Originally: CNN Wolf Blitzer Reports
In Haiti, meanwhile, increasing violence is pushing the country closer toward complete chaos. Insurgents want President Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of power. Today rebels in the Caribbean nation took over a police station and killed the chief.
Our national security correspondent David Ensor is joining us with more on the story that could have serious implications on what’s happening here in the U.S.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well that’s right, Wolf. Haiti is not strategically important, but it is close by. And that is why U.S. officials are monitoring the situation very closely indeed.
ENSOR (voice-over): The rebel forces are growing in size, observers say, as exile paramilitary troops return to Haiti to join the fighting. The rebels accuse security forces of indiscriminate shooting.
BUTERR METAYAH, HAITI REBEL LEADER: We try to get ourselves out of power, because if he killed some people. And then, what now? He don’t want to go.
ENSOR: The rebellion started ten days ago in tandem with large peaceful demonstrations against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide which continued in Port au Prince. U.S. military intelligence officials are watching closely for their nightmare scenario, watching to see if desperate Haitians begin to build boats, as they have in the past, to make the dangerous journey to U.S. shores.
In the ’90s, troops from the U.S. and other nations helped to ease out a military government and oversee elections in the Caribbean nation of about eight million people. After being ousted once before, Aristide, a former priest, was elected president again most recently in 2000. U.S. officials regard his government as a failure but they do not want another coup d’etat.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We will accept no outcome that in any way illegally attempts to removes the elected president of Haiti.
WILLIAM JONES, FMR. U.S. AMBASSADOR TO HAITI: We should certainly take the lead in forming a coalition and working through international organizations, and I do not think that the American taxpayer should be saddled with a bill for once again coming in and trying to solve the problem in Haiti.
ENSOR: Some experts say the paramilitaries in Gonaives include drug profiteers who want chaos so they can increase drug shipments through Haiti.
HENRY CAREY, HAITI DEMOCRACY PROJECT: Something like 20 percent or more of cocaine transshipped from Colombia comes through Haiti to the United States.
ENSOR: U.S. officials are watching events closely concerned about the chaos, hunger and boatloads of refugees could follow if the instability goes on for much longer — Wolf.
BLITZER: David Ensor watching this important story for us. Thank you very much.