Sunday, February 29, 2004

# Posted 1:45 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

The Administration's policy toward's Haiti is anything but coherent. Running the gamut from ignoring the coming crisis then rushing to negotiate a half baked "peace plan." Haiti under Aristide may be a lot things but a dictatorship is a bit much. Aristide has been a failure as a leader and needs to go but I remember Haiti under Duvalier and you can't begin to compare the two.

Haiti's problem is that governmental power is concentrated in the executive and in Port au Prince. Some of Aristide's critics have always hated him for a variety of Haitian reasons involving class and race and have been scheming to get him out for since he was reelected in 2000, through his incompetence and malfeasance his given them enough rope to hang him with. The "civil" opposition does not have much chance for survival as a coalition without Aristide as a focal point. Once he leaves it will fall apart. Even in his weakened condition, Aristide and his party Lavalas would still beat the opposition in a fair election. Which is propably why the political opposition doesn't want elections with Aristide around.

Many Republicans in and out of the Administration have hated Aristide since he was first elected in 1991 and won't be shedding any tears if he goes. The Administration has been instrumental in blocking Haiti from receiving loans totaling $500 million from the World Bank, Interamerican Development Bank, and other multilateral institutions since 2000. USAID, IRI and other American institutions have given millions of dollars to the opposition. Many members of the armed opposition were trained by the U.S. military and the CIA. This Administration has yet to craft a balanced approach when it comes to Haiti, for example when the opposition failed to agree, yet again, to a power sharing agreement with Aristide. The Administration immediately placed the blame on Aristide, not even mentioning the opposition's intransigence. Aristide's removal or resignation does not end the crisis. Now with the US actually pushing Aristide out, it is doing harm to Latin America's transition to a democracy.
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