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THE EMERGING DRUG THREAT FROM HAITI
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE,
DRUG POLICY, AND HUMAN RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
APRIL 12, 2000
Serial No. 106-194
Printed for the use of the Committee on Government Reform
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.gpo.gov/congress/house
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
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For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U S Government Printing Office
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COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
BENJAMIN A GILMAN, New York
CONSTANCE A MORELLA, Maryland
CHRISTOPHER SAYS, Connecticut
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
JOHN M McHUGH, New York
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L MICA, Florida
THOMAS M DAVIS, Virginia
DAVID M McINTOSH, Indiana
MARK E SOUDER, Indiana
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
STEVEN C LATOURETTE, Ohio
MARSHALL "MARK' SANFORD, South
BOB BARR, Georgia
DAN MILLER, Florida
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
LEE TERRY, Nebraska
JUDY BIGGER, Illinois
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
DOUG OSE, California
PAUL RYAN, Wisconsin
HELEN CHENOWETH-HAGE, Idaho
DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
HENRY A WAXMAN, California
TOM LANTOS, California
ROBERT E WISE, JR, West Virginia
MAJOR R OWENS, New York
EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York
PAUL E KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania
PATSY T MINK, Hawan
CAROLYN B MALONEY, New York
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, Washington,
CHAKA FATTAH, Pennsylvania
ELIJAH E CUMMINGS, Maryland
DENNIS J KUCINICH, Ohio
ROD R BLAGOJEVICH, Illihnois
DANNY K DAVIS, Illinois
JOHN F TIERNEY, Massachusetts
JIM TURNER, Texas
THOMAS H ALLEN, Maine
HAROLD E FORD, JR, Tennessee
JANICE D SCHAKOWSKY, Illinois
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont
KEVIN BINGER, Staff Director
DANIEL R MoLL, Deputy Staff Director
DAVID A KASS, Deputy Counsel and Parliamentarian
LISA SMITH AEAFUNE, Chief Clerk
PHIL SCImLI R, Minority Staff Director
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, DRUG POLICY, AND HUMAN RESOURCES
JOHN L MICA,
BOB BARR, Georgia
BENJAMIN A GILMAN, New York
CHRISTOPHER SAYS, Connecticut
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
MARK E SOUDER, Indiana
STEVEN C LATOURETTE, Ohio
ASA HUTCHINSON, Arkansas
DOUG OSE, California
DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
DAN BURTON, Indiana
PATSY T MINK, Hawan
EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York
ELIJAH E CUMMINGS, Maryland
DENNIS J KUCINICH, Ohio
ROD R BLAGOJEVICH, Ilhnois
JOHN F TIERNEY, Massachusetts
JIM TURNER, Texas
JANICE D SCHAKOWSKY, Illinois
HENRY A WAXMAN, California
SHARON PINKERTON, Staff Director and Chief Counsel
LISA WANDLER, Clerk
CHERRI BPANSON, Minority Counsel
H hearing held on April 12, 2000 .............................................................................. 1
Fauriol, George, Center for Strategic and International Studies .............. 87
Steinberg, Ambassador Donald, Special Haiti Coordinator, U.S. Depart-
ment of State; Carl Alexandre, Director, Overseas Prosecutorial Devel-
opment Assistance and Training [OPDAT], Criminal Division, Depart-
ment of Justice; Rear Admiral Ed J. Barrett, USCG, Director, Joint
Interagency Task Force [JIATF] East; Michael Vigil, Senior Agent in
Charge, Caribbean, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and John
Varrone, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Investiga-
tions, U .S. Custom s Service ..................................................... ................. 9
Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by:
Alexandre, Carl, Director, Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assist-
ance and Training [OPDAT], Criminal Division, Department of Justice,
prepared state ent of ................................................................................. 22
Barrett, Rear Admiral Ed J., USCG, Director, Joint Interagency Task
Force [JIATF] East, prepared statement of .............................................. 37
Fauriol, George, Center for Strategic and International Studies, prepared
state ent of ................................................................................................. 90
Mica, Hon. John L., a Representative in Congress from the State of
Florida, prepared state ent of ................................................................... 6
Steinberg, Ambassador Donald, Special Haiti Coordinator, U.S. Depart-
m ent of State, prepared statement of ........................................................ 12
Varrone, John, Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Office of Inves-
tigations, U.S. Customs Service, prepared statement of ......................... 64
Vigil, Michael, Senior Agent in Charge, Caribbean, U.S. Drug Enforce-
ment Administration, prepared statement of ........................................... 51
THE EMERGING DRUG THREAT FROM HAITI
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2000
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, DRUG POLICY,
AND HUMAN RESOURCES,
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:15 a.m. in room
2203, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John L. Mica (chair-
man of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Mica and Gilman.
Staff present: Sharon Pinkerton, staff director and chief counsel;
Lisa Wandler, clerk; Charley Diaz, congressional fellow, Cherri
Branson, minority counsel; and Jean Gosa and Earley Green, mi-
nority assistant clerk.
Mr. MICA. Good morning. I would like to call this hearing of the
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Re-
sources to order.
We are going to go ahead and begin. There is a markup that
some of our Members are involved in, but we do have two panels
of witnesses to hear from, and we can proceed.
The order of business will be my opening remarks and statement,
and then, as other Members join us, they can either give their
opening statements or we will submit them for the record. We will
leave the record open for a period of 2 weeks, without objection, for
additional statements or materials submitted as a result of this
hearing from witnesses or those interested in providing statements,
information for the record.
Today's hearing is titled, "The Emerging Drug Threat from
Haiti." That is the subject of our concern here as an investigations
and oversight subcommittee of the House Government Reform
Five years after the United States military intervened to restore
democracy in Haiti, and nearly $4 billion later, Haiti has become
the center of Caribbean drug trafficking. Many of these illegal
drugs end up on our streets and in schoolyards across the United
States. Today, the subcommittee will exercise its oversight respon-
sibility to assess the current drug threat from Haiti and to examine
the failure of wasteful spending of hundreds of millions of taxpayer
dollars which were expended to reform Haiti's judicial system and
What have American taxpayers gotten for their money? A lot of
questions are now being raised. The answer appears to be a flood
of deadly narcotics which are now washing up on our shores.
As one of today's witnesses wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal
article, "Haiti is a political basket case." The Los Angeles Times re-
cently characterized Haiti as "Increasingly lawless, corrupt, and
poor, and also pivotal to a multi-billion-dollar business in cocaine."
And a recent Miami Herald article linked corruption and drug traf-
ficking to an American propped-up political bureaucracy in Haiti.
Furthermore, a recent report of the Congressional Research Serv-
ice states that the unemployment rate in Haiti has now reached 80
Despite years of United States' assistance totaling billions of dol-
lars, Haiti is now the major drug transshipment country for the en-
tire Caribbean region, funneling huge shipments of cocaine from
Colombia to the United States. Some have called Haiti the "cross-
roads of the Caribbean drug trade."
DEA estimates that last year 67 metric tons of cocaine moved
through Haiti, a 24 percent increase over 1998. This cocaine poison
eventually makes its way to the United States and destroys Amer-
The United States drug czar now estimates that there are over
52,000 drug-related deaths in this country every year. The social
cost of illegal drugs-some of the lower figures are $110 billion a
year, and I have seen that figure, with everything taken into con-
sideration, almost double. More importantly, over half of our Na-
tion's young people will try illegal drugs before they finish high
Haiti is now responsible for fully 14 percent of all the cocaine en-
tering the United States from Colombia. How did we come to this
point? On one hand, Haiti's location between the United States and
the major South American drug-producing countries makes it a
very logical transshipment point for illegal narcotics. Also, as the
poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is extremely vul-
nerable to official corruption.
On the other hand, we spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer
dollars to reform the judicial system and rebuild the national police
force from the ground up.
We must ask: have the money and efforts made a difference? Un-
fortunately, Clinton-type nation building has, once again, had a
The sad fact is that much, and probably most, of this taxpayer
money has been wasted. A recent CBS News segment that aired on
60 Minutes was dedicated to this issue. The reporters visited Haiti
to explore the judicial reform program funded by the U.S. Agency
for International Development [USAID]. CBS wanted to know what
has the United States gotten for its effort and also for its money.
Their conclusion was not much. They discovered lawlessness,
bodies in the street, no police in sight, and hundreds of Haitian
citizens locked up in pretrial confinement in overcrowded jails with
no system to identify even what crimes these people were accused
On the topic of drug smuggling, the drug traffickers are very
aware of the absence of an adequate defense along Haiti's southern
coastline. Colombian drug lords have once again shifted a large
portion of their operations, and they have chosen Haiti as a site of
According to DEA, our Drug Enforcement Administration, the
primary method for smuggling large quantities of cocaine through
the Caribbean to the United States is on maritime vessels. Colom-
bian drug traffickers are now using so-called "go fast boats" to
move cocaine, as much as a ton at a time, from the north coast of
Colombia to the south coast of Haiti. Drugs are then transferred
over land to the Dominican Republic for further shipment to the
United States, including routing through Puerto Rico, and also to
Also, approximately a third of the Haitian drug flow occurs
through air drops into mountainous regions of the country.
Much of the interdiction and enforcement work falls on the backs
of our domestic law enforcement agencies, including DEA, the Cus-
toms Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, and also support from our De-
partment of Defense. These agencies work to support goal four of
the national drug control strategy, which is "to shield America's
air, land, and sea frontiers from the drug threat." That is the mis-
Sadly, funds and resources provided by Congress several years
ago to Puerto Rico and that area of the Caribbean have been shift-
ed or expired. I was briefed on this during a short visit to Puerto
Rico. Our staff also went down there recently. We were alarmed to
find out that funds and programs that were supported financially
by the current Speaker of the House, who had responsibility as
chair of the subcommittee with oversight responsibility, also put to-
gether the program for supplemental funding for these programs.
We found that much of that effort has evaporated or resource has
been diverted from that region of the hemisphere, and once again
we find ourselves at risk with an incredible sheer volume of hard
narcotics coming in through Haiti.
This tragic situation is worsened by other shortfalls in Clinton
administration efforts. We have lost our air base in Panama, and
we have ceded control of this strategic area without first obtaining
replacement bases in a timely fashion for continued effective air
surveillance. Air surveillance is so key to both finding the source
of illegal narcotics, and also obtaining the assistance, cooperation
of other nations in interdicting these drugs as they leave the source
and before they reach our shores.
With the absence of U.S. intelligence sharing, due, in part, to the
reduced air coverage following the forced closure of Howard Air
Force Base in Panama, our counter drug efforts in the region have
been further crippled.
The General Accounting Office has documented a dramatic re-
duction in DOD assets that are committed to reducing the supply
of illegal drugs in America. This is a report that I requested. It was
published at the end of 1999, December 1999.
Among the GAO report findings are the following covering the
period from 1992 to 1999, which we asked them to review:
The report states "the number of flight hours dedicated to detect-
ing and monitoring illegal drug shipments declined from approxi-
mately 46,000 to 15,000, or some 68 percent." If there has been
since 1992 any war on drugs, it must be a figment of fantasy and
imagination from this administration. I think this report clearly
shows that the war on drugs was, in fact, closed down, not only by
the 68 percent reduction in flight hours dedicated to detecting and
monitoring illegal drug shipments, but also the second major point
of the investigation. GAO said the number of ship days declined
from about 4,800 to about 1,800, which was a 62 percent reduction.
DOD has diverted resources to other priorities and has appar-
ently lost the will and commitment to win this battle.
The findings of this GAO report are just another indicator of the
Clinton administration's lack of commitment to effectively combat
the scourge of illegal drugs and stem the unbelievable tide of co-
caine and heroin that is now transiting through the Caribbean.
What is Haiti doing? Is Haiti doing all that it can as a sovereign
nation? Is it fully cooperating with the United States in the war
Well, President Clinton decertified Haiti this year, which was an
appropriate step. Then, he granted the country a national interest
waiver, in essence nullifying the decertification. He took this ac-
tion, despite the fact that the Haitian government has not passed
much-needed counter narcotics legislation. He took this step, de-
spite the fact that intelligence reports that we have, press ac-
counts, and other documentation from our anti-narcotics forces and
United States agencies indicates that corruption from illegal nar-
cotics has now reached the very highest offices and officials in
Why hasn't the Haiti parliament passed this needed legislation?
One reason is that the current Haitian President Preval unilater-
ally shut down the Haitian parliament.
The ratio of Haitian police to population is one of the lowest in
the world, and the Nation's counter-narcotics police unit, the BLTS,
numbers only 24 personnel, while serving a population of 8 million
Beginning in November 1998, democratic elections in Haiti were
repeatedly postponed. Once again, in a dictatorial fashion, Presi-
dent Preval has postponed elections for a third time, and I under-
stand that is now put out until May of next year.
Indeed, all of this is a disappointment, particularly when we
have invested billions and billions of American dollars propping up
one corrupt administration in Haiti for now another corrupt admin-
I am conducting this important hearing today because the ulti-
mate success or failure of Haiti's governmental institutions and its
commitment to counterdrug efforts directly impact us here at
home. Last year, this subcommittee held 28 hearings, 16 on drug
policy and related topics-more than any other House subcommit-
tee or committee. This year I intend to continue our oversight in
Despite some differences, I know that members of the committee
on both sides of the aisle are equally committed to the successful
implementation of our national drug control strategy.
The United States and our hemisphere are facing some of the
greatest challenges ever to our security interests. Just look at the
turmoil in Colombia. I think Haiti is ripe for even further degrada-
tion in its situation with domestic turmoil, with corruption, and
with drug interests taking further hold on this small, poor island
I think we must do more to protect our hemisphere and our own
national security, including the security of our homes and commu-
In order to succeed, we must keep an eye on the ball and also
undertake a strategic and defensive and decisive approach.
We certainly must ensure accountability from those receiving
hard American taxpayer dollars. We owe it to the American public,
as well as to the people of Haiti.
I wish to thank our witnesses for testifying before us today. We
look forward to hearing more about the challenging situation in
Haiti and what the United States and Haiti can and should do
about it and what our strategy is to go from this point forward.
[The prepared statement of Hon. John L. Mica follows:]
OT A O MAYLAND ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
SCongress of the Uniteb 'tates
.J oute of zRepresentattib
SAL 'SOSOCAOUNA COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
"AU. sAO, 2157 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING D I
WASHINGTON, DC 20515-6143 Is rU ie ME
Chairman John L. Mica
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice,
Drug Policy and Human Resources
April 12, 2000 Hearing:
The Emerging Drug Threat from Haiti
Five years after the United States military intervened to "restore democracy" in Haiti, and
nearly $4 billion later, Haiti has become the center ofCarribean drug trafficking. Many of these
illegal drugs end up on our streets and in schoolyards across this country. Today, this
Subcommittee will exercise its oversight responsibility to assess the current drug threat from
Haiti and to examine the failure of the wasteful spending of hundreds of millions of taxpayer
dollars spent to reform Haiti's judicial system and national police.
What have American taxpayers gotten for their money?
The answer appears to be a flood of deadly narcotics now washing up on our shores. As one of
today's witnesses wrote in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Haiti is a "political basket case."
The Los Angeles Times recently characterized Haiti as "increasingly lawless, corrupt and
poor," and "pivotal to a multibillion-dollar business in cocaine." And a recent Miami Herald
article linked corruption and drug trafficking to an American propped-up political bureaucracy.
Furthermore, a recent report of the Congressional Research Service states that the
unemployment rate in Haiti has now reached 80%.
Despite years of U.S. assistance totaling Billions, Haiti is now the major, drug
transshipment country of the entire Caribbean, funneling huge shipments of cocaine from
Colombia to the United States. Some have called Haiti the "crossroads of the Caribbean drug
trade." DEA estimates that last year 67 metric tons of cocaine moved through Haiti -- a 24%
increase over 1998.
This cocaine poison eventually makes it way to the United States and destroys American
lives. The U.S. Drug Czar now estimates that there are over 52,000 drug-related deaths in this
country every year. The social cost of illegal drug use is $110 billion per year. More
importantly, over one half of our nation's young people will try illegal drugs before they finish
Haiti is now responsible for fully 14% of all the cocaine entering the U.S. from
Colombia. How did we come to this?
On the one hand, Haiti's location between the United States and the major South
American drug producing countries makes it a logical transshipment point for illegal drugs.
Also, as the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti is extremely vulnerable to
On the other hand, we have spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer money to reform the
judicial system and rebuild the national police from the ground up. But, we must ask, have the
money and efforts made a difference? Clinton type nation building once again has disastrously
The sad fact is that much, and probably most, of this taxpayer money has been wasted. A
recent CBS news segment that aired on "60 Minutes" was dedicated to this issue. The reporters
visited Haiti to explore the judicial reform program funded by the U.S. Agency for International
Development ("US-AID"). CBS wanted to know what has the U.S. "gotten for its effort and its
money." Their conclusion: "not much." They discovered lawlessness, bodies in the street, no
police in sight and hundreds of Haitians citizens locked up in pretrial confinement,. in
overcrowded jails, with no system to identify even what crimes they were accused of.
On the topic of drug smuggling, the drug traffickers are very aware of the absence of an
adequate defense along Haiti's southern coastline. Colombian drug lords have once again shifted
a large portion of their operations and they have chosen Haiti. According to the Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA), the primary method for smuggling large quantities of
cocaine through the Caribbean to the Untied States is on maritime vessels.
Colombian drug smugglers are now using so-called "go-fast" boats to move cocaine --as
much as a ton at a time --from the north coast of Colombia to the south coast of Haiti. Drugs are
then transferred overland to the Dominican Republic for further shipment to the United States
(including Puerto Rico) and Europe. Also, approximately a third of the Haitian drug flow occurs
through "airdrops" into the mountainous regions of the country.
Much of the interdiction and enforcement work falls on the backs of our domestic law
enforcement agencies, including the DEA, the Customs Service, and the United States Coast
Guard with support from the Defense Department. These agencies work to support goal four of
the National Drug Control Strategy: to "Shield America's air, land, and sea frontiers from the
drug threat." Sadly, funds and resources provided by Congress several years ago to Puerto Rico
and that area of the Caribbean have been shifted or expired.
This tragic situation is worsened by other shortfalls in Clinton Administration efforts.
We have lost our air base in Panama and ceded control of this strategic area without first
obtaining replacement bases for continued effective air surveillance. With the absence of U.S.
intelligence sharing, due in part to the reduced air coverage following the forced closure of
Howard Air Force Base in Panama, our counterdrug efforts in the region has been further
The General Accounting Office (GAO) has documented a dramatic reduction in
Department of Defense (DOD) assets that are committed to reducing the supply of illegal drugs
Among GAO report findings are the following, covering the period from 1992 -1999:
The number of flight hours dedicated to detecting and monitoring illicit drug
shipments declined from approximately 46,000 to 15,000, or 68%.
The number of ship days declined from about 4,800 to 1,800, or 62%.
DOD has diverted resources to other priorities and has apparently lost the will and
commitment to win this battle.
The findings of this GAO report are just another indicator of the Clinton
Administration's lack of commitment to effectively combat the scourge of illegal drugs.,
And what is Haiti doing? Is Haiti doing all that it can as a sovereign nation? Is it fully
cooperating with the United States in the war on drugs? Well, President Clinton decertified Haiti
this year, but then granted the country a "national interests" waiver, in essence nullifying the
decertification. He took this action despite the fact that the Haitian government has not passed
much-needed countemarcotics legislation.
Why hasn't the parliament passed this needed legislation? One reason is that Haitian
President Preval unilaterally shut down the Haitian parliament.
The ratio of Haitian Police to population is one of the lowest in the world, and the
nation's counternarcotics police unit ("BLTS") numbers only twenty-four personnel, while
serving a population of eight million citizens. Beginning in November 1998, democratic
elections in Haiti were repeatedly postponed. Once again, in a dictatorial fashion Preval has
postponed elections for a third time.
I'm conducting this important hearing today because the ultimate success or failure of
Haiti's governmental institutions and its commitment to counterdrug efforts directly impact us
here at home.
Last year this Subcommittee held twenty-eight hearings, sixteen on drug policy and
related topics (more than any other House subcommittee or committee). This year I intend to
continue our oversight in this area. Despite some differences, I know that the members of this
Subcommittee, on both sides of the aisle, are equally committed to the successful
implementation of our National Drug Control Strategy.
The United States and our hemisphere are facing some of the greatest challenges ever to
our security interests. Just look at the turmoil Colombia. I think we must do more to protect our
hemisphere and our own national security, including the security of our homes and communities.
In order to succeed, we must keep our eye on the ball and undertake a strategic and
decisive approach. We certainly must ensure accountability from those receiving hard earned
American taxpayer dollars. We owe it to the American public, as well as the people of Haiti.
I wish to thank our witnesses for testifying today. We look forward to learning more
about the challenging situation in Haiti, and what the United States and Haiti can and should do
Mr. MICA. At this time we have our first panel of witnesses.
Panel one today consists of Ambassador Don Steinberg, who is the
special Haiti coordinator under the U.S. Department of State; Mr.
Carl Alexandre, the director of Overseas Prosecutorial Develop-
ment Assistance and Training [OPDAT], the Criminal Division of
the Department of Justice. We also have Rear Admiral Ed J. Bar-
rett, and he is with the U.S. Coast Guard, and he is Director of the
Joint Interagency Task Force [JIATF] East; Mr. Michael Vigil, sen-
ior agent in charge in Miami [SIC] of the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration; and Mr. John Varrone, the Acting Deputy Assist-
ant Commissioner, Office of Investigations of the U.S. Customs
I will inform our witnesses that this is an investigations and
oversight subcommittee of Congress, and, as such, we do swear in
our witnesses, which I will do in just a minute.
Additionally, if you have lengthy statements, documentation, or
material which you would like entered into the record, we would
be glad to do so upon a request and unanimous consent of the sub-
With those opening remarks, we are going to go ahead and pro-
ceed and begin hearing from our witnesses.
I will first ask you to stand and be sworn.
Mr. MICA. Witnesses answered in the affirmative.
I welcome you and thank you for your participation today.
With that we'll first recognize Ambassador Don Steinberg. He is
the special Haiti coordinator from the U.S. Department of State.
Welcome, Sir. You are recognized.
STATEMENTS OF AMBASSADOR DONALD STEINBERG, SPECIAL
HAITI COORDINATOR, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; CARL
ALEXANDRE, DIRECTOR, OVERSEAS PROSECUTORIAL DE-
VELOPMENT ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING [OPDAT], CRIMI-
NAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE; REAR ADMIRAL
ED J. BARRETT, USCG, DIRECTOR, JOINT INTERAGENCY
TASK FORCE [JIATF] EAST; MICHAEL VIGIL, SENIOR AGENT
IN CHARGE, CARIBBEAN, U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMIN-
ISTRATION; AND JOHN VARRONE, ACTING DEPUTY ASSIST-
ANT COMMISSIONER, OFFICE OF INVESTIGATIONS, U.S. CUS-
Ambassador STEINBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome
the opportunity to be here today to talk about recent events in
Haiti and our mutual efforts to address some of the problems that
you've talked about already.
I have submitted a statement for the record.
Mr. MICA. Without objection, the entire statement will be made
part of the record.
Ambassador STEINBERG. And so I wanted just to take a few mo-
ments to review some of the elements in that statement.
I have been in the position as special Haiti coordinator just since
November, but have already made six trips to Haiti, and it is clear
to me that we have a huge challenge ahead of us in helping Haiti
move down the road in democracy, rule of law, and economic devel-
opment. That road has been bumpy at best so far. There are no
quick fixes to helping a country overcome the legacies of two cen-
turies of authoritarian regime, rapacious military forces, and class
Clearly, many of the expectations that we all shared after the
democratically elected government was restored in 1994 have not
My testimony highlights some of the areas of frustration, includ-
ing halting progress on human rights, and, as you've said, the sad
state of the judiciary and prison systems.
One key area of disappointment has, indeed, been the growing
problem of drug trafficking. Cocaine trafficking now totals some 14
percent of the cocaine entering the United States. I agree that this
is a direct national security threat to this country.
DEA, Customs, and Justice will describe their growing programs
in a moment, which I believe show the seriousness with which this
administration is attacking the threat. They will discuss our en-
hanced permanent anti-drug presence in Haiti and new efforts to
counter air drops, freighter shipments, and money laundering.
Within the State Department, as well, the Bureau of Inter-
national Narcotics and Law Enforcement is the lead bureau for
training programs and border cooperation.
I agree, as well, that narcotrafficking and corruption are direct
threats to Haiti as well, including the young and new institutions
of the national police, the judiciary, and the government itself. This
is one of the reasons that we focus so much attention on addressing
these very institutions.
There have been some successes. The government of Haiti has
cooperated in several major international counterdrug operations
and has worked with the Dominican Republic to stem the flow of
drugs over that land border. It has implemented a maritime drug
interdiction agreement, even without formal legislation, and the
Haitian National Police officials involved in drug-related corruption
have been fired.
At the same time, we are disappointed in the absence of full co-
operation, which is shown by the large drop in drug seizures. Last
year, despite increased drug transit levels, we were disappointed by
the police's failure to double the size of the anti-drug unit, as they
had planned, the lack of vigorous investigation of reported corrup-
tion, and the failure to prosecute rather than simply fire most po-
lice officers identified in drug-related corruption.
Indeed, as you stated, the lack of a parliament, which was dis-
banded some 16 months ago, means that no new laws on money
laundering, anti-corruption, or reorganization are being adopted.
Indeed, we have spent a lot of effort to help restore that par-
liament, working full time to promote free and fair elections in the
climate of security.
In this regard, the announcement yesterday that a date has been
established for elections-and this is a date in May of this year, as
opposed to next year-having been worked out with the electoral
authorities. This is an important development, but we must also
see an end to delay and to the violence and intimidation that is
now characterizing the political scene in Haiti.
We condemn those elements in Haiti that are now using violence
and strong-arm tactics to derail democracy.
Mr. Chairman, there has been progress in Haiti since the early
1990's when a brutal military regime in Port-au-Prince victimized
opposition figures, when tens of thousands of boat people were risk-
ing their lives to flee the terror, and when starvation and suffering
were rampant due to capital flight and sanctions.
We can all share some satisfaction in strides to alleviate hunger,
to build basic institutions in civil society, to increase access to edu-
cation, health care, and family planning, to combat environmental
decline, and to demobilize the armed forces.
Indeed, this has been an expensive operation. Our estimate is
that about $2.2 billion has been spent overall in this effort, as op-
posed to the $4 billion figure that some people cite, but it has been
an expensive operation.
Despite all the problems that we've identified, I believe that we
have helped give Haiti the best chance in its history to move down
the road to democracy and national reconciliation. We need to be
side by side with Haiti on that road. Our national interests are just
too strong: promoting democracy throughout the western hemi-
sphere, addressing crushing poverty on our doorstep, preventing a
new flood of illegal migration, and, indeed, interdicting drug traf-
If we can all resist the easy solace of fatigue and frustration, I
believe we can achieve these reasonable goals. I look forward to
working with this committee in this vital effort.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ambassador Steinberg follows:]
04/12/00 09:28 *2026472504 LEG. AFFS.- H 9002
Statement by Special Haiti Coordinator
Ambassador Donald K. Steinberg
House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human
April 12, 2000
I welcome the opportunity to be with you today to discuss
recent developments in Haiti and the Administration's
efforts to address the challenges of promoting our national
interests vis-A-vis that country. As Special Haiti
Coordinator for the State Department, I am charged with
coordinating efforts to help Haiti join the global march to
democracy, strengthen basic institutions, alleviate
crushing poverty, stem the flow of illegal migration, and
interdict drug trafficking.
In the area of drug interdiction, the State Department
responsibility falls under the Bureau of International
Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. Officials from that
bureau are not here today. Further, I am testifying here
today with officials from the Department of Justice, the
Drug Enforcement Agency, and the U.S. Customs Service, who
are the experts in drug interdiction, police training, and
related issues. For this reason, I will use my testimony
today to provide over-all policy context for the discussion
of the emerging drug threat from Haiti, and allow the
experts to address the more specific areas of interests to
Since the early 1990's, Haiti has been a focal point of our
efforts in the Western Hemisphere. Pursuing our objectives
has been a huge challenge and the record has been mixed.
Haiti is struggling to overcome legacies of two centuries
of authoritarian regimes and rapacious governments,
including the most severe poverty in the Western
Hemisphere. Democratic institutions are fragile at best.
Unemployment, crime, illiteracy, corruption and poverty
pose constant threats to stability. Haiti's infant
mortality rate is nearly triple the Caribbean average.
More than one-fourth of Haitian children suffer from severe
04/12/00 09:29 V2026472504 LEG. AFFS.- H ]003
Events in Haiti were spiraling out of control in the early
1990's as a result of the coup that expelled the
democratically elected government from office and set up
the so-called "de facto" regime. This brutal military
regime victimized opposition figures, and tens of thousands
of boat people risked their lives to flee the terror. The
economy was in shambles due to capital flight and
sanctions; and starvation and suffering were rampant. When
international political and economic pressure failed to
dislodge the de facto regime, a multinational force,
including some 20,000 U.S. troops, restored order and made
possible the restoration of elected government.
There were also dire predictions that if American forces
were used as part of an international effort to restore the
democratically elected Government, we would face huge
casualties and decades of military engagement.
Fortunately, this was not the case. The vast majority of
U.S. forces were out of Haiti within six months, and today
there are no U.S. forces there.
Areas of Progress
Haiti has not met all the expectations associated with the
restoration of democratically elected government. I will
discuss in a moment some areas of disappointment, but we
can share some satisfaction in strides to alleviate hunger,
build basic institutions, increase access to education,
combat environmental degradation, foster civil society, and
demobilize the armed forces.
U.S. development assistance from 1995-99 has helped address
these issues. The Administration has supported projects
such as helping 225,000 farmers adopt sustainable
agricultural practices; training some 6,000 teachers at
primary/secondary levels; and promoting hundreds of
grassroots organizations in the health, environmental and
public advocacy sectors. Our population program reaches
women in the most rural areas and has doubled the use of
modern family planning practices in areas in which it
operates. Our food security program feeds daily some
500,000 of Haiti's schoolchildren, down from more than one
million several years ago. Our health care program
supports primary health care services for nearly half the
population, including child immunization.
04/12/00 09:30 V2026472504 LEG. AFFS.- H R004
USAID plans to build on its core projects in 2000 and 2001,
albeit at reduced funding levels, with an added focus on
longer-term development programs. USAID will continue its
"Secondary Cities" program, begun in FY 99, to reduce the
flow of migration to densely populated Port-au-Prince by
increasing opportunities in and improving services to urban
areas outside of the capital. As successful elections take
place, USAID also plans to resume assistance to the
Parliament and local governments.
At the same time, there are other areas where our best
efforts have been frustrated and disappointed. First,
consolidation of democratic institutions has been thwarted
by the disbanding of Parliament and local governments in
January 1999 and the failure to hold prompt, free and fair
elections. Due in part to U.S. and international
assistance and the steady work of the Provisional Electoral
Council (CEP), credible parliamentary and local elections
can be held in time to seat a Parliament on June 12. We
have voiced strong opposition to further delays in the
vote, and we have worked with the international community,
including the United Nations, Organization for American
States and the European Union, to underscore the urgency of
prompt and credible elections. We have warned that the
failure to seat a Parliament and restore independent local
government risks isolating Haiti from the community of
democracies and imperils future cooperation.
The failure to move ahead on elections is feeding into a
climate of instability and insecurity in Haiti, reflected
in recent attacks on political party headquarters and radio
stations, killings of prominent figures, and a
proliferation of threats against others. This must stop.
The perpetrators of these heinous actions must be
identified and brought to justice. The Haitian National
Police must be deployed so as to defend the safety and
security of all Haitian citizens, including those engaged
in political activity.
A second area of concern is the Haitian justice system.
Our justice program in Haiti has trained scores of judges
and prosecutors, helped release many pre-trial detainees,
and provided free legal assistance to thousands of
impoverished Haitians. Still, the judiciary remains
essentially inoperative, plagued by huge case backlogs, a
04/12/00 09:31 U2026472504 LEG. AFFS.- H 005
lack of adequately trained judges and prosecutors, scarce
resources, minimal oversight by the Ministry of Justice,
and a pre-trial detention rate of roughly 80 percent. Many
people are detained despite valid release orders or without
charges filed against them. The poor state of the
judiciary is at the core of many of Haiti's problems,
inhibiting investment, perpetuating corruption, denying
average Haitians access to justice, and spurring
Third, Haiti replaced its long-abusive military in 1995
with a new civilian police force, mentored and trained
primarily by the U.N. and the USAID-funded Department of
Justice International Criminal Investigative Training
Assistance Program (ICITAP). Although there is no longer a
severe and systematic pattern of abuse, as under the
Duvalier and de facto regimes, the Haitian National Police
(HNP) remains an immature force grappling with problems of
corruption, attrition and incidents of narcotics
trafficking and human rights abuse. My colleagues from
Justice will have more to say on this point.
Combating Drug Trafficking
In the area of combating drugs, Haiti has emerged as a
significant transshipment point for Colombian cocaine
coming to the United States. This situation is a direct
threat to American national security interests. Some 14
percent of the cocaine entering the U.S. transits Haiti,
and narco-traffickers operate with relative ease. Drug
trafficking threatens to corrupt the basic institutions of
Haiti, including the police, judiciary and government.
To counter this threat, DEA has increased its 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. The
Administration has launched joint efforts with nations
throughout the region on counter-drug operations, including
Haiti. There is on-going support for strengthening of the
Haitian Coast Guard and the anti-drug unit (BLTS).
In these efforts, the Haitian Government has cooperated in
several major international counter-drug operations, and
moved against the Coneo drug trafficking operation. It has
worked with the Dominican Republic to stem the flow of
illicit drugs over the land border. It has continued to
04/12/00 09:32 e2026472504 LEG. AFFS.- H
implement the maritime drug interdiction agreement despite
the absence of formal legislation, and has fired Haitian
National Police officials involved in the drug-related
corruption. On March 10, an accord was signed reflecting
agreement among the Ministry of the Interior, the HN?,
Haitian Customs and Haitian Immigration authorities to
fight the flow of narcotics arriving via the ports and
Nonetheless, the Haitian Government did not fully cooperate
with the U.S. Government in 1999 on drug-related issues.
Among our concerns is the fact that the drug seizure rate
dropped substantially from 1998 despite an increase in the
over-all drug transit levels. The HNP failed to double the
size of the BLTS as planned. There was no vigorous
investigation and prosecution of reported drug-related
corruption involving Haitian Government officials, and most
of those HNP officials identified in drug-related
corruption were simply fired instead of being prosecuted.
The lack of a parliament as well meant that no new money
laundering, anti-corruption and essential reorganization
laws were adopted.
For these reasons, the Administration determined on March 1
that Haiti failed to meet 1999 counter-drug certification
criteria, but granted a vital national interest
certification. This was based on two facts. First, the
absence of U.S. assistance would enhance conditions of
instability and poverty that would open the door even wider
for drug traffickers and perhaps stimulate illegal
migration. Second, many of our assistance programs seek to
address the underlying problems in law enforcement and the
judicial system, which are essential to building on the
modest cooperation at present.
U.S. Policy: The Road Ahead
As we look to the future, the roadmap is clear. First,
Haiti needs prompt and credible legislative and local
elections. Elections per se do not equal democracy, nor
are they a panacea for all that ails Haiti, but after years
of impasse and stagnation, free and fair elections can
empower government to spur economic growth, attract new
investment, negotiate new cooperation from international
partners, and attack festering social problems such as
crime, insecurity, corruption and drug trafficking that
04/12/00 09:33 '2026472504 LEG. AFFS.- H 007.
threaten to become cancers at the heart of Haiti's
Second, we seek to strengthen Haiti's basic democratic and
security institutions to improve respect for the rule of
law and the protection of basic human rights. Most
notably, we are working with the UN and the so-called
"Friends of Haiti" to put in place a new UN mission called
the International Civilian Mission for Haiti (MICAH). This
will provide technical assistance to the police, judiciary,
and human rights sector. MICAH moves the focus of UN
operations in Haiti from peacekeeping to institution
building. Its human rights component will help develop
indigenous capacity to monitor and promote human rights.
Among other efforts, the justice component will help
Haitians modernize the Ministry of Justice, improve the
quality of judges, and revise the archaic criminal code.
Bilaterally, we will continue to press the Haitian
government to reduce the high rate of pre-trial detention;
and enhance the effectiveness of our police training,
including new efforts to promote retention of existing
officers and recruitment of qualified new officers.
We will remain focused on addressing poverty and festering
social problems. In addition to USAID efforts cited
earlier, we are encouraging other international donors to
share the burden of helping Haiti move forward. We meet
with bilateral donors and international financial
institutions to discuss how we can work together to support
economic recovery and democracy. All have agreed to
consider new engagement in Haiti if conditions can be
established for effective use for scarce international
resources. At the same time, we are working with the
Haitian diaspora in the United States to encourage their
increased involvement, recognizing their personal interest
in success and prosperity in Haiti.
We will keep pressing the Haitian government to restore
fiscal discipline, and proceed with modernization of key
state-owned enterprises and on other critical areas of
Finally, we will continue efforts to disrupt the flow of
illegal drugs and prevent a resurgence in illegal
migration. I have described earlier our efforts to fight
illegal drugs. On illegal migration, as the U.S. has
04/12/00 09:34 02026472504 LEG. AFFS.- H @008
remained engaged in Haiti, the number of illegal migrants
leaving Haiti by boat for the U.S. has declined. From
1992-94, the U.S. Coast Guard interdicted 67,140 Haitian
migrants at sea. In 1999, there were 1,039 such
interdictions. We will work with Haitian authorities 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.
Building on Past Cooperation
We will continue to work in Haiti to strengthen democratic
institutions, promote respect for human rights, encourage
transparent and responsive government, help lay the
groundwork for sustainable economic development, disrupt
the flow of illegal drugs, and prevent a flood of illegal
migrants. We cannot turn our backs on those working for
democracy in Haiti, nor on extreme poverty on our doorstep.
If the U.S. and international community remain engaged and
resist the easy solace of fatigue and frustration, future
generations may look back to the year 2000 as the period in
which the roots of democracy, national reconciliation, and
economic recovery finally took hold. This is good for
Haitians and good for the United States as well. Thank,
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
We will now hear from Mr. Alexandre, the Director of Overseas
Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training for the Depart-
ment of Justice.
You are recognized.
Mr. ALEXANDRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I welcome the oppor-
tunity to address this subcommittee.
As with Ambassador Steinberg, I have also submitted written re-
Mr. MICA. Without objection, your entire statement will be made
part of the record.
Mr. ALEXANDRE. Thank you, sir.
As members of this subcommittee are no doubt aware, in Haiti
we have been confronted with the most fundamental of problems:
no tradition of effective of impartial police, criminal laws and pro-
cedures unchanged since the early 19th century, and a court sys-
tem that had never functioned well in either civil or criminal con-
text. Mr. Chairman, I know these things firsthand, because I par-
ticipated in the first Justice sector assessment in Haiti in 1994 and
directed the OPDAT program in Haiti from 1995 to mid-1997,
when I was made Director of my office here in Washington.
First, I'd like to focus my summary on the activities of the Inter-
national Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program,
ICITAP for short. That's the unit within the Justice Department
that trains police investigators.
Since 1994, ICITAP has led the United States' effort to build a
Haitian National Police. The HNP represents, Mr. Chairman, the
first professionally trained civilian and constitutionally based en-
tity in Haiti. Before the creation of that entity, there had never
been a professional civilian police force in the country, and one had
to be built from scratch.
ICITAP's work has evolved in stages. The first stage was to focus
on public security, and ICITAP helped train and deploy the inter-
national police monitors to respond to violence.
The second and most ambitious phase of ICITAP's work in Haiti
was the recruitment and deployment of a core of 5,000-plus police
officers. Because this police force was being established from
scratch, ICITAP worked to develop the basic organizational, proce-
dural, and budgetary framework needed for its new entity.
Now in its third phase, ICITAP's program focuses on sustain-
ability, and that effort has been conducted by placing technical ad-
visors to assist in developing policies and standards throughout the
Although some progress has been made in creating this police
agency and establishing the rules of engagement, the agency con-
tinues to face many significant challenges, not the least of which
is combating the burgeoning the drug trafficking problem in Haiti.
As you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, the BLTS was established in
the spring of 1997 with only 25 agents. Its numbers were recruited
from a pool of HNP agents with less than 18 months of police expe-
Although they have received training from the DEA, the French
government, and others, this young organization continues to suffer
problems of professionalism, leadership, and one cannot say that
the BLTS is playing a significant role at this point in the counter-
narcotics effort in Haiti.
On the Justice side, as I mentioned, Mr. Chairman, I was part
of a team in late 1994 that conducted the initial assessment of the
Haitian criminal justice system. When we arrived there, we found
a system which was dysfunctional in many respects. The legal
codes dated back to the 1830's and had undergone little to no
change since. Judges and prosecutors were poorly trained, poorly
paid, and had few resources to do their jobs. Many were viewed as
corrupt or incompetent.
The constitutional provision for training and selecting judges was
never implemented. There was virtually no system of case registra-
tion or tracking. Prisons were overcrowded, largely with pretrial
detainees. Men and women, juveniles, were all housed together in
We recognized very early in 1995 that a significant effort would
be required to build a criminal justice system which functioned at
even the basic level of competence, and we focused our attention
on training activities, we focused our attention on support for this
institution which never existed, which is the Haitian National Ju-
dicial College, and we focus our attention on developing manage-
ment and systems.
With respect to training, I would like to point out, Mr. Chairman,
that until we arrived in 1995 there was really no training for mem-
bers of the judiciary beyond law school in Haiti, and many justices
of the peace, who handled many of the routine criminal cases, had
had no legal training at all. Because of our effort, many of them
have been trained today.
We have also, as I have mentioned, supported the Haitian Na-
tional Judicial College, where, in 1997, 60 new judges were trained
and were appointed to positions of responsibility within the judici-
ary. This fall, we expect a class of 40 new judges will be graduating
from the school.
We continue to support the school, joint training programs be-
tween the police and the magistrates, because both of them have
investigative responsibilities, but they have had little training or
useful experience in working together.
Our plans for the future at the school include training on how
to investigate and prosecute drug cases, and it also includes how
to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.
One of the things that we did in Haiti, Mr. Chairman, is to focus
our attention on management issues, and we developed a case
tracking system in Haiti's jurisdictions.
These training programs and management tools have begun to
show some results, and I'd like to point out for the committee that
under Haitian law each jurisdiction is supposed to have two ses-
sions, two trial sessions, jury trial sessions per year. Two years
ago, no jurisdiction met this requirement, but in 1999, in all the
jurisdictions in which we are operating-that is 10, excluding Port-
au-Prince-met the requirement of having jury trial.
This is small progress, and overall progress in the overall crimi-
nal justice system is still very limited.
On the drug prosecution issue, the Haitian Government's record
is woefully weak. We are aware of one successful prosecution for
drug trafficking in recent years, in 1998, the trial of five Colom-
bians, four of whom were found guilty, the other one was found not
guilty. The sentence they received by U.S. standards was short,
and all those who were convicted are likely to be released within
The case tracking system that we've helped develop in Haiti
shows that the arrest for drug charges is on the rise; however, I
must report that those arrested remain in pre-trial detention.
The reason that the record is poor on the drug prosecution front
is for many reasons. First, many cases are dismissed by the justices
of the peace, and that is contrary to Haitian law, which requires
that the justice of the peace refer drug cases to a prosecutor.
In addition, cases are dismissed for lack of evidence, because gen-
erally the drugs which have been seized have not been properly
Moreover, the current Haitian law on drug trafficking and usage,
which dates back to 1982, is outmoded and procedurally cum-
bersome. For example, the law requires that specific officials of the
Haitian Department of Health have to conduct the test on the
drugs that are seized. There are only two such persons qualified to
conduct the test in Haiti.
Another problem that slows down the investigative process is the
fact that these cases are supposed to be investigated by an inves-
tigative magistrate, and for a country with 8 million people, the
size of Maryland, there are only 30 investigative magistrates
throughout the country.
Similarly, the 1982 law provides for asset forfeiture, but that
law, as well, is outdated.
As everyone has already stated, both you and Ambassador Stein-
berg, these laws need to be revamped, and to do so a functioning
parliament is needed to act on the legislation.
In sum, OPDAT and ICITAP have worked hard to strengthen
Haiti's police and prosecutorial apparatus. While there has been
some progress, the problems in Haiti's criminal justice system are
severe and the country is ill-equipped to confront what appears to
be a serious and growing drug trafficking problem.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Thank you for your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Alexandre follows:]
department of austic
OFFICE OF OVERSEAS PROSECUTORIAL DEVELOPMENT,
ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, DRUG POLICY AND HUMAN RESOURCES
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
DRUG TRAFFICKING AND HAITI
APRIL 12, 2000
House of Representatives
Committee on Government Reform
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources
STATEMENT OF CARL ALEXANDRE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF OVERSEAS
PROSECUTORIAL DEVELOPMENT, ASSISTANCE AND TRAINING (OPDAT),
CRIMINAL DIVISION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
April 12, 2000
Mr. Chairman, Congresswoman Mink, and Members of the Subcommittee:
I am pleased to appear before the Subcommittee today regarding the matter of drug
trafficking and Haiti. I am the Director of the OPDAT the Office of Overseas Prosecutorial
Development Assistance, and Training which is the unit within the Justice Department's
Criminal Division responsible for training and developmental assistance to foreign prosecutors.
In Haiti, as in other areas, OPDAT has worked closely with ICITAP, another component of the
Criminal Division, which concentrates on assistance to f ... n J- .' I investigators. While
OPDAT and ICITAP are components of the Department of Justice, our program funds, in Haiti
and elsewhere, come from the State Department and USAID.
Today, I will briefly outline OPDAT and ICITAP's work since 1994 in Haiti, including
training and development efforts in drug enforcement. As members of the Subcommittee are no
doubt aware, in Haiti we have been confronted with the most fundamental of problems: no
tradition of effective or impartial police; criminal laws and procedures unchanged since the early
nineteenth century; a court system that had never functioned well in either the civil or criminal
context; and a citizenry which, with little expectation of justice from its courts, had too often
taken the law into its own hands. I know of these things first hand, because I participated in the
r', .- .. ,. : r assessment of Haiti in 1994, and directed OPDAT's program in Haiti from
1995 until mid-1997, when I became the Director of the Office.
ICITAP and the Haitian National Police (HNP)
Since 1994, ICITAP has led the United States' overall efforts to build the Haitian
National Police (HNP). The HNP represents the first professionally trained, civilian, and
... ,, i,; ,;..1 ii 1-.,j ...1 police entity in Haiti's history. In addition to the United States, France,
Canada and the United Nations have played important roles in the establishment and
development of the HNP.
ICITAP's work with the HNP has evolved in stages. The initial phase focused on public
security particularly as U.S. and other military presence declined and on the beginnings of a
Haitian police presence distinct from the Haitian Armed Forces (FADH). In this period ICITAP
trained and helped deploy International Police Monitors to deter and respond to violence.
ICITAP also developed a program for vetting members of the FADH to serve in the Interim
Police and provided them with basic training.
The second, and most ambitious phase of ICITAP's mission in Haiti, was the recruitment,
training and deployment of a core group of 5,200 police. During this period, ICITAP also
worked to develop the basic organizational, procedural and budgetary frameworks needed for the
new HNP, including specialized units such as the Inspector General's office, i.,, .! and
crowd control units.
Now in its third phase, ICITAP's program focuses primarily on sustainability of the HNP.
These efforts include placing technical advisors to assist in developing policies and standards
throughout the HNP. ICITAP will also continue its training effort by monitoring basic recruit
training, providing specialized training in investigative techniques and forensics.
Thus, the primary mission of ICITAP in Haiti has been the establishment and
development of the HNP as a whole. The HNP continues to face ., ., -,, .- '.. ; I:r _.
not the least of which is combating a burgeoning drug trafficking problem.
At present, the HNP has only one specialized countemarcotics unit, which is known by its
French acronym "BLTS" (Le Bureau Lutte centre le T- ,,..: J:: J ,.. ,' .' With ICITAP
assistance, the BLTS was established in the Spring of 1997 as a unit of the HNP's Judicial
Police. (Ti,: ,,..:." police perform investigative rather than primarily public security
At the time of its creation, the BLTS was staffed by 25 agents -one Commissar, four
hInspectors, and twenty officers. Its members were recruited from a pool of HNP agents with less
than 18 months police experience. The agents' specialized training included a Department of
State (INL)-funded basic narcotics course taught by the DEA; a French Government-sponsored
drug seminar; joint training with the HNP's SWAT unit, U.S. and Haitian Coast Guards, and
DEA; as well as mentoring by ICITAP advisors ... ... : i. .:.. .i.;.i.: The U.S also
provided a variety of equipment for the BLTS. With this foundation of basic training and
equipment, the BLTS became semi-operational by December 1997. The basic structure and
staffing level of the BLTS has not changed since its inception, although a tripling of its size to
seventy-five officers has been discussed.
A new ICITAP advisor was assigned to BLTS in January of this year and our increased
DEA presence in Haiti now seven resident agents has increased the prospects for increased
operational activity by the BLTS. Nonetheless, the BLTS, which is tiny in relation to the drug
trafficking problem in Haiti and which continues to suffer problems of professionalism and
leadership, cannot be said yet to play a significant counternarcotics role in Haiti.
OPDAT and the Justice Sector
Since arriving in Haiti in the closing days of 1994, OPDAT has collaborated with the
Government of Haiti and its Ministry of Justice in .,i .... i-.._- i' ... F..r i.J i.. .... prosecutors.
OPDAT's most significant long-range projects have been in supporting the opening of Haiti's
national judicial college, the Ecole de la Magistrature .. '. and in providing direct
assistance, particularly case management assistance, to prosecutors and other justice sector
personnel working in several' .-...:.' ....,- .. ..' 10). The need for modernization
and reform is dire, and we have worked hard, but progress has been frustratingly slow.
As I mentioned earlier, I was part of the team which in late 1994 conducted the initial
assessment of the Haitian criminal justice system. We arrived to find a system which was
dysfunctional in nearly every respect. Legal codes dated back to the 1830s and had undergone
little or no change since. Judges and prosecutors were poorly trained, poorly paid, and had few
resources necessary to do their jobs; many were viewed as corrupt or incompetent. The
constitutional provisions for training and selection of judges had never been implemented. There
was virtually no system of case registration and case tracking. Prisons were overcrowded, largely
with pre-trial detainees; men, women and juveniles were housed together in miserable
conditions, and for many prisoners there were simply no records of how long they had been there
Thus, in late 1994 and 1995, it was clear that a tremendous effort would be required to
build a criminal justice system which functioned even at basic levels of competence,
accountability and fairness. In addition to training and developmental aid, we believed two other
elements were critical: modernization of laws, and establishment of a legislatively-based and
systematic process for selection and retention of professional judges and prosecutors.
Unfortunately, the long political impasse in Haiti which affected both the Executive and
Legislative Branches has made hoped-for progress in these two important areas virtually
It is against this background that I will outline for you OPDAT's work in Haiti.
Although OPDAT assistance has led to progress in some areas, we have yet to see meaningful
progress in the number of drug cases brought to trial and successfully prosecuted.
In I I -, ,
OPDAT's first efforts in 1995 and 1996 -were to provide short term training to almost
all the Haitian magistrates then in service. Before, then there was no training beyond law school,
and many justices of the peace who handle many routine criminal cases had no legal training
at all. As we neared completion of this emergency training, we turned to the need for an
institutional judicial training ..i .'-.-, 1 1 1 i -I11
'.' I L .
.- 1i1.. .. i the 1987 Haitian constitution created a national judicial college- the Ecole de
la Magistrature that institution existed only on paper until 1995. With resources from the
United States and other international donors, Haiti's former military academy was renovated and
bc 1, i; .,. .' i. a training center for judges and prosecutors in July 1995.
The first class of 60 new magistrates entered the Ecole for a full course of study in 1997.
The class was selected through competitive examination, and almost all who graduated remain in
judicial service. After this first class, the training was extended to a full year, and the second
class of forty (out of 150 applicants) is expected to graduate this fall.
In addition to these two full-time courses for new magistrates, the Ecole has served as the
site for other OPDAT-assisted training. During the summer of 1998, OPDAT supported four
two-week, joint training sessions for police and magistrates; both have investigative duties, but
had little training or useful experience in working together. OPDAT has continued this joint
training approach in the provinces with short courses on subjects such as legal principles of
criminal responsibility, attempted crimes, and delegation of investigating authority to the police.
Both at the Ecole and in the provinces, OPDAT in 1999 and in this year supported training for
judicial authorities in election law. Our planning for future curricula includes training in drug
cases and anti-corruption training.
Initially, OPDAT provided almost all logistical and operational support to the Ecole.
However that support was gradually reduced, and ended in January of this year. Thus, while
OPDAT continues to assist in training for judges and prosecutors, the school is now managed
and financed principally by the Government of Haiti. The progress which the Ecole has made in
becoming self-sustaining is nonetheless fragile.
Case Registration and Case Tracking Systems in Model Jurisdictions
OPDAT's second major project in Haiti has been the establishment of a case registration
and tracking system for prosecutor's offices in a series of "model" jurisdictions. This project was
begun in 1996, in collaboration with other international donors and the Haitian Ministry of
Justice, and now includes ten jurisdictions.
These fundamental organizational tools were very much needed in a system where case
files were lost and cases were dismissed for lack of timely investigation and prosecution.
Almost all observers remark that this system is working well in the offices where it has been
introduced. Case files can be now be found and information on the status of cases is readily
available. Prior to implementation of this system, such information was difficult, if not
impossible, to obtain.
As part of the program, a Haitian legal consultant is hired for each "model" jurisdiction.
The consultant provides technical assistance to the prosecutor's office on using the case
registration and tracking systems and on more efficient case management techniques. The
consultant also addresses particular problems in each office, such as prolonged pre-trial
detention, and collecting baseline data on criminal cases.
We believe one indication that our work in the model jurisdictions is having some
positive impact is that more cases are actually moving to trial. Under Haitian law, each
jurisdiction is supposed to have at least two sessions per year for criminal jury trials the trials
of the most serious cases. Two years ago, no jurisdiction met this requirement. In 1999, all our
model jurisdictions except Port-au-Prince, met the requirement. However, overall progress in
criminal justice reform remains limited.
The continuing problems with Haiti's criminal justice system are well evident in the area
of drug prosecutions, where the record is woefully weak. We are aware of only one successful
prosecution for drug trafficking in recent years: the 1998 trial of five Colombians, four of whom
were found guilty. However, the sentences were, by U.S. standards, short, and all those
convicted will likely be released within the year. A 1996 arrest of two Colombians, an
Ecuadoran and three Haitians ended in the acquittal and release of the defendants for lack of
evidence after they had spent two and one-half years in detention.
At a minimum, our case tracking system provided additional insights into the progress
and ultimate disposition of drug cases, although its data is likely not complete. For Port-au-
Prince, the district in which most drug cases would be handled, our information indicates 12
arrests on drug-related charges in 1996, 51 in 1997, and 91 for both 1998 and 1999. The
majority of those arrested remain in pretrial detention. As of January 2000, for example, 23 of
the 51 persons arrested in 1997 (45%), 61 of the 91 arrested in 1998 (67%), and 83 of 91
arrested in 1999 (91%) were in pretrial detention. At least two-thirds of those arrested were
charged with trafficking rather than drug use. However, most seem to be minor players. Cocaine
is by far the most frequent drug involved.
Patterns are similar in provincial jurisdictions, although a lower portion of arrestees seem
to languish in prolonged pre-trial detention. For the years 1998-99, for example, a total of 70
were arrested in Jacmel, Aquin, and St. Marc, three coastal cities considered to have serious drug
problems. However, in Jacmel, none of the cases has yet gone to trial; in Aquin, two cases went
to trial, but neither lead to a conviction. In St.Marc, by contrast, three cases went to trial and
each of the three lead to a conviction.
The poor record of prosecutions appears to arise from a number of factors. In Port-au-
Prince, many cases are dismissed at the justice of the peace level; this is contrary to Haitian law
which requires the justice of the peace to refer all drug cases to a prosecutor. This problem
seems less common in provincial cities. In addition, it appears some cases are dismissed for lack
of evidence, .. :",: .i, which have been seized have not been properly
Moreover, the current Haitian law on 1h 1 i i .. '.1i dating from 1982, is
outmoded and procedurally cumbersome. For example, drug analyses can be performed only by
specific officials of the Haitian Department of Health, of which there are only two in the entire
country. Also, lack of translators for non-Haitian defendants can lead to dismissal of cases in a
system dependent on formal written statements, including interviews of the accused. ,,,.,i ,i,.
the requirement that major crimes, including drug trafficking, can be pursued only by an
investigating magistrate, is a significant problem, given that there are only 30 such magistrates in
all of Haiti.
Similarly, while the 1982 drug law provides for asset seizure and forfeiture, in practice
assets are rarely confiscated. Comprehensive, modem anti-drug and money laundering
legislation has been drafted, primarily through work of a former Haitian Minister of Justice under
contract with the Department of State. At this point in time, there is no functioning parliament to
act upon such legislation.
In sum, OPDAT and ICITAP have worked hard to strengthen Haiti's police, prosecutors
and judges. While there has been some progress, the problems with Haiti's criminal justice
system are severe and it is ill-equipped to confront what appears to be a serious and growing drug
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared remarks. I would now be happy to try to
respond to any questions you may have about my testimony.
Mr. MICA. We'll now hear from Rear Admiral Ed J. Barrett, U.S.
Coast Guard. He's the Director of the Joint Interagency Task Force
Welcome. You are recognized, sir.
Admiral BARRETT. Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
I have submitted a statement for the record.
Mr. MICA. Without objection, your entire statement will be made
part of the record.
Admiral BARRETT. I testified before your subcommittee in No-
vember 1999 when you held hearings on Cuba's role in drug traf-
ficking. At that time, I mentioned that Haiti was a problem area
in the transshipment of cocaine to the United States. Haiti is still
a problem, and, in response to the subcommittee's inquiry, I have
created several charts portraying information on suspect air and
maritime drug trafficking events to Haiti.
The first flip chart compares the estimated total of cocaine flow-
ing from South America to the United States, the estimated total
of cocaine flowing from South America into the Caribbean, and the
estimated cocaine flowing from South America with the initial des-
tination of Haiti. This is right in line with what you mentioned
during your statement, sir.
In consonance with the National Drug Control Strategy and
SOUTHCOM guidance, the first priority of JIATF East's effort is
the source zone, primarily southeast Colombia and Peru. The sec-
ond priority is the transit zone, with focus on the eastern Pacific
and the northern Caribbean region around Puerto Rico.
Slide two-this chart depicts the suspected air movement of co-
caine. The numbers of suspected air trafficking events has in-
creased substantially over the last few years. This reflects the traf-
fickers reaction to the counterdrug operation, Frontier Lance, that
attacked the go-fast routes between Colombia and Haiti in early
1998, causing the traffickers to shift and fly over our detection and
monitoring maritime assets and fly and drop or land in Haiti.
Mr. MICA. Can I ask a question?
Admiral BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. MICA. This is air events. That's through the end of last year?
Admiral BARRETT. Sir, this is for all of calendar year 1999. Each
one of these red lines represents an air track. It's just the northern
track, sir. As you can see, a lot of them come out of southeastern
Colombia, fly through Venezuela on their way to the Caribbean.
Mr. MICA. Is the pattern in Venezuela increasing also from that
Admiral BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
Admiral BARRETT. The pattern of suspected drug trafficking air-
craft departing Colombia, flying north, and air dropping the drugs
in and around Haiti, and the return flight south that takes them
through Venezuela airspace to break contact with counterdrug
forces is clearly evident. Drug smugglers are exploiting the lack of
endgame capabilities in Haiti and our inability to enter Ven-
ezuelan's airspace on their return leg to South America.
Even though we have not had success with endgames in Haiti,
coordination with the Colombian Air Force has resulted in the de-
struction or seizure of 16 trafficking aircraft returning to Colombia,
as shown on the table at the bottom of the chart.
Next slide-this chart depicts the suspected go-fast drug smug-
gling events. The slide clearly shows the pattern of departing the
Guajiran Peninsula on the northern coast of Colombia, then
transiting to Haiti. The insert bar graph reflects a level of success
of Frontier Lance against the go-fast. You can see that they did
drop down in 1998. They're back up a little bit in 1999. That's the
bar chart in the upper right.
On the maritime side, the table reflects the successful seizures
of maritime traffickers in the central Caribbean corridor and en
route to Haiti. The totals there for 1997 are 4.6 metric tons; for
1998, 6.5 metric tons; and for 1999, 3.2 metric tons.
Next slide-the counterdrug operations depicted on this chart re-
flect several operations conducted under the construct of JIATF
East Regional Campaign Plan, Carib Ceiling. As the regional coor-
dinator for counterdrug operations, JIATF East coordinates, syn-
chronizes, and integrates counterdrug operations. Currently, we
cannot conduct CD operations in Haiti due to the lack of force pro-
tection and support infrastructure. The nearly nonexistent police
force and judicial system compound this constraint. This construct
has driven us to an operational counterdrug strategy of isolating
These operations reflect our intent to keep the drugs out of Haiti
as much as possible. Once the drugs are in Haiti, we make it as
difficult as possible to move the drugs out of Haiti toward the
United States by concentrating on the secondary flow routes.
These operations are not being conducted on a full-time basis,
but are executed as the threat emerges and resources permit. Co-
ordination among the Interagency is a critical component.
In summary, there are several initiatives underway to combat
the flow of cocaine into and out of Haiti. First, the Interagency is
working on an intelligence analysis of the secondary flow from
Haiti. This will give us the information we need to attack second-
ary flow routes under our Carib Ceiling Campaign Plan and
counterdrug operations to isolate Haiti.
Second, with funding provided by the Western Hemisphere Drug
Elimination Act, which your committee supported, new assets that
will increase endgame effectiveness against go-fasts have been put
into operation. The U.S. Coast Guard use of force from helicopters
have completed both day and night operational tests with outstand-
ing results, seizing 100 percent, or six of six, of the go-fasts that
they detected during these operations.
In addition, the Coast Guard is currently conducting operation
tests of a TAGOS vessel outfitted with high-speed, deployable pur-
suit boats [DPBs]. I expect the DPBs will also be very successful
Third, we are working with the Colombia Air Force to attack the
southeast Colombia air bridge. With the Puerto Rican ROTHR com-
ing online and Plan Colombia being operationalized, we intend to
go after the air tracks within Colombian airspace and prevent them
from departing en route to Haiti and other Caribbean destinations.
We also need to continue to work with Venezuela to gain their
cooperation for overflight of their airspace and to assist their Air
Force interdict suspect tracks.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I'll be glad to answer any
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Admiral Barrett follows:]
FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY UNTIL RELEASED BY THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON
GOVERNMENT REFORM, SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE, DRUG POLICY,
AND HUMAN RESOURCES
REAR ADMIRAL EDWARD J. BARRETT
DIRECTOR, JOINT INTERAGENCY TASK FORCE EAST
THE EMERGING DRUG THREAT FROM HAITI
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CH IL; '.- il Ti 11. i) UG POLICY AND HUMAN RESOURCES
2157 RAYBURN HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING
12 APRIL 2000
Good morning Mr. Chairman and Subcommittee members, I am Rear Admiral Edward J.
Barrett, Director of Joint Interagency Task Force (JIATF) East in Key West, Florida.
JIATF East was created in 1994 as a result of Presidential Decision Directive 14, which
ordered a review of the nation's command, control and intelligence centers involved in
international counterdrug (CD) operations. Our organization of approximately 300 people
includes representatives from all five military services, several law enforcement agencies and
agencies from the intelligence community. We also have liaison officers from Great Britain, the
Netherlands, France, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela working at
JIATF East. The result is a unique, integrated international task force organized to leverage the
force multiplier effect of the various agencies and countries involved.
For command and control, JIATF East works directly for General Charles E. Wilhelm,
the Commander in Chief, United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). Our mission
statement includes the essential tasks of detection and monitoring; -hle pra.i rn: and coordination
of counterdrug operations; and the implementation of the CINC's engagement and counterdrug
campaign plan, supporting participating nations and our country teams. In April 1999, JIATF
South from Panama was merged with JIATF East in Key West, and JIATF East assumed
responsibility for counterdrug planning and operations for the entire SOUTHCOM area of
responsibility (AOR), which includes the source and transit zones.
I testified before your Subcommittee in November 1999 when you held hearings on
Cuba's role in drug smuggling. At that time, I mentioned that Haiti was a problem area in the
transshipment of cocaine to the United States. Haiti is still a problem, and in response to the
5,.r- .. 'i.u,.'. !ri.1 ;: I have created several slides portraying information on suspect air and
maritime drug trafficking events to Haiti.
FROM SO I I I \VIERICA
The first slide compares the estimated total of cocaine flowing from South America to the
United States, the estimated total of cocaine flowing from South America into the Caribbean and
the estimated cocaine flowing from South America with the initial destination of Haiti. In
consonance with the National Drug Control Strategy and SOUTHCOM guidance, the first
priority of effort is the source ".. f 't: -" I. southeast Colombia; the second priority is the
transit zone--with focus on the Eastern Pacific and the northern Caribbean region around Puerto
'- 516 512
1997 1998 1999
Rico, respectively. You will note that the cocaine flow into the Caribbean has increased
approximately 60% in the last three years, and Haiti increased approximately 50%.
SUSPECT AIR EVENTS CY-99
su LEc UmsTom
-. ^ .- -- .
This slide depicts the suspected air movement of cocaine. The numbers of suspected air
trafficking events has increased substantially over the last few years. This reflects the
trafficker's reaction to the counterdrug operation FRONTIER LANCE that attacked the go-fast
routes between Colombia and Haiti in early to mid 1998, causing the traffickers to shift to air.
The pattern of suspected drug trafficking aircraft departing Colombia, flying north and air
dropping the drugs in and around Haiti, and the return flight south that takes them through
Venezuelan air space to break contact with counterdrug forces is clearly evident. Drug
smugglers are exploiting the lack of endgame capabilities in Haiti and our inability to enter
Venezuela's airspace on their return leg to South America.
AIRCRAFT SEIZURED / DESTROYED BY COLOMBIAN AIR FORCE
CY Destination Number Destroyed/Seized
1997 HAITI 0
OTHER CENTCARIB 1
1998 HAITI 3
OTHER CENTCARIB 4
1999 HAITI 4
OTHER CENTCARIB 4
Even though we have not had success with endgames in Haiti, coordination with
the Colombian Air Force has resulted in the destruction/seizure of 16 trafficker aircraft
returning to Colombia as shown in the table above.
This slide depicts the suspected go-fast drug smuggling events. The slide clearly shows
the pattern of departing the Guajiran Peninsula on the northern coast of Colombia, then transiting
to Haiti. The insert bar graph reflects a level of success of FRONTIER LANCE against go-fasts.
CENTRAL CARIBBEAN MARITIME SEIZURES
CY Destination VESSEL TYPE NUMBER OF EVENTS KGS Cocaine SEIZED LBS MJ SEIZED
1997 HAITI GO 3 2176 9660
OTHER GO 2 559 319
MOTOR VESSEL 1 1360 0
Total 3 1919 319
1998 HAITI GO FAST 1 91 0
MOTOR VESSEL 1 2 i 0
2 93 0
OTHER GO FAST 2 1420 0
MOTOR VESSEL 4 5013 0
Total 6 6433 0
1999 HAITI GO FAST 0 0 0
MOTOR VESSEL 2 249 0
Total 2 249 0
OTHER GO FAST 4 2904 1 0
MOTOR VESSEL 1 49 0
Total 5 2953 1 0
On the maritime side, the above table reflects successful seizures of maritime traffickers
in the Central Caribbean corridor and en route to Haiti.
COUNTERDRUG QUARANTINE OF HAITI
'_R,- 11 T .
RIPT1flF |" "*'
The counterdrug operations depicted on this slide reflect a portion of the operations
conducted under the construct of JIATF East Regional Campaign Plan CARIB CEILING. As
the regional coordinator for counterdrug operations, JIATF East expends a great deal of effort to
coordinate, synchronize and integrate counterdrug operations. The cocaine flowing into Haiti by
air and sea is within the sphere of our highest Caribbean priority, Puerto Rico. Currently, we
cannot conduct CD operations in Haiti due to the lack of force protection and support
infrastructure. The nearly non-existent police force and judicial system compound this
constraint. This construct has driven us to an operational counterdrug strategy of isolating Haiti.
These operations reflect our intent to keep the drugs out of Haiti as much as possible.
Once the drugs are in Haiti, we make it as difficult as possible to move the drugs out of Haiti
towards the United States by concentrating on the secondary flow routes. Not all of these
operations are not being conducted on a full time basis, but are executed as the threat emerges
and resources permit. Coordination among the interagency is a critical component.
Operation CUTLASS is a new joint, combined interagency maritime counterdrug
:. ....':. r.-... :'.. ; pr'., -r'. onthe secondary movement of drugs out of Haiti to Southeast
U.S., and on the known go-fast route from Jamaica through the Bahamas. Cutlass is a pulsed
operation that includes the interagency, Bahamian Defense Forces, and takes advantage of the
high-speed pouncer capabilities of the USN Patrol Coastal deployed to the JIATF East AOR.
Operation RIPTIDE is a joint multilateral maritime CD operation that focuses on the
maritime and air vectors to and from the approaches of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and has
been conducted for several years. Participants include Country Team Jamaica, Coast Guard
District Seven, Drug Commander from Cayman Islands, Host Nation LEA's, and JIATF East.
Operation FRONTIER SHIELD is the continuous U.S. Coast Guard Greater Antilles
Section maritime and air CD operations in and around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Operation FRONTIER LANCE is an area denial operation focused on the southern
maritime and air approaches to Haiti. The joint and combined participants include the
interagency, Country Teams Dominican Republic and Haiti, and the Dominican Republic LEA.
Operation SUPRESA NOCTURNA: (Op ,' -;hr -r'i is a new joint interagency/
international helicopter lift and maritime counterdrug operation in direct support of DEA in the
Dominican Republic and concentrates on the eastward secondary cocaine movement out of Haiti.
Participants include the interagency, Country Team Dominican Republic, Dominican Republic
LEA and military.
In summary, there are several initiatives underway to combat the flow of cocaine into and
out of Haiti. First, the interagency is working on an intelligence analysis of the secondary flow
from Haiti. This will give us the information we need to attack secondary flow routes under our
Carib Ceiling Campaign Plan and counterdrug operations to isolate Haiti. Second, with funding
provided by the Western Hemisphere Drug Elimination Act, which your Committee supported,
new assets that will increase endgame effectiveness against go-fasts have been put into
operation. The US Coast guard use of force from helicopters have completed both day and night
operational test with outstanding results seizing 100% (6 for 6) of the go fasts that they
interdicted. In addition, the Coast Guard is currently conducting operational tests of TAGOS
vessels outfitted with high-speed deployable pursuit boats (DPB). I expect the DPB's will also
be very successful against go fasts. Third, we are working with the Colombian Air Force to
attack the southeast Colombia airbridge. With the Puerto Rican ROTHR coming on line and
Plan Colombia being operationalized, we intend to go after the air tracks within Colombian
airspace and prevent them from departing enroute to Haiti or other Caribbean destinations. We
also need to continue to work with Venezuela to gain their cooperation for overflight of their
airspace and to assist their Air Force interdict suspect tracks.
I want to thank the Subcommittee for the opportunity to testify on how DOD and JIATF
East is working to combat the flow of cocaine though Haiti enroute tot he United States. I will
be glad to answer any questions that the members might have.
Mr. MICA. We will withhold questions until we've heard from all
of the witnesses.
Next witness is Mr. Michael Vigil. He is the senior agent in
charge of Miami of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Welcome. You are recognized, sir.
Mr. VIGIL. Actually, it is the Caribbean rather than Miami.
Mr. MICA. All right.
Mr. VIGIL. Two separate divisions.
Mr. MICA. All right. We'll put you in the Caribbean. Thank you.
Mr. VIGIL. All right.
Mr. Chairman, members of the subcommittee, I appreciate the
opportunity to appear today to discuss the issue of drug trafficking
throughout the Caribbean, and specifically Haiti.
I would first like to thank the subcommittee for its continued
support of the Drug Enforcement Administration and overall sup-
port of drug law enforcement.
With your permission, I request that my full written statement
be submitted as part of the official record.
Mr. MICA. Without objection, so ordered. You may proceed.
Mr. VIGIL. As all of you are aware, the international drug syn-
dicates operating throughout our hemisphere are resourceful,
adaptable, and extremely powerful. The syndicates have an unprec-
edented level of sophistication, and are more powerful and influen-
tial than any of the organized crime enterprises preceding them.
Traditional organized crime syndicates operating within the United
States over the course of the last century simply cannot compare
to the Colombian and Mexican drug trafficking organizations pres-
ently functioning in this hemisphere. These drug trafficking organi-
zations have at their disposal an arsenal of technology, weapons,
allies, corrupted law enforcement, government officials that enable
them to dominate the illegal drug market in ways not previously
The leaders of these drug trafficking organizations oversee a
multi-billion dollar cocaine and heroin industry that affects every
aspect of American life.
The Caribbean has long been an important transit zone for drugs
entering the United States and Europe from South America. These
drugs are transported through the region to both the United States
and Europe through a wide variety of routes and methods.
The Caribbean also plays an important role in drug-related
money laundering. Many countries have well-developed offshore
banking systems and bank secrecy laws that facilitate money laun-
In countries with less-developed banking systems, money is often
moved through these countries in bulk shipments of cash, the ill-
gotten proceeds of selling illicit drugs in the United States.
The ultimate destination of the currency or assets is other Carib-
bean countries our South America. Due primarily to its mere loca-
tion, in addition to uncontrolled points of entry and internal insta-
bility, Haiti has emerged as a significant transshipment destina-
tion for drugs. Recent statistics released by the Interagency assess-
ment of cocaine movement, in which DEA participates, indicates
that approximately 15 percent of the cocaine entering the United
States transits either Haiti or the Dominican Republic. Vast quan-
titles of narcotics from South America arrive in Haiti after being
transported across the poorest border with the Dominican Republic
and then shipped on to Puerto Rico.
Just 80 miles from the east coast of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico is
easily accessible from Hispaniola by either plane or boat.
Once the shipment of cocaine, whether smuggled from Haiti or
the Dominican Republic by maritime, air, or commercial cargo
reaches Puerto Rico, it is unlikely to be subjected to further United
States Customs inspections in route to the continental United
Haiti is strategically located in the central Caribbean, occupying
the western half of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with
the Dominican Republic. At 27,750 square kilometers, the country
is slightly larger than the State of Maryland. With the Caribbean
to the south and the open Atlantic Ocean to the north, Haiti is in
an ideal position to facilitate the movement of cocaine and heroin
from Colombia to the United States.
DEA is represented on the island of Hispaniola by the Port-au-
Prince country office in Haiti and the Santo Domingo country office
in the Dominican Republic.
Drug trafficking through Haiti is aided by the country's long
coastline, mountainous interior, numerous uncontrolled airstrips,
its 193 mile border with the Dominican Republic, and, obviously,
its location in the Caribbean.
As is the case throughout much of the Caribbean, the primary
method for smuggling cocaine into Haiti is via maritime ships.
Traffickers also routinely transport cocaine from Colombia to Haiti
by single or twin engine aircraft, the clandestine landing strips or
air drop cocaine loads to waiting land vehicles or maritime vessels.
Other common conveyances for smuggling cocaine into Haiti in-
clude cargo freighters, containerized cargo vessels, fishing vessels,
and couriers on commercial aircraft.
As cocaine enters Haiti, it is usually stored locally until it can
be shipped to the United States or other international markets. Co-
caine is often smuggled out of Haiti in containerized cargo or on
bulk cargo freighters directly to Miami. The cocaine shipments
aboard cargo freighters are occasionally off-loaded to smaller ves-
sels prior to arrival in the continental United States.
Cocaine is occasionally transferred over land from Haiti to the
Dominican Republic for further transshipment to Puerto Rico, the
continental United States, Europe, and Canada. As in most coun-
tries where the cocaine trade has evolved, the pull of drug traffick-
ing has left its imprint on Haiti and its police.
Since the inception of the Haitian National Police in 1996, lim-
ited progress has been made. As presently configured, the Haitian
National Police lacks logistical support and training, a unified drug
intelligence system, command and control capability, and adequate
resources. Furthermore, several incidents have occurred which
have further destabilized the leadership and effectiveness of the
Haitian National Police.
First, on October 7, 1999, the Haitian Secretary of State for pub-
lic security, Robert Manuel, formally resigned and left Haiti with
his family for Guatemala. Following this, on October 8, 1999, an
advisor to Haitian National Police Director Pierre Denize and con-
fidante of President Preval and former President Aristide was as-
sassinated. It was learned shortly after the assassination that the
advisor, Jean Lamy, was the potential successor to Manuel.
Finally, during the evening of October 14, 1999, an assassination
attempt was made against Mario Andersol, head of the judicial po-
In August 1998, in response to a directive from the Attorney
General, DEA enhanced the Port-au-Prince country office by in-
creasing manpower and immediately deploying six special agents.
Presently, the office is staffed by one country attache, six special
agents, and one administrative support specialist.
In an attempt to further enhance and invigorate counterdrug ac-
tivities in Haiti, the Port-au-Prince office has established an airport
task force, a street enforcement interdiction task force, and a mari-
time interdiction force. Each of the respective task force groups has
developed an area of expertise for both the DEA special agents and
Haitian National Police officers, alike.
Primarily, the long-term goal of each of these units is to target
then immobilize major trafficking organizations through the arrest,
prosecution, and conviction of its principal members. In addition,
each group attempts to maintain and foster cooperative efforts with
their Haitian National Police counterparts.
What is most apparent in Haiti is the need for a counterdrug
strategy that incorporates an interdiction component that is fur-
nished critical, time-sensitive intelligence. The vastness of the Car-
ibbean corridor, combined with traffickers' use of sophisticated
compartments utilized in freighters and the sheer volume and vari-
ety of commercial cargo flowing through the Caribbean make it a
meaningful interdiction program almost completely dependent on
As a result, the Caribbean field division, in an attempt to defuse
this intelligence void, created the UNICORN system. We call it the
unified Caribbean online regional network. With this system, par-
ticipating Caribbean law enforcement agencies can share photo-
graphs, data, and information concerning various targets, locations,
and groups involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
The Drug Enforcement Administration loans the equipment to
participating agencies and provides training to host country coun-
terparts, as well as installation and implementation of the system.
The UNICORN system has already reaped tremendous benefits,
as exhibited in the success of Operation Columbus, Genesis, and,
most recently, Conquistador. The enforcement operations planned
and coordinated by the Caribbean field division have severely dis-
rupted drug trafficking organizations through the Caribbean region
and have reaped tremendous benefits.
For purposes of today's hearing, I would like to briefly discuss
In conjunction with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Fire-
arms and the United States Coast Guard, Operation Conquistador
was simultaneously launched on March 10, 2000, in Panama, Co-
lombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago,
Montserrat, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Anguila, St. Mar-
tin, British Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Grenada, Barbados, St. Vin-
cent, St. Lucia, Aruba, Curacao, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Repub-
lic, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
The primary objective of Operation Conquistador was to develop
an effective regional strategy intended to disrupt drug trafficking
activities and criminal organizations operating throughout the Car-
Command and control of the operation was executed from the
DEA Caribbean field division in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with for-
ward operating posts in Trinidad & Tobago and the Dominican Re-
The Coast Guard provided expanded presence of interdiction as-
sets throughout the Caribbean and executed air and maritime com-
mand and control of sea and airborne drug interdiction assets from
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms conducted traces
of all seized weapons.
This operation concluded after 17 days on March 26, 2000. Al-
though the arrests and seizures in Operation Conquistador were
extremely impressive, they, however, were secondary to the co-
operation and coordination among the 26 countries that partici-
pated in this endeavor.
Despite limited resources and infrastructure in many of these
countries, all responded with notable efforts and results. The sense
of cooperation and the desire to attain a common goal among each
country that participated should be the prelude to the evolution of
an effective regional strategy.
In conclusion, I would like to say that Haiti requires a great deal
of progress before they are able to effectively impede and diminish
drug trafficking. A working legislature is required to implement
counterdrug legislation. Conspiracy and asset forfeiture laws espe-
cially deserve attention.
The Haitian judicial system must be reformed and modernized to
uphold the rule of law. Haitian law enforcement requires extensive
training and resources. The Haitian Coast Guard requires more
bases, especially on the southern coast. Also, airport and port secu-
rity should be strengthened.
Until such reform is undertaken, Haiti will continue to be used
as a significant transshipment point for illegal drugs.
Presently, the DEA has an effective working relationship with
key officials in the Haitian National Police, judicial police, and
other members in the Haitian Government.
With this in mind, DEA will continue to aggressively address the
trafficking threat in Haiti and improve the ability of DEA person-
nel assigned to the island to confront this threat. We will continue
to plan United States law enforcement operations in conjunction
with the Haitian National Police. These operations will include en-
hancing the capabilities of drug units, investigating money laun-
dering operations, improving the Haitian National Police drug
interdiction capacity, and providing the basic framework for a drug
DEA will remain actively engaged with our Haitian counterparts
to develop a respectable, dedicated, and corrupt-free drug unit.
Over time, drug trafficking organizations that rise to prominence
in Haiti can be effectively dismantled, providing that the Haitian
National Police continue to progress and enhance their law enforce-
ment and judicial capabilities.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today, Mr. Chairman. I
will be happy to respond to any questions you or the members of
the subcommittee may have.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Vigil follows:]
Michael S. Vigil
Special Agent in Charge, Caribbean Field Division
Drug Enforcement Administration
United States Department of Justice
The Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and
"The Emerging Drug Threat from Haiti"
April 12, 2000
2203 Rayburn Office Building
Note: This is prepared text and may not reflect changes in actual delivery
Michael S. Vigil
Special Agent in Charge, Caribbean Field Division
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Subcommittee: I appreciate the opportunity to
appear today to discuss the issue of drug trafficking rL ir.. ,.1a rt e Caribbean and
specifically, Haiti. I would first like to thank the Subcommittee for its continued support
of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and overall support of drug law
As all of you are aware, the international drug syndicates operating throughout
our hemisphere are resourceful, adaptable and extremely powerful. These syndicates
have an unprecedented level of sophistication and are more powerful and influential than
any of the organized crime enterprises preceding them. Traditional organized crime
syndicates, operating within the United States over the course of last century, simply
cannot compare to the Colombian and Mexican drug trafficking organizations
functioning in this hemisphere. These drug trafficking organizations have at their
disposal an arsenal of technology, weapons and allies, corrupted law enforcement, and
government officials enabling them to dominate the illegal drug market in ways not
L '.i-1 i:...l-t r ...1"1- The leaders of these drug trafficking organizations oversee
a multi-billion dollar cocaine and heroin : iJ, I-r, ri.i iiL .iii eil affects American life.
Trafficking through the Caribbean to the United States:
The Caribbean has long been an important transit zone for drugs entering the
United States and Europe from South America. The drugs are transported through the
region, to both the United States and Europe, through a wide variety of routes and
The primary method for smuggling large quantities of cocaine through the
Caribbean to the United States is via maritime vessels. Go-fast boats (small launches
with powerful motors), bulk cargo freighters, and containerized cargo vessels are the
most common conveyances for moving large quantities of cocaine through the region.
Drug traffickers also routinely transport smaller quantities of cocaine from Colombia to
clandestine landing strips in the Caribbean, using single or twin-engine aircraft.
Traffickers also airdrop cocaine loads to waiting land vehicles and/or maritime vessels.
Couriers transport smaller quantities of cocaine on commercial flights from the
Caribbean to the United States. Couriers transport cocaine by concealing small multi-
kilogram quantities of cocaine on their person or in baggage. Couriers also transport
small quantities (up to one kilogram) of cocaine by ii.- r 'l-; ih.: product.
Compared to cocaine, heroin movement through the Caribbean is limited. Heroin
is generally not consumed in the Caribbean, but rather is transshipped to Puerto Rico or
the Continental United States. Almost all of the heroin transiting the Caribbean originates
in Colombia. Couriers generally transport kilogram quantities of Colombian heroin on
c, .. ni.iirFa 1 a I-i, from South America to Puerto Rico or the Continental United States,
concealing the heroin on their person or in baggage. Couriers also transport smaller
quantities (up to one 1.1. Ir -r n .I Il % r..it by concealing the heroin tr.ir'. in ri;.:,.. The
couriers sometimes make one or two stops at various Caribbean islands in an effort to
mask their original point of departure from law enforcement.
Jamaica remains the only significant Caribbean source country for marijuana
destined to the United States. Go-fast boats from Jamaica often transport multi-hundred
kilogram quantities of marijuana 'Iv- eIl, Cuban and Bahamian waters to Florida.
The Caribbean also plays an important role in drug-related money laundering.
Many Caribbean countries have well-developed offshore banking systems and bank
secrecy laws that facilitate money laundering. In countries with less developed banking
systems, money is often moved through these countries in bulk shipments of cash the
ill-gotten proceeds of selling illicit drugs in the United States. The ultimate destination of
the currency and/or assets is other Caribbean countries or South America
Haiti: Drug Trafficking Crossroads of the Caribbean:
i-I war :r.Te 1r : 1i located in the central Caribbean, ,-.r.ivi. ', li western half
of the island of Hispaniola, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. At 27,750
square kilometers, the country is slightly larger than the state of Maryland. With the
Caribbean to the south, and the open Atlantic Ocean to the north, Haiti is in an ideal
position to facilitate the movement of cocaine and heroin from Colombia to the U.S.
DEA is represented on the Island of Hispaniola by the Port-Au-Prince Country .rc [- ri
Haiti and the Santo Domingo Country Office in the Dominican Republic.
The island of Hispaniola is just under 430 miles from Colombia's most northern
point, and easily accessible by twin engine aircraft hauling payloads of 500 to 700 kilos
of cocaine. The two countries on the island, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, share
similar coastal features, facilitating intra-island boat traffic. Just as is the case with the
Dominican Republic, Haiti presents an ideal location for the staging and transhipment of
drugs. Furthermore, there is effectively no border control between the two countries,
allowing .- ci.iI: uninip.. i-A. traffic back and forth. In addition, there is no -i. Ct .
law enforcement or judicial system in Haiti, so there are few legal impediments to drug
trafficking. Recently, DEA has significantly increased manpower on Haiti (from one to
seven Special Agents) and increased interdiction efforts to counter air drops and de nIl I
freighter shipments. However, recent statistics released by The Interagency Assessment
of Cocaine Movement (IACM), in which the DEA participates, indicates that
approximately 15 % of the cocaine entering the United States transits either Haiti or the
Due to the numerous uncontrolled points of entry and internal i -, 1 t1, vast
amounts of narcotics from South America arrive in Haiti after being transported across
the porous border with the Dominican Republic, and then shipped on to Puerto Rico. Just
80 miles from the East Coast of Hispaniola, Puerto Rico is easily accessible from
Hispaniola by plane or boat. The key to the drug trade in Puerto Rico is the island's U.S.
Commonwealth status. Once a shipment of cocaine, whether smuggled from Haiti or the
Dominican Republic by maritime, air, or commercial cargo, reaches Puerto Rico, it is
unlikely to be subjected to further United States Customs inspections en route to the
Trafficking Routes and Methods in Haiti:
Drug smuggling through Haiti is aided by the country's long coastline,
mountainous interior, numerous uncontrolled airstrips, its 193-mile border with the
Doni mi.. R p.,!pi-ic and its location in the Caribbean. Haiti's thriving contraband trade,
weak democratic institutions, and fledgling police force and judiciary system, contribute
to its utilization by drug traffickers as a transshipment point.
As is the case throughout much of the Caribbean, the primary method for
smuggling cocaine into Haiti is via maritime vessels. Traffickers also smuggle cocaine
from Colombia into Haiti via general aviation; either by airdrops at sea or by landing at
clandestine strips. Other common conveyances for smuggling cocaine into Haiti include
cargo freighters, containerized cargo vessels, fishing vessels, and couriers on commercial
As cocaine enters Haiti, 1 .: nJ 1 stored locally until it can be shipped to the
United States or other international markets. Cocaine is often smuggled out of Haiti in
containerized cargo or on bulk cargo freighters directly to Miami. The cocaine shipments
aboard cargo freighters are occasionally off-loaded to smaller vessels prior to arrival in
the Continental United States (CONUS). Cocaine is also sometimes transferred overland
from Haiti to the Dominican Republic for further transshipment to Puerto Rico, the
CO- T'. F.ir rpc. and Canada.
There are three primary smuggling routes for cocaine through Haiti. The first brings
cocaine from Colombia into Haiti via general aviation conducting airdrops at sea. The
second route is from source countries, via Panama or Venezuela, by commercial
shipping. The third route is from source countries, via Panama or Venezuela, in coastal
vessels or fishing vessels.
The Toll of the Drag Trade in Haiti:
As in most locales where the cocaine trade flourishes, competition for control of
the local market has resulted in an escalation of drug-related crime and violence.
Tragically, as we have seen in Colombia, Mexico and the United States, violence and
corruption are attendant to the drug trade. Reports of drug corruption are widespread and
numerous. Haiti's long history of economic and political instability has increased the
attractiveness of the country as a significant transit point. Furthermore, Haiti lacks a
functioning judicial system and a credible law enforcement element, making traffickers
feel safe from potential arrest and prosecution.
Since the inception of the Haitian National Police (HNP) in 1996, limited
progress has been made. As presently configured, the HNP lacks logistical support and
training, a unified drug intelligence system, command and control capability, and
resources. Furthermore, several incidents have occurred which have further destabilized
the leadership and effectiveness of the HNP. Firstly, on October 7, 1999, the Haitian
Secretary of State for Public Security Robert Manuel formally resigned and left Haiti
with his family for Guatemala. Following this, on October 8, 1999, an advisor to HNP
Director Pierre Denize and confidante of President Preval and former President Aristide
was assassinated. It was learned shortly after the assassination that the advisor, Jean
Lamy was the potential successor to Manuel. Finally, Juiiin 1 i.: e. :. in- of October 14,
1999, an assassination attempt was made against Mario Andersol, head of the Judicial
To further exacerbate this tenuous condition, the Haitian judicial system lacks any
meaningful criminal code or drug laws. Prosecutions move at a snails pace and
convictions are almost nonexistent. Defendants are oftentimes detained without any
legitimate cause and a number are still incarcerated despite being granted orders of
release. As a result, a significant obstacle for the DEA is the lack of a law enforcement
entity capable of conducting investigations and making arrests and seizures that will
stand up to judicial scrutiny. Haiti has, regrettably, made only the most tentative steps in
the direction of viable drug laws or effective law enforcement.
A Hemispheric Law Enforcement Response:
With the assistance of state and local partners domestically as well as
counterparts in foreign governments, DEA works to build cases against, and ultimately
incarcerate, the leaders of these sophisticated criminal syndicates as well as the
underlings they send to other countries. Over time, this strategy serves to steadily degrade
a criminal organization', .,-,iI.. it conduct business, leaving it even more vulnerable to
law enforcement strategies. Successful cases against the leaders of international drug
trafficking groups most often originate from investigations being conducted in or having
a nexus to, the United States.
As such, in an attempt to augment this strategy, DEA enhanced the Port-Au-
Prince Country Office (PAPCO) in August 1998, by increasing manpower and
immediately deploying six Special Agents. I'r .-.;i ii I;.. the office is staffed by one (1)
Country Attache, six (6) Special Agents (S/A) and one (1) Administrative Support
Specialist. In an attempt to further enhance and invigorate counterdrug activities in Haiti,
the PAPCO office has established an Airport Task Force, a Street
Enforcement/Interdiction Task Force and a Maritime Interdiction Task Force. Each of the
respective task force groups has developed an area of expertise for both the DEA S/A's
and HNP officers alike. Primarily, the long term goal of each of these units is to target,
then immobilize major trafficking organizations through the arrest, prosecution and
conviction of its' principle members. In addition, each group attempts to maintain and
foster cooperative efforts with their HNP counterparts.
In Haiti, a viable counterdrug strategy must incorporate an interdiction component
that is furnished critical, time sensitive intelligence. The vastness of the Caribbean
Corridor, combined with traffickers' use of sophisticated compartments utilized in
f 1 ; L and the sheer volume and variety of commercial cargo flowing through the
Caribbean, make a meaningful interdiction program almost completely dependent on
As a result, the Caribbean Field Division, in an attempt to diffuse this intelligence
void, created the UNICORN system (Unified Caribbean On-Line Regional Network).
With this system, participating Caribbean law enforcement agencies can share
photographs, data, and information concerning various targets, locations, and groups
involved in drug trafficking and money laundering. The Drug Enforcement
Administration loans the equipment to participating agencies and provides training to
host-nation counterparts, as well as n: -'11iit,; and implementing the system.
The UNICORN system has already reaped tremendous benefits, as exhibited in
the success of Operations Columbus, Genesis and most recently, Conquistador. These
enforcement operations, planned and coordinated by the Caribbean Field Division, have
severely disrupted drug trafficking organizations throughout the Caribbean region and
reaped tremendous benefits. The first of these operations, dubbed Genesis, was a bi-
national initiative designed to foster cooperation between Haiti and the Dominican
Republic. Due to a mutual, long-standing mistrust, Haiti and the Dominican Republic
had never before coordinated anti-drug efforts. The second action, titled Operation
Columbus, was a multi-national operation, comprised of fifteen nations and their
respective law enforcement agencies. The final initiative, the recently concluded
Operation Conquistador, was a multi-national regional operation designed to expand
upon the successes realized in Operation Columbus. The following is a brief synopsis of
In concept, Operation Genesis was designed to foster and maintain cooperation
between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This operation, which was conducted during
November 1998, resulted in 126 arrests throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Prior to Operation Genesis, Haiti and the Dominican Republic had never before
coordinated their anti-drug efforts. However, the results Ln,) i.1 i ii, _1 h Operation
Genesis will undoubtedly assist in ',niprr., in 1i.c .hi; to coordinate anti-drug efforts on
the island of Hispafiola.
The long-term i .I., ti' u-. for Operation Genesis were to promote the exchange of
information between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, facilitate the integration and
coordination of Haitian and Dominican anti-drug efforts, establish a mechanism that will
support the counter-drug effort, develop institutional mentoring and training, and disrupt
drug trafficking operations that are being conducted on the island of Hispafiola.
The operation was executed in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, using
roadblocks at strategic locations and border crossing points, interdiction operations at the
international airports and seaports, and United States Coast Guard maritime interdiction
along the southern coast of Hispafiola.
Operation Genesis resulted in unprecedented exchanges of law enforcement
cooperation by both the Dominican Republic and Haiti. As a result, the Haitian National
Police (HNP) assigned an officer and an analyst to the Dominican National Drug Control
Agency's (DNDC) Santo Domingo office, and four (4) more HNP officers were stationed
at Dominican border crossing points. DNCD officials, on the other hand, were assigned
to the HNP headquarters' at Port-au-Prince, as well as several Haitian border crossing
The exchange of information was further expedited by the UNICORN system,
which facilitated data base checks of suspicious persons and vehicles that were stopped.
The information was sent to the Caribbean Field Division (CFD)/San Juan office where
system checks were performed. The information was then sent back to the HNP via the
Operation Columbus was a multi-national regional effort involving the island
nations of the Caribbean, in addition to Colombia, Venezuela and Panama. The operation
focused on air, land and maritime interdiction, eradication and clandestine airstrip denial.
DEA's Santo Domingo Country Office and Trinidad and Tobago Country Office served
as the northern and southern command posts. The UNICORN system was used to
facilitate the exchange of actionable intelligence. Operation Columbus's principle
* The development of a cohesive/cooperative environment among source and transit
* Disruption of drug trafficking activities,
* The consolidation of the counterdrug efforts in the Caribbean transit zone,
* The continued development of a comprehensive regional strategy.
Operation Columbus was planned and initiated by the CFD to severely impact the
drug trafficking activities in the Caribbean and source country areas. Columbus was
implemented through interdiction and eradication efforts, enforcement operations
involving the use of undercover agents, confidential sources, Title III intercepts, and
Operation Conquistador was a 17-day multi-national drug enforcement operation
involving 26 countries of the Caribbean, Central and South America. The operation
was simultaneously launched on March 10, 2000, in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela,
Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Montserrat, Dominica, St. Kitts, Nevis,
Antigua, Anguila, St. Martin, British Virgin Islands, Barbuda, Grenada, Barbados, St.
Vincent, St. Lucia, Aruba, Curacao, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and the
Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The primary objective of Operation Conquistador was to
develop an effective regional strategy intended to disrupt drug trafficking activities and
criminal organizations operating throughout the Caribbean.
Operation Conquistador's main objectives were: 1) The development of a cohesive
and cooperative environment between source and transit countries; 2) The integration
within each country of all counterdrug entities; 3) The continued development of a
comprehensive regional strategy; 4) To facilitate the exchange of information between
the participating countries with the use of the Unified Caribbean On-line Regional
Network (UNICORN); 5) The mentoring and training of counter-drug entities in host
countries ; 6) To impact and disrupt drug trafficking organizations in the Caribbean area
and source countries.
Command and control of the operation was executed from the DEA Caribbean
Field Division in San Juan, PR, with forward command posts in Trinidad & Tobago and
Dominican Republic. The U.S. Coast Guard provided expanded presence of interdiction
assets throughout the Caribbean and executed air and maritime command and control of
sea and airborne drug interdiction assets from all countries. The Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) conducted traces of all seized weapons. The operation
concluded on March 26, 2000.
Although the arrests and seizures in Operation Conquistador were extremely
impressive, they, however, were secondary to the cooperation and coordination among
the 26 countries that participated in this endeavor. Despite limited resources and
infrastructure in many of the countries, all responded with notable efforts and results.
Throughout the duration of the operation, all participants exchanged information with
each other through the UNICORN system.
Conclusion: The Road Ahead:
Haiti requires a great deal of progress before they are able to effectively impede
and diminish drug trafficking. A working legislature is required to implement
counterdrug legislation. Conspiracy and asset forfeiture laws especially deserve attention.
The Haitian judicial system must be reformed and modernized to uphold the rule of law.
Haitian law enforcement requires extensive training and resources. The Haitian
Coast Guard requires more bases, especially on the south coast. Also, airport and port
security should be strengthened. Until such reform is undertaken, Haiti will continue to
be used as a significant transshipment point for illicit drugs.
Presently, the DEA has an effective working relationship with key officials in the
HNP, Judicial Police and other members in the Haitian government. With this in mind,
DEA will continue to aggressively address the trafficking threat in Haiti and improve the
ability of DEA personnel assigned to the island to confront this threat. We will continue
to plan U.S. law enforcement operations, in conjunction with the HNP. These operations
will include enhancing the capabilities of drug units, investigating money laundering
operations, improving the HNP's drug interdiction capacity and providing the basic
framework for a drug intelligence system.
DEA will remain actively engaged with our Haitian counterparts to develop a
respectable, dedicated and corrupt free drug unit. Over time, trafficking organizations that
rise to prominence in Haiti can be effectively dismantled, provided the Haitian National
Police continue to progress and enhance their law enforcement and judicial capabilities.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today, Mr. Chairman. I will be happy to
respond to any questions you or the members of the Sub-Committee may have.
Mr. MICA. We will withhold questions until we've heard from our
final witness. That witness is Mr. John Varrone, and he is the Act-
ing Deputy Assistant Commissioner, the Office of Investigations,
U.S. Customs Service.
You are recognized, sir. Welcome.
Mr. VARRONE. Good morning, Mr. Chairman. It is my pleasure
to once again have the opportunity to appear before this committee
to discuss the law enforcement activities of the U.S. Customs Serv-
ice, and, in particular, law enforcement efforts directed against
drug traffickers in Haiti.
Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I'd like to submit a long
statement for the record.
Mr. MICA. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. VARRONE. Thank you, sir.
I last testified before this committee in January, when field hear-
ings were held in Miami regarding the role of Cuban drug smug-
gling. Today, I will describe in more detail the threat, our law en-
forcement activities, and Customs' international assistance to
I have brought along several exhibits today that I hope will help
to illustrate some of the challenges we face in dealing with this
In our assessment, Haiti plays a significant role as a trans-
shipment point for cocaine destined to the United States. This as-
sessment is derived from both our role as one of the primary inter-
diction agencies responsible for detection and monitoring in the
source and transit zones, as well as our successful experience in in-
vestigating Haitian smuggling organizations.
As this committee is aware, many factors have converged in re-
cent years to make Haiti the path of least resistance in the Carib-
bean for drug smugglers. Our intelligence indicates that cocaine is
being smuggled to Haiti in both private aircraft and maritime ves-
sels, including both commercial vessels and so-called "go-fast
A very recent example of this smuggling activity occurred on
March 1, 2000, when our interdiction assets in the region were able
to document and record an ongoing suspected cocaine air drop in
Haiti while in progress.
Mr. Chairman, with your concurrence, I'd like to present this
short video before the committee at the conclusion of my remarks.
What I have described for you thus far has involved our oper-
ations and the threat and the source and transit zones. I will now
describe our operations in the arrival zone.
For the Customs Service, the Miami River presents one of our
greatest threats from Haitian drug smuggling organizations. The
reason for this is that the majority of the vessels, an average of 40
per month, that arrive in the United States from Haiti do so along
the Miami River. These vessels present a threat that is truly
unique when compared to other vessels who arrive from foreign
What distinguishes Haitian-origin vessels from other foreign ves-
sel arrivals is that they virtually all arrive in the United States
Another factor which distinguishes Haitian vessels from others is
that they routinely spend weeks or more loading cargo prior to de-
parting for return for Haiti. From a law enforcement perspective,
the fact that Haitian vessels spend weeks sitting on the Miami
River is a tremendous enforcement challenge, since it gives these
criminal organizations an extremely long window of opportunity to
remove their smuggled cocaine.
Very often we develop confidential sources regarding Haitian ves-
sels and crew engaged in smuggling cocaine. However, the Miami
River environment makes surveillance extremely difficult, and
smuggling organizations exploit this weakness. During certain peri-
ods, we have had drug smuggling intelligence information on vir-
tually every freighter on the Miami River.
Even with these law enforcement challenges, we have had some
notable success in combating these drug smuggling organizations.
Since the beginning of fiscal year 2000, the Customs Service has
seized in excess of 5,600 pounds of cocaine that arrived directly
from Haiti. Of this amount, more than 5,000 pounds was seized
from freighters arriving from Haiti on the Miami River. In one 2-
week period in early February, we seized more than 3,400 pounds
of cocaine from five vessels which had arrived from Haiti.
We can attribute much of our success over the last several years
to long-term, multi-agency operations that focus specifically on the
Miami River and related criminal organizations. One such oper-
ation, termed "River Sweep," is a cooperative effort involving Cus-
toms, the FBI, DEA, Coast Guard, and the local police depart-
In closely reviewing and analyzing the results of our law enforce-
ment operations, we have made several observations that we think
are important. Consistent with most drug smuggling organizations,
Haitian drug smugglers routinely analyze Customs' successes and
routinely adapt their concealment techniques in an effort to mini-
mize their risk and minimize drug interdiction.
On the Miami River, this has meant that drugs historically con-
cealed in rudimentary compartments in areas readily accessible by
the crew have been moved deeper into the depths of the vessels.
This move to deeper and harder concealment has made our discov-
ery of drugs on freighters more time consuming, costly, and, most
importantly, dangerous to our officers.
In February of this year, when we seized more than 3,400
pounds from the vessels, we learned that Haitian smugglers had
again adapted to our success by developing new compartments to
conceal their cocaine. The exhibits that I have brought with me
today reflect these deeper concealment.
In each of these seizures, the cocaine was concealed in a com-
partment that was built into the keel area of the vessel. We were
only able to discover these compartments after an exhaustive
search based upon specific intelligence derived from an ongoing in-
During our search, we had to place four vessels into dry dock in
order to cut open the compartments from the outside and remove
the cocaine. It cost approximately $10,000 per vessel to place these
vessels into dry dock and to perform the searches. This amount
does not include the cost incurred to contract professional marine
engineering experts to open the keels so that we could extract the
In addition to seizing a total of 5,000 pounds of cocaine on the
Miami River, we have seized 11 coastal freighters that were used
to conceal the drugs. The seizure of these vessels presents some
unique challenges and issues to Customs. Identifying true owner-
ship is very, very difficult for the Customs Service. These organiza-
tions routinely use beepers to conceal the true ownership.
The expenses related to importing, smuggling cocaine, is such
that the violators are able to disguise that from Customs and we're
unable to identify them.
We have found that shipping company representatives often real-
ly do not know who the true owners are. We had two cases where
the vessel had been auctioned and 2 years later the same vessel
with a different name attempted to smuggle contraband into the
country and we re-seized the same vessel.
Turning to money laundering, our response to dealing with the
threat presented from Haiti is not limited to searching for cocaine.
Thus far, in fiscal year 2000 we have seized more than $1.2 million
in United States currency that was destined for Haiti. These sei-
zures have occurred as a result of our outbound inspection pro-
grams at both Miami and JFK International Airports. In addition,
several of the largest currency seizures have come as a result of
proactive investigations which focused on Haitian drug money
laundering organizations operating in the Miami area.
In 1999, our largest outbound seizure destined to Haiti occurred
on the Miami River, when our agents developed information which
led inspectors to seize more than $1.3 million in a single incident.
In this case, we discovered the currency in tool boxes on a freighter
departing for Haiti.
Our outbound inspection programs have also identified a signifi-
cant threat for both weapons and stolen vehicles that are being
smuggled to Haiti.
Simultaneous to our enforcement efforts, we continue to support
institution building in Haiti. While the Customs Service doesn't
have any personnel assigned to Haiti as part of the United States
country team, we have been very active over the past several years
in providing law enforcement support to our counterparts. Through
the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics Law En-
forcement, the Customs Service has provided several training
courses to Haitian officers in both the areas of contraband detec-
tion and, more recently, integrity training. We are currently sched-
uled to conduct another such contraband detection training semi-
nar in May.
In addition, in March we sent several inspectors and agents to
work side by side with Haitian Customs and Haitian National Po-
lice during Operation Conquistador, a regional interdiction oper-
ation that focused on the movement of drugs through the source
and transit zones.
We have also been participating with other Federal agencies in
an effort to work cooperatively with both Haitian and Dominican
agencies to strengthen the border between those two countries and
slow the movement of cocaine from Haiti to the Dominican Repub-
While the Customs Service has many notable successes in deal-
ing with the threat from Haiti, we believe that reducing the threat
will involve a long-term, comprehensive effort to reduce Haiti's
attractiveness to drug smugglers who use it as a path of least re-
As our air/marine interdiction video demonstrates, the first and
most critical step in this process has to be to develop a credible and
sustainable capability to conduct endgame operations in and
It is clear that the success rate for importations of cocaine from
Colombia to Haiti is very high. Drug deliveries that are not suc-
cessful are due almost exclusively to mechanical failures of aircraft
or vessels and not Haitian law enforcement activities.
In addition, our operational experience in Haiti has shown us
that we need to continually work closely to help Haiti improve
This concludes my remarks. I'd like to thank the committee for
this opportunity to testify today and would be glad to answer any
questions you may have after the presentation of the video.
Thank you, sir.
Mr. MICA. Let's go ahead and show the video, without objection.
Mr. VARRONE. Sir, I probably should have given you the back-
drop before we went into it. I apologize. But this event occurred on
March 1, 2000. Our P-3 picked up that suspect aircraft about 33
miles north of Maracaibo, Venezuela. We tracked it in. As you can
see, there was an air drop.
We were able to obtain the tail number of that aircraft, and our
information is that we have tracked that aircraft on several other
After his air drop, he returned to Venezuela, where we, through
ground forces, alerted everyone. We were denied air entry into Ven-
ezuelan airspace. They did launch on it, but there was no endgame.
There was no successful endgame, as there was no successful
endgame in Haiti.
Thank you, sir. That's all I have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Varrone follows:]
John C. Varrone
Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner
Office of Investigations
United States Customs Service
House Government Reform Committee
The Emerging Drug Threat from Haiti
April 12, 2000
Mr. Chairman and other members of the Committee, my name is John Varrone
and I am the Acting Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Investigations at the U.S.
Customs Service. In my current assignment, I am responsible for all of the
investigative and air and marine interdiction operations of the Customs Service.
It is my pleasure once again to have the opportunity to appear before this
Committee to discuss the law enforcement activities of the Customs Service and
in particular our enforcement efforts directed against drug smuggling in Haiti.
I last testified before this Committee in January when field hearings were held in
Miami regarding the role of Cuba in drug smuggling. While my testimony
focused primarily on Cuba, I addressed more broadly smuggling in the Caribbean
and Haitian drug smuggling groups. Today I will describe in more detail the
threat, our law enforcement activities, international assistance and related
experience with Haiti. I have brought along several exhibits today that I hope will
help to illustrate some of the challenges we face in dealing with this threat.
Haitian Smuggling Trends
In the assessment of the U.S. Customs Service, Haiti plays a significant role as a
transshipment point for cocaine destined to the United States. This assessment
is derived from both our role as one of the primary interdiction agencies
responsible for detection and monitoring in the Source and Transit Zones as well
as our successful experience in investigating Haitian smuggling organizations.
As this Committee is acutely aware, many factors have converged in recent
years to make Haiti "the path of least resistance" in the Caribbean for drug
smugglers. Record quantities of cocaine are being smuggled there.
Like Cuba, its neighbor to the west, Haiti and the entire island of Hispaniola is a
relatively short distance from the United States. By virtue of its location, it is
significant as drug smugglers continually adapt to law enforcement pressures in
the Transit Zone. Due to the tenuous political situation combined with other
factors, such as the lack of law enforcement infrastructure and/or marine
enforcement capabilities and the corrupting influence of drug trafficking, drug
smugglers have been allowed to operate there with relative impunity.
Our intelligence indicates that cocaine is being smuggled to Haiti in both private
aircraft and maritime vessels, including both commercial vessels and so called
"go fast" boats. Customs' interdiction role in these areas has allowed us to
document the increased movement of cocaine to Haiti. Our interdiction assets in
the region were recently able to document and record an ongoing suspected
cocaine airdrop operation in Haiti as it occurred. Mr. Chairman, with your
concurrence, I would like to like to present this video which occurred on March 1,
2000, on the island of Haiti before the Committee at the conclusion of my
The target aircraft depicted on the video was initially detected by Relocatable
Over The Horizon Radar (ROTHR) approximately 33 miles from Maracaibo,
Venezuela, as it headed north. After the airdrop, Customs P-3 aircraft shadowed
the aircraft until it entered Venezuelan airspace. Customs requested approval
from Venezuelan authorities to enter their airspace and continue the pursuit.
This request was denied. We continually receive denials from the Venezuelan
authorities to overfly that country's airspace. As a result, believe that drug
smugglers are now using Venezuelan airspace to thwart law enforcement
I should note for the Committee that the observations made by our officers during
this suspected cocaine airdrop were relayed in real-time to JIATF (East) and then
to DEA in Haiti. However, no endgame seizures or arrests occurred. We are
well aware, however, that there is currently no capability for Haitian law
enforcement authorities to respond to the tactical interdiction intelligence that we
develop and pass along.
While we have not yet witnessed heroin being smuggled from Haiti, we believe
the current situation there is ripe for exploitation by smuggling groups.
What I have described for you thus far has involved our operations and the threat
in the Source and Transit Zones. I would like to move now to speak about our
operations in the Arrival Zone.
The Miami River
For the Customs Service, the Miami River one of the greatest threats from
Haitian drug smuggling organizations. The majority of vessels that arrive in the
U.S. from Haiti do so along the Miami River. The navigable portion of the river is
approximately five miles long and is occupied by numerous shipyards and marine
support service providers.
Haitian vessels that arrive in Miami present a threat that is truly unique when
compared to other vessels who arrive from foreign ports. The most obvious and
significant factor that distinguishes Haitian origin vessels from other foreign
vessel arrivals is that virtually all Haitian vessels arrive in the U.S. without freight.
This factor is largely due to the virtual lack of any commercial exports from Haiti.
What little export traffic there is from Haiti generally arrives by commercial
Another factor which distinguishes Haitian vessels from others is that Haitian
vessels often spend three weeks or more loading cargo prior to departing for the
return trip to Haiti. Haitian vessels generally return to Haiti with a cargo that
consists of consumer goods, construction materials, used cars, bicycles and
other commodities. These goods are generally loaded in bulk instead of being
From a law enforcement perspective, the fact that Haitian vessels spend weeks
sitting on the Miami River is a tremendous enforcement challenge since it gives
smuggling organizations an extremely long window of opportunity to remove their
Very often we develop confidential source information regarding vessels
smuggling cocaine from Haiti. However, the Miami River environment makes
surveillance extremely difficult and smuggling organizations capitalize on this
weakness. During certain periods, we have had drug smuggling intelligence
information on virtually every freighter on the Miami River.
Even if we surveil a location or vessel for weeks, the Haitian smuggling
organizations still have the advantage of their ability to identify law enforcement
surveillance teams over an extended period of time gives them a distinct
advantage in the removal and distribution of their cocaine.
Even with these law enforcement challenges, we have had some success in
combating Haitian smuggling organizations. Since the beginning of Fiscal Year
2000, the Customs Service has seized in excess of 5,600 pounds of cocaine that
arrived from Haiti. Of this amount, more than 5,000 pounds was seized from
freighters arriving from Haiti on the Miami River.
In one two-week period in early February, we seized more than 3,400 pounds of
cocaine from five vessels which had arrived from Haiti. Our most recent seizure
occurred on the Miami River on April 4, when we seized 143 pounds of cocaine
in a vessel's concealed compartment.
We can attribute much of our success over the last several years to long term
multi-agency operations, focusing specifically on the Miami River and drug
smuggling by Haitian organizations. This effort, termed "Operation Riversweep",
is a cooperative operation involving the Customs Service, FBI, DEA, U.S. Coast
Guard, Broward County Sheriffs Office, Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-
Dade Medical Examiners Office, Miami Police Department and North Miami
Beach Police Department.
In closely analyzing the results from Operation Riversweep, we have made
several observations that we think are important.
One is that Haitian drug smugglers routinely analyze every Customs success and
continually adapt their concealment techniques in an effort to minimize their risk
and reduce drug interdiction.
On the Miami River this has meant that drugs historically concealed in
rudimentary compartments in areas readily accessible by the crew have been
moved deeper into the depths of vessels. This move to "deeper and harder
concealment" has made revelation of drugs on freighters more time consuming,
costly and, most importantly, dangerous.
For example, in 1998 Customs made several significant seizures of cocaine from
false floors in areas of the vessels where it was clear that there was either crew
involvement or knowledge that cocaine had been secreted aboard the vessel.
After we made several seizures of this type, we continued to receive confidential
source information as well as intelligence that Haitian vessels were continuing to
be used to smuggle cocaine. However, our intelligence and intensified
examinations did not reveal the new compartments that were being used.
Our Inspectors in Miami continue to perform searches on 100% of these suspect
vessels where they conduct extensive probes in areas not routinely used by drug
smuggling organizations. We have begun to seize cocaine in fuel tanks, fresh
water tanks, ballast tanks, compressed air tanks and other areas below the water
line that were both difficult and dangerous to examine. Because these areas
often conceal harmful chemicals and gases that have overcome our Inspectors,
we have trained and equipped specialized teams to conduct "confined space"
searches using artificial breathing equipment and protective suits.
In February of this year, when we seized more than 3,400 pounds of cocaine
from five vessels, we learned that Haitian smugglers had again adapted to our
success by developing new compartments to conceal their cocaine.
The exhibits that I have brought with me reflect these concealments.
These five seizures demonstrate the "depths" to which the Haitians will now go to
conceal their cocaine.
In each of these seizures, the cocaine was concealed in a compartment that was
built into the keel area of the vessel. We were only able to discover these
compartments after an exhaustive search based on specific intelligence
During our search, we cut through the hull of one of the vessels and had to
contract with commercial divers to patch the vessels from the waterside before it
sank. As a result, we had to place the other four vessels into dry dock in order to
cut open the compartments from the outside to remove the cocaine. It cost the
Customs Service approximately $10,000 per vessel to place these vessels into
dry dock. This amount does not include the costs incurred to contract with
professional marine engineering experts to open the keels so that we could
extract the cocaine.
As noted earlier, Customs has experienced notable law enforcement success
with Haitian coastal freighters. In addition to seizing 5,000 pounds of cocaine on
the Miami River, we have seized 11 coastal freighters that were used to conceal
the drugs. While Customs believes that it is extremely important to seize and
forfeit the conveyances that smugglers use to conceal their drugs, the seizure of
these vessels presents some unique challenges and issues.
For example, we made several seizures recently in which the freighters involved
had been previously seized by Customs, forfeited and then sold at auction. The
seizure of the MN Croyance in February following the discovery of 541 pounds
of cocaine in the keel is one such example. The Croyance had been previously
seized, forfeited and sold at auction by Customs following a seizure of 485
pounds of cocaine in November 1998.
One of the contributing factors to this situation is that this class of vessel has a
limited number of uses and is used by a small community of ship owners.
As you will have noted from our exhibits, these vessels clearly could not be
described as being on the "cutting edge" of cargo vessels. This also means that
the costs associated with seizing, storing and maintaining these vessels prior to
auction are sometimes prohibitive.
We have explored options other than auctioning the vessels, including turning
them into artificial reefs, but the costs associated with bringing these vessels into
accordance with environmental regulations prior to sinking them would be more
cost prohibitive than auctioning.
As this Committee may also be aware, the ownership of these vessels is often
well concealed and owners rarely come forward to contest the seizure or
forfeiture of their vessels. In most cases, we often end up seizing the bonds
posted by Ships Agents, who act on behalf of the owners in the U.S., for costs
associated with the seizure, forfeiture and subsequent auction of these vessels.
We have found that shipping company representatives often do not really know
who the true owners of the vessels are. These representatives are often paid in
cash and only have pager numbers to get hold of the true owner of the vessel.
We have been trying to work with these representatives to educate them about
the importance of knowing their customers and the risks they run when they don't
exercise basic business practices when dealing with customers.
While I have extensively discussed the threat that we have faced along the Miami
River, I should also note that we have also recently detected an increase in
cocaine seizures in commercial air cargo shipments from the Port au Prince
Airport into South Florida. We have also continued to see a rather steady level
of cocaine seizures from commercial air passengers, often concealed on the
passenger or in baggage.
Money Laundering and other Crimes
Our focus in dealing with the threat presented from Haiti is not limited to
searching for cocaine on coastal freighters on the Miami River.
Thus far in Fiscal Year 2000 we have seized more than $1.2 million in U.S.
Currency that was destined for Haiti. These seizures have occurred as a result
of our outbound inspection programs at both Miami and JFK International
Airports. In addition, several of our largest currency seizures have come as a
result of proactive investigations, which focused on Haitian drug money
laundering organizations operating in Miami.
In 1999, our largest outbound seizure destined to Haiti occurred on the Miami
River when our Special Agents developed information which led Inspectors to
seize more than $1.3 million in a single incident when they discovered money
concealed in tool boxes on a freighter departing for Haiti.
Our outbound inspection programs have-also identified a significant threat for
both weapons and stolen vehicles that are being smuggled to Haiti.
Operation Riversweep has documented a serious problem involving illegal aliens
who are being smuggled to the U.S. aboard coastal freighters. Some of these
aliens are offloaded on the river while many are offloaded to small boats off the
coast of Florida. During Operation Riversweep we arrested more than 40 illegal
aliens who were turned over to the Border Patrol.
We are extremely sensitive to the destabilizing effect that these weapons could
have in Haiti, and we continually work aggressively in our outbound enforcement
efforts to eliminate the flow.
Customs Assistance in Haiti
While the Customs Service doesn't have any personnel assigned to Haiti as part
of the U.S. country team, we have been very active over the past several years in
providing support to our counterparts in Haiti.
Through the Department of State, Bureau of International and Narcotics Law
Enforcement, the Customs Service has provided several training courses to
Haitian Customs officers in both the areas of contraband detection and, more
recently, integrity training. We are .u.rr,-ntil scheduled to conduct another
contraband detection training seminar in May.
In addition, in March we sent several Inspectors and Special Agents to work side
by side with Haitian Customs and Haitian National Police during Operation
Conquistador, a regional interdiction operation that focused on the movement of
drugs throughout the Source and Transit Zones.
We have also been participating with other Federal agencies in an effort to work
cooperatively with both Haitian and Dominican agencies to strengthen the border
between those two countries and slow the movement of cocaine from Haiti to the
The Long Term
While the Customs Service has many law enforcement successes to highlight in
dealing with the threat from Haiti, we believe that reducing the threat will involve
a long-term comprehensive effort to reduce Haiti's attractiveness to drug
smugglers who use it as a path of least resistance.
As our Air and Marine Interdiction Division video demonstrates, the first and most
critical step in this process has to be to develop a credible and sustainable
capability to conduct "end game" operations in and around Haiti. It is clear that
the success rate for importations of cocaine from Colombia to Haiti is virtually
100%. Those deliveries that are not successful are due almost exclusively to
mechanical failures of aircraft or vessels and not Haitian law enforcement
In addition, our operational experience in Haiti has shown us that we need to
continue to work closely with and assist Haitian Customs to improve their
capabilities. We believe that this is extremely important since we know that
Haitian Customs is really engaged in a two front war in which they are working
against both drug smuggling and commodity smuggling, which challenges the
ability of the country to collect revenue that is vital to supporting their struggling
Again, I would like to thank the Committee for this opportunity to testify today. I
will be glad to answer any questions you may have.
Mr. MICA. I have a number of questions, but we have been joined
by a member of our panel and also the chairman of the Inter-
national Affairs Committee, the gentleman from New York, Mr.
Gilman, and I'd like to recognize him at this time for a statement.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Chairman Mica, for
holding this important and very timely hearing on our hemisphere
and Haiti, our neighbors now descending into the frightening
depths of drug corruption and violence. In fact, Haiti is becoming
the narcostate, and OAS is considering declaring them a non-demo-
cratic nation because of the problems that exist in Haiti today.
Colombian drug traffickers have established, I think, a firm
beachhead in Haiti. It is estimated that 14 percent of the South
American cocaine headed for our Nation is now passing through
The Los Angeles Times reports that the Haitians have become an
organized smuggling force in their own right. This same news ac-
count sadly comments that, "so ingrained has the trade become in
Haitian society that entire villages have come to subsist on what
they can siphon off from it. Narcotics traffickers are routinely re-
leased from prison by corrupt Haitian judges, while opponents of
the Lavalas regime languish in jail for crimes of plotting against
Drug-related corruption has become widespread in the Haitian
National Police. This may account for why the Haitians have seized
less than a third of the amount of cocaine that they did in 1998.
The Government of Haiti's singular lack of cooperation has led
the administration to decertify Haiti for a second year in a row,
and the Haitian National Police, created with massive United
States assistance, is profoundly politicized. Nearly all of the mem-
bers of the HNP's middle-level officer corps were selected based on
their loyalty to former President John Bertranas Sneed's Lavalas
party. Police Chief Pierre Deneze is a little more than a figurehead.
We face a grim future in our relationship with Haiti. Without
some dramatic changes, Haiti will become a criminal organization
shielded by the privileges of sovereignty. We must acknowledge
what is happening in Haiti. We cannot protect our national inter-
est, nor can we help alleviate the suffering of the much-abused peo-
ple of that island nation until we come to grips with what the situ-
ation actually is.
So I am urging the administration to formulate a new policy di-
rective for our Government to contain and to work to eliminate this
drug cancer that now threatens to consume Haiti.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for this very timely hearing.
Mr. MICA. I thank the gentleman, and also for his hard work on
the subcommittee and chairman of the important International Re-
lations Committee in trying to bring some sense and order to both
our policy and also the situation relating to illegal narcotics traf-
ficking in the poorest of our hemispheric nations.
I have a few questions I'd like to start out with for the Depart-
ment of State.
Maybe, Ambassador, you could give me some estimate as to how
much money we have spent in building both the law enforcement
and judicial structure in Haiti to date.
Ambassador STEINBERG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Our assistance to both of the sectors has been in the neighbor-
hood of $200 million, if you combine them. I will give you a com-
plete listing of the exact programs. OPDAT and ICITAP have been
the principal agents through which those programs have been car-
ried out, and they may be able to address those questions more di-
In the case of-
Mr. MICA. An estimate, then, of $200 million on both the police
and judicial, the whole spectrum of rule of law initiatives?
Ambassador STEINBERG. That would be an overall estimate. I
will, indeed, provide you with direct numbers.
Mr. MICA. By most accounts in some of the testimony here today,
that program has not been very successful, and now, if there is any
success, it is threatened with the corruption, assassinations, intimi-
dation, drug trafficking, etc.
One of the concerns that we have as a subcommittee, oversight
subcommittee, is we understand, from a report in November, that
USAID-Agency for International Development under the Depart-
ment of State-awarded the Haitian justice reform program to a
Washington-based consulting firm-Chechi and Co.-and the indi-
vidual chosen to run the program held a degree in international ag-
riculture. Is that correct? And is it appropriate to award a contract
of this importance and significance to someone who holds an agri-
Ambassador STEINBERG. The individual involved was an expert
in management, an expert in development. Chechi Associates has
a wide range of activities that they have been involved in around
the world, and his effort was to manage the program, which in-
volved a number of experts throughout the area.
Mr. MICA. The individual in charge of the program held an agri-
culture degree; is that correct?
Ambassador STEINBERG. That is true, sir. He was also an expert
in management issues.
Mr. MICA. Well, the reports that we had also indicated the per-
son selected to set up the Haitian court system was a disbarred
California lawyer with several felony convictions, including de-
frauding the U.S. Government. I'm trying to figure out-maybe Mr.
Gilman and I both would like to know-how we could have some-
body selected to set up the Haitian court system who is a disbarred
California attorney and also had been charged with defrauding the
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, the contractor that you
are describing here was assigned to provide legal assistance to pris-
on detainees. He was not in charge of the whole program, as you've
Second, he was not a direct hire of the U.S. Government. He was
an employee of a contractor. He served for less than a year. There
is not a regular procedure in place to go into the employment back-
ground applications of all AID contractors. Once this was discov-
ered, there was a series of investigations which led to his imme-
Mr. MICA. Well, we're also concerned about the upcoming elec-
tions, which have been postponed. You're correct in that they are,
I guess, scheduled for May 21st of this year in that timeframe just
recently announced within the last number of hours. We're very
concerned about the safety of voters. The suspicious recent murder
of Haitian radio journalist of Jean Larapode Dominic who criticized
the government is one example of this situation spiraling out of
control and now emboldened murders taking place even for those
who may be champions of free and fair elections. What are we
doing in that regard to ensure this process moves forward?
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, I share those concerns.
I have traveled to Haiti now three times over the last few weeks
in order to try to push this process ahead. We are deeply concerned
over the continuing delays in the holding of legislative and local
You may be aware that some 3 to 4 million Haitians have actu-
ally registered to vote for those elections. This is unprecedented in
Haitian history. In addition, there are some 29,000 candidates who
are competing for those positions. Again, there is election fever in
We have encouraged President Preval, who is responsible for
publishing a date, which would be proposed to him by the Provi-
sional Electoral Council, to move rapidly to hold these elections in
advance of the seating of parliament, which is constitutionally
mandated for the date of June 12th.
As you said, over the last few days we have intensified contacts
with officials in Haiti, and we were pleased that a date seems to
be emerging for May 21st for the holding of the first round of those
At the same time, we are equally disturbed over the violence that
you have described. This is a very negative trend. We were ex-
tremely disturbed over the weekend at the fact that one of the
headquarters of an opposition party was burned to the ground. We
have condemned that, and we have called on the government of
Haiti, as well as the police officials of Haiti, to identify those people
responsible for that action and bring them to justice immediately.
We have also called on the Haitian authorities to reinstitute se-
curity. We are deeply disturbed that there was no intervention in
that individual case, although subsequently the Haitian National
Police did act to forestall other actions on the ground.
Even as we are speaking, there is a meeting of the Organization
of American States where this issue is being discussed, and we are
working to ensure that the entire international community is on
board with pressure to hold these elections.
Again, Mr. Chairman, these elections are not just going to be
held in isolation. They are a key to restoring responsible govern-
ment. They are a key to passing some of the very laws that we
have been talking about here today that relate to drug trafficking,
which is one of our highest priorities. They are a key to restoring
the faith of the Haitian people in their democratic institutions, and
we will continue to support those elections. We have already pro-
vided substantial financial support. They are a key to the fact that
we are about 75 percent there in terms of getting to these elections,
and we will continue that effort.
Mr. MICA. Well, we heard you describe the amount of money that
was spent on training police and building the judicial system, and
also refer to working with the police. I guess part of your program
you would train, probably, the chief law enforcement officer, which
would probably be-the largest agency would be Port-au-Prince,
the police chief. Is that correct?
Ambassador STEINBERG. I'd really rather have my colleague from
Justice Department, who is in charge of this-
Mr. MICA. Well, that would have been one of your trainees at
some point, I would imagine. Otherwise, I don't know how you
could conduct a program to train police without working with the
head of the Port-au-Prince police. Would that be correct?
Mr. ALEXANDRE. I don't know whether it is a requirement that
members of the police agency graduate from the school, and-
Mr. MICA. But you wouldn't have directed any of your program
or the $200 million toward Port-au-Prince police activities?
Mr. ALEXANDRE. No. The focus of the assistance has been on pro-
viding training and technical assistance.
Mr. MICA. Well, I'm concerned that Port-au-Prince's former police
chief, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Joseph Francois, was indicted in
the United States in 1997 for narcotics transportation and distribu-
tion. He has fled to Honduras. Can you tell me if we have gone
after that individual? Are we pursuing that individual?
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, the individual that you
are describing was, indeed, part of the regime from 1991, that orga-
nized the coup that overthrew the democratically elected govern-
ment at the time. Indeed, he was one of the individuals whom we
focused on in terms of having him leave the country to allow de-
mocracy to reemerge.
Mr. MICA. Well, he has been indicted by the United States. Is
there a request for extradition? What's the process? It is nice to
spend the money on building a judicial system. I don't know if he
was involved in that. We don't have an answer on that. But he ob-
viously was involved in drug trafficking and transportation dis-
tribution, fled to another country, which is, my most recent infor-
mation, is an ally of the United States. And is he still at large? Are
we going after that individual and making an example of him, or
is he just on the lam?
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, I obviously wasn't clear
in my previous comment. This is an individual who was part of the
Mr. MICA. Right.
Ambassador STEINBERG [continuing]. In a previous era. We pro-
vided no assistance to that individual during that period. Indeed,
we had sanctions against that government, very strong sanctions.
Mr. MICA. Well, he was there in 1997, and fled to Honduras. Are
we making an example or going after that individual?
Ambassador STEINBERG. I would have to take that question in
Mr. MICA. Could you just give the subcommittee, for the record,
some information relating to what is taking place with pursuing
Ambassador STEINBERG. We will do so. Thank you, Mr. Chair-
Mr. MICA. It is my understanding there has only been one suc-
cessful prosecution for drug trafficking in recent years, and that
was the 1998 trial of the five Colombians, who I think testimony
indicated, would be released after maybe a year. What kind of ex-
ample does this set for drug traffickers to have one prosecution and
then 1 year of penalty?
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, can I just elaborate on
the previous comment?
When the military regime left the country, he fled to Dominican
Republic, and only in 1997 did he then move to Honduras.
Mr. MICA. I'm not interested in tracing his movements, nec-
essarily. I'm interested in whether we're pursuing it.
He was indicted by the United States for trafficking and distribu-
tion of narcotics, and, I mean, to set an example you go after these
We've had one successful prosecution of five Colombians who are
going to be released in 1 year, and the place is running rampant
with drug dealers and others. Nobody respects the law if there is
no enforcement, prosecution, or penalty.
This is my point. What is happening now with these individuals
is this-our record of success after spending $200 million in police
enforcement training and judicial-and rule of law building, this is
what we have to show for it.
Mr. ALEXANDRE. Mr. Chairman, we are not satisfied that the
sentence meted out during the course of this program case is ade-
quate. As I pointed out during the course of my testimony, the leg-
islative framework for combating narcotrafficking in Haiti, the
legal framework for asset forfeiture and money laundering, they
are very weak.
In order to remedy the situation, legislation is needed. And, be-
cause there has not been an effective, functioning legislature, there
has not been progress in that area.
It is our hope that, once this election is held and there is a sit-
ting legislature, that legislation will be promptly submitted to the
legislature for action. In fact-
Mr. MICA. Well, we don't have a legislature in place. We don't
have elections. We don't have meeting of the legislature to approve
a maritime agreement. So we have a maritime agreement but we
don't have approval.
We spent money on training of judges and police to the tune of
$200 million. I would imagine it is even more than that. And you
talked about maybe a more sophisticated level of pursuit of some
of these individuals who maybe have been charged or involved in
money laundering or more complex part of the judicial system, and
we have reports that there are packed Haitian jails with people
who have never been to trial. I mean, these are some basic things.
For $200 million, it doesn't seem like a very good return, and
even the basic liberties or access to justice doesn't appear to be in
place at any level, high or low.
Do either one of you want to respond?
Mr. ALEXANDRE. Let me just make a remark about that. That
has been one of our frustrations with respect to the level of pretrial
As I pointed out earlier in my testimony, the Haitian legal penal
framework is very antiquated and does not provide for bail in many
circumstances, so, as a result, the number of pre-trial people who
are in jail are not released on bail.
Second, the number of investigating judges available to handle
some of these cases is also inadequate. There is only 30 investigat-
ing judges for a country with a population of 8 million people. That
explains, in part, the number of people who have been sitting in
jail in pre-trial detention.
But on the other narcotics issues, I'd defer to my colleagues from
Mr. VIGIL. If I can make a comment, the Haitian Government
fully recognizes the fact that they have very little adequate legisla-
tion that would impact on prosecutions, on other issues such as
money laundering. However, we do have a program in place where
we are exchanging information, and one of the things that we're
trying to do within the Drug Enforcement Administration is to de-
velop investigations in the United States against a lot of these tar-
gets and then prosecute them here in the United States.
As a result of the operations that I mentioned-Operation Gen-
esis, Columbus, and Conquistador-we have developed a very good
rapport with the Haitian National Police. Genesis was a binational
operation between Haiti and drug Dominican Republic.
As all of you are aware, you know, we have had constant strife
between both countries that exceed over a century, and as a result
of that operation, in the aftermath we had the Haitian Government
that arrested the wife, son, and brother-in-law of Edeberto Conao,
who is a major drug trafficker out of Colombia who was recently
arrested in that country. They didn't have charges on these individ-
uals, so what they did is they turned them over to the Dominicans,
who did, in fact, have jurisdictional venue over these individuals.
Later, the Dominicans also responded by arresting a serial killer
that was getting ready to board an American Airlines flight to New
York, and they didn't have charges so they took him over to the
border and turned him over to the Haitian authorities in Melpas.
Now, as far as money laundering legislation, obviously, they
don't have adequate laws, but what they did was they hired three
legal scholars to review their laws, which parallel, you know,
French law, and, much to their credit, they have undertaken steps
to start seizing properties and money.
For example, during the past year they've seized in excess of $4
million at the Port-au-Prince Airport that was destined for Pan-
ama. And what they've done is they have looked at their laws and
they have structured these seizures in a way that, if the individual
from whom the money or the assets were seized cannot prove le-
gitimate ownership or revenues that would allow them to purchase
million-dollar residences, those assets are, in fact, seized by the
Haitian Government. Some of those assets go to the police depart-
ment, and other assets do go to restructuring of their judicial sys-
Mr. MICA. I have additional questions, but I'd like to yield now
to the gentleman from New York, Mr. Gilman.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Mica.
I'll ask any of the panelists who can answer this, how many
unvetted former Haitian Army officers have been inserted into the
HNP? Is anyone able to tell us that?
Mr. ALEXANDRE. I don't know, but I could try to find out.
Mr. GILMAN. Could you, and provide us with that information?
Do you have any reporting on who is putting these former Army
members into the HNP? And, if you could, provide us with that in-
And what is Danny Toussaint's relationship to the HNP? Can
anyone explain that for us?
Mr. VIGIL. Whose relationship, sir?
Mr. GILMAN. Danny Toussaint. He's a security officer for the ad-
ministration for the Lavalas.
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, thank you. We can ad-
dress that question in another setting in greater detail.
Mr. GILMAN. All right.
Ambassador STEINBERG. But I will say that he has no formal, at
this point, relationship. We, indeed, have indicated that a number
of individuals who were suspected of illicit activities are not to
have a formal role if the United States is going to continue to be
able to support those activities. But I would rather, in a closed set-
ting, address that question in greater detail.
Mr. GILMAN. We're going to ask our staff to arrange that session
Ambassador STEINBERG. I will be there, but also our intelligence
community would have the better information.
Mr. GILMAN. All right. Do we have any reports regarding involve-
ment of Haitian Governmental officials in narcotics trafficking? I'd
ask our narcotics expert.
Ambassador STEINBERG. Well, I'm not our narcotics expert, Mr.
Chairman, and, I would say that our international narcotics bureau
at the State Department is better placed to address that question
But let me say we do have some reports of involvement by some
officials of the government-the judiciary and political parties-in
those activities that you have described. We can, again, provide ad-
ditional information in another setting.
The reports that we have received at this point are
uncorroborated, and it would be inappropriate to address them in
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Vigil.
Mr. VIGIL. What we have in terms of allegations are unsubstan-
tiated rumors. You know, we in the Drug Enforcement Administra-
tion, you know, always look at compiling evidence that would sub-
stantiate, you know, those type of allegations.
I worked over 14 years in the foreign arena, and it is somewhat
unfortunate, but a lot of times we have individuals that take over
police agencies and what have you, and within 48 hours you imme-
diately have informants tying them in to every major drug traffick-
ing component that exists in those particular countries.
So, again, nothing in there that one would be able to sink their
teeth into-rumors at this point in time.
Mr. GILMAN. Do we have any agents in Haiti now, any narcotics
Mr. VIGIL. As far as DEA goes, yes, we have six special agents,
one country attache in Haiti at this point in time.
Mr. GILMAN. Are you restricted in your activities in any manner?
Mr. VIGIL. Not at all. As a matter of fact, we've developed, you
know, a lot of components there-a maritime task force, airport
task force. We're in the process of negotiating with the Haitian
Government in the establishment of a multi-agency mobile task
force to include not only the Haitian National Police but the Coast
Guard and Customs, Immigration, and what have you, that would
be highly mobile and be able to address a lot of problematic areas
throughout that country.
Mr. GILMAN. And, Mr. Vigil, is it true that most of the drugs
transiting through Haiti coming to the United States originate in
Mr. VIGIL. Well, I would say that in Colombia most of the drugs
are manufactured in the southern regions of Colombia. The north-
ern area of Colombia obviously has always been a primary staging
area. But yes, the cocaine that comes into Haiti is by way of Colom-
Mr. GILMAN. And is it coming from out of northern Colombia?
Mr. VIGIL. Yes, sir. And some of that also through Venezuela.
Obviously, Venezuela is also a transshipment point.
Mr. GILMAN. If we are having limited success in Haiti in stopping
those drugs, why don't we move the point of resistance back some,
especially to northern Colombia, where we have good Colombian
police who may be willing to work in fighting the drugs?
Mr. VIGIL. Well, the thing is that we do have a lot of resources.
There are significant measures being undertaken in Colombia. Ob-
viously, it is very difficult to stop the entire flow of drugs coming
But I think one of the things that we're trying to work on is to
develop a response capability. Obviously, in the Caribbean we do
have a lot of detection and monitoring assets, but, at the same
time, we don't have an endgame situation for Haiti, and one of the
things that we've discussed with the chairman, Mr. Mica, is the
need for helicopters to address the flow of drugs into Haiti. Other-
wise, what we have is basically a fancy escort service in terms of
Mr. GILMAN. Well, has the DEA made a request for such equip-
Mr. VIGIL. I have been making that request since I arrived in the
Caribbean for over a year and a half, sir.
Mr. GILMAN. Has that research been forwarded on to the Con-
Mr. VIGIL. It has been forwarded on to everybody.
Mr. GILMAN. How many choppers were you asking for?
Mr. VIGIL. Well, anywhere from three to five.
Mr. GILMAN. What kind of choppers?
Mr. VIGIL. Preferably Blackhawk, UH-60's.
Mr. GILMAN. Our committee staff were in northern Colombia
over a year ago and learned the Colombian Navy lacked gas, in
many cases, to pursue the fast boats carrying drugs to Haiti. Are
you familiar with that problem?
Mr. VIGIL. If you would repeat that, sir?
Mr. GILMAN. Our committee staff were in northern Colombia
over a year ago, learned that the Colombian Navy lacked sufficient
gas to pursue the many fast boats carrying drugs to Haiti.
Mr. VIGIL. Well, I was assigned to Colombia many years ago. I
don't know if that situation presently exists, but the fact of the
matter is that, you know, it depends on the type of ship. I don't
think that the Colombians right now have adequate resources to
address the go-fast boats in terms of the velocity of this craft.
Mr. GILMAN. Can the Coast Guard respond to that?
Admiral BARRETT. Sir, I am in the Coast Guard, but right now
I am working for DOD, but I can tell you that there was a request
from both the Colombian Navy and the Colombian Air Force for ad-
ditional fuel funds, and that has been provided by INL during, I
believe, this fiscal year. I think that became available in October.
Mr. GILMAN. Has it been delivered now?
Admiral BARRETT. I think the-I cannot tell you that for sure. I
can check and get back to you.
Mr. GILMAN. Could you check that-
Admiral BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILMAN [continuing]. And let us know what the status is?
Admiral BARRETT. There was-yes, sir. There was a question as
to how we could legally provide that in the distribution, and I'm
not sure of that, but I know the funding for it was made available
this fiscal year, and that fuel should be available, but let me get
back to you on that.
Mr. GILMAN. Does Haiti have any fast boats that are-have the
capability of pursuing the boats that leave Colombia and head for
Admiral BARRETT. No, sir. Not that I'm aware of. I know the new
Haitian Coast Guard that our Coast Guard is helping has been pro-
vided renovated Monarch-type boats, but they are really multi-pur-
pose for search and rescue. They are not pursuit boats at all, sir.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Vigil, has anyone made a request of that na-
Mr. VIGIL. I believe that request has been made. What they do
have are, like, a couple of Boston Whalers. They do have a few
other ships, but nothing that would provide interception, and I
think that request has also come forward.
Mr. GILMAN. Have you made a request of-
Mr. VIGIL. I personally have not made that request. No, sir.
Mr. GILMAN. Has anyone in DEA made that request?
Mr. VIGIL. I don't know if DEA has made the request, but I think
that that request was made by-and I'll defer this to Admiral Bar-
rett-through the U.S. Coast Guard.
Mr. GILMAN. What about Customs? Is Customs here? Has Cus-
toms made any request of that nature?
Mr. VARRONE. The request that Customs has made, sir, is for ar-
rival zone assets.
Mr. GILMAN. For what?
Mr. VARRONE. Arrival zone, the arrival zone, not specifically for
Mr. GILMAN. What do you mean arrival? Spell that out for us.
Mr. VARRONE. The arrival zone-the Miami River, the surround-
ing area, the 24-miles-
Mr. GILMAN. No. I'm asking about coming out of Colombia now.
Has any request been made for fast boats to help the Colombian
Navy or the Colombian Customs, or whoever it is, pursue the boats
coming out of Colombia that are heading for Haiti?
Mr. VARRONE. No, sir. Not to my knowledge.
Mr. GILMAN. Can someone examine that need and make an ap-
propriate request? Mr. Steinberg.
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, one of the problems that
we have vis-a-vis go-fast capacity in Haiti is the absence of port fa-
cilities that can handle it on the-
Mr. GILMAN. No. I'm talking about northern Colombia now, the
product coming out of Colombia. They're going on fast boats. If we
have no way of pursuing them, we're tying our hands.
Ambassador STEINBERG. I'm sorry, Mr. Chairman. What I was
referring to is once those fast boats are on their way, presumably
to Haiti, as we saw earlier, it is important to have bases, Naval
bases on the southern part of the island that can address that re-
We are now negotiating with the Haitian Government for the
construction of those sites. Indeed, there are two fast boat capable
interceptors, one might say, in Port-au-Prince that need to be for
Mr. GILMAN. So now you're talking about the point of entry.
Ambassador STEINBERG. Entry into Haiti.
Mr. GILMAN. But I'm talking about a point of embarkation out
Ambassador STEINBERG. OK.
Mr. GILMAN. We're talking about trying to move the thrust to
where the product is coming from.
Ambassador STEINBERG. OK.
Mr. GILMAN. Mr. Vigil.
Mr. VIGIL. The problem is a little bit more complicated than just
strictly go-fast boats. A lot of the drugs that flow out of Colombia
are taken out by freighters, fishing vessels, and then they ren-
dezvous in international waters with go-fast boats, so it is not an
issue of just go-fast boats, you know, embarking from the Colom-
bian north coast.
Mr. GILMAN. What percentage is going out by fast boat?
Ambassador STEINBERG. To give you an answer on that, we'd
have to have a perfect intelligence apparatus. We don't have it.
Mr. GILMAN. No one knows how it is going out? Admiral.
Admiral BARRETT. The maritime threat in the Caribbean ac-
counts for about 85 percent, sir. The prime mover in the maritime
threat are go-fast.
As Mr. Vigil says, though, go-fast doesn't carry near as much. A
lot of times the go-fast will take the drugs offshore and load a
freighter that comes through the canal and is headed toward Eu-
rope, headed toward southeast United States, so a lot of times it
is a combination, sir. But go-fasts are our primary threat. There's
no question about that.
I also would like to add, sir, I did not understand-
Mr. GILMAN. Admiral, let me interrupt a moment. I appreciate
Admiral BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILMAN. If go-fast is a primary threat, what are we doing
about stopping the go-fast boats out of Colombia?
Admiral BARRETT. I didn't understand your question earlier, sir.
Colombia used go-fasts that they have seized. The Colombian Coast
Guard and the Colombian Navy used go-fasts that they have seized
down there that they have put back in service. They also use heli-
copters off of their vessels, and they have the authority for firing
warning shots from their helicopters, and they have been effective
Mr. GILMAN. How many go-fast boats does Colombia have that
Admiral BARRETT. I don't have the specifics. I remember seeing
them when I was in Cartagena, sir, but I don't-
Mr. GILMAN. Could the panel provide this committee with infor-
mation about the need for go-fast boats, how many are needed, and
what we can do about trying to provide that?
Admiral BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILMAN. We're talking about helicopters. Provide us with
Admiral BARRETT. Yes, sir.
Mr. GILMAN. Why do you need Hueys for intercepting Naval op-
Mr. VIGIL. Well, not Hueys. You know, what I have referred to
as Blackhawk helicopters are UH-60's. The Hueys, you know, we
had those in Mexico, and, as far as I am concerned, by are very
limited in terms of lift, distance, and speed capability.
I think what we need are Blackhawk helicopters.
Again, if we are going to have detection and monitoring assets
in the Caribbean, I think that we have to have an endgame, and
the helicopters can pursue and vector in, you know, other, you
know, Coast Guard cutters, what have you.
Most often than not, when these helicopters appear, either these
individuals will at least toss the cargo overboard or beach the ship
on shore where it can be seized.
Mr. GILMAN. All right. So if you could provide us with the kind
of equipment that is needed be ever more efficient operation in Co-
lombia with regard to shipments to Haiti, we'd welcome it.
We saw the video. They had dropped-how come you weren't able
to intercept the drops?
Mr. VIGIL. The problem is that, you know, in Haiti you have a
very limited communications infrastructure within the Haitian Na-
tional Police. A lot of the roads there are unpaved, you know. It
looks like the Ho Chi Minh Trail after the B-52s bombed it, you
know, just full of holes, very difficult to get into these remote
Again, here is where the helicopters would have played a very
Mr. GILMAN. Do we have any information that the police on occa-
sion provide protection for the traffickers?
Mr. VIGIL. The thing is that there have been Haitian National
Police officers arrested as a result of collusion with criminal organi-
zations. Some of them have actually stolen drugs and they have
been arrested by the Haitian Government. Yes.
Mr. GILMAN. Do you have any information of police involvement
with any drug trafficker?
Mr. VIGIL. The thing is there is an endemic problem with corrup-
tion in Haiti. Yes, we have information on that. We have passed
information. We have worked with the Haitian National Police, and
they have attempted to arrest these individuals if they have infor-
mation. And, like I said, they have arrested numerous individuals
Mr. GILMAN. Has any of your information you passed on to Hai-
tian officials been compromised?
Mr. VIGIL. Not to my knowledge. And one of the things that I
would mention in that regard is that we've done multi-national op-
erations with Haiti, and we have discovered absolutely no com-
promise in these operations.
As a matter of fact, on Conquistador they had three successes.
On Operation Columbus they seized 275 kilograms, seized a $2 mil-
lion residence, seized several vehicles, luxury vehicles, as well as
United States currency.
Mr. GILMAN. This is my last question, Mr. Chairman. Is there
much of a population that is involved in drug abuse in Haiti at the
present time? How extensive is it?
Mr. VIGIL. We have not seen a tremendous amount of drug
abuse; however, you know, one of the things that we've learned
through history is that a lot of these countries that are producer
countries, that are transshipment countries, eventually develop
that type of problem.
I think one of the factors in influencing that right now is the fact
that, you know, these people barely have enough money to eat,
much less pay for those type of expensive drugs.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Gilman.
A couple of things that have been brought to our attention here
today. Even if they go after these drug traffickers, we spend $200
million in Haiti to build a police force which can't even pursue
them, and then, if they are pursued and arrested, you have an inef-
fective judiciary, almost nonexistent, to go after them. We've had
one conviction and sentencing, and it was for a minimal amount of
time. It appears that even the judicial system that is in place is
not effective, which is a frustration.
The other point that was brought out-and I'm not sure if you've
heard it, Mr. Gilman-is particularly disturbing. The Customs
video that we saw and the comments from the Customs representa-
tive, Mr. Varrone, indicated that Venezuela is not cooperating.
Mr. Varrone, could you tell us again what the situation is with
Venezuela now? We've heard mixed reports of cooperation and non-
Mr. VARRONE. It is my understanding in the video that we
showed you that, in a case of hot pursuit, where we are following
and targeting, we pass the target to them. They don't allow us to
follow it all the way in, and, therefore, an endgame-in-country
endgame is difficult for us to monitor success.
Mr. MICA. The endgame is to go after the drug trafficker, right?
Mr. VARRONE. Yes, sir.
Mr. MICA. And what happened with Venezuela?
Mr. VARRONE. We don't know in that case what the end user-
Mr. MICA. You don't know if they went after them?
Mr. VARRONE. They launched the F-14s, and we were subse-
quently told that they were unsuccessful.
Mr. MICA. How would you describe the cooperation with Ven-
ezuela now, at least from your perspective? We can go to the admi-
ral in just a second.
Mr. VARRONE. We believe that more and more air traffic is shift-
ing there, based upon the fact that we-
Mr. MICA. That's the pattern that we saw presented by Admiral
Barrett, that more are coming.
Mr. VARRONE. Yes, sir, because we have greater cooperation with
Colombia than we do with Venezuela in regards to overflight right
Mr. MICA. Admiral.
Admiral BARRETT. Sir, the Customs aircraft that we saw in the
slide was under our tactical control when they were doing that de-
tection and monitoring. And what happens is every time, when the
suspect target goes back toward South America, we notify both Co-
lombia and Venezuela, through our op center to their op center,
and request permission for overflight. Basically, since June 1999,
President Chavez has directed that we are not granted overflight.
So basically the Venezuelans work with us in that they launch
their F-16s to try to interdict the suspects, but it's like a needle
in a haystack. Unless you have a direct handoff, these are light air-
craft, as you saw, flying at low altitudes with no lights at night.
It is almost impossible to interdict them.
Basically, we also work, as a followup, always, if we get a side
number of an aircraft and it is a Colombian aircraft, we report that
to the Colombian Air Force, and maybe that night they will land
in Venezuela, but within a day or two we've had three or four air-
craft that popped back into Colombia and the Colombian Air Force
have seized the aircraft the following day or when they come back.
So we do followup on that, but we have not been successful get-
ting permission from Venezuela for overflight clearance, and it is
a political issue right now.
Mr. MICA. What has the State Department done as far as pursu-
ing this with Venezuela? Are you aware, Ambassador Steinberg?
Ambassador STEINBERG. Mr. Chairman, I'm actually not. My
brief is Haiti. I will communicate the information-
Mr. MICA. Right. We'll ask that question and ask for a response
for the record. We'd appreciate it. It is disturbing.
If you see the pattern of increased flights through that corridor,
we have a problem.
My final question is for Customs. This is a pretty dramatic array
of seizures since February that you've brought before the sub-
committee today, pretty extensive volume of cocaine and fairly so-
phisticated smuggling operation. Last year, I know we were suc-
cessful in working with you in getting some IN scanning equip-
ment. Is there any portable equipment available to do a quick
check on these hulls? And I understand that that equipment will
penetrate some 6 inches of metal. Is that being used, or do we have
that technology available to expedite the examination of these? You
said you had more than 40 vessels a month coming in and out of
Mr. VARRONE. My understanding, sir-and I don't have the tech-
nological background, but we don't have the capability right now to
be able to scan that vessel in any way, through any kind of x-ray,
and make those type of detections, particularly the ones in the keel
that are either at the water line or below the water line. So we just
have no way of detecting that right now.
Mr. MICA. I think it might be good for us to look at some of the
R&D or application of some of that technology in this, because it
looks like it is very difficult to detect. They're becoming more so-
phisticated in their smuggling operations.
You are, although some of these are for sale in sort of a continu-
ous cycle, able to recoup your cost, though, either with money sei-
zures or seizures of these assets.
Mr. VARRONE. Well, most of these vessels, as you can see from
the photographs, are fairly-you know, they're valueless to us, be-
cause to store them-
Mr. MICA. But, I mean, you're putting them up for auction and
you're not recouping then your cost?
Mr. VARRONE. I don't-there's actually a mixed bag. There are
some that-the newer ones that are online, and clearly the older
ones, the dilemma is the environmental standards to even put
them out at sea and make reefs out of them, the costs to make
them environmentally-to meet the environmental standards is
prohibitive, so, therefore, we're forced with the auction process, and
then violators, of course, have the chance to purchase them back
at low cost.
Mr. MICA. Admiral, have you talked to General Wilhelm about
the Blackhawks for DEA? Has that been a subject of discussion?
Admiral BARRETT. No, sir. The assets that SOUTHCOM has been
involved with are basically what has been requested for Plan Co-
lombia. I am not sure that DEA's request has been forwarded to
Mr. MICA. Since Plan Colombia is still under consideration and
final station, we need to seriously look at this request, and also, if
we have no capability. A glorified escort service is nice, but we
need something for an endgame in this whole process. And Plan
Colombia will deal with certain things in Colombia, but we also
need to deal with outside that parameter by coming from Colombia
to be effective.
Well, finally, I would like to congratulate DEA on the Operation
Conquistador. In fact, if we could get the staff maybe to work with
Mr. Gilman and send those countries that participated a letter of
appreciation for their cooperation. It's going to take a multi-na-
tional effort and continuous exercises like this to go after this, plus
some type of stability in Haiti, or we will see that country fall to
corruption. It is well on its way, and, given the poor conditions of
the country-the poverty, the corruption, we could face a disaster
there, and it's heading in that direction.
We've also expended an incredible amount of money. I think if
we took the amount of money and divided it by Haitians, it would
probably buy them all a condo for what we've put down there, so
it is extremely frustrating to see those kind of resources and not
the results we expected.
There being no further questions of this panel, I'll excuse you,
but we will be submitting additional questions. We'll leave the
record open. Thank you.
Our second panel is one witness, and it is Mr. George Fauriol,
who is with the Center for Strategic and International Studies. I
call Mr. Fauriol forward at this time, if the staff could please ad-
just the witness table.
Again, we would like to welcome this witness, the only witness
on this second panel, who is with the Center for Strategic Inter-
Welcome. This is an investigations and oversight subcommittee,
panel of the House of Representatives. In that regard, we do swear
in our witnesses.
Mr. MICA. Thank you.
I'd like to welcome you now this afternoon. Thank you for your
patience. We have been looking forward to having your testimony
as part of our record, and I'd like to recognize you at this time.
Since you are the only panelist, we won't run the clock, but we in-
vite you to submit to the subcommittee any additional material,
data that you think would be pertinent to your testimony in this
You are recognized, sir. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE FAURIOL, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC
AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Mr. FAURIOL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I did submit a state-
ment to the committee.
Mr. MICA. And without objection, the entire statement will be
made part of the record.
Mr. FAURIOL. Thank you, sir.
In my written testimony I argue two general points, which in
many ways were substantiated by the discussion of the first panel
this morning-lots of questions and all sorts of partial or impartial,
First observation is I think many assessments of Haiti's difficul-
ties are often explained on the basis of a timeline that seems to be
fluctuating. Comparing the year 2000 with the embargo years is
probably not the right judgment. The comparison should be be-
tween the year 2000 and 1994-1995, which, after all, is after the
return of President Aristide back to office and the remarkable
international involvement in Haiti's democratization and economic
There is, related to that, also, I think, a premise which is often
implied, not mentioned specifically, which is that Haiti's narcotics
problems, Haiti's democratization problems, Haiti's economic prob-
lems, in general, are an emerging problem. In fact, the title of to-
day's hearing uses that word.
Again, I think many in official positions have a tendency-per-
haps unwillingly. I'm not accusing them of suggesting otherwise-
that this is-the issue of emerging drug threat, in fact, is an
emerging political crisis, an emerging collapse of democracy. It
didn't begin yesterday. This is something which is the product of
a cumulative lack of policy direction and results over a period of
several years-certainly since 1994 or 1996.
So two general comments, and I will just leave it at that for my
oral comments, sir.
First, I think at this juncture United States policy toward Haiti
is losing credibility fast. It is losing credibility, I think, among
Americans, in general, for those who are watching this process, and
it is probably losing credibility internationally. After all, the United
States is the lead player in Haiti, and I suspect that other coun-
tries are watching carefully what the United States is doing or not
Most of the priorities stated as anchors to U.S. policy-Ambas-
sador Steinberg referred to them in passing this morning-have
really undergone limited progress or, again, are worse off now than
they were in 1995 or 1996. This includes democracy, human rights,
and institution building, alleviation of poverty. I think most observ-
ers would argue that Haitians are, at best, not better off, and prob-
ably worse off now than they were some years ago.
You've heard that the flow of drugs through Haiti is worsening
rather than improving. There may be some argument that the
management of the illegal migration and refugee movement from
Haiti to the United States has become a manageable process, but
I think that is a very narrow issue to judge United States-Haitian
And overall linking Haiti up with the region's democratization
and economic growth trends has obviously been disappointing.
My second general point is that the Haitian Government leader-
ship, in the context of this environment, is, I think I would argue,
acting generally in bad faith in its relationship with the United
States and the international community, and I think, arguably,
bears considerable responsibility for Haiti's current problems. After
all, they were elected by the Haitian people in 1995 and, therefore,
should bear some of the responsibility for the current stalemate, in-
cluding the political stalemate which, again, doesn't date back to
early March, it dates back to the elections of April 1997, as well
as the collapse, if you will, of Haitian governance in 1998-in 1999.
In effect, United States policy, as well as Haitian Government
behavior, should be held to a higher standard. This applies to both
the democratization process, as well as to the drug trade. We are
here in April 2000, and published reports-much of it, in fact, com-
ing from United States Government sources-have been document-
ing the worsening situation in Haiti for several years.
In other words, the current crisis circumstances in United
States-Haitian relations should not be a surprise to anyone and
only underscores, I think, the unwillingness of our own administra-
tion to come clean with the failings of policy toward Haiti since
As you, yourself, noted in your opening statement, as Chairman
Gilman also noted, considerable resources have been spent. Argu-
ably even almost more importantly than that, considerable energy,
enthusiasm, and prestige of the United States have been spent in
this enterprise, and ultimately there is very little to show for it.
Let me just add one or two additional comments, if I may, sir.
In the last several days, the last 10 days to 2 weeks, the situa-
tion has worsened considerably in Haiti, and I think this is an im-
portant backdrop, if you will, to any consideration of the narcotics
question, as well as, more broadly, the democratization process.
As already noted, the offices of opposition parties have been
burned down, and not only burned down, but in several other cases
other party headquarters have been attacked. There seems to be an
orchestrated set of attacks on media outlets. Beyond the assassina-
tion of a well-known radio station owner and political commentator,
there have been attacks on a number of other radio stations in the
last several days.
The head of the Chamber of Commerce, many in the business
community associated with last year's so-called "May 28th call for
democratic renewal" led by the private sector, and many of those
have now fled Haiti.
I note this in part because there is still a discussion of whether
Haiti can have elections some time over the next 60 days, and I
am increasingly skeptical that the overall security environment
and certainly political process is likely to ultimately make that
election not only a success, but let alone even possible under
Finally, in my written statement I also note certain degree of
nervousness about some of the proposals that are beginning to ap-
pear that suggest a revisiting of formal sanctions, economic sanc-
tions toward Haiti, specifically those being discussed, for example,
through the Organization of American States.
I am nervous for two reasons. One of them, the last time that
those sanctions were used in the early 1990's, it took not only sev-
eral years for Haiti to recover from it, but it also took the inter-
national community, including the United States, in particular,
considerable military, diplomatic, and economic resources to ulti-
mately come out of that particular process. Therefore, I am skep-
tical that this should be really discussed so early in this crisis.
Second, I am also skeptical because I wonder whether the admin-
istration, itself, has actually an integrated strategy regarding these
multiple issues that are our part of the Haitian agenda-democra-
tization, narcotics, judicial reform, and several other key aspects of
the challenge that we face in Haiti.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. MICA. Thank you for your testimony.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Fauriol follows:]
Statement of Georges A. Fauriol
Director, Americas Program
Center for Strategic & International Studies
Before the House Government Reform Committee
Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources
April 12, 2000
The New Haitian end-game-
U.S. policy on Haiti is collapsing and there is a need for Congress to re-impose some discipline.
The United States intervened in September 1994 with 20,000+ troops along with a complex UN-
mandated coalition to return to Haiti deposed president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The strategic
marker for this remarkable action was the return to democratic governance.
Fast forward to April 2000: local and parliamentary elections scheduled for March 19 have been
postponed, even though until recently most Haitian and U.S. officials were insisting that
everything was on track. Haitian President, Rene Preval and the Haitian provisional election
commission (CEP) are arguing over authority to reset the electoral calendar.
Haiti is now a country where elections are not held on time, results are not credible, foreign aid
is wasted or simply not spent, the economy is wide open to the drug trade, the president of the
country rules by decree, political intimidation is widespread, the new national police kills, and
the government has invited Cuban technical advisers.
This sequence of events leads me to two general observations. First, for all practical purposes,
senior Haitian executive leadership appears to be barely functioning. Second, there is little
credibility left in U.S. policy efforts. What is happening here?
1 Some of this analysis draws from my recent Wall Street Journal editorial (March 17, 2000),
Washington's rhetoric alludes to five priority areas, with little if any progress in most of them:
democracy, human rights, i-.' ; ii... -,.. ..: alleviation of poverty; countering of drug flows;
management of illegal immigration; and linking up Haiti with the region's democratization and
economic growth trends. Yet, the unstated strategic assumption is that Washington's interest in
Haiti is measured by stability, not democracy, hence a policy posture that is satisfied with the
low outflow -.: .u :, :7 r.,r i .r i -. I-. .. i voter turnout.
Washington is desperately attempting to keep on track a wobbly Haitian electoral strategy on the
record of successively worse efforts since 1995. Specifically, the Administration's tactical
imperative is to sanction this spring's Haitian electoral exercise as a stepping-stone to make
credible a presidential election at the end of this year.
The subtext to all of the above involves Aristide, his influence over current events, his
motivation regarding any upcoming elections, and the presumption that all political scenarios
ultimately come back to him. Although his role is probably exaggerated, for U.S. policymakers
Aristide appears to have become the past, the present, and the future. They are boxed in.
Item: The 1994 intervention consumed about $1.5 billion-plus of U.S. taxpayer moneys in FY94-
95. The intervention also triggered a $1.2 billion multinational reconstruction effort, which
ground to a halt in 1996 with the Haitian government's dismal record of necessary reforms
(including privatization) and budgetary oversight. For an average of about $6 million/year in
direct U.S. support since 1995, each successive election [two in 1995, one in 1997] has generated
a lower voter turnout (less than 5 percent in 1997--the same as with thel988 elections run by the
military). More remarkably considering the scope of the effort, there are no verifiable final vote
counts, no permanent voter registration record, nor electoral machinery institution building
ensuing from any of these elections.
Item: Haiti has opened up to Colombia's narcotics traffickers, and widespread contraband, that is
damaging legitimate business-let alone U.S. investment. The country is reported to account for
the transit of about 13 percent (or more) of all the cocaine reaching the United States, which may
be 2-4 times the rate of the international embargo years (1991-94). Haiti was recently
"decertified" by Washington for failing the annual narcotics policy cooperation test, yet
protected from its implications by a White House "national interest" waiver.
Item: What is keeping Haiti's political system from going off the rails is the surprising resiliency
of a battered opposition and civil society that will not quit. This includes former Aristide tactical
partners (most notably the OPL, the country's second largest political block) as well as new
actors (Mochrena, linked to a growing grass-roots protestant constituency, claims major party
status) and struggling moderate party coalitions (the Espace de Concertation the most durable so
far). U.S. policy leadership has generally been openly skeptical of their credibility, lending
credence to the perception of many Haitians that Washington has had no other game than
Aristide's. The media remains surprisingly vibrant if under constant barrage of conflicting
pressures, as the assassination last week of Radio Haiti Inter owner and political activist
Item: The real story behind the delayed March 17th elections--delayed since November 1998--is a
Haiti governed by presidential decrees and operating with a government led by a de facto prime
minister never constitutionally approved. Democracy? President Rene Preval, a weak if cunning
Aristide prot6g6, shut down the national parliament last year in the wake of 18 months of
skirmishes over the nomination of a Prime Minister. Petty rivalries? No. The previous Prime
Minister, Rosny Smart, had resigned after refusing to legitimize the bogus April 1997 elections.
Item: An amazing aspect of post-94 politics relates to senior figures that have gravitated toward
Aristide, an intriguing cast of individuals with apparently U.S. law enforcement, DEA, and
Interpol files--untouchables as suggested by a February Miami Herald story. Some are graduates
of the disbanded Haitian military and also candidates for parliamentary seats. The notables
include Danny Toussaint, linked in media reporting to the Mireille Durocher Bertin assassination
case in 1995, Fourrel Celestin, Aristide's failed police chief nominee in 1995, Serge Calvin,
political commissar ofFanmi Lavalas and brother-in-law of President Rene Preval, Milien
Romages, reportedly implicated in the assassination of pastor Leroy of the MDN party. This
image conflicts with the socio-political dynamic heavily promoted-in Haiti and the United
States-- in the wake of Aristide's return in 1994 of a Haiti governed by civilian leadership free of
the military past.
Item: The judiciary and the related law enforcement structure are by all accounts barely
functioning despite heroic efforts by the United States and other donors. A non-functioning
judicial apparatus is therefore not much of a counterpart to a highly politicized Haitian National
Police--a police whose ranks appear to be evaporating, down to about a 4,000-strong force from
6,000 two years ago. The original vetting process for new recruits laboriously set up in 1995, let
alone a reasonably effective command structure, has been penetrated politically. This led last'
spring to several weeks of public pressure on Haiti's law enforcement leadership, triggering the
resignation and exile of the key public security official (Robert -Bob-Manuel). The HNP's
chief, Pierre Denize, even if originally well intentioned, is at best a weak actor and at worst a
political instrument of the shenanigans of current and past occupants of the presidential palace.
The U.S.-Haitian policy environment has generated a form of "you know that he knows, that he
knows you know" kind of round-robin policy consideration. There is an uneven and at times
awkward structure to U.S. diplomacy directed mostly at Aristide rather than the Preval
government (at least until recently) or the opposition. This structure has at least three layers: the
Department of State and the U.S. Embassy (with only a "super-Charge d'Affaires" in place
presently); the Special Haiti Coordinator (Ambassador Donald Steinberg); and an occasional
private envoy (former NSC chief, Anthony Lake). Some would add a fourth layer, composed of
miscellaneous intermediaries, including congressional visits. I believe this in part explains late
last year's resignation of our career ambassador (Timothy Carney), who left essentially out of
frustration with a Washington political machinery captured by its own multiple scripts.
Admittedly, this sounds like "inside the Beltway" considerations but may have some effect on
the effectiveness of Washington's response. This is what I mean in the opening sentence of this
statement when suggesting a need to re-impose policy discipline. There are too many cooks in
the kitchen. This is fundamental to a Congressional-Executive branch foreign policy engagement
with a modicum of bipartisan support to address the difficulties in U.S.-Haitian relations.
*It has become difficult to support a policy so wasteful in resources and missed political
opportunities. Haiti's problems are not insurmountable but they require support of democratic
and modernizing forces. Continuing flawed elections strategies in an environment led by
discredited national leadership and institutions is not in the U.S. interest. Washington should be
more demanding, not only for its sake but also that of Haitians.
*As a result I support the continuation of the various congressional "holds" on assistance to
Haiti. However, I would also attempt in this interim to reconcile or streamline the various
congressional resolutions, amendments, restrictions, and waivers that confuse -at least from the
public's perspective- what the United States is actually trying to do, and how U.S. resources are
+Haiti is close to being ungovernable so I would be cautious regarding implied sanctions. I
agree that serious problems require serious solutions but I do not get the impressions that the
Administration is working from well integrated strategy-let alone one where the United States
is not the only country holding the bag. While the most senior Haitian leadership is acting with
what appears to be extraordinary bad faith, I am not certain either that this same leadership
controls the ship of state all that strongly. In any event, the paths down the road of U.S. or
multilateral sanctions (OAS 1080 for example) are paved with good intentions and catastrophic
results for Haiti's recent experience. Congress should be extremely vigilant.
+ The electoral underpinnings of the current crisis suggest a need to assess U.S. spending in this
area since 1995. Future actions to break the political logjam in Haiti are anchored to pursuing
effective electoral assistance strategies. Even a casual observation of Haiti's recent electoral
experience suggests that the international community should bear some of the responsibility and
be accountable for the dismal failure of the effort. This review should include not only a public
accounting of resources but also of agencies and programs involved to pursue what appears to be
a cumulative waste of funds.
Mr. MICA. I'm pleased that you could join us today to give us
your perspective. I think you very astutely analyze this situation
that we find ourselves in, and it didn't occur just today. It has been
something of a series of bad policy decisions from the very begin-
ning, probably since 1994.
Personally, I strongly oppose the imposition of the economic em-
bargo, which did an incredible amount of damage. Although you
said it took several years to recover, I don't think they've recovered
yet, having been involved in trying to help develop business there
in the private sector. But for the fall of the government, we now
have almost the entire island sort of left to a welfare state and the
international donors keeping people alive at the lowest common de-
nominator level. Business has fled. Very little business has re-
turned. The instability is almost impossible to overcome. I'm not
sure how you dig yourself out of this situation.
That really is my question. How would you even begin to put the
pieces to this puzzle back together when we've had one disastrous
policy initiative, failure of assistance programs? Where do you
start? Do you have any ideas?
Mr. FAURIOL. Two or three ideas, sir, some here and some in
First, I think there is a need-this may sound symbolic, but I
think it is important-there is a need to have Haiti's most senior
political leadership-in specific, the President of the country and
some of his immediate associates-I think former President
Aristide should be counted in that group, also-actually state for-
mally, publicly in Haiti-not in Miami, not in New York, not in
Washington, not elsewhere-to Haitians that they actually are be-
hind a credible open political process and elections that will involve
the entire Haitian political community.
I'm not suggesting that these statements may not have been said
in the past, but I am struck by the lack of involvement and profile
and enthusiasm that the Haitian political leadership is dem-
onstrating in the middle of a crisis which has been ongoing now for
I would assume that that message has been conveyed by our own
leadership, but clearly that message hasn't had much impact; yet,
I think this is really in some ways a marker. Unless that happens,
Haiti in some ways may be left to its own devices, and that may
be part of my second answer, which is, unless there is a clarifica-
tion of Haitian political intentions regarding the democratization
process and the election process fairly soon, I'm not quite sure ex-
actly how one can, in fact, sustain a relationship with a govern-
ment that is uncooperative with not only the United States but
other governments, and let's not forget also other international fi-
nancial institutions. The World Bank and others have more or less
conveyed their dissatisfaction with Haitian economic management
now for several years in a row.
So I guess my second answer is not a very satisfactory one for
you, sir, but is, in fact, a potential call for some thinking that, in
effect, is going to look at Haiti as an uncooperative nation, but one
that doesn't imply a series of sort of an open-ended formal eco-
nomic sanctions or other kinds of sanctions, but instead treats
Haiti on a case-by-case basis.
We identify our interests and we try to work with Haiti as best
as we can in the narrow focus of our interests. Narcotics may, for
example, be one area, even though we don't seem to be very suc-
cessful at it.
That may mean that in some areas we may not be able to work
with Haiti at all, including support of what is clearly a flawed elec-
It may, however, mean that we should be able or might be able
to continue continuing assistance and support and working with
non-governmental institutions in Haiti, or trying to encourage the
private sector to remain alive in Haiti, although even that doesn't
look very encouraging under present circumstances.
So my second answer really is a selective identification of what
the United States ultimately thinks is important, and simply to
focus on those issues.
Mr. MICA. Well, we've also been unsuccessful in trying to build
some of the institutions. The judicial institutions, the law enforce-
ment are two abysmal failures. We have probably as much disrup-
tion, killing, lack of enforcement as they had prior to 1994, and
now we have a situation where we have a breakdown of the judicial
systems that deals with crime, corruption, drug trafficking, pros-
ecutorial end of any of this.
What went wrong? And any ideas as to how we correct this and
move forward after spending a quarter of a billion dollars just in
Mr. FAURIOL. I think it was either in one of your questions or
perhaps in the answers from the first panel. There was a reference
to the vetting process. I think in some ways that may be the-
Mr. MICA. Important.
Mr. FAURIOL [continuing]. Important, and the most important
issue, and that happened early on in the process. I'm not an expert
in this issue, but clearly-
Mr. MICA. Sounds like we need to vet some of our own vendors
and contractors when we have a disbarred attorney that was
charged with defrauding the U.S. Government. We have someone
who doesn't appear to have the credentials to be leading a program
of this magnitude or complexity. Something is wrong.
Mr. FAURIOL. It is a vetting process in the contracting world of
how things were done in Haiti. It's also vetting-
Mr. MICA. How about vetting the Haitians involved in this?
Mr. FAURIOL. Right.
Mr. MICA. But-
Mr. FAURIOL. After 1996 into 1997, the impression I got was that
the entry into the recruitment process into the Haitian National
Police became politicized. That should have been early on a marker
for our own officials that things were getting off the rails. What is
remarkable is that 3 or 4 years later we are finally coming to that
admission, and I think the damage has now been done.
I don't see, frankly, a lot of future in the Haitian National Police
in the present circumstances.
In my written statement, I mention that, in fact, it is an
evaporating police force. It nominally should have probably had a
force of somewhere around 6,000. I argue that it is probably close
to 4,000. I've heard lower figures than that. I don't think anyone