At the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Monday, September 8, 2003. Address by Assistant Secretary of State Roger F. Noriega on U.S.-Latin American relations.

Ira Lowenthal, anthropologist and founding board member of the Haiti Democracy Project, put the following question to Ambassador Noriega: How much longer would the United States and the Organization of American States allow themselves to be played for fools by Aristide and how much longer would they allow him to mock Resolution 822 of the OAS, while the situation of the Haitian people under a corrupt regime grew ever more dire. There were many courageous people who were coming forward in Haiti in favor of democracy; U.S. support for them had not materialized; when would it?

Ambassador Noriega:

Yes, the U.S. intervention to return Aristide in 1994 has ended up a complete failure, due to the Haitian leaders? inability and lack of willingness to move the country along a democratic path.

Corruption of all sorts is indeed one of the most serious problems that Haiti will have to address.

The United States recognizes that economic sanctions are not the best weapons to bring the government to comply with the 822 requirements.

The United States is closely involved in facilitating and monitoring the implementtion of Resolution 822.

The United States fully supports the mission that has been entrusted by the OAS to Amb. Terence Todman, namely to lead the country to free and fair elections once the government meets the necessary conditions in terms of security.

The United States is currently assessing the performance of Ambassador Todman’s mission in Haiti on a weekly basis, not monthly.

Sunday’s brutal events in Cap Haitian by government thugs are a sign that Ambassador Todman has a tough challenge ahead of him.

It is difficult for the United States to unilaterally call for any sanctions against the Haitian government for noncompliance with Resolution 822 under the framework of the Inter-American Democratic Charter without the support of the Caricom countries. Not much can be achieved on the multilateral front vis-a-vis the current state of affairs in Haiti, given the posture of the Caricom countries.