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7023: The Haiti Mess (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

 Union-Tribune Editorial ___     The Haiti Mess_
U.S. intervention accomplished little February 12, 2001

 Jean Bertrand Aristide, the radical ex-priest rescued by America's 1994

 intervention in Haiti, is back in his Caribbean country's presidential
 Aristide took the oath of office last week in an inaugural ceremony
 boycotted by the nations trying to help Haiti, including the United
 Aristide, it turns out, isn't the democrat the Clinton administration
said he was
 when it sent 23,000 U.S. troops to Haiti six years ago. That
 removed a military dictatorship and reversed the coup that ousted
 after his first election in 1990. Nor is Aristide's Lavalas political
 any acceptable model of democracy. Lavalas effectively rigged Haiti's
 parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000, which resulted in
 return to power.
 Confused? So was a U.S. policy that mistook the rabble-rousing Aristide
 the battered cause of democracy in Haiti. Six years and $3 billion in
 taxpayer funds later, it's worth asking what has been achieved.
 Haiti's economy remains the shambles it has been for years. If reliable

 statistics were kept, the jobless rate would be 60 percent or more.
 Deforestation has ruined the country's agriculture. There have been no
 economic reforms essential to foreign investment. The only growth
industry is
 narco-trafficking. Cocaine shipped from Colombia through Haiti is now
 country's major industry.
 As for human rights, Lavalas intimidates the political opposition and
 anyone who would challenge Aristide. Political killings, mostly of
 figures, are unsolved. The justice system, on which the United States
and the
 United Nations lavished millions of dollars in aid, is all but
nonexistent. Haiti's
 civilian police, also a priority project of aid donors like the United
States and
 Canada, are no less corrupt, brutal and ineffective than they ever
 In short, what was achieved in Haiti by the entire U.S.-led
 intervention was tragically, pathetically little. The Bush
administration now inherits this catastrophe, a monument to the folly of
mistaken nation building.
 Aristide, frightened by the prospect of aid cutoffs that could
eliminate 70
 percent of Haiti's income, is promising a new list of political and
 reforms. The Bush administration must insist that these be implemented
 enforced, to whatever extent the Haitian authorities can manage.
 This is Haiti's last chance to avoid a civic collapse that would send
new waves
 of refugees fleeing the country, many bound for Florida. It's also
 Washington's last chance to salvage something in Haiti from the Clinton
 of nation building gone wrong.