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U.S. Orders 150 to Get Out of Haiti

December 04, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The State Department said today it is withdrawing all U.S. employees regarded as non-essential from the American Embassy in Haiti as well as all dependents of U.S. personnel.

Shortly after the State Department announcement, the Senate condemned the breakdown of the democratic electoral process in Haiti and held the island's military provisional government responsible for violence that left more than two dozen would-be voters dead last weekend.

State Department spokesman Charles E. Redman said about 150 Americans will be affected by the withdrawal order, adding that the action was being taken as a precaution in view of the "unsettled political situation" in Haiti.

Aid Administrators

Some of the departing Americans, Redman said, were responsible for administering the U.S. foreign assistance program, much of which was suspended last Sunday when Haitian military authorities abrogated the nation's electoral laws after the outbreak of election day violence.

Redman said departures will take place over the next few weeks so that between now and Christmas, the U.S. personnel and dependents will have left.

Essential functions at the embassy will continue, including consular services, Redman said. He added that there will still be a staff of about 80 after the affected personnel depart.

In the Senate vote, the lawmakers approved, 90 to 0, a non-binding resolution supporting the U.S. decision to revoke all non-humanitarian aid to Haiti, and calling for an international arms embargo.

Signal of Harsher Action

"This resolution is meant as a message of harsher action" yet to come from the United States, said Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who sponsored the resolution along with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.).

The action came a day after the House ratified the Reagan Administration's imposition of an aid ban on Haiti by voting for legislation that would continue the cutoff until the island nation is back on the road toward free elections.

A central requirement of the House legislation, approved Thursday on a voice vote as part of a massive catchall spending bill, is restoration of the civilian electoral commission that Haiti's military government dissolved this week after canceling elections.

$64 Million Affected

The U.S. aid ban affected about $64 million in economic and military aid sent through the Haitian government. About $35 million in humanitarian aid would be unaffected.

In Haiti, the powerful Roman Catholic Church today urged the public to unite to prevent the ruling junta from taking control of national elections.

"Those who govern the country believe they have reached the point where they can block democracy . . . but all the people must now join hands to block their maneuvers," Bishop Willie Romelus of Jeremie said on Radio Metropole.

The junta today gave church and civic organizations another day to name members for a new Electoral Council.

But the church said it would not comply with the request.

An official source said the military-dominated government will itself name the new electoral panel if the civilians do not act by midnight tonight.

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