Haiti Democracy Project

Roger Noriega 10/30/02 at the Inter-American Dialogue.

The gist, not verbatim. See following item for full prepared text. These notes also include Q and A, in some respects more outspoken.

Notes by James Morrell, Haiti Democracy Project

Ambassador Roger Noriega:

Since 1994 the United States has spent $3 billion on Haiti, including $1.2 billion in direct bilateral aid. Yet today we are stuck in the mud. It is not the people, it is the leadership. A series of flawed, indeed farcical elections. Government has been irresponsible. As to President Aristide?s efforts to comply with OAS resolutions 806 and 822, it has been a discouraging record. The government has not met its commitments and not made progress. It has yet to produce its own report, as it is obligated to do. Has yet to prosecute the perpetrators of the December 17 violence. Inquiries into the violence are far from complete. Reparations have yet to be paid. As far as ending impunity, we are losing ground. Metayer is at large. There are no steps to rearrest him. The Lindor indictments of ten, fine, but absent among them is the FL official who instigated that murder. Judge may release some of the ten. Little movement on the Jean Dominique case. The preliminary report of the government on compliance with 806 was inadequate, we need results. Now the government on reparations has put forward new requests for information such as formal title, and they seem to be picking and choosing whom they pay. The delay undermines confidence, they need to make full payment. This is an unfulfilled commitment to the international community. It?s essential to heed this commitment. Otherwise the participation of the opposition in the CEP is problematic, as well as their participation in the elections. On October 10 five of the nine sectors to nominate members of the CEP wrote the president asking for an international security presence and other measures. These were reasonable demands to enable their participation. There has been no response.

 The United States is dissatisfied with the continuing police involvement with drugs. The Hurricane2 operation was a setback. Information leaked from the police. The raids came up empty because they had been tipped off. Elected officials in the Nord worked against the operation. Fifteen percent of all the cocaine reaching the United States goes through Haiti. We don?t have confidence in the police. Too many senior police officers are involved in drugs. There needs to be a housecleaning. Our embassy has asked the government to remove them, some have been removed.

 Thugs threaten the elections with violence. It is very difficult to create a secure environment. Aristide must make a more forceful call against violence.

 There are 870 cadets training at the police academy. The United States and the OAS members are willing to provide technical assistance in police protection of the elections. Broader aid to the police as a whole, that would depend on Aristide.

 Disarmament remains high on the agenda. We ned to get the mayors and the popular organizations disarmed.

 The United States is the largest donor to Haiti. In the last two years, we have put in $120 million. More than $1 billion since 1994. In some quarters this is called an embargo. From May 2000 to September 4 of this year there was a consensus among Haiti?s bilateral aid donors and the IFIs that further IFI aid should be contingent on a political agreement to correct the elections. This using of leverage of IFI aid is normal around the world. The leverage didn?t work because of the complete lack of confidence, the level of distrust, between the government and opposition. Resolution 822 broke this linkage. IFIs will now review using their normal criteria of feasibility and accountability. However, if Haiti does not follow the path it agreed to in Resolution 822, its future is at risk.

 The United States will not participate in support a farcical election. After the May 2000 election, the election commissioner had to flee for his life for refusing to endorse the falsified results.

 James Morrell asked what sort of security presence the U.S. government might be contemplating, in response to the request from the sectors nominating members of the CEP.

 Noriega. It would not be a large troop presence. We would attempt to use the police to monitor the process. These would be outside, international monitors. It would be nice, for example, if Canada could send thirty thousand policemen to be traffic cops and everything. It won?t happen.

 Ambassador Preeg asked about the November 2000 election of Aristide. The CEP was skewed in favor of FL. The opposition boycotted. The observers pulled out. Only 5 or 10 percent voted. Can we say that he is the democratically elected president?

 Noriega. He was accepted de facto as the legitimate president. The election was seriously flawed but he was accepted as the de facto president.

 Question about disarmament.

 Noriega. They know where the guns are.

 Question about refugees by Patricia Weiss Fagen.

 Noriega. The vast majority are economic. It?s pull, not push. So we discourage them from coming. We?re rigorous in reviewing claims for political asylum. We haven?t changed the standard.

 Noriega, returning to disarmament. The popular organizations operate with the forbearance, which is the kindest way to put it, of Aristide. We call on him to disarm them. If he is unwilling, we will wait until he passes on before we would cooperate.

 Peter Hakim asked what would the United States do if there was no progress.

 Noriega doubted that Aristide would do anything. We have the objective indicators laid down by the OAS. If he breaks his commitments, he will be on the way to illegitimacy and Haiti on the way to being treated as a pariah state by the United States.

 Steve Griner asked about the OAS democracy mission and democratic charter.

 Noriega described the mission and noted again the present class at the police academy. The mission could be the focus of technical assistance.

 As far as the democratic charter, it is evoked rather than invoked. The OAS members didn?t want Haiti, the poorest country, to be the subject of its first outing. The OAS would have been on the way to suspending Haiti. The members didn?t want to do that. It is a draconian solution, it says the charter has failed, rather they want to use the measures in the charter to fix the situation. The Haitian government, however, won?t use the self-help measures of Article 17. Now we expect just those states who were strongest in this position to be most vigorous in urging Aristide to comply.

 Associated Press. Did Noriega regret the 1994 intervention?

 Noriega recalled going to Haiti right after the intervention and saying it was Haiti?s best chance. He told President Aristide that. Haiti had completely wasted that chance.

 Question from the U.N. Foundation.

 Noriega. Welcome U.N. reinvolvement in Haiti alongside OAS, would be especially welcome in security.