THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
SELECTED REMARKS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY BY PRESIDENT WILLIAM
JEFFERSON CLINTON ON U.S. POLICY TOWARD HAITI
"The message of the United States to the Haitian dictators is clear: Your time is up. Leave now or we will force you from power."
"We have exhausted diplomacy. Now the United States must protect its interests:
to stop the brutal atrocities that threaten tens of thousands of Haitians; to secure our borders and preserve stability in our hemisphere; and to promote democracy and uphold the reliability of our commitment around the world." ***
"Cedras and his armed thugs have conducted a reign of terror. Executing children. Raping women. Killing priests. As the dictators have grown more desperate, the atrocities have grown ever more brutal.
Recent news reports have documented the slaying of Haitian orphans by the nation's deadly secret police. The dictators are said to suspect the children of harboring sympathy toward President Aristide, for no other reason than because he ran an orphanage in his days as a parish priest. The children fled the orphanages for the streets. Now they cannot even sleep there because they are so afraid. As one young boy told a visitor: "I do not care if the [secret police] kill me because it only brings an end to my suffering.
International observers uncovered a terrifying pattern of soldiers and policemen raping the wives and daughters of suspected political dissidents. Young girls -- 13, 16 years old. People slain and mutilated, with body parts left as warnings to terrify others. Children forced to watch as their mothers faces are slashed with machetes.
A year ago the dictators assassinated the Minister of Justice. And just last month, they gunned down Father Jean-Marie Vincent, a peasant leader and close friend of Father Aristide. Vincent was executed on the doorstep of his home, a monastery. He refused to give up his ministry. And for that he was murdered."
"Let me be clear: General Cedras and his accomplices alone are responsible for the suffering and terrible human tragedy. It is their actions that have isolated Haiti -- and driven the people deeper into poverty and despair.
The United States has agreed to lead a multinational force to carry out the will of the U.N. More than twenty countries from around the globe -- from as far away as Poland, Israel and Jordan and Bangladesh -- have agreed to join us.
I know that the United States cannot and should not be the world's policeman. But we have a responsibility to respond when inhumanity offends our values. And we have a particular interest in stopping brutality when it occurs so close to our shores. Thousands of Haitians have already escaped to the United States, risking their lives to flee the reign of terror.
As long as Cedras rules, Haitians will continue to seek sanctuary in our nation. This year, in less than two months, more than 21,000 Haitians were rescued at sea by our Coast Guard and Navy. Today more than 14,000 refugees are living at our naval base in Guantanamo. The American people have already spent $177 million to support them and maintain the economic embargo -- and the taxpayers will have to spend $14 million each month unless we act.
Three hundred thousand more Haitians -- 5 percent of the population -- are in hiding. If we do not act, they will be the next wave of refugees at our door. We will continue to face a mass exodus of refugees and a constant threat to stability in our region and control of our borders."
"Tonight, I can announce that President Aristide has pledged to step down when his term ends, in accordance with the constitution he has sworn to uphold. He has committed himself to promote reconciliation among all Haitians, and to set an historic example by peacefully transferring power to a duly elected successor. He knows, as we know, that when you start a democracy the most important election is the second election. President Aristide has told me that he will consider his mission fulfilled not when he regains office, but when he leaves it to the next democratically elected President of Haiti. He has pledged to honor the Haitian voters who put their faith in the ballot box. " # # #