[News] *URGENT ACTION TODAY *Zap the U.S. State Department *Haiti needs your assistance

News at freedomarchives.org News at freedomarchives.org
Fri Feb 13 14:51:35 EST 2004


From: "Pierre Labossiere" <pierrelabossiere at hotmail.com>


please distribute widely

Send an Unmistakable Message to the U.S. State Department:

No Coup in Haiti!

Phone, fax, e-mail, and send letters to Secretary of State Colin Powell today.

(For contact information and sample letter, see below)


BACKGROUND:

In the past week, armed gangs have roamed through major cities in Haiti, 
attacking police and civilians in an increasingly violent campaign to 
overthrow the democratically elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide. 
Describing the so-called "rebel group" leading these assaults in Gonaives, 
Scott Wilson of the Washington Post (no friend of the Aristide government) 
wrote that "at its upper echelons the group appears led by former members 
of the Haitian military, dissolved in 1994 when Aristide returned to power, 
and the paramilitary group that opposed him". These same paramilitary 
forces were responsible for the 1991 coup and the bloody years following. 
Known as FRAPH during the coup period, these paramilitary forces killed 
thousands and committed countless acts of torture during that time. Now 
they have resurfaced.

The people of Haiti have seen enough of these thugs before. They have also 
tasted democracy, which explains why so many Haitians have taken to the 
streets to defend the Aristide government. In a demonstration in 
Port-au-Prince on February 7, hundreds of thousands rallied in support of 
the government, vowing to never give in to violence or intimidation. 
Marchers held up five fingers to signify their determination that President 
Aristide completes his five-year term. (See www.haitiaction.net for photos 
of these demonstrations.)

Rather than support the populace and denounce the brutal coup attempt, the 
United States government has instead seized the opportunity to continue its 
assault on President Aristide. On February 9, State Department spokesman 
Richard Boucher told reporters, "We recognize that reaching a political 
settlement will require some fairly thorough changes in the way Haiti is 
governed... I think that could indeed involve changes in Aristide's position."

In a letter from U.S. Representative Barbara Lee to Secretary of State 
Colin Powell dated February 12, the Congresswoman charges:

"I must say, Mr. Secretary, that our failure to support the democratic
process and help restore order looks like a covert effort to overthrow
a government.  There is a violent coup d'etat in the making, and it appears
that the United States is aiding and abetting the attempt to violently topple
the Aristide Government. With all due respect, this looks like 'regime 
change'."

The Haiti Action Committee condemns the blatant U.S. attempt to sabotage 
Haiti's constitutional government. The State Department has given the green 
light to opposition forces in Haiti who are trying to seize power through 
violent means -- that which they have never been able to win through 
elections. As the violence continues to mount in Haiti, the U.S. government 
bears a high degree of responsibility.

Send a clear message to the State Department: Denounce all attempts at a 
coup. Respect the rule of law. Respect democracy. Respect the 
constitutional government of Haiti.

Haiti Action Committee
www.haitiaction.net
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


URGENT ACTION:

Please phone, fax, e-mail, and send letters to Secretary of State Colin 
Powell immediately.


SAMPLE LETTER:

Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State
Fax:         202.647.2283 or 202.647.5169
Phone:     202.647.5291 or 202.647.7098
Mail:        U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
E-mail: via http://contactus.state.gov/ask_form_cat/ask_form_secretary.html


February 13, 2004

Secretary Powell,

On February 9, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters, 
"We recognize that reaching a political settlement will require some fairly 
thorough changes in the way Haiti is governed... I think that could indeed 
involve changes in Aristide's position". This irresponsible statement 
represents a thinly veiled green light to opposition forces to press ahead 
with their increasingly violent attempts to overthrow the democratically 
elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

I urge you to formally and officially reject this underhanded approach in 
favor of a negotiated, peaceful solution to the crisis in Haiti, as called 
for by President Aristide, the Council of Haitian Bishops and CARICOM.  I 
call on you to denounce all further coup attempts. The United States must 
respect the rule of international law, the constitutional government of 
Haiti and the will of the Haitian people.

Sincerely,





ADDITIONAL CONTACTS (as time permits):

Haiti Desk Officers, U.S. State Department:

  Joseph
Tilghman
  Fax:       202.647.2901
  Phone:   202.647.5088
  email: tilghmanjf at state.gov

  Lawrence Connell
  Fax:       202.647.2901
  Phone:
202.647.6765
  email:     unknown
Please help distribute this urgent action call widely.

Fax early, and fax often!!

Thank you for your assistance in this urgent matter.

You may forward a copy of your messages to haitiaction at yahoo.com




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