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5403: Re: The Coup Rumors & Aristide; Simidor Responds to Driver and Perrier (fwd)

From: Karioka9@cs.com

Tom F. Driver wrote:

> My interviews with members of the opposition before the 
> elections last May led me to think that what kept them from 
> serious campaigning was their lack of anything serious to say.  

I wonder if Tom Driver talked to any Fanmi Lavalas candidates and if they had 
anything serious to say.  I'd guess not since nobody, neither FL nor the 
opposition, has anything seriously resembling a program.  I also wonder how 
many FL candidates seriously read the fanciful program unveiled last year by 
Aristide at the Kinam Hotel. What kept the opposition from seriously 
campaigning?  Fear, a serious lack of resources and organization are more 
likely answers.  Dr. Driver can lampoon the opposition if he likes, but he 
should also take a serious look at the party in power.

>> it's conceivable that one arm of the US ruling class would stage 
>> a coup against Aristide/Preval, and for another arm to forewarn 
>> them.

> Fantasy is always conceivable, but this scenario is not very 
> plausible.  Think again what happened in September, 1991.

By Tom Driver's logic, the recent "coup attempt" is also a fantasy since it 
is predicated on an alleged plot involving US military or CIA personnel on 
the one hand, and advance warning from the US State Department on the other. 
At least that's the fantasy circulated by Preval and the Lavalas 
propagandists.  Of course stranger things have happened.  Like Ronald Reagan 
conspiring with the Revolutionary Guards in Teheran at the time of the 
hostage crisis in 1980.  Like the same Reagan selling weapons to the evil 
Ayatollahs in the Iran-Contra scandal.  Or like the Harlan County affair, 
with Clinton officially sending troops to Haiti while a shadow government 
conspired with the paramilitary FRAPH against the troops' landing.

>> Clinton and Gore are still willing to cut Aristide some slack
>> even though he doesn't always do what he's told, and that's
>> because he remains an asset in their political portfolio.

> But he doesn't.  Clinton and Gore are vulnerable with the electorate 
> on the subject of Haiti, and Jesse Helms knows it.  Their problem is 
> that they put him back there and can't repudiate him outright 
> without acknowledging the failure of their Haiti project.

Maybe Titid is more liability than asset. Either way, it's too late for 
Clinton/Gore to ditch him without major embarrassment. Perhaps a key 
objective of the current crisis is to delegitimize Aristide before he even 
gets elected, to  make him more pliable to US dictates.  In other words, 
Aristide will have to make good on the neoliberal package if he wants Wash to 
forget his recent electoral transgressions. If not, the election frauds will 
be the ideal pretext to destabilize his new government and further cripple 
the country. The people caught in the middle will be the poor and the fragile 
middle-class, victims so to speak of a double mugging.

> Finally, Daniel comes to the matter of Aristide's greatest 
> achievement during his first term of office -- the dismantling 
> of the army.  But Daniel is so determined to attack Aristide 
> that he credits the US with this move:

Is Daniel Simidor against Aristide or on some personal vendetta against him?  
I give Aristide some credit for restoring relations with Cuba, even though 
I'm totally ignorant of the factual politics behind that.  Also, as I wrote 
in a previous post, I don't blame Lavalas for every outrageous act committed 
by the chimères; I realize there are other forces at play.  By the same 
token, I cannot ignore that chimère Ronald Cadavre and "Senator" Dany 
Toussaint are irrefutable proof that Lavalas (the party in power) is a major 
contributor to the general lawlessness, and that the chimères are indeed 
Lavalas' shock troops, even if they screw up at times or hire out to other 

Is Aristide really the democrat and the anti-imperialist that some list 
members portray him to be?  When the grassroots movement, the democratic 
opposition and progressive intellectuals in any given country say that there 
is something fundamentally wrong with the regime in place, that it is moving 
dangerously toward fascism (a "totalitarian drift," some of them say), I 
think the solidarity movement ought to listen.  The cry of 193 Haitian 
intellectuals and activists last August is the writing on the wall that 
Lavalas populism is going down the wrong road. 

> I think the record shows that the US did oppose getting rid 
> of the army this last time around.  Aristide wanted to abolish 
> it completely. The US objected.  So he just fired all the senior 
> officers, and that was that.

If all it took to dismantle the Haitian army was to fire all the senior 
officers with one presidential decree, why didn't Aristide do the same thing 
on the eve of the 1991 coup?  In Haiti, presidential decrees aren't worth the 
paper they're printed on, when confronted with military might. Like the 
proverb says: "Konstitisyon se papye, bayonèt se fè."  Did Aristide really 
dismantle the Haitian army all by his lonesome self?  The very gracious Mr. 
Driver does not believe in fantasies but I fear he may be somewhat partial to 

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
Greg Perrier wrote: 

> Daniel, who do you want to see as president?  I do not see that plethora 
> of  choices that you speak of.

I frankly don't recall speaking of any such thing. I did write that Lavalas' 
popularity is not what it used to be, and that it no longer suffices for 
Aristide to line up a bunch of cronies to get them elected.  Maybe I should 
have said that Aristide has no serious contender, and is potentially the best 
man to lead a strong democratic government based on political pluralism and 
the rule of law. But that would be not counting on Aristide's apparent 
ambition for absolute power. At any other level, I indeed think that there 
could and should have been a plethora of candidates – businessmen, local 
leaders, activists, independents and party affiliates of all stripes – 
running on a variety of platforms ranging from economic development and 
social justice to education, law and order, etc. But with the chimères 
unleashing their fury at every serious contender to the Fanmi Lavalas 
candidates, we'll never know what the results would have been for one of the 
most important elections in recent Haitian history.     

Daniel Simidor