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Profile: Roger Francisco Noriega
Positions that Roger Francisco Noriega has held:
- US permanent representative to the Organization of American States
- Senior staff member on the House of Representatives' Committee on International Relations (1994-1997)
- Aide to Senator Jesse Helms in the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations
Roger Francisco Noriega was a participant or observer in the following events:
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]
According to Haiti expert Robert Maguire of Trinity College, the permanent US representative to the Organization of American States Roger Noriega and US Special Envoy to Latin America Otto Reich lead a “relatively small group of people” who develop strategies toward Haiti. [Dollars and Sense, 9/7/2003]
The Haiti Democracy Project (HDP) is formally established. At its official launching, which takes place at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., speakers warn that the current “crisis” in democracy in Haiti is worsening at an ever increasing pace. “… Luigi Einaudi opened the talks with dire predictions that Haiti was fast approaching a point where diplomatic means would no longer contribute to solve the crisis. According to Einaudi, those concerned about Haiti should at this time be gathering for a ‘wake.’ The rapidly deteriorating economic situation, the inability of the main protagonists to advance the negotiating process and the increasing protest demonstrations throughout the country made for a very bleak future.” US ambassador to the OAS, Roger Noriega also speaks at the ceremony. At one point, Noriega says, referring to the contested 2000 Haitian elections (see May 21, 2000), “We have to get them [The Haitian people] that opportunity as they will not participate in a farce.” [Haiti Democracy Project, 11/20/2004] Attending the event are some questionable figures including Stanley Lucas and Olivier Nadal. Lucas is said to be the point man in Haiti for the USAID-financed International Republican Institute, which is providing training and funds to anti-Aristide Haitian rebels in the Dominican Republic (see (2001-2004)). Nadal is a Miami-based Haitian businessman and the former president of the Haitian Chamber of Commerce. [Haiti Democracy Project, 11/20/2004] Nadal is implicated in a peasant massacre that occurred in the Haitian town of Piatre. In 1990, a group of peasants were killed by Nadal’s security after they squatted on unused land that he owned. [Haiti Progres, 7/21/1999; National Coalition for Haitian Rights, 4/24/2004] The prominent businessman Antoine Izmery said shortly before he was murdered that Nadal had been one of the financiers of the 1991 coup d’etat (see October 31, 1991) that ousted Aristide from office. And in 1994, the United States government froze Nadal’s assets because of his suspected involvement in the coup. [Haiti Progres, 7/21/1999] The Haiti Democracy Project is funded by the wealthy, right-wing Haitian Boulos family, which owns several companies including Pharval Pharmaceuticals, the USAID-funded Radio Vision 2000, the Delimart supermarket, and Le Matin. In February 2002, Rudolph Boulos was under investigation for his possible involvement in the assassination of Haitian journalist Jean Dominique who had been very critical of Pharval after contamination of the company’s “Afrebril and Valodon” syrups with diethyl alcohol had resulted in the deaths of 60 children. [Haiti Progres, 7/21/1999; Haiti Weekly News, 2/28/2002; Knight Ridder, 3/11/2004; Haiti Democracy Project, 11/20/2004] The project’s board of directors includes Rudolph Boulos, CEO of Pharval Laboratories; Vicki Carney of CRInternational; Prof. Henry F. Carey of Georgia State University; Timothy Carney, US ambassador to Haiti (1998-1999); Clotilde Charlot, former vice-president of the Haitian Association of Voluntary Agencies; Lionel Delatour of the Center for Free Enterprise and Democracy (CLED); Ira Lowenthal, an “Anthropologist”; Charles Manus; Orlando Marville, Chief of the OAS electoral mission to Haiti in 2000; James Morrell, the Haiti Democracy Project’s executive director; Lawrence Pezzullo, US special envoy for Haiti (1993-1994); and Ernest H. Preeg, US ambassador to Haiti (1981-1983). [Haiti Democracy Project, 3/26/2004]
Entity Tags: Luigi Einaudi, Lionel Delatour, Orlando Marville, Roger Francisco Noriega, Stanley Lucas, Vicki Carney, Timothy Carney, Lawrence Pezzullo, Rudolph Boulos, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Olivier Nadal, James Morrell, Antoine Izmery, Charles Manus, Ernest H. Preeg, Clotilde Charlot, Henry F. Carey, Ira Lowenthal, Jean Dominique, Haiti Democracy Project
Timeline Tags: Haiti Coup
The White House announces the nomination of Roger F. Noriega, the current US Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States, to the position of Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs. [US Department of State, 1/9/2003; White House, 1/9/2003] Otto Reich, who was originally named to the position, but whose nomination was never confirmed by the Senate, is instead appointed by Bush to the White House position of Special Envoy for Western Hemisphere Initiatives, which does not have to be approved by the Senate (see January 11, 2002)
(see November 25, 2002). [US Department of State, 1/9/2003; Knight Ridder, 1/9/2003]
The Haitian Press Agency (AHP) reports that diplomats at the Organization of American States are openly circulating demands for the removal of Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. “One document’s author suggested that it would be best if the situation kept deteriorating, saying that any aid should be blocked until 2005 in order to eliminate the party in power, Fanmi Lavalas [Lavalas Family], which will be of no help to the population, according to him.” [Black Commentator, 5/15/2003] Though the news report does not provide any names, one possible source for the remarks is Roger Noriega, the US permanent representative to the Organization of American States. Noriega is a known critic of Aristide.
Rebels take over cities in northern Haiti and move towards Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, overrunning President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s local police forces and vowing to overthrow him. [New York Times, 2/29/2004] The rebels include various factions. The leading groups are led by Louis-Jodel Chamblain, a convicted murderer and former death squad leader under “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and Guy Philippe, also a known human rights violator (see October 31, 1991)
(see 1997-1999). [CounterPunch, 3/1/2004; Amnesty International, 3/3/2004; Associated Press, 3/3/2004]
Guy Philippe tells the Miami Herald during an interview conducted in Cap Haitein, Haiti, that the man he admires most is former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. “Pinochet made Chile what it is,” the 35-year-old rebel says. Philippe adds that US President Ronald Reagan is his next favorite. [Miami Herald, 2/28/2004; One World, 3/2/2004; Jamaica Observer, 3/7/2004]
Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is escorted on a US-charted jet to the Central African Republic. The details of this event are disputed.
US' version of events - Aristide contacts US ambassador James Foley on the night of January 28 and asks him three questions: “What did he think would be best for Haiti? Would the United States guarantee his protection? And could he choose his destination for exile?” At 11pm, Ambassador Foley informs Aristide that the United States can ensure his safe departure if he decides to resign and adds that this is what the Bush administration feels he should do. [Independent, 3/2/2004; Associated Press, 3/2/2004; Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Aristide and his American wife decide that they will accept the American offer. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Later in the night, Foley attempts to email the president but Aristide’s computer has already been packed. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Some time after midnight, Ambassador Foley telephones the US Embassy’s second-ranking officer in Port-au-Prince, Luis Moreno, and asks that he escort Aristide and his wife to the airport. [Washington Post, 3/3/2004] Shortly after 4 am, US Diplomat Luis Moreno arrives at the gates of Aristide’s residence in the suburb of Tabarre with a fellow US diplomat and six State Department security officers. Inside Aristide’s house the lights are on. Aristide meets Moreno at the door with his suitcases packed. “You know why I’m here,” Moreno says in Spanish. “Yes, of course,” Aristide is quoted as saying in response. Moreno asks Aristide for a resignation letter and Aristide promises to give one to him before he leaves the island. “You have my word and you know my word is good,” Aristide is quoted as saying. They then travel to the airport in separate vehicles, without any further conversation. They arrive at the airport and about 20 minutes before the plane arrives, Moreno again asks for the letter. Aristide provides the letter and then the two converse for the next few minutes. “I expressed sadness that I was here to watch him leave,” Moreno later tells The Washington Post. “Sometimes life is like that,” Aristide responds. “Then I shook his hand and he went away.” [Aristide, 2/28/2004; Reuters, 3/1/2004; Washington Post, 3/3/2004] A US-charted commercial plane arrives in Port-au-Prince at approximately 4:30am. [Aristide, 2/28/2004; Associated Press, 3/2/2004] US authorities do not force Aristide onto the leased plane. He goes willingly. [BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/2/2004] At 6:15am, the plane departs. [Miami Herald, 2/29/2004] “He was not kidnapped. We did not force him on to the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly, and that’s the truth,” Secretary of State Colin Powell claims. [BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/2/2004] “The allegations that somehow we kidnapped former President Aristide are absolutely baseless, absurd.” [Reuters, 3/2/2004]
Aristide's version of events - US soldiers arrive at Aristide’s residence and order the president not to use any phones and to come with them immediately. Aristide, his wife Mildred and his brother-in-law are taken at gunpoint to the airport. Aristide is warned by US diplomat Luis Moreno that if he does not leave Haiti, thousands of Haitians would likely die and rebel leader Guy Philippe would probably attack the palace and kill him. Moreover, the US warns Aristide that they are withdrawing his US-provided security. [Democracy Now!, 3/1/2004; BBC, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/2/2004] Aristide composes and signs a letter explaining his departure. [Democracy Now!, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/2/2004] The president, his wife, and his brother-in-law board a commercial jet charted by the US government. His own security forces are also taken and directed to a separate section of the plane. During the flight, Aristide and his wife remain in the company of soldiers. The shades on the windows of the plane are kept down. Soldiers tell him they are under orders not to tell him where he is going. [Democracy Now!, 3/1/2004] The plane stops first in Antigua, where it stays on the ground for two hours, and then flies for six hours across the Atlantic to the Central African Republic. Aristide is unable to communicate with anyone on the ground during the entire 20-hour period he is on the plane because it is presumably not equipped with a telephone. Shortly before touchdown, Aristide is informed that the destination is the Central African Republic. Upon arrival, Aristide is escorted to the “Palace of the Renaissance,” where he makes one phone call to his mother in Florida and her brother. He is provided a room with a balcony, but is not permitted to move around, and he remains in the company of soldiers. [Democracy Now!, 3/1/2004; Associated Press, 3/2/2004] His phone is taken away by African authorities and [Miami Herald, 3/3/2004] he is not provided a replacement or a landline. On the morning of March 1, he contacts US Congresswomen Maxine Waters and family friend Randall Robinson with a cell phone that is smuggled to him.(see March 1, 2004) [Democracy Now!, 3/1/2004] In an interview with CNN, he says he considers the events a “coup d’etat” and a “modern” version of kidnapping. [Inter Press Service, 3/2/2004]
Joseph Pierre's version of events - According to Joseph Pierre, a concierge at Aristide’s residence, whose account is reported in the French newspaper Lib�ration, Aristide is taken away early Sunday morning by US soldiers. “White Americans came by helicopter to get him. They also took his bodyguards. It was around two o’clock in the morning. He didn’t want to leave. The American soldiers forced him to. Because they were pointing guns at him, he had to follow them. The Americans are second only to God in terms of strength.” [Independent, 3/2/2004]
In a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger F. Noriega speaks about Haiti. On the issue of democracy, he says that under Aristide the people of Haiti had “lost their democracy,” explaining, “Leaders can undermine a republic and their own legitimacy by their actions and that is how a people can lose their democracy.” He contends that Aristide had willfully refused to “give any quarter to or compromise with political adversaries.” [US Department of State, 4/14/2004] In the section of his speech titled, “Principles of US Engagement in Haiti,” Noriega says the US will help Haiti adopt neoliberal reforms: “We will provide technical and legal aid to update Haiti’s Commercial Code, which dates from the 19th century, in order to help create the right environment for growth and wealth creation. We will also encourage the Government of Haiti to move forward, at the appropriate time, with restructuring and privatization of some public sector enterprises through a transparent process.” [US Department of State, 4/14/2004]
Roger Noriega, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, says the US is concerned that an arms trade deal struck between Venezuela and Russia could destabilize the region. Venezuela has agreed to purchase about 40 Russian military helicopters and 100,000 rifles. CNN reports that Noriega told its Spanish-language service “that Washington [is] worried the arms may end up with groups such as Columbia’s Marxist FARC rebels.” [Reuters, 2/8/2005; Al Jazeera, 2/13/2005] Observers interpret this latest move by the Hugo Chavez government as another step in a strategy apparently aimed at decreasing Venezuela’s dependence on the US economy by strengthening ties with states such as China, Russia and Iran. [Al Jazeera, 2/13/2005] Venezuela’s Vice President Jose Vincente Rangel defends the weapons trade deal with Russia. Rangel says that the deal is of no relevance to the US and that the deal is “a concern only for the Venezuelan people and the nation’s institutions.” [Reuters, 2/8/2005]
Roger Noriega, the Bush administration’s outgoing top envoy to Latin America, tells the Managua newspaper La Prensa that Nicaragua will “sink like a stone and reach depths such as those of Cuba” if the Sandinistas return to power. [Christian Science Monitor, 9/15/2005; USA Today, 10/6/2005]
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