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TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IN THE CARIBBEAN:
HAITI, GUYANA, AND SURINAME
WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
j5. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SECOND CONGRESS
JUNE 26, 1991
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
DEC 0 4 1991
'. S. DEPOSITORY
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
47-031 WASHINGTON : 1991
For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office
Superintendent of Documents, Congressional Sales Office, Washington, DC 20402
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
DANTE B. FASCELL, Florida, Chairman
LEE H. HAMILTON, Indiana
GUS YATRON, Pennsylvania
STEPHEN J. SOLARZ, New York
HOWARD WOLPE, Michigan
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
MERVYN M. DYMALLY, California
TOM LANTOS, California
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
MEL LEVINE, California
EDWARD F. FEIGHAN, Ohio
TED WEISS, New York
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
JAIME B. FUSTER, Puerto Rico
WAYNE OWENS, Utah
HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
GERRY E. STUDDS, Massachusetts
AUSTIN J. MURPHY, Pennsylvania
PETER H. KOSTMAYER, Pennsylvania
THOMAS M. FOGLIETTA, Pennsylvania
FRANK McCLOSKEY, Indiana
THOMAS C. SAWYER, Ohio
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
BILL ORTON, Utah
WILLIAM S. BROOMFIELD, Michigan
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York
ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JIM LEACH, Iowa
TOBY ROTH, Wisconsin
OLYMPIA J. SNOWE, Maine
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
JAN MEYERS, Kansas
JOHN MILLER, Washington
BEN BLAZ, Guam
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
PORTER J. GOSS, Florida
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
JOHN J. BRADY, Jr., Chief of Staff
PATRICIA A. WEIR, Staff Assistant
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS
ROBERT G. TORRICELLI, New Jersey, Chairman
JAIME B. FUSTER, Puerto Rico ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California
STEPHEN J. SOLARZ, New York PORTER J. GOSS, Florida
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
TED WEISS, New York DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York JAN MEYERS, Kansas
PETER H. KOSTMAYER, Pennsylvania
HARRY JOHNSTON, Florida
VICTOR C. JOHNSON, Subcommittee Staff Director
TABOR E. DUNMAN, Minority Staff Consultant
NANCY AGRIS, Subcommittee Staff Consultant
FRANCINE MARSHALL, Subcommittee Staff Consultant
RICHARD M. FROST, Subcommittee Staff Consultant
Sally G. Cowal, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Inter-American Af-
fairs, Departm ent of State ................. .............. .............................. ................. 3
Georges A. Fauriol, director and senior fellow, Americas Program, the Center
for Strategic and International Studies..................................... .................. 26
Dr. Robert A. Pastor, professor at Emory University, director, Latin Ameri-
can Program, Carter Center, and executive secretary, Council of Freely-
Elected Heads of Government, Atlanta, GA........................................................ 51
Anne Fuller, associate director, National Coalition for Haitian Refugees........... 71
"The Caribbean in the 21st Century," an article submitted by Dr. Robert A.
P astor .............................................................................................. ......................... 94
TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IN THE
CARIBBEAN: HAITI, GUYANA, AND SURINAME
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 26, 1991
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS,
SUBCOMMITTEE ON WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS,
The subcommittee met, at 2:37 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn
House Office Building, Hon. Robert G. Torricelli (chairman of the
TRANSITIONS TO DEMOCRACY IN HAITI, GUYANA, AND SURINAME
Mr. TORRICELLI. The hearing will please come to order.
We meet today to assess the status of transitions to democracy in
Haiti, Guyana, and Suriname.
We all rejoiced when President Aristide took office in Haiti on
February 7, following Haiti's first free and fair election. As a tangi-
ble indication of our support, the United States allocated more
than $80 million in economic aid for Haiti in the current fiscal
year. The administration has requested-and the House last week
voted to authorize-more than $90 million for each of the next two
This is a substantial amount of money; therefore, we want to
know how the transition is going, how the new government is
doing, and what the United States is doing to support it.
We are encouraged by President Aristide's devotion to Haiti's
poor and to human rights, and by his determination that there will
be a new day for the Haitian people.
But, for the promise of this government to be fulfilled, President
Aristide must ensure that the rights of all are protected, including
members of the previous government and those who criticize the
Haiti's best and brightest must be appointed to the top govern-
ment positions, and there must be an attempt to reach out to all
democratic parties and to include them in the government of the
We would like to have an assessment of the Aristide government
so far-its strengths, its weaknesses, and how the United States
can best be helpful.
We want to evaluate United States policy in support of Haitian
democracy: What are we doing right? What are we doing wrong?
What could we be doing better?
FREE ELECTIONS IN SURINAME AND GUYANA
Suriname has likewise recently conducted free elections, but the
new president has not yet been chosen by the legislature. We are
very concerned about whether the military will in fact turn over
power to the new government and let it govern. We are interested
in an assessment of that, and we want to know what the United
States is prepared to do if a transfer of power does not take place.
In Guyana, the ruling party has successfully rigged elections for
the past quarter-century. International pressure has now induced
President Hoyte to agree to guarantees for free and fair elections
before the end of the year. President Carter has played a key role
in securing these commitments, and we are gratified by his reports
that the elections are on track.
But, while we must support the electoral process and reward
progress, we must also keep the pressure on to ensure that the gov-
ernment's commitments are carried out. We want to know what
our government is doing in this regard, and what the U.S. response
will be if the elections are successful-or, alternatively, if they are
We look forward to hearing from our distinguished witnesses on
Mr. Goss. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do not have a statement
at this time.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
DEVELOPING DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS
Today's hearing offers the subcommittee an excellent opportuni-
ty to review the progress toward strengthening democratic govern-
ment in three important Caribbean countries that are all too often
Haiti, Guyana and Suriname may not be major powers in the
region, but what happens in those countries and the efforts made
to secure protection of human rights and civil liberties for the citi-
zens of those countries is important for U.S. policy and for our rela-
tions with those countries.
The fact is that all three countries are developing democratic
governments and reinforcing democratic institutions places in
stark contrast the reality of Castro's totalitarian regime in Cuba as
the last hold-out in this hemisphere of non-democratic government.
I am pleased our subcommittee is reviewing U.S. policy toward
these governments and our support for the transition to democracy
in the region. This hearing, along with our on-going study of the
situation in Cuba, establishes a useful and informative record of
the dramatic changes that have occurred in the region in just the
past several years.
I look forward to hearing the testimony of our distinguished wit-
nesses this afternoon, and welcome them before our subcommittee.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Mr. Lagomarsino.
Mr. Goss. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I do not have a statement
at this time.
Mr. TORRICELLI. We are pleased to have you here, Ms. Cowal, and
look forward to your testimony.
Ms. COWAL. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I will summa-
rize my remarks and look forward to discussing these matters with
you. I know time is short and growing shorter.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Without objection, your written statement in its
entirety will be included in the record, and you may present your
remarks in summarized form.
STATEMENT OF SALLY G. COWAL, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRE-
TARY, BUREAU OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT
Ms. COWAL. Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to respond to your
invitation to testify before this subcommittee on the subject of the
transition to democracy in the Caribbean, with an emphasis on
Haiti, Guyana and Suriname. Perhaps these countries in particular
have received less attention in Congress and in the media than
their real importance to the United States warrants.
U.S. POLICY TOWARDS HAITI, GUYANA AND SURINAME
There probably are not any significant differences between the
administration and the Congress in our approach to these coun-
tries. We have had an excellent exchange of views, especially on
Haiti and Guyana over a period of months, and close collaboration
with the Members and staff of this committee. And in that regard,
I would personally like to express my appreciation to Francine
Marshall, whose last hearing this is, and to say while we have not
always agreed on an approach to problems, we certainly have
always benefited from a good and honest dialogue.
As we look at U.S. policy in this region, there is a consensus
which is beginning to emerge in the Congress, in the administra-
tion, and in academia as well, that it is in U.S. interests to have
democracy, the rule of law, a full participation of citizens as con-
sumers and producers, a feeling that free market systems and de-
mocracy do go hand and hand and are mutually reinforcing, and a
realization that regional cooperation needs to be strengthened.
There is also a certain irony as we look at Latin America as a
whole in that some of the major exceptions to our vision of the
world's first all-democratic hemisphere are found in the Caribbean
or on the nations that border it, as Mr. Lagomarsino pointed out.
You are having a full-scale review of Cuba and this dialogue on
Haiti, Guyana and Suriname is an important addition.
The goals of U.S. policy in all three countries are essentially the
same. We are in favor of free and fair elections, of consolidation of
democratic systems and values, of the protection of human rights,
of a fight against narcotics production and trafficking, and of the
promotion of stable and open economic regimes.
HAITI-OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE
Haiti has been certainly our greatest challenge. It is the poorest
and one of the most populous countries in the region. The struggle
to achieve democracy and decent living standards has really only
begun. But, as you pointed out, Mr. Chairman, it has been inspiring
to watch the Aristide government in its first months in office. The
government needs our help and that of other donors. Help has
speeded up in the last few weeks. We signed a Public Law 480,
Title III, agreement last week for $21 million, and we have now al-
located the first $6 million of our $12 million ESF Program for this
I believe that there has been an IMF team in Haiti all of this
week and the Haitians seem to be very close to signing a letter of
intent with the IMF. This letter would be important in itself, but it
would be especially important to us because it would allow us to
open the discussion about the debt relief of Public Law 480, a debt
under Section 411, which in Haiti's case is about $120 million.
We understand the Germans, the Japanese, and the French have
also begun disbursing large parts of the aid program.
Father Aristide, as you pointed out, now President Aristide, se-
lected by 67 percent of the popular vote, has made it clear that he
has a desire to work with the United States.
GUYANA-DRAMATIC ECONOMIC REFORMS
In Guyana, certainly there is no disagreement that the govern-
ment has implemented one of the hemisphere's most dramatic eco-
nomic reform programs. It has cut inflation, devalued the currency,
privatized major state-owned enterprises, signed an IMF agree-
ment, and encouraged private sector investment. Because the eco-
nomic depression in Guyana was so bad, economic problems remain
and they affect the entire region. Trinidad, for instance, has some
major loans outstanding to Guyana, which have not been able to be
So, the task in Guyana is not finished. The government has also
committed itself to holding free and fair elections with internation-
al observation and, as you point out, the Carter Center has been
very involved in bringing us to that point and will continue to be
involved as the electoral process goes on.
We have supported the electoral that process by providing fund-
ing for the Carter Center, for the National Democratic Institute,
and for IFES, all of which have been running electoral programs in
Guyana. We will be watching the events of the next few months
which will affect our future relationship with the Government of
SURINAME-POSSIBILITY OF CIVILIAN RULE
Suriname is a different case. Here the problem has not been the
form of democracy, but its implementation, in fact as well as in
form. The major obstacle has been Army Commander Desi Bou-
terse, who has essentially continued to rule Suriname since he took
power in 1980. On December 24th, 1990, he again staged a military
coup and overturned an elected government.
Under international pressure, particularly from the OAS, Ven-
ezuela, the United States and the Netherlands, elections were
called and were held on May 25th. We sent an official delegation to
observe that election. Once again the Surinamese people have re-
jected Bouterse, have rejected military rule, and have indicated
that they want democracy.
They are in the process of forming a new government. It goes
slowly, but it goes forward. There should be a new government in
place within the next month or two, and with this a new chance
for the Surinamese people to have the democracy that they want.
I think we must support the right of the people to form a govern-
ment without military interference and the right of the people to
decide what role they want the government to play.
We are also concerned that drug trafficking through Suriname
has been on the rise. We should not allow this to go unchecked. It
is a serious problem.
We have very few bilateral cards to play. We have no aid pro-
gram. Suriname is not a CBI participant. So, we will be looking to
work with other governments in and out of the region to see
whether we can provide the necessary moral and financial support
to give to the deserving civilian government.
With that brief statement, Mr. Chairman, I welcome hearing
from you and from the other Members of the committee.
[Prepared statement of Ms. Cowal follows:]
Prepared Statement of Sally G. Cowal
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Inter-American Affairs
Department of State
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs
Committee on Foreign Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives
June 26, 1991
Mr. Chairman, I am very pleased to respond to your
invitation to testify before this Subcommittee on the subject
of transition to democracy in the Caribbean with an emphasis on
Haiti, Guyana, and Suriname.
I believe I can safely say that this is an issue over which
there is no significant disagreement between the Administration
and Congress. My bureau and I personally have consulted
closely with members and staff of this Subcommittee on key
questions related to political evolution in the Caribbean, and
we have benefited greatly from your advice and support.
For our part, we are strongly and unequivocally committed
to strengthening democracy in the three nations under
discussion. I would add that we are equally interested in
seeing democracy come to Cuba, and I understand the
Subcommittee will be discussing that subject with Assistant
Secretary Aronson next month.
There is a historical irony in our discussion today. For
decades, while democracy had suffered serious setbacks in most
of South and Central America, it was quietly flourishing in
most of the Caribbean, especially in the English-speaking
states, but also in the Dominican Republic. Now, popular
government is the rule throughout South and Central America,
while the only holdouts to full hemispheric democratization are
in, or border on, the Caribbean. The fact that these remaining
exceptions to democracy are few and relatively small, I should
stress, does not alter our goal. The intent of this
Administration is to help create, in our half of the world, the
first all-democratic hemisphere in history. We will remain
firm in that commitment.
I want to turn now to some specific points regarding the
three countries under consideration today.
In the current transition to democracy, Haiti presents both
the most difficult and the most heartening experience. Two
centuries of tyranny and economic deprivation are not an
auspicious foundation for the rough-and-tumble of democracy.
Yet, defying the skeptics, the people of Haiti have thus far
made the democratic experiment work. Presidential elections
were held smoothly last December and produced the landslide
victory of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a populist priest
outspokenly committed to bettering the life of his people.
When a former Duvalier cabinet minister attempted the following
month to oust the interim government and prevent Aristide's
inauguration, the Army stepped in to block the attempt and
ensure the transition. The Presidential Inauguration in
February was an inspiring popular celebration, and the
beginning of what we sincerely hope is a truly new era for
This Administration, with the help of the Congress,
strongly supported Haiti's political transition. Our
commitment to help the provisional Trouillot Government in its
ultimately successful efforts to conduct free, fair and
democratic elections was underscored by the visits of President
Trouillot to Washington in May 1990 and of Vice President
Quayle to Haiti in August. The U.S. Government took the lead
in marshalling international support for the electoral
process. We provided $11.3 million to Haiti's Electoral
Council, to international organizations supporting the Haitian
elections, and to non-governmental electoral-assistance
bodies. In addition to supporting observer efforts by the OAS,
and the U.N., President Bush appointed a delegation to observe
the balloting. Our delegation to the inauguration of President
Aristide reiterated to him our continuing support.
Alleviation of the economic misery in Haiti is essential to
the survival of democracy. To that end, USG economic
assistance to Haiti totalled $38.7 million in FY88, $50.1
million in FY89, $58.7 million in FY90 and estimated at $79.4
million in FY91. The Administration has requested $88.6
million for FY92, which includes $38.8 million in Development
Assistance (with democracy enhancement projects being a
priority), $24 million in Economic Support Funds and $25.8
million in P.L. 480 food aid. In addition, responding to a
request from President Aristide for help in professionalizing
and improving the living conditions of the Haitian armed forces
(which performed a critical role in safeguarding the electoral
process as well as in foiling the subsequent coup attempt), we
have notified the Congress of our intention to provide $1.8
million in non-lethal military training and assistance this
Haiti continues to face daunting problems that threaten the
success of its experiment in democracy. Remnants of prior
dictatorships remain a danger. The population increasingly
looks for material results from the new government, whose
election has raised high expectations. Ultimately, Haitians
will determine whether democracy is to last. However, the
continued support of the United States and the international
community remains a necessity without which the prospects for
success would be virtually non-existent. We welcome the
continued support of the Congress for this effort.
In Guyana, our policy and relations with the government
over the first two decades of independence were strongly
influenced by Guyana's commitment to a socialist philosophy and
its close relations with Cuba. Further, while constitutional
mandated elections have been held every five years, the
repeated victories of the incumbent party and the resulting
vociferous claims of election fraud made by the opposition,
have led many to question the legitimacy of the political
But things have changed. The present government has
launched an IMF-sanctioned Economic Recovery Program designed
to reverse the country's disastrous socialist experiment and
implement free-market strategies. In foreign policy Guyana has
sought improved relations with the U.S., European nations, and
particularly with its Caribbean and hemispheric neighbors.
Guyana is now the host of the CARICOM Secretariat and joined
the OAS in 1990.
And most importantly for this hearing, the Government of
Guyana has implemented significant electoral reforms which we
believe have now set the stage for free and fair elections
later this year. Of specific importance are the decisions to:
compile an accurate voter registration list by a house-to-house
enumeration; have a preliminary ballot count at the place of
poll; and to alter the makeup of the composition of the
Elections Commission, installing a Chairman recommended by the
opposition. The decision to invite foreign observers,
specifically the Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government
and the Commonwealth, demonstrates, in my opinion, Guyana's
commitment to demonstrably free and fair elections.
We have made clear to all parties in Guyana our expectation
that these elections will be open and fair, and that the
ongoing democratic and economic reforms will become a permanent
part of the fabric of Guyanese life. Our future official
relationship--including economic assistance--will hinge on
That brings us to Suriname, a country too often overlooked
by those otherwise concerned about hemispheric developments
even though it offers a case study in the transformation of a
peaceful democracy into a military-dominated haven for drug
When it gained independence from Holland in 1975, Suriname
seemed to possess all the ingredients for successful
nationhood: natural resources, educated and talented people, a
democratic heritage from the former colonial power, and a
commitment of generous Dutch aid.
In the ensuing 15 years, this promise turned to national
tragedy. As a result of a military coup in 1980, then-
Sergeant Desi Bouterse became Army Commander and dictator of
Suriname. In 1982, Bouterse tightened his grip on power by
murdering 15 prominent opposition leaders. In 1987, Bouterse,
under outside pressure, allowed national elections that were
overwhelmingly won by a democratic coalition. The efforts of
this group to govern, however, were thwarted by Bouterse who
resorted to his familiar strongarm tactics to wield power from
behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, the Dutch suspended their aid; an estimated
third of Suriname's population fled the country; an
insurrection against the military rulers brought chaos to the
interior; and the nation sank into economic and social decline.
In 1990, allegedly because Suriname's civilian officials
did not react strongly enough to what Bouterse alleged to be
insulting treatment by the Dutch, the Army commander removed
the elected government and installed a hand-picked interim
regime. Under pressure from the United States, Holland,
Venezuela, Brazil, the OAS, and others, the provisional
government scheduled elections that took place on May 25. An
observer delegation appointed by President Bush as well as
teams from the OAS, the Carter Center, and other groups judged
the process free and fair. Once again, democratic parties won
by an overwhelming margin (though it was reduced from 1987).
At the moment, a government-formation process is underway in
Suriname. We strongly endorse the right of the democratic
forces to form a government and to rule unimpeded by the
military. Bouterse's unbroken record of violence and
intimidation against civilian authority, however, cause doubt
that he will respect the popular will. I would note however,
that at the General Assembly of the OAS in Santiago earlier
this month, all 34 nations unanimously adopted a resolution
that calls for an automatic meeting of foreign ministers should
any democratically elected government in the Hemisphere be
overthrown. Anyone contemplating such an act in Suriname will
face a united hemisphere committed to restoring democracy.
Bouterse's dominance of Suriname's politics is much more
than an affront to democratic principles and denial of the
Surinamese people's right to choose their leaders. The
impunity with which Bouterse and his colleagues have ousted or
intimidated civilian governments while opening the country to
Colombian cocaine traffickers, creates a frightening precedent
for other countries in the region. If other military elements
take encouragement from the Bouterse example, it could spell
reversal for the success of democracy in the Hemisphere.
Likewise, if the Colombian drug barons profit from their
foothold in Suriname, they can logically be expected to seek
similar targets elsewhere.
Thus, we are seriously concerned about events in Suriname.
The country is at a crossroads. We intend, in conjunction with
other interested governments, to offer every encouragement and
support to democratic forces in Suriname while reminding the
military that its usurpation of power and involvement in drugs
It is clear that a new government will require outside help
if it is to be able to able to address Suriname's serious
problems. Fortunately, such help is potentially available.
The OAS has taken a serious interest in Suriname's transition
to democracy. This should continue while a new government is
getting its feet on the ground. For their part, the Dutch have
presented a comprehensive series of proposals for an
intensified relationship with Suriname, which include
considerable economic assistance. In our view, these Dutch
proposals hold out the potential for bringing about
constructive change in Suriname, including strengthening
civilian authority over the military. The prospective leaders
of the new Surinamese government have indicated a desire to
enter into talks with the Dutch on these proposals once a new
government is in place. We support the right of the government
to do so, free from the military interference. We plan to
discuss with other interested governments how best we can
encourage and support democratic forces.
In sum, Mr Chairman, I am encouraged about the cause of
democracy in the Caribbean. Haiti's dramatic transformation is
a historic political plus. Guyana is clearly moving in the
right direction. Suriname presents serious concerns, but the
recent election results there.illustrate unmistakably the
Surinamese people's strong desire for democracy and end to
military encroachment. Finally, the Administration's
commitment to fostering democracy in all these countries, and
elsewhere, is clear and unconditional. We look forward to
working with this committee and the Congress as a whole in this
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you very much, Ms. Cowal. We appreciate
CIVILIAN CONTROL OF THE MILITARY IN HAITI
Is it your assessment that the Haitian military is at this point
firmly under civilian control at all levels?
Ms. COWAL. Yes, sir. That would be my understanding. As you
know, the Haitian military played a strong role in the electoral
process itself, working closely with the transitional government of
President Trouillot in the interim period between the election of
President Aristide and his inauguration. There was a major chal-
lenge to constitutional government when the Lafontant forces tried
to stage a coup. Again, the military was fully supportive in bring-
ing down that coup. General Abraham, who is the Commander of
the military forces, has been working very closely with President
Aristide, who has been supportive of a limited and constitutional
Mr. TORRICELLI. Has he undertaken any changes in the officer
corps or is it primarily the same military as when he took power?
Ms. COWAL. At the very beginning of his presidency, he fired a
bunch of people who were part of the officer corps, primarily at the
top levels. He did not fire General Abraham, who had been the
Chief of Staff for the last couple of years.
VIOLENCE IN HAITIAN STREETS
Mr. TORRICELLI. How about the level of extra-legal activities,
those seeking vengeance or instant justice in the streets? Is this ac-
Ms. COWAL. There have been sporadic incidents of violence in the
countryside and also in some of the poorer areas of Port-au-Prince.
It is our impression that this is coming more and more under con-
trol. President Aristide has pointed out that rule of law administra-
tion of justice, and elimination of corruption is important. As part
of our democracy program, we are working with the government
on all of these areas.
So, yes, there are still sporadic incidents. It is not an overall pat-
tern of violence.
Mr. TORRICELLI. There are Haitian rumors that Aristide may be
creating his own special police force. Do you have any knowledge
about whether or not its true?
Ms. COWAL. I have not heard anything about that.
U.S. ASSISTANCE IN HAITI
Mr. TORRICELLI. Tell me about the disbursal of current United
States assistance. What is the priority?
Ms. COWAL. In Haiti, sir?
Mr. TORRICELLI. Yes.
Ms. COWAL. Well, we have approved for this year-signed an
agreement with the Haitian Government for a $12 million ESF
program. That is entirely balance-of-payment support, and as I
mentioned, the first $6 million is in the process of being disbursed
We have also been very involved in the Public Law 480 program,
and have signed a Title III--
Mr. TORRICELL. What is the scale of the Public Law 480 agree-
Ms. COWAL. $21 million for this year.
Mr. TORRICELLI. How much of that has been distributed? $6 mil-
lion of the $21 million?
Ms. COWAL. I do not have that exact fact. We had a Public Law
480 program last year also, so it has been a continuing program in-
cluding both signing new agreements and disbursing monies under
the agreements which had been signed in previous years. So, it has
been a fairly steady flow over the last year or so and we plan to
continue that in succeeding fiscal years.
There is also the whole development assistance area which has
been largely funded through private voluntary organizations, but
we are using some of that money on the democracy initiatives
projects as well. On the 31st of May we agreed to a four-year $25
million democracy project in Haiti, working with local govern-
ments, the legislatures, the political parties, and the human rights
Mr. TORRICELLI. Has our support been almost entirely balance-of-
payments support and food?
Ms. COWAL. Our support has been balance-of-payments support,
food and education, literacy, and feeding, primarily done through
Mr. TORRICELLI. Schools as in construction?
Ms. COWAL. Schools as in some construction and some providing
of feeding programs in schools and literacy programs.
Mr. TORRICELL. The health problems coming from sewage treat-
ment and water purification, these other infrastructure projects, do
any of those enter into this at this stage?
Ms. COWAL. I am sorry, sir. I think I would have to provide you a
more detailed answer on the specifics.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Well, that is not any level of detail. Is there any
development assistance going on on water quality or health related
Ms. COWAL. Yes, there is.
Mr. TORRICELLI. As part of the U.S. development program?
Ms. COWAL. Yes, there is.
FRENCH AND CANADIAN AID IN HAITI
Mr. TORRICELLI. The French and Canadian programs, are they
largely food programs?
Ms. COWAL. The French and Canadian programs are food pro-
grams and development assistance programs, I understand. The
French are also going to be involved in a revision of the police and
army, and in the administration of justice.
Mr. TORRICELL. So, are the French not pursuing food and devel-
Ms. COWAL. The French are also pursuing food and development.
Haiti, as you know, is the poorest country in the hemisphere and
needs a lot of help. It also needs projects which generate jobs. We
have been trying to work on some of those things as well, as have
other governments. The building of roads and the kind of thing
which help infrastructure and also provide employment. Those
have been high priorities.
OUTSIDE INFLUENCE ON HAITIAN POLITICAL LIFE
Mr. TORRICELLI. IS it your judgment that Duvalier and his closest
associates are playing any principal role today in the daily political
life of the country?
Ms. COWAL. They are not playing any principal role.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Is it your belief that the Haitian community in
the United States is in any way playing an unhelpful role in the
political life of the country?
Ms. COWAL. Certainly Haiti is a country which has had a diaspo-
ra for a long time and there are many Haitian political factions
which reside here, in Canada, in France and elsewhere. We hear
constant stories of coup plottings or rumors or discussions between
groups here and there--
Mr. TORRICELLI. The point is, is it a concern of the administra-
Ms. COWAL. I think there is nothing-we continue to monitor
this very closely.
Mr. TORRICELLI. But it is not a serious concern?
Ms. COWAL. It is not at this moment a serious concern.
Mr. TORRICELLI. What is the current situation with Mrs. Trouil-
lot? Is she under house arrest at this point?
Ms. COWAL. Yes, she is.
Mr. TORRICELLI. And headed for trial?
Ms. COWAL. That is unclear. Our Ambassador has had several
discussions with President Aristide about that. As you may know,
they have recently replaced Ministers of Justice in Haiti. Our em-
bassy believes that the charges are likely to be dismissed. But, this
is in the process of being reviewed.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Lagomarsino.
SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT ARISTIDE-RISK OF A COUP
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You asked the same questions I had in mind, but I gather that
you do not think there remains a risk of a coup by dissidents,
people with Duvalier or otherwise, at this point?
Ms. COWAL. Mr. Lagomarsino, I think there is always the risk of
a coup. Haiti has been a country that has functioned for 200 years
on voodoo drums, risks of coups and talks of coups, and that talk
does not go away because you inaugurate a new president.
However, the overwhelming international support through the
election and at the time of election, and presently, including that
of international organizations, the OAS and the U.N., certainly
have put everybody on notice that the international community
would take an overthrow of the constitutional process in Haiti very
seriously. This support has down-played those risks so that they
are less of a threat now than I would have said they were a month
ago, two months ago or five months ago. But, they still exist.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Then there seems to be popular support for
the president at this point?
Ms. COWAL. There is great popular support for the president.
There are also great expectations, and his ability to deliver on
those expectations is somewhat limited by the economic state in
which Haiti finds itself. This is a tricky situation for any politician.
ROLE OF THE MILITARY IN SURINAME'S GOVERNMENT
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. To what extent is the military involved in the
newly elected Suriname Government?
Ms. COWAL. There is a military party which is called the NDP
which gained 12 seats of a 51-seat legislature. The interim govern-
ment, which took over in a military coup on the 24th of December,
is still running the country. This is a government which is domi-
nated by the military parties.
It looks as if New Front, which won 30 seats, and another demo-
cratic party, called the Democratic Alternative which won nine
seats, will get together and form a government. This would mini-
mize the role of this military party which got 12 seats.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Do you have any idea what Commander Bou-
terse is going to do?
Ms. COWAL. Hopefully he understands the international message
which has been very clear: the day of the dictator is over. The
international community is watching very closely and has been
very supportive of the democratic parties in Suriname and their ef-
forts to put together a government reflecting the choice of the
people and not of his choice.
STRENGTHENING TIES WITH THE NETHERLANDS
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. I understand there is a movement within Sur-
iname, which has existed for some time to develop stronger ties
with the Netherlands. Is my perception accurate?
Ms. COWAL. I have a public opinion poll which indicates that 80
percent of the Suriname people said they favored some kind of a
"commonwealth," relationship with the Netherlands.
The elements of that commonwealth plan have not been spelled
out either by the Government of the Netherlands or by Suriname.
So, the Surinamers need to form their own new government. Then
they need to decide what kind of discussions they want to hold
with the Netherlands. These steps are some weeks away, neverthe-
less, there would be some indication that most people in Suriname
would favor a stronger relationship.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Does that cause us any concern?
Ms. COWAL. It is essentially the wish of the Surinamese people. It
does not cause us concern.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Now, Haitians continue to leave their coun-
try, and I understand in rather great numbers, despite the new de-
mocracy. Is this because of poor economic conditions, or are human
rights abuses still prevalent there?
Ms. COWAL. The overwhelming cause of leaving Haiti is economic
migration. There are some people who have left because in certain
areas of the country sporadic violations of human rights do occur.
But, our interviews of migrants indicate that the overwhelming
majority leave for economic reasons, and this leads into rising ex-
pectations. Sixty-seven percent of the people voted for this govern-
ment. It is a government which enjoys popular support. They are
people who love their country and who would like to stay there as-
suming they are provided with a wherewithal for doing so.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Goss.
DEMOCRACY IN HAITI
Mr. Goss. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We have covered a lot of
ground and we have good briefing papers here. This update is im-
I wanted to talk a little bit about Haiti. Do you feel that there
has been a realization in the Aristide government that there is a
need to broaden the political base, that the election is now over,
and that the Bouterse's and others need to be brought back in?
Also, is there any indications that that is happening?
Ms. COWAL. That is a very good question and I am not sure I
have a definitive answer. As you know, there was no democratic
tradition in Haiti. Aristide did not come out of a political move-
ment. He really came out of a mass populous movement.
There is more work that certainly needs to be done there involv-
ing development democracy and developing the elements of democ-
racy. For instance, political parties need to develop, and there
needs to be greater participants of other parties in both the parlia-
ment and in the administration.
There is a way to go there. The government has been in office
three months, and they have learned an awful lot about governing
in this time.
Mr. Goss. That is a record of sorts anyway, and it should give us
some hope. But, the concept of loyal opposition is something that is
still a little murky.
Ms. COWAL. Yes. I agree.
Mr. Goss. It is something we have been talking about. I know
that during the elections there was no question that Aristide is a
very popular person, and has tremendous popular support. Wheth-
er or not this can be translated into know-how to govern the coun-
try has remained a concern.
THE HAITIAN ARMY
The last time I was in Haiti, the concern about investment and
potential investment, which is so necessary to restore the economy,
depended a lot on stability. You mentioned a little bit about the
situation with the army, and I happen to feel that they were pro-
viding a degree of stability. I do not know if that is true or not.
They certainly have respected civilian authority thus far, and I
hope that is going to continue to happen.
Are there any other stabilizing factors besides the army to really
provide law and order, however broadly you may define that, and
to establish control when events happen?
Ms. COWAL. No. I would agree with you. The army is the only
organized stabilizing factor.
Mr. Goss. Therefore, the leadership of the army continues to be
extremely important, and it is important to make sure that the
leaders of the military understand that with a duly elected presi-
dent, they are subject to that civilian authority.
Ms. COWAL. Right. President Aristide has really reached out to
the army to try to get that message across. He has gone beyond
making some changes at the beginning of his administration. Not
only have the soldiers shown themselves to be loyal to him, but he
has shown himself to be loyal to military. He has tried hard to go
around and meet the soldiers and has taken occasions to praise
them in public for the role that they are playing. He has requested
and gotten from us, with the concurrence of the Congress, a small
package of non-lethal military assistance. He has received mostly
quality-of-life articles for the military, such as beds, shoes and
So, he seems to be very conscious of the role which they are play-
ing in Haiti, and so far, this is a relationship which works well.
Mr. Goss. That is good news. There were some who felt it could
not have gotten this far.
A POTENTIAL SUCCESSOR TO THE PRESIDENCY IN GUYANA
Shifting scenes over to Georgetown for a moment. To read in this
day and age that Dr. Jagen is the likely successor is deja vu of a
very interesting type. What type of a government would he pro-
vide? Do you think that he could provide a stable government if he
wanted to do so?
Ms. COWAL. We have been in contact with the embassy in
Georgetown, and other members of the administration and I have
had opportunities to converse with Dr. Jagen. He has not yet
spelled out in any great detail what his economic program might
be. He has not embraced Marxism, nor has he openly rejected
Marxism. At the same time, he has privately acknowledged that he
believes he would need to continue many of the same economic pro-
grams that the Hoyte government has instituted; for instance, pri-
vatization and efforts to bring back private capital.
It is difficult to speculate on the future of what somebody will do
once actually getting into office and discovering what the problems
of governing are.
Mr. Goss. I have had a comparison suggested to me that there
has been an evolution as there was with the president of Jamaica,
that at one time he saw things one way and then subsequently he
saw them a different way.
Ms. COWAL. Dr. Jagen has not yet expressed to us personally that
the transformation has taken place. Of course, he has not been
elected either. I am not ruling out that he might indeed be conceiv-
ing something very different for a new rule in Guyana. What we
have tried to make clear is that we support the process that we
support a free and fair election, and that we would try to work
with any government which is elected.
Mr. Goss. Of course.
Ms. COWAL. We would be able to work with them depending
upon the kinds of policies they put in to place. One example is the
IMF program. It would be harder for us to work with them if they
were unwilling to have that kind of program.
MULTILATERAL INVOLVEMENT IN SURINAME
Mr. Goss. Much of the dialogue which we have had with these
three countries has been more in the nature of bilateral relations
and how we see it. We have not talked with OAS or any of a
number of other options, but have let the area of Dutch assistance
in Suriname go to the outside.
How likely is that to be meaningful and sustained? I do not get
the feeling that there are two happy players involved; either the
givers and the takers, or the givers and the receivers. I would love
to think that there is going to be more than the United States of
America trying to provide solutions and answers in investment and
development in Suriname. However, I have some doubts about it.
Ms. COWAL. Since independence in 1975, the Dutch have had the
intention of providing a great deal of aid to Suriname. They have
been somewhat frustrated in their ability to do that because of the
inability of the elected governments in Suriname to essentially
come up with a coherent economic policy. This inability can cer-
tainly be attributed to the fact that the people who were elected to
govern were never allowed to govern. There were some of economic
programs that people in the civilian government knew ought to be
put in place and which would have in turn won Dutch assistance.
The Dutch wanted to see an IMF program. If not, then an EC-de-
signed program which would achieve basically the same things that
an IMF program would. The Suriname government could never
present such a program in a coherent enough fashion that the
Dutch could support. This is wherein the whole Dutch idea for a
new relationship with Suriname lies. The Dutch are dangling some
fairly generous aid terminology.
It is too soon to know exactly what will happen, but the Dutch
government wishes to be involved in the evolution of Suriname
toward a democratic government and an economically secure
Mr. Goss. So, even though it is far away, you believe that if this
is a successful experiment in democracy the Dutch will come in?
Ms. COWAL. If it is a successful experiment in democracy, which
also is able to achieve a rational economic policy, the Dutch will be
there with fairly large numbers.
Mr. Goss. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is interesting.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Johnston.
POLICY TOWARDS THE HAITIAN EMIGRANTS
Mr. JOHNSTON. Mr. Chairman, I will be brief because we have
three more panelists here, but it is not by coincidence that there
are three of us up here from south Florida. Congresswoman Ros-
Lehtinen has at least 100,000 Haitians in Dade County. In Palm
Beach County, I have 50,000. In between us there is Broward
County that must have at least 50,000.
So you have 200,000 at least there. My question is, do you antici-
pate-and it is very heart-wrenching when you see them coming in
boats, putting them back on boats, sending them back south again.
Do you see another mass migration out of Haiti to south Florida?
Ms. COWAL. I see a continuing migration. Mass migration might
be too dramatic a term. For a while, right after the inauguration of
President Aristide, for maybe six or eight weeks, there were no
boats. That is the Coast Guard did not pick up such migrants. In
the last two or three months we have again seen boat loads of refu-
gees trying to find a better life.
The amount of migration will be pretty much in direct propor-
tion to how well the economy stabilizes and how readily people are
able to find jobs in Haiti. The migration is largely motivated by ec-
onomics, not by human rights violations.
Therefore, hopefully the economic situation in Haiti is going to
begin to turn around and migration will in turn be reduced.
Mr. JOHNSTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Mr. Johnston.
INFLUENCE OF U.S. NARCOTICS POLICY
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Gilman.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate the com-
ments of Ms. Cowal with regard to this region.
I noted that one of the panelists a little later on today mentions
that we should not allow foreign policy in the Caribbean to be
dominated by the narcotics policy concerns of our law enforcement
community. That is a statement by Dr. George Fauriol.
To what extent is our policy dominated by our drug policy in
Ms. COWAL. It is not dominated by our drug policy, but certainly
the Caribbean has been one of the major transshipment points for
Colombian and Andean cocaine reaching the United States. Conse-
quently, we have entered into cooperative programs with most
countries in the Caribbean. Most of these programs are somewhat
underfunded compared to the task at hand; trying to work coopera-
tively with their law enforcement people and their Coast Guards to
stop the shipments before they get to the United States.
Drug trafficking through the region is an important concern. Not
only is this important to us, but the countries of the region are by
and large so small, economically speaking. Some of the countries,
especially some of the ones that we are considering today, are po-
litically fragile. If the drug traffickers were able to get a major
foothold in any one, it would be very destabilizing to the very
fabric of those societies. We have not allowed our drug policy to
dominate our foreign policy concerns, but it is certainly an impor-
tant foreign policy concern and it is important to the countries of
the region as well.
THE STATUS OF DRUG CONTROL IN THE CARIBBEAN
Mr. GILMAN. What is the status of drugs in each of these coun-
tries? Has there been some major trafficking in each of them?
Ms. COWAL. The situation in Suriname is perhaps the most dra-
matic, although it is also perhaps the one which least affects us.
Suriname sits right on the coast of South America. Somewhere be-
tween 60 and 80 percent of the cocaine which is found in the Neth-
erlands has proven to be coming through Suriname. Most of the
trafficking patterns from Suriname continue to go to Europe
rather than to the United States.
Suriname is a case where there seems to have been either in-
volvement by the military or at least the allowance of drug traf-
fickers taking over part of the country to stage their activities.
This is very serious. One of the things that we look forward to
doing with a newly elected government is to work on strengthening
our narcotics cooperation.
President Aristide has told us that he is very concerned about
drug trafficking in Haiti. He has indicated his willingness to work
with us, and we are beginning to do that.
In Guyana, there really has not yet been very much evidence
that the traffickers have established any kind of a major foothold
It is a concern in all of these countries, less in Guyana than in
the other two.
IS PRESIDENT ARISTIDE OF HAITI A MARXIST?
Mr. GILMAN. There has been some talk that the new president of
Haiti has a Marxist approach to problems of government. How
would you characterize the new president?
Ms. COWAL. I would not characterize the president as a Marxist,
but rather as a populist. As you know, he was a Roman Catholic
priest. He is probably a liberation theologist with a bent on chang-
ing the social conditions of the very poor to get them out of desper-
ate straits to "respectable poverty". In our conversations with him
we have not found him to be either anti-American or Marxist. He
clearly lacks a lot of experience in governing, and is looking for so-
lutions on how to govern a country which is difficult to govern very
We have recently participated with a couple of private sector
groups that have gone to Haiti to talk to Aristide and some of his
ministers about what is needed to attract investment. He was very
open to those conversations. One conversation a couple of weeks
ago was supposed to last 30 minutes and it went on for two and a
half hours because the president was very interested in talking to
some of the people, like a representative of IBM, who were interest-
ed in potentially establishing some operations in Haiti.
Thus, from what we have seen of his months in office, I would
not characterize him as a Marxist or as against free market princi-
ples. He certainly is for social justice.
CONTINUING PROGRESS IN HAITI
Mr. GILMAN. One of our colleagues in Congress who watches Hai-
tian progress very closely indicated that the new president initially
made quite a bit of progress, but he seems to be stalemated of late.
Is that a fair characterization?
Ms. COWAL. The time range is too short to say either progress or
stalemate. He was inaugurated on February 16th, so he has really
been in office less than six months. He had no experience in gov-
ernment, neither did any of his ministers. This was very deliberate.
They felt that most of the people who had been involved in Haitian
governments in the past were not people whom they wished would
be involved in a present government. But, this means there is a
long learning curve and there have been some setbacks. However,
he was not stalemated. He continues to make progress.
Mr. GILMAN. Has he been able to root out the extensive corrup-
tion that existed beforehand?
Ms. COWAL. They have fired an awful lot of people in an awful
lot of important entities where there was corruption, such as the
airport, the ports, the customs service, and the flour mill. He has
told us that that is one of his highest priorities and he is beginning
to root out the corruption.
Mr. GILMAN. And have they reformed the judicial system?
Ms. COWAL. Not as yet.
Mr. GILMAN. I understand that while they have incarcerated a
lot of these people, very few have been tried and convicted.
Ms. COWAL. One of the priorities of the Haitian Government has
to be a reform of the judicial system. We are going to be spending
some AID money on administration of justice, trying to respond to
their concerns in this area. But, it did not all come about over-
U.S. POLICY TOWARDS HAITIAN BOAT PEOPLE
Mr. GILMAN. What are we doing with regard to our approach
toward the refugees, about interdicting the Haitian boats and send-
ing them back? Are we still on the same track with regard to Hai-
tian boat people?
Ms. COWAL. We continue to have an agreement with the Govern-
ment of Haiti and with the Alien, Migration, and Immigration Op-
eration, AMIO operation. The Coast Guard does continue to inter-
dict boats at sea, many of which, of course, would go down if they
were not interdicted. The INS provides officers to interview mi-
grants and to screen out any who might be fleeing from political
repression of one kind or another. They also bring those migrants
to the United States who require a longer adjudication of their
Some of the people on your other panel will probably speak more
about that, but the Immigration Service has recently revised its
procedures and is conducting longer interviews. In the process of
the longer interview it has found a handful of migrants who seem
to qualify for political protection in the United States, and these
people have been brought to Miami. Nevertheless, essentially the
program continues the same way. The Coast Guard stops the boats
and the Immigration people interview the emigrants. If they are
found to be fleeing from economic conditions, they are repatriated
Mr. GILMAN. Are we thinking of revising that policy and sitting
down with the Government of Haiti to try to work out a more re-
Ms. COWAL. The Government of Haiti has not yet approached us
asking for a revision. Of course, we would, be willing to talk to
them about it should they do so.
RELATIONS BETWEEN HAITI AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Mr. GILMAN. One other question with regard to Haiti. Are there
some initiatives underway to try to settle the differences between
the Dominican Republic and the Haitian Government? Some of the
differences that have arisen of late?
Ms. COWAL. There is beginning to be a realization for the first
time in many years that they are two countries who share one
island. They have had some recent problems, part of them generat-
ed by the allegations that the Dominican Republic was mistreating
Haitian sugarcane cutters. In response the Dominican Republic de-
cided that they would repatriate some of those Haitians to Haiti,
illegal Haitians who were working in the Dominican Republic.
There have probably been about 200 repatriated in the last few
days, but I think both of the governments have tried to defuse the
tensions. Each country admits that a country has a right to sover-
eign control of its own borders, and there will be full respect for
the human rights of the people who are involved in this process.
Mr. GILMAN. Then are you optimistic with regard to the democ-
ratization of Haiti under the new leadership?
Ms. COWAL. Yes, I am optimistic about it. It has a long way to go,
but what has happened to date has been remarkable, and with the
good will of the international community and support from its
friends, Haiti can make it this time.
Mr. GILMAN. Thank you. Thank you for your testimony.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Gilman, thank you very much.
Ms. Cowal, thank you for your testimony today. We appreciate
your time and patience. It was very helpful.
Ms. COWAL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TORRICELLI. For our second panel, if they would come for-
ward please, Dr. Robert Pastor, Director, Latin America Program,
the Carter Center; Dr. Georges Fauriol, Director, Americas Pro-
gram, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Anne
Fuller, Associate Director, National Coalition for Haitian Refugees.
Thank you very much for coming before the subcommittee today.
We appreciate your patience and your time.
In the interest of time, and because of the likelihood of interrup-
tion, we would like to have as much time available as we possibly
could to engage in conversation and questions; therefore, we have
your testimony at hand. Please feel free to summarize it. If you
would like to proceed.
And, Dr. Fauriol, if you would begin.
STATEMENT OF GEORGES A. FAURIOL, DIRECTOR AND SENIOR
FELLOW, AMERICAS PROGRAM, THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC
AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Mr. FAURIOL. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Good after-
I would like to thank the committee for inviting me once again. I
was here a few months ago and appreciate the opportunity to come
The last time I was here was to discuss the hemisphere as a
whole and I would like to follow up today with my thoughts, specif-
ically on the Caribbean and on Haiti, Suriname and Guyana.
HAITI, SURINAME, AND GUYANA-THE LEAST DEMOCRATIC NATIONS IN
Let me start off with a few general comments. Those three na-
tions stand out along with Cuba as being the least democratic, and
therefore the most out of step with the region's longstanding plu-
ralist political traditions. They also represent failed economic de-
velopment programs, wasted resources, sources of out-migration
from the Caribbean region, particular to the United States.
Finally, these countries underscore the varying interests, or dif-
fering interests, that the United States has in the Caribbean
region, and the degree of importance that Washington assigns to
this part of the world. You have the full range in the three coun-
tries we are talking about here today.
Haiti retains some attention in the Washington policy process as
well as a nation as a whole, particularly from the southeast.
Guyana attracts only marginal interest, and sadly Suriname even
From this imperfect record, Guyana, Haiti and Suriname are
more or less stumbling forward and sideways towards political
change, if not improved economic performance. In each case, the
political and economic process is occurring at a frightening slow
pace. It is a somewhat convoluted process. How the United States
can ultimately, usefully, and effectively participate in this process
is not always clear. Frankly, participation is at times pretty limit-
In this context, these three countries, and the Caribbean as a
whole, face two broad policy challenges. Here I will refer to Presi-
dent Kennedy's well known and uplifting suggestion about what
you can do for your country.
In the 1990s the Caribbean countries have to access not so much
what Washington can do for them, but what they can do for them-
selves politically in terms of internal political reforms. This might
make it possible for the international community to respond with
relevant economic initiatives.
PRESCRIPTIONS FOR U.S. POLICY
Since you asked me, Mr. Chairman, to be very brief, I will cut
the bulk of what I have to say here and make a few concluding re-
marks in terms of policy prescriptions.
The United States interest in Guyana, Haiti and Suriname is, as
I have just implied, rather uneven. The United States involvement
in Haiti is critical and I think the United States has a continuing
role to play across the board in that country. United States involve-
ment is likely to be important in the case of Guyana, both in the
economic arena as well as in the political transition which hopeful-
ly will occur in the next few months. Involvement is probably mar-
ginal in the case of Suriname.
The distribution of interest is already apparent in the way that
we provide assistance to those three countries; for instance the $80
million or $90 million in the case of Haiti. In the case of Suriname,
we provide nothing.
The situation leads me to a few general comments, one of which
may not be particularly popular in Washington. Current United
States policy efforts towards democratization are often, in these
three countries and particularly in Haiti, are often limited by our
ability to respond quickly with the relevant AID program. This
occurs particularly on the democratization side of our efforts.
AID AND ELECTIONS
The terms under which the U.S. Government is able to imple-
ment an AID program in the wake of elections is perhaps some-
times problematic. Perhaps some consideration might be given to
the whole issue of which part of the Executive Branch should in
fact be managing these kinds of initiatives, whether it is the
Agency for International Development or something resembling or
the National Endowment for Democracy and its related family of
The political democratization program is a very risky business. It
is highly political and very much subjective. AID's traditional mis-
sion of social, economic and technical development programs has
been uneasily married with these kinds of political initiatives.
Adding politics to these kinds of efforts may be a marriage which is
not made in heaven.
COMBINING INITIATIVES WITH THE EXECUTIVE
Second, the expectation that we face not only in Haiti but also
hopefully in Guyana, Suriname, and perhaps to add a bigger player
in the region, Cuba, may suggest that when it comes to United
States democratic initiatives towards the Caribbean, we might in
fact try to combine these more effectively within the Executive
Branch. I am not suggesting the creation of a new office or adding
new monies or new staff, but perhaps what is done in one country
may also be related to what we are doing in another.
Specifically, I would want to reinforce the idea that our assist-
ance programs perhaps in some cases be more directly pointed to-
wards support of local parties.
THE EFFECT OF U.S. POLICIES ON LOCAL ELECTIONS
This last point applies to all three countries, although at this
juncture the United States tends to tiptoe around this question.
The reluctance to support democratic parties is perhaps a flawed
vision as to how we can help these countries in their transition.
Specifically, in the case of Guyana the success of United States-
Guyanese relations is going to be predicated on Guyana's perform-
ance in the upcoming elections. The outlook is muddled, but
Guyana has an -opportunity, because of its own historical political
traditions, to fairly easily re-enter the community of democratic
nations, particularly that of the Caribbean.
In the case of Haiti, the stated policy of the United States, as Ms.
Cowal just underscored, is actually to support and help build a
process which is very young, and is going to be very difficult. At
least is a step in the right direction and a major change in terms of
Haiti's historical record.
Clearly, that effort needs to be speeded up because the current
government does not have that much leeway and could be running
out of options fairly quickly.
Finally in the case of Suriname, United States policy has in-
volved applying pressure on the military side of the Surinamese po-
litical community, particularly Lt. Col. Bouterse. This is likely to
continue, and policy will allow democratic reforms to take place
and to reduce the role and influence of the armed forces in nation-
This might be one country where it would be preferable for the
United States to play, in effect, a secondary role, an important one,
but a secondary role to that of the Netherlands.
Thank you very much.
[Prepared statement of Mr. Fauriol follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF GEORGES A. FAURIOI, Ph.D
Director and Senior Fellow
THE CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Sustaining U.S.-Caribbean relations in the 1990s
Good afternoon. I would like to thank the Committee for inviting me once again.
Four months ago, I appeared before the Committee and speculated about the shape
hemispheric policy might take in the 1990s. I am therefore pleased to be here today to
follow-up with my thoughts on the specific issue of U.S.-Caribbean relations, and most
notably, our relations with Guyana, Haiti, and Suriname.
Those three nations stand out: along with Cuba, they are the least democratic
and therefore the most out of step with the region's long-standing pluralistic traditions
and open political systems. They also represent failed economic development programs,
wasted resources, and sources of out-migration from the Caribbean region. And finally,
these countries underscore the varying interests the United States has in the region and
the degree of importance that Washington assigns to this part of the world: while Haiti
retains some attention in the Washington policy process, Guyana attracts only marginal
interest, and Suriname even less.
From this imperfect record Guyana, Haiti, and Suriname are stumbling forward
and sideways toward political change if not improved economic policy performances. In
each case all of this is happening at a frightfully slow and convoluted pace. And how the
United States can usefully and effectively participate in this process in not always clear
and often limited.
In this context, the Caribbean therefore faces two policy challenges. First, to use
President Kennedy's well-known and uplifting suggestion (ask not what your country can
do for you, but what you can do for your country), in the 1990s all Caribbean countries
have to assess not so much what Washington can do for them but what they can do for
themselves politically in the hopes of making it possible for the international community
to respond with relevant economic initiatives. The second policy challenge for all
Caribbean states is to implement international strategies aimed at helping realize
positive, concrete domestic economic objectives. This is particularly applicable to
Guyana, Haiti, and Suriname.
U.S. Regional Policy
In my testimony before the Committee this past February I noted that the region
had become a permanent part of the U.S. national agenda. We enter the 1990s with the
demands on American leadership and resources greater than ever. Four of the five
policy priorities that I listed are directly and immediately relevant here.
A. We enter the 1990s with the demands on American leadership and resources
greater than ever. The United States must focus on the future of regional trade with
particular attention to the President's Enterprise for the Americas Initiative and trade
talks with Mexico (also involving Canada). Moreover, we must continue our prosecution
of the drug war, which also is a domestic issue, and we must emphasize sustaining
democracy in the Caribbean and in Latin America.
B. The reality of the Bush administration's policy in this region is more or less
positioned around three issues. The first is based on the democratization process--
either its maintenance, its reinvigoration, or its establishment. This obviously pertains to
U.S. policy regarding Haiti, Guyana, and Cuba. In Suriname, the Bush administration
has pressed for democratic changes and a reduced role of the military in politics;
however, attempts of attaining democracy remain futile with Bouterse in control.
Secondly, U.S. policy is dedicated to working with governments in the Caribbean
to fight drug trafficking, either in transit or local production and consumption. Critics of
U.S. commitment in the past should note that drug policy retains a high level of policy
attention in Washington and an enlarged budget to go with it
Thirdly, U.S. policy in the Caribbean remains predicated on the notion that the
region's fragile democratic institutions cannot remain healthy unless operating in an
invigorating economic development and trading environment. This particularly pertains
to Haiti, Suriname, and Guyana.
C. U.S. policy objectives do raise questions that may influence the future cause
of U.S.-Caribbean relations. First does the United States want to import people or
products? It could be suggested that if the United States does not import more
products, it would inevitably end up importing more people.
Second should U.S. foreign policy in the Caribbean be dominated by the
narcotics policy concerns of the U.S. law enforcement community?
Third, does the United States want a Caribbean economic policy in which debt
reduction, trade liberalization, and immigration are seen as short-term concessions in
order to build long-term stability, or does the United States want to concede to the
more protectionist elements of the U.S. Congress, business, and labor. This question
was key to the discussion as to whether Congress would approve fast-track negotiations
with Mexico on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Fourth, should the United States continue to give priority to multilateral trading
relations, or should priority be given to regional agreements closer to home? In this
context, should the United States pay more attention to Caribbean integration?
The limited availability of foreign aid funding will be a constraint to U.S. activity
in the region, and there may be increasing reliance on multilateral organizations.
With this as background, my remarks now turn to the three countries under
The electoral process in Guyana may be doomed to fraudulence. While the
opposition has obtained several important concessions, the situation leaves the Hoyte
government with necessary room to meander and perhaps avoid follow through on these
While the opposition parties have welcomed the electoral concessions and hail
them as important, they are much less enthusiastic about the prospects for follow-
through on these concessions, given the current political situation in Guyana (i.e., the
government's control of the electoral process, its apparent lack of commitment to
political reform along democratic lines, and the fact that in terms of powerbase, the
PNC and its stalwarts have little to gain by making the electoral process a fair one).
It is commonly felt that Hoyte, as demonstrated by the concessions (revised voter
registration list, preliminary counting at the place of polling) is receptive to electoral
democratization. However, this has its limitations and seems designed to accomplish the
following: Buy time, win the pre-elections aid promised by the U.S., and calm the storm
of attention given to elections in Guyana until U.S. policymakers and international
observers revert to their usual lack of attention to Guyanese politics.
Hoyte is feeling the economic squeeze and the domestic discontent therein. He
is not the orator that Burnham was and as such does not have the powers of persuasion
to allay the public's misgivings about the domestic economic situation. Further, his
economic program is drastically different to Burnham's. It is designed to court aid from
international agencies, the U.S. government, and potential foreign investors. This is the
constituency that Burnham willingly alienated, and in fact blamed for all of Guyana's
economic woes, with great facility.
Hoyte intends to get Guyana's economy aligned with free market economic
principles, so as to gain aid and investment for his Economic Recovery Plan (ERP).
Bear in mind that he is an economist by training. He has also repaired relations with
Venezuela and as such gained Venezuela-sponsored membership in to the OAS. He has
also distanced himself from Fidel Castro. At the University of Guyana, where thinking
and teaching has traditionally reflected the government line, some economic thought has
taken a turn to the mainstream IMF/World Bank thinking.
However, all this could be rather superficial when one considers the political
context in which the ERP is taking place. Hoyte, the economist, may not be different
enough from Burnham the politician.
What is Hoyte's strategy? He may have little to gain from free and fair elections.
He has a limited political base within the party since he has never been a grass roots
politician. He was Burnham's technocrat/protege. He was not in the trenches of the
independence movement with Burnham, nor was he ever closely associated with the
trade union movement. Workers have had little feeling of solidarity with him. He is
less popular within the grass roots party ranks than Prime Minister Hamilton Green and
several other Senior Ministers in his Cabinet. He would probably lose the PNC vote if
Hamilton Green were to challenge him for the presidency.
While Green has support at the grass roots level, Hoyte is more popular with the
technocrats, the professionals, and the business sector members of the PNC. These
more-educated groups view Hamilton Green as a somewhat dangerous political figure
and less qualified to run the country.
It is rumored that Green has been angered by Hoyte's recent alleged private
decision to select an Indian running mate. If this were the case, this would mean that
Green would be out of the picture, at least as Prime Minister if the PNC were to win.
There is speculation that Seise Narine would be Hoyte's choice. If this happens, Green
would be out and become a complicating factor for the PNC in subsequent elections.
Hoyte has never been perceived as overly race-conscious, and since becoming President,
has in fact surrounded himself with many prominent Indians (both private-sector
businessmen and technocrats ). Hence, the step to choosing an Indian running mate
should be an easy one for him, especially in light of his rivalry with Green.
The fact that both the opposition People's Progressive Party (PPP) and the
Working People's Alliance (WPA) have been careful to choose candidate teams that
consist of one Afro-Guyanese and one Indo-Guyanese points to a conscious effort on the
part of Guyanese politician to develop a mass, trans-racial political base and appeals.
Jagan, an Indian, has chosen Sam Hinds as his running mate with a view to shedding his
image of a race-based politician. The WPA candidate, Dr. Clive Thomas (an Afro-
Guyanese and well-known economist), is running with Rupert Roopnarine, who has
replaced the party's long-time standard bearer-Walter Rodney.
The DLM "candidate'/leader Paul Tennassee is apparently not running himself.
He has supported the candidacy of Cheddi Jagan and is positioning himself for a senior
The military appears to remain neutral in this political context. In the past, it
played the critical election day role of securing ballot boxes and providing logistical
support to the PNC leadership. Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces Brigadier Joe Singh
has said publicly that the military will act in accordance with the constitution. It is
unprecedented for a military leader to express an intention not necessarily in keeping
with the interest of the PNC and not be dismissed--"sent home". The political fallout,
both domestic and international, would have been tremendous in this case, since the
reason for Singh's departure would have been obvious. Hence, one can expect the
military to merely secure the ballot boxes and provide election day security (along with
the police force).
Elections have been postponed so often that the PNC government could be
perceived as "illegal". It is held in place by a bi-monthly re-validation of itself in
Parliament, in accordance with constitutional provisions. It is really a parliamentary
revalidation of itself since the opposition (PPA, WPA, DLM) have boycotted parliament,
and are not present at these proceedings.
Rudy Collins, the Ambassador to Venezuela, was named to head the elections
commission. But the newly appointed Chairman has been ill and has not been able to
assume the position in any meaningful way. As such, most of the responsibility has been
left to deputies whose credibility appears much lower. The preliminary voter's list has
been completed and, by opposition accounts, may be already well padded. The list has
325,000 names on it.
There is a 32-day verification period for the list, after which the opposition will
have only 10 days to raise any objections to the list. It is anticipated that the election
will be held toward the end of the year, although some speculate that it could be held
The opposition wanted 1200 election observers, or at least as many as possible.
So far the government has only agreed to 60 members from the Carter Center, and a
few members of Americas Watch. The Commonwealth may also play a role. The
Government is unenthusiastic about observers from the National Endowment for
Democracy-family of institutions, CARICOM, or the OAS.
The hallmark of U.S. policy towards Haiti has been and should remain supporting
for the development of democracy in Haiti. While Haitians are to be congratulated on
their recently held elections, one democratic election is only useful if it is followed by
others. There is much work to be done if Haiti is truly going to enter the hemisphere's
family of democracies and if the experiences of the December and January elections are
going to be applied to organizing the upcoming legislative elections.
There are several factors worth considering presently in determining where best
to assist Haiti in its development of democracy. Clearly, U.S. policy towards Haiti
recognizes that any improvement in Haiti's human rights conditions, in its economy, and
in stemming the flow of immigrants or the flow of drugs to the U.S., depends on the
development of a free market economy. And just as clear, the only hope for building a
free market economy in Haiti is through the encouragement of a democratically elected
With the newly elected Government of Haiti (GOH), we have received, at best,
mixed signals. To be fair, GOH has proceeded in basically uncharted waters, with
inexperienced hands, and has had remarkable success at dismantling remnants of the old
regime. The Duvalierists are for all intents and purposes no longer a cohesive force to
be feared. While GOH calls upon the citizens of Haiti to remain "vigilant" against a
return of the Duvalierists or macoutes, clearly popular will has and should continue to
keep the bad guys in check. Indeed, many of the leadership of the Duvalierists and
macoutes have fled the country in search of safety in Miami or Santo Domingo.
In addition, the Army, ever an obstacle to democracy, has been held in check by
popular will since the election. Since the fall of President Prosper April in March 1990,
the Army has slowly but surely determined that its survival is intimately intertwined with
that of democracy. Not only did the Army work to ensure that the December and
January (second round) elections were peaceful, but it put down a coup attempt by
Duvalierists in early January Since the inauguration of President Aristide, the Army has
given every appearance of being subservient to civilian authority. Only time will tell
whether this marks the beginning of a new relationship between the Army and a civilian
government, but if anyone had asked a year ago whether the military would work with
Jean-Bertrand Aristide as head of the government, they would have been quickly taken
The new GOH has also worked hard to reorganize the governmental and judicial
administration. The bloated bureaucracy has been cut back, indeed. Some agencies have
been done away with altogether like the tourist office and much of the Ministry of
Information. But the cutbacks are as much a result of the lack of funds as they are the
demand to reform the bureaucracy. There has been no appreciable change in the
efficiency of the bureaucracy as a result of the cut backs. There have been personnel
changes in the judiciary as well, but it is too early to determine whether or not these
changes will make any difference without a financial commitment from the Government
of Haiti to build a just court system.
One major achievement has been the dismantling of the rural system of governing
by the Chefs de Section. The Chefs de Sections ruled the countryside by thuggery and
terror, and the new Government of Haiti moved quickly after its inauguration to dismiss
The pluses however should be balanced off against significant minuses which can
only be partly explained away by the general characterization of the government as
being inexperienced. Clearly, President Aristide has sent very conflicting messages. As
President elect, in January, he refused to condemn the violence that occurred in the
aftermath of the January 6 coup attempt against President Ertha Trouillot, even after
several foreign missions privately asked Aristide to assist in calming down the situation.
As the rampaging continued for several days, the targets of the mobs began with the
notorious Duvalierists and quickly went to the political candidates and their political
parties that had campaigned against Aristide in December. No political party was
spared. Extensive damage was inflicted on the offices and properties of all the major
political parties. Some of the presidential candidates were physically harmed, and all of
them were threatened. It is only now, six months later, that the parties are starting up
new activities-party meetings, fund-raising, albeit at a very modest level of activity.
In addition, the President elect made news in January when he made a personal
and public attack against a member of the Haitian press that put the journalist's life at
risk. He later apologized for the misunderstanding, but the damage had been done.
Likewise, the new Government of Haiti's relations with Haiti's business sector has gotten
off to a shaky start. Many businesses were destroyed in the aftermath of the failed
January coup. The level of violence and the President-elect's sympathy for the mobs led
most of the business community to understand that the new Government would be
anti-business. Clearly, the President's own writings and statement, as well as that of his
key Ministers and advisors, indicate that the new Government of Haiti does not have
much appreciation for free markets.
The first five months of the new Government has seen three major signs that
have been discouraging economically. Fimr the efforts by the Government to control
and lower the prices of basic goods, when the Government has no control over its
borders, has had a reverse effect by creating shortages and by driving up prices when
goods are available. Included in its efforts to control prices, the Government has sought
to encourage some importers to purchase their goods from Cuba, as a sign of sympathy
for the Cuban Government and as a source of inexpensive goods. The shortages created
by these policies led to another round of violence in May when several private
warehouses were destroyed in Cap-Haitian and several people were killed. These
policies have caused the established business community not to reinvest in inventories or
their businesses generally and has been part of the continuing economic slide in Haiti.
A second source of concern has been the inability of the Government of Haiti to
protect private property from squatters and vandals. Squatters have become a particular
problem on agricultural lands where in many instances the lands have been used as
collateral with the banks to finance business operations. Millions of dollars of loans are
now presently in jeopardy as result of the Governments refusal to honor and protect the
rights of private property, which of course can lead to a substantial problem for Haiti's
banks in the coming months. The problem has been brought to the attention of the
Government at various levels and the reaction is always the same, this problem does not
The third source of concern has centered on the Government's support for
doubling the minimum wage. The Government, probably through inexperience and its
lack of a communication with the business community, initially failed to consult with the
business community on the matter which lead to a lot of dissatisfaction on both sides.
However, the matter is now being discussed and may yet be reasonably addressed.
The prospect for democracy in Suriname looks bleak as long as lieutenant
Colonel Bouterse remains in control of the military. Since 1980, the military has
undermined all efforts by freely-elected civilian presidents to implement democratic
reforms or to reduce the political role of the military. Bouterse's military has been
questioned for its human rights violations and for its probable role in international drug
The Bouterse-led, December 1990 coup further demonstrated Bouterse's
intolerance for democratic principles. The coup resulted from a trip to Holland in
which both Bouterse and the Suriname President Shankar were together. The Dutch
turned down Bouterse for a visitor's visa and would not allow him even into the transit
lounge in the Amsterdam airport. Bouterse felt that the president did not complain
enough about the incident. Moreover, he felt Suriname had been insulted. As a result,
he called for the resignation of Shankar and imposed a civilian interim government
under the leadership of Johan Kraag.
Bouterse promised elections within 100 days of the December 25 coup. While
suffrage is universal at the age of 18 in Suriname, the people only vote for the National
Assembly (Legislative Branch), districts and local councils. The National Assembly then
votes for the presidency. A two-thirds majority vote of the 51 seats is required to vote
in a new president
Elections took place on May 25, 1991. The New Front, a coalition composed of
three traditional parties, won 30 of the 51 seats-just four short of the two-thirds majority
necessary to elect a president. Bouterse claims that he wants the armed forces to play a
reduced role in politics. However, given Suriname's military record of keeping such
promises (i.e. the 1987 & 1990 coups), any president elected will proceed with caution
and probably will be severely restrained from reforming Suriname economically and/or
The principle question is not if the elections are free and fair but whether the
newly civilian elected leaders will actually be able to govern. As long as Bouterse is in
power, it will be virtually impossible to implement democratic reforms. He has vetoed
government initiatives, threatened that his soldiers would loot stores if President
Shankar carried out austerity programs, and has overthrown past presidents.
A recent Dutch poll indicates that 80 percent of the Surinamese people favor a
commonwealth-type relationship with the Netherlands, and a similar majority favors a
reduced role of the military in Surinamese politics. Bouterse has reacted sharply,
warning civilians against using stronger ties with the Dutch in an attempt to oust him.
Since March, however, when Cabinet-level discussions in the Netherlands on forming a
commonwealth-type relationship with its former colony were first reported by the Dutch
press, surname's political parties embraced the commonwealth idea. They see it as the
only way the Suriname economy can be revived and the role of the military reduced.
The Dutch government seems interested in this idea.
Such a commonwealth-type relationship would include the Hague's oversight of
Suriname's finances, foreign affairs and national security. This would reduce the grip
Bouterse has over the Suriname governmental apparatus.
Johan Kraag, the acting president of Suriname, has stated that he welcomes a
U.S. invasion if it brings about democracy, economic revival, and ends drug trafficking.
While a Panama-like invasion may not be ruled out if the elections and democratic
transition fail, it is unlikely such an occurrence would take place due to the lack of
strategic and political interest in Suriname (in addition to the lack of Surinamese
constituency in the United States).
The U.S. interest in Guyana, Haiti and Suriname is very uneven. While U.S.
involvement in Haiti is critical, it is important in Guyana, and marginal for Suriname.
This distribution of interest is already apparent in the levels of U.S. assistance to these
three countries, which ranges from $80-90 million of available funds for Haiti to nothing
This situation leads me to make some general comments:
It helps to be working with an elected government; Charles Krauthammer in a
recent Washington Post column (6/21) notes that democracies end up being friends of
America, markets for our products and sources of support for our endeavors abroad.
Current U.S. policy is to support efforts to forward democratization and to
threaten sanctions if the process is thwarted. This is applicable to all three countries
under consideration here.
As was the case in Haiti, even if perhaps reluctantly, the United States will
have to insist on free elections, but likewise attempt to work with its outcome. This
implies that funds, earmarked for Guyana, Haiti, and Suriname will be released.
However, the recent Haitian experience raises two fundamental questions
specifically in connection with democracy initiatives; also these may not be very popular
1) The terms under which the U.S. government is able to implement an aid program in
the wake of a democratic election is problematic. The AID process in Haiti may take
an entire year.
-Some form of agency contingency planning, with the support of Congress, should
be institutionalized so as to circumvent these bureaucratic delays that have enormous
-Specifically referring to the democratization programs of the U.S.government,
some consideration might be given to strengthening the hand (and budget), of the
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its related family. To what degree is
AID the best agency to fulfill the very mission--one that is risky, highly political, and
subjective. AID's traditional mission of social, economic, and technical development
programs has been uneasily married with political initiatives. This is not a marriage
made in heaven.
2) The expectations of facing not only three democratization concerns in the Caribbean,
but ultimately perhaps four--if one adds Cuba-suggests that all of the U.S. democratic
initiatives toward the Caribbean-as small as some of them may be--should come under
some coordinated initiative not requiring new money or staff.
-Haiti and ultimately Suriname require the full panoply of democratization
-strengthening of judicial systems
-general civic education and civil-military relation
-initiatives to strengthen legislative bodies
-direct support to political parties
-This point applies to all three countries, although at this juncture the
United States only tip-toes around this issue.
The reluctance to support democratic parties
contains a flawed vision of the democratization
process--the latter's success is to a substantial
measure predicated in the ability of democratic
parties to operate freely and represent openly
constituency interests. Support for political
parties does not imply heavy-loaded efforts to
influence a political process but rather to allow
those institutions that stage and influence its
democratic orientation to operate productively.
This is a long-term process involving cultivation
and analysis, not last minute decision-making
prior to an election.
The following are additional thoughts on a country-by-country basis:
The failure of U.S.-Guyana relations are predicated on Guyana's performance on the
upcoming elections. The outlook is muddled but Guyana has an opportunity to fairly
easily re-enter the community of democratic nations. This has implications for U.S.-
Guyanese relations as well as for the Caribbean community of nations at large. The
current government is aware of its own economic predicament and the U.S. has been
receptive. But Washington needs a convincing performance politically on the part of
Guyana before much else happens. Without this, U.S. aid will only dribble in, if at all.
U.S. Policy Recommendation to Guyana:
1) The U.S. should continue to apply pressure on President Hoyte to allow more
International observers to obtain visas.
2) The U.S. should remind Guyana's government of concessions it has made (ie. use of
indelible ink & metal ballot boxes, voter registration, etc.) to insure that they be carried
The bulk of U.S. aid (except assistance to elections) should remain frozen until a
specific timetable and date is set for elections.
Stated policy of the U.S. towards Haiti has been and remains support for building
democracy. An AID program has been in the planning stages since late December 1990,
with at least an initial completion date expected first in April, later in July, and now, it
has leaked out, probably not until the beginning of next year. There is no doubt that
this needs to be speeded up.
1) The program, according to inside sources, is a good one provided it is
allocating sufficient funds (about $24 million over four years; originally it was $10
million over five years), that the funds be front loaded into the program, that AID work
to support newly created indigenous organizations developed by political parties, and
that there be a major effort to support the work of these responsible political parties.
2) It is in the U.S. interest to work directly with democratic, political parties. To
do so will ensure the survival of democracy in Haiti, because it is this group that has
and will continue to demand free and fair elections. It is also this group that will foster
the strengthening of economic ties between the private sector of Haiti and the private
sector of the U.S.-and Haiti desperately needs this.
U.S. policy to Suriname has included applying pressure on Bouterse to allow
democratic reforms to take place and to reduce his domination over elected officials.
The United States suspended all aid to Suriname and should continue to do so until
Bouterse is gone. But a major future U.S. involvement is unnecessary.
1) The U.S. has been very supportive in backing Dutch policy regarding
Suriname. The Dutch suspended development aid to Suriname in 1982. The
Netherlands are pressing for Bouterse to leave the country and are calling for a
commonwealth-type relationship. The U.S. has been, and should continue to be, a
major proponent of this Dutch policy agenda. France and Brazil have also been
2) The United States should continue pressing for free elections and can
encourage private groups working in the area of human right and democratization to
work in Suriname.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Doctor, very much.
STATEMENT OF ROBERT A. PASTOR, PROFESSOR AT EMORY UNI-
VERSITY, DIRECTOR, LATIN AMERICAN PROGRAM, CARTER
CENTER, AND EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, COUNCIL OF FREELY-
ELECTED HEADS OF GOVERNMENT, ATLANTA, GA
Mr. PASTOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate the opportunity to testify on a subject which most of
this city, indeed our country, is not really focused on, but which is
very important. That is the consolidation of democracy in three na-
tions in the Caribbean basin that are in rather awkward stages of
the consolidation process.
Like other Latin American governments undergoing the problem
of democratic transition, Haiti, Guyana, and Suriname face a
double bind. They need to reduce their fiscal and external deficits
while they are opening up politically. This means that there are
new groups as well as old groups that are making demands on a
smaller state. We have a vital interest in helping them.
In November 1986, former Presidents Carter and Ford co-chaired
a conference, at the Carter Center of Emory University, with 10
other presidents or prime ministers from the hemisphere. At the
end of that conference they established the Council of Freely Elect-
ed Heads of Government, which is now a group of 19 former and
current presidents and prime ministers of the hemisphere. It is
that group, under the chairmanship of President Carter, and based
at the Carter Center of Emory University, which has monitored
and mediated elections in Panama, in Nicaragua for over a 10-
month period, in Haiti for over six months, and now in Guyana. In
addition, last April, Prime Minister George Price of Belize, who is
Vice Chairman of the Council, and I visited Suriname for an ex-
ploratory visit. We have been following developments there closely
In my statement to this committee, I summarize six lessons that
our Council has learned over this period about what makes an elec-
tion work and also about what can permit a democratic consolida-
tion. I will leave that for you to read. Let me just briefly comment
on each of the three countries that are the subject of this hearing
and offer a few recommendations.
DEMOCRACY IN HAITI: NEED FOR PATIENCE AND SUPPORT
Given the poverty, the lack of democratic experience and the
lack of administrative capability in Haiti, you would have to con-
clude that the elections on December 16, 1990, were almost miracu-
lous. This may also explain why the people of Haiti overwhelming-
ly elected to the presidency a person closely associated with God.
Obviously, they realized that they are in need of a miracle. Unfor-
tunately, they are going to realize, they are already realizing, that
it is not as easy to translate miracles from the ballot box into their
The problem that President Jean-Bertrand Aristide faces is in
finding a path between the left, which are primarily his supporters,
who are impatient with the slow pace of change, and who expect
panaceas overnight, and a right, who are fearful that Aristide may
really listen to the left.
The fortunate element is that the military remain dedicated to
the constitutional process and are supportive of him.
My recommendation for U.S. policy towards Haiti is very simple:
Be patient and be supportive. He is going to make many mistakes,
technically and politically, that we are going to see coming. But,
that is the process of learning by democracy. A rule of thumb for
our country, whenever we feel that he is making a mistake, that he
is not broadening his base, or that he has not adopted the right
economic policy is just to compare him to predecessors. We should
look particularly over the last 30 years, but we can go back 200
years. We then realize that Haiti, the United States, even the
whole Hemisphere, has a better opportunity of supporting democ-
racy, of supporting a government that is more intent and commit-
ted to social justice than at any previous moment.
DEMOCRACY IN GUYANA-CONCERNS WITH THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM
On Guyana, in July 1990, eight Members of the House Foreign
Affairs Committee sent a letter to Secretary of State Baker identi-
fying four major concerns with the political process. These include
the lack of international election observer, Secondly, the lack of a
good registration process or list, the lack of a preliminary vote
count at each polling site, and the partiality of the elections com-
In October, former President Carter led a small delegation to
Guyana to meet with all of the leaders in that country. We fol-
lowed up since then by a mission under Prime Minister Price in
April. As a result of these two missions, each of the four goals that
were identified by this committee have been fully and completely
There is a house by house registration process, that began on
February 17th and was completed on May 17th, permitting regis-
tration of about 340,000 people. We found some problems with it,
but certainly no systematic manipulation of a political nature. In
fact, the overall numbers are very high; 90 percent of what many
had estimated would be the ceiling of the total possible registrants.
A new elections commission was just inaugurated in mid-June.
On June 10th, the new chairman took office. The registration and
the installation of a new elections commissioner necessarily slowed
the electoral process. Nevertheless, our current evaluation is that
Guyana can stay within the constitutional amendment that re-
quires the dissolution of the parliament by September 30th, permit-
ting an election to occur somewhere between that time and late
Overall, these electoral reforms offer the best opportunity in the
last 30 years for an election to occur in Guyana which would be
judged as transparent, fair and free by all parties in Guyana as
well as by international observers. So, Guyana is on the right track
DEMOCRACY IN SURINAME-THE LEAST STABLE CASE
Although Suriname, had the freest and the fairest election of the
three countries this is the single most dangerous case in the Carib-
bean basin right now. I hope that your committee will focus atten-
tion on what is happening there. The election on May 25th resulted
in the victory of the New Front with 30 seats. This number is not
sufficient to elect a president. Thirty-four or two-thirds of the as-
sembly is required. Negotiations are under way right now within
the New Front and perhaps with some of the other parties to
permit the election of the president.
There are two major issues in Suriname. First is the nature of a
new civil-military relationship in that country which will permit
the newly elected government to govern in fact as well as in name.
Secondly, there is the nature of Suriname's relations with Holland.
A proposal, the so-called Lubbers Plan, has been put forward which
will call for a rather dramatic transformation of the relationship
between Suriname and Holland. One element of that plan is the
collective defense of Suriname, meaning that under such an agree-
ment the Dutch might very well take over the responsibility for
the military defense of the country.
The critical question, is what would be the reaction to such an
exercise by Commander Bouterse, who has governed the country
either directly or indirectly since 1980. That is a very important
question, and during this transition period it is rather dangerous.
As you may know, on June 6, the Foreign Minister, at the instruc-
tions of Commander Bouterse, urged the U.S. to denounce on al-
leged plot which aimed to destabilize the government and to assas-
sinate Bouterse. This could have been based on information or
could have been a pretext that Bouterse was using to try to re-
enter the political process.
The biggest danger may be that there may be people in Surin-
ame who are hoping for Holland or the United States to save them
though military intervention. Such an attitude could put them in a
position where they might have to be saved; however, it is by no
means certain that would be the result.
The governments of Holland and the United States should have
learned something from the experience in Panama. There is a
tendency in both governments to compare Bouterse to Noriega. We
could repeat the same mistakes that were made in Panama. For in-
stance insulting rather than communicating or negotiating, demon-
izing, threatening, or trying to isolate Bouters rather than finding
a framework that could ensure a durable democratic solution.
The first step towards finding a solution to Suriname's problem
has to be taken by the newly elected leaders. They are the sources
of legitimate authority. Hopefully, they will move rapidly to orga-
nize a new government. Achieving consolidated democracy will re-
quire a new arrangement between the civilian government and the
Commander Bouterse told Prime Minister Price and myself that
he is prepared to accept constitutional amendments that would
reduce the military's role in politics, and that he will accept civil-
ian authority. There are many in Suriname who question these
comments, but they need to be tested. It would be very unfortunate
if the United States or the Dutch Governments were to contem-
plate military options before having given an opportunity for
peaceful diplomatic options.
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR U.S. POLICY IN THE CARRIBBEAN
In conclusion, let me make several recommendations. First, the
foreign aid bill which was passed by the House is superb, and I
hope that the pledges with regard to these three countries in the
foreign aid bill are backed by resources. Specifically (a) at least
$100 million for each of the next two years to the Aristide govern-
ment (b) if the Guyanese elections are free, at least $20 million
over the next couple of years to that new government; and (c) using
aid to try to enhance civilian control in Suriname
With regard to $300,000 of ESF funding for Guyana, it is impor-
tant to underscore the economic reforms that have been taken and
also to accept the fact that President Hoyte and the opposition
have met the four concerns raised by this committee. There are
two other concerns that need to be met as well. One is the concern
about the delay in registration lists and the other is the fear that
funding at this point could be viewed as partisan to the incumbent.
The way to get around those legitimate concerns would be not to
disburse the money until the registration lists were completed and
to ultimately disburse the money in a manner involving a clear
statement that the United States is not supporting a party but that
the U.S. is supportive of the democratic process. More importantly,
the U.S. should say that this is the first installment of U.S. support
for Guyana, should free elections take place, for it looks like they
In my statement, I have also made some broader recommenda-
tions about U.S. policy in the Caribbean that summarizes a paper
and an article that I just had published in Foreign Affairs which I
will leave for the committee as well.1
Mr. PASTOR. The time has come for placing these three countries
in a broader strategy of the Caribbean, a strategy which involves
U.S. aid and market access subject to and only supplementary to
very significant economic policy reforms by the region.
I would hope that the United States would invite CARICOM and
the Caribbean nations to the bargaining table on the North Ameri-
can Free Trade Agreement because the Caribbean should be part of
this agreement, either sooner or later. I would hope that CARI-
COM itself considers widening its membership to include Haiti,
Suriname and the Dominican Republic, but perhaps in a manner
that will reinforce the existing and the new democracies in the
region. The CARICOM treaty should be changed to make explicit
what would happen in cases in which democracy might be over-
turned in those countries. The collective group of CARICOM would
take a series of diplomatic, economic and political steps to reinforce
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[Statement of Mr. Pastor follows:]
Prepared Statement of Robert A. Pastor
Professor at Emory University and Fellow at the Carter Center
and Executive Secretary,
Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs
Committee on Foreign Foreign Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives
June 26, 1991
"Transition to Democracy in the Caribbean:
Haiti, Guyana, and Suriname"
Mr. Chairman, I was honored to receive your invitation to
testify before this Subcommittee, and I compliment you for focusing
attention on Haiti, Guyana, and Suriname three countries in the
Caribbean Basin struggling to realize their democratic aspirations
- at a time when the United States seems to hardly know these
Among my several hats, I am the Executive Secretary of the
Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government, an informal group of
19 current and former heads of government from throughout the
hemisphere, including President Carlos Andres Perez and former
President Rafael Caldera of Venzuela, Prime Minister Michael Manley
and former Prime Minister Edward Seaga of Jamaica, among others.
Chaired by former President Jimmy Carter, and based at the Carter
Center of Emory Univesity, the Council has used its individual and
collective influence to try to reinforce democracy in the Americas.
By itself or sometimes collaborating with other institutions,
the Council has monitored and mediated the electoral process in
Panama, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Guyana. In
addition, Prime Minister George Price of Belize, who is the Vice
Chairman of the Council, and I visited Suriname in early April for
an exploratory mission, and we sent two representatives to
participate with the OAS Election Observation Mission in late May.
In brief, we have had substantial experience in the three countries
that are the subject of today's hearing.
What I would like to do today is to offer some brief
observations on what we have learned in the process of working on
the democratic transition process. Then, I want to discuss the
situation in Haiti, Guyana, and Suriname. And finally, I would
like to offer some recommendations on what U.S. policy should be
toward these countries and the Caribbean in general.
I. The Tenousness of Democratic Transitions
Part of the confusion surrounding democratic transitions
derives from different definitions of "democracy." My colleagues
and I addressed this issue at a conference in November 1986 when
the Council was first established. Our conclusions can be found in
a volume that I edited, Democracy in the Americas: Stopping the
Pendulum (Holmes and Meier, 1989), but briefly, democracy can be
defined as a process under the rule of law whereby a people select
and replace their leaders at regular intervals in an atmosphere
that permits choice.
Democracy requires a free election, but it is more than that.
That is why we talk of monitoring an entire electoral process, not
just an election. For analytical and policy purposes, it's useful
to divide the democratic process into four stages: pre-election,
election, transition, and consolidation. We can then divide each
of these stages into specific challenges that need to be surmounted
before the country can move successfully to the next stage. A
consolidated democracy is one in which the civilian leaders
exercise complete authority over the military.
Democracy is not a panacea for curing social and economic
problems, and indeed, in the short-term, democracy may seem poorly
suited to solve a nation's economic crisis because solutions often
require austerity and sacrifices for long-term benefit. This is
why the transition from an authoritarian government to a
consolidated democratic one is often tenuous and dangerous.
The trouble with the democratic transitions in Latin America
and the Caribbean today is simply that the new democracies face a
double bind that would unsettle any government: they need to reduce
the size of their governments and eliminate their fiscal and
external deficits, and at the same time, they are opening up the
political process to groups that are making often-desperate demands
for food, jobs, health, and education. In many countries in the
region, the governments seem almost paralyzed by strikes or take-
overs of buildings. If you think this might be due to an absence
of political will, you've got it wrong. With extraordinary
courage, the new democratic leaders have preserved their new
freedoms in the midst of terrible social crises; they have reduced
government expenditures sharply and increased taxes. Although our
democracy is consolidated and our resources dwarf those of Latin
America, we have been unable to demonstrate the political will to
raise taxes and cut expenditures that these new leaders are called
upon to demonstrate daily.
Democracy, in Winston Churchill's pungent observation, is not
the best form of government; it is just better than all the others.
Although democracy will not solve a country's economic problems
overnight, over the long-term, it is the best way to guarantee the
rights of humankind and also the best framework to address the
social and economic problems of a nation. But because a democratic
community of nations in the Americas is a vital interest of the
United States and the transition is so tenuous, we have a stake in
Each country that embarks on a journey toward democracy
confronts both similar and unique obstacles. In our experiences,
in every single country, the opposition was deeply suspicious of
the incumbent government and distrustful of the electoral process.
In every case, this distrust is born from a long and tragic
history, and it is not without contemporary justification. The
opposition has informed us in every country that the government has
an elaborate, pre-cooked plan to steal the election, but in no case
with which we have dealt, including Panama, has this been true.
(Noriega crudely improvised his fraud at the last minute, and it
was transparent and easily detected.)
Although the actors in each country feel their problems are
special to their country, in fact, there is almost an uncanny
pattern of problems and complaints in every one of these countries.
Opposition leaders generalize and extrapolate from every single
adverse incident and quickly conclude that it is a sign that a free
election is not possible, or that it is part of a conspiracy to
deny them a chance to win an election. In Nicaragua, we heard such
complaints from the opposition almost daily; UNO's allies in the
United States -- including the State Department -- magnified these
charges. In almost every case, there was a problem, but it was not
as large, ominous, or widespread as UNO thought; and more
importantly, most could be resolved. The same pattern occurred in
Panama, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and now in Guyana.
In the course of our efforts to reinforce democracy in the
Americas, we have learned a great many lessons, sometimes by making
mistakes. Let me offer just six such lessons:
-- First, the Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government
consider monitoring the electoral process or the transition only if
invited by all the key parties the government, its opposition,
and the election officials. We do -this for a very practical
reason. We want to be viewed as fair and trustworthy before we set
foot in a country so that we know that our recommendations will be
taken seriously and that there will be a serious cost for any party
that ignores issues that we judge crucial to a free election.
-- Second, we think it's important to get involved early in
the electoral process. An election-monitoring group that arrives
a day or two before an election is of very limited utility. A
group that does not have a good plan for observing an election and
does not know the key actors before it arrives might actually do a
disservice to democracy.
-- Third, we have learned to listen closely to all charges of
electoral irregularities but not to leap to any conclusions. In
the case of Nicaragua, if one were pro-Sandinista or pro-UNO, all
you needed to do to learn what occurred in a particular incident
was to make a single phone call. If your purpose, however, was to
learn the truth, you needed to make a dozen phone calls. (Not an
easy task in Nicaragua or most developing countries.) You would
need to bounce back-and-forth from one side to the other to learn
what really happened. After that, you would need to double-back to
try to resolve a problem.
-- Fourth, we try to work with all sides to identify the
biggest problems. This is easier to do in theory than in practice.
When an opposition has felt locked out of a political process for
years, decades, or forever, they have great difficulty in setting
priorities; every single problem is part of a larger conspiracy in
their eyes, and their historical experience leads them to feel that
none can be solved without overturning the incumbent or
overthrowing the military. (They are therefore very susceptible to
the siren calls of outside powers. This is one of the reasons why
the contras were as dangerous to the opposition as they were to the
Sandinistas, and this is why the Reagan Administration's strategy
in Panama and Nicaragua led to the point where the choice seemed to
be between disaster and intervention. Suriname could face such a
choice if more care is not taken.)
I remember asking leaders from UNO in July 1989 about their
highest priorities in the electoral process. The initial response
was a laundry list of about 60 items. There are good reasons for
this response, but our experiences lead us to believe that the
fairness of an election can turn on the resolution of 2-5 issues -
related to the registration process and review; the campaign;
security of candidates and voters; access to the entire voting
process by the opposition poll-watchers and international
observers; and the count. This is the range of crucial problems;
each country does not have all of these problems, and even when it
does, the issues often vary. As election observers, we try to work
with both sides to identify the priority problems and seek their
resolution. We make clear to all parties that our ability to
detect fraud and judge a fair election depends on our success in
resolving the priority issues.
-- Fifth, we have learned that the best role that observers
can play is to try to encourage local parties to work out as many
of their problems among themselves as possible. This is essential
because the culture of distrust evokes hundreds, sometimes
thousands, of complaints, and it is impossible for international
observers to deal with all of them. We try to convince the parties
to concentrate on the priority issues. In Guyana, the agreement on
the last big issue of electoral reform the Elections Commission -
required that the opposition agree not to contest any further
constitutional or policy-related issues to just get on with the
election campaign. This was not easy for them to accept even
though they acknowledged that this was the last issue. They did
The opposition will never have complete confidence in a
transitional election unless the government gives them such
confidence, and that is unlikely to happen. One reason that the
opposition's specific complaints are often viewed as part of a
conspiracy is because the government is generally completely
unresponsive. If the government were responsive, then a political
process of accountability can begin, and that is the first stage
toward democracy. I think this is beginning to happen in Guyana,
but it did not happen in Nicaragua until after the election. The
Sandinistas were responsive to the observers, who then served as a
kind of surrogate for a trusted electoral process, permitting UNO
to participate despite their lack of confidence in the government.
-- Sixth, we have learned not to get involved in an electoral
process unless we can be certain that at the end, we can assure all
of the parties that we would be able to detect any significant
pattern of fraud. This obviously requires a great deal of
planning and a number of strategies. Two of the most important are
the random selection of sites to observe the election and the
"quick count," which assures us that the count cannot be
manipulated. If we detect fraud, we first try to correct it, and
if we fail, then we denounce it. Since all parties know this is
what we will do, it serves as a rather effective deterrent.
These lessons only apply to the pre-election and election
stages. The Council has also been working on issues of transition
and consolidation. (Suriname's problem is a post-election issue
of democratic consolidation.) I will leave these issues for
another hearing, except to say that we learned a good deal about
post-election transition issues in Nicaragua and Haiti. In
Nicaragua, we tried to encourage the FSLN and UNO, and on a
different track, the FSLN and the U.S. government to begin private
dialogues during the campaign, which could break the tragic cycle
of vindictiveness and permit a smooth transition. President Carter
personally worked on this theme of national and international
reconciliation during the campaign, but we were repeatedly
discouraged at how little progress was made.
However, our efforts were not for want; they just took longer
than we thought. In the early morning hours of February 26, the
seeds of national reconciliation that we had planted began to
sprout in a manner different than what we had initially intended,
but the flower was all the more beautiful because it was genuinely
Nicaraguan. Unfortunately, the lack of a fruitful dialogue between
the U.S. government and the FSLN during the campaign had the effect
of weakening Mrs. Chamorro's capacity to govern with greater
authority after it took power.
Before turning to the three countries that are the subject of
this hearing, let me summarize briefly the three biggest problems
that surround the pre-election and election stages of democratic
transitions: (1) the role of the military and the problem of
security; (2) the potential coercive power of an incumbent
administration; and (3) the fragmented, insecure, and often
ineffectual character of the opposition. Nicaragua and Panama
suffered from all three; Haiti suffered mostly from the first,
although it also lacked the institutional basis for a democratic
transition. The second and third problem are often two sides of
the same complex, and Guyana is trying to emerge from that complex.
Some believe that free elections and democracy are impossible
unless a country has attained at least a moderate level of social,
economic, and political development. Haiti, which ranks the lowest
in the hemisphere on virtually every social and economic indicator,
offered a good test of this thesis.
The Council collaborated with the National Democratic
Institute for International Affairs (NDI) in monitoring the process
in Haiti, which had no democratic experience and a chronically
insecure environment. Its one advantage was that the incumbent
Madame Ertha Pascal-Trouillot was not only not running for the
Presidency, she was running from the Presidency. She wanted the
elections to be over so that she could return to her position on
the Supreme Court.
The biggest problem facing the electoral process was the lack
of security. Many of us thought that the problem could be solved
by convincing General Herard Abraham, the Chief of the Army, to
support the election, but about half-way through the electoral
process, we began to realize that the problem of security was much
larger and more elusive than that.
Haiti's condition was one of anarchy. There were many violent
groups with different agendas; the area of security was perhaps the
only place where the free market system seemed to work. Insecurity
was rampant. The Tonton Macoutes had terrorized the country, but
they were not under any single control. Roger LaFontant would have
liked for people to believe that he was in control since that
increased his ability to intimidate the system, but I doubt he had
that capability. Abraham was shrewd enough to wait for LaFontant
to make a wrong move, but his delay in arresting LaFontant caused
considerable anxiety in the country and led many to suspect
Knowing much less about this than Abraham, we tried to get him
to arrest'LaFontant, and we were disappointed this did not happen,
as were the vast majority of Haitians. When LaFontant tried to
seize the government in early January, and the people gathered
outside the Presidential Palace to show their support for Aristide,
Abraham finally arrested LaFontant, and the army together with the
people have gradually put all the Macoutes in their place.
One of the Council's principal goals was to encourage its
members particularly incumbent leaders like Perez and Manley to
persuade the United Nations to send security observers and to try
to get as large an international presence as possible. We thought
a U.N. security presence would encourage the military to play a
constructive role, but the U.N.'s greatest contribution was to help
fill the security vacuum and give the people enough confidence to
vote their preferences in large numbers.
The second crucial task that international observers performed
was the "quick count." This sample of results permitted the
country's leaders to learn on the night of the election that
Aristide had won by about two-thirds of the vote. Given the very
weak administrative structures, -.t took the Haitian Provisional
Electoral Council eight days before they could announce Aristide's
victory and one month before they could publish the results of the
December 16 election. Had the OAS and UN not conducted a quick
count, it would have been hard to avoid chaos.
After Abraham put down the attempted coup by LaFontant in
January, Aristide took office on February 7, 1991, exactly five
years after the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier. Aristide faces
formidable challenges. His country is the poorest in the
hemisphere. It has few political institutions, a weak
administrative base, and little infrastructure. One reason why his
supporters are so fervent, almost religious, in their devotion to
him is that the people desperately want a miracle.
The social chasm between the few rich and the many who are
poor is as wide as anywhere; the groups that represent the rich and
the poor have never communicated with each other, and they still
don't. Expectations among Aristide's popular constituency are very
high, too high for the government's limited technical experience
and financial capacity.
Politically, Aristide is trying to find a path between a left
that feels he is moving too slowly and a right that fears he might
actually listen to the left. Fortunately, the army under General
Abraham remains dedicated to the constitutional process, and the
people are probably more secure today than they have ever been.
The U.S. government's relationship with Aristide seems pretty good,
in large part because both sides are working at it, and we have one
of our finest Ambassadors, Alvin Adams, there.
As regards U.S. policy, I would recommend just two attitudes:
be patient and be supportive. Aristide's government will make
mistakes, technically and politically, but that's part of learning
democracy. He is sincere, smart, and deeply committed to helping
his people. A good rule of thumb whenever we get frustrated with
what is happening in Haiti is to recall Aristide's predecessors,
and realize that his countrymen have never been so blessed with
such idealistic and responsible leadership as they have today. We
should not lose the opportunity that has come with Aristide's
election, and we should help him as much as we can.
Guyana has also travelled a substantial distance in the past
year. Last July, eight Congressmen from your Committee sent a
letter to Secretary of State James Baker identifying four areas
that could enhance the credibility of Guyana's electoral process -
specifically, the need for: (1) respected international observers;
(2) a new independent elections commission; (3) a new registration
list; and (4) a counting of ballots at each polling site.
President Desmond Hoyte invited the Commonwealth Secretariat
and in September, he invited President Carter as Chairman of the
Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government. In October, 1990,
President Carter led a small delegation to Guyana, which included
Mrs. Carter, Hon. Ben Clare, the representative of Prime Minister
Manley, and myself. We consulted with the opposition leaders and
with President Hoyte and were able to fashion a compromise that
included a new house-by-house registration and a preliminary count
at each polling site. Before our meeting with President Hoyte,
opposition leaders told us that they would accept a delay in the
election if these two reforms were accepted.
In April 1991, Prime Minister George Price of Belize led a
nine-person delegation to observe the registration process. It
included Dennis Smith, the chief electoral officer of Barbados and
the representative of Council Member Prime Minister Erskine
Sandiford; two elections experts, Glenn Cowan and Keith Frederick;
and from the Carter Center, Jennifer McCoy, Jennie Lincoln, John
Taylor, Dennis King, and myself.
As a result of our consultations with all parties, we were
able to develop a compromise between the opposition and the
President that included a recomposition of the Elections Commission
and a new Chairman that was selected by the President from a list
prepared by the opposition. The proposal was accepted by both
sides, and both agreed not to raise any further policy or
constitutional objections to the electoral process.
In brief, since October 1990, Guyana has met all of the
concerns that the eight members of the Committee raised with
Secretary Baker last year, and it fully satisfied the policy and
constitutional objections of the opposition. In our judgment, the
reforms are very significant, and offer the best opportunity in the
last thirty years for an election to occur in Guyana that will be
judged as transparent, free, and fair by all parties.
At the same time that President Hoyte has undertaken such
significant political reforms, he has also begun to change the
economic structure of the country, from one that was hostile to
private and foreign investment and dependent on bloated and
inefficient state companies to one that is privatizing,
deregulating, adjusting to the international market, reducing the
budget deficit, and attracting foreign investment. The social and
economic costs of adjustment in the short-run are high, but the
government has not flinched from implementing this program.
From February 17-May 17, 1991, the Elections Commission
conducted the house-by-house registration. The chief elections
officer estimates that 340,000 people registered; he will only know
the exact number when all of the forms have been logged into a
computer, and he estimates that will be completed around July 17.
It is hard to know what percentage of eligible voters 340,000
represents, but many people told us that the highest number they
expected to register was 375,000; 340,000 is 90% of that. We have
done extensive surveys of the registration process and conclude
there were some problems and administrative irregularities, but we
found no systematic or politically-biased manipulation. And given
the numbers, we conclude that the registration was very successful.
The next stage is for all the names to be entered into a
computer and for the computer lists to be given to the parties for
a systematic review. I have spoken with the new Chairman of the
Elections Commission Mr. Rudolph Collins several times in the last
week, and he told me that there was a delay in beginning the
computerization of the lists and the rate has been slower than was
originally anticipated. It will take about two weeks to print out
all the lists and make two copies for the parties. That means the
parties will receive the preliminary list about the first week of
August. He assured me, however, that the Commission agreed to
extend the time available to the opposition parties beyond the
constitutionally-required 10 days for a complete and systematic
review of the list. Together with the time permitted to make
claims and objections, the parties might have as much as one month,
presumably early September. This would be more than adequate time
to see that the lists are honest and complete, and for people to
register. When the President receives this final list after the
review he has seven days to dissolve the Parliament and 38-90
days to call for the election.
The electoral reforms of the last year have slowed the process
of conducting the election. The new Elections Commission Chairman
was sworn in on June 10th, and the first meeting of the new seven
person Commission occurred on June 18th. The Chairman has tried to
acquaint himself with all of the party leaders and with the various
issues, and he understands the sensitivity of trying to complete
the process as rapidly and as credibly as possible. I am very
impressed by the attitude of the new Chairman who has told me of
his determination to try to encourage his colleagues to conduct the
election in a genuinely impartial and independent manner, above the
partisanship that had debilitated the previous Commission. Having
been proposed by the opposition and approved by the government, Mr.
Collins is in a strong position to achieve that goal.
The Chief Electoral Officer Ronald Jacobs presented me with a
very detailed and precise timetable for the election. That
timetable appears to be slipping somewhat. That is disappointing
but given the important and radical changes that have occurred in
the organization of the Elections Commission, it is not surprising.
In examining any delays, however, I keep in my mind a conversation
I had with a number of opposition leaders last fall. They said
that they wanted the election to be done correctly and fairly, and
if it takes a little bit longer than was originally planned, that
was not a major problem. I certainly agree. Even with a delay,
it won't be necessary to extend the life of Parliament beyond
September 30th, which is the deadline under the law.
I believe that Guyana is on the right track right now, and all
signs currently suggest that the election, which will be held
between October and December, will be transparent, free, and fair.
The Council intends to send an international and bipartisan
delegation to the election, and we believe that we will be able to
detect any systematic fraud if it occurs.
The situation in Suriname is the most potentially dangerous of
these three countries.
Prime Minister George Price and I visited Suriname last April,
and met with leaders from all of the political parties, Commander
of the Army Desi Bouterse, leading diplomats, the Chairman of the
Independent Elections Bureau, and others. We concluded that the
election was likely to be fair, but was not likely to address the
major issue on people's minds. That issue was whether the newly-
elected government would govern in fact as well as in name.
Everyone with whom we met said they would welcome further visits by
the Council. We sent two representatives to observe the elections
as part of the excellent OAS Mission.
After Prime Minister Price and I completed our visit, I
briefed President Carlos Andres Perez in Caracas. In late May, I
met with President Perez and Dutch Prime Minister Lubbers in
Holland and subsequently had discussions with the Department of
State. I reported to former President Carter, who consulted with
members of the Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government, and
we have informed the leaders of Suriname that if the newly-elected
government invited the Council to assist in the transitional
process, we would respond positively to such an invitation.
The country had a free and fair election on May 25, 1991. The
OAS did a superb job monitoring the election and has indicated that
it will retain an office until the inauguration. On June 20, 1991,
the Independent Elections Bureau in Suriname certified the final
results of the elections for the National Assembly. The New Front
a coalition of three ethnic parties and a labor union won 30
seats; the National Democratic Party (NDP), a party that had been
associated with the military government but seems currently trying
to disengage from that, won 12 seats; and the Democratic
Alternative (DA), a new coalition, won 9 seats.
The New Front needs 34 votes in the Assembly 2/3's to
elect a new President. Their options are to seek a coalition with
the DA or with the NDP. Some of their leaders have suggested they
might try to recruit some individuals, but do not want a coalition
government. If after two votes, they fail to win the two-thirds
vote in the new Assembly, then the speaker of the Assembly, who is
a leader in the New Front, can call a People's Assembly, which is
composed of the National Assembly, the District councils, and the
Local Councils. This group can elect a new President by a simple
majority vote, and the New Front has a majority of this group.
I understand that the New Front is in the throes of some very
delicate negotiations, which are the more complicated because of
the so-called "Lubbers Plan" a proposal offered by Dutch Prime
Minister Lubbers for a new Commonwealth-type association between
"two sovereign states." Part of this plan involves a new military
relationship, and many see this as a device for dealing with the
military problem in Suriname.
Signs of imminent danger are the voices in Holland that have
talked about sending troops to Suriname, and the dressing down by
Suriname's Foreign Minister of the U.S. Ambassador on June 6 for an
alleged plan to destabilize Suriname and assassinate Bouterse.
There are some in Holland and in the United States who think that
threatening Bouterse might relax his grip, but this risks providing
Bouterse with a pretext or a reason for taking the kind of action
that the threats are intended to deter.
The biggest danger is that some in Suriname might be hoping
for Holland or the United States to save them. Such an attitude
could put them in a position where they might have to be saved,
although it is by no means certain that would happen.
One wishes that our government and the Dutch would have
learned something from previous experiences. There is a facile
tendency to compare Bouterse to Noriega and to repeat the same
mistakes that were made in Panama of insulting rather than
communicating with Bouterse, of demonizing rather than negotiating,
of threatening or trying to isolate him rather than finding a
framework that could ensure a durable, democratic solution.
The first step toward a solution to Suriname's problem has to
be taken by the newly-elected leaders. They are the sources of
legitimate authority. One hopes that they move rapidly to organize
the new government. To achieve a consolidated democracy will
require a new arrangement between the civilian government and the
military that has ruled the country directly or indirectly since
February 1980. Commander Bouterse told Prime Minister Price and
me that he is prepared to accept constitutional amendments that
would reduce the military's role in politics and that he will
accept civilian authority. Many in Suriname question these
comments, but they need to be tested in an appropriate and
It would be most unfortunate were the U.S. or the Dutch
governments to contemplate military options before having given an
opportunity for peaceful, diplomatic options to be negotiated.
V. Recommendations for the Caribbean
Let me first offer some recommendations about the three
countries, and then I would like to summarize some policy
prescriptions for the United States toward the entire Caribbean.
I have read the sections on these three countries in the new
foreign aid bill that passed the House on June 20, 1991, H.R. 2508.
I commmend the Committee for the excellent language, intent, and
approach, and I hope it becomes the policy of the United States:
-- (a) We should provide at least $ 100 million in aid for at
least the next two years to help President Aristide succeed;
-- (b) If the elections in Guyana are free, transparent, and
fair, then the United States should provide at least $20 million
per year and I would hope twice that amount for at least the
next two years; and
-- (c) the United States should use its aid program to enhance
the democratically-elected civilian government in Suriname.
A.I.D. has sent a letter notifying Congress of its intent to
provide $300,000 in ESF funding to Guyana. Here, I would like to
comment on that in my capacity as an American citizen and scholar,
not as Executive Secretary of the Council. I would hope that the
aid is approved for two reasons: (a) the four major concerns
raised by eight Congressmen from this Committee in a letter to
Secretary Baker on July 27 have been fully met; and (b) we should
support the economic reforms undertaken by this government -
unprecedented in my experience by any government in an election
year, with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter's in 1980, and
many of u's recall what happened then. No future government can
expect to rebuild that country's economy without undertaking these
kinds of reforms.
Nonetheless, two concerns have been raised about this funding,
and I think both are serious. First, there is a concern that if
the money is provided before the registration lists are completed,
that might condone the delay; and second, some are concerned that
such aid might be viewed as showing U.S. support for the incumbent
government. Both are genuine concerns, but let me suggest a way to
deal with them. The Department of State should announce that it
will not disburse the aid before the final registration list is
provided to the President by the Elections Council. When the aid
is disbursed, the Embassy should state that its purpose is to
underscore U.S. support for the economic reforms, not to support
any party in the election, and the aid should be viewed as a first
installment in a larger aid program like that sketched in the
foreign aid bill that will be provided to the victor of the
election, provided it is free and fair.
My sense is that all the parties in Guyana would view this
latter statement positively as it indicates that the U.S. is
supporting an economic reform and a free electoral process, not a
party, and it will remove the anxiety of those who fear that the
U.S. will either retreat from Guyana or undermine the opposition if
it were to win. So both the PNC and the opposition parties would
have reason to support the ESF disbursement.
With regard to Haiti, I hope the United States will be patient
with the new government and as supportive as possible.
With regard to Suriname, I would hope that the U.S. government
would reinforce the newly-elected leadership in a manner that would
permit a peaceful and mutally acceptable arrangement that ensures
that the civilian leadership will govern with complete authority.
This means encouraging negotiations, not military action.
Finally, I recommend that this Committee expand its range and
propose a strategy for dealing with these three countries in the
context of a broader Caribbean strategy. For the last two years,
I participated in a project sponsored by the World Peace Foundation
to develop a strategy for the Caribbean and the U.S. in the 21st
Century. A summary of some of our results can be found in the
article that Richard Fletcher of Jamaica and the Inter-American
Development Bank and myself wrote in the Summer 1991 issue of
Foreign Affairs, a copy of which I submit for the record.
What we propose is that the Caribbean break loose from its
past dependence on foreign aid and adopt a new economic strategy
based more on self-reliance. U.S. aid and finance should
complement and reinforce, not substitute for such a program. The
new economic strategy for the Caribbean should include trade
liberalization with an export-bias; fiscal self-reliance with an
effective' tax system; a policy favoring investment over
consumption; deregulation and privatization. This recipe for
success is costly politically, and that is why it is difficult to
implement, let alone sustain. Nonetheless, many of the region's
leaders are paying the price. After the new policies are
implemented, then the United States should take a similarly bold
step to increase aid and market access.
It is time for the United States to offer the Caribbean a
place at the table of the negotiations for the North American Free
Trade Agreement. The Caribbean should first eliminate tariffs
within CARICOM and lower their Common External Tariff. But one way
to accelerate that process is to provide the Caribbean with an
incentive, and nothing would be better than an invitation to a
wider North American Free Trade Area.
Fletcher and I also recommend that CARICOM accept Haiti, the
Dominican Republic, and Suriname but only after changing CARICOM's
Treaty to guarantee democracy in its current and new members. The
region should agree to the steps that it would take as a unit if
democracy were threatened in any country. At the OAS General
Assembly this month, members walked up to this question for the
first time and proposed that the OAS meet within ten days of a coup
in a member country. This is a small, but still encouraging first
step. Because of its long-standing democratic tradition, CARICOM
should advance this idea several steps by defining the diplomatic,
economic, and military sanctions that the democratic community of
CARICOM would take to prevent military coups or to reverse them if
The time has come for the United States to take a long view of
the Caribbean Basin and realize that a relatively small investment
can yield a bountiful dividend in assuring a democratic and
THE COUNCIL OF FREELY-ELECTED HEADS OF GOVERNMENT
The Council of Freely-Elected Heads of Government is an
informal group of 19 former and current heads of government from
throughout the Western Hemisphere. Established in November of 1986
at a meeting chaired by former U.S. Presidents Jimmy Carter and
Gerald Ford on "Reinforcing Democracy in Americas" at the Carter
Center of Emory University, the Council's goal is to reinforce
democracy and promote the peaceful resolution of conflict.
Members of the Council co-chaired a subsequent Consultation on
"The Hemispheric Agenda" at the Carter Center in March 1989 that
brought together government and business leaders of Latin America
with U.S. government officials, including Secretary of State James
A. Baker. An Executive Committee of Jimmy Carter (Chairman), Prime
Minister George Price of Belize (Vice-Chairman), former President
of Venezuela Rafael Caldera, and former President of Costa Rica
Daniel Oduber have coordinated the Council's activities.
The headquarters of the Council is at the Carter Center's
Latin American and Caribbean Program. Dr. Robert Pastor, Fellow at
the Carter Center, is Executive Secretary of the Council. Since
its founding, the Council has undertaken activities to reinforce
democracy in Haiti (1987, 1990-91), Argentina (1987), Chile (1988),
Panama (1989), Nicaragua (1989-91), the Dominican Republic (1990),
Guyana (1990-91), and Suriname (1991).
The members of the Council are former Presidents Jimmy Carter
and Gerald Ford from the United States; President Carlos Andres
Perez and former President Rafael Caldera from Venezuela; former
Presidents Daniel Oduber, Rodrigo Carazo, and Oscar Arias Sanchez
from Costa Rica; Prime Minister George Price of Belize; former
President Raul Alfonsin of Argentina; former President Nicolas
Ardito-Barletta of Panama; former President Fernando Belaunde Terry
of Peru; former President Osvaldo Hurtado of Ecuador; Prime
Minister Michael Manley and former Prime Minister Edward Seaga of
Jamaica; former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau of Canada; Prime
Minister Erskine Sandiford of Barbados; former President Alfonso
Lopez Michelson of Colombia; and Prime Minister John Compton of St.
Lucia; and former President Vinicio Cerezo of Guatemala.
ROBERT A. PASTOR
Robert Pastor is Professor of Political Science at Emory
University and Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Program
at Emory's Carter Center. He is the author of six books, three
monographs, and more than 100 articles on U.S. foreign policy,
Latin America and the Caribbean, and international political and
economic issues. He directed a research project and edited a book
on The Unexplored Connection: Migration and Development in the
Caribbean (Westview Press, 1985).
He is also Executive Secretary of the Council of Freely-
Elected Heads of Government, a group of 19 current and former
leaders who work to reinforce democracy in the hemisphere. Working
with former President Jimmy Carter, the Council's Chairman, Dr.
Pastor has organized international delegations to observe the
electoral process in Panama (1989), Nicaragua (1989-1990), Haiti
(1990), and Guyana (1990-1991).
Dr. Pastor received his M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School
of Government and his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard
University. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Lafayette College, he
served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia. He has taught at
Harvard University, the University of Maryland, and El Colegio de
Mexico, where he was a Fulbright Professor from 1985-86.
He is the author of Congress and the Politics of U.S. Foreign
Economic Policy (University of California Press, 1980); Condemned
to Repetition: The United States and Nicaragua (Princeton
University Press, 1988); and Limits to Friendship: The United
States and Mexico (Alfred A. Knopf, 1988; Vintage, 1989), with
Jorge Castafenda. He edited Democracy in the Americas: Stopping
the Pendulum (Holmes and Meier, 1989) and Latin America's Debt
Crisis (Lynne Reinner Publishers, 1987).
He was the Executive Director of the Linowitz Commission on
U.S.-Latin American Relations from 1975-76. Dr. Pastor served as
the Director of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs on the
National Security Council from 1977-81.
Carter Center of Emory University
Atlanta, Georgia 30307
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Dr. Pastor.
STATEMENT OF ANNE FULLER, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR,
NATIONAL COALITION FOR HAITIAN REFUGEES
Ms. FULLER. Thank you, Chairman Torricelli, for holding this
hearing and for inviting me to testify about Haiti's democratic
HAITI'S DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION
Haiti has come a remarkable distance in the last six months,
from the uncertainty of an unpopular civilian interim government,
through the first democratic elections in its history, and surviving
an attempted coup d'etat by Duvalierist elements to the February
7th inauguration of Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Today Haiti is immersed in the problems of creating democratic
institutions in a country which virtually abolished them, and in re-
building a ravaged economy in the only country in the Western
Hemisphere that the U.N. classifies as a least-developed nation.
It should not surprise us that the Aristide government is finding
the challenge formidable or that it sometimes stumbles in its ef-
forts to promote change. What is remarkable is how much the new
Haitian Government has been able to accomplish in four and a half
NEUTRALIZATION OF THE HAITIAN ARMY
What are these successes? First is the political neutralization of
the army. This accomplishment should be considered in the light of
the experiences of nearly every other Latin American nation that
has gone from dictatorship to democracy. No one has done it quite
as well as President Aristide. On his inauguration day, he declared,
"a new marriage between the army and civil society. I love you,
General Abraham," in only the way Aristide can, to the Army
Commander in Chief. Then he asked the general to retire most of
the high command and to promote a new generation of democratic-
The beginnings of the transformation of the Haitian army into a
professional corps, have been accomplished, so far as we know, en-
tirely through negotiation and dialogue.
REDUCTION OF CRIME IN HAITI
The second accomplishment has been the sharp reduction in
crime. This, perhaps more than any other measure of the new gov-
ernment, has had a direct positive impact on the lives of ordinary
Haitians. With the overthrow of Jean-Claude Duvalier, there had
come a plague of violent crime that ebbed and flowed with the for-
tunes of the regimes in power. Haitians always insisted that this
crime wave was political in origin and linked to Duvalierist sectors
in the army and its rapid curbing by the Aristide government
would seem to bear them out.
Important administrative reforms have begun to make a differ-
ence. Haiti's 550 section chiefs-rural sheriffs who have exercised
virtual total control over two-thirds of Haiti's people-have been
detached from the army and provisionally reassigned as police
agents under the supervision of public prosecutors, that is, the jus-
In ministry after ministry, no-show employees have been taken
off the payroll. Astronomical expense accounts, have been pared
and the books have been scrutinized as never before. Of course,
most of the ministries are found to be virtually broke with upwards
of 95 percent of their budgets going to salaries.
Important progress has been made in ending the severe power
shortages that increasingly plagued Haiti over the last few years.
A NEW STYLE OF GOVERNING IN HAITI
Also the government, and especially President Aristide himself,
have set a new style of governing. Although the president's invita-
tion to the poor of Port-au-Prince to sup with him on the lawn of
the vast previously off-limits national palace is to some extent sym-
bolic, many of his efforts have created a strong sense of participa-
tion in ordinary Haitians. For instance, his readiness to talk with
groups of demonstrators, women, unionized workers, unemployed
youths, farmers, as well as invited groups of business leaders, diplo-
mats and army officers; his frequent interventions on radio call-in
shows where he responds to complaints and problems; and his use
of the Creole vernacular in nearly every instance instead of French
which is understood by less than 20 percent of the population.
Some problems are proving intractable. For instance, relations
between the executive and the two-chamber legislature have been
very rocky. A constitutional measure that grants the first elected
post-Duvalier president six months to make "All necessary reforms
in the public administration and the courts" has left the legislature
feeling bypassed on most important matters. Disputes over who
should be consulted about appointments to public office have
wasted valuable time. Also, the parliament's performance has been
impaired by its lack of experience, staff, and support structures.
REFORMS IN THE HAITIAN JUSTICE SYSTEM-NOT YET COMPLETE
It has proved difficult to accomplish reforms of the justice system
which are uniformly acknowledged to be essential. These include
separating the police from the army, on which initial steps have
been taken; creating a penal authority under the justice ministry
to run the prisons (currently the army is still in charge of all but
the central prison); rooting out corruption which allows prisoners
to spend more than a year in jail without trial if they cannot afford
to bribe the judge.
Haiti has a new justice minister, appointed about a month ago,
who seems to be taking these problems well in hand. We are opti-
mistic about the future of judicial reform.
CONFRONTING HUMAN RIGHTS ADVISES IN HAITI
On the matter of confronting the human rights abuses of the
past 35 years, the Aristide government is in some senses way ahead
of its counterparts in other Latin American states, but in other
senses it lags behind.
Some of the worst abusers of the past are now behind bars and
awaiting trial. These include Tontons Macoutes, chief Roger Lafon-
tant, and his henchmen Nicol Poitevien, a large landowner who
claimed responsibility for a 1987 massacre of hundreds of peasants
in northwestern Haiti; and Isidore Pongnon, a former commander
of the infamous Fort Dimanche prison and torture center. None of
these men have been brought to trial yet, and there is a growing
backlog of cases and seriously overcrowded conditions in prisons.
Human rights groups recognize the important steps that have been
taken, yet we would like to see a more systematic tackling of the
crimes of the past. For instance, the Haitian Government has not
created an independent commission to throw light on past abuses,
a method which has been productive in Chile and other countries
in the southern cone.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN HAITI-THE NEED FOR AID
These are all important challenges facing Haiti's new democracy,
but I would also like to mention another pressing need without
which democracy will certainly fail to flourish. That is economic
Per capital GNP is $380 a year. Nearly one in five of Haiti's chil-
dren dies before the age five. Only 35 percent of the population is
at least marginally literate. This disastrous situation is due in
great measure to the corruption that characterized earlier regimes.
Now, Haiti requires not billions of dollars but millions of dollars
in private investment and in foreign assistance. This committee
has recommended at least $100 million in economic assistance in
the coming fiscal year, and that is a recommendation we fully sup-
port. The current year's money, the majority of it, is channeled by
USAID to private voluntary agencies. This is a practice established
in the past to circumvent government corruption. However, if we
are to help strengthen Haiti's government institutions, future ap-
propriations need to be weighted more toward government pro-
The United States could also make an important contribution to
Haitian democracy by supporting programs specifically geared to
the needs of an emerging democracy. These could include reform of
the judicial system, assistance in prison administration and reform,
and training seminars and exchange programs to assist Haitian
legislators and government officials.
U.S. POLITICAL SUPPORT FOR HAITI
U.S. political support for Haiti during the past year and a half
marked a sharp turn from the earlier disastrous policy of backing
the military as Haiti's best hope. Much of the credit for this goes to
Ambassador Alvin Adams, who is better known in Haiti as "Bourik
chaje" or "loaded down donkey," a compliment, with backing from
other State Department officials.
We also assume that the United States has played a positive role
over the past months in constraining the army to accept the advent
of civilian rule, and we can only urge that it continue in this vein.
HAITIAN EMIGRANTS-OBSTACLE TO HAITI'S DEMOCRATIC DECLARATION
I would also like to briefly mention two problems which bear on
Haiti's democratic development. The first is the 10-year-old U.S.
policy of interdicting Haitian boats on the high seas and returning
the boat people to Haiti. This practice is unworthy of this country's
best tradition of welcoming desperate refugees, and it is also em-
barrassingly inconsistent with our principal posture towards South-
east Asian boat people.
While we fervently hope that Haitians will no longer feel com-
pelled to undertake the perilous voyage to the United States, this
country would do well to sit down with Haitian Government au-
thorities to work out a humanitarian plan that combined rescue at
sea, when necessary, with assistance designed to offer hope to des-
perately poor Haitian peasants who might attempt the voyage.
TENSIONS BETWEEN HAITI AND THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
The second problem concerns tensions between Haiti and the Do-
minican Republic. Barely two weeks ago, this committee held hear-
ings on the plight of Haitian sugarcane cutters in the Dominican
Republic. These workers have had a tremendous impact in the Do-
Although it denied the charges of widespread child labor and
other abuses put forward by human rights advocates here, on June
13th the government decreed the repatriation of foreign minors
and elderly people working on state sugarcane plantations. While
humanitarian repatriation of people unwillingly held in the Do-
minican Republic would certainly be welcome, we have good reason
to fear that the decree is being abused. For instance, there have
been roundups of Haitians in a number of cities in the Dominican
Republic, not in the sugarcane plantations. There have been re-
ports of families being divided. There are abuses in this deportation
We understand that the Haitian Government is interested in
opening a dialogue with Santo Domingo on the problems of Haitian
workers, and perhaps has already begun to do this on a low level.
United States support for such a dialogue could lead to an amicable
resolution of the tensions that are currently really quite high be-
tween the two countries.
I will conclude by saying that along with 6 million Haitians, we
hope that February 7, 1991, marked the beginning of an irreversi-
ble democratic process. It is in every interest of the United States
to continue to provide outspoken support for Haiti's elected govern-
ment and to increase financial contributions to its institutions.
[Prepared statement of Ms. Fuller follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF Anne Fuller
National Coalition for Haitian Refugees
Thank you chairman Torricelli for holding this hearing and
for inviting me to testify about Haiti's democratic transition.
My name is Anne Fuller and I am the Associate Director of the
National Coalition for Haitian Refugees and the editor of its
monthly bulletin, Haiti Insight.
The NCHR was founded in 1982 to seek justice for Haitian
refugees in the United States and to monitor and promote human
rights in Haiti. We have written 11 reports on the human rights-
situation in Haiti during these years, many of them jointly with
Americas watch. Teams from the National Coalition monitored the
miscarried November 1987 elections in Haiti as well as last
December's supremely successful voting. Our staff makes frequent
visits to Haiti and we maintain close contact with a range of
Haitian human rights and political leaders. Through our
newsletter, Haiti Insight, we inform a broad group of Americans
interested in Haiti and Haitian refugees.
Haiti has come a remarkable distance in the last six months.
Out of the devastation of 30 years of Duvalierist dictatorship,
four years of arbitrary and frequently brutal military rule, and
a chaotic 10 months under an unpopular civilian interim regime,
Haitians managed, hoping against hope, to hold honest elections
last December. Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a 37-year-old
Catholic priest, won 67% of a vote certified as free and fair by
the United Nations, the Organization of American States and many
independent monitoring groups.
Before Aristide's government could take office, however, it
Toward Democrcry in Haiti
underwent a terrible challenge from relics of the Duvalierist
nightmare. On January 6, Roger Lafontant, a former chief of the
brutal Tontons Macoutes militia, captured the National Palace
abducted interim president Ertha Trouillot and declared himself
President of Haiti. But he did not count on the Haitian people's
determination to defend their hard-won democracy. Throughout
Haiti, people rose up against the hated Duvalierist plotters.
And in these crucial hours the army gave further proof of the
support for democracy it had shown on election day, standing up
to the plotters.
Now Haiti is immersed in the problems of creating democratic
institutions in a country that virtually abolished them, and
rebuilding a ravaged economy in the only Western Hemisphere
country the U.N. classifies as a Least Developed Nation. It
should not surprise us that the Aristide government is finding
the challenge formidable or that it sometimes stumbles in its
efforts to promote change.
What is remarkable is how much the new Haitian government
has been able to accomplish in four and a half months. What are
1. First is the political neutralization of the army.
Consider this accomplishment in the light of the experiences of
nearly every other Latin American nation that has gone from
dictatorship to democracy.
Toward Democracy in Haiti
On his inauguration day, President Aristide declared "a new
marriage" between the army and civil society. "I love you,
General [tHrard] Abraham," he said in his inimitable fashion, to
the army commander in chief, even as he asked the General to
retire most of the old high command and to promote a new
generation of democratic-minded officers. The beginnings of the
transformation of the Haitian army into a professional corps--and
it is only a beginning--have been accomplished, so far as we
know, entirely through negotiation and dialogue.
2. Second is the sharp, sharp reduction in crime, chiefly
robberies and killings, or what Haitians call "insecurity."
This, perhaps more than any other measures, has had a direct
positive impact on the lives of ordinary Haitians.
With the overthrow of Jean-Claude Duvalier there came a
plague of violent crime that ebbed and flowed with the fortunes
of the regimes in power. Haitians always insisted that this
crime wave was political in origin, and linked to Duvalierist
sectors in the army. Its rapid curbing by the Aristide
government would seem to bear them out. We suspect a combination
of factors: the unequivocal quashing of the Duvalierist coup
attempt in January, the dismissal from the army of some of its
worst elements and the transfer to obscure posts of others, along
with the newfound ability by the police to search out and arrest
Toward Democracy in Haiti
3. Important administrative reforms have begun to make a
difference. Haiti's 555 "Section Chiefs"--rural sheriffs who as
the sole representatives of the state in Haiti's inaccessible
countryside, exercised total control over the two-thirds of
Haiti's people--have been detached from the army. They have been
provisionally reassigned as police agents under the supervision
of the Public Prosecutors.
In ministry after ministry, no-show employees have been
taken off the payroll, astronomical "expense accounts" have been
pared, and the books have been scrutinized as never before. Most
ministries were found to be virtually broke, with upwards of 95%
of their budgets going to salaries. The information ministry,
for example, laid off 250 of its 600 employees. The Office of
Tourism, with 161 employees and virtually no tourists, closed its
doors, which are to be reopened when a new plan to promote
tourism is developed. It is undeniable that some of these
layoffs have hurt and there have been protests by rejected
workers. Yet most people acknowledge the necessity--though often
painful--of reorganizing the stagnant, corrupt bureaucracies.
Important progress has been made in ending the severe power
shortages that increasingly plagued Haiti over the last few
years. Although provincial cities continue to be troubled by
frequent blackouts, in the capital businesses and government can
once again use electric lights and computers, grocery stores can
Toward Democracy in Haiti
store fresh food and everyone benefits from lighted streets at
4. The government, and above all President Aristide himself,
have set a new style of governing. Although to some extent
symbolic, the President's invitation to the poor of Port-au-
Prince to sup with him on the lawn of the vast, previously off-
limits National Palace; his readiness to talk with groups of
demonstrators--women, unionized workers, unemployed youths,
farmers--as well as invited groups of business leaders, diplomats
and army officers; his frequent intervention on radio call-in
shows, where he responds to complaints and problems: his use of
the Creole vernacular in nearly every instance, instead of French
which is understood by less than 20% of the population; all these
have created a strong sense of participation on the part of
Some problems have proved intractable:
Relations between the executive and the two-chamber
legislature have been rocky. A Constitutional measure granting
the first elected post-Duvalier President six months to make "all
necessary reforms in the public administration and the courts"
has left the legislature feeling bypassed on many important
matters. Disputes over who should be consulted about
appointments to public office have wasted valuable time. The
parliament's performance has been impaired by lack of experience,
Toward Democracy in Haiti
staff and support structures. Few laws have been proposed; a
Senate leader recently confided that he has been trying to write
one law for two months; he is not a lawyer and has no staff to
assist him in getting right the language and elements of the law
whose general purpose he has no trouble explaining.
It has been difficult to accomplish the reform the justice
system that are uniformly acknowledged to be essential. In mid-
May a corruption scandal led to the arrest of the Port-au-Prince
Public Prosecutor and the resignation of the Justice Minister--a
man who won plaudits for his bold efforts to arrest Roger
Lafontant and other Duvalierists but who seemed not up to the
task of overhauling an outdated, cumbersome legal system. A new
Justice Minister took office, and his approach seems to be more
productive. Among the dossiers confronting Justice are the
separation of the police and the army (initial steps have been
taken on this), the creation of a Penal Authority under the
Justice Ministry to run the prisons (the army is still in charge
of all prisons save the National Penitentiary, which is nominally
headed by a civilian), and the rooting out of the corruption that
allows prisoners to spend more than a year in jail without trial
if they can't afford to bribe the judge.
On the matter of confronting the human rights abuses of the
past 35 years, the Aristide government is in some senses way
ahead of its counterparts in other Latin American states but in
Toward Democracy in Haiti
others it lags behind. Some of the worst abusers of the past are
now behind bars and awaiting trial. These include Tontons
Macoutes chief Roger Lafontant and his henchmen, who were
arrested for their coup attempt before Aristide actually took
office, Nicol Poitevien, a large landowner who claimed
responsibility for the 1987 massacre of hundreds of peasants in
Jean Rabel in northwestern Haiti, and Isidore Pongnon, a former
commander of the infamous Fort Dimanche prison and torture
center. None of these men have been brought to trial yet, and
there is a growing backlog of cases, and seriously overcrowded
conditions in prisons. Human rights groups recognize the
important steps taken, yet would like to see a more systematic
tackling of the crimes of the past. The government has not, for
instance, created an independent commission to throw light on
past abuses--as was productive in Chile last year.
These are all important challenges facing Haiti's new
democracy. But I'd also like to mention another pressing need,
without which democracy will certainly fail to flourish: economic
Haiti's per capital GNP is $380 a year, nearly one in five of
its children dies before the age of five, only 35% of the
population is at least marginally literate. This disastrous
situation is due in great measure to the corruption that
characterized most earlier regimes. Jean-Claude Duvalier left
Toward Democracy in Haiti
Haiti with what is believed to be more than $100 million dollars
in his pockets and banks accounts, most of it pillaged from the
state treasuries and extracted by threats from businessmen.
Haiti requires not billions of dollars, but millions--in
private investment and in foreign assistance. The country's
annual budget, after all, amounts to less than $300 million.
The United States has pledged $82 million dollars in
assistance to Haiti in fiscal year 1991, an increase of $28
million over 1990. This committee has recommended that the
United States provide at least $100 million in economic
assistance in the coming fiscal-year, a-recommendation we fully
support. The increased funds ought to be allocated to projects
proposed by the Haitian government. The majority of this year's
money is channeled by USAID to private voluntary agencies--a
practice established in the past to get around government
corruption. In order to strengthen Haiti's government
institutions, we hope future appropriations will be weighted
toward government programs, without, if possible, withdrawing
funding from private groups that have established worthwhile
Most U.S. assistance is currently targeted to programs of
health, nutrition, business development, education, agriculture
and the environment. The United States could make an important
contribution to Haitian democracy by supporting programs
Toward Democracy in Haiti
specifically geared to the needs of an emerging democracy. These
might include reform of the judicial system, perhaps in concert
with France and other countries whose legal systems share a
common root with Haiti; assistance in prison administration and
reform and training seminars and exchange programs to assist
Haitian legislators and government technicians.
U.S. political support for democracy in Haiti during the
past year and a half marked a sharp turn from the earlier
disastrous policy of supporting the military as Haiti's best
hope. Much of the credit for this goes to Ambassador Alvin
Adams, better known in Haiti as Bourik Chaai, or loaded down
donkey, (this is a complement, by the way), who helped persuade
Haiti's last dictator, Prosper Avril, to quit the scene, and then
became an outspoken advocate of free elections during the interim
government period in 1990.
Adams, with timely support from Assistant Secretary of State
for Inter-American Affairs Bernard Aronson, has publicly
demonstrated United States support for the Aristide government on
several occasions. Aronson's letter to the editor of The
Washington Post in March, which refuted assertions published in a
bizarre column by Jack Anderson that Washington was extremely
unhappy with President Aristide, had an important impact in
We must also assume that the United States has played a
Toward Demiocracy In Haiti
positive role in constraining the army to accept the advent of
civilian rule and can only urge that it continue in this vein.
I would like to briefly mention two problems which bear on
Haiti's democratic development. The first is the 10-year-old
U.S. policy of interdicting Haitian boats on the high seas and
returning the so-called "boat people" to Haiti. The National
Coalition for Haitian Refugees has opposed this practice since
its inception. We believe it to be unworthy of this country's
best tradition of welcoming desperate refugees as well as
embarrassingly inconsistent with our principled posture toward
Southeast Asian boat people. While we fervently hope that
Haitians will no longer feel compelled to undertake the perilous
600-mile voyage, this cannot be assured. The United States would
do well to sit down with Haitian government authorities to work
out a humanitarian plan combining rescue at sea when necessary,
with assistance designed to offer hope to desperately poor
Haitian peasants who might attempt the voyage.
The second problem concerns tensions between Haiti and the
Dominican Republic. This committee held hearings on the plight
of Haitian sugar cane cutters in the Dominican Republic barely
two weeks ago. -As you-may be aware, they had a tremendous impact
in the Dominican Republic. Although the Dominican government
denied the charges of widespread child labor and other abuses put
forward by human rights advocates here, on June 14 it decreed the
Toward Democracy in Haiti
repatriation of foreign minor and elderly people working on
state sugar cane plantations. While a humanitarian repatriation
of people unwillingly held in the Dominican Republic would
certainly be welcome, we have reason to fear that the decree is
being abused. Certainly, large-scale deportations of any sort
would benefit neither the Dominican Republic nor Haiti's emerging
democracy. We understand that the Haitian government is
interested in opening a dialogue with Santo Domingo on the
problems of Haitian workers and the many other concerns shared by
the two states. United States support for such dialogue could
lead to a amicable resolution of the tensions that are currently
Along with 6 million Haitians, we hope that February 7,
1991, marked the beginning of an irreversible democratic process.
It is in every interest of the United States to continue to
provide outspoken support for Haiti's elected government and to
increase wherever possible financial contributions to its
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you, Ms. Fuller.
Mr. Lagomarsino. .
HAITIAN ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE UNITED STATES
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to say that the testimony from all three of you has been
very interesting and provocative.
Let me ask all of you this. In the past, President Aristide has
made a lot of anti-American speeches. You do not hear that so
much anymore. Many, including our ambassador to Haiti, feel that
that was just campaign rhetoric. I hope that is correct.
But, if that is true, what do you understand is the general feeling
in Haiti with regard to America? Are Haitians anti-American? Are
they pro-American? What is your reading of that?
Ms. FULLER. Well, it is somewhat complex. There is hardly a Hai-
tian who does not have at least one relative in the United States.
There are several hundred thousand Haitians in this country, and
that has certainly created a lot of warm feelings towards the
Since Ambassador Adams came to Haiti and began to speak up
for human rights and in favor of democracy, Haitians have began
to get a very different idea of the role of the United States in Haiti.
He is quite a popular figure, and while I could cannot go so far as
to say, "Haitians are all wild about the United States," there is a
widespread positive feeling now that is very different from that of
the period when the United States appeared to be supporting mili-
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Mr. Pastor.
ARISTIDE'S "ANTI-AMERICAN" COMMENTS
Mr. PASTOR. Father Aristide's anti-American statements were
not campaign rhetoric. His world view had a special place for the
United States, as is true of all people in Latin America and the
Caribbean. To a great extent, he viewed, the United States, either
directly or indirectly, as being responsible for many of Haiti's prob-
The key fact about Father Aristide is that he is a very intelligent
man who is capable of tremendous intellectual growth, and here I
would underscore what Ms. Fuller said. The role played by Ambas-
sador Adams has been spectacular in working out a very close rela-
tionship with Father Aristide, in giving him reasons to trust both
the Ambassador and the United States, and in moderating the
rhetoric and modifying the mind set. I completely support what she
just said on that.
Mr. FAURIOL. I would simply underscore the first part of Dr. Pas-
tor's comment. Father Aristide's world view, particularly before he
reached the national palace, was clearly one that assigned to the
United States an important role, but a rather negative one. Aside
from the fact that he is a very intelligent man and has a very com-
plex personality the question remains as to whether that in fact is
enough for him to lead a government that ultimately also assigned
an important positive dimension to the United States.
That is unknown. It seems to be changing, but that is a $64 bet.
PRESIDENT ARISTIDE AND ABA
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. What is his relationship or his feelings about
Castro and Cuba at this point?
Ms. FULLER. I could not tell you what his feelings are about
Castro. There is a left wing group in Haiti and people have pressed
for Haiti to reestablish diplomatic relations with Cuba. He has said
that he is in no hurry to do so. He would like to have diplomatic
relations with all neighboring countries, but he has clearly said
there is a time and a place. He has made no particular moves to do
We will see. He is being very cautious about this. He sees it as
not a top priority for Haiti. He would be interested in reestablish-
ing diplomatic relations if it was not politically difficult for Haiti.
Mr. PASTOR. The Cuban issue is a good example of the political
growth of Aristide. He would have been inclined to establish diplo-
matic relations from the beginning, in fact, perhaps even to have
invited Fidel Castro to the inauguration. The reasoning was that
Cuba, like Haiti had been abused or exploited by the big power to
the north for a long time. So, there was a general sympathy for
Democratic friends in this hemisphere, Carlos Andr6s Perez, Mi-
chael Manley, others, helped Aristide to understand that from his
own interest, it would make much more sense for him to approach
Cuba in a more gradual and realistic fashion. The fact that he has
done so is a good illustration of how he now sees his development
and justice of his own people as his priority objectives.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Doctor?
Mr. FAURIOL. Clearly Aristide is on a learning curve as far as for-
eign policy issues are concerned. I am not so sure whether it has
been fully integrated in his own thinking that a relationship with
Cuba would only offer very little to the development problems of
Haiti. A smart politician calculates the fact that having this kind
of overture at this particular point in time would be most detri-
mental to the most important relationship that he has to entertain.
This is a relationship with Washington.
I do not know his advisors or his associates well enough to be
able to judge, but I have a feeling that his learning curve may be
steeper than those of some of his associates. Therefore, it leaves the
question as to where Cuba will fit in the future of Haiti as a rele-
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Of course, he is not the only one in the area
who seemingly has had a change of view on that either.
PRESIDENT HOYTE'S POLITICAL COMPROMISE AND OPEN
Dr. Pastor, how receptive has the Hoyte government been to the
assistance offered by the Carter Center?
Mr. PASTOR. Very much so. President Hoyte had initially rejected
the opposition's calls to invite the Carter Center and the Council of
Freely Elected Heads of Government. We told the opposition that
we would not consider observing the elections unless we were invit-
ed by all parties. Eventually he changed his position. President
Carter has established a very close relationship with him. Presi-
dent Hoyte has been enormously strong in adapting to political
compromises that have changed the rules of the game for this elec-
tion more dramatically than we have seen for the last 30 years.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Are you fairly confident that he is legitimate-
ly going to go ahead with the elections now?
Mr. PASTOR. Yes. We are pretty confident that the electoral proc-
ess is on track. We ourselves are going to be able to mount a large
and comprehensive operation so that we will be able to detect if
there is any significant fraud.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Do the rest of you have comments about that?
Mr. FAURIOL. I agree, it is probably on track. I do not want to
sound cynical, but I will believe it when I see the exact timetable
and an exact date. The problem with Guyana over the last six to
nine months is that at one level there has been clear progress. On
the technical side of holding an election, including the creation of
voter lists, things are clearly moving forward. But, thus does not
mean that the election is in fact taking place. These are the pre-
liminaries. The fact that the government is, in effect, suspending
itself through a rather nebulous constitutional process and that the
elections were going to be last fall, then early this year, then in the
spring, then in the early summer, there now is more a less a
window of opportunity in the fall, through the end of the year. We
can go the extra mile, but we should be cautious in prejudging
Ironically, Guyana has at its roots, in its own historical experi-
ence (if not in the last 15 years or 20 years, then certainly prior to
that) an overall constitutional process and the infrastructure to
quickly return Guyana to a democratic environment.
Mr. PASTOR. May I comment on that?
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Sure.
THE CHANGE IN REGISTRATION LAW
Mr. PASTOR. The elections were going to be held last December.
When we visited there last October, the opposition leadership told
us that if it were possible to get a complete transformation of the
registration system, then they would be prepared to accept what-
ever delay was necessary in the electoral calendar in order to make
sure that the election was right. We did get that.
As a result of that change in the registration law, a new consti-
tutional amendment was passed on December 31st, 1990, which
permitted an extension of the parliament until as late as Septem-
ber 30th. That date remains firm. During this period, however, all
of the changes in the electoral system have required more time.
The opposition had originally understood this. Before September
30th, President Hoyte will dissolve the parliament and he will call
an election according to the parliamentary system, anywhere from
38 to 90 days after that call.
So, the timetable is really on track.
OPPOSITION IN GUYANA REMAINS DISTRUSTFUL
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Does the opposition agree with that?
Mr. PASTOR. As I pointed out in my testimony, the opposition is
extremely distrustful of this government due to 30 years of having
the doors closed to them. At the same time, their newspapers clear-
ly indicate that they recognize the significance of these reforms.
They would like the elections sooner rather than later; however,
they continue to confirm to us that they would prefer the elections
correctly rather than be wrong.
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Okay. Thank you.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Johnston.
U.S. POLICY TOWARD HAITIAN BOAT PEOPLE IS AN OBSTACLE TO
Mr. JOHNSTON. Ms. Fuller, you are pretty rough on us here in
the comment. "I would like to briefly mention the problems which
bear on Haiti's democratic development. The first is the 10-year-old
U.S. policy of interdicting Haitian boats on the high seas. We be-
lieve it unworthy of this country's best tradition of welcoming des-
How does the fact that we turn them back hurt their democracy?
Ms. FULLER. The United States has been turning back Haitian
boat people since 1981. It is only four months since Haiti began to
have a democracy. We feel and we have substantiated that many of
the 23,000 people who were turned back in those 10 years were po-
litical refugees. They were people who had suffered considerably
under the Duvalier regime and the military regimes that followed.
We are very hopeful that there will no longer be boat people
coming. Several hundred came in April, but there have not been
Mr. LAGOMARSINO. Let me stop you there. Should we turn them
Ms. FULLER. No. We should not turn them back automatically.
The cases of people who take desperate moves to set sail in a flimsy
wooden boat over a 700-mile voyage should be seriously evaluated.
Economic factors are clearly reasons for many of their depar-
tures. Although the central government is dedicated to supporting
human rights and democratization, its rule has not yet been able to
fully extend to every corner of that country. There are still human
rights violations that continue, and I am extremely hopeful this
will diminish. But, this is not the time to continue our policy which
was established with the Jean-Claude Duvalier regime in 1981.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Mr. Johnston, if you will forgive me. The ques-
tion, in fact, was not answered. Your question was how is it that
our policy of returning people damaged the prospect of democracy
in Haiti. That is a claim which I prefer not having remain on the
record. That simply is not the truth. How is it that our sending
people back to Haiti gives the United States any responsibility for
the failure of democracy to develop in Haiti?
Ms. FULLER. I would like to see the United States enter into a
discussion with the Haitian Government about this policy and
about the problem of refugees and illegal immigration.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Nevertheless, your statement is on the record
that the United States is responsible for damaging democracy in
Haiti by turning back refugees. I have not heard an explanation
Ms. FULLER. I do not mean we are damaging democracy in Haiti
by turning back refugees. Nevertheless this is a problem that will
continue to confront the United States and Haiti and the relation-
Mr. TORRICELLI. We all accept that as long as we also all accept
the United States does not bear any responsibility for the inability
of democracy to develop because of the immigration policy.
U.S. POLICY TOWARD HAITIAN IMMIGRATION COMPARED TO OTHER
LATIN AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS
Mr. JOHNSTON. To follow up on that. I am very sympathetic, but
5 percent of the Haitian population now resides in south Florida,
along with probably 10 percent of the Cubans from Cuba, Colombi-
ans, El Salvadorians. I could go down the whole list of Central and
There is a lot of bitterness towards the fact that other nationali-
ties go through the process of getting here, getting visas, and get-
ting citizenship. What you are saying is that all one has to do is
say, "I am a desperate refugee" and they have to be let in.
Ms. FULLER I do not claim that a person should just claim to be a
desperate refugee and expect to be let in here. In fact, we are talk-
ing about a rather small number of people who have tried to come
and have been turned back. Just 23,000 people.
Mr. JOHNSTON. That is who we have caught.
Ms. FULLER. Well, The Coast Guard believes that it catches 95
percent and I think that that is true. You do read of an occasional
boat coming up on the Keys, but it is a rare one. The Coast Guard
does its job.
Mr. JOHNSTON. I need to send you some newspaper clippings
from my area. They are landing on our beaches all the time.
Ms. FULLER. Well, Haitians should absolutely not get special
treatment. What I would like to see is Haitians getting the same
kind of treatment that refugees from other countries have received.
Haitians in the south Florida area and the United States in gener-
al have had a very difficult time witnessing the treatment that has
been given to Cuban refugees.
Cuban boat people have also been coming in record numbers in
this past year and because the United States will not deport
anyone to Cuba after having spent one year here, they can file for
temporary residence. They eventually become permanent residents.
Mr. JOHNSTON. I cannot agree with you more.
Ms. FULLER. I visited Krone Detention Center myself and the
most bitter thing for the Haitians and the other people there is
that the Cubans spend a week or two at most and then are re-
leased. The Haitians will spend six months to a year filing difficult
political asylum applications.
Mr. JOHNSTON. Ninety percent of the Cubans are here not be-
cause they are political refugees but because they are economic ref-
ugees. That is just my personal view.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Thank you very much, Mr. Johnston.
It is, however, not a fair statement of history to assert that there
is a tradition in the United States of having open immigration for
people who feel persecution somewhere in the world. By some
measure, this country has always controlled immigration. Is it your
own belief that we should have open immigration in this country
for anyone who feels persecution by their own government?
You seek to equate the situation between Cuba and Haiti. Would
you extend that same to every other nation in the world as well?
Ms. FULLER. The United States cannot open its doors indiscrimi-
nately to people who want to come in. That is very clear.
Mr. TORRICELLI. That is exactly the point.
Ms. FULLER. But, it has. The United States accepts more refugees
than any other country in the world. It has had a particularly diffi-
cult time in dealing with repressive governments that are neigh-
boring this country.
TREATMENT OF HAITIAN REFUGEES IN THE UNITED STATES
Mr. TORRICELLI. Is this not an accommodation to practicality?
You said it accurately. Not only does the United States accept
more refugees than any other country, but there have been times
when we have accepted more than every other country combined.
Nevertheless, your statement is enormously critical as though the
United States somehow is both betraying a tradition, which you
have not accurately described, and more than that, its highest prin-
ciples by not accepting these refugees. There is a practical limit.
Ms. FULLER. There is. But the United States has not been open to
Haitians. In 1981, when Cubans and Haitians were coming here
(the Cubans in the Mariel boat lift and Haitians in their own
boats), the Haitians were locked up in detention centers in the
United States and Puerto Rico, while the Cubans were, if not quite
welcomed, they were taken in.
Ms. FULLER. The Haitians have continued to receive political
asylum at rates of less than 2 percent a year compared with other
nationalities who have been granted asylum at much greater rates.
Mr. TORRICELLI. Of course, some of us argue that the inequity
may be a problem with the policy with Cuba, not necessarily a
problem with the policy with Haiti.
Ms. FULLER. I am not an expert on Cuba, but the contrast is very
glaring. These are two Caribbean nations, very near us, close to
each other in terms of population, both with repressive pasts.
Mr. TORRICELLI. The point stands that by your own testimony
there are several hundred thousand Haitians living in the United
States. I do not know any other Western nation that would have
permitted so many people from an underdeveloped country, for
which it bears no direct political responsibility, to come to their
shores under refugee status.
It is evidence of concern and compassion beyond our own domes-
tic interest. Indeed, it lies in contradiction with our own national
interest. I agree that there should be a common international
standard, but that standard should be lessening the entree for
others rather than expanding it to Haitian.
Do you want to comment?
Mr. FAURIOL. Yes. The Mariel boat lift occurred in 1980, not in
1981, I remember it vividly. The Carter administration went out of
its way to try to treat both the Cuban and the Haitians in exactly
the same way. Unfortunately, they were all detained for a certain
period of time and most of them were released after that.
The policy that she is criticizing started in 1981, but it is not an
issue any longer. Arishde took a very similar position as Ms.
Fuller's when he was running for president. All of a sudden he re-
alized that if people are seeking refugee status, it is from his
regime. Therefore, he is not terribly inclined to want to pursue this
issue in the same way that he had before. He is hoping, that with
the development and the increasing security in his country, there
will be less of a compelling need for people to flee.
U.S. POLICY OPTIONS FOR GUYANA AND SURINAME
Mr. TORRICELLI. Dr. Fauriol, in the cases of Suriname and
Guyana, if in the one case elections are not held as scheduled and
in the other if power is not transferred as anticipated, what do you
recommend for American policy specifically?
Mr. FAURIOL. In the case of Suriname, it is relatively simple be-
cause our relationship is rather limited. It is conceivable that if
that political situation deteriorates, if the current government is
again modified or overthrown, by the military, some multi-national
effort-might be required.
Mr. TORRICELLI. That is the thrust of your thinking however?
Mr. FAURIOL. Right.
Mr. TORRICELLI. If the power shifts, that would be your prefer-
ence or response.
Mr. FAURIOL. In the case of Guyana, clearly the United States
has a more important role to play. I do not want to dodge your
question, but it would depend a little bit on the kinds of circum-
stances that caused the electoral process to be delayed or to fail. I
am willing to give this process an extra mile if there are good tech-
nical reasons for doing so and if the opposition and all the parties
involved are willing to play along.
Mr. TORRICELLI. If the delays become not weeks but many
months and the explanations clearly have no real rationale, what
are you recommending?
Mr. FAURIOL. Our leverage is limited, but for starters, the limited
assistance program we have with that country should be put on
hold. Secondly, as we should relate this particular concern more
strongly to CARICOM and the other Caribbean democratic govern-
Mr. TORRICELLI. Back to Suriname for a minute. Are you envi-
sioning a Latin American force or Caribbean force? Or are you sug-
gesting a rise in the level of international responsibility?
Mr. FAURIOL. Maybe somewhere in between. The Dutch would
play an important role, but additional makeup of such a force
hopefully would be regional in character.
Mr. TORRICELLI. I thank you all for your testimony today and for
your time. You were very help to the subcommittee and it is much
The committee is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:30 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
Foreign Affairs, Vol.70, No.3 (Summer 1991)
IN THE 21ST CENTURY
A s tile small nations of the Caribbean assess the rapid
changes in the world, they have begun to ask whether they will
be left irretrievably behind. To pose the question in a more
positive way: Can the Caribbean end its economic stagnation
and backwardness and embark on a bold new course to fulfill
the region's potential?
Thirty years ago, there were only three independent coun-
tries in the Caribbean, and all three were trying to rid
themselves of dictatorship. Only one-the Dominican Repub-
lic-succeeded. Haiti struggled through 30 years of oppressive
dictatorship only to emerge on February 7, 1991, with its first
freely elected president. Cuba is still under the control of an
aging revolutionary and a single-party system. In the mean-
time, 12 English-speaking, parliamentary democracies have
joined the group of independent governments. Of this group,
only Grenada and Guyana departed from the democratic
tradition. But the former returned after an American inva-
sion, and the latter is in the process of returning.
With the exception of Haiti, most of these countries have
made substantial social progress: education and health stan-
dards are among the highest in the developing world. In terms
of economics, however, the region has failed to lind a path
toward sustainable, equitable growth. Some have done better
than others, and there are lessons to be learned in the
differences. But generally, economic development has proven
The strength of the region has always been its people and
Robert Pastor, professor of political science at Emory University ;nd a
fellow at the Carter Center, was Director of Latin American Affairs on the
National Security Council. 1977-81. Richard Fletcher, Deputy M;auiger
for Programs at the Inter-American Development Bank, served as Ja-
maica's Minister of State for Finance and Planning, 1977-80. The opinions
expressed are the authors' alone. This article is adapted front a study
commissioned by the World Peace Foundation. Copyright 0 199.1 by
Robert Pastor and Richard Fletcher.
THE CARIBBEAN 99
tecir :lapt;)aility. The region's democratic leaders have mod-
ified their views from a philosophy based on state-directed
economic management to one that relies more on the market's
ability to allocate resources. The mood of the regional leader-
ship has swung from a fear of foreign investment to anxiety
about the lack of it. Some Caribbean leaders had previously
viewed the Cuban model as the solution-and the United
States as the problem. Now there is widespread recognition
that Cuba's path is of limited, if any, relevance for the Future,
while the United States is viewed more pragmatically as a vital
market, a source of support and a possible partner.
Driven primarily by security interests, the United States has
often oscillated between intervention to prevent a foreign rival
from gaining a foothold and neglect when the threat passed.
But the region's increasingly democratic character, together
with large-scale emigration to the United States during the last
three decades, has changed the U.S. view of the region in ways
that might permit a steadier long-term relationship.
We believe the time has come to consider a new stage in the
region's development and its relationship with the United
States. We recommend that the region, shift toward a new
economic strategy based primarily on self-reliance. Provided
the region makes the appropriate macroeconomic decisions,
the United States should offer a bold economic initiative,
opening its markets wider to the region's exports, perhaps as
part of a broader extension of a North American Free Trade
Area (NAFrA). U.S. aid and financing should be a complement
and supplement, not a substitute, for the region's new eco-
Politically and socially, Caribbean aspirations have been
commendable and essentially attainable. The nations have
wanted democracy, independence and stability, and the re-
gion's citizens have sought justice and equality of opportunity.
By and large the English-speaking Caribbean has attained
these goals, a remarkable achievement in the developing
world. Culturally, the region is justly proud of its distinct
identity, and its reggae and calypso have enhanced the global
The basic Caribbean problem is that its economic aspirations
have been beyond the reach of the islands' small scale. Influ-
enced by the demonstration effect of the United States, the
100 r'OREIGN AFFAIRS
Caribbean people have naturally wanted the same standards.
Caribbean workers have been unwilling to accept living stan-
dards that are lower than those achieved by relatives who have
migrated to North America. Democratic leaders have not
wanted to tell their constituents that such aspirations are
unreal. The region's businessmen have preferred to sell Amer-
ican and European goods to protected home markets rather
than manufacture goods for export.
The region suffers chronic balance-of-payments deficits,
over-dependence on a few agricultural or mineral commodi-
ties (sugar, bananas, bauxite, oil) and increasing dependence
on tourism. Although tourism has proven a much needed
source of foreign exchange, it also has increased the region's
vulnerability. Tourist revenues are greatly affected by devel-
opments that are totally unrelated to the tourist industry.
Tourism plummets as a result of scares, like AIDS in Haiti, or
violence in a neighboring country or recession in the United
States or Europe-all factors beyond the influence of hoteliers.
Even the war in the Persian Gulf damaged the crucial winter
The region suffers from other problems. Skilled labor and
professionals emigrate at a high rate. Foreign investment has
preferred Mexico and Costa Rica. While the region has largely
maintained its democratic system, political and drug-related
threats have increased. The attempted coup in one of the
region's largest islands, Trinidad, in July 1990 underscored
the vulnerability of all the islands.
The population of the entire 13-member Caribbean Com-
munity (CARICOM) is five million; fewer than the population of
each of the three Latin nations-Haiti, Cuba and th l Domin-
ican Republic. Even if one adds these islands, the total popu-
lation amounts to less than 30 million, and the gross domestic
product is probably less than that of Dade County, Florida. Air
traffic in Miami exceeds that of the entire region. The Carib-
bean simply does not have as large a margin for choice as it
Most of the Caribbean has lost two decades of economic
progress. This has led to high unemployment (20 percent on
average, 50 percent among youth) and increasing frustration.
The Caribbean is not in danger of revolution; rather the
prospect is for continued deterioration, growing social delin-