Tuesday, March 02, 2004

"I call it a Coup D'Etat"

In Aristides' own words, taken from this transcript at CNN:
...my mind is in Haiti, where they are killing people, burning houses ... And that's why I call it a real coup d'etat, a modern way to have modern kidnapping.

...from Saturday -- from Saturday night, the 28th ... I was told that ... I better leave. And under a kind of diplomatic cover, they talked to me. And military talked to me. American agents talked to me. Haitian agents talked to me. And I finally realized it was true, we were going to have bloodshed. And when I asked how many people may get killed, and they said thousands may get killed. So using that kind of force to lead a coup d'etat, it was clear, as I said.

...the fact that we have military surrounding the airport, the palace, my house. In the streets, we had some military maybe from other countries, I don't know, but I know for sure there were a lot of the American militaries with Haitians, well-armed ... And they told me in a clear and blunt way that thousands of people will get killed once they start. So I had to do my best to avoid that bloodshed ... That's why I call it again and again a coup d'etat, a modern way to have modern kidnapping.

...Maybe if I add this point, people will understand ... I spent 20 hours in an American plane with military guys. And one ... baby, one year and a half old, whose father is an American agent, and the mother is Haitian. Not even this little baby has the right to get out ... when we had the first step -- the first stop. And when we have to go to the second one, they didn't want to tell me where they were going to meet with me. We didn't have one single phone call, no telephone was used, because they refused.

And this little baby spending 20 hours in an American plane, with American guys. Only 20 minutes before they landed here, they told me, finally, we were coming to land, on the French bases with military -- French military. And fortunately, we had five ministers from the government who greeted us in this very warm way. And we are grateful to them ...

This Guardian piece explains why Aristide was such a threat to the American and French governments. As author Peter Hallward explains,
What happened in Haiti is not that a leader who was once reasonable went mad with power; the truth is that a broadly consistent Aristide was never quite prepared to abandon all his principles.
History is often written by those who are.


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