Social contract of the Group of 184

On May 19, the Haiti Democracy Project hosted a presentation by a member of the Group of 184, the civic group that led the opposition to the Aristide regime in 2003. The event, held in the Haiti Democracy Project office, was attended by a number of members of the Haitian-American community. The Group of 184 was represented by Bellegarde Berthony, director of its work on the Social Contract. The costs of Mr. Berthony’s trip were undertaken by the Haiti Democracy Project.


Click here to start the slide show about the Haiti Democracy Project’s interaction with the highly qualified members of the Washington-area Haitian-American community.

  Project adds environment to its quiver

With the contribution of the distinguished environmentalist Paul Paryski, the Haiti Democracy Project adds environmental protection formally to its list of purposes and activities. This follows our two fundraising drives for flood victims and our visit to Gonaives (during which we delivered one check).


 Project Briefs U.N. Ambassadors on Eve of Security Council Trip

On April 8, 2005, a delegation of the Haiti Democracy Project met with the U.S. and other ambassadors headed for Haiti as part of the historic mission of the Security Council April 13-16.

Led by Amb. Timothy M. Carney (since resigned), the delegation drew the U.N. diplomats’ attention to important, specific flashpoints that will need Haitian and international attention in the coming months. Most of these points are covered at greater length in our March 2005 trip report, relaying the findings of the mission led by Ambs. Carney, Lawrence A. Pezzullo, and Ernest H. Preeg.

  • Penetration of the transition regime by elements linked to violence of the former government, the ex-army, or drug traffickers. If allowed to fester, this problem could undermine prospects for the elections.
  • The reality that the former president remained in contact and was clearly politically active in Haiti. This political activity needed to be squared with the conditions of exile.
  • The mass unemployment and lack of prospects for young people made young men vulnerable to temptation of the gangs. There needed to be an immediate public-works program to create a sense that the democratic path could provide for the future.
  • Recent political traumas had undermined Haitians’ faith in the democratic process and particularly in elections. A greater public-educational effort was needed to create a sense of anticipation for the elections and an understanding of their potential to finally deliver a legitimate, constitutional government. Top officials of the U.S. government needed to involve themselves in conveying this message.
  • The police, judiciary, and MINUSTAH (U.N. mission) each needed to be reinforced by concrete inputs:The police should receive reinforcements from seconded or retired Haiti-American, -Canadian, or -French police personnel. They should have powers of arrest and either form an additional brigade of the police or reinforce CIVPOL.

          –The judiciary, almost completely paralyzed, should be temporarily bolstered by special tribunals led by a combination of experienced foreign and Haitian judges.

          –MINUSTAH should get an air-mobile capacity to enable it to quickly reinforce police stations in rural areas, where otherwise the unopposed presence of the gangs, ex-army, or drug traffickers would threaten the elections.

   Haiti Democracy Project sends representative to Canadian conference on the diaspora. Conference attended by prime ministers of Canada and Haiti and head of U.N. mission to Haiti. The project was represented by Claire Gabriel, associate, of Silver Spring, Md., a federal worker.

A Delegation to Move Haiti Forward by Haiti Democracy Project
With new photos: To regain the momentum towards a successful transition, the project sponsored a delegation of Haitians and U.S. supporters who saw eight members of Congress and ranking executive officials.

Haiti Democracy Project delegation members meet with Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) on November 17. From left: James Morrell, project executive director; Frandley Denis Julien, formerly with Initiative Citoyenne in Cap-Haïtien; Arielle Jean-Baptiste, project associate; Congresswoman Watson; and Robert Nicolas, director of overseas programs for the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church.

The Haiti Democracy Project is a Washington-based research group promoting the cause of settled, responsive government in Haiti and U.S. policies that conduce towards this end. The project:

  • publishes papers and books
  • holds seminars and public meetings
  • hosts delegations
  • sponsors fact-finding missions
  • testifies for asylum applicants
  • maintains the largest web page on Haiti’s democratic development,

From April 2002 the Haiti Democracy Project was the clearest voice in the United States calling for progress beyond personalistic rule to free elections and for U.S. policies equal to this task. We did this with a series of conferences, position papers, delegations, and media impact that significantly raised the intellectual level of the debate in Washington, where before the launching of our program, paid lobbyists of the personalistic regime held sway.

In mid-2002 we pointed out the dilemmas of a Bush administration policy caught between either withholding aid to the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, or restoring it and so confirming a government that was ruling by force. At our opening event in November 2002, our board chairman Amb. Timothy M. Carney (U.S. ambassador to Haiti, 1998?99) warned that U.S. policy was beset by special interests.

In December 2002 we issued a position paper, drafted by founding board member Ira Lowenthal, defining as a policy imperative the invoking of the OAS democratic charter to create minimum conditions for a free election. These recommendations looked forward to an international role robust enough to protect the relaunching of democratic institutions and prevent the country from dissolving into armed conflict. In an article simultaneously appearing in the Miami Herald, founding board member Amb. Lawrence A. Pezzullo warned that the situation must not be allowed to spin out of control, or the men with the guns would prevail. This accurately predicted what would happen fourteen months later.

The Haiti Democracy Project survives, barely, on individual donations. You can help us bring facts to the policy process and assist Haiti with elections, administration of justice, and development. Donations are tax-deductible and may be made out to Haiti Democracy Project and mailed to:

Haiti Democracy Project

2303 17th St., N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20009

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Again in February 2003 we pointed out the revival of civil society as exemplified by a broad coalition, the Group of 184. In an op-ed published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, founding board member Clotilde Charlot called for U.S. policy to base itself on the democratic sector in Haiti.

As the project emerged as the only unambiguous voice for democratic progress in Haiti, the Washington-area Haitian-American community rallied to our activities, meeting en masse with State Department representatives and members of Congress. Distinguished spokespeople and champions of democracy in Haiti, like Judge Claudy Gassant, police chief Jean-Robert Faveur, radio host Michel Soukar, community organizer Frandley Denis Julien, university president Prof. Pierre-Marie Paquiot, and former foreign minister Gérard Latortue (currently interim prime minister) graced our seminars and strengthened our delegations.

We held our conferences at the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Cathedral School, St. Michael?s Church in Silver Spring, Md., the Ramada Inn at John F. Kennedy Airport, and the International Foundation for Election Systems.

In January 2004 more than three hundred members of the Haitian-American community attended an informational rally we held at Sheridan Circle, Washington, to express solidarity with the embattled pro-democracy demonstrators in Haiti.

As the Haiti crisis reached the boiling point in February 2004, our delegations of former ambassadors and Haitian and American policy analysts led by Ambassador Carney and of progressive business people from Haiti saw Sens. Bob Graham and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Reps. Howard Berman (D.-Calif.), James Oberstar (D-Minn.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Diane Watson (D-Calif.), Cass Ballenger (R-N.C.), Mark Foley (R-Fla.) and some two dozen other members of Congress to make policy recommendations.

At the height of the crisis at the end of February 2004, the project supplied all the pro-democracy witnesses to appear at hearings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee: Ambs. Carney, Pezzullo and Orlando Marville (former chief of OAS electoral mission in Haiti), Professor Paquiot, and (indirectly) independent author Michael Heinl.

In April 2004 the publisher of an influential Haitian newspaper rated the Haiti Democracy Project as the third or fourth most important U.S. factor leading to the change in Haiti. In 2004 alone, our activities were cited in more than sixty-nine major-media articles and broadcasts.

In June 2004 we presented Prime Minister Latortue in his first public appearance in Washington with the Haitian-American community and U.S. policy analysts. Over two hundred people attended the event, at which founding board member Amb. Ernest H. Preeg (U.S. ambassador to Haiti, 1981?83) presented a paper, “Why Haiti Is Not a Failed Nation.”



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 The Haiti Democracy Project presented Prime Minister Gerard Latortue in his first public Washington appearance, June 10, 2004.

The seminar was held at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Amb. Ernest. H. Preeg, founding board member, presented a paper, “Why Haiti Is Not a Failed State.” 

Introduction by Amb. Timothy Carney, then-chairman, board of directors, Haiti Democracy Project, and former U.S. ambassador to Haiti, 1998-99. (Since resigned to take up position of charge d’affaires to Haiti from August 2005.)

Introduction by a member of the Center for Strategic and International Studies

Remarks by Prime Minister Gerard Latortue


Recent Haiti Democracy Project outputs


  Although the U.S. Shouldn’t Dictate to Caricom, the Organization’s Position on Haiti is Nonsensical, by Amb. Orlando Marville, in the Barbados Daily Nation. Posted May 16, 2004.  Ambassador Marville is a founding board member of the Haiti Democracy Project and former chief of the OAS election observers’ mission to Haiti in 2000.


 Haiti Democracy Reports on Assessment Mission. Report of a project mission to Haiti, April 12-16, 2004. The new regime in Haiti sits atop a mountain of problems. No one of them at the present moment is at crisis stage, but a number of them have that potential. Posted May 11, 2004.


  Haiti Democracy Project Presents at Law School Forum.

On May 4, 2004 the Haiti Democracy Project appeared at the forum “Haiti in Crisis: Search for Democracy” sponsored by the International Law Society and the Black Law Students? Association at the Pace University Law School in White Plains, N.Y. Also appearing was Ira Kurzban, attorney for former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

James R. Morrell, executive director of the project, gave a presentation entitled “1804-2004: Liberation, Re-liberation.”


Haiti Democracy Project: New Regime Struggles Against Devastation

Presentation at World Affairs Forum at Tulane, “Summit on Haiti,” April 23, 2004.

At Tulane University, project presents findings of its assessment mission to Haiti April 12-16. New government found central bank cleaned out, hospitals ransacked, and agriculture ministry burned down. Yet no sense of urgency in Bush administration.

Summit on Haiti
Friday, 23 April
10:00 ? 15:00
Tulane Law School


Purpose of Program:
The recent events in Haiti, including the American intervention, have brought this political and social crisis into the world spotlight.  The World Affairs Forum at Tulane University has been presented with unparalleled access to leading commentators regarding the legality of the recent intervention and the future prospects for rebuilding Haiti.  Further, we are fortunate enough to have available to speak individuals who experienced the recent crisis first-hand to provide insight into what really happened during these trying times.  We look forward to presenting more insight into the situation in Haiti and the variety of opinions and visions for the future of this important country.

Program (subject to change)
Panel One  10:00 ? 11:45  Subject: Intervention in Haiti
– MODERATOR: Professor Richard Watts, Tulane University
– Dr. William Bertrand, Payson Center, Tulane University
– Professor Pierre Marie Paquiot, President, State University of Haiti
– Mr. Larry Birns, Council for Hemispheric Affairs
– Mr. Herve Saintilus, President, Federation of Haitian University Students
– Mr. Gervais Charles, Attorney, Group of 184
– Mr. Rene Julien, Amicale des Jurists, Haiti

Lunch  12:00 ? 13:00  Break / Lunch for panelists and other invited guests

Panel Two:  13:00 ? 14:45   Subject: Future of Haiti
– MODERATOR: Professor Winston Riddick, Southern University
– Andy Apaid, Group of 184
– James Morrell, Haiti Democracy Project
– Mr. Ira Kurzban, Attorney to Mr. Jean-Bertrand Aristide
– Professor Günther Handl, Tulane Law School

– Professor Heberne Edmond, Professor Southern University
– Mr. Beausejour Jean Coty, Interim National Coordinator for CITPAH

We have confirmed co-sponsorship with:
– Stone Center for Latin American Studies, Tulane University
– Tulane University Law School, Tulane University
– Tulane Law School International Law Society, Tulane University
– Foreign Lawyers at Tulane University, Tulane University
– Tulane Law School Federalist Society, Tulane University
– Payson Graduate Students Association, Tulane University
– Tulane Law School Human Rights Society, Tulane University



Haiti Democracy Project Questions High Payments to U.S. Lobbyists

Interview: Arielle Jean-Baptiste of the Haiti Democracy Project and Ira Kurzban, Miami-based legal counsel for Jean-Bertrand Aristide, discuss future of Haiti and Aristide

National Public Radio, Tavis Smiley Show, 2004-04-21




Now available:


Precis of Haiti’s Democratic Movement by Claude Moise. Translated and Published by Haiti Democracy Project

The most comprehensive and penetrating analysis of Haiti’s democratic movement from the return of Aristide in 1994 to the regrouping and re-energizing of today. A must-read to understand recent process leading to Aristide ouster. English version available only from Haiti Democracy Project.

To get your copy, click here and include the word “Crosses” in the subject line of your e-mail, as well as your mailing address. This must be included for us to send it to you. A risk-free examination copy will be sent. Unless you are satisfied, you owe nothing.

Table of Contents

Coming out of the coup d’etat. Lavalassian normalization. The crisis. The derailment. Rethinking Haitian democracy. Redefining the rules of the game.


The question facing us today is how can this movement hope to carry the torch of Haitian society’s future if it does not understand how and why it failed with Aristide.

Chapter One

The American military presence constituted the security guarantee needed for the resumption of the democratization process.


Recent Haiti Democracy Project Outputs


Project Joined in Sponsoring Demonstration in Washington, D.C. in Sympathy with Protesters in Haiti

Student protester recovers from beating by Aristide gangs

From our contemporary flyer:


  • Date: Friday, January 30, 2004

  • Time: 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

  • Place: Front of Haitian embassy, 2311 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

    Rally  Finished at Sheridan Circle (one block from the embassy)


Throughout the country, Haitians are demonstrating to denounce President Aristide as a despot leading their homeland farther down the path of total economic collapse, poverty, corruption and repression. Students, democratic activists and average citizens are daily attacked with machetes, guns and other weapons by the Haitian National Police (HNP) and pro-Aristide thugs at demonstrations demanding an end to Jean-Bertrand Aristide痴 regime. At least forty-six people have been killed and more than one hundred wounded in the violence since December 2003.

The Haiti Solidarity Rally sought to support the Haitian people with a call for an end to violence and human rights abuses perpetrated by the Aristide regime and to urge international support for a democratic alternative to the current leadership. This was the first pro-Haiti democracy rally in Washington since 1994, when Aristide was returned to Haiti by the United States. Some five hundred people attended.


  • Prof. Pierre Paquiot, Rector of the State University of Haiti. Mr. Paquiot痴 legs were broken by Aristiders during an attack on the university campus Dec. 5, 2003. He is currently receiving medical treatment in New Orleans. 

  • Leon Manus, election commissioner, 2000 legislative elections.

  • Lolo Beaubrun, Boukman Eksperians band.

  • Sen. Yrvelt Chery, former Haitian senator from 1995-2001. 

  • Yanick Lahens, prizewinning Haitian novelist, representative of Group of 184

  • Gervais Charles, president of Port-au-Prince bar, representative of Group of 184

  • James R. Morrell, executive director, Haiti Democracy Project

  • Arielle Jean-Baptiste, associate, Haiti Democracy Project

  • The Haiti Solidarity Rally was co-sponsored by:

  • Haiti Democracy Project

  • Haitian American Nationalists for Democracy (HANDS)

  • League of Overseas Haitian Young Professionals (LIJECH)

  • Agency for the Development of Haiti.

It was endorsed by:

  •  Coalition in Solidarity with the Haitian People, Miami

  •  Groupe de Reflexion,  New York


Further information:

Arielle Jean-Baptiste, Haiti Democracy Project, 202-588-8700,


January 27-31, 2004:  Haiti Democracy Project Hosted Prof. Pierre-Marie Paquiot, president of the state university, in Washington, DC


 The Haiti Democracy Project (HDP) hosted the president of  the State University of Haiti (UEH), Mr. Pierre-Marie Paquiot from January 27-31, for a series of meetings with policymakers in Washington, DC and the Haitian-American community. Professor Paquiot was a victim of the attacks waged by pro-government mobs on students and faculty at UEH on December 5, 2003.  Mr. Paquiot痴 legs have been broken, and since then, he has had to flee the country along with his family. Mr. Paquiot is currently undergoing medical treatment in New Orleans.
Agenda of Dr. Paquiot痴 Visit in Washington, DC

Wednesday,  January 28, 2004

11:15am                                         Meeting w/Rep. Cass Ballenger + members of Congress at 2170 Rayburn HOB

03:00pm                                         Voice of America  – Caribbean Perspective w/ Derrice Dean–Panel Discussion live radio show

 for Pierre Marie  

                                                        Paquiot and Maitre Gervais Charles vs. Marx Aristide and Larry Birns.
Thursday,  January 29

10:00am                                        CSIS meeting w/think tanks and universities, 1800 K Street, NW


03:15pm                                         Meeting w/Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega

04:00pm                                         Meeting w/PDAS Michael Kozak at DRL , State Dept.

Friday,  January 30

10:00am                                       Prof Paquiot meets w/ IFES President Richard Soudriette

                                                      Contact: Lesley Richards 202/ 828 8507

11:30-3:00pm                              Rally in front of Haiti Embassy 2311 Mass Avenue NW

Saturday, January 31
10:00am                                      Professor Paquiot has an interview w/Canadian Broadcasting Company at NPR studios–

                                                    CBC will provide transport to and from studios.

Presenting the Alternative

On October 24 the project had a community meeting, “Report from Cap-Haitien” by Frandley Denis Julien, coordinator of Initiative Citoyenne (Group of 184).  He was introduced by Amb. Timothy Carney, U.S. ambassador to Haiti 1998・9.  Julien did a Powerpoint presentation of the Group of 184’s Social Contract and its aspirations for a new Haiti.

Click here for more on the Cap-Haitien people’s struggle and the Haiti Democracy Project program in their behalf.

When: Friday, October 24, 6:00・:30 p.m.

Where: National Cathedral School, Hearst Auditorium ・3609 Woodley Road, N.W. ・Washington, D.C. 20016

Washington’s policy toward Haiti is rooted in the belief that there is no alternative. In fact, the democratic movement that overthrew Baby Doc in 1986 is reviving. A broad civil-society grouping has formed, and social-democratic political parties are cooperating. The Haitian people are in the streets protesting economic misery and political repression.

The Haiti Democracy Project is pleased to bring to the United States a series of representatives of the broad civil-society grouping, the Group of 184, and other democratic voices from Haiti. The Julien visit inaugurates this series.

Other recent Haiti Democracy Project outputs:

June 2003:

The police chief of Haiti had to leave that country in a hurry.  In his letter of resignation Jean-Robert Faveur cited improper pressure by President Aristide personally and his minions to get him to politicize the police. Rather than comply, he resigned. The Haiti Democracy Project  presented him at his first public appearance since fleeing Haiti. Important step toward bringing pressure for a neutral, professional police to protect elections. Public and press came Friday, June 27, 12:30 p.m. at Brookings Institution.  Complete coverage:
Pictures | Resume | Documents | Miami Herald | Associated Press | Radio Metropole

“Haiti: The Perils of a Rush to the Exits.”  Haiti Democracy Project contributes chapter to book by Policy Exchange. If you’re going to intervene, as the U.S. did in 1994, you’d better stay until the job is done.

Impact of September 11 on Bush’s Haiti policy. Project delivers paper at Latin American Studies Association, Dallas, March 28, 2003. Does the chaos in Haiti open up a vacuum close to U.S. shores?

Can an Empowered Civil Society Pull Haiti Out of its Crisis? Project-sponsored discussion on March 14 at Brookings Institution with Micha Gaillard and Jean-Claude Paulvin.

“Bridges to the Policy-makers,” February 22, 2003 event at St. Michael’s Church, Silver Spring,  Md. with Haitian-American community and

  • Michel Soukar
  • Mary Ellen Gilroy, State Department
  • Judge Claudy Gassant

Project joins human-rights organizations in protesting abuses.

Our presentation at University of Miami North-South Center conference stresses role of civil society.

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Just Say No: How the OAS’s General Assembly Can Stop the Descent into Dictatorship.  Policy brief recommends again that OAS invoke democratic charter and plan transitional administration to hold elections.

 Project recommendations to OAS on review of high-level mission, Permanent Council meeting, April 3, 2003:  (1) Invoke Democratic Charter and (2) begin work on transitional administration capable of holding elections.

 Op-ed version of earlier study in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, April 8, 2003.

  A Broad-based Civil Society Coalition Offers Hope for Haiti痴 Beleaguered Democracy  – Research brief by Haiti Democracy Project. Paper delivered at Latin American Studies Assn. 2003 meeting.

 Une large coalition de la societe civile apporte de l’espoirHaiti Democracy Project. French translation of above.

 Op-ed version of above article published in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, January 13, 2003. By Ira Lowenthal and Clotilde Charlot

U.S. Policy Imperative in Haiti  – Research brief by Haiti Democracy Project, December 12, 2002
U.S. should help Haiti move expeditiously to the creation of a transitional government charged with the all-important task of getting the next elections organized properly.

 Pour une response adequate de la politique ameicaine ・l’evolution recente de la situation haitienne – Haiti Democracy Project.  French translation of above

 Haiti Democracy Project Board Member Pezzullo Called It Right in 1994 by Oakland Ross, Toronto Star. See below for Pezzullo’s articles

 U.S. Must Take Lead in Developing Peaceful Transition Plan – op-ed by Amb. Lawrence Pezzullo. December 15, 2002. U.S. must move now while there’s still time to craft a peaceful outcome. Don’t wait until it spins out of control, support Haitian transition.

You Can’t Just Invade by Haiti Democracy Project adviser Amb. Lawrence Pezzullo. Article in the Baltimore Sun. You can’t just put someone in. If the country doesn’t have a democratic tradition, you can’t cede policy control to the next guy and expect things to be any different. Originally published November 10, 2002.

Opening of the Haiti Democracy Project on November 19, 2002 – Photos by Rick Reinhard

Opening of the Haiti Democracy Project by Alice Blanchet
Over 120 people were on hand for the official launching of the Haiti Democracy Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington on November 19.

 L’ouverture de Haiti Democracy Project

Haiti Democracy Project Is a Group Designed to Help America Find a Policy – Amb. Timothy Carney

 Aristide Has No Future: Haiti Democracy Project Adviser Amb. Timothy Carney by Frances Kerry, Reuters

An Election None of Us Would Accept by Amb. Orlando Marville, member of Haiti Democracy Project advisory board, former chief, OAS electoral observation mission

  Unity Statement of 184 Organizations.

 French original

Project joins human-rights organizations in protesting abuses.

Our presentation at University of Miami North-South Center conference stresses role of civil society