The Brotherhood Organization for a New Destiny, or BOND, has requested the U.S. House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct investigate the Congressional Black Caucus for “their suspicious activities as they relate to the resignation of former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.”
Jesse Lee Peterson
Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of BOND, wrote a letter to Rep. Joel Hefley, R-Colo., chairman of the committee asking for the probe into members of the caucus. In his letter, Peterson criticizes members Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., for comments they made accusing the Bush administration of forcing former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from office. Waters and Rangel have asked for a government investigation into the circumstances surrounding Aristide’s departure on Feb. 29.
“Rep. Maxine Waters … accused Undersecretary of State for Latin America Roger Noriega – whom she called ‘a Haiti-hater’ – of being behind the troubles there,” Peterson wrote, noting caucus members accused the U.S. of kidnapping Aristide. Rep. Major Owens, D-N.Y., called the leader’s departure a “terrorist takeover.”
“We are seriously concerned about the inflammatory language and tone of these accusations,” Peterson wrote. “By misinterpreting the truth about what happened in the last hours before Aristide left office these lawmakers are inciting hatred, suspicion and possibly violence towards the White House, State Department officials and the new administration in Haiti.
“It is especially troubling that Rep. Waters is actively lobbying for Aristide and knowingly fomenting hostility towards U.S. and Haitian officials. This is irresponsible behavior – especially post ‘9-11.'”
Peterson said he was disturbed the Congressional Black Caucus was backing “a corrupt and brutal dictator like Aristide.”
In the letter, Peterson asks Hefley what the black members of Congress have to gain by supporting the ex-president.
“Within the past seven weeks, Rep. Waters has made several trips to Haiti. She even accompanied Mr. Aristide to Jamaica on Monday (3/15/04) – against the advice of the White House. We’d like to know by what authority does a United States congresswoman chaperone a deposed foreign dictator?”
Peterson wonders if economic interests play a role in the members’ attitudes.
“Do CBC members, their families, or friends have business interest in Haiti? If so, what is the nature of these businesses?” he wrote.
On Tuesday, Aristide’s interior minister, Jocelerme Privert, was arrested in Port-au-Prince on suspicion of orchestrating the killings of several people presumed to be Aristide opponents.
Peterson has long opposed the agenda of the traditional black leaders in the U.S., sponsoring the “National Day of Repudiation of Jesse Jackson” each January. He is joined in his recent efforts by Project 21, a national network of conservative African-Americans.
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