WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Monday he was forced to leave Haiti in a "coup d'etat" by the United States, CNN reported.
"I was told that to avoid bloodshed I'd better leave," he said.
Earlier, the Bush administration vigorously denied Aristide was kidnapped by U.S. troops, which is what two U.S. representatives said the deposed Haitian president told them during telephone calls.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said the United States took steps to protect Aristide and his family as they left Haiti, but denied U.S. forces took him from his home to the airport.
"The military presence we had at the time was at the embassy," McClellan said. "[Aristide] went with his own personal security."
But Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, said Aristide told them a different story. Waters said Aristide told her the chief of staff of the U.S. Embassy in Haiti came to his home, told him that he would be killed if he did not leave.
Secretary of State Colin Powell termed the allegations baseless.