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#3477: Let Haitians Escape Chaos at Their Own Halting Pace (fwd)


Let Haitians Escape Chaos at Their Own Halting Pace 
Foreign policy: The U.S. can't impose democracy. Futureaid must come
from the international community.  By WILLIAM B. JONES 
 William B. Jones Was U.s. Ambassador to Haiti From 1977 to 1980  

 What goes around, comes around. Once again, Haiti has made the complete
circle from chaos and violence to chaos  and violence. Although
well-meaning and idealistic, U.S.policies have failed to bring
democracy, stability and economic growth to Haiti. Millions of dollars
of foreign aid have gone down the drain. Drug trafficking controlled by
the Latin American cartels has  turned the country into a major
transshipment hub. There is virtually no private business investment.
Personal security is at levels reminiscent of the times of the Tontons
Macoutes. U.S. policies, based on the premise of "restoring democracy,"
have had little positive effect.The Haitian government is paralyzed and
the country is close to anarchy.The ill-advised embargo destroyed the
business and industrial infrastructure. Tourism, a staple of other
Caribbean nations, is virtually nonexistent. It is essential that we
reevaluate our policies toward Haiti.A more realistic, pragmatic
approach, taking into account the cultural history of Haiti and the many
complexities of itssociety, is necessary. Such a policy should be based
on four major principles: 
* Political. We should stay out of Haiti's internal political  
processes. We cannot impose democracy on a nation that has absolutely no
history of it. The only condition that we and others should insist on is
that there be no organized political violence--no death squads, no
killing of political opponents.Beyond that, we should let the Haitians
sort things out for themselves. The result may not resemble democracy as
we know it, but it will be a Haitian solution arrived at in the context
of their culture. 
* Economic. There should be no more unilateral U.S.foreign aid. If there
are food shortages or a threat of epidemics, the U.S. should work with
the international community to provide assistance. Haiti should never
become an economic ward of the United States. We should stress that
development only can come from free and open private investment. The
light industrial sector was thriving, largely under Haitian ownership,
when the embargo destroyed its  base. 
* Security. Whatever government that finally emerges on Haiti should be
told, through normal diplomatic channels, that neither the U.S. nor the
international community will tolerate government-sponsored violence and
corruption. There must be basic regard for internationally recognized
human rights. 
* Social. We should respect Haitian culture and history.There is a
strong sense of nationhood in Haiti. The U.S. and the international
community should recognize Haitian sensitivities and traditions. We
should encourage Haitians who have fled, but who can make a contribution
to development, to return. We should urge the government of Haiti to
welcome their return and not view trained, educated Haitians as a
If we base our policies on these principles, Haitians may begin to move
forward, at their own halting pace, and we will not be stuck with a
commitment that the American people will not support. It is in our
national interests to have a peaceful,relatively stable Haiti that can
stand on its own feet. U.S.policies, however, must be based on realism,
not on slogans or idealistic dreams. Diplomacy is the art of the
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