Haiti Democracy Project web page item #1945 (http://www.haitipolicy.org)
Counterpoint Maxine Waters: Propagandist or Ignorant?
By Raymond A. Joseph
Is Congresswoman Maxine Waters a paid lobbyist for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide?
Since the beginning of this year, she has been to Haiti three times, the latest trip occurring this past weekend, accompanied by her husband Sidney Williams.
The pro-Aristide couple traveled first class along with Ira Kurzban, the Miami lawyer-lobbyist for the Aristide government. Along were Fred Mitchell, the foreign minister of the Bahamas, who recently declared that Aristide is more popular than the opposition, and Colin Granderson, the vice president of CARICOM, the Caribbean Community organization.
On January 1, Maxine Waters was the only Black Congressional Caucus member to accompany Mr. Aristide to Gonaives for a shortened celebration of Haiti’s bicentennial as an independent nation. (Her husband tagged along.)
In a long diatribe February 18 against Andre “Andy” Apaid, coordinator of the Group 184, Maxine Waters said, “Yesterday, I returned from a trip to Haiti, where I observed the escalation of political violence that occurred over the weekend. This was my second trip to Haiti so far this year.” The she left Miami on February 21 on her third trip.
Has Ms. Waters been on official duty for Congress or for the Black Congressional Caucus during her three trips to Haiti in seven weeks? Who pays for expenses, especially the high-priced first class seats for herself and her husband? It’s more than $900 round trip per person from Miami to Port-au-Prince. In the case of the Congresswoman and her husband, one must add excess of $1,000 per person. A round trip coach ticket Miami- Port-au-Prince can be had for $400.
Do American taxpayers have to pick up the tabs? Or is it the Haitian government robbing from the poor in the “poorest country in the Western Hemisphere” to maintain Waters and company in luxurious style?
It is noteworthy that Roger Noriega traveled in coach aboard the same flight with Maxine Waters and consorts who claim to be fighting on behalf of the poverty-stricken Haitians.
One must wonder what Maxine Waters must have felt when she heard that Roger Noriega was heading the so-called mission of last chance to Haiti. In a letter February 18 signed by her and three of her colleagues-Barbara Lee (D. Cal), John Conyers (D. Mitch.), and Jan Schakowsky (D. Ill), she told Secretary of State Colin Powell, “We are also concerned about the suitability of the State Department official who has been put in charge of leading negotiations over international efforts to restore law and order in Haiti. Ambassador Roger Noriega, Senator Jesse Helms’ former chief of staff, has a long history of being aligned with the Anti-Aristide business owners in Haiti and undermining the democratically-elected government of Haiti. Ambassador Noriega is working closely with the opposition in Haiti. The ambassador’s statements on the current political crisis have been extremely one-sided, showing evidence of clear bias in favor of the opposition and against President Aristide. There is no chance whatsoever that Ambassador Noriega will be seen as a fair, neutral mediator in any discussion involving the Haitian government and the Haitian opposition.”
Maxine Waters arrogantly concludes, “We believe that it is appropriate for Ambassador Noriega to recuse himself from the Administration’s negotiations regarding the political future of Haiti. FI he is unwilling to recuse himself, perhaps he should be removed from these negotiations and a more even-handed and credible diplomat appointed to handle these negotiations.”
Considering that Ms. Waters’ husband is a former Ambassador to the Bahamas, he certainly could be a “more even-handed and credible diplomat,” one that could carry out his wife’s wishes!
Ms. Waters asserts that Andy Apaid is “a Duvalier supporter who allegedly holds an American Passport” and that he “obtained permanent resident status in Haiti through deceptive means”. Actually, Andy was born in the U.S. of Haitian parents of Lebanese ancestry. The Haitian Constitution says “is Haitian citizen whoever is born of two Haitian parents who never renounce their citizenship.”
Apparently the programmers of Ms. Waters have failed to feed her some pertinent information. Several high officials of the Aristide government are American citizens who are barred by the Haitian Constitution from holding their posts. Take Yvon Neptune, the Prime Minister and Jean Gerard Dubreuil, the Under Secretary of State for Security who is the boss of the gabs that gave been causing havoc in Haiti on behalf of the regime that are both American citizens. Frantz Gabriel, nicknamed “B-12”, is the expert helicopter pilot responsible for the “Second Massacre of Raboteau” last October; Annette “Sister Ann” Augustine is the president’s voodoo medium; Dr. Jean Claudes Desgranges, Mr. Arsitide’s cabinet chief and medical doctor, hails from Miami where his wife, Farah Juste, still resides. She, herself was once Minister of Women’s Affair under the Lavalas regime. WE could go on and on, but we’ll close this chapter with Mildred Troullot Aristide, the American-born wife of the president, who still travels with the American passport. Her two daughters-7 year old Christine Aristide and 6-year-old Mitchealle Aristide-were born in Haiti, but hold American passports. How hypocritical can Ms. Waters be? Or is she that ignorant of the facts?
As for Andy Apaid being a “Duvalier supporter,” Ms. Waters should know that the so-called Minister of Justice, Calixte Delatour, was not only a Duvalier supporter, but the adviser of General Raoul Cedras, the leader of the September 1991 coup against her beloved president.
It is fashionable now to resurrect the ghost of FRAPH, the Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, because Jodel Chamblain has joined the rebels in the Artibonite and Central Highland regions. (He was seen again Sunday in Cap Haitien when the rebels took over Haiti’s second largest city.) But how does Ms. Waters reconcile the fact that the Lavalas mayor of Cite Soleil, F. Joseph, was also a FRAPH commander? It’s simple, if the criminals are working for her president they must be absolved of all wrongdoing.
Ms. Waters is being used as a propagandist who knows nothing or who fails to acknowledge that President Aristide is no democrat. He had built his power on the backs of various gangs – “The Cannibal Army,” in Gonaives, “The Saddam Hussein Army,” in the North, “Clean Sweep,” in St. Marc, “The Red Army,” in Cite Soleil, “The Sleep in the Woods,” in Petit Goave and several others.
The current crisis that exploded in the wholesale violence in Haiti is the result of Aristide’s own perfidy. He had armed the “soldiers” of his self-styled “Cannibal Amy” with weapons far superior to those of the police. Their “mission” consisted of harassing, repressing and even killing Aristide’s real and perceived enemies. After the mayhem they had caused on December 17 2001 in Gonaives, the Organization of American States (OAS) approved Resolutions 806 and 822 in January and September 2002 which, among other things, demanded the dismantling of the pro-government gangs and the trial of their members in a court of law. Instead, Aristide ordered the execution, last September of Amoit Metayer, the head of the “Cannibal Army” who had threatened to reveal some damaging secrets about his boss. Now his followers have risen against their boss and have turned their guns on him. It’s as simple as that.
Andy Apaid of group 184 and the political parties, especially those in the Convergence Democratique have been demonstrating without arms fir the past two years to draw the attention of the international community-to no avail. Now that the armed rebels are using the same method with their old master and are joined in their fight by former army soldiers, Maxine Waters wants to paint all opponents of Aristide with the brush of “terrorists who are destabilizing the democratically elected” president. We’d only say, “Whoever sows the wind will reap the whirlwind.”
We would also advise Maxine Waters to look into the role played by her idol in drug trafficking. Certainly as an American legislator, she wouldn’t want to be known as a defender of a drug kingpin. She talks about allegations that can’t be proven when reference is made to Aristide’s implication in the drug trafficking. Perhaps she will want to attend the sentencing of Jacques Beaudouin Ketant, who was indicted last year in Federal court in Florida for transporting 40 tons of Colombian cocaine through Haiti between 1987 and 1997. When he escaped from the U.S. authorities in 1997, he found refuge under the wings of President Aristide, who became his partner from 1997 until his arrest last June. He lived in an extravagant palace worth more than $3 million and a habitué of Tabarre, the president’s mansion. He even christened one of the president’s daughters. Ms. Waters might also want to interview Eliobert Jasme, nicknamed “ED-One” who is also jailed in Florida after he was captured in Haiti by the Feds. This ED-One has testified about his dealings with the president for whom he financed several projects with drug money.
The crimes committed against journalist, including Jean Dominique and Brignol Lindor who were assassinated in broad daylight should have discouraged Maxine Waters from identifying herself with criminals, even if they are presidents. AS a journalist who is using the cover if officialdom to tarnish the reputation of my compatriots. We certainly hope that an investigation by the proper authorities may reveal what motivates this Congresswoman who seems to be ignorant of the facts. We hope that in the final analysis she will admit that she only repeated what she was told to say. But that’s no excuse, she should have known better.