Tue Mar 02, 2004
President Aristide: 'I Was Kidnapped' - 'Tell The World It Is A Coup'
Monday 01 March 2004
Multiple sources that just spoke with Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide told Democracy Now! that Aristide says he was "kidnapped" and taken by force to the Central African Republic. Congressmember Maxine Waters said she received a call from Aristide at 9am EST. "He's surrounded by military. It's like he is in jail, he said. He says he was kidnapped," said Waters. She said he had been threatened by what he called US diplomats. According to Waters, the diplomats reportedly told the Haitian president that if he did not leave Haiti, paramilitary leader Guy Philippe would storm the palace and Aristide would be killed. According to Waters, Aristide was told by the US that they were withdrawing Aristide's US security.
TransAfrica founder and close Aristide family friend Randall Robinson also received a call from the Haitian president early this morning and confirmed Waters account. Robinson said that Aristide "emphatically" denied that he had resigned. "He did not resign," he said. "He was abducted by the United States in the commission of a coup." Robinson says he spoke to Aristide on a cell phone that was smuggled to the Haitian president.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. Congress member Waters, can you tell us about the conversation you just had with Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide?
MAXINE WATERS: I most certainly can and he’s anxious for me to get the message out so people will understand. He is in the Central Republic of Africa at a place called the Palace of the Renaissance, and he’s not sure if that’s a house or a hotel or what it is and he is surrounded by military. It’s like in jail, he said. He said that he was kidnapped; he said that he was forced to leave Haiti. He said that the American embassy sent the diplomats; he referred to them as, to his home where they was lead by Mr. Moreno. And I believe that Mr. Moreno is a deputy chief of staff at the embassy in Haiti and other diplomats, and they ordered him to leave. They said you must go NOW. He said that they said that Guy Phillipe and U.S. Marines were coming to Port Au Prince; he will be killed, many Haitians will be killed, that they would not stop until they did what they wanted to do. He was there with his with Mildred and his brother-in-law and two of his security people, and somebody from the Steel Foundation, and they’re all, there’s five of them that are there. They took them where they did stop in Antigua then they stopped at a military base, then they were in the air for hours and then they arrived at this place and they were met by five ministers of government. It’s a Francophone country they speak French. And they were then taken to this place called the Palace of the Renaissance where they are being held and they are surrounded by military people. They are not free to do whatever they want to do. Then the phone clicked off after we had talked for about five…we talked maybe fifteen minutes and then the phone clicked off. But he, some of it was muffled in the beginning, at times it was clear. But one thing that was very clear and he said it over and over again, that he was kidnapped that the coup was completed by the Americans that they forced him out. They had also disabled his American security force that he had around him for months now; they did not allow them to extend their numbers. To begin with they wanted them to bring in more people to provide security they prevented them from doing that and then they finally forced them out of the country. So that’s where his is and I said to him that I would do everything I could to get the word out. …that I heard it directly from him I heard it directly from his wife that they were kidnapped, they were forced to leave, they did not want to leave, their lives were threatened and the lives of many Haitians were threatened. And I said that we would be in touch with the State Department, with the President today and if at all possible we would try to get to him. We don’t know whether or not he is going to be moved. We will try and find that information out today.
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Chavez Calls Bush 'Asshole' as Foes Fight Troops
Sunday 29 February 2004
CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called President Bush an "asshole" on Sunday for meddling, and vowed never to quit office like his Haitian counterpart as troops battled with opposition protesters demanding a recall referendum against him.
Chavez, who often says the U.S. is backing opposition efforts to topple his leftist government, accused Bush of heeding advice from "imperialist" aides to support a brief 2002 coup against him.
"He was an asshole to believe them," Chavez roared at a huge rally of supporters in Caracas.
The Venezuelan leader's comments came as fresh violence broke out on the streets of the capital, where National Guard troops clashed with opposition protesters pressing for a vote to end his five-year rule.
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