Originally: Open Letter to Secretary of State Colin L. Powell

Port-au-Prince, Haiti
January 9th, 2004
Subject: Your comments on Haiti during the January 8th, 2004 press conference.
Dear Secretary of State Powell:
We are writing you on behalf of an unprecedented and historical gathering of the Civil Society and the Political parties of Haiti. During your press conference of January 8th 2004, you invited the parties to consider the Haitian Bishops’ proposal as a way out of the current crisis.
This proposal was made back on November 20th,  2003, prior to the violent events that took place on December 5th at two universities, where partisans of Mr. Aristide brutalized and shot a number of students and broke the legs of the State University?s President, under the passive and complicit eye of a faithful Aristide Police Commissioner. After this event, many bishops came out publicly to say that their proposal was obsolete and that Mr. Aristide must resign.
Mr. Secretary, most of our Civil Society member Institutions have for the last three years promoted the idea that a compromise like the one contained in the Bishops’ proposal be adopted. We have been credited with much of the compromises reached during the negotiations held in 2001 and 2002 under the hospices of the OAS.
However, today Mr. Secretary, the evidence is clear to all sectors of our society–Businesses, Unions, Lawyers, Doctors, Teachers, Students, Peasants, Women organizations, Intellectuals, Artists, as well as the traditional Aristide Popular bases–that Dialogue with Mr. Aristide is futile. The United States has had a firm no-dialogue policy in dealing with terrorists; it is therefore unthinkable to us that the United States Government expects our members to enter into a dialogue with Jean Bertrand Aristide who has unleashed his ?Chimeres? (thugs) against fellow countrymen. In Haiti, in spite of international and U.S. warnings, Mr. Aristide is denying us the basic right to peacefully gather and express our opinion. This right to peaceful assembly is a strong cornerstone of the rights accorded to citizens of your country.  We only ask for the same.
If Mr. Aristide were sincere in his “desire” to follow the Bishops’ proposal, or any other proposal for that matter, then how could he have allowed the multiple recent violence against peaceful protestors to occur?  How could he have allowed his personal police force to masquerade in civilian clothing to blend into the crowd and shoot at innocent victims, and at the official police?  The protesters were peacefully demonstrating. President Aristide, as it is well known by the State Department and all other entities, was presented that proposal back in November 2003 and flatly rejected it.  Now, after weeks of having heightened the level of brutality and intimidation at the peaceful protesters, including students, he states that he is willing to accept the Bishops’ Proposal.  We realize that he is making a desperate attempt to cling  to power.  Too many crimes have been committed!
 People were murdered, Secretary Powell.  People were maimed, beaten, shot at, crippled, their properties pillaged and destroyed, as a result of Mr. Aristide’s public support and encouragement of the atrocities being witnessed, not only in Port-au-Prince but in provinces around the country as well. In his speech of October 17th, Mr. Aristide stated 42 times the phrase ?blood calls for blood?.
Mr. Powell, it is indeed sad that, as Haitians, we had to hear a noncommittal response from a prominent personality of the United States of America, such as yourself regarding our country.  It does not do justice to our struggle to rid our country of a violent dictator such as Aristide.
 We, as a group, are irrevocably committed to this position.  Aristide must resign according to the ROAD MAP RESOLUTION presented on December 31st, 2003 by the DEMOCRATIC PLATFORM OF CIVIL SOCIETY AND POLITICAL PARTIES. This resolution shows the society?s consensual way out of the crisis, in order to assure that a peaceful and non-chaotic transition follows Mr. Aristide?s departure from power.
Mr. Secretary of State, as you prepare to possibly meet Mr. Aristide in Monterrey, Mexico, we strongly encourage that he receives from the United States and other participants the strongest warnings for his brutal ways with which he impairs the democratic process in our country.
Aristide is the problem, not the solution.

For the Civil Society:                                     For the Political Parties:
Groupe 184                                                     Convergence Democratique
                                                                       Autres Parties Non-Alignes
Operacion Pou Kore 15 Decembe