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7634: U.S. labor expert urges U.S. support for Haiti's government (fwd)
Letter to the Editor submitted to the Washington Post by Dr. Charles
February 10, 2001
With the advent of new administrations in both Washington and in Haiti, it is
time for U.S. policy to change toward Haiti and its president Jean-Bertrand
Aristide. The policy of the Clinton administration was schizophrenic at
best. While it returned Aristide to power reluctantly, it did little to help
Haiti grow and develop effective institutions.
The fact is that Haiti's best hope to build enduring institutions lies in
Aristide's credibility with the Haitian people. While the Bush
administration is unlikely to be comfortable with Aristide's populism, there
is nothing to be gained for the U.S. by trampling Haitian's fierce national
pride. Support for a weak and fragmented opposition is counter-productive.
Fixation on the privatization of the few meager assets of the Haitian
government is an exercise in futility. Secretary of State Colin Powell is
the key to the establishment of a new fairer and more generous relationship.
Haiti, as the second republic in the Western Hemisphere and the only nation
founded by a successful slave rebellion, has a long and often painful
relationship with the U.S. The bloodless American invasion of 1994 was as
much a testimony to Aristide's deep hold on the Haitian people as on our
military superiority. The masses of desperately poor Haitians are the key to
stability in Haiti. The U.S. is in a poor position to be sanctimonious about
election irregularities especially when few doubt that either Aristide or
Lavalas would have decisively won their elections under any scenario. It is
time for compassion toward Haiti.
Dr. Charles McCollester
*Dr. Charles McCollester is the director of the Pennsylvania Center for the
Study of Labor Relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He was a
consultant to the Commission Tri Partite de Consultation et d' Arbitrage one
year after President Aristide's return to power. Dr. McCollester can be
reached by either telephone at 724-357-4443 or email at: email@example.com