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9130: posting:9111: dictatorship (fwd)
From: Dr JAAllen <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Reading Mr. Poincy's comments and continued defense of the idea of promoting
this "benevolent dictatorship" I feel uneasy. Frankly when I read the
original posting, I thought it was tongue-in-cheek. After all we have
endured as a Nation, and are still enduring, we should in those hard times
be convinced of the need to build a democratic society.
We have already tried all sorts of dictatorships, but have never even
gotten close to taking serious steps towards a true democracy. No single
Haitian should be entrusted to do this for us, we all should do it together
by building a nation where the laws prevail. Strong institutions are the
Having said that, I am in favor of a stronger presidency than the one we
have now. The Constitution of 87 has emasculated the presidency to remove
the temptation of dictatorship because we were coming out of 29 years of
horror (make no mistake about it). The unintended consequence has been the
instauration of a new form of dictatorship where the executive branch
sidestepped what it perceived as roadblocks to its power. We must admit
that the Lavalas, in power for 11 years and holding the fort for 7 years of
uninterrupted supremacy on the political scene have contributed to the
desintitutionalization of the system.
I am convinced that one of the prime elements in the crisis in 1991 was
the attitute Aristide had vis-a-vis the Armed Forces. The Constitution says:
"The president is the nominal head of the armed forces but never controls
them in person". We had a de facto independant armed group inside Haiti.
He fired Generals in his inaugural speech, when he had no right to do so.
He named Cedras Commander-in-chief a.i., so he could have a leverage against
him, because once he was named and confirmed the civilians could not again
have control over him for three years. Aristide succombed to a normal
temptation which wrecked his career as a politician and created
circumstances that make it impossible for him to be a uniter in Haiti. Let
us remember that Manigat lost power for the same reasons, after a shakeup of
the Army. Since a majority of the constituants in 87 were named by the
Army, they did not object to making it an independant entity. Now, we know
that this was a terrible decision.
The other non-negligible element is the abusive power afforded the
legislative branch in the constitution of 87. This may have again created
the current crisis where Aristide and co wanted to control that body with an
overwhelming majority as to avoid challenges to their power. The
contituants in 87 had not decided whether they wanted a parliamentary or a
presidential system and we are paying a price for it. We must choose and
live with one type of system.
I believe that Democracy is our only hope. We should not entrust our
future to the whims and caprices of a single human being or a group of even
well-intentioned Haitians. We need a strong Haitian presidency not an
Joseph A. Allen DDS