[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

#5247: U.S. policy has failed in the last decade (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

9.28.2000 00:26 Our failed role in Haiti (projo.com)                   
U.S. policy in Haiti has failed in the last decade. 

Early this month, President Clinton announced that he would send neither
election observers nor $20 million in foreign aid to Haiti for the
November presidential and  parliamentary elections unless the government
reversed tainted results from the first-round run-off parliamentary
vote, May 21. The $20 million was intended to supplement the tens of
millions of aid that America sends Haiti annually for domestic
development. While that aid will continue to business and
 nongovernmental organizations, the $20 million for the government will
be suspended until President R n Pr val responds to international
criticism of the vote outcomes. In question are 10 Senate seats, which
the United States and other foreign governments asserted were improperly
awarded to Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Lavalas Family party. Mr. Aristide,
a former Catholic priest, was the first fairly elected Haitian
president. He was voted into office in December 1990, but the following
September, Gen. Raoul C dras staged a coup d'etat, arresting Mr.
Aristide and expelling him from the country. The coup prompted an
upsurge of Haitian refugees, nearly 35,000 of whom were intercepted by
the U.S. Coast Guard as they attempted illegally to enter the United
States between 1991 and 1993. President Clinton and the United Nations
imposed an economic embargo on Haiti. Negotiations to return Mr.
Aristide to power failed. After renewing sanctions, the U.N. Security
Council on July 31, 1994, authorized an invasion by a multinational    
force, spearheaded by U.S. troops. The prospect of fighting this force
persuaded General C dras to step down and let Mr. Aristide resume
office. Thousands of U.S.troops and a U.N. peacekeeping force took over
responsibility for Haiti's security until March 1994. Unable to succeed
himself under Haiti's constitution, Mr. Aristide,in February 1996,
transferred power to his elected successor, Mr. Pr val. In August 1996,
the last U.S. troops left Haiti's internal security to an
internationally trained Haitian police force. 

 Mr. Clinton would report that the U.S.-led Haitian intervention was a
success. Alas, the facts speak otherwise. Not only has the economy
continued to fail, but political assassinations, crime rings and
political corruption have increased each year. This latest electoral
irregularity, in May, under the eyes of international observers,       
apparently was the work of Mr. Aristide's supporters.  Mr. Clinton's
policy in Haiti has been one of good intentions and abysmal failure.    
Occasionally, U.S. intervention in a country to promote or to restore
democracy works. But as Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., once asked the
administration, "When has Haiti ever been a democracy?" The answer is
never.  As Mr. Clinton prepares to leave office, he should have the
courage to admit that his Haitian policy has not worked. It will take a
subtle combination of economic aid and political advice, and pressure --
and help from the United Nations and the rest of the international
community -- to get democracy going in Haiti, even in a fragile way.