Background Information on Haiti Print
HAITI BACKGROUND INFORMATION

SOA Watch is concerned with the current crisis in Haiti. Historically, Haitians have received training at the notorious School of the Assassins. It is also clear that US military training of Haitian fighters, and US intervention has continued beyond SOA training. In fact several of the leaders of the armed rebels, including rebel leader Guy Philippe who has proclaimed to be the head of the new Haitian Military, have received US military training within the last eight years.

In a press statement released on March 1st, The Haiti Support Group cited mainstream media sources concerning the current armed rebel leaders and noted: - Guy Philippe reported to the BBC that his rebel force will be a part of the new government in Haiti and he told the Miami Herald on February 28th that the man he most admires is former Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet. "Pinochet made Chile what it is,'' noted Philippe. Number 2 on Philippe's list is former US President Ronald Reagan. Guy Philippe was trained by the US special forces and given a top post in the new Haitian Police Force. Human Rights Watch noted that Philippe served as police chief on the north side of the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area 1997 through 1999. While he served in this position dozens of suspected gang members were assassinated. - The press statement further reported that rebel leaders Jean Tatoune and Louis Jodel Chamblain are convicted killers and former leaders of the FRAPH death-squad.

SOA Watch believes that the instability that led to the current crisis in Haiti is the direct result of overt U.S. policies that have supported Haitian fighters and the Haitian military. In 1915, President Wilson sent Marines to Haiti to protect Americans and American interests. This led to a de facto U.S. occupation and control of Haiti for nearly twenty years, during which the resident U.S. naval commander dissolved the Haitian Congress. Since then, the U.S. government has been actively supplying former Haitian dictators, death squad leaders, and paramilitaries with U.S. military training and CIA training, some of which has taken place at the infamous School of the Americas. Brutal Haitian Dictator Raoul Cedras, who overthrow Aristide in 1991 and ruled with a bloody and repressive regime until 1994, acknowledged that 75% of his forces were receiving training in the United States. This included his two partners in the Junta of 91 through 94, Francois and Biamby who were educated at the Fort Benning Infantry School - on the same base where the SOA is located.

SOA Watch supports the work of several other solidarity organizations who have a long history working beside the Haitian people. More information can be found at their sites below:
The Haiti Support Group
Democracy Now!
Trans Africa Forum
Ecumenical Program on Central America and the Caribbean (EPICA)
Feb. 26, 2004: Virtual Truth Commission
Pax Cristi USA Statement, Feb. 28, 2004
The Haiti Redux
Haiti's Lawyer: U.S. Is Arming Anti-Aristide Paramilitaries (Democracy Now!)