Flashpoints Radio interviews Kevin Pina, Special Correspondent in Haiti January 24, 2005
Bernstein: Let’s talk about the strange circumstances of the arrest, or kidnapping, of two pro-democracy leaders, Paul Raymond and RenÃ© Civil. Tell us a little bit about what’s going on here, give us some context.
Pina: What the Haitian government is saying is that Paul Raymond and RenÃ© Civil were arrested three days ago in the Dominican Republic along with Clifford Larose (1), who was the head of the national penitentiary of Haiti. What is so ironic about this is that Guy Philippe was detained and arrested several times by the Dominican authorities and then subsequently released citing ‘lack of evidence,’ especially after the attacks in July, 2003 against the largest hydroelectric facility in the country, Peligre. Philippe was detained by the Dominican authorities…
Bernstein: We need a little bit more context as to who Guy Philippe is (2), and that we’re talking about arrests in the Dominican Republic.
Pina: Guy Philippe is the head of the former military who was trained and worked in the Dominican Republic with U.S. contacts, to overthrow the democratically elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide, along with Jodel Chamblain, the head of FRAPH, the Front for Advancement and Progress in Haiti. [FRAPH] was the trained CIA death squad that worked under the government of Raoul Cedras after the first coup against Aristide in 1991, that was responsible for the torture and murder of thousands of Haitians.
Guy Philippe is now of course the darling of the international community. He has been allowed to create his own political party, the FRN, and the reason I bring this up is because now the Dominican government is clearly working with the U.S. government and the U.S. nstalled government of Gerard Latortue to detain and arrest Lavalas political leaders who have been in hiding in the Dominican Republic.
Bernstein: Essentially what you are saying is that while Lavalas members are not free to come and go – we saw in terms of the overthrow of Aristide, the kidnapping of the duly elected President, we saw the Dominican Republic play a key role in allowing these former death squad activists to take actions from the Dominican Republic in the attacks that led to the overthrow and kidnapping in February.
Pina: That’s right, and more than that they were asked by the Haitian government (when the democratically elected government of Aristide was in power) to detain and arrest these people and they were released by the Dominican military and the Dominican government, and now we are being told that Lavalas activists who have taken refuge in the Dominican Republic are now being arrested and held by that government to return to Haiti for trial. Of course, all of this is happening in the context of the United Nations who is clearly playing a role for U.S. policy, representing Bush foreign policy in Haiti.
Also, we have learned that the forces that took Aristide out of his residence are part of what Donald Rumsfeld has been referring to as his new forces within the Pentagon, that this is a new intelligence unit of the Pentagon(3), created by Rumsfeld with, of course, the backing of Cheney, they were the ones, and the evidence is now beginning to surface, who actually took Aristide out of his residence. So what we have here really is the U.S. government and U.S. foreign policy, overthrowing a democratically elected government, in many ways similar to the way that it overthrew the democratically elected government of Allende in 1973 in Chile. But now we see that they have used new forces, they have created new paramilitary forces, new intelligence units within the U.S. military that did their bidding, and of course all of this with the backing of Canada and France. Those were the three main forces involved in the coup.
(1) See the Urgent Action Alert concerning the extradition of Clifford H. Larose at www.haitiaction.net. The Associated Press reported on January 25th that a Dominican court blocked Larose’s deportation. There is no word yet as to whether Larose has yet been released. www.haiti-info.com (2) For some background on Philippe and the former military, see http://uscis.gov (3) See investigative journalist Seymour Hersh interviewed about related matters on Democracy Now!, and see also his New Yorker expose on these developments in U.S. intelligence