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3 5005 00682 723+ 'TS FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS SECOND SESSION APRIL 5, 2000
Serial No. 106-133
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
S.S. DEPOSi TO
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/international-relations
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE 66-166 CC WASHINGTON : 2000
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey DAN BURTON, Indiana ELTON GALLEGLY, California ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina DANA ROHRABACHER, California DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois EDWARD R. ROYCE, California PETER T. KING, New York STEVE CHABOT, Ohio MARSHALL "MARK" SANFORD, South Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona AMO HOUGHTON, New York TOM CAMPBELL, California JOHN M. McHUGH, New York KEVIN BRADY, Texas RICHARD BURR, North Carolina PAUL E. GILLMOR, Ohio GEORGE RADANOVICH, California JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut TOM LANTOS, California HOWARD L. BERMAN, California GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey SHERROD BROWN, Ohio CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida PAT DANNER, Missouri EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama BRAD SHERMAN, California ROBERT WEXLER, Florida STEVEN R. ROTHMAN, New Jersey JIM DAVIS, Florida EARL POMEROY, North Dakota WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York BARBARA LEE, California JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York JOSEPH M. HOEFFEL, Pennsylvania
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
KATHLEEN BERTELSEN MOAZED, Democratic Chief of Staff
CALEB C. MCCARRY, Professional Staff Member
MARILYN C. OWEN, Staff Associate
The Honorable Peter F. Romero, Acting Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State . 5
Prepared Member's Statements:
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress from New York and Chairman, Committee on International Relations 28
Prepared Witness Statements:
The Honorable Peter F. Romero, U.S. Department of State 30
Additional materials submitted for the record:
Questions submitted by Chairman Benjamin Gilman, together with answer of Assistant Secretary Romero, concerning reactivating Guantanamo Bay for handling refugees (Exhibit A) . 34 Question submitted by The Honorable Brad Sherman, a Representative from California, together with answer of Assistant Secretary Romero, concerning comparison of money the United States has spent on Haiti for economic aid and military security or physical security, compared to money spent by other nations on Haiti, especially as compared to money spent in the former Yugoslavia (Exhibit B) 35
HAITI: PROSPECTS FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS
Wednesday, April 5, 2000
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS,
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (Chairman of the Committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Gilman, Brady, Ballenger, Gejdenson, Payne, Hastings, Sherman, Meeks, Lee, and Delahunt
Also present: Representatives Conyers and Goss
Chairman GILMAN. The Committee will come to order. This morning our Committee will examine the prospects for free and fair elections in Haiti. Our witness is the Honorable Peter Romero, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
This is the first time that our Committee is meeting in our refurbished hearing room. The new equipment you see includes advanced audio and video technology to take us into the 21st century. As a result, among other improvements, our audio feeds will be available in other Committee facilities. I am pleased that we will also be able to take testimony from witnesses in another city or on another continent.
Last week, the House lost a good friend, Colonel Jack Brady, who worked for the House Foreign Affairs Committee for 26 years, including 17 years as our Chief of Staff. Jack passed away last week.
From 1976 to 1993, he was the personification of our Committee. Jack Brady was a man who took great pride in serving his nation, which he did with distinction in a number of arenas. I am asking my colleagues to join with me now in recognizing Colonel Brady's extraordinary service to this Committee and to the House with a moment of silence.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you.
I have supported U.S. engagement in Haiti during my career in the House of Representatives. There is a substantial community of hard-working Haitian-Americans in my district. I will continue to support U.S. assistance for the people of Haiti. Yesterday, my colleagues, Mr. Goss, Mr. Rangel, and Mr. Conyers, who I am pleased is here with us this morning, and Mr. Delahunt, joined me in issuing the following statement: "As long-time supporters of Haiti and its people, we are outraged by the recent political assassinations in that country. Yesterday, the Director of Radio Haiti-Inter, Jean Leopold Dominique and
Jean-Claude Louissaint, the radio's janitor, were murdered. On March 28th in Petit-Goave, a local leader of the Patriotic Movement for National Salvation, MPSN, Mr. Legitime Athis, and his wife were murdered in their home.
"Over the last month, the political situation in Haiti has deteriorated sharply, threatening to derail considerable progress made by the Provisional Electoral Council toward holding free and fair elections, and re-establishing a functioning legislature and local councils. In addition to political assassinations, orchestrated violent street riots have erupted. We strongly urge Haitian President Rene Preval to restore public order and unequivocally signal that these attacks on the electoral process will not be tolerated by immediately launching credible, thorough investigations of these crimes.
"The Organization of American States has urged the Haitian government and the Provisional Electoral Council to agree to 'an election date that will allow the National Assembly to convene on the second Monday in June'.
"The Provisional Electoral Council is making the necessary arrangements to meet this deadline. Time is of the essence. President Preval must act now to work with the Provisional Electoral Council to set a firm date for the election as the OAS has urged.
"The Haitian people have come too far to see their hopes and dreams for a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic country destroyed. While we understand the difficulty of organizing elections, failure to hold them this month will seriously jeopardize the hardwon support for Haiti presently held by the American people and the international community.
"The moment is fast approaching when the inter-American community must invoke the 1990 'Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal of the Inter-American System', Resolution 1080, which provides for an emergency meeting of the OAS foreign ministers to decide upon specific collective action when democracy is threatened. We pray that the Haitian government will take the immediate steps needed to avoid this outcome, which would signify an end to the support of the United States and the international community so crucial for Haiti's future."
There are few moments in history where Haiti has stood so starkly at a crossroad. The signs are as clear as they are disturbing. Haiti's leaders and people must not misunderstand the seriousness of our resolve and our purpose.
We must act now to protect American interests in Haiti.
[The statement of Chairman Gilman appears in the appendix.]
Chairman GILMAN. Before recognizing our Ranking Democratic Member, I am going to call on our Chief of Staff for a moment to just review for you a little bit about our new equipment.
Mr. GARON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just very briefly, the Members will notice first off that we have new microphones. These are state-of-the-art, trying to bring the sound a lot more clearer to them. They have their own individual speakers. The red obviously is on and when you're done speaking, you would just hit the button to turn off the mic.
We have two screens on the side, 50-inch screens that will be able to pick up various pictures controlled from the console in the
back. There are two cameras in the back and one right behind the Chairman. There is a temporary screen behind us. We will have a new one installed this weekend that will drop down, as a monitor, and this screen will also be able to be tucked up into the ceiling. The white squares right next to the screens on each side are the sound speakers, and you may also see in the corners the black rectangles. Those are the infrared emitters that will be able to pick up transmission and can convey translation, little devices that we have for the Members, when we have meetings in here that require translations.
As the Chairman indicated, next week we will have a video-conference with leaders from the European Parliament, and for the Members of the Committee, we will have an orientation session Tuesday, April 11, at 4 o'clock in this room, where we can get into some more of the specifics.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Doctor Garon. Please make note of that date for the orientation session, and our chance to use our new equipment.
I am now pleased to call on our Ranking Minority Member, the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I would like to join you in remembering Jack Brady, who we all worked with for so many years. I know that Jack, in his last years, had a great time regularly playing golf with my own senior Senator, Senator Dodd, and on one occasion at least Senator Dodd brought him to a golf game with the President that Jack really enjoyed. He was a good soul, committed to America's foreign policy and our interest, somebody who worked hard for the Members for all the years he was here, and I considered him a friend. So I join you in that remembrance.
I also join you this morning in your view on Haiti. There is no question that in the United States there is a clear expectation that Haiti should have elections, they should occur as quickly as possible and meet the June dates. There are 13,000 officials in rural municipalities at all levels seeking office. This is not a time for Haiti to turn backward; it is a time for it to take a step forward.
Some of the recent violence, of course, is very frustrating, and we would expect former President Aristide to use his popularity to make sure that any violence that may be coming from his party be put to an immediate end.
The people of Haiti have suffered for so long. They are among the poorest, most densely populated country in our hemisphere, and we are not at a point where we can afford to abandon this policy, and we expect the Administration to make it very clear to the Haitian government that we expect these elections to occur in a timely manner.
The political advantage for one or another party in trying to change the election cycle would have a damaging impact on Haiti, and it is critical to take this democratic step at this time. It is already late, but we still have time to succeed, and I certainly hope that the Administration does everything it can to press the Haitian government.
Chairman GILMAN. Are there any other Members seeking recognition?
Mr. PAYNE. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me just be very brief and commend you for holding this meeting. We had one in November, and I am glad to know that we are concerned about what is happening in Haiti. I am glad that we are joined by Mr. Conyers, the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee. He has spent a tremendous amount of time and has visited Haiti on a number of occasions, and probably because he is not a Member of this Committee did not feel he ought to speak. I just want to say that we are really grateful for the interest that he has shown and the initiatives that he has taken in relation to Haiti.
I traveled there about a dozen times myself, and the last trip in September was under the leadership of Mr. Conyers, with Mr. Hilliard, Mr. Campbell, Mr. Faleomavaega, and Ms. Christensen, and we met with President Preval, Candidate Jean Bertrand Aristide, and Colin Granison, who is the head of the U.N. OAS Civilian Mission, as well as many Members of the Civil Society.
At that time, we did express our concerns to former President Aristide that elections would not be held in a timely fashion. We were hoping that the elections could be held to seat the new Parliament by mid-June. As we know, that is approaching. There have been problems, of course, with registration, but we are happy to hear that ID cards have been distributed-I understand about three million. Of course, they really have laminated photo ID cards, pretty sophisticated. We haven't gotten to that point in New Jersey yet, but I am glad that it is felt necessary there, which was, of course, a problem because of the difficulty of getting this done.
But we are certainly hoping that the elections can move forward, and we would be very happy to hear the witnesses and the questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Payne. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased that you called this particular hearing. I really think it is important, and I am glad to see the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee, who has made such an investment of time and passion and dedication to Haiti.
My first trip with him was back when I first came to CongressI think I was here maybe 4 months-and Mr. Conyers invited me to Haiti with him. I think I have accompanied him on most trips to Haiti at this point in time.
When we were last in Haiti, which I think was sometime in February, we were hopeful that the March 19th date for elections would be respected. Clearly, we were also informed at that point in time that there could very well be an extension. While we were disappointed an extension was necessary to April 9, to receive the news that the April 9th date then could not be complied with but was indefinitely delayed has really created, I believe, a situation where the OAS, in some statements by representatives of that organization, that Haiti should be declared a nondemocratic state have to be considered. If there is not in a matter of days some reassurance that there will be a date specified again, I want to be very careful in not suggesting responsibility or culpability on any particular party, but this has simply gone on too long. The reality is
that democracy is at great risk in Haiti, and I would hope that the political leadership of Haiti-and by that I mean all parties and not just political parties, but all segments of the community, come together and take action and agree to a date specific.
I mentioned to you, Mr. Chairman, I am working on a resolution which would endorse the OAS' indication of the Santiago Commitment, and I will present that to you and to other Members for your review and, if we don't have a date certain, I would hope that that particular resolution would be marked up. I yield back.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Delahunt. We certainly would want to move forward on your resolution. Any other Members seeking recognition?
If not, we will now proceed with our witness.
Chairman GILMAN. Appearing before us today as our witness is Assistant Secretary of State for the new Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau at the State Department, former Ambassador Peter Romero. A 23-year career diplomat, Ambassador Romero previously served inter alia as principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador, and Charge of our Embassy in San Salvador. We welcome you today, Mr. Ambassador. You may put your full statement in the record and summarize whatever you deem appropriate. Please proceed.
STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE PETER F. ROMERO, ACTING
ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR WESTERN HEMISPHERE AFFAIRS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to testify before the Committee today to discuss recent developments in Haiti and our mutual efforts to promote positive change here.
This hearing is well timed since upcoming weeks are crucial to the mutual efforts to promote democracy and development in that country.
I have submitted, as you mentioned, a statement for the record, but I would really like to share a few brief thoughts with you and Members of the Committee.
Chairman GILMAN. Without objection, your full statement will be made part of the record.
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you. First of all, Mr. Chairman, let me applaud your efforts and those of your colleagues in submitting this letter to the Haitian government. We, too, share 100 percent the sentiments expressed in those letters with respect to violence and setting a date for elections. Quite frankly, Mr. Chairman, I could not have drafted a better letter. I think it encapsulizes and enshrines the concerns of all of us in this room.
Since the early 1990's, a pivotal component of our policy has been the strength in the democratic institutions that can foster Haiti recovery and development. Certainly when the Preval government was seated in office, it gave great promise to the Haitian peopleone elected government turning over power to another elected government which, in Haiti's history, was the first time that that had happened. It was a watershed event. Now the prospects for that democratic opening and that democratic maturization are beginning, unfortunately, to erode.
Notwithstanding out support for democracy and development, there was the seriously irregular 1997 election which has resulted in the resignation of the Prime Minister, the subsequent cancellation of 1998's legislative and local elections, January 1999's dismissal of the Parliament by President Preval, and extra constitutional rule in Haiti since then.
Haiti today is a divided house, paralyzed from within, with progress since 1994 in democratic institution strengthening, economic recovery and development severely hampered.
Lack of Parliament and local government for 15 months and the continuing failure of President Preval to hold elections to restore them thwarts strongly expressed Haitian desires to participate in a democratic process. In fact, Mr. Chairman, what we are seeing in Haiti today is truly an election fever. Voter registration for elections previously set for March 19th has encompassed almost four million Haitian citizens newly registered, or about 90 percent of eligible voters. Twenty-nine thousand candidates representing a broad spectrum of political parties have registered to compete for 10,000 local, regional and national posts. This is truly spectacular.
Election fever, fueled by candidate debates, poll-watcher training, Haitian media attention, and the presence of election information centers spreads from Port-au-Prince to geographically isolated Haitian villages.
Today, Haiti's homegrown political crisis has spread to include street demonstrations and violence. We are truly shocked by recent killings, including that of noted journalist Jean Dominique. These apparent efforts to disrupt elections are extremely troubling both to the people of Haiti desiring to express their democratic rights, and to the government of the United States in -support of that desire.
Equally troubling has been the failure of the Haitian government to set a new date for elections, particularly in time for a new parliament to be constituted by the beginning of the legislative session set for June 12th, as mandated by the Haitian constitution.
Messages sent by our government to the GOH regarding the importance and urgency of these elections have been clear and unequivocal. Failure to constitute a parliament by June 12th risks isolating Haiti from the community of democracies and jeopardizes future cooperation.
Mr. Chairman, fellow Members of the Committee, there is a meeting underway now before the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States to debate what is happening in Haiti today, and with the aim of sending the Secretary General of the Organization of American States, Caesar Garviria, to that country as soon as possible to take an assessment and to report back to the Permanent Council to determine what future action may be taken.
The government of Haiti must, and can, commit itself to work with the Provisional Electoral Council to support the financial, logistical and security support for free, fair and security elections.
Electoral-related violence must cease immediately. The legitimacy of Haiti's Presidential elections later this year relies on credible separate elections this spring.
U.S. policy has been announced publicly and communicated directly in a repeated fashion by Administration officials to the government of Haiti and Haitian national political leaders.
We are working with others in the international community to deliver similar messages. I will address the Permanent Council, as I mentioned, hopefully later on this morning. I feel that there are no excuses that remain for Haiti not to hold credible elections, only the political will seems to be lacking.
Cooperation with the Committee is paramount to achieving our goals in Haiti. Engaging in Haiti, however fatiguing or frustrating, must continue.
I look forward to frank exchanges and to work with you to do what we can, Mr. Chairman, fellow Members of the Committee, so that Haiti follows a democratic path and will continue toward its overall development.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The statement of Ambassador Romero appears in the appendix.] Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. I realize the Secretary will have to leave by 11:30, so we will ask our Members to please be brief in their questioning.
I am informed, Mr. Secretary, that the Provisional Electoral Council is making the necessary arrangements to hold their elections in time to allow the National Assembly to convene on the second Monday in June, as urged by the Organization of American States. At this point, isn't the primary impediment to scheduling elections a lack of political will on the part of Haiti's President, Rene Preval?
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, it is difficult to probe into the depths of President Preval's thinking on this, but let me just make a few comments.
First of all, we believe that the CEP has done its due diligence. It has registered about 90 percent-plus of the electorate. There has been an overwhelming response, over 400 people have newly registered. There are no longer lines. People who want to register have been able to register.
We believe that the time is right. The perfect would be the enemy of the good here, and that they can conduct proper transparent, fair and honest elections by the end of this month, if the political will of the president were there.
Chairman GILMAN. Is the will there, or isn't it?
Ambassador ROMERO. We haven't seen it yet, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Isn't it true that unlike previous elections, a number of key Haitian parties have actively supported this election?
Ambassador ROMERO. We have, I believe, most all political parties have registered candidates, have signed a Code of Conduct for certain minimal standards with respect to campaigning and the conduct of those campaigns and to abide by the elections. We believe the time has never been more ripe for elections, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, is the government of Haiti or its political allies attempting to undermine, or perhaps even force, the Provisional Electoral Council to disband?
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, there are all kinds of pressures in Haiti, whether they be threats of violence or actual violence. It is very difficult to say that the government is behind this. I don't see that we have any evidence of government intimidation of political parties.
Chairman GILMAN. At our December 1997 Haitian hearing, Mr. Hamilton, our Ranking Democratic Member at the time, asked Ambassador David Greenlee for his frank appraisal of Mr. Aristide. Ambassador Greenlee was reluctant to answer his questions.
Let me pose to you Mr. Hamilton's question with the same request for your frank assessment from an American national interest standpoint. Is Mr. Aristide at this point being helpful or not being helpful?
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, I would note that with respect to the Code of Ethics, one of the first parties to sign that Code of Ethics and a nonviolent pledge was ex-President Aristide and his party.
We have spoken repeatedly with him, as we have President Preval and the heads of the other political parties, with respect to setting a date for elections. He has told us that he is in favor of elections. I have to say that we have to separate deed from word.
We have asked him repeatedly to come out foursquare publicly in favor of elections, he has failed to do so thus far. He has given us his private assurances that and his party are ready to conduct these elections as soon as possible, but I haven't seen the public support that would be crucial to moving President Preval and getting the CEP machinery in place to hold these elections.
Chairman GILMAN. When our congressional delegation visited Haiti I think about a year ago January of this year-Mr. Goss, Mr. Conyers, Mr. Rangel, and myself-we were assured by both Mr. Aristide and Mr. Preval that they would make certain that there would be a fair an open election and that it would take place within the required time limits as set forth by the Electoral Council. It seems to me that they are not fulfilling that promise. What is your assessment?
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, it looks like they, at least President Preval, have walked away or have attempted to walk away from commitments not only made to us but, more importantly, to the Haitian people.
Certainly, this is something that we have engaged in with the Haitian government, with President Preval directly since he disbanded the Parliament in February 1999. It has been almost 14 months since then.
Certainly, at that time, he gave us a deep commitment on his part that he would convene a CEP, that he would organize a CEP, which he has; that it would be a good organization that would be balanced and have Members of political parties, but also people who are independents. He has. Those members of that body have done a yeoman job in putting together the necessary requirements to register and to print ballots and to provide for the proper atmosphere for campaigning.
We had looked at the beginning of last year, we were given commitments that it would be as soon as possible. It dragged on until November. We have had successive dates established from Novem-
ber to February to March, and here we are in April with the June 12th constitutionally mandated date, looming over the horizon, and we still do not have fulfillment of the commitments, the repeated commitments, made to us by President Preval.
Chairman GILMAN. An apparent lack of will by President Preval to conduct the election. Mr. Gejdenson.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Ambassador, at the OAS meeting, what leverage do we have on the rulers in Haiti as compared-I mean, obviously we wouldn't want to do anything to cause pain to the average citizen already living in the worst conditions on the hemisphere. What is it that we can either individually or collectively do that would have an impact on either of these two gentlemen, Mr. Aristide and Mr. Preval?
Ambassador ROMERO. That is a very good question, Congressman Gejdenson. I think that we will continue to put pressure. I would hope that we would be able to enjoy the support of Members of this Committee to continue to put pressure on President Preval, particularly in the crucial in the next week to 10 days to hold these elections.
What we are attempting to do is to amplify the chorus of indignation of the international community, particularly in this hemisphere, that elections have not been set, that they have not been yet held, and that Haiti and the Haitian government is moving down an undemocratic path.
Certainly, we have not been alone on this. The European Union, particularly France, other members of the OAS and the hemisphere individually have spoken out, but what we are hoping to do is set a process in place of review that would involve discussion of where we are, what we see and what the hemisphere sees as happening in Haiti now, to send the Secretary General down there to provide a hands-on assessment of what he sees, to come back to the Council, and then to determine what action might be necessary to include perhaps the convening of Resolution 1080.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Where does Aristide get his political base from at the moment? Where does his strength come from?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think ex-President Aristide has enjoyed strength from across the political spectrum. In Haiti, it is very difficult to say that it comes from one group or another. Certainly, he enjoys widespread support with respect to the peasantry, but also others running the spectrum, to include the business classes and to include the Haitian exiled communities in New York and in Miami and elsewhere.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Does the business community have any sense that they would like to see these elections, or are they against moving forward with the elections? What is your sense on this?
Ambassador ROMERO. I can only tell you that on the basis of what our Embassy reports, and folks who have been down there have reported, and my own visit down there about 9 months ago where I really saw the various chambers being enthused by the elections, for the first time engaging in the process, it was a dramatic, very positive thing to see in a country where engaging in politics, even campaigning, could be hazardous to your health. The business community down there was throwing caution aside, really engaging in this.
There was some intimidation to stop it early on, that has stopped. I believe that the vast majority of the business sector, the private sector in Haiti is foursquare in favor of holding elections as soon as possible.
Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Gejdenson and Mr. Brady.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this important hearing today. Like you, we are all concerned about the political situation in Haiti, and look forward to the time when we see free and fair elections in the country.
Mr. Ambassador, thank you for being here today. I am getting a first-hand lesson in the way the government of Haiti acts, and I have serious questions about a particular incident regarding a company based in my district in Texas, Rice Corporation of Haiti.
In short, the government of Haiti has seized the assets of this company. They have leveled trumped-up unspecified customs violations which this company didn't commit. This company now faces expropriation of their business by the Haiti State, under the guise of this customs dispute, the officials in Haiti have run the proprietors off their site. They've ransacked their homes and private businesses, to which they are not allowed access today. Threats have been made on their lives, forcing them to flee the country.
Haiti has reneged repeatedly on agreements to settle this dispute despite the fact that this company prefers to resolve this and joins with the U.S. Embassy in seeking a fair and proportionate resolution to this issue.
As a result, Senator Helms, the distinguished Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, has put a hold on all U.S. aid to Haiti until the situation is resolved. He is working on legislation along the same lines and, although I don't prefer that action, I am considering the same legislation until we get some action from the government of Haiti.
Also along those lines, Senator Helms has recently written a letter to Secretary Albright, asking her to assess involvement of several Haitian officials to expropriate this money and property from this U.S. company.
My question to you, Mr. Ambassador, is, what is the status of this assessment? Is the State Department prepared to deny those responsible individuals a visa, and can you tell me what the executive branch is doing to help resolve the crisis between Rice Corporation of Haiti and the Haitian government?
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Congressman Brady. First of all, from the beginning, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince and U.S. officials here in Washington-I being one of them-have moved aggressively to protect U.S. business interests and also to protect the safety of U.S. citizens down there, and we will continue, let me assure you, to do so.
The Embassy at Port-au-Prince repeatedly contacted senior Finance Customs officials on RCH's behalf, as well as police and judicial authorities. Washington-based visitors to Haiti also raised the case at the highest level of the Haitian government with President Preval and Prime Minister Alexis. We have also reminded the Haitian government both in Washington and in Port-au-Prince that regardless of the specifics and
possible fault, the way in which the RCH case has been handled feeds perceptions in the business community that due process does not exist in Haiti and that the Haitian government is hostile to private business interests. Certainly, the law enforcement and the judicial aspects of this case left a lot to be desired. We continue to put pressure.
That said, there is a legal action pending in both U.S. and Haitian courts between two U.S. companies over the ownership of Rice Corporation Haiti, and we are awaiting the outcome of that development. I think the case is expected to be heard in Texas in May.
Nonetheless, we continue to actively engage all parties to reach a settlement that is both fair and consistent with Haitian and U.S. law.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. As you know, the legal action in the U.S. is frankly too complicated, and not much the business of Congress and the State Department. Initial actions by the Rice Corporation of Haiti's opponents were poured out summarily in a Texas District Court initially, and if I have two messages here for you, it is first, Haiti needs to understand Congress is not going away on this issue until it is resolved fairly and proportionately; and second, you have some good people working for you on the ground on Haiti. Phyllis Forbes and Ken Mertin have done a wonderful job on this, and Washington, D.C. Deputy Assistant Secretary Lino Gutierrez and Marcia Barnes, Director of Caribbean Affairs, have been very responsive, so please pass my thanks on to them.
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Congressman; messages received.
Mr. BRADY. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Brady. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield to my friend and colleague, Mr. Conyers.
Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank Bill Delahunt, but I also want to get the permission of my colleagues here. I am a visitor here--should be waiting, but Bill knows we have Internet gambling coming up in Judiciary.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Conyers, we welcome having you here, and please proceed. You are Ranking Member on our Judiciary Committee and have long-term interest in Haiti, and we welcome your questioning.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you very much, and to all of you who are here, we all join in in commending Ambassador Romero for the good job that he is doing.
Now, I want to indicate that I join the chorus of those that are amplifying their indignation at the international level with the Family of Nations about the slowness of what is going on, but I just want to make sure that we don't trip over some very important realities here. There is no national police force, no national army in Haiti.
We meet with the head of the National Police Force, Pierre Manuel, every time we are there. He gets great grades-he is an excellent commander. We meet every time with the former President, Jean Bertrand Aristide, and I think I can document that he has not just privately, but publicly gone on record repeatedly for
elections, free and fair open elections as early as possible and, as you have indicated, Mr. Ambassador, he was the first to sign the agreement that there would be nonviolence.
The problem that we are faced with is this: we need-short of any of us going back down there again, which we were preparing to do as observers for the election, we were all in place with bags packed-but we need to understand that there are some problems there. We met with the Chairman and the members of CEP and with President Preval.
What I really need to know is exactly where are the 40,000 personnel for the election, and where are we on that because we have a 75-percent illiteracy rate.
We could be moving toward the biggest mess in terms of an important worldwide election that we have ever seen, trying to get that sort of thing. We saw the laminated photograph ID's, I think that has come off reasonably well, but the security of the records, the acquisition of 40,000 personnel, the training of them, and the distribution of the voting material at the right place and right time and then getting it back in a secure manner is something that we really don't want to just say call the date. I would like you to respond to that, and also ask if you do not agree with me that it was correct, in hindsight now, to have suspended the April 9th elections, that many of the things we were concerned about may have horribly come to fruition.
So could you, from that perspective, give me responses to these comments, please, sir?
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you, Congressman Conyers. First, let me express the State Department's deep appreciation for your very direct and effective role in Haiti. You have, as we all have, been frustrated by the lack of progress, but you haven't let that get in the say and you continue to be a champion for democracy in Haiti, along with your colleagues, and let me just reiterate that we very much appreciate it.
Congressman, I think that we can all find problems, some of them more significant than others, with respect to the organization by the CEP of the elections. With respect to your particular question, I believe that the CEP is on the verge of selecting all 40,000 campaign workers, where a couple of weeks ago they were pretty far away from it.
Certainly, in all of the organization that has been done by the CEP and with much of our support, the support of IFIS, they have come a long way in the last 30 days; and I would say probably had the elections been held 30, 60, or 90 days ago, they probably would not have been, or would not be as good as they would be now, if we can get an election date set.
Let me just reiterate a couple of reasons why we believe very strongly elections need to be held. First of all, I mentioned the election fever. Without holding elections, you will have a country that will have gone through an unprecedented registration process and groundswell of support for registration. You will have those democratic desires and hopes dashed.
But even more importantly, we have seen about $400 million of IDB and World Bank money parked, waiting to be used in Haiti,
for a couple of years now, and not being able to be used because there is no Congress to approve it.
We have been very disappointed, as you have been, with the lack of judicial reform, and a lot of that is a direct result of the fact that there is no Congress to appoint new judges. There have been no elections to have new judges on the scene. There hasn't been a new judicial code in Haiti, which is very, very necessary.
These are only just a few of the problems associated with not having a Congress. I think that the conditions are sufficient to have good, transparent, honest and fair elections.
Mr. CONYERS. Thank you very much, sir. I want you to know that I agree with every statement that you made in response to my question, but could you, by the end of the working day-they are going to be meeting tomorrow, and I presume, in my jaded senior way, that this hearing was called to help even motivate them further in addition to the Family of Nations outcry that is going on. But couldn't somebody-we have got a great Embassy there, and had several very good people there in charge-but couldn't somebody tell me before the close of business tonight, the CEP position of where they are right now? Couldn't somebody-I could pick up the phone and call President Preval myself-but in the line of the diplomatic relationships that we have, talk to him, and that we come forward with a hearing that specifically lists what the president of this beleaguered nation's problems are-they are one, two, three, four, five-and the Chairman of the CEP and that Commission, who are a pretty independent group because they were appointed out of a conciliation of other parties and personalities in Haiti, so that even though the president appointed them, they are operating strictly on their own-and couldn't we come up with five or four points that have caused them this kind of angst that we now meet about?
That way, we wouldn't be talking in the general way about the goals and problems and timetable that we are now, which are all quite accurate, but they don't-I would like to present to you if you don't present to me, a list of what President Preval has going on in his head that is the problem and that of the CEP, too. If we had that, I think we would be dealing with the specifics.
Now, by tomorrow, I think tomorrow we will know-24 hours from now, we will know where they are and what they are doing. But could you help me get to the detail of this matter? Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman Conyers, you put your finger on an issue that is a moving target. Certainly, there is a lot of progress being made on an hourly basis in Haiti, and so when it comes to our attention issues related to selection of 40,000 poll workers, et cetera, et cetera, we work through IFES with the CEP to move this ahead. Certainly, there has been enormous progress made over the last couple of days.
Well over a week ago, our Embassy was convinced that good elections could be held. If there are remaining issues that are going to be teed up for the CEP meeting, the meeting between the President and the CEP tomorrow, I will get those to you. Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. CONYERS. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think Mr. Conyers asked the question I really was going to ask you, on just what basic reason Preval might have for not wanting the elections. Is there some theory without actual facts, but some vision that has been created to understand that better? For those of us that haven't been there, I just really don't know.
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman Ballenger, it is good to have you here with us today, and again let me thank you for all the good work that you have done for us generally in the hemisphere. We know we can count on you, but also particularly in Haiti.
It is hard to crawl into somebody's mind and get their motivation. Certainly, there have been very legitimate doubts raised based on specific issues, the likes of which Congressman Conyers raised.
One has to step back and wonder, though, whether those are an excuse for moving ahead without a Congress. Certainly, when the Congress was abolished in February 1999 and there were lots of commitments that there would be elections soon, and the CEP, et cetera, to conduct them, we had believed that because of irregularities from the 1997 elections that were hampering the functioning of those two houses of congress, that there would be a new election to rectify those situations, and two new bodies established-or elections for representatives of those two bodies as soon as possible.
We have seen our efforts dashed, and those of the Haitian people, political parties. One can conclude perhaps that President Preval believes that congresses are superfluous to democracy and that they are perhaps messy and that they hamper as opposed to enhance the democratic experience.
Mr. BALLENGER. Just it appears, when they had congress, nothing happened, they didn't accomplish anything. Then he gets rid of Congress and they don't accomplish anything, so we are going to have another election to elect a new Congress. Is there any reason to think that the country will be better off?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think that when it comes to the basic tools of democracy, Congressman Ballenger, dialogue and compromise and that sort of thing, you don't move the situation along by having an abbreviated government running that country.
Sooner or later, Haitians have to sit down and engage in constant dialogue the way we do in this body, and to engage in the kind of compromise and understanding and exchange that constitutes basic democratic principles. Until that happens, it is going to be an abbreviated democracy.
Mr. BALLENGER. Let me ask you just a straight out question. Have you received any reporting on who was behind the murder of the owner of Radio Haiti-Inter?
Ambassador ROMERO. Let me say that we are shocked by the murder of one of Haiti's most well known radio and print media personalities, Jean Dominique. I have to liken it to the murder of the most popular talk show host in Colombia a couple of months back. It is a message that assassins and criminals and terrorists like to send through a society by murdering some of the best-liked people in that society, sending a chilling message to the Haitian people-in this case, the Body Politique-that there is no place to hide, and to try to get courageous people from all of the political
parties and from the private sector to back down and think twice about getting out in front and championing democracy and elections, et cetera.
I can't tell you that we have any information or leads at this time. We are pressing the HNP to investigate fully.
Mr. BALLENGER. One last question. Knowing that the drug trade is flowing rather thoroughly through Haiti, is there any likelihood that the drug traffic actually is influencing who is the government in Haiti at the present time, or can you tell?
Ambassador ROMERO. It is very difficult to tell. I would have to say that it is likely that some drug money is going to the campaigns of some politicians. I can't tell you with any kind of specificity who they might be, and where it might be coming from. Certainly, we estimate about 13 percent of all of the cocaine that comes into the United States transits through Haiti. We don't believe that the Haitian government has done an adequate job with respect to cooperating on counter-narcotics, ergo, we did not certify them, or more accurately, decertify them and gave them a waiver. We continue to work with them; hopefully, we will see better performance over the next year. But in terms of drug corruption itself, it is one of those targets that in the best societies is really very shadowy.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Ballenger. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. When we were there in September, we met with Secretary of State Security, Bob Manuel, and we met with the Director of the Haitian National Police, Pierre Denize. As we know, on October 7 Bob Manuel resigned from his position.
My question is, has the Secretary for State Security been filled? Is there currently a person in that position?
Ambassador ROMERO. It has not been filled, and I think that that was a position that was created largely to better buttress and support the police. We would hope that it would be filled as soon as possible. Police Chief Denize is doing a yeoman's job in keeping that force apolitical, keeping them on the right track, investigating allegations, accusations of abuses. I believe that they have got 58 ex-policemen currently incarcerated, with many others having been separated for abuses and corruption. I believe that the last time I was here, one of the chief concerns of the Committee was pressure being placed to politicize the police. We are in very close contact with Police Chief Denize, and he has told us that the political pressure that was coming from various quarters seems to have abated, and he feels more comfortable in his job.
Mr. PAYNE. I know of the October 14th attempted assassination on Jean Lemy. Now, when you try to put your finger on who is causing what, Lemy was a close associate of Aristide, and someone tried to kill him. Rumor has it that it is former President Aristide creating all the problems, but I can't imagine or guess why he would try to hurt one of his own top supporters.
Is there any way-and it is easy to say, he is probably the most prominent person in the country, so anything that goes wrong, he is doing it-is there any way to put any credence to the fact that
it is the Aristide forces that is creating the problem there, in general?
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman, I asked the same question that you just put to me a couple of days ago when this first happened, and I have to say that the answer that I got was that Mr. Dominique had spoken out so vociferously against corruption, against nepotism, even speaking out against members, or policies, of the Preval government, policies or actions of Famni Lavalas and Aristide as well as other parties, that it is very, very difficult to determine a political motivation since he was so courageous in speaking out publicly.
Mr. PAYNE. The CEP will be meeting tomorrow. The electionsis there a date scheduled, did we hear a June date, or is that a target date? Has that been a fixed date, or is it something that will be discussed?
Ambassador ROMERO. The June 12th date corresponds to another date, and that is January-and I am told that in the Haitian constitution those are two dates where new assemblies, two houses, can be seated. So, if you work back from that date and you determine that there has to be two rounds of elections held and the machinery put in place to hold them, with the balloting, the campaign workers, et cetera, then you begin to get a very strong sense that unless elections are held by the end of April 30th, that it would be exceedingly difficult to put all of that in place to have it take place and then to seat a Congress or to seat two houses of legislators by June 12.
Mr. PAYNE. Still, December is the final election date, proposed date, for the election of the president, correct?
Ambassador ROMERO. That is correct. It has been talked about, it hasn't been set, but, yes, indeed.
Mr. PAYNE. Of course, one of the goals is certainly to ensure that the elections are held separately. It would be difficult to hold Presidential elections and elections for the parliament at the same time.
Ambassador ROMERO. Mechanically, I am told it would be virtually impossible to hold all of those elections at one time, yes, sir.
The other part of it that needs to be taken into consideration is that parties have spent so much already on campaign. There has been a lot of organizational work done. As I mentioned earlier, we have got election fever and the desires of many Haitians that if you were to postpone these elections to the fall, you would probably get many opposition parties who would boycott them, and I am worried about what would happen in terms of the credibility and validity of those elections if they were to be folded into one, even if you could have them all at one time.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Hastings.
Mr. HASTINGS. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and, Ambassador Romero, thank you for all of your efforts.
I would assume that the primary objective is to have free and fair and peaceful elections, am I correct? Ambassador ROMERO. That is correct. Mr. HASTINGS. I could make an argument for you, and I won't, that what you just said might very well not be the case. I believe personally that the elections could be held at the same time. While
I do not favor that, I don't see any prohibition in putting one more line on an election and letting it go forward.
Toward that end, what do you intend to say today to the Organization of American States Permanent Council specifically regarding the dangers to democracy?
Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you. I think that is an excellent question, and if I could preview some of my remarks with the Committee, I would like to, and that is that from the moment that power was transferred from then President Aristide to President Preval, I think that there was a great deal of hope within Haiti that democratic institutions would begin to function; that there would be reforms put into place; that certainly economic development would go hand-in-hand with this political maturation process; certainly, that there would be problems and violence, politically motivated violence, would not end overnight, but that there would be more of a linear progression toward a full democracy in Haiti.
Certainly, as Congressman Ballenger pointed out earlier, there was a raucous parliament where business was not conducted in an easy fashion, but there was progress and there was debate, which is absolutely crucial.
But in February 1999, when President Preval abolished those bodies, and even before that in, I believe, April 1997 where there were some serious concerns about the outcome of or the results of elections for those bodies, we were told-but, more importantly, the Haitian people were told-that this would lead to the creation or the re-establishment of an electoral tribunal to guide the country toward elections as soon as practicable.
That has not happened but, more importantly, we see a political will that seemed to exist a year ago vanish on the part of the president. Certainly, there are specific problems associated with registering 4.2-plus million people, but most of those have been overcome with 4 million people registered, given ID's with pictures on them that is unprecedented in Haitian history, and the time is ripe for elections because of all of the other issues that I have mentioned in terms of the need for Haiti to have a functioning Congress.
Certainly, you can roll it all over into one big election in the autumn. The country would suffer as a result. I am not so sure that fiscally this country can make it to the end of the year without some disbursements from : the International Financial Institutions-Mr. HASTINGS. Is the international community prepared to withdraw added assistance financially?
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman Hastings, we do not provide direct assistance to the Haitian government. I can't speak for other governments, but I would have to say that those who are providing direct assistance would have to think twice about that assistance in light of the Permanent Council action in the OAS today.
Mr. HASTINGS. Let me ask you then, specifically, and make a prediction for you. There won't be any election in time for a parliament to be constituted by June 12th. I make that prediction here, and I don't base it on anything other than past experience with the slippage that has gone on. That said, what are we going to do if there is no parliament on June 12th?
Ambassador ROMERO. If there is no parliament by June 12th, I believe that what will happen will be the $400 million which would provide a great deal of relief for the Haitian people will probably disappear indefinitely. I believe that there would be an added chorus of hemispheric leaders who would be outraged at the direction that President Preval has decided to take in Haiti. I believe that alongside of all of this, there would be some actions that we, as the U.S. Government, would be forced to take in the matter.
I do think that our policy would undergo a serious review. This would all take place in the context of a campaign and elections in the United States, which would probably not be helpful for bipartisan policy toward Haiti, but I would hope that would continue.
I do believe that it is absolutely essential that we continue the aid programs that we have established and that have had a great deal of success for the Haitian people-the feeding programs, the infrastructure programs, the professional development programs in the police and the judiciary, the cooperation with the Coast Guard-all of those things, along with environmental programs, are extremely vital and have had very good success, and I would not advocate taking those off the table.
Mr. HASTINGS. We do know that if we declare them to be removed from the Nation of democracies, I guess we would be calling them a "non-democracy," and then when the boats float and they come to our shores, greater arguments can be made for those that arrive here, that they should be granted some status similar to other persons in the hemisphere who come from non-democracies.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Hastings. Mr. Meeks.
Mr. MEEKS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador, also.
Let me ask a question because, right on the line, I am concerned, when is a democracy not a democracy? When the people don't have the free will to vote, and it seems as though, from your testimony, the people of Haiti are excited, over 90 percent of the people registered to vote. However, when I talked to some of the opposition candidates and when I have talked to some of the people, they are fearful for their lives if, in fact, there is an election and they go out to vote. With the Chief of the Haitian National Police and the U.N. International Civilian Police Mission pulling out, and the U.N. Civilian Mission in Haiti closed, if we have an election-you need an election that has some integrity-and if we just have an election and there is no integrity in the election, then we are still going to be wrought with problems afterwards because people are not going to respect the result of the elections.
So I am wondering, as we are moving forward and preparing for elections and saying there is going to be one in June, what do we have on the ground or in place so that there can be integrity in the results of an election, if it is had, so that the people will feel that their will was had? What do we have on the ground-I think that Congressman Conyers asked-so that the people can go out to vote and feel safe when they are voting, because the opposition leaders that I have spoken with are fearing for their lives now as they sneak back over here and talk to Members of Congress, have talked to me.
So, I wonder, first of all, what do we have there?
Ambassador ROMERO. First of all, let me separate your question into two parts. One is whether there will be an honest vote count, and the other is security surrounding casting the ballot.
On the second, let me answer that we have earmarked about $2 million from aid resources to support the security of the HNP during the balloting. Obviously, we are already engaged with purchasing trucks, vehicles, in order for them to get around to polling places and to do the best they can to secure areas, particularly those precincts which are in tense areas, if you will, of the country for election day.
So, I think we will be as helpful as we possibly can with the HNP to get out and to support as best they can the security for these elections.
In terms of casting ballots, we have worked very closely with the CEP through IFIS. We believe that there is a good process in place to secure that balloting, to ensure the secrecy of the ballots themselves. As I mentioned earlier, we have got 40,000 workers, or almost 40,000 workers, who have been trained and who will be trained, and I think they will be in place to secure the same.
All of that having been said, when you look at the conduct of previous elections, there have been an enormous amount of international organizations on the scene with respect to the OAS and the United Nations, hundreds of folks relegated to OAS and U.N. missions, hundreds of observers on the ground, U.S. military on the ground, and all of that is gone. The reason why it is gone is because we and you all have determined that it was time to pull Haiti off of these life supports, and to get the patient to walk on its own. That is always going to engender a great deal of uncertainty; but we believe that the time is ripe to have these elections, conducted principally and exclusively by Haitians.
Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Hastings might have alluded to it, and I am just trying to get edification for myself, I believe that the U.S. and the International Development Banks and other agencies had pledged to provide approximately somewhere in the area of $2 billion in assistance by 1999. What is the status of that money and the disbursement of that money? Is it contingent upon the elections, or what is the status?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think that we know about $400 million has been parked out there since 1997 or thereabouts. That is still waiting, mostly World Bank and IDB money, and it is contingent upon a Congress being seated. To us, it is unconscionable that this money can't do the right things in Haiti to help the Haitian people until there is a Congress seated.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Thank you, Mr. Meeks.
We are pleased to have been joined today by the distinguished Chairman of our Intelligence Committee, the gentleman from Florida, who has been a long-time advocate of improving the situation in Haiti, Mr. Goss.
Mr. Goss. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ambassador, thank you for being here.
I have read about the recent organized violent street protests and political assassinations that we have all seen. Obviously, they
represent a very serious and alarming escalation of anti-election violence. They have the appearance of being turned on and turned off by people who are able to do that.
My first question is, did our Embassy in Port-au-Prince warn you that such an escalation was imminent at anytime in the past month or so, and second, did our Embassy make any policy recommendations to you about what to do if we did have increasing violence and, third, what were they and what were you to do about them if, in fact, the violence came to pass, as it did?
Ambassador ROMERO. The Embassy, to my best recollection, reported that it is likely that as we move toward either the date of elections or setting a date for elections, that there would be likely increased violence. That has been a recurring pattern in Haiti for a long, long time.
I don't recall-perhaps my colleagues can correct me-but I don't recall that the Embassy reported any specific targets or likely targets of that violence. Certainly, our own Embassy and our own security posture of our folks down there is continuously under review, and I believe that they have taken the appropriate measures over the last couple of weeks to ensure, to the extent possible, that U.S. officials and Haitians connected with the Embassy are not harmed.
That having been said, there was an incident, I believe last week, where one of our vehicles passing through one of the neighborhoods had rocks and bottles and other things thrown at it.
Mr. Goss. Other than protection, did the Embassy make any policy recommendations to you about how to proceed with this escalation of violence?
Ambassador ROMERO. I don't recall any. specific policy recommendations, Congressman.
Mr. Goss. Is it the Administration's current assessment that Aristide seeks to be president for life?
Ambassador ROMERO. Aristide is not president now.
Mr. Goss. I didn't ask that. Is it your assessment that he seeks to be president for life and get some advantage perhaps out of a one-election versus a two-elections process?
Ambassador ROMERO. I think that ex-President Aristide has been forthcoming with us, at least rhetorically, in saying that he is foursquare in favor of elections, and before--Mr. Goss. But not elections in June, he hasn't been particularly helpful about that.
Ambassador ROMERO. No, he has told us that he would be in favor of elections in June. Now, what we have said is, fine, go out and support it publicly and press President Preval for those same elections. Those are steps that he has not yet taken.
We can extrapolate why he has not matched deed with word. This has been very troubling for us. There have been, particularly on the violent side, elements of the Famni Lavalas Party, particularly the youth elements of that party who have been responsible for some of the latest demonstrations that resulted in the burning of a market and tires, et cetera, et cetera.
Mr. Goss. Would you characterize that former President
Aristide's conduct has been helpful in getting the elections accomplished by the CEP in order for the June deadline?
Ambassador ROMERO. I can't definitively say that they have been helpful or harmful. I do know that his speaking out publicly and his calling President Preval would be in the helpful category. That has not yet taken place.
Mr. Goss. Do we have any plans in the Administration at this point to reactivate Guantanamo Bay to be able to handle the refugees in the event the violence continues and the elections do not come to pass in June?
Ambassador ROMERO. I can't answer that, Congressman. I don't know of any contingency planning that has been underway. My understanding is that Guantanamo is basically kept at a fairly high readiness rate in terms of refugees generally, but I can't really explain to you today where they might be on that. But if you would like, I can look into it and get back to you.
Mr. Goss. It would occur to me that the Administration should have contingency plans if things continue to deteriorate in Haiti, because that seems to be the pattern. Is that a reasonable assumption?
Ambassador ROMERO. I can only say it is a reasonable assumption. I don't believe that we are on the cusp of seeing boat people taking to boats and rafts again. Certainly, the situation is frustrating and disquieting, but I don't see a wave of humanity waiting in the cusp to leave Haiti.
Mr. Goss. How dangerous is it in Haiti today? If an American tourist wanted to go there, or an Observation Team wanted to go down and look into the CEP matters officially, that range of conduct. How dangerous would it be in Haiti today?
Ambassador ROMERO. My understanding is that the general street crime and general criminality remains pretty much the same, at unacceptably high levels. I haven't seen that change. Certainly, the assassinations of a husband and wife political team in Petit Goave was very troubling. That happened over the weekend, and the assassination, or the murder, of Jean Dominique on Monday-again, very troubling-we do not see this as the beginning of a wave of political assassinations. It would be too premature, at best, to be in a position to make that kind of analysis.
Mr. Goss. I was not in the room, but I am advised that in your earlier testimony you said that you have no feeling that there is any official government intimidation that is holding back the CEP in their efforts to get on with the election process. Is that your assessment?
Ambassador ROMERO. I don't see government intimidation. In fact, the CEP and President Preval have held several meetings on this issue, so there is communication. Unfortunately, the communication hasn't resulted in a unanimity of views on holding these elections, but I haven't seen reports of government intimidation of the CEP.
Mr. Goss. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Chairman GILMAN. I want to thank Chairman Goss for appearing today and taking part and participating in our testimony. Chairman Goss has been a long-time advocate of making certain we have good policy in Haiti.
Do you have a few more moments you can spare?
Ambassador ROMERO. Mr. Chairman, I have just been passed a note that the Haitian Permanent Representative to the OAS, with his colleagues, have succeeded in putting off the debate on Haiti for
1 day, so it will not take place until tomorrow afternoon. Chairman GILMAN. All right. That is helpful to us. We will go for another round of questions.
Mr. Romero, Mr. Secretary, I want to make sure I fully understand your testimony about what may have happened with regard to the murder of Jean Dominique and his colleagues.
Is it really true that the U.S.-that our government-has no information at all about who may have killed him?
Ambassador ROMERO. As of this morning, Mr. Chairman, we didn't. We are pressing the investigative unit of the HNP to get to the bottom of it. As I mentioned earlier, there are so many people that he discussed and talked about so many issues that he made public with respect to corruption and abuse of power, that it would be hard to say or to pin it to any particular group of people, at least at this point. But we are hoping that the HNP continues its investigation, does its due diligence, and gets to the bottom of it.
Chairman GILMAN. Is there any suspicion that one of the security advisors to former President Aristide or any other prominent political figure in Haiti may have been a perpetrator?
Ambassador ROMERO. Again, Mr. Chairman, we don't have specific information. Certainly, Mr. Dominique spoke out against specific individuals who have been associated with the FL, the Famni Lavalas Party, to include the gentleman that you mentioned, Danny Touissaint.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, we have received reports that the Secretary General is concerned about a rapid deterioration of the situation and is considering removing the U.N. personnel out of Haiti. Is the Secretary General using the Administration's delay in delivering our U.S. contribution to this mission for him to make a decision to "cut and run" from Haiti?
Ambassador ROMERO. Certainly, the issue of financing for the new entity MICAH is a subject of very deep concern to this Administration. We have been able to gather enough money to keep it going at a lower rate, with fewer people, than had been anticipated. We have, certainly, money frozen at this particular point for the financing of that. I think it would be a big mistake, particularly since we are headed into some turbulent times in Haiti, not to finance MICAH at an appropriate level.
We were looking at a level of about $18 million. As you know, we provide about 80 percent of the voluntary financing for it, and we have had the notification up before this body and the Senate for several weeks now, and we are still waiting for the green light to go ahead.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Mr. Delahunt.
Mr. DELAHUNT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My own experience in Haiti leads me to the conclusion that nothing is ever really clear and that there are many shadows in Haiti. I, for one, find myself always being restrained when I hear rumors and speculations because I have great doubt as to their legitimacy. It appears that there are more than multiple agendas within Haiti that would disseminate various rumors and present different theories. There are
plots and subplots and plots to plots that may or may not exist, and I really don't think there is any advantage in terms of that kind of speculation.
But I guess the fundamental question here is, in terms of the holding of the elections and the frustration I think that we all share in terms of those elections being held, and I think it is implicit in the questions that have been asked, is the responsibility for the delay predicated on genuine concern about logistics, infrastructure and resources, or is it lack of will for whatever reasons and motives? I think that is the crux really of the question because, as my friend from New York, Mr. Meeks, asked, what is happening to all that money out there, the one fact that we do know is that without a government-and the predicate for a legitimate government is the conduct of fair and free elections-and without that, the suffering that the people of Haiti have endured will never, never decline or diminish. That is why the need to have these elections has to be paramount because it is the sine qua non, it is the essential ingredient in attempting to advance an agenda that I think we all share-I know we all share-in terms of raising the plight of the people of Haiti from the desperate situation that they endure.
As I said, I keep an open mind as to the rumors that I hear; but I think one fact that we know as of right now is that there is not a date certain for the election, and that as time continues the only conclusion that we can reach is, whoever is responsible, that we do not have a democratic state.
There comes a point in time when it is "in the eye of the beholder," I guess, but we don't have a democracy, and I think the consequences for the society for the people are so severe that it is a great tragedy. It is a great tragedy.
What I can't understand is that two months ago when I was there, there were three million people that were registered. Now there are four million people that are registered. That is an incredible success, one of the few bright lights in terms of what we see coming from Haiti. One could just feel the enthusiasm and the excitement-and you are absolutely right, Mr. Ambassador-there was excitement and, yes, there are incidents of violence. Yet, I daresay, in many other societies we have seen much more significant violence; but to continue to not provide a date certain, I have to presume, is creating such frustration that we lose the intensity of commitment that I believe that civil society, society as a whole, and, yes, all political parties, have to this series of elections. I don't know whether it is political will.
Much has been said about the ex-president and President Preval. This most recent murder, we don't know whether it is an assassination. Hell, the murder occurred 24 hours ago. They don't have the capacity to even conduct a preliminary investigation. Let us be honest, they don't have those kind of resources. It is all guesswork. But my understanding is that he was known as a Special Advisor to Preval-Preval, who has affiliated himself with the Famni Lavalas-and those who suggest it is not in the interest of the expresident to have these elections. When we were there, Mr. Ambassador, we sat down with a number of individuals who were respected by our government, who indicated that the polls estab-
lished the Famni Lavalas was substantially ahead if there were to be an election.
So, I guess I don't know what is happening, but I know this: if we don't have an election, if we do not have a date certain, I believe it is clear that the Organization of American States has a responsibility to declare Haiti a nondemocracy, whatever those consequences are, because we can't continue this charade.
Chairman GILMAN. The gentleman's time has expired. Did you want to comment, Mr. Romero?
Ambassador ROMERO. Congressman, I couldn't agree with you more. There has to come a time when you have to put the interest of the Haiti people and their dreams of democracy and development on the first order of business, and that is what we are trying to do through the OAS. Hopefully it.will have the salutary effect of opening President Preval's eyes to the fact that his people yearn for the essential democratic exercise of elections.
For me, it really is so difficult to accept and believe that he, as President, doesn't see that as the foremost, most fundamental positive development in Haiti when in previous elections we were talking about a voter turnout of about 15 percent, and something that he, concerned with legacy now in presumably his last year in office, should be more as opposed to less concerned about. But if you go back and you look at it from the vantage point of last year, this is a President who essentially created the CEP in the image that he wanted it to be, and then proceeded to deny them the kind of executive support that they needed to get the job done. So, I am not sure about where President Preval is going. Hopefully with the events of this hearing, some meetings that we will be having and the OAS, this will begin to turn him around.
Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, we have been called to the Floor for a vote and may have to wind up shortly. Before calling on our last Member who hasn't had an opportunity to speak, I want to make clear for the record that I do not have any hold on the money you intend to obligate for the U.N. MICAH mission in Haiti, nor does Senator Helms' staff, which now informs me that they do not have any hold on these funds for the United Nations. So, I want to make the record clear with regard to that. Mr. Sherman.
Mr. SHERMAN. Mr. Chairman, before I focus on the purpose of these hearings, let me compliment you on the improved hearing room and what appear to be some improved technological devices. One thing that you may have already implemented but, if not, I would highly recommend it, is that there is a service that will put on the WorldWideWeb an audio of everything that goes on at public hearings in this room. That would allow people concerned with Haiti, whether they be in San Diego or in Maine, to hear these hearings even if C-Span chooses not to broadcast them and even if they can't afford a flight here to Washington and a chance to sit on one of our very comfortable chairs in the audience.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you for your suggestion, Mr. Sherman. Mr. SHERMAN. I think the testimony about democracy in Haiti and the questions from my colleagues have been excellent and have focused on this very important issue. So I would like to focus on another related issue, and it is an issue where I doubt the Ambas-
sador has the answers, so I will ask him to submit them for the record. The fact that I don't expect him to have the answers reflects my understanding, and that is when it comes to burden-sharing, there isn't that much concern in the State Department. This world has a number of rich countries around the world, from Vienna to Tokyo by way of Washington. There are many who live in relative prosperity. In many parts of the world there are great expenses in providing security and somewhat less money is being spent on economic aid. But that whole package represents what rich countries and stable countries are doing for those in less fortunate circumstances.
I would like the Ambassador to furnish for the record a comparison of all the money we have spent on Haiti-rather, all the money that has been spent by the European Union on Haiti in the last 5 years for economic aid and for any contribution to military security or physical security of the people there. Compare that to the amount we have spent in Bosnia and Kosovo, because we live in a world where if something happens on our doorstep we are supposed to assume 100-percent of the cost; and if something happens on the doorstep of an area of the world-namely, the European Union-that is larger and richer and more populace than we are, then we are also supposed to assume the lion's share of the load.
So, I would like to compare what the Europeans have done for Haiti in terms of dollars, to the total cost not only of our economic aid but especially of our military efforts in the former Yugoslavia. Likewise, Japan also lives in an area where there are needs at its doorstep-namely, the security needs, rather than the economic development needs, of South Korea. I would like you to provide a comparison of the total amount Japan has contributed to meeting the security needs and economic needs of the people of Haiti to the total---Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Sherman, you have 6 minutes left to get to the vote, to the Floor to vote, so please be brief.
Mr. SHERMAN [continuing]. Compared to the total amount we spend providing security for the people of South Korea and the people of Japan. If you can furnish that, I think it will illustrate the fact that when it comes to burden-sharing, it is 100 percent our responsibility when it is here, and mostly our responsibility when it is there. Thank you. We have a vote. Ambassador ROMERO. Thank you. I will make sure that we provide that. Thank you, Congressman.
Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for taking the time today, and we regret that a vote is coming up shortly. The meeting is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:47 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
APRIL 5, 2000
Opening Statement of Chairman Benjamin A. Gilman Full Committee Hearing
Haiti: Prospects for Free and Fair Elections
April 5, 2000
The Committee will come to order.
This morning we will examine the prospects for free and fair elections In Haiti. Our witness is the Honorable Peter Romero, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
This is the first time that the Committee is meeting in our refurbished hearing room. The new equipment you see includes advanced audio and video technology to take us into the 21" century. As a result, among other improvements, our audio feeds will be available in other Committee facilities. I am pleased that we will also be able to take testimony from witnesses in another city or on another continent.
Last week, the House lost a good friend. Colonel Jack Brady, who
worked for the House Foreign Affairs Committee for 26 years, including 17 as Chief of Staff, passed away last week. From 1976 to 1993, he was the personification of our Committee. Jack Brady was a man who took great pride in serving his country, which he did with distinction in a number of arenas. I ask my colleagues to join me now in recognizing Jack's extraordinary service to this Committee and this House with a moment of silence.
I have supported U.S. engagement in Haiti during my career in the House of Representatives. There is a substantial community of hard-working HaitianAmericans in my district. I will continue to support U.S. assistance for the people of Haiti.
Yesterday, my colleagues Mr. Goss, Mr. Rangel, Mr. Conyers, and Mr. Delahunt, joined me in issuing the following statement:
QUOTE "As long-time supporters of Haiti and its people, we are
outraged by the recent political assassinations in that country. Yesterday,
the director of Radio Haiti-Inter, Jean Liopold Dominique and Jean-Claude
Louissaint, the radio's janitor, were murdered. On March 28th in PetitGoave, a local leader of the Patriotic Movement for National Salvation
(MPSN), Mr. Ligitime Athis, and his wife were murdered in their home.
Over the last month, the political situation in Haiti has deteriorated
sharply, threatening to derail considerable progress made by the
Provisional Electoral Council toward holding free and fair elections, and
reestablishing a functioning legislature and local councils. In addition to
political assassinations, orchestrated, violent street riots have erupted. We
strongly urge Haitian President Rene Preval to restore public order and
unequivocally signal that these attacks on the electoral process will not be
tolerated by immediately launching credible, thorough investigations of
The Organization of American States has urged the Haitian government and the Provisional Electoral Council to agree to "an election date that will allow the National Assembly to convene on the second Monday in
The Provisional Electoral Council is making the necessary arrangements to meet this deadline. Time is of the essence. President Preval must act now
to work with the Provisional Electoral Council to set a firm date for the
election as the OAS has urged.
The Haitian people have come too far to see their hopes and dreams for a
peaceful, prosperous, and democratic country destroyed. While we
understand the difficulty of organizing elections, failure to hold them this
month will seriously jeopardize the hard-won support for Haiti presently
held by the American people and the international community.
The moment is fast approaching when the inter-American community must
Invoke the 1990 "Santiago Commitment to Democracy and the Renewal
of the Inter-American System" Resolution 1080 which provides for an
emergency meeting of the OAS foreign ministers to decide upon specific
collective action when democracy is threatened. We pray that the Haitian
government will take the immediate steps needed to avoid this outcome,
which would signify an end to the support of the United States and the
international community so crucial for Haiti's future." -END QUOTE
There are few moments in history where Haiti has stood so starkly at a crossroads. The signs are as clear as they are disturbing. Haiti's leaders and people must not misunderstand the seriousness of our resolve and our purpose.
We must act now to protect American interests in Haiti.
Statement by Acting Assistant Secretary Peter F. Romero on U.S. Policy toward Haiti House International Relations Committee April 5, 2000
I am pleased to testify before this Committee once again on Haiti. This hearing is particularly well timed, as much has happened since my last testimony in November and the next weeks and months will be crucial to our mutual efforts to promote democracy, recovery and development in Haiti. I look forward to a frank exchange both on recent developments and on the ways we can work together to pursue strong American interests in Haiti, particularly as Haiti faces critical legislative and local elections.
Since the early 1990's, Haiti has been a prime focus of U.S. efforts in this Hemisphere. Our objectives have been to help Haitians strengthen democratic institutions and respect for human rights; alleviate crushing poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition; stem illegal migration; deter drug trafficking; and promote stability throughout the Caribbean region.
Pursuing these objectives has been a huge challenge, and the record has been decidedly mixed. Haiti Is struggling to overcome political, economic and social legacies of nearly two centuries of ruthless, authoritarian regimes. It must overcome the most severe poverty in the Western Hemisphere. Democratic institutions are fragile at best. Unemployment, crime, illiteracy, corruption, drug trafficking and poverty pose constant threats to stability.
In 1994 the US-led, UN-sanctioned Multinational Force restored democratically elected government to Haiti. Had we and others failed to intervene, Haiti's nightmarish repression and economic disaster under the de facto military regime would have continued, along with flotillas of Haitians fleeing the terror, who numbered about 67,000 from 1992-94. The vast majority of U.S. troops were out of Haiti within six months, and the forces that remained moved from intervention to peacekeeping to humanitarian assistance. On January 30 of this year, the final elements of the U.S. Support Group withdrew, marking the end of the continuous presence of U.S. forces in Haiti.
It is thus an appropriate moment to assess the progress achieved over the past five years and consider the road ahead. Haiti has not fulfilled many of the expectations associated with the restoration of democratically elected government, but there have been significant strides to alleviate hunger, build basic institutions, increase access to education and health care, combat environmental degradation, and develop civil society and a free and active press. These efforts reversed Haiti from the brink of economic and humanitarian disaster and gave it a fresh start towards democracy and development.
Standing Firm for Free and Fair Elections
Of utmost concem now is the holding of elections to restore the
Parliament that has been disbanded for 15 months and install independent local governments. Sustained efforts by Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), backed by U.S. and international assistance, have created the technical conditions for Haiti to hold free and fair elections in April and May and seat its Parliament by the constitutionally-mandated date of June 12. Electoral preparations have been characterized by some irregularities, but not at a level to prevent a credible vote.
The Haitian people have shown their thirst for democracy by registering to vote in record numbers: nearly four million Haitians over 90 percent of those eligible have registered since January. More than 29,000 candidates are competing for some 10,000 local, regional, and parliamentary offices. Throughout Haiti, there is "election fever," as political campaigns are underway, debates are broadcast on radio and television, and rallies and posters are proliferating.
We are deeply troubled, however, by the failure of the Haitian govemment to set a new date for elections. Last week, there were a string of protests, some violent, by groups seeking to disrupt these elections. We are shocked by the murders of prominent journalist Jean Dominique in Port-au-Prince and a centerright activist and his wife In Petit Goave; an attack on at least one opposition candidate; and reports that other opposition figures are receiving phone messages of recorded machine gun fire.
Let no one mistake our messages. First, the Government of Haiti must announce a new prompt date for legislative and local elections now. Failure to constitute a Parliament by June 12 would risk isolating Haiti from the community of democracies and jeopardize future cooperation. Second, the Government of Haiti must work with the CEP to provide the financial, logistical and security support needed for free, fair, and secure elections. Third, the violence associated with the electoral process must cease immediately. Political leaders are responsible for the actions carried out by their supporters, and there will be consequences for actions to thwart democracy. Fourth, the legitimacy of presidential elections later this year relies on credible, separate elections this spring.
These messages have been announced publicly and communicated directly to the leaders of the Government of Haiti and major political parties by senior Administration officials and our Embassy in Port-au-Prince. We are working with others in the international community including the UN, OAS, and EU to deliver similarly strong messages. In fact, I will be addressing today the
Permanent Council of the Organization of American States on the dangers to democracy represented by the absence of a firm date for new elections. The U.S. made.a tremendous investment in the restoration of Haiti's democratic institutions. We seek to ensure Haiti remains on a democratic path.
Building the Institutions of Democracy and Governance
When I last testified on Haiti before this committee, there were concerns with recent events that indicated attempts by some sectors in Haiti to politicize the five-year old Haitian National Police (HNP). Since that time, senior HNP leaders report that this pressure has diminished, although we continue to watch the situation closely. A recent survey showed that more than half of the Haitian population continues to give the HNP high marks, the highest of any other government institution. This figure is a remarkable transformation in a nation where state security forces were historically feared as agents of repression.
Still, we recognize that the HNP is an immature force grappling with
serious problems of corruption, attrition, and incidents of narcotics trafficking and human rights abuse. We support the activities of the HNP Inspector General in investigating and prosecuting police members accused of committing crimes. We are also committed to assisting training efforts through the USAID-funded Department of Justice International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program (ICITAP).
In addition, we are working with the United Nations and the so-called "Friends of Haiti" to establish a new mission called the International Civilian Mission for Haiti (MICAH). This mission supports nascent institutions of democracy in Haiti by providing 100 international experts to support the police, the human rights sector, and the judiciary. MICAH's police component is focusing on developing improved management practices in the HNP. Its human rights component is emphasizing support for indigenous organizations and monitoring of human rights practices and potential abuses.
Fighting Drug Trafficking and Illegal Migration
Combating drug trafficking through Haiti remains one of this
Administration's highest priorities. Some 13 percent of the cocaine entering the U.S. transits Haiti, and narco-traffickers operate with relative ease. Drug trafficking is a direct threat to American national security interests, and threatens to corrupt the basic institutions of Haiti, including the police, judiciary and government. To fight this scourge, we have increased our DEA presence in Port-au-Prince from one to eight officers in the past year, and increased interdiction efforts to counter airdrops, direct freighter shipments and money laundering. We are helping train the new Haitian drug enforcement unit and its coast guard. In these efforts, we have regrettably received inadequate
cooperation from the Government of Haiti, in part because of insufficient resources and the absence of a parliament needed to pass vital legislation. The Administration determined on March 1 that Haiti failed to meet 1999 counter-drug certification criteria, but that U.S. vital national interests required that Haiti be certified.
We will continue efforts to disrupt the flow of illegal drugs. We will work on an Interagency level in planning U.S. law enforcement activities in such areas as tracking international traffickers, improving the drug interdiction capacity of Haitian police, attacking money laundering, and facilitating cooperation between Haiti and the Dominican Republic on cross-border narcotics issues.
Over the past five years, the number of illegal migrants leaving by boat for the U.S. has declined and remains relatively low. The U.S. Coast Guard Interdicted 67,140 Haitian migrants at sea from 1992-94; by contrast, in 1999, there were only some 1,039 such interdictions. We will work with the Haitian police to identify and prosecute individuals involved in alien smuggling operations; and continue monitoring trends that may indicate the potential for renewed large scale migration to the United States. We will also encourage potential immigrants to use legal means of entry, noting that some 16,000 immigrant visas were granted to Haitians in 1999.
Building on Past Cooperation
We look forward to enhanced cooperation with this committee to help ensure Haiti remains on a democratic path. We will continue to promote U.S. interests by strengthening democratic institutions; promoting respect for human rights, and transparent and responsive government; laying the groundwork for sustainable economic development; disrupting the flow of illegal drugs; and preventing illegal migrations.
With critical elections approaching, Haiti is at an important crossroad. We and our international partners have helped Haitians make prompt, credible elections possible. We strongly hope Haitian leaders, themselves, will demonstrate their commitment to the consolidation of Haitian democracy by ensuring these elections take place in coming weeks in a free, fair, and peaceful manner. Moreover, the U.S. and international community must remain engaged, resisting the easy solace of fatigue and frustration. Already we have made a foothold in supporting an increasingly confident civil society, a free and active press, improved respect for human rights, vocal political opposition, decreased population growth, and increased literacy and access to basic health and population programs. Building on these accomplishments, we hope to help Haitians move their country forward towards more responsive and democratic governance and away from a long history of oppression and severe underdevelopment. Thank you.
Questions for the Record Submitted to
Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Peter F. Romero
Of the House International Relations Committee on April 5, 2000
Haiti: Prospects for Free and Fair Elections
Do we have any plans in the Administration at this
point to reactivate Guantanamo Bay to be able to handle the refugees in the event the violence continues and the elections do not come to pass in June?
We do not see any indication of an upsurge in Haitian migration at this point in time. Although the naval base at Guantanamo Bay is kept at the ready in case of a mass migration emergency, the Administration has no plans to reactivate Guantanamo at this time.
Question for the Record submitted to
Acting Assistant Secretary Peter F. Romero
By Representative Brad Sherman
House International Relations Committee April 5, 2000
Question: And I would like the Ambassador to furnish for the record a comparison of all the money we have spent on Haiti -- rather all the money that has been spent by the European Union on Haiti in the last five years for economic aid and for any contribution to military security or physical security of the people there, compare that to the amount we have spent in Bosnia and Kosovo because we live in a world where if something happens on our doorstep we are supposed to assume 100-percent of the cost, and if something happens on the doorstep of an area of the world
- namely, the European Union -- that is larger and richer and more populous than we are, then we are also supposed to assume the lion's share of the load.
So, I would like to compare what the Europeans have done for Haiti in terms of dollars, to the total cost not only of our economic aid but especially of our military efforts in the former Yugoslavia. Likewise, Japan also lives in an area where there are needs at its doorstep -namely, the security needs rather than the economic development needs of South Korea. And I would like you to provide a comparison of the total amount Japan has contributed to meeting the security needs and economic needs of the people of Haiti to the total amount we spend providing security for the people of South Korea and the people of Japan. So, if you can furnish that I think it will illustrate the fact that when it comes to burdensharing, it is 100 percent our responsibility when it is here, and mostly our responsibility when it is there.
The following table compares European Union disbursed
economic assistance to Haiti with disbursed US economic
assistance to Haiti for the period 1994-2000. Separate,
additional aid contributions from EU member states France,
Germany, and Netherlands are also listed, as is aid from two other major bilateral donors, Japan and Canada.
I HFY 95 HFY 96
95.01 60.13 25.87
1.40 7.61 27.76 35.10
4.32 2.91 0.26
HFY 97 HFY 98 HFY99 TOTAL
84.12 56.64 20.73
5.34 1.41 15.37 37.60
90.74 61.63 20.38 6.22 2.51
57.68 32.07 16.52
271.57 99.65 20.86 19.95
Haitian Fiscal Year is October 1 to September 30. All figures are US$ million, based on donor reporting to the World Bank.
U.S. military spending and security assistance to Haiti are outlined in the table below. We have no comparable data for other donors.
United States Europe Of which:
U.S. Military and Security Assistance to Haiti ($ In millions)
FY1994 FY1995 FY1996 FY1997 FY1998 FY1999 FY2000 Total
actual actual actual actual actual actual est. Function 150 Obliations
Foreign Military Financing 0.0 3.0 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.3 0.3 4.3
Intl. Military Education & Training 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.0 0.16 0.28 1.0
Intl. Narcotics Control 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.7 1.1 2.8
Migration and Ref. Assist. 3.0 0.0 1.4 0.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.8
Emerg. Ref. and Migration Assist 1.9 4.1 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 7.4
Peacekeeping Operatons 28.0 25.3 12.1 15.7 14.1 5.0 6.8 107.0
U.S. Contributions to PKOs 0.5 51.8 39.9 16.8 7.0 7.0 6.8 129.8
Function 050 Obligations
Department of Defense 396.0 570.0 60.0 28.0 39.0 24.0 1117
Cummulative Totals 429.4 654.2 115.4 61.5 61.2 37.2 15.2 1374.0
U.S. military and non-military expenditures (Function 050
and 150 accounts) in Kosovo for FY 1999 and FY 2000 together total approximately $6.3 billion. $5.1 billion of
that is Department of Defense spending. For every $1.00
the U.S. is spending this fiscal year, other donors are contributing $6.00 on average. Historically, U.S. economic
aid to Bosnia and Kosovo breaks out as follows:
FY 96 FY97 FY 98 FY 99 FY2000
Bosnia 255.2 261.57 267.65 213.43 184.8
Kosovo 324.25 287.0
All figures in millions of US dollars
The U.S. spends about $280 billion on national defense, including in support of various treaty commitments. Japan spends roughly $45 billion dollars a year on its own national defense and is one of only two nations that meet the U.S. congressional target for cost sharing, relative to ability to contribute. This includes the roughly $4.5 billion Japan spends annually on the HNS that maintains our forward deployed presence, which is also more than we receive from any other ally. Our bilateral alliance with Japan (the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security Between the United States of American and Japan of 1960) is the key to our security strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, and is crucial to the forward deployment of U.S. forces there. Cost sharing in support of stationed U.S. forces remains Japan's most significant responsibilitysharing contribution. Its host-nation support is the most generous of any U.S. ally, covering an estimated 75% of U.S. basing costs. Under the terms of the Special Measures Agreement concluded in 1995 Japan pays virtually all of the costs of local national labor employed by U.S. forces, as well as the costs of public utilities on U.S. bases. Under the separate Facilities Improvement Program, Japan voluntarily provides substantial funding for quality-of-
life projects, including housing, community support and recreational facilities, and utilities upgrades. In addition to its contributions to cost sharing, Japan actively supports crisis management and nation-building efforts around the world.
Although Japan is barred by law from providing security assistance to other nations, Japan provided $9.4 billion in official development assistance worldwide in 1997, representing 0.24 percent of its GDP. In particular, Japan has contributed $32 million in support of nuclear nonproliferation efforts on the Korean Peninsula and has pledged $1 billion in loans for construction of light water reactors in support of the U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework.
The Republic of Korea also contributes directly to its own security through both direct and indirect contributions toward U.S. non-personnel stationing costs incurred by the United States. In addition, it spends about 3.2% of its GDP (1998 figure) on defense. ROK annual defense spending grew by 36% from 1990 to 1998, compared to a decline of nearly 25% for all other Pacific and NATO nations combined, and a reduction of 29% for the United States over this period.
A fuller discussion of these issues can be found in the 1999 "Contributions to the Common Defense Report" prepared for the Congress by the U.S. Department of Defense in response to the requirements of the FY1999 Defense Authorization Act and previous.