2004 Haitian rebellion

2004 Haitian rebellion

conflict= 2004 Haitian Coup

date= February 5 - February 29, 2004
place= Haiti
result= Ouster of Aristide
combatant1= National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haïti
combatant2= Flagicon|Haiti Republic of Haiti
combatant3= flagicon|United States United States
flagicon|United Nations MINUSTAH
commander1=flagicon|Haiti Guy Philippe
commander2=flagicon|Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide
commander3=flagicon|United States George W. Bush
flagicon|United Nations Juan Gabriel Valdés
flagicon|United Nations Augusto Heleno Ribeiro Pereira
strength1= 5,000 (estimated)
strength2= 5,000 (approximation)
strength3= 8,000 (approximation)
casualties1= Unknown
casualties2= 50 (estimated)
casualties3= Unknown|

The 2004 Haiti coup was a regime overthrow that happened as the result of conflicts fought for several weeks in Haiti during February 2004. It resulted in the premature end of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's second term, and the installment of an interim government led by Prime Minister Gérard Latortue and President Boniface Alexandre.

Controversy over Aristide's election in 2000

The opposition in Haiti accused the government party of election fraud in the 2000 elections. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/758000.stm BBC News | AMERICAS | Haiti poll fraud allegations ] ] as did the United States. [ [http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/americas/11/25/us.haiti.ap/index.html CNN.com - U.S. distances itself from Haiti's election process - November 25, 2000 ] ]

U.S. Congressman Conyers wrote:

The National Coalition for Haitian Rights (NCHR) says that there were delays in the distribution of voter identification cards.cite web | url= http://www.nchr.org/hrp/archive/electionspost.htm | title=As Haiti Stumbles Toward Elections, NCHR Urges Extension of Voter Registration Period | publisher=National Coalition for Haitian Rights | accessdate=2005-12-26]

Aristide's supporters claim that an opposition boycott of the election was used as a ploy in order to discredit it and that they did not have anywhere near majority support.cite web | author=Mary Turck | year= 2004-02-24 | url=http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0224-09.htm | title=Background on Haiti: Some Questions and Answers | publisher=Americas.org | accessdate=2005-12-26]

European nations suspended government-to-government assistance to Haiti. Haiti had received no help from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank for years. The US Congress banned any U.S. assistance from being channeled through the Haitian government, codifying an existing situation. [ [http://archives.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/americas/11/25/us.haiti.ap/index.html CNN.com - U.S. distances itself from Haiti's election process - November 25, 2000 ] ]

Rebellion and aftermath

In September of 2003, Amiot Metayer was found dead, his eyes shot out and his heart cut out, most likely the result of machete-inflicted wounds. He was, prior to his death, the leader of the Gonaives gang known as "The Cannibal Army." After his death, his brother Buteur Metayer swore vengeance against those he felt responsible for Amiot's death—namely, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Buteur took charge of the Cannibal Army and promptly renamed it the National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti.Fact|date=February 2008

On February 5, 2004, a rebel group calling itself the National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti seized control of Haiti's fourth-largest city, Gonaïves, marking the beginning of a minor revolt against Aristide. During their sack of the city, they burned the police station and looted it for weapons and vehicles, which they used to continue their campaign down the coast. By February 22, the rebels had captured Haiti's second-largest city, Cap-Haïtien. As the end of February approached, rebels continued to advance to within miles of the capital, Port-au-Prince.Fact|date=February 2008

The US lawyer representing Aristide claimed that the rebellion was supported by the United States and included former death squad members. [ [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/02/25/1613200 Democracy Now! | Haiti's Lawyer: U.S. Is Arming Anti-Aristide Paramilitaries ] ]

After a 3-week rebellion in 2004 Aristide left Haiti as the rebels approached the capital [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3519821.stm BBC NEWS | Americas | Embattled Aristide quits Haiti ] ] and was flown secretly via Antigua to Bangui, Central African Republic. [cite news |url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-03-01-where-is-aristide_x.htm |date=2004-03-01 |title=Aristide arrives in Central African Republic after fleeing Haiti]

Supreme Court Chief Justice Boniface Alexandre succeeded Aristide as interim president and petitioned the United Nations Security Council for the intervention of an international peacekeeping force. The Security Council passed a resolution the same day " [t] aking note of the resignation of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as President of Haiti and the swearing-in of President Boniface Alexandre as the acting President of Haitiin accordance with the Constitution of Haiti" and authorized such a mission.UN document |docid=S-RES-1529(2004) |type=Resolution |body=Security Council |year=2004 |resolution_number=1529 |highlight=rect_189,839_814,909 |page=1 |accessdate=2007-10-18 |date=2007-02-29] As a vanguard of the official UN force, a force of about 1,000 United States Marines arrived in Haïti within the day, and Canadian and French troops arrived the next morning; the United Nations indicated it would send a team to assess the situation within days.

On June 1, 2004, the peacekeeping mission was passed to MINUSTAH and comprise a 7000 strength force lead by Brazil and back up by Argentina, Chile, Jordan, Morocco, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Spain, Sri Lanka and Uruguay. [ [http://www.minustah.org/militaires.html] Dead link|date=March 2008]

Brazilian forces led the United Nations peacekeeping troops in Haiti composed of United States, France, Canada and Chile deployments. These peacekeeping troops were part of the ongoing MINUSTAH operation. On October 15, 2005 Brazil called for more troops to be sent due to the worsening situation in the country.cite web | date=2004-10-15 | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/3745270.stm | title=Brazil seeks more Haiti UN troops | publisher=BBC News | accessdate=2005-12-26]

In the Haitian general election, 2006, René Préval was elected president.


CARICOM governments denounced the "removal" of Aristide from government. They also questioned the legality of the new government. The Prime Minister of Jamaica, P.J. Patterson, said that the episode set "a dangerous precedent for democratically elected governments anywhere and everywhere, as it promotes the removal of duly elected persons from office by the power of rebel forces."cite web | date=2004-05-04 | url= http://www.economist.com/agenda/displayStory.cfm?story_id=2474164 | title= After Aristide, what? | publisher=The Economist | accessdate=2005-12-26]

As reported by the BBC, on March 3 2004, CARICOM called for an independent inquiry into the departure of former Haïtian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and says it will not send peacekeepers at this time. Patterson said there had been no indication during discussions with the US and France that the plan which CARICOM had put forward prior to Aristide's departure was not acceptable. "In respect of our partners we can only say this, at no time in our discussions did they convey to us that the plan was unacceptable so long as president Aristide remained in office. Nor did they suggest to us anything of a nature pertaining to the conduct of President Aristide in office that would cause us to come to the judgment ourselves that he was unsuited to be the President of Haïti," Mr. Patterson said.cite web | date=2004-03-03 | url= http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2004/03/040303_haiticaricom.shtml | title=Caricom delivers Haiti verdict | publisher=BBC Caribbean | accessdate=2005-12-26] The U.S. and France has been accused of using pressure on CARICOM to not make a formal UN request for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Aristide's removal. [ [http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0413-08.htm U.S., France Block UN Probe of Aristide Ouster ] ]

The CARICOM initially refused to recognize the interim government, but in 2006 the newly elected René Préval resumed his country's membership in the organization. [ [http://bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=5186 Haiti returns to CARICOM’s fold ] ]

Controversy regarding US involvement

On March 1, 2004, US Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), along with Aristide family friend Randall Robinson, reported that Aristide had told them (using a smuggled cellular phone), that he had been forced to resign and abducted from the country by the United States. He claimed to be held hostage by an armed military guard.cite web | title = Aristide related articles| publisher = Democracy Now| url = http://www.democracynow.org/index.pl?issue=20040301 | accessdate=2006-07-21]

Aristide later repeated similar claims, as in an interview with Amy Goodman of "Democracy Now!" on March 16. He was pressured to resign from office by U.S. soldiers and James B. Foley, U.S. Ambassador to Haïti, on February 29. An aircraft provided by the U.S. carried Aristide and his wife, Mildred Trouillot Aristide, into exile to the Central African Republic. Goodman asked Aristide if he resigned, and President Aristide replied: "No, I didn't resign. What some people call 'resignation' is a 'new coup d'état,' or 'modern kidnapping.'"cite web | author=Steve Miller and Joseph Curl | year=2004 | url=http://newsmine.org/archive/war-on-terror/haiti/march-04-coup/aristide-removal/aristide-accuses-us-of-forcing-his-ouster.txt | title= Aristide accuses U.S. of forcing his ouster | publisher=Washington Times | accessdate=2005-12-26] [ [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/16/2027223&mode=thread&tid=25 Democracy Now! | President Aristide In His Own Words: DN!'s Exclusive Interview, Pt. 1 ] ]

Many supporters of the Fanmi Lavalas party and Aristide, as well as some foreign supporters, denounced the rebellion as a foreign controlled coup d'etat orchestrated by Canada, France and the United States (Goodman, et al., 2004) to remove a publicly elected President. A new book on the subject, "Damming the Flood: Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment" by Peter Hallward, scrupulously documents the events leading up to February 29 2004, and concludes that what occurred during the "rebellion" was in fact a modern coup d'état, financed and orchestrated by forces allied with the US government. Hallward provides extensive documentation for his claims in interviews he has given on the subject. [Peter Hallward interview with Kim Ives on WBAI, http://auto_sol.tao.ca/node/2882]

In a report published on October 28, 2005, "Granma," the official Cuban news service, alleged that United States politician Caleb McCarry engineered Aristide's overthrow.cite web | title = CALEB MCCARRY, Bush’s man for Cuba author of the Haitian disaster | publisher=Granma |url=http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2005/octubre/vier28/45mccarry-i.html | accessdate=2006-07-21]

Some have come forward to support his claim saying they witnessed him being escorted out by American soldiers at gunpoint.cite web | author=Andrew Buncombe | date=2004-03-03 | url= http://www.independent-media.tv/item.cfm?fmedia_id=6023&fcategory_desc=Under%20Reported | title=Aristide's moment of decision: 'Live or die' | publisher=Independent Media TV | accessdate=2005-12-26] cite web | date=2004-03-16 | url=http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/03/16/1712217 | title= Aristide and His Bodyguard Describe the U.S. Role In His Ouster | publisher= Democracy Now! | accessdate=2005-12-26] cite web | title = Aristide Back in Caribbean Heat |publisher= Washington Post |url =http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A61549-2004Mar15 | accessdate=2006-07-21]

Sources close to Aritistide also claim the Bush administration blocked attempts to reinforce his bodyguards. The Steele Foundation, the San Francisco-based organization which supplied Aristide's bodyguards, declined to comment.cite web | author=Juan O. Tamayo | date=2004-03-01 | url= http://web.archive.org/web/20050208132433/http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/world/haiti/8074989.htm | title=U.S. allegedly blocked extra bodyguards | publisher=Miami Herald | accessdate=2005-12-26]

According to a "Washington Times," article of April, 2004cite web | title = Powell rejects Aristide probe| publisher = Washington Times| url = http://www.washtimes.com/world/20040406-124703-4585r.htm | accessdate=2006-07-21]

quote|Mr. Aristide, who accuses the United States and France of conspiring to force him out of power, filed a lawsuit in Paris last week accusing unnamed French officials of 'death threats, kidnapping and sequestration' in connection with his flight to Africa.

The Bush administration insists that Mr. Aristide had personally asked for help and voluntarily boarded a U.S. plane. 'He drafted and signed his letter of resignation all by himself and then voluntarily departed with his wife and his own security team,' Mr. Powell said.

The US has denied the accusations. "He was not kidnapped," Secretary of State Colin Powell said. "We did not force him onto the airplane. He went on the airplane willingly and that's the truth." The kidnapping claim is "absolutely false," concurred Parfait Mbaye, the communications minister for the Central African Republic, where Aristide's party was taken. The minister told CNN that Aristide had been granted permission to land in the country after Aristide himself – as well as the U.S. and French governments – requested it. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/americas/03/02/aristide.claim/ CNN.com - Aristide says U.S. deposed him in 'coup d'etat' - Mar. 2, 2004 ] ]

According the US, as the rebels approached the capital, James B. Foley, U.S. ambassador to Haiti, got a phone call from a high-level aide to Aristide, asking if the U.S. could protect Aristide and help facilitate his departure if he resigned. The call prompted a series of events that included a middle-of-the-night phone call to President Bush and a scramble to find a plane to carry Aristide into exile. He traveled voluntarily via motorcade to the airport with his own retinue of security guards, including some contracted Americans. Before takeoff, Aristide gave a copy of his resignation letter to Foley's aide."cite web | author=Steve Miller and Joseph Curl | year=2004 | url=http://newsmine.org/archive/war-on-terror/haiti/march-04-coup/aristide-removal/aristide-accuses-us-of-forcing-his-ouster.txt | title= Aristide accuses U.S. of forcing his ouster | publisher=Washington Times | accessdate=2005-12-26]

The Associated Press reported that the Central African Republic tried to get Aristide to stop repeating his charges to the press.cite web | title = Aristide's claims that he was forced from power in Haiti cause problems with his African host | publisher = Sign On San Diego.com/ Associated Press| url = http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20040302-1154-aristideexile.html | accessdate=2006-07-21]

Aristide has also denied that a letter he left behind constitutes an official resignation. "There is a document that was signed to avoid a bloodbath, but there was no formal resignation," he said. "This political kidnapping was the price to pay to avoid a bloodbath." According to the US embassy translation it reads "Tonight I am resigning in order to avoid a bloodbath. I accept to leave, with the hope that there will be life and not death" A slightly different translation was given by Albert Valdman, a linguistics professor and specialist in Haitian Creole at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. "If tonight it is my resignation that will avoid a bloodbath, I accept to leave with the hope that there will be life and not death."cite web | author=Nicholas Kralev | year=2004 | url= http://newsmine.org/archive/war-on-terror/haiti/march-04-coup/aristide-removal/aristide-denies-formal-resignation-plans-return.txt | title=Aristide denies 'formal resignation,' plans return | publisher=Washington Times | accessdate=2005-12-26]

ee also

*List of wars 2003-current
*United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
*UN assault on Cité Soleil




External links

* [http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=the_2004_removal_of_jean-bertrand_aristide The 2004 removal of Jean-Bertrand Aristide] — Timeline of events
* [http://www.democracynow.org/static/haiti.shtml Extensive coverage of the coup] — Provided by "Democracy Now!".
* [http://www.flashpoints.net/archive/archive-2004-Haiti.html Archive of broadcasts on the Haiti coup and its aftermath] — Provided by "Flashpoints".
* [http://www.zmag.org/lam/haitiwatch.cfm Haiti Watch] — Provided by "ZNet".
* [http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/features/jan-june04/haiti_3-01.html PBS NewsHour coverage]
* [http://www.lyalls.net/haiti/week_of.html The Week of War — The final week of Jean Bertrand Aristide]
* [http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20050801&s=klein] — Naomi Klein's article in The Nation
* [http://www.outofhaiti.ca/index.html A political website dedicated to political activism on Canada's role in Haiti]
* [http://www.igloo.org/community.igloo?r0=community-download&r0_script=/scripts/document/download.script&r0_pathinfo=%2F%7B37abb2df-7c8d-4d64-b2f4-93265b5cc444%7D%2FLibrary%2Fciialibr%2Fnational%2Fyouthsym%2Fciiayo~1&r0_output=xml&s=cc CIIA Development and Inequality Symposium Paper (March 2006)] - Paper examing repression in the post-Coup period and link to Canadian policy

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