SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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THE CARIBBEAN: AN OVERVIEW
SUBCOMMITTEE ON THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
MAY 14, 1997
Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
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COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JAY KIM, California
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN McHUGH, New York
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
LEE HAMILTON, Indiana
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD BERMAN, California
GARY ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama
WALTER CAPPS, California
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVE ROTHMAN, New Jersey
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCBILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere
ELTON GALLEGLY, California, Chairman
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
JAY KIM, California
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
MATTHEW MARTINEZ, California
ROBERT E. ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
WALTER H. CAPPS, California
BRAD SHERMAN, California
VINCE MORELLI, Subcommittee Staff Director
PAUL BONICELLI, Professional Staff Member
DAVID ADAMS, Democratic Professional Staff Member
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOLLY FEIOCK, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
John Hamilton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central America and the Caribbean, U.S. Department of State
Joseph Sullivan, Special Coordinator for Haiti, U.S. Department of State
Dr. Georges Fauriol, Director and Senior Fellow, Americas Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Frank Calzon, Washington Representative, Freedom House
Dr. Georges Fauriol
THE CARIBBEAN: AN OVERVIEW
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 1997
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHouse of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere,
Committee on International Relations,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2200, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Elton Gallegly [chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Good morning. Today the Subcommittee continues its oversight hearing on the Western Hemisphere by reviewing the conditions in the Caribbean. Given the President's recent historic visit with the Caribbean leaders in Barbados, I believe this hearing is very timely. While many think of the Caribbean as a collection of islands laden with serene beaches, free-flowing rum punches and inhabited mostly by vacationers, the reality is it is often much different.
Compared to some other regions in the world, the Caribbean is indeed peaceful. Yet the collection of nations and territories of the Caribbean present great complexities, face numerous challenges, and are fraught with dangers. While 15 of the 16 independent governments are democracies, not all are strong and several are subject to instabilities which could be triggered by any number of easily identifiable threats.
Those threats, as I see it, come from the stagnant economic growth, the lack of economic diversity, drugs, crime, and corruption. U.S. interests and involvement in the region have a long and sporadic history. Most of the time our interests have been energized by emergency situations.
Today, we must seek to strengthen our relationships with our neighbors first by assuring them that the end of the cold war has not diminished their importance and, second, we must review our current policies and programs to make the necessary adjustments where warranted.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC One policy which needs review is our efforts to help stimulate economic growth which, in turn, will help alleviate an issue important to me, and that, of course, is the issue of illegal immigration.
Economic conditions in some of these nations are not encouraging. Conditions such as low growth rates and high unemployment naturally give rise to migration. But with 12 to 15 percent of the populations of some of these nations already in the United States, our tolerance level is growing thin. Help can be provided through a combination of U.S. assistance, preferential trade and more active involvement by regional organizations such as the IDB and the OAS, and the more active promotion of the private sector investment.
But not one of these can accomplish the goal alone, and slogans such as ''trade, not aid,'' are meaningless, when we have neither the aid nor the trade nor the means to produce the trade. A second policy needing review is the fight against drugs throughout the region.
Clearly, the single greatest threat to law and order in many of these small nations is the growing traffic of narcotics. It is clear that the Caribbean is a major transit area for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, not just bound for the United States, but to Europe as well. The region's vulnerability to trafficking of drugs if not addressed adequately, possesses the danger of the establishment of narco-democracies and while the nations of the Caribbean are making what appears to be a good faith effort to address the problem, it is clear that their financial resources will not be sufficient to wage an effective war.
We must help to do more to provide the resources necessary to fight the battle while at the same time being willing to approach the issue as a true partnership.
Returning to my first point, the rise in the drug trade is yet another reflection of the inability of this region's economies to provide viable alternatives and has led many to conclude that drug trafficking has become the most profitable business within several of the economies.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Our neighbors in the Caribbean are important to us. Addressing these issues will require a great commitment by the nations themselves, but it does demand that the United States take a more proactive role to address these problems in a sensible, coordinated way.
Finally, a word on Haiti. There is a growing frustration in the Congress that the situation in Haiti does not seem to be moving forward in as positive a way as many think it should. While I appreciate the political complexities of the Haitian landscape facing President Preval, and am not yet ready to give up hope for the government, our efforts there seem to be somewhat at a standstill.
Public administration still seems to be in gridlock. The economy is stagnant, the private sector remains weak, and the legislature seems to be more interested in political infighting than moving their nation forward. Despite its problems, I believe 18 months is too soon to be thinking about changing our policy.
When we look at the conditions such as crime, corruption and democracy in Russia after 7 years and billions of dollars, perhaps we are expecting too much from Haiti too soon.
I am glad to see Mr. Ackerman has arrived. But things have got to change down there, and soon, or this Congress will begin reconsidering our role in that country.
With us today is Deputy Secretary of State, John Hamilton, who did accompany the President on his trip, and State Department Special Coordinator for Haiti, Joseph Sullivan. Mr. Secretary, we welcome you here today and look forward to your remarks, especially as they relate to the President's recent trip.
But before we begin, I would ask the ranking member, my good friend, Mr. Ackerman, who made a timely entrance, if he has any opening remarks.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I do, and with your permission and the consent of the Committee, I will put these scintillating remarks in the record. I thank you for your timely calling of this hearing and welcome our witnesses.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Ackerman. We will make that part of the record of the hearing without objection.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ackerman appears in the appendix.]
STATEMENT OF JOHN R. HAMILTON, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY, CENTRAL AMERICA, THE CARIBBEAN AND CUBA
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for this opportunity to testify. I couldn't agree more about the timeliness of this hearing. As you know, the President just had an extremely successful meeting with the leaders of 15 Caribbean nations last Saturday in Bridgetown, Barbados.
This was, as startling as this seems, the first time that a U.S. President had had a meeting of this kind in the region with the leaders from the Caribbean.
I think this, in and of itself, sent an unmistakable political message that the U.S. interest in the region is strong. The Caribbean leaders were delighted. The meeting was positive in tone, and I think quite substantive in content and in the outcomes. The groundwork for the meeting had been laid through intensive U.S. Government interagency discussions and talks with the Caribbeans over a period of weeks and, in fact, several months.
One of the principal outcomes of the meeting was a commitment by Secretary of State Albright to meet annually with her counterparts, the Caribbean Foreign Ministers, once a year, and she will do that for the first time during the fall meeting of the U.N. General Assembly. That will give us an occasion on which to review the initial progress implementing the commitments made in Barbados.
The results of the summit are set forth in a Bridgetown Declaration of Principles that was signed by the President, and then there was an accompanying Plan of Action. Together they constitute what the leaders are calling a Partnership for Prosperity and Security in the Caribbean.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As the President noted in both San Jose and Bridgetown, there are several initiatives for which we will be seeking the support of the Congress; two in particular I think will be of interest to this committee. The President noted that he will be submitting a Caribbean Basin Trade Enhancement Act to the Congress, and that we will be fighting for passage of this as a cornerstone of our policy toward the area. This legislation will be particularly important for Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Central American nations.
What this proposed bill would do would be to provide tariff preferences, essentially equivalent to those that Mexico receives under NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It would also require the beneficiary nations to improve their investment regimes, their protection of intellectual property, and by doing so, constitute a very concrete building-blocks kind of approach to their participation in the Free Trade Area of the Americas. That is the goal of our trade policy in the hemisphere.
A second legislative initiative would be an amendment to section 1031 of the Department of Defense authorization bill. The purpose of this change is to give DOD certain expanded authorities which will enable them to provide not only equipment, but maintenance for the equipment. Because what we found in the Caribbean is that whereas we have provided a substantial amount of equipment, there is not the wherewithal in these governments to keep the equipment functioning. So we will be in touch with you in the weeks ahead as this goes forward.
The Action Plan signed by the President lays out a road map for our cooperation in two broad areas, economic and law enforcement. It sets forth a number of goals in each. Beyond the commitment on CBI enhancement, we pledged additional resources of existing fiscal year 1997 funds to the Windward Islands to help them diversify their economies, and this will take the form of microenterprise loans, scholarships and technical assistance.
Further, there was extensive discussion in Barbados of the banana issue, and I think a very good airing of concerns on that issue, and the President has committed to raising this with the European Union when he meets in 2 weeks at the Denver Summit.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Additionally, the leaders committed to a so-called quick consult mechanism on trade. This is to enable Caribbean concerns on trade issues that are being considered in a global negotiating framework, to be taken into account.
The second broad concern, just as your opening statement indicated, was cooperation on law enforcement. We are getting what we consider to be quite good cooperation from the Caribbean now, but I think there was the general view that we all should and can do more.
In the days prior to the Barbados Summit, we completed negotiations for maritime law enforcement cooperation agreements with both Barbados and Jamaica and, in doing that, we virtually completed a web of law enforcement cooperation agreements that goes a long way toward removing the advantage that drug traffickers have by fleeing one national jurisdiction to another. This web of agreements also includes newly negotiated extradition and mutual legal assistance treaties.
We are pledging to increase the Caribbean law enforcement capabilities. We will be providing through the 506(a) drawdown authority Coast Guard cutters and additional aircraft. The action plan also addressed the Caribbean concern about the proliferation of illegal small arms in the area, and we are pledged to work with them in that area, and to train their officials, investigators, prosecutors, judges, banking officials, and to jointly develop anti-money-laundering measures.
We think we can do all of this while respecting the sovereignty of these small nations. In fact, I think there is a general view that the real threat to national sovereignty in the Caribbean comes from the drug traffickers. What we accomplished at Barbados was laying out a framework and specific Plan of Action, and I think it lays a good basis for improved and sustained engagement with the region.
Thank you, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hamilton appears in the appendix.]
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF JOSEPH G. SULLIVAN, SPECIAL HAITI COORDINATOR
Mr. SULLIVAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am submitting a statement and request permission that it be entered into the record. I would only like to make a few additional remarks here.
President Clinton met with Haitian President Rene Preval in Barbados on May 10, first in the summit with other Caribbean leaders and then in a bilateral meeting. Mr. Hamilton has described for you the results of the Caribbean Summit, and I shall address briefly the session with President Preval.
President Clinton reaffirmed U.S. support for President Preval's efforts to strengthen Haiti's democratic institutions and to promote economic development. He underlined the efforts of the Administration and the Congress to develop a bipartisan approach to our Haiti policy which can sustain the prolonged American and international engagement which will be necessary to support Haiti's efforts to overcome its deep-rooted political, economic and social problems.
President Preval signalled his own commitment to advance rapidly in the privatization process already underway. He also indicated his readiness to take additional steps to demonstrate that his government will not tolerate abuse of authority and will investigate those cases where illegal violent actions are committed by those acting under cover of authority.
Mr. Chairman, Haiti's problems are profound and encompass almost every area, from environmental degradation and overpopulation, to undeveloped infrastructure and weak democratic institutions. But Haiti is too near a neighbor, and this opportunity is too unique for us to remain indifferent to these problems and what needs to be done.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Haiti's problems are so broad and so deep that we would be naive to expect straight-line progress. This is a long-term effort to overcome years of neglect by its rulers over most of two centuries. Education of a population where education has largely been neglected cannot happen overnight, nor can an environment which has been degraded over decades be restored other than gradually.
Progress has been made and prospects for more progress are good if Haiti's democratic institutions continue to build their capacity and continue to dedicate themselves to bettering the lives of their own people. I hope that the Administration and the Congress can find ways to provide the necessary support to the Haitian people and their democratic institutions. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Sullivan appears in the appendix.]
Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Hamilton, I was encouraged by your opening remarks that this is the first time historically that we have had a President that went down and did meet with 15 of the leaders from, did you say 14 or 15?
Mr. HAMILTON. Fifteen.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Fifteen. And I would hope that you would convey back to the Administration that it is our hope that this subcommittee will focus on a much broader spectrum in the hemisphere than traditionally has been the case. That is one of my principal objectives this year, that we look at the hemisphere in a broader sense than has historically been the case. I am encouraged that the President is apparently taking a similar approach.
One of the things that really concerns all of us, we talk about the economy, we talk about the issue of drugs and crime and corruption and all of these things, but when you look at the state of affairs of many of these small nations, in all too many cases, the economy is somewhat directly affected by the issue of continuing drug trade.
What incentives do you see that we can provide these nations that are not economically better off, to turn their efforts to stopping the drug trade either trafficking or generation in their countries? What incentives can we provide to them that will offset those economic benefits?
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman, I neglected to ask that my written statement be entered into the record.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Yes, without objection.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman, our experience with the Caribbean political leadership is not such to suggest that they really see the profits of the drug trade as an attractive alternative to legitimate economic growth and development, and our experience so far throughout the region on the whole has been very encouraging; that they recognize the dangers of drug trafficking and they wish to cooperate with us.
I have and can provide to the Committee a chart just laying out the number of new agreements and treaties that we have managed to negotiate with the Caribbean nations, and I think that is a very good indication; mutual legal assistance treaties, extradition and maritime cooperation enforcement agreements. Just going down the list of countries on the left and, yes or no, as to whether we have negotiated modern treaties, we are virtually all the way there in terms of getting the legal basis for further cooperation.
We have a long way to go on training and resources, and some of the things we have agreed to and mapped out to do at Barbados, I think, will outline the way we are going to be proceeding there.
To return to the thrust of your question, I don't say lack of political will or recognition of the dangers as being a political or psychological obstacle we have to overcome.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Perhaps I phrased the question wrong, but there are more elements than just the economic interests to the country. There is the economic interest to many government officials, because we know that there is, very unfortunately, a lot of corruption, and there are a lot of payoffs to very poor people.
What incentives do we have to try to deal with that? What is the best way to try to unweave that web?
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAMILTON. Well, that is, in fact, a problem throughout the developing world, where the level of salaries paid to the public officials whose cooperation and activity to enforce their laws is crucial to our own efforts is susceptible to just that danger. I think the best answer and most honest I can give you is we are working hard throughout the hemisphere to improve the capabilities of governments to detect and uncover corruption. Fighting corruption of all kinds was one of the major commitments made by Presidents of the entire hemisphere at the Summit of the Americas, and that has actually led to the first regional anticorruption convention in the form of the Inter-American Convention Against Corruption signed in Caracas last year.
That is one legal vehicle. Otherwise, we have to work on training and increasing law enforcement capabilities, because you just have to go tooth and nail after corruption, which means investigative capabilities and successful prosecutions.
Mr. GALLEGLY. I probably jumped ahead of myself. I just have one other quick question I would like to ask, and probably certainly the most important affecting the whole region, is what would you consider to be the greatest threat to the stability today? Maybe I jumped ahead of myself, but there must be a couple of things.
Mr. HAMILTON. Well, without question it is the threat from narcotics trafficking. Without question. And I think it is serious, and it is recognized as such by all the leaders of the region.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Hamilton, maybe you can explain the difference or the similarities between the Caribbean Basin Trade Enhancement Act and NAFTA parity.
Mr. HAMILTON. The Administration has, of course, not yet submitted and has not defined the legislation with the kind of precision, I suppose, that would enable me to give you a precise answer, but I suppose NAFTA parity implies that the benefits that would be provided in terms of trade access to the U.S. market under that kind of legislation would be fully equivalent to those enjoyed by Mexico.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC CBI enhancement does not necessarily presage fully equivalent access. I think the phrase I used in my opening statement is that the benefits would be essentially equivalent, so there may be some gap in terms of some product categories.
Mr. ACKERMAN. I guess we will wait and see when the document comes down. Could you tell us what expectations of the President's trip might not have been fulfilled or were there disappointments of any degree?
Mr. HAMILTON. None, really. Not, really. I will tell you quite honestly, several months ago there was, I think, on both sides some uncertainty about the state of our relationship with the Caribbean. That was one of the reasons that the President decided to go there. Both sides, we and the Caribbean governments, engaged in a sustained intensive manner to make sure that when we went into the meeting, that we were going to be addressing the concerns on both sides.
I suppose it is too all-encompassing to say that in every particular we realized on both sides what we wished to, but I think both sides came away from the summit feeling like their essential policy objectives had been advanced.
Mr. ACKERMAN. The leaders of the region came away satisfied that there were no disappointments in their view?
Mr. HAMILTON. I think what the leaders of the region, and this is probably true in Central America as well, wanted above all was to receive persuasive assurances that there is going to be more sustained engagement by the United States in the region, and it was that quality, I suppose, of sporadic engagement that the Chairman mentioned in his opening statement that had the most concern. So coming out of Bridgetown you have the mechanism for continuing engagement at a level that they feel will serve their needs, both in forms of joint committees on justice and security issues as one basket of issues, and another one on trade, finance, development issues, and the environment on the other.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Additionally, as I noted in my opening statement, the Secretary of State will meet with the Foreign Ministers once a year, which, again, is something that has never happened before.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Were there any agenda items or private discussions concerning Cuba policy?
Mr. HAMILTON. Cuba was discussed during the working lunch, and
Mr. ACKERMAN. Is there agreement over Cuba policy?
Mr. HAMILTON. I cannot say there is agreement from that area.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Can you say there wasn't agreement?
Mr. HAMILTON. I think that we had a full and frank airing of views on that.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Somebody was disappointed.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Who is the politician here?
Mr. ACKERMAN. Can you shed any additional light on that?
Mr. HAMILTON. Well, the Caribbean States, as you know, have long had diplomatic relations with Cuba, and they do disagree and say they disagree.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Did they press us on this?
Mr. HAMILTON. I don't think that they sought to use the time available to them to discuss this extensively, but it did come up, and all members of our delegation addressed the issue, and I think several of the Caribbean leaders spoke as well.
Mr. ACKERMAN. Do we anticipate issuing additional licenses to news agencies to operate in Cuba?
Mr. HAMILTON. We have issued licenses not only to CNN, but to eight or nine other news agencies and bureaus that have sought them, and the ball is in the government's court to come to agreement with those agencies.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you very much. I have other questions, but let's have some others.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Hamilton, I get approached by ambassadors up here on a regular basis about what is going on and so forth and so on, and the Caribbean Basin Initiative, we are trying to get parity, was the big pitch for about the last 2 or 3 years, and now they are approaching me on the idea of free trade.
Now, the Trade Enhancement Pact, how does it stack up between those two particular areas? Where is it?
Mr. HAMILTON. I think the CBI trade enhancement bill, in conceptual terms is best thought of as a stepping stone to a full free-trade relationship with the United States, which is declared Administration policy within the process of the hemispheric free-trade area of the Americas, because it would require, in contrast I suppose to CBI 1 and 2, the Caribbean and other beneficiary States to take those kinds of steps, particularly on intellectual property and investment regimes, that are going to be required in any event in a full free-trade relationship.
Now, are you hearing from Caribbean leaders, ambassadors as well as the Central Americans, their interest
Mr. BALLENGER. These basically were Central America, El Salvador, Guatemala, basically saying, look, why don't we just go ahead and have free trade.
Mr. HAMILTON. I think I am coming back before this subcommittee on June 5, and we can get back to that. I think it is one of the new features, if you will, in the relationship with Central America, that as a group they are interested and prepared to begin those kinds of talks with us.
Mr. BALLENGER. I don't know whether fast track is necessary for this Trade Enhancement Pact.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HAMILTON. No, fast track is not. CBI enhancement would be legislation adopted by this Congress. It doesn't require fast track. It doesn't involve negotiations. But any kind of trade agreement, in fact, we do regard fast track as a prerequisite.
Mr. BALLENGER. Mr. Sullivan, considering we have had long relations and known each other for a long time, and you happen to be in the worst place now since I have known you, I am not trying to put Haiti down, but it is not the most prosperous place I have ever seen.
One of the questions a lot of their business people have approached me about is their inability to expand, their inability to really have electricity 24 hours a day or whenever it is necessary. Is there any effort on the part of that government now to somehow put together some expansion in their electrical-generating capacity? You can't have jobs if you don't have electricity.
Mr. SULLIVAN. Certainly it is a serious problem. They recognize it as a problem. There have been various interim solutions advanced, and I have not heard either the government or the electricity authority advocate adopting these interim solutions. What they have committed themselves to is in the process of a deprivatization scheme, to move forward to privatize the electricity authority not later than March of next year. So that process has begun.
The modality for how that privatization will be accomplished has not yet been chosen, but I know among others there are American companies that are interested in that and clearly one of the notions would be that in the process of that privatization, there would need to be an injection of a significant amount of capital to provide the electricity necessary.
Mr. BALLENGER. The recent election they had down there where 10 percent of the people voted and it was boycotted by the opposition, how do you read that?
Mr. SULLIVAN. Well, I think probably the largest single factor is that people's expectations perhaps of the immediate economic benefits that are likely to come to them from the installation of democratic systems were excessive, and therefore the relative disappointment that there had not been more jobs, more immediate benefits to them reflected itself in those elections.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As you know, the elections themselves were quite contested among both independent groups, as well as within various elements of Lavalas, and particularly two strongest elements of the Lavalas, one closest to former President Aristide and another the fraction that is closest to the current Prime Minister contested those elections very sharply, and the results from the first round of elections indeed showed substantial division and a divided result. The second election is scheduled to take place in late May.
I should also say that there were irregularities in those elections, and those irregularities have been called to the attention of the Election Commission, and they are expected to respond later this week as to how they propose to address those irregularities prior to holding the second round of elections.
Mr. BALLENGER. Do you think there will be a better turnout for the second round? Do you have a feeling there?
Mr. SULLIVAN. I wouldn't anticipate the turnout would be much better because, in fact, one of the principal areas of interest in the first round, and this is an interesting feature of those elections, was that in addition to the nine Senate seats and the two House of Deputy seats up for election, there were also local elections, and in many ways those local elections were a factor of greater interest to the population because it is a genuine opportunity to decentralize government power in a way that has not been the case in Haiti previously.
Mr. BALLENGER. Let me ask you, as I say, when the business people come up here and visit me, they just talk about cutting and sewing baseballs and generating electricity, but it appears the country basis should be agriculture. Once upon a time it was, but we don't seem to be pushing that, or the United Nations and the rest of us don't seem to be pushing the development of agriculture the way it would appear to be naturally. Yet they used to produce enough food to take care of themselves and now they can't.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Is there any effort on anybody's part to upgrade that?
Mr. SULLIVAN. There is an effort. Some 15 percent of our aid program is directed at the agricultural sector and the Lome Convention grant from the European Union was recently approved by the Parliament for $170 million, some substantial portion of which will also be aimed at agriculture.
It is true, of course, that several intervening factors over the last 20 to 30 years, tremendous growth in population, tremendous environmental degradation, make it much, much more difficult for Haiti to be able to sustain its population from its own agricultural base. There are areas that have the potential to rise to improve their production, and there has been some increase in potential, but it may be too much to expect they can return to being able to sustain its own population.
Mr. BALLENGER. One more question. I had worked in northern Nicaragua with some PVO's. We sent packets of vegetable seeds here. They are $1 a pack until you get early June, and then all of a sudden they are not worth anything and they will sell them to you real cheap. I have been able to ship those to northern Nicaragua. It turns out it has been a very successful effort on my part.
Is there anybody down there that trains people? I don't know how much training you need to take a seed out of a pack and put it in the ground, but would such a thing be even feasible there?
Mr. SULLIVAN. I am sure it would be. I would be happy to be in touch with you and work out a way to have that happen.
Mr. BALLENGER. I would appreciate it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Martinez.
Mr. MARTINEZ. Just to follow up on what Mr. Ballenger was saying; there is the other thing about farming. Farmers in this country expect to make a profit. They don't always, but it is a much more lucrative situation making a living here and farming than it would be in one of those countries, for a lot of different reasons. The farm implements you need to do successful agriculture on a large scale, they don't have and they can't afford to buy.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know in the past there have been some efforts by the U.S. Government to provide in certain areas, especially in underprivileged nations, equipment to do this. Have we done anything like that in that area?
Mr. SULLIVAN. We have, Mr. Martinez. We have had a very substantial program, particularly in the first several years after the restoration of democratic government, in which as part of something called the JOGS Program, there were both agricultural implements provided to enable people to once again begin cultivating; and other countries as well, including the European Union are involved in similar efforts.
Mr. MARTINEZ. I have a young man, his name is Joe Martinez, working in one of the Central American countries right now. He is on a Peace Corps stint. He served a portion of time there and had to come back because his mother passed away, and he got a renewal and went back and he is doing a complete year there.
One of the things he gets across to me, and we don't think of it enough, is that there is extreme poverty in all of these countries. Poverty comes from a lot of different reasons. Oppressive government is one they have had in the region for so many years. The other is not an extensive education to the masses, to the majority of the populations there.
My son is married to an Ecuadorian, and she happened to live in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and she went to the university there and got a fine education. She has relatives living on ranches and farms in outlying areas, and you talk to them, now they are getting an education, with you they are getting it in this country, because they migrate here because of the conditions existing there. That is what is so attractive to the people here.
In other words, what I am saying is the human rights groups interested in those countries are interested basically because the general populations are suffering, no matter how much we do, because we do it at the top levels, not at the lower levels, and the fact is that in many cases, you mentioned it yourself, Mr. Hamilton, the corruption that exists in those governments because their government officials don't get salaries like our government officials, not that I say our government officials are always as well paid as they should be, but the idea is they get sufficient to live on, where there you can't live on that, and the only other way to get it is through what they call the ''mor ditto''. That is the bite, you know.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So a lot of cases, the good we give up here when it filters down there has been eaten into by that same corrupt government that exists there. Even where we have American investments in those countries, our American companies are now insisting that human rights and working conditions be adhered to.
Here more recently the President put together a study on the garment industry, and these were unions from the garment industry itself and consumer groups, and they put together an agreement that the companies that they have in these countries, they would force them to abide by at least minimum wage laws to get a good stamp of approval. It was like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval, as a non-sweatshop-produced garment or whatever, and I think that is a great idea.
But why can't we as a government, too, start demanding more from our companies that are existing in these other countries, to make sure they help raise the standard of living, including providing decent education for these people? Because I want to tell you something, one of the greatest strengths we have in our democracy is free public education, which keeps our people educated to know what democracy is all about and know the difference between it and other forms of oppressive governments like communism, et cetera.
I think until we change a lot of that at the lower level in these countries, all the things we do and all the agreements we make, and I support this President and the fact that he went to this summit is one of the great things, because in the past we have ignored those countries who have been so close as neighbors for so many years, and when we didn't ignore them, we were raping them.
I think about an American fruit company that went down there and just bilked the heck out of the countries and never left anything in return, didn't build churches, schools, nor hospitals nor try to provide education for these people. That is the terrible tragedy of the last 200 years. We have been neighbors for these people for over 200 years. I think if we are going to do something now, we ought to start thinking about how to reach down to the lower levels of people or insist the government establish policies.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They want free trade, they want a Caribbean Basin Initiative Enhancement Act, then let's put some requirements in it and let's require them to make sure that this filters down to the lowest level of people. In Haiti, one of the things, you know, you have been there a while and you have studied that, wouldn't you say a lot of it is ignorance to the facts?
The only things locals are interested in is how am I going to get a job out of this person I elect, right?
Mr. SULLIVAN. Certainly, Mr. Congressman, there are problems in Haiti that are enormous, and this is the poorest country in the hemisphere by far, really with a per capita income of $229 a year, twice as poor as the next poorest country, and illiteracy rate of 50 percent, enormous problems.
Basically, they do have now a government that is elected by the people and a President who is very interested in reaching the poorest Haitians. This is going to take a lot of time and education is something in particular that Haitian people actually recognize and spend an enormous portion of their income, their very scarce income on education for their children, because they recognize how important it is.
We have education projects, other international donors do, specifically for this reason. To produce results, it is going to take time.
Your point with respect to assembly industries, it is interesting, I think, that among Haitians clearly they regard jobs in the assembly industry as prized opportunities because there is such a high rate of unemployment. Recently, the Haitian assembly sector came together and did promulgate a code of conduct in which they would assure appropriate conditions, certainly meeting minimum wage standards, et cetera. Certainly, they are low wages compared to our wages, but they would assure that standards would be kept and assured for people who contracted work to be done in Haiti.
Mr. MARTINEZ. That is a good step. The idea is not that their wages be as high as ours, and I am not saying that. Even our wages are predicated on the necessity of life. We have a basic minimum wage that is predicated on the idea that even with this basic minimum wage that anybody should be paid, they would at least be able to sustain their life. See? That is what I was saying, you know.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I am glad that is happening there, because that will go a long way and still take a long time, I understand that, but it will go a long way. And here again, there are countries with which we have a free trade agreement, like Mexico, who have their labor laws included in their Constitution, but don't enforce them. They absolutely don't enforce them. That is because of corruption at the lower level.
Let me give you an idea. There is an engineering company from my district who collaborated with a large sanitation company, to go into a little city just outside of Mexico City to establish a collection disposal system for waste. After spending $3.5 million, and having been alerted before they went there that because of NAFTA, the free trade agreement, that they should sign their contract with the Federal Government in order not to be disposed of by the local government if there were a change in the local government, because it was actually the local government that first contacted them, they were disposed of anyway.
The fact is there was a new government at the local level. They moved in with the police from the local government and disposed of these people from their property. Now, they had a contract with the Federal Government under NAFTA, and they went to the court and the court said they didn't have a case, and we have a free trade agreement with them.
What I am telling you is if you make the free trade agreement with, let's say, President Salinas, which we did, and then the President is gone and we have a new President; of course, all the rules changed there in that country, in their democracy. It is really not a democracy because one party runs it all, and there is nobody that could challenge them or contest them. Very few pawn party members have ever been elected to anything. They are beginning to take it away from them.
But we recognize them as a democracy, and we recognize them as a flourishing democracy, and that is far from the truth, because in their lower levels of government, they ignore their own Federal Government and do as they damn well please.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What I am saying to you is agreements we make in free trade, right now there is supposed to be a fast track being requested to expand the free trade agreement. I am going to vote against that fast track and vote against free trade, and I will tell you why.
Until they do the corrections they need to do in Mexico, why should we expand with other countries when we are not enforcing any rulings we have in the agreement we have now? It doesn't make sense. Absolutely no sense. And it is just as easy to put into the agreement that any American company that is moving into Mexico would require, and I will tell you why, would require the Mexican Government to abide by their own labor laws and our companies would then abide by them and have safe working conditions, living habitat, of the same thing we apply for 4H workers when they come to this country, and we didn't even do that.
Let me tell you what is going on here now. We have companies from the United States that used to be on the border that are moving all the way into Central Mexico, because in Mexico you have three wage zones, the highest being closest to the border. Our companies are smart. They are moving down and thereby eliminating a lot of jobs for people on the border where the heaviest populations are.
So when you talk about an Enhancement Act, you ought to think about how that Enhancement Act is going to work down to the lowest level of people. I went a roundabout way to say that, but that is really what I think that most of us should be concerned with, because when we see good neighbors, it is going to be because people are really in control of those governments, not the guys that are more sophisticated, have a better education and have more money to be able to get themselves into office or do it by force, either way.
Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Martinez, I couldn't agree more that I think the persistence of poverty in Latin America, even in periods of relatively high and sustained growth, has been one of the perennial political and moral issues that we have all dealt with, and I think the emphasis you put in your first comment on the importance of education as a way of getting at poverty is absolutely on target.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There have been some very interesting recent studies done by the World Bank that showed that resources allocated to primary level education in particular is an effective way of increasing productivity, particularly among those sectors of the population that have been chronically disadvantaged.
Now, in our AID programs throughout the hemisphere, given the wide array of things we could spend money on, the emphasis is on poverty eradication. We do that in a number of innovative ways that also go to your concerns about not administering our programs in a way that make them more susceptible to the corruption factor.
One is that we have discovered that microenterprises is a way of injecting more income into poor sectors of these economies. Working with women's groups is another one, because we are discovering enormous productive capacity, economic capacity, of women.
Mr. MARTINEZ. Microbusiness enterprise we are investing in is a fantastic program.
Mr. HAMILTON. Thank you. We increasingly work through nongovernmental institutions in the administration of our aid monies. So we have growing confidence that this concern is one that we are working on.
On labor issues, through the GSP petition process, I think actually we have made a good deal of progress throughout the region in addressing some of the systemic and institutional obstacles to better respect for workers' rights. Even before we had the apparel industry partnership that the President announced April 14th here, there were similar self-policing efforts being developed throughout the region by the private sectors there, because they recognize that they have both a problem and a larger perception of the problem and they want to address it.
Mr. MARTINEZ. Very good. I am glad to hear that. For years I have been a critic of our foreign policy, not necessarily of this President, but of all the Presidents preceding, because we have danced with dictators and paid the penalty. And that was never more true than in the case of Castro. We danced with Batista and Castro, and Castro finally threw Batista out, and Castro was no friend of ours. But that is because we supported Batista.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You go throughout the world, and the Shah of Iran, when he was oppressing his people, we supported him, and Ayatollah Khomeini, a worse government than he was, took over. We have never benefited by dancing with dictators, but we have, especially in the South American countries.
Mr. BALLENGER. Mr. Martinez, you will be happy to know that your phone rang just to try to get a quorum. I went down, I made the quorum. The bill is passed and we are now okay.
Mr. MARTINEZ. Thank you, Cass.
Mr. BALLENGER. [Presiding.] Mr. Sanford.
Mr. SANFORD. I have just a couple of questions. I was thinking here, if you look at the economic performance that has taken place in a fair number of the South American countries, it has been very significant, yet you don't see that kind of, I will not say radical, but I will say significant level of change in the economic reform in many of the Caribbean Basin countries. Why is that?
Mr. HAMILTON. The process of economic restructuring and reform, I think, in the Caribbean is, in fact, lagging behind the rest of the hemisphere, so the question is a good one. I think the answer basically goes to one of size, small size, and the apprehension and vulnerability they feel in an era of global economic liberalization, because although the per capita income levels in many of the Caribbean countries is relatively high, on an average, let's say, higher than Central America, the absolute size of these economies is, in fact, quite small, and much of their development has been based on the kind of niches provided in developed country markets through preferential access with the EU and Commonwealth countries through the so-called Lome Conventions, which will expire in a few years, and then with the United States through GSP and CBI.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, the underlying reality and what has them so concerned is the fact that with global trade liberalization, the very basis for those preferential accesses is gradually being eroded away. And I think there has been an almost psychological resistance throughout the region to facing up to that reality, but I think just in the last year or so and through the FTAA process, which has a particular working group dedicated to the special problems faced by small economies in a process of trade liberalization, is bringing some needed attention to that and increasingly the Caribbean leaders recognize that that is the reality that they face, is trade liberalization, and they have got to prepare for it.
Mr. SANFORD. One very quick second question is I think in your comments you mentioned the biggest destabilizing force within the Caribbean Basin is the drug trafficking. What would be your recommendation as to what you do about it?
Mr. HAMILTON. Well, I think you have to have a legal framework in place for cooperation and one that recognizes the advantage which traffickers, in the absence of corrective collective action by the governments, have by being able to skip from one national legal jurisdiction to another. We have largely overcome their advantage just in the last couple of years by negotiating the maritime law enforcement cooperation agreements with overflight, order-to-land provisions and the rest.
What this does, of course, is to permit us cooperatively to bring our far greater enforcement capabilities to bear in a way that is fully respectful of their sovereignty. At the same time, though, we need to build up their own capabilities. We can do this with a relatively small amount of resources. It is just amazing how far a little additional resources can go.
Now, just last year through the 506 drawdown authority we put together a package of $8.5 million of aircraft and planes and we are contemplating an additional one now as a result of the summit. Then we have to work more on training.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SANFORD. In other words, if you train a Haitian well, and if you provide a couple of planes, a couple of boats, it still seems to me when I look at a $250 per capita income, given the profits involved in the drug trade, you will have an endless supply of $250-a-year guys out there to do whatever it is a drug lord would want them to do. Is that not the case?
Mr. HAMILTON. I don't think the situation is hopeless. One of the features of the problems we are facing in the Caribbean has to do with money laundering of profits. There is approximately $500 billion a year in drug trade profits. Maybe 10 percent of that is being laundered currently in the Caribbean. But this has been recognized now some years ago, and there has been a very constructive spin-off from the Paris-based financial action task force, the so-called Caribbean Financial Action Task Force based in Port-au-Prince, Trinidad. And they have developed model money-laundering legislation and regulations. It is being very extensively staffed, and we are increasing the capability of all of these governments to detect and prosecute money laundering.
So one hesitates to minimize the extent of the problem, but I think it is also possible to look at it and sort of feel immobilized by how scary and frightening the prospect is, but it is not hopeless. And I think on balance we are headed in the right direction on making some progress.
Mr. SANFORD. Thank you, Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. BALLENGER. Let me say I thank both of you gentlemen for appearing today. The long relationship between the three of us I hope will continue.
Joe, are you going to go back to Haiti right away?
Mr. SULLIVAN. Well, I am based here in Washington, but I travel there monthly.
Mr. BALLENGER. I was just hoping to get with you on the vegetable seeds. If you could, I am trying to help plant trees in northern Haiti. It would be lovely if CARE International or somebody would take a picture to tell me I am not wasting my time, that they are actually planting trees.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SULLIVAN. Surely.
Mr. BALLENGER. Again, let me thank you both for being here. We will call our next panel.
Our second panel includes Dr. George Fauriol, and I apologize if I am mispronouncing it; director and senior fellow, Americas Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Mr. Frank Calzon of the Freedom House. We welcome you to the Committee. We welcome you both.
Let me just say right here and now, your entire statements will be included in the record, and you can make them in any way you want to.
My staff member, Dr. Fauriol, says you and he were down as witnesses to the election in Haiti. I commend you. Thank you very much.
So, Mr. Calzon, I don't know, you go first, I reckon, or Dr. Fauriol. He sat down first. Let him have the first shot.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE A. FAURIOL, DIRECTOR AND SENIOR FELLOW, AMERICAS PROGRAM, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
Mr. FAURIOL. I will go first. Whatever. It doesn't matter.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I certainly commend this subcommittee for entertaining a discussion on the Caribbean at this time. It is very timely. I submitted a written statement. Let me just summarize a few key points.
First a general observation, which is obvious, but perhaps worth repeating. When we are speaking of the Caribbean and relations with the Caribbean, we are really speaking about three somewhat distinct pieces of policies: A policy towards Cuba, a policy on Haiti, and ''Caribbean policy,'' which, in fact, is the rest of the region and mostly functional interests.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Let me very briefly comment on each of these three sets. Cuba, regardless of where one stands on this complicated agenda, I would argue is probably the least satisfying component of U.S. policy in this part of the world. However, when all is said and done, the Liberated Act has probably forced most governments to articulate more clearly their intentions vis-a-vis the bankrupt Castro regime and this ironically implies some degree of coordination, even among countries that are otherwise bickering over this issue.
The danger in the present situation is probably not so much U.S. legislation, but the deteriorating health of the Cuban State.
On Haiti, as we heard just a moment ago from one of the government witnesses, I think the issue in Haiti is reconciling the Administration's political imperative to claim success with the very uncertain reality that exists on the ground.
As you noted, Mr. Chairman, I was there fairly recently, and what I see, I don't want to overdramatize it, is somewhat of an incipient state of anarchy, a weak private sector, a disillusioned electorate, and in some ways the U.S. relationship with Haiti is stuck in neutral, if you will.
What I mean by that is we are so deeply engaged that any withdrawal would probably precipitate a political and economic collapse. Yet, as we all know, the dismal record of the Haitian Government over the last 18 months probably precludes any politically viable argument for further extensive U.S. commitments.
The third subset of U.S. policy is what I characterized as ''Caribbean policy,'' which is really an amalgamation of relationships with some 15 countries, basically the CARICOM States plus the Dominican Republic and Suriname. There are probably at least five functional areas under that general rubric of relations, trade and investment or more broadly economic issues, immigration and refugee concerns, narcotics, arms trafficking, and in a very general sense, but I think a very significant one, concerns for democratic governments.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Obviously from a policy perspective, these five areas clearly overlap. You can't really delink one from the other.
We already have heard about this earlier this morning, but to the degree that the Administration will be pursuing something resembling fast-track authority, short of that there is an intermediate initiative that should be taken to begin the process of CBI enhancement or CBI parity. This is an issue which is somewhat distinct from the legislative perspective of fast track in the Americas.
In Barbados, President Clinton proposed a package of initiatives which are mostly tariff reductions on apparel that sort of begins the process. On immigration issues, I am not really an expert in this area, but I sense that the present concerns among Caribbean governments is that there will be a tidal wave of returning migrants to the Caribbean, which is probably exaggerated and unlikely.
The way to alleviate that problem for Caribbean governments is probably through selective tinkering of policy on administrative issues.
On narcotics trafficking, I think there is an important consensus between the United States and the Caribbean that this is an important issue and that cooperation is absolutely necessary, not only for them, but also for us, and the current tension in this area, I think, is move-over style rather than substance. If there is a strategic challenge in the narcotics area, it is not so much the ability to cooperate regionally, but rather trying to grasp the shear dimension of threat of narcotics.
Overall, to conclude, I think this sort of multifaceted character of U.S.-Caribbean relations underscores the need for cooperation, but clearly as an outsider it is easy to say that functional cooperation is not quite the same as strategy. Nor does this effectively deal with the two country problems or challenges that we have in the Caribbean, Cuba and Haiti.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As the President just heard very recently visiting the region, Caribbean nations want more trade with the United States. The Caribbean craves greater understanding and attention from Washington. There is some advance in this area. The partnership for prosperity and security in the Caribbean announced in Barbados is probably at least symbolically a step in this direction.
In return, what the United States wants is less trade in narcotics and some assurance that migration issues can be managed. If you take those two components in a nutshell, you have the terms of reference of the current regional agenda.
To conclude, to put some meat on some of these bones of an outline of relationship, in my written statement I proposed the notion of a privately funded U.S.-Caribbean working group, which, in fact, might be charged with a very limited mission of charting a framework of U.S.-Caribbean interaction over the next decade.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Fauriol appears in the appendix.]
Mr. BALLENGER. Mr. Calzon.
STATEMENT OF FRANK CALZON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, FREEDOM HOUSE
Mr. CALZON. Mr. Chairman, I have been asked to speak about the political, economic and social conditions in Cuba. I am grateful to appear before you today on behalf of Freedom House, an organization founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie and a group of American leaders to oppose the Nazi onslaught in Europe.
Since then, Freedom House has promoted human rights and civil liberties throughout the world, opposing every type of dictatorship everywhere.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Cuba Program of Freedom House gathers and disseminates information about Cuba to opinion makers and decision makers. Through a grant from the Agency for International Development, the Cuba Program also produces books, videos on democracy, human rights, and economic freedom for distribution in Cuba, and sponsors travel to the island by pro-democracy activists, as well as an NGO outreach program to encourage solidarity with Cuba's democratic opposition.
In a special report, ''The Most Repressive Regimes of 1997,'' which Freedom House presented to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights recently, Fidel Castro's Cuba is listed as one of the most repressive regimes in the world, together with Libya, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, China, Burma and North Korea. Of the 17 worst violators listed in this report, Cuba is the only country in the Western Hemisphere.
Although the Cuban Government has been a member of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights for years, it continues to deny access to the Commission's Special Rapporteur just as it has not allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross to visit Cuban prisons since 1989.
Havana's repression has entered a new stage in which threats and physical violence, particularly at the hands of the rapid deployment brigades, groups of paramilitary thugs who beat up and intimidate peaceful dissidents, are used on a systematic basis.
Cuba is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but Havana violates most of the Declaration's articles, including articles 19 and 20, which guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.
Nevertheless, a totalitarian society in the heart of the Americas at the end of the 20th century can no longer hide its many crimes. Courageous men and women on the island risk beatings, harassment, imprisonment and forced exile to bear witness to the plight of their fellow Cubans.
In an extraordinary telephone call to Geneva coordinated by Freedom House in late March, five human rights leaders in Havana provided a sobering appraisal of the Cuban situation. They could not appear before the U.N. Commission in Geneva because the Castro Government denies them article 13 of the Declaration, which guarantees the right to travel abroad and to return to one's country. They have also petitioned their government for their right of freedom of association, but that request has been ignored.
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They appealed to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to do everything possible to ameliorate the suffering of Cuban political prisoners, their families, and others who are the target of official repression.
Speaking from Havana were Professor Marta Beatriz Roque, director of the Cuban Institute of Independent Economists; Mrs. Odilia Collazo Valdez, president of the Pro-Human Rights Party of Cuba; Professor Felix Bonne Carcases, president of the Civic Democratic Movement; Mr. Vladimiro Roca of the Cuban Social Democratic Party; and Dr. Rene Gomez Manzano, president of Corriente Agramontista, an organization of independent lawyers.
According to Martha Beatriz Roque, ''one sign of the high level of corruption which now pervades Cuban life is the fact that Cuba harbors a penal population far in excess of normal, due largely to economic crimes that people commit out of shear necessity.''
According to Odilia Collazo, ''Cuba claims to be a medical superpower, but in many prisons, it is common to find cases of tuberculosis, hepatitis, ulcers, parasitical diseases and cases of malnutrition, optical neuritis and other serious ailments.''
According to Dr. Bonne, ''more than 5 years ago some 20 professors petitioned the government for democratization and amnesty for political parties. They were purged from the party and expelled from the university.''
According to Vladimiro Roca, now it is the children's turn. On April 19th, at the Adalberto Gomez Nunez primary school, they called upon all the students to sign a petition in support of the government. The names of the students who refused to sign were taken and the parents summoned to the school where they were warned of the dire consequences of refusing to sign.
According to Rene Gomez Manzano, ''in granting or withholding his self-employment license, the government takes into account whether or not the individual expressly supports government policies and is a member of the so-called mass political organizations.''
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Their statements provide a glimpse of today's Cuba. Their courage ought to strengthen the determination of democracies everywhere to help Cuba, the real Cuba, the Cuban people, and to oppose the policies of the current dictatorship.
Their statements and similar appeals from the human rights community within Cuba ought to be taken into account by the Administration and the Congress which has paid special attention to the Cuban situation by approving several laws, the Cuban Democracy Act and the Liberated Act.
In March of 1996, President Clinton signed the Liberated Act, which had been approved by the Congress in the aftermath of a shooting down of two U.S. civilian aircraft in the Florida Straits.
Without getting involved here in the current debate about trade sanctions, it is important to point out that the systematic repression of human rights on the island continues, that the government has shown no indication of permitting the most basic of political options, and that there has been immeasurable increase in the use of threats and physical violence against peaceful dissidents, as well as the use of internal exile and enforced immigration against the opposition.
As President Clinton has assured the Cuban people in his statement, ''Support for Democratic Transition in Cuba,'' released on January 18th, sovereignty resides with the Cuban people. It is the Cuban people without foreign interference and in a climate where they can freely express themselves who will decide the type, sequence and speed of whatever reforms they would favor in order to build a free, independent and prosperous Cuba.
The U.S. Congress has also been clear in its commitment to respect Cuba's sovereignty. The Cuba sovereignty means the right of the Cuban people to determine their own destiny, not the right of Cuba easement for life to deny the Cuban people their most fundamental rights.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to take this opportunity in closing to urge the Congress to insist on the need to maintain pressure in the Castro regime as it was down in South Africa and Haiti until the most basic human rights are observed. Diplomacy as usual cannot take place while Castro's rapid deployment brigades beat up peaceful dissidents. The Congress ought to appeal to other parliaments and legislatures around the world so that they also will lend their solidarity and support to the legitimate aspirations of the people of Cuba.
I also would urge the Congress to ensure that sufficient resources are available for breaking Castro's information blockade on the Cuban people through adequate funding for Radio and TV Marti and for the free flow of information to Cuba.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Calzon appears in the appendix.]
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Calzon. I would like to ask both of you this question and see how you both feel about the effect. I think it is obvious that most of the Caribbean nations oppose the U.S. policy with Cuba. To what extent do you believe this policy serves any goal? What kind of effect has it had on the U.S. relations with these Caribbean nations, Mr. Calzon?
Mr. CALZON. Well, I think we first would have to define what U.S. policy is. If we are talking about the policy of the United States to promote democracy and a peaceful transition in Cuba, I think everybody agrees. If we are talking about trade sanctions, I think you have to understand that Cuba for the Caribbean countries is in a similar situation against the United States as to Cuba. When you look on the map, Cuba is a superpower when you compare it with some of these very small islands. And I think the intimidation factor has to be taken into account.
The Cuban Government has been extremely smart in the way it handled its relations. Time and again I have heard from some diplomats in the region throughout the years who called me to say my government is going to normalize relations with Havana because we know that the United States, after the next election, is going to normalize relations with Castro, and the Cuban lobby has played that game over and over again.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC They are doing it now with the Helms-Burton law. They are going around saying to everybody the Helms-Burton law is gone. In 6 months everything is going to be normal, so you better make a deal with Havana today.
Mr. GALLEGLY. I am sorry Ileana isn't here, because I think anybody that even thinks that probably is going to have to deal with her. In any event, just a quick followup on that, you made reference to the image of Cuba in relation to the other Caribbean nations as a superpower. Don't you feel that even among the Caribbean nations today, that image has been diminished tremendously in the last few years, particularly with the fall of the Soviet Union?
Mr. CALZON. Of course, the image has been diminished, but the Cuban Government has a track record, a historical record. In the Cuban Government, you don't have congressional hearings where the Congress is going to challenge the authority of the head of State to do anything. Whenever there has been any problem in the Caribbean and Cuban interests have been threatened, whether it is with the sinking of a Bahamian Coast Guard ship in the 1960's or the flying of Cuban jets over the Dominican Republic later, Castro has acted promptly. Castro hasn't gone to the Congress to ask for a law. Castro mobilized his military. Anybody in the Caribbean has to take that into effect.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Fauriol.
Mr. FAURIOL. Let me add to what Mr. Calzon said by saying clearly that Caribbean nations face a strategic relationship with Cuba they can't deny. They are attempting to come to grips with the politics, even though there is nothing in the relationship of a present Cuba that will bring them much economic benefit.
There are individual investments from Jamaica and other countries, but it is very limited. So the issue is primarily in the political arena. Caribbean countries are also attempting to construct regional mechanisms such as the Association of Caribbean States that obviously includes Cuba, but are likely to be ineffective until there is a serious political change in Cuba itself, and governments in the region realize that full well.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Ballenger.
Mr. BALLENGER. Yes, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Fauriol, your picture of the conditions in Haiti are about as negative as I imagined they were, considering I think we have 500 troops there now. Somebody is going to make a decision somewhere. Is there a commitment by the United Nations or if we have one, I don't know it, to stay there for any great length of time? To your knowledge, let's put it that way.
Mr. FAURIOL. As I understand it, there is in effect a series of short-term commitments. The timetable is such that by July the question has to be again posed to the United Nations as to whether the current military presence will remain under the U.N. auspices. This is not as simple an issue as it sounds to the degree that the principal military component in Haiti today is really the Canadian component. It also has budgetary implications, in effect who pays for whom in Haiti is the real issue here.
The Canadian Government, for the moment, is being reimbursed under the United Nations, as well as paying out of its own pocket for some of its own expenses.
The fact of the matter, as I understand it, the Canadian Government, in coordination with our own, has more or less understood that there needs to be a presence beyond July. Whether it is under the United Nations or some other bilateral arrangement is a question that hasn't been fully decided. But I certainly would be one that would argue that that is a baseline understanding.
Any discussion of removal of that military presence is a serious blow to any other discussions about economic and political issues in Haiti.
Mr. BALLENGER. In other words, your own personal feeling is that if there is not a backup of some military force, aside from the police in Haiti, who may be effective or ineffective, but without that backup, there is no legitimate belief that some kind of stability will be there?
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FAURIOL. It is partially psychological and it is partially real military logistics. It is important to have 1,000 or 1,200 military capable individuals in Haiti. The cautionary note I would have, and you mentioned 500 U.S. troops, is there is the danger under this sort of nebulous arrangement, that we, the United States, reintroduce into Haiti gradually, 100 there, with those hundreds actually never leaving Haiti, but simply cumulatively growing in terms of their presence in Haiti. So that is why I think it is more important to focus on the multilateral commitment and maintenance of that presence in Haiti, whether it is Canadian or otherwise.
Mr. BALLENGER. I would like to ask a question, because I have, and I am sorry Mr. Martinez is not here, but I have worked with, and I didn't even know they existed, the Salesians Order of the Catholic church. They seemed to be a fairly effective economic aid or something like that to the people of Haiti. Am I mistaken in that?
Mr. FAURIOL. I can't really speak to a specific order, but certainly there is no doubt that Haiti would be in even worse shape if it wasn't for the involvement of private groups, of NGO's, and particularly religious organizations. When you take the plane from Miami to Port-au-Prince, every time the plane is full. It is also packed with volunteers from the United States that go to Haiti for a week to 3 weeks, and clearly that is an important component of Haiti's basic sort of social development efforts.
The danger, maybe that is a wrong word, but the problem I see with all of this, and I know you are aware of this kind of interaction with countries in that part of the world, is that these are somewhat disconnected sets of initiatives, and it has generated a criticism which I think is unfair, but it is a criticism of Haitians that Haiti is turning into a republic of NGO's, if you will. There is no government policy. Instead, there are sort of disconnected initiatives by private groups that are all well-intentioned, but are all doing more or less their own thing.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I only mention this, not as a critic of the process, but rather as something we probably would need to address. I will give you an example. The State of Florida, for example, has a coordination mechanism, the Florida Association of Voluntary Agencies for Caribbean Action. It is in Tallahassee and works with State and private sector institutions.
It provides at least a semblance of a mechanism for coordination, and also adjudication of resources and voluntary initiatives at the State level towards Haiti and the rest of the region.
Mr. BALLENGER. Just looking at the map that we have here, is Haiti enough out of the geographical range that drug trafficking through Haiti does not make sense?
Mr. FAURIOL. Drug trafficking through Haiti makes a lot of sense. In fact, there is a fair amount of it going on since the early 1990's. I can only speculate as to how big it is, but it is an issue which is both a serious one of the current government and was also a serious issue during the interim military governments from 1991 to 1994. It is mostly a transshipment point rather than a production point; transshipment from the northern coast of South America to Haiti and then north primarily by boat, sometimes by air, to the southern part of the United States.
And because of the characteristics of Haitian public administration, it is probably very fertile ground. It is a great opportunity.
Haiti is also used for money-laundering purposes.
Mr. BALLENGER. Dr. Calzon, those people that delivered that report to Geneva, were they arrested and put in prison? It seems strange they would be able to make a statement like that in a dictatorial country and get away with it.
Mr. CALZON. They have been in and out of prison many times, and I don't know where they are today. I know that about a week ago they were not in prison. I believe that the balance between desperation and fear has shifted in Cuba, and that as it was the case toward the end of the Soviet Union, people are more willing to take risks that they were not willing to take earlier.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, what was happening until a couple of years ago, was that people would go to prison, and even their wives be told to remain quiet; otherwise something terrible could happen.
The government is not only depending on sending people to prison for long periods, but they are relying more and more on this rapid deployment of brigades, beating up people, firing them from their jobs, or pressuring their families.
For example, there are several human rights leaders who while in prison, the Cuban Government offered to let them out of prison, but they would have to leave the country. Some of them refused. So what the police have done is to visit their wives and their families and say unless your husband is willing to leave the country, things are going to be very, very difficult for you and for the children.
So it is that almost ''Mafia'' kind of atmosphere that the Cuban Government is using against the opposition today.
Mr. BALLENGER. I must truthfully say I didn't know anything about the paramilitary brigades until you mentioned it. It doesn't seem the news media in this country is too sympathetic in writing those stories.
Mr. CALZON. Well, I am sorry to say that perhaps since Cuba is no longer aligned with the Soviet Union and is no longer a front page story every day, the fact remains that most of the repressive things that happen in Cuba do not make papers outside of Florida.
I think there was a reference today, for example, to CNN who is now broadcasting from Cuba, and that is a good thing. But what most Americans do not know is that Cubans can go to prison for watching CNN. Cubans cannot watch CNN. Having a dish is a crime in Cuba.
I met with the vice president for international operations of CNN, Isan Jordan, in Atlanta, urging CNN to donate 100 dishes to libraries, to Communist youth groups, to churches. His answer was it is illegal, and it is illegal because Castro does not want the Cuban people to be able to watch CNN.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALLEGLY. Castro, obviously, is even more critical of our rating system than some of our folks here.
Mr. BALLENGER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you, Mr. Ballenger. Just one quick follow-up question. Mr. Fauriol, would you say that today the people of Haiti, in spite of the apparent shortfalls, are they still for the most part supportive of the government, the status quo?
Mr. FAURIOL. That is a tough call. I would say that on the basis of the increasingly low voter turnout, including 5 percent, maybe 10 percent at the most in the last elections in early April, there is increasing disillusionment on the part of the electorate for its leaders. I think you should make a distinction perhaps between the Haitian people's belief in their country, the development of local institutions, the potential of a nation, and the growing and very serious disillusionment with the current political leadership at the top.
I am talking about the President, perhaps the Prime Minister, the members of Parliament. The vision is that they elect people and never see them again, or alternatively, that promises are made, but nothing ever happens. The international community came and helped the government and helped political leaders, but they don't see any benefits.
So in that sense, I think you do have a crisis of confidence in government and specifically maybe this government.
Mr. GALLEGLY. The issue of 5 to 10 percent raises a couple other questions. I know Cass and I have spent quite a bit of time in Central America and participated in the Nicaragua elections and others and always find that voter turnout (such as when we see people walk for miles in the dark of the night and barefoot and so on to be able to exercise that right to vote) historically is something that we ought to try to use as a model in this country to deal with some of the things that we consider very apathetic.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That, obviously, is not the case in Haiti. But earlier when we were talking about the literacy issue, I couldn't help but think that this must also exacerbate the whole problem with voting, because if you can't read, you can't read a ballot. Does this in and of itself create a problem? Two basic questions, one about comparing other countries with their voter turnout with Haiti, and then also the issue of the literacy.
Mr. FAURIOL. I have been observing elections not only in the Caribbean, but also in Central America for over 10 years. Two quick points on Haiti. One of them is that the success of an election is in part dependent on the message that the political leadership of the country provides to its own electorate, regarding the significance of an election.
The message that is being given by the political leadership of the country is sufficiently nebulous and unconvincing that if you are an individual voter, it is not quite sure why you would want to spend an hour or two walking to the ballot boxes.
This wasn't the case perhaps in the 1990 elections which elected President Aristide, where there was a clear understanding and clear enthusiasm for the process. But in 1995, when the outgoing President was sitting on the fence in terms of the endorsement of anyone or talking about the importance of the elections, or more recently in the April process, where I think many Haitians implicitly understood there was something important, that there was no real civic education campaign. There was really no effort to publicize the importance of going to the ballot boxes to name local judges as well as a procedure by which ultimately you would put together a permanent electoral council in Haiti. These would be significant developments.
The political leadership doesn't seem to place enough emphasis on advertising to the electorate that this is an important process. I think this is the major area of weakness, which distinguishes Haiti from a lot of the elections in the rest of the region, including Central America, and explains why people go to the ballot boxes in some cases and don't in the other.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. BALLENGER. I was wondering, if I may, if Lavalas' obvious power at the ballot box causes people to, shall we say, boycott, because you know you are going to get a dishonest election, you don't have a chance of winning? Orfrom what I have heard, Lavalas has the whole place kind of locked up anyhow.
Mr. FAURIOL. Maybe linking both questionsfirst, there is a strange trend also and that is the technical management of the elections in Haiti since 1990 is improving, but the turnout is getting worse every time. To some degree people don't understand why they need to go to the ballot box to vote again. And, second, the message from the political leadership isn't terribly convincing on that score.
Third, I think there are, as the previous question suggested, some difficulties. They are technical in nature. One was the ballots used in April. I wish I would have brought a copy of it, maybe your staff could show it to you. It is an extraordinary ballot, because it only has little boxes and circles, and numbers. There are no names, there is no party emblem. It requires an enormous amount of knowledge and information on the part of the voter who goes into the voting booth to be able to have in advance a good sense of who he or she is going to be voting for, candidate number 1 or candidate number 12.
This is where your question of Lavalas comes in. Clearly, those that went to vote were those that had a clear political motive and were encouraged, if you will, by the Lavalas machinery to do so. The problem now with Lavalas is that it is fractioning in two or three or four different groups, so it is a difficult political equation.
Mr. GALLEGLY. But that in and of itself, I think, would ease the issue as it relates to literacy though. A person could have political knowledge and not be really literate, I would believe. I don't know that the two are connected.
Mr. FAURIOL. The point I was making is not only did it not have anything written, which you are right, might be an advantage, but it didn't have anything at all, not even a party emblem. It didn't have a picture, so that the voter really wasn't being helped very much by the appearances of the ballot, and it required an enormous amount of personal motivation and knowledge.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GALLEGLY. And being careful.
Mr. FAURIOL. That is right.
Mr. GALLEGLY. Thank you very much. Thank you for being here, and Dr. Fauriol, we appreciate your testimony and look forward to working with you. The meeting will be adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 11:15 a.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]