Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Fall of President Aristide

Delivered in Plenary - March 8th 2004

Mr President

The dramatic fall from power of President Aristide in Haiti and the undemocratic and increasingly repressive measures by President Chávez of Venezuela to thwart the will of his people to hold a recall referendum represent a worrying trend in Latin America, as Aristide becomes the sixth democratically elected leader in that region to be ousted from power since 1999. We cannot be complacent about Latin America and take the huge achievement of spreading democracy there for granted. The EU must work closely with the US to stabilise this process.

Mr Aristide took refuge in Africa, another continent sadly ravaged by civil wars, dictatorships and failed states. This House will welcome the announcement that the EU-inspired African Union, still in its infancy since being founded in 2002, will shortly have its first Pan-African Parliament meeting in Addis Ababa and plans somewhat ambitiously to set up a security council with a standing army to prevent future conflicts on that continent. Will you, Mr President, send this Parliament's greetings and best wishes?