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6235: Re: RE: 6218: Re: 6213: Caricom item, Dorce comments (fwd)

From: mark gill <doctorgill@clas.net>

Derek Harrison wrote:
> So now it's suddenly some big deal because Lavalas  has a voter mandate
> maybe even some political power?  Who is fooling whom about how long that
> will last?  The real "one-party" in Haiti will be heard from sooner or
> later.

  This is one of the primary "fights" in Haiti at present and for the
future, is it not?  Meaning, the "behind the scenes" struggle between the
traditional elites and the "upstart" populist, Aristide.  Derek is correct.
We will all see whether, or to what extent, the elites will tolerate,
accept, reject, compromise or attempt to overthrow Aristide.  If the elites
have international support, due to their "hold" on the Haitian economy, they
will tend toward little compromise.  If the "internationals" move away from
elite support, the elite will stand alone and will have less "clout" against

This struggle between traditional elites and newer efforts toward some form
of popular participation is typical of a country that
is making some sort of effort at throwing off historical repression and
dictatorship.  The burden for long term change is usually  upon those who
are trying to effect change, in this case Aristide.  Although this effort
has popular support, at least at the present, it remains to be seen if it
can last.  Popular support is not a basis for real power unless a country
has strong and legitimate political institutions, as popular support can
change, "on a dime", as we say.  We have already heard those in Haiti
saying, "we will give Aristide a chance, but he had better produce".  There
are threats implied in such statements.

If popular support begins to wane, the usual response is for the populist
political party, in this case Lavalas, to "harden" and become more
repressive.  To act, as it were, more dictatorial.  Without long standing
legitimate political institutional structures, the party has few

The advantage Lavalas has relates to momentum.  A momentum did begin in the
late l980's.  It deteriorated after the coup, was revived when Aristide
returned, but deteriorated again during the five years of Preval.  It
remains to be seen how strong the momentum will be during the next five

m gill