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Commentary :: International
BTL:U.S. Fails to Act as Death Squads Vow to Overthrow Government of...
26 Feb 2004
Modified: 05:34:51 AM
...Haitian President Aristide. Interview with Larry Birns, executive director of Council on Hemispheric Affairs, conducted by Between the Lines' Scott Harris
U.S. Fails to Act as Death Squads Vow to Overthrow Government of Haitian President Aristide

Interview with Larry Birns, executive director of Council on Hemispheric Affairs, conducted by Scott Harris

As armed rebels seized Haiti's second largest city, Cap Haitien, consolidating their control over the northern half of the country, food supplies were looted and paramilitary gangs hunted down loyalists of embattled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Meanwhile American, French and Organization of American States diplomats attempted to convince opposition groups to accept a peace plan, already agreed to by President Aristide, that would institute a power-sharing arrangement and plan for new legislative elections.

In the capital of Port-au-Prince, supporters of President Aristide built barricades and patrolled city streets to repel an expected rebel attack there. Haiti's small and ill-equipped police force is no match for the heavily armed rebels, many of whom are former members of Haiti's disbanded army. Rebel leaders Louis-Jodel Chamblain and Guy Phillipe are both associated with FRAPH, a death squad accused of murdering, raping and torturing thousands of Haitians after the military overthrew Aristide's first government in 1991. Critics charge that opposition groups who are calling for Aristide's ouster have been funded by the Bush administration through the National Endowment for Democracy, long used by Washington to funnel support to allies.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Larry Birns, executive director with the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. Birns discusses U.S. policy in this crisis and the need for international intervention to prevent the establishment of another military dictatorship in Haiti, a nation which has suffered through dozens of coups and revolts over the past 200 years.

Contact the Council on Hemispheric Affairs by calling (202) 216-9261 or visit their web site at

Related links

"Worsening Scenes in Haiti Will Test U.S. Tolerance for Chaos," by Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times, Feb. 25, 2004. The White House is reluctant to make a long-term commitment to the troubled nation but remains anxious about a wave of refugees.

"Background on Haiti: Some Questions and Answers," by Mary Turck, by, Feb. 24, 2004

"Throttled by History," by Gary Younge, The Guardian/UK, Feb. 23, 2004

"Armed Rebellion Attempts to Oust Haitian President," Between The Lines interview with Kim Ives, Haiti Progres editor, conducted by Scott Harris, week ending Feb. 20, 2004

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2004 Squeaky Wheel Productions. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright by the author. All rights reserved.
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