Marines enter Haitian capital

March 5, 2004, midnight | By Vivek Chellappa | 16 years, 10 months ago

U.S. denies claim that Aristide was kidnapped

This is not original reporting. All information was taken from The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and the Associated Press

United States forces are now in firm control as a police force in Haiti, bringing stability to a region beset by violence during the last month.

Over 1,000 Marines now occupy the capital of Haiti, Port-au-Prince, policing parts of a country that has been fighting a civil war since 1994, when former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide ordered the military to be disbanded. Since then, rebel forces have launched several attacks again the Aristide government from the Dominican Republic. Continuous fighting has ensued, culminating in over 100 deaths this last month, according to The New York Times.

Aristide's departure is still subject to some debate, as the exiled leader insisted that he was kidnapped by U.S. Marines and forced to leave Haiti. However, U.S. officials have painted a different picture of Aristide's departure.

With rebel armies closing in on Port-au-Prince, Aristide asked for US protection, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. He was then told that such help would not be available, so the U.S. government provided Aristide a chartered flight to the Central African Republic. Aristide disputes that there was any such dialog.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher denied the claims that Aristide was kidnapped. In a press conference on Thursday, Boucher explained the role the United States played. "There was no kidnapping. There was no coup. There were no threats," he said. "We sat down carefully with Mr. Aristide and analyzed the situation with him. We kept in close touch with him. We tried repeatedly, not just with the CARICOM plan but in many attempts over the years, to try to get him to accept ways forward that would help unify the country and give it fair and stable rule."

Soon after the Haitian rebels entered the capital victorious, rebel leader Guy Philippe promised to disarm the rebel forces, allegedly on orders by the United States.

The United States presence is part of a United Nations stabilization force that could swell to an estimated 5,000 soldiers in the war-torn country.

Following the initial departure of Aristide, extensive looting occurred in country until Marines established themselves as a police force. Since then, there have been relatively few problems.

One problem that still needs to be addressed is increasing number of revenge murders that are the result of a backlash direct towards Aristide loyalists. Over the last couple days, there have been at least five gruesome murders of former Aristide supporters.

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Vivek Chellappa. As Vivek beings his final year in Blair, several new hobbies draw his attention: his passion for standup comedy and making lists with only one real piece of information. Vivek has recently developed a strong liking for the works of Mitch Hedberg, Dave Chapelle and … More »

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