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Tony Best

 

International Whaling Commission:
Apologies Flow at IWC Meeting in Berlin ,
Caribbean Still Not Satisfied

By: Tony Best

Berlin , June 19, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

Facing certain ejection from the annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission, a host of prominent international environmental organizations apologized to six Caribbean nations for depicting them as "lapdogs" of the Japanese.

While the Barbados-based Caribbean Conservation Association denounced the organizations responsible for "the offensive remarks," the apology didn't satisfy all of the Caribbean Commissioners who had complained to the IWC and got the body to threaten to expel several groups if they didn't apologize after the statements caused an uproar at the 55th annual IWC meeting in Berlin .

"I don't think what many of them eventually did was to apologize," said Claris Charles , Grenada 's Minister of Agriculture. "It is true that some of them did apologize and said they were unhappy with the remarks and disassociated themselves from them. Freedom of speech comes with a responsibility, and I think that the countries at the 55th annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission felt that way and demanded an apology."

ECO, a newsletter of more than a dozen major international, national and regional environmental groups in Europe , North America and the Caribbean , published an article which contained a cartoon depicting a Japanese man in a chair with a Black dog in his lap. The caption read: "His Excellency the lap dog! Millions of the master's yen buy many votes."

Commissioners from every country, including the U.S. , Britain , Benin , Guinea , the Russian Federation , China , Nicaragua , Panama and South Korea , condemned the article and the cartoon, whose key message was that the Caribbean states had sold their votes to the Japanese.

"It was quite offensive, and I feel that very strongly," said Rolland Schmitten, the U.S. Commissioner.  Valentin Ilyashenko, the Russian Federation 's senior delegate, shared that sentiment. "Although we have seen and heard name calling before at IWC meetings from some of the anti-whaling environmental group, this particular statement was extremely offensive and insulting," Ilyashenko said. "We have been the victims of such abuse in the past, and we share the Caribbean 's anger."

Some of the Commissioners, especially those from the Caribbean and Africa , branded the article as "racist to the core" and, therefore, couldn't be allowed to slide.  They directed much of their anger at the Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness, an affiliate of CCA, because ECCEA, which subsequently apologized, was quoted extensively in the offending article, portraying Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent by name as countries which had sold out to Japan.

"The cartoon and the article were racist," said Charles. "Why would you paint a picture of an Oriental and then the other figure is painted in black. If you didn't feel that Black people were siding with the Japanese, then you wouldn't use a black figure. It was extremely distasteful for an organization from the Caribbean , one which operates in the region and enjoys the privileges of the Caribbean , to do something like that."

Dr. Joth Singh, CCA's Executive Director, said that he was appalled that environmental groups, including a CCA affiliate, would publish such an attack on the Caribbean and warned that the incident could set back the region and its NGOs in their drive to influence change.

"It was really very unfortunate," he said. "You don't succeed in getting people to change their thinking or their decisions by attacking them. I think what has happened is that everyone was offended and, being a person from the Caribbean , I was also offended by what was published. I know that all of the Commissioners were right to ask for an apology, which has been provided. I strongly criticize and condemn the action of publishing such an attack. It was very, very inappropriate. It sets us back a few steps in terms of looking at what are the options within the Caribbean ."

In its statement of regret, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which funds some of CCA's activities, said it "was not responsible for producing the editorial, and we wish to disassociate ourselves from the form in which it appeared. We would like to reiterate our regret for any offence that may have been caused."

Greenpeace also made it clear that it "was not involved in composing, editing or reviewing any material contained" in the offending ECO newsletter and stated that "had we been aware of the contents of the material, it would not have appeared in that form."

The World Wildlife Fund stated it, too, was "sorry for any offence taken" by the various countries, saying that if had known about the material "we would have declined to publish (it) in its current form."

More than a dozen organizations which were linked to ECO also apologized "for any offence caused" and disassociated "ourselves from any offending material."

 

International Whaling Commission:
Grenada 's Minister, Claris Charles, Falls Short.

By Tony Best

  Berlin , June 19, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

With the International Whaling Commission hopelessly divided between pro and anti-whaling factions, the Caribbean 's attempt to make history fell short as nations voted along ideological lines.

Claris Charles , Grenada 's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, along with a host of other IWC Commissioners had hoped to see her become the first woman elected vice chairman.  But, when the votes were counted, she had garnered 19 votes, seven less than Carlos Domingez, Spain 's top representative.

"In the end it came down to the fact that those who wish to prevent any resumption of commercial whaling had the votes, while those of us who advocate the sustainable use of the world's marine resources couldn't persuade some on the other side to see our point of view," said Charles. "It is a highly polarized situation where nothing changes. It is a great pity, because no matter what sort of influences or what discussions you have, nobody is influenced and the vote remains the same."

Indeed, in almost every vote, it was clear that the anti-whaling nations were voting as a bloc, and their strength carried the day.

Daven Joseph, Antigua's Commissioner,  who sought the vice-chairmanship position three years and lost, said afterwards that the outcome of the vote was unfortunate because "Ms. Charles has so much to offer, something that nations from different parts of the world recognized; and, as a woman from the Caribbean, she could make a difference" in the way how things were done in the Commission.  "She lost but she was an excellent candidate," he said.

Although it was a secret ballot, it is believed that the Grenada Minister received votes from the seven Caricom states - Antigua , Dominica , Belize , Grenada , St. Kitts-Nevis , St. Lucia and St. Vincent - as well as the support of Japan , the Russian Federation , China , Benin , Guinea , Nicaragua , Panama , the Solomon Islands , Norway , and Iceland . Two countries abstained.

"If there was anything that I was surprised about, it was that on a secret ballot two countries abstained," Charles said afterwards. "I am accustomed to the voting patterns in the IWC and, therefore, there is little or nothing that one can be surprised about. It has been happening since I attended the first IWC meeting in 2000."

Henrik Fischer , Denmark 's Commissioner and the new IWC Chairman, said that it was obvious that the organization was polarized, and he was hoping that the gap could be bridged in the next three years when he presides over its deliberations.

The Commission's next annual meeting is to be held in 2004 in Italy .

The Commission also agreed to hold the 2005 meeting in South Korea .

 

 

International Whaling Commission:
Claris Charles Urges IWC "Get On With the Job"


By Tony Best

Berlin, June 18, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

As she vies for the vice chairmanship of the International Whaling Commission, Claris Charles, a Grenada cabinet minister, has urged the body to implement a scheme that would effectively manage commercial whaling.

On the eve of the election that may see her become the first woman to hold the number two position in the 50-nation IWC, Charles, her country's Minister of Fisheries, called on the body to dismantle the roadblocks which have prevented any resumption of commercial whaling despite clear scientific evidence that some species of whales were in abundance.

"For too long, the IWC has found one way or another to delay the implementation of the Revised Management Scheme that was developed by the Commission's Scientific Committee," she told delegates to the 55th annual meeting of the IWC in Berlin. "We, as members of an international body, can't continue like this. The distinguished scientists of the Scientific Committee have worked long and hard, and yet the management scheme has not yet been approved and implemented. Are we going to wait another 10 or 15 years before action is taken?" she asked.

Charles, who arrived in Berlin on Tuesday evening to assist in the campaign which Grenada and several other IWC members hope will result in her election as vice chairperson, said that the failure to implement the revised management scheme was unacceptable. "We cannot go on like this," she declared. "It's wrong."

Charles believes she has a good chance of being elected when the balloting takes place on Thursday. "I have as good a chance as anybody," she said.

 

International Whaling Commission:
Caribbean Presence Expanded

By Tony Best
Berlin, June 18, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

The presence of the English-speaking Caricom nations in the International Whaling Commission got a boost Wednesday morning when Belize was re-admitted to the organization.

Belize joined the IWC back in the 1980s at the urging of international environmental groups that wanted Caribbean countries' support for a moratorium on commercial whaling. It subsequently left the body, but its representative at the 55th annual meeting in Germany made it clear that Caricom's lone member-state in Central America would have a far different agenda: sustainable use of all marine resources, including whales.

"Like the rest of the Caribbean, we believe in the sustainable use of our resources, and we will be pushing for that policy to be fully embraced by the Commission," said Ismael Garcia, a senior fisheries official in the Belizean government. "We believe that developing nations must pursue a policy of sustainable use, and that's what we will be doing alongside our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean."

Belize's re-admission to the IWC was delayed for about 48 hours after the meeting began in Berlin on Monday because of a hitch in its application documents.

The presence of Belize is expected to add to the voting strength of the pro-whaling group of nations, which includes Antigua, Dominica, China, the Russian Federation, Grenada, Japan, South Korea, Norway, Denmark, Solomon Islands, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, St. Kitts-Nevis, Palau, Panama, Benin, Guinea, Iceland and Nicaragua.

The re-entry of Belize was greeted with a round of applause during the meeting, but the anti-whaling nations and NGOs are unlikely to feel happy about it.

"It adds one more country to the list of members pushing for sustainable use, and that's not a good thing for our side," said a representative of an NGO. "We believe that some of these developing countries are coming in to push a pro-whaling stance, pure and simple."

But Garcia put it differently. "In 1982 we joined the IWC for a moratorium, but today we have rejoined the Commission, committed to the same principles of conservation and sustainable use of marine resources," he said. "We are a coastal community, and we believe we have every right to belong to this organization. There have long been discussions on migratory species and the impact on all marine animals and cetacean species. As a nation that has a large fishing industry, we feel we have a right to belong to the IWC, and we plan to support our Caribbean neighbors."

Espimendez Diaz, Panama's alternate IWC Commissioner, said that the entry of Belize into the IWC would boost both the Caribbean and Central American presence and their role in the body. "We are all from the Caribbean and Central American region, and we share the same features as developing countries which are seeking to spur our economic and social development," he said. "We have a right to be in the IWC just like the large and rich nations, and we are strong advocates of the sustainable use of marine resources. We expect that other Central American states like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador may soon become full fledged members."

Claris Charles, Grenada's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, said that Belize's membership would add to the role of Caricom in the Commission's work. "We in the Eastern Caribbean have been fighting in the IWC for a policy of sustainable use for many years, and we naturally welcome the presence of Belize," she said.

Masayuki Komatsu, Japan's alternate commissioner, hailed Belize's accession to membership, saying that like its Caricom neighbors—Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia, and St. Kitts-Nevis, that country can be expected to add to the debate and the decision-making of the Commission. "We know that Belize will play an important part in IWC deliberations, and that's good," he said.

 

International Whaling Commission:
International Environmental Groups Face Ejection


By Tony Best

Berlin, June 18, 2003 (CNS NEWS)


Apologize or leave—that seems to be the option that the International Whaling Commission has given to some prominent international environmental organizations after they were accused of insulting several Caribbean and African nations at the current annual meeting of the IWC in Berlin by referring them to them as "lapdogs" of Japan.

After the organizations presented what was seen by several nations as "no apology at all," Greenpeace, the Humane Society of the United States, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, RSPCA, the International Wildlife Coalition, Humane Society, Cetacean Society International, the Canadian Marine Environment Protection Society, and several other groups have until Thursday morning to dissociate themselves from the offensive remarks or their accreditation to attend the remaining sessions of the conference may be withdrawn.

"We find the behavior and the statements of these organizations that were published and distributed to the delegates and other participants to be insulting and offensive," said Claris Charles, Grenada's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. "As observers at the meeting, these groups are our guests, and it was as if you had invited someone into your home and they turned around and insulted you by calling you offensive names. We are sovereign nations and won't be treated that way. It's as if they don't know how to behave."

In a publication of ECO, a newsletter distributed by the various organizations attending the meeting, Antigua Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent were criticized for accepting more than US$160 million in "Japanese fisheries aid" between 1987 and 2000.

ECO criticized Japan for what the publication called its "blatant vote buying." Accompanying the article was a cartoon with a Japanese man holding what appeared to be a black dog in his lap. It had a caption stating "His Excellency the lap dog! Millions of the master's yen buy many votes."

Japan, the Caribbean states, and some African nations at the meeting lodged a formal complaint with the IWC and, according to people present, the commissioners who attended a special emergency meeting agreed unanimously to censure and expel ECO from the current conference.

Bo Fernholm of Sweden, the IWC Chairman, castigated ECO and the NGOs that published the statements, saying they "contained language which was, in the view of the commission, extremely offensive, impugning the sovereignty of a number of contracting governments to this Commission, and containing significant factual inaccuracies."

Fernholm told a plenary session of the conference that was why ECO must print a "formal apology to be distributed during the course" of the meeting which ends on Thursday.

"In addition to the apology, the publications of this organization may no longer be circulated within the confines of our meeting halls and associated areas for the remainder of this annual meeting," Fernholm said. "The Commission unequivocally condemns these statements and considers that they constitute an abuse of the privilege accorded to the accredited observers," he added.

"The Committee further calls on those organizations listed as sponsors of ECO to formally dissociate themselves from the offending statements, failing which their accredited status as observers may be called into question," he warned.

Two of the groups called on the carpet have links to the Barbados-based Caribbean Conservation Association. They are the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which is financing a special environmental project in the region, and the Eastern Caribbean Coalition for Environmental Awareness, ECCEA, which belongs to the CCA.

Leslie Sutty, who heads ECCEA in Martinique, is now in Berlin.

In their response, the 21 environmental bodies stated that while "we regret any offense caused" to any country, the views expressed in ECO "are not necessarily those of the "sponsoring organizations." But Several Caribbean and African states rejected the response as being unsatisfactory.

Bantole Yaba, Benin's Commissioner, said that it didn't meet with his country's satisfaction and that the entire episode was unfortunate. The statements in ECO "were offensive to us," to stated.

Claris Charles commented: "It's really not response to the IWC's demands."

 

International Whaling Commission:
Caribbean Acts to Boost Support for Effort to Win IWC Top Position

By Tony Best
Berlin, June 17, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
 

As the clock winds down to Thursday's election in Berlin , the Caribbean states are stepping up their attempt to make history within the International Whaling Commission by getting a female Caribbean minister elected to a top IWC position.

Spurred on by representatives of Eastern Caribbean countries, Claris Charles , Grenada 's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, is making a run for the Vice Chairmanship of the Commission, and Caribbean representatives at the 55th annual meeting in Berlin say they are gathering support for her candidacy.

"We have gotten an indication of increased support for Ms. Charles," said Eistein Louison, a junior Minister in Grenada 's Ministry of Agriculture, who is representing his country at the meeting. "Some states have said to us that they will support her. We are heartened by the response we are getting."

Daven Joseph, Antigua 's Commissioner, said he, too, was buoyed by the support the Caribbean was getting, and while he doesn't predict victory, he thinks her chances of becoming the first woman in the IWC's history to be elected to the number two position were very good.

According to the tradition of the IWC, the vice chairman moves up to the chairmanship when it becomes vacant.

In addition to the Caribbean member-states, Japan has committed itself to supporting the Grenada Minister, and she is also expected to be backed by Norway , Iceland , China , the Russian Federation , Panama , Nicaragua , South Korea , the Solomon Islands , Palau , Benin , and Guinea .

"She is an excellent candidate, and she should win," said Masayuki Komatsu , Japan 's alternate IWC Commissioner, who is also Director of the Resources and Environmental Research Division of the Fisheries Agency of his country's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

"It's about time that the IWC elect a woman, and the fact that Charles comes from the Caribbean should help to make a difference," added Komatsu, the author of a number of books on whaling, including his latest, Whales and the Japanese," which was released earlier this year.

Calixte George , St. Lucia 's Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, said that his country was backing his counterpart from Grenada .  "She knows the issues and the IWC," he said.

The Grenada Minister may have to go up against three candidates, all men from anti-whaling nations. Spain and the United Kingdom are rumored to be considering entering the race.

Dominica, Grenada, Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Vincent, and St. Lucia suffered a setback at the Berlin meeting on Monday when the Commission declined by a vote of 25-20 to go along with a Caribbean proposal that secret balloting instead of a public roll call be used to decide certain issues.  "We regret and are disappointed that we didn't win that one," said Daven Joseph, Antigua 's Commissioner, who unsuccessfully sought the vice chairmanship about three years ago.

Less than a month ago, Caricom countries were successful in getting the United Nations to elect Julian Hunte, St. Lucia 's Minister of Foreign Affairs, to be the next president of the UN General Assembly.  It was the first time that a person from the Eastern Caribbean was chosen to head the body. Guyana 's Foreign Minister Samuel Insanally was the first diplomat from a Caricom country to serve in the prestigious position.

International Whaling Commission:

Seemingly Stung By Criticism, German NGO Says No Threat Intended

By Tony Best

Berlin , June 17, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

Seemingly stung by criticism of its veiled threat to launch a tourism boycott against Dominica , a German NGO may be pulling back, saying it was all the result of a misunderstanding.

While Lloyd Pascal, Dominica's Commissioner to the International Whaling Commission, remains adamant that a representative of Gesellschaft zu Rettung der Delphine, an organization dedicated to the protection of dolphins, had threatened his country because of its stance on the sustainable use of the world's marine resources, the Caribbean Conservation Association has denounced the threat, saying that it couldn't be justified in any shape or form.

"We were kind of surprised that the question we put was interpreted as a threat, because no threat was intended," Andrea Steffen, the woman accused of threatening the Eastern Caribbean island said through an interpreter, Fabian Ritter. "We were simply asking if Dominica had given any thought to a boycott of its tourist industry. We wanted to know if they had thought about such a boycott because of its voting at IWC meetings."

Steffen has spent some time in Dominica .

But Pascal, a former Minister of Agriculture, complained to the IWC during the opening of the Commission's 55th annual meeting in Berlin that his county was threatened once again because of its voting pattern at the Commission. His charge triggered negative reactions from other countries such as Japan , Nicaragua , St. Lucia , and Grenada , which complained about the excessive zeal of some NGOs and warned about the vulnerability of small countries to an act of "economic terrorism."

"It shows what our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean face as people from sovereign states when they stand up for their rights and express their positions at IWC meetings," said Miguel Marcenco, Director-General of Fisheries in Nicaragua, who, like Pascal, is a strong advocate of the sustainable utilization of marine resources, including whales.

"We join our Caribbean neighbors in insisting on a policy of sustainable use and for a secret ballot at IWC meetings," declared Marenco.

Dr. Joth Singh, Executive Director of the Barbados-based Caribbean Conservation Association, said that the threat to Dominica didn't come as a surprise to him, because of the way some foreign NGOs operate.

"We are not very surprised to hear that this may be happening," he said. "We recognize that the various countries which are anti-whaling or not supporting whaling would try to influence the vote of the Caribbean countries at the IWC meeting in Berlin. I would say that the Caribbean Conservation Association does not really support that type of way of getting the Caribbean countries to change their position. It should be a matter of providing them with the appropriate information so they can make informed decisions. 

"Certainly to threaten countries with regards to their economic situation is not a method the CCA condones or supports," Singh added. "We have expressed that view very, very clearly to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, with whom we have recently formed a partnership arrangement, indicating that our mode of operating is to provide the governments and the public within the Caribbean with the right information on the alternatives to whale hunting."

Pascal repeated his complaint Tuesday morning, saying that a woman from the NGO sought him out at the meeting in Germany and tried to get answers to several questions, one of which was how Dominica would feel if a tourism boycott was launched against it if the island-nation voted against the "Berlin Initiative," a plan designed to get the IWC to focus more attention on the protection of whales instead of on the management of the various species. The Initiative was approved by a 25-20 vote on Monday.

"We have been threatened before by international NGOs, such as Greenpeace and the International Wildlife Coalition, and we know a threat when we hear or see it," he told reporters. "Some countries and organizations believe that because we are experiencing some serious economic problems in Dominica and are on the verge of signing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund that we would bend to their threats and go along with their policies. But we are a sovereign nation."

As if to show its determination to follow its stated course, Dominica voted against the Berlin Initiative after the "threat" was made.

Calixte George , St. Lucia 's Minister of Agriculture, described the threat by the German NGO as a form of "economic terrorism."

 

International Whaling Commission:

St. Vincent Puts House In Order With New Whaling Regulation 
Demanded by IWC

By Tony Best  

Berlin , June 17, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

With the International Whaling Commission paying increasing attention to the Eastern Caribbean , the region's lone whaling nation has put its legal house in order to meet international demands.

Edwin Snagg, St. Vincent's IWC Commissioner, has told the more than 50 nations that belong to the international body that just last week his country approved legislation, rules and regulations demanded by the Commission as a condition of giving the country an expanded quota of whales it could catch during the next few years.

"One of the pre-requisites to the quota that St. Vincent & the Grenadines was allocated in 2002 was that there should be aboriginal subsistence whaling regulations," he explained. "We have put those regulations in place. They were approved in cabinet last Friday. They make provisions for certain aspects of whaling and cover whaling permits; the closed season; certification of whalers; area and size restrictions of humpback whales; procedures for conducting whaling; and the use and monitoring of whale products."

Snagg made his statement after the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling Panel of the IWC's Scientific Committee had reported to the 55th annual meeting in Berlin that the catching of two whales in March last year by Vincentians didn't pose any problems to the stock of humpback whales in the West Indies.

The United Kingdom had also asked if St. Vincent had lived up to its commitment to enact legislation that would provide for the effective management of whale stocks.

"In terms of management advice, the Committee agreed that if the humpback whales are part of the West Indies breeding population, this catch limit will not harm the stock," stated the panel.

Snagg said afterwards that the regulatory steps taken recently by his country "were consistent with the draft regulations deemed to be appropriate by the Commission" at its meeting in Japan last year.

"We have lodged the regulations with the Secretariat of the IWC," he said. "What this means is that we are in full compliance."

The regulatory steps were drawn up after considerable consultations with the country's whalers and others interested in the traditional and cultural activity, which dates back to at least 100 years in the Eastern Caribbean in general and St. Vincent in particular.

"I don't believe the new regulations will make any significant difference to how whaling is conducted," Snagg said. "There are certain stipulations now, like the question of whaling permits. As such, one has to apply to the Chief Fisheries Officer but, in truth and in fact, the whalers in Bequia would have had some good idea of what was coming in the regulations. There was consultation with the whalers of Bequia, and they agreed with what was in the regulations."

Snagg said he was disappointed that the IWC on Monday rejected the Caribbean 's appeal for the introduction of secret balloting in order to protect the region from economic threats issued by NGO.  

"We believe secret balloting is a democratic process, and it removes the possibility of threats and attempts at intimidation that are linked to the way the region votes at IWC meetings," he said.

 

International Whaling Commission:

Dominica Threatened by German NGO at Whaling Conference

By Tony Best

Berlin , June 16, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

"Economic terrorism" may be an emotive word, but some Eastern Caribbean countries are using it in Berlin to describe what they face from environmental NGOs, which disagree with their voting patterns at meetings of the International Whaling Commission.

Dominica, often called the "nature island" of the Caribbean, reported Sunday to the IWC that it had been threatened with a tourism boycott if it voted against a plan, the "Berlin Initiative," proposed by about 20 members of the IWC and designed to create a "conservation committee" within the international body that would oversee the protection of whales around the world.

"The threat was made by a woman who sought me out at the meeting and wanted to know if I would answer a series of questions which she had written in German," said Lloyd Pascal, a former Minister of Agriculture who is now Dominica 's IWC Commissioner.

"Among the many questions she wanted to raise was how I would feel if a tourism boycott was called against Dominica because of the way it participates in the IWC and if my position here was independent," explained Pascal. "It's the kind of economic terrorism to which many of us in the Caribbean have grown accustomed in recent years."

Pascal immediately drew the meeting's attention to the "threat" and later said that his country wouldn't be intimidated by the incident. And as if to show its determination, Dominica and four other Eastern Caribbean countries—Antigua, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Vincent and St. Lucia— joined with Denmark, the Russian Federation, China, Japan, Benin, Guinea, Nicaragua, the Solomon Islands, Panama and 10 other nations in a failed attempt to block the creation of the Conservation Committee. Grenada declined to participate in the voting on the grounds that the Initiative was probably illegal under IWC rules and, therefore, it didn't want any part of the process. Grenada vigorously opposed the establishment of the Committee.

"We are not opposed to conservation, but we believe that the creation of the special Committee is not only wrong, but it doesn't conform to the rules and the regulations of the IWC," said Pascal. "These are the same kinds of threats that have gone on before. Dominica is the nature island of the Caribbean , dependent on agriculture and tourism. We have suffered greatly because of the initiatives in the World Trade Organization for our banana regime, our marketing in the United Kingdom . We have virtually lost that market along with the rest of the Windward Islands . We have lost our offshore banking, because Dominica was put on a blacklist [by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] in Paris . Because of these factors, we are in a tight economic situation, and we are on the verge of signing an agreement with the International Monetary Fund."

Pascal said that some countries and NGOs believed that Dominica was "up to its knees" in financial trouble and was therefore vulnerable to threats. "The organizations think this is the best time to make further threats to get Dominica intimidated to the point where we will do their bidding by voting for a Berlin initiative" at the expense of the nation's sovereignty, he said.

"They are threatening us with a cutting off of aid and all of those kinds of things."

But Pascal wasn't alone in complaining about "economic terrorism."

Calixte George, St. Lucia's Minister of Agriculture who is attending his first IWC meeting, said that what happened to Dominica was tantamount to a threat of "economic terrorism," which he stated must be deplored and condemned.

"We in St. Lucia weren't threatened, but what took place was wrong," George said. "To my mind, it was a very dirty kind of act, a behind-the-scenes attack, which I would describe as economic terrorism. Some of the NGOs are very emotive on some of the issues. They don't rely on science. To be threatened simply isn't right."

The "Berlin Initiative" calls for the creation of a Committee that would prepare a "Conservation Agenda" to be considered at the IWC's next annual meeting in Italy in 2004.  All of the Eastern Caribbean spoke out against it, complaining that it was designed to divert the IWC's attention from its mandate of regulating commercial whaling.

"The IWC wasn't set up to get into the conservation of whales at the expense of strict management of the sustainable use of whale resources," said Eistein Louison, Parliamentary Secretary in Grenada's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Cedric Liburd, St. Kitts-Nevis' Minister of Agriculture, who is leading his country's delegation, agreed with both Pascal and George. "It's a diversionary tactic away from what the IWC was established to do," he said.

Daven Joseph, Antigua's top representative and perhaps the Caribbean's most vocal advocate of the sustainable use of marine resources, said after the delegates voted by 25-20 to set up the "Conservation" panel that "it was a sad day for the IWC” and for those nations which believe that the world's resources should be utilized but not plundered and destroyed.

 


 


IRAQ'S DELEGATE ACCUSES KOFI ANNAN OF BIAS, WORKING WITH THE BRITISH AND THE AMERICANS AGAINST HIS COUNTRY

United Nations, New York, March 21, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu and Sondra Singer Beaulieu

Iraq's Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed A. Aldouri, read a statement to the press at 5:40 P.M. Friday evening, accusing U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan of collusion with the U.S. and Britain in order to eliminate Iraq as a sovereign nation.

Ambassador Aldouri said that Article 99 of the U.N. Charter makes it imperative for the Secretary-General to bring to the attention of the Security Council matters threatening the maintenance of international peace and security. This letter was never sent, he said, although the Secretary-General was quick to introduce a draft resolution regarding humanitarian issues, in conjunction with the United States and its allies, in essence removing the State of Iraq from existence. 

He further accused the Secretary-General of quickly removing the peacekeepers on the Iraq-Kuwaiti border, eliminating the buffer, enabling the United States and its allies to invade Iraq.

Ambassador Aldouri went further and referred to Article 100 of the Charter, Paragraph 1, which states that in the performance of their duties, the Secretary-General and the staff shall not seek or receive instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the organization. They shall refrain from any action which might reflect on their position as international officials responsible only the Organization.

This statement came at a time that reports indicate that the Iraqi leadership is in complete confusion. 

A spokesman for the Secretary-General informed correspondents that Kofi Annan will give his response on Saturday.

Most of the members of the press were already gone from the U.N. building, where the action on Friday seemed to consist of everyone watching the events in Iraq on television.

 

 


U.S. AT WAR  

By Serge Beaulieu
UN Bureau Chief 

 New York , March 17, 2002   (CNS NEWS)  

48 Hours for Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq —that’s the ultimatum given by President George W. Bush in his speech Monday night after a draft resolution before a deadlocked U.N. Security Council was not presented for a vote.  

The U.S. President has raised the nation’s terrorism alert from yellow to orange, which is the second highest category of risk. 

Speaking from the White House, President Bush said that American forces will wage war “at a time of our choosing.”  He told the Iraqi people: “The day of your liberation is near.”  

Saying that war could lead to retaliatory strikes by terrorists on U.S. interests at home and abroad, President Bush said he had ordered increased security at airports and along U.S. waterways.  

President Bush said that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction he might share with terrorists, has a history of hating America , and is a destabilizing force in the Middle East .  Moving toward war with the United States is a group Bush called “the coalition of the willing,” which includes Britain , Spain , Australia and a handful of other nations.  

“Instead of drifting along toward tragedy,” President Bush said, “we will set a course toward safety.  The tyrant will soon be gone.”


 

BENCHMARK DIPLOMACY AT THE U.N.  

By Serge Beaulieu
with Sondra Singer Beaulieu

and Linda Baker  

United Nations, New York , March 13, 2003 (CNS NEWS)  

The British, who have mastered the art of diplomacy, introduced in the Iraq debate before the Security Council a series of six tests to a draft resolution which calls on the President of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, to disarm.  

One of tests, for example, would require Saddam Hussein to admit on television that he has weapons of mass destruction and that he will give them up.  

Known in the corridors of the U.N. as benchmark diplomacy, those tests found resistance, although they were introduced as a compromise to permit the United States to win the nine necessary votes without a “no” from one of the five permanent members. Early Thursday evening, after a three and one-half hour discussion, members of the Security Council approached the press stakeout to give their views.  

The first was Russian Ambassador Sergei Lavrov, who indicated that there was no consensus and hinted that, if introduced, the resolution would confront a Russian nyet.  

British Ambassador Jeremy Greenstock said he believes that the benchmarks are still open for discussion.  

He was followed by French Ambassador Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, who stated that any resolution containing an ultimatum will be vetoed.  The French diplomat answered questions in both English and Spanish.   

German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger reinforced the French position.  It was a clear indication that the Security Council remains deadlocked and, if a vote were requested today or tomorrow, the resolution—with or without the benchmarks--would have no chance to pass.  

U.S. Ambassador John D. Negroponte keeps repeating that he is not in business to count votes but to disarm Iraq in accordance with Resolution 1441.  He also said that his government is fully in agreement with the British benchmark initiative as a way to unify the Council.  He reiterated the intention of his government to put the resolution to a vote, maybe not on Friday but at some point.  

Early Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan took the exceptional step of inviting each Security Council ambassador to his office for one-on-one meetings, without revealing the contents of the talks.  When his spokesman was asked if the Secretary-General envisioned a last resort trip to Baghdad , similar to U Thant’s trip to Cuba in 1962 to defuse the Cuban missile crisis, his answer was vague.  

Now that all approaches seem to have come to dead ends, it seems that the only solution would be for someone to step in and help all parties save face as U Thant did in his meeting with Fidel Castro decades ago. However, at that time there were two superpowers, the United States and Russia , and Kennedy and Khruschev were negotiating directly. 

Jacques Chirac, President of France, has called for such a meeting to avoid the outbreak of an all out war that will certainly be perceived as a conflict of civilizations and religions.  

In the meantime, UNMOVIC, which continues the supervision, states that since March 1, sixty-one Al Samoud 2 missiles and 35 warheads have been destroyed and additional Al Samoud 2-related materials and components have also been destroyed.  Another report is expected on Monday.


 

FRANCE WILL NOT AUTHORIZE THE AUTOMATIC USE OF FORCE

United Nations, New York , March 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS) 
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief  

At a regularly scheduled United Nations Security Council meeting on Iraq Friday, the Foreign Minister of France, Dominique de Villepin, reiterated his country’s intention to not allow a resolution to pass that authorizes the automatic use of force in Iraq .  

This statement was in response to a draft resolution introduced last week by the United States , Spain , the United Kingdom , and Bulgaria citing Iraq in noncompliance of Security Council Resolution 1441, which called for Iraq to disarm or face “serious consequences.”

 President George W. Bush Thursday night stated at a White House press conference that in matters of security the United States does not need permission to use force, a clear indication that a war against Iraq is imminent.  

At the Security Council Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated that the U.S. draft resolution would be put to a vote, since Iraq is not disarming.   

At the meeting, Dr. Hans Blix, Chairman of UNMOVIC, indicated in his quarterly report that although some progress has been accomplished in disarming Iraq , Iraq has not been fully complying with Resolution 1441.

He indicated that thirty-four Al Samoud-2 missiles, including four training missiles, two combat warheads, one launcher and five engines have been destroyed under his supervision.  Two reconstituted casting chambers used in the production of solid propellant missiles have been destroyed and the remnants melted or encased in concrete.  

The U.N. chief inspector noted that although intelligence authorities have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by truck, the Iraqi side states that such activity does not exist.  

The Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Dr. Mohamed Elbaradei, straightforward as always, stated that his organization has now conducted a total of 218 nuclear inspections at 141 sites, including 21 that had not been inspected before.  He also said that Iraq has provided a considerable volume of documentation, and he has concluded that there is no indication of resumed nuclear capability.  He suggests, however, the continuation of evaluating Iraq ’s capabilities on a continued basis as part of a long-term monitoring and verification program, in order to provide the international community with ongoing and real-time assurance.  

The meeting provided every member of the Security Council seven minutes to intervene in this debate.  However, the intervention of France , once again, seems to have attracted the most attention—although this time the audience refrained from applauding.  

The Foreign Minister of France made a three-point proposal:  

(1) “Let us ask the inspectors to establish a hierarchy of tasks for disarmament and, on that basis, to present us as quickly as possible with the work program provided for by Resolution 1284.   We need to know immediately what the priority issues are that could constitute key disarmament tasks to be carried out by Iraq .”  

(2) “We propose that the inspectors give us a progress report every three weeks.  That will make the Iraqi authorities understand that in no case may they interrupt their efforts.”  

(3) “Finally, let us establish a schedule for assessing the implementation of the work program. Resolution 1284 provides for a time frame of 120 days.  We are willing to shorten it if the inspectors consider it feasible.”  

Members of the Council were cautioned by the French Foreign Minister to be aware of not playing into the hands of those who want a clash of civilizations, a clash of religions.  “War,” concluded the Minister, is always an acknowledgement of failure.”  

Will the United States still call for a vote?  


TEN MORE DAYS…  

United Nations, New York , March 7, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Sondra Singer Beaulieu  

While members of the United Nations Security Council continued to debate Hans Blix and Mohamed Elbaradei’s report on Iraq ’s material breach of its obligations under Resolution 1441, an amended draft resolution on the same question was circulated, giving Iraq a deadline of March 17.    

Although presented as a compromise by the British Foreign Secretary, some members felt that it is, in fact, an ultimatum.  Other members of the Council expressed the opinion that this grace period represents a way to give diplomacy a chance.  

Iraq ’s Ambassador, Dr. Mohammed Al-Douri, intervening in the debate under Article 37, accused the American and British administrations of creating evidence and facts in order to accuse Iraq of having possession of weapons of mass destruction.  But they failed to convince the international community, he said.  

“The inspectors proved the nonexistence of such weapons and the falsity of such allegations,” Ambassador Al-Douri said.  “As to what Mr. Powell argued regarding Iraq ’s VX Program, there were no weapons of VX to be declared and no VX agent remains to be declared… Iraq never produced stable VX and never weaponized it,” he continued.  

France ’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominique Villepin, keeps stating that war is always an acknowledgement of failure, but he may be in no position to prevent the invasion of Iraq if by March 17 an acceptable solution is not found.  

The amended draft resolution, in paragraph 3, calls for Iraq to demonstrate full, unconditional, immediate, and active cooperation in accordance with its disarmament obligations under Resolution 1441. 

President Bush has already alerted the world that a no vote by the Council would not preclude him from defending United States interests, meaning disarming Saddam Hussein by force.  

As the scenario unfolded in the chamber of the Security Council, the New York City police permitted a limited number of demonstrators to stand in the freezing cold in Ralph Bunche Park across the street from the U.N. building to voice anti-war slogans.


 CHECKMATE AT THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL

United Nations, New York , March 1, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief

The United Nations is experiencing a revival of the Cold War of the 60s as the Iraqi crisis evolves.  The 15 members of the Security Council are now deadlocked, after playing such a dominant role over the other U.N. organs, particularly the General Assembly. 

After the return of China to its permanent seat on the Security Council and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union, a new world order has emerged, creating a new diplomatic concept, downgrading the power of the General Assembly in favor of the Security Council, dominated by the Big Five permanent members.  On several occasions in the past, conflicts between those two organs ended in favor of the General Assembly’s decision.  The Congo peacekeeping operation of the 1960s, for example, although vetoed by the Soviet Union in a Security Council decision, was later on authorized by the General Assembly with a two-third majority.  In protest, since that time, the Soviet Union did not pay its dues.

Those were the days when lobbying for votes was the “diplomatic game.”  Member countries felt important by becoming an integral part of the U.N. decision making process.   One still remembers Counsellor Katz and, later on, Ambassador Donald McHenry from the U.S. Mission lobbying Third World diplomats in the corridor of the Diplomatic Lounge.  That was diplomacy at its best, and Third World ambassadors were more interested in doing their jobs than looking for employment at the Secretariat.

Today, non-member countries of the Security Council get their information at the news stakeouts.  Who is to blame?  The Charter of the United Nations created an ambiguous situation by giving the General Assembly, in Chapter IV, Articles 10 and 11, the same attribution as the Security Council regarding matters of peace and security.  At the same time, Chapter IV, Article 12, removes the power from the General Assembly by stating that while the Security Council is seized with a question, the Assembly should not make any recommendation.  Consequently, the Council supersedes the General Assembly by ending each of its resolutions with the statement: The Council remains seized of the matter.

Now, can the Assembly intervene after a veto?  Yes, if one takes the Congo peacekeeping operation as a precedent. In the case of Iraq , if a veto has been imposed, will the powerful nonaligned nations take the case to the General Assembly, even if the United States and Great Britain have launched an invasion against Iraq ?  The answer is probably yes.  If the United States has assurance that one of the five permanent members will veto the new resolution, as the foreign minister of Russia has indicated, the U.S. may not press for a vote, leaving Resolution 1441 “seized of the matter.”  There is no indication, however, that this resolution authorizes a member state to supercede the Council and take unilateral intervention.  But President Bush seems to think that it does.

The General Assembly, once again, may find itself in a position to regain its authority by intervening in a deadlocked Security Council matter regarding peace and security.  If not, the United Nations may become irrelevant, as did the League of Nations

 


U.S. Senator Mike DeWine 

DEWINE INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO HELP SPUR ECONOMIC RECOVERY IN HAITI

Contact: Amanda Flaig
Thursday, February 27, 2003

U.S. Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) today introduced the Haiti Economic Recovery Opportunity Act of 2003. The legislation is designed to improve the economic and political situation in Haiti by promoting trade.

“The situation in Haiti is bleak,” said DeWine. “Haiti is the poorest country in our Hemisphere, with approximately 70 percent of its population out of work and 80 percent living in abject poverty. The violence, corruption, and instability caused by the flow of drugs through the country cannot be overstated. The country still lacks democracy and political stability. This bill would help to change that.”

The bill would amend the Trade and Development Act of 2000 by granting duty-free status to Haitian apparel articles assembled or knit-to-shape from fabrics or yarns from countries in which the U.S. has a free trade or regional agreement. Currently, the only Haitian apparel articles that can enter the U.S. duty-free are generally ones that are made of U.S fabrics or yarns.

“Last month, I visited Haiti and had the opportunity to tour a textile assembly factory,” said DeWine. “Minimum wage in Haiti is, approximately, one dollar a day, but the workers in this factory make approximately two dollars a day -- twice the national minimum wage. That might not sound like much, but in a nation whose economy is as unstable as Haiti, the increase in standard of living can be critical.

DeWine added, “I witnessed, first-hand, the potential for economic growth that lies in restoring Haiti’s manufacturing industry and the Haiti Economic Recovery Opportunity Act of 2003 will help to simulate this growth.”

Haitian apparel accounts for less than one percent of all apparel imports, and the bill would cap duty-free imports made of fabrics or yarns from the designated countries at 1.5 percent growing modestly over time to 3.5 percent. In order for Haiti to be eligible for the benefits, the President must certify to Congress that Haiti has established, or is making continual progress toward establishing, a number of important reforms on matters like rule of law.

Senator DeWine introduced the bill last year, in the 107th Congress and this year he is joined by a bi-partisan coalition of co-sponsors including Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Bob Graham (D-FL) and Richard Lugar (R-IN). U.S. Representative Clay Shaw (R-FL) is introducing a companion bill in the House which will be co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives John Conyers (D-MI), Phil Crane (R-IL), Charles Rangel (D-NY), Diane Watson (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Shelia Jackson Lee (D-TX), Kendrick Meek (D-FL), Porter Goss (R-FL), Mark Foley (R-FL) and Delegate Donna Christensen (D-VI).


WORLD POPULATION 
WILL BE 8.9 BILLION BY 2050


By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief
and Sondra Singer Beaulieu, Correspondent

United Nations,
February 26, 2003 (CNS NEWS) -- In a synopsis of the report
2002 Revision of the official world population estimates and projections,
Joseph Chamie, Director of the Population Division at the U.N., gives us a
shocking report of our planet's trends.

By 2050, from 6.3 billion our world, despite devastation by low fertility
and the impact of HIV/AIDS, will nevertheless grow to 8.9 billion.  (A
previous estimate of 9.3 billion has been lowered.)  Growth will be at a
rate of 1.2 percent, translating to 77 million people per year.

Six countries account for half of that annual increase:
India with 21
percent,
China with 12 percent, Pakistan with 5 percent, and
Bangladesh/Nigeria/U.S. with 4 percent.

The study grouped countries into six major areas:
Africa ; Asia ; Europe ;
Latin America and the Caribbean ; Northern America ; Oceania .  For statistical
convenience, we were told, the regions are classified in two categories:
more developed or less developed.

The more developed are
Australia , New Zealand ; Europe , Northern America , and
Japan .

The less developed include all the regions of Africa and Asia (excluding
Japan); Latin America and the Caribbean; Melanesia and Polynesia.

The study grouped 49 of the less developed as least developed, among them
Afghanistan and Angola.

Fertility at the world level is expected to decline from 2.83 children per
woman (1995-2000) to 2.02 in 2045-2050.  The life expectancy at birth is
expected to increase from 65 years to 74 years.  The study anticipates a
more serious and prolonged impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the most
affected countries.

The population of the 53 affected countries in 2050 is projected to be 480
million lower than it would have been in the absence of AIDS.  Africa will
be hit the hardest.  Of these countries, 38 are in Saharan Africa (Angola,
Benin, Botswana, Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic,
Chad, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti,
Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea,
Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia,
Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo, Uganda,
United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe).  Five are in Asia
(Cambodia, China, India, Myanmar, and Thailand).  Eight are in Latin America
and the Caribbean (Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Guyana,
Haiti, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago).  One each is in Europe (Russian
Federation) and Northern America (U.S.A.)  Of the 37.1 million adults in the
world infected by HIV by 2001, 34.6 million (93 percent) resided in these 53
countries.

The population of the world will age faster in the next 50 years than during
the last half century.  In 2000, 69 million persons were age 80, and this
number is projected to reach 377 million by 2050.  China currently has the
largest number of people aged 80 years (11.4 million), followed by the U.S.
(9.1), India (6.1), Japan (4.8), Russia (2.9), and Germany (2.9).  Those
countries account for 54 percent of today's oldest people.

The 22-page synopsis presented by the Population Division is in advance of a
3-volume report that will be issued as a working document by mid-2003.

Joseph Chamie always gives a clear presentation, knowing well what he is
talking about.



Disarmament and War

By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief

United Nations,
February 24, 2003 (CNS NEWS)


Early afternoon on Monday, February 24, the U.N./U.S. delegation introduced before the members of the Security Council a draft resolution giving the regime of Saddam Hussein one more opportunity to disarm.

Sponsored conjointly by the
United Kingdom and Spain , the draft resolution recalled resolution 1441, warning that Iraq will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violation of its obligation.   The text went on to say that Iraq's noncompliance with this Council resolution and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles pose a threat to international peace and security. 

The wording of this draft resolution, however, did not follow the rhetoric of President Bush of imminent attack against
Baghdad .  It was done deliberately to invite hesitant members to join in a yes vote, hoping to give the U.S. administration the nine votes necessary for adoption, if one of the five permanent members does not use its veto power.

Then what?  The Council still has to determine the form of action that will be taken in case of noncompliance by Iraq.  The Bush administration appears to consider a vote as a go-ahead not only to invade Iraq but also to install a new regime, replacing Saddam Hussein.  Not, so, say the French and the Germans.

At a joint press conference in Europe a few hours after the introduction of the resolution, France's President Jacques Chirac and Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroder reiterated that there is no need for a new resolution.  1441 is sufficient, they maintain, for the disarmament of Iraq.  For the first time, the French president even hinted at the veto power at the disposal of his country, without any indication that he was prepared to use it.

In the meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is canvassing the world looking for support. 

A new date has been set.  March 7 is when Hans Blix is due to report to the Council on progress accomplished by Iraq, especially the destruction of long-range missiles not permitted by the Iraq Sanction Committee.

Everyone is hiding behind this deadline in order to give diplomacy a chance.  In the meantime, U.S. forces in the Gulf are getting closer to their objective, an armada of 200,000 troops with tanks, planes, and missiles in order to strike Baghdad and eliminate Saddam Hussein and his associates.

 

 

 



 


        February 7, 2001

PRESIDENT JEAN BERTRAND ARISTIDE—OTRA VEZ  

By Serge Beaulieu

New York, New York, February 6, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
Jean Bertrand Aristide, the Catholic rebel priest-turned-politician, is entering the 3rd year 
of his second 5-year mandate as president of the turbulent, black
republic of Haiti .  
His first term in office was marked by a military coup that was denounced by the international 
community, leading the
United States to send 20,000 Marines to return him to power.  

Aristide’s second term is marred by controversy—his administration has been denounced for 
allegations of human rights violations and political assassinations, rigging elections, corruption, and 
making the country a safe haven for drug traffickers.  The international community has responded 
by blocking more than US$500 million of badly needed aid.  

Haitian political parties have regrouped themselves under the umbrella of a single group called 
Convergence, calling for Aristide’s ouster.  Last week, Haitian businessmen, church groups, and 
intellectual leaders echoed the call of Convergence.  

The crisis in Haiti has necessitated more than 20 missions from the Organization of American States 
(OAS)—without result.  

In an interview last week, Aristide said he will not step down but that this year he will organize 
congressional and municipal elections, calling his adversaries to join him in forming an electoral council.  
On Wednesday, February 5, he received at the
National Palace some of his opponents, but the 
Convergence group declined the invitation.  

The OAS sent a team to Port-au-Prince to try one more time to bring the belligerents to the 
negotiating table.   

What has happened to Haiti since the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier on February 7, 1986?  
Many outsiders have given their opinions, almost always to be proved wrong. 
Haiti is Haiti…unique.  
There are voodoo shows for outsiders, but the real ones remain jealously guarded.   

At the beginning of 1986, the Reagan Administration commissioned a study to test the reaction 
of the Haitian people and the Duvalier Militia in the event of the dictator’s sudden departure.  
The study found that the Haitian Armed Forces would be able to handle the situation.  

One of the influential members of President Reagan’s National Security Council team offered safe 
conduct to
France to Baby Doc in exchange for his relinquishing the power.  Baby Doc accepted 
and fled, leaving his country in the hands of army General Henry Namphy, who immediately formed 
a military junta.  

Haitian politicians living abroad flocked to Haiti at the news of Duvalier’s departure, with the 
expectation of participating in the new process.  Some of them claimed that they had been 
responsible for the overthrow of the Haitian dictator.  Taken by surprise, General Henry Namphy, 
who himself loyally had served the Duvaliers, father and son, declared a democratic “bamboche” 
(fiesta) by abolishing the Duvalier militia and changing the country’s black and red flag back to the 
original blue and red.
 

Overnight, Namphy became politically correct.  The U.S. administration invited him to meet 
President Reagan and congressional leaders.  While in
Washington, he promised that Haiti would 
never return to the old order.  Walter Fauntroy, a member of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus,
said that Haitians should bow down and thank God that they had a president such as 
General Henry Namphy.   

Returning to Haiti, General Namphy introduced a new constitution, which provided for presidential, 
congressional, and municipal elections while eliminating from political activity for the next 10 years 
anyone associated with the former Duvalier regime. Haitians went enthusiastically to the polls 
to adopt this constitution, not realizing that Namphy had already chosen the future president.   

When the name of Leslie Francois Manigat, an activist university professor, was leaked, 
a coalition of politicians was formed to oppose both him and Namphy.  But Namphy prevailed 
by keeping unity within the armed forces, and Manigat became president.  

With all of those rivalries going on, nobody noticed the growing popularity of a 
diminutive priest from the slums of
Port-au-Prince, affectionately called “Titid” by the masses.  
Through his powerful and moving sermons, Jean Bertrand Aristide began to project the real 
aspirations of the Haitian people.  

Sure of himself after four months in office, President Manigat decided to fire General Namphy, 
but the army did not support this move.  The soldiers decided to overthrow Manigat, send him 
into exile in neighboring
Dominican Republic, and return General Namphy to power.  Namphy 
had been a disciplined officer throughout his career.  Although the beneficiary of the soldiers’ coup, 
he did not know how to deal with what he perceived as the soldiers’ lack of discipline.  What he 
did not know was that the soldiers were being maneuvered by officers.   

In less than two months, Namphy was taken prisoner by the same soldiers who had put him back 
into office and was exiled to the Dominican Republic.   

Colonel Prosper Avril emerged as the leader of the soldiers, who promoted him to the rank 
of general and made him president of the country.  Avril, having participated in the soldiers’ coup, 
was very much aware of the situation of the armed forces.  He immediately fired all senior officers 
above his former rank and, for the first time, created the position of sergeant-general, hand picked 
by the soldiers to be part of the Army High Command. Captains, majors, and other officers above 
his rank saluted Sergeant Hebreu, who paraded all over Port-au-Prince
in his new uniform.  
In all official ceremonies, Sergeant-General Hebreu stood next to General Avril.  

Some high-ranking officers were displeased with the situation and were making advances to the 
politicians in order to correct the situation. 

Prosper Avril was clever on Haitian questions, but he did not realize the importance of maintaining 
a good diplomatic front. His former ambassador at the United Nations was named as foreign minister 
and decided on his own to support the Arab position on the question of
Palestine. Israel reacted by 
removing its embassy from
Haiti
.  By the time Prosper Avril realized the catastrophe, the move was 
irrevocable.  Avril had lost all his allies in Washington
.

On the home front, Avril’s military colleagues made a coup against him, took him prisoner, 
and—for one night—an exchange of fire between the soldiers from the Palace and soldiers from 
the Barracks behind the Palace was so intense, people had the impression that Port-au-Prince was 
going to explode. Avril’s soldiers prevailed, and the rebel officers were sent into exile.  
Lt.-Col. Himmler Rebu, Col. Coileau, and Col. Philippe Biamby, three of the puschists, were sent 
to the
Dominican Republic, then to New York, where they were jailed for six months and later on 
were sent to exile in
Caracas, Venezuela
.  Others in the plot, including Col. Herard Abraham and 
Major Michel Francois, remained quietly in the army.   

The U.S. administration, which was enjoying the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of 
the Cold War, suddenly turned its attention to Haiti
.  It called for civilian rule and summoned 
General Avril to pack.  Pack he did and was provided a lucrative exile in
Boca Raton, Florida.  

The civilian factions in Haiti resumed their rivalries but finally reached a consensus to support 
for president a woman justice on
Haiti ’s highest court.  Ertha Pascal Trouillot, a little-known figure, 
assumed the presidency with the goal of organizing a real election, while still excluding the 
Duvalierista from participating.   

All was going well when, unexpectedly, a former chief of the political police of Baby Doc Duvalier 
returned to the country from his exile in neighboring
Dominican Republic.  Roger Lafontant, former 
minister of interior and police of Duvalier, decided that he would be a candidate for the presidency.  

The Haitian Armed Forces, which had been pushed aside from power, timidly allied itself with 
Lafontant, creating a general panic in Haitian political circles.  The political leaders on the scene, 
however, had never bothered to create a popular base and found themselves in a position of 
weakness.  With his popularity, Father Aristide appeared to be the only one who could help.

In a little apartment in Caroll Street, Brooklyn, New York, two Roman Catholic priests, 
Antoine Adrien and William Smarthe, and a human rights activist, Jonny Macalla, decided that 
Father Aristide should be the candidate to face Roger Lafontant.  But the problem was that 
although the priest was known as a political activist, he belonged to no political party.  Above all, 
a consensus had been reached by the political parties in Haiti
to put Victor Benoit, a Haitian teacher 
and activist, as their candidate for president.  

The fear of a return of the Duvalierista was so strong, Victor Benoit himself was convinced to 
accept the proposal from New York
“Titid,” the popular priest of the Haitian slums, was chosen 
as the candidate to face Lafontant.  

In the meantime, the Americans had their own choice for the presidency of Haiti .  It was 
Marc L. Bazin, a former official of the World Bank and also a former finance minister of Baby Doc 
Duvalier.  Bazin, who nicknamed himself “Mr. Clean,” was fired by Duvalier.  

Haitian leaders from abroad were mostly unknown people who had been living in exile for many 
years, sharing only one common background—their hate for the Duvaliers.  So it was not a surprise 
that when Ertha Pascal Trouillot finally organized the election in December 1990, before the ballots 
had even been counted, Aristide was declared president with a majority of the vote.  

Monitoring the election in Haiti, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Ambassador Andrew Young 
made a last attempt to save their candidate, Marc L. Bazin. They invited Aristide to their suite 
at the Hotel El Rancho in order to pressure him into naming Bazin as prime minister.  Aristide was 
indignant at the request and said no.  That was the beginning of a new era in Haiti
, where neither 
the Haitian Armed Forces nor the Americans had chosen the president.  

Aristide started his government by designating his alter ego, Rene Preval, as prime minister, 
contrary to the expectations of his own coalition group, which thought that either Victor Benoit or 
Evans Paul would hold that position.  But Aristide’s popularity was so overwhelming, they all 
acquiesced.   

Between the period of December 1990 and February 7, 1991, Lafontant, trapped in 
Port-au-Prince, staged an unsuccessful coup d’etat, giving even more popularity to 
Jean Bertrand Aristide, who, the day of his inauguration on February 7, eliminated the entire 
High Command of the paralyzed armed forces, conserving only General Herard Abraham.   

However, it was not long until a trusted Aristide aide, Colonel Raoul Cedras, was 
appointed as interim head of the armed forces.  Aristide was not ready yet to dismantle the 
armed forces.  He was waiting for the right circumstances.

Seven months later, in September 1991, General Cedras staged a coup and sent Aristide into exile.  
The international community reacted automatically and decided to isolate any government resulting 
from that coup.  Aristide went to
Venezuela, then to France, and finally ended up in Washington
where the government of George Bush decided to consider him as the head of state of
Haiti, 
providing him with all the necessary security and means to operate a government in exile.  

Although abroad for about three years, Aristide’s popularity kept growing at home, 
and the Clinton Administration decided, through the Security Council of the United Nations, to 
reinstate Aristide in power with the help of 20,000 U.S. Marines.  Along with Colin Powell and 
Senator Nunn, the same Jimmy Carter who had angered Aristide in 1990 negotiated the departure 
of the military. 

Aristide’s return to power appeared to have been done with some last minute hesitation by the Clinton 
Administration.  Aristide had been very reluctant to sign the Governor’s Island Accord, which Clinton’s 
top people seemed to have prepared.  Insiders said that
Clinton became quite irritated, and the other 
player, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations, almost washed his hands of 
the entire matter. 

Traveling to Port-au-Prince for the reinstallation of President Aristide, Clinton warned him in a speech 
that “in a democracy what is important is the next election.”  Aristide understood the message and kept 
quiet until the end of his mandate, when the power was passed to his former prime minister, Rene Preval.  
The U.S.
administration accepted the deal but was not happy.  However, there was no replacement for 
Aristide, unless a return to the Duvalier era was envisioned, which was not acceptable to them, either.   

The Clinton Administration had no choice but to accept the Preval government, which was a sure 
guarantee of Aristide’s return to power, which happened in December 2000.  Aristide, who had counted 
on a Democratic victory in the
U.S , was disappointed when George W. Bush, through a decision by the 
Supreme Court of the
United States, was declared the winner of the election.  The problems of the 
presidency of Jean Bertrand Aristide had really begun.

Two years later, his difficulties appear to be going from bad to worse, unless, in the meantime, he is 
able to designate an electoral council and organize free and credible elections.  


 

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
You may find of interest the following story which was published 2 years ago on March 3, 2001………..

ARISTIDE’S NEXT STEP….THE GOVERNANCE

By Serge Beaulieu

Elected for a 5-year term as president of Haiti , Jean Bertrand Aristide is facing the problem of quickly showing to a reticent international community that he’s able to govern.  

An 8-point program was outlined as a test to mark his performance.  So far, so good.  The rewards keep coming although the biggest, regarding the unblocking of millions of dollars in funds, is still under discussion.  

After forming a coalition government, which includes officials of the government of Haiti ’s former President Jean-Claude Duvalier, in the same manner, Aristide has just appointed a new Provisional Electoral Council for the forthcoming election when 10 Senate seats will be up for grabs.  

The U.S. Administration sent a letter that complimented Aristide on his inauguration.  

Although found uncooperative in U.S. drug efforts, the U.S. Administration has given Haiti a free pass from sanctions under a waiver that exempts states when such an action is deemed to be in America’s vital national interests.  This would result in the unblocking of $78 million in U.S. funds.  

In the field of immigration the current Haitian Constitution of 1987 forbids extradition of Haitians and thus nullifies a bilateral extradition treaty dating to 1904.  However, an agreement has been signed whereby the Haitian government promises to act diligently when the U.S. requests deportation or expulsion of either Haitian or non-Haitian nationals suspected of drug trafficking and wanted by the U.S. justice system.  

The new Aristide Administration is moving quickly to implement all requests formulated by the international community.  However, at the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister and the Ministerial Cabinet on Friday, the absence of the ambassadors of France , the United States , and Canada was noted.  In addition, it was reported that a group of Haitian Congressmen invited to Canada to attend a conference were denied transit visas to stop over in the United States .  

Has the Bush Administration got a firm policy toward the Aristide Administration?  Nobody knows yet.  But one thing is evident—both sides are trying very hard to patch up their differences.


                                                    


                                                                                                                                   

HANS BLIX AND EL BARADEI 
BRIEF A DEADLOCKED SECURITY COUNCIL ON IRAQ

United Nations, New York, February 14, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief


It was cooler than usual in the chamber of the U.N. Security Council on the
morning of February 14, when the Foreign Minister of Germany, Joscka
Fischer, pounded the gavel to open the 4707 meeting of that body, to discuss
compliance by Iraq of Resolution 1441. As usual, Dr. Hans Blix, Executive
Chairman of the United Nations Monitoring Verification and Inspection
Commission (UNMOVIC), spoke first on the issue.

"Since we arrived in Iraq, we have conducted more than 400 inspections
covering more than 300 sites. All inspections were performed without
notice, and access was almost always provided promptly. In no case have we
seen convincing evidence that the Iraqi side knew in advance that the
inspectors were coming."

Responding to the question: "How much, if any, is left of Iraq's weapons of
mass destruction and related proscribed items and programs?" Blix said, "So
far, UNMOVIC has not found any such weapons, only a small number of empty
chemical munitions, which should have been declared and destroyed."

"Another matter - and one of great significance," Blix continued, "is that
many proscribed weapons and items are not accounted for. To take an
example, a document which Iraq provided suggested to us that some 1,000 tons
of chemical agent were 'unaccounted for'. One must not jump to the
conclusion that they exist. However, that possibility is also not excluded.
If they exist, they should be presented for destruction. If they do not
exist credible evidence to that effect should be presented."

Dr. Blix continued to inform the Council of the decision by the Iraqi
authorities to permit the utilization of the U2 surveillance aircraft next
week, as well as the use of French Mirage supplied by France, Antonov
aircraft supplied by Russia, and the Drone supplied by Germany.

Dr. Blix was followed by Mohammed ElBaradei, Director General of the IAEA,
who addressed the issue of the status of nuclear inspection in Iraq. Mr.
ElBaradei reconfirmed his January 27 report that Iraq's nuclear facilities
have been destroyed and said there is no indication that the country has
resumed such activities.

The 15 members of the Security Council listened to the two statements with
deep attention, which was a clear indication that there was no smoking gun.

The first member of the Security Council to take the floor was the Deputy
Foreign Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic. That country usually jabs at
Israel for being a nuclear power, which it says has escaped inspection while
it has been forced on other countries.

The Foreign Minister of France, Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin, whose
intervention was awaited, clearly indicated that, once again, the visit by
the two U.N. officials proved that inspections have worked and that there is
no need for war. His intervention was so on point, when he finished, the
entire body applauded. It was a diplomatic victory for France.

China, another member of the Security Council, praised the inspections,
while the Foreign Minister of the United Kingdom reiterated his former
position that Iraq has not disarmed.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, in an improvised intervention, simply
indicated that Resolution 1441 is for Iraq to disarm, and Saddam has not
fully, completely, nor accurately complied. Therefore, Powell asserted, the
wording "serious consequences" in the resolution must apply against Iraq.
He stopped short of indicating what form the consequences should take.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation joined France by
indicating the inspection is working and that the organization has to
continue the process. It was a clear indication that the Council was
divided and was undecided whether to disarm Iraq or continue with the
inspection process.

In the meantime, France had made a diplomatic coup by presenting the point
of view of the French government with such clarity that one observer said:
"It is a great day for diplomacy as we used to know it."

 


        February 7, 2001

            President Jean-Bertrand Aristide            President Jean-Bertrand Aristide speaks during an interview with The Associated Press at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2003. At right is the national flag of Haiti. Confronting growing hostility at home and abroad, Jean-Bertrand Aristide defends his governance of a country falling apart, saying he's kept the historically violent nation at peace and that increasing strikes, violence and police brutality are no worse than in countries such as Venezuela and the United States. defends his governance, saying he has saved the country from chaos despite growing strikes, protests and unrest. (AP Photo/Daniel Morel)
                                                                                                                                    February 7, 2003

PRESIDENT JEAN BERTRAND ARISTIDE—OTRA VEZ  

By Serge Beaulieu

New York, New York, February 6, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
Jean Bertrand Aristide, the Catholic rebel priest-turned-politician, is entering the 3rd year 
of his second 5-year mandate as president of the turbulent, black
republic of Haiti .  
His first term in office was marked by a military coup that was denounced by the international 
community, leading the
United States to send 20,000 Marines to return him to power.  

Aristide’s second term is marred by controversy—his administration has been denounced for 
allegations of human rights violations and political assassinations, rigging elections, corruption, and 
making the country a safe haven for drug traffickers.  The international community has responded 
by blocking more than US$500 million of badly needed aid.  

Haitian political parties have regrouped themselves under the umbrella of a single group called 
Convergence, calling for Aristide’s ouster.  Last week, Haitian businessmen, church groups, and 
intellectual leaders echoed the call of Convergence.  

The crisis in Haiti has necessitated more than 20 missions from the Organization of American States 
(OAS)—without result.  

In an interview last week, Aristide said he will not step down but that this year he will organize 
congressional and municipal elections, calling his adversaries to join him in forming an electoral council.  
On Wednesday, February 5, he received at the
National Palace some of his opponents, but the 
Convergence group declined the invitation.  

The OAS sent a team to Port-au-Prince to try one more time to bring the belligerents to the 
negotiating table.   

What has happened to Haiti since the departure of Jean-Claude Duvalier on February 7, 1986?  
Many outsiders have given their opinions, almost always to be proved wrong. 
Haiti is Haiti…unique.  
There are voodoo shows for outsiders, but the real ones remain jealously guarded.   

At the beginning of 1986, the Reagan Administration commissioned a study to test the reaction 
of the Haitian people and the Duvalier Militia in the event of the dictator’s sudden departure.  
The study found that the Haitian Armed Forces would be able to handle the situation.  

One of the influential members of President Reagan’s National Security Council team offered safe 
conduct to
France to Baby Doc in exchange for his relinquishing the power.  Baby Doc accepted 
and fled, leaving his country in the hands of army General Henry Namphy, who immediately formed 
a military junta.  

Haitian politicians living abroad flocked to Haiti at the news of Duvalier’s departure, with the 
expectation of participating in the new process.  Some of them claimed that they had been 
responsible for the overthrow of the Haitian dictator.  Taken by surprise, General Henry Namphy, 
who himself loyally had served the Duvaliers, father and son, declared a democratic “bamboche” 
(fiesta) by abolishing the Duvalier militia and changing the country’s black and red flag back to the 
original blue and red.
 

Overnight, Namphy became politically correct.  The U.S. administration invited him to meet 
President Reagan and congressional leaders.  While in
Washington, he promised that Haiti would 
never return to the old order.  Walter Fauntroy, a member of the U.S. Congressional Black Caucus,
said that Haitians should bow down and thank God that they had a president such as 
General Henry Namphy.   

Returning to Haiti, General Namphy introduced a new constitution, which provided for presidential, 
congressional, and municipal elections while eliminating from political activity for the next 10 years 
anyone associated with the former Duvalier regime. Haitians went enthusiastically to the polls 
to adopt this constitution, not realizing that Namphy had already chosen the future president.   

When the name of Leslie Francois Manigat, an activist university professor, was leaked, 
a coalition of politicians was formed to oppose both him and Namphy.  But Namphy prevailed 
by keeping unity within the armed forces, and Manigat became president.  

With all of those rivalries going on, nobody noticed the growing popularity of a 
diminutive priest from the slums of
Port-au-Prince, affectionately called “Titid” by the masses.  
Through his powerful and moving sermons, Jean Bertrand Aristide began to project the real 
aspirations of the Haitian people.  

Sure of himself after four months in office, President Manigat decided to fire General Namphy, 
but the army did not support this move.  The soldiers decided to overthrow Manigat, send him 
into exile in neighboring
Dominican Republic, and return General Namphy to power.  Namphy 
had been a disciplined officer throughout his career.  Although the beneficiary of the soldiers’ coup, 
he did not know how to deal with what he perceived as the soldiers’ lack of discipline.  What he 
did not know was that the soldiers were being maneuvered by officers.   

In less than two months, Namphy was taken prisoner by the same soldiers who had put him back 
into office and was exiled to the Dominican Republic.   

Colonel Prosper Avril emerged as the leader of the soldiers, who promoted him to the rank 
of general and made him president of the country.  Avril, having participated in the soldiers’ coup, 
was very much aware of the situation of the armed forces.  He immediately fired all senior officers 
above his former rank and, for the first time, created the position of sergeant-general, hand picked 
by the soldiers to be part of the Army High Command. Captains, majors, and other officers above 
his rank saluted Sergeant Hebreu, who paraded all over Port-au-Prince
in his new uniform.  
In all official ceremonies, Sergeant-General Hebreu stood next to General Avril.  

Some high-ranking officers were displeased with the situation and were making advances to the 
politicians in order to correct the situation. 

Prosper Avril was clever on Haitian questions, but he did not realize the importance of maintaining 
a good diplomatic front. His former ambassador at the United Nations was named as foreign minister 
and decided on his own to support the Arab position on the question of
Palestine. Israel reacted by 
removing its embassy from
Haiti
.  By the time Prosper Avril realized the catastrophe, the move was 
irrevocable.  Avril had lost all his allies in Washington
.

On the home front, Avril’s military colleagues made a coup against him, took him prisoner, 
and—for one night—an exchange of fire between the soldiers from the Palace and soldiers from 
the Barracks behind the Palace was so intense, people had the impression that Port-au-Prince was 
going to explode. Avril’s soldiers prevailed, and the rebel officers were sent into exile.  
Lt.-Col. Himmler Rebu, Col. Coileau, and Col. Philippe Biamby, three of the puschists, were sent 
to the
Dominican Republic, then to New York, where they were jailed for six months and later on 
were sent to exile in
Caracas, Venezuela
.  Others in the plot, including Col. Herard Abraham and 
Major Michel Francois, remained quietly in the army.   

The U.S. administration, which was enjoying the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the end of 
the Cold War, suddenly turned its attention to Haiti
.  It called for civilian rule and summoned 
General Avril to pack.  Pack he did and was provided a lucrative exile in
Boca Raton, Florida.  

The civilian factions in Haiti resumed their rivalries but finally reached a consensus to support 
for president a woman justice on
Haiti ’s highest court.  Ertha Pascal Trouillot, a little-known figure, 
assumed the presidency with the goal of organizing a real election, while still excluding the 
Duvalierista from participating.   

All was going well when, unexpectedly, a former chief of the political police of Baby Doc Duvalier 
returned to the country from his exile in neighboring
Dominican Republic.  Roger Lafontant, former 
minister of interior and police of Duvalier, decided that he would be a candidate for the presidency.  

The Haitian Armed Forces, which had been pushed aside from power, timidly allied itself with 
Lafontant, creating a general panic in Haitian political circles.  The political leaders on the scene, 
however, had never bothered to create a popular base and found themselves in a position of 
weakness.  With his popularity, Father Aristide appeared to be the only one who could help.

In a little apartment in Caroll Street, Brooklyn, New York, two Roman Catholic priests, 
Antoine Adrien and William Smarthe, and a human rights activist, Jonny Macalla, decided that 
Father Aristide should be the candidate to face Roger Lafontant.  But the problem was that 
although the priest was known as a political activist, he belonged to no political party.  Above all, 
a consensus had been reached by the political parties in Haiti
to put Victor Benoit, a Haitian teacher 
and activist, as their candidate for president.  

The fear of a return of the Duvalierista was so strong, Victor Benoit himself was convinced to 
accept the proposal from New York
“Titid,” the popular priest of the Haitian slums, was chosen 
as the candidate to face Lafontant.  

In the meantime, the Americans had their own choice for the presidency of Haiti .  It was 
Marc L. Bazin, a former official of the World Bank and also a former finance minister of Baby Doc 
Duvalier.  Bazin, who nicknamed himself “Mr. Clean,” was fired by Duvalier.  

Haitian leaders from abroad were mostly unknown people who had been living in exile for many 
years, sharing only one common background—their hate for the Duvaliers.  So it was not a surprise 
that when Ertha Pascal Trouillot finally organized the election in December 1990, before the ballots 
had even been counted, Aristide was declared president with a majority of the vote.  

Monitoring the election in Haiti, U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Ambassador Andrew Young 
made a last attempt to save their candidate, Marc L. Bazin. They invited Aristide to their suite 
at the Hotel El Rancho in order to pressure him into naming Bazin as prime minister.  Aristide was 
indignant at the request and said no.  That was the beginning of a new era in Haiti
, where neither 
the Haitian Armed Forces nor the Americans had chosen the president.  

Aristide started his government by designating his alter ego, Rene Preval, as prime minister, 
contrary to the expectations of his own coalition group, which thought that either Victor Benoit or 
Evans Paul would hold that position.  But Aristide’s popularity was so overwhelming, they all 
acquiesced.   

Between the period of December 1990 and February 7, 1991, Lafontant, trapped in 
Port-au-Prince, staged an unsuccessful coup d’etat, giving even more popularity to 
Jean Bertrand Aristide, who, the day of his inauguration on February 7, eliminated the entire 
High Command of the paralyzed armed forces, conserving only General Herard Abraham.   

However, it was not long until a trusted Aristide aide, Colonel Raoul Cedras, was 
appointed as interim head of the armed forces.  Aristide was not ready yet to dismantle the 
armed forces.  He was waiting for the right circumstances.

Seven months later, in September 1991, General Cedras staged a coup and sent Aristide into exile.  
The international community reacted automatically and decided to isolate any government resulting 
from that coup.  Aristide went to
Venezuela, then to France, and finally ended up in Washington
where the government of George Bush decided to consider him as the head of state of
Haiti, 
providing him with all the necessary security and means to operate a government in exile.  

Although abroad for about three years, Aristide’s popularity kept growing at home, 
and the Clinton Administration decided, through the Security Council of the United Nations, to 
reinstate Aristide in power with the help of 20,000 U.S. Marines.  Along with Colin Powell and 
Senator Nunn, the same Jimmy Carter who had angered Aristide in 1990 negotiated the departure 
of the military. 

Aristide’s return to power appeared to have been done with some last minute hesitation by the Clinton 
Administration.  Aristide had been very reluctant to sign the Governor’s Island Accord, which Clinton’s 
top people seemed to have prepared.  Insiders said that
Clinton became quite irritated, and the other 
player, Boutros-Boutros Ghali, Secretary-General of the United Nations, almost washed his hands of 
the entire matter. 

Traveling to Port-au-Prince for the reinstallation of President Aristide, Clinton warned him in a speech 
that “in a democracy what is important is the next election.”  Aristide understood the message and kept 
quiet until the end of his mandate, when the power was passed to his former prime minister, Rene Preval.  
The U.S.
administration accepted the deal but was not happy.  However, there was no replacement for 
Aristide, unless a return to the Duvalier era was envisioned, which was not acceptable to them, either.   

The Clinton Administration had no choice but to accept the Preval government, which was a sure 
guarantee of Aristide’s return to power, which happened in December 2000.  Aristide, who had counted 
on a Democratic victory in the
U.S , was disappointed when George W. Bush, through a decision by the 
Supreme Court of the
United States, was declared the winner of the election.  The problems of the 
presidency of Jean Bertrand Aristide had really begun.

Two years later, his difficulties appear to be going from bad to worse, unless, in the meantime, he is 
able to designate an electoral council and organize free and credible elections.  


 

HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
You may find of interest the following story which was published 2 years ago on March 3, 2001………..

ARISTIDE’S NEXT STEP….THE GOVERNANCE

By Serge Beaulieu

Elected for a 5-year term as president of Haiti , Jean Bertrand Aristide is facing the problem of quickly showing to a reticent international community that he’s able to govern.  

An 8-point program was outlined as a test to mark his performance.  So far, so good.  The rewards keep coming although the biggest, regarding the unblocking of millions of dollars in funds, is still under discussion.  

After forming a coalition government, which includes officials of the government of Haiti ’s former President Jean-Claude Duvalier, in the same manner, Aristide has just appointed a new Provisional Electoral Council for the forthcoming election when 10 Senate seats will be up for grabs.  

The U.S. Administration sent a letter that complimented Aristide on his inauguration.  

Although found uncooperative in U.S. drug efforts, the U.S. Administration has given Haiti a free pass from sanctions under a waiver that exempts states when such an action is deemed to be in America’s vital national interests.  This would result in the unblocking of $78 million in U.S. funds.  

In the field of immigration the current Haitian Constitution of 1987 forbids extradition of Haitians and thus nullifies a bilateral extradition treaty dating to 1904.  However, an agreement has been signed whereby the Haitian government promises to act diligently when the U.S. requests deportation or expulsion of either Haitian or non-Haitian nationals suspected of drug trafficking and wanted by the U.S. justice system.  

The new Aristide Administration is moving quickly to implement all requests formulated by the international community.  However, at the swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister and the Ministerial Cabinet on Friday, the absence of the ambassadors of France , the United States , and Canada was noted.  In addition, it was reported that a group of Haitian Congressmen invited to Canada to attend a conference were denied transit visas to stop over in the United States .  

Has the Bush Administration got a firm policy toward the Aristide Administration?  Nobody knows yet.  But one thing is evident—both sides are trying very hard to patch up their differences.

 

Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial that he described as one that could contain anthrax, during his presentation on Iraq to the U.N. Security Council, in New York, February 5, 2003. With CIA Director George Tenet seated behind him, Powell used satellite photos to show before and after shots of suspected chemical weapons facilities that had mysteriously disappeared and played recordings of intercepted conversations between Iraqi military officials to make his points. Photo by Ray Stubblebine/Reuters

Secretary of State Colin Powell holds up a vial that he described as one that could contain anthrax, during his presentation on Iraq to the U.N. Security Council, in New York, February 5, 2003.

THE REVELATION
UPDATE 2:00 P.M.

United Nations, New York, February 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)

By Serge Beaulieu, U.N. Bureau Chief
and Leo Byam

It was 10:30 A.M. when a jovial Secretary of State Colin Powell walked through the packed Security Council chamber shaking hands with all diplomats on his way to occupy the permanent seat of the United States.

Although the meeting was scheduled for 10:00 A.M. under the chairmanship of Germany, it was not until 10:35 A.M. that Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer pounded the gavel to announce the opening of the meeting.

On each aisle of the chamber was a large screen with the caption: Iraq Failing to Disarm, February 5, 2003. The setting was reminiscent of the October 22, 1962 meeting of the Security Council on Cuba. Everyone’s eyes were on Colin Powell when he began his presentation with the standard: "Thank you, Mr. President." In a clear and firm military voice, Secretary of State Powell introduced the case of his government against Iraq’s failure to disarm by providing the history of more than twelve years of a cat and mouse play by the government of Saddam Hussein.

What everyone expected arrived soon enough. The Secretary of State played taped voice exchanges between a commander of the Iraq National Guard to his subordinate, giving instructions to hide chemical weapons before the arrival of the inspectors. The audio quality was clear, and Secretary Powell went on to explain in detail the meaning of those instructions. Once again, he reiterated Iraq’s intention to deceive the international community.

A second tape, similar to the first one, showed the intention of the Iraqi regime to hide forbidden stores of ammunition. The presenter went on to show satellite photos illustrating storage of forbidden ammunition and tankers in a town called Faji. Other photographs showed Iraqis moving material believed to be biological weapons.

Powell went on to accuse Iraq of having factories on wheels for biological weapons, crediting reputable sources reporting that more than 18 mobile trucks with mobile labs are moving all over Iraq in order to avoid discovery by the U.N. inspectors. Powell further accused Iraq of destroying or moving evidence. Some of the intercepted phone conversations talked about nerve agents.

On nuclear weapons, Secretary of State Powell insisted that Iraq is still conducting experiments in order to produce nuclear bombs. He indicated that Iraq was in already in possession of two out of the three necessary components to fabricate a bomb.

His last subject was the link between Iraq and the terrorist organization Al Qaeda. The Secretary stated that several members of that organization were the guests of the government of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, and he provided the names of some members who were actively pursuing well-known terrorist activities.

For close to one hour, Secretary of State Powell relayed his message.

One has the impression that there were a lot of reservations in his presentation to neither divulge sources nor expose the manner in which the activities were conducted. The Secretary kept repeating that Iraqi intelligence has an enormous capacity of collecting information.

After the meeting, China was the first permanent member of the Security Council to take the floor, indicating that the information giving by the American delegate should be transferred to the weapons inspectors so they can conduct further investigation.

The United Kingdom was the next speaker, corroborating the evidence presented by the United States.

Russia’s foreign minister intervened by saying that his government took very seriously the allegations of the representative of the United States and reiterated the concern of his government. He offered to put planes at the disposal of the inspectors, if necessary, for aerial surveillance.

All eyes were turned to France because of its previous position vis-a-vis the United States. The foreign minister stated that France, also, had listened carefully to the presentation of the United States and remained convinced that the work could be done better if, instead of choosing the path of war, we work with unity among ourselves by providing more data, even augmenting the number of inspectors, creating some permanent, sealed sites of inspection and conducting more aerial surveillance.

Germany, which was presiding over the Security Council meeting, took a similar stand as France, asking that the inspectors be permitted to do their work.

Speaking later, Iraq argued that that the only reason for Powell’s presentation was to sell the war to the American people.

One thing emerged at this meeting—both parties, the Americans and the Iraqis, referred to Hans Blix, the representative of the U.N. Secretary-General, as the credible expert upon whom their case rested.

Secretary-General, Kofi Annan was present at the meeting. Sitting directly behind him were Hans Blix and Mohamed El Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

One thing that should be noted was the presence among the 15 members of the Security Council of two female foreign ministers, one from Chile and the other from Spain, each speaking on behalf of their delegations.

(see earlier stories below)

 

                            

    Adlai Stevenson                                           Colin Powell
Showdown on Cuba                                      Showdown on Iraq

Stevenson - Powell

40 years later

The Great Revelation

UPDATE 9:00 A.M.

United Nations, New York, February 5, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief


The temperature was below freezing, and the muted, winter-blue sky was
dotted with fluffy, white clouds as reporters scurried Wednesday morning to
prepare their coverage of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech
before the U.N. Security Council.

The New York City Police (NYPD) blues were lightly visible in front of the
U.N. building, where several police cars were parked without blocking the
uptown traffic on First Avenue.

The United Nations did not double its security at the 42nd Street staff
entrance, and diplomats in their limousines continued to use their regular
entrance to get to the U.N. building.  The U.N. cafeteria, which offers a
full breakfast for less than $5.00, comprised of two eggs, home fries,
coffee, and toast, was packed with hungry reporters, cameras hanging around
their necks, anxious to finish their food in order to apply for a special
pass for access to the 2nd floor, adjacent to the Security Council chamber,
where the action will take place.

At 8:00 A.M., a U.N. information officer said, "So far, so good," while
security personnel with dogs were performing their last check before letting
the reporters into the special area reserved for them.

At around 10:00 A.M., the 15 members of the Security Council will convene to
hear U.S. Secretary of State Powell deliver what people believe will be a
knockout punch to Saddam Hussein.  Everyone is waiting, everyone hopes that
he will knock out his adversary, in the manner of Ambassador Adlai Stevenson
during the Cuban Missile Crisis, against his Soviet counterpart, Valerian
Zorin, on the morning of October 22, 1962. (see earlier story below)......


United Nations, New York, February 4, 2003 (CNS NEWS)
By Serge Beaulieu
U.N. Bureau Chief


U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is scheduled to address the U.N. Security Council Wednesday in order to deliver a final knockout to the credibility of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.  Insiders speculate that Powell will use the same method that U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson did in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis against his counterpart, Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin.

Stevenson: "Do you, Ambassador Zorin, deny that the U.S.S.R. has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range missiles and sites in Cuba?"

Zorin: "I am not in an American court room, sir, and therefore I do not wish to answer a question that is put to me in the fashion in which a prosecutor does."

Stevenson then gave a presentation with satellite photos, charts, and data confirming that the Soviets did have offensive missiles in Cuba, putting the world for the next 48 hours on the brink of a full scale war between the two nuclear superpowers.

The difference today is that Iraq is neither a superpower nor a member of the U.N. Security Council.  After the 15 members finish their debate, Iraq will be able to be part of the list of countries permitted to address the Council on that topic.  It is not a right, it is a privilege.

So what is it all about?

To this day, three conventions have been submitted to the United Nations.  The first is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction.  (Opened for signature in London, Moscow, and Washington on April 10, 1972. Entered into force: March 26, 1975.)

The second is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, signed at Paris on January 13, 1993 and entered into force on April 29, 1997.

The third is the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), opened for signature on September 24, 1996 and not yet in force.  In the meantime, France, India, Israel, Pakistan, and now North Korea have joined the atomic powers.

Where does Iraq fit into those three conventions?  After the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq and the subsequent coalition war by the United States and its allies against Iraq, one of the conditions of peace was for Iraq to destroy its stockpile of chemical and nuclear weapons, subject to inspection and verification by the U.N.

Since the end of that war, Iraq has been using a cat and mouse strategy with the United Nations inspectors, although Hans Blix himself, the Secretary-General's representative, has clearly indicated that Iraq is no longer capable of producing and delivering mass produced nuclear material.  Although ambiguous in his analysis, Blix has left open the possibility that the Iraqis may still be hiding some of their known bacteriological and toxin weapons, thus providing the president of the United States the ammunition to claim that Iraq is not disarmed.

In fact, what happened is that the two parties are not talking the same language.  President Bush is talking about disarming and a change of regime in Iraq, warning that it is the sovereign right of the United States to make Iraq comply and, if possible, to do it alone if the United Nations refuses to authorize it.

At the United Nations, especially in the Security Council, most of the delegates are talking about inspection verification and non-compliance by Iraq.  The two languages are not the same.

France and Germany, especially Germany, which was burned by the Nazi atrocities in World War II, refuse to embark on a war which, from time to time, takes the tone of a religious war against the Muslim faith, with the possibility of a nuclear strike by a superpower.  France was a colonial power, ruling over Arab lands, and finds itself uneasy in this situation. Consequently, those two countries have been characterized as in defiance  against the mighty power of the United States, which, since the disintegration of the Soviet Union, has become the sole superpower. 

Germany, which is not a permanent member of the Security Council, nevertheless serves as its president for the month of February, making its situation more ambiguous.

At a press conference Tuesday, German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger, speaking as president of the Security Council, was bombarded with questions about the position of his own country, although he began by giving details of the activities of the Security Council for the month of February.  The press even asked him to anticipate his position on Wednesday, if delegates want to engage in a Stevenson/Zorin-style 1962 debate.  The press conference was a prelude to what may be happening on Wednesday.

A calm Gunter Pleuger said, "I will be in the hands of the Council."

The Wednesday meeting will be at the level of foreign ministers, making behind-the-scene negotiations very difficult.  There will be no possibility for a Stevenson/Zorin-like debate, since Iraq is not a member of the Security Council, unless France, as a permanent member of the Council, decides to challenge Colin Powell's presentation.

Already, some high level officials in the Bush Administration are questioning the viability of France as an ally.  U.S. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has been quoted as stating that France and Germany are old Europe.