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6193: Three questions on Aristide and the opposition (fwd)
1. Winning the 2000 presidential elections was a piece of cake for Aristide.
Can Lavalas really have its cake and eat it too?
2. The US and its junior partners (the new colonialists) have Aristide where
they wanted him: isolated and hungry, primed to accept their economic agenda.
Can Aristide do the bidding of the IMF/USAID/Word Bank cartel and still
retain his popularity?
3. The opposition has taken a big chunk out of Aristide's legitimacy. Will
it find the wisdom to put the interest of the nation ahead of its own narrow,
Aristide won the elections by a whopping 91%. . . . Compared to the 67% he
won in 1990, his popularity appears to have gone up by a wide margin! At
least that's what his sycophants would have us believe. Actually, what
defies belief is not the 91% scored among people who voted, but the 60 to 70%
voter turnout claimed by the Lavalas faction. With over 20% of the
electorate concentrated in Port-au-Prince alone, what clever trick did
Lavalas conjure to hide the crowds and the long lines of voters? Whatever the
subterfuge, it has failed to convince the Haitian press, the international
media, the religious community, the diplomatic corps, the United Nations, the
European Union, the OAS, CARICOM, the so-called donor countries, and just
about everyone else. Not only did 80 to 85% (an overwhelming majority) of
the electorate decide to sit out the Nov. 26 referendum, the Lavalas faction
was caught in a blatant fabrication. Somebody evidently screwed up because a
double blow has been scored against Aristide's legitimacy as president.
After five years of silence, of letting the Chimères speak for him, Aristide
is all of a sudden reaching out for compromise. Or is he? Marc Bazin, the
enduring chouchou of the Duvaliers, the military and the US government, came
out of a recent visit to the Tabarre lair talking about cabinet appointments
for the opposition. Imagine, Lavalas fought tooth and nail to gain absolute
control of the two houses of parliament, of the municipalities and the local
CASECs, but is now graciously conceding powerful ministerial posts to the
defeated opposition. Does the Lavalas leader feel particularly vulnerable
just now, or is this a calculated move to divide the opposition and appease
his international critics? One thing is certain, the road to the Haitian
presidency is no Damascus Road.
If Aristide succeeds in luring the opposition into his cabinet, then he truly
scores a perfect victory. He appears conciliatory and magnanimous as a
winner, which advances his case with the donor countries, while at the same
time he gives himself the luxury of a few safety valves when pressure builds
up later into the system. The opposition meanwhile discredits itself because
without a voice in the legislature, its members in the cabinet would be
little more than patsies and flunkies to be sacrificed whenever the executive
breaks a promise or fails to meet an expectation. It happened before with
Malval, Smarck Michel and Rosny Smarth. It's a smart Lavalas policy to have
a few opposition ministers on hand to deflect the anger of the street, while
the "Plan Mouri Grangou" (Starvation Plan) of privatization and neoliberalism
The opposition's greatest challenge, however, is whether it will persist in
its obstructionist tactics, thereby prolonging the paralysis of the past five
years, or whether it will work to put an end to the current gridlock. The
President-elect, the so-called elite, the democratic opposition, even the
timid left, each claims to have a vision and a program to move the country
forward. They each agree that Haiti needs a culture of democracy and a new
framework for development and human growth. What needs to happen next is for
each sector to take a step back from the brink, so that the country as a
whole can move one step forward. For the opposition this would mean
declining to team up with the new colonialists to further punish the country,
and accepting Aristide's presidency – menacing and tainted though it may be.
For the Lavalas power, taking a step back from the brink implies total
flexibility over the May 21 elections, including the possibility of new
municipal and legislative elections under international supervision within
Let all those who have their belly full (Peace in the Belly) stop playing
political strategy with the people's hunger. Five additional years of this
ignoble cat and mouse game are simply unacceptable.