US warships sent to blockade Haiti: UN observers flee island as Clinton raises the stakes

BILL CLINTON yesterday ordered six United States naval destroyers to waters off Haiti to enforce sanctions, including an embargo on oil sales ordered by the United Nations Security Council, aimed at forcing the Haitian military regime from power. Late last night, the UN special envoy, Dante Caputo, said most of the UN civilian mission to monitor human rights would leave for the Dominican Republic yesterday and today.

The embargo takes effect from Monday night and follows the refusal of the Haitian military to keep to the terms of an agreement to step down and allow the return of a civilian government under the elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, ousted two years ago. General Raoul Cedras, the army commander, refused to resign yesterday as he had originally agreed.

'I have today ordered six destroyers to patrol waters off Haiti so they are in a position to enforce sanctions fully when they come into effect on Monday,' President Clinton said. He said he had also ordered an infantry company to stand by at the US base Guantanamo in Cuba.

Mr Clinton cited the refusal of the Haitian military to abide by the terms of the accords known as the Governor's Island agreement signed in New York on 3 July. In addition to the reimposition of UN sanctions, lifted in August, the US is to revoke the visas of military officers and their supporters as well as freezing their assets in the US.

The strength of the US action is in response to the refusal of the Haitian authorities to allow a US naval troopship to land 200 American and Canadian soldiers at Port-au-Prince dock on Monday. Bands of gunmen known as 'attaches', who act as auxiliary police in plainclothes, menaced US diplomats who had come to see the troops, who were to act as advisers and technical assistants, disembark in Haiti.

Having stopped the arrival of US troops, the first of a detachment of 600, General Cedras and Lieutenant-Colonel Michel Francois, the chief of the Port-au-Prince police, showed growing confidence that they could defy the US and UN with impunity.

On Thursday the Justice Minister, Guy Malary, a member of the new civilian cabinet, was assassinated as he left his ministry a few hundred yards from General Cedras's headquarters.

The military government closed down Port-au-Prince yesterday in a day of mourning for Mr Malary. But there is little doubt that his assassins come from the band of 1,500 attaches controlled by Colonel Francois. On 11 September, with the direct assistance of uniformed police, attaches had dragged Antoine Izmery, one of President Aristide's main supporters, from a church in the heart of the capital and shot him through the head.

Some 300 UN observers, in charge of monitoring human rights abuses, were unable to stop these and other killings apparently arranged to prevent Fr Aristide returning on 30 October. Canadian and French police officers, the first of a force of 700 being sent by the UN, are also being withdrawn.

The embargo enforced by US destroyers is likely to be more effective than before, though the military is reported to have stockpiled three months' supply of oil. The 7,000-strong army and police, together with paramilitary death squads, have a monopoly of armed force on the island but will have difficulty maintaining power.

President Aristide was elected with 67 per cent of the vote in 1990 and, after two years in exile, there is no sign of his popularity diminishing. The army high command may therefore find they have overplayed their hand and are now isolated.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Operations Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am currently recruiting for an Operati...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, Security Cleared

£100 - £110 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Ham...

Senior Digital Marketing Executive

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Junior Developer- CSS, HMTL, Bootstrap

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading company within the healthcare ...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz