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Haiti Background : Gerard Latortue

by Latortue Was Time Opponent Of Aristide
Latortue is an an international business consultant who served as foreign minister in 1988 to former President Leslie Manigat. He is an economist who spent part of his career with the United Nations, living in Togo and the Ivory Coast. For the past year he has been calling for Bush to help oust elected President Aristide. Now that Aristide has been kidnapped and the US has troops in the country, Latortue's wish has come true and the US has appointed him the acting Prime Minister.
"Latortue spent part of his career with the United Nations, living in Togo and the Ivory Coast."

Gerard Latortue Was One Of Those Who Pressured Bush To Stage The Coup
( the following was published January 24 2004 )
Gerard Latortue, a former Haitian minister of foreign affairs and international relations under President Leslie Manigat, said many are demonstrating in South Florida because they're hoping "the echoes will go to Gov. Bush, and he will advise his brother."

Statement By GERARD LATORTUE, Boca Raton Dec. 18, 2003
The majority of the Haitian community in South Florida admires the position taken by the Editorial Board on Haiti (Crisis in Haiti boils on U.S. doorstep, Nov. 5 editorial). On that same day, the U.S. ambassador in Haiti and the independent United Nations expert on human rights explicitly recognized that ''Security has much deteriorated in recent weeks'' in Haiti and that ``It's hard to advocate an electoral solution when people can't demonstrate peacefully.''
The time has come for the White House to get involved directly in the search for a viable and sustainable solution to the crisis.

Tortue also described the rebels (many former death squad memebers) as "freedom fighters":
Widespread civil unrest causes anguish for S. Florida Haitians Feb 11, 2004
" But the community still remains divided over who's responsible for the chaos. Some, like Gerard Latortue, a Boca Raton resident and former Haitian foreign minister, described the people responsible for the recent violence as freedom fighters in a battle against an oppressive regime. "They became violent in response to Aristide," he said. "I see it as a liberation movement. " Others, like Emmanuel Virgil, co-owner of Virgil Tuxedos in Fort Lauderdale, think the resistance is fueled by the rich... (Google News Australia -- Top Stories)

While he doesn't believe France is legally obligated to repay the debt, Gerard Latortue, a former Haiti foreign minister who lives in Boca Raton, said ``it's the moral and politically responsible thing to do.''
Instead of outright asking France for money, however, the Haitian government should prepare a development plan for the country showing where the money would go, said Latortue, an Aristide critic.

Early in June, Gerard Latortue, the Foreign Minister, visited Washington and asked State Department officials and members of Congress "to come to see and assess the situation" before they took further action against the Manigat government. He urged the United States to consider the alternatives: "If we go, it will not be democracy that comes."
On June 14th, General Namphy summoned Colonel Paul and informed him that he was being "promoted" to head of intelligence at military headquarters -- that is, to a desk job. There were rumors that Reagan Administration officials, who had been heavily criticized for the United States' inability to unseat Panama's Manuel Noriega, had promised Latortue a partial resumption of aid if Paul was transferred. Some people said that Namphy, annoyed by Manigat's recent actions and impatient with his lack of results in dealing with the Americans, was preparing the ground for a coup against the President; others that Namphy had ordered the transfer at the urging of the President, who was setting a clever trap for the General.

Articles sur Gerard Latortue (French)

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Experience: In 1962, became co-director and then director of the Institute of Higher Commercial and Economic Studies in Port-au-Prince. Served as Foreign minister in 1988 to former President Leslie Manigat, who was toppled in one of the 32 coups fomented by Haiti's army. Worked for United Nations Development Program in West Africa. Worked as an international business consultant in Miami.

• Education: Studied in Haiti, then at the Institute of Political Studies and the Institute of Economic and Social Development in Paris before returning to Haiti in 1960.

• Personal: Age: 69. Born in Gonaives, Haiti. Spent 25 years in exile during the Duvalier dictatorship. Married, three children. Now lives in Palm Beach County and hosts a television program. Is an avid book collector whose library includes coveted editions of Haitian history.
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New Haitian Prime Minister Gerad Latortue, of Boca Raton, Fla. is surrounded by media as he readies to board a plane to Haiti at Miami International Airport Wednesday, March 10, 2004. Latortue, believes only free elections can save this traumatized country. (AP Photo/Mitchell Zachs)
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he new prime minister is Gérard Latortue, 69, a lawyer and economist who has long lived abroad but is a technocrat with a reputation for integrity. He was selected by the American-backed council of "eminent Haitians" assembled after the resignation, under pressure, of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 29.
Mr. Latortue served briefly as foreign minister in 1988, in the government of Leslie Manigat, which was installed by a military junta after the Duvalier government fell. Mr. Manigat was overthrown after less than a year in office, and Mr. Latortue went on to work for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization for many years. He is currently a business consultant in Boca Raton, Fla.

U.S.-and-French-installed Viceroy of Haiti, Gerard Latortue, is now demanding that the sovereign nation of Jamaica refuse to allow legitimately elected Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to stay on the neighboring island country, according to this report from Reuters:

Haiti's new leader fired a diplomatic broadside at Jamaica on Friday for allowing ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to visit, while U.S. and French troops came under renewed attack by gunmen...
Latortue announced he might fly to Haiti's Caribbean neighbor this weekend to pursue an agreement with Jamaican Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to limit Aristide's stay.
"Since the word was known yesterday afternoon that Aristide is coming to Jamaica we have observed an increase in tensions in Port-au-Prince," Latortue told reporters.

According to the US Government's Voice of America, Washington wants Aristide muzzled while in Jamaica, too.

This is "democracy?" No, this is what the aftermath of a coup d'etat looks like.

According to the Associated Press:

Latortue brushed aside Aristide's claims that he never formally stepped down as president.
"Otherwise, what am I doing here?" Latortue asked reporters.

Is that a rhetorical question? Where is Aristide's alleged "resignation letter"? AP's own translation of the supposed "resignation" letter reveals that it was not a resignation at all, not by any legal standard. The text that the US Embassy "translated" from the original Creole as "tonight I am resigning" more truthfully translates to "if tonight is my resignation." What kind of "resignation" is that? (And why haven't AP and other Commercial Media followed up on that story?)

What is Mr. Latortue doing there? He is presiding over an illigitimate government, imposed by violent coup d'etat.

Meanwhile, denials of recent weeks by Colin Powell and other US officials that they had been gagging Aristide from speaking by dumping him in the Central African Republic (another land of a coup installed illigitimate government) were proved to have been lies, today, when Powell got on the phone - according to the reports above - to Jamaican officials and insisted that they stop Aristide from exercising free speech there.

This is all going to come to a boil soon at an upcoming Caribbean Community of nations (CARICOM) meeting this month in St. Kitts... Who will the Caribbean nations recognize as the legitimate governor of Haiti? The one who did not resign and was removed - even by Washington's admission - by threat of force? Or the one who was never elected, but, rather, installed under an illegal process?

It is impossible for any honest journalist to describe Mr. Latortue as a legitimate prime minister. He is not. You will know the dishonest ones by their failure to tell the whole story.

In the meantime, the job ahead for Authentic Journalists and truth tellers everywhere is to spread the word: Coup-installed Gerard Latortue - who has spent recent years in Boca Raton, Florida, living high off an oligarch's TV station - is an illigitimate thief of a nation's democracy, and deserves no respect, only scorn, and constant, insistent, correction to his illegal claims to rule Haiti.
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - The man named as Haiti's new prime minister, Gerard Latortue, believes only free elections can save this traumatized country.

Latortue, a former U.N. official who served in Africa and as an international business consultant in South Florida, was chosen Tuesday to head a transitional government and organize elections in a country that only once in its 200 years of independence had a good election.

The 69-year-old Boca Raton resident has spent much of his life in exile, and has been critical of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"He's a pacifist. He's a good person. He's a man of compromise," Leslie Voltaire, a Cabinet minister in Aristide's government, said in a telephone interview. "The plan was asking for an independent prime minister and (one) competent at a professional level. I think he does both."

Voltaire said Latortue's extensive knowledge of international organizations, in particular the United Nations, would prove invaluable once the world body takes over the U.S.-led force in Haiti.

He praised the spirit of compromise that will be needed to head a government of former enemies - Aristide's Lavalas party and an opposition coalition - who for years have been at loggerheads.

But Latortue, who has critcized Aristide's police force as politicized, also will have to pacify disparate armed factions. In the anti-Aristide camp are several groups of rebels, including a street gang that says it was armed by Aristide to terrorize his opponents and disaffected former soldiers from the army that Aristide disbanded in 1994. On the other side are armed Aristide militants blamed for a bloody attack on demonstrators Sunday that left seven dead and more than 30 injured.

In an interview published Wednesday in the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper, Latortue said his main priorities would be security, justice, jobs and national reconciliation.

"I feel very happy that a chance is given to me to participate in the reconstruction of Haiti after all those years of bad governance," he told the paper. "And I hope I will be able to assemble Haitians from all political parties and social groups to make Haiti a country all Haitians will be proud to be from."

Latortue said he plans to include members of the Lavalas Family, Aristide's political party, in the transitional government.

"I think Aristide is already the past," he said. "Now we're looking ahead at building Haiti after the disaster of the Aristide regime."

Some soldiers indicated they were not happy with the choice of Latortue, as indicated in an AP interview with former coup plotter and Haitian army Col. Himler Rebu.

He said the council made a "tactical mistake" by not choosing former army chief-of-staff Gen. Herard Abraham, who was on a shortlist of three candidates.

"The immediate priority was to avoid armed disorder ... (Abraham) would have been a calming element for the soldiers, as well as for the chimeres," Rebu said, using the French word for "ghosts" that in Haiti has come to mean the angry young men who violently support Aristide.

Rebu said Latortue would have to find "a strong figure" as defense and interior minister.

It seemed Abraham still could have a role.

Opposition leader Mischa Gaillaird told the AP: "We hope that Mr. Latortue will be someone who will reunite the country."

The third candidate was businessman Smarck Michel, who was Aristide's prime minister in 1994 but left in a dispute over pursuing a liberal economic policy.

In papers and interviews, Latortue has emphasized the need for a professional and depoliticized civilian police force in Haiti - indicating he supported the idea that a country without external enemies but in internal chaos needs police not soldiers.

Aristide was accused of using police to oppress and kill his opponents.

Latortue served as Haiti's foreign minister in 1988 to President Leslie Manigat, who was installed by the military. Latortue lost his tenure in one of the 32 coups Haiti's army fomented. Rebu himself led a failed palace coup in the late 1980s against Gen. Propser Avril.

Latortue has pondered the dilemma of Haiti for decades.

"Our country is bankrupt," he wrote in a French-language paper for a conference in Washington D.C. in March 2003. "The chronic misery of our people was never so great. The degradation of the national ecosystem portends an ecological disaster without match. Society is in a state of such ruin that the very existence of our nation is at stake."

He also said the nation's many gangs must be disarmed, and that elections were key to bringing the country back from ruin.

"The entire nation opens its arms to those who can and want to help us organize viable, free and fair elections, to install a lawful state, as well as justice and security for all, and to disarm the gangs," he wrote.
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New Haitian Prime Minister Gerad Latortue, of Boca Raton, FL. is surrounded by media as he readies to board a plane to Haiti at Miami International Airport Wednesday March 10, 2004. Latortue, believes only free elections can save this traumatized country. (AP Photo/Mitchell Zachs)
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