Haiti: Five Facts and One Appeal / Restorative Powers


| March 4, 2004


What role did the United States play in setting the stage for the current crisis in Haiti? Reporting for the Dominion, Anthony Fenton and Dru Oja Jay accuse the Bush administration of covertly planning to bring about Haitian regime change, asserting the economic and humanitarian disaster facing Haiti is 'not the product of some unfortunate circumstance, but the direct result of policies carried out by our governments.' Writing for TNR online, Adam B. Kushner highlights the irony of an American administration that now shuns the same president it helped restore to power back in 1994. Conceding that 'Aristide may have been a thug, and Haiti may now be better off without him,' Kushner cites the importance of American support for democratically elected officials to Latin American governments historically plagued by military coups. 'No one talks much about the success of the message President Clinton sent to Latin America by ousting the Haitian junta... but consider that between 1960 and 1990, there were 44 successful military coups in Latin America; since Haiti's invasion in 1994, there have been almost none'.

Fenton and Oja Jay suggest that Aristide's forced resignation is a coup masquerading as the will of the people, designed by American officials intent on ousting an unfavorable leader. They argue that the US policy of withholding desperately needed economic aid and intervening to block previously approved Interamerican Development Bank and World Bank loans was designed to create a Haiti ripe for social upheaval. They accuse the US government of financially backing the Haitian opposition, to the tune of $70 million, between 1994 and 2002. They blame mainstream media for spreading 'blatant disinformation' intended to demonize Aristide as a tyrant so that 'the bleeding of the Haitian economy can be falsely attributed to Aristide's failure as a leader.' And finally, they appeal to the American people 'as those in whose names this state of affairs was created,' to bring an end to further bloodshed by contacting elected representatives and demanding that the US stand up for democracy in Haiti.
-- Eliza Thomas

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