Port-Au-Prince, Haiti -- Some of the rebel leaders who drove President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from power are suspected of involvement in drug trafficking, U.S. officials and Haiti experts say.
While refusing to provide details, a senior Western diplomat in Haiti said in an interview with The Chronicle that criminal elements are enmeshed in the insurgency and now seek to reconstitute Haiti's formerly defunct military.
According to internal documents from a regional governmental organization that closely monitors state institutions in Haiti, Guy Philippe, the rebel leader who declared himself head of the revived Haitian military on Tuesday, and Gilbert Dragon, his second-in-command, allegedly became involved in drug trafficking in the late 1990s as members of the Haitian police force.
Haiti rebels linked to drug trade [SFGate.com]
update - Jan. 3, 2005 USA Today reports:
While the Bush administration wages war against terrorism in Iraq, the government it propped up in Haiti has caved in to the terrorists who've seized control of parts of that impoverished Caribbean island nation...
According to Amnesty International, the rebel force is led by Guy Philippe, a former army officer who is thought to have been involved in a failed 2000 coup. Other leaders of the rebels include Louis-Jodel Chamblain and Jean Pierre Baptiste, both members of a paramilitary group that is accused of carrying out massacres and assassinations in support of the 1991 coup.
Payoffs to Haiti's renegade soldiers won't buy peace [USA Today, Jan 3, 2005]