NEWS from CONGRESSWOMAN BARBARA LEE 9th District, California
March 3 & 4, 2004
For Immediate Release: March 4, 2004
Congresswoman Barbara Lee Condemns Bush Haiti Policy
Announces Bill Establishing Independent Commission
Washington, DC - At "Uncovering the Bush Administration's Haiti Policy," a press conference sponsored by the Let Haiti Live Coalition and featuring United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Danny Glover, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) issued the following statement:
"Today, I'm happy to stand in solidarity with over 30 grassroots Haitian activist groups working in the Let Haiti Live Coalition. Today we stand in complete support of the people of Haiti and their desperate need for the restoration of democracy. As Members of Congress find out more about the events leading up to President Aristide's departure, the twilight activities of his alleged resignation, and the turmoil, fear, and misinformation that is still spreading, we want real answers.C
"Congressman John Conyers and I have called for an independent commission that would consider the Administration's involvement with Haitian opposition groups; the Administration's efforts to destabilize Haiti by cutting all bilateral assistance and blocking international loans and support from the international financial institutions; and the Administration's efforts and involvement in blocking immediate security intervention forces from the United Nations."
"We do not teach people to overthrow our US government, and the Bush Administration must not participate in the overthrow of other democratically-elected governments. The United States must stand firm in its support of democracy and not allow a nascent democracy like Haiti to fall victim to the Bush Administration's apparent policy of regime change."
Congresswoman Barbara Lee Questions Bush Administration Officials
Lee Calls for Independent Commission
Washington, DC - At a heated Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere hearing today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) questioned a panel of Bush Administration officials about the Administration's role in the coup d'etat carried out last week against the democratically-elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A member of the International Relations Committee, Lee called for the hearing last week, and with the events over the weekend, the hearing took on an immediacy and urgency.
In particular, Lee grilled Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega, who is widely considered the mastermind behind the Bush Administration Haiti policy. Lee challenged Noriega about the State Department's failure to respond to her suggestions in a February 12 letter to Secretary of State Colin Powell, which would have staved off a coup.
Lee also asked Noriega why Aristide would willingly leave Haiti on Sunday morning without a definite place of asylum provided. During the next day, Aristide would be flown around the world until, finally, the Central African Republic (CAR) provided temporary asylum. At present, Aristide is reportedly under guard in the CAR.
Lee also accused the Bush Administration of supporting and sanctioning the overthrow of the Aristide Government by blaming Aristide for the opposition's refusal to negotiate. Secretary of State Colin Powell last week called the opposition rebels "murderers and thugs," but later backpedaled to the point that the Administration issued a statement, last Saturday, that said that "the long-simmering crisis is largely of Mr. Aristide's making."
Lee summed up her disgust with the Bush Administration's actions by accusing Noriega and the Bush Administration of "aiding and abetting" the overthrow of the Aristide Government. "Regime change takes a variety of forms, and this looks like a blatant form of regime change to me," Lee told Noriega.