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The following articles on the CIA Haiti sponsored narcotics smuggling by Dennis Bernstein, Howard Levine and Jim Lobe were published in the 1990s and republished by Global Research 25 February 2004. They shed light on the history of US interventionism in Haiti, focusing on the 1991 CIA led military coup. The coup was led coup by general Raul Cedras, resulted in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Aristide.
WHAT’S BEHIND WASHINGTON’S SILENCE ON HAITI DRUG CONNECTION?
by Dennis Bernstein
Pacific News Service, 20 October 20, 1993
At stake in the U.S. confrontation with the Haitian military regime is a cocaine smuggling operation that earns millions of dollars for Haitian military officials while dumping tons of the deadly white powder on American streets. Yet while the country debates the merits of armed intervention in Haiti, the Clinton administration has remained mum on the Haitian “drug connection.”
A confidential report by the Drug Enforcement Agency obtained by Pacific News Service describes Haiti as “a major transshipment point for cocaine traffickers” funnelling drugs from Colombia and the Dominican Republic into the U.S.-with the knowledge and active involvement of high military officials and business elites.
The corruption of the Haitian military “is substantial enough to hamper any significant drug investigation attempting to dismantle” illicit drug operations inside Haiti, the report states. Echoing the report’s findings, exiled Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide recently blamed the military’s role in the drug trade for his ouster.
Despite extensive DEA intelligence documenting Haiti’s drug role, neither the Clinton administration, nor the Bush administration before it, have ever raised that role publicly. Now critics of U.S. policy on Haiti, including one Congressman, are questioning that silence, suggesting it reflects de facto U.S. support for the Haitian military and a reluctance to offer unqualified support for Aristide.
“I’ve been amazed that our government has never talked about the drug trafficking…even though it is obviously one of the major reasons why these people drove their president out of the country and why they are determined not to let him back in. We’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal profits that are having disastrous consequences for the American people,” says Rep. John Conyers (D-MI).
Larry Burns, head of the Washington, D.C.-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs, claims, “From the moment Aristide was overthrown two years ago, Washington has equivocated on whether it wanted him back or not…” To secure the military “as an anchor to Aristide’s sail,” Burns charges, Washington “turned a blind eye to the corruption charges, and pretended that it could be reformed through professionalization and U.S. training.”
A senior administration official at the National Security Council dismisses the charge but when asked why the administration has failed to publicize DEA allegations of drug trafficking, the spokesman had no comment.
The DEA first established a Country Office (CO) in Port-au-Prince to assist the Haitian government with its anti-narcotics activities in November 1987. Throughout Aristide’s brief tenure in office, DEA agents worked closely with Haitian military narcotics services, investigating an illegal cocaine network estimated to be moving some $300-$500 million worth of cocaine into the U.S. per year. Although the DEA office was shut down after the 1991 coup, it reopened in the fall of 1992. But soon after DEA intelligence prompted the arrest of a member of Haiti’s ClA-linked National Intelligence, DEA local agent Tony Greco received death threats from a man identifying himself as the National Intelligence member’s boss.
A Congressional source familiar with the DEA’s history in Haiti told PNS that Greco had also “connected (Lt. Colonel Michel) Francois to the drug trafficking operations in Haiti.” Francois, the current chief of police, is alleged to be behind the current campaign of terror.
What disturbs Rep. Conyers is that none of this information ever reached the public. “By turning a deaf ear to what is obviously a prime force behind Aristide’s ouster, we raise questions about our own involvement in drug activities,” Conyers says. He is currently investigating how it is that the ships and aircraft necessary to sustain such a large operation evade detection and interdiction, while the U.S. government has managed to spot, stop and turn back almost every ramshackle boat carrying refugees.
Indeed the DEA report shows that after the 1991 coup sent Aristide into exile, there were virtually no major seizures of cocaine from Haiti as compared to nearly 4,000 pounds seized in 1990.
Michael Levine, author of “Deep Cover” and a decorated DEA agent with 25 years of experience fighting drugs overseas, says what’s going on in Haiti is “just another example of elements of the U.S. government protecting killers, drug dealers and dictators for the sake of some political end that’s going to cost a whole bunch of kids in this country their lives.
“I saw the drug traffickers take over the government of Bolivia in 1980, ironically with the assistance of the CIA, and we (the DEA) just packed up our office and went home.”
Dennis Bernstein is co producer of KPFA’s Flashpoints and an associate editor at Pacific News Service. Additional reporting by Greg Saatkamp and Julie Light.
© Copyright DENNIS BERNSTEIN, 1993. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement.