Latortue: A Liar - Statement of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

P. Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Pretoria, South Africa

                                October 20, 2004
                                
Latortue: A Liar

    October 1, 2004, one day following a lawful demonstration in Haiti, de facto prime minister Gerard Latortue acknowledged that he is a killer.  In a publicly broadcast radio interview about the demonstration he declared: "We fired on them.  Some died others were wounded, and others fled."   

A shocking and appalling admission; all the more reprehensible when made by a so-called public official. The statement was confirmed the next day when the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti reported that Marguerite Saint-Fils, Maxo Casséus, and Piersine Adéma had in fact been shot and killed.  (IDJH Human Rights Alert, October 2, 2004, at www.IDJH.org)  Latortue crossed the line; he unleashed a new torrent of repression in Haiti and is now looking for a scapegoat.  He is attempting to bury his self incriminating statements with lies.

    Latortue´s lies come after his salute of convicted criminals as "freedom fighters"; his de facto government´s exoneration of one in a hasty, overnight trial; his consent in allowing soldiers of the disbanded brutal army to take charge and remain in charge of entire areas of the country; and his sanctioning their use of violence. (The New York Times, October 16, 2004)

    Last week a delegation of Pax Christi USA, the Catholic peace movement, visited Haiti on a human rights fact finding mission.  Their report concluded that:

Human rights conditions are worse in Haiti now than they have been in years. We agree with the Haitian people that the forced exile of President Aristide by the U.S. was effectively a coup that eliminated the elected government of the people and replaced it with an illegally appointed government of the minority…Many of the democratically elected government leaders and their supporters are in prison and thousands have been made into refugees in their own country while former military, gangs and rebel affiliated with those in power are often allowed to do as they please…The Haitian constitution and international law are being openly violated. (www.HaitiAction.net)

    Latortue, stop the lying, stop the killings.  Start paving the way for a dialogue which we have unceasingly invoked these past three and a half years.  

True dialogue is the only solution. With the lives of millions at stake, public officials must act responsibly.  As we have repeatedly declared: violence and murder are not the answer.  During these past eight months thousands of Haitians have been killed in defense of democratic principles.  The Haitian people clearly want peace and a return to a state of law. Let us work to bring a tumultuous bicentennial year to a close with a lasting political solution that is imperative to the future of our nation.

                        
                            Jean-Bertrand Aristide

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Forwarded by the Haitian Lawyers Leadership
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