Senator Christopher J. Dodd
United States Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations

November 1, 2002

Dear Secretary Powell:

On October 31, 2002 the Washington Post ran a brief article highlighting official United States frustration with the government of President Aristide  of Haiti with comments from the United States Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS), Roger Noriega. According to that article Ambassador  Noriega seems to hold the view that President Aristide has refused to  negotiate with the opposition and has wasted opportunities for resolving the current political stalemate. Nothing could be further from the truth. As  you must be aware, President Aristide accepted the OAS proposal for resolving  the current political crisis, and has shown all appropriate willingness to deal with the opposition, despite the opposition’s rejection of the OAS  proposal.  In light of this, I am interested to know if Mr. Noriega’s  comments were quoted accurately, and if so, if they reflect the views of the Administration on the situation in Haiti.

As you know, President Aristide has given every indication that he is moving  forward in good faith to hold elections next year, and instead of undermining  this process with undeserved criticism, the Administration should be encouraging members of the Haitian opposition to participate in the ongoing  electoral process. I have no doubt that the Administration’s support for  Haitian efforts to resolve Haiti’s economic and political difficulties would  enhance the chances of success.  In that regard, I was very pleased by the Administration’s recent support for the decision to unfreeze Inter-American  Development Bank loans to Haiti.

Mr. Secretary, the people of Haiti continue to suffer greatly, and as we have  seen this week in dramatic footage off the Florida coast, they are willing to  risk their lives for a chance at a brighter future.  We need to work together  to do everything in our power to address the plight of the Haitian people.  We must come to their aid, and we must keep in mind that it is the people of  Haiti who must be our concern, and not the flaws of their political  institutions.

I appreciate your continued support during this difficult time in Haiti, and  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

 Sincerely yours,

Christopher J. Dodd
United States Senator