Emmanuel Constant: The United States
Must Practice What It Preaches About Not Harboring Terrorists
October 3, 2001
The United States properly
demands that other nations do not support or harbor those who commit or plan
acts of terror.
We must practice what we
preach. I refer to the matter of Emmanuel Constant.
Constant was a founder
and secretary general of the paramilitary Front for the Advancement and
Progress of Haiti (FRAPH). FRAPH members were responsible for human
rights atrocities under the military government that ruled Haiti from
1991 to 1994, including extrajudicial executions, torture, and rape.
Thousands were killed and
injured by Constant's group. A litany of the
horrors inflicted by FRAPH makes harrowing reading.
This is state-sponsored
terrorism of a sort different than perpetrated during the World Trade Center
attack. The civilians who were killed at the Twin Towers were at the
wrong place at the wrong time.
In contrast, the FRAPH
atrocities were targeted by the Haitian military dictatorship at specific
individuals or communities in order to terrorize them into submission.
FRAPH was reportedly founded with CIA
assistance, and Constant was on the CIA payroll.
Emmanuel Constant is now in
the United States, and we have repeatedly denied the Haitian government's
request to deport him to Haiti. Such refusal has been the subject of
much so far unsuccessful advocacy by
human rights groups.
What triggered this
commentary was an Associated Press report
in The New York Times this week which was, in contrast to the other
news concerning terrorists around the world, buried in a small inside story:
Aristide has marked the 10th anniversary of the coup that forced him into
exile and called on the United States to extradite a paramilitary leader
accused of involvement in the violence that followed.
Speaking to a crowd of
thousands in Independence Square in the western city [of] Gonaļves on
Saturday... Mr. Aristide, in his third term, urged the United States to
extradite Emmanuel Constant, who lives in exile in New York.
He was tried in absentia on
charges that he had helped to mastermind a 1994 massacre, and was
sentenced to life in prison last year...
Mr. Constant led the
right-wing Front for the Advancement and Progress of Haiti, which has been
accused of using terror to break the spirit of Mr. Aristide's supporters.
So there you have it.
The U.S. is harboring a terrorist who has presided over mass murder and
torture. Let's show we're serious about fighting terrorists.
Hand over Emmanuel Constant!