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Aristide: 'I call it a coup d'etat'

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

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(CNN) -- Hundreds of U.S. Marines are in Haiti securing key points in the capital, Port-au-Prince, after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned and fled the country.

CNN's Lou Dobbs spoke to Aristide by telephone for one of the former president's first interviews since landing in the Central African Republic.

DOBBS: Mr. Aristide, first, you're in good health, you're in appropriate accommodations?

ARISTIDE: Yes. But my mind is in Haiti, where they are killing people, burning houses ... And that's why I call it a real coup d'etat, a modern way to have modern kidnapping.

DOBBS: Mr. Aristide ... are you suggesting that you were then in point of fact taken by force by U.S. military?

ARISTIDE: Of course, from Saturday -- from Saturday night, the 28th ... I was told that ... I better leave. And under a kind of diplomatic cover, they talked to me. And military talked to me. American agents talked to me. Haitian agents talked to me. And I finally realized it was true, we were going to have bloodshed. And when I asked how many people may get killed, and they said thousands may get killed. So using that kind of force to lead a coup d'etat, it was clear, as I said.

DOBBS: You made then, if I hear you, Mr. Aristide, a difficult choice based on the assessment of those advisers around you, and including American advisers, it sounds like, for the public safety of those -- of your fellow citizens, is that correct?

ARISTIDE: What is very clear is the fact that we have military surrounding the airport, the palace, my house. In the streets, we had some military maybe from other countries, I don't know, but I know for sure there were a lot of the American militaries with Haitians, well-armed ... And they told me in a clear and blunt way that thousands of people will get killed once they start. So I had to do my best to avoid that bloodshed ... That's why I call it again and again a coup d'etat, a modern way to have modern kidnapping.

DOBBS: Mr. Aristide, having made that decision, and now in the Central African Republic, is there -- have you received the support of the United Nations, spokesmen -- the representatives of the French government in particular, the Canadian government talked with you and supported your decision to leave Haiti and offer further counsel?

ARISTIDE: Maybe if I add this point, people will understand ... I spent 20 hours in an American plane with military guys. And one ... baby, one year and a half old, whose father is an American agent, and the mother is Haitian. Not even this little baby has the right to get out ... when we had the first step -- the first stop. And when we have to go to the second one, they didn't want to tell me where they were going to meet with me. We didn't have one single phone call, no telephone was used, because they refused.

And this little baby spending 20 hours in an American plane, with American guys. Only 20 minutes before they landed here, they told me, finally, we were coming to land, on the French bases with military -- French military. And fortunately, we had five ministers from the government who greeted us in this very warm way. And we are grateful to them ...

DOBBS: I can only guess at the emotion that you must go through. The emotions in Haiti today from all quarters of Haitian society. Your family, Mr. Aristide, we understand that at least part of your family is in New York tonight, is that correct?

ARISTIDE: Yes. I don't know if the first lady, who is an American lady, is allowed to go to Miami to see her family. And I don't know if I am free to leave where I am to go to New York or elsewhere.

I have three more people with me. We are here after the terrible experience which we had in [an] American plane, in which [the] American military [were] not allowing us to have contact with our people, not allowing a baby one year and a half to get out from the plane when they stopped the first time, when they stopped the second time ... It is a tragedy. You need to understand that.

DOBBS: Indeed. Mr. Aristide, do you have, first, any desire to come to the United States, and secondly, what are your immediate plans?

ARISTIDE: If they allow me, I will be very delighted to go to the United States whenever it's necessary or possible, meet people, tell the truth. ... They want to create confusion. And I want to tell the truth, not confusion.

DOBBS: Mr. Aristide, we thank you very much for talking with us, and thank you again, sir.

ARISTIDE: Thank you.


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