional Electoral Council to agree to 'an elec-
tion date that will allow the National Assembly to convene on the
second Monday in June'.
"The Provisional Electoral Council is making the necessary ar-
rangements to meet this deadline. Time is of the essence. President
Preval must act now to work with the Provisional Electoral Council
to set a firm date for the election as the OAS has urged.
"The Haitian people have come too far to see their hopes and
dreams for a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic country de-
stroyed. While we understand the difficulty of organizing elections,
failure to hold them this month will seriously jeopardize the hard-
won support for Haiti presently held by the American people and
the international community.
"The moment is fast approaching when the inter-American com-
munity must invoke the 1990 'Santiago Commitment to Democracy
and the Renewal of the Inter-American System', Resolution 1080,
which provides for an emergency meeting of the OAS foreign min-
isters to decide upon specific collective action when democracy is
threatened. We pray that the Haitian government will take the im-
mediate steps needed to avoid this outcome, which would signify an
end to the support of the United States and the international com-
munity so crucial for Haiti's future."
There are few moments in history where Haiti has stood so
starkly at a crossroad. The signs are as clear as they are dis-
turbing. Haiti's leaders and people must not misunderstand the se-
riousness of our resolve and our purpose.
We must act now to protect American interests in Haiti.
[The statement of Chairman Gilman appears in the appendix.]
Chairman GILMAN. Before recognizing our Ranking Democratic
Member, I am going to call on our Chief of Staff for a moment to
just review for you a little bit about our new equipment.
Mr. GARON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just very briefly, the
Members will notice first off that we have new microphones. These
are state-of-the-art, trying to bring the sound a lot more clearer to
them. They have their own individual speakers. The red obviously
is on and when you're done speaking, you would just hit the button
to turn off the mic.
We have two screens on the side, 50-inch screens that will be
able to pick up various pictures controlled from the console in the
back. There are two cameras in the back and one right behind the
Chairman. There is a temporary screen behind us. We will have a
new one installed this weekend that will drop down, as a monitor,
and this screen will also be able to be tucked up into the ceiling.
The white squares right next to the screens on each side are the
sound speakers, and you may also see in the corners the black rec-
tangles. Those are the infrared emitters that will be able to pick
up transmission and can convey translation, little devices that we
have for the Members, when we have meetings in here that require
As the Chairman indicated, next week we will have a video-con-
ference with leaders from the European Parliament, and for the
Members of the Committee, we will have an orientation session
Tuesday, April 11, at 4 o'clock in this room, where we can get into
some more of the specifics.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Doctor Garon. Please make note
of that date for the orientation session, and our chance to use our
I am now pleased to call on our Ranking Minority Member, the
gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would like to
join you in remembering Jack Brady, who we all worked with for
so many years. I know that Jack, in his last years, had a great
time regularly playing golf with my own senior Senator, Senator
Dodd, and on one occasion at least Senator Dodd brought him to
a golf game with the President that Jack really enjoyed. He was
a good soul, committed to America's foreign policy and our interest,
somebody who worked hard for the Members for all the years he
was here, and I considered him a friend. So I join you in that re-
I also join you this morning in your view on Haiti. There is no
question that in the United States there is a clear expectation that
Haiti should have elections, they should occur as quickly as pos-
sible and meet the June dates. There are 13,000 officials in rural
municipalities at all levels seeking office. This is not a time for
Haiti to turn backward; it is a time for it to take a step forward.
Some of the recent violence, of course, is very frustrating, and we
would expect former President Aristide to use his popularity to
make sure that any violence that may be coming from his party be
put to an immediate end.
The people of Haiti have suffered for so long. They are among the
poorest, most densely populated country in our hemisphere, and we
are not at a point where we can afford to abandon this policy, and
we expect the Administration to make it very clear to the Haitian
government that we expect these elections to occur in a timely
The political advantage for one or another party in trying to
change the election cycle would have a damaging impact on Haiti,
and it is critical to take this democratic step at this time. It is al-
ready late, but we still have time to succeed, and I certainly hope
that the Administration does everything it can to press the Haitian
Chairman GILMAN. Are there any other Members seeking rec-
Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me just
be very brief and commend you for holding this meeting. We had
one in November, and I am glad to know that we are concerned
about what is happening in Haiti. I am glad that we are joined by
Mr. Conyers, the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee. He
has spent a tremendous amount of time and has visited Haiti on
a number of occasions, and probably because he is not a Member
of this Committee did not feel he ought to speak. I just want to say
that we are really grateful for the interest that he has shown and
the initiatives that he has taken in relation to Haiti.
I traveled there about a dozen times myself, and the last trip in
September was under the leadership of Mr. Conyers, with Mr. Hill-
iard, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Faleomavaega, and Ms. Christensen, and
we met with President Preval, Candidate Jean Bertrand Aristide,
and Colin Granison, who is the head of the U.N. OAS Civilian Mis-
sion, as well as many Members of the Civil Society.
At that time, we did express our concerns to former President
Aristide that elections would not be held in a timely fashion. We
were hoping that the elections could be held to seat the new Par-
liament by mid-June. As we know, that is approaching. There have
been problems, of course, with registration, but we are happy to
hear that ID cards have been distributed-I understand about
three million. Of course, they really have laminated photo ID cards,
pretty sophisticated. We haven't gotten to that point in New Jersey
yet, but I am glad that it is felt necessary there, which was, of
course, a problem because of the difficulty of getting this done.
But we are certainly hoping that the elections can move forward,
and we would be very happy to hear the witnesses and the ques-
tions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased that you
called this particular hearing. I really think it is important, and I
am glad to see the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee,
who has made such an investment of time and passion and dedica-
tion to Haiti.
My first trip with him was back when I first came to Congress-
I think I was here maybe 4 months-and Mr. Conyers invited me
to Haiti with him. I think I have accompanied him on most trips
to Haiti at this point in time.
When we were last in Haiti, which I think was sometime in Feb-
ruary, we were hopeful that the March 19th date for elections
would be respected. Clearly, we were also informed at that point
in time that there could very well be an extension. While we were
disappointed an extension was necessary to April 9, to receive the
news that the April 9th date then could not be complied with but
was indefinitely delayed has really created, I believe, a situation
where the OAS, in some statements by representatives of that or-
ganization, that Haiti should be declared a nondemocratic state
have to be considered. If there is not in a matter of days some reas-
surance that there will be a date specified again, I want to be very
careful in not suggesting responsibility or culpability on any par-
ticular party, but this has simply gone on too long. The reality is
that democracy is at great risk in Haiti, and I would hope that the
political leadership of Haiti-and by that I mean all parties and
not just political parties, but all segments of the community, come
together and take action and agree to a date specific.
I mentioned to you, Mr. Chairman, I am working on a resolution
which would endorse the OAS' indication of the Santiago Commit-
ment, and I will present that to you and to other Members for your
review and, if we don't have a date certain, I would hope that that
particular resolution would be marked up. I yield back.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Delahunt. We certainly
would want to move forward on your resolution. Any other Mem-
bers seeking recognition?
If not, we will now proceed with our witness.
Chairman GILMAN. Appearing before us today as our witness is
Assistant Secretary of State for the new Western Hemisphere Af-
fairs Bureau at the State Department, former Ambassador Peter
Romero. A 23-year career diplomat, Ambassador Romero previously
served inter alia as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Am-
bassador to Ecuador, and Charge of our Embassy in San Salvador.
We welcome you today, Mr. Ambassador. You may put your full
statement in the record and summarize whatever you deem appro-
priate. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER F. ROMERO, ACTING
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR WESTERN HEMISPHERE AF-
FAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to
testify before the Committee today to discuss recent developments
in Haiti and our mutual efforts to promote positive change here.
This hearing is well timed since upcoming weeks are crucial to
the mutual efforts to promote democracy and development in that
I have submitted, as you mentioned, a statement for the record,
but I would really like to share a few brief thoughts with you and
Members of the Committee.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, your full statement will be
made part of the record.
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you. First of all, Mr. Chairman, let
me applaud your efforts and those of your colleagues in submitting
this letter to the Haitian government. We, too, share 100 percent
the sentiments expressed in those letters with respect to violence
and setting a date for elections. Quite frankly, Mr. Chairman, I
could not have drafted a better letter. I think it encapsulizes and
enshrines the concerns of all of us in this room.
Since the early 1990's, a pivotal component of our policy has been
the strength in the democratic institutions that can foster Haiti re-
covery and development. Certainly when the Preval government
was seated in office, it gave great promise to the Haitian people-
one elected government turning over power to another elected gov-
ernment which, in Haiti's history, was the first time that that had
happened. It was a watershed event. Now the prospects for that
democratic opening and that democratic maturization are begin-
ning, unfortunately, to erode.
Notwithstanding out support for democracy and development,
there was the seriously irregular 1997 election which has resulted
in the resignation of the Prime Minister, the subsequent cancella-
tion of 1998's legislative and local elections, January 1999's dis-
missal of the Parliament by President Preval, and extra constitu-
tional rule in Haiti since then.
Haiti today is a divided house, paralyzed from within, with
progress since 1994 in democratic institution strengthening, eco-
nomic recovery and development severely hampered.
Lack of Parliament and local government for 15 months and the
continuing failure of President Preval to hold elections to restore
them thwarts strongly expressed Haitian desires to participate in
a democratic process. In fact, Mr. Chairman, what we are seeing
in Haiti today is truly an election fever. Voter registration for elec-
tions previously set for March 19th has encompassed almost four
million Haitian citizens newly registered, or about 90 percent of eli-
gible voters. Twenty-nine thousand candidates representing a
broad spectrum of political parties have registered to compete for
10,000 local, regional and national posts. This is truly spectacular.
Election fever, fueled by candidate debates, poll-watcher training,
Haitian media attention, and the presence of election information
centers spreads from Port-au-Prince to geographically isolated Hai-
Today, Haiti's homegrown political crisis has spread to include
street demonstrations and violence. We are truly shocked by recent
killings, including that of noted journalist Jean Dominique. These
apparent efforts to disrupt elections are extremely troubling both
to the people of Haiti desiring to express their democratic rights,
and to the government of the United States in -support of that de-
Equally troubling has been the failure of the Haitian government
to set a new date for elections, particularly in time for a new par-
liament to be constituted by the beginning of the legislative session
set for June 12th, as mandated by the Haitian constitution.
Messages sent by our government to the GOH regarding the im-
portance and urgency of these elections have been clear and un-
equivocal. Failure to constitute a parliament by June 12th risks
isolating Haiti from the community of democracies and jeopardizes
Mr. Chairman, fellow Members of the Committee, there is a
meeting underway now before the Permanent Council of the Orga-
nization of American States to debate what is happening in Haiti
today, and with the aim of sending the Secretary General of the
Organization of American States, Caesar Garviria, to that country
as soon as possible to take an assessment and to report back to the
Permanent Council to determine what future action may be taken.
The government of Haiti must, and can, commit itself to work
with the Provisional Electoral Council to support the financial,
logistical and security support for free, fair and security elections.
Electoral-related violence must cease immediately. The legit-
imacy of Haiti's Presidential elections later this year relies on cred-
ible separate elections this spring.
U.S. policy has been announced publicly and communicated di-
rectly in a repeated fashion by Administration officials to the gov-
ernment of Haiti and Haitian national political leaders.
We are working with others in the international community to
deliver similar messages. I will address the Permanent Council, as
I mentioned, hopefully later on this morning. I feel that there are
no excuses that remain for Haiti not to hold credible elections, only
the political will seems to be lacking.
Cooperation with the Committee is paramount to achieving our
goals in Haiti. Engaging in Haiti, however fatiguing or frustrating,
I look forward to frank exchanges and to work with you to do
what we can, Mr. Chairman, fellow Members of the Committee, so
that Haiti follows a democratic path and will continue toward its
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The statement of Ambassador Romero appears in the appendix.]
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I realize the Sec-
retary will have to leave by 11:30, so we will ask our Members to
please be brief in their questioning.
I am informed, Mr. Secretary, that the Provisional Electoral
Council is making the necessary arrangements to hold their elec-
tions in time to allow the National Assembly to convene on the sec-
ond Monday in June, as urged by the Organization of American
States. At this point, isn't the primary impediment to scheduling
elections a lack of political will on the part of Haiti's President,
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, it is difficult to probe into
the depths of President Preval's thinking on this, but let me just
make a few comments.
First of all, we believe that the CEP has done its due diligence.
It has registered about 90 percent-plus of the electorate. There has
been an overwhelming response, over 400 people have newly reg-
istered. There are no longer lines. People who want to register have
been able to register.
We believe that the time is right. The perfect would be the
enemy of the good here, and that they can conduct proper trans-
parent, fair and honest elections by the end of this month, if the
political will of the president were there.
Chairman GILMAN. Is the will there, or isn't it?
Ambassador ROMERO. We haven't seen it yet, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Isn't it true that unlike previous elections, a
number of key Haitian parties have actively supported this elec-
Ambassador ROMERO. We have, I believe, most all political par-
ties have registered candidates, have signed a Code of Conduct for
certain minimal standards with respect to campaigning and the
conduct of those campaigns and to abide by the elections. We be-
lieve the time has never been more ripe for elections, Mr. Chair-
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, is the government of Haiti or
its political allies attempting to undermine, or perhaps even force,
the Provisional Electoral Council to disband?
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, there are all kinds of pres-
sures in Haiti, whether they be threats of violence or actual vio-
lence. It is very difficult to say that the government is behind this.
I don't see that we have any evidence of government intimidation
of political parties.
Chairman GILMAN. At our December 1997 Haitian hearing, Mr.
Hamilton, our Ranking Democratic Member at the time, asked Am-
bassador David Greenlee for his frank appraisal of Mr. Aristide.
Ambassador Greenlee was reluctant to answer his questions.
Let me pose to you Mr. Hamilton's question with the same re-
quest for your frank assessment from an American national inter-
est standpoint. Is Mr. Aristide at this point being helpful or not
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, I would note that with re-
spect to the Code of Ethics, one of the first parties to sign that
Code of Ethics and a nonviolent pledge was ex-President Aristide
and his party.
We have spoken repeatedly with him, as we have President
Preval and the heads of the other political parties, with respect to
setting a date for elections. He has told us that he is in favor of
elections. I have to say that we have to separate deed from word.
We have asked him repeatedly to come out foursquare publicly
in favor of elections, he has failed to do so thus far. He has given
us his private assurances that and his party are ready to conduct
these elections as soon as possible, but I haven't seen the public
support that would be crucial to moving President Preval and get-
ting the CEP machinery in place to hold these elections.
Chairman GILMAN. When our congressional delegation visited
Haiti I think about a year ago January of this year-Mr. Goss, Mr.
Conyers, Mr. Rangel, and myself-we were assured by both Mr.
Aristide and Mr. Preval that they would make certain that there
would be a fair an open election and that it would take place with-
in the required time limits as set forth by the Electoral Council.
It seems to me that they are not fulfilling that promise. What is
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, it looks like they, at least
President Preval, have walked away or have attempted to walk
away from commitments not only made to us but, more impor-
tantly, to the Haitian people.
Certainly, this is something that we have engaged in with the
Haitian government, with President Preval directly since he dis-
banded the Parliament in February 1999. It has been almost 14
months since then.
Certainly, at that time, he gave us a deep commitment on his
part that he would convene a CEP, that he would organize a CEP,
which he has; that it would be a good organization that would be
balanced and have Members of political parties, but also people
who are independents. He has. Those members of that body have
done a yeoman job in putting together the necessary requirements
to register and to print ballots and to provide for the proper atmos-
phere for campaigning.
We had looked at the beginning of last year, we were given com-
mitments that it would be as soon as possible. It dragged on until
November. We have had successive dates established from Novem-
ber to February to March, and here we are in April with the June
12th constitutionally mandated date, looming over the horizon, and
we still do not have fulfillment of the commitments, the repeated
commitments, made to us by President Preval.
Chairman GILMAN. An apparent lack of will by President Preval
to conduct the election. Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Ambassador, at the OAS meeting, what lever-
age do we have on the rulers in Haiti as compared-I mean, obvi-
ously we wouldn't want to do anything to cause pain to the average
citizen already living in the worst conditions on the hemisphere.
What is it that we can either individually or collectively do that
would have an impact on either of these two gentlemen, Mr.
Aristide and Mr. Preval?
Ambassador ROMERO. That is a very good question, Congressman
Gejdenson. I think that we will continue to put pressure. I would
hope that we would be able to enjoy the support of Members of this
Committee to continue to put pressure on President Preval, par-
ticularly in the crucial in the next week to 10 days to hold these
What we are attempting to do is to amplify the chorus of indig-
nation of the international community, particularly in this hemi-
sphere, that elections have not been set, that they have not been
yet held, and that Haiti and the Haitian government is moving
down an undemocratic path.
Certainly, we have not been alone on this. The European Union,
particularly France, other members of the OAS and the hemisphere
individually have spoken out, but what we are hoping to do is set
a process in place of review that would involve discussion of where
we are, what we see and what the hemisphere sees as happening
in Haiti now, to send the Secretary General down there to provide
a hands-on assessment of what he sees, to come back to the Coun-
cil, and then to determine what action might be necessary to in-
clude perhaps the convening of Resolution 1080.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Where does Aristide get his political base from
at the moment? Where does his strength come from?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think ex-President Aristide has enjoyed
strength from across the political spectrum. In Haiti, it is very dif-
ficult to say that it comes from one group or another. Certainly, he
enjoys widespread support with respect to the peasantry, but also
others running the spectrum, to include the business classes and
to include the Haitian exiled communities in New York and in
Miami and elsewhere.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Does the business community have any sense
that they would like to see these elections, or are they against mov-
ing forward with the elections? What is your sense on this?
Ambassador ROMERO. I can only tell you that on the basis of
what our Embassy reports, and folks who have been down there
have reported, and my own visit down there about 9 months ago
where I really saw the various chambers being enthused by the
elections, for the first time engaging in the process, it was a dra-
matic, very positive thing to see in a country where engaging in
politics, even campaigning, could be hazardous to your health. The
business community down there was throwing caution aside, really
engaging in this.
There was some intimidation to stop it early on, that has
stopped. I believe that the vast majority of the business sector, the
private sector in Haiti is foursquare in favor of holding elections as
soon as possible.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson and Mr. Brady.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important
hearing today. Like you, we are all concerned about the political
situation in Haiti, and look forward to the time when we see free
and fair elections in the country.
Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being here today. I am getting
a first-hand lesson in the way the government of Haiti acts, and
I have serious questions about a particular incident regarding a
company based in my district in Texas, Rice Corporation of Haiti.
In short, the government of Haiti has seized the assets of this
company. They have leveled trumped-up unspecified customs viola-
tions which this company didn't commit. This company now faces
expropriation of their business by the Haiti State, under the guise
of this customs dispute, the officials in Haiti have run the propri-
etors off their site. They've ransacked their homes and private
businesses, to which they are not allowed access today. Threats
have been made on their lives, forcing them to flee the country.
Haiti has reneged repeatedly on agreements to settle this dispute
despite the fact that this company prefers to resolve this and joins
with the U.S. Embassy in seeking a fair and proportionate resolu-
tion to this issue.
As a result, Senator Helms, the distinguished Chairman of the
Foreign Relations Committee, has put a hold on all U.S. aid to
Haiti until the situation is resolved. He is working on legislation
along the same lines and, although I don't prefer that action, I am
considering the same legislation until we get some action from the
government of Haiti.
Also along those lines, Senator Helms has recently written a let-
ter to Secretary Albright, asking her to assess involvement of sev-
eral Haitian officials to expropriate this money and property from
this U.S. company.
My question to you, Mr. Ambassador, is, what is the status of
this assessment? Is the State Department prepared to deny those
responsible individuals a visa, and can you tell me what the execu-
tive branch is doing to help resolve the crisis between Rice Cor-
poration of Haiti and the Haitian government?
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Congressman Brady. First of
all, from the beginning, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince and
U.S. officials here in Washington-I being one of them-have
moved aggressively to protect U.S. business interests and also to
protect the safety of U.S. citizens down there, and we will continue,
let me assure you, to do so.
The Embassy at Port-au-Prince repeatedly contacted senior Fi-
nance Customs officials on RCH's behalf, as well as police and judi-
cial authorities. Washington-based visitors to Haiti also raised the
case at the highest level of the Haitian government with President
Preval and Prime Minister Alexis.
We have also reminded the Haitian government both in Wash-
ington and in Port-au-Prince that regardless of the specifics and
possible fault, the way in which the RCH case has been handled
feeds perceptions in the business community that due process does
not exist in Haiti and that the Haitian government is hostile to pri-
vate business interests. Certainly, the law enforcement and the ju-
dicial aspects of this case left a lot to be desired. We continue to
That said, there is a legal action pending in both U.S. and Hai-
tian courts between two U.S. companies over the ownership of Rice
Corporation Haiti, and we are awaiting the outcome of that devel-
opment. I think the case is expected to be heard in Texas in May.
Nonetheless, we continue to actively engage all parties to reach
a settlement that is both fair and consistent with Haitian and U.S.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. As you know, the legal
action in the U.S. is frankly too complicated, and not much the
business of Congress and the State Department. Initial actions by
the Rice Corporation of Haiti's opponents were poured out sum-
marily in a Texas District Court initially, and if I have two mes-
sages here for you, it is first, Haiti needs to understand Congress
is not going away on this issue until it is resolved fairly and pro-
portionately; and second, you have some good people working for
you on the ground on Haiti. Phyllis Forbes and Ken Mertin have
done a wonderful job on this, and Washington, D.C. Deputy Assist-
ant Secretary Lino Gutierrez and Marcia Barnes, Director of Carib-
bean Affairs, have been very responsive, so please pass my thanks
on to them.
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Congressman; messages re-
Mr. BRADY. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Brady. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield to my friend
and colleague, Mr. Conyers.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Bill Delahunt, but
I also want to get the permission of my colleagues here. I am a vis-
itor here-should be waiting, but Bill knows we have Internet gam-
bling coming up in Judiciary.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Conyers, we welcome having you here,
and please proceed. You are Ranking Member on our Judiciary
Committee and have long-term interest in Haiti, and we welcome
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you very much, and to all of you who are
here, we all join in in commending Ambassador Romero for the
good job that he is doing.
Now, I want to indicate that I join the chorus of those that are
amplifying their indignation at the international level with the
Family of Nations about the slowness of what is going on, but I
just want to make sure that we don't trip over some very important
realities here. There is no national police force, no national army
We meet with the head of the National Police Force, Pierre
Manuel, every time we are there. He gets great grades-he is an
excellent commander. We meet every time with the former Presi-
dent, Jean Bertrand Aristide, and I think I can document that he
has not just privately, but publicly gone on record repeatedly for
elections, free and fair open elections as early as possible and, as
you have indicated, Mr. Ambassador, he was the first to sign the
agreement that there would be nonviolence.
The problem that we are faced with is this: we need-short of
any of us going back down there again, which we were preparing
to do as observers for the election, we were all in place with bags
packed-but we need to understand that there are some problems
there. We met with the Chairman and the members of CEP and
with President Preval.
What I really need to know is exactly where are the 40,000 per-
sonnel for the election, and where are we on that because we have
a 75-percent illiteracy rate.
We could be moving toward the biggest mess in terms of an im-
portant worldwide election that we have ever seen, trying to get
that sort of thing. We saw the laminated photograph ID's, I think
that has come off reasonably well, but the security of the records,
the acquisition of 40,000 personnel, the training of them, and the
distribution of the voting material at the right place and right time
and then getting it back in a secure manner is something that we
really don't want to just say call the date. I would like you to re-
spond to that, and also ask if you do not agree with me that it was
correct, in hindsight now, to have suspended the April 9th elec-
tions, that many of the things we were concerned about may have
horribly come to fruition.
So could you, from that perspective, give me responses to these
comments, please, sir?
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Congressman Conyers. First,
let me express the State Department's deep appreciation for your
very direct and effective role in Haiti. You have, as we all have,
been frustrated by the lack of progress, but you haven't let that get
in the say and you continue to be a champion for democracy in
Haiti, along with your colleagues, and let me just reiterate that we
very much appreciate it.
Congressman, I think that we can all find problems, some of
them more significant than others, with respect to the organization
by the CEP of the elections. With respect to your particular ques-
tion, I believe that the CEP is on the verge of selecting all 40,000
campaign workers, where a couple of weeks ago they were pretty
far away from it.
Certainly, in all of the organization that has been done by the
CEP and with much of our support, the support of IFIS, they have
come a long way in the last 30 days; and I would say probably had
the elections been held 30, 60, or 90 days ago, they probably would
not have been, or would not be as good as they would be now, if
we can get an election date set.
Let me just reiterate a couple of reasons why we believe very
strongly elections need to be held. First of all, I mentioned the elec-
tion fever. Without holding elections, you will have a country that
will have gone through an unprecedented registration process and
groundswell of support for registration. You will have those demo-
cratic desires and hopes dashed.
But even more importantly, we have seen about $400 million of
IDB and World Bank money parked, waiting to be used in Haiti,
for a couple of years now, and not being able to be used because
there is no Congress to approve it.
We have been very disappointed, as you have been, with the lack
of judicial reform, and a lot of that is a direct result of the fact that
there is no Congress to appoint new judges. There have been no
elections to have new judges on the scene. There hasn't been a new
judicial code in Haiti, which is very, very necessary.
These are only just a few of the problems associated with not
having a Congress. I think that the conditions are sufficient to
have good, transparent, honest and fair elections.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you very much, sir. I want you to know
that I agree with every statement that you made in response to my
question, but could you, by the end of the working day-they are
going to be meeting tomorrow, and I presume, in my jaded senior
way, that this hearing was called to help even motivate them fur-
ther in addition to the Family of Nations outcry that is going on.
But couldn't somebody-we have got a great Embassy there, and
had several very good people there in charge-but couldn't some-
body tell me before the close of business tonight, the CEP position
of where they are right now? Couldn't somebody-I could pick up
the phone and call President Preval myself-but in the line of the
diplomatic relationships that we have, talk to him, and that we
come forward with a hearing that specifically lists what the presi-
dent of this beleaguered nation's problems are-they are one, two,
three, four, five-and the Chairman of the CEP and that Commis-
sion, who are a pretty independent group because they were ap-
pointed out of a conciliation of other parties and personalities in
Haiti, so that even though the president appointed them, they are
operating strictly on their own-and couldn't we come up with five
or four points that have caused them this kind of angst that we
now meet about?
That way, we wouldn't be talking in the general way about the
goals and problems and timetable that we are now, which are all
quite accurate, but they don't-I would like to present to you if you
don't present to me, a list of what President Preval has going on
in his head that is the problem and that of the CEP, too. If we had
that, I think we would be dealing with the specifics.
Now, by tomorrow, I think tomorrow we will know-24 hours
from now, we will know where they are and what they are doing.
But could you help me get to the detail of this matter?
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman Conyers, you put your finger
on an issue that is a moving target. Certainly, there is a lot of
progress being made on an hourly basis in Haiti, and so when it
comes to our attention issues related to selection of 40,000 poll
workers, et cetera, et cetera, we work through IFES with the CEP
to move this ahead. Certainly, there has been enormous progress
made over the last couple of days.
Well over a week ago, our Embassy was convinced that good elec-
tions could be held. If there are remaining issues that are going to
be teed up for the CEP meeting, the meeting between the President
and the CEP tomorrow, I will get those to you.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think Mr. Conyers
asked the question I really was going to ask you, on just what basic
reason Preval might have for not wanting the elections. Is there
some theory without actual facts, but some vision that has been
created to understand that better? For those of us that haven't
been there, I just really don't know.
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman Ballenger, it is good to have
you here with us today, and again let me thank you for all the good
work that you have done for us generally in the hemisphere. We
know we can count on you, but also particularly in Haiti.
It is hard to crawl into somebody's mind and get their motiva-
tion. Certainly, there have been very legitimate doubts raised
based on specific issues, the likes of which Congressman Conyers
One has to step back and wonder, though, whether those are an
excuse for moving ahead without a Congress. Certainly, when the
Congress was abolished in February 1999 and there were lots of
commitments that there would be elections soon, and the CEP, et
cetera, to conduct them, we had believed that because of irregular-
ities from the 1997 elections that were hampering the functioning
of those two houses of congress, that there would be a new election
to rectify those situations, and two new bodies established-or elec-
tions for representatives of those two bodies as soon as possible.
We have seen our efforts dashed, and those of the Haitian peo-
ple, political parties. One can conclude perhaps that President
Preval believes that congresses are superfluous to democracy and
that they are perhaps messy and that they hamper as opposed to
enhance the democratic experience.
Mr. BALLENGER. Just it appears, when they had congress, noth-
ing happened, they didn't accomplish anything. Then he gets rid of
Congress and they don't accomplish anything, so we are going to
have another election to elect a new Congress. Is there any reason
to think that the country will be better off?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think that when it comes to the basic
tools of democracy, Congressman Ballenger, dialogue and com-
promise and that sort of thing, you don't move the situation along
by having an abbreviated government running that country.
Sooner or later, Haitians have to sit down and engage in con-
stant dialogue the way we do in this body, and to engage in the
kind of compromise and understanding and exchange that con-
stitutes basic democratic principles. Until that happens, it is going
to be an abbreviated democracy.
Mr. BALLENGER. Let me ask you just a straight out question.
Have you received any reporting on who was behind the murder of
the owner of Radio Haiti-Inter?
Ambassador ROMERO. Let me say that we are shocked by the
murder of one of Haiti's most well known radio and print media
personalities, Jean Dominique. I have to liken it to the murder of
the most popular talk show host in Colombia a couple of months
back. It is a message that assassins and criminals and terrorists
like to send through a society by murdering some of the best-liked
people in that society, sending a chilling message to the Haitian
people-in this case, the Body Politique-that there is no place to
hide, and to try to get courageous people from all of the political
parties and from the private sector to back down and think twice
about getting out in front and championing democracy and elec-
tions, et cetera.
I can't tell you that we have any information or leads at this
time. We are pressing the HNP to investigate fully.
Mr. BALLENGER. One last question. Knowing that the drug trade
is flowing rather thoroughly through Haiti, is there any likelihood
that the drug traffic actually is influencing who is the government
in Haiti at the present time, or can you tell?
Ambassador ROMERO. It is very difficult to tell. I would have to
say that it is likely that some drug money is going to the cam-
paigns of some politicians. I can't tell you with any kind of speci-
ficity who they might be, and where it might be coming from. Cer-
tainly, we estimate about 13 percent of all of the cocaine that
comes into the United States transits through Haiti. We don't be-
lieve that the Haitian government has done an adequate job with
respect to cooperating on counter-narcotics, ergo, we did not certify
them, or more accurately, decertify them and gave them a waiver.
We continue to work with them; hopefully, we will see better per-
formance over the next year. But in terms of drug corruption itself,
it is one of those targets that in the best societies is really very
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ballenger. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. When we were there in Sep-
tember, we met with Secretary of State Security, Bob Manuel, and
we met with the Director of the Haitian National Police, Pierre
Denize. As we know, on October 7 Bob Manuel resigned from his
My question is, has the Secretary for State Security been filled?
Is there currently a person in that position?
Ambassador ROMERO. It has not been filled, and I think that that
was a position that was created largely to better buttress and sup-
port the police. We would hope that it would be filled as soon as
possible. Police Chief Denize is doing a yeoman's job in keeping
that force apolitical, keeping them on the right track, investigating
allegations, accusations of abuses. I believe that they have got 58
ex-policemen currently incarcerated, with many others having been
separated for abuses and corruption. I believe that the last time I
was here, one of the chief concerns of the Committee was pressure
being placed to politicize the police. We are in very close contact
with Police Chief Denize, and he has told us that the political pres-
sure that was coming from various quarters seems to have abated,
and he feels more comfortable in his job.
Mr. PAYNE. I know of the October 14th attempted assassination
on Jean Lemy. Now, when you try to put your finger on who is
causing what, Lemy was a close associate of Aristide, and someone
tried to kill him. Rumor has it that it is former President Aristide
creating all the problems, but I can't imagine or guess why he
would try to hurt one of his own top supporters.
Is there any way-and it is easy to say, he is probably the most
prominent person in the country, so anything that goes wrong, he
is doing it-is there any way to put any credence to the fact that
it is the Aristide forces that is creating the problem there, in gen-
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman, I asked the same question
that you just put to me a couple of days ago when this first hap-
pened, and I have to say that the answer that I got was that Mr.
Dominique had spoken out so vociferously against corruption,
against nepotism, even speaking out against members, or policies,
of the Preval government, policies or actions of Famni Lavalas and
Aristide as well as other parties, that it is very, very difficult to
determine a political motivation since he was so courageous in
speaking out publicly.
Mr. PAYNE. The CEP will be meeting tomorrow. The elections-
is there a date scheduled, did we hear a June date, or is that a tar-
get date? Has that been a fixed date, or is it something that will
Ambassador ROMERO. The June 12th date corresponds to another
date, and that is January-and I am told that in the Haitian con-
stitution those are two dates where new assemblies, two houses,
can be seated. So, if you work back from that date and you deter-
mine that there has to be two rounds of elections held and the ma-
chinery put in place to hold them, with the balloting, the campaign
workers, et cetera, then you begin to get a very strong sense that
unless elections are held by the end of April 30th, that it would be
exceedingly difficult to put all of that in place to have it take place
and then to seat a Congress or to seat two houses of legislators by
Mr. PAYNE. Still, December is the final election date, proposed
date, for the election of the president, correct?
Ambassador ROMERO. That is correct. It has been talked about,
it hasn't been set, but, yes, indeed.
Mr. PAYNE. Of course, one of the goals is certainly to ensure that
the elections are held separately. It would be difficult to hold Presi-
dential elections and elections for the parliament at the same time.
Ambassador ROMERO. Mechanically, I am told it would be vir-
tually impossible to hold all of those elections at one time, yes, sir.
The other part of it that needs to be taken into consideration is
that parties have spent so much already on campaign. There has
been a lot of organizational work done. As I mentioned earlier, we
have got election fever and the desires of many Haitians that if you
were to postpone these elections to the fall, you would probably get
many opposition parties who would boycott them, and I am worried
about what would happen in terms of the credibility and validity
of those elections if they were to be folded into one, even if you
could have them all at one time.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and, Am-
bassador Romero, thank you for all of your efforts.
I would assume that the primary objective is to have free and
fair and peaceful elections, am I correct?
Ambassador ROMERO. That is correct.
Mr. HASTINGS. I could make an argument for you, and I won't,
that what you just said might very well not be the case. I believe
personally that the elections could be held at the same time. While
I do not favor that, I don't see any prohibition in putting one more
line on an election and letting it go forward.
Toward that end, what do you intend to say today to the Organi-
zation of American States Permanent Council specifically regarding
the dangers to democracy?
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you. I think that is an excellent
question, and if I could preview some of my remarks with the Com-
mittee, I would like to, and that is that from the moment that
power was transferred from then President Aristide to President
Preval, I think that there was a great deal of hope within Haiti
that democratic institutions would begin to function; that there
would be reforms put into place; that certainly economic develop-
ment would go hand-in-hand with this political maturation process;
certainly, that there would be problems and violence, politically
motivated violence, would not end overnight, but that there would
be more of a linear progression toward a full democracy in Haiti.
Certainly, as Congressman Ballenger pointed out earlier, there
was a raucous parliament where business was not conducted in an
easy fashion, but there was progress and there was debate, which
is absolutely crucial.
But in February 1999, when President Preval abolished those
bodies, and even before that in, I believe, April 1997 where there
were some serious concerns about the outcome of or the results of
elections for those bodies, we were told-but, more importantly, the
Haitian people were told-that this would lead to the creation or
the re-establishment of an electoral tribunal to guide the country
toward elections as soon as practicable.
That has not happened but, more importantly, we see a political
will that seemed to exist a year ago vanish on the part of the presi-
dent. Certainly, there are specific problems associated with reg-
istering 4.2-plus million people, but most of those have been over-
come with 4 million people registered, given ID's with pictures on
them that is unprecedented in Haitian history, and the time is ripe
for elections because of all of the other issues that I have men-
tioned in terms of the need for Haiti to have a functioning Con-
Certainly, you can roll it all over into one big election in the au-
tumn. The country would suffer as a result. I am not so sure that
fiscally this country can make it to the end of the year without
some disbursements from the International Financial
Mr. HASTINGS. Is the international community prepared to with-
draw added assistance financially?
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman Hastings, we do not provide
direct assistance to the Haitian government. I can't speak for other
governments, but I would have to say that those who are providing
direct assistance would have to think twice about that assistance
in light of the Permanent Council action in the OAS today.
Mr. HASTINGS. Let me ask you then, specifically, and make a pre-
diction for you. There won't be any election in time for a par-
liament to be constituted by June 12th. I make that prediction
here, and I don't base it on anything other than past experience
with the slippage that has gone on. That said, what are we going
to do if there is no parliament on June 12th?
Ambassador ROMERO. If there is no parliament by June 12th, I
believe that what will happen will be the $400 million which would
provide a great deal of relief for the Haitian people will probably
disappear indefinitely. I believe that there would be an added cho-
rus of hemispheric leaders who would be outraged at the direction
that President Preval has decided to take in Haiti. I believe that
alongside of all of this, there would be some actions that we, as the
U.S. Government, would be forced to take in the matter.
I do think that our policy would undergo a serious review. This
would all take place in the context of a campaign and elections in
the United States, which would probably not be helpful for bipar-
tisan policy toward Haiti, but I would hope that would continue.
I do believe that it is absolutely essential that we continue the
aid programs that we have established and that have had a great
deal of success for the Haitian people-the feeding programs, the
infrastructure programs, the professional development programs in
the police and the judiciary, the cooperation with the Coast
Guard-all of those things, along with environmental programs,
are extremely vital and have had very good success, and I would
not advocate taking those off the table.
Mr. HASTINGS. We do know that if we declare them to be re-
moved from the Nation of democracies, I guess we would be calling
them a "non-democracy," and then when the boats float and they
come to our shores, greater arguments can be made for those that
arrive here, that they should be granted some status similar to
other persons in the hemisphere who come from non-democracies.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Thank
you, Mr. Hastings. Mr. Meeks.
Mr. MEEKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Ambas-
Let me ask a question because, right on the line, I am concerned,
when is a democracy not a democracy? When the people don't have
the free will to vote, and it seems as though, from your testimony,
the people of Haiti are excited, over 90 percent of the people reg-
istered to vote. However, when I talked to some of the opposition
candidates and when I have talked to some of the people, they are
fearful for their lives if, in fact, there is an election and they go
out to vote. With the Chief of the Haitian National Police and the
U.N. International Civilian Police Mission pulling out, and the
U.N. Civilian Mission in Haiti closed, if we have an election-you
need an election that has some integrity-and if we just have an
election and there is no integrity in the election, then we are still
going to be wrought with problems afterwards because people are
not going to respect the result of the elections.
So I am wondering, as we are moving forward and preparing for
elections and saying there is going to be one in June, what do we
have on the ground or in place so that there can be integrity in the
results of an election, if it is had, so that the people will feel that
their will was had? What do we have on the ground-I think that
Congressman Conyers asked-so that the people can go out to vote
and feel safe when they are voting, because the opposition leaders
that I have spoken with are fearing for their lives now as they
sneak back over here and talk to Members of Congress, have talked
So, I wonder, first of all, what do we have there?
Ambassador ROMERO. First of all, let me separate your question
into two parts. One is whether there will be an honest vote count,
and the other is security surrounding casting the ballot.
On the second, let me answer that we have earmarked about $2
million from aid resources to support the security of the HNP dur-
ing the balloting. Obviously, we are already engaged with pur-
chasing trucks, vehicles, in order for them to get around to polling
places and to do the best they can to secure areas, particularly
those precincts which are in tense areas, if you will, of the country
for election day.
So, I think we will be as helpful as we possibly can with the
HNP to get out and to support as best they can the security for
In terms of casting ballots, we have worked very closely with the
CEP through IFIS. We believe that there is a good process in place
to secure that balloting, to ensure the secrecy of the ballots them-
selves. As I mentioned earlier, we have got 40,000 workers, or al-
most 40,000 workers, who have been trained and who will be
trained, and I think they will be in place to secure the same.
All of that having been said, when you look at the conduct of pre-
vious elections, there have been an enormous amount of inter-
national organizations on the scene with respect to the OAS and
the United Nations, hundreds of folks relegated to OAS and U.N.
missions, hundreds of observers on the ground, U.S. military on the
ground, and all of that is gone. The reason why it is gone is be-
cause we and you all have determined that it was time to pull
Haiti off of these life supports, and to get the patient to walk on
its own. That is always going to engender a great deal of uncer-
tainty; but we believe that the time is ripe to have these elections,
conducted principally and exclusively by Haitians.
Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Hastings might have alluded to it, and I am just
trying to get edification for myself, I believe that the U.S. and the
International Development Banks and other agencies had pledged
to provide approximately somewhere in the area of $2 billion in as-
sistance by 1999. What is the status of that money and the dis-
bursement of that money? Is it contingent upon the elections, or
what is the status?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think that we know about $400 million
has been parked out there since 1997 or thereabouts. That is still
waiting, mostly World Bank and IDB money, and it is contingent
upon a Congress being seated. To us, it is unconscionable that this
money can't do the right things in Haiti to help the Haitian people
until there is a Congress seated.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Thank
you, Mr. Meeks.
We are pleased to have been joined today by the distinguished
Chairman of our Intelligence Committee, the gentleman from Flor-
ida, who has been a long-time advocate of improving the situation
in Haiti, Mr. Goss.
Mr. Goss. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ambassador, thank you for
I have read about the recent organized violent street protests
and political assassinations that we have all seen. Obviously, they
represent a very serious and alarming escalation of anti-election vi-
olence. They have the appearance of being turned on and turned
off by people who are able to do that.
My first question is, did our Embassy in Port-au-Prince warn you
that such an escalation was imminent at anytime in the past
month or so, and second, did our Embassy make any policy rec-
ommendations to you about what to do if we did have increasing
violence and, third, what were they and what were you to do about
them if, in fact, the violence came to pass, as it did?
Ambassador ROMERO. The Embassy, to my best recollection, re-
ported that it is likely that as we move toward either the date of
elections or setting a date for elections, that there would be likely
increased violence. That has been a recurring pattern in Haiti for
a long, long time.
I don't recall-perhaps my colleagues can correct me-but I don't
recall that the Embassy reported any specific targets or likely tar-
gets of that violence. Certainly, our own Embassy and our own se-
curity posture of our folks down there is continuously under review,
and I believe that they have taken the appropriate measures over
the last couple of weeks to ensure, to the extent possible, that U.S.
officials and Haitians connected with the Embassy are not harmed.
That having been said, there was an incident, I believe last
week, where one of our vehicles passing through one of the neigh-
borhoods had rocks and bottles and other things thrown at it.
Mr. Goss. Other than protection, did the Embassy make any pol-
icy recommendations to you about how to proceed with this esca-
lation of violence?
Ambassador ROMERO. I don't recall any. specific policy rec-
Mr. Goss. Is it the Administration's current assessment that
Aristide seeks to be president for life?
Ambassador ROMERO. Aristide is not president now.
Mr. Goss. I didn't ask that. Is it your assessment that he seeks
to be president for life and get some advantage perhaps out of a
one-election versus a two-elections process?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think that ex-President Aristide has been
forthcoming with us, at least rhetorically, in saying that he is four-
square in favor of elections, and before- -
Mr. Goss. But not elections in June, he hasn't been particularly
helpful about that.
Ambassador ROMERO. No, he has told us that he would be in
favor of elections in June. Now, what we have said is, fine, go out
and support it publicly and press President Preval for those same
elections. Those are steps that he has not yet taken.
We can extrapolate why he has not matched deed with word.
This has been very troubling for us. There have been, particularly
on the violent side, elements of the Famni Lavalas Party, particu-
larly the youth elements of that party who have been responsible
for some of the latest demonstrations that resulted in the burning
of a market and tires, et cetera, et cetera.
Mr. Goss. Would you characterize that former President
Aristide's conduct has been helpful in getting the elections accom-
plished by the CEP in order for the June deadline?
Ambassador ROMERO. I can't definitively say that they have been
helpful or harmful. I do know that his speaking out publicly and
his calling President Preval would be in the helpful category. That
has not yet taken place.
Mr. Goss. Do we have any plans in the Administration at this
point to reactivate Guantanamo Bay to be able to handle the refu-
gees in the event the violence continues and the elections do not
come to pass in June?
Ambassador ROMERO. I can't answer that, Congressman. I don't
know of any contingency planning that has been underway. My un-
derstanding is that Guantanamo is basically kept at a fairly high
readiness rate in terms of refugees generally, but I can't really ex-
plain to you today where they might be on that. But if you would
like, I can look into it and get back to you.
Mr. Goss. It would occur to me that the Administration should
have contingency plans if things continue to deteriorate in Haiti,
because that seems to be the pattern. Is that a reasonable assump-
Ambassador ROMERO. I can only say it is a reasonable assump-
tion. I don't believe that we are on the cusp of seeing boat people
taking to boats and rafts again. Certainly, the situation is frus-
trating and disquieting, but I don't see a wave of humanity waiting
in the cusp to leave Haiti.
Mr. Goss. How dangerous is it in Haiti today? If an American
tourist wanted to go there, or an Observation Team wanted to go
down and look into the CEP matters officially, that range of con-
duct. How dangerous would it be in Haiti today?
Ambassador ROMERO. My understanding is that the general
street crime and general criminality remains pretty much the
same, at unacceptably high levels. I haven't seen that change. Cer-
tainly, the assassinations of a husband and wife political team in
Petit Goave was very troubling. That happened over the weekend,
and the assassination, or the murder, of Jean Dominique on Mon-
day-again, very troubling-we do not see this as the beginning of
a wave of political assassinations. It would be too premature, at
best, to be in a position to make that kind of analysis.
Mr. Goss. I was not in the room, but I am advised that in your
earlier testimony you said that you have no feeling that there is
any official government intimidation that is holding back the CEP
in their efforts to get on with the election process. Is that your as-
Ambassador ROMERO. I don't see government intimidation. In
fact, the CEP and President Preval have held several meetings on
this issue, so there is communication. Unfortunately, the commu-
nication hasn't resulted in a unanimity of views on holding these
elections, but I haven't seen reports of government intimidation of
Mr. Goss. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. I want to thank Chairman Goss for appear-
ing today and taking part and participating in our testimony.
Chairman Goss has been a long-time advocate of making certain
we have good policy in Haiti.
Do you have a few more moments you can spare?
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, I have just been passed a
note that the Haitian Permanent Representative to the OAS, with
his colleagues, have succeeded in putting off the debate on Haiti for
1 day, so it will not take place until tomorrow afternoon.
Chairman GILMAN. All right. That is helpful to us. We will go for
another round of questions.
Mr. Romero, Mr. Secretary, I want to make sure I fully under-
stand your testimony about what may have happened with regard
to the murder of Jean Dominique and his colleagues.
Is it really true that the U.S.-that our government-has no in-
formation at all about who may have killed him?
Ambassador ROMERO. As of this morning, Mr. Chairman, we
didn't. We are pressing the investigative unit of the HNP to get to
the bottom of it. As I mentioned earlier, there are so many people
that he discussed and talked about so many issues that he made
public with respect to corruption and abuse of power, that it would
be hard to say or to pin it to any particular group of people, at
least at this point. But we are hoping that the HNP continues its
investigation, does its due diligence, and gets to the bottom of it.
Chairman GILMAN. Is there any suspicion that one of the secu-
rity advisors to former President Aristide or any other prominent
political figure in Haiti may have been a perpetrator?
Ambassador ROMERO. Again, Mr. Chairman, we don't have spe-
cific information. Certainly, Mr. Dominique spoke out against spe-
cific individuals who have been associated with the FL, the Famni
Lavalas Party, to include the gentleman that you mentioned,
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, we have received reports that
the Secretary General is concerned about a rapid deterioration of
the situation and is considering removing the U.N. personnel out
of Haiti. Is the Secretary General using the Administration's delay
in delivering our U.S. contribution to this mission for him to make
a decision to "cut and run" from Haiti?
Ambassador ROMERO. Certainly, the issue of financing for the
new entity MICAH is a subject of very deep concern to this Admin-
istration. We have been able to gather enough money to keep it
going at a lower rate, with fewer people, than had been anticipated.
We have, certainly, money frozen at this particular point for the fi-
nancing of that. I think it would be a big mistake, particularly
since we are headed into some turbulent times in Haiti, not to fi-
nance MICAH at an appropriate level.
We were looking at a level of about $18 million. As you know,
we provide about 80 percent of the voluntary financing for it, and
we have had the notification up before this body and the Senate
for several weeks now, and we are still waiting for the green light
to go ahead.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My own experience in
Haiti leads me to the conclusion that nothing is ever really clear
and that there are many shadows in Haiti. I, for one, find myself
always being restrained when I hear rumors and speculations be-
cause I have great doubt as to their legitimacy. It appears that
there are more than multiple agendas within Haiti that would dis-
seminate various rumors and present different theories. There are
plots and subplots and plots to plots that may or may not exist,
and I really don't think there is any advantage in terms of that
kind of speculation.
But I guess the fundamental question here is, in terms of the
holding of the elections and the frustration I think that we all
share in terms of those elections being held, and I think it is im-
plicit in the questions that have been asked, is the responsibility
for the delay predicated on genuine concern about logistics, infra-
structure and resources, or is it lack of will for whatever reasons
and motives? I think that is the crux really of the question because,
as my friend from New York, Mr. Meeks, asked, what is happening
to all that money out there, the one fact that we do know is that
without a government-and the predicate for a legitimate govern-
ment is the conduct of fair and free elections-and without that,
the suffering that the people of Haiti have endured will never,
never decline or diminish. That is why the need to have these elec-
tions has to be paramount because it is the sine qua non, it is the
essential ingredient in attempting to advance an agenda that I
think we all share-I know we all share-in terms of raising the
plight of the people of Haiti from the desperate situation that they
As I said, I keep an open mind as to the rumors that I hear; but
I think one fact that we know as of right now is that there is not
a date certain for the election, and that as time continues the only
conclusion that we can reach is, whoever is responsible, that we do
not have a democratic state.
There comes a point in time when it is "in the eye of the be-
holder," I guess, but we don't have a democracy, and I think the
consequences for the society for the people are so severe that it is
a great tragedy. It is a great tragedy.
What I can't understand is that two months ago when I was
there, there were three million people that were registered. Now
there are four million people that are registered. That is an incred-
ible success, one of the few bright lights in terms of what we see
coming from Haiti. One could just feel the enthusiasm and the ex-
citement-and you are absolutely right, Mr. Ambassador-there
was excitement and, yes, there are incidents of violence. Yet, I
daresay, in many other societies we have seen much more signifi-
cant violence; but to continue to not provide a date certain, I have
to presume, is creating such frustration that we lose the intensity
of commitment that I believe that civil society, society as a whole,
and, yes, all political parties, have to this series of elections. I don't
know whether it is political will.
Much has been said about the ex-president and President Preval.
This most recent murder, we don't know whether it is an assas-
sination. Hell, the murder occurred 24 hours ago. They don't have
the capacity to even conduct a preliminary investigation. Let us be
honest, they don't have those kind of resources. It is all guesswork.
But my understanding is that he was known as a Special Advisor
to Preval-Preval, who has affiliated himself with the Famni
Lavalas-and those who suggest it is not in the interest of the ex-
president to have these elections. When we were there, Mr. Ambas-
sador, we sat down with a number of individuals who were re-
spected by our government, who indicated that the polls estab-
lished the Famni Lavalas was substantially ahead if there were to
be an election.
So, I guess I don't know what is happening, but I know this: if
we don't have an election, if we do not have a date certain, I be-
lieve it is clear that the Organization of American States has a re-
sponsibility to declare Haiti a nondemocracy, whatever those con-
sequences are, because we can't continue this charade.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Did you
want to comment, Mr. Romero?
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman, I couldn't agree with you
more. There has to come a time when you have to put the interest
of the Haiti people and their dreams of democracy and development
on the first order of business, and that is what we are trying to
do through the OAS. Hopefully it will have the salutary effect of
opening President Preval's eyes to the fact that his people yearn for
the essential democratic exercise of elections.
For me, it really is so difficult to accept and believe that he, as
President, doesn't see that as the foremost, most fundamental posi-
tive development in Haiti when in previous elections we were talk-
ing about a voter turnout of about 15 percent, and something that
he, concerned with legacy now in presumably his last year in office,
should be more as opposed to less concerned about. But if you go
back and you look at it from the vantage point of last year, this
is a President who essentially created the CEP in the image that
he wanted it to be, and then proceeded to deny them the kind of
executive support that they needed to get the job done. So, I am
not sure about where President Preval is going. Hopefully with the
events of this hearing, some meetings that we will be having and
the OAS, this will begin to turn him around.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, we have been called to the
Floor for a vote and may have to wind up shortly. Before calling
on our last Member who hasn't had an opportunity to speak, I
want to make clear for the record that I do not have any hold on
the money you intend to obligate for the U.N. MICAH mission in
Haiti, nor does Senator Helms' staff, which now informs me that
they do not have any hold on these funds for the United Nations.
So, I want to make the record clear with regard to that. Mr. Sher-
Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, before I focus on the purpose of
these hearings, let me compliment you on the improved hearing
room and what appear to be some improved technological devices.
One thing that you may have already implemented but, if not, I
would highly recommend it, is that there is a service that will put
on the WorldWideWeb an audio of everything that goes on at pub-
lic hearings in this room. That would allow people concerned with
Haiti, whether they be in San Diego or in Maine, to hear these
hearings even if C-Span chooses not to broadcast them and even
if they can't afford a flight here to Washington and a chance to sit
on one of our very comfortable chairs in the audience.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you for your suggestion, Mr. Sherman.
Mr. SHERMAN. I think the testimony about democracy in Haiti
and the questions from my colleagues have been excellent and have
focused on this very important issue. So I would like to focus on
another related issue, and it is an issue where I doubt the Ambas-
sador has the answers, so I will ask him to submit them for the
record. The fact that I don't expect him to have the answers re-
flects my understanding, and that is when it comes to burden-shar-
ing, there isn't that much concern in the State Department. This
world has a number of rich countries around the world, from Vi-
enna to Tokyo by way of Washington. There are many who live in
relative prosperity. In many parts of the world there are great ex-
penses in providing security and somewhat less money is being
spent on economic aid. But that whole package represents what
rich countries and stable countries are doing for those in less fortu-
I would like the Ambassador to furnish for the record a compari-
son of all the money we have spent on Haiti-rather, all the money
that has been spent by the European Union on Haiti in the last
5 years for economic aid and for any contribution to military secu-
rity or physical security of the people there. Compare that to the
amount we have spent in Bosnia and Kosovo, because we live in
a world where if something happens on our doorstep we are sup-
posed to assume 100-percent of the cost; and if something happens
on the doorstep of an area of the world-namely, the European
Union-that is larger and richer and more populace than we are,
then we are also supposed to assume the lion's share of the load.
So, I would like to compare what the Europeans have done for
Haiti in terms of dollars, to the total cost not only of our economic
aid but especially of our military efforts in the former Yugoslavia.
Likewise, Japan also lives in an area where there are needs at its
doorstep-namely, the security needs, rather than the economic de-
velopment needs, of South Korea. I would like you to provide a
comparison of the total amount Japan has contributed to meeting
the security needs and economic needs of the people of Haiti to the
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Sherman, you have 6 minutes left to get
to the vote, to the Floor to vote, so please be brief.
Mr. SHERMAN [continuing]. Compared to the total amount we
spend providing security for the people of South Korea and the peo-
ple of Japan. If you can furnish that, I think it will illustrate the
fact that when it comes to burden-sharing, it is 100 percent our re-
sponsibility when it is here, and mostly our responsibility when it
is there. Thank you. We have a vote.
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you. I will make sure that we pro-
vide that. Thank you, Congressman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for taking the time
today, and we regret that a vote is coming up shortly. The meeting
[Whereupon, at 11:47 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
APRIL 5, 2000
Opening Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman
Full Committee Hearing
Haiti: Prospects for Free and Fair Elections
April 5, 2000
The Committee will come to order.
This morning we will examine the prospects for free and fair elections In
Haiti. Our witness Is the Honorable Peter Romero, Acting Assistant Secretary
of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
This is the first time that the Committee is meeting in our refurbished
hearing room. The new equipment you see includes advanced audio and video
technology to take us into the 21" century. As a result, among other
improvements, our audio feeds will be available in other Committee facilities. I
am pleased that we will also be able to take testimony from witnesses in another
city or on another continent.
Last week, the House lost a good friend. Colonel Jack Brady, who
worked for the House Foreign Affairs Committee for 26 years, including 17 as
Chief of Staff, passed away last week. From 1976 to 1993, he was the
personification of our Committee. Jack Brady was a man who took great pride
in serving his country, which he did with distinction in a number of arenas. I
ask my colleagues to join me now in recognizing Jack's extraordinary service to
this Committee and this House with a moment of silence.
I have supported U.S. engagement in Haiti during my career in the House
of Representatives. There is a substantial community of hard-working Haitian-
Americans in my district. I will continue to support U.S. assistance for the
people of Haiti.
Yesterday, my colleagues Mr. Goss, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Conyers, and Mr.
Delahunt, joined me in issuing the following statement:
QUOTE "As long-time supporters of Haiti and its people, we are
outraged by the recent political assassinations in that country. Yesterday,
the director of Radio Haiti-Inter, Jean Liopold Dominique and Jean-Claude
Louissaint, the radio's janitor, were murdered. On March 28th in Petit-
Goave, a local leader of the Patriotic Movement for National Salvation
(MPSN), Mr. Ligitime Athis, and his wife were murdered in their home.
Over the last month, the political situation in Haiti has deteriorated
sharply, threatening to derail considerable progress made by the
Provisional Electoral Council toward holding free and fair elections, and
reestablishing a functioning legislature and local councils. In addition to
political assassinations, orchestrated, violent street riots have erupted. We
strongly urge Haitian President Rene Preval to restore public order and
unequivocally signal that these attacks on the electoral process will not be
tolerated by immediately launching credible, thorough investigations of
The Organization of American States has urged the Haitian government
and the Provisional Electoral Council to agree to "an election date that
will allow the National Assembly to convene on the second Monday in
The Provisional Electoral Council is making the necessary arrangements to
meet this deadline. Time is of the essence. President Preval must act now
to work with the Provisional Electoral Council to set a firm date for the
election as the OAS has urged.
The Haitian people have come too far to see their hopes and dreams for a
peaceful, prosperous, and democratic country destroyed. While we
understand the difficulty of organizing elections, failure to hold them this
month will seriously jeopardize the hard-won support for Haiti presently
held by the American people and the international community.
The moment is fast approaching when the inter-American community must
Invoke the 1990 "Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal
of the Inter-American System" Resolution 1080 which provides for an
emergency meeting of the OAS foreign ministers to decide upon specific
collective action when democracy is threatened. We pray that the Haitian
government will take the immediate steps needed to avoid this outcome,
which would signify an end to the support of the United States and the
international community so crucial for Haiti's future." -END QUOTE
There are few moments in history where Haiti has stood so starkly at a
crossroads. The signs are as clear as they are disturbing. Haiti's leaders and
people must not misunderstand the seriousness of our resolve and our purpose.
We must act now to protect American interests in Haiti.
Statement by Acting Assistant Secretary
Peter F. Romero on U.S. Policy toward Haiti
House International Relations Committee
April 5, 2000
I am pleased to testify before this Committee once again on Haiti. This
hearing is particularly well timed, as much has happened since my last testimony
in November and the next weeks and months will be crucial to our mutual efforts
to promote democracy, recovery and development in Haiti. I look forward to a
frank exchange both on recent developments and on the ways we can work
together to pursue strong American interests in Haiti, particularly as Haiti faces
critical legislative and local elections.
Since the early 1990's, Haiti has been a prime focus of U.S. efforts in this
Hemisphere. Our objectives have been to help Haitians strengthen democratic
institutions and respect for human rights; alleviate crushing poverty, illiteracy,
and malnutrition; stem illegal migration; deter drug trafficking; and promote
stability throughout the Caribbean region.
Pursuing these objectives has been a huge challenge, and the record has
been decidedly mixed. Haiti Is struggling to overcome political, economic and
social legacies of nearly two centuries of ruthless, authoritarian regimes. It must
overcome the most severe poverty in the Western Hemisphere. Democratic
institutions are fragile at best. Unemployment, crime, illiteracy, corruption, drug
trafficking and poverty pose constant threats to stability.
In 1994 the US-led, UN-sanctioned Multinational Force restored
democratically elected government to Haiti. Had we and others failed to
intervene, Haiti's nightmarish repression and economic disaster under the de
facto military regime would have continued, along with flotillas of Haitians fleeing
the terror, who numbered about 67,000 from 1992-94. The vast majority of U.S.
troops were out of Haiti within six months, and the forces that remained moved
from intervention to peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance. On January 30 of
this year, the final elements of the U.S. Support Group withdrew, marking the
end of the continuous presence of U.S. forces in Haiti.
It is thus an appropriate moment to assess the progress achieved over the
past five years and consider the road ahead. Haiti has not fulfilled many of the
expectations associated with the restoration of democratically elected
government, but there have been significant strides to alleviate hunger, build
basic institutions, increase access to education and health care, combat
environmental degradation, and develop civil society and a free and active
press. These efforts reversed Haiti from the brink of economic and humanitarian
disaster and gave it a fresh start towards democracy and development.
Standing Firm for Free and Fair Elections
Of utmost concern now is the holding of elections to restore the
Parliament that has been disbanded for 15 months and install independent local
governments. Sustained efforts by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP),
backed by U.S. and international assistance, have created the technical
conditions for Haiti to hold free and fair elections in April and May and seat its
Parliament by the constitutionally-mandated date of June 12. Electoral
preparations have been characterized by some irregularities, but not at a level to
prevent a credible vote.
The Haitian people have shown their thirst for democracy by registering to
vote in record numbers: nearly four million Haitians over 90 percent of those
eligible have registered since January. More than 29,000 candidates are
competing for some 10,000 local, regional, and parliamentary offices.
Throughout Haiti, there is "election fever," as political campaigns are underway,
debates are broadcast on radio and television, and rallies and posters are
We are deeply troubled, however, by the failure of the Haitian government
to set a new date for elections. Last week, there were a string of protests, some
violent, by groups seeking to disrupt these elections. We are shocked by the
murders of prominent journalist Jean Dominique in Port-au-Prince and a center-
right activist and his wife In Petit Goave; an attack on at least one opposition
candidate; and reports that other opposition figures are receiving phone
messages of recorded machine gun fire.
Let no one mistake our messages. First, the Government of Haiti must
announce a new prompt date for legislative and local elections now. Failure to
constitute a Parliament by June 12 would risk isolating Haiti from the community
of democracies and jeopardize future cooperation. Second, the Government of
Haiti must work with the CEP to provide the financial, logistical and security
support needed for free, fair, and secure elections. Third, the violence
associated with the electoral process must cease immediately. Political leaders
are responsible for the actions carried out by their supporters, and there will be
consequences for actions to thwart democracy. Fourth, the legitimacy of
presidential elections later this year relies on credible, separate elections this
These messages have been announced publicly and communicated
directly to the leaders of the Government of Haiti and major political parties by
senior Administration officials and our Embassy in Port-au-Prince. We are
working with others in the international community including the UN, OAS, and
EU to deliver similarly strong messages. In fact, I will be addressing today the
Permanent Council of the Organization of American States on the dangers to
democracy represented by the absence of a firm date for new elections. The
U.S. made.a tremendous investment in the restoration of Haiti's democratic
institutions. We seek to ensure Haiti remains on a democratic path.
Building the Institutions of Democracy and Governance
When I last testified on Haiti before this committee, there were concerns
with recent events that indicated attempts by some sectors in Haiti to politicize
the five-year old Haitian National Police (HNP). Since that time, senior HNP
leaders report that this pressure has diminished, although we continue to watch
the situation closely. A recent survey showed that more than half of the Haitian
population continues to give the HNP high marks, the highest of any other
government institution. This figure is a remarkable transformation in a nation
where state security forces were historically feared as agents of repression.
Still, we recognize that the HNP is an immature force grappling with
serious problems of corruption, attrition, and incidents of narcotics trafficking and
human rights abuse. We support the activities of the HNP Inspector General in
investigating and prosecuting police members accused of committing crimes.
We are also committed to assisting training efforts through the USAID-funded
Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance
In addition, we are working with the United Nations and the so-called
"Friends of Haiti" to establish a new mission called the International Civilian
Mission for Haiti (MICAH). This mission supports nascent institutions of
democracy in Haiti by providing 100 international experts to support the police,
the human rights sector, and the judiciary. MICAH's police component is
focusing on developing improved management practices in the HNP. Its human
rights component is emphasizing support for indigenous organizations and
monitoring of human rights practices and potential abuses.
Fighting Drug Trafficking and Illegal Migration
Combating drug trafficking through Haiti remains one of this
Administration's highest priorities. Some 13 percent of the cocaine entering the
U.S. transits Haiti, and narco-traffickers operate with relative ease. Drug
trafficking is a direct threat to American national security interests, and threatens
to corrupt the basic institutions of Haiti, including the police, judiciary and
government. To fight this scourge, we have increased our DEA presence in
Port-au-Prince from one to eight officers in the past year, and increased
interdiction efforts to counter airdrops, direct freighter shipments and money
laundering. We are helping train the new Haitian drug enforcement unit and its
coast guard. In these efforts, we have regrettably received inadequate
cooperation from the Government of Haiti, in part because of insufficient
resources and the absence of a parliament needed to pass vital legislation. The
Administration determined on March 1 that Haiti failed to meet 1999 counter-drug
certification criteria, but that U.S. vital national interests required that Haiti be
We will continue efforts to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs. We will work on
an Interagency level in planning U.S. law enforcement activities in such areas as
tracking international traffickers, improving the drug interdiction capacity of
Haitian police, attacking money laundering, and facilitating cooperation between
Haiti and the Dominican Republic on cross-border narcotics issues.
Over the past five years, the number of illegal migrants leaving by boat for
the U.S. has declined and remains relatively low. The U.S. Coast Guard
Interdicted 67,140 Haitian migrants at sea from 1992-94; by contrast, in 1999,
there were only some 1,039 such interdictions. We will work with the Haitian
police to identify and prosecute individuals involved in alien smuggling
operations; and continue monitoring trends that may indicate the potential for
renewed large scale migration to the United States. We will also encourage
potential immigrants to use legal means of entry, noting that some 16,000
immigrant visas were granted to Haitians in 1999.
Building on Past Cooperation
We look forward to enhanced cooperation with this committee to help
ensure Haiti remains on a democratic path. We will continue to promote U.S.
interests by strengthening democratic institutions; promoting respect for human
rights, and transparent and responsive government; laying the groundwork for
sustainable economic development; disrupting the flow of illegal drugs; and
preventing illegal migrations.
With critical elections approaching, Haiti is at an important crossroad.. We
and our international partners have helped Haitians make prompt, credible
elections possible. We strongly hope Haitian leaders, themselves, will
demonstrate their commitment to the consolidation of Haitian democracy by
ensuring these elections take place in coming weeks in a free, fair, and peaceful
manner. Moreover, the U.S. and international community must remain engaged,
resisting the easy solace of fatigue and frustration. Already we have made a
foothold in supporting an increasingly confident civil society, a free and active
press, improved respect for human rights, vocal political opposition, decreased
population growth, and increased literacy and access to basic health and
population programs. Building on these accomplishments, we hope to help
Haitians move their country forward towards more responsive and democratic
governance and away from a long history of oppression and severe
underdevelopment. Thank you.
Questions for the Record Submitted to
Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs
Peter F. Romero
Of the House International Relations Committee
on April 5, 2000
Haiti: Prospects for Free and Fair Elections
Do we have any plans in the Administration at this
point to reactivate Guantanamo Bay to be able to handle the
refugees in the event the violence continues and the
elections do not come to pass in June?
We do not see any indication of an upsurge in Haitian
migration at this point in time. Although the naval base
at Guantanamo.Bay is kept at the ready in case of a mass
migration emergency, the Administration has no plans to
reactivate Guantanamo at this time.
Question for the Record submitted to
Acting Assistant Secretary Peter F. Romero
By Representative Brad Sherman
House International Relations Committee
April 5, 2000
Question: And I would like the Ambassador to furnish for
the record a comparison of all the money we have spent on
Haiti -- rather all the money that has been spent by the
European Union on Haiti in the last five years for economic
aid and -for any contribution to military security or
physical security of the people there, compare that to the
amount we have spent in Bosnia and Kosovo because we live
in a world where if something happens on our doorstep we
are supposed to assume 100-percent of the cost, and if
something happens on the doorstep of an area of the world -
- namely, the European Union -- that is larger and richer
and more populous than we are, then we are also supposed to
assume the lion's share of the load.
So, I would like to compare what the Europeans have
done for Haiti in terms of dollars, to the total cost not
only of our economic aid but especially of our military
efforts in the former Yugoslavia. Likewise, Japan also
lives in an area where there are needs at its doorstep --
namely, the security needs rather than the economic
development needs of South Korea. And I would like you to
provide a comparison of the total amount Japan has
contributed to meeting the security needs and economic
needs of the people of Haiti to the total ... amount we
spend providing security for the people of South Korea and
the people of Japan. So, if you can furnish that I think
it will illustrate the fact that when it comes to burden-
sharing, it is 100 percent our responsibility when it is
here, and mostly our responsibility when it is there.
The following table compares European Union disbursed
economic assistance to Haiti with disbursed US economic
assistance to Haiti for the period 1994-2000. Separate,
additional aid contributions from EU member states France,
Germany, and Netherlands are also listed, as is aid from
two other major bilateral donors, Japan and Canada.
I HFY 95 HFY 96
HFY 97 HFY 98 HFY99 TOTAL
Haitian Fiscal Year is October 1 to September 30. All
figures are US$ million, based on donor reporting to the
U.S. military spending and security assistance to Haiti are
outlined in the table below. We have no comparable data
for other donors.
U.S. Military and Security Assistance to Haiti ($ In millions)
FY1994 FY1995 FY1996 FY1997 FY1998 FY1999 FY2000 Total
actual actual actual actual actual actual est.
Function 150 Obligatons
Foreign Military Financing 0.0 3.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.3 0.3 4.3
Intl. Military Education & Training 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.16 0.28 1.0
Intl. Narcotics Control 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.7 1.1 2.8
Migration and Ref. Assist. 3.0 0.0 1.4 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.8
Emerg. Ref. and Migration Assist 1.9 4.1 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 7.4
Peacekeeping Operatons 28.0 25.3 12.1 15.7 14.1 5.0 6.8 107.0
U.S. Contributions to PKOs 0.5 51.8 39.9 16.8 7.0 7.0 6.8 129.8
Function 050 Obligations
Department of Defense 396.0 570.0 60.0 28.0 39.0 24.0 1117
Cummulative Totals 429.4 654.2 115.4 61.5 61.2 37.2 15.2 1374.0
U.S. military and non-military expenditures (Function 050
and 150 accounts) in Kosovo for FY 1999 and FY 2000
together total approximately $6.3 billion. $5.1 billion of
that is Department of Defense spending. For every $1.00
the U.S. is spending this fiscal year, other donors are
contributing $6.00 on average. Historically, U.S. economic
aid to Bosnia and Kosovo breaks out as follows:
FY 96 FY97 FY 98 FY 99 FY2000
Bosnia 255.2 261.57 267.65 213.43 184.8
Kosovo 324.25 287.0
All figures in millions of US dollars
The U.S. spends about $280 billion on national defense,
including in support of various treaty commitments. Japan
spends roughly $45 billion dollars a year on its own
national defense and is one of only two nations that meet
the U.S. congressional target for cost sharing, relative to
ability to contribute. This includes the roughly $4.5
billion Japan spends annually on the HNS that maintains our
forward deployed presence, which is also more than we
receive from any other ally. Our bilateral alliance with
Japan (the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security
Between the United States of American and Japan of 1960) is
the key to our security strategy in the Asia-Pacific
region, and is crucial to the forward deployment of U.S.
forces there. Cost sharing in support of stationed U.S.
forces remains Japan's most significant responsibility-
sharing contribution. Its host-nation support is the most
generous of any U.S. ally, covering an estimated 75% of
U.S. basing costs. Under the terms of the Special Measures
Agreement concluded in 1995 Japan pays virtually all of the
costs of local national labor employed by U.S. forces, as
well as the costs of public utilities on U.S. bases. Under
the separate Facilities Improvement Program, Japan
voluntarily provides substantial funding for quality-of-
life projects, including housing, community support and
recreational facilities, and utilities upgrades.
In addition to its contributions to cost sharing, Japan
actively supports crisis management and nation-building
efforts around the world.
Although Japan is barred by law from providing security
assistance to other nations, Japan provided $9.4 billion in
official development assistance worldwide in 1997,
representing 0.24 percent of its GDP. In particular, Japan
has contributed $32 million in support of nuclear
nonproliferation efforts on the Korean Peninsula and has
pledged $1 billion in loans for construction of light water
reactors in support of the U.S.-North Korea Agreed
The Republic of Korea also contributes directly to its own
security through both direct and indirect contributions
toward U.S. non-personnel stationing costs incurred by the
United States. In addition, it spends about 3.2% of its
GDP (1998 figure) on defense. ROK annual defense spending
grew by 36% from 1990 to 1998, compared to a decline of
nearly 25% for all other Pacific and NATO nations combined,
and a reduction of 29% for the United States over this
A fuller discussion of these issues can be found in the
1999 "Contributions to the Common Defense Report" prepared
for the Congress by the U.S. Department of Defense in
response to the requirements of the FY1999 Defense
Authorization Act and previous.