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#4024: Miami Herald FWD - Editorial by Olivier Nadal (fwd)
Published Tuesday, May 30, 2000, in the Miami Herald
U.S. legacy: An Aristide dictatorship
Olivier Nadal, president of Haiti's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, lives
in exile in Miami.
Once again President Clinton seems bent upon delivering Haiti to the
dictatorial control of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, completing a process that
Clinton initiated with his 1994 invasion, followed by the fraudulent,
Clinton-validated 1995-96 elections.
Aristide's original 1991 government was anything but democratic. Violence and
chaos swept the nation. Dozens were ``necklaced.'' On Aug. 13, 1991, Haiti's
parliament was ready to hold a no-confidence vote against the Aristide/Préval
government. Aristide could muster only 11 votes and urged his mob to kill and
burn. Two presidential candidates were murdered. Aristide was removed from
office, and the military stepped in to maintain order. Aristide flew into
A Supreme Court justice was appointed to the provisional presidency.
Parliament scheduled new elections for December 1991, but they were blocked
by the United States. Then, without investigating, the Organization of
American States imposed an em- bargo against Haiti.
The U.S. government turned Haiti's frozen assets over to Aristide. This
supported a massive public-relations campaign with Aristide so demonizing
Haiti's military that no one commented upon its destruction, even though the
army was Haiti's only structured element of law-and-order. It was replaced by
an Aristide-controlled police force that now coordinates much of the cocaine
traffic into the United States. It is responsible for much of the violence in
Haiti, and Aristide directs its activities from his 50-acre estate.
The U.S. invasion of Haiti saw peace replaced by chaos. Haiti had more
economic stability and public order in the 1991-94 period than it has had
since Clinton returned democracy on the points of 23,000 bayonets.
The Haitian Constitution required parliamentary elections in December 1994,
but Aristide delayed them, much as he has delayed the current elections,
until he controlled the field.
Aristide threatened to stay for ``three more years,'' replacing the years he
spent in exile in Washington, or Clinton could accept the unpopular,
alcoholic René Préval. Haiti's political parties boycotted the elections, but
foreign interference forced the vote. Aristide-generated violence kept the
public terror-stricken. Préval became president with less than 2 percent of
voters turning out.
Since Aristide's return, he has eliminated all meaningful opposition. Once
again, Haiti experiences violence and chaos. Once again, the Clinton
administration focuses on holding an election in Haiti. This is not
democracy. It simply will guarantee the end of Haiti's chances to grasp this
elusive American concept.
The Clinton administration avoids commenting on the vast Cuban involvement in
Haiti. Since Préval's ``selection,'' Haiti has experienced an influx of Cuban
``medical and agricultural experts,'' -- a paramilitary force of more than
Originally Clinton invaded so that Haiti would not become a haven for drug
dealers and a shipping link to the United States. Yet Drug Enforcement
Administration sources say that less than 1 percent of the cocaine entering
the United States was shipped through Haiti when Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras was in
control. Immediately after the official U.S. withdrawal in 1996, this
accelerated to 6 percent. It is now higher than 14 percent.
By insisting on the May 21 elections, Clinton delivered my country into the
hands of a dictator, and the world will have its first narco-presidency, part
of the Clinton legacy.
The United States should redress the crime it has visited on my people:
Indict Aristide for his control of the cocaine traffic.
Remove him from power.
Allow Haiti to salvage something from the Clinton-generated disaster that
threatens its survival as a nation.
In reality, immediate action may be too little too late.