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Caribbean's Right to Self-Determination Is Threatened

For Immediate Release

From: Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network

Date: July 2, 2004

Re: CARICOM'S July meeting - Caribbean's Right to Self-Determination Is Threatened

Action Requested: Please urge CARICOM to not back-track, but to continue to demand an investigation into the 2004 Coup D'etat in Haiti; to continue calling for the immediate return to democratic rule and respect for the Constitution of Haiti as stated in CARICOM's (press release ) Press Release dated March 3, 2004. Tell CARICOM that there can be "no substantial program of collaboration", certainly not on behalf of the Haitian people, with a government the mass electorate in Haiti had no choice about and that came about through force and through foreign interference of Haiti's sovereignty and democratic process. Circulate widely the National Conference of Black Lawyer's memorandum to CARICOM attached below and available at NCBL's website at: www.ncbl.org. Urge CARICOM to consider NCBL's memorandum and the Haitian Lawyers Leadership letter and request to stand firm for the rule of law and not recognize the imported Latortue government in Haiti.

Call, e-mail, fax CARICOM to stand firm and for the principles and rule of law. Thank you.

Contact CARICOM
Chair Baldwin Spencer and CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrignton,
(Phone) 011.592.226.9281; (Fax) 011.592.226.4493;

Huntley Medley, Public Relations Consultant, Office of the Secretary-General
Tel: (592) -226-9280-9 or 227-4671 , Email: hmedley@caricom.org

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, (Phone) 876 927 9941, (Fax) 876 929 0005);

BARBADOS - Ms. Teresa Marshall (Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs
Tel. - 246-436-2990 /Fax - 246-429-6652;

ST. LUCIA - Ambassador Earl Huntley
Tel - 758-468-2166 / Fax - 758-453-7352;

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO - Mrs. Yvonne Gitten-Joseph (Director of Caricom &
Caribbean Affairs Division) Tel - 868-623-4116 /Fax - 868-627-0571;

GRENADA - Mr. Adrian Hayes (Permanent Secretary)
Tel - 473-440-2640 / Fax - 473-440-4184.

cc: the OAS - Bspencer@oas.org, cgaviria@oas.org, Leinaudi@oas.org, HunterJ14@aol.com, gunter.burghardt@cec.eu.int, AntBar@oas.org, Argentina@oas.org, Bahamas@oas.org, Barbados@oas.org, Belize@oas.org, Bolivia@oas.org, Brazil@oas.org, Canada@oas.org, Chile@oas.org, Colombia@oas.org, Costa-Rica@oas.org, Dominica@oas.org, Ecuador@oas.org, ElSalvador@oas.org, Grenada@oas.org, Guatemala@oas.org, Guyana@oas.org, Haiti@oas.org, Honduras@oas.org, Jamaica@oas.org, Mexico@oas.org, Nicaragua@oas.org, Panama@oas.org, Paraguay@oas.org, Peru@oas.org, Republica-Dominicana@oas.org, StKitt&Nevis@oas.org, StLucia@oas.org, StVnG@oas.org, Suriname@oas.org, TnT@oas.org, Uruguay@oas.org, USA@oas.org, Venezuela@oas.org, vze4ksd@verizon.net

cc: CARICOM (CARICOM-contacts)

bcc: the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network at Erzilidanto@aol.com. Thank you.

Marguerite Laurent, JD
Chair/Founder Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
July 2, 2004

******

Letter from the Haitian Lawyers Leadership to CARICOM urging non-recognition of the Latortue regime in Haiti (July 2, 2004)

To: CARICOM members, Venezuela and other OAS members:

This letter is to thank CARICOM, once again, for its continued support for democracy in Haiti and to encourage CARICOM'S firm and steadfast support for the return of constitutional rule to Haiti.

As you engage, during the CARICOM summit in Grenada, in discussions regarding the "interim" Latortue government, please do not forget the Haitian masses who voted for the democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and who are now imprisoned or dying in Haiti for their continued support of President Aristide and for Haiti's right to self-determination. Don't forget that, while Latortue regards cop-killers and death squad leaders as "freedom fighters" he is imprisoning Lavalas supporters.

In fact, the puppet Latortue regime, recently, practically on the eve of this CARICOM summit, when it knew its human rights abuse record would be reviewed, openly and flagrantly threw its disdain at CARICOM by setting out a warrant and arresting, for political purposes, the honorable Prime Minister Yvon Neptune, the most senior Lavalas official remaining in Haiti after the Coup D'etat. The warrant for his arrest was issued soon after the courageous Prime Minister broke his silence while in hiding to denounce the first 100-days of the imported Latortue regime.

Below you will find the Haitian Lawyer's Leadership's letter of appreciation to CARICOM, previously delivered to the Secretary General and Chair, that we hereby fully reiterate, re-state and re-deliver once again. We have read that a CARICOM delegation recently went to Haiti and spoke to National Coalition of Haitian Rights (NCHR) regarding the human rights abuses found by many human rights organizations investigating the repercussions of the Coup D'etat. To wit, 3,000 Haitian dead in two months, approximately 350,000 internal refugees, over 2,000 refugees automatically repatriated by the U.S. Coast guard, Lavalas supporter's houses,and businesses shut down, trashed, burnt; the children television and radio stations shut down; 3,000 prisoners unleashed on the Haitian poor; the May 18, 2004 unlawful disbanding, by the Latortue government, along with the U.S. Marines of a legal protest demonstration against the Coup d'etat, the brutal arrest of So Ann, the invasion of the house of the Mayor of Milo, the alleged illegal taking, by U.S. military, under cover of securing Haiti's stability, of Mole St. Nicola, etc., etc, etc...).

We understand that NCHR reported it has no knowledge of the three (3,000) thousands killed as reported by these human rights organizations and our independent reports. (Go to "human rights reports" and "Personal Testimonies" on Margueritelaurent.com.

We ask that CARICOM remain mindful of this U.S. Bush State Deparment-supported and USAID-funded source if it seeks balanced information to come to a decision on the de facto government in Haiti. The National Coalition for Haitian Rights ("NCHR") is the same organization that did not condemn the three (3) previous Guy Philippe Coup D'etat attempts against Haiti's Constitutional government; the same organization that did not denounce the setting up of a "parallel government' to legitimate Constitutional rule in Haiti; that hardly denounced the bombings and shootings, before the 2000 elections, in poor neighborhoods in Haiti, by the opposition that killed dozens in an effort to intimidate them against voting for President Aristide. The same organization that said not a word when Guy Philippe's commandoes raided people in the Central Plateau throughout the year before the Coup D'etat, murdering dozens of Haitians simply for supporting the Lavalas government - including four staff members from the interior ministry who had gone to attend a public building dedication.

I have attached a Znet article on the honorable Prime Minister, Yvon Neptune's arrest, the National Lawyer's Guild Delegation Report, and the executive summary from the Quixote Center delegation, which exposes the political partiality of Pierre Esperans and the National Coalition for Haitian Rights. We urge CARICOM to critically look at the record of NCHR and the Latortue government in Haiti it supports.

Below you will also find 13-pages of individuals and organizations from the Quixote Center/Let Haiti Live Coalition who join with us, at the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network, to support return to constitutional rule of law in Haiti and to thank CARICOM for its stand.

CARICOM's unwavering stand for the principles of law and its resolution not to recognize the illegitimate Latortue government, which we hope will again be reaffirmed at this July summit, shall be the bedrock, the solid foundation upon which the Haitian people and nation may step on to rise from this swamp of brutal repression, reprisal arrests and death squad rule by the Latortue regime and re-establish democracy and Constitutional rule in Haiti.

For, without CARICOM, the world would not today have the admirable OAS resolution acknowledging that there may have been an unconstitutional transfer of power on February 29, 2004.

The OAS Resolution is a triumph for CARICOM and a defeat for the U.S. and France which blocked any move towards an investigation of the Coup D'etat by the U.N. It's an acknowledgment that one cannot built democracy on a Coup D'etat. It's an acknowledgment that the power grab, that disenfranchised the entire nation of Haiti and took away the mandates of over 7, 200 elected Haitian officials and/or appointed positions, may have violated the Inter-American Democratic charter and represented an unconstitutional interruption of Haiti's democratic process.

We, at the Haitian Lawyers Leadership, cannot express enough our humble thanks and appreciation for CARICOM's firm stand for Haiti. We know and admire the resolve it took to follow this through to the OAS resolution.

This Coup D'etat in Haiti sets a dangerous precedent for all small countries in the world, but especially for the nations in the Americas. It must not stand unchallenged. CARICOM has been the bright beacon of truth and principle for us Haitians and our friends and supporters throughout these last four interminable months of Haitian life and suffering.

Please do not back-track now by recognizing this imported and abusive Latortue government. For CARICOM to now recognize the puppet Latortue government is tantamount to acknowledging that a nation of laws, principles, ethics and justice, may be founded on and/or arise out of injustice and the violent overthrow of a Constitutionally elected government. This would set an unthinkable precedent and endanger the sovereignty and right to self-determination of the nations of CARICOM and the OAS.

We urge CARICOM not to waver. We understand the reprisals and pressures administered by representatives of the governments who support the Coup D'etat. But they must not win.

Few moments in life are pivotal and defining. This moment for CARICOM will be defining. Kindly continue to be the bright beacon of democratic hope and principle, the global village, struggling to establish a world ruled by civility and laws and not by might, may henceforth cite with pride and pleasure.

Marguerite Laurent, JD
Founder and Chair, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
July 2, 2004

*****

National Conference of Black Lawyers
P.O. Box 80043
Lansing, MI 48908
(866) 266-5091


June 25, 2004

MEMORANDUM

To: Member States of the Caribbean Community (Caricom)

c/o their ambassadors to the United States

From: Mark P. Fancher, Chair, NCBL Section on International Affairs & World Peace; and Imhotep Alkebu-lan, NCBL National Co-chair (Principal drafters on behalf of NCBL)

THE CARIBBEANíS RIGHT TO SELF-DETERMINATION IS THREATENED BY WESTERN IMPERIALIST INTERVENTION IN HAITI, AND CARICOMíS RESISTANCE MUST CONTINUE AND INTENSIFY.

It is with the greatest respect and humility that the National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) submits this document to the honorable and esteemed members of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). In recent months, NCBL has watched the activities of Caricom with indescribable pride. We are certain that all freedom loving people share that pride, because in the aftermath of the illegal kidnapping of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Haiti's only legitimate president, Caricom has resisted enormous pressure by the United States and other forces of western imperialism to recognize an illegal regime that terrorizes Haiti's citizens on a daily basis.

NCBL takes this opportunity to applaud Caricom, and to urge in the strongest terms that as you convene in July, member states stand firm in their refusal to recognize the illegal regime that currently dominates Haiti. President Aristide must be returned to his country where he can most effectively perform the duties of the office to which he has been elected.

Misinformation about the legal and historical issues in this matter can be potent weapons in the war for international opinion. NCBL's objective is to present in this document facts and a legal analysis that affirms that the position taken by Caricom on Haiti's current illegal regime is legally, historically and morally correct.

I. The Events In Question
Although there is general familiarity with the events leading to the current crisis, we believe it is most helpful to review them from the perspective of President Aristide himself, and those who represent him. In a March 8, 2004 letter to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, President Aristideís lawyer, Ira Kurzban provided the following narrative:

"... Starting in early February 2004, the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, faced an armed rebellion starting from the North of the country and moving South. The rebel leaders, whom the Secretary of State has characterized as ëthugs and criminals' is comprised of former members of the dissolved Haitian army, drug dealers, and members of the former paramilitary organization universally recognized as having operated terrorist/execution squads during the 1991-1994 military coup (Front Revolutionnaire pour l'Avancement et le Progres d'Haiti, FRAPH), The driving force behind these thugs was Jean Tatoune, a former member of FRAPH and a convicted human rights violator, and Jodel Chamblain, the co-founder of FRAPH and also a convicted gross human rights violator [footnote omitted]. The nominal rebel leader was Guy Phillipe, a well-known drug dealer, who had been implicated in masterminding another coup attempt against the democratically elected government of Haiti under President Preval."

Kurzban went on to explain that the rebel army carried U.S.-manufactured weapons, and that high level U.S. officials stated in the clearest terms that they would do nothing to protect President Aristide from imminent attacks.

Kurzbanís narrative continued:
"In the early morning hours of Sunday, February 29, the President and some family members were taken by [U.S. Depute Charge de Mission (DCM), Luis] Moreno and the U.S. Marine contingent to an airplane rented by the U.S. Department of State and guarded by U.S. Marines. DCM Moreno told the President that if he did not deliver to Moreno a letter of resignation and board the aircraft with no questions as to where he would be taken, the President and his wife would be left at the airport and that they would be killed. Under this extreme duress, the President then delivered a letter of resignation to the United States government's representative. United States Marines then surrounded President Aristide and his wife, separating them from the few personal security staff at hand. President Aristide and his wife were then boarded onto the plane, without any idea as to where it was headed and with their actions strictly monitored and constrained by the U.S. Marines. The plane took off at approximately 6:15 AM.

"Throughout the flight, despite their repeated requests, the President and his wife were prevented and forbidden from communicating with any persons in the outside world. They were also further restricted in their actions, such as being prevented from even opening the shades on the windows. The plane briefly landed for refueling in Antigua, where no one was allowed to exit or lift the window shades. The President and his wife were told by the Marines guarding them that they had been instructed to not tell them where they were or where they were going.

"After refueling, the plane took off and headed to the Central African Republic. The President was only told of this destination shortly before the plane's arrival in the Central African Republic. President Aristide and his wife were never asked whether this destination was acceptable to them, and were never asked what destinations they might prefer or would be acceptable. It was made clear to President Aristide and his wife that they were being given no options and no choice in the matter. Because they were prevented from having any communication, the President and his wife were prevented from seeking the agreement of other countries to accept their arrival." Meanwhile, back in Haiti, members of the current regime and their supporters began a campaign of terror against supporters of the exiled President, and they took control of government structures with the full knowledge and backing of the U.S. government.

II. Recent Events Are But Part Of A History of Imperialist Domination of the Caribbean

Noted scholar and activist, Elombe Brath has prepared a concise, comprehensive overview of Haitiís history, and it demonstrates that imperialism is nothing new for Haiti. Brath's account notes that Haiti was the second Black nation to achieve independence on January 1, 1804. (Palmares, currently a part of Brazil, was the first.) Since independence, Haiti has been a constant target of abuse, exploitation and intervention by countries and corporations in the northern hemisphere. U.S. President George Washington sent troops and money to suppress a slave revolt in 1791. England invaded Haiti in 1793. France assembled a military coalition of Polish, Dutch, German and Swiss troops to invade.U.S. President Thomas Jefferson threatened embargoes and invasions.There were more than 27 U.S. military interventions into Haiti before 1915. A brutal U.S. military intervention in 1915 that lasted until 1934 virtually destroyed Haiti.

It was during the 1915 occupation that Major - General Smedley Butler declared: "I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in the region." In 1957, the brutal, tyrannical reign of the Duvalier family began with the full support of the U.S. government. The dictatorships of Francois "Papa Doc" Duvalier and Jean "Baby Doc" Duvalier lasted until 1986. When President Aristide was elected in 1986, it was against the wishes of the U.S., and a CIA-backed coup succeeded in driving him into temporary exile. The CIA also fabricated and circulated rumors about President Aristide's mental health as part of an effort to discredit him. While Aristide spent a three year exile in the United States, a brutal military dictatorship dominated Haiti. It is estimated that as many as five thousand people were killed during this period. In response to domestic and international pressure, Bill Clinton obtained UN approval in 1994 to restore the democratically elected Aristide to power.

President Aristide was ultimately to take several steps that angered the U.S. They included his reluctance to privatize certain national industries that had once been controlled by Haiti's elite and western business interests; and his demand for restitution from France in the amount of $21 billion for that country's 1825 blackmail demand for the equivalent amount for lifting an international economic embargo of Haiti. When Aristide was re-elected in 2000, the Bush administration alleged voting irregularities, and blocked over $500 million in desperately needed international aid that had been earmarked for healthcare, education, and water sanitation. According to a 1997 report by Foreign Policy In Focus, ìSince the early 1960's the U.S. has actively used its political influence and development assistance programs to help turn Haiti into a low-wage, export-friendly economy that provides profitable business opportunities for U.S. investors."

The attitude of the U.S. toward not only Haiti, but the Caribbean generally has been one of imperial arrogance and paternalism. The U.S. has never treated countries in the region as peers, but has instead sought to bully and intimidate them into positions of subservience. Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, this conduct occurred in the context of superpower jockeying for spheres of influence during the Cold War. More recently it has been incidental to an ongoing process of globalization. In the minds of U.S. policymakers, the emergence of Cuba as a socialist state represented a major crack in the ideological wall erected by the U.S. empire in this hemisphere. Thus, any tendencies by any country in the western hemisphere toward autonomy, self-determination or even casual dealings with Cuba were regarded as hostile acts that were to be checked by any available, effective means. Former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley maintained cordial relations with Cuba during his first administration. It is not surprising then that former CIA agent Philip Agee and others have charged that the Central Intelligence Agency carried out an extensive destabilization campaign in Jamaica that culminated in bloody warfare between political gangs. "Agee, who had carried out similar operations in Ecuador in the 1960s, spoke across the country of CIA methods. These, he said, included spreading false information in the local and foreign press, funding oppositional groupings, supplying arms and logistical support, and helping plan disruptions and para-military operations." During the 1976 Jamaican elections, the CIA provided gangs associated with the Jamaican Labor Party (Manleyís rivals) with numerous high powered weapons that were used in pitched street battles that injured and killed countless innocent people. There was also tremendous consequential damage to the country's image and economy. Reprisals and retaliation were even more harsh for Grenada. Although the rationale offered by the U.S. for its invasion of the island in 1983 was that the breakdown of government leadership and the assassination of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and other members of his administration created a crisis that demanded intervention, the truth is that the country had been the target of U.S. harassment for the entire period that the New JEWEL Movement governed. Bishop himself made repeated references to U.S. intimidation. In a speech to the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, he stated:

"...U.S. Ambassador Frank Ortiz...came to Grenada to advise us that any attempt on our part to build close links with the government of Cuba would be severely frowned upon by the United States. And we had to remind the ambassador that, although we are a small country and although we are a poor country, the people of our country had spent several years fighting dictatorship. We reminded him that many of our patriots had been brutalized and murdered fighting the dictatorship, and now that we had won our freedom, we would not give up that freedom because the United States or any other foreign power wishes us to do so..."

The Prime Minister went on to say: "...Today we have found that these threats have continued; these attempts to try to set us back have continued. Just before coming to this conference we received a cable from the U.S. secretary of state telling us that if we were going to the Nonaligned summit, we should be in the forefront of resisting further attempts being made by countries like Cuba to try to destroy, to try to divide the OAS."

Although Cuba has been a convenient excuse for U.S. meddling and harassment of countries like Grenada, the real worry of the U.S. is the notion that countries can and should be self-determining. Bishop found direct evidence of this fact, and he shared it with a New York audience.

"The real reason for all of this hostility is because some perceive that what is happening in Grenada can lay the basis for a new socioeconomic and political path of development. They give all kinds of reasons and excuses ‚ some of them credible, some utter rubbish. We saw an interesting one recently in a secret report to the State Department. I want to tell you about that one, so you can reflect on it. That secret report made this point: that the Grenada revolution is in one sense even worse ‚ I'm using their language ‚ than the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions because the people of Grenada and the leadership of Grenada speak English, and therefore can communicate directly with the people of the United States. I can see from your applause, sisters and brothers, that you agree with the report. But I want to tell you what that same report said that also made us very dangerous. That is that the people of Grenada and the leadership of Grenada are predominantly Black. They said that 95 percent of our population is Black ‚ and they had the correct statistic ‚ and if we have 95 percent of predominantly African origin in our country, then we can have a dangerous appeal to 30 million Black people in the United States. Now that aspect of the report, clearly is one of the most sensible."

It is not unreasonable to conclude that the U.S. was not only afraid of the impact of the Grenada example on its own Black population, but also of the impact on other countries in the Caribbean. Although the U.S. eliminated the "threat" in Grenada with military force, President Aristide represented a similar threat in more recent times. President Aristideís nationalization of industries formerly controlled by Haiti's elite and foreign corporations was inconsistent with the subservient, passive role that Caribbean leaders are expected by the U.S. to play.

Those Caricom member states that do not wish to pursue a "revolutionary" path of the sort followed by Cuba or Bishopís Grenada are nevertheless at great risk as a result of the U.S. imperialist approach. Even those countries that are generally the most compliant with U.S. demands may inadvertently run afoul of U.S. interests and find themselves the targets of illegal political or military intervention. Self-determination is one of the most sacred human rights, and it is for that reason that Haiti is the place where all freedom loving people and nations must draw the line.

III. The Right To Self-Determination Is Protected By International and Domestic Law

The right to self-determination has a solid legal foundation in customary international law and the United Nations Charter. That right is specifically referenced in Article 1, Section 2. In addition, Article 2, Section 7 provides for non-intervention by the U.N. into matters that are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any country. It can be reasonably inferred that such actions by member countries would also be regarded as unacceptable. The kidnapping of a democratically elected head of state and the orchestration of a coup d'etat are completely inconsistent with these and other international law standards. For example, it is unlikely, if not impossible, that the U.S. would be able to credibly establish that such acts were consistent with Article 2, Section 4 of the U.N. Charter that provides: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." (emphasis added).

President Aristide himself has filed a petition for the prosecution of U.S. government officials in the U.S. courts pursuant to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, of 1973. The sequence of relevant events and the criminal acts committed in connection with the kidnapping all support this petition. NCBL, for its part, has requested an investigation of these events by the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court which was established for the purpose of exercising jurisdiction over persons for the crimes of: genocide; crimes against humanity; war crimes; and the crime of aggression. NCBLís petition states the following important points:

"1. In considering the threshold question of whether the ICC has jurisdiction over the persons involved, we note that Article 12(2) of The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court ("Rome Statute") provides that if the conduct in question occurs on the territory of a State that is a party to the statute, then the ICC may exercise jurisdiction. Although neither the United States nor Haiti are parties to the Rome Statute, the Central African Republic is a party and the site of President Aristide's detention. We believe the Office of the Prosecutor should determine whether jurisdiction is appropriate given that fact.

2. Whether the crimes at issue are appropriately addressed by the ICC involves consideration of Article 5 of the Rome Statute, which provides that the ICC has jurisdiction with respect to the crimes of: genocide; crimes against humanity; war crimes; and the crime of aggression. While we believe that all of these crimes were committed, we urge that you give special consideration to the issue of war crimes. We believe that the most relevant provision of the Rome Statute is Article 8(2)(a)(vii). It provides: "For the purpose of this Statute, 'war crimes' means: Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention: *** [u]nlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement." NCBL has concluded that the U.S. government (in violation of key provisions of the United Nations Charter that proscribe aggression and affirm the right to self-determination) is effectively engaged in warfare against the government and people of Haiti, both through direct use of U.S. military personnel, and by way of armed proxies who have engaged in acts of terrorism against the civilian population, and who have staged a coup díetat. Furthermore, we believe that as "nominal head of [the Haitian] armed forces" with the power to declare war, President Aristide should be protected by the Geneva Convention. We urge that the Office of the Prosecutor investigate whether the unlawful transfer of President Aristide to the Central African Republic, and his unlawful confinement in that country constitute crimes subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC. Per Article 8(1), President Aristide's detention was committed as part of a plan to eliminate him and the many members of his government and political party in Haiti by detention or willful killing."

Even U.S. domestic law prohibits the acts committed by the U.S. government and its agents.

The U.S. Federal kidnapping statute [18 U.S.C. §1201 et seq.] specifically proscribes the Aristidesí abduction and detention; and U.S. Federal law [18 U.S.C. §956; and, U.S. v. Felix-Guiterrez, 940 F.2d 1200 (9th Cir. 1991)] provides that persons who conspire in the U.S. to kidnap a person in a foreign territory; or who commit the crime of kidnapping abroad may be prosecuted in U.S. courts. We note with great satisfaction the decision by Caricom to invoke provisions of the Charter for the Organization of American States in your approach to that body. That document contains a variety of provisions that are particularly relevant to the Haitian experience. Article 2 makes clear the importance of promoting and consolidating representative democracy "with due respect for the principle of non-intervention." Article 3 states that countries have a duty to "abstain from intervening in the affairs of another state." Similarly, Articles 19, 20, 21, and 22 speak strongly against intervention, and the use of force or coercion of any kind. The OAS has the authority to take decisive action against Haitiís illegal regime. Article 9 of the Charter provides: ìA Member of the Organization whose democratically constituted government has been overthrown by force may be suspended from the exercise of the right to participate in the sessions of [the various OAS bodies, commissions, working groups, etc.].î NCBL strongly urges that Haiti be suspended in this regard until the return of democratic government to that country.

IV. Conclusion
Finally, NCBL implores all members of Caricom to stand firm against the pressure that we know has been brought to bear upon all of the countries in the Caribbean region. The Caribbean Community's position on the kidnapping and the current illegal regime in Haiti is regarded by Washington as important to U.S. diplomatic maneuvering. This is a critical moment in history not only for the people of Haiti, but also for all people ‚ particularly those of African ancestry. Like any bully, western imperialism preys upon those it perceives to be weak. Those of us who are targets of intimidation are called upon by the spirits of Toussaint L'Ouverture, Dessalines, and many nameless ancestors to follow their example of strength, courage and principled resistance in the face of imperial might. NCBL salutes you and urges in the strongest terms that you not yield in the days, weeks, and months to come.

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