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NCBL blast Kidnapping of Aristide

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) expresses its maximum outrage and disgust with the imperialist, lawless and brutal campaign of terrorism that has been inflicted on the people of Haiti by the Bush Administration. According to reports, the United States has resorted to the methods of petty gangsters by kidnapping Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide at gunpoint, orchestrating a coup and forcing the country's democratically-elected leader into exile. Furthermore, NCBL condemns in the strongest terms the Bush Administration's callous, hypocritical and racist policy on Haitian refugees. NCBL demands immediate answers to questions about U.S. involvement with armed terrorists who have destabilized the island nation, and calls for the formation of a global Pan-African alliance of organizations that will be prepared to counter future imperialist intervention through coordinated economic warfare.

The forced departure of President Aristide from Haiti came amidst an ongoing, full-scale armed attack on the country by bands of thugs who are former members of the disbanded Haitian army and secret police force that operated under the leadership of former dictators Raoul Cedras and Jean-Claude ("Baby Doc") Duvalier. These former military/police goons were noted for their barbarity and tortures inflicted on countless members of the civilian population. They were responsible for a coup in 1991 that forced Aristide from office. Observers like the Haiti Action Committee have reported that, after Aristide's return to power in 1994, many of the thugs fled to the neighboring Dominican Republic, where they commenced training in terrorist tactics that were recently unleashed in a merciless campaign to destabilize the island.

Armed thugs causing chaos in an underdeveloped country for the purpose of setting the stage for a "regime change" is an all-too-familiar scenario that has historically been masterminded by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). It occurred in 1976 in Jamaica when the CIA provided high-powered weapons to opponents of then-Prime Minister Michael Manley who was regarded by Washington as having too cozy a relationship with Fidel Castro. It occurred in Nicaragua during the 1980s when the CIA organized and financed terrorist opponents of the Sandinista government. It has likewise occurred in various countries in Africa, like Ghana and Congo. It occurred in Grenada in 1983, when the U.S. invaded the tiny island. More recently, we have witnessed a similar failed coup attempt in Venezuela, and threats directed at Zimbabwe because that country dares to return land to its indigenous citizens.

For several reasons, President Aristide is not viewed with favor by the West. After Aristide's re-election in 2000, he refused the U.S. demand to privatize Haitian state monopolies. Washington answered by freezing $600 million in assistance to Haiti. Aristide also led a campaign to have France pay Haiti $22 billion in reparations for blackmailing newly-independent Haiti with a threat of an international embargo in 1804. "Coincidentally," France was first to demand that Aristide step down. Given the fact that, historically, the U.S. government, via the CIA, has repeatedly interfered with Haiti's internal affairs to prop up the dictatorship of the Duvalier family and the Haitian business elite, NCBL is compelled to ask whether yet-again, the U.S. has engaged in illegal covert activities to further the Bush Administration's policy of pre-emptive regime change. Such actions, as well as the kidnapping of a head of state are flagrant violations of domestic criminal law, and basic principles of international law, including various provisions of the United Nations Charter that are intended to protect sovereign countries from both violent and peaceful foreign intervention in matters that are within the country's domestic jurisdiction.

NCBL must note as well that the U.S. has traditionally presented itself as a place of refuge for people from around the world who fear persecution in their respective homelands. However, it is clear that U.S. refugee policy, in practice, is determined by race. In 2002, there were approximately 10.4 million refugees worldwide the majority of whom were people of color. Nevertheless, the US continues to offer shelter disproportionately to white refugees. This fact is once again made blatantly clear by Bush's recent statement that no Haitian refugees will be allowed to enter the U.S. despite the great civil unrest occurring in their country. Such a statement is in direct conflict with a refugee policy that claims to consider each case individually, and it reeks of racism. NCBL opposes this racist treatment of refugees of African descent.

NCBL stands firmly in support of President Aristide, and we offer our full support to those courageous members of the Congressional Black Caucus and others who have dared to defy the U.S. political establishment and expose the lies of the Bush Administration and its lackeys in the corporate mass media. Finally, NCBL calls upon all organizations of people of African ancestry, and others of goodwill, to establish an Independent Action Alliance for the purpose of preventing future Haiti-like occurrences by coordinating global mass actions to impact the health of selected multi-national corporations, and the economies of western governments that choose to use criminal methods to undermine legitimate, democratically-selected leadership, and to otherwise frustrate efforts at African peoples' self-determination.

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