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#408: Will anarchy reign-Response to Bell from Dreyfuss

From: Joel Dreyfuss <jdreyfuss@ibm.net>

I was in Haiti last week and came away with a different perspective.
1. Full-blown savage capitalism reigns. Poor vendors have overrun 
many  residential areas, which serves to remind the wealthy about the true 
economic situation in the country.
2.At the same time, the level of economic activity is high. You can tell by 
the traffic, the loaded construction trucks, the people in banks and 
stores. I suspect that so much of the activity is in the parallel economy 
and doesn't turn up in the numbers. Some of the activity is fueled by drug 
money, but I suspect a lot is from remittances from the dreaded Diaspora.
3. The political situation is more complex than Sacochis argues.
         - I heard from good sources that Preval is slowly building a 
political base and that he and his former mentor increasingly don't see eye 
to eye. His sacking of some of the most notoriously corrupt officials 
include some very close to Aristide are the best evidence.
         - Aristide's base is becoming unruly and increasingly unwilling to 
accept his directives on such issues as candidates for the next election. 
There is also the disillusion among the urban literate class, which is growing.
4. Some of the elite have become more involved in the political dialogue; 
this is a departure from nearly 100 years of exclusively behind-the-scenes 
maneuvers (and manipulation). There is some motion to take a more 
"positive" role rather than simply reacting.
5. The U.S. embassy remains obsessed with fear that Aristide will return to 
power. It continues to embrace some of the most unsavory opposition types 
and has failed to respond to the apparent rift in the old Lavalas movement.
6. There are pockets of hope: some of Preval's work in the agriculture 
sector is the most promising.
Will there be civil war? Haitians have managed without a government for the 
past two years. I think it depends on the outcome of the Y2K elections. If 
you have Aristide II but he fails to garner a clear majority in the 
legislature (which might be the most promising scenario), it could make for 
interesting times.

At 03:29 PM 9/3/99 -0700, you wrote:

>From: Madison Bell <mbell@goucher.edu>
>Do other list members have different scenarios from the one presented by Bob
>Shacochis, and if so, what might they be?  How probable is his prediction of
>anarchy and civil war?  What are the alternatives, and what might make them
>Relatedly, what foreign military or police backing will remain in Haiti once
>the U.S. Support Group pulls out?  The Canadians, for instance, had talked
>of a continued presence....

Joel Dreyfuss