Haitian warns U.S. against invasion

May 23, 1994|By Newsday

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Jean Valcius Estinval proudly calls himself a "Tonton Macoute" -- a member of the paramilitary group loyal to the old Duvalier dictatorship.

Yesterday, as Haiti completed its first day under a tough new embargo imposed by the United Nations at the prodding of the United States, Mr. Estinval said he had a message for President Clinton: Send U.S. troops to dislodge this country's de facto leaders and the lives of thousands of Americans and other foreigners will be at risk.

"There are Americans, French, Canadians and Dominicans who live in this country," said Mr. Estinval, the head of a conservative political organization called the Political Front of Haitian Reminiscences. Mr. Estinval is part of a bloc of militant politicians and business leaders strongly opposed to the return of deposed President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

"Does Mr. Clinton want to have an international war? If Mr. Clinton invades, what will he do with the foreigners who are in the country?" Mr. Estinval added in what he acknowledged was a warning.

Such threats against foreigners are heard increasingly in Haiti, fTC as the United States leads a worldwide effort to restore Mr. Aristide to power. Mr. Clinton and the United Nations want army chiefs to step aside and let Father Aristide come back. Father Aristide, a Catholic priest, was overthrown in a 1991 military coup and now lives in Washington.

Stanley Schrager, spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, said the United States is being singled out because it is considered the architect of a new worldwide trade ban against Haiti.

He estimated there are about 7,000 Americans in Haiti with 6,000 holding dual citizenship.

The new sanctions, which bar all trade except for humanitarian deliveries of food and medicine, were designed to put pressure on Haiti's military leaders. The embargo is expected to cause shocks to domestic businesses as they cope with higher prices caused by the shortages.

Oil, however, has been moving from the neighboring Dominican Republic in large quantities.

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