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7023: The Haiti Mess (fwd)
From: nozier <email@example.com>
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
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
United Nations lavished millions of dollars in aid, is all but
civilian police, also a priority project of aid donors like the United
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
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
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.