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5320 Re: Rumors of a Coup; Simidor Responds to Driver (fwd)

From: karioka9@cs.com

Tom Driver would be 100% right if the US and the OAS were the only critics of 
the May 21 elections.  Yes it's true that the US government will keep making 
trouble for Aristide so long as he retains any connection with the people.  
But it's also true that a very broad spectrum of people and interests found 
valid reasons to condemn the way the elections were conducted.  Haitian 
rejection of the elections goes in fact well beyond the method used for 
tabulating the votes.  The screwy tabulations were just the icing on the 
cake, the one irrefutable element that the Lavalas spin doctors couldn't turn 
against their critics.  But people on this list will recall the pre-election 
violence which kept everybody but the Lavalas candidates from seriously 
campaigning.  The opposition also gave public and ample evidence of vote 
tampering before, during and after the actual voting.  To be weary of US 
"dicey" moves and meddling is certainly a good thing, but Lavalas' 
intransigence in stealing/spoiling the results of the elections is hardly a 
virtue.  The very due process and fairness that people want to guarantee for 
Mr. Aristide are precisely what his partisans seem intent on denying to 
others.  US hegemonic involvement in Haitian affairs is wrong, but so is 
Lavalas' hegemonic project. We should not oppose one and uphold the other.

Republicans and Democrats, I agree, are two faces of the same coins when it 
comes to policy matters like structural adjustment and privatizing the 
state's assets.  But Haiti has also become a pawn in the power game between 
the two US ruling parties. Clinton and Gore are still willing to cut Aristide 
some slack even though he doesn't always do what he's told, and that's 
because he remains an asset in their political portfolio.  Whereas the 
Republicans are eager to get rid of him, not only because they find him 
untrustworthy and "unstable" (Jesse Helms has zero tolerance for "uppity 
niggers") but also because that would strike a blow against the Democrats. In 
that context, it's conceivable that one arm of the US ruling class would 
stage a coup against Aristide/Preval, and for another arm to forewarn them.  
I do beg Dr. Driver's indulgence for pointing out the obvious to him.  But in 
his generosity, he tends to give credit where credit isn't always due.  The 
suppression of the Haitian army is one such instance.  I don't doubt for a 
second that Mr. Aristide dearly wanted to rid himself of the military.  But 
what were the chances of Aristide actually dissolving the army if this really 
was contrary to US wishes?  In fact who but the US occupation forces had the 
might to disband the Haitian military?  The very same thing happened during 
the first US occupation of Haiti: the Haitian army of that time was replaced 
by a police force, trained and equipped by the US occupation.  Then as now 
the Haitian president served as little more than a rubber stamp on a US 
policy decision.  

Daniel Simidor