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Fmr. U.S. Special Forces Officer Describes Arresting Current Coup Leader in 1994

StoryMarch 03, 2004
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Stan Goff, who spent 26 years in the U.S. Armed Forces in elite Ranger, Airborne and Special Forces counterterrorist units describes arresting coup leader Jean Tatoune in the first coup in 1994. FRAPH veteran Tatoune was convicted of gross violations of human rights and murder in the massacre in the pro-democracy region of Raboteau.

  • Stan Goff, author of "Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti." He joined the Armed Forces in 1970 and retired in 1996 from the US Army, from 3rd Special Forces. He was deployed to Haiti in 1994. He recently travelled to Haiti and returned last week. His latest book is "Full Spectrum Disorder: The Military in the New American Century." He is speaking to us from Raleigh, NC.


Amy Goodman: Stan Goff, when you arrested Jean Tatun, the circumstances and your assessment of him?

Stan Goff: Yeah. Well, the book I wrote about it. It goes into a lot of detail about it. He and one other FRAPH member along with four members of the five had back —

Amy Goodman: The five being the Haitian army?

Stan Goff: Yeah, I’m sorry–I mean there were tens of thousands of people in the streets as I arrived there, and this was about three-quarters of a mile from the [inaudible] that was recently burned down. They backed this crowd into what was basically a huge cul-de-sac and when we encountered them it looked to me like they were about to begin firing in the crowd. So, it was myself and three other team members ordered them to put their weapons on the ground. Tatoune actually hesitated and I came very near shooting him and I’m sort of regretting that I didn’t. We arrested them, but the minute they laid their weapons on the ground, the police also carried these iron and wood batons that they frequently cracked people over the head with. One of the crowd members waded in and snatched up a baton and hit Jean Tatoune and his–I forget the other fellow’s name, the other Fraphist–hit both of them over the head and opened their heads up pretty good and we ended up in this peculiar situation where suddenly to put them under arrest we had to protect them from some pretty surly crowds. And it’s my own medics that sewed Tatoune up before we put him in the cell. It was an exciting day overall. We had heard a lot from just walking around. I had a fluent French speaker on my team. A native. We spent several days walking around just talking to people. The other guy that was heavily involved in the Raboteau massacre was the commander, a guy named Costra. He was to the best of my knowledge put in jail by and by, but everybody in town–[Interrupted]

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