Radio Signal FM pre-interview analysis:
Commander Guy Philippe, the leader of the National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti (FRNLH), has said that many people see him as an election rival but what he did for Haiti in helping to get rid of ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide “was not done for political interests” but to remove the yoke of a dictatorship from the Haitian people. Speaking in a radio interview, Philippe insisted that he “was not fighting for positions, for a gift” but to improve the living conditions of the Haitian people. He also denied that his tours round the country are the beginning of a political campaign. Philippe also dismissed allegations that have been made against him of drug trafficking, said that the resources to support his forces came from “the people” and added that those who are saying that his U.S. visa was canceled because of links to drugs should go to the U.S. embassy and look for evidence.
For about three weeks, a great deal of information has been reported about the movement that was carried out by the National Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of Haiti (FRNLH) in various regions of the country. Even before Jean-Bertrand Aristide left the country, the FRNLH controlled more than 65 per cent of the country’s territory, that is five departments, including the Northwest, Artibonite, Plateau Central, the North and the Northeast.
The front had to enter Port-au-Prince. Unfortunately, the front did not have time to do so. There were many delays. In order to shed light on all these issues, this morning Philippe is going to be interviewed live.
Immediately after Aristide’s departure, many reports were carried by various journalists who associated Philippe, Philippe’s movement with drug lords who used to operate in the country. They even say today that Philippe has ties with Ecuadorans who are very deeply involved in drug trafficking. They even ask many questions about where Philippe found the financial means to lead this movement, to maintain all these men, all these soldiers, to feed them, to give them ammunition, to pay for their lodgings and so on.
In addition, Jean-Robert Lalane, a well-known citizen in the North–he is the coordinator of the Opposition Front of the North (Fron)- – has told many truths.
In an article published in Le Figaro, it is said that Philippe was bluffing the Americans when he said he was accompanied by more than five thousand people, whereas he crossed the border with only seventeen people and two handguns. There are many such things: it is also said that Philippe manipulated the press.
I was perhaps the subject of manipulation, because I was the only Haitian journalist who went to Gonaives, Cap-Haitien, Saint-Michel de l’Attalaye, and so on. Well, good morning, Philippe. This morning, we want to shed light on the movement that has given rise to so many reactions. Today, it is said that your five fingers are as white as cotton, given that you are so involved in cocaine. Good morning, Philippe.
“Many people see me as an election rival”
Philippe, the first article that was published in Le Figaro reports that you had bluffed the foreigners, that you did not really have people with you, that you were just applying pressure and that you had barely sixty people who did not have more than seventeen weapons among them, according to an interview given in the North by Lalane to a Le Figaro journalist.
Philippe, what clarifications can you actually make about the movement? Were you really bluffing? Or what happened? I think you can tell the whole truth this morning.
I always said that I never said how many weapons we had and I shall not disclose today how many we had. You were present as a journalist. Many journalists were there. Anyway, the work that was done was not that of the five thousand people I used to say I had.
I always say that I have more than 5.5 million people. All Haitian people were the soldiers who were waging the struggle together with me. Today, I have heard all of the criticisms, all of the attacks. This is normal. I understand. Many people think that we came here to play politics. Many people see me as an election rival –
“What interests me now is the poor living conditions of the Haitian people”
A future candidate?
It is normal that they attack, attack and attack. As I have always told you, I do not waste my time answering either people who say that I crossed the border with two weapons or people who talk about drugs. In fact these things do not interest me.
What interests me now is the poor living conditions of the Haitian people and how we can find a way to improve these living conditions, to see whether we can find a means to educate the people, a way to get the country out of the extreme poverty it is experiencing now.
I shall not waste my time answering either Lalane or Lionel Trouillot, who wrote in Liberation that I am involved in drug trafficking. These things do not interest me. I am here. As I have always said, I am an open book. They can come, open the book and take what they want. By the way, Interpol can carry out its own investigations and look for the money. The money must be somewhere. Look for the evidence. The evidence must be somewhere. When they find the evidence, I shall surrender, if it is true.
But Guy, this movement did not last thirty minutes or forty-eight hours. It took several weeks. You had with you many soldiers, former soldiers whom I saw. Some people were coming to register at the Mont-Joli Hotel where you stayed in Cap-Haitien. Unfortunately, we were not yet prepared to let the listeners hear, live, the first impressions of Philippe when he arrived in Gonaives.
In fact, how did you manage to maintain these soldiers? You had vehicles in your hands, you had fuel and so on. How did you do it? What means did you have?
You were in Cap-Haitien. They can go to the hotels where we stayed or to the people who fed us. You can go to Saint-Michel de l’Attalaye, Hinche, Plateau Central and Gonaives and you will see that the movement is kept alive by the people. You will realize the men sleep in places given to them by the people. They are fed by the people. In Cap-Haitien, they are fed by the people of Cap-Haitien. This is an investigation that they can carry out.
It is an entire people who were struggling. It is a pity that, today, for political reasons, some people are trying to discredit a movement that has freed a country, a movement that has got rid of one of the biggest dictators the country ever had. Now they want to discredit it.
Because I stand as the military leader, they want to attack me because they think I am their rival. As for me, I am telling them that I am not their rival, that I am not a crooked dealer like them. I have not come here to do crooked deals and make people happy. Nobody can buy me. If the fact that they cannot buy me prompts them to believe that it is because I already have money and that I made this money thanks to drugs, that is their problem. I am not Aristide. I shall come here and then let these corrupt people buy me and do whatever they want with the country and thus plunge it into an abyss worse than the one in which it is.
“I do not need to defend myself… what I have done for the country was not done for political interests”
Guy, the information also says that you used to do the deal so well that you even said once that your boss is Aristide, your boss is Aristide. By the way, has the United States in fact canceled your visa for involvement in drug trafficking?
Let me tell you, I believe that the question that people say that I used to say that my boss is Aristide is a joke, because Aristide is not somebody I know well. I have always said that I met him only twice in my life. It is a pity. Actually, I do not yet know why people say that I was close to Aristide. I was never close to Aristide. By the way, when I entered the country, Aristide did not want to allow me to join his police.
I entered the country in 1995. I do not know if they are confusing me with someone else. How could I have so many ties with Aristide? When I came as a police officer, both Aristide and Fourel Celestin, who was the director of the police at that time, did not accept me in the police. I joined the police under President Preval, with Denize as director-general and Bob Manuel as secretary of state for public security.
I met Aristide only twice. Once, he invited me to his home with all of the officers on December 26 . The second time was before the May 2000 elections. I have already told the press about the latter invitation.
The information that is circulating today is that Philippe is one of the people who are involved –
As I said, I am not going to defend myself. I am not going to defend –
Is it true, as it is said here, that the United States has canceled your visa for involvement in drug trafficking? When did the United States make this decision?
Well, I think that the people who are saying these things do not know what they are talking about. The embassy is there. The United States is there. Everybody is there. They can go to the embassy, ask questions and look for evidence.
As I told you, I did not come here to defend myself against a meaningless accusation. I came here just to give my opinions on what is going on, on what is being said. I do not need to defend myself. The men must understand that what I have done for the country was not done for political interests. I am not like a number of people who are fighting for jobs.
By the way, I do not accept jobs and, as I always promise, this is not the purpose of our presence here. We have done a job and we want to do it to the end so that the living conditions can change. We came to do a job. These little mulattos or shootings near my neighborhood or at my car will not intimidate me.
I understand the men. Many of them have been bluffing the people for a long time, negotiating to the detriment of a people for their personal interests. All of them–many of them were not doing anything serious. They do not have any legitimacy among the people. Nobody sides with them. Nobody likes them. So, the only consideration is that they should eliminate Philippe.
A political campaign?
But many people are also very worried, Guy. While you are saying that you do not have political ambitions, many people interpret your tours throughout the country – you were in Jacmel, Petit-Goave – as the beginning of a campaign.
Listen. I asked the people for support in order to overthrow Aristide. You were in Gonaives with us. You were in Cap-Haitien with us. We always say that we are moving along with the people and that it is the people, the students and so on who have to overthrow Aristide. We are accompanying them in their struggle.
So if they have fought such a great battle and the dictator is gone, I believe that it is normal, as a military commander, for me to go and thank the group of people who helped us to fight the battle. If they want to interpret it as a political campaign, that is their business. I have not come here to please anybody except the Haitian people.
As I say, if today they have reached a level where they are attacking, attacking and attacking continuously, it is because they feel that they are weak. It is because they feel that the people have rejected them and no longer want them. So, in their opinion, Philippe is the enemy and must be eliminated.
“I was not fighting for positions, for a gift”
Some people say the fact that Philippe is left out is a disappointment, given the great battle he led. Many people say they are disappointed on behalf of Philippe, because they expected him to be in a very important position, either within the police or elsewhere. Are you disappointed, too?
I do not feel disappointed, because I always say that I was not fighting for positions, for a gift. The reason for my struggle was the satisfaction that I have done what was necessary for my country at the right time. If another dictator comes and thinks that he can do the same as Aristide, we shall do the same thing again.
Not with the same means, because you announced that you would surrender the weapons.
Listen, all people have the right to defend themselves. All people have the legitimate right to defend themselves when a dictator is weighing them down. Therefore, we are happy with the current team. We would like them to get together and to work well so that strong institutions can be established so that nobody can do what Aristide did, so that nobody comes and takes all of the country’s power, while manhandling people and stealing the country’s funds.
I am not afraid of those who waste their time trying to attack me.
I believe that, instead of wasting time trying to eliminate Philippe, it would be better for the men to get together and see how they can keep the country from returning to what it was and how they can get the Haitian people out of their current poverty. I believe that is what they should do, instead of wasting time trying to attack me. Anyway, I am telling them that I am not afraid of them, that I was not afraid of Aristide, who had an army of chimeres, I have no reason to be afraid of these men, who have spent a long time doing crooked dealings against the Haitian people.
From the way you are speaking, you give the impression that you know some of them.
Listen. Everybody can see where all these attacks come from. The origins of these attacks are clearly identified. Anyway, I am saying that this work is not being done by Lavalas or chimeres.
What Philippe studied in Ecuador
298-4372 and 298-4373 are the telephone numbers that listeners can dial to ask you any questions on the battle that was fought and the fact that accusations are being brought against you. Guy, you were in Ecuador. You went there to study. Undoubtedly, you learnt many things. What were you specifically studying in Ecuador?
I attended the Police Academy and then a law school that is part of the academy. As I say, the article speaks of Guy and the Ecuadoran clique. They have the right to say whatever they want; they can do whatever they want.