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2004-03-25

EXCLUSIVE: Condoleezza Rice Threatens Jamaica Over Aristide

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Guests

Ron Nissimov, A reporter for the Houston Chronicle. He has done a number of recent articles on Neil Bush and his company Ignite!

Bill Berkowitz, A journalist who writes for a number of magazines and online journals. He is a columnist for Working Assets news site www.workingforchange.com.

Peter Carlson, A staff writer for The Washington Post. In December, he wrote an extensive piece on Neil Bush called "The Relatively Charmed Life Of Neil Bush."

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Randall Robinson, who accompanied Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on his historic return trip back to the Caribbean, reveals that National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice is telling the Jamaican government if Aristide is not immediately expelled from the country and anything happens to American forces in Haiti, consequences would be exacted against Jamaica in full force by the U.S. [includes rush transcript]

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice has refused to appear before the 9-11 Commission to give sworn testimony. But she has been very busy on a different front: The situation in Haiti. Rice and other officials have very publicly expressed their anger at President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s return to the Western Hemisphere on March 15, after spending 2 weeks in the Central African Republic. The Haitian President is currently in Jamaica with his wife, Mildred, and their two young daughters. The Bush administration has characterized Aristide’s return to the Caribbean as inflaming the situation in Haiti and has gone as far as to label his presence an incitement to violence. Aristide maintains that he was kidnapped as part of a US-orchestrated coup.

Just as the Aristides were settling into their temporary life in Jamaica, news broke that the 15-nation Caribbean Community-CARICOM, had sent a formal request to the government of Nigeria, asking them to host Aristide. Jamaica, CARICOM and the Nigerian government have all indicated that pressure was being put on them by Washington.

  • Randall Robinson, an author and founder of TransAfrica. He is a close friend of the Aristides. He was on the delegation that returned President Aristide to the Caribbean.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Randall Robinson joins us now from St. Kit’s. Can you tell us exactly what is happening?

RANDALL ROBINSON: I hope that you can hear me better than I’m hearing you. I think I’ve heard enough to make out your question. I have learned from a White House source that Condoleezza Rice has pointedly threatened the Jamaican Government, telling it to expel President Aristide or face the consequences. The administration wants President Aristide out of the region. As this is a clear measure of how much broad support the president still enjoys as the democratically elected leader of Haiti inside the country, because the U.S. apparently views his mere presence in Jamaica as a threat to their control along with the thugs and the installed government in Haiti. Jamaica has not buckled. They did have discussions with the Nigerians who were pressured to grant this temporary asylum to President Aristide. President Aristide does not want to go Nigeria, and as made that plain enough and that is off. He remains, and will for the indefinite future in Jamaica, in spite of these clear threats from Condoleezza Rice made to the government of Jamaica.

JUAN GONZALEZ: Randall Robinson, what kind of specific pressure are you aware of that the U.S. Government is bringing on Jamaica?

RANDALL ROBINSON: I don’t know that the specific actions that the U.S. would take, or were made, were spelled out. It was clear that Ms. Rice told the Jamaican Government that if Aristide was not expelled immediately, and anything happened to any American forces in Haiti, that the consequences of that would be exacted against a president or against Jamaica by the United States with full force. Now, one doesn’t know what that means, but we know what America is capable of doing. It’s abducted the President. It executed the coup. It took him to a country with which it has no relations, nor does any African country to speak of, that the state department warns all people not to go to. We brought him back to Jamaica, to his home region and the U.S., of course, has brought full weight of its authority upon Jamaica to have him expelled immediately. Hearing that his simple presence there would cause people in Haiti to rally to salvage their democracy.

JUAN GONZALEZ: The Associated Press reported yesterday that a summary execution of Aristide followers have continued to occur. There were four supposedly by Haitian police in Port-Au-Prince and an A.P. reporter, reported that in Cap-Haitien, he witnessed Louis Jodel Chamblain former FRAPH leader, actually putting people on trial and rendering verdicts even though there were French troops in Cap-Haitien.

RANDALL ROBINSON: The French and American troops are standing by while the summary executions are carried out. The Mayor, Jean Charles Moise of the town of Miro, which is very near Cap-Haitien, is in hiding now, and he has said that at least 50 people are killed by the thugs in Cap-Haitien a day now. All of this done with the sufferance with the French and American troops.

AMY GOODMAN: How do you know Randall Robinson that Condolezza Rice is the one who’s applying pressure to Jamaica to expel the Aristides.

RANDALL ROBINSON: My source in the White House named Condoleezza Rice.

AMY GOODMAN: And what has been the response of Jamaica. How is it that Aristide is not gone?

RANDALL ROBINSON: As I said, Jamaica has not buckled. Jamaica has made it clear that they have no plans to expel President Aristide. Jamaica deserves an enormous amount of credit. Prime Minister Patterson has been principled and brave. He recognizes, of course, that President Aristide was twice elected democratically, there were no questions about the elections, the last one he won with 94% of the vote. We all know that the country has been taken over by thugs, armed by the United States. This is a coup executed by America, a coup against democracy in Haiti. The CARICOM nations of course will stand shoulder to shoulder with Jamaica.

AMY GOODMAN: Randall Robinson, we want to thank you for being with us. Congress member Maxine Waters will be holding a news conference today at 11:00. We will bring folks the results of the news conference and what she says.

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