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From: Michael Wilson <michael_l_wilson@yahoo.com>

> 
> EDITORIAL 
>
> Lean on Haiti to Negotiate Free and Fair
> Elections
> December 21, 2001
> For the United States, Haiti is a constant rebuke.
> The failed military coup earlier this week only
> reinforces the sense that Haiti's experiment in
> democracy - propped up by an invasion of U.S. troops
> seven years ago - is going badly off course. 
> 
> Aside from a decrease in widespread violence, Haiti
> is
> not much better off today than it was when President
> Bill Clinton reinstated Jean-Bertrand  Aristide in
> the
> presidency with the U.S. invasion. Haiti's economy
> is
> in shambles, its government is dysfunctional,
> international investment has vanished, and 300,000
> of
> its 8 million people are infected with AIDS.
> 
> Haiti's government is even failing to carry out some
> basic obligations that would ensure its people's
> survival. The country lives and dies by the flow
> of foreign aid - with the United States alone
> providing $70 million in humanitarian assistance and
> $4 million for AIDS relief this year. But nearly
> half
> a billion dollars in desperately needed
> international
> aid to the
> government has been frozen since 1998. That's
> because
> Aristide and his political foes haven't been able to
> agree on holding free and fair elections.
> The last vote, which Aristide won in a landslide,
> was
> riddled with fraud, and international observers
> refused to certify it. 
> 
> In nearly two dozen visits to Port-au-Prince, the
> international mediator named by the Organization of
> American States, Luigi Einaudi, has seen no
> progress in talks between Aristide and opposition
> leaders, despite Aristide's vows to the Clinton
> administration that he would agree to negotiate a
> political solution.
> 
> Nonetheless, Aristide sent a delegation to
> Washington
> earlier this month to  argue for the release of $145
> million in loans from the Inter-American Devlopment
> Bank on humanitarian grounds - a disingenuous move
> that's  backed by the congressional black caucus.
> 
> Aristide is running out of maneuvering room. The
> Bush
> administration must make it clear to him that only a
> negotiated agreement on new elections will free the
> funds. In the end, giving the people of Haiti a full
> voice in their fate is the only decent thing to do.
> Until now, all they have had is misery. 
> 
>                    Copyright  2001, Newsday, Inc. 


=====
Michael L. Wilson

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