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8666: Lavalas corruption; Simidor responds to Hyppolite Pierre (fwd)
I will try to respond to Mr. Pierre in the spirit of responsible dialogue
that he preaches but doesn't practice. The issue is political corruption,
the amazing and widespread corruption within Lavalas official circles, for
which Mr. Pierre is still demanding proofs.
The Wall Street Journal, the cursed WSJ, first brought the Teleco scandal out
in the open earlier this year. It's all there on the web for you to read,
Mr. Pierre. My own contribution was to bring attention to an anonymous post
on this list (#8575), which actually spelled out the mechanism by which the
Lavalas bosses siphon millions of dollars from one of the state's few
If all those allegations are not true, why won't Mr. Aristide come clean?
That's what is supposed to happen in a democracy. When there are allegations
of impropriety, the ethical norm for public officials is to submit themselves
to an inquiry. The principle is called accountability. There is another
reason why Mr. Aristide should come clean. Those allegations are sure to be
used to wring out more concessions when his government tries to borrow more
money from the international lending institutions. Thus his alleged
corruption becomes an additional burden on the country.
Mr. Pierre tells us that we'll never know how much money Aristide owns, as if
that was an acceptable argument against people wanting to find out. But
that's part of the problem, you see; we are supposed to know. As a
precaution against corruption, the Haitian constitution calls for public
officials to declare their assets in front of the Cour Superieure des Comptes
(General Accounting Office?), before and after serving in government. Mr.
Aristide dragged Ertha Trouillot, his predecessor in 1991, through that
process. Why won't he submit himself to it? Because he personifies the
people? Because he is above the law?
Mr. Pierre pretends to read my posts with interest, but he disparages
everything I say. He calls my comments childish, inflammatory. He claims or
implies that I am obsessed, that I am somewhat irrelevant, that I am a
Convergence man, and that I do not truly care about Haiti and its people. He
wags his finger at me about the country's very, very, very serious problems,
and even assigns the topics I should discuss. He calls me evil ("Se bon ki
ra"), but still claims to respect my views (a concession no doubt to Sir
Corbett's gentility rules). Mr. Pierre doesn't quite understand that in a
democracy, people are not limited to the views the government sanctions. He
doesn't seem to understand or to accept the need for an active opposition and
for strong and democratic institutions that can compel our rulers to
Mr. Pierre is elated by the meager construction projects and by the gifts the
president brings with him like a Bon Papa as he moves around the country.
Mr. Pierre doesn't notice all the money that is spent on other things like
million dollars mansions for the regime's dignitaries, i.e. Preval,
Jacques-Edouard Alexis, Cherestal, and Aristide himself who appears to have
sold his Tabarre property to the state as a residence for himself. Money
spent on brand new $50,000 four-wheel drive vehicles, given as perks to
people close to the president, whether they are elected officials or people
running Mr. Aristide's foundations or private projects.
Lastly, reading Mr. Pierre's admonishment not to upset the fragile dialogue
between Lavalas and Convergence, it appears to me that those two entities
enjoy a rather cozy relationship. Without Convergence to blame and to kick
around, how would Lavalas account for its outstanding failure to keep any of
the promises made to the population several months ago? The most amazing and
unbelievable of it all is how this "insignificant and irrelevant tiny
minority" (Lavalas' characterization of the opposition) so successfully
paralyzes a regime wielding total and absolute power in every branch of
government. But what defies belief elsewhere becomes the inescapable truth
in the land of magical realism.
Se bon ki ra... se rara ki bon... se bla, bla, bla.