CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS Denounces the illegally appointed Prime Minister Gerald Latortue on his visit to Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C.-Today, at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus and representatives of Haitian organizations met to denounce the illegally appointed Prime Minister Gerard Latortue and his visit to Capitol Hill. The Congresswoman made the following statement:
"Gerard Latortue is a mere puppet installed by the supporters of the coup d'etat that ousted the democratically-elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He is totally controlled by Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega, the former chief of staff for Senator Jesse Helms and the Haiti-hater who has used his power hold at the OAS and the State Department to carry out the policy of right-wing conservative American and Haitian business elites. The opposition in Haiti, led by the Group of 184 and the so-called rebels who were thugs and criminals in exile, were organized by these rich Haitian business elites to play their role in the ouster of President Aristide.
"Gerard Latortue demonstrated his ignorance and his allegiance to the coup plotters by first announcing he was severing diplomatic relations with Jamaica and then trying to force his acceptance at the intercessional Caribbean Community (Caricom) meeting held in St. Kitts. Caricom voted to not recognize Latortue and is discussing a formal request for an investigation at the United Nations."
"Gerard Latortue further demonstrated his complete lack of respect and concern for the Haitian people by holding a public meeting in the Haitian city of Gonaives and declaring Guy Philippe, Louis-Jodel Chamblain, and Jean Tatoune to be "freedom fighters." Guy Philippe is a known drug dealer who returned from exile, occupied Gonaives, spearheaded burnings and killings and threatened to kill President Aristide. Louis-Jodel Chamblain and Jean Tatoune are both former death squad leaders who were convicted in abstentia for the killing of thousands of Haitians in the 1994 Raboteau massacre.
"Gerard Latortue has not denounced the on-going killings of members of Lavalas, President Aristide's political party.
"Gerard Latortue is presiding over widespread human rights violations since the removal of the elected government of President Aristide on February 29, 2004. His so-called "freedom fighters" released over 2000 prisoners and recruited armed gangs, former paramilitary leaders and former Duvalier army soldiers. They are now in control of many areas of Haiti.
"There have been over 1,000 killings in Haiti since Gerard Latortue took office. Lavalas members have been found shot in the head with their hands tied behind their backs. There are reports of Lavalas members being placed in a container and drowned at sea. Many Aristide-supporters are in hiding. Delegations from Amnesty International, the National Lawyers Guild and Let Haiti Live have documented the repression and killing of Lavalas party members.
"Gerard Latortue is a shameful Boca Raton buffoon -- incapable of independent leadership. He is but a misguided tool being used to prop up an illegitimate government until the Haitian business elite with the support of Roger Noriega, France and Canada can install their own leaders with a controlled election and a pretense of democracy.
"We are not fooled by Latortue. He is not worthy of being called prime minister. At least 22 members of the Congressional Black Caucus refused to attend a meeting with him they had been invited to attend today. Others could not be reached."
Contact: Betty Edwards
CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE
Reaffirms Support for CARICOM's Non-Recognition of Haitian Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue's Government
"I stand in solidarity with CARICOM and its position not to recognize the non-democratic and illegitimate, interim government of Haiti. Today, as Prime Minister Latortue visits Washington, DC, I am here to remind the Bush Administration about the CBC Haiti Task Force's support for CARICOM's regional leadership and for the people of Haiti."
"United, we will not stand for the injustice of Haiti's 33rd de facto coup d'etat, which brought Prime Minister Latortue to office. CARICOM, the people of the Caribbean, and Members of Congress demand that an investigation into the ousting of President Aristide and the truth behind the Bush Administration regime change foreign policy be brought to light."
"I have called for a TRUTH Commission, which stands for The Responsibility for Uncovering the TRUTH about Haiti. That commission would be independent and bi-partisan, and it would uncover the Bush Administration's role in Haiti not merely around the days of President Aristide's exile, but systematically undermining the Haitian government during the three years before February 29. The TRUTH Commission is important because I believe the Bush Administration undercut the potential for a diplomatic solution for: peaceful democratic elections, any potential for a cease-fire, and an end to violence. None of us can afford another failed Bush foreign policy."
"Regardless what you think about Aristide, this is an issue of democracy and the rule of law. If the United States will intervene and participate in the overthrow of a democratically-elected President today, what will stop them from doing it again in the future?"
C. Stuart Chapman