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Context of 'May 6, 2003: Five Haitian Coup Plotters Arrested, Indicating Presence of Contra-Like Rebels in Dominican Republic'

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Political groups opposed to the party of Jean-Bertrand Aristide form the Democratic Convergence, a coalition made up of roughly 200 groups, which is headed by former Port-au-Prince mayor Evans Paul, a previous Aristide supporter and leader of the Convention for Democratic Unity. [Boston Globe, 2/14/2004; Turck, 2/24/2004] The Convergence is a product of the USAID program, “Democracy Enhancement,” the purpose of which is to “fund those sectors of the Haitian political spectrum where opposition to the Aristide government could be encouraged.” Financial support for the Convergence comes from the International Republican Institute (IRI), which is associated with the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy. The IRI receives about $3 million annually from Congress, as well as millions more from private Haitian and US interests. The organization’s board includes a number of “current or former Republican Party officials, Republican officeholders, or members of Republican administrations.” The IRI’s activities in Haiti are not completely understood and Roger Noriega, the US permanent representative to the Organization of American States, has always refused to elaborate on the organization’s work in Haiti. [Z Magazine, 7/1994; Boston Globe, 2/14/2004; Turck, 2/24/2004; Interhemispheric Resource Center, 2/27/2004; CounterPunch, 3/1/2004]

Entity Tags: Roger Francisco Noriega, US Congress, USAID, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, National Endowment for Democracy, Evans Paul, International Republican Institute, Democratic Convergence

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

A group of at least 20 paramilitary soldiers—trained and funded by the US (see (2001-2004)) —cross into Haiti from the neighboring Dominican Republic and attack a hydroelectric power plant on Haiti’s central plateau. Shortly after the attack, Dominican authorities, at the behest of the Haitian government, arrest five men, including Guy Philippe, in connection with the paramilitary operation. But they are quickly released by the Dominicans who say there is no evidence of their involvement in the attack. Philippe is interviewed by the Associated Press afterwards and asked what he is doing in the Dominican. Philippe, who mentions to the reporter that he would support a coup against Aristide, refuses to “say how he makes a living or what he does to spend his time in the Dominican Republic.” Less than one year later, Philippe will participate in the overthrow of the Aristide government. [Black Commentator, 5/15/2003] On the same day the five men are detained, Haitian authorities raid the Port-au-Prince residence of mayoral candidate Judith Roy of the Democratic Convergence opposition. The Haitians claim to find “assault weapons, ammunitions, and plans to attack the National Palace and Aristide’s suburban residence.” The Haitian government contends that Roy is close to Philippe. [Black Commentator, 5/15/2003]

Entity Tags: Judith Roy, Democratic Convergence, Guy Philippe

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup

Dominican police arrest five Haitians, including Arcelin Paul, the official Democratic Convergence representative in the Dominican Republic, who they believe are plotting the overthrow of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s government. Also at this time, there is a US build-up along the Dominican border, where “900 US soldiers patrol jointly with the Dominican army, whom they have armed with 20,000 M16s.” Ben Dupuy, general secretary of the left-wing party PPN, tells the left-wing Haiti Progres, “There is no doubt these guys are true terrorists working with the CIA under Dominican protection.” Documentary filmmaker Kevin Pina, who has been covering Haiti for over a decade, calls this the “US funding of the Haitian ‘Contras.’” A September 2003 article in the magazine, Dollars and Sense, will comment: “Whatever we call them, there is an organized and well-funded armed group with ties to the Convergence, based in the Dominican Republic, which aims to overthrow the Aristide government. The Bush administration’s support for the Convergence and its refusal to denounce this violence, as well as the US military presence along the border, through which the ‘Manman’ army easily travels, clearly implicates the United States in this aim.” [Dollars and Sense, 9/7/2003]

Entity Tags: Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Arcelin Paul, Democratic Convergence, Ben Dupuy

Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup, US-Haiti (1804-2005)

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