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8674: Lavalas corruption; Hyppolite Pierre responds to Simidor (fwd)

From: Hyppolitep@aol.com

It is indeed a welcome change, Mr. Simidor, that you decide to debate the issue rather than what at least I and many others on the list perceived to be the person of Aristide. Please be assured however, that I will try this time to be less personal than last, as you and another member of this list (who emailed me privately)have implied.

You first begin by stating, "the amazing and widespread corruption within Lavalas official circles, for which Mr. Pierre is still demanding proof". Yet, you refer to the Teleco scandal as your irrefutable proof.

If those who work for the government and who are members of this list do not respond to those accusations head on as you mention it, it is not my job to do so. I am as much a private citizen of Haiti as you are and as such, I am not privy of any special or classified information as they would, should, or could.

Before returning to your Teleco accusation however, I think it is important to debate this one issue that you had brought to the forefront. You claim that I am "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".

Well, I am not sure about "elation" due to the "meager construction projects". I would like for you to explain to me, Mr. Simidor, how "meager" those construction projects are, when by all accounts, independent and partisan, there have been more public schools built throughout Haiti by the State between 1994 and 2000, than between 1804 and 1993? I would like for you to explain to me and other members of this list, Mr. Simidor, how "meager" those construction projects are, when between 1994 and 2000, there have been more kilometers of roads built or opened in Haiti, than say between 1957 and 1993 for instance. I would like for you to explain to me, Mr. Simidor, how big thieves the Haitian officials are, when despite the unofficial economic embargo that Haiti has been under since after the April 1997 parliamentary elections, Haiti has been paying interests on loans from financial institutions, money that it has yet to receive. I would like for you to explain to me, Mr. Simidor, how big thieves the Haitian offi
cials are, when despite this unofficial economic embargo, the government has been able consistently since 1995, to help students purchase schoolbooks at reduced price, which they would not have been able to do otherwise. In fact, the government once again recently, signed a contract with the private sector costing the State millions of gourdes. Finally Mr. Simidor, where do those big thieves find the money to buy those Service Plus buses (by my own count over 200) of which 40 of them are in circulation to date, servicing urban population throughout the country?

You also talked about my "elation" over "the gifts the president brings with him like a Bon Papa as he moves around the country". 

Then again, putting aside the rethoric and the suggestion of "folklore politics" as the term Bon papa implies, we must confront the facts as they are cold and ring true. It is indeed true that this past weekend, Aristide went to the Northwest Department. Is he then a "Bon Papa", a folkloric figure Mr. Simidor, because he brought with him 20 million gourdes (almost 1 million US dollars) from the State account, for the people in the Northwest to invest in agriculture? Is he being a "Bon Papa" Mr. Simidor, because he was there at the ceremony starting the project to put asphalt on roads (adoquinage) in Port-de-Paix? Or is he being a "Bon Papa", a fokloric figure because 10 new buses were brought to the region that will assure public transportation? Please tell me, Mr. Simidor. In any case, I call that a shrewd politician, campaigning his own way without saying so, for potential elections that he is anticipating, that members of his political party may have to run in the near future.

Let me remind you Mr. Simidor, that I am an observer who cares more about Haiti than I do about the political party in power or the Convergence. My heart may be more attached to the Lavalas ideal. In no way however, am I trying to defend this regime blindly, of which I am not part of in any way, shape, or form. In fact, many strong partisans of the regime do feel quite uncomfortable with my arguments at time.

As you discuss the issue of corruption, I am as concerned as you are about the issues of accountability. It is indeed quite a concern of mine, as it is for many partisans of the regime. This does not however justifies your qualification of the whole State apparatus as a corrupt machine that only rides on stolen gourdes and dollars.

Having said that, we must also be careful in our characterization of politicians as crooks, when we don't have tangible proofs. To be specific, there has always been as there will always be, a fine line between stealing money from a government, and using one's influence properly or improperly, to acquire wealth. This is not a problem just in Haiti, but in every country where there is politics and politicians. As one is a public official, one is usually privy of information or influence, that may allow him or her to acquire wealth that he or she would not have otherwise acquired. This does not necessarily mean that it is an outright case of stolen funds. However, because the Lavalas régime occupies virtually every key post in Haiti's political machine, it is now difficult to realistically prove what was stolen and/or how. There is theft, corruption I am sure. But characterizing the entire political machine as a car full of thieves and unconscionable people is dishonest, I think. The facts prove otherwise as I
 mentioned some of them here. Also, had the Lavalas régime been as corrupt as you suggested in your posts, the country would have totally collapsed by now, considering the economic boycott the country is under. Let's be honest here.

To finish for now, Mr. Simidor, as I am sure you will reply, and since I am not able to reply to your whole argument in just one post, let us make some things clear. First of all, I may have serious problems with the Convergence as a whole. It is not because I hate those who run that political opposition, because I sincerely believe that they can do better than they have done so far. It is the raw and unsophisticated emotions that they bring along in their argument, and the lack of rational thoughts that have always disconcerted me. In fact, I believe and I know, that there is a pool of intelligence in that group which the country needs. I am sure they can do better than that.

As to the Wall Street Journal's "political-cums" as one of their editorialists wrote recently, I am never impressed there. I am as unimpressed by their comments, as I am by the @iri.org comments or postings here. I think that anyone who is serious about Haiti's future should and must raise the debates, rather than getting involved in that sort of personal invectives, never debating the hard core issues. 

The sad thing about the Teleco issue as the WSJ reported it, is as you said that no Haitian government official from their well-oiled war-room, has never come clean or even bothered to respond to their allegations.

You may disagree with me on this one, Mr. Simidor. I will nevertheless repeat it. On this mild Summer Day of Friday the 13th, it is indeed true that "se bon ki ra..." Especially in the case of Haiti. It is neither just "rara ki bon", nor "bla, bla, bla". 

Se bon ki ra, and thank you Racine for that Haitian proverb!!

Hyppolite Pierre