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BTL:Haitian President Charges U.S. Military Kidnapped Him in Support of...

...White House-Backed Coup. Interview with Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
Haitian President Charges U.S. Military Kidnapped Him in Support of White House-Backed Coup

Interview with Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, conducted by Scott Harris

After several weeks of attacks on Haiti's major cities, an armed rebellion led by death squad leaders and former soldiers succeeded in overthrowing the democratically-elected government of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Although the Bush administration and U.S media outlets initially reported that president Aristide had resigned his office to avoid more bloodshed, the former Catholic priest asserts he was kidnapped by the U.S. on the morning of Feb. 29 and flown to the Central African Republic. Aristide, in calls to U.S. Congressperson Maxine Waters, Randall Robinson, former director of the group TransAfrica and news organizations, asserted that he had been the victim of a U.S. coup and forced to leave Haiti at gunpoint.

Secretary of State Colin Powell described the allegations as "absolutely baseless and absurd." In denying the charge, the Bush administration refers to a letter of resignation that they say was signed by Aristide. But while some of the facts surrounding the president's exit from Haiti are still unknown, it is clear that the White House withheld all support for Aristide's democratic government until the head of state departed.

Even as hundreds of U.S. troops entered Haiti's capital of Port-au-Prince, armed rebels and death squads have murdered Aristide supporters and rebel leader Guy Philippe declared himself the new head of a reconstituted Haitian army. From exile in France, former Haitian dictator Jean Claude Duvalier vowed to return to Haiti. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, who examines U.S. policy toward Haiti during this latest crisis and the claim that the Bush administration was complicit in the coup which overthrew Aristide.

Contact the Center for Constitutional Rights by calling (212) 614-6464 or visit their website at

Related links

"Why They Had to Crush Aristide: Haiti's Elected Leader was Regarded as a Threat by France and the US," by Peter Hallward, the Guardian/UK, March 2, 2004

"U.S.-Sponsored Regime Change in Haiti," by Nirit Ben-Ari and Bill Weinberg,, March 1, 2004 Council on Hemispheric Affairs (202) 216-9261 Haiti Progres, Haitian newspaper, in English, French and Creole

"Aristide Kidnapped by U.S. Forces?" by William Rivers Pitt,, March 1, 2004

"President Aristide: 'I Was Kidnapped', 'Tell The World It Is A Coup'" Democracy Now!, March 1, 2004 Background on Haiti

"Year 501: The Tragedy of Haiti, by Noam Chomsky,, 1993

"Background on Haiti: Some Questions and Answers," by Mary Turck, by, Feb. 24, 2004

"Throttled by History," by Gary Younge, The Guardian/UK, Feb. 23, 2004

"U.S. Fails to Act as Death Squads Vow to Overthrow Government of Haitian President Aristide," Between The Lines interview with Larry Birns, executive director of Council on Hemispheric Affairs, conducted by Scott Harris, week ending March 5, 2004

"Armed Rebellion Attempts to Oust Haitian President," Between The Lines interview with Kim Ives, Haiti Progres editor, conducted by Scott Harris, week ending Feb. 20, 2004

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
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Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2004 Squeaky Wheel Productions. All Rights Reserved.

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